First Official *Contest* at A Puritan's Mind for the PB

Discussion in 'A Puritan's Mind Updates' started by C. Matthew McMahon, Apr 14, 2006.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    It was certainly his prerogative. Maybe there was private correspondence, or study papers he did not want preserved? John Murray wanted the same, or at least that his private and MS unpublished papers not be published. Banner of Truth and his wife disagreed with that.
  2. ChristopherPaul

    ChristopherPaul Puritan Board Senior

    This thread has been very fascinating.

    It appears that most of us have been operating with the presupposition that the TULIP acrostic is as old as Dort´s conclusion. But from what is being brought to light, the acrostic is very young.

    I am curious what terms were used to describe the five points other than T.U.L.I.P. before the acrostic was popularized? Or what order were the points other than what we know today? Is it not common for most teachers today to qualify the terms of the acrostic stating that they are not the best terms to use? The terms only remain because of how conveniently they spell TULIP, no?

    I just listened to the first of John Pipers ten TULIP seminars where he gave a brief history of Calvinism. He mentioned the acronym in a light hearted manner saying that it is a shear act of providence that five Dutch points translated into English and put into logical order would form an acrostic of a Dutch flower consisting of five pedals. Piper mentioned that he too looked for the first use of the acrostic and could not find an answer.

    I guess like the Ark of the Covenant, the origin just vanished or the acrostic just fell from the sky like manna.

    [Edited on 6-27-2006 by ChristopherPaul]
  3. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    I agree: it's been very fascinating to research something that most of us have taken for granted. Apparently, Boettner made a lasting impression upon the Reformed church with his acrostic, and yet has not received the credit due him, if indeed he originated it.

    The fact that pinpointing this source has been so elusive is remarkable and intriguing. I went down a rabbit trail, it seems, by noting that the word 'tulip' had just entered the English language a few decades before Dordt, and also learning about Holland's tulip craze soon after Dordt. I assumed that an English Puritan had taken advantage of that to coin an acronym.

    But as I read the original remonstance and canons of Dordt, as well as various Puritan writings, and 19th century sources, including Dabney's Five Points of Calvinism, and early 20th century resources, it became apparent that the term was coined much more recently.

    I think Patrick is right on the money with his nomination, and barring any further developments, I think the prize should go to him. And I am grateful for this contest to make us think about something so profound and so simple as a TULIP.

    [Edited on 6-27-2006 by VirginiaHuguenot]
  4. ChristopherPaul

    ChristopherPaul Puritan Board Senior

    I see that Dort's order was ULTIP:

    (U) - Divine Election and Reprobation
    (L) - Christ's Death and Human Redemption Through It
    (T) - Human Corruption
    (I) - Conversion to God, and the Way It Occurs
    (P) - The Perseverance of the Saints

    Did any one find earlier uses of the current order?

    Boettner was not the first to use the current order was he?
  5. toddpedlar

    toddpedlar Iron Dramatist

    In thinking this question over, I've come to the conclusion that it really has to be a fairly late innovation, given the American tendency to mnemonicize everything... it seems to me, at least, to be uniquely American.

    At any rate, perusing Hodge & Warfield & Shedd yielded nothing, so all I have is from my copy of Boettner's Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, where it does sound like Boettner's coining something (p.60):

    "The Five Points may be more easily remembered if they are associated with the word T-U-L-I-P; T, Total Inability; U, Unconditional Election; L, Limited Atonement; I, Irresistible (Efficacious) Grace; and P, Perseverance of the Saints."

    Nowhere else in my library can I find anything that sounds this clear - everyone seems simply to cite TULIP as a mnemonic, but here Boettner seems to be introducing something.... circa 1932.

  6. toddpedlar

    toddpedlar Iron Dramatist

    DOH! Oh well. Patrick clearly has this citation down already... this is what happens when you don't read the PB often enough ;) I've seriously scoured everything I have, though, and nothing comes as close as sounding like an originating statement than Boettner's.

  7. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Don't stay away so long Todd.:)
  8. ChristopherPaul

    ChristopherPaul Puritan Board Senior

    So whatever happened with this? Did Patrick win?
  9. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    Not yet.
  10. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Doctor

    The same is true of Robert Leighton, of "Commentary on 1 Peter" fame. He spent the last ten years of his life living with his sister. He instructed her that, after his death, all of his papers and manuscripts were to be burned. Fortunately, cooler and wiser heads prevailed, and his papers were finally published, over time, in 3 or 4 volumes - but not since the 19th century now.

    Without those wiser and cooler heads, we would not have his valuable commentary on 1 Peter, which one of the 12 million John Browns in Scotland went ga-ga over when writing his own huge commentary on that book. He states quite frankly at the outset that he leaned quite heavily on Leighton's book when writing his own.
  11. bwana-asafiwe

    bwana-asafiwe Puritan Board Freshman

    I had the opportunity to look through a large (private) theological library this past weekend. He had a number of Theological works from the first part of the 20th century and about a dozen book on "the five points of calvinism." I searched through as many as I could and all of them prior to Boettner (1932) spoke of "the five points of calvinism." I could only find the term Tulip after Boettner's time.

    One of the books I found, The Five Points of Calvinism (1972), makes an unqualified statement about "T-U-L-I-P" that sounds similar to that of Boettner. I quote...
    Just like Boettner, he didn't credit anyone else with devising the acronym.

    This has been a fun search. Good find Patrick!
  12. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    I just can't see Boettner making up TULIP.

    Netherlands, 5 points, Dutch country, 1618. I can't see how somoene does not have a reference until 300 years later.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2007
  13. BJClark

    BJClark Puritan Board Doctor

    I found this from Packer..

    to John Owen's
    The Death Of Death in the Death of Christ
    By J.I. Packer
  14. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    Yes, I did the same search here in the RTS library too. Lots of references to the 5 points, but no TULIP until Boettner. I found it interesting too that most of them dealt with the 5 points within a much broader category of thought. The Reformed Faith was not limited to the 5 points. I think because of Boettners scheme, which is really embraced in the popular literature in the 70's and 80's, we have inadvertantly lost some more important features of what makes the Reformed Faith truly distinctive, like covenant theology, which holds the 5 points together.
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2006
  15. ChristopherPaul

    ChristopherPaul Puritan Board Senior

    I would agree with you IF the same terminology was used for all the five points prior to Boetttner. For all the five points to commonly be referred to by the T-U-L-I-P designations and not be associated with the acronym would be hard to believe, but from what I have seen, Boettner was also the first to use the modern terms for the five points, NOT just the acronym. It is also noteworthy that even the modern scholars, who use the common terms, qualify them since they are not the best terms to use, but use them out of convenience to make the acronym work. :2cents:
  16. bwana-asafiwe

    bwana-asafiwe Puritan Board Freshman

    Well said. My research seems to have revealed the same thing.

    I did find an editorial note to one of the sermons in Spurgeon's Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit that uses the acronym TULIP to introduce a series of sermons preached by various men on the Doctrines of Grace. See here.

    I don't have a hard copy of the set, so I can't determine when this editorial note was written. Pre-Boettner or Post-Boettner? I may get to check this weekend. Does anyone have a copy?
  17. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    I just looked up those sermons at the RTS library copy of the Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit printed in 1969. Those editorial comments containing TULIP are not included. The sermons begin with "The Rev. Charles Spurgeon took the chair...". The sermons also do not follow the order of TULIP, nor are the TULIP terms used to label the five points. My guess is the editor of the website added those comments to the sermons posted there. So we are back to Boettner. :book2:
  18. bwana-asafiwe

    bwana-asafiwe Puritan Board Freshman

    Interesting. Thanks for checking.
  19. bwana-asafiwe

    bwana-asafiwe Puritan Board Freshman


    I just realized that the Spurgeon set I mentioned is listed as Spurgeon's Sermons, not the Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit.

    I checked volume 7 of Spurgeon's Sermons a couple of weeks ago, but couldn't find this sermon. I'm not sure what I'm missing. Not there and not in the MTP. ??????????
  20. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Doctor

    Just wanted to let you know that I DID get you're response to my blogpost some time back. I didn't acknowledge your post at the time because answering emails to Blogger (I think) and I'm not exactly a techno-geek.

    Which explains why your blog looks niftier than mine does!

    Anyway, just wanted to let you know...

    Fine blog, by the way..
  21. Bandguy

    Bandguy Puritan Board Sophomore

    Rick Warren!:lol: :rofl: :D
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page