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A Calvinistic/Puritan Tulip

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Date May 1, 2001

A number of writers of late have been trying to drive a wedge between Calvin and the Puritans. Thomas Torrance and R.T. Kendall are among the chief of them, while Paul Helm and Carl Trueman in particular have refuted their claims. The following quotations may shed some light on the issue. While we believe that Calvinism embraces much more than its so-called Five Points, these points conveniently distinguish it doctrinally from Arminianism and Pelagianism, which virtually hold the field in ‘church’ circles today. Hence the mnemonic T.U.L.I.P. Some, we appreciate, are weary of theological controversy. So are we ourselves. But these truths are the life of our lives, and it is treachery to Christ to stand by and see them defamed. Editor of “Peace and Truth”, John M. Brentnall

T. Total Depravity

Calvin:

The defection of our first parents…proved to be the destruction of the whole race…consequently no part of us is sound.’ (Comm on Gen 1.6.)

‘The Holy Spirit teaches us in Scripture that our mind is smitten with so much blindness, that the affections of our heart are so depraved and perverted, that our whole nature is so vitiated, that we can do nothing but sin until he forms a new will within us,’ (Dedication to Edward VI of Commentary on the General Epistles.)

The Puritans:

‘Adam is as the poisoned root, and the clusters are envenomed because the root was poisoned…every child that comes into the world sucks in poison with his first breath, and is no sooner a living creature than a deformed sinner…(Psa 51.5). The soul of David was no sooner united to his body than sin was united to both…David complains…that he was dogged with native corruption…he was wrapped in sin before he was wrapped in swaddling-clothes.’ (John Wells: Cripplegate Morning Exercises.

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