Dedicated to the devotional, exegetical and philosophical study of theological paradox in Conservative, Thoroughly Biblical, Historically Orthodox, Essentially Reformed theology . . . to the glory of God alone!

Monday, November 07, 2011

I'm a 10-Point Calvinist

Reflecting on some previous posts concerning the Three Points of Common Grace and the Purpose and Potency of the Atoning work of Christ, I have concluded that I am a 10-Point Calvinist. I believe it is important to be a 10-point Calvinist (a.k.a. a 5-paradox Calvinist) because this maintains the balance of Biblical teaching concerning God's disposition toward the elect and the reprobate. I believe all 10 points are essential for any soteriology that is based on the Bible.
Most Calvinists agree that the ubiquitous "TULIP" is an insufficient summary of our core theology. This is not to say that it is completely inaccurate. It is a brilliant strand of truth (and a handy acronym) . . . but perhaps too narrow a strand.
5 Paradoxes of Calvinism: A Deep Vision of Sovereign Grace
Humanity's Condition: Lost - yet Loved
1a. God's Pervasive Love for All of His Creatures (Psalm 145:9)
1b. Humanity's Pervasive Total Depravity and Spiritual Inability (John 6:44)
God's Disposition: Willing to Save All - yet Sovereignly Selecting
2a. God's Saving Desire toward All Mankind (Ezekiel 18:31-32)
2b. God's Unconditional Election of Particular Sinners from Eternity (Ephesians 1:4-5)
Christ's Saving Work: Sufficient for all - yet Particular to the Elect
3a. Christ's Infinitely Sufficient Atonement for all Sinners (I John 2:2)
3b. God's Particular Redemption of the Elect through the atoning work of Christ (Matthew 1:21)
The Gospel Call: Offered to All - yet Effectual in the Elect
4a. The Free Offer of the Gospel to All Sinners (Matthew 11:28-30)
4b. The Effectual Call of the Elect by Irresistible Grace (Matthew 11:27)
The Christian Life: Sinners by Nature - yet Saints by Grace
5a. The Struggle of the Saved Sinner in Sanctification (Romans 7:18-25)
5b. The Preservation and Perseverance of the Saints (John 10:27-29)

Arminians press the "a" statements to the point of denying God's sovereignty in salvation.
Hyper-Calvinists press the "b" statements to the point of denying God's goodness as expressed in His general love and willingness to save all. Mainstream Calvinists hold the balance. This is beautiful, Biblical Calvinism! 10 points worth of it.
A 10-Point Calvinist Faces Off with an Arminian
Putting it another way . . .

1. God loves all people. 
2. Sin has rendered all people pervasively depraved and unable to repent on their own.
3. God desires the salvation of all people.
4. From eternity, God unconditionally elects some sinners to salvation.
5. Christ's shed blood was and is a sufficient atonement for all people.
6. God's special intention in the atonement was to redeem a particular people.
7. In the Gospel, God freely offers His atoning mercy to all people.
8. God effectually calls and irresistibly draws the elect by sovereign, saving grace.
9. The saints are saved sinners.
10. Those who are truly converted will persevere in faith to the end.
John Piper considers becoming a 10-pointer
Just don't preach a 10-point sermon!


  1. Derek ~ I appreciate this explanation so much. You've deftly explained where my heart is. My journey into Reformed theology (or maybe it was just discovering I was already Reformed) has led me into some mild head-butting with A/G friends. I've been discouraged and frustrated that some have been unable to see the beauty of God's sovereignty. At any rate, what you've shown here is the balanced truth (I'm convinced) and smashes the preconceptions both sides - Arminian & hyper-Calvinist - seem to hold.

  2. Great post. Thanks for your thoughts.

  3. Brilliant. For me, being a father of 2 children helped me understand how poorly I understood my own depravity. I felt like, although I had been in the subculture of Christianity for about 20 years, that I only heard the gospel quite recently. I used to make fun of guys like Paul Washer, but when I actually listened to him, my mind was offended, but my heart was awakened.


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