What is Calvinism and is it biblical? What are the five points of Calvinism?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
The five points of Calvinism can be summarized by the acronym TULIP. T stands for total depravity, U for unconditional election, L for limited atonement, I for irresistible grace, and P for perseve...

July 01 2013 5 responses Vote Up Share Report

Photo Anthony Clinton Teacher in China
For God so Loved the World that he predestined a select few and condemned the rest to hell. This is the doctrine of Calvinism. The second part of this scripture contradicts the first and nullifies it.Firstly one would have to erase all the "whosoever's" from the Scripture. The Bible that presents the hope to all has established this hope to anyone willing. So now one would have to know what level of depravity sin has held us to so we can know if the human will is able to respond to the Gospel. An unregenerate person, can they do anything pleasing to God, or can they seek God or can they show they are worthy of the gospel. The big list of sins mentioned in Roman's three, not everybody commits. Not everybody is swift to shed blood. Not everybody hates God. But the truth is we are stained with sin that's true and we are all condemned to hell for our sins and our parents sins, that's true, and we need God to initiate the act of Salvation. This was all provided for by God through Christ. This does not rob us of the sovereign right of a freedom of choice. 

Let's take the wonderful story of Cornelius in Acts 10. If any Jew were convinced of total depravity especially in regards to the Gentiles, the apostle Peter was. To him all Gentiles were unclean and unworthy of the Gospel. But God through the Gospel was going to purify them. Now before that purification, before Cornelius had been born again, he had this commentary from God, who through the angel bear record of his wonderful heart. 
Act 10:1.And a certain man named Cornelius was in Caesarea, a centurion of the Italian cohort, 
Act 10:2.one devout and fearing God, with all his household, both doing many merciful deeds to the people, and praying continually to God.
Act 10:3.About the ninth hour of the day he saw plainly in a vision an angel of God coming to him and saying to him, Cornelius! 
Act 10:4.And he was gazing at him, and becoming terrified, he said, What is it, lord? And he said to him, Your prayers and your merciful deeds have come up for a memorial before God. 
God had called his wonderful deeds and prayers as being worthy of a memorial to heaven. What do we mean by memorial? It means they were continually ascending up to heaven and being remembered remembered by God. 

Here is a man dead in sins, had never experienced salvation but clearly could not be classified as totally depraved. Later we will see that such persons that act in this manner are worthy of the gospel. He definitely did not fit that category of 'not seeking after God' on the contrary he was always seeking God and influenced his whole house to do so also. Some have tried to avoid the reality of his having such an honored reputation in the sight of God by saying he was a prostlite of the Jews. This could not have been the case because it was the first contact for those that were outside the commonwealth of Israel. It was the first connection of the Gentiles to the Church. It was the first key to the opening of the door for the Gentiles to enter the Church.

Two things to note! One is the fact that free will and the ability to use it to come to God and do good are obvious here but this does not give the person the ability to save himself from sin. They still needed to accept the gospel, which they readily did to be purified and able to enter into the new life. They had the ability to accept Christ through free will but when they did then they would need the spiritual resurrection to the new life that can only happen after their choice as we can see in John 1:10-13. This is what the Holy Spirit declares, which is totally contrary to the doctrine of Calvinism. 
Act 10:34.Then Peter opened his mouth and said, Truly I see that God is no respecter of persons; 
Act 10:35.but in every nation he who fears Him and works righteousness is accepted with Him. 
The doctrine of total depravity says "there is none that fear God" This scripture declares there are them that fear God.

February 21 2014 7 responses Vote Up Share Report

Closeup Jennifer Rothnie Supporter Housewife, Artist, Perpetually Curious
The five points of Calvinism are Total depravity (T), Unconditional Election (U), Limited Atonement (L), Irresistible Grace (I), and Perseverance of the Saints (P). The five points are often referred to by the Acronym "TULIP".

Total Depravity: Total Depravity is also known as Total Inability. It teaches that all men sin (Rom 3:10-23), that sin corrupts every aspect of our being, such as flesh, heart, mind, etc, (Mark 7:21-23), and that man cannot save himself (Psalm 60:10-12, Is 63:5-6). [On this part, all Christians agree.]

The teaching goes beyond this to claim that man is born sinful by nature and guilty of sin, and is so "spiritually dead" that he cannot even accept the offer of Christ’s salvation and receive Christ's deliverance from sin [contrary to scripture, which asks us to believe: Rom 10:9-13, John 3:14-21, Luke 11:5-13, Heb 11:13-16, Gal 3:24, Deut 30:11-14, etc.] 

As such, many Calvinists hold that spiritual regeneration must occur *before* one believes to allow the person to believe [contrary to scripture which states we receive the Holy Spirit after we believe, not before: Gal 3:2-3, Gal 3:10-14, Eph 1:11-14, II Cor 5:17, etc.] 

 Unconditional Election  Unconditional Election is also based in the misunderstandings that the 'Total Depravity' teaching brings in; since man, in His sin, cannot accept the free gift of Salvation, then God chose (elected) some to be regenerated or enlightened by the Holy Spirit so they can believe and be saved, whereas others he chooses not to regenerate or enlighten, so they still can't believe, and hence they stand condemned. 

However, scripture gives a different presentation of election: The nation of Israel was elect due to God’s own choice (Ezek 16:5-7). Israel entered the covenant with God to confirm this (Deut 29:9-15), but they still rebelled, and thought salvation was by works and not the promise. More importantly, in regards to salvation: God elected a people for Himself, the body of Christ, both Jew and Gentile. (I Pet 2:7-10, Rom 1:1-3, II Tim 2:1-13, etc). His calling this people is by His grace, not by any of our own works (I Pet 2:9-10, Eph 2:8-10, Rom 11:1-6). 

 Limited Atonement  This teaching holds that Christ's sacrifice was sufficient for all, but it wasn't efficacious for all; that Jesus only bore the sins of the elect; that Christ only died for some, not all.

However, scripture presents that Christ died for all, and God desires all men to be saved (I John 2:2, I Tim 2:4, John 12:32, John 4:4-42, John 10:9, John 3:16-17, Rev 22:17, Matt 11:28, Ti 2:11, etc) Jesus was a perfect sacrifice, offering complete propitiation to appeasing the wrath of God for all who believe (Rom 1:16-17). 

 Irresistible Grace  In short, this is the teaching that there is an 'internal call' to salvation by the Holy Spirit that cannot be resisted, as such anyone that God calls to Him cannot refuse.

However, as most easily seen by Israel's continual rebellion, God rarely stops people from rebelling, disobeying, or ignoring conviction (Acts 7:51-53, Deut 30:11-20, Josh 15:14-28, Luke 6:46, Luke 9:5).

Rather, God commands everyone to repent, Christ draws all men to Himself, and the Holy Spirit is given to all who believe and also helps us testify to Christ (Acts 6:8-12, John 15:26-27). We still can refuse, but we remain under condemnation if we do so (John 3:16-17).

 Perseverance of the Saints  The last point is quite complicated, but teaches that the individuals that God chooses and then draws (see above points) will then persevere in their faith to the end.

Conversely, scripture shows that belief must be continuous abiding, not a one time decision (John 3:16, Mk 16:16, John 15:1-17, Luke 8:4-15, I John 5:3-5).

 Is it biblical?  This has been debated among Christians for a long time. While parts of TULIP are biblical (based in the Bible), other parts are not (new definitions, out-of-context verses, philosophies, contradictions, etc.)

November 10 2014 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

10154324 660559607325867 601417579 n Paul Bayne Business Owner, Husband and Father of Four Kids & Blogger
T…Total Depravity

Every man is depraved, sinful and deserving of hell. Period. No man is good. No man is redeemable unless God in His sovereignty saves him.

U…Unconditional Election

Indeed, according to the doctrine of total depravity (the first of the five points of Calvinism), the influence of sin has so inhibited the individual’s volition that no one is willing or able to come to or follow God apart from God first regenerating the person’s soul to give him/her the ability to love him. Hence, God’s choice in election is and can only be based solely on God’s own independent and sovereign will and not upon the foreseen actions of man.

L…Limited Atonement

Only those whom God chooses will be saved. Romans 9 tells us that God has created two distinct classes of people: Vessels of wrath and vessels of life. Those chosen by God for salvation will be saved at one point in their lives. The vessels of wrath/damnation, are destined to be kept deceived and in the chains of their sin for their entire lives, and then sentenced onto hell at Judgment. This is the meaning of limited. It is limited only to those chosen by God's sovereignty.

I…Irresistible Grace

According to Calvinism, those who obtain salvation do so, not by their own “free” will, but because of the sovereign grace of God. That is, men yield to grace, not finally because their consciences were more tender or their faith more tenacious than that of other men. Rather, the willingness and ability to do God’s will, are evidence of God’s own faithfulness to save men from the power and the penalty of sin, and since man is so corrupt that he will not decide and cannot be wooed to follow after God, God must powerfully intervene. In short, Calvinism argues that regeneration must precede faith.

P…Perseverance of the Saints

Perseverance of the saints, as well as the corollary—though distinct—doctrine known as “Once Saved, Always Saved”, is a Calvinist teaching that once persons are truly saved they can never lose their salvation.

Once God has saved you, you are saved forever under the eternal sacrifice of God's Son. You had nothing to do with your own salvation, therefore you have nothing to do with your saved state. You cannot lose your salvation because it's not up to you. God sealed you unto THAT Day, and no man, no sin, no devil or government can take it away.

November 09 2014 3 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Edwin Danny Reaid
Calvinism's 5 Points: 

Total Depravity (Original Sin)
Unconditional Election (God's Election)
Limited Atonement (Particular Redemption)
Irresistible Grace (Effectual Calling)
Perseverance of the Saints
(Also known as "The Gospel of Grace" - properly understood).

If a person truly believes in Total Depravity the first point then the remaining points stated in Calvinism would have to naturally follow. The question is: What can a dead man do? Nothing. 

The point that many have difficulty with is Unconditional Election (God's Election) vice ours. Christ died for (all) in regards to those who have been chosen. “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:”
Ephesians 1:4 KJV

If Christ died for (all) in terms of all the world then why isn't everyone being saved? Our will is limited by its (nature). Paul clearly states that there is no one who is righteous or who seeks God. So, man cannot (will) contrary to his nature unless first regenerated by the Holy Spirit. Regeneration precedes faith. The following verses of Scripture confirm this:

“And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.”
Acts 13:48 KJV

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
John 1:12-13 KJV

“It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.”
Romans 9:12-16 KJV

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV

So, then even the faith we have is a gift from God and not something we generate. Properly understood we stay away from common phrase's as used in the Church's today as "Ask Jesus into your heart" which is not found in Scripture" and not the gospel message. In order to be saved, a man must repent. Asking Jesus into your heart leaves out the requirement of repentance. In order to be saved, a man must trust in Jesus Christ. Asking Jesus into your heart leaves out the requirement of faith which is a gift from God. We are to die to self and we are to accept "Salvation is of the LORD - Beginning to End. 

All 5 Points of Calvinism are Biblical if properly understood. We might ask: Is God truly Sovereign? Of God, his absolute right to do all things according to his own good pleasure. 

The thread of God's Sovereignty is a thread that runs through Scripture from Genesis to Revelation - We must only "Believe" it.

"Who shall bring any charge against God's elect?" Not God, for He has justified; not Christ, for He has died, yes, has risen again. My hope lives not because I am not a sinner, but because I am a sinner for whom Christ died; my trust is not that I am holy, but that being unholy, He is my righteousness. My faith rests not upon what I am or shall be or feel or know, but in what Christ is, in what He has done, and in what He is now doing for me. Hallelujah! - Charles Spugeon

September 25 2015 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Image41 Ezekiel Kimosop
Calvinism is a theological theory that summarizes God's relationship with Man in redemption under five key points known as TULIP which stand for:

Total Depravity
Unconditional Election
Limited Atonement
Irresistable Grace
Perseverance of Saints

My view is that sections of the Calvinism theory are largely unbiblical. 

The doctrine of Total Depravity assumes that man has no capacity to make a moral choice for obedience to God because he is dead in sin.

This doctrine rests on a literal interpretation of Scripture in circumstances that allegories and metaphors are intended by the writers of Scripture.

It lies on the premise that man is "dead in sin" and cannot of himself come to Christ.

The phrase "dead in sin" is, in my view, a biblical metaphor which is employed by the apostle in illustrating the quagmire into which man fell by reason of his sinful disobedience in Adam. In fact there are several other figures of speech that Paul employs in Ephesians 2:1-10 where this phrase is lifted from. 

Consider the following phrases: "made alive" (2:5), "raised us up", and "made us sit together in heavenly places" (2:6). These are figures of speech.

To teach that man is so dead in sin that he cannot consciously make a choice for obedience to Christ is, in my view, unbiblical. 

Secondly, Calvinism depicts God as a manipulative deity, and man as devoid of any moral will. It is inconceivable that man can be said to be incapable of telling wrong from right, even in his sinfulness. 

There is no denying that God unconditionally reached out to sinful man in Christ at the cross. However, God opened His arms wide to all men in all ages since Calvary without any discrimination. He cannot therefore force salvation upon anyone or reject a person who willingly comes to Christ!

Thirdly, in their Sovereignty doctrine, Calvinism projects a deity whose moral nature is manifestly inconsistent with that of the God of the Bible. Calvinism depicts a picture of a monster deity who has "decreed all things from the foundations of the world", leaving little room for man to apply his conscience or mind. 

I believe that the Free Will doctrine is discernible from Scripture and is consistent with God's will for men. 
Why would the judgment scene in Rev. 20:11-15 be in Scripture if man had no responsibility for their decisions? 

God gave Adam and Eve a chance for obedience and they willfully lost it.

Man's opportunity for redemption is available in Christ and that window is equally open to all men on earth who will hear the Gospel proclaimed until the coming of Christ.

God called Israel to follow Him and on several occasions the people rebelled against Him and they were punished. God never predestined this outcome, neither did He decree it.

My view is that the God of the Bible cannot and will not decree that a given number of people should perish even as He predestined some to eternal life! The truth is that God does not glory in the destruction of sinners (Ezekiel 18:23).

Finally, and contrary to Calvinism, Scripture reveals that Christ's atonement is unlimited. John 3:16 stands out on this truth. This is attested by several other passages of Scripture. 

On this score, my view is that Calvinism is manifestly unbiblical in so far as the doctrines of Total Depravity, Limited Atonement and Irresistable Grace are outlined in their theory.

October 31 2019 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Al Mari Private practice as a cardiovascular & thoracic surgeon
Calvinism, aka Reformed Faith, is a major branch of Protestantism, predominant in France in the 16th century. TULIP is an acronym for these beliefs and explained in http://www.calvinistcorner.com/tulip.htm.

However, without endorsing Calvinism, please analyze my personal understanding on these five points:

1. Total Depravity - The consequence of sin is eternal death. And this extends to all humanity since the sin of Adam, with eternal death as punishment, was imputed to all human beings (Rom 5:12-13). Even a newborn that did not sin yet, has death as a consequence of sin. Also, this imputation commenced when the Law was given to Moses, even when "sin occurred before the Law"(Rom. 5:13); not unveiled until then so that sin will be amplified and defined (Rom. 5:20). This imputation to one man was done so that the death also of one man, i.e., man-Jesus, will also be imputed to all mankind. There is no other person's death but Jesus' that this consequence of sin can be paid for(Rom. 5:6-21). Indeed, a total depravity. See also, Rom. 3:10, Gen. 6:5, Jer. 17:9.

2. Unconditional Election - Election and predestination are unconditional and planned for all by God from the beginning. His love covers all. He planned this even before anyone of us did anything right or wrong. While that is so, the end-point or outcome of these is still dependent on man's free will and response. Free will defines the right choice of man-Jesus to follow to become the Son of God and for Lucifer to become an adversary, Satan. 

Romans 8:29-30, 9:11, Eph.1:4-6,11-12, speak of a group of predestinated, called and justified, from where God provides the chance to be glorified or saved. There is that chance being given that will result in and bear out firstfruits at the first resurrection to start the Millenium. And, there is a chance to be given after the Millenium that will result in latter fruits. This is not about second-chances but a matter of election. There is a timetable, for everyone, as in Eccl. 9:11 "for time and chance overtake them all". And these chances are referring to the time of offering the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit. With the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit, the person given that chance still have to choose, whether to follow the will of the Father or not. Even Jesus has shown free-will in the garden of Gethsemane to follow the Holy Spirit, (in-dwelling in him from river Jordan,Matt. 3:16), as in "not my will but yours"(Lu.22:42;Matt. 26:39); so, should we all who are called, follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit. From these groups that had election, predestination, calling and justification, given unconditionally through Christ, will come out the firstfruits and latterfruits depending on their oneness with God.

3. Limited Atonement - The Creator YHVH who incarnated to man-Jesus(anthropos) died for the remission of all mankind's sin and atoned for all. Atonement is for everyone and is not limited by God himself. However, it is limited by each person, depending upon whether he/she believes in this atoning sacrifice of Jesus. It is also limited to those who are called at a particular timetable; those partakers in the first resurrection, then those in the second resurrection. This is the context of Matthew 1:21,John 10:11,17:9, Acts 20:28,

4.Irresistible Grace - this is a gift that is so supreme and sublime that will not be forced down our throats. It can be resisted. The Father wants free will and Jesus as an example in the garden of Gethsemane knew this all along and concurred willingly with his will.

5. Perseverance of the Saints - They have to, but not all will persevere. In fact, even those written in the book of life and have been predestined, elected, called, justified, at their own time, can still be removed from that book as in Rev. 2:19. While all have been planned to be in book of life, some will reject or not persevere and will not receive salvation. We need to endure, to be saved, as in, Matt. 10:22

October 17 2015 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Robert Hibbard Retired Christian High School Teacher
Calvinism is very Biblical, but focuses on God's complete sovereignty over all things. Some Christans would agree God is sovereign, but limit it, e.g. does history unfold according to a divine plan? Some would say no, I would say yes.

Though I would generally agree with TULIP, it should be understood that these statements were written by others, not Calvin, later at the Council of Dordt in opposition to the teachings of Jacob Arminius (from whom we get the name and viewpoint of Arminian).

March 02 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Internet image Ben Jones Retired Professional Photographer
Either God is sovereign over all, or He is not sovereign at all. You can't have it both ways. You cannot surprise God because He knows exactly what you are going to do and He knew it before the foundation of the world. 

Proverbs 19:21 "Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails." 

Proverbs 16:1 "The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord." 

Isa 46:10 [God] "declares the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,"

Daniel 4:35 "all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and He does according to His will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay His hand or say to him, “What have you done?”

Proverbs 21:1 "The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will."

As the above passages testify, God has made up His mind; He cannot make a mistake; He is never up in heaven wringing His hands worrying if a sinner will make the right decision to receive Him or not because only those that the Father draws will come to Christ. John 6:44, "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day."

God is not going to save all of the Israelites, but He does promise to save a remnant. Romans 9:27 "And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved." If only a remnant of His special chosen people will be saved what about us Gentile sinners? Only a remnant of us will be saved also, and they are called the elect. Before the foundation of the world God elected certain individuals to salvation. The rest will wind up where all of us deserve to go. 

Only the children of the promise will be saved. "Romans 9:13 " In the words of scripture, “ Jacob I have loved, but I Esau I have hated. 14 Are we saying, then, that God was unfair? Of course not! 15 For God said to Moses, “I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose." 18 So you see, God chooses to show mercy to some, and he chooses to harden the hearts of others so they refuse to listen. 19 Well then, you might say, “Why does God blame people for not responding? Haven’t they simply done what he makes them do? 20 No, don’t say that. Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, “Why have you made me like this?” When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn’t he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into? 22 In the same way, even though God has the right to show his anger and his power, he is very patient with those on whom his anger falls, who are destined for destruction."

Romans 9 is NOT a popular chapter for those who think that God is not sovereign, and you can see why, but this IS God's word and it is the truth.

But what about 1 Timothy 2:4 [God] "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." If we knew who the elect were we wouldn't waste our time on the non-elect, but God usually will not tell us in advance who those people are so we are told to proclaim it to all, but only the elect will respond.

But what about John 3:16? "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him will have eternal life." This is not a guarantee that all will be saved but only "whosoever believes in Him." Only the elect will believe in Him so again we tell all people trusting that God will bring His elect to Him.

March 07 2020 12 responses Vote Up Share Report

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