I have for years found the Calvinist use of the phrase “Doctrines of Grace” to be offensive to the Christian body. Perhaps it is because of the lack of any real set of doctrines derived out of scripture regarding grace that align with the caustic acronym TULIP. It could be that I just find Calvinist sectarians offensive when they start a sentence with the phrase and immediately launch into a diatribe against the greater body of Christ, especially when most Calvinist polemics reveal an astonishing lack of theological knowledge of nearly everything they oppose.
William Birch recently noted in one of his articles …“Grace is by definition a special favor actively bestowed upon an undeserving individual. Thus when a Christian minister quotes Paul as saying, “For it is by grace you have been saved” Eph 2:5,8, he or she means that the one saved was saved not by merit but by grace, undeserved favor. This is how to use the word grace biblically. In this we do not go beyond its clear meaning, nor do we fall short of what the Bible teaches.”
Yet, if the Calvinist is to be believed (and I stridently argue he is terribly wrong) many unredeemed men have been granted an undeserved favor in being cast into hell, all for the imagined glory of God. If TULIP constitutes the doctrines of Grace, a limited atonement without provision for the whole world as argued for in 1 John 2:1-2 must be presented as an unmerited favor upon the lost and damned as well as the redeemed. What is graceful with this scenario and how does that square with the revealed character and goodness of God? Can we excuse such a callous disregard for true grace by dismissing our sensible objections as merely misguided excursions into the “mystery” of God?
As Arminians, Baptists, Methodists, Anglicans and many other orthodox church groups present the scriptural teachings regarding God’s grace, we marvel at how distant the determinists have removed themselves from simple truths. The following presents one of the scriptural teachings we preach and exposit, never coming close to the near blasphemous regard for God’s character represented by elements of TULIP. It is the simplicity of grace through faith without dismissing faith as an irrelevant condiment to the central message. It is the biblical doctrine of grace for everybody else.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Eph 2:4-10 AV)
An Introspective of an Arminian Christian