/* History */
'''Calvinism''' (also known as [[Reformed Churches|Reformed Theology]]) is a name given to a set beliefs and ideas in Christianity, notable for it's emphases on predestination. Calvinism is named after the influential Swiss theologian and lawyer [[John Calvin]], though Calvin himself emphatically rejected the term Calvinism. The "five points' of Calvinism were codified after the 1619 decision of the Synod of Dort over the Arminian controversy.
Calvinism is most often identified with Calvin's teaching on the question of salvation and [[Divine providence|providence]]. Many summarize Calvinism in five points, often referred to by the acronym TULIP, which itself was invented sometime in the
1930's. (The Synod of [[Dortmund]] (Dort, for short) originally created these as a response to the five points of Arminianism. At the time they were ordered as ULTIP.) However, these five points do not represent the entirety of reformed theology. Some topics such as the [[Trinity]] and and God's providence are not sufficiently covered by these points alone.
*[[Total depravity|'''T'''otal Depravity]] - every person but Christ is born with a sinful nature since the fall of man in the [[Garden of Eden]]. (See: Jeremiah 17:9, John 3:19, and Romans 3:10-12)
*'''L'''imited Atonement - [[Jesus]] only died for those whom God chose for salvation. Calvinists hold that he did not die for those who are not elect, but only those who are elect will even seek salvation. (See: John 10:14-15, John 17:2&9, and Ephesians 5:25)
*'''I'''rresistible Grace - Man has no [[free will]] over his eternal fate, and anybody whom God chooses for salvation (the elect) cannot resist His call. (See: Ezekiel 36:26-27, Acts 13:48, Acts 26:14-16, and Ephesians 1:4-6)
*[[Eternal security (salvation)|'''P'''erseverance of the Saints]] - Once one is saved, they cannot lose their salvation and will persevere throughout their lives. Anyone who does not
perservere shows that they were never truly saved. (See: John 10:27-29, 1 Corinthians 1:8-9, Philippians 1:6, 1 Peter 1:5, and Romans 8:38-39)
persons do not hold to all five points, and refer to themselves by the number of "points" to which they adhere. For example, a number of people agree with all points except for Limited Atonement, and thus refer to themselves as "Four Point Calvinists". This has not been used historically, but began sometime in the late 20th century. [[Southern Baptist]]s are split between Calvinists and non-Calvinists, but traditionally hold to the view of eternal security . All of the Reformed Confessions hold to these views.
== Doctrine ==
Calvin himself published his [http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/institutes.toc.html ''Institutes of the Chrstian Religion''] in 1559. This comprehensive work is characterized by his motto of ''[[sola scriptura|Sola Sacra Scriptura]]'', because he believed the [[Bible]] to be the absolute authority in all matters of faith and containing all that is necessary for salvation.
The opposite of Calvinism is considered to be [[Arminianism]], which was named after Jacobus Arminius. It should be noted here that neither John Calvin nor Jacobus Arminius truly came up with the theologies named after them, as the ideas contained within the respective beliefs have been debated upon even as far back as Paul in Romans 5.
Calvinists observe two [[sacrament]]s, and see the bread and wine used during the [[Eucharist|Lord's Supper]] as symbolic but also that Christ is really present with the worshippers. They are not, therefore, strict representationalists, as many other Protestants are. They reject baptismal regeneration, teaching instead that [[baptism]] is a sign of the believer's death to sin and being [[born again]] (which has already taken place), as well as a reminder of Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection.
The doctrines of Calvinism are summarized in the [[Three Forms of Unity]], the [[Westminster Standards]], The Baptist Confession of Faith, as well as a few other [[Reformed Churches|Reformed]] confessions.
While the sovereignty of God, the supremacy of the Bible, and the process by which men are saved are the most famous elements in Reformed theology, certain social standards, the church's form of government, and the style in which the worship services are conducted are also part of what amounts to "Calvinism." Calvinist worship is much less ceremonial than that associated with [[Lutherans]] and [[Anglicans]] (the two other leading branches of the Reformation). The governance of the local congregation is in the hands of a number of ministers, not just the pastor; regional assemblies are the highest unit of administration.
=== History ===
The purpose of the Calvinist Reformation was to reform the church back to the Bible in the time of the [[New Testament]]. Calvinists thus hold to the three historic creeds of the Church: the Creed of Athanasius, the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed. Calvin spent most of his time working in [[Geneva]], [[Switzerland]]. From there, Calvinism spread to the [[Netherlands]], [[Germany]], [[England]], [[Scotland]] and [[Hungary]].
In the different countries, Calvinism developed into different traditions. Although all share the same beliefs, they drew up different confessions. The Dutch Reformed tradition holds to the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg
Cathegism and the Canons of Dordt, the Swiss hold to the Helvetic Confession and the Scots to the Westminster Standards (Confession and two Catechisms).
Calvinism spread to different parts of the world, most notably the [[USA]] and [[South Africa]] The English [[Puritans]] and Scottish [[Presbyterian]]s, as well as smaller numbers of [[German]] and [[Dutch]] immigrants brought Calvinism to the United States in the 17th and 18th centuries. Large numbers of Dutch, Germans and [[French]] [[Huguenots]] also brought their Calvinist faith to South Africa in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
* http://www.calvinistcorner.com/index.html Calvinist apologetics site ''Calvinist Corner.com''.