John Calvin (1509-1564) was a French theologian and pastor during the  Reformation, and a contemporary of Martin Luther. Both Biblical and secular historians note that his teachings and theology have had more impact on Western thought than perhaps any other person living during his time. He taught extensively on Christian living (Institutes of the Christian Religion) and is best known for his teachings on the particulars of salvation – something his followers abbreviated as TULIP.

Total Depravity – Man is so dead and lost in sin that he cannot even muster the sense to cry out to God for spiritual help (Eph 2:1-3; Ps 14:2-4)

Unconditional Election – God elected people for salvation according to His will and counsel, before they were born without any basis on their action, past, present or future. (Eph 1:4-5, 2 Tim 1:9)

Limited Atonement – Christ’s death secured and accomplished salvation for the elect. It didn’t “make salvation possible” for the whole world. (Matt 1:21)

Irresistible Grace – The Holy Spirit enters a person and regenerates him (“borns” him again), thereby enabling him to freely will to be saved. Everyone who is regenerated believes and is saved. (John 6:37-44)

Preservation of the Saints – Once saved by the Holy Spirit, always saved (Rom 8:28-30; John 3:16)

It is my firm opinion that these 5 points accurately summarize what the Bible consistently teaches regarding salvation. There are many verses to support each of these points, but for the purpose of this article, only one or two will be given. For more details on the history of TULIP, the rebuttals against it, and its impact on the Church, please visit