I Prefer Roses to Tulips

I’m no expert on Reformed theology, but I do know a couple of things: John Calvin was a smart fellow, and Reformed folks have this T.U.L.I.P thing:

Total Depravity
Total depravity means that human persons are entirely unable to do good works, to respond to God apart from his grace, or to please God.
Unconditional Election
Unconditional election means that God chooses to save whomever he wishes, irrespective of individual merit
Limited Atonement
Limited Atonement means that Jesus satisfied the punishment for all the sins of some people, and for none of the sins of the remainder.
Irresistible Grace
Irresistible grace means that if God elects you, you’re certainly going to respond and convert.
Perseverance of the Saints
Perseverance of the saints means that if God has in fact elected you, you will never fall away from the faith.

As I said, John Calvin was a smart fellow and he can read scripture as well or better than anybody, and Calvin determined that the reason some came to God and others didn’t was because God wanted it that way. A key point for Reformed theology is that God is sovereign. I won’t go through the exercise of deriving TULIP from scripture because it has been done already by those more knowledgeable than I. However, after TULIP has been proved by scripture, there remains a problem because it can also be disproved by scripture!

Look at the clear implication of TULIP: God chooses some not to be saved. Now look at scripture:

(1 Tim 2:3-6 NASB) This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, {4} who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. {5} For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, {6} who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony borne at the proper time.

(John 3:16-17 NRSV) “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. {17} “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Which, I think, just goes to show that Christianity has no definitive answer to the question of why some come to God and others do not. And if we don’t know, why fight over it?

[The Rose is a symbol for Martin Luther. Luther seemed to believe in predestination, but only in a pastoral sense–giving the believer assurance of his salvation.]

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