MY definition of TULIP is; an acronym describing a soteriological system of salvation as a series of defining doctrines that were developed over time throughout church history, yet which capture the essence of biblical testimony concerning the sin, election, the atonement, conversion, and sanctification. This soteriological system is sometimes called Calvinism.
For those who may not know, the TULIP, or 'Calvinism', did not originate with John Calvin. I believe these doctrines originate with God, were revealed to the Apostles, and were passed down through the Apostles' writings in Scripture. But in regard to the history of when these doctrines began to be called 'Calvinism', or to be known by the acronym TULIP, we go to Holland during the year 1610. A seminary professor by the name of Jacobus Arminius died sometime in 1609. In 1610, some of his students produced a collection of five doctrines that were meant to 'update' the Belgic Confession of Faith and the Heidelberg Catechism. These doctrines were as follows:
I. God elects or reproves on the basis of foreseen faith or unbelief.
II. Christ died for all men and for every man, although only believers are saved.
III. Man is so depraved that divine grace is necessary unto faith or any good deed.
IV. This grace may be resisted.
V. Whether all who are truly regenerate will certainly persevere in the faith is a point which needs further investigation."
(Taken from: Roger Nicole, "Arminianism," Baker's Dictionary of Theology, p. 64.)
A national Synod was called to meet in Dort in 1618 for the purpose of examining the views of Arminius in the light of Scripture. The Great Synod was convened by the States-General of Holland on November 13, 1618. There were 84 members and 18 secular commissioners. Included were 27 delegates from Germany, the Palatinate, Switzerland and England. There were 154 sessions held during the seven months that the Synod met to consider these matters, the last of which was on May 9, 1619.
(Taken from: The Five Points Of Calvinism - Defined, Defended, Documented. David N. Steele, Curtis C. Thomas. Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing Co. Box 817, Phillipsburg, N.J. 08865. 1979. Pages 13-23.)
This Synod rejected the doctrines advanced by the students of Jacobus Arminius and countered them and reaffirmed the Belgic Confession and the Heidelberg Catechism with the TULIP, or, the Five Points of Calvinism. Those points are:
Total Depravity, sometimes called 'Total Inability'
Limited Atonement, sometimes called 'Particular Redemption'
Irresistible Grace, sometimes called 'Effectual Call'
Perseverance of the Saints
The next five posts will be about each of these doctrines and why they were favored above the newer Arminian doctrines.