As I understand it, Unconditional Election means that God has already chosen who will be saved.

Unconditional election is God's choice to save people regardless of their sin or any condition.

Why then is it necessary for the doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints to reiterate that salvation cannot be lost? Isn't that already part of Unconditional Election? It seems to be repetitive.

1 Answer 1


When the five points of Calvinism are looked at as distinct entities, then there does seem to be a bit of redundancy in there. Part of the reason, though, for that is that the five points are emphasizing bullet-point highlights of a comprehensive theology, and they were done so as a retort to the five points of Arminianism, which follows:

Five Articles of Remonstrance (summarized)

  1. God has elected to save any person who responds to his grace.

  2. God's saving grace is offered freely to all, but is only sufficient for those who respond.

  3. All humans are sinful and incapable of being righteous. However, God has provided grace to enable them to respond to him.

  4. God's grace enables all good works, but human beings have the capacity to resist God and choose evil.

  5. God's grace and the power of the Holy Spirit enable believers to overcome sin if they are willing to persevere.

As it's presented in a fashion that aims to address specific issues, its presentation is naturally going to appeal to certain "common themes" while framing the underlying theology with certain key points in primary focus. The perserverence of the saints specifically counters the fifth point of Arminianism.

Calvinism contends that because the saints are neccessarily new creatures (see Total Depravity/Total Inability), who have been elected solely according to God's will and not their own worthiness (see: unconditional election), and saved definitively by the shed blood the Christ (see: Particular/Limited Atonement) and effectively through the regeneration of the Holy Spirit (see : Irrisistible Grace), then those saints will necessarily, perservere to the end of their lives.

So, you're right, on first pass it does kind of seem redundant or unnecessary, but it's more of an extension of the preceeding points, and it specifically addresses a contrasting view.

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    Wow. This is fascinating! +1
    – Richard
    Commented Nov 4, 2011 at 15:31
  • @Bruce Alderman: Thank you for that clarification.
    – Steven
    Commented Dec 13, 2011 at 15:18
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    Maybe the issue here is that it was not Arminius who brought the complaint to the Dutch church, but instead His students. We have a reference above to the actual words (translated of course) and that should be sufficient. On the other hand, many who call themselves Arminians today are somewhere in the middle. Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 3:07
  • Those five points look great, but I don't see how they also bring in the doctrine of "Irresistible Grace" since there are so many verses about how we can reject or fail to attain to the Salvation of the Lord if we reject him. (besides the ovoius verses there are Colossians 1:22-23 and [Hebrews 3:14]. I mention this because the wikipedia page doesn't actually list any verses to support this idea except the three in John 6 which don't actually speak to Irresistible Grace - just God's calling.
    – Xeoncross
    Commented Mar 18, 2014 at 19:54
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    When discussing this in "historical theology" in Bible school, the professor liked to make this distinction. Generally, we write mnemonics with all caps, TULIP, indicating that all the parts are equal. Calvinists would more prefer to write it TULIp, while there are some theologies that sort of agree with Calvinism, but only because they want to stress the perseverance of the saints, so they would like to write it tuliP, with a quiet voice on the first four points, but a big loud holler on the final point.
    – user3961
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 22:33

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