Matthew 22:2-10 (see also Luke 14:23; Romans 11:15-22)
The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come. Again he sent out other slaves saying, “Tell those who have been invited, ‘Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast.’” But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business, and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them. But the king was enraged, and he sent his armies and destroyed those murderers and set their city on fire. Then he said to his slaves, “The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.” Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests.
Steven Hitchcock explains: “Would a Calvinist portray the king in this way, which is to portray the Father inviting people to the wedding feast and being rejected? Where is the Effectual Call? The sovereignty of the king is being undermined for those whom he has invited have refused to come! A Calvinist would say that this is an impossibility, that Jesus should portray the Father in this manner. But Jesus does portray the Father as One who genuinely calls sinners that nevertheless reject Him. The heart of the parable is the strangest thing to a Calvinist.” (Recanting Calvinism, p.270, emphasis mine)
One member of The Society of Evangelical Arminians explains: “The invitation is for all to be present (this is clearly a statement that the person putting on the feast desires for all people to be there; the “feast” is a biblical symbol of the eternal state, the great and eternal celebration of God and His people). The parable does not discuss the sufficiency/efficiency distinction made by Calvinists, but does in fact discuss the desire for all to be present, versus the Calvinist position that the desire is only for the preselected elect to come, which is not only absent from the text but is also contradicted by the language of the parable.” (SEA)
John Calvin comments: “But if he did not spare the natural branches, the same vengeance awaits us today if we do not respond to His call. But the supper prepared for us will not be lost; God will summon other guests.” (Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries, Matthew, Mark and Luke, Vol.II, James and Jude, pp.108-109, emphasis mine)
“His call” for what? An atonement that was never provided? How can you say, “come to Christ,” if there is no Christ to come to, since He never died for them? That’s why the atonement has to be a provision for all. In contrast, an offering compatible with Calvinism would instead have to be generic, such as: If you are one of the elect, you have a Supper available to you. You wouldn’t be able to say that Jesus died for their sins. You would instead have to say that Jesus died for sin, not necessarily yours, unless you are one of the elect.
John Goodwin comments: “In these passages, this great supposed enemy to the universality of redemption by Christ, clearly supposeth, or affirmeth rather, the same to be a truth. He expressly affirmeth that God provided a table of entertainment for those who rejected it and never came unto it, and supposeth that the ‘supper provided’ by God ‘for us,’ may, through our neglect of our invitation hereunto, be withheld from us, and that others may be admitted unto it in our stead. If the death of Christ, and salvation by him, were provided and prepared by God as well for those who reject them as for those who embrace them, doubtless they were intended for all men without exception.” (Redemption Redeemed, p.131, emphasis mine)
Indeed, the scope of the feast is greater than the scope of those who respond.
Goodwin adds: “...the marriage feast in the parable was provided by the king, and the oxen and fatlings, here spoken of, killed not only for those who upon their invitation were persuaded to come and partake of them, but as well, and with equal, if not with more especial intentions on the king’s part, for those also who never came to taste of them. Consequently, the death of Christ, signified by the oxen and fatlings slain, and the blessedness accruing unto the children of men hereby, signified by the feast itself, were equally meant and intended by God for those who perish and for those who are saved, and consequently for all men, without exception of any.” (Redemption Redeemed, p.130, emphasis mine)
One Calvinist describes his view of Arminianism: “It’s like Christ crossing His fingers on the cross and saying ‘Gee I really hope they choose me! I really hope this works!’”
I see the Calvinist remark as poking fun of the God described by Jesus in the “Parable of the Wedding Feast.” After all, if God does carry about His dominion in such a manner as the Wedding Feast invitation, and if God sees value in providentially governing in such a manner as condescending to man with an offer of the Gospel, then I can’t see how making fun of it would be a good idea.