As a part-time Bible school alumni, I learned many ideologies adopted by certain Christian denominations can be traced back to the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. One of the most influential figures to come out of this movement was a man by the name of John Calvin, which is where the ideology of Calvinism comes from. While Christians who identify as Calvinists are a minority throughout the world, they have certainly had a tremendous influence on the development of Christianity here in North America, especially among the Evangelical community.
Calvinism is a theological construct that can be summed up with the acronym TULIP (Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace and Perseverance of the Elect). It puts a high emphasis on the sovereignty of God that it concludes all believers are ordained and predestined by God to have faith, which often casts doubt over whether or not people who believe in Jesus Christ have done so out of their own free will.
T – Total Depravity
U – Unconditional Election
L – Limited Atonement
I – Irresistible Grace
P – Perseverance of the Saints
It’s important to note that Evangelicals are quite diverse when it comes to views on biblical interpretation. Many Christians may agree with certain elements of Calvinism, yet still reject the theological model altogether. Many Evangelicals align with Arminianism, which is considered a rival theology of Calvinism. But it is also worth noting that Calvinism has been particularly responsible for some fundamentalist movements here in North America, such as the Westboro Baptist Church. However various Calvinistic groups have directly spoken out against their unChristlike, damaging behaviour. It’s important to note that fundamentalist groups like WBC are not a reflection of individual Calvinist Christians.
Although I am not a theologian nor do I have any teaching credentials, I will list all five points and do my best to briefly explain what they mean, as well as where I personally stand on all five of them….