For the LILY; Against The TULIP
By Pastor James W. Crumpton | West Side Baptist Church, Natchez, Mississippi
Read Romans 9:6-24; John 5:36-47 and Matthew 23:37-39.I am convinced that the Lord would have me speak tonight on, “I am for the Lily of the Valley, the Lord Jesus Christ, and I am against TULIP theology.”
The Lord Jesus is so precious. We thank God for His Person, for His message, for His salvation, His atoning sacrifice on Calvary, and for the salvation He has given us in His own precious Son.
The Word refers to the Son of God as “the Lily of the Valley” He is so wonderful! So precious! So lovely! We want to preach Him, to live Him, and to make Him known to the lost.
But, beloved, while we are for the Lord Jesus, the Lily of the Valley, we are very definitely against TULIP Theology. I say this not with sarcasm of the flesh, but with a broken heart.
WHAT IS TULIP THEOLOGY?
Some call it Calvinism Some call it Hyper-Calvinism. Some call it Five-Point Calvinism. That is because there is a list that signify the words that present the principles that are involved in TULIP theology.
The “T” in the word TULIP is for Total Depravity.
The second letter in TULIP is for Unconditional Election.
The third letter in TULIP is for Limited Atonement.
The fourth letter in TULIP is for Irresistible Grace.
The fifth letter in TULIP is for Perseverance of the Saints.
Now I, beloved, am for the Lily of the Valley, the Lord Jesus, but I am against TULIP theology–not part of it, not two points of it, not three points of it–but all of it.
This theology teaches the total depravity of man, and be sure you add, the total inability of man. Not there is no question but that the Bible teaches we are totally depraved, but it does not teach total inability. The Bible teaches that we came here totally depraved. Passage after passage talks about what terrible sinners were are, how we are lost and undone. But the Bible also teaches that the Lily of the Valley, the lovely Lord Jesus Christ, the Light of the world lights every man who cometh into the world, therefore making him responsible and giving him the ability to accept Christ as Saviour.
We are born totally depraved, but the Lord Jesus gives enough light to every man to make him responsible to hear and to reject or accept the Gospel of the Son of God.
In John 12:32 did the Lord Jesus say, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw a few men unto Me”? No, He didn’t say that. Instead, He said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw ALL men unto me.” Though we are totally depraved, yet the Lily of the Valley gives us enough light to make us responsible and declares that He draws all men unto Him.
Notice John 5:40. Does this verse say,”And ye will not come to Me, because you are not one of the elect”? or, “Ye will not come to Me, because ye are not ordained”? He didn’t say that. Rather He said, “And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” It is not that they were not elected; it is not that they were not ordained; it was that they WOULD NOT COME.
We are born totally depraved, but the Lord give us enough light to make us responsible.
He gives light in nature. He gives light through creation. We are told in Romans 1:19,20:
He gives light through conscience. Look at Romans 2:11-16:
I repeat: We are born totally depraved, but the Lily of the Valley, the Lord Jesus, gives enough light to make us responsible. He gives us light through creation. He gives us light through conscience.
Then we read in Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” If we could not respond, we would think the Lord Jesus was making fun of us to invite us to come. But, praise God, He makes us responsible and makes it possible that we can come.
I repeat: We believe in total depravity, but we do not believe in total inability that TULIP theologists try to force on us. So I am against the first point of TULIP theology and for the Lily of the Valley, our Lord Jesus Christ.
In the second place, I am for the Lily of the Valley, the Lord Jesus Christ, but I am against unconditional election as taught in TULIP theology. This is one of the most horrible things I have ever heard. You know, beloved, they are saying that when a little baby is conceived in this mother’s womb, and another is conceived in that mother’s womb, then God hates the one and loves the other.
For nine months, while those two mothers carry those babies, God hates one of them and loves the other.
When those precious little babies are born, God hates one and loves the other.
When they get to be teenagers, God hates one and loves the other.
When they get to be young married folks, God hates one and loves the other.
When they get to be middle-age folks, God hates one and loves the other.
And He will hate that one through all eternity and He will love this one through all eternity.
Friend, the Bible knows nothing of such a thesis. It is not in here–not from Genesis to Revelation.
In fact, if the TULIP theologians are honest about it, they would go further back that and say, “Back before the foundation of the world, God knew what mothers would have a little baby. Even back there He started loving one and hating the other, and He will love one and hate the other through all eternity to come.” How absurd! Beloved, that is close to blasphemy against our God.
Let’s put this in the language of what we saw a moment ago in John 5:40. Did Jesus say , “Since before the foundation of the world I determined that you would go to Hell; you cannot come unto Me”? Wouldn’t that be a changing of the precious Word of God? He said, “And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.”
Turn to Matthew 23:37, and put that in the language of the TULIP theologians and see how far they missed what our God has to say. To put it in their language: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and thou which stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often will I have gathered you, but you are not unconditionally elected, therefore you will have to go to Hell. There is no hope for you.” Isn’t that far from what our Lord Jesus said? What He said is this:”. . . how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens. . . and ye would not!” He didn’t say it was ordained. He didn’t say it was predestined. He didn’t say you were elected to go to Hell before the foundation of the world. A thousand times, no. Beloved, that theology didn’t come out of the Bible.
Turn with me to John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son…” Now the TULIP theologians have several worlds. They are saying John 3:16 is not the whole world but the world of the elect. It takes a great stretch of the imagination to try to believe such a thing. “For God so loved the world [everybody], that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
But the TULIP theologians say, “But, Brother James, God doesn’t love sinners.” You are wrong. I believe what Jesus said. In Mark 10:21 we have the story of the rich young ruler, a lost man who came to Jesus to inquire about eternal life. “Then Jesus beholding him loved him . . .” Jesus, beholding the sinner, loved him! “. . .and [Jesus] said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up thy cross, and follow me.”
Yes, beloved, let the TULIP theologians say what they will about unconditional election, but God says He loves sinners and He sent the Lord Jesus Christ to die for sinners. When the Lord Jesus was here on earth He loved sinners. He went home with them. He had supper with them. Jesus was known as “a friend of sinners.”
TULIP theologians are not very friendly toward sinners, but the Lord Jesus is a friend of sinners. I am glad He is. I got to be one of His children because He loves sinners, because He came to save sinners, because He is a friend of sinners. Yes, He is. Indeed He is. So it is totally unscriptural to say there is unconditional election.
I want you to look with me at a few verses they use erroneously to try to teach this doctrine.
Let me first say this. I wrote a missionary one day: “I want to make emphatically clear that we do not want missionaries to be affiliated with the Maranatha Baptist Mission who believe in the five points of Calvinism.” And I added, “There is some question about your theology. Tell me, do you believe that God’s grace is irresistible? Do you believe that God arbitrarily begins to love or hate little babies in their mother’s womb?” I wrote, “Do you believe that we are saved because of the perseverance of the saints, or because of the perseverance of the Saviour?”
What did he write back? “Who art thou that repliest against God?”
I hadn’t replied against God: I had just asked him some simple questions. He was quoting to me from Romans, chapter 9, one of the favorite passages of these who try to teach us this ungodly doctrine. They look at Romans 9:13 and say, “See, ‘it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.’ Therefore, there is unconditional election.”
First, this verse has nothing to do with salvation. It is talking about how God chose Jacob in the Messianic line in contrast to Esau, not about God loving and wanting to save Jacob, and God hating and wanting to damn Esau!
By the same principle, I could look out here at some of you preachers tonight and ask, “Do you have a brother?” “Sure.”
“Well, isn’t it interesting that God chose you to be a preacher and He didn’t choose your brother?” It would be the same thing from the standpoint of principle as to what we have in Romans, chapter 9.
God is not saying, “I want to damn Esau and send him to Hell and take Jacob to Heaven, so I make an unconditional election that Jacob will go to Heaven and Esau will go to Hell.” That is gross misinterpretation of God’s precious Word.
In fact, “hate” here is the same word the Lord Jesus used when He said, “If you are going to be My disciples, you will have to hate your father and mother and your brother and sister and your wife and your children.” What it means is “prefer.” Jesus was saying, “If you are going to be My disciple, you must prefer Me and put Me first instead of wife and children and relatives or other folk,” God is saying here that He prefers to put Jacob first in the Messianic line and to leave out Esau. That has nothing to do with God’s unconditional election, His sending somebody to Hell and another to Heaven back in eternity.
I believe in the Lily of the Valley, the Lord Jesus Christ, but I am against TULIP theology.
Another verse these folks use to try to teach us that God carries out unconditional election is Ephesians 1:4, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.” This didn’t say a word about Heaven or Hell. It is talking about God choosing us to “be holy and without blame before him in love.”
Nobody was arbitrarily assigned in unconditional election to Hell or to Heaven before the foundation of the world.
Again, John 15:16 is a verse these folks use to try to prove TULIP theology. There Jesus said, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye should ask of the father in my name, he may give it you.” This is not saying the Lord chose some for Heaven and some for Hell. This is saying the Lord chose and ordained that born-again, blood-washed believers should bring forth fruit to the glory of God. It has nothing to do with the salvation of the sinner.
They say, “Brother James, what about Romans 8:29?” First is that precious verse 28: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Then verse 29: “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren.”
This is not saying that God predestinated some to Hell and some to Heaven. This is saying that God predestinated that every born- again, blood-washed believer should be made to conform to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not talking at all about the Lord assigning some to Hell and some to Heaven in unconditional election before the foundation of the world.
Salvation is always–from Genesis to Revelation–conditional on faith. I didn’t say that faith is the work of merit; I said it is the condition to salvation. If there is a condition for salvation, you can’t say it is unconditional. There is a condition–the condition is faith. I repeat, it is not merit, it is not work, but it is a condition. God never saves anybody except they come by faith to the Lord Jesus Christ.
I am for the Lily of the Valley, the Lord Jesus Christ, and I am against TULIP theology.
I am against TULIP theology that teaches limited atonement. They say that the blood of Christ is not for everybody, just for an elected few. They go further and say that if the blood of Christ is for everybody and everybody doesn’t get saved, then it means God failed. It means no such thing! It means people fail to receive what God provided for them. God provided salvation for sinners everywhere, but if they don’t come, God has not failed; people have simply limited what God wanted to do for them.
Now, our TULIP theologians would say, “Preacher, you really walked in to a trap. You can’t limit God.” That ‘s what they think!
Turn with me to Psalm 78:41. It speaks of Israel and says, “Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and LIMITED THE HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL.” They kept God from doing for them what He wanted to do. Even some of these TULIP theologians have kept God from doing something for them that He wants to do.
I believe the blood of Jesus Christ is for ALL sinners. But some poor sinner may come up and say, “How do you know it is for me?” Because it is for EVERY sinner, everywhere.
There are several words in the Bible translated “redemption.” Agoraze, exagorazo, lutroo speak of redemption. In one case redemption of one who never was saved, though redemption was provided; in another case, saved and taken out of the slave market, but never accepting all that the Lord has for him; the other one, where one was saved from the market and made totally free.
We have a lot of Christians who are not free today. That is sad, isn’t it? Let’s look at that first word for a moment–agorazo. Look at 2 Peter 2:1: “But there were false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them [agorazo, redeem them], and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”
We go on down to verses 2, 3 and 4:
He said they denied the One who bought them, so salvation was for them. It wasn’t that it wasn’t for them: it was that they didn’t accept what the Lord had offered. Nobody will be at the judgment of the great white throne and consigned forever to Hell, for whom the blood of Christ was not shed on the cross.
Look with me at John 1:29. When He saw Jesus coming unto him, John the Baptist said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of”–the few elect whom the Lord has picked out in His limiting the blood of Christ on the cross? No. “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the WORLD.” “World” means everybody.
Look at Hebrews 2:9. They say “world” doesn’t mean the whole “world.” The Scripture says, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” The Word says “every man.”
When I wrote an editorial in my paper on “God So Loved Everybody,” I got one of the most scorching letters from a man telling me I was either ignorant, hypocritical, or prejudiced against Calvinists. Then he did add, “I don’t believe you are hypocritical or ignorant.” And I am not prejudiced–I am against TULIP theology!
First Timothy 4:10 says, “For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe”–meaning He came and died for all men, that He is the Saviour of all men, and He literally becomes the Savior of the ones who receive Him. That one condition is your faith–not merit but is the condition. And if it is the condition, it is not unconditional election.
Turn with me to 1 Timothy 2:5,6: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” Now wouldn’t I be stretching the Scripture to say that He is the ransom for all the elect, for all the specially ordained, when the Scripture says He is the ransom for A-L-L period?
First John 4:14: “And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world”–not the elect world, not the ordained world, not the world within the world, but the world.
First John 2:1,2: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not, And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” The blood of Christ is shed for everybody.
What does the Word of God say in Isaiah 53:6? “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of [some of us? No–] us all.”
The story is told of a man who was in a meeting where one of God’s fine preachers was preaching in London, England. In the last service of the meeting this man didn’t come to the Lord, but he came under terrible conviction.
The meeting was over and the preacher was leaving. This man under conviction ran down to the train station and said, “O preacher, I need to get saved and I need your help.”
The preacher hurriedly said, “I have to get on this train to make my next engagement. So go home and read Isaiah 53:6. Go in at the first ALL and come out at the last ALL, and you can get saved.”
The sinner went home and read those words: “ALL we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us ALL.” The poor sinner said to himself, The preacher said, “Go in at the first `all,'” which says we are all sinners–and I surely have been a sinner. And the preacher said, “Come out at the last `all'”–which says the Lord has laid on Jesus the iniquity of us all. That means my sins are atoned for with the precious blood of Jesus Christ!
Beloved, the blood of Christ is for all sinners everywhere.
A dear friend of mine in South Texas began to preach that the blood wasn’t for everybody. One of my preacher brothers said to him, “Brother So-and-So, you know that you are the elect and the blood was shed for you. But how are you going to prove to your little daughter that it is for her also?”
If this doctrine is so, it is a strange thing that everybody who found out about it was in the elect. Seems like some of these preachers would get up and say, “I’m left out. I wasn’t in the elect.
I am for the Lily of the valley, the Lord Jesus Christ, and I am against TULIP theology.
I am against TULIP theology in teaching irresistible grace. Such a thing is unheard of in the Bible. Let’s read Matthew 23:37 in TULIP theology language: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered you, and you sure are going to have to come, because you can’t resist My grace. You will have to be saved because I want you to.”
Does the Bible say that? No! There is no irresistible grace there. Turn to Acts 7:51, and let’s see what Stephen said: “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.” It sounds like this grace is resisted. Emphatically yes–it is resisted.
Well, our TULIP theologians say that the Lord gives a general call and He gives a specific call–“effectual” is what the call it. In other words, are you theologians trying to tell us that God is a hypocrite–that He gives a general call and doesn’t mean it? It sounds like blasphemy to me! God never issues any calls without meaning them! Don’t come to me with some “general call” and some “effectual call.” When He says, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heave laden,” He means every heavy laden and burdened person can come. Jesus is not insincere. God forbid that we should even think it, much less advocate it.
The TULIP theologians remind me somehow of the evolutionists, who think that they are more accomplished academically than are the rest of us.
Well, any fool could believe the truth of creation in the book of Genesis ten times easier that he could the theory evolutionists try to force on him. The TULIP theologians pose as superior to most of us academically. But it is a lot easier to believe what Jesus said than it is to believe what the TULIP theologians say. I don’t find it hard to believe what Jesus said, but I do have a hard time believing what TULIP theologians say.
Now, they say, “Brother James, what about Matthew, chapter 20?” Well, let’s look at Matthew 20:16: “So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.” Where is this verse? At the end of a parable. This parable has to do with service and rewards, not with salvation from sin. So they yank it right out of context and try to make it mean something it doesn’t mean.
It is about as silly as the story I heard of the fellow who was dating his girlfriend. She was spiritual and he wasn’t But he still wanted to impress her with his “spirituality.” So everywhere this traveling salesman went, he would send her a telegram and stick a verse of Scripture on it. He had read a verse over in 1 John, chapter 4, that said, “Perfect love casteth out fear,” so he thought that would be a good one for her. But he didn’t know there is a difference in 1 John and the Gospel of John. So when he made up the telegram, instead of putting 1 John 4:18, he put John 4:18, which reads, “Thou hast said well, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands”!
When you start pulling a verse out that talks about rewards and service and make it apply to salvation, you, too, are far off.
Now in the same book, Matthew 22:14, we come to those same words again, “For many are called, but few are chosen.” Let’s go back and see the parable as the Lord Jesus gave it. This one is on salvation. Here He is comparing salvation to a big banquet. The goodman of the house invites all the folks to come to the wedding feast. But one is inside without a wedding garment. When the goodman of the house asks him where it is, “He was speechless.” The goodman instructed, “Cast him out.”
What is the message of this parable? Beloved, in those wedding feasts over there, when one was invited to the wedding, a wedding garment was bought and given to the invited one. But this guy strutted up to the wedding thinking, I’ll go in my own garments. I’ll not accept the garment provided. But the goodman of the house said, “Cast him out!”
Now that is true of the message of salvation. God demands perfect righteousness if we are to go to Heaven. And here we are in out tattered rags and nakedness of sin. But our God provides, as a free gift, imputed righteousness, which is a robe given to all sinners who come to Christ. And if you refuse the robe, you will be cast out. That is not TULIP theology, that is the Lily of the Valley, the Lord Jesus, saying, “I have provided redemption for all sinners everywhere. So come, sinners, come, for all things are now ready. The feast is prepared. O taste and see that the Lord is good!”
PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS
I am for the Lily of the Valley, the Lord Jesus, and I’m against TULIP theology. I am against TULIP theology that says it is the perseverance of the saints that gets us to Heaven. You are not here tonight as a Christian because of your perseverance. You are here because of the perseverance of the Lord Jesus.
Listen to Isaiah 41:10: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Some of our charismatic friends, some of our holiness friends, talk about holding on and holding out. We don’t hold on and hold out; it is Jesus who holds us.
Suppose my Bible could talk and say, “You folks pray for me that I’ll hold out and won’t fall and get skinned on the corner of this pulpit.” no need to pray for this Book to hold out; pray for my arm to hold out! Brother, no need to pray for you and me to hold out: we are held by the right arm of His righteousness! Praise God, He will never fails!
I got saved by the power of Jesus Christ; I am kept by the power of Jesus Christ; and I am going to Heaven by the power of Jesus Christ–not by the perseverance of James W. Crumpton.
Deuteronomy 33:27: “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” We are not holding out. “The everlasting arms” are hold out. The Lord Jesus said, “No man is able to pluck you out of My hands, and He is in the Father’s hands!” That doesn’t sound like our perseverance.
Look with me at Jude. This is a very interesting verse about perseverance. Verse 1: “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ.” Their perseverance? NO! ” … “preserved in Jesus Christ.”
Turn to 1 Peter, chapter 1, verses 4 and 5. He says we are saved “to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of … “–the perseverance of the saints? NO! We are “Kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
“Well, Brother James, what are you?” A Bible-believing preacher! And if you are a Bible-believing preacher, you will be neither a Five Point Calvinist not an Arminian.
Some fellow in Ohio wrote me, “Brother James, if you are not a Five-Point Calvinist, and you believe that the blood of Christ is for everybody, you have to be an Arminian.”
No. A thousand times no! I am not an Arminian. We don’t help God save us. God does it totally and altogether by Himself.
He said, “Well, if you believe the blood is for everybody, you have to be an Arminian.”
I said, “Oh, no. It is true the Arminians believe that the blood is for all, but they have certain additives along with the blood.” The Arminians believe that you must have the blood–plus certain dos and don’ts, and when you lose the dos and don’ts, you have lost your salvation. Which means they are depending on the dos and don’t, not the blood. I believe we are saved by the blood of Christ and saved forever. It is totally a work of God. We are a lost bunch of poor, Hell-deserving sinners saved by the precious grace of the Son of God. Don’t let anybody browbeat you and say you have to be an Arminian or a Five-Point Calvinist. Be a Bible-believing Christian and you won’t be either one. We had the Bible a long time before there was a John Calvin. We had the Bible a long time before there was an Arminius. And both of them are wrong on the subjects with which we have been dealing tonight.
Oh, I am so glad I’m saved! But when I get to Heaven, I won’t be able to brag on Crumpton, because it is totally a work of the Lord Jesus. I was just a lost, no-good, Hell-deserving sinner, without God and without hope. One brother said, “He just gave me something for nothing.” The grace of God is beyond our comprehension.
If we could go up tonight–up, up, up to the third Heaven and kneel down at the throne of God’s grace and listen to the heartthrob of God’s love; if we could go down, down, down to Calvary and see the torn, beaten, bruised body of the precious Son of God suffering all Hell for all sins, for all sinners, for all eternity, the Hell we would have suffered in the lake of fire and brimstone; then if we could go down, down, down to the charred walls of the damned and listen to the shrieks of damned souls in Hell-fire and brimstone; then if you can tell me how far it is from the highest Heaven to the lowest Hell by the way of Calvary, I can tell you how much is in that little word “grace.”
Oh, the unmerited, unconstrained love of God toward poor Hell-deserving sinners like us! Lost, undone sinners on the slave block being sold and bought back by the precious blood of the Son of God!
I am for the Lily of the Valley, the Lord Jesus Christ, and I am against TULIP theology. “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, ACCORDING TO the riches of his grace.” Amen!
James W. Crumpton
Dr. Crumpton produced the “Radio Revival Hour” for 22 years.