Jimmy Swaggert gives a fine misrepresentation of Calvinism. This is on Youtube as a “wonderful sermon,” but it’s not wonderful in the sense that it doesn’t represent the truth of what Calvin said, nor what Calvin believed.
What we believe is that Jesus death is only effectual for the elect, or those who believe. Yes, the number of elect is determined by God before the foundations of the world, based upon the immutable counsel of HIS will. Yes, the offer of salvation goes to all. This is why Jesus hung on the cross, outside the city on one of the main roads leading in and out of Jerusalem. God ordained that Jesus was there before all.
BUT, only those elected by the Father and born again by the Holy Spirit will believe in Christ and be saved (John 3). If God doesn’t move in them, they stay right where they are by their own free will, which Christ declares to us when He says that men do not come to the light because they love the darkness. They love the darkness because their deeds are evil. Therefore it takes the Holy Spirit blowing where He pleases in order to change the hearts and minds of those who would much rather sit in the darkness with the evilness of their sins than be saved.
Calvinist do agree with Swaggert that the gospel is to go to all. We would also agree that it is the responsibility of everyone, even those who have not heard, to trust in Christ for salvation. Where we disagree is on ability. The lost, even those who are of the elect, do not have the ability to believe with saving faith on their own. This is why Jesus declares that we must be born again. The Spirit must move in a person before they will believe, giving that person a new heart to believe, new ears to hear and new eyes to see. Otherwise they are dead in trespasses and sins and the beauty of the gospel means nothing to them.
Thanks be to the God and Father of Our LORD Jesus Christ that He does not leave us alone and that the Holy Spirit does blow where He pleases. Otherwise none would be saved and all would be lost. But by God’s grace, some are saved.
As for “just a few” as Swaggert declares, please note that Calvinist believe there are so many elect that they are uncountable. This is a fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham, that his descendants in the faith would be so numerous, they would be like the sand upon the sea shore. Again, another misrepresentation of Calvinism by a card-carrying Arminian.
UPDATE: If Swaggert wants to go off on people who say just a few will make it into heaven, then he really needs to look to Jesus Himself. Matthew 7:13-14 Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because[a] narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. This is the problem that so man Arminians have… that Bible keeps getting in the way of all their humanistic arguments.