Have you ever heard of “TULIP”? Yes, we know you think of the flower when you hear the word, but “TULIP” here is not so much the flower as it is an acronym: a word consisting of the first letter of five doctrines pertaining to salvation — particularly, the theology of John Calvin known as Calvinism.
TULIP stands for five doctrines, or points, of Calvinism: Total Depravity (T), Unconditional Election (U), Limited Atonement (L), Irresistible Grace (I), and Perseverance of the Saints (P). The first letter of each of these five doctrines spells the flower “TULIP.”
Calvinism has used this acronym (a word consisting of five letters where each letter points to a particular doctrine) to instruct everyday Christians concerning what Calvinism teaches. Arminianism, on the other hand, considered the long-time “theology of the people,” has never had such an acronym. Her upcoming Reformed Arminian Theology, titled God And Sinners Reconciled: A Theology of Reformed Arminianism, looks to change the face of the Calvinism-Arminianism debate and strike a new chapter in the debate’s saga.
Pastor D.M. Richardson of The Essential Church says that she is tired of Calvinism having the upper hand in every salvation discussion. “Having attended a seminary where John Calvin and Charles Spurgeon were bobbleheads on LifeWay store shelves, I got to a point where I realized that Calvinism wasn’t winning because it was true or biblically justified; it was winning because it was the only system considered “Reformed,” the only system with a 5-letter instructive acronym. Arminianism is the soteriological position with biblical support, but contra Calvinism, has never really had an official Arminian acronym. After two years of planning, the Lord told me that 2019 would be the year of the Arminian acronym, that I would save the best for last. And so, at the end of 2019, here we are.”
Richardson’s New Reformed Arminian Acronym: The First Ever In Print
Richardson’s Arminian acronym has five letters but the names of the doctrines are new. “My five-point Arminian acronym borrows the doctrine concepts themselves from Dutch Reformed theologian James Arminius, but gives them different names to complete the new Arminian acronym,” Pastor D.M. says. When we pressed her as to the name of the Arminian acronym itself, she told us, “It’s a secret — that is, until you purchase the book,” she said, smiling, while giving us the “peace” sign.
She did tell us, however, that the names of the doctrines are taken from Scripture as much as possible. “It’ll all come together when you see the table of contents and the work itself,” Pastor said.
Richardson’s attempt to create an Arminian acronym rival in her upcoming book is the first official attempt by a publicly-declared Arminian in the theological field. “There are few true blue Arminians out here writing theology works nowadays,” Richardson said. “It seems as though Calvinism’s Kool-Aid has been consumed by nearly everyone in conservative evangelical circles. And the Free Will Baptists, known for their strong adherence to Arminianism, are isolated within the Baptist community.” There are other so-called Arminian acronyms that are published online, Richardson told us, but hers is the first ever to make its way into print.
How Did the Idea for God And Sinners Reconciled Come About?
We asked Pastor about her upcoming Reformed Arminian Theology and just how she arrived at the book idea.
“I was walking around the house one day during the summer, cleaning up the kitchen for my granddad, and for some odd reason, I started singing the Christmas carol “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” I rarely sing that Christmas carol at Christmas, so I was somewhat stunned as to why I was singing it. I sang it once, went back to doing chores, and then started singing it again a few hours later. This repeated itself until I asked within my spirit, Lord, why am I singing this song? The next thing I know, I get to the words, Peace on earth and mercy mild/God and sinners reconciled, and the Lord said to me that the phrase God And Sinners Reconciled would be the name of the upcoming book.”
Pastor then asked God the question, “Will this be a Christmas release?” And God told her, “Yes. I think I’ve answered that already.”
What Would Arminius Think?
Before concluding our interview with Pastor D.M., we wanted to get her thoughts on what her new Reformed Arminian acronym and “TULIP” rival would mean for Dutch Reformed Theologian James Arminius if he were here. “If he were here, I think he’d be ecstatic,” she said. “I’m sure at some point, had he lived past the age of about 49 or so, he would’ve gotten to a point where he wanted an easy mnemonic device to instruct everyday Christians about the five points of Arminianism.”
“Pastor, do you see Arminius in this work?” We asked her.
“Yep, I sure do. I pre-released God And Sinners Reconciled on October 10th, Arminius’s birthday, to pay respect to the man who wasn’t afraid to keep the right tenets of Reformed theology while tossing out the bad, heretical ones.” Arminius was born on October 10th, 1560, and this year would’ve been his 459th birthday.
And yet, even with all that she’s done for Arminius and Arminianism, what she calls “the theology of the people,” she, like the Dutch Reformed theologian, cannot escape John Calvin. “What few know is that my sister and brother-in-law celebrate their wedding anniversary on July 10th, John Calvin’s birthday,” she said. “I told my sister recently that I’d rather just remember their wedding day and forget the birthday.”
The 230-page Reformed Arminian Theology with Arminian Acronym, God And Sinners Reconciled: A Theology of Reformed Arminianism, is now available for pre-order on Amazon Kindle (digital). The Kindle and Paperback editions will officially release on Christmas Day, December 25th, for $40.00. Richardson will also see the release of two other books, one being Terror Of The Lord: Critiquing Conditional Immortality, Answering Annihilationism’s Apologists, a response to conditional immortality apologist Edward Fudge and a defense of the traditional doctrine of the Immortality of the Soul.
To find out more information, please visit Pastor’s Amazon Author page and stay tuned for further updates.