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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Five Points of Calvinism - David N. Steele & Curtis C. Thomas

Note: As Reformed Baptists we hold to what is nicknamed "The Five Points of Calvinism". Sadly when people hear "Calvinism" they automatically and wrongly assume that we follow John Calvin. It is with that misunderstanding in mind that I post this short article detailing the Five Points. Please take the time to read the definitions and also the Scripture proofs. - Josh Williamson

Total Depravity
Because of the fall, man is unable of himself to savingly believe the gospel. The sinner is dead, blind, and deaf to the things of God; his heart is deceitful and desperately corrupt. His will is not free, it is in bondage to his evil nature; therefore, he will not--indeed he cannot--choose good over evil in the spiritual realm. Consequently, it takes much more than the Spirit's assistance to bring a sinner to Christ--it takes regeneration by which the Spirit makes the sinner alive and gives him a new nature. Faith is not something man contributes to salvation but is itself a part of God's gift of salvation--it is God's gift to the sinner, not the sinner’s gift to God.

(Genesis 2:15-17, Romans 5:12, Psalm 51:5, 1 Corinthians 2:14, Romans 3:10-18, Jeremiah 17:9, John 6:44, Ephesians 2:1-10)

Unconditional Election
God's choice of certain individuals unto salvation before the foundation of the world rested solely in His own sovereign will. His choice of particular sinners was not based on any foreseen response or obedience on their part, such as faith, repentance, etc. On the contrary, God gives faith and repentance to each individual whom He selected. These acts are the result, not the cause of God's choice. Election therefore was not determined by or conditioned upon any virtuous quality or act foreseen in man. Those whom God sovereignly elected He brings through the power of the Spirit to a willing acceptance of Christ. Thus God's choice of the sinner, not the sinner’s choice of Christ, is the ultimate cause of salvation.

(Romans 9:10-21, Ephesians 1:4-11, Ephesians 2:4-10, Romans 8:29-30, Acts 11:18, Acts 13:48)

Limited Atonement
Christ's redeeming work was intended to save the elect only and actually secured salvation for them. His death was a substitutionary endurance of the penalty of sin in the place of certain specified sinners. In addition to putting away the sins of His people, Christ's redemption secured everything necessary for their salvation, including faith which united them to Him. The gift of faith is infallibly applied by the Spirit to all for whom Christ died, thereby guaranteeing their salvation.

(Matthew 1:21, Romans 5:12-21, Romans 3:21-26, Ephesians 2:8-10, Titus 3:5-6, Philippians 1:6, John 10:11-30, John 17:6-12, Romans 8:28-30, John 6:44, Acts 20:28)

Irresistible Grace
In addition to the outward general call to salvation which is made to everyone who hears the gospel, the Holy Spirit extends to the elect a special inward call that inevitably brings them to salvation. The external call (which is made to all without distinction) can be, and often is, rejected; whereas the internal call (which is made only to the elect) cannot be rejected, it always results in conversion. By means of this special call the Spirit irresistibly draws sinners to Christ. He is not limited in His work of applying salvation by man's will, nor is He dependent upon man's cooperation for success. The Spirit graciously causes the elect sinner to cooperate, to believe, to repent, to come freely and willingly to Christ. God's grace, therefore, is invincible; it never fails to result in the salvation of those to whom it is extended.

(John 3:16, Matthew 22:14, Acts 17:29-31, Matthew 23:37-39, John 6:44, Romans 8:28-30, John 1:12-13, John 3:1-8, Ephesians 2:8-10)

Perseverance of the Saints
All who were chosen by God, redeemed by Christ, and given faith by the Spirit are eternally saved. They are kept in faith by the power of Almighty God and thus persevere to the end.

(John 3:16, John 6:35-40, John 6:44, Philippians 1:6, Philippians 2:12-13, Jude 24-25, Ephesians 1:13-14, Romans 8:28-30, Romans 8:35-39)


  1. You're still a Calvinist, whether you say you don't follow Calvin's teachings or not! Come on!

  2. Gary, a Calvinist is not a follower of John Calvin. Calvinism is merely a nick name that was given to the Doctrines of Grace by those who oppose the free and sovereign working of God. They saw that Calvin popularised the idea (notice didn't invent it), and thus they termed it "Calvinism".

    Moreover, the five points that you saw above came from the Synod of Dort, which occurred after the death of John Calvin. No one is following any man in regards to these doctrines.

    To quote Spurgeon, "I believe nothing merely because Calvin taught it, but because I have found his teaching in the Word of God."

    The Doctrines of Grace (Calvinsim) is taught in the Bible, that is why I adhere to it.

  3. If only the elect are saved, then why should we preach the Gospel?

  4. G'day Anna,

    We preach the Gospel for a few reasons:

    1. God commands us to preach the Gospel.
    2. God gets the glory at His Gospel being proclaimed.
    3. While God does elect those who will be saved, He also ordains the means by which they come unto salvation. The means by which God saves His elect is by the preaching of the Gospel.

    Based on these three reasons we proclaim Christ.