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A long time ago men started incorrectly believing that the human soul was corrupt at birth. As a result of this false belief, these men had to develop a whole system of theology in order to attempt to be consistent. In order to make this system of beliefs easier to remember, they call it:

Each letter of this word stands for an incorrect doctrine.

It is beneficial for us to know these doctrines because they are prominent in the world around us.

Total Hereditary Depravity

"T" stands for "Total Hereditary Depravity", the core belief of TULIP. As a result of this belief all of the other doctrines were created. Put simply, this is the belief that the human soul is born corrupt. As soon as a baby is born, according to this doctrine, it is in sin and in need of a redeemer. 

In an attempt to support this doctrine Psalm 51:5 and 58:3, among others, are misused. However, notice that in Psalm 51:5, David is not saying that he was born a sinner but rather that he was born into a sinful world. What if the verse read this way, "Behold I was shaped in a potato patch and in a field of spuds did my mother conceive me?" Would this mean that David was born a potato. No, it simply means that he was born in the presence of potatoes.  Also, notice that in Psalm 58:3 it says that one goes astray from the mother's womb. One is not born astray but has to go astray. That verse proves that we are born sinless not sinful!  

There are many arguments that show positively that the human soul is not sinful at birth but only when it commits sin. First of all, notice that God gives man his soul (Eccl 12:7; Zech 12:1). Can or would God give a man an evil soul? This would contradict James 1:17 which says that every good and perfect gift comes from God. God does not bring forth evil (Matt 7:18).  Furthermore, why would Jesus have said that the one had to become like a little child to enter into the kingdom of heaven (Matt 18:1-3). Was he saying that one has to become sinful and depraved in order to go to heaven? Of course not! 

Unconditional Election

As a result of this erroneous belief, that man is born in a sinful state, the believers of this doctrine came up with their next false Unconditional Election. This is our "U" in TULIP. They belief that since man is born in such a sinful state, there is nothing that that individual can do in order to be saved. They say that salvation is solely the work of God, not man. After all, we are saved
by grace and not works (Rom 3:24). Furthermore, they say that God chooses those who will be saved and those who will be lost. 

To answer this doctrine, we have to remember that God's Word is never going to contradict itself. Having said that; there are to many places that show that man must play a part in his salvation. Peter preached on Pentecost that those present must "save themselves" (Acts 2:40). Further, the Lord said that only those who "do" the will of the Father will see the kingdom of heaven (Matt 7:21). The Bible teachers everywhere that we are going to be judged by our works on the last day (2 Cor 5:10; John 12:48; Eccl 12:13-14). If this Unconditional Election were true there would not need to be a judgment for God has already decided. Finally, this doctrine makes God unjust because he would be condemning some having never given them a chance to serve him, even if they desired to do so.  

Limited Atonement

"Unconditional Election" eventually led to the doctrine of "Limited Atonement". This is our "L" in TULIP. This is simply the belief that Christ only died for those select few whom God had chosen. Thus the atonement for sins given by his death was "limited." This doctrine is easily proven false. First, the Bible says that Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6). Limited Atonement says that He only died for the godly. John 3:16 tells us that God so the "world." God did not only love a select few but all men (1 Tim 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9). 

Irresistible Grace

"I" stands for the next doctrine to spring up called "Irresistible Grace".  This is the belief that the elect (those chosen by God) are going to be saved whether they desire to be or not. This would mean that a man could hate God; even worship Satan, and still be allowed to enter into heaven. Joshua told us that we have the ability to choose whom we will serve (Joshua 24:15). Peter told those on Pentecost to save themselves (Acts 2:40).

Perseverance of the Saints

Finally, we come to the "P" which is "Perseverance of the Saints".  We often hear this doctrine called, "Once saved, always saved." The Scriptures teach that man has the ability to choose whom he will serve and that his eternal soul will be judged on that choice. No one who believes in "Once saved, always saved" would deny that Paul was one of the "elect." Yet when we read 1 Corinthians 9:27 we find that he constantly worked to stay in that saved condition.  We can also look to Simon the Sorcerer (Acts 8) as one who was saved and then lost. Judas was another. He was given the ability to do miracles like the rest of the disciples (Matt 10:1). No one can deny that he was saved. Yet we know that he fell away. It will be our actions that will be judged on the judgment day hence, we decide whether we will go to heaven or hell by those actions (2 Cor 5:10).

-- Ralph Price --

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