A theology developed out of the thought of John Calvin, in particular his emphasis on divine sovereignty and predestination, Calvinism has been dominant in Reformed and Presbyterian churches. As summarised in the five points of the Synod of Dort (1618), Calvinism provides a logically coherent articulation of divine providence in relation to human salvation: (1) total depravity: original sin has distorted every aspect of the human mind and will such that human beings are dead in sin; (2) unconditional election: God elects people for salvation based on his inscrutable will rather than on their foreseen merit; (3) limited atonement: Christ died efficiently only for the elect; (4) irresistible grace: God's Spirit draws the elect infallibly; and (5) perseverance of the Saints: the elect will persevere in faith and not fall away. Some self-confessed Calvinists disagree with one or more of the five points. The most common variation is a four-point Calvinism that rejects 'limited atonement', as in Amyraldianism. Calvinism has facilitated what is probably the most impressive intellectual tradition within Protestantism and has deeply impacted contemporary philosophy in particular through the Dutch Calvinist tradition of Abraham Kuyper and Herman Dooyeweerd. There are also several institutions committed to a Calvinistic philosophy: Calvin College in the United States, the Institute for Christian Studies in Canada and the Free University of Amsterdam are all examples.
   Further reading: Gamble 1992; Helm 2004; Muller 2003

Christian Philosophy . . 2015.

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