I have many friends (and respect their theological accumen) who are calvinist (some with bigger some with smaller Cs). For me two of the main foundations of my theology forbid me the comfort of that neat system:
- The experience of total depravity – which since my life includes living ten years in Congo (Kinshasa) as well as teaching in a refugee camp on the Thai Burma Border seems to me a mere fact of life, not a theory.
- My trust in the Sovereignty of God – for in the face of human depravity nothing less than irresistible grace is sufficient to make sense of this world.
But you see precisely because these two things seem to me foundational, the other planks that comprise of the calvinist theology seem to me suspect. Total depravity – obviously, irresistible grace – hopefully, but limited atonement – sorry I believe in the sovereignty of God, and if God is to be God, only God knows whether or not love wins by Universalism or in some other way, and as for the perseverance of the saints – I am sorry but as well as total depravity I also believe in human agency, people are guilty of the crimes they commit and unless somehow (through their choice to be united with Christ, however that works, and however it is expressed) someone chooses salvation, they are dead in their sin.
So, you see no TULIPs for me, but just the slender hope of a dandelion pushing its way up through the concrete pavements of the (all too) human world.