What is it about 5 Point Calvinism that I find so off-putting; to the point that it has always, my whole life long, caused me consternation? Let me just say before I answer this, as a disclaimer, that we never should reduce Calvinism to the 5 points; but, as a quick way to get into classical Calvinist theology, as an acrostic the TULIP captures things quite well. So back to my question: I would say that if I were to pick one of the points that bothers me the most that it would be Limited Atonement. This is the idea, for those who don’t know, that Christ only died for those whom God unconditionally elect; i.e. for these particular individuals. This is problematic to me; not because I cannot grasp what it is intending to communicate, just the opposite. The problem I have with this, nested within the other surrounding points, is that it says something about God. To me what it says about God, very plainly, is that his whole creation, the crowning jewel of his creation does not ultimately matter to him. That his love can be delimited by something else greater than his love (maybe his justice, wrath, sovereignty, etc.). But this goes against who I know God to be, Self-revealed as he is in Jesus Christ; the exact representation of his ‘being’. It also says that he has at least two wills, not one; that he has a will for the reprobate, and a will for the elect. But the Bible is very clear that God has one will, a will defined by who he is as One God/Three persons; a will defined and conditioned by his love.
These, among some other issues, represent some of the problems I have with the concept of Limited Atonement. Evangelical Calvinists have our own rendition of Limited Atonement, but it is focused soley on the vicarious humanity of Jesus Christ which is for all of humanity, not just a limited amount. After all, God desires all humanity to be saved, and that none would perish.
Ultimately my problem with the classical Calvinist ‘limited atonement’ idea is that it does not coalesce well with who God has revealed himself to be in Jesus Christ; a God with us and for us precisely as that is grounded in the humanity of Jesus Christ. There are obviously some deeper methodological issues at play in all of this (on both “sides”), but I thought I would, off the top, just voice some reasons why I see limited atonement as something that is problematic and unbelievable.