TULIP: A Response from Calvinism, Lutheranism and Arminianism
Calvinism has summarized its position in the famous acronym TULIP, and this serves as a useful way to approach the issue (being logical Calvinism is, if nothing else, easy to follow):
T: "total depravity"
Calvinism: Man after the Fall has no ability to cooperate with God's grace in conversion
Arminianism: Man after the Fall can cooperate with Gods grace in conversion
Lutheranism: Agrees with Calvinism on total depravity
Relevant Bible passages: Romans 3:9-20; Gal. 3:22
U: "unconditional election"
Calvinism: Before the world was created, God unconditionally elected some (the elect) for salvation and the others (reprobates) for damnation.
Arminianism: Before the world was created, God foresaw those who would choose Him of their own free will and elected them to salvation
Lutheranism: Before the world was created, God unconditionally elected some (the elect) for salvation but did not reprobate (chose for damnation) any.
Relevant Bible passages: Romans 9:11-13; 1 Timothy 2:3-4; 2 Cor. 5:14-15; Mat. 25:34, 41.
L: "limited atonement"
Calvinism: Jesus only died for the elect, objectively atoning for their sin, but he did not die for the sins of the reprobates.
Arminianism: Christ died to give all the possibility to be saved.
Lutheranism: Christs death objectively atoned for all the sin of the world; by believing we receive this objective atonement and its benefits.
Relevant Bible passages: John 1:29; 1 John 2:2; 2 Cor. 5:14-15, 19.
I: "irresistable grace"
Calvinism: In all of God's outward actions (preaching, baptism, etc.) there is an outward call which all receive, yet there is also a secret effectual calling which God gives to the elect alone. This effectual calling alone saves and is irresistable.
Arminianism: God gives in His outward actions the same grace to all; this grace can be resisted by all.
Lutheranism: The question is not answerable; for the elect, grace will triumph, yet those who reject Christ have rejected that Grace; yet the grace is the same.
Relevant Bible passages: Eph. 2:1-10; Acts 13:48; James 1:13-15
P: "perseverance of the saints" ("once saved, always saved.")
Calvinism: Salvation, if genuine, cannot be lost.
Arminianism: Salvation can be lost through unrepentant sin and unbelief.
Lutheranism: Salvation can be lost through unbelief, but this legal warning does not cancel the Gospel promise of election
Relevant Bible passages: 1 Cor. 10:12. 2 Peter 2:1, 20-22.