Three T-U-L-I-P Theories:

John Calvin

T-U-L-I-P Theory - Calvin

Here are the "Five Points of Calvinism," also referred to as the T-U-L-I-P theory, some may word the definitions somewhat differently:

1. Total Depravity

A lost sinner cannot repent, cannot believe, unless he is foreordained to repent and unless God overpowers him, and God has chosen not to overpower many.

2. Unconditional Election

People are elected to be saved without any reference to anything they may do, and people are foreordained to be damned, unconditionally.

3. Limited Atonement

Christ really died only for those who are ordained to be saved.  He did not atone for the sins of those He foreordained to be lost.


4. Irresistible Grace

It is foolish to urge people to decide, because those who are ordained to be saved will be irresistibly moved and overpowered by God?s grace, and so will be saved.

5. Perseverance of the Saints

God will give the elect the ability to persevere.

Jacobus Arminias

T-U-L-I-P Theory - Arminias

To my knowledge, the Arminian churches do not have their own T-U-L-I-P theory as such. However, if they did, it would resemble something like this:

1. Total Human Ability, or Free Will

Everyone has the ability to accept or reject God?s offer of salvation. Man can choose good or evil in spiritual matters.

2. Universal Redemption, or General Atonement

Although Christ died for all men, only those who choose to believe on Him are saved.

3. Limited Atonement

Man's free will limits the application of Christ's saving work. The Holy Spirit cannot regenerate anyone until they believe.

4. Individual Resistance

Because man is free to choose, he can resist the Holy Spirit's call. Man's election is conditioned upon what man will do, before and after salvation.

5. Perseverance By the Saints

Those who believe and are saved, can lose their salvation and fall from grace, if they do not keep up their faith and persevere to the end.

T-U-L-I-P Theory - Balanced View

Here is another T-U-L-I-P theory, one that I believe is from a more balanced Biblical perspective:

1. Total Unworthiness

There is nothing within man, nor is there any good work that man may do, that could in any way merit him eternal life. Salvation is offered to us completely on the basis of God's grace.

2. Unconditional Love

God's love for us is not based on how good we are, but is in spite of how bad we can be.

3. Limited Atonement

Jesus died once for all.

4. Individual Responsibility

Man, as a free moral agent, is at liberty to act according to his choice, without compulsion or restraint, and is personally responsible to God for his choices. Each of us must choose to either accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, or to reject Him and be lost.

5. Preservation of the Savior

Once we accept Christ and trust Him to save us, we belong to Him for all eternity. Jesus Christ will keep those that belong to Him, and it is His keeping power that guarantees our eternal salvation, not our own efforts.

If you are going to tiptoe through the T-U-L-I-Ps, please try to maintain your biblical balance!