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Tulip: The Five Points of Calvinism in the Light of Scripture [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   93
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.51" Width: 5.53" Height: 0.26"
Weight:   0.3 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 2002
Publisher   Baker Publishing Group
ISBN  0801063930  
EAN  9780801063930  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Tulip is a popular acronym for the five points of Calvinism-total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and perseverance of the saints.

In this classic book, these five points are concisely explained in the light of the Bible. They are also helpfully contrasted with the corresponding five points of Arminianism, which originally prompted the Calvinistic five-point statement at Dort.

Formerly of Arminian persuasion, Duane Edward Spencer shares insights he gained while searching the Scriptures to "see if these things be so." He supplies snippets of church history and selections from the Westminster Confession of Faith (1648) to complement his succinct explanations of the five points.

The basic beliefs of both Arminians and Calvinists, along with the Scriptures used by each to support its views, are summarized at the end of the book for quick and easy reference.

Publishers Description
TULIP is a popular acronym for the five points of Calvinism--total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and perseverance of the saints. In this book, these five points are not only concisely explained in the light of the Bible but are also helpfully contrasted to the corresponding five points of Arminianism. The differences between Calvanistic and Arminian beliefs are also summarized at the end of the book for quick reference.
Anyone looking for an accessible explanation of this somewhat difficult and controversial doctrine, or looking for help in explaining it to others, will find this an invaluable resource. "TULIP" has had steady sales since its original Baker publication in 1979, and there is now nearly 55,000 copies in print.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Great Learning Tool  Jan 10, 2007
Bought this book as a kind of introduction to my deeper understanding of Christianity. It had great material and I highly recommend it.
Few High Points in this Five Points Book  Jul 27, 2006
Many Christians appropriately associate the acronym TULIP with Calvinism, but often get stuck trying to remember what each letter stands for, or more importantly, what each point means. Duane Edward Spencer's book, TULIP, is often described as a classic work for explaining the five points.

TULIP, after a brief foreword and preface, begins with a summary of the five points of Arminianism, to which the five points of Calvinism are a response. The following chapter compares the two systems of thought to bring clarity to the distinctions. Next is a foundational chapter on the will of God, followed by chapters on each of the five points (Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints) and a concluding chapter. At the back of the short book are selections from the Westminster Confession of Faith (1648), a summary of the historical background of the debate, and a point-by-point comparison of the two-systems.

The best part of the book is the point-by-point section at the end. It contains an objective and concise explanation of each point with supporting scripture as promoted by both sides. Aside from that, I didn't find the book very helpful. Take, for example, this error: "Total Depravity, according to the giants of the Protestant Reformation (such as Luther, Calvin, and Know) meant that man was as bad off as man could be." (32) This would be true if a qualifier were added that it is meant in regards to man's relationship with God. However, the way it's stated it sounds as if man can do nothing good in any sense (as if Oscar Schindler saving countless Jewish lives was bad), and this is not the general teaching of Reformed theology.

Worse than that is the uncharitable attitude with which Spencer wrote this book. "Thus we have two diametrically opposed positions. One is an opinion, based on the reasoning of the carnal mind (Which is ever at enmity with God), and the other is a fact based on Scripture." (64) As much as I agree with Spencer that false theology is opposed to God, and that Arminianism is false theology, such rhetoric is not likely to endear the Arminian reader to consider his case. This book perpetuates the notion that Calvinists are arrogant, mean-spirited Bible thumpers (unfortunately some are, but not all).

In my opinion, a far better book on the five points is The Sovereign Grace of God by James R. White (available through his ministry). For a great book that introduces and defends Reformed theology in a personal and friendly manner, read David Clotfelter's Sinners in the Hands of a Good God.
Simple Treatment of Calvinism  Sep 13, 2004
In this work, Spencer seeks to introduce his readers to Calvinism with a brief introduction into the popular "Five Points of Calvinism" (or TULIP). While the book gives a brief introduction into each point, Spencer is limited in his "proof" texting or biblical exegesis of Calvinistic verses. Further, Spencer often glosses over key Arminian arguments and verses and never really dives into the history of Arminian thought and theology.

However, the book is good for those interested in a short reading of Calvinism. My sister used this book in her Bible studies at their Presbyterian church and found it to be easy to read, understand, and enjoyed the lively debates that insued from the book.

For a better treatment of Calvinism's Five Points see THE FIVE POINTS OF CALVINISM by David N. Steele. For an excellent work on Arminism see Robert Picirilli's GRACE, FAITH, FREE WILL.
Elementary but helpful  Jan 6, 2004
As a student of theology, I must agree with many of the comments above. This book really doesn't represent either side entirely, sometimes distorts and decontextualizes scripture, and tends to pick on Arminian theology inappropriately. But what do you want for ten bucks and eighty pages? If you're looking for serious academic theology then read Berkhof or Erickson. This is a good summary book to get people started in thinking through the differences between Calvinist and Arminian theological standpoints. It is written in colloquial English for the average student, and does reasonable justice to the viewpoint. I say he accomplished what he set out to do.
How Not To Argue for Calvinism  Jul 28, 2003
I picked this book up because, though I knew generally what the five points of Calvinism were, I wanted to learn more about the arguments and scriptural support for the Calvinist viewpoint, and this book seemed like a good place to start, as it was short and seemed to fairly compare and contrast the Arminian and Calvinist viewpoints. After reading this book, I have to say that I sincerely hope that these are not the best arguments that Calvinism has to offer. If they are are, then Calvinists are in deep trouble.

While Spencer claims to be demonstrating the truth of Calvinism from scripture, he really attempts, unsuccessfully at that, to force Calvinism on to Scripture. His argument, in a nutshell is "We should be Calvinists because Jesus was a Calvinist," though he also fails miserably in attempting to force Jesus's words to conform to Calvinist doctrine. Take for example the classic statement of Christian faith given in John 3:16, "For go so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believed in him should not perish but have eternal life." Spencer goes through some terribly tortured reasoning, hand waving, and redefining of terms to argue that "world" doesn't really mean the whole world, just the elect, and that "whosoever" doesn't really mean everyone, just the elect. In a few instances, Spencer only quotes parts of verses, making them appear to support his argument, leaving out the rest of the verse which would serve to undermine his argument. (See his handling of 2 Peter 3:9) He also quotes verses that have absolutely nothing to so with soteriology, forcing them to somehow support the Calvinist viewpoint. Indeed, since his appeals to scripture consist of quoting single verses or even parts of verses out of context, the book comes across as nothing so much as a long exercise in proof texting and apriorism.

Given that some very intelligent people in history have been Calvinists-- Luther immediately springs to mind--and given that some very well-read, well-educated, and intelligent people today are Calvinists, I have to believe that there are valid, sound, scripturally based, and well-reasoned arguments for Calvinism. If those arguments exist, however, they are not to be found in Spencer's book.


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