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Five points of Calvinism

Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, Perseverance of the saints Calvinist theology is sometimes identified with the five points of Calvinism, also called the doctrines of grace, which are a point-by-point response to the five points of the Arminian Remonstrance and which serve as a summation of the judgments rendered by the Synod of Dort in 1619.[5]Calvin himself never used such a model and never combated Arminianism directly. In fact, Calvin died in 1564 and Jacob Arminias was born in 1560, and so the men were not contemporaries. The Articles of Remonstrance were authored by opponents of reformed doctrine and Biblical Monergism. They were rejected in 1619 at the Synod of Dort, more than 50 years after the death of Calvin. The five points therefore function as a summary of the differences between Calvinism and Arminianism, but not as a complete summation of Calvin's writings or of the theology of the Reformed churches in general. In English, they are sometimes referred to by the acronym TULIP[6] (see below), though this puts them in a different order than the Canons of Dort. The central assertion of these canons is that God is able to save every person upon whom he has mercy, and that his efforts are not frustrated by the unrighteousness or inability of humans.

"Total depravity": This doctrine, also called "total inability", asserts that as a consequence of

the fall of man into sin, every person born into the world is enslaved to the service of sin. People are not by nature inclined to love God with their whole heart, mind, or strength, but rather all are inclined to serve their own interests over those of their neighbor and to reject the rule of God. Thus, all people by their own faculties are morally unable to choose to follow God and be saved because they are unwilling to do so out of the necessity of their own natures. (The term "total" in this context refers to sin affecting every part of a person, not that every person is as evil as possible.) [7] This doctrine is borrowed from Augustine who was a member of a Manichaean sect in his youth.

"Unconditional election": This doctrine asserts that God has chosen from eternity those whom

he will bring to himself not based on foreseen virtue, merit, or faith in those people; rather, it is unconditionally grounded in God's mercy alone. God has chosen from eternityto extend mercy to those He has chosen and to withhold mercy from those not chosen. Those chosen receive salvation through Christ alone. Those not chosen receive the just wrath that is warranted for their sins against God [8]

"Limited atonement": Also called "particular redemption" or "definite atonement", this doctrine

asserts that Jesus's substitutionary atonement was definite and certain in its design and accomplishment. This implies that only the sins of the elect were atoned for by Jesus's death.

Calvinists do not believe, however, that the atonement is limited in its value or power, but rather that the atonement is limited in the sense that it is designed for some and not all. Hence, Calvinists hold that the atonement is sufficient for all and efficient for the elect.[9] The doctrine is driven by the Calvinistic concept of the sovereignty of God in salvation and their understanding of the nature of the atonement.

"Irresistible grace": This doctrine, also called "efficacious grace", asserts that the saving grace

of God is effectually applied to those whom he has determined to save (that is, the elect) and, in God's timing, overcomes their resistance to obeying the call of the gospel, bringing them to a saving faith. This means that when God sovereignly purposes to save someone, that individual certainly will be saved. The doctrine holds that every influence of God's Holy Spirit cannot be resisted, but that the Holy Spirit, "graciously causes the elect sinner to cooperate, to believe, to repent, to come freely and willingly to Christ."[10]

"Perseverance of the saints": Perseverance (or preservation) of the saints (the word "saints" is

used in the Biblical sense to refer to all who are set apart by God, and not in the technical sense of one who is exceptionally holy, canonized, or in heaven). The doctrine asserts that since God is sovereign and his will cannot be frustrated by humans or anything else, those whom God has called into communion with himself will continue in faith until the end. Those who apparently fall away either never had true faith to begin with or will return.[11] Sovereign grace Calvinism stresses the total depravity or total inability of humanity's ethical nature against a backdrop of the sovereign grace of God in salvation. It teaches that fallen people are morally and spiritually unable to follow God or escape their condemnation before him. [12] It is seen as the work of God (divine intervention) in which God changes their unwilling hearts from rebellion to willing obedience. In this view, all people are entirely at the mercy of God, who would be just in condemning all people for their sins, but who has chosen to be merciful to some. Thus, one person is saved while another is condemned, not because of a foreseen willingness, faith, or any other virtue in the first person, but because God sovereignly chose to have mercy on him.[13] Although the person must believe the gospel and respond to be saved, this obedience of faith is God's gift, and thus God completely and sovereignly accomplishes the salvation of sinners. Views of predestination to damnation (the doctrine of reprobation) are less uniform than is the view of predestination to salvation (the doctrine of election) among self-described Calvinists (see Supralapsarianism and Infralapsarianism). In practice, Calvinists teach sovereign grace primarily for the encouragement of the church because they believe the doctrine demonstrates the extent of God's love in saving those who could not and would not follow him, as well as quashing pride and self-reliance and emphasizing the Christian's total dependence on the grace of God. In the same way, sanctification in the Calvinist view requires a

continual reliance on God to purge the Christian's depraved heart from the power of sin and to further the Christian's joy.[14] Nature of the atonement An additional point of disagreement with Arminianism implicit in the five points is the Calvinist understanding of the doctrine of Jesus'ssubstitutionary atonement as a punishment for the sins of the elect, which was developed by St. Augustine and especially St. Anselm and Calvin himself. Calvinists argue that if Christ takes the punishment in the place of a particular sinner, that person must be saved since it would be unjust for him then to be condemned for the same sins. [15] The definitive and binding nature of this satisfaction model has strong implications for each of the five points, and it has led Arminians to subscribe instead to the governmental theory of the atonement. Under that theory, no particular sins or sinners are in view, but all of humanity are included in those whose sins have been taken away. The atonement was not the penalty of the law, but a substitute for the penalty, which allows God to remit the penalty by his grace when any sinner repents and believes in Jesus as the Christ.[16] Covenant theology Main article: Covenant theology Although the doctrines of grace have generally received the greater focus in contemporary Calvinism, covenant theology is the historic superstructure that unifies the entire system of doctrine.[17] Calvinists take God's transcendence to mean that the relationship between God and his creation must be by voluntary condescension on God's part. This relationship he establishes is covenantal: the terms of the relationship are unchangeably decreed by God alone.[18] Reformed writings commonly refer to an intra-Trinitarian covenant of redemption. The greater focus is the relationship between God and man, which in historic Calvinism is seen as bi-covenantal, reflecting the early Reformation distinction between Law and Gospel. The covenant of works encompasses the moral and natural law, dictating the terms of creation. By its terms, man would enjoy eternal life and blessedness based on his continued personal and perfect righteousness. With the fall of man, this covenant continues to operate, but only to condemn sinful man. [19] The covenant of grace is instituted at the fall, and administered through successive historic covenants seen in Scripture for the purpose of redemption. By its terms, salvation comes not by any personal performance, but by promise. Peace with God comes only through a mediator, the fulfillment of which is found in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Christ is seen as the federal head of his elect people, and thus the covenant is the basis of the doctrines of the substitutionary atonement and the imputation of the active obedience of Christ.[20] [edit]Worship regulated by God Main article: Regulative principle of worship

The regulative principle regarding worship, which distinguishes the Calvinist approach to the public worship of God from other views, is that only those elements that are instituted or appointed by command or example in the New Testament are permissible in worship. In other words, the regulative principle maintains that God institutes in the scriptures what he requires for worship in the church, and everything else is prohibited. As the regulative principle is reflected in Calvin's own thought, it is driven by his evident antipathy toward the Roman Catholic Church and her worship, and it associates musical instruments with icons, which he considered violations of the Ten Commandments' prohibition of graven images.[21] On this basis, many early Calvinists also eschewed musical instruments and advocated exclusive psalmody in worship,[22] though Calvin himself allowed other scriptural songs as well as psalms, [21] and this practice typified presbyterian worship and the worship of other Reformed churches for some time. The original Lord's Day service designed by John Calvin was a highly liturgical service with the Creed, Alms, Confession and Absolution, the Lord's supper, Doxologies, prayers, Psalms being sung, the Lords prayer being sung, Benedictions. The following are Orders of Service for the Lords Day as designed by John Calvin: Calvin: Strasbourg, 1540 Calvin: Geneva, 1542 Scripture Sentence: Psalm 124:8 Scripture Sentence: Psalm 124:8 Confession of sins Confession of sins Scriptural words of pardon Prayer for pardon Absolution Metrical Decalogue sung with Kyrie eleison (Gr.) after each Law Collect for Illumination Collect for Illumination Lection Lection Sermon Sermon Liturgy of the Upper Room Collection of alms Collection of alms Intercessions Intercessions 15 William D. Maxwell, An Outline of Christian Worship: Its Development and Forms (London: Oxford University Press, 1936), 116. 16 Ibid., 114. Collect is a short prayer; Lection is a Scripture reading; Fraction and Delivery are the breaking of the bread and distribution thereof, respectively. WRS Journal 16:1 (February 2009), 33-40. 6 Lords Prayer in long paraphrase Lords Prayer in long paraphrase Preparation of elements while Preparation of elements while Apostles Creed sung Apostles Creed sung Consecration Prayer Words of Institution Words of Institution Exhortation Exhortation Consecration Prayer Fraction Fraction Delivery Delivery Communion, while psalm sung Communion, while psalm or Scriptures read Post-communion collect Post-communion collect Nunc dimittis in metre Aaronic Blessing Aaronic Blessing Since the 19th century, however, most of the Reformed churches have modified their understanding of the regulative principle and make use of musical instruments, believing that Calvin and his early followers went beyond the biblical requirements [21] and that such things are circumstances of worship requiring biblically rooted wisdom, rather than an explicit command. Despite the protestations of those few who hold to a strict view of the regulative principle, today hymns and musical instruments are in common use, as are contemporary worship music styles and worship bands.[23]

[edit]Variants Many efforts have been undertaken to reform or expand on Calvinism, and these variations appear to a greater or lesser degree throughout the history of Calvinism. [edit]Lapsarianism Main article: Supralapsarianism and infralapsarianism Within scholastic Calvinist theology, there are two schools of thought over when and whom God predestined: supralapsarianism (from theLatin: supra, "above", here meaning "before" + lapsus, "fall") and infralapsarianism (from the Latin: infra, "beneath", here meaning "after" +lapsus, "fall"). The former view, sometimes called "high Calvinism", argues that the Fall occurred partly to facilitate God's purpose to choose some individuals for salvation and some for damnation. Infralapsarianism, sometimes called "low Calvinism", is the position that, while the Fall was indeed planned, it was not planned with reference to who would be saved. Supralapsarians believe that God chose which individuals to save before he decided to allow the race to fall and that the Fall serves as the means of realization of that prior decision to send some individuals to hell and others to heaven (that is, it provides the grounds of condemnation in the reprobate and the need for salvation in the elect). In contrast, infralapsarians hold that God planned the race to fall logically prior to the decision to save or damn any individuals because, it is argued, in order to be "saved", one must first need to be saved from something and therefore the decree of the Fall must precede predestination to salvation or damnation. These two views vied with each other at the Synod of Dort (1618), an international body representing Calvinist Christian churches from around Europe, and the judgments that came out of that council sided with infralapsarianism (Canons of Dort, First Point of Doctrine, Article 7). The influential Westminster Confession of Faith also teaches (in Hodge's words "clearly impl[ies]") the infralapsarian [24] view, but is sensitive to those holding to supralapsarianism.[25] The Lapsarian controversy has a few vocal proponents on each side today, but overall it does not receive much attention among modern Calvinists. [edit]Four-point Calvinism Main article: Amyraldism Another revision of Calvinism is called "Amyraldism", "hypothetical universalism", or "four-point Calvinism", also known as Four-point Calvinism, Moderate Calvinism, Modified Calvinism, or Unlimited Limited Atonement. This drops the limited atonement in favor of anunlimited atonement saying that God has provided Christ's atonement for all alike, but seeing that none would believe on their own, he then elects those whom he will bring to faith in Christ, thereby preserving the Calvinist doctrine of unconditional election.[26]

This doctrine was most thoroughly systematized by the French Reformed theologian at the Academy of Saumur, Moses Amyraut, for whom it is named. His formulation was an attempt to bring Calvinism more nearly alongside the Lutheran view. In England, hypothetical universalism (which is not entirely consistent with Amyraldianism) was held by the early 17th century theologians John Davenant and John Preston and was propounded at the Westminster Assembly by the English Presbyterian leaders Edmund Calamy the Elder, Lazarus Seaman and Stephen Marshall. In a different, more idiosyncratic form, it was expounded in England by the writings of the Reformed pastorRichard Baxter and gained strong adherence among the Congregationalists and some Presbyterians in the American colonies, during the 17th and 18th centuries.[citation needed] Amyraldism can be found among various evangelical groups in the United States and within the Anglican Diocese of Sydney. "Four point" Calvinism is prevalent in conservative and moderate groups among Presbyterian churches, Reformed churches, Reformed Baptists and some nondenominational churches, and is not uncommon among evangelical members of the Church of England.[citation needed] Historically, Amyraldism has been called "moderate Calvinism", [27] but Norman Geisler uses this term to describe his own views, whichJames R. White calls "merely a modified form of historic Arminianism."[28] R. C. Sproul believes there is confusion about what the doctrine of limited atonement actually teaches. While he considers it possible for a person to believe four points without believing the fifth, he claims that a person who really understands the other four points must believe in limited atonement because of what Martin Luther called a resistless logic.[26] Mark Driscoll calls this "Unlimited Limited Atonement", or "Four-and-a-half point Calvinism", whereby Jesus, by dying for everyone, purchased everyone as His possession and He then applies His forgiveness to the elect by grace and applies His wrath to the non-elect. Objectively, Jesus' death was sufficient to save anyone, and, subjectively, only efficient to save those who repent of their sin and trust in Him.[29] [edit]Hyper-Calvinism Main article: Hyper-Calvinism Hyper-Calvinism first referred to an eccentric view that appeared among the early English Particular Baptists in the 18th century. Their system denied that the call of the gospel to "repent and believe" is directed to every single person and that it is the duty of every person to trust in Christ for salvation. While this doctrine has always been a minority view, it has not been relegated to the past and may still be found in some small denominations and church communities today, most notably Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, which is infamous for its picketing of soldiers' funerals. The term also occasionally appears in both theological and secular controversial contexts, where it usually connotes a negative opinion about some variety of theological determinism, predestination, or a

version of Evangelical Christianity or Calvinism that is deemed by the critic to be unenlightened, harsh, or extreme. [edit]Neo-orthodoxy Main article: Neo-orthodoxy In the mainline Reformed churches, Calvinism has undergone expansion and revision through the influence of Karl Barth and neo-orthodoxtheology. Barth was an important Swiss Reformed theologian who began writing early in the 20th century, whose chief accomplishment was to counter-act the influence of the Enlightenment in the churches. The Barmen declaration is an expression of the Barthian reform of Calvinism. Conservative Calvinists (as well as some liberal reformers) regard it as confusing to use the name "Calvinism" to refer to neo-orthodoxy or other liberal revisions stemming from Calvinist churches due to their differing theological views. [edit]Neo-Calvinism Main article: Neo-Calvinism Besides the traditional movements within the conservative Reformed churches, several trends have arisen through the attempt to provide a contemporary, but theologically conservative approach to the world. A version of Calvinism that has been adopted by both theological conservatives and liberals gained influence in the Dutch Reformed churches, late in the 19th century, dubbed "neo-Calvinism", which developed along lines of the theories of Dutch theologian, statesman andjournalist, Abraham Kuyper. More traditional Calvinist critics of the movement characterize it as a revision of Calvinism, although a conservative one in comparison to modernist Christianity or neo-orthodoxy. Neo-Calvinism, "Calvinianism", or the "reformational movement", is a response to the influences of the Enlightenment, but generally speaking it does not touch directly on the articles of salvation. Neo-Calvinists intend their work to be understood as an update of the Calvinist worldview in response to modern circumstances, which is an extension of the Calvinist understanding of religion to scientific, social and political issues. To show their consistency with the historic Reformed movement, supporters may cite Calvin's Institutes, book 1, chapters 1-3, and other works. In the United States, Kuyperian neoCalvinism is represented among others, by the Center for Public Justice, a faith-based political thinktank headquartered in Washington, D.C. Neo-Calvinism branched off in more theologically conservative movements in the United States. The first of these to rise to prominence became apparent through the writings of Francis Schaeffer, who had gathered around himself a group of scholars, and propagated their ideas in writing and through L'Abri, a Calvinist study center in Switzerland. This movement generated a reawakened social consciousness among Evangelicals. [edit]Christian Reconstructionism

Main article: Christian Reconstructionism A neo-Calvinist movement called "Christian Reconstructionism" is much smaller, more radical, and theocratic, but by some believed to be widely influential in American family and political life. Reconstructionism is a distinct revision of Kuyper's approach, which sharply departs from that root influence through the complete rejection of pluralism, and by formulating suggested applications of the sanctions of Biblical Law for modern civil governments. These distinctives are the least influential aspects of the movement. Its intellectual founder, the lateRousas J. Rushdoony, based much of his understanding on the apologetical insights of Cornelius Van Til, father of presuppositionalism andprofessor at Westminster Theological Seminary (although Van Til himself did not hold to such a view). It has some influence in the conservative Reformed churches in which it was born, and in Calvinistic Baptist and Charismatic churches mostly in the United States, Canada, and to a lesser extent in the UK. Reconstructionism aims toward the complete rebuilding of the structures of society on Christian and Biblical presuppositions, not, according to its promoters, in terms of "top down" structural changes, but through the steady advance of the Gospel of Christ as men and women are converted, who then live out their obedience to God in the areas for which they are responsible. In keeping with the Theonomic Principle, it seeks to establish laws and structures that will best instantiate the ethical principles of the Bible, including the Old Testament as expounded in the case laws and summarized in the Decalogue. Not a political movement, strictly speaking, Reconstructionism has nonetheless been influential in the development of aspects of the Christian Right that some critics have called "Dominionism". Reconstructionism assumes that God institutes in the Scriptures everything he requires for the ordering of self and society, extending theregulative principle of worship to all areas of life. [edit]Calvinism Today Main article: New Calvinism Calvinism has undergone a resurgence in North America in recent years. [30] TIME magazine described the New Calvinism as one of the "10 ideas changing the world" in 2009 and cited its adherents to be largely Reformed Baptist or Southern Baptist.[31] Figures today which are associated with Calvinism include Mark Dever,[32] Mark Driscoll,[33] Ligon Duncan,[34] Matt Chandler,[35][broken Piper.[42] [edit]Social and Religious Influences of Calvinism [edit]Usury and capitalism One school of thought attributes Calvinism with setting the stage for the later development of capitalism in northern Europe. In this view, elements of Calvinism represented a revolt against the

Tim Keller,[36] C.J.

Mahaney,[37] Al Mohler,[38] John MacArthur,[39] J.I. Packer,[40] Steve Lawson, Brandon Smith, [41] and John

medieval condemnation of usury and, implicitly, of profit in general.[citation


Such a connection was

advanced in influential works by R. H. Tawney (18801962) and by Max Weber (18641920). Calvin expressed himself on usury in a 1545 letter to a friend, Claude de Sachin, in which he criticized the use of certain passages of scripture invoked by people opposed to the charging of interest. He reinterpreted some of these passages, and suggested that others of them had been rendered irrelevant by changed conditions. He also dismissed the argument (based upon the writings of Aristotle) that it is wrong to charge interest for money because money itself is barren. He said that the walls and the roof of a house are barren, too, but it is permissible to charge someone for allowing him to use them. In the same way, money can be made fruitful.[43] He qualified his view, however, by saying that money should be lent to people in dire need without hope of interest, while a modest interest rate of 5% should be permitted in relation to other borrowers.[44] [edit]Arminianism Main article: Arminianism See also: History of Calvinist-Arminian debate A theological and political movement in opposition to Calvinism, now called "Arminianism", was founded by Dutch theologian Jacob Arminius and revised and pursued by the Remonstrants. Arminius rejected several tenets of the Calvinist doctrines of salvation namely, the latter four of what would later be known as the five points of Calvinism. The term "Arminianism" today often serves as an umbrella term for both Arminius's doctrine and the Remonstrants', but Arminius's followers sometimes distinguish themselves as "Reformed Arminians."[45] The Remonstrants' doctrine was condemned at the Synod of Dort held in Dordrecht, Holland, in 1618/1619, and followers of either Arminius or the Remonstrants are not generally considered "Reformed" by most Calvinists. Many Evangelical Christians adopted the position advocated by the Remonstrants, and Arminius's system was revived by evangelist John Wesley and is common today, particularly inMethodism. [edit]Comparison among Protestants This table summarizes the classical views of three different Protestant beliefs about salvation.[46]





Human will Total Total Total depravity, Depravitywithout Depravity without with prevenient free will until free will grace, does not spiritual permanently due preclude free will regeneration to the nature of divine

sovereignty Unconditional election to Conditional salvation and Unconditional electio election on the damnation n to salvation only basis of foreseen (doublefaith or unbelief predestination) [47


Justification made possible Justification is for allthrough limited to those Christ's death, Justification of all Justificatio predestined to but only people completed at n salvation, completed Christ's death completed at upon placing Christ's death faith in Jesus (hypothetical universalism) Synergistic, Monergistic, Monergistic, through resistible due to through the inner Conversion the means of the common, calling of the Holy grace,resistible sufficient grace Spirit,irresistible of free will Perseverance of Preservation is the saints: the Falling away is conditional upon eternally elect in possible, but continued faith Preservati Christ will reflection on one's in Christ; on and necessarily faith reflection on apostasy persevere in faith providesassurance o one's faith and subsequent f preservation provides holiness until the assurance end