TULIP

TULIP is an acronym for the five points of Calvinism.  It stands for:

Total Depravity

Unconditional Election

Limited Atonement

Irresistible Grace

Perseverance of the Saints

The five points were written in response to the points of Arminianism which has five points but no well known acronym such as TULIP.

Irresistible Grace

A Calvinistic belief that man cannot refuse God’s grace.  Because man is depraved and unable to save himself, he is also unable to resist God’s grace.  This likewise fits the nature of election because God would not elect someone who would resist Him, if it were theoretically possible.

The debate about irresistible grace  the sovereignty of God and the freewill of man.  If man has total free will, he can resist even God’s call of salvation.  If man has partial free will, can God still be considered sovereign?  Or is it possible that God is sovereign in matters of salvation but allows man to have freewill in other aspects of life?

The sovereignty of God cannot be denied in scripture but there is also strong evidence for man’s free will as well.  Although it is impossible to determine where the balance lies, there most likely is a balance between God’s sovereignty and man’s free will.  Because of this, it does not negate the possibility of irresistible grace or the Arminian alternative, prevenient grace.

Calvinism

Calvinism is a series of beliefs based on those of John Calvin and his followers.  Calvinism has five points to it which spells out the acronym TULIP.  Those who believe in all five points may be considered five point Calvinists.  Others may consider themselves three point Calvinists while others who only believe in the preservation of the saints may consider themselves a one point Calvinist.

The Arminian view is considered the alternative to the Calvinistic view.  While there are many who consider themselves strictly Arminian or Calvinist, there are others who claim to be somewhere in between.

The five points of Calvinism were not created by Calvin but rather originated at the Synod of Dort in 1619.  It was a response to the five points of the Arminian Remonstrance in 1610 (which was a response to Calvin’s ideas.)

Five points of Calvinism:

Total Depravity

Unconditional Election

Limited Atonement

Irresistible Grace

Perseverance of the Saints

For more information, see the articles Calvinism Basics and Arminianism vs. Calvinism