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11.04.2004    |    Tiptoe through the TULIP
It would be tempting to characterize our Muslim enemies as less than human. This is especially true when we see the end result of their perverted version of faith in atrocities such as the beheading of Iraqis and others. I’m not nearly so shocked as I suppose I should be. For me it just reinforces the old Calvinist TULIP formulation (Total depravity; Unconditional election; Limited atonement; Irresitable grace; Perserverence of the saints).

Originally meant as a refutation of the primacy of free will (Arminianism), it encapsulates the essence of the simple but harsh-seeming faith of our Puritan forefathers (OK, my forefathers; yours were bishops in the Church of England). A Cliff’s Notes version of TULIP may be found here; the full version, John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Relgion, is here.

There is a huge body of discourse on the various elements of TULIP, and I’ve my own problems with the limited atonement, at least when it is used as an expression of God’s limited election of those few who will be saved by the Christ. For right now, I’d like to focus on the total depravity of man.

Our Muslim terror “brothers” are surely destined for whatever hell exists after their death. They are living, breathing, embodiments of the total depravity, the total sin of their hearts, their minds, their bodies, their souls. Before we get too comfortable in our comfortable Western living rooms, shaking our heads over such barbarism, ask: Could this happen here?

Questions much like this have to have been asked by all those “good Germans” who looked the other way while the railcars went past; who held their noses to cut out the stench of the crematoria. After all, Germany was the “Christian” nation that brought us Goethe, Schiller, Beethoven, Heine, the list is long and honorable. Are the German people less, more, or just as depraved in spirit than are those Muslim terrorists who behead innocents?

John Calvin says they are the same. I think the master of Geneva was on to something.


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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.