Shelby G. Floyd
John Calvin is credited with originating the false doctrine of predestination and foreordination. He taught that a certain number of people had been foreordained and predetermined from the foundation of the world, to be either saved or lost. The teaching of John Calvin is usually remembered by the acronym T U L I P:
T—Total Depravity: This means according to Calvinism that a person is born totally depraved in sin. That person cannot do anything to save him or her, and is totally dependent upon God.
U—Unconditional Election: Calvin taught that God unconditionally elected some to be saved and some to be lost.
L—Limited Atonement: The idea here is that the death of Christ as an atoning sacrifice, was limited to those God unconditionally elected to be saved. But the scripture says that Christ tasted death for every man.
I—Irresistible Grace: It must follow if the above premises are true, that if God chooses to save a particular person he will, and no one can resist his grace. Thus the free will of man does not exist if this be true.
P—Perseverance of the Saints: According to this, if you are chosen by God and saved, you can never fall away and be lost.
Some people have thought that this teaching is upheld in Paul’s speech at Antioch of Pisidia:
“And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed” (Acts 13: 48).
Almost all of the translations have used the word “appointed” or “ordained.” This is not the best translation of the original word. A better translation would have been “disposed” or ‘inclined.” Therefore it would read like this, “and as many as were disposed to eternal life believed.”
However, we are not dependent upon knowledge of the original language to understand what is true. After Paul’s second speech in the synagogue, the Jews were filled with envy and they contradicted, blasphemed and opposed the things spoken by Paul:
“Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, it was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles”
(Acts 13: 46).
The idea expressed here is that they judged themselves unworthy of eternal life by rejecting God’s word. Then the opposite would be true—people judge themselves worthy of eternal life by accepting and believing the word of God. And that is exactly what those people did, who were appointed or ordained to eternal life in Acts 13: 48. They were disposed to eternal life, and judged themselves worthy of eternal live, and therefore accepted the word of God and believed. Therefore we see how this harmonizes with the free agency of man.
The doctrine of Calvinism is a false doctrine. Each premise in TULIP is based upon the previous proposition. The whole system is false because the major premise that every person is born totally depraved in sin is false. Children are born as pure as the snow and without sin. Children do not become guilty of sin until they are accountable, and are actually guilty of sin by violating the will of God.
The death of Christ was the atoning sacrifice for the sin of the whole world. He tasted death for every sinner. Jesus affirmed, “For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother” (Matthew 12:50).
Copyright © 2016 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved
Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142