Congdon Ministries International


Internet Bible Institute

The Tumbling of Calvin’s TULIP

a 5-Part series comparing Calvinism’s Doctrines to Biblical Teaching

In The Tumbling “T,” Dr. Robert Congdon explains how Calvin's foundational teaching on Total Human Depravity determines his four succeeding points of doctrine, often called “TULIP.”

Dr. Congdon explains how the definition of Human Depravity must be based upon the biblical definition of spiritual death. Once one realizes that biblical spiritual death is not the same as Calvin’s definition. For Calvin describes the unsaved individual as dead as a stone, incapable of seeing, hearing, or responding in any way to God’s offer of salvation.

Hence, Calvin requires a spiritual regeneration, imposed by God, upon individuals prior to their exercising any act of faith in response to God. Biblically spiritual death demonstrates that when an individual hears the Word of God (the Bible) and the Holy Spirit convicts him or her of the truth of the Bible and of their need for forgiveness of their sins, they are free to respond in faith and then regeneration occurs immediately after a true acceptance of God’s gift of salvation by faith alone.

In The Tumbling “U,” Dr. Robert Congdon explains how Calvin's and the Westminster Confession's definition of Unconditional Election, clearly says God elects or chooses who will go to heaven and who will go to Hell. He compares this definition with the three groups of beings designated "elect" in the Bible to see if Calvin's definition "fits."  Those three groups are: the elect angels, the elect nation of Israel, and the church or body of Christ in the Church Age.

He demonstrates that Calvin's definition does not fit or cover these three different groups. Further, he shows that the Bible's context of the use of the word "election" or "elect" or "predestined" never involves salvation of an individual, but always is used in a plural context and speaks of one of the three groups. He then offers an alternative view of election that shows that election is a result of one being saved and not the cause that makes one saved. The key to "election" for all three groups is found in the concept of "service to God."

by Robert Congdon

Whether we realize it or not, every time we read the Bible or listen to a biblical message, our understanding is influenced by the particular system of theology we hold. Believing there were only two systems of theology to choose from within fundamental, conservative Christianity, I chose Calvinism over Arminianism because I was (and still am) firmly convinced that the Scriptures support eternal security of the believer. For many years I trusted the system called Four-Point Calvinism because I thought I knew what Calvin meant by each point and I agreed with all but the “L” (Limited Atonement) of the acrostic, “TULIP,” which represents Calvinism’s five main points.

Because New Calvinism has re-invigorated the teachings of traditional Calvinism and is sweeping throughout Christianity today, dividing Christians and influencing what is taught in churches, seminaries, and schools, I decided to look more deeply into the definitions of the four points. After considering what the Bible has to say about human depravity, election, grace, and perseverance in order to define these concepts inductively and then comparing these definitions with Calvin’s teaching, I concluded that I could no longer call myself a four-point Calvinist, for I found significant differences.

This book offers a system of theology that I simply call “Biblicism” because I believe it harmonizes with the Scriptures and enables the reader to properly understand God’s purpose and plan for earth history and eternity.                                                                                             

(84 page book)

Oops! I Thought I was a
                                 Four-Pt Calvinist

Companion Book for the Series