Is Calvinism Christianity

Calvinism is a form of Christianity based on the teachings of sixteenth century theologian John Calvin. It’s a system of beliefs that stresses the doctrine of predestination and the absolute sovereignty of God. Calvinism has had a large following since its inception, both within and outside the traditional Christian churches. But is it really Christianity?

Calvinism is considered by some to be a subset of Christianity. Its main tenets, such as predestination, the sovereignty of God, the five points of Calvinism, the doctrines of grace and divine providence are all closely related to Christianity. It does include aspects of Christian beliefs such as the Trinity, the Incarnation and the Atonement. However, some people argue that Calvinism is more than just a subset of Christianity, that it is its own theology.

Proponents of Calvinism often point to the similarities in doctrine between Calvinism and mainline Christianity, as well as the historical connection with the Reformation. They point to the fact that John Calvin was a Christian theologian and that Calvinism was an attempt to bring back the true teachings of the Scriptures, which he believed had been distorted to some degree. However, there are those who argue that Calvinism has moved beyond Christianity, claiming that it has become a distinct theology in its own right.

John Calvin himself stated that his teachings were based on Christian beliefs, so it is hard to deny that there is a strong connection between Calvinism and Christianity. It certainly seems to bring many of the same teachings and doctrines, particularly related to the sovereignty of God and the predestination of souls. But the question remains, is Calvinism Christianity?

There are those who will say that Calvinism is a valid form of Christianity, and that it has many similarities with other branches of the faith. However, there are also those who say that Calvinism is not truly Christian and that it is not a true expression of the faith. The debate on this topic will most likely continue, as Calvinism continues to draw both adherents and detractors.

The Five Points of Calvinism

The five points of Calvinism, also known as the TULIP, is a theological doctrine popularized by reformer John Calvin. The acronym stands for: Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace and Perseverance of the saints. These five points are the central tenants of Calvinism and act as the main evidence for some that Calvinism is truly Christianity.

The five points stress the sovereignty of God and a deterministic view of creation. They emphasize the predestination of souls, and how it ties in to the overall salvation story. They emphasize an individual’s responsibility to choose their course of action, as well as the grace of God in offering salvation. While some theologians view these five points as non-negotiable aspects of Calvinism, others may choose to focus on different aspects or combinations of aspects to explain their own beliefs.

Calvinism and Evangelicalism

Calvinism is often seen as a form of Protestantism, particularly because of its similarities to evangelicalism. Evangelicalism is a movement that originated in the late 1800s and is focused on the continuing mission of the Church to spread the Gospel. It is a subset of Protestantism and shares many values with Calvinism, such as the emphasis on the sovereignty of God, predestination, and the power of grace. As such, it is seen by some as being a form of Calvinism, but this is not entirely accurate.

Evangelicalism does share some theological beliefs with Calvinism, but it also has some key differences. For example, evangelicalism’s focus on evangelism and the spread of the Gospel is very different than Calvinism’s emphasis on predestination. Additionally, evangelicalism is generally considered to be more of an individualistic faith, while Calvinism emphasizes a more corporate view of faith and salvation.

Calvinism and Arminianism

Arminianism is an alternative theological system to Calvinism. It is a subset of Protestantism and has been around since the 1600s. It has a focus on the sovereignty of God, but it also has a belief in human freedom, the idea that an individual has the ability to make choices and their own destiny. Arminianism’s emphasis on human freedom and the power of grace makes some consider it an opposing doctrine to Calvinism.

At its core, Arminianism does not completely reject predestination, but instead emphasizes human freedom and the potential for grace. Arminians reject the idea of total depravity, and instead embrace the notion of original sin, but believe that humans still possess the ability to choose their own paths. They also reject the idea of limited atonement, believing instead in what is known as Universalism, or the belief that Christ’s sacrifice was for all and that anyone can be saved through faith in God.

Criticisms of Calvinism

Calvinism is not without its detractors, and there have been criticisms of the theological system throughout its history. Some of these criticisms are philosophical, as some have accused Calvinism of being too deterministic and of denying the possibility of human freedom. Others have argued that Calvinism has become too dogmatic and inflexible in its approach to faith.

Critics have also argued that Calvinism’s emphasis on predestination has caused it to become overly focused on the next life, and that it negates the importance of living a life of purpose here on earth. Additionally, some have claimed that Calvinism puts too much emphasis on the sovereignty of God and ignores the human elements of the faith.

The Predestination Debate

Arguably the most controversial aspect of Calvinism is its belief in predestination. This has spawned a long and heated debate that is still ongoing today. Some argue that predestination is a logical extension of the doctrine of election, while others are appalled by the idea that God would determine who is saved or rejected. This debate has forced many people to reevaluate their own beliefs in light of the Calvinist understanding of predestination.

Ultimately, the question of whether or not Calvinism is Christianity is difficult to answer. There are those who adhere to Calvinist beliefs and are Christians, and there are those who reject the Calvinist view of predestination and the sovereignty of God. The debate on this topic will continue to rage on, as each side has its own valid arguments and perspectives to consider.

Calvinism and the Reformed Church

Calvinism is closely associated with the Reformed churches, which emerged during the Protestant Reformation in Europe. The Reformation was brought forth by theologians such as John Calvin, who sought to bring forth a purification of the Church and biblical truth. The Reformed churches have a strong emphasis on the sovereignty of God and the absolute truth of Scripture, and the tenets of Calvinism are included in most Reformed doctrinal statements.

Reformed churches also tend to adhere to the five points of Calvinism, and often view them as being essential to their faith. However, there is some division within the Reformed denominations when it comes to Calvinism, as some churches are more open to different theological interpretations. Even so, it is undeniable that Calvinism has had a strong effect on what is considered to be the Reformed faith.


In conclusion, it is difficult to definitively answer the question of whether Calvinism is a form of Christianity or not. Its followers may view it as being a valid expression of the faith, while others may reject it as being a separate theology altogether. Whatever one’s own beliefs concerning Calvinism may be, it is undeniable that Calvinism has had a profound effect on the theology of Christianity for centuries and will continue to shape the faith for many more to come.

Jennifer Johnson is an experienced author with a deep passion for exploring the spiritual traditions of different cultures and religions. She has been writing about religion and spirituality for the past ten years in both print and digital platforms, engaging readers in meaningful dialogue about the soul's journey through this life. With degrees in Comparative Religion and English Literature, she brings an insightful perspective to her work that bridges the gap between traditional knowledge and modern theories. A lifelong traveler, Jenn has lived in multiple countries exploring various paths to understanding faith, and her dedication to learning new things is palpable in every piece she creates.

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