TULIPites and the Word of God

Theology defined:

Theology is the science of God and of the relations between God and the universe.
Warfield’s definition of theology as “that science which treats of God and of the relations between God and the universe” (“The Idea of Systematic Theology,” Studies in Theology, London: Oxford University Press, 1932, p. 56),

Millard J. Erickson Proposes a definition of theology as “that discipline which strives to give a coherent statement of the doctrines of the Christian faith, based primarily upon the Scriptures, placed in the context of culture in general, worded in a contemporary idiom, and related to the issues of life.” Christian Theology, pg. 21

TULIPITES defined: Those that elevate theology above the Word of God.

Those holding to the theological proposals set forth in TULIP demand theological preciseness at the expense of the clear teachings of the Word of God. In order to maintain their logical order they either deny or distort simple Biblical truths. It is interesting to note that even those that hold to this proposal understand the impreciseness of theology. William G. T. Shedd in his volume of Dogmatic Theology stated “When theology is denominated the science of God, it is not meant that God is completely comprehended. There may be science without omniscience. Otherwise, science would be impossible for any but the infinite intelligence. Yet the tendency of science is to explain exhaustively and completely. The longer a science is pursued, the more is known of the subject. The aim and endeavor is to reach a final and perfect comprehension. In theology, which embraces the infinite as well as the finite, the goal can never be reached, either in this world or the next; but more and more will be known, and the progress of the science will be onward forever and forevermore.”

I trust that the following notes will encourage you to continue to study without theological bias.

Ephesians 1:3-7

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Father), who hath blessed us (believers) with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places (blessings bestowed by the Father) in Christ: (God the Son)

4 According as he (the Father) hath chosen us (believers) in him (God the Son) before the foundation of the world (before creation), that we (believers) should be holy and without blame (believer’s standing) before him in love:

5 Having (the Father) predestinated us (believers) unto the adoption of children (believer’s position) by Jesus Christ (God the Son) to himself (the Father), according to the good pleasure of his (the Father) will,

6 To the praise of the glory of his (the Father) grace, wherein he (the Father) hath made us (believers) accepted in the beloved (God the Son).

7 In whom (God the Son) we (believers) have redemption through his (God the Son) blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Studying this portion of Scripture without the influence of theological bias leads one to the conclusion that God did not predestinate one to salvation, but He predestinated the believer to a position and standing in Christ before God.

Those who use this Scripture as a proof text for Election must read their definition into it because it is obvious that it is not derived from it.

For example, note the following popular definition and supporting text –

The definition of Election. “Election is an act of God before creation in which He chooses some people to be saved, not on account of any foreseen merit in them, but only because of His sovereign good pleasure.” Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology

The simple, plain reading of this portion of Scripture does not support the definition given.

Note the bias of TULIPites that must be read into the following proof text. The text that is noted in 1 Thessalonians 1:4-6. Please read 1 Thessalonians chapter One –

1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
1 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; 3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;
4 Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.
5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. 6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:
7 So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.
8 For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.
9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;
10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

Please note that there is not one inference to predestination to salvation in these verses which are used as a proof text by TULIPites for Election. The Scriptures clearly teach that God calls men unto Himself through His Word. The Scriptures clearly teach that God initiates the call to the unbelieving, that the unbelieving is not seeking God, but that God is seeking him. The Scriptures do not support the theology of the TULIPites. The TULIPites, in order to maintain the integrity of their theology, must deny the clear and simple teaching of the Word of God.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

The writers had no problem using the word – chosen, or the word – elect. If the Holy Spirit had meant chosen or elect, they would have used that word. The Holy Spirit obviously intended them to use the words, ‘world’ and ‘whosoever’.

1 Timothy 2:3-6 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Some will say that God does not really will that all men should be saved, because if He did will that, they would all be saved. This is, again, a distortion of a simple truth in order to maintain a theological stand.

Please refer to Matthew 23:37,38

Matthew 23:37-38 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.

Note that Jesus would have them come to Him but they would not. Is the Lord just saying that He would have them come to Him but He really does not mean it? TULIPites must twist this verse, and some (as John Gill) weave a wondrous web of distortion in their explanation of this verse in order to defend their theology.
These notes have been posted to help in the study of this false view which the TULIPites maintain. The debate will certainly not be exhausted by these few words for it has been raging for centuries. These are just a few notes posted to help Bible believers in their study and to remind them that theology is just another tool to help in the study of God’s Word. Theology should never be exalted above the Word nor should it distort the doctrine of the Word.

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About sjbjburke

I am an evangelist that enjoys Bible study and I look forward to posting outlines and receiving helpful comments. My wife and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary in 2010 and we enjoy serving the Lord together.
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3 Responses to TULIPites and the Word of God

  1. pastorjburke says:

    When we apply the basic principle of biblical interpretation and interpret Scripture with Scripture, it is clear salvation is available to all. ” And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” I John 2:2

  2. Adrian says:

    Hi Dr Burke,

    I read your blog with interest

    Am curious about your view of Dispensational ‘theology’.

    Also, how was the definition of ‘TULIPITES’ derived?

    Thank you

    • sjbjburke says:

      Thank you for the comments. I use the term TULIPites to differentiate those that hold to this erroneous theory from those that follow the teachings of Calvin. Some may hold to the decree without approving teachings like infant baptism, and so would not desire to be called “Calvinist’.

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