Calvinism

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Protestant Christian theology founded by John Calvin. The beliefs of Calvinism are traditionally summarised in the so-called five points, which form the mnemonic TULIP:

  • Total Depravity: the belief that nothing humans can do is good enough for God; all our good deeds are but filthy rags in God's sight.
  • Unconditional Election: God chooses some to be saved regardless of what they have done or how deserving they are (since, from Total Depravity, no one deserves salvation).
  • Limited Atonement: Jesus died only for those who would be saved, not for every individual in the world.
  • Irresistible Grace: The saving grace of God is irresistible; once God has chosen you to be saved, it is impossible to resist.
  • Terseverance of the Saints: the saved, or Saints, cannot fall away; once saved, always saved. However, it is possible that a person could be a member in good standing in the church, etc. and not be saved.

Some Calvinists, sometimes called four-point Calvinists, reject the doctrine of limited atonement. Another group, known as Hyper-Calvinists, hold beliefs above and beyond this, such as the position that God has also predestined some to Hell (the doctrine of reprobation), that it is wrong to evangelize, because God will save His own, and that God does not command everyone to repent, only the elect (those whom He has chosen.)

Contrast with Arminianism.

See also: Predestination

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External links:

Calvinist Denominations

The Protestant Reformed Churches in America (PRC)

http://prca.org

One of the most conservative Reformed/Calvinist denominations in the world, the PRC separated from the CRC in the 1920's in a schism over the issue of common grace. Most of its member churches are in West Michigan, Iowa, and other places where there are Christian Reformed congregations.

The Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRC)

http://www.crcna.org

The CRC is a conservative/evangelical denomination founded by Dutch immigrants in the nineteenth century in West Michigan. It has many congregations in Michigan, Iowa, California, southwest Ontario, and elsewhere.

The Reformed Church of America (RCA)

http://www.rca.org

The RCA is a liberal/evangelical denomination formed by Dutch immigrants during colonial times.

The Presbyterian Church in the USA (PC(USA))

http://www.pcusa.org

One of the largest denominations in the US, the PC(USA) has over a million members. It is a liberal, mainline denomination with roots in England and Scotland.