The five points of Calvinism

T otal depravity

No one merits salvation. We do not have free will.

U nconditional election

God elects (predestines) some for salvation.

L imited atonement

Christ only died for the elect.

I irresistible grace

 * *Link to Bible Commentary* *

The elect cannot resist God's call. We do not have free will.

P erseverance of the saints

Once saved, always saved.

This is an absurd system! Worse, it is unbiblical...

The correct view of TULIP...

  1. Total depravity — We are wounded by original sin and required God's grace to draw us to himself. We have free will. We were created good and in God's image, and, at heart, we are still good.
  2. Unconditional election — God predestined the plan of salvation. He does not predestine any particular individual for anything. He calls everyone, but some reject his call.
  3. Limited atonement — Christ died sacrificially to provide the cure for sin. He did not refuse to pay the penalty for any particular person's sins.
  4. Irresistible grace — God's grace is strong but some are very obstinate.
  5. Perseverance of the saints — After baptism, committing habitual mortal sins and failing to repent of these results in losing one's salvation.

Calvinism is based on Sola Scriptura (scripture only) — but the Bible doesn't teach Calvinism.

Many Protestant denominations are founded on Calvinism including: Presbyterian, some Baptist, and Reformed (Puritan) denominations.

Luther, Calvin, and the other Protestant Reformers believed in predestination.

I highlight Biblical passages which clearly contradict one or more of these five points of Calvinism. In consideration of these passages and to be true to the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, Calvinists must somehow resolve the contradictions. Some approaches they can take:

  1. Interpret these passages in a way supporting Calvinism (but on the surface the passages don't offer such support).
  2. Ignore these passages by declaring they are problematic and that, therefore, other passages supercede them.
  3. Admit that Calvinism is not taught in the Bible. But of course Calvinists wouldn't do this.

Biblical Passages Contradicting Calvinism ...

But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory. (1 Corinthians 2:7)

This verse does not support unconditional election.

It is God's plan of salvation which was predetermined, not an individual believer's salvation.

But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. (2 Thessalonians 2:13)

This verse does not support unconditional election.

It is the gospel message which is predetermined, not an individual believer's salvation.

Who will have all men to be saved. (1 Timothy 2:4)

This verse refutes total depravity, unconditional election and irresistible grace.

Calvinism asserts that God only chose some, but this verse refutes that. Under Calvinism, if God really wanted all men to be saved, he would elect all men for salvation. But this verse states clearly that God does want all men to be saved.

We have free will to reject God.

We have free will to accept God's grace. Original sin doesn't prevent us from responding in faith. This implies that we are not totally depraved.

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:12)

This verse refutes total depravity, unconditional election and irresistible grace.

Lay hold — We have free will.

Calling does not guarantee we will respond. This refutes the notion of irresistible grace. We can resist God's call but God calls all.

Called as a result of his confession (profession).

Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:10,11)

This verse refutes total depravity, unconditional election, irresistible grace and
perseverance of the saints.

Make — We have free will.

Sure, never fall — Salvation is not certain even for the elect.

Notice this passage refers to salvation; the reference to the "entrance . . . into the everlasting kingdom."

If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard. . . . (Colossians 1:23)

This verse refutes total depravity, irresistible grace and perseverance of the saints.

If ye continue in the faith — We have free will and can choose to persevere.

Salvation is not certain; we must persevere.

For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end. (Hebrews 3:14)

This verse refutes total depravity, irresistible grace and perseverance of the saints.

Hold — We have free will.

Salvation requires perseverance.

Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. (1 Corinthians 9:24)

This verse refutes total depravity, irresistible grace and perseverance of the saints.

We have free will.

Perseverance comes from us, not from God (but we should ask God to continuously help us).

We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not. (1 John 5:18)

This verse refutes total depravity.

This verse refutes the notion that we are totally depraved.

Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain. (Acts 2:23)

This verse refutes unconditional election.

God's plan (counsel) and his foreknowledge go together. Calvinists must of necessity separate them.

Calvinists typically believe God has elected [chosen] only some for salvation. Anti-Calvinists counter this argument by saying that God "elects" those who he "foreknew" would accept him. In this passage, God's plan and his foreknowledge are equated, which refutes the Calvinist view. I am not saying God "elects" those who he "foreknew" would accept him, but merely that God's plan (counsel) and his foreknowledge are in some way related.

Other views ...

I recently watched some videos of a couple of well-known reformed Bible expositors. I have great respect for these men and attribute my conversion to Christianity decades ago to their Bible teaching on the radio. Nevertheless, I shall list a few errors that caught my attention...

  1. Because humans are totally depraved, no one has any hope of salvationunless God singles them out for redemption. For those God tags in this way, they will irresistibly be drawn to accept the gospel and receive salvation — this, without violating our free will.
  2. Because of a misunderstanding of God's holiness by every Protestant group except the reformed churches, only they are true Christians.
  3. The only people who will inhabit heaven are those having heard the true Christian gospel who accepted it in faith. Everyone else is eternally damned.
  4. They completely misrepresent Catholic teachingas do other fundamentalist evangelical Christians.
  5. They are opposed to the charismatic movement(I'm not too fond of it myself) and think it first blossomed with Calvary Chapel and its offshoot, Vineyard.
  6. That the early church believedexactly what these modern people believe. This is laughable!

The idea that Jesus only died for the sins of the redeemed is based on a false conception of how Jesus paid for sin through his sacrificial death. His death in our place is not to satisfy the legal judgment of an angry God who must punish someone but, rather, to redeem human nature; to provide a pathway out of our home in the spiritual realm corrupted by the powers of darkness, to "deify"human nature. Jesus had to endure Satan's wrath upon himself to claim ownership of this spiritual realm of darkness inhabited by Satan.