true blue?

To settle a point of minor dispute, a poll-packed post on presbyterian perspectives. Alliterative, too.

When Calvinists think about Calvinism, how much do they really know?

There follows a series of polls on different aspects of calvinism. My impression is that all the questions are pretty easy, and I’m hoping your answers will bear that out. Anyone can answer, but be especially encouraged to answer if you would describe yourself as a calvinist!

You can vote entirely anonymously – just click the appropriate button – nobody will know how you voted unless you leave a comment to tell us. You can answer as many or as few of the questions as you like (although it’s more interesting to do them all). Here goes.

1) One way people can help themselves remember the five points of Calvinism is using the acronym TULIP (T for total depravity, U for unconditional election, L for limited atonement, I for irresistible grace, and P for perseverance of the saints). Now here’s the first question:

2) If you’re explaining what Calvinism is:

3) Another historical question:


5) Terminology:

6) About you:

10 thoughts on “true blue?

  1. Well, as the responses come flooding in (all of 5 in the past 24 hours), my lips must remain sealed until polls close.

    First prize: a googlesearch for every reference to Calvin500 anywhere on the web in the past 8 months
    Second prize: a lifetime subscription to the Facebook group “Calvinism: The Group That Chooses You”
    Third prize: an unwanted copy of Young, Restless, Reformed :)


  2. The date of the Baptist Confession … which i don’t know much about except that it’s apparently v similar to Westminster except for the tricky bits about baptism. Didn’t occur to me that there were any Baptists reading (v welcome obv!) so maybe Jonathan would be better placed to elaborate further?


  3. So Cath,
    Perhaps it is back in your blog in days previous (I’ve fallen behind in reading it, I wait for time to read lots at a time and enjoy it that way) but can you point us to where you had been reading that calvinists don’t know squat about calvin that put you in a mind to do this quiz in the first place?

    I think the question about when the T.U.L.I.P acronymn was first used is a bit of a red herring regarding “knowledge” of calvinism in that it is far more important to know the doctrines than the origin of the “handy tool.”

    I think those who aren’t calvinists place far too much importance and emphasis on the acronymn. In addition it seems to me that far too many folk don’t clearly grasp the meaning and significance of the theology behind each letter. Ask someone to explain each of those letters without the use of the words in the letter and see how far you get.

    Your quiz does help point out that we can all know more of these glorious doctrines and what a blessing heart religion is as well as theology of the intellect.


  4. Yes – there’s always that story about Merle d’Aubigne in Haldane’s lectures on Romans – after one on ‘total depravity’ he said to Haldane, I see that doctrine in the Scriptures now! and Haldane replied, But do you see it in your own heart…

    I thoroughly agree that people are far too often far too glib about claiming to believe the five points, without showing much insight into the implications of the doctrines. One of the puzzling things about Young, Restless, Reformed (eg, since i mentioned it earlier) is how the key indicator of a “Calvinist” there is only a belief in something called “sovereignty” – but whenever this concept is explained, it always seems to be nothing that your openly arminian pentecostal friend wouldn’t wholeheartedly subscribe to too.

    Anyway, the article in question appeared in the Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology – search for it if you’re keen enough but i followed a link off somebody’s blog and came away perplexed and not wanting to return :) It was written by an American and so I’m just not sure what kind of audience he had in mind. I’m increasingly convinced that the entire culture of Scottish Christianity where people have been steeped in a lively calvinism with a rich historical background, is vastly different from the experience across the pond. (Often you read US blogs and haven’t a clue, seriously, what they’re talking about, or why they need to say it – or is it just me.) I would hazard the guess that most Scottish calvinists did not learn their calvinism as some sort of separate bolt-on to the rest of their religious lives, but as part and parcel of the preaching and living they grew up with. The five points for me act as some sort of convenient condensed description of what distinguishes our theology from other people’s, but never the be all and end all of what we’re about, and i’m relieved to see that the poll results so far seem to indicate i’m not alone in that :)


  5. And there’s been a warm relationship, perhaps oddly, between English Baptists and Scottish Presbyterians. Cf Spurgeon obviously, who eg preached at the opening of Dr Kennedy’s church in Dingwall in the 18somethings, when pulpit sharing was rather more significant than today. Literature appreciated on both sides, eg John Warburton’s Mercies of a Covenant God. Gospel Standard in general. More recently The Hidden Pathway, etc. And a highly valuable theological work by Philpot on the eternal Sonship of Christ. Odd because of two major disagreements – purity of worship (Baptist friends have an extravagant regard for Gadsby, & organs), and the [theory of the] free offer of the gospel (free offer not readily found, or so i understand, in Philpot et al). Oh, and baptism, three. But there are remarkable similarities in devotional life and piety etc … we can still be friends.


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