The Trouble with Tulip


Is TULIP a helpful acronym for understanding the doctrines of grace? Is Calvinism synonymous with Reformed theology? Contemporary theologians have raised these questions and provided various answers for a modern audience. Recently I was privileged with the opportunity to write an interactive review between Michael Horton’s For Calvinism and Daniel Montgomery and Timothy Paul Jones’s PROOF: Finding Freed Through the Intoxicating Joy of Irresistible Grace. I noted how each book, while seeking to accomplish similar goals, approaches  the task of highlighting the Reformed doctrines of grace for readers from different perspectives. Here are some of my concluding thoughts:

Horton’s For Calvinism and PROOF interact with similar ideas and seek to accomplish similar goals. Horton readily owns the Calvinist title and hopes to rescue it from mischaracterization. To this end he is extremely helpful, and those looking for an introduction to Calvinism should perhaps start here. Montgomery and Jones focus on the broader Reformed “solas” and on the doctrines of grace in order to orient readers to a grander theological scheme. More constructive and less defensive, PROOF offers the same theological content in a fresh and engaging manner.

Both texts help readers understand the heritage of Reformed faith. Both texts interact with numerous thoughtful theologians. Both texts implore readers to take up the faith in a vibrant spirituality and missional zeal. Horton provides a defense of Reformed theology proper while Montgomery and Jones provide a constructive paradigm for understanding grace. Both are useful yet for different purposes. For more of my review on these two excellent works, click here.


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