New Release: Tiptoeing Through Tulip

This is a 6-Session study on the biblical doctrines of salvation (Soteriology) with Dr. Leighton Flowers.

In this study we unpack the key errors of the “limited” 5-point Calvinistic perspective as contrasted with the “provisional” corporate perspective that has been more traditionally held by many Christian pastors and theologians.

The student will learn the main distinctions between the “limited” (Calvinistic) doctrines and the “provisional” (Traditionalist) doctrines regarding salvation. Dr. Flowers teaches students how to respectfully disagree with Calvinistic believers and answer the most common objections surrounding the topics of predestination, election and soteriology. There are 6 videos along with a printable student guide that will lead students through the popular Calvinistic acronym TULIP in a side by side comparison of the two main theological perspectives in dispute.

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17 thoughts on “New Release: Tiptoeing Through Tulip

    1. I think Derwin Gray’s article fails to take the most likely option into account. But before I get into that, it’s worth noting that the “problem” he sees in Classic Arminianism is not really a problem at all. Scripture never treats people needing to respond in faith as if that would somehow make salvation based in human will, since scripture is very clear that it is by God’s gracious choice that the condition is faith; the actual salvation is won by Christ and *granted* by the Father for the sake of Christ. Faith of itself is not part of salvation or nor does it “merit” salvation as if it was a work. God promises salvation to those with faith for the sake of Christ’s work, not because faith is a super-work of human will that forces God’s hand or somesuch.

      He references Jn 1:13, but leaves out Jn 1:12:

      “But to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God— children born not of blood, nor of the desire or will of man, but born of God.”

      Those who receive Him (Christ) are those who believe. THEN God gives them the right to become children of God. How are they born? Of God – we see this in other passages as the believer identifying with the death of Christ (dying to sin) and then God raising the believer to “new life” and granting the indwelling spirit. It isn’t faith that births the person; God births the person with faith.

      Likewise, his Eph 2:8-9 reference does not support man’s faith being a “problem” as it shows God graciously gives salvation BY grace THROUGH faith. Faith doesn’t give the salvation: God does. The choice for faith to be the condition is not man’s will, but God’s will.
      [Question: What does it mean that it is by grace we have been saved, through faith, and that this is not of ourselves but is the gift of God?
      See Answer: http://ebible.com/answers/24715?ori=167400%5D

      He seems to believe that God, despite His wisdom and sovereignty, isn’t allowed to choose a condition by which to graciously offer salvation if that condition is within the capability of men.

      Tit 3:5-7 doesn’t say anything about fallen man being incapable of faith or it creating a problem for God if they were. It’s about the new birth and renewal of the Spirit which a believer receives. This is parallel with Rom 6:3-5 and the surrounding passage. The new birth is entirely from God, not the believer, but God only grants the new birth to believers because it is His gracious choice to impute Christ’s work to believers.

      With that out of the way, we can look at the “most likely option” of how people are elected, which is detailed quite clearly in the last supposed support passage he gives for why Classic Arminianism is wrong, Eph 1:

      Eph 1:

      …To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus (“the faithful in Christ Jesus” is the audience:)

      ….Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms. For He chose *us in Him* (believers) before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His presence. In love He predestined us for adoption as His sons through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will…In Him we (believers) have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And He has made known to us (believers) the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, …In Him we (believers) were also chosen as God’s own, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything by the counsel of His will, in order that we, (believers) who were the first to hope in Christ, would be for the praise of His glory. And you (believers) also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

      Watch Paul’s pronoun shifts. By “we” he is referencing either Jewish believers or early converts, and by “you” he is referencing either Gentile or the Ephesian converts as a whole. But in both cases he is referencing believers. Paul shows that the latter group (Gentiles or later converts) were also “included in Christ” when they believed.

      It is very important to note that this chapter NEVER states that some are predestined to believe or predestined to be chosen. Rather, it shows the various things that believers are chosen/elected and predestined to:

      – to be holy and blameless in God’s presence
      – to be adopted as Sons
      – to be redeemed
      – to have forgiveness
      – to be lavished with the riches of His grace
      – to know the mystery of His will
      – to be for the praise of God’s glory
      – to receive the Holy Spirit as a deposit
      – to someday receive an inheritance at the redemption of God’s possession
      – to be chosen as God’s own

      And all these things and blessings were predestined before time; God chose what He would do for believers and the blessings He would grant. And no believers were “afterthoughts” – God predestined these good things for all believers!

      So none of his three options work. God doesn’t pre-select some people to get faith so as to be saved. He doesn’t need to look through the corridors of time to see who will have faith and predetermine that those people get faith. It’s not the first two methods somehow working in congruence.

      Rather, God simply predestined before time that He would adopt all those in Christ (believers) and make them Holy, redeem them, view them through the blood of Christ and forgive them, etc. And that God only saves “believers” does not make it a matter of man’s will, as Mr. Gray seems to think, since it was only God’s gracious choice and predestined plan to begin with that He would grant salvation to all the faithful in Christ Jesus, and that very faith is based in the perfect work of Christ, not in the merit of man.

  1. How do you address the verse in Acts 13 that Calvinists use to support Gods “choice” of who are saved?
    V48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.

      1. Really like your exegesis, Brian. Succinct at less than two pages, multiple reinforcements to support the thesis, and rock-solid conclusions. Not a big fan, though, of the ensuing contrarian arguments from Thompson spanning 14 pages. I have a mental image of someone speaking at a podium, painstakingly plodding through one argument after another on the utter impossibility of heavier-than-air flight, while the audience is meanwhile looking over the speaker’s head at a jet contrail in the blue sky from a 737 moving at 600 mph. I.e., some people refuse to see what is plainly there.

      2. Thanks Steve for those words of encouragement. I still interact with Thomoson occasionally. It takes time with some to break loyalty with a system they have invested so much to support.

        But the sword of God’s clear Word using normal grammar and context can cut through and give them a clear choice of remaining loyal to error or repenting and choosing Scripture.

  2. This course being ‘reviewed’ by a calvinist
    Youtube: 1 Leighton Flowers (Soteriology 101): Reviewing “Tiptoeing Through TULIP”: The Intro.

    Lots of Calvin-speak.

    1. This Calvinist review itself reviewed by a non-Calvinist.

      His argument can be boiled down to this – “It’s my way or the highway”.

      We are very familiar with Calvinist [A] in forum [A] presenting his version of Calvinism as the golden standard. Massaging everything Calvinist [B] says – or arguing Calvinist [B] didn’t mean what he said – or claiming he’s not a real Calvinist. While Calvinist [B] on forum [B] presents the same argument against Calvinist [A].

      This presenter pretty much follows the that model. Whatever camel he’s swallows he swallows 100% and his camel is the only legitimate camel to swallow.

      Also consistent with Augustinianism – (aka Calvinism) which embraces a Gnostic cosmology of “Good-Evil” Dualism – the Calvinist wants to enunciate only “good” elements within the doctrine while HIDING the “evil” elements.

      He argues that Calvinism’s doctrine of divine damnation is no different than any other main-stream doctrine which is FALSE. What is HIDDEN is the fact that Calvin’s god – as the divine potter – DESIGNS the vast majority of the human race for eternal torment in a lake of fire – for his good pleasure. Calvinism is unique in its embrace of a “Good-Evil” THEOS. So his argument here is simply a cover up.

      Dr. Flowers will point out that on the interpretation of any data (including scripture) – IRRATIONAL THINKING will always eventually produce an IRRATIONAL interpretation. The way the Calvinist deals with the a systematic that is inherently IRRATIONAL – is firstly by AUTO-MAGICALLY embracing DOUBLE-SPEAK as unquestionable truth. And you must believe whatever Calvin says – because what Calvin says is AUTO-MAGICALLY equated with scripture.

      And besides it’s impossible for you to understand divine secrets and mysteries – even though when it boils down to it that is basically the heart of Calvin’s own claim to his own fame.

      What you end up with is a THEOS who speaks DOUBLE-SPEAK, makes square-circles, married bachelors, and FALSE-TRUTH. And you better accept it because who are you oh man to judge.

      And oh by the way – pay no attention to that little man behind the curtain! :-]

  3. A RESPONSE TO – “ONCE SAVED ALWAYS SAVED”

    Leighton would you consider some arguments on your category of ‘Once saved now lost’? I will try to be brief! In Luke 8:11-15 we have the parable of the sower. In v.11 the “seed is the word of God.” In v.12, the the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved. Notice how important the word of God is to salvation? Why does the devil want to take away the word from their heart? Jesus says – so that they will not believe and be saved. This is a very important point for the rest of the parable.

    In v.13, the rocky soil: They receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away.
    They ‘received the word and believed’. In this instance, the devil was not able to take away the word from their heart – So that they will not believe and be saved. But they – received the word and believed – hence, they were saved. But Jesus says, they only believed for a while and then fell away. In other words, they didn’t keep the word, they stopped believing and fell away! Were they still saved? I think not!

    In v. 14, the thorny soil: when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. Notice what Jesus said – they brought no fruit to maturity implying that they had been bearing fruit. But the word was choked by the cares etc..of this life, and so they brought no fruit to maturity. He had received the seed – Mth 13:22. Therefore he had received the word, believed and was saved. Likewise, if he had initially been bearing fruit, then he was at some point “in Christ.” But what happens to those who become unfruitful – John 15:1-6? And if you become unfruitful, do you remain “in Christ?” Certainly not!

    In v.15, the good soil: He too heard the word and received it – hence, he believed and was saved. But notice, he holds fast that word, and bears fruit with perseverance. John 15: 5-6; Says “..he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.” It is not enough just to hear the word and believe, one has to abide or remain in Him to be saved. He does that by holding fast the word, persevering and bearing fruit unto eternal life – something that the others failed to do!

    One does not become “unborn” when they fall away. The prodigal son was lost, but was still a son – a son who was dead and lost (Luke 15:24). And, I believe you’ve missed the context and subject matter of 1 Cor. 3:1-17; which would be more in tune with the proper evaluation of a preacher and his work, rather than the salvation of individual Christians in spite of their sins.

    Thanks,
    Aidan.

  4. I’m not sure that this discussion is the right place to raise this but I find Calvinists assume the high ground by talking much about the attributes of God – claiming in effect that they honour God the most because they do not challenge who he is and how he does things. Of course they have made a god in their own image – or to suit their presuppositions. SO is there an alternative resource which defines God’s attributes in a more biblical way that we can offer as an alternative playing field instead of having to play on theirs? Before debating TULIP we perhaps can show them that their flower is in fact a weed because it was grown in contaminated soil.

    1. Hello Zoransulc and welcome.
      You may find interesting – Kevin Thompson’s Beyond the Fundamentals series on Youtube.

  5. CALVINISM – THE COST OF TELLING THE WHOLE TRUTH

    Social Psychologist, Dr. Bella M. DePaulo, PhD, spent a number of years researching the phenomenon of how and why people deviate from telling the whole truth when they communicate. Dr. DePaulo differentiates two forms of lies: (1) Self-Serving lies, and (2) Kind-Hearted (i.e., Altruistic) lies.

    -quote:
    The little self-serving lies of everyday life are a bit stickier. They are just so easy to tell, and yet not quite as easy to justify.

    Feeling embarrassed about sleeping through your alarm?
    It’s all too easy to say you got stuck in traffic.

    Did you get caught saying something controversial or just stupid?
    It’s all too easy to follow that statement up with a “so called” clarification of what you really meant.

    Does your husband beat you?
    Its all too easy to hide that truth by crafting statements designed to paint his actions in a non-malevolent light.

    Does your THEOS design the vast majority of humans for the lake of fire – for his good pleasure?
    Its all too easy to hide that truth by crafting statements designed to paint his actions in a non-malevolent light.

    Dr. DePaulo
    -quote:
    “I used to tell these kinds of lies without a whole lot of thought or regret. Now, I more often catch myself before I do, and decide in advance to tell the truth instead. Sometimes I will admit to embarrassing truths even before I am backed into a corner.

    A few years before I started my diary studies, during a semester when I was teaching a graduate course in research methods, I called my dentist to tell him about an especially bad toothache. He asked me if the gum was swollen. I touched it and reported that I wasn’t sure. He then suggested that I touch the gum on the other side of my mouth for comparison. Then I died of humiliation. Or would have, had he known that I taught a graduate course in research methods. Now when I teach that course, I tell that story on the first day. And it usually gets a laugh. But telling those kinds of truths does have its costs!” -end quote

    John Piper, in his interpretation of scripture, presents the topic of “chosen in Christ”. And as a Calvinist, Dr. Piper’s interpretation is in accordance to an unspoken presupposition known as Universal Divine Causal Determinism. With this as his presupposition, he quite naturally interprets NT texts as communicating to believers that they were chosen for “good” and not for “evil” – at the foundation of the world before they were created.

    Two Questions immediately come to mind:
    1: As Dr. Piper selectively focuses solely on people being chosen for “good” alone – is he telling the WHOLE truth?

    2: If the NT authors are communicating what Dr. Piper insists, are the NT authors telling the WHOLE truth?

    Calvinism is consistently advertised with the phrase: “Doctrines of Grace”. But is that telling the WHOLE truth?

    John MacArthur advertises his ministry as: “Grace to you”. But is that telling the WHOLE truth?

    What would the cost to Calvinism be – if it did tell the WHOLE truth?

    John Piper, or John MacArthur sternly looking into a camera, broadcasting to the whole world, declaring that every neurological impulse that has ever, and will ever, come to pass within each person’s brain was “chosen at the foundation of the world” before persons are created. For the Calvinist – that would in fact be more truth-telling. But at what cost?

    Whether or not scripture would classify each neurological impulse as “good” or “evil” would be of questionable concern. Because in this system:
    1: Everything which comes to pass is “chosen at the foundation of the world”
    2: Everything the THEOS chooses is “right”
    So ultimately everything that comes to pass, must be declared: “right”.

    In Calvinism all creaturely neurological impulses come to pass irresistibly by infallible decree. How does that not LOGICALLY entail all human functionality as robotic? Perhaps the Calvinist foresees some cost associated with telling that much truth?

    If it is truthful to classify Calvinism as: Doctrines of Grace – it should be even more truthful to classify Calvinism as: Doctrines of Good-Evil. Perhaps the Calvinist foresees some cost associated with telling that much truth?

    Calvinism advertises itself as the most accurate representation of divine truth. And scripture declares truth, as that which “sets one free”.
    Why not tell the WHOLE truth then?

    Dr. Bella DePaulo, would want to ascertain whether Calvinism’s motivation for not telling the WHOLE truth, is “self-serving” or “Kind-Hearted”

    Calvinists of-course – are going to insist they don’t tell the WHOLE truth – following the mode of scripture.

    But I suspect – Calvinists do not tell the WHOLE truth because they do not want to pay the cost.

    1. Piper or MacArthur looking sternly into a camera to tell the whole truth about determinism? Yeah! We can see that happening no time soon! But of course, if they believe that those who are going to be saved are going to be saved no matter what they do, then why bring extra hassle on themselves by telling the whole truth?
      And if, by omission, they can make Calvinism more palatable to the masses, well that just brings more glory – yeah! But to whom? Having said this, I do believe there’s a right time for telling the whole truth. I remember a fella we used to have in the church many years ago. He would go out on the streets preaching a message of, “you are all going to hell”. Now while it is true that the scriptures teach the need of repentance to enter the kingdom of heaven, the hell approach wasn’t always the best policy when first engaging people about their faith. Every situation is different, therefore you have to approach it differently. And of course, if you are involved in making disciples of all nations, it takes time and patience to teach them what they need to know! And for those who commit themselves, it takes time and patience to declare the whole counsel of God.

      Somehow I suspect, that ain’t happening in many Calvinist Churches!

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