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Page 325


One of the major areas of controversy in church history has always been and still remains the Five Points of Calvinism. These five points can be remembered by the first letter of each point spelling the word "TULIP." The Five Points of Calvinism are:

    1. Total Depravity (or Total Inability)
    2. Unconditional Election
    3. Limited Atonement (or Particular Redemption)
    4. Irresistible Grace (or Efficacious Grace)
    5. Perseverance of the Saints
    (or Preservation of the Saints)

While each of these five points has been studied in other chapters in this section, an attempt will be made first, to define each in contrast with the five points of Arminianism, or "free-will". Secondly, to prove from Scripture that each is a biblical teaching; and finally, to explain hyper-Calvinism, or what the five points are not stating. Due to man's natural enmity against God's free and sovereign grace, and the rejection of these points in favor of Arminianism by many church denominations and "believers" in our time, the scriptural proofs quoted in this section will be more extensive.

The tension between God's sovereignty and rule and man's responsibility and freedom has always been in the world since man's fall into sin. Pelagius and Augustine debated these principles in the early centuries of the Christian church. Arminius and Calvin did not introduce these concepts, but clarified and clearly presented the arguments for each view. Therefore these two contrary belief systems are termed "Arminianism and Calvinism" today.

Total Depravity (or Total Inability)

Total depravity refers to man's depraved nature since his fall in Paradise. He is totally depraved - totally without any saving good or ability. His nature is now corrupt and sinful throughout; his entire person is sinful. He is spiritually dead, blind, deaf, and bankrupt; and, therefore, totally unable to save himself.

  • Depravity - The state of being without any spiritual good; spiritually dead in sin; being full of sin and evil
  • Atonement - The act of reconciling or making satisfaction for an offense; Christ's reconciling of certain sinners with God
  • Redemption - The act of making full payment for a debt; see the word "atonement" above
  • Efficacious - Effectual; producing the desired result; producing regeneration; saving
  • Perseverance - The act of continuing; not stopping or falling away
  • Saints - The elect; true Christians; regenerated people of God
  • Preservation - The act of keeping safe from destruction; upholding; sustaining

  • Do these five points represent the complete teachings of biblical Calvinism? Why or why not? What do these five points represent?


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