The heart of the problem with Arminian and Calvinist efforts to codify the gospel is that they do not include gospel foolishness and they depend upon a mistranslation of the word "aion." These models assume that the Bible is written to educate teachable people. These models adopt a purely informational and educational strategy for winning converts that appeals only to the natural mind. Furthermore, these models assume that the gospel can be simply codified. I have written about the challenges of gospel codification in my article, Revelation 20:11-15, A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. Grace.
Some Christian traditions even refuse to adopt systematic theologies. They feel that the Scripture has already codified the truth in the most perfect way. But our weak human models of the gospel attempt to interpret the words of the Bible as if the Holy Spirit only ever throws straight fast balls. Yet, we have seen that God is also willing to throw curve balls to the unbeliever's foolish swing of the bat. Just like the Wright brothers needed special tactics to confront unbelief, so we see that God himself is the author of special tactics. Solomon teaches us how in Proverbs 26:4-5. Hosea lived it with stubborn Israel and his family as recorded in Hosea 2:23. Jesus put it into practice in John 10:25-30. Paul employs it in Romans 9:1-29. Even the great prophet had to swallow a painful pill in Jeremiah 20:7a (NASB),
O Lord, You have deceived me and I was deceived.
Now we see that the Holy Spirit has used some very crafty strategies to pitch curve balls to the Left and Right wings of Christendom. He has deceived us and we were deceived. Three quadrants of our salvation matrix have stepped up to the plate for a big swing and a miss. Fortunately God's ultimate purpose is not to strike us out and leave us losers. His purpose is to heal us with his grace! However, like a good doctor he also needs to remove the cancer of our pride and hypocrisy for true healing. That is painful. In fact we would not or could not do it ourselves, hence the curve balls.
Specifically, our Salvation Evaluator matrix has exposed the hypocrisy of imagining that God chose us but not all men. We are also exposed for the religiosity of thinking that we chose the grace of God with our free will while others did not. Friends, only the will that has been freed by the grace of God trusts that Jesus has paid for the sins of all mankind. Apparently just as Jesus faced the Right and Left responses of the Jew and Gentile in his day, these mistakes still are with us today.
Of course if we are Christians we may still honestly wonder why he has not opened all mankind's eyes to faith. Why does most of humanity remain unbelieving? Why have only a few believers been called to faith? Three words come to mind: work, witness, and worship. Jesus has left us with work to do, succinctly explained in 2 Corinthians 5:20. Jesus also says we are to witness like him in I John 4:17. And Jesus has left us with a grand doxology of worship found in our key verse, Romans 11:32-36.
No doubt there are true believers within both Arminian and Calvinist camps who understand their codifications of the gospel ultimately fall short. There are also good followers of Christ who still have serious questions, even about the gospel. However, there are just as many or more who claim to follow Jesus yet their hope is not based upon the truth. They have not been to the foot of the cross. Instead they stand upon lies that exalt man and debase Christ. They are Christians in name only, not in heart. Thus gospel foolishness is still needed to reach the rebellious elect. We read in I Corinthians 1:18-31 (WEB),
18) For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are dying, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19) For it is written,
"I will destroy the wisdom of the wise. I will bring the discernment of the discerning to nothing." 20) Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the lawyer of this world? Hasn’t God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21) For seeing that in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom didn’t know God, it was God’s good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save those who believe. 22) For Jews ask for signs, Greeks seek after wisdom, 23) but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews, and foolishness to Greeks, 24) but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God; 25) because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26) For you see your calling, brothers, that not many are wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, and not many noble; 27) but God chose the foolish things of the world that he might put to shame those who are wise. God chose the weak things of the world that he might put to shame the things that are strong. 28) God chose the lowly things of the world, and the things that are despised, and the things that don’t exist, that he might bring to nothing the things that exist, 29) that no flesh should boast before God. 30) Because of him, you are in Christ Jesus, who was made to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption: 31) that, as it is written, "He who boasts, let him boast in the Lord."
Just like an insane person cannot be reasoned with, so an unbelieving person cannot be taught the good news without gospel foolishness.
The Arminian boasts in his free will choice of God while the Calvinist blindly claims that he alone is chosen. However, the only testimony that will stand is the cross of Jesus Christ, his blood shed for all mankind.