Calvin’s TULIP

This morning we want to talk about “CALVIN’S TULIP” a “system of theology” that has become to be known as “Calvinism” because John Calvin in the 1500’s was credited with developing it.  Clavin lived between 1509-1564 A.D.

SO WHY WOULD I EVEN DISCUSS THIS ISSUE ?  Because the teaching of Calvin’s Tulip has effected millions of people down through the centuries.

The Bible teaches:

Deut 4:2

2 “You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

Prov. 30:6

6 Do not add to His words Or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.

Isaiah 8:19-20

19 When they say to you, “Consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter,” should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living?

20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.

Rev. 22:18-19

18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book;

19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.

Jesus said:

Matt. 15:3, 6, 9

3 And He answered and said to them, “Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?

6 he is not to honor his father or his mother.’ And by this you invalidated the word of God for the sake of your tradition.


2 Tim. 2:15

15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

The Greek word for “accurately handling” means, according to Thayer “to teach the truth correctly and directly.  Vincent says that “the truth should be treated honestly and fully, in a straightforward manner.”

One “accurately handles” the word of Truth when he deals with it as God intends that he should.  This means that we must always consider the context of a statement and teach what it teaches without reading into the Word of Truth our preconceived ideas or traditions or doctrines.

This requires “diligence,” which means to “exert one’s self, to endeavor, to make an effort.”  We must “exert effort” to find out what God is saying to us in His Word.  Do NOT take any man’s word for it!  Find out for yourself.

James 3:1

“Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.”

1 Cor. 4:6

6* Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other.

Rev. 20:12

12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.

So, with all of that warning and exhortation, we must understand that it’s the teachings of the Scriptures that will judge us, therefore we MUST reject the traditions of men that conflict with God’s Word.

And there is no question that CALVIN’S TULIP is in conflict with God’s Word.

Actually Calvin did not originally develop the system, but Augustine of Hyppo (354-430 A.D.) in the fifth century came up with this false idea.  Augustine tried in vain to live a celibate life but because of his many sexual and other sins he concluded that man was totally depraved from birth.  Since he chose to lead a sinful lifestyle he tried to justify himself by developing a theology to substantiate it.

John Calvin took Agustine’s theory and developed it into a system of five cardinal points that is defined by the word TULIP.  There is no connection with the flower, but all five points are contrary and contradictory to God’s plan of salvation in the Bible.  Calvin’s five cardinal points are: T= Total Depravity, U= Unconditional Election, L= Limited Atonement, I= Irresistible Grace, P= Perseverance Of The Saints.  All five points of Calvin’s theory either stand or fall together.


Sin is in every part of man, in the mind, the will, the heart and the soul so that man cannot save himself.  Man is fallen and everyone is born spiritually dead, helpless, and passive; indeed, everyone is worse than volitionally dead or unable to desire spiritual good but is actually enslaved to sin, positively and actively hostile to the things of the Spirit (Calvinists cite, e.g., John. 1:13; 8:43, 47; 10:26; 12:37-40; 18:37; Romans. 7:18; 8:5-8; 1 Corinthians. 2:9-14).


God chooses to save people unconditionally; that is they are not chosen on the basis of their own merit. This second point inescapably follows from the first: since one is born totally depraved and enslaved to sin, one’s ELECTION cannot be dependent or CONTINGENT on any spiritually worthy actions one commits.

According to this point, God predestines or chooses to soften the hard, sin-enslaved hearts of certain fallen individuals and liberate them from their death not because of any merit they have but despite their demerits–i.e., He ELECTS to change their hearts (and thereby join them to Christ and His saving work) DESPITE the fact that they hate God and oppose Him and have hard hearts, not soft hearts, and have sin-enslaved wills, not free wills. Thus, believers have no reason to boast about themselves or their own actions: the only thing that differentiates them from Judas, Esau, or others who never respond in faith is that God gave them grace that He withheld from such reprobates (Calvinists cite, e.g., Ezek. 11:19-20; 36:26-27; Rom. 9:11-18; 1 Cor. 4:7; Eph. 2:8-10; cf. Jn. 1:13; 15:16; Acts 13:48; 16:14; 18:27; Phil. 2:13).

L= LIMITED ATONEMENT or Particular Redemption

The Sacrifice of Christ on the cross was for the purpose of saving only the “elect.” This point says that while Christ’s blood–indeed, His entire life, death, and resurrection–is infinitely INTENSIVE in saving power and thus unlimited in one sense, it is not infinitely EXTENSIVE and is thus limited, not universal, in the extent of its application; for while everyone CONDITIONALLY or “provisionally” shares in Christ’s life, death, and resurrection (thus, if everyone believed, everyone would be joined or married to Christ), only members of Christ’s body or bride or flock (ELECT believers) actually share in His blood (Calvinists cite, e.g., Jn. 10:11, 15, 26; 17:9; cf. 6:37, 39; 17:2, 6, 24).


When God has chosen to save someone, He will.  This is virtually a synonym for Luther’s slogan “grace alone” (sola gratia) and is logically implied by points “T” and “U” above. It teaches that God’s INWARD CALL is perfectly EFFECTUAL or SUFFICIENT–a hard, fleshly, sinful heart need not add anything to God’s grace, such as “co-operation,” for this special call or grace is invincible, overpowering all hatred and melting all opposition (Calvinists cite, e.g., Jn. 3:6-8). Here Calvinists distinguish God’s inward, effectual call–i.e., IRRESISTIBLE GRACE or sufficient, effective grace–from His outward call, which is simply His commandments written on tablets of stone. The latter is eminently resistible, insufficient, and ineffective to give life to a dead soul or liberate a sin-enslaved heart (e.g., Acts 7:51; 13:39; Rom. 8:3).


Those people God chooses cannot lose their salvation. This is not the idea that no matter what a believer does he or she cannot lose his or her salvation but the idea that “…He who began a good work in you will perfect it…” (Phil. 1:6 [NASB]; cf., e.g., Jn. 6:37, 39; 10:28-29; Rom. 8:31-39)– i.e., the idea that whenever God creates faith in our hearts and thereby joins us to Christ and His saving work, He will sustain that faith, that saving relationship with Christ, causing us, by His grace, to persevere in faith.

So there you have it, the 5 points of Calvinism.  Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints.

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