Beliefs of a 5 Point Calvinist

Five-Point Calvinists break Calvinism into five doctrines.
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John Calvin (1509-1564) was a French theologian and pastor who played a major part in the Protestant Reformation. Calvinism is the system of biblical interpretation based on the teachings of John Calvin. Some Calvinists, known as five-point Calvinists, simplify their doctrinal beliefs into a tidy five-point system meant to represent Calvinism in a theologically sound yet easy-to-remember way.

1 Total Depravity

While most Christians believe in the concept of Original Sin, five-point Calvinists broaden the meaning of the concept to mean that man is totally incapable of doing any good without the direct help of God. The doctrine of Total Depravity means that man is sinful and that his sin has extended to the entirety of his being. According to the Center for Reformed Theology and Apologetics (CRTA), this means that sin has extended to man's thinking, his emotions and his will.

2 Unconditional Election

Five-point Calvinists believe that God never chooses his “elect,” those He will save with salvation, based on their personal merit. Rather, they believe that God chooses His elect for His own purposes. However, there is a difficult theological balance five-point Calvinists hold between God's election and man's responsibility to believe in the truth. The CRTA said that it is the responsibility of each person to balance out this theological dilemma.

3 Limited Atonement

Limited Atonement, sometimes called Particular Redemption, is the doctrine that Christ did not die for all people, but rather only for those whom God gave him to save from their sins. In his book "The Five Points of Calvinism," Homer Hoeksema explained who is included in the doctrine of Limited Atonement: “God elected an entire church and all the individual members of that church; and He gave that entire church, with all its individual members, to Christ.”

4 Irresistible Grace

Irresistible Grace means that God's elect find God's offer of grace to be irresistible. Thus, they do not have the ability to resist God's internal call to them. However, this does not necessarily mean that God's elect cannot at some point resist an “external” call to become a believer from another person, such as an evangelist.

5 Perseverance of the Saints

Five-point Calvinists believe that Christians cannot lose their salvation based on bad deeds or lack of belief once they have been saved by God. The doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints is based on Christ's promise to his followers in the Gospel of John that they will be glorified at the last day (John 6:39).

Brian Gabriel has been a writer and blogger since 2009, contributing to various online publications. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in history from Whitworth University.