“Calvinism” is very popular and many Christians, though they would not identify themselves as Calvinists, may have embraced some of Calvin’s doctrine without realizing it. The doctrine is named after a man named John Calvin, a reformer, who lived in the 1500’s. Calvinism propagates error. Knowledge of error helps us to be discerning when listening to or reading Christian material. If a teacher is a Calvinist, all that they teach will be taught through the lens of Calvinism. The result of this Calvinistic “bent” will be teachings that are dangerously distorted.

This is just a simple outline of Calvinism . . .

T.U.L.I.P. is an acronym used by Calvinists to describe the main five points of Calvinism.

T stands for TOTAL DEPRAVITY – This “Calvin” doctrine propagates the error that that man is so depraved and corrupt that he is not capable of making a choice to follow the Lord. It is taught that God is the one who predestines some to believe in Him and be born again, and predestines others not to believe in Him. The ones who are not predestined to believe will perish in hell. This doctrine denies free will. They say it doesn’t, but it does.

SCRIPTURE CLEARLY TEACHES that an individual has the God given ability to choose:

Matthew 11:20 “Then began he (Jesus) to UPBRAID the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:”

(UPBRAID – Find fault with, or reproach severely.

Luke 13:34 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but YOU WERE NOT WILLING!” (NKJV)

Romans 1:18-20 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, FOR GOD HAS SHOWN IT TO THEM. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that THEY ARE WITHOUT EXCUSE,” (NKJV)

U stands for UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION – This “Calvin” doctrine propagates the error that some individuals are elected/chosen to salvation, and some are not. It is taught that God’s choices are unconditional.

SCRIPTURE CLEARLY TEACHES that Christ is the chosen, Christ is the elect. When we believe the gospel we are then called chosen and elect because we are “in Christ.” It’s not about us, it’s about Christ.

Matthew 12:18 “Behold my servant, whom I have CHOSEN; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.”

Luke 23:35 “And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the CHOSEN of God.”

Isaiah 42:1 “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine ELECT, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.”

L stands for LIMITED ATONEMENT – This “Calvin” doctrine propagates the error that Christ’s atoning work on the cross was only for certain individuals.

SCRIPTURE CLEARLY TEACHES that Christ’s atonement is available to all people.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Luke 2:10 “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to ALL people.”

Luke 2:31 “Which thou hast prepared before the face of ALL people;”

2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

Revelation 22:17 “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And WHOSOEVER WILL, let him take the water of life freely.”

I stands for IRRESISTIBLE GRACE – This “Calvin” doctrine propagates the error that when God calls a person to salvation, that person cannot resist God’s call.

SCRIPTURE CLEARLY TEACHES that it is possible to resist the Holy Ghost.

Matthew 11:20 “Then began he (Jesus) to UPBRAID the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:”

(UPBRAID – Find fault with, or reproach severely.

Luke 13:34 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but YOU WERE NOT WILLING! (NKJV)

Acts 7:51 “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, YE DO ALWAYS RESIST THE HOLY GHOST: as your fathers did, so do ye.”

P stands for PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS (also known as “Once Saved Always Saved”) – This “Calvin” doctrine propagates the error that a person can never fall away from the faith.

SCRIPTURE CLEARLY TEACHES that it is possible to fall away from the faith.

John 8:31 “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, IF YE CONTINUE in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;”

1 Timothy 1:19 “Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away CONCERNING FAITH HAVE MADE SHIPWRECK:”

2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have KEPT THE FAITH:”

2 Peter 2:20-22 “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have KNOWN the way of righteousness, than, after they have KNOWN it, to TURN from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is TURNED to his own vomit again; and the sow that WAS WASHED to her wallowing in the mire.”

* * *

A Christian sister once said . . . “the Lord draws, but we have the free will to respond, or not to respond, to that drawing.”  True. We are not robots.  Also, with Calvinism, a person is left to wonder if they are one of God’s chosen ones. How can anyone ever have any peace wondering if they are one of God’s elect. Our peace comes from the atoning work of Christ on the cross. There is stability at the cross. There is nothing to wonder about. Jesus said “whosoever will” may freely receive salvation. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And WHOSOEVER WILL, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17 You can have peace and assurance that Christ is the chosen One, and when you believe in Him you are chosen in Him. This leaves the door to salvation open for all people, as God intended it to be, and as the scripture declares.

Believing truth, and continuing to do so, will give you peace because your assurance is firmly based upon Christ’s finished work of atonement. Understanding Calvinism helped me to understand that the doctrine of “once saved always saved” is a false doctrine. This was something I struggled with for many years. Why did it help me? Because I understood that the root of the “once saved always saved” teaching is Calvinism’s doctrine “irresistible grace.” The two are obviously connected. Error begets more error. As we have seen, it is possible to resist the Holy Ghost, and what a serious thing it is to do so.

Calvinistic teaching superimposes itself upon Scripture. It is man’s teaching, not God’s. I have written this because I love the Lord, and I love the brethren. False doctrine is harmful, and causes division among God’s people. My prayer is that we, the followers of Jesus Christ, will be guided into all truth. As the scripture says in John 16:13 “. . . when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”

About Cathy

I am a born again Christian, saved in 1988 at the age of 38. My mother was born again in her old age, in her 80's. Her name is Giannina which means "God is gracious."
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  1. Elizabeth Burke says:

    Cathy, Thanks for your reply and good to know that we are not the only ones who feel isolated. I firmly believe that we are living in the last days and that this terrible doctrine is a deception of the devil. I know of “Christians” who think that they are ‘safe,’ even when they are living in deep sin. “Ye shall not surely die..” (Gen. 3v4) is perhaps the devil’s oldest lie to mankind.

    The Lord bless you and your family circle – and may they all come to know His peace.


  2. Cathy says:

    I am glad that you have been encouraged. I am sorry to say that there is isolation here in the U.S. also. Very little true fellowship. I was born again in 1988, my husband in 1989.

    My husband is American born, but his ancestors are from Ireland. After many years of witnessing most in our families are still Roman Catholic. We continue to hope and pray.

    Blessings to both you and your husband,

  3. Elizabeth Burke says:

    Yes I’m from Ireland. I found peace with the Saviour in 1978, while living in my native Northern Ireland. Strangely, I often had doubts about the Calvinist sermons I was hearing – even as a non-Christian. My husband and I are both at one in our doctrinal views, but we often feel so isolated, since most people in our community (Rep. of Ire.) are R.C. The only Christians we know here are Calvinists! It is good to meet you all.

    Thank you so much for this! Elizabeth.

  4. Cathy says:

    Elizabeth, thank you for taking the time to comment on this very important topic. I see so many caught up in Calvinistic deception. It is a grief to my heart. I am glad you are free. Praise the Lord for His goodness!

    P.S. Are you from Ireland?

  5. Elizabeth Burke says:

    Calvinism, unfortunately, has taken over the Rep. of Ireland – where there are few Christians anyway.
    Thank God for verses like: “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1John2v2).. And to think that I once sat in a Calvanist Church worrying (before I trusted the Lord) that I was perhaps one of those for whom Jesus did not die!

  6. Cathy says:

    Thank you Melissa.

    I too say that people have to be taught these things. When we are first saved, and receive the Holy Spirit, and start reading the Word for ourselves, we don’t learn Calvinism or the many other false “isms” that are around. It’s only after having been incorporated into the institutional church, or giving ear to teachings on the radio, television, etc. that we learn these unbiblical doctrines. These teachings have been superimposed on the Bible by man.

    God bless you also,

  7. Melissa says:

    AMEN to this article. It was well written and is true. The strength of the whole counsel of God is on your side here. Calvinism is a doctrine of men built on a few scriptures twisted out of context.

    People are not made into Calvinists while they are in their prayer closets with only the Word and the Holy Spirit. They are always taught Calvinism by men, and ever afterward read the Scriptures with distorting glasses on. May God use this good and truthful article to set someone free from all lies!

    God bless you.

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