From Conservapedia
This is an old revision of this page, as edited by DanH (Talk | contribs) at 17:50, 31 March 2008. It may differ significantly from current revision.

Jump to: navigation, search

Calvinism (also known as Reformed Theology) is a system in Christian theology that was first developed by 16th century Protestant theologian John Calvin.

It is most often summed up by five points, often referred to by the acronym TULIP:

  • Total Depravity - every person is born with a sinful nature since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden.
  • Unconditional Election - God chose every person whom He would save. This is also referred to as Predestination.
  • Limited Atonement - Jesus only died for those whom God chose for salvation.
  • Irresistible Grace - Man has no free will over his eternal fate, and anybody whom God chooses for salvation cannot resist His call.
  • Perserverance of the Saints - Once one is saved, they cannot lose their salvation and will perservere throughout their lives.

Some 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".


The basic distinction of Calvinism is that it teaches that the purpose of all creation is to glorify God. That is therefore the central theme of Calvinism. It also emphasizes God's supremacy over all spheres of life, holding firmly to the doctrine of divine providence.

Calvin himself published his Institutes of the Chrstian Religion in 1559. This comprehensive work is characterized by his motto of Sola Sacra Scriptura, because he believed the Bible to be the absolute authority in all matters of faith and containing all that is neccasary 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 sacraments, and see the bread and wine used during the Lord's Supper as symbolic. They reject baptismal regeneration, but teaches that baptism is a sign of God's covenantal love and election.

The doctrines of Calvinism is summarized in the Three Forms of Unity, the Westminster Standards, as well as a few other Reformed confessions.


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 Apostle's 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 Cathechisms).

Calvinism spread to different parts of the world, most notably the USA and South Africa The English Puritans and Scottish Presbyterians, 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.

Well Known Calvinists

John Calvin:
Charles Spurgeon:
Jonathan Edwards:
John Piper: