A large percentage of those we hope to teach believe some or all of the basic tenets of Calvinism. Therefore, it is good to be reminded of these things so we can have a ready answer.

Basic Tenets of Calvinism (TULIP)

  • Total Depravity – man is born in sin, unable to choose to come to God; “original sin,” all men inherited the guilt of Adam’s sin
  • Unconditional Election – those who are part of the elect did not have to do anything or meet any sort of conditions; chosen by God unconditionally; salvation by “grace alone”
  • Limited Atonement – Jesus died on the cross to make atonement, but not for all, only for the elect
  • Irresistible Grace – those who are of the elect will be saved by God’s grace no matter what they do
  • Perseverance of the Saints – those who are of the elect will be saved; “once saved, always saved” or “once in grace, always in grace”

Answering Calvinism

  • Total Depravity – God made men upright (Ecclesiastes 7:29); spiritual death spread to all men because all sinned (Romans 5:12; 6:23)
  • Unconditional Election – God has placed certain conditions upon salvation (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:37-38); Jesus will save those who obey Him (Hebrews 5:9)
  • Limited Atonement – Jesus died for the world (John 3:16), not just a select few; God wants all to be saved (2 Peter 3:9)
  • Irresistible Grace – we can resist the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51) and insult the Spirit of grace (Hebrews  10:29); if grace were irresistible then all would be saved (Titus 2:11)
  • Perseverance of the Saints – we must remain faithful until death (Revelation 2:10); we can receive the grace of God in vain (2 Corinthians 6:1) or fall from grace (Galatians 5:4)

Faulty Premise of Calvinism

  • Sovereignty of God – God is all-powerful, but Calvin believed this meant God controlled everything, rather than allowing things to happen
  • Total Depravity – if man can choose to respond to the gospel, Calvinism falls apart; we can choose, this is why preachers persuade people (Acts 2:40; 2 Corinthians 5:11)
  • When these two points are assumed, everything else falls into place


  • Calvinism is comforting only if you are one of the elect
  • If you are not one of the elect, it is nothing but a message of hopelessness, despair, and damnation
  • The truth of the gospel is a message of hope for all (Mark 16:15-16; Titus 2:11; Acts 10:34-35)
  • God will save anyone who meets His conditions of grace & remains faithful to Him – no exceptions

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