• A non-Calvinist version of TULIP

A non-Calvinist version of TULIP

Hi Dojo readers,

As some of you who follow me on Instagram or Facebook may know, I just returned from two days of speaking to the leadership and interns at one of the largest campus ministries in the nation, the Wesley Foundation at UGA (where I interned 15 years ago for a year after I graduated). One of the topics I was asked to speak on was Calvinism and Arminianism, as that has been a topic which many of the students and leaders have wanted to better understand.

So I taught a session called “Calvinism Calmly Considered” (a subtle nod to John Wesley’s treatise of a similar name) in which we looked at the commonly taught summary of Calvinism embodied in the famous “TULIP” acronym followed by my suggestion of an alternative version of “TULIP” which I believe is a fuller and more accurate summary of the overall Biblical message.

The session was recorded and I plan on making the MP3 of it available here in the Dojo as soon as I’m able to get a copy of it from the UGA Wesley staff.

In the meantime, here is a basic summary of what I taught in my Methodist Examiner column…


A non-Calvinist version of ‘TULIP’

When it comes to theological pedigree among Protestants, many Christians have been led to believe that the subset of Reformed Theology known as “Calvinism” is the absolute pinnacle of intellectual Biblical-theological thought. If one is serious about theology (rather than folk-religion or “man-made doctrines”), one is a Calvinist, plain and simple. It is the teaching of Scripture and the only faithful expression of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If one is not a Calvinist, it is only because he or she has not embraced a high view of Scripture or not thought through the subject with enough depth or honesty. Non-Calvinists may be saved…but just barely, according to some popular proponents of Calvinsim.

Calvinism has been summed up in various ways over the centuries, but the most popular summarization of its five main tenents (also known, to Calvinists as the “Doctrines of Grace”) is with the acronym “TULIP”:

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