Yep, I just dropped the C word.
No matter what theological system you follow—or if you take the “I just follow the Bible” route—you will undoubtedly be faced with certain tensions. Your theology will cause those that differ to say, “yeah, but…”
At the end of the day there is much in the Christian life that is mystery. There are many beliefs within Christian doctrine that must be held in tension. And no theological system is free from these tensions. Most people are Calvinist, Arminian, Calminian, whatever you want to call them not because they are idiots but because they are convinced from the Scriptures that their “system” is biblical.
As for me I strongly lean Calvinistic, but I’m not angry or militant about it. One reason that I lean Calvinistic is because the “yeah, but…” questions that I am faced with tend to be the same ones that the biblical writers had to address. Paul seems to me to be facing some of the same tensions that Calvinist face today.
One of the big “yeah, but…” questions that Calvinists have to face concerns the justice of God. Would it be just for God to choose someone and not another? Paul raises this tension in Romans 9:
“Is there injustice on God’s part”?
I wish he would have answered that one. He simply says “of course not”, and then proceeds to open another can of worms… “[God] has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.”
This second can of worms opens up another tension question that Calvinist often are faced with:
If God has mercy on whoever he wills, and hardens whoever he desires, then “why does he still find fault”? In other words how can God still say that somebody is guilty if He is the one that dispenses mercy and He is the one that hardens? Good question.
Again I wish that Paul would have answered it more fully. But he doesn’t he mostly rebukes the “person” for asking such a question. Oops, maybe I shouldn’t have said “good question” earlier. God is God and we are not.
I realize this doesn’t answer a million of the questions that you and I have about the relationship between human freedom and divine sovereignty. In fact even though I think I have a decent grasp on the relationship I probably do not. It’s probably way more complex (or perhaps more simple) than I even think.
But at the end of the day I lean Calvinistic because it causes some of the same headache questions that seem to be raised by the biblical authors themselves. Undoubtedly, my Arminian, Calminian, and my “I just believe the Bible” friends will have plenty of “yeah, but” questions. And that’s cool because I have them too.