This theological system takes its name from John Calvin of France who built his teachings on the foundation of Augustine. It places strong emphasis on the sovereignty of God, the utter depraved condition of sinful men and especially on the doctrine of predestination. Its teachings are in accord with classic orthodoxy (the Trinity, the deity of Christ and the authority of the Word of God). Its emphasis in the area of the Gospel and salvation differs from other systems. It exalts the elective action of God and denies any place for every man to choose the Lord Jesus as Savior. It is a particular critic of Arminianism and labels those who disagree with them as being part of works-basis salvation. It is also strongly opposed to Pelagianism, which was declared heretical. The system has been widely praised for its influence on moral life, education and the development of outstanding leaders. It produced the Puritans, the Huegenots in France, the Scottish Convenanters and others. On the other hand, it persecuted and even killed dissenters (like Servetus) and had a tyrannical role as chief governing role in Geneva, which ultimately failed.
The theological system has been stated in five major points, expressed by the acronym T.U.L.I.P. They are as follows:
Total Depravity of man. This goes beyond stating that man is a sinner, corrupted at the core (true). It states that he is so corrupted that he
is incapable of exercising saving faith, if not among those God has elected for salvation (unacceptable to most believers).
Unconditional Election of some to salvation apart from any action of choosing on their part. This seems to deny the possibility of man’s
choosing to obey the Gospel. Thus it has been called fatalism. Calvinists deny this. They say the reason for this action is the will of God
Himself, not impersonal fate.
Limited atonement. This means that Christ only died for the elect, contrary to I John 2:2. A high percentage of contemporary advocates
do not accept this calling themselves 4-point Calvinism.
Irresistible grace. This means that since the grace of God has predestined believers to salvation. They cannot face to respond to the
Gospel offer. This appears to contradict the many verses which indicate that “all day long I (God) have stretched out my hand to a
disobedient and gainsaying (contradicting) people” (Rom. 10:21).
Perseverance of the saints. This means that a true believer can not lose his salvation, called eternity security (John 10:27-30). The
Calvinists believe he is secure because of his eternal election to salvation. The conclusion of eternal security is correct. The Calvinist’s
reason appears doubtful on the basis of many verses.
In summation, Calvinist theology is sound on the great basics of the faith. The five point system, gathered by selective citations and human deduction, is questionable. It was never taught by the Lord Jesus or His apostles, but was a later development.