This is what Erroll Hulse does.
You understand, I am now referring to TULIP in its proper sense, as a mnemonic reminding us of the so-called Five Points of Calvinism as maintained and expounded in the Canons of Dordrecht, those “fine Scriptural statements.”
In fact, in one way or another Pastor Hulse pulls all the petals from this flower; and he literally proposes the substitution of a new flower, TCUIPP, facetiously suggesting that “In another language a word might be made of it.”
In the first place, Hulse seeks to destroy the flower by suggesting that “essential truths such as human responsibility are omitted in TULIP.” With an appeal to J.I. Packer, he speaks of the fact that human responsibility and divine sovereignty must be held together. But what does he mean by this human responsibility? The telling statement is: “There is such a thing as ‘antinomy’, seeming contradiction to human reason, but no contradiction in the mind of God.” I propose that the Canons of Dordrecht indeed maintain the responsibility of both the Christian and the unbeliever without resort to “seeming contradiction.”
In the second place, he claims never to have heard “a really satisfactory treatment” of limited atonement. Again, I refer him to the Canons of Dordrecht, Chapter II, both the negative and positive sections. And if he desires more, there are numerous passages in our Protestant Reformed writings, both in books and in The Standard Bearer.
In the third place, he sharply militates against irresistible calling when he takes exception to the interpretation of Matthew 23:37 which applies “thy children” to the elect. This is the well-known passage which reads: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” Hulse calls it “a distortion” to make “thy children” apply to the elect. But the choice confronting him is plain. Either Jerusalem’s children here are elect children whom Christ willed to gather, and then Christ’s will also prevailed over against the will of wicked Jerusalem, which “would not.” Or they are not elect, and Christ graciously willed to gather them, but the will of wicked Jerusalem prevailed over the will of Christ—a form of resistible grace and a genuine Arminian doctrine. Hulse, with an additional appeal to Luke 19:41-44, chooses the latter and speaks of “those who had missed their time of opportunity.”
In the fourth place, in presenting a. chart which, purports to set forth the comparative positions of Arminianism, Calvinism, and Hyper-Calvinism, he distorts these positions in more than one respect, so that Calvinism is watered down and so that what is true Calvinism is presented as Hyper-Calvinism. Two examples of watered down Calvinism: 1. Total depravity: “Man has fallen in all his faculties including his will.” Three remarks: a. The third point of the Remonstrants in 1610 was stronger than this. b. An Arminian like Billy Graham says the same thing in World Aflame. c. Pastor Hulse’s own description in Billy Graham—The Pastor’s Dilemma is better than this. The question is: is natural man dead in trespasses and sins (not a Hyper-Calvinist doctrine)? Is he incapable of any good, and inclined to all evil by nature? 2. Perseverance of the Saints: “Through faith the elect persevere to salvation.” The Arminian teaches this, too. The question is whether the elect persevere because they are infallibly preserved. Two examples of misrepresented Hyper-Calvinism: 1. Limited Atonement: “God deals lovingly with the elect and only wrathfully with the non-elect for whom there are no benefits from the atonement and no common grace.” Not only is there nothing peculiarly Hyper-Calvinistic about this statement, but it is thoroughly in keeping with the Canons of Dordrecht, those “fine Scriptural statements.” 2. Irresistible Grace: “The Holy Spirit regenerates the elect without prior preparation.” This is a way of stating the truth’ of “immediate regeneration,” a doctrine repugnant to all Baptists, of course. But again, there is nothing peculiarly Hyper-Calvinistic about it; and it is in thorough harmony with Dordrecht.
Worst of all, however, are the distortions which Hulse presents as being exposition of Scripture and as being “the best way.” The first is an alleged substitution of “particular redemption” for “limited atonement.” No Reformed man, of course, can object to speaking of particular redemption. But when a disjunction is created between particular redemption and limited atonement and when the statement is made (in question form) “that no limitation in the atonement is suggested in the context of preaching the Gospel to all,” one can only be reminded of that form of general atonement which is unlimited in its desire, its sufficiency, and its availability, but limited in its efficacy, a la Prof. Harold Dekker and the Christian Reformed Church.
Along with this goes a goodly dosage of philosophizing about common grace on the part of Hulse. Pastor Hulse speaks of “Exposition of Scripture the best way.” Let him remember that exposition of Scripture is more, much more, than simply giving references and quoting texts. For example, he appeals to Romans 1:19 to Romans 2:16 as proving that the apostle expounded “the doctrine of common grace which essentially precedes and is preparatory to saving grace.” Let Pastor Hulse begin at Rom. 1:18 (“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven. . . .”), and let him demonstrate how this passage teaches any grace of God to the reprobate. The entire last section of Romans 1speaks of wrath, nothing but wrath! It speaks of the fact repeatedly that God in that wrath visited sin with more sin and corruption. Some grace! Furthermore, let Pastor Hulse consider seriously the fact that the doctrine of common grace which he proposes in the statement quoted above is exactly the Arminian doctrine of common grace. And let him consider, too, the fact that the only time the Canons of Dordrecht speak of common grace, they place it in the mouth of the Arminians. Finally, let him consider that even the acknowledged greatest authority on common grace (Abraham Kuyper, the author of three large volumes on the subject) never wanted to connect common grace with saving grace and with the preaching of the gospel, but always insisted on the particularity of grace in that area.
No, when you change TULIP to TCUIPP (total depravity, common grace, unconditional election, irresistible grace, perseverance of the saints and particular redemption) you have distorted and destroyed TULIP.
That no genuine lover of the doctrines of grace will ever do! (Next time: Did Christ come to save the whole world? My answer is Yes. Erroll Hulse’s answer is really No.)