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, 
TETH   

9 comments:

  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.

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    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,
      TETH

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  2. Hello Teth,

    Can I have some thoughts from you on certain passages of Scripture?

    Im from a Typical Calvinistic (traditional reformed) Background and recently reading more broadly to examine some specifics of that belief and others that also say they hold to sound Biblical convictions.
    I can see you try to hold on to certain Biblical convictions, as many in the reformed circles say they do too, but clearly its a different kind of thinking or reading, I guess.

    It has much to do with some specifics I think, like 'conditions to getn in' or 'provisions when you are in'. Or as you call it 'sonship' & 'discipleship'. To me its absolutely astonishing that such big differences even exist today and separate entire congregations en denominations in their convictions. While all reading the same Book and even having the same history to our disposal from which also important lessons are to learn. I mean, minor interpretation differences will always be there probably, but these are big, very big differences. You might even say Gospel-shaping/distorting differences. (and they are just two I name!)

    Two passages I could not specifically trace on your blog or vlog are: 1 Pet 1:23 together with passages as James 1:18. 1 Cor 4:15, 1 Joh 3:9, etc.
    In some sense those passages seem to speak of the Gospel (preaching) as instrumental (means) in regenerating, but at the same time we know that God regenerates through His Holy Spirit, sovereignly. So what are we to think of these passages?

    The other passage I would like you to comment on is 2 Tim 2 specifically verse 12 & 13. Together with Rom 3:3 f.e. How are we to read such combinations? Is whats in view here just Timothy and his role or calling? In what way does it apply to all christians and is verse 12 f.e. speaking of an unrepentant denying? (But that also brings other questions with regards to verse 13 in speaking of those who are His's)

    I hope you have some time and helpful thoughts on these.

    Thank you very much for what you do.

    S. v W.

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    1. TETH ANSWER 101

      ANON: Can I have some thoughts from you on certain passages of Scripture? I’m from a Typical Calvinistic (traditional reformed) Background and recently reading more broadly to examine some specifics of that belief and others that also say they hold to sound Biblical convictions. I can see you try to hold on to certain Biblical convictions, as many in the reformed circles say they do too, but clearly its a different kind of thinking or reading, I guess.

      TETH: That is correct. I come to some very different conclusions in my reading of the bible and affirmation of sovereign grace precepts than most Calvinists or Reformed Christians. I believe that Primitive Baptist doctrine resolves numerous issues that linger in Reformed theology.

      ANON: It has much to do with some specifics I think, like 'conditions to getn in' or 'provisions when you are in'. Or as you call it 'sonship' & 'discipleship'.

      TETH: Yes. That is a critical distinction that I believe many in our time confound.

      ANON: To me its absolutely astonishing that such big differences even exist today and separate entire congregations en denominations in their convictions. While all reading the same Book and even having the same history to our disposal from which also important lessons are to learn. I mean, minor interpretation differences will always be there probably, but these are big, very big differences. You might even say Gospel-shaping/distorting differences. (and they are just two I name!)

      TETH: Yes. Yet there is no doubt that the bible predicts that there will be a great deal of departure from the truth in the latter times. So it’s at once “astonishing” and yet expected. While the devil cannot undo the work of Christ on behalf of his people, it seems he has been permitted to confound the minds of many of God’s people with many false doctrines.

      ANON: Two passages I could not specifically trace on your blog or vlog are: 1 Pet 1:23 together with passages as James 1:18. 1 Cor 4:15, 1 Joh 3:9, etc. In some sense those passages seem to speak of the Gospel (preaching) as instrumental (means) in regenerating, but at the same time we know that God regenerates through His Holy Spirit, sovereignly. So what are we to think of these passages?

      TETH: These are passages that many hold up as evidence of gospel instrumentality in regeneration. I think a closer look makes that assertion unnecessary. I won’t belabor the point but consider…

      “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” (I Peter 1:23) For this “word” to be the gospel we’d have to regard the gospel as incorruptible. That is manifestly not true (Galatian 1:7). What’s more, what is intended by this “word” is further explained two verses later, “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” (I Peter 1:25). Here we see that this “word” is NOT the gospel but is that “which by the gospel is preached unto you.” That word is Christ.

      “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” (James 1:18) I believe this designs a “gospel begetting” of the Jewish converts that James addresses. By their reception of the gospel it was made manifest (brought forth) that they were His people, the firstfruits of the NT church. This is what Paul speaks of in reference to his “gospel begetting” of I Corinthians 4:15.

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    2. TETH ANSWER 102

      ANON: The other passage I would like you to comment on is 2 Tim 2 specifically verse 12 & 13. Together with Rom 3:3 f.e. How are we to read such combinations?

      TETH: Let’s look at those passages.

      “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” (II Timothy 2:12-13)

      TETH: This passage is speaking of temporal matters where the first two are involved and eternal or covenantal matters in the third instance.

      “For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?” (Romans 3:3)

      TETH: This passage affirms that it is God’s faithfulness (“the faith of God”) that makes covenantal matters certain, not our belief of such.

      ANON: Is what’s in view here just Timothy and his role or calling? In what way does it apply to all Christians and is verse 12 f.e. speaking of an unrepentant denying?

      TETH: I believe v12 is an exhortation to avoid denying Christ and to submit to his rule in your life as a means of maintaining fellowship with God.

      ANON: (But that also brings other questions with regards to verse 13 in speaking of those who are His's)

      TETH: Notice Paul says “if WE suffer…”, “if WE deny…”, “if we believe not…” This is something that he believed HE and TIMOTHY and OTHER CHRISITANS could do. The ill-effects therefore do not have eternal but temporal consequences.

      ANON: I hope you have some time and helpful thoughts on these. Thank you very much for what you do.

      Thanks for the encouragement and God bless,
      TETH

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  3. Hello TETH,

    Did you miss my questions or are they not the kind of questions to ask here? (sorry if so)

    Could you share something (if you want to) of the way you fill your daily bible study? I mean in the sense of structure and/or discipline that you try to hold on to?

    Thank you, I hope you will be answering still.

    S v W

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    1. NON: Did you miss my questions or are they not the kind of questions to ask here? (sorry if so)

      TETH: Nah, it just takes me time to answer all my correspondence and I get behind sometimes.

      ANON: Could you share something (if you want to) of the way you fill your daily bible study? I mean in the sense of structure and/or discipline that you try to hold on to?

      TETH: For several years I was on a regimen of reading the bible every year. I did that for 5 years or so. I also read the bible to my family over a 5 year period as well. In recent years, my bible study has been more sporadic, spending time in particular books reading as different theological topics pique my interest. I’m feeling the need to get back into a read the bible in a year sort of schedule because I find that it keeps me looking at passages that I likely would not ever see when not following such a plan. So I guess I would say that my bible study is “less disciplined” than it has been in the past and more ad-hoc and topical. That said I think it is important to read the bible several times from cover to cover as a foundation to studying the bible because there’s just so much more going on across the Bible Mall that Christians overlook when they just hang out in the food court of popular passages.

      ANON: Thank you, I hope you will be answering still.

      You’re welcome. God bless,
      TETH

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  4. Thank you for this!

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