• Tulip part I

    Posted Nov 13th, 2009 By in Pastor Brian's Blog, TULIP With | No Comments

    After about eight months we finished our WWDWWD concerning our worship practice. For more information or to review any of the articles please visit our website and specifically my blog to the archived articles. Since these articles have been received so well I will continue to write on topics that I think will be helpful to you. Today I will start a short series on TULIP and in the near future hope to do a series on Covenant Theology and one on preaching. If you have any suggestions please don’t hesitate to let me know.

    James Arminius (1560-1610) (his Dutch name is Jacob van Hermanns or Hermanson, Hermensen), from whom the theological system of Arminianism derives its name, was originally a strict Calvinist and became professor of theology at Leyden (1603). Ironically it was while he was engaged in a defense of Calvinism that he was converted to the doctrine of universal grace and the freedom of the will.

    In 1610 his follower drafted a response to the doctrines contained in the Belgic Confession and taught by the Reformed churches. Their “Remonstrance” (hence they were called the Remonstrants) was signed by forty-six ministers and laid before the authorities of Holland in 1610 (there was a very close union between church and state). Their remonstrance contained five articles of rejection and followed that with five articles to be accepted. The positive articles include: 1)Conditional Predestination; 2)Universal Atonement; 3)Saving Faith; 4)Resistible Grace; 5)Uncertainty of Perseverance.

    After a series of formal discussions, counter arguments and conferences failed to bring agreement, the National Synod of Dort was convened (Nov. 13, 1618-May 9, 1619). It was an international gathering, though mostly comprised of Dutch theologians. There were one hundred fifty four formal sessions and a large number of conferences. The state assumed the expenses which exceeded 100,000 guilders.

    At the Synod the five articles of Arminianism were rejected and the five articles of Calvinism, written in response, were adopted along with the Belgic Confession and the Heidelberg Catechism. Today these three documents, The Three Forms of Unity, are the doctrinal standards of Dutch churches and respected by Reformed churches across denominational lines.

    The five articles of Calvinistic response roughly correspond to what we refer to as TULIP: 1)Total Depravity; 2)Unconditional Election; 3)Limited Atonement; 4)Irresistible Grace; 5)Perseverance of the Saints. The original five “Head of Doctrine” were: 1)Of Divine Predestination; 2) Of the Death of Christ; 3)Of the Corruption of Man; 4)Of his Conversion to God, and the Manner thereof; 5) Of the Perseverance of the Saints.

    In the weeks to come we will take these in turn, seeking to understand the historical and theological and Biblical basis for each of these points. The above information can be found in Phillip Schaff’s The Creeds of Christendom vol. 1. I also recommend the reading of Roger Olson’sArminian Theology. Roger Olson is an Arminian, but in reading it you will find that many (so-called) Calvinists are really Arminian and many contemporary Arminians out Arminians Arminus.

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    Pastor of New Life La Mesa Presbyterian Church in San Diego, CA.

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