By Daniel Parks

     Is salvation the work of God alone? or of man cooperating with God? Is salvation bestowed by God's grace alone? or does man merit it through an act of self-righteousness performed by his own free will?

     Church history is highlighted by confrontations on this doctrine. Those who preach salvation involves man's free will and works have ever opposed those who preach salvation by God's grace alone. Scribes and Pharisees opposed Jesus Christ and the apostles. In the fifth century, disciples of Pelagius opposed disciples of Augustine. During the Middle Ages, Roman Catholics opposed Anabaptists and, from 1517, Protestants. And from 1611, Arminians have opposed Calvinists.

     The areas of disagreement in this controversy are set forth below.

                           MAN'S FREE WILL

Will of Man Is Free

                  Mankind is influenced by sin, but
                  not under its dominion, as all yet
                   have free will and the ability to
                    determine their own destiny.
                  Anyone can of his own free will
                  come to Christ for salvation. All
                  men have faith, but not all will to
                                   exercise it.

Election Is Conditional

                   Election to salvation involves both
                    the sinner choosing God and God
                    choosing the sinner. God's choice
                        was conditioned upon man's
                     choice, as God chose in eternity
                     past those whom He foresaw in
                     time believing in Jesus Christ for

Every Man Is Redeemed

                    Jesus Christ died for every one,
                     paying the price of redemption
                     for them all. But this does not
                guarantee their forgiveness, as many
                         of His redeemed will be
              eventually damned because of unbelief.

                         Denial Confounds Grace

                   The sovereignty of God does not
                    extend to His salvation, as man's
                  will can here thwart God's purpose.
                   God is trying to save every sinner,
                       but He is helpless to save any
                         sinner who will not let Him.

                      Some Will Lose Salvation

                  God cannot preserve in salvation
                  those who of their own free will
                   refuse to be preserved, Those
                    believers who do not remain
                  faithful to the very end will lose
                  their salvation, "fall from grace,"
                            and eventually perish.

                         GOD'S GRACE ALONE

Total Depravity

                      Mankind is spiritually dead and
                        under the dominion of sin
                       (Ephesians 2:1-3; John 8:34).
                     None can of his own will come
                        to Christ for salvation (John
                         5:40; 6:65). None has faith
                      unless God graciously bestows
                               it (Ephesians 2:8).

Unconditional Election

                   God the Father has graciously
                      chosen and predestined to
                     salvation some of the fallen
                         (2 Thessalonians 2:13;
                     Ephesians 1:3-6). His choice
                      was in no way conditioned
                   upon foreseen good or merit in
                    the chosen ones. (John 15:16).

Limited Atonement

                  Jesus Christ died as the substitute
                  of God's elect, forever redeeming
                and forgiving them (Isaiah 53:4-6,8b;
                Ephesians 1:7). He did not die for any
                         who will die in unbelief
                              (John 10:11,26).

Irresistible Grace

                       God will not be thwarted in
                         His purpose of salvation
                       (Daniel 4:35). Every one of
                   His chosen and redeemed sinners
                    will be brought to saving faith in
            Jesus Christ (John 6:37,45; Romans 8:29f).

Perseverance of the Saints

                     God preserves in salvation all
                      believers in Christ, and none
                       will ever perish (John 3:16;
                     10:28f). And He enables them
                       to persevere to the end, so
                 none will be lost (Jeremiah 32,40;
                             Romans 8:35-39)

                  These two belief systems are identified by the acronyms WEEDS and TULIP (see underlinings above).

                                                       Are you a
TULIP basking in God's sovereign grace?

                                                  Or are you among
WEEDS boasting of self-righteousness?