Friday, March 23, 2012

A Theological Perspective: UUP

I was raised up in the Wesleyan/Arminian Holiness tradition. I have to admit that I ended up appreciating that I wasn't a Calvinist, but I really didn't understand what any of it meant—even my own tradition.

Nevertheless, over the years I've leaned more toward the Wesleyan/Arminian tradition than the Calvinist tradition. I like to say, however, that when I arrived at Fuller seminary as a student, I had no Calvinist bones whatsoever. After I completed my degree, studying under some brilliant and devout Reformed scholars, I discovered that I at least had developed some Calvinist cartilage. I'm comfortable with that.

I've come to understand those apparently disparate views as valiant attempts to put in systematic language the mystery of what God has done in and through the person of Jesus Christ (you can find a helpful and simple comparative chart of the two views here). And while I tend to hold loosely to any systematized framework for theology, I've gone and created one of my own, which I currently like. Here it is, utilizing the acronym UUP (hopefully pronounced "UP" rather than "OOP," although either could be appropriate depending on one's response):

Universal love of the Father. There is plenty of scriptural precedent for God's love for the entire world.

Unlimited atonement. What God has done in and through the conception, birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus has been done for the sake of all of humanity.

Particular response to the work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit calls, but not all will respond. Some will even reject.

That's where I am these days. I think I'll continue getting in over my head by addressing election, heaven, and hell in my subsequent posts.

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