Part 1: The “T” in TULIP

This is Part 1 of a 5-part series on Calvinism and it’s problems. I will be going through the Calvinistic acronym “TULIP”. Today we will be starting with the “T”. While the “T” is often defined as “Total Depravity”, most Calvinists either imply or include it as “Total Inability”.

Does the Bible teach Total Depravity? Absolutely! Psalms 53:3 says:

They have all fallen away; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.”(ESV)

And then again in Isaiah 53, verse 6 it says:

“All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have turned—every one—to his own way;”(ESV)

Both Calvinists and Traditionalists affirm and believe Total Depravity.

The problem lies in Total Inability. Is man entirely incapable of accepting God’s gift of salvation? Is man entirely unable to repent of himself? We know that we cannot have works apart from God, so the question is, is repentance a work? First I would like you to think of what repentance truly is. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary repentance means:

“the action or process of acknowledging regret for having done something wrong”

(here)

If we are acknowledging regret for doing something wrong, first we must admit that we are wrong.

The definition of repent according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is:

ato feel regret or contrition
bto change one’s mind
Does that seem meritorious? Is regret or contrition a work? Are you unable to change your mind and turn from something?

 

Merriam-Webster’s legal definition of meritorious is:

 

 “deserving of honor or esteem”
Putting those definitions together, does “feeling regret or contrition” or “changing your mind”, “deserve honor or esteem”? I would say no. To me that is a contradiction. Many Calvinists however- though not all- believe that yes, repentance is a work.
However, salvation is NOT of us. Repentance does not grant us salvation of itself. It took Christ dying on a cross and calling us all to salvation. THEN he calls us to repentance. He gives us the choice to follow and repent, or go our own way and remain stubborn. And if we continue on stubbornly in our own way, although he has called us time and time again, he will use us in his plan to draw as many people as will come freely to him.
There are a lot more things I could say on this subject. However, others have said these things much better than I ever could. I would like to introduce you to Dr. Leighton Flowers. He is the author of Soteriology 101 where he includes his biography:
Dr. Leighton Flowers was named the Director of Evangelism and Apologetics for Texas Baptists in 2018. In addition to preaching on a wide range of biblical subjects, Leighton regularly travels to churches of all sizes to conduct seminars that specialize on evangelism and apologetics. He has participated in debates with leading apologists and led training conferences for the Annual Convention, Conclave, Apologetic Conferences, and the SBC Annual Convention.
He has many, many awesome videos, articles, and podcasts about all sorts of aspects of Calvinism and it’s problems. I ran across this powerful video when researching for this post, and realized that no matter what I did, I don’t think I will ever be able to express anything close to this on the power and purpose of the gospel. If you don’t watch any other YouTube video this week or month, watch this.
I would also encourage you to watch any of Dr. Leighton Flowers other videos. Here is his YouTube channel. Here is another video on Total Inability.
Also here is my previous post on Limited Atonement vs. Unlimited Atonement.
Thank you, and I hope this video blesses you as much as it has blessed me.
“Seek the Lord while he may be found;
    call upon him while he is near;
 let the wicked forsake his way,
    and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
    and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”
-Isaiah 53:6-7 (ESV)

Author: Faith on the Farm

I’m just a Christian girl who’s striving to glorify God here on the farm. I love sunsets, roses, my dog, and about everything you can photograph on a farm. As you’ve probably guessed, I love photography. When I’m not reading my bible or working on schoolwork, you’ll probably find me cooking, practicing cello, or somewhere outside with my dog by my side and camera in hand. I also love to sing my heart out to my Saviour.