TULIP. The Reformed doctrine of Predestination.
In opposition to the Arminian/Molinist view.

First we must realise that the Arminian point of view does not reject all of the five points known generally as Calvinism.
The five points of Calvin known by the acronym “TULIP”.

Total Depravity or Total Inability.
Unmerited Favour or Unconditional Election.
Limited Atonement.
Irresistible Grace.
Perseverance of the Saints.

There are those that accept some of these points and reject others.
There are those that agree with Total Inability.
That man is totally unable to save himself or prepare himself for salvation.
They also would agree with Unmerited Favour.
That man is completely undeserving of God’s grace and that God is a merciful God who bestows on men His grace. Not because man deserves it.
There are some that would agree with the Perseverance of the saints, in the sense that once a man is born again of the Spirit of God, he cannot be lost or plucked out of the Fathers hand.

These people would generally come under the heading of Molinists.
Molinism is named for the 16th-century Jesuit, Luis de Molina.
Molinism is a system of thought that seeks to reconcile the sovereignty of God and the free will of man. The heart of Molinism is the principle that God is completely sovereign and man is also free in a libertarian sense. Molinism partly seeks to avoid so-called “theological determinism”: the view that God decrees who will be saved or damned without any meaningful impact of their own free choice.
Molinism attempts to show that all of God’s knowledge is self-contained, but it is ordered so as to allow for the possibility of man’s free will. In other words, man is completely free, but God is also completely sovereign—He is absolutely in control of all that happens, and yet humanity’s choices are not coerced.

There are also those that accept only two of the points of Tulip.

The “T” and the “U”. Total Inability and Unmerited Favour.
They would reject Perseverance in favour of the teaching that whilst no one can pluck a Christian out of the hand of God, a Christian can jump out of the hand of God himself.

The point that causes most problems is Limited Atonement.
This is the understanding that Christ died for His church. That, all those that were predestined to eternal life before the foundation of the world, will be drawn to Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit in the fullness of time.
That in the words of Jesus,
John 6:37  All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
 

Let us look at the scriptures in respect to each of these points.

Total Inability:
This means that man is dead in sin and his nature is completely corrupt and he is separated from God by his sin.
His will, since Adam is totally enslaved to sin and he is unable to approach God and has no desire to seek God.
Some people argue that man is not dead but just sick, a sin sick sinner and when he hears the Gospel message, he can by his own free will, respond to the Gospel and be saved.
However, the scriptures reveal that man of himself cannot come to God.


John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
Romans 3:10 – 12:  10 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one. 
11 There is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. 
12 All have turned away; they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.

 

Unmerited Favour or Unconditional Election.

What this means is that before any man or woman is born -- in fact, before the world was made -- God decided who would go to heaven and who would not. Before they did good or bad, God chose some to be His people and leave others unchosen.
God has no obligation to choose to save anyone, because All have sinned and fall short of His glory.
All deserve the punishment of sin, which is eternal death BUT in His infinite mercy and according to His own will and for His own Glory, He chooses to save some.


To understand unconditional election, let’s look at conditional election. If God placed a condition on election, then there would be something that we would need to do in order for God to choose us.
However we read in scripture:  
"You have not chosen me, I have chosen you" John 15:16.

Romans 9:11-21  For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;

12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.
13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?

20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

Acts 13:48  And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed

Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Romans 8:30  Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

This is a finished, completed work, before the world began.

Limited Atonement.
Earlier we saw that since the fall, all men are dead in sin and separated from God. All men deserve to go to hell.
God chooses to snatch some out of the jaws of eternal damnation and plant their feet on a solid foundation.
Jesus died for His church, For many, His sheep. This is for His own glory.

 

Acts 20:28  Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

Matthew 26:28  For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.


Notice the emphasis on a limited group.

Irresistible Grace.
All those that are predestined to eternal life will in the fullness of time will be regenerated and drawn to the Father through the working of the Holy Spirit.

This grace is known as Irresistible or Efficacious Grace. It is the Holy Spirit that appropriates the death of Christ in a person’s life. It is the work of God and not of man.

J
ohn 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

That means that if God extends grace (mercy) to you, there is nothing in the world that you will or can do to resist it and thwart God's intention to take you to heaven. The certainty of salvation for God's elect is seen in John 6:37 where Jesus says,  "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
There is no doubt that they will be saved. Verse 44 says that those who come to God come because God draws them. Not our will, but God's will is first and powerful.

John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.


Charles Wesley wrote the words to the this hymn “ And can it be”.
In one verse it says:
Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

 

Notice the order of events. Long my imprisoned spirit lay, fast bound in sin and natures night. Thine eyes diffused a quickening ray. I woke, the dungeon flamed with light.

Bound in sin – Quickened and then what!. My chains fell off, my heart was free.
Only then could, “I rose, went forth and followed Thee”

I could not rise up and follow Thee until I was quickened and my heart was set free.
The work of salvation is nothing of me, it is all of God.

The Holy Spirit is the one who awakens the dead making it possible for us to respond to the Gospel call.
Of ourselves we cannot respond, We are dead.


Perseverance of the Saints.
( Once saved always saved)

 

The last of the five points of Calvinism teaches that God preserves His people so they can never be lost. 
Talking about His elect sheep, Jesus said:
"And I give them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand"

John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

John 6:39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.

Romans 8:37-39  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

2 Timothy 1:12  For the which cause I also suffer these things:
nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

Philippians 1:6  Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:


Here is the proof of a finished work:
Romans 8:30  Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
 

Hebrews 12:2 

2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

It seems quite clear from scripture, that man is dead in sin and cannot make any move towards God without God first moving towards him in the work of regeneration. The Doctrine of Election upholds the Sovereignty of God and in no way elevates mans sovereignty.
To argue that man has a part to play in his own salvation is to rob God of His Sovereignty.
It is Jesus who came to seek and save that which was lost. No man seeks after God.
A man can only respond to the call of the Gospel once the Holy Spirit has quickened him to life. The initial move comes from God through grace.

John 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

 

Arminian Point of view against Election and Evangelism.

 

One of the arguments Arminian’s level against the doctrine of Election, (Predestination) is that it makes evangelism superfluous. 
After all, if your neighbour is part of the elect then God will ensure that he comes to faith whether you preach the Gospel to him or not.  As part of God’s elect, it would be impossible for him not to come to faith.  Likewise, if your neighbour is not part of the elect, no amount of evangelism will be effective for his conversion.  So why evangelize if Calvinism is true?  What’s the point? 

Response to this view:

The response to this is that God doesn’t just predestine the ends, but also the means.  While God may have predestined your neighbour’s salvation (the ends), He also predestined that your neighbour would receive that salvation in response to evangelism, the preaching of the Word. (the means). 
The Gospel is the means whereby a person is convicted of sin and separation from God, convinced of his need for a Saviour and converted by the regeneration and washing of the Word.

All this is done by the Holy Spirit.


John 16:8. 7 But I tell you the truth, it is for your benefit that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. 
8 And when He comes, He will convict the world in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: 
9 in regard to sin, because they do not believe in Me;…
 Romans 1: 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

 

According to scripture, men are dead in trespasses and sins.

Ephesians 2:1-3. And you He made alive, who were dead in trespassesand sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

The spiritual death from which humans suffer makes it impossible for them to respond positively to God until after God has regenerated their heart.  Asking the unbeliever to respond positively to God is like asking your deceased loved one to share a meal with you.  No matter what you do or say, they will never share a meal with you because their biological condition is such that it is impossible for them to do so.  Likewise, no matter what we say to the unbeliever, he will never respond positively to God because his spiritual condition is such that it is impossible for him to do so.  Nothing will happen until God exercises His sovereignty to regenerate his heart.  Then, and only then, will your neighbour respond positively to God in faith.  

We by ourselves cannot initiate our own salvation.
It is God who is the author and finisher of our faith.


Hebrews 12:2  looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

John 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

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