The tulip

Posted: October 15, 2007 by Daniel in Christianity, evangelism, religions and beliefs, theology
Tags: , , ,

 

The Five Points of Calvinism are easily remembered by the acrostic TULIP

 

T

Total Depravity (Total Inability)

Total Depravity is probably the most misunderstood tenet of Calvinism. When Calvinists speak of humans as “totally depraved,” they are making an extensive, rather than an intensive statement. The effect of the fall upon man is that sin has extended to every part of his personality — his thinking, his emotions, and his will. Not necessarily that he is intensely sinful, but that sin has extended to his entire being.

The unregenerate (unsaved) man is dead in his sins (Romans 5:12). Without the power of the Holy Spirit, the natural man is blind and deaf to the message of the gospel (Mark 4:11f). This is why Total Depravity has also been called “Total Inability.” The man without a knowledge of God will never come to this knowledge without God’s making him alive through Christ (Ephesians 2:1-5).

U

 

Unconditional Election

Unconditional Election is the doctrine which states that God chose those whom he was pleased to bring to a knowledge of himself, not based upon any merit shown by the object of his grace and not based upon his looking forward to discover who would “accept” the offer of the gospel. God has elected, based solely upon the counsel of his own will, some for glory and others for damnation (Romans 9:15,21). He has done this act before the foundations of the world (Ephesians 1:4-8).

This doctrine does not rule out, however, man’s responsibility to believe in the redeeming work of God the Son (John 3:16-18). Scripture presents a tension between God’s sovereignty in salvation, and man’s responsibility to believe which it does not try to resolve. Both are true — to deny man’s responsibility is to affirm an unbiblical hyper-Calvinism; to deny God’s sovereignty is to affirm an unbiblical Arminianism.

The elect are saved unto good works (Ephesians 2:10). Thus, though good works will never bridge the gulf between man and God that was formed in the Fall, good works are a result of God’s saving grace. This is what Peter means when he admonishes the Christian reader to make his “calling” and “election” sure (2 Peter 1:10). Bearing the fruit of good works is an indication that God has sown seeds of grace in fertile soil.

L

Limited Atonement (Particular Redemption)

Limited Atonement is a doctrine offered in answer to the question, “for whose sins did Christ atone?” The Bible teaches that Christ died for those whom God gave him to save (John 17:9). Christ died, indeed, for many people, but not all (Matthew 26:28). Specifically, Christ died for the invisible Church — the sum total of all those who would ever rightly bear the name “Christian” (Ephesians 5:25).

This doctrine often finds many objections, mostly from those who think that Limited Atonement does damage to evangelism. We have already seen that Christ will not lose any that the father has given to him (John 6:37). Christ’s death was not a death of potential atonement for all people. Believing that Jesus’ death was a potential, symbolic atonement for anyone who might possibly, in the future, accept him trivializes Christ’s act of atonement. Christ died to atone for specific sins of specific sinners. Christ died to make holy the church. He did not atone for all men, because obviously all men are not saved. Evangelism is actually lifted up in this doctrine, for the evangelist may tell his congregation that Christ died for sinners, and that he will not lose any of those for whom he died!

I

Irresistible Grace

The result of God’s Irresistible Grace is the certain response by the elect to the inward call of the Holy Spirit, when the outward call is given by the evangelist or minister of the Word of God. Christ, himself, teaches that all whom God has elected will come to a knowledge of him (John 6:37). Men come to Christ in salvation when the Father calls them (John 6:44), and the very Spirit of God leads God’s beloved to repentance (Romans 8:14). What a comfort it is to know that the gospel of Christ will penetrate our hard, sinful hearts and wondrously save us through the gracious inward call of the Holy Spirit (I Peter 5:10)!

P

Perseverance of the Saints

Perseverance of the Saints is a doctrine which states that the saints (those whom God has saved) will remain in God’s hand until they are glorified and brought to abide with him in heaven. Romans 8:28-39 makes it clear that when a person truly has been regenerated by God, he will remain in God’s stead. The work of sanctification which God has brought about in his elect will continue until it reaches its fulfilment in eternal life (Phil. 1:6). Christ assures the elect that he will not lose them and that they will be glorified at the “last day” (John 6:39). The Calvinist stands upon the Word of God and trusts in Christ’s promise that he will perfectly fulfil the will of the Father in saving all the elect.
This description of the Five Points of Calvinism was written by Jonathan Barlow who acknowledges that not all those bearing the name “Calvinist” would agree with every jot and tittle of this document.

Extract from CRTA

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Comments
  1. kip says:

    Arminianism is stupid enough, but no one in their right mind would buy Calvinism.

  2. Kip,

    No one in their ‘natural’ mind would ‘buy’ the gospel so I don’t know what you are worried about.

    All I can do is share scripture, not to slam you, but to inform you that:

    1Co 1:18 …the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
    1Co 1:19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
    1Co 1:20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
    1Co 1:21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.
    1Co 1:22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom,
    1Co 1:23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,
    1Co 1:24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
    1Co 1:25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
    1Co 1:26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.
    1Co 1:27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;

    So salvation is the work of God alone. This ‘shaming’ may not always occur in this life, but it will most likely feature when we all stand before the judgement seat of Christ. (Matt 25 v 31-46)

    Dan.

  3. Morse says:

    “No one in their ‘natural’ mind would ‘buy’ the gospel”

    I don’t mean to be rude, but is this supposed to be a reason to believe it?

  4. Thanks Morse,

    There is significant evidence to believe in God but we refuse to submit to God because we are rebels. That is not my opinion, Romans Chapter 1 is quite clear on this point.

    When I said that which you quoted I was referring to the fact that:

    The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
    1Corinthians 2:14

    It is only by being born again that we can believe in the Gospel. This is what the bible clearly teaches us. It is, of course, possible to learn lots of stuff about Christianity and to attended Church services and even participate in evangelism or preaching. A person who has not been born of the Spirit of God can do all these things.

    We come back to the fact that salvation is a gift from God.

  5. Morse says:

    That sounds strangely like “to believe, you must believe”, which has always struck me as a very silly argument.

    Though I do agree 1Corinthians. Of course, I don’t think there’s anything other than natural people, so it means something different to me.

  6. Morse – the “T” in this post deals with this point. I think the point is that to believe, you must be given a gift from God. From our point of view, we just respond in faith, but as we grow in knowledge of the bible we see that it was God who gave us grace in the very beginning and his grace sustains us to the very end.

    You are right in thinking that we are called to believe. That call goes out to all the world: “Repent and Believe the good news”. It is God’s grace that sinners are able to believe.

    I understand your position Morse. One of the key signs and encouragement to believers is when they find they are able to love God. I am aware you have had a sincere go at Catholicism. I hope another look @ the above mentioned ‘doctrine of grace’ will help you see how God works in the salvation of men.

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