A Closer Look at T.U.L.I.P.

I am posting what i consider to be a well rounded response to the teachings on Calvinism. I have obtained verbal permission from the Ministry of   www.ShepherdServe.org. I have been at odds with Calvinism for many years and feel that in our current wave of a broad based attack form within and without the body of Christ that equal time should be given to point out areas that can put people off in the arena of theology. It goes without saying this is done in full recognition of  honest, sincere, brotherly love in posting these teachings. FAIR WARNING these are not short blurbs (famous short posts only) but, well thought out responses.

Lest we forget, the term apologetics means a defense of the faith, not a tearing down of others in Christ.

www.ShepherdServe.org

You are welcome to distribute printed copies of this document, or copy and paste this document to distribute via email, as long as the document is unaltered and kept in its entirety (including copyright notices), and is not sold for profit. However, if you wish to post this material on your website or anywhere else online, you must first contact us to get permission. ©2007 by David Servant

The Five Points of Calvinism Considered

By David Servant

Introduction

Calvinistic theology is usually explained by focusing on the five major Calvinistic doctrines, which are: (1) Total Depravity, (2) Unconditional Election, (3) Limited Atonement, (4) Irresistible Grace and (5) Perseverance of the Saints. All five points are more or less related to each other, so that one has a hard time accepting or rejecting one point without doing the same with the other four. They are easily remembered by using the acronym TULIP.

This particular study is a refutation of the five points of Calvinism. More specifically, it is a response to a booklet titled, TULIP: What We Believe about the Five Points of Calvinism by John Piper.

My purpose in writing is to clearly show where Calvinism contradicts Scripture and logic, and to challenge Calvinists to consider a different position. Calvinism is flawed on at least three levels: (1) by the focus on certain “supportive” scriptures and the ignoring  of scores of scriptures that clearly contradict Calvinistic interpretation of the “supportive” ones (2) by unnatural and forced interpretations of certain scriptures and (3) by faulty logic that often contradicts itself. When we take the whole balance of Scripture, accept  the most natural interpretation of what is written, and maintain a logic that is consistent, we do not arrive at the five points of Calvinism.

I hope that my comments are not taken to be against Calvinists, but against the doctrines of Calvinism, because I love and respect any Calvinist whose Lord is Jesus. I have enjoyed other writings by John Piper as well as other Calvinists, and I often serve in ministry along side of Calvinistic Christians who are devoted servants of Christ. I have, however, written rather passionately on some points, because I am passionate for God’s glory. If those passionate points seem harsh, please forgive me.

Near the end of his booklet, Piper quotes legendary Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon, who said that he began as an Arminian (Arminians disagree with all five points of Calvinism), like everyone else. This is a telling remark because it is so true. No one begins as a Calvinist. They only become Calvinists as they are taught Calvinism.

Piper’s own testimony is no different. He admits “many years of struggle” (p. 1, prgh. 4) before he was able to accept Calvinism. Perhaps even more difficult than the struggle to accept Calvinism is the struggle to reject it after one has struggled so hard to accept it.

But it can, and has, been done.

John Piper writes, “We are open to changing any of our ideas which can be shown to contradict the truth of Scripture.” I’m glad to know that, because I am about to show how Piper’s ideas contradict the truth of Scripture. May I say that I am also open to scrutiny of

my comments by anyone who presents a logical and scriptural argument, as I too, like so many Calvinists, am sincerely desirous of understanding God’s truth. Although I have given this paper to a number of Calvinists, I’m still waiting for any refutation. If you are a Calvinist who can’t refute what I’ve written, you are not a Calvinist at all. If you cannot defend what you say you believe, you don’t really believe it.

How difficult it is to truly be open to truth that challenges our long-held beliefs! May God help us all, by His grace, to comprehend His great plan of salvation.

Tommorow: Total Depravity and Irresistible Grace.

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18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Chris
    Dec 19, 2013 @ 05:21:35

    Interesting post, Manny. It’s late so I’ll be back for a read. I’m not a 5 point Calvinist, an Arminian, or a Molinist. I think the free will/predestination is an issue that will never be solved this side of heaven. But, I try to know the positions. I’ll be back to look at this article.

    God’s blessings my friend…

    Reply

    • Mannyr
      Dec 19, 2013 @ 15:54:44

      Glad you stopped by. These are lengthly replies but, i feel the overall teachings are very sound and can serve to give a balanced apologetics. Something sorely needed in our hurried microwave lifestyles. I will try to post these after the initial readings in zip format so one can unpack and read at their own pace. There is a section in this first teaching i find interesting. It is exactly what I experienced as a new Baptist.

      “If Calvinists are consistent with their theology, what is the gospel that they should proclaim? Should they deceive their audiences, calling on them to repent and believe in Christ, misleading them into thinking that they can do something in regards to their salvation, thus strengthening their listener’s pride and increasing their spiritual darkness? Or do they tell them the “truth” that they are so depraved that they are incapable of submitting to God, and unless God shows them His irresistible grace, they can never be saved? How does “faith come from hearing” (Rom. 10:17) that?”
      Obviously, such a “gospel” leaves nothing for the hearer to cling to in faith. That is why Calvinists keep their unique doctrines secret from the unregenerate, only to reveal them at a later time to Christians when they are ready to receive the “truth.” Truly, the

      five points of Calvinism are the “family secret.” Even though they are supposedly the foundational truths of salvation, they dare not be revealed to the unsaved. This, by itself, shows the fallacy of Calvinism. Calvinists intuitively know that if they tell unregenerate people the “truth,” they will have no converts. So they preach a deceptive Arminian gospel, hope for a response, and later let their converts know “what really happened.”

      Looking back this was my experience. I guess that is why i have had a hard time with Calvinism.

      Reply

  2. Chris
    Dec 19, 2013 @ 22:50:30

    This is obviously very personal for you, Manny. I never thought about this entire issue until I read “The Sum and Substance of All Theology” by Charles Spurgeon. He claimed to be a Calvinist but I don’t know if he would fit into the 5-point arena today. The 5 points were “developed” after Spurgeon died. He was set against the “hyper-Calvinists;” maybe the very folks you are describing. I’ll put a link to the sermon on the next comment. I have to go back to my blog to get it as it is a link at the top of my blog. A very interesting start. I look forward to the rest of David Servant’s theological thinking.

    God’s blessings…

    Reply

  3. Chris
    Dec 19, 2013 @ 22:54:05

    Here’s a great sermon in my opinion on this very subject:

    http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/sum&sub.htm

    As the next post is very long Manny, it may take me awhile to digest it. Am looking forward to it though.

    Reply

    • Mannyr
      Dec 20, 2013 @ 15:21:37

      These are for sure long winded replies but, i feel they very much needed. We are experiencing the fragmentation of orthodox Christianity as has been preserved by the person of the Holy Spirit. I feel far too many leaders in the body are not sound it what the Word of God says for itself. We are not supposed to follow men and their personal beliefs but, the Word of God and the Holy Spirits teachings. I admit they do not come as fast and furious as we would want but, rather at His pace as He helps us in our struggles and learning process.
      The adage “Haste makes waste” fits here. We are by birth given the Holy Spirit as our teacher, but do we wait on His leading? Do we respond when we read or hear something out of order that is taught. Do we heed the check in our personal spirit when something is off? Do we seek Him about it? It is not to find fault in a mans specific messages but, to be aware something is out of order.

      Let me just say that we are not to follow man but God and His revealed Word. We are as people to come up to the level of God’s Word, not bring God’s Word down to the level of man.

      I am going to my room now to pout!
      Blessings—————-it bears repeating—–glad you are stopping by.

      Reply

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