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Introduction to Calvinism

This section on Calvinism is a short explanation and one could add to this many times over. The navigation bar on the left will take you to the different sections to make it easier to study. Please note that all Calvinists will disagree with anyone who writes or speaks anything contrary to Calvinism.

John Calvin developed the Calvinistic theology in the sixteenth century. It became know as the TULIP theology, although Calvin did not use that term. This Calvinistic theology is also called "Covenant Theology", "Reformed Theology" and is taught by Reformed Churches, Presbyterians, and some Baptists.

So where did this view originate? This theology can be found in the writings of Augustine (one of the early church fathers) and many believe that Calvinism is a fully developed form of Augustinianism, which includes predestination. Some of the Baptist churches that believe in Calvinism, and it's erroneous view of predestination, believe that Calvin and Augustine were sound theologians. We should also remember that the Roman Catholic Church adopted many of the teachings of Augustine. The teachings of Augustine are not found in the Greek Catholicism.

Many Protestant denominations that came out of the Roman Catholic Church, during the reformation, kept many teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. It is also through Augustine, Origen, and others of that time that we have the false Amillennial view with its allegorical interpretation of Scriptures and replacement theology or suppersessionism. Replacement theology (the teaching that the Church has replaced Israel) brought about Anti-Semitism which continues to this day. Unfortunately, many of these teachings have been carried over from the Roman Catholic Church into today's protestant churches.

Many believe the teachings of Augustine were without error. However, Augustine taught many errors but I will only mention three. First, he believed the apocryphal books and the Septuagint were divinely inspired and wrote to Jerome to translate the Old Testament from the Septuagint instead of the Hebrew. Secondly, he believed in infant baptism and baptismal regeneration. Thirdly, his interpretation of the Bible is based on the erroneous allegorical method of Origen and the Alexandrian school, which is Amillennialism.

Some Calvinists don't like using the term Calvinist for whatever reason and call their Calvinist view the "doctrine of grace". The phrase "doctrine of grace" is just a replacement term for Calvinism. The doctrine of grace describes the soteriological doctrines that are used in Reformed theology. They then summarize those doctrines with the acronym "TULIP". They believe this acronym describes biblical teaching on the soteriological doctrines.

Then there is the "New Calvinism" which is just a revival of the old traditional Calvinism. Calviinism is now becoming popular in all denominations of the evangelical churches, Episcopal, Independent, Presbyterian, and Baptist churches. The national network of the New Calvinists is a coalition called "The Gospel Coalition" which was begun in 2007.

The theology of Calvinism can be summarized under the acronym TULIP that uses five points to describe Calvinism. Calvinists can also be divided into groups since there are many different views of Calvinism. There are the Hyper-Calvinist that believe in all 5 points of Calvinism and the "Moderate" Calvinist who only accept one or more of the five points of Calvinism. There are some Calvinist that would like to add more points to the five, up to ten, two of which are infant baptism and Covenant theology.

The heart of Calvinist teachings is that God predestinated, or elected, some to be saved and others to be lost. Those that are elected, or predestined, to be saved will be saved by God's irresistible grace and cannot reject salvation. The rest of mankind is lost, having no opportunity of salvation, are condemned to live forever in the Lake of Fire. The five points of Calvinism come from the false view of predestination.

Calvinism teaches their view with the acronym T U L I P:

T = Total Depravity – Teaches that unregenerate man is totally dead in sin and has inability to accept Jesus Christ or do any good at all.
U = Unconditional Election – Teaches that God, by a sovereign, eternal decree, unconditionally elected some of the lost sinners to salvation according to His good pleasure and sends others off to hell.
L = Limited Atonement – Teaches that by His death on the cross Jesus Christ only made atonement for those that were previously elected to salvation. He did not die for those not elected to salvation.
I = Irresistible Grace – Teaches that God irresistibly overpowers the will of those previously elected to salvation with His grace and regenerates him, giving him faith and repentance to believe in Jesus Christ. Those elected have no choice.
P = Perseverance of the Saints – Teaches that all of the elect that has been regenerated by God will stay in the faith and receive their glorified bodies.

Calvinism's order of salvation:
1. Election = God's choice of people to be saved
2. The gospel call = proclaiming the message of the gospel
3. Regeneration = the new birth or being born again
4. Conversion = faith and repentance
5. Justification = right legal standing
6. Adoption = the adoption as a member in God's family
7. Sanctification = righteous conduct of life
8. Perseverance = always remaining a Christian
9.Death = going to be with the Lord
10. Glorification = receiving a resurrection body

As we see above in the order of salvation and will see more details later in the study, Calvinism has a person being regenerated first and then they receive faith and repentance. The Bible says Faith and repentance comes first, by hearing the gospel. Then comes the Holy Spirit and regeneration. Calvinism is clearly wrong.

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