Index To All Sections
Section 1: An Introduction to John Calvin and his Doctrines of Grace
Section 2: Total Inability... The Cornerstone
You Are Here Section 3: Unconditional Election
Section 4: Limited Atonement
Section 5: Irresistible Grace
Section 6: Perseverance of The Saints and Death Before Sin
Section 7: When the Gospel Becomes a Lie and Assurance of Salvation...
How Can Any Calvinist KNOW He is Saved?
Section 8: God.. God’s Sovereignty and Omnipotence. Hypocrisy Unlimited
Section 9: Conclusion
Section 10: Calvinism and The First 1500 Years. The Sins of Augustine
On This Page
A Skewed View Of Justice
When Logic Goes Out The Window
The Word Predestination
Is Not a stand alone Verse
Read carefully, Actually Debunks Calvinism
Two Separate Words... Two Consecutive Steps
Let's Not Forget About The Word "And"
Elijah And Romans 11:2-7
Paul said what was true in Elijah's day was also true in Paul's day, So step back in time to the book of Kings and see what Elijah was up against (the context), what he said to God, and what God told him.
Jacob and Esau... Was God Choosing The Salvation Of The Respective Men
Who Made These "vessels of wrath" fit for destruction?
John 6: 37-39
Who Is It That The Father Gives To The Son?
John 6: 64-65
Clearly Distinguishing What John Said And Did Not Say
Who Does The Father Draw To Him And How Does He Do It?
John 6 and Believing
A Simple Reading Of The Text
God "Grants" Repentance
2 Timothy 2:24-26
If We Take This To Mean Repentance Is Sovereignly Given Or Granted By God, We Have A Very Large Problem
The Parable of The Sower
The Sinner's Response To The Gospel
Taking Three Points Into Consideration Including The Use Of The Word Tasső.
The Order of Salvation
Whom Does God Forgive?
Colossians 2:13 Makes It Very Clear That God Regenerates Or "Makes Alive" Those Whom He First Forgives, But Whom Does God Forgive? The Scriptures Are Very Clear
Which, If Read Without Previous Bias, Clearly Indicate That Repentance And Belief Precede Forgiveness And Salvation
Paul's Inexplicable Tactics
Apparently Paul Did Not Know That The Elect Were Already Sovereignly Predetermined For Salvation
Provoking The Jews To Jealousy
Praying For The Lost
Taking Care Not To Offend People
Their Blood Was On Their Own Heads
Paul Was Very Clear That The Jews Were The Cause Of Their Own Destruction
"According To Their Works"
Acts Against (Unconditional) Election
is represented by the second letter of the acronym TULIP.
Introduction: According to this doctrine, God unconditionally and “sovereignly” elects who will be saved and who will not be saved. This election has nothing to do with anything the sinner does, or will do on the future (including how he will respond to the gospel), but is according to some mysterious plan God made before the foundation of the world. People are saved, not on the basis of their own merit or choosing, but solely according to the pleasure of God.
Like with much else about Calvinism, there is a lack of consensus on the details. Those who teach "double predestination" assert that God elects both who will be saved and who will be damned, while others maintain that God merely disregards those whom he has not elected to salvation, so that their own natural depravity damns them. However this is hardly any consolation to the 'unelected' who face exactly the same fate regardless of the technicalities of how they got there. (Besides which I can not help but wonder if the second idea was formulated in an effort to protect God's reputation, and make sure it is understood that He is not the one causing people to be damned). In Calvin's words....
"... it is not without cause the vessels of wrath are said to be fitted for destruction, and that God is said to have prepared the vessels of mercy, because in this way the praise of salvation is claimed for God, whereas the blame of perdition is thrown upon those who of their own accord bring it upon themselves 
Which brings us to the heart of the Gospel.. the justice of God.
A Skewed View Of Justice
Moderate (or balanced) Calvinism claims that the non-elect deserve to be damned, because they are damned only for their sins and for no other cause. Which brings up an obvious question.. If God elects individuals to salvation, it is His choice to elect as many or as few as He desires. But considering that none of them were deserving,.... why would He only elect a limited number?
The very fact that the elect are not damned for their sins would be a sad commentary on the so called justice of God. Yet, Calvin actually called this travesty a "supreme standard of justice"...
I say with Augustine, that the Lord has created those who, as he certainly foreknow, were to go to destruction, and he did so because he so willed. Why he willed it is not ours to ask, as we cannot comprehend, nor can it become us even to raise a controversy as to the justice of the divine will. Whenever we speak of it, we are speaking of the supreme standard of justice. But when justice clearly appears, why should we raise any question of injustice? Let us not, therefore, be ashamed to stop their mouths after the example of Paul. Whenever they presume to carp, let us begin to repeat: Who are ye, miserable men, that bring an accusation against God, and bring it because he does not adapt the greatness of his works to your meagre capacity? As if every thing must be perverse that is hidden from the flesh. The immensity of the divine judgments is known to you by clear experience. You know that they are called "a great deep" (Ps. 36:6). 
...although he admitted it was "incomprehensible"
We maintain that this counsel, as regards the elect, is founded on his free mercy, without any respect to human worth, while those whom he dooms to destruction are excluded from access to life by a just and blameless, but at the same time incomprehensible judgment. 
I have to take a moment to make a comment on Calvin's words that men bring an accusation against God, because he does not adapt the greatness of his works to their "meagre capacity". While the term "made in the image of God" is not completely understood, it is certain that many of man's positive attributes were instilled in man from the time he was created. Paul said that even the Gentiles could keep the law without having the benefit of the law, which he attributed to their conscience accusing or excusing them [Romans 2:14-15]. Who can argue that man's sense of justice and fair-play is remarkably similar, regardless of corner of the globe he calls home or the time period he lived in. Common universal attributes can only be ascribed to being God given and therefore can not be called our "meagre capacity".
Paul certainly seemed to have a very different idea of God’s justice than John Calvin did. He says God’s “supreme standard of justice” is that He will render to every man according to his works. I guess Paul’s capacity was pretty “meagre” too.
but after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up for thyself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; who will render to every man according to his works: to them that by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and incorruption, eternal life: but unto them that are factious, and obey not the truth, but obey unrighteousness, shall be wrath and indignation, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that worketh evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Greek; but glory and honor and peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek: for there is no respect of persons with God. [Romans 2:5-11]
Which we will see when His wrath descends on this planet yet one more time. [See The Wrath of God]
[Calvinism first assumes that the doctrine of election is true then, working backwards, further assumes it has to be based on God's will and has to please Him. If it is based on His will and pleases Him, it has to be "good and perfectly just". This is faulty reasoning at best. Details in The Conclusion]
When Logic Goes Out The Window
But the moderate Calvinist has an answer for this too. He says the non elect reject the offers of the gospel which God sincerely sends to them via persuasive preaching, because they love darkness rather than light. Again we run face first into the brick wall of illogicality.
Lets see if I have this straight... God has elected only some individuals to salvation and, as far as I know, nothing can thwart this decision. Yet the individuals that have not been elected to salvation are guilty because, as Calvin said, it is
"their own malice that hinders them from becoming partakers of the life offered in the Scriptures" 
In this one regard Hyper-Calvinists actually make more sense (from a logical standpoint) than moderate Calvinists. They completely exclude man's responsibility in the work of salvation which is solely a work of God. It is the moderate (or balanced) Calvinists who claim that while God is absolutely sovereign, man is absolutely responsible for his own actions. Calvin himself said [Emphasis Added]
Moreover, though their perdition depends on the predestination of God, the cause and matter of it is in themselves... Man therefore falls, divine providence so ordaining, but he falls by his own fault. 
This position has to be dismissed as both absurd and a logical impossibility. But instead, in the ensuing centuries, moderate Calvinists, declining to use the brains God gave them, have not cared that Calvin's position is not only completely irrational and untenable, but also impossible. Instead they have repeated his assertions as Gospel truth. [But more about this later in the section on God's Sovereignty and Omnipotence]. The truth is that Calvinism makes God into a totally illogical, unfair and completely unsound being, and we could very well abandon this study at this point. But, since we are already here, lets look at the many Scriptures the Calvinist points to that use words such as chosen, elected, and predestined to make the point.
The Word Predestination:
Some of the strongest arguments made in favor of God's unconditional election is made on the basis of the New Testament's use of the word predestinate. However predestinate has been translated from the Greek word proorizo, and has only been used 6 times in the New Testament, of which only four refer to salvation... [See Footnote] Once each in Ephesians 1:5, and Ephesians 1:11 and twice in Romans 8:29-30.
Ephesians 1:5: having foreordained (Greek proorizo) us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will
This verse, like every other in the Bible, can not be read as a stand alone, but has to be understood in conjunction with the whole of Scripture. Romans 8:29-30 (below) clearly states that God elected people to salvation on the basis of His foreknowledge.
Ephesians 1:11-13: (V.11) In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined (Greek proorizo) according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, (V.12) so that we should be to the praise of His glory, we who first trusted in Christ; in whom also you, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; (V. 13) in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. [Emphasis Added]
These verses are often taken as a ‘proof text’ for Predestination. However a close reading shows exactly the opposite. Paul's words, read carefully, actually debunk Calvinism. Read verses 11 through 13 to catch the full import of what Paul is saying....
There is a distinct difference made between the ‘we’ of verse 11 and the ‘you’ of verse 13 (both in bold above). In fact, verses 3-12 speak of we and us before switching to the second person... you in verse 13.
It is largely assumed by most commentators that when Paul used the word we, he was referring to Christian converts in general. However the fact that he says we are the ones “who first trusted in Christ” makes it far more likely that he was speaking of the disciples and apostles. This is further exemplified in verse 13 where Paul switches to ‘you’ (the Ephesian Christians) and says AFTER they believed they were “sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise”.
Since God already foreknew what they would do, who could argue that the apostles and disciples were predestined to a large and crucial role in God's overall plan of salvation. Unquestionably the Jews as a nation were.
Romans 8:29-30: For whom he foreknew (Greek Proginosko), he also foreordained (Greek Proorizo) to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren: and whom he foreordained (Greek Proorizo), them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. [Emphasis Added]
Note that although predestinate (Proorizo) is only used twice in the above quote, we have also emphasized the word foreknew, which comes from a different Greek word. Calvinists often claim the word foreknew and foreordained are comparable in meaning, which is not true. Both words may seem to have some similarity, but this is only because they are both preceded by the preposition pro, which simply means before, and can be attached to an assortment of words which themselves can have vastly different meanings.
Proginosko means to know beforehand, to foresee.
Proorizo means to determine beforehand, to ordain or predestinate.
It is a combination of pro (before) and horizo (appoint, decree, specify declare, determine, ordain)
Although Proginosko is only used five times in the NT, it is certainly strictly meant as to know ahead of time in the following examples. Paul in speaking to king Agrippa said the Jews
having knowledge (Greek Proginosko) of me from the first, if they be willing to testify, that after the straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee. [Acts 26:5]
Ye therefore, beloved, knowing these things beforehand (Greek Proginosko), beware lest, being carried away with the error of the wicked, ye fall from your own stedfastness. [2 Peter 3:17]
In SOME cases although one word is specifically used, common sense tells us that the other can be involved as well. For example, when Peter says man's redemption through Jesus
"...was foreknown (Greek Proginosko) indeed before the foundation of the world, but was manifested at the end of times for your sake" [1 Peter 1:20]
If you take both parts of the sentence into account, Peter is quite obviously saying that this plan of redemption has been known to God from the beginning of time, but He had only just revealed it to man... in the end of times. Of course, if God pre-plans an event, He obviously knows it is going to take place.
However Paul made a clear distinction between the two words, when he said
For whom he foreknew (Greek Proginosko), he also foreordained (Greek Proorizo) to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren:
If, as some assume, foreknew is comparable in meaning to foreordained, Romans 8:29 would read
For whom he foreordained (Proginosko), he also foreordained (Greek Proorizo) to be conformed to the image of his Son,
Which doesn't make sense. What makes sense is that foreknow and foreordain are two separate, but consecutive, steps in the process described in Romans 8:29-30. In other words, God foresaw (has always known) who would believe on Christ and predestined only those people to salvation. This is further emphasized by 1Peter 1:2, in which the apostle uses the word prognosis, a derivative of Proginoskohas which also means foreknowledge. Peter says the believer is elect
However what is particularly interesting is that prognosis is only used twice in the New Testament.. both times by Peter. He uses it here in 1 Peter 1:2, and in his sermon at Pentecost (Acts 2:23), where he clearly distinguishes between foreknowledge and determinate counsel.
Acts 2:23: Him, being delivered up by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye by the hand of lawless men did crucify and slay: (Note that some Bible versions translate determinate counsel as predetermined or prearranged plan).
This verse is used as a proof text for sovereign election based on the fact that “determinate counsel” precedes “foreknowledge”. However, as said above, the English words not only come from vastly different Greek ones, but are separated by the word and... Jesus was crucified “by the determinate counsel AND foreknowledge of God.” As Barnes said in his commentary about Jesus' death
"It implies that God did it according to his foresight of what would be the best time, place, and manner of its being done. It was not the result merely of will; it was will directed by a wise foreknowledge of what would be best".
God certainly foreknew what the Jews and Romans would do, and although He had the power to prevent the crucifixion, He did not do so because He had predetermined to redeem mankind from eternal death, by the death of his only begotten Son.
[Also See The Foreknowledge of God]
Elijah and Romans 11:2-7: "God did not cast off his people which he foreknew (Greek Proginosko). Or know ye not what the scripture saith of Elijah? how he pleadeth with God against Israel: Lord, they have killed thy prophets, they have digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have left for myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. But if it is by grace, it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. What then? that which Israel seeketh for, that he obtained not; but the election obtained it, and the rest were hardened"
If one is to read at least the second half of the previous chapter (Romans 10) it becomes very clear that the verses above are speaking about the Jews who were given knowledge of Jesus, yet rejected His message, which the Gentiles accepted. In light of this, Paul goes on to ask if God had cast out His people (11:1). He answers his own question with the pithy "God forbid". God has not cast off His own people whom He foreknew or foreordained (Proginosko) (V. 2). Just like in the days of Elijah, there were still a remnant of Jews who had not rejected God.
The Calvinist argument goes something like this... Paul is basically saying that what was true in Elijah’s day was also true in his day. As in the days of Elijah when God sovereignly elected or saved for Himself a certain number of people in Israel, He was also sovereignly saving some people for Himself in Paul's time. The verses usually quoted read thus...
 And the Lord said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, thou shalt anoint Hazael to be king over Syria;  and Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel; and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room.  And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay; and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay.  Yet will I leave (Hebrew shâ'ar) me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him. [1 Kings 19:15-18]
Arthur Pink asks the reader to
Note particularly the word "reserved." In the days of Elijah there were seven thousand, a small minority, who were Divinely preserved from idolatry and brought to the knowledge of the true God. This preservation and illumination was not from anything in themselves, but solely by God's special influence and agency. How highly favoured such individuals were to be thus "reserved" by God! 
Just for starters, reserve is only one meaning of the Hebrew word shâ'ar. The others are leave, (be) left, let, remain, remnant. Young's Literal Translation renders the verse "and I have left in Israel seven thousand..." [Emphasis Added]. This can be taken two ways.. Consider two applications of the same word.
I left myself one apple for after lunch
I have one apple left for after lunch.
In the first case I am actively involved in making sure I have one apple for after lunch.. I actively left it aside
In the second case we do not know how one apple remained. I may not have been actively involved with the process... my family may have eaten all the other apples but one.
But what really throws light on the matter is the context which, in this case, is what Elijah was facing, what he thought and felt about it, and how God responded.
In order to ascertain whether or not the Calvinist claim is true, we have to step back in time to the book of Kings and see exactly what Elijah was facing (the context), his feeling on the matter which he conveyed to God, and what God told him. When we do, we see a very discouraged, disheartened and probably panicky Elijah was running away from Jezebel who wanted him dead. God sent the prophet to Mt. Horeb where he told God...
...I have been very jealous for Jehovah, the God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. [1Kings 19:14]
Note what Elijah said here. He tells God that he is the only one who has not forsaken God's covenant, thrown down God's altars and slain His prophets. Now his life is in danger. In answer to this God tells Elijah that he is mistaken in supposing that he was the only loyal one left... there were seven thousand more that were not guilty of these offenses and had not bowed the knee to Baal. All the others would be punished through the three men that God instructed Elijah to appoint to three different offices... Hazael to be king over Syria, Jehu to be king over Israel and Elisha to be prophet, all three obviously instruments of His justice. Those that escaped from the sword of Hazael would be killed by Jehu and those that escaped from Jehu would be slain by Elisha.
God was telling Elijah that all those that had kissed Baal would be punished, not that He sovereignly elected seven thousand to be saved. They saved themselves by staying true to the one true God. Also note that it does not say that they refused to bow the knee because God foreordained it.. which has to be read into the text.
In the days of Paul, just like in the days of Elijah, there were still a remnant of Jews who had not rejected God. A remnant believed and their faith was counted for righteousness [Romans 4:5].
Also See Hardened Hearts in Part II ... Total Inability
A Note on the 'Fore-ordination' of the Jews
It is an indisputable fact that the Jews had been foreordained by God to a unique role in the history and salvation of man. To them were entrusted the oracles of God, and to them was born the Messiah.. the savior of mankind. But salvation was also now being freely offered to the Gentiles, which many of the Jews could not accept as being the will of God.... this cause célčbre being much of the reason for the book of
which is Paul's masterful outline and defense of the Gospel.
All too often isolated verses gets a person so bogged down in detail that they neglect to see the big picture. As said before, the person walking through the woods will see a lot of trees and, beautiful as they may be, he has no idea what the entire forest looks like. Narrowly focusing on individual brush strokes will never give the viewer a clue as to what the entire painting looks like. He has to step backwards and let the entire scene come into focus before he can appreciate what the artist is trying to convey.
Which is precisely the problem with Calvinism and the book of Romans. Many proof texts for the Doctrines of Grace have been drawn from the book of Romans, but not only have certain individual verses in Romans been misinterpreted or viewed in light of preconceived theories, but the Calvinistic interpretations of many of these verses stands in direct contradiction to the theme of the book as a whole. The big picture of Romans can be seen on a separate page HERE, but we would like to address the problem of one of Calvinism's favorite proof texts...
Romans 9:10-13: And not only so; but Rebecca also having conceived by one, even by our father Isaac for the children being not yet born, neither having done anything good or bad, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth, it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. Even as it is written, Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.
Paul kicks off the book of Romans with the facts of people's sin and the wrath of God, plainly showing how God's judgment is going to rightly fall on people who have no excuse for not repenting and turning to Him. God gave the Jews the law and the Gentiles a conscience, and will judge each one according to that standard. He has no favorites. The Jew who transgresses the law and the Gentile who transgresses what he knows to be wrong will all be judged equally but, in the final analysis, all of them fall far short of the mark. However God has offered both Jew and Gentile atonement for their sins based on faith.
Paul goes on to say, in 9:6 that "they are not all Israel, that are of Israel",
In other words, being a physical Israelite didn't mean that one is a true Israelite. Just as not all Abraham's physical seed could count themselves children of the promise, a Jew could not count on the favor of God based solely on the fact that they were Jews. Lineage did not guarantee salvation. Paul uses the example of Ishmael who was a physical descendant of Abraham, but a child of the flesh who did not receive the blessing given to Isaac, who was a child of the promise [Vs. 7-8].
Paul then makes another parallel with the example of Jacob and Esau, both sons or physical descendants of Rebecca and Isaac. Jacob was chosen over Esau before either had had a chance to prove or disprove themselves [Vs. 10-12]. Certainly anyone who reads the book of Genesis is aware that Jacob was, for a long time, far from a model citizen. So why was he chosen? Simply because God choosing Jacob over Esau had little or nothing to do with the two brothers themselves, since neither had yet done anything good or bad. It was a foretelling of the path their descendants would take. Proof of this comes from God's words to Rebecca when she was pregnant with the twin boys.. He said [Emphasis Added]
Two nations are in thy womb, And two peoples shall be separated from thy bowels. And the one people shall be stronger than the other people. And the elder shall serve the younger. [Genesis 25:23]
Jacob went on to father the twelve tribes of Israel, but Esau became the father of the Edomites. Although Deuteronomy 23:7 instructed the Israelites to not abhor an Edomite; "for he is thy brother", they themselves had no such familial feeling and became enemies of the Israelites, often attacking the Jewish nation. The Messiah could not come from a nation that was so bad that they even had numerous curses leveled at them, not the least of which was Amos 1:11. God was choosing, not the salvation of the respective men, but the Messianic lineage.
Love and Hate: When in Romans 9:13, Paul quoted the prophet Malachi saying "Even as it is written, Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated", it did not mean that God personally "hated" Esau as we commonly use the word. It was common among the Hebrews to use the terms "love" in the sense of strong positive attachment, and "hate" in a comparative sense implying less love. This is evident in several places in the Bible. For instance, in the first text below, Jesus was not telling people to "hate" their families. but to put Him first. Similarly, in the second, a parent does not "hate" his child because they are lenient. The point the verse is making is that you are not doing the child any favors by being so lenient.
If any man cometh unto me, and hateth not his own father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. [Luke 14:26]
He that spareth his rod hateth his son; But he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. [Proverbs 13:24]
In the overall context of salvation being offered to the Gentiles, Paul is simply saying that God has the right to make choices, regardless of what the Jews thought. Paul stresses that God could choose to offer salvation to the Gentiles even though they were not physical descendants of Abraham, but would by faith be grafted into the tree [See Romans 11:16 on]. The Jews could hardly object to God blessing the Gentiles who did not have the law when He had blessed their father Jacob [9:10] who certainly didn't do a very good job of keeping it (at least initially).
This is summed up in verse 9:15
For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.
Paul then points to Pharaoh and says
For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, For this very purpose did I raise thee up, that I might show in thee my power, and that my name might be published abroad in all the earth. [Romans 9:17]
If you were to assume from this that Pharaoh, like those that are not elected to salvation, had no choice in the matter, and was raised up only so God could demonstrate His power, you would be wrong. As said before, God did not just wake up one fine morning and decide to make His name known through all the earth by hardening the Egyptian ruler and showing him who was boss. There are two points to be made here
1) Why in the world would God need to harden Pharaoh's heart if he was already totally depraved? Surely there can not be degrees of Total Depravity?
2) The account in Exodus says that Pharaoh hardened his own heart five separate times [Exodus 7:13, 7:22, 8:15, 8:19, 8:32 and 9:7] before God got fed up and decided to not give him any more opportunities to do the right thing. After Pharaoh's persistent and stubborn refusal to listen, the Scriptures tell us that God hardened Pharaoh's heart [Exodus 9:12, 9:34-35; 10:1, 10:20, 10:27; 11:10 and 14:8].
And why not.. God has patience, but it has it's limits. One of these days it will be too late for those who, like the Pharaoh, have dug their heels in and refused to turn to God. At some point in time God will abandon them to their own wishes and desires. [Romans 1:24].
So, since it is clear that the Pharaoh had a hand in his own doom, then it stands to reason that God knowing from the beginning of time, exactly how bull headed the Egyptian ruler was going to be, raised him up so that He could demonstrate His power. Just because God has to right to harden someone's heart and may even eventually do so, doesn't mean that the person doesn't first seal his own fate, just as the Pharaoh did. Both the Old Testament and New furnish proof that this was (and is) indeed the case. [See Hardened Hearts under section Total Inability]
Romans 9:20-25: Paul goes on to ask [All Emphasis Added]
Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why didst thou make me thus? Or hath not the potter a right over the clay, from the same lump to make one part a vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor? What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering vessels of wrath fitted (Greek katartizo) unto destruction: and that he might make known the riches of his glory upon vessels of mercy, which he afore prepared unto glory, even us, whom he also called, not from the Jews only, but also from the Gentiles? As he saith also in Hosea, I will call that my people, which was not my people; And her beloved, that was not beloved.
As shown by the words in italics in the quote above, Paul is still talking about the Jewish controversy swirling around Paul's message that God has saved believing Gentiles and rejecting unbelieving Jews [See Acts 28:26-29]. Paul emphasizes that God has been extremely patient with those who were “vessels of wrath prepared for destruction” (9:22).
But the Greek grammar of the phrase "vessels of wrath fitted unto destruction" does not convey even the slightest hint that it was God who "had prepared or fitted them for destruction".
Katartizo can also be used as an adjective which would mean that these people were fit to be destroyed, or perfect/suitable for destruction. Vincent Word Studies says the Katartizo is a participle denoting a present state previously formed, but giving no hint of how it has been formed... An agency of some kind must be assumed. In other words they were 'perfect for destruction', but we are not told here how they got to that state.
The very fact that God says He "endured" them implies that they themselves were responsible.
And why God was so patient with people who were perfect for destruction is told us in the next verse. [V. 23]...it is so that "he might make known the riches of his glory upon vessels of mercy, which he afore prepared (Greek proetoimazo) unto glory".
God Preordained that Believers would Be Transformed into the Image of His Son: There is no doubt, that in this verse (Romans 9:23), the direct involvement of God is distinctly stated.
However Afore prepared (proetoimazo) is related to being prepared for glory, not being pre-ordained to salvation. God foreknew who would believe and then foreordained them to "be conformed to the image of his Son". [Romans 8:29]. In other words, it is the predetermined plan of God, that every believer is going to be made like the Lord Jesus Christ... with the same glorious body Christ had upon His resurrection.
But this isn't exactly news. The believer's preordained two step conformity to Jesus Christ is the whole point of salvation. The first step occurs in this life when we begin to think and act like a member of God's family with the aim of becoming more like Jesus every day. The second step is when the dead are resurrected. 1 Corinthians 15:52 tells us
“..the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed”.
And how are we changed? The body is raised in incorruption, in glory, in power.. a spiritual body. [1Corinthians 15:42-44]. Humble bodies will be transformed into likenesses of Jesus' body when He was raised from the dead. [Philippians 3:21]. In short, the believer is pre-ordained to become like Jesus both spiritually and physically. [Also See The Resurrected Body, which is The Fifth Chapter of What and Where is Heaven?]
By the way, the only other occurrence of proetoimazo is found in Ephesians 2:10, which corroborates what we have said here... God had predetermined that we as believers should lead holy lives, which is the whole purpose of being created in Christ.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared (proetoimazo) that we should walk in them. [Ephesians 2:10]
Confirming the Point:
In verses 25-29 Paul appeals to the prophets Hosea and Isaiah who centuries previously had foretold this very thing... that God would save Gentiles, but that there would only be a remnant of Jews who would be saved:
And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them that were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God. He quotes the prophet Hosea [Hosea 2:23]
For though thy people, Israel, be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them shall return: a destruction is determined, overflowing with righteousness. For a full end, and that determined, will the Lord, Jehovah of hosts, make in the midst of all the earth. [Isaiah 10:22-23]
In short, the overall message and overriding theme of Romans 9 is that, contrary to what some of the Jews believed, vessels of mercy came from the ranks of both Jews and Gentiles, and that no man could argue with this as it was the Potter's privilege to do as He wished with the clay. The Jews failed to attain salvation not because God had not elected them to do so, but because they tried to achieve it by works, not faith. It was their disbelief that they could be saved by the Messiah, that proved to be their stumbling block
but Israel, following after a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by works. [Romans 9:31-32. Emphasis Added]
Remember that it has already been pointed out that the very fact that the Jews were seeking salvation, regardless of how they thought they would obtain it, directly contradicts Calvinism’s doctrine of Total Depravity. Apparently un-regenerated men can attempt to find God and save their souls.
John 6 37-39
contains several verses used to support the idea of Unconditional Election, starting with verse 37. However it should be first noted that the parallel structure of two statements made by Jesus in verse 35 tells us that there is no difference between “coming to” Jesus and “believing in” Him
Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall not hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. [John 6:35]
Verses 37-39 supposedly contains two proof-texts [Emphasis Added]
All that which the Father giveth me shall come unto me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I am come down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the will of him that sent me, that of all that which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. [John 6:37-39]
Calvinists conclude that Jesus' words in the quote above proves that God sovereignly chooses only some to be saved. Read the verse very carefully and note that these verses simply state that all those (people) that the Father gives will come to Christ and, of them, He (Jesus) will lose none. Jesus does not specify who the Father gives Him. Calvinism PRESUMES that it is only the elect (those whom the Father has pre-ordained to salvation) that are given to the Son, but the text DOES NOT say that.
So the question that has to be asked is who is it that the Father gives to the Son? This is very plainly answered in the very next verse that says [Emphasis Added]
For this is the will of my Father, that everyone that beholdeth the Son, and believeth on him, should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. [John 6:40]
It is significant that the words "looks" and "believe" are both used as present participles, which makes the looking and the believing ongoing actions. So one who continues to look to Christ with a continuing steady gaze and continues believing will be raised up at the last day. The believer's security is conditional upon an ongoing trust in Jesus. This principle is repeated a few sentences later, when Jesus says
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth hath eternal life. [John 6:47]
He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life: and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood abideth in me, and I in him. [John 6:54-56]
God has determined that everyone that sees and believes in the Son will have eternal life. (Not everyone that saw Jesus believed in Him... John 6:36). At this point the Calvinist is bound to argue that it is only the elect that can believe in the Son, but this would have to be read into the text since the verse does NOT say that.
Please note that in the New Testament, the English word will has largely been translated from the Greek thelema which has more than one meaning. See Details under The Sovereignty and Omnipotence of God.
Exactly the same situation is seen in John 6:64-65, which is a combination of Jesus' words and John's comments..
(Jesus) But there are some of you that believe not. (John) For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who it was that should betray him. And he (Jesus) said, For this cause have I said unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it be given unto him of the Father.
Again, in this verse John does not specify who is given to Christ by the Father. But as shown, Jesus in this chapter stresses over and over again who has eternal life and who doesn't. Additionally what John said and did not say has to be clearly distinguished..
1) John explains that Jesus' foreknowledge enabled Him to know "from the beginning who they were that did not believe, and who it was that should betray him." [Also See The Foreknowledge of God]
2) John does not say "Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that could not believe, and who it was that had no choice but to betray him.
Certainly no one can come to Jesus, except by grant of the Father. If God had not set in place the whole plan of salvation.. no one would have been able to come to Jesus. [See Salvation]
Besides which remember that Jesus said “Woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born” [Matthew 26:24]. How in the world could Jesus hold Judas responsible for his actions if, as Calvinism holds, he really had no free choice in the matter, but was simply a tool in God's hand. Judas could not be judged for doing what he was preordained to do.
Another verse in John 6 that is often used as to support Sovereign Election is...[Emphasis Added]
No man can come to me, except the Father that sent me draw him: and I will raise him up in the last day. [John 6:44]
This verse certainly seems to have a parallel with both verse 37 in which Jesus says "All that which the Father giveth me shall come unto me", and verse 65 in which He states that no one is able to come to him unless “it has been granted to him from the Father” (See Above). However, it once again has to be emphasized that this verse says absolutely nothing of being pre-elected or preordained by the Father. John never specifically spells out what "drawing" means. Although it is undoubtedly some form of attraction, he elaborates no further. Once more to say that this drawing means Irresistible Grace is to read something into the text that simply isn't there.
So who does the Father draw to Him and how does He do it? In the very next verse Jesus Himself clarifies that people are drawn to the Father by hearing Him and learning.
It is written in the prophets, And they shall all be taught of God. Every one that hath heard from the Father, and hath learned, cometh unto me. [John 6:45]
It is very clear that it is through God's word (His Gospel) that men come to Jesus. This is confirmed by numerous other verses that clearly state that the Gospel is the means which God uses to convert souls and bring about the new birth. For example...
For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. [Romans 1:16]
For the word of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us who are saved it is the power of God. [1Corinthians 1:18]
having been begotten again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word of God, which liveth and abideth. [1 Peter 1:23]
And that from a babe thou hast known the sacred writings which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. [2 Timothy 3:15]
Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures. [James 1:18]
Wherefore putting away all filthiness and overflowing of wickedness, receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. [James 1:21]
John 6 and Believing
John uses the word believe (Greek pisteu) quite extensively. Of the approximately 100 instances in his Gospel, nine are found in chapter 6 alone, where Jesus speaks of believing in such a way that any person, not previously indoctrinated into Calvinism, would take to mean that believing in Jesus is something anyone can do, and something that God wants everyone to do. A simple reading of Jesus' words “Some of you do not believe” in John 6:64, very clearly comes across as Him laying the blame at their door, inasmuch as believing was something they were supposed to do, not something that God made happen.
They said therefore unto him, What must we do, that we may work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. They said therefore unto him, What then doest thou for a sign, that we may see, and believe thee? what workest thou? [John 6:28-30]
Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall not hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, that ye have seen me, and yet believe not. [John 6:35-36]
For this is the will of my Father, that every one that beholdeth the Son, and believeth on him, should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. [John 6:40]
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth hath eternal life. [John 6:47]
But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who it was that should betray him. [John 6:64]
And we have believed and know that thou art the Holy One of God. [John 6:69]
The implications of another verse, often used in the case for God's Unconditional Election, have apparently not been taken into account. This verse is found in Paul's second Epistle to Timothy... (the one that seems to have been mysteriously missing from John Calvin's Bible)
God "Grants" Repentance
2 Timothy 2:24-26:
the Lord's servant must not strive, but be gentle towards all, apt to teach, forbearing, in meekness correcting them that oppose themselves; if peradventure God may give (Greek didőmi) them repentance unto the knowledge of the truth and they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him unto his will.
Taken in isolation, the Biblical verse above certainly indicates that repentance is not something the sinner can initiate, but is sovereignly given or granted by God. However, doctrine can not be derived from isolated verses, but Scripture as an integrated whole. Therefore we have to take into consideration two other verses that use the same Greek word in speaking of God giving or granting repentance. And, when we do so, we find ourselves up against a very large problem.
In Acts 5 Peter and the other apostles told the High Priest ...
“He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant (Greek didőmi) repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins” [Acts 5:31].
Note that Peter used the same Greek word didőmi, and applied it not only to some pre-selected Israelites, but to the nation of Israel as a whole. So are we to believe that every single Israelite was granted His Irresistible Grace and was saved? And, if so, what are we to make of the statement made by the elders in Jerusalem when they heard how God had poured out His Holy Spirit on the Gentile Cornelius, and his family and friends. They said that God had granted repentance to the Gentiles.
And when they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then to the Gentiles also hath God granted (Greek didőmi) repentance unto life. [Acts 11:18]
If God has granted repentance to both the Jews and the Gentiles, every single person on the face of the earth is safe and we can pack in all evangelizing and retire all missionaries. [See Footnote on The word gentile]. But we know that salvation is not universal, therefore God "granting repentance" does not necessarily mean that He sovereignly causes the person or people concerned to repent and believe in the Gospel.
So it becomes extremely unlikely that Paul was telling Timothy to be gentle and kind with those that opposed him in case God had Divinely ordained them to salvation. What is more likely is that Paul is emphasizing God's part in man’s repentance, while stressing that man should not mess it up by being arrogant or harsh. The non believer is far more likely to be more receptive to the Gospel if they have not already been rubbed up the wrong way by a discourteous believer who is not out to make a convert, but to win the argument.
That it is not God who grants repentance to the sinner based on Sovereign Election is clearly seen in ...
The Parable of The Sower
Jesus' parable in Luke 8 and it's parallel in Matthew 13 illustrates exactly how and why the Gospel does not always produce it's intended result, which is the salvation of the sinner.
 The sower went forth to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden under foot, and the birds of the heaven devoured it.  And other fell on the rock; and as soon as it grew, it withered away, because it had no moisture.  And other fell amidst the thorns; and the thorns grew with it, and choked it.  And other fell into the good ground, and grew, and brought forth fruit a hundredfold. As he said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.  And his disciples asked him what this parable might be.  And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to the rest in parables; that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.  Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.  And those by the way side are they that have heard; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word from their heart, that they may not believe and be saved.  And those on the rock are they who, when they have heard, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.  And that which fell among the thorns, these are they that have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.  And that in the good ground, these are such as in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, hold it fast, and bring forth fruit with patience. [Luke 8:5-15]
The parable is unambiguous that it is man himself (with a little help from Satan) who, for one reason or another, allows the Gospel to slip out of their grasp. Either, as in the first example given, the hearer does not pay sufficient attention and the Gospel never so much as gains a foothold. The second category of hearer has a faith too shallow to successfully resist the temptation to which it would inevitably be subject. The third type is similar inasmuch as he allows the cares and pleasures of the now to supplant the hope of the future. The last type of sinner which is the only one that is saved, not only hears the Word, but holds it fast and brings forth fruit with patience.
Not one of the examples of the four types of people say a word about, or even hint at, Sovereign Election, but demonstrates that salvation depends on the sinner’s response to the gospel. And, as Luke tells us, the Gentiles responded much more favorably than many of the Jews who thrust the Word of God from themselves. This we see in...
Acts 13:48: “And as the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of God: and as many as were ordained (Greek tasső) to eternal life believed.
The context of this verse is that Paul and Barnabas were invited to deliver a "word of exhortation for the people" by the "rulers of the synagogue" in Antioch (V.15) which they did... delivering the Gospel message. After they were finished speaking, verse 43 tells us that many of the Jews and of the devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas who urged them to continue in the grace of God".
The next Sabbath apparently saw greatly increased numbers with "almost the whole city" gathered to hear the apostles. (V. 44). But this did not sit well with the Jews who seeing the multitudes of people "were filled with jealousy, and contradicted the things which were spoken by Paul, and blasphemed" (V. 45). Upon which Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, and said...
It was necessary that the word of God should first be spoken to you. Seeing ye thrust it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. [Acts 13:46]
Note how Luke contrasts the rejection of the Word of God by the Jews in verse 46 with the glad acceptance of the Word by the Gentiles. Rejection and acceptance are two sides of the same coin of human free will and responsibility. The Word was spoken and the Gospel proffered to both parties, but belief or unbelief rested with the hearers of the Word. In the case of the Jews, they themselves thrust it away..
The argument will be made that the Jews thrust salvation from themselves because they were not among the elect that God had pre-destined to eternal life, and therefore rejection of the Gospel was something they had no choice but to do. And, in this case, the Gentiles were ordained to salvation so they accepted the Gospel. However one has to take three points into consideration...
1) how Calvinism's conclusion does not square with Paul's accusation (made with more than a hint of dry sarcasm) that they had judged themselves unworthy of eternal life' is incomprehensible. The Jews (particularly the leaders) thought they already had the inside track to God, which is probably why they dismissed a crucified Messiah.
In any case one has to remember Romans 8:29-30 (above) which says that God foresaw (has always known) who would believe on Christ, and predestined only those people to salvation. This is further emphasized by 1 Peter 1:2, in which the apostle uses same Greek word (Proginoskohas) saying the believer is “elect according to the foreknowledge of God.”
Tasső: Furthermore, one has to wonder if the Greek word tasső was translated into the English ordained while looking through the lens of Calvin's theology, since it has other meanings besides appoint (to put in order, to station, to place in a certain order, to arrange, to assign a place).
This word has been used 7 other times in the New Testament, but Acts 22:10 is the only verse into which one could read some form of pre-ordination. But, even in this case, it does not refer to God choosing Paul for salvation, but choosing Him to do carry out a specific mission.
"And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed (Greek tasső) for thee to do.
Earlier on we showed that Ephesians 1:11-13 brings up the distinct possibility that since God already knew (foreknew) what they would do, the apostles and disciples could very well have been predestined to a large and crucial role in God's overall plan of salvation. How far in advance did God decide to use them? We have absolutely no idea. But there is no reason to disbelieve that God looking down the corridors of time and seeing those that would not only accept the Gospel, but would be willing to lay their lives down for it and would cooperate fully with any plan that God assigned them to, determined well in advance what these people would be given to do.
However, when Paul recounts this Divine calling to king Agrippa in Acts 26:19, he certainly seems to indicate that he had a choice in the matter, but says he "was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision".
Any form of fore-ordination can be ruled out in the other six instances where tasső is used.
1) Matthew 28:16 says "But the eleven disciples went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed (Greek tasső) them".
Jesus didn't 'ordain' the disciples to meet him at a particular place but directed them there. As the NIV says "the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go".
2) In Luke 7:8 the centurion says "For I also am a man set (Greek tasső) under authority, having under myself soldiers: and I say to this one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it".
3) In Acts 15:1 certain men were teaching the brethren that they had to be circumcised in order to be saved which, of course Paul and Barnabas strongly disagreed with. Upon which Acts 15:2 says "the brethren appointed (Greek tasső) that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question".
While it was the church that decided Paul and Barnabas should go to Jerusalem, this was hardly likely to have been done without the consent of the two apostles.
4) Acts 28:23 simply says the leaders of the Jews made an appointment with Paul to hear what he had to say... "And when they had appointed (Greek tasső) him a day, they came to him into his lodging in great number; to whom he expounded the matter, testifying the kingdom of God
5) Romans 13:1 Let every soul be in subjection to the higher powers: for there is no power but of God; and the powers that be are ordained (Greek tasső) of God.
As Barnes said "This word "ordained" denotes the "ordering" or "arrangement" which subsists in a military company, or army. Daniel 4:17 tells us that "... the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the lowest of men". In other words, God sets them "in order," assigns them their location, changes and directs them as he pleases, often using pagan nations to bring judgment upon His people [Jeremiah 21:7]. However this does not mean that he foreordained these rulers from the beginning of time.
6) 1Corinthians 16:15 says "Now I beseech you, brethren (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have set (Greek tasső) themselves to minister unto the saints).
The house of Stephanas made their own decisions.
The Order of Salvation
Whom Does God Forgive? Colossians 2:13 is clear that God regenerates or "makes alive" those whom He first forgives...
And you, being dead through your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, you, I say, did he make alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses;
However the Scriptures are equally clear that God only forgives those that repent and believe.
Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray the Lord, if perhaps the thought of thy heart shall be forgiven thee. [Acts 8:22]
Repent ye therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that so there may come seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord; [Acts 3:19]
Peter to Cornelius and his household... To him bear all the prophets witness, that through his name every one that believeth on him shall receive remission of sins. [Acts 10:43]
Paul's words to the Jews in the synagogue in Antioch... Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. [Acts 13:38-39]
In this verse Paul is telling king Agrippa that the purpose of his mission is... "To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. [Acts 26:18] Humans have to first turn from darkness to light to receive forgiveness of sins.
In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; [Ephesians 1:7]
In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: [Colossians 1:14]
So according to the Bible a person has to repent and believe, upon which God forgives them and gives them the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The Bible not only says a man can do what Calvinism says he cannot, but Jesus also categorically states that the dead can hear and live...[All Emphasis Added]
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth him that sent me, hath eternal life, and cometh not into judgment, but hath passed out of death into life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour cometh, and now is, when the dead (nekros) shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live. [John 5:24-25]
There are plenty of other passages which, if read without previous bias, clearly indicate that repentance and belief precede forgiveness and salvation.
1 John 5:1: Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. (Revised Standard Version). (Note: Every other version, that I have been able to look up, says... "Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God")
John is not laying out the order of salvation but is saying that being born again is the result of faith in Jesus. As seen from other statements made in his Gospel, he did not believe that regeneration precedes faith.
John 1:11-13: He came unto his own, and they that were his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
I am not sure how it could get more clear than this. Only those that receive the Messiah are given the right to become children of God.
John 3:1-21: The most information we have on the New Birth is found in the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus in which Jesus tells Nicodemus that unless he is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus then asks Jesus how this is possible (V. 9). While verses 10-21 contain the whole of Jesus' reply, it is in verses 14-15 that Jesus makes it clear that a person is born again by believing
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth may in him have eternal life. [John 3:14-15]
John 3:16-17: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God sent not the Son into the world to judge the world ; but that the world should be saved through him. He that believeth on him is not judged: he that believeth not hath been judged already, because he hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God.
John 12:36: While ye have the light, believe on the light, that ye may become sons of light. These things spake Jesus, and he departed and hid himself from them.
John 20:30-31: "Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name."
Note that the believing comes before having life, which is dependent on belief.
2 Timothy 1:9 and 2 Thessalonians 2:13 are two other verses often used a 'proof-texts' for Unconditional Election and the Calvinist teaching that God's Spirit moves a person before he or she has believed and accepted the Gospel.
“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” [2 Timothy 1:9]
This verse does say that God did not call us by our works, but by His grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. God's plan has always been to save us through Jesus since our own works could not do so. (According to Ephesians 2:8-9, for a sinner to believe on Christ is not a work). The verse says absolutely nothing about the saved being “sovereignly” chosen, nor that their election was independent of their faith and God's foreknowledge.
“But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth; ” [2 Thessalonians 2:13]
This verse, often taken as proof for the Calvinist doctrine that the new birth precedes faith, could be taken as such if one does not read the very next verse which says... [Emphasis Added]
Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” [2 Thessalonians 2:14]
This passage does not say that the basis for the choosing was God's sovereign will apart from His foreknowledge. It is also very clear that men are called by the Gospel... men believe and are saved. This is borne out by other very unambiguous sections of Scripture, including those from the Gospel of John cited above.
Acts 2:37-38 Tells us that on Pentecost when the crowd in Jerusalem heard what Peter had said they were deeply affected and asked "Peter and the rest of the apostles" what they should do. Peter's reply? ... "Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit". Peter put repentance and baptism ahead of receiving the Holy Spirit. If it takes God's Spirit to move a person (if he is one of the elect) to be able to repent, then Peter was a deceptive liar.
Acts 16:30-31 The order of salvation is also made clear in the case of the Philippian jailer who got Paul and Silas out of jail and asked them what he had to do to be saved. Their reply was almost identical to Peter's on the day of Pentecost (above)... "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house”.
We have to wonder why Paul did not tell the jailer that he could not do anything to be saved, and that only if God had pre-selected him would he be granted the grace to repent and have faith. Telling the man to believe in Jesus was patently absurd because, according to Calvinism, he could not believe until after God's grace had regenerated him... which makes me wonder how, as an unregenerate sinner, the jailer could even ask how to be saved. Was he by any chance.. "seeking God and salvation', something that Calvinism says a man can not do?
Paul obviously believed that an unsaved sinner was capable of believing, and that by believing he would be born again. But then again.. what did Paul know? He had never been enlightened by reading Calvin's Institutes and the only person who's lead he had to follow was Jesus who said, in John 5:25, that the dead (NOT the elect, NOT the regenerate, but the dead) will hear His voice and live.
Acts 8:36-37 When the eunuch asked Philip why he could not be baptized, why did Philip tell him that he could be baptized.. all he had to do was believe 'with all his heart'. The eunuch said he believed that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and was then baptized by Philip. Certainly the Lord had no problem with this since the very next verse tells us that "when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip; and the eunuch saw him no more, for he went on his way rejoicing". [Acts 8:39]
And as they went on the way, they came unto a certain water; and the eunuch saith, Behold, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
Romans 5:1-2: Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; through whom also we have had our access by faith into this grace wherein we stand; and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Romans 10:9-17 In this, the tenth chapter of Romans, Paul says his "heart’s desire" is that all Israel may be saved (V.1), but the Jews have zealously attempted to establish their own righteousness, not subjecting themselves to God's true righteousness in Christ (Vs.3-4). Paul then contrasts righteousness based on the Law with the righteousness which is by faith, and goes on to say [Emphasis Added]
because if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved: for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. [Vs. 9-10]
If Calvinism is true then Paul was as confused as God, since God's unconditional election is conspicuous by its absence in the above verses. In fact Paul's use of the word IF, clearly indicates that salvation is dependent on a person believing and confessing that Jesus is Lord. Paul, as Adam Clarke put it, lays the whole doctrine down "in a beautifully graduated order" and repeating the sequence of verses 9 and 10.
for, Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach, except they be sent? even as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that bring glad tidings of good things! But they did not all hearken to the glad tidings. For Isaiah saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So belief cometh of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. [Vs. 13-17]
In other words... There can be no salvation without the Gospel which must be preached. None can preach unless they have a Divine mission to do so. This divinely commissioned person must be heard and believed, resulting in them calling upon God through Christ. They who do not believe the Gospel cannot be saved... "belief cometh of hearing".
Besides which verse 13 says "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved".
Something is very wrong here if, as Calvinism states, totally depraved sinners can only call on the Lord if they are sovereignly elected and given enough of His grace to do so.
Romans 1:28: And even as they refused to have God in their knowledge, God gave them up unto a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not fitting;
The sequence is clear... men chose to reject God then God gave them up to their own evil minds. It is not the reverse as Calvinism teaches.
Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us that we are saved through faith. Faith precedes and results in salvation.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Ephesians 1:13 is clear that the sinner receives the Holy Spirit after believing. Note the order.. [All Emphasis Added]
“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.”
And then there is
2 Thessalonians 2:8-12 "And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness".
Men are not damned because they are sovereignly elected to do so, but because they do not believe the truth.
Paul's Inexplicable Tactics
But there is another noteworthy point, that has to do with the man who wrote some two thirds of the New Testament and therefore has to be presumed to have known something about God's plan of salvation.
Paul apparently had an arsenal of tactics that he used in his effort to get the Jews (and others) to accept the Gospel.. using every means at their disposal to convince people that the Gospel is true. Apparently he did not know that the elect were already sovereignly predetermined for salvation and didn't really need any help from him, since nothing he could say or do would change their fate one iota. For example he often
attempted to persuade his audience to believe in the Gospel, often spending days reasoning with them from the Scriptures.
He beseeched people to be reconciled to God
When beseeching fell on deaf ears, Paul attempted to provoke the Jews to jealousy with the suggestion that they would be cast off and the Gentiles accepted.
He even prayed that the Jews would be saved.
And, through it all, he was extremely careful not to put any deterrent in the paths of both unregenerate and new Christians
Paul so often attempted to "persuade" his audience to believe in the Gospel The Greek word pi'-tho, which is used in at least two cases shown below means to convince (by argument, true or false), It is true that pi'-tho can also mean to believe or have confidence or faith. However used, as it is, in the context of groups of Jews being reasoned with for periods of time, it implies that they could be 'convinced' by the arguments put forward which were shown to be Scriptural. [All Emphasis Added]
and Paul, as his custom was, went in unto them, and for three Sabbath days reasoned with them from the Scriptures, opening and alleging that it behooved the Christ to suffer, and to rise again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom, said he, I proclaim unto you, is the Christ. And some of them were persuaded (Greek pi'-tho), and consorted with Paul and Silas, and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few. [Acts 17:2-4]
And when they had appointed him a day, they came to him into his lodging in great number; to whom he expounded the matter, testifying the kingdom of God, and persuading them concerning Jesus, both from the law of Moses and from the prophets, from morning till evening. And some believed (Greek pi'-tho) the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved (Greek apisteo). [Acts 28:23-24]
Knowing therefore the fear of the Lord, we persuade (Greek pi'-tho) men, but we are made manifest unto God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences. [2 Corinthians 5:11]
But here is what Mr: Piper says about it...
NOTE: It should be obvious from this that irresistible grace never implies that God forces us to believe against our will. That would even be a contradiction in terms. On the contrary, irresistible grace is compatible with preaching and witnessing that tries to persuade people to do what is reasonable and what will accord with their best interests. 
Calvinism renders "persuasive preaching" redundant, since what it boils down to is the elect don't need "persuading" and the non-elect can't be "persuaded".
Besides which ANY attempt to "persuade" an unbeliever to repent and come to faith in Christ obviously conveys the impression that he can choose to do so which, if Calvinism is true, is totally misleading since the person concerned may or may not be one of those "elected" to salvation.
Preaching or Proclaiming the Gospel
There is little question of the importance placed on preaching in the Bible. Paul says it is the power of God unto salvation [Romans 1:15-16] and preaching the gospel is the essential means by which God's message is communicated to people who, if they are to be saved, must believe this message and repent [Romans 10:14]. All Emphasis Added]
And the Spirit bade me go with them, making no distinction. And these six brethren also accompanied me; and we entered into the man's house: and he told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house, and saying, Send to Joppa, and fetch Simon, whose surname is Peter; who shall speak unto thee words, whereby thou shalt be saved, thou and all thy house. And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them, even as on us at the beginning. [Acts 11:12-15]
So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you also that are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. [Romans 1:15-16]
for, Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach, except they be sent? even as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that bring glad tidings of good things! But they did not all hearken to the glad tidings. For Isaiah saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So belief cometh of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. [Romans 10:13-17]
However these examples show that people's salvation is dependent on preachers preaching, which means that man has a part to play in God's plan of salvation. If they do not, there would be no need for preaching. Actually one Calvinistic site says takes it a step further, saying [Emphasis Added]
From our perspective there is a 50/50 chance the person we encounter may be elect, but a 100% chance that without Christ they will die in their sin. There is a 100% guarantee that if nobody shares the Gospel with them, they will not be saved (Romans 10:17). 
Now why was I under the impression that, according to Calvinism, God's elect are guaranteed to be saved, which I thought was whole point of "Unconditional Election". But what is being said here is that even a person elected to salvation is guaranteed not to be saved if he does not hear the Gospel.
Can we at least have a little consistency?
But Paul even went a step further than mere persuasion. He even beseeched people to be reconciled to God...
We are ambassadors therefore on behalf of Christ, as though God were entreating by us: we beseech (Greek parakaleő) you on behalf of Christ, be ye reconciled to God. [2 Corinthians 5:20]
...As Peter did on the day of Pentecost
And with many other words he testified, and exhorted (Greek parakaleő) them, saying, Save yourselves from this crooked generation [Acts 2:40]
The problem is, if Calvinism is true, then both these pillars of the Apostolic church, in trying to persuade people to be reconciled to God, was severely misleading them. The words of both Peter and Paul clearly conveyed the idea that their listeners could choose to repent but, according to Calvinism, the reality was that many of them were not able to do so.
Note: Beseech certainly means to plead or appeal to. This word has been used over 100 times in the NT. For a sense of the word
And when he was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, and saying, Lord, my servant lieth in the house sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. [Matthew 8:5-6]
And the demons besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, send us away into the herd of swine. [Matthew 8:31]
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. [Romans 12:1]
Also See Matthew 26:53, Luke 15:28, Acts 9:38, Romans 12:1, 15:30, 16:17, 1Corinthians 1:10, 4:16, Philippians 4:2, 1 Thessalonians 2:11, 4:1, 5:11, 1 Timothy 1:3, 2:1, 6:2, Titus 1:9, 2:6, Philemon 1:10, Hebrews 3:13, 10:25, 1 Peter 2:11, 5:1, 5:12, Jude 1:3. etc.
And if reasoning from the Scriptures and beseeching fell on deaf ears, Paul had one more weapon up his sleeve.. He tried...
Provoking The Jews To Jealousy
He wrote, [All Emphasis Added]
if by any means I may provoke (parazelođ) to jealousy them that are my flesh, and may save some of them. For if the casting away of them is the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? [Romans 11:14-15] .
Paul uses the same term parazelođ in three places (Romans 10:19, 11:11 and 11:14). It means to excite to rivalry or provoke to emulation or jealousy and is a quote from Deuteronomy 32:21 in which Moses predicted that the calling of the Gentiles would excite the attention of the Jews, and provoke them to deep feelings since nothing would be more likely to irritate and offend the Jews than the suggestion that they would be cast off and the Gentiles accepted. God had not completely rejected the Jews and Paul was hoping that he would somehow arouse his own people to envy, which might motivate at least some to receive the gift of salvation.
Again, this stands in direct contradiction to Calvinistic theology. If some Jews were predestined to be saved and others to be damned, Paul strategy of trying to make Jews jealous were a complete waste of time. Perhaps he just didn't know that either they were saved, or they weren't saved... and that no amount of stirred up feelings would make any difference to what had already been decided according to God's "good pleasure"?
Praying for the Lost
The tenth chapter of Romans begins with the words
Brethren, my heart's desire and my supplication to God is for them, that they may be saved.
Why would Paul pray that his fellow Jews may be saved, if every individual's salvation or damnation has already been pre-determined. If Calvinism is true then any prayer, including Paul's, for the unsaved accomplishes nothing.
Yet, through it all, Paul was careful not to put any deterrent in the paths of both unregenerate and new Christians...
Taking Care Not To Offend People
Paul also wrote
For though I was free from all men, I brought myself under bondage to all, that I might gain the more. [1 Corinthians 9: 19]
“To the weak I became weak, that I might gain the weak: I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some”? [1 Corinthians 9:22]
Give no occasions of stumbling, either to Jews, or to Greeks, or to the church of God: even as I also please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of the many, that they may be saved. [1Corinthians 10:32-33]
If Calvinism is true then something is very wrong here. Didn't Paul know that he could not save anyone? Albert Barnes said this in regard to verse 9:22
If truth offends people, we cannot help it. But in matters of ceremony, and dress, and habits, and customs, and forms, we should be willing to conform to them, as far as can be done, and for the sole purpose of saving their souls... Paul become all things; he accommodated himself to them in all things, so far as can be done with a good conscience. "That he might by all means" ...use every possible endeavor that some at least might be saved.
Which pretty much is in compliance with a simple reading of the verse. Paul's main objective detailed in 1 Corinthians 10 was putting another's welfare ahead of one's own [V.24], since all things are lawful; but not all things edify [V.23]. It was not profitable to needlessly excite someone prejudices or put a stumbling block in their path that could cause them not to be saved.
Their Blood Was On Their Own Heads
Apparently Paul was even further off base since, when the Jews opposed and spoke irreverently about the Gospel message, he was very clear that they were the cause of their own destruction. [Emphasis Added]
And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded Jews and Greeks. But when Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul was constrained by the word, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. And when they opposed themselves and blasphemed, he shook out his raiment and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles. [Acts 18:4-6]
And how is it possible that the Jews who "both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets" hindered the apostles from "speaking to the Gentiles that they may be saved" [1Thessalonians 2:15-16]. Did the Jews have more power than God and could stop some people from being saved [See Hypocrisy Unlimited ]. However, for this act of impeding the spread of the Gospel, the verse goes on to tell us that they incurred divine displeasure or the "wrath of God" (for which punishment is inevitable).
Last, but certainly not least there is...
Revelation 20:11-15, which says [Emphasis Added]
(11) And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat upon it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. (12) And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne; and books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works. (13) And the sea gave up the dead that were in it; and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. (14) And death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death, even the lake of fire. (15) And if any was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire
Note very carefully that verse 12 clearly states that the dead will be judged out of what is written in the book, which is "according to their works". This is repeated in verse 13. If a person is not found written in the book of life, he will be cast into the lake of fire.
But Calvinism states that God has already chosen those who will be saved, which means that the rest of humanity is, in effect, already condemned to the lake of fire.
And what are we to make of the "according to their works" bit?
Acts Against (Unconditional) Election
The book of Acts is the story of the founding and establishing of the fledgling church and it's subsequent spread to the known world. Surely it would be in this book that one would see solid evidence of Divine Election which, according to Calvinism, would have dictated who would become part of the budding church and who would not. Yet verse after verse demonstrates exactly the opposite.
Acts 2:37-38 Tells us that on Pentecost when the crowd in Jerusalem heard what Peter had said they were deeply affected and asked "Peter and the rest of the apostles" what they should do. Peter's reply? ... "Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit". Peter put repentance and baptism ahead of receiving the Holy Spirit. If it takes God's Spirit to move a person (if he is one of the elect) to be able to repent, then Peter was a deceptive liar or a complete idiot.
Acts 2:40 continuing Peter's words on the day of Pentecost, has him pleading with the people to Save themselves from this crooked generation. [Acts 2:40]
Acts 3: 14-23: After the healing of the man in the temple narrated in Acts 3, Peter spoke to the people at Solomon's porch. Part of what he said was that the people had had Jesus killed in ignorance, not because this is what God had ordained them to do... now they should turn so that their sins could be blotted out. He then adds that all those that did not listen to Jesus would be "utterly destroyed".
But ye denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted unto you [V.14] ... And now, brethren, I know that in ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers [V.17].... Repent ye therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that so there may come seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord [V.19]... And it shall be, that every soul that shall not hearken to that prophet, shall be utterly destroyed from among the people [V.23]
Acts 8:20-22: When the Samarian sorcerer Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered the apostles money, to give him the same power.. Peter's response?
But Peter said unto him, Thy silver perish with thee, because thou hast thought to obtain the gift of God with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right before God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray the Lord, if perhaps the thought of thy heart shall be forgiven thee.
Acts 8:36-37 When, after hearing about Jesus, the eunuch asked Philip what hindered him from being baptized, one has to wonder why Philip did not tells him that baptism in itself was a waste of time if he was not one of the elect. Instead Philip told him that he may be baptized if he believed that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. Calvinism would have us believe that Philip completely misled the eunuch into thinking that he was very definitely saved.
And as they went on the way, they came unto a certain water; and the eunuch saith, Behold, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
Acts 9:34-35: When Peter healed Aeneas, who had been bedridden for eight years, the Bible is specific that all that dwelt at Lydda and in Sharon turned to the Lord because they witnessed the healing.
And Peter said unto him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ healeth thee: arise and make thy bed. And straightway he arose. And all that dwelt at Lydda and in Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord.
Acts 9:40-42: Again it was the news of Peter's healing of Tabitha that was spread through Joppa and caused many to believe.
But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down and prayed; and turning to the body, he said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes; and when she saw Peter, she sat up. And he gave her his hand, and raised her up; and calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. And it became known throughout all Joppa: and many believed on the Lord.
Acts 10:34-35,43: When Peter was sent to the house of Cornelius, the Roman centurion, and was told how an angel had told Cornelius to send for Peter, his words were very telling.
And Peter opened his mouth and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is acceptable to him... To him bear all the prophets witness, that through his name every one that believeth on him shall receive remission of sins.
Acts 11:20-21: is self explanatory
But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Greeks also, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number that believed turned unto the Lord.
Acts 13:38-39: says not a word about God's supposed preordination, but stresses that people are justified by faith as opposed to the law which could not justify anyone.
Be it known unto you therefore, brethren, that through this man is proclaimed unto you remission of sins: and by him every one that believeth is justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.
Acts 14:1-2 Once again have a situation where one person (or one group of people) seems capable of interfering with the salvation of another.. Something that would not be possible if salvation was unconditionally and irresistibly granted.
And it came to pass in Iconium that they entered together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake that a great multitude both of Jews and of Greeks believed. But the Jews that were disobedient stirred up the souls of the Gentiles, and made them evil affected against the brethren.
Acts 17:2-4: The Greek word pi'-tho used in the quote below means to convince (by argument, true or false), It is true that pi'-tho can also mean to believe, have confidence or faith. However used as it is in the context of the Jews being reasoned with for three days, it seems far more likely to imply that they were convinced by the arguments put forward which were shown to be Scriptural.
and Paul, as his custom was, went in unto them, and for three sabbath days reasoned with them from the Scriptures, opening and alleging that it behooved the Christ to suffer, and to rise again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom, said he, I proclaim unto you, is the Christ. And some of them were persuaded (Greek pi'-tho), and consorted with Paul and Silas, and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.
Acts 17:11-12: Again no hint of Sovereign election. Instead we are told that the Bereans searched the Scriptures to see if what they were being told was the truth, and apparently having satisfied themselves that this was true...they believed.
Now these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of the mind, examining the Scriptures daily, whether these things were so. Many of them therefore believed; also of the Greek women of honorable estate, and of men, not a few.
Acts 17:30: The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked; but now he commandeth men that they should all everywhere repent
If God gives a command and threatens to punish those who do not comply, it certainly does imply the ability to obey. Paul obviously did not believe that people were so depraved that they could not repent, unless he was a deceiver. Moreover, if it were impossible for spiritually dead people to repent, God would be unrighteous to expect all of them to do what they are incapable of doing and then hold them guilty for not doing it.
Acts 18:5-6: says that when Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul was testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. but [Emphasis Added]
And when they opposed themselves and blasphemed, he shook out his raiment and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.
Acts 22:18: Paul recounted that God has once warned him to leave Jerusalem because the people were hostile to Paul and would not listen to him. Although it is well understood that the Jews would hate Paul who persecuted them, why did God say they would not receive his testimony
Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem; because they will not receive of thee testimony concerning me.
Acts 26:17-20: In recounting the story of his conversion to king Agrippa, Paul tells the king of the mission that God gave him. God was going to send him to the Gentiles ...
that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive remission of sins and an inheritance among them that are sanctified by faith in me. Wherefore, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: but declared both to them of Damascus first and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the country of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, doing works worthy of repentance.
Acts 28:23-24: Once more the Greek word for convinced is used. See Acts 17:2-4 above.
And when they had appointed him a day, they came to him into his lodging in great number; to whom he expounded the matter, testifying the kingdom of God, and persuading them concerning Jesus, both from the law of Moses and from the prophets, from morning till evening. And some believed (Greek pi'-tho) the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved (Greek apisteo)
Part IV ... Limited Atonement
Footnote I: The two instances in the New Testament where the word predestinate [Greek proorizo] does not refer to salvation, occur in
1) Acts 4:28 (to do whatsoever thy hand and thy council foreordained to come to pass) explains that after Peter and John had been threatened by the chief priests and the elders and commanded not to preach again in Jesus' name they, with the rest of their brethren, looked to God for direction.
2) 1Corinthians 2:7 (but we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, even the wisdom that hath been hidden, which God foreordained before the worlds unto our glory) simply says that God's plan was eternal.
Footnote II The word gentile comes from the Latin word gentďlis (pagan, foreign) formed from gëns (clan, tribe etc.) + the suffix -ilis, (added to a noun to form an adjective).
In the New testament, the Latin gentilis (English gentile) was used to translate ethnos, which referred specifically to a foreign or non-Jewish race. By implication it often meant a pagan nation. Note Romans 3:29 "Or is God the God of Jews only? is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yea, of Gentiles also". (In modern English we take nation to mean a country with geo-political boundaries under one government but, in Biblical days, it referred to an ethnic groups).
BTW. The word translated Barbarian is the Greek barbaros, used five time in the New Testament (See Romans 1:14, and Acts 28:1-2) and was used by the Greeks of any foreigner ignorant of the Greek language, or whose speech was rough and/or harsh.
 John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, translated by Henry Beveridge (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans), reprinted 1983, vol. III, Chapter 23. Pg. 2226.
 John Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion. Translated by Henry Beveridge, Chapter 23. Refutation Of The Calumnies By Which This Doctrine Is Always Unjustly Assailed. Page 2230
 John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, translated by Henry Beveridge (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans), reprinted 1983, vol. III, Chapter.21 Of The Eternal Election, By Which God Has Predestinated Some To Salvation, And Others To Destruction., Page 2211-2212.
 John Calvin. Commentary on John - Volume 1. John 5:37-40
 John Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion. Translated by Henry Beveridge, Chapter 23. Refutation Of The Calumnies By Which This Doctrine Is Always Unjustly Assailed.
 Arthur Pink. Sovereignty of God. Chapter 4 - The Sovereignty of God in Salvation.