The Five Points of Calvinism:

Please take your time in reading through this article and its proof texts. Some texts are repeated, but do reread and consider them in each context in which they are presented, and so walk according to the Berean spirit, and prove all things. T.U.L.I.P. is shorthand for the five basic points of reformed soteriology (the study of salvation) and it is also known as the five points of Calvinism. The technical name for Calvinism is monergism {mon = one; ergos = working}, meaning that God alone, without the input of the one being saved, brings about every element of their salvation, including their repentance and their faith. This is the soteriological position of the Reformation and the Puritans, as well as groups like the Waldensians, the Albigensians, and men such as Augustine, and the counsels which in his day sided with him in the infamous controversy against Pelagius. This is distinct from synergism {syn = together; ergos = working}. Synergism is the soteriological category into which Pelagianism, semi-Pelagianism, Arminianism, and Roman Catholicism all fall. The most infamous of cults are also synergistic, including the Mormons, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventism, and Christian Science. Synergism is the idea that without a man’s co-operating or assenting unto salvation, God cannot and will not save him. Both monergism and synergism are typically defined by five fundamental points of doctrine. The five points of Calvinism were drawn up at the Synod of Dort, long after Calvin had died. The Synod of Dort was a court called in Dordrecht in the Netherlands, from 1618-19, for the purpose of examining five points of protest (or, remonstrance), which the followers of the then recently deceased preacher, Jacob Arminius, brought against the orthodox monergistic view held by the Dutch churches. The five points of Arminianism are the exact opposite of the five points of Calvinism. I hold to reformed soteriology, or Calvinism; and here is a summary of its five points, with proof texts:

1) Total Depravity, also known as Radical Corruption. This is opposed to the partial depravity of Arminianism, which attempts to marry the doctrine of man having an inborn sin nature to the concept of him having a free will. Total depravity does not mean that every man is as bad as he can be; but instead it means that every facet of his heart and mind has become inherently corrupted by the fall, so much so that man is too sinful to ever want to repent of his sin and turn to God of his own accord. It also means that man’s will is not free but in bondage to sin; and so, if he is ever given over to more fully express the desires of his heart, this will only result in greater manifestations of his depravity and never in repentance from sin and humble faith in Christ. Therefore, not only is man’s will not free, but God is also at work to restrain it from plunging into the hidden depths of its corruption:

Genesis 6:5; 8:21; Psalm 53:1-5; 58:3-5; 110:3; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Isaiah 64:6-7; Jeremiah 13:23; 17:9; Matthew 7:11; John 3:19-20; 6:44,65; 8:34,47; 10:26-27; Romans 1:18-32; 3:9-19; 6:17; 8:7-8; Ephesians 2:1,3,5; Philippians 2:13; 2 Peter 2:14.

2) Unconditional Election, also known as Predestination. As opposed to the conditional election of Arminianism; unconditional election is God’s sovereign electing of His people unto salvation from eternity past, which is neither based on anything of them or in them, nor on what they do or don’t do; but instead is based solely on God’s own will:

Psalm 65:4; Jeremiah 1:5; John 6:37; 17:9; Acts 2:39; 13:48; Romans 8:29-30; 9; Ephesians 1:4-5,11; 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 1:9.

3) Limited Atonement, also known as Particular Redemption. Though not limited in power as a universal atonement must be; limited atonement is the teaching that Christ’s sacrifice, though limited in scope, was unlimited in power. The atonement of Christ is powerful and effectual in and of itself, needing absolutely nothing from man in order to make it so. As such, it actually saves those for whom it was made, expiating the very wrath which God had against His people, satisfying the just vengeance of God upon sin, rendering it impossible for God to ever again recall their sins, or to have wrath against them. For as it was that all who were in Adam were affected by his sin and fall, so all who were in Christ were affected by His obedience unto death and thereby were saved. The many whom God justifies are actually justified because Christ bore their iniquity. Thus, Christ’s propitiating sacrifice was only made for His sheep who were thereby redeemed; and no one can go to hell for whom Christ died:

Isaiah 53:11; John 1:29; 10:11,15,26-27; Acts 20:28; Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22; Galatians 3:13; Ephesians 5:25; Colossians 1:20; Titus 2:14; Hebrews 9:12-15,28; 1 Peter 2:24.

4) Irresistible Grace, also known as Effectual Calling. This is the teaching that God’s calling of His people unto salvation is effectual and certainly results in them repenting of their sins, and in their coming to (that is, believing on) Christ. This does not mean that people (both elect and non-elect alike) do not resist the Spirit of God. Monergism asserts that resisting God is all that sinners will ever do of their own accord. What irresistible grace does mean is that God effectually calls His people out of darkness into His marvelous light by regenerating, that is, quickening them from spiritual death unto spiritual life; overcoming their sin-loving, God-rejecting will, by giving them a new heart with godly desires which loathes, is grieved over, and flees from sin. This calling is the effectual drawing of Christ’s sheep unto salvation:

Psalm 65:4; 110:3; Ezekiel 37; John 3:8; 6:37-44; 10:26-28; Acts 13:48; 16:14; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Ephesians 1:19-20; 2:1,5-10; Philippians 1:29; 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5; 2:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:13.

5) Perseverance of the Saints, also known as Preservation of the Saints. This is the teaching that God’s people are and will be kept through His power and pledge, and so, they will continue to walk in holiness, though not perfectly, and shall never be lost, neither shall they perish:

Psalm 37:28; 89:24-37; 121:7-8; Proverbs 2:8; Jeremiah 32:40; John 6:37-44; 10:27-29; Romans 8:28-30; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Ephesians 1:13-14; Philippians 1:6; 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; 1 John 2:19; 3:6-10; Hebrews 7:25; Jude 1:24-25.

All of these doctrines ultimately declare:

“He shall save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

Soli Deo Gloria