What Were the Beliefs of John Calvin?

John Calvin, a French theologian and Protestant leader, believed in the sovereignty of God and introduced the concept of predestination. Calvin adopted and professed a variety of views on various issues during his long career as a theologian, which were collectively referred to as Calvinism. Using the acronym “TULIP,” historians divide Calvin’s core set of beliefs into five different sections.

The first concept adopted by Calvin was in regard to total depravity (T). Calvin believed that all humans were born predestined to commit sinful acts. Humans, Calvin believed, were inherently sinful by nature and, therefore, had no control on the fact that they would live sinful lives. Calvin also believed in unconditional election (U), which asserts that certain individuals were chosen by God to be predestined for salvation. God, Calvin believed, must first allow people to accept him before considering them united with him.

Calvin’s third point was that of limited atonement (L). Calvin theorized that Jesus Christ was sent by God to die only for the sins performed by chosen saints, and not the sins performed by nonbelievers. Calvin also introduced the concept of irresistible grace (I), which asserts that individuals chosen by God cannot avoid his graceful presence in their lives. Lastly, Calvin believed in the eternal salvation of certain individuals or the perseverance of the saints.(P); once embraced by Christ, people could never lose salvation.