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T.U.L.I.P.

The Five Points of Calvinism which have the initials T.U.L.I.P. are a summary of Calvin's doctrine on Predestination. Calvin himself did not make this summary, it was his followers who made it after his death. (Derived from 'Romans: An Interpretive Outline', by David N. Steele and Curtis Thomas,). Below I will briefly look at the corresponding 'five points of Arminianism'.

Total Depravity
The Fall of Man has left him unable to believe the gospel to the extent which will save him. Everyone is a slave to his sinful nature which he inherited from Adam. As a consequence man is blind and deaf to those things which are of God. Indeed man is dead to the things of God. He is a slave to his evil nature, making his heart corrupt and turned away from God. Calvinists do not claim that man is unable to do any good whatsoever, it's just that he cannot remain in God or choose against evil in the spiritual realm. As a consequence of this, for someone to turn to Christ he must be completely regenerated by the Holy Spirit. The indwelling of the Spirit gives him a new nature, making him alive. His faith is a gift from God, it is not something which man contributes to his salvation. If our salvation relied on us producing our faith, first no-one would be saved because of our 'total depravity' (as it is called in the TULIP summary), and secondly God's Grace would not be so powerful as it is reliant on something. In fact I would argue that it is now no longer grace because salvation is reliant on something we must do, ie salvation is now by works.
We still must choose God. We are still responsible for our actions, it's just we are unable to respond and give God the faith required. The Holy Spirit moves in us and frees us. It is after that that we are free to respond, with the Holy Spirit moving through us.

Unconditional Election
God chooses before creationthose who will be saved entirely by His own will. He does not condition His election on His foreknowledge of those who will respond to Him and have faith. Their faith is the result of God choosing them. God's Grace is so magnificent that He chose us "while we were still sinners", while we were still in rebellion against God and not turning to Him. If God's election was condition on His foreknowledge of our responses, then God's Grace would be weaker and, as argued above, would no longer truly be grace.
They say that Arminians have a meaning of 'foreknowledge' which is less than the full biblical meaning.

Limited Atonement
God does not wish for man to sin. He commanded Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree and He desired that they would not rebel, but they did. Click here to see how their action possibly fitted in with God's fore-ordaining. Jesus came for all mankind, and gives an outward general call to all, but God has ordained for only a few to accept it and be saved. Jesus paid the price for us in our place so that we are accounted towards God as righteous. This gift is offered to all but God elects only a few to accept. No-one can accept this gift without God's Spirit moving through him.

Irresistable Grace
The Holy Spirit extends to the elect a call, moving them to acceptance and salvation. The call cannot be rejected because of the power of God and everyone called by the Spirit will convert and be saved. The Spirit is not limited by man's will or depending on his cooperation. The Spirit moves the elect to respond to God.

Perseverance of the Saints
Those chosen and redeemed by God will be kept in faith and will persevere to the end. It also is for this reason that we have assurance that we WILL get to heaven. Our faith and salvation is a gift from God which can never be lost.

 

Arminian 'TULIP'

'T'- Free Will
Man's nature was seriously affected by The Fall, but God has graciously enabled us all to repent and have faith. He does not, though, interfere in our free will. Our free will enables us to choose good and evil, our salvation depends on this, and we are not enslaved to our sinful nature. Our faith is man's act, and it precedes the regeneration by the Spirit.
- I know of no passage which teaches that God has made us ALL able to freely repent and have faith. God's Grace certainly is so wonderful that it changes us so we can choose God, but this change happens only in those chosen by God, chosen unconditoned on our response. There is no passage I've found saying that God reversed some of the effects of The Fall. Our will is not completely free, we are slaves to sin. Jesus said in John 8:34 "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin." We are all slaves to our sinful nature.

'U'- Conditional Election
I shall evaluate this aspect of Calvinism and Arminianism in my page - Election By Foreknowledge. But I'll briefly cover the Arminan position on this here.
God chose those he would save on the basis of Him foreseeing how they would respond to His call. The 'elect' are those who God foresaw would freely believe the Gospel. An individual's election is conditioned upon what he/she would do. God foresaw their faith, and this faith is not given to them by Him, ie not the result of the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit, but results solely from that person's will. Because God elected those whom He knew would of their own free will choose Him, the ultimate cause of salvation is the sinner's choice of God not God's choice of the sinner.

'L'- General Atonement
Christ died for everyone, but only those who believe on Him will be saved. Christ's death made it possible for everyone to be saved but His redeeming work did not secure the salvation of anyone. It enabled God to forgive sinners (on the condition they believe - so it did not actually wash away anyone's sins). Basically - The redemption that is in Jesus Christ only becomes effective in a man if he chooses to accept it.
- I'll evaluate this further in another page.
The external call of the gospel (all who here it are called to Christ) is to everyone, and not restricted to the elect. God is sincere in His universal call to Him, but this outward call is not enough. Mankind because of the Fall is now unable to effectively respond on his own. So if redemption only becomes in someone if he/she chooses to accept it without an internal call of the Holy Spirit, then no-one will effectively respond as they all will refuse to. The inward calling of the elect frees them so that they are then free to respond effectively - and they will.

'I'- Resistible Grace
I.E. The Holy Spirit can be effectively resisted by everyone.
All those who are called outwardly the Holy Spirit calls inwardly also. He does all He can to bring all men to salvation, but every individual can successfully resist His call if they wish inasmuch as they are free. Faith - man's contribution, not a gift from God - comes first and enables the Holy Spirit to regenerate the sinner. The Holy Spirit cannot regenerate someone until they believe, He is limited by our free will. God's Grace is not invincible, it can be resisted effectively by man, so the Holy Spirit can only draw to Christ those who allow him to.
- This weakens God's Grace and the power of the Holy Spirit. This gives us an ability to freely choose which we do not have because of our sin. God's calling is irresistable because God is so powerful.

'P'- We Can Fall From Grace
Everyone who believes and truly is saved can lose their salvation by falling away. But this point is not agreed upon among all Arminians, some believe that once someone believes and is regenerated they are eternally secure in Christ.
- Briefly: Salvation is a gift from God, and "the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable." Romans 11:29. There is more in the Bible to support the Perseverance of the Saints.

Browse through in a logical order:

Predestination discussion The Fall and Human Will

Browse through the order I made them:

Predestination discussion Election by Foreknowledge