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"TULIP" Calvinism
Compared to Wesleyan Perspectives

Dennis Bratcher

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John Calvin*

Foundation laid by Augustine

John Wesley

Foundation laid by Arminius


Total Depravity - Human beings are so affected by the negative consequences of original sin that they are incapable of being righteous, and are always and unchangeably sinful; human freedom is totally enslaved by sin so we can only choose evil.

Deprivation - Human beings are sinful and without God, incapable (deprived) on their own of being righteous; however, they are not irredeemably sinful and can be transformed by God’s grace; God's prevenient grace restores to humanity the freedom of will.


Unconditional Election - Since human beings can only choose evil, God by His eternal decree has chosen or elected some to be counted as righteous, without any conditions being placed on that election.

Conditional Election - God has chosen that all humanity be righteous by His grace, yet has called us to respond to that grace by exercising our God-restored human freedom as a condition of fulfilling election.


Limited Atonement - The effects of the Atonement, by which God forgave sinful humanity, are limited only to those whom He has chosen.

Unlimited Atonement - The effects of the Atonement are freely available to all those whom He has chosen, which includes all humanity, "whosoever will."


Irresistible Grace - The grace that God extends to human beings to effect their election cannot be refused, since it has been decreed by God.

Resistible Grace - God’s grace is free and offered without merit; however, human beings have been granted freedom by God and can refuse His grace.


Perseverance of the Saints - Since God has decreed the elect, and they cannot resist grace, they are unconditionally and eternally secure in that election.

Assurance and Security - There is security in God’s grace that allows assurance of salvation, but that security is in relation to continued faithfulness; we can still defiantly reject God.

*These five points as the heart of Calvinism (Reformed Tradition) actually developed from the Synod of Dordtrecht in 1618-19 in response to the Remonstrants' (followers of James Arminius) five points that challenged Reformed orthodoxy, especially the double predestination of Theodore Beza, a follower of John Calvin.  Calvin's theological system was broader ranging than these five points.  However, these five points came to encapsulate the Calvinist/Reformed position against Arminius and later John Wesley. (See The Canons of Dordt).

-Dennis Bratcher, Copyright © 2018, Dennis Bratcher - All Rights Reserved
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