TULIP Bibliology

Perhaps it would be helpful for my Reformed brothers to conceive of Confessional Bibliology [CB] in terms of Soteriological Calvinism [SC]. When seen through this lens the parody between the two is quite striking. To my non-Reformed brothers this argument will of course not carry as much weight.

So let us begin…

1.) T in SC stands for Total Depravity. In short, this doctrine teaches that man cannot save himself nor does he rightly desire to be saved apart from the work of the Holy Spirit in his heart.

In like manner for CB, man cannot locate, verify, or prove what words are God’s words apart from the Spirit of God working in the heart of the Christian. Indeed, such things are spiritually discerned. Only the Spirit through His words to His people who accept these words by faith can locate, verify, and prove what words are God’s words.

2.) U in SC stands for Unconditional Election. Here God is said to choose those who would be saved and united to Christ just as God chose Jacob rather than Esau before either of them had done good or evil.

In like manner for CB, God chose specific words which He dictated to the penmen of Scripture [i.e., Moses, David, Luke] who then faithfully and willingly wrote those words. Those words are called inspired, infallible, and authoritative Scripture.

3.) L in SC stands for Limited Atonement. Here Christ’s sacrifice for the sins of mankind is often expressed as “sufficient for all but efficacious only for the elect.” That is, Christ’s atoning sacrifice did not save everyone but rather a specific mass of elect individuals of every people, tongue, and nation. What is more, because Christ actually saved people on the cross, He did not merely make salvation possible.

In like manner for CB, God’s work of providentially inspiring and preserving that mass of authoritative words applies only to those words and to no others. Certainly God could have inspired all the words of men, but He chose to inspire only a certain number and only at a certain time. What is more, God’s inspiring and preserving is not a mere possibility but rather an actuality. Indeed, these inspired and infallible words have been kept pure in all ages.

4.) I in SC stands for Irresistible Grace. The Holy Spirit always accompanies the hearing of His words but in the specific case of salvation the voice of the Spirit draws the lost soul to Christ by giving that soul a desire for Christ. Through that God-given desire and the hearing of the word he who was once lost becomes found by accepting Christ as Savior through faith.

In like manner for CB, the Holy Spirit always accompanies the hearing of His words but in the case of recognizing His words as God’s words the voice of the Spirit speaks to the Christian through those words because they are His words. Through His speaking, the Christian, having a God-given ability and desire to hear God’s voice, recognizes the voice of his Shepherd and accepts by God-given faith those words as indeed the words of God and not men. When the Spirit speaks through His words to His people who accept those words by faith in such a way the conclusion that said words are the words of God is irresistible.

5.) P in SC stands for Perseverance of the Saints. Simply put, no man, including one’s own self, is able to pluck a Christian out of the Father’s hand. As such, all true Christians will ultimately remain faithful to Jesus Christ though that faithfulness may fluctuate given the storms of life and our propensity for doubt.

In like manner for CB, the Holy Spirit will always preserve his words as He preserves all those who have been given to the Son. As a result, no man is able to pluck a single word from Scripture, the living Voice of God, any more than a man is able to pluck a Christian out of God’s hand. No child of God and no word of God can ever perish. In light of these truths we have no grounds to doubt a single word in our Bible has been lost any more than we have ground to doubt a single saved sheep has been lost from among Christ’s fold even amidst our propensity to doubt which is brought about by academic interpretations of manuscript evidence.

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