What is the 'Reformed' tradtion, or TULIP

I have a new Christian friend who described his church as being from the Reformed tradition, also known as TULIP. Good guy.Just wondered what this kind of church was about, from a Catholic point of view. Thanks.

Not all reformers use TULIP.

It is my understanding that only Calvinists use TULIP.

I don’t think Lutherans, Armenians, and most Baptists subscribe to TULIP, although I have seen plenty of 3-4 point Calvinists in Baptists.

The term “Reformed tradition” typically only refers to churches which were influenced by the reformation movement which took place in Switzerland. The Lutherans, Baptists and Methodists would not, for example, be properly referred to as Reformed, although some Baptists do hold to Reformed theology. The Church of England has had a weird history with the Reformed, and the 39 Articles of Faith show quite a bit of Reformed influence, but I don’t think I’d lump them in with the Reformed either.

For the OP: TULIP is basically puts the teachings of Calvinism into a nice convenient acronym. TULIP in a nutshell goes something like this (people in the reformed tradition who post here can probably explain it better):

Total Depravity: man, as a consequence of the fall, is unable to choose to follow God without God’s prevenient grace (meaning simply grace which comes before human action) and election.
Unconditional Election: God has chosen the elect unconditionally for His own purposes. This is in contrast to the idea of Conditional Election, taught by Arminius, whereby God elects those for salvation those who he foreknows will have faith in Christ.
Limited Atonement: Jesus’ atonement was definite in its purpose. As a consequence, the atonement is “limited” to or only efficacious for those whom God has elected.
Irresistible Grace: God’s grace is completely efficacious. As a result, those who have been elected will be unable to resist God’s grace, but instead will be compelled into faith and salvation.
Perseverance of the Saints: Because God’s grace is efficacious, those who are of the elect will persevere unto the end. Those who leave the faith were never of the elect in the first place.

The “New Calvinism”, which is basically just a renewed interest in the teachings of Calvin emphasizing God’s sovereignty and God’s glory, is making its way through evangelicalism. There is a demographic called “young, restless, and reformed” that spans evangelicalism, not just the historic Christian Reformed denomination.

I forgot to add that part of the appeal of the New Calvinism is that it offers greater theological depth than a lot of what you’d find in generic evangelicalism. Some of the “young, restless, and reformed” who do read Calvin might end up becoming Catholic, though.


I did! :thumbsup:

The various types of Anabaptists were also considered Reformed in the early days of the Reformation. Many were (and are) very anti-government - some were even violent. However, they came under sanction from their respective nations. The remaining Anabaptists were the pacifistic ones

Can you elaborate? Seems counter-intuitive, unless you are saying that actually reading Calvin makes them so queasy that they run far away! :smiley:

They certainly are good people, but I can’t rationalize the implications of their theology

TULIP leads to the belief in Once Saved Always Saved (OSAS)
TULIP negates the role of Free Will

Actually Calvin based much of his theology on St Augustine.

Although Catholics don’t subscribe to Calvinism, you still find traces and places where they seem to coincide.

The elect is used by both Catholics and Calvinists. And the change of for all in the Mass to for many rings uncomfortably close to Calvinism to me.

I am not Calvinist and for many substituted for for all, sounds much like limited atonement.

Perhaps I just don’t understand the difference?

All people are many people. ;):smiley:

Thanks for the replies all.

I just read the ‘what we believe’ section of his church’s website.

I am not a theologian, but I can find very little (if anything) that conflicts with the Catholic church.

The only thing is they say that ‘baptism is for adult believers and you have to get fully immersed’. (My summary).

Sometimes I really think that this whole protestant vs Catholic thing is just picking nits anymore.

All vs. many people?

Many implies that there are some who are not.

Given all of our experience with people, it does seem obvious that there are truly evil people in the world. Those who actively cooperate and encourage evil.

The term ‘many’ seems more honest to me. But this does not imply that God wills them to be evil. It is just a statement of out collective observation.

TULIP does not negate free will, unless one is a Hyper-Calvinist.

In a nutshell:
The Reformers made a distinction between the free will of an unregenerated person (who cannot please God, even if they “good” by human standards) to choose according to their nature and the free will of a regenerate person, who is progressively sanctified over time.

There are many factors to this issue, which would take a long time to explain, so I just gave the basics. I have come from the Reformed tradition, so I am familiar to the distinctions, Saying that Calvinists deny free will is inaccurate and a common mistake… they just have a particular understanding as to what is meant by “free will”.

Thanks for the clarification, clearly I am no expert

By lack of free will, I’m thinking the unregenerated person has no option to chose Christ and work to become a sanctified person (is that a correct reflection?)

Yes, I understand where you are coming from, but not having free will is not a belief of the Reformers. In the case of someone who was once an “enemy of God”, as Paul puts it, a person who is unregenerate become saved (regenerated ) according to the Reformed by their particular Ordo Salutis (Order of Salvation). The RCC has its own Ordo Salutis as does any other Christian group. For the Reformed, the key elements of coming to Christ and having union with him are:

  1. election, 2) predestination, 3) gospel call 4) inward call 5) regeneration, 6) conversion (faith & repentance), 7) justification, 8) sanctification, and 9) glorification.

If they believe that baptism is only for believers (credo baptism), then they would probably be best classified as baptists, not as the traditional reformed.

Just to make it clearer:

For the Reformed, If one is elect, they will respond to God’s inward and outward calling and come to faith. That is the “I” or Irresistible Grace part of TULIP.

The non-Elect (those passed over by the purpose of God) are left in their sins. Their free will is to not choose God. The Elect are freed at some point by the monergistic action of God from the inability to choose God, as a fallen creature. They will inevitable be saved.

Basically, they believe in free will, but make the distinction that the non-Elect will stay enemies of God and never choose him. The RCC believes everyone can choose God, which would be called synergism.

For the Reformed, Limited Atonement means those meant to be saved will be saved. For those that believe in the ability of man to always choose or reject God, some will not be saved because they passed up the opportunity (for whatever reason)

I hope this answers some of your question.

Peace & God bless you richly :slight_smile:

Magisterial Reformed people practice infant baptism… Baptist do not, but have “believers baptism” (some age of accountability choice) , as you said.

i had a friend whose pastor at her evangelical church preached several weeks on TULIP.
it didn’t impress me at all. especially the depravity part. just turned me off.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.