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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