Thu Apr 24, 2008 4:14 pm (PDT)
Religion Pamphlet #5 by Joseph Yosuk Lee
TULIP is an acronym for the five points of Calvinism- total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and perseverance. Please note that you do not have to be Calvinist to be Christian.
Reply: This says that you do not have to believe the truth to be a Christian, or it is saying that Calvinism may not really be the truth. I'm convinced that you cannot be a Christian and believe the five points of Calvinism. The truth will not allow a Christian to believe those doctrines. We will show in this examination that Calvinism is a subtle perversion of the gospel of Christ. It has elements that have a ring of truth and then moves into erroneous conclusions.
1. Total depravity or inability
Total depravity is a concept that everyone including the elect and non-elect incapable of choosing God because he is sinful. In my opinion, Arminians, who reject this point, do not understand Romans 3:10-11. as it is written, THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS GOD; Romans 3:10-11
Reply: While guilt is a necessary conclusion for all, the responsibility is within ability. In other words we are guilty because we do not seek God to understand, not because we CAN'T do so. Total depravity says we don't even have the ability to seek God. If we can't do so, then we are not responsible to do so. Romans 3 does not speak of our inability, but of our guilt, and guilt implies that we did not use our ability to seek God, and therefore, we could not be anything but guilty before God. Furthermore, the passage says that we all have "gone out of the way" (which implies that there was a time when we were not "out of the way"). Total inability implies that we never had any ability and therefore were always out of the way. This passage does not support the Calvinist doctrine.
2. Unconditional election
Five Point Arminians imply that
people earned salvation through their choice. In my opinion, they believe that
Jesus + free will = salvation. Although Calvinists believe that free will exists,
free will is a form of works. On the other hand, Calvinists believe that God
predestined our salvation unconditionally through His choice and not ours. They
believe that Jesus alone
= salvation/free will. You do not earn your salvation through works, and you can not force God to choose you through your works. You have to be chosen unconditionally.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also PREDESTINATED to become conformed to the image of His son, ... Romans 8:28-29
[Jesus said that] You did not choose Me, but I chose you,... John 15:16
Reply: This is a misrepresentation of all non-Calvinists. When we think about it, it does not make good sense. If Calvinists really believe that "Jesus alone = salvation/free will" then if someone is not saved, it is Jesus' fault. While no one can "earn" salvation, they can meet conditions that God may require. God predestined that those who are called by the gospel would be conformed to the image of His Son, but that says nothing about it being unconditional. The gospel calls for us to believe and repent. Those are conditions (Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30,31). If a person does not believe and repent, then they are refusing the call of the gospel. If they repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, they get the free gift (Acts 2:38,40). If they refuse to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, they refuse the free gift. Now, while Jesus chose His twelve disciples, it was not without their cooperation. The point of John 15:16 is not about whether man has a choice in his salvation or not, but that the Twelve were chosen and appointed to a certain task that they did not foresee at the beginning. In other words, they did not come seeking to do this job and asking to be chosen for this job, but that they were chosen (with their cooperation) and as they cooperated as "friends" they accepted whatever Jesus had in mind for them to do. They did not choose Jesus to get to do this work of going and bearing fruit, but they were chosen by Jesus and He had in mind this purpose for them. It is not at all about whether or not man has any cooperative ability or inablity. Thus, we cannot allow the spin placed on these verses. None of these verses say anything about being chosen "unconditionally". Therefore, the second point of Calvinism is erroneous.
3. Limited atonement or particular redemption
This is the most difficult concept to understand. Calvinists believe that God died for the elect while Arminians believe that God died for everyone. If God died for everyone, how can people go to hell? If people go to hell, what is the point of God dying for them? Arminians use this verse to argue that God died for everyone.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16
The Bible is saying, 'that whoever
[chooses to believe or chosen to believe] in Him should not
perish,...' If you read the next following verses, you can clearly see that God did not die for
everyone. God specified that He died for only the sheep, who are the elect.
...I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10:15
But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep. John 10:26
If you are not one of the sheep, God did not die for you. So, I encourage every non-Christian to find out whether or not he is chosen.
Reply: This last comment is self-contradicting. If a man is "totally depraved" or has "total inability", then that person cannot "find out whether or not he is chosen". He has no ability to do that. So, Calvinism says that God predetermined to program some people to go to hell and they have no ability to escape this appointment. If a person SHOULD "find out whether or not he is chosen", then he CAN find out. But, that denies the former points in the Calvinistic system. Now, the offer of the gospel is free to all, but only those who obey the gospel will benefit. Thus, they become the sheep that make Jesus' death count. The people who let Jesus die in vain show that they are not His sheep. Jesus died for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2), but only those who hear His voice and obey Him will benefit from what He did on the cross. They are His sheep. So, He died for everyone, but everyone will not benefit because they will not hear and come on His conditions to receive His benefits (Matthew 10:30-32).
4. Irresistible or efficacious grace
Five Point Arminian beliefs deny God's omnipotence. Their beliefs imply that men have the power to reject God's grace.
Reply: This is misleading too. Man has ability to "resist the Spirit" (Acts 7:51). That does not deny the omnipotence of God. It just affirms that God does not use His omnipotence to force Himself into people's minds and hearts against their will. Paul pleaded with the brethren at Corinth "not to receive the grace of God in vain"(2 Cor.6:1). If they received it in vain, does that mean that they were denying the omnipotence of God? Certainly not! So, this argument is phony. If a person can "do despite to the Spirit of grace" (Heb.10:29) then they can resist it or let it be in vain in their behalf. Calvinism is wrong because it says that people must be saved and they have no choice in the matter, while others must be lost and they have no choice in the matter.
And all the habitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, But He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the habitants of earth; And no one can ward off His hand...Daniel 4:35
Satan is more powerful than men and that men do not have a choice because Satan is making choices for them.
...are taken captive by [the devil] at his will. 2 Timothy 2:26
Reply: Eve had a choice, but she was taken captive to do his will. This passage does not affirm that Satan takes people captive "at his will" (i.e., whenever he wants and we cannot resist it), but that we put ourselves in position to be taken captive "to do His will". People can "come to their senses" and escape the SNARE of the devil. But, if they do not escape the snare, they will get caught to be taken captive to do his will. So, this verse does not say that all men have no ability to resist the devil, but that all men can get caught in his traps or snares and then be taken captive. This has nothing to do with the subject of whether we can resist the grace of God. There is no verse that talks about "irresistable grace". This is a phony Calvinistic doctrine.
Five Point Arminian beliefs imply that God's grace is not efficacious (def. Producing an intended effect). Calvinists believe that God's grace is totally irresistible. Calvinists believe that once anyone receives God's grace, he will fall in love with God.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), Ephesians 2:4-5
Grace in its original language is
'charis.' Charis means unmerited favor. Grace is not something
to be earned for it is a gift from God. See Ephesians 2:8,9.
Reply: While grace is certainly unmerited or undeserved, this does not affirm that it is irresistable. The author of this article needs to show a verse that shows that a man cannot resist the gift of God or receive it in vain. We have shown that it can be resisted and it can be received in vain. Thus, the fourth point of Calvinism is built on the former erroneous conclusions. One error builds on another. It is a house of cards that falls under examination.
Every Five Point Arminians believe that you can lose your salvation even though you were once saved. They are implying that people can lose their salvation by not doing enough works. On the other hand, Calvinists believe that if you are a Christian, you will always remain a Christian.
Reply: Paul thought he could become disqualified for the prize (1 Cor.9:24f) and that there was a danger of the saved at Galatia "falling from grace"(Gal.5:4). The doctrine of "once-saved-always-saved" is a doctrine of demons (1 Tim.4:1-4). It gives people false assurance, and it is built on the previous part of the chain in the five links of Calvinism. The Bible does not teach any of these links. A person can receive the grace of God in vain and become worse than an infidel and become worse off than if they had never believed (2 Cor.6:1; 1 Tim.5:8; 2 Pet.2:20-22).
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6
Reply: This verse is showing Paul's confidence in their cooperation with the Lord. Anyone who continues to cooperate with the Lord will give others confidence that God will continue to develop them on to perfection, but that is not automatic and irresistable. The brethren of Galatia were of an opposite nature. They caused Paul to lose such confidence in them. He said "I am afraid for you" (Gal.4:11). He could not say the same thing to them that he said to the brethren of Philippi. Why? Because one group was cooperating with the Lord in learning His will and growing stronger, and the other had been influenced by false teachers to loosen their grip on the orignal gospel and therefore loosening their cooperation with the Lord's will. We can be confident of some people because of the their feeding habits, and we can become worried about others because their feeding habits do not open them to God's will as readily and as powerfully. Therefore, we conclude that this passage in Philippians does not support the doctrine of automatic preserverance.
and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. John 10:28
Reply: This verse is similar to the former verse. It shows that a cooperative sheep learns to trust his master's voice and will not easily be "snatched" over to a new and different voice. It will take a lot to get a sheep familiar with the master's voice to readily and immediately follow a new and different voice. This passage does not teach that a sheep cannot get caught in a trap or wander off and get taken captive. It is simply showing that people who are always listening to God's voice in the scriptures become so familiar with it that they will know when something is not right and cannot easily be "snatched" away quickly to those doubtful sounds.
TULIP: The Five Points of Calvinism in the Light of Scripture by Duane Edward Spencer
Reformed Doctrine of Predestination by Lorraine Boettner.
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