CONCLUSION (FOR NOW) OF MY QUICK STUDY OF THE TULIP
August 2, 2007 12 Comments
I am writing this to wrap up my current series of posts of working through TULIP. I have discussed, ever so briefly, the following: Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints. I also discussed the Logical Progression of the TULIP.
As I progressed through these I realized that I am closer to being Reformed than I am to being Arminian. I also realized that I actually started closer to being Reformed. I have been trying to study both sides and be fair and open minded and to let the Holy Spirit guide me to the truth. I have been very disappointed in the Arminian side because there is not much in the way of exegetical presentation of their position out there. While I was reading Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities I emailed the author Roger Olson to ask if he could recommend any books that present a good exegetical defense of Arminianism. I was very surprised when he responded and said that he did not know of any.
The obvious question is: Why is there apparently no exegetical defense of the Arminian position? Does the text of God’s Word not support one? If not, how can anyone hold the Arminian position? I have heard Dr. James White state on a couple occasions that the Arminian position is philosophical while the Reformed position is exegetical. In truth, both probably play a role but one has to be primary and the other secondary. At this point it becomes an issue of how much weight do you want to assign to the text of the Bible. Is God’s Word sole and final authority or not? It is and must, therefore, be given the proper respect and attention that it’s position demands.
Next, during my studies I began to look at what the position was of some of my favorite pastors, authors, and bible teachers. After all these were people I respected and they are far more intelligent and educated in these matters than I am. I was utterly amazed to find that almost all of them held the Reformed position. Some of the people (all reformed) I looked at were Albert Mohler, John MacArthur, John Piper, James White, Wayne Grudem, RC Sproul et al. To be fair I also looked at (all not reformed) Johnny Hunt, Norman Giesler, Dave Hunt, Roger Olson et al.
The weight of the data was really leaning to the Reformed position. The exegetical arguments for the Reformed position, the lack of any exegetical arguments for the Arminian position, and the sheer volume of authors, pastors, and Bible teachers who hold the Reformed position make an almost overwhelming avalanche of evidence that requires a change of belief to come into conformity with it.
Now, as to my own position, I am still working through a couple issues but I am a few steps closer to the Reformed position than I was before. I know that God has the right to save some and not save others but I still have a problem with election to reprobation. I also am still struggling with Limited Atonement. These are basically the same issue. The biggest breakthrough I have made was in changing my view of Irresistible Grace. By this I mean viewing it as an act of God freeing a slave from slavery. This new perspective (for me) has cleared up one of my previous difficulties with the Irresistible Grace.
Where to from here? For now I plan to continue to study and I may focus primarily (if possible) on the issues that are giving me the most concern. I hope to resolve these one day…hopefully sooner rather than later so that I can move on to other areas of theology. At this point I can see myself becoming Reformed and that has not always been the case, but I can also still see myself rejecting the Reformed position. Where will I be on this journey a year from now…only the Holy Spirit knows and I pray the He will be my guide every step of the way.