(and the same thing has popped up over here, too)
I am not going to pretend to have been a terribly profound advocate of the Catholic view; Mike Burgess is the real star, in my judgment. But there has been rather assiduous avoidance of something on the part of the Protestants involved: namely, Romans 10:2. St. Paul says of the Jews:
For I bear them witness that they have zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.I'm perfectly willing to grant that I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer. But this passage seems to me to be rather devastating for the claims of certain Protestants - the Reformed - that God's grace is "irresistible". Why? Because it's not possible for anyone to have zeal for God apart from grace. This should be non-controversial in the present conversation, since the Protestants involved all agree with Romans 3 that "no one seeks God." So - if anyone actually does so, they must be recipients of God's grace.
Now if the Jews are zealous for God, it seems inescapable that they have received grace from God in order to be so. And yet they are not believers in Christ or in the Trinity. And these facts tell me rather unambiguously that God does not force anyone to believe, and that he gives grace even to people who wind up not believing in him.
Now the Protestants in the referenced thread are just ignoring this. And I'm perfectly willing to believe that perhaps they are embarrassed for me - that they think only a fool would be proposing this, and that out of charity they don't wish to make me look like a fool. And if all that's true - and I concede that it is certainly possible - then I commend their charitable spirit.
Nevertheless, I am perfectly willing to be embarrassed. So please - go ahead and shellack me. Explain how this verse does not mean what it seems (to me) to mean. Explain how the grace given to the Jews such that they have zeal for God but do not believe in Christ is nevertheless "irresistible".
As it stands right now, it seems to me that Protestants are just ignoring the implications of this verse. I've checked Hendriksen and Murray, and neither of them comes close to even mentioning this issue, as far as I can tell. I've checked Calvin and Luther...ditto.
I am perfectly willing to admit, too, that you wouldn't want to build a whole house on one verse. And I don't think that one needs to do so in this case: I think that there are quite a few other passages in the NT that demonstrate God doesn't "irresistibly" force anyone to believe. But I also think that if you're going to say that God's grace is irresistible, you're going to have to explain how this passage doesn't invalidate the claim.
I'm still waiting.