To start off, I'd like to say that I'm a huge fan of the book, Debating Calvinism, between James White and Dave Hunt, primarily due to its format and liveliness, and in it, I came across an interesting exchange concerning Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead. So consider the following exchange, and I will pose my question:
James White: "Just as Christ had the power and authority to raise Lazarus to life without obtaining his 'permission' to do so, He is able to raise His elect to spiritual life with just as certain a result." (p.197) Turning to the conversion of Paul, White adds: "Paul could no more stop this divine resurrection than Lazarus could have stopped the Messiah from commanding Him to come forth." (p.206)
Dave Hunt: "He continues to mistakenly equate spiritual death with physical death and reasons that because Lazarus didn't give 'permission' to Jesus to raise him from the dead, sinners don't have to believe the gospel to be sovereignly regenerated. ... White must rely on this false and unbiblical comparison...." (p.210)
White does not respond specifically to Hunt's objection concerning Lazarus, but instead appeals to the example of Lydia, as per Acts 16:14. (p.218)
So my question is this: Why is the raising of Lazarus so universally invoked by major Calvinist authors as a means to illustrate spiritual regeneration? To respond with "well, prove that it's not indicative of spiritual regeneration," really isn't a strong answer, because it is the Calvinist who is making the positive affirmation. So shouldn't there be something in the text, in order to warrant such universal application? (Additionally, why is it that Lazarus is cited by Calvinists, instead of some other person that Jesus raised from the dead?)
To put it another way, Arminians nearly universally insist that Calvary is analogous to the Serpent on a Standard, as per Numbers 21:6-9, on the grounds that this was Jesus' own analogy. Now, while the issue of which elements of that event have a correlation to Calvary, may be debated, it cannot be disputed that this event does have an overall basis for asserting a comparison to Calvary. So the point is, then, whether citing the raising of Lazarus for spiritual regeneration, shares any similarity of strength for reference purposes.