The Five Points of Calvinism
The Calvinistic system especially emphasizes five distinct doctrines. These are technically known as "The Five Points of Calvinism," and they are the main pillars upon which the superstructure rests. In this section we shall examine each of these, giving the Scripture basis and the arguments from reason which support them. We shall then consider the objections which are commonly brought against them.
As will be shown, the Bible contains an abundance of material for the development of each of these doctrines. Furthermore, these are not isolated and independent doctrines but are so inter-related that they form a simple, harmonious, self-consistent system; and the way in which they fit together as component parts of a well-ordered whole has won the admiration of thinking men of all creeds. Prove any one of them true and all the others will follow as logical and necessary parts of the system. Prove any one of them false and the whole system must be abandoned. They are found to dovetail perfectly one into the other. They are so many links in the great chain of causes, and not one of them can be taken away without marring and subverting the whole Gospel plan of salvation through Christ. We cannot conceive of this agreement arising merely by accident, nor even being possible, unless these doctrines are true.
Let it be borne in mind that in this book we do not propose to discuss in detail those other doctrines of the Scriptures which are accepted by evangelical Christendom, but to set forth and defend those which are peculiar to the Calvinistic system. Unless this be kept in mind much of the real strength and beauty of generic Calvinism will be lost and the so-called "Five Points of Calvinism," - which historically and in reality are the obverse of what might be called the "Five Points of Arminianism," - will assume undue prominence in the system. Let the reader, then, guard against a too close identification of the Five Points and the Calvinistic system. While these are essential elements, the system really includes much more. As stated in the Introduction, the Westminster Confession is a balanced statement of the Reformed Faith or Calvinism, and it gives due prominence to the other Christian doctrines.
The Five Points may be more easily remembered if they are associated with the word T-U-L-I-P; T, Total Inability ; U, Unconditional Election; L, Limited Atonement; I, Irresistible (Efficacious) Grace; and P, Perseverance of the Saints.