Hey! Randy

Tulips and Theology

Posted by heyrandy on July 30, 2008

The theology of the Reformation is often called Calvinism, after John Calvin, a reformer based in Geneva in what is now Switzerland.  There were other theologians of the Reformation such as Luther, but it is Calvin’s thinking that dominates.

Calvin’s influence is no surprise.  He was a brilliant man.  His writings were prodigious. He wrote a commentary on every book of the New Testament except Revelation.  His main work, however, was the Institutes of the Christian Religion. He was constantly expanding this book.  The book is a masterly exposition of Christian doctrine.  His thinking was so profound that he gained a wide audience outside of Geneva.  His writings are still read by many today.

Calvinism is often associated with five points, as in the five points of Calvinism.  The five points did not originate with Calvin.  In fact, the five points were not spoken of until after Calvin’s death.  The five points did not originate from Calvin’s successors at Geneva.  The five points are Dutch.

The five points are from a protest, a remonstrance, brought by followers of Jacob Arminius objecting to the Dutch church’s doctrine in five areas.  It is this objection brought by the Arminians, or Remonstrants as they are sometimes called, was settled by the a committee appointed by the Dutch Parliament.  The committee met in the Dutch city of Dort.  The Canons of Dort are the work of this committee.  The Canons of Dort deny the protest and reaffirm the validity of Calvinist doctrine as the correct interpretation of the Bible.  The Arminians were declared to be heretics.

The five points are usually remembered by the word TULIP.  This is rather neat because the tulip flower is often associated with the country of Holland. The five points are usually stated thusly:

Total Depravity

Unconditional Election

Limited Atonement

Irresistible Grace

Perseverance of the Saints

Since these matters are important regardless of one’s theological views, I am going to start a short series to introduce each of these points.  I hope to explain them to help people understand them.  There is much objection to Calvinism, much of it based upon a faulty understanding of these key ideas.  If you are going to intelligently object and disagree, you must have a correct understanding of the opposing view.

I am writing as one who holds the five points to be correct.  I believe that the five points portray the correct understanding of the teaching of the Bible.  The points are true, and they are TRUTH.  It is my purpose to magnify these ideas so all the world may know of the glorious truth of God.  To Him alone be all praise and glory!


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