Reformed Church of Hamilton

What we believe - Five Points of Calvinisim

These teachings are sometimes summed up in the five points of Calvinism (the term is derived from John Calvin, who systematised the faith of the Reformation period), although they were only ever stated in that manner 60 years after Calvin's death in the Canons of the Synod of Dort (1618-1619). The Synod of Dort countered the erroneous teachings of Jacob Arminius by pointing out the following:

1. - Man is totally depraved. This does not mean that he is as bad as he could be if God did not graciously restrain his sinful inclinations or that man is incapable of performing "good deeds" by our human standards. Rather, it means that every part of man's nature and being is tainted and affected by sin. From God's point of view, there is no part of man that is morally good or even neutral. Even the best of our actions will condemn us if God applies the standards and penalty of his righteous laws to us directly.

2. - But God, out of his boundless grace and love, unconditionally chooses or elects a people to be his own out of fallen humanity. This is entirely contrary to what we deserve. By our lives, we earn only the judgement of God. But by God's grace, and through the Saviour Jesus Christ, we are received into a relationship of peace in which we can call ourselves God's children (John 1:12).

3. - Christ laid his life down only for those chosen people of God and from now on intercedes for them in heaven (John 10:14,15; John 17:9).

4. - The Holy Spirit works irresistibly in the hearts of those for whom Christ died since Jesus came, not merely to make salvation possible, but actually "to save his people from their sins" (Mat 1:21).

5. - Those for whom Christ died and in whom the Holy Spirit has begun to work in a saving way, will, again by his grace, infallibly persevere and not fall away from salvation (John 6:35-40).