I came across this acronym when reading about Calvinism. What does it stand for in reference to theology in general?
The tulip acronym stands for the following:
- Total depravity, the idea that man can do only evil without God.
- Unconditional election, the idea that the saved are chosen by God without any consideration for their actions.
- Limited atonement, the idea that Christ's death atones only for the sins of the elected saved.
- Irresistible grace, the idea that no one can resist God's free gift of grace once God offers it.
- Perseverance of the saints, the idea that the elected saved will always be saved.
Generally, these are called the five points of Calvinism. Calvin's theology is very complicated and I've heard some argue that this is just a simple synthesis of his ideas; Calvin did not came up with it himself. Having some familiarity with the theology, I would note that it's missing God's total sovereignty, among some other things, that are vital to Calvinism.