Friday, September 4, 2015

Regarding TULIP

Properly understood and defined, TULIP is an acrostic summary of the mechanics of eternal salvation by grace. However, it is incredibly important that we not lose sight of the the distinction between being saved by this grace and having an understanding of this grace. These are two separate matters entirely. The fact that TULIP designs the eternally-saving, monergistic motions of God completely eliminates any requirement that the recipient of such grace must possess or acquire an understanding of the workings thereof as a matter of logical consequence. When one comes to understand that all of the requirements of eternal salvation have been met by the Lord Jesus Christ, then one sees that anything ever observed in the life of one saved by grace is never anything more than an ex post facto evidence of grace already imparted.

Search the Scriptures to see if these things are so.  Primitive Baptists regard a proper, biblical understanding of TULIP as follows:

T - Total Depravity - "dead in trespasses and in sins" (Ephesians 2:1, Romans 3:10-18)

U - Unconditional Election - "chosen...BTFOTW" (Ephesians 1:4-5, 2:3)

L - Limited Atonement - "giveth his life for the sheep" (John 10:11,26)

I - Immediate Holy Spirit Regeneration - "voice of the son of God" (John 3:8, 5:25, 10:28a)*

P - Preservation - "Preserved in Jesus Christ" (Jude 1:1, Romans 8:31-39, John 10:28b)**

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*Primitive Baptists affirm "Irresistible Grace" because God's effectual call always succeeds in bringing its object to spiritual life. For the most part, the Reformed believe that this "Irresistible Grace" is in most cases instrumentally imparted via the preached word (WCF 10.1). The phrase "Immediate Holy Spirit Regeneration" is intend to affirm both the Irresistibility (as regeneration imparts spiritual life by definition or it is not regeneration) as well as the Immediacy (without mediation, apart from any human means whatsoever) of God's quickening fiat.

**Most Reformed Christians render this "Perseverance" but Primitive Baptists believe that "Preservation" is a more accurate representation of the bible's testimony. For more on this topic check out the article Primitive Baptist Rightly Divide Preservation and Perseverance.

At the end of the day it is really of very little consequence whether one's definition of TULIP carries the label of "reformed" or "Calvinistic" or "Primitive Baptist" for that matter.  If this extra biblical mnemonic acrostic is to prove at all profitable, it must be defined in a manner that is consistent with the the bible's testimony. 

Or so it seems to me, 


  1. Hi,

    Do you not think that you should inform the reader that this is your understanding of the TULIP? In Calvinist or Reformed theology the 'I' has always referred to Irresistible Grace, and not what you insist.

    1. I am not attempting to promote a Calvinist or Reformed definition of TULIP because I am neither Calvinistic nor Reformed in my theology. I do not have any qualms with the notion of Irresistible Grace, but prefer the moniker of Immediate Holy Spirit Regeneration as a distinctive that better defines the nature of that Irresistible Grace. This helps distinguish what Primitive Baptists believe from those who promote gospel instrumentality in regeneration.

      That said, in deference to your having taken a moment to interact with my blog, I have included some clarifying language to my post.

      Do you take issue with the notion of Immediate Holy Spirit Regeneration?

      May God bless our studies and understanding of his word,