The Death of Calvinism is All About the “T”
In an article recently written by Robin Schumacher on the Confident Christian blog, he addresses five misconceptions about the five points of Calvinism. And he is absolutely right; they are misconceptions and miss the point entirely. I will also grant him another point: Calvinism stands or falls on total depravity or the “T” in TULIP. He stated it this way:
It is no understatement to say that once a person fully understands the doctrine of total depravity, all other points in Calvinism are easy to accept. Get this teaching wrong, and you have a theological mess on your hands.
Of course, he then proceeds to get into to the whole pointless free will/election debate. Fact is, Calvinism is a “theological mess” because total depravity also applies to Christians. Calvinism and Reformed theology in general reject the new birth—regardless of the fact that Christ said, “You must be born again.”
Calvin’s concept of total depravity, articulated by the Synod of Dort, came from Luther’s foundational tenet: the centrality of the objective gospel outside of us. Christ does not work IN us. The Reformers called this “infused grace” and posited it as the primary contention with Rome.
So, what are the Reformers talking about when they refer to Christ in us? I’m glad you asked. They mean, Christ in us BY FAITH ALONE. All of the work Christ does is outside us and accomplished by Christ alone for justification and sanctification both. Let me make this point by reminding you of how often you also hear this in Reformed circles:
Christ for us.
Like total depravity: not only “for” salvation, but “for” sanctification as well. Christ “for us” in sanctification because they believe sanctification finishes justification. Sanctification is actually the progressive in progressive justification. They call it “progressive sanctification,” but this is deliberate deception. That’s why all grace must remain outside of us lest we are enabled to partake in the finishing of our justification which would not be a perfect work because we are involved. They don’t separate justification and sanctification; justification is not a finished work.
That’s why Calvinism falls dead on the “T.”