The F.A.I.T.H. acronym
Fallen Humanity. We believe the Bible when it teaches that Adam (Genesis 3:1-7), the first man created by God,
represented all of humanity (Romans 5:12). In this representative role he disobeyed God by eating from the tree of
the forbidden fruit. When he disobeyed he fell into a condition that the Bible refers to as sin. It became a part of his
nature, and he began passing that nature on to his descendents (Romans 3:23), who, in turn have passed it on to
their children. All around us we see rampant sinful behavior, which is part of the evidence of humanity’s fallen state.
Traditionally, this has been called “Total Depravity”.
Adopted By God. We believe the Bible when it teaches that, because of humanity’s fallen condition (Romans 3:9-
18), the only way we can get back to God is if He does something to bring us into relationship with Him. The Bible
tells us in Ephesians 1 (and other places) that God took the first step and adopted some of us long before we were
born; long before we could do anything to make ourselves appear worthy of His affection. Even as a child, when he
is adopted, does not initiate the process, neither can a man initiate the process with God. God chooses him.
Traditionally, this has been known as “Unconditional Election”.
Intentional Atonement. We believe the Bible when it teaches that Jesus’ death was purposeful and intentional; i.e.
it accomplished salvation for His people (John 6:37-40; 10:17-18). He did what He set out to do. He atoned for
(covered over) the sins of His people. His death did not provide an opportunity for salvation, it actually provided
salvation for His chosen ones. He died to pay for the sins of a specific group of people which Scripture refers to as
“elect” Matthew 24:22), “chosen” (Psalm 33:12), “my sheep” (John 10:14-15), etc. Traditionally, this has been known
as “Limited Atonement”.
Transformed By The Holy Spirit. We believe the Bible when it teaches that once the atonement has been made it
can only be applied by the Holy Spirit (Ezekiel 36:26). This means that God first changes the heart of the sinner so
he can respond to His love (Jeremiah 17:9,10). He gives us a new heart which enables us to respond to the good
news of the gospel. Traditionally, this teaching has been known as “Irresistible Grace.”
Held By God. We believe the Bible when it teaches that God doesn’t save part way; i.e. we do not believe we can
slip from the hands of our gracious, loving Father. Some, I believe incorrectly, call this “once saved, always saved”
The phrase has connotations which are misleading to many. It is more correct to say that the God who called, saved
and holds you is eternally faithful; (2 Timothy 2:11-13, John 10:27-30). Traditionally, it has been known as “the
Perseverance of the Saints”.
Perseverance of the Saints
Sin has affected all parts of man. The heart, emotions, will, mind, and body are all affected by sin. We are
completely sinful. We are not as sinful as we could be, but we are completely affected by sin.
The doctrine of Total Depravity is derived from scriptures that reveal human character: Man’s heart is evil (Mark 7:
21-23) and sick (Jer. 17:9). Man is a slave of sin (Rom. 6:20). He does not seek for God (Rom. 3:10-12). He cannot
understand spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14). He is at enmity with God (Eph. 2:15). And, is by nature a child of wrath
(Eph. 2:3). The Calvinist asks the question, "In light of the scriptures that declare man’s true nature as being utterly
lost and incapable, how is it possible for anyone to choose or desire God?" The answer is, "He cannot. Therefore
God must predestine."
Calvinism also maintains that because of our fallen nature we are born again not by our own will but God’s will (John
1:12-13); God grants that we believe (Phil. 1:29); faith is the work of God (John 6:28-29); God appoints people to
believe (Acts 13:48); and God predestines (Eph. 1:1-11; Rom. 8:29; 9:9-23).
God does not base His election on anything He sees in the individual. He chooses the elect according to the kind
intention of His will (Eph. 1:4-8; Rom. 9:11) without any consideration of merit within the individual. Nor does God
look into the future to see who would pick Him. Also, as some are elected into salvation, others are not (Rom. 9:15,
Jesus died only for the elect. Though Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient for all, it was not efficacious for all. Jesus only
bore the sins of the elect. Support for this position is drawn from such scriptures as Matt. 26:28 where Jesus died for
‘many'; John 10:11, 15 which say that Jesus died for the sheep (not the goats, per Matt. 25:32-33); John 17:9 where
Jesus in prayer interceded for the ones given Him, not those of the entire world; Acts 20:28 and Eph. 5:25-27 which
state that the Church was purchased by Christ, not all people; and Isaiah 53:12 which is a prophecy of Jesus’
crucifixion where he would bore the sins of many (not all).
When God calls his elect into salvation, they cannot resist. God offers to all people the gospel message. This is
called the external call. But to the elect, God extends an internal call and it cannot be resisted. This call is by the
Holy Spirit who works in the hearts and minds of the elect to bring them to repentance and regeneration whereby
they willingly and freely come to God. Some of the verses used in support of this teaching are Romans 9:16 where it
says that "it is not of him who wills nor of him who runs, but of God who has mercy"; Philippians 2:12-13 where God
is said to be the one working salvation in the individual; John 6:28-29 where faith is declared to be the work of God;
Acts 13:48 where God appoints people to believe; and John 1:12-13 where being born again is not by man’s will, but
Perseverance of the Saints:
You cannot lose your salvation. Because the Father has elected, the Son has redeemed, and the Holy Spirit has
applied salvation, those thus saved are eternally secure. They are eternally secure in Christ. Some of the verses for
this position are John 10:27-28 where Jesus said His sheep will never perish; John 6:47 where salvation is described
as everlasting life; Romans 8:1 where it is said we have passed out of judgment; 1 Corinthians 10:13 where God
promises to never let us be tempted beyond what we can handle; and Phil. 1:6 where God is the one being faithful
to perfect us until the day of Jesus’ return.
The explanation of FAITH was taken from the book FAITH Unfolded
The explanation of TULIP was taken from The Calvinist Corner
TULIP and FAITH
Two expressions of Calvin's view of Grace
The five points of Calvinism are not a comprehensive view of all Calvin’s teaching. They are most accurately
described as a summery of his teaching on Grace. Calvin did not invent the terms but they are a useful tool for
remember the five points on the doctrine of grace.
In the late 1500’s and early 1600’s, a Reformed theologian named Jacobus Arminius began to question his
Calvinistic training. While continuing to agree with some aspects of Calvin’s theology, Arminius concluded that free
will plays a bigger role in salvation than Calvin had indicated.
Following his death in 1609, a group of preachers and leaders influenced by Arminius met and began to formulate
their points of dispute with traditional Reformed theology. The result was the Five Articles of Remonstrance.
Beginning November 13th 1618 and running through May 9th 1619 the five articles were considered by the synod of
the Dutch Reformed Church at Dordrechet Netherlands, commonly known as the Synod of Dordt. In 1619, the
synod decided against the five articles of the Remonstrance and issued five of their own, point by point. The
response of the synod has come to be known as the Canons of Dordt, or the five points of Calvinism.
Somewhere in the early 1900’s, the acronym TULIP emerged as a simple device to remember the five points of
Calvinism. Though first presented in 1905 in a Speech by Dr. McAfee of Brooklyn before the Presbyterian Union of
Newark NJ this acronym was popularized by Loraine Boettner in his 1932 book The Reformed Doctrine of
Predestination. In section II of this book Boettner presents the five points of Calvinism using the TULIP arrangement.
(There are some claims that C.H. Spurgeon may have coined the term in some of his teaching on the subject of
Grace as he refers to the “flower of Calvinism” but as of yet I have not found it.)
In 2000, Faith Alive published a Pamphlet called; F.A.I.T.H. Unfolded, A Fresh Look at The Reformed Faith by Jim
Osterhouse. In the introduction Mr. Osterhouse says “For years I have used this material in new member classes.”
Though he does not clearly claim to have coined or invented the acronym it seems that he was the first to use it that
I can find.
What follows is a brief look at these two acronyms.