Calvinism is famously known for the “Five Points of Calvinism.” They use the acronym TULIP. The “T” stands for TOTAL depravity; the “U” for UNCONDITIONAL election; the “L” for LIMITED atonement; the “I” for IRRESISTIBLE grace, and the “P” for PERSEVERANCE of the saints. Let’s take a close look how Calvinists define these 5 points and I will offer my opinion on their views.

1. TOTAL depravity: Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden affected the whole human race, for all are “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1) and because of their wicked hearts they have no desire to seek God and His salvation (Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:9-18). This also means they are unable to save themselves or make themselves righteous in God’s sight (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5 and Romans 3:20; 10:1-4). I agree with this teaching, for the scriptures cited support this teaching.

2. UNCONDITIONAL election: Because all men are spiritually dead and unable to respond to God’s salvation, God chose to ELECT (i.e. choose) certain people to salvation (Ephesians 1:4 and 2nd Thessalonians 2:13). This was “all of God” and “not based on anything in man” and thus it was UNCONDITIONAL. I agree with this teaching as well, for the scriptures cited clearly teach this truth.

3. LIMITED atonement: Because God determined certain ones to be saved by His sovereign choice, He also determined that His Son should die for the elect alone (Matthew 1:21; John 10:11 and Ephesians 5:25). Here is where I differ with the teachings of John Calvin in his “Five Points.” I do NOT believe Christ’s death was only for the ELECT; I believe His death was “SUFFICIENT to save all, but only EFFICENT for those who believe the gospel.” If you look at the 3 scriptures I cited, you will see that Christ died to save “His people,” “His sheep,” and “His church,” which sounds like He only died for the elect, but there are many other scriptures which state that He “died for ALL MEN.” Here are three such passages: “For God so loved THE WORLD, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16…NKJV). “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if One DIED FOR ALL, then were all dead: and that He DIED FOR ALL, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again” (2nd Corinthians 5:14-15…KJV). “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but for the WHOLE WORLD” (1st John 2:2). These passages clearly teach that Christ’s atoning death was for the WHOLE WORLD; in other words, FOR ALL MEN. Yet they also teach us that in order to receive the benefits of His death, one must BELIEVE the gospel to obtain ETERNAL LIFE. Romans 3:22 puts it this way, “Even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, TO ALL and ON ALL WHO BELIEVE.” Again, God’s gift of righteousness and eternal life is “towards all” but they are only given to “all who believe.”

4. IRRESISTABLE grace: God DRAWS all the elect to Himself through “IRRESISTABLE grace” (John 6:37, 44). I agree wholeheartedly with this view for these two scriptures alone confirm it.

5. PERSERVERANCE of the saints: Those whom God has ELECTED and SAVED will “PERSERVERE to the end of their lives by faith.” (John10:27-29; Romans 8:29-30, 38-39; and 1st Peter 1:3-5). I believe this with my whole heart. We call this the “ETERNAL SECURITY of the Believer.” See also John 3:16; 5:24; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30; Hebrews 10:14 and 1st John 5:11-13. It is important to see that this is based solely on “Christ’s finished work on the cross” and NOT on “the believer’s works after he/she is saved.” Thus, we see that “salvation is of God” …from BEGINNING to the END.  (488.1)  (DO)