An Outline of the FACTS of Arminianism vs. the TULIP of Calvinism

By Brian Abasciano and Martin Glynn


Arminianism may be represented by the acronym FACTS:

Freed by Grace (to Believe)
Atonement for All
Conditional Election
Total Depravity
Security in Christ

These points broadly and roughly correspond to the historic Articles of Remonstrance (though they are not specifically a representation of them), which were composed in July 1610 by early Arminians and constitute the first formal summary of Arminian theology. Article numbers have been indicated for each point for convenient comparison. The points are presented here by logical order rather than acronym order to facilitate explanation most helpfully.

Total Depravity (Article 3)

  • Humanity was created in the image of God, good and upright, but fell from its original sinless state through willful disobedience, leaving humanity sinful, separated from God, and under the sentence of divine condemnation.
  • Total depravity does not mean that human beings are as bad as they could be, but that sin impacts every part of a person’s being and that people now have a sinful nature with a natural inclination toward sin, making every human being fundamentally corrupt at heart.
  • Therefore, human beings are not able to think, will, nor do anything good in and of themselves, including merit favor from God, save ourselves from the judgment and condemnation of God that we deserve for our sin, or even believe the gospel.
  • If anyone is to be saved, God must take the initiative.

Atonement for All (Article 2)

  • God loves the world and desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
  • Therefore, God gave his only Son to die for the sins of the whole world so as to provide forgiveness and salvation for all people.
  • While God has provided for the salvation of all people by Christ’s sacrificial and substitutionary death for all, the benefits of Christ’s death are received by grace through faith and are only effective for those who believe.

Freed by Grace {to Believe} 

  • Because of Total Depravity and Atonement for All (as described above), God calls all people everywhere to repent and believe the gospel, and graciously enables those who hear the gospel to respond to it positively in faith.
  • God regenerates those who believe in Christ (faith logically precedes regeneration).
  • God’s saving grace is resistible, which is to say that he dispenses his calling, drawing, and convicting grace (which would bring us to salvation if responded to with faith) in such a way that we may reject it. Those who hear the gospel may either accept it by grace or reject it to their own eternal destruction.
  • Apart from the realm of pleasing the Lord and doing spiritual good, people often have free will, which means that, with respect to an action, they can at least either do the action or refrain from doing it. People often have genuine choices and are therefore correspondingly able to make choices.
  • God has ultimate and absolute free will. His choice to supernaturally free the will of sinners by his grace to believe in Christ is a matter of the exercise of his own free will and sovereignty.

Conditional Election (Article 1)

  • God has sovereignly decided to choose only those who have faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, for salvation and his eternal blessing.
  • God has foreknown from eternity which individuals would believe in Christ.
  • Among Arminians, there are two different views of election conditioned on faith:
    1. Individual election:The classic view in which God individually chose each believer based upon His foreknowledge of each one’s faith and so predestined each to eternal life
    2. Corporate election:Election to salvation is primarily of the Church as a people and embraces individuals only in faith-union with Christ the Chosen One and as members of his people. Since the election of the individual derives from the election of Christ and the corporate people of God, individuals become elect when they believe and remain elect only as long as they believe.
      (For more on corporate election, see here.)

Security in Christ (Article 5)

  • Since salvation comes through faith in Christ, the security of our salvation continues by faith in Christ.
  • Just as the Holy Spirit empowered us to believe in Christ, so he empowers us to continue believing in Christ.
  • God protects our faith relationship with him from any outside force irresistibly snatching us away from Christ or our faith, and he preserves us in salvation as long as we trust in Christ.
  • Arminians have differing views of whether Scripture teaches that believers can forsake faith in Christ and so perish, or whether God irresistibly keeps believers from forsaking their faith and therefore entering into eternal condemnation (as unbelievers).


The Calvinist position may be represented by the acronym TULIP:

Total Depravity
Unconditional Election
Limited Atonement
Irresistible Grace
Perseverance of the Saints

These are derived from the Synod of Dort, a local synod in Holland, which convened in 1618-1619 to contradict and condemn the Articles of Remonstrance. Here is a brief explanation of each point, with corresponding article numbers from the Articles of Remonstrance indicated for convenient comparison:

Total Depravity (Article 3)

  • Same as the Arminian points
  • Though we do not differ on how to describe human depravity, Calvinists do also believe that this state requires that God first regenerate a sinner before he can believe in Christ, making him alive and giving him a new, holy nature. But regeneration does not merely enable the sinner to believe; it irresistibly causes the sinner to believe.

Unconditional Election (Article 1)

  • God chose some individuals unconditionally from eternity for eternal life according to his own good pleasure, completely apart from anything having to do with the person, including merit, good works, or foreseen faith.
  • God withheld his mercy from the rest of humanity, ordaining them to dishonor and wrath for their sin.
  • Thus, by the decree of God and for his glory, some people are unconditionally predestined to eternal life, and others are left (and so ordained) to eternal death because of their sin, making two specific and static groups of individuals that can never be changed. (Some Calvinists believe that God purposed to glorify his name by unconditionally choosing some individuals for eternal blessing and some individuals for eternal Hell, and that God ordained the Fall and decided to create the world to accomplish this goal.)

Limited Atonement (Article 2)

  • Christ died only for those certain individuals whom God chose unconditionally from eternity for salvation, enduring the punishment for their sins in their place.
  • Christ’s death for those who have been unconditionally elected irresistibly brings about their salvation and everything necessary for it, including repentance and faith in Christ.

Irresistible Grace (Article 4)

  • Those whom God has unconditionally elected, and for whom Jesus died, God will draw irresistibly to faith in Christ by his grace through regeneration (making faith inevitable).
  • When God brings elect sinners to Christ, he irresistibly causes them to be willing to come to Christ and to come to him in faith freely. (While we are presenting the Calvinist view objectively and typically without comment, the self-contradiction here is just too obvious to let pass: “irresistibly causes them to come willingly and freely?”)
  • While God calls all without distinction to faith in Christ (the general call), he only calls those he has chosen unconditionally in a way that cannot be resisted (the effectual call).
  • Those God has not chosen will reject the gospel call of their own will and cannot do otherwise.

Perseverance of the Saints 

  • Those whom God has unconditionally elected and for whom Jesus has died and whom God has irresistibly drawn to faith in Christ will inevitably persevere in their faith and can neither totally nor finally fall away from Christ, because God will irresistibly cause them to persevere. Therefore, their blessed eternal destiny with God is secure.
  • This perseverance is not based on the believer, who may waver and actually fall into serious sin for periods of time, but is rather based on the continued grace of God.
  • Those who appear to be believers, but fall away from the faith and die without faith in Christ, demonstrate that they had not truly come to saving faith in the first place.
Abasciano, B., and Glynn, M., An Outline of the FACTS of Arminianism vs. the TULIP of Calvinism

14 thoughts on “FACTS vs. TULIP

  1. Eric Newport February 4, 2014 / 10:36 pm

    Interesting article. I do however read the FACTS as nothing really different from the TULIP. Your representation of the FACTS really sound like the TULIP with sovereignty of God left out. I would love some Biblical reference for your FACTS if you are willing to provide.

    • Arminian February 6, 2014 / 2:37 am

      Hi Eric,

      I fail to see how the ‘FACTS’ are “nothing really different” than ‘TULIP’. With the obvious exception of the ‘T’, the ‘FACTS’ represent ‘Atonement for All’ (as opposed to Limited Atonement), ‘Conditional Election’ (as opposed to Unconditional Election), and ‘Freed by Grace’ (ie., Prevenient Grace, as opposed to Irresistible Grace). The ‘S’ (‘Security in Christ’) is deliberately ambiguous, so as to allow face-value acceptance by all Arminians, regardless of their stance on the subject of ‘eternal security’.

      In any case, the original author of the ‘FACTS’ article has recently published a more in-depth look, which is also replete with Biblical references/support. The article may be found here: http://evangelicalarminians.org/the-facts-of-salvation-a-summary-of-arminian-theologythe-biblical-doctrines-of-grace/

      By the way, your comment that the ‘FACTS’ sound like the ‘TULIP’ with the sovereignty of God ‘left out’ seems to scream of the oft-repeated myth that Arminians deny the sovereignty of God. For a very brief introduction to that issue, you may want to read: Do Arminians Believe in the Sovereignty of God?

      Kind regards,

  2. Andy February 14, 2014 / 5:05 am


    I have been studying this topic a lot lately at a reformed seminary, and this is the first time I have seen the FACTS presentation of Arminianism. I have been more exposed to Calvinist teachings on the subject but was wondering if there are any good resources you would recommend from the Arminian perspective. This would be especially helpful since my home church is largely Arminian. Calvinism seems to be weakest in the limited atonement doctrine, but I see weaknesses in Arminianism concerning the nature of the human will and the strong predestination teachings of Romans 9, Ephesians 1, John 6…


    • Arminian February 15, 2014 / 12:44 am

      Hi Andy,

      There are some very helpful books from an Arminian/Arminian-friendly perspective that I’ve listed on the Books page.

      As for internet resources, two of the best sites (in my opinion) are the Society of Evangelical Arminians and Arminian Perspectives.

      On these sites, you should find a vast range of articles that answer your questions and/or doubts.

      Kind regards,

  3. Andy February 15, 2014 / 3:14 am


  4. Chas G July 26, 2015 / 1:53 am

    You seem to have blindly overlooked a major problem in your presentation founded on the ‘grace of God’ to ‘those who hear.’ From whence cometh ‘ears to hear’? Who planted the ear, who formed the eye? Your reasoning parallels that of evolutionists that presume an initial state but cannot account for it on the basis of their hypothesis.

  5. Scott B March 17, 2016 / 7:58 am

    Hi, really liking what I am reading about Arminianism. I wondered if you might give some clarity to Conditional Election. I’ve also read the big 25 page document on SEA and still a little confused.

    When Brian Abasciano refers to God’s “choice of those he will save”, what does he actually mean by this? And is this what should be understood by Bible references to “choose”, “chose”, etc? I’m too used to the Calvinist meaning. I presume this refers to the idea that God has chosen for the intent of the atonement to only be efficacious for those that believe (i.e. choose to accept God’s offer of salvation) rather than choosing everyone for salvation (due to universal atonement meaning all could be saved)?

    Also, what is really then understood by “predestination”, especially when Arminians stress humanity’s ability to choose (after prevenient grace)?

    Sorry if this has been covered already, but I’m struggling to join the dots.

    • Arminian April 18, 2016 / 5:08 pm

      Hi Scott,

      My sincere apologies for the late reply.

      You’re exactly right in presuming that Abasciano in particular, and Arminians in general, are referring to the notion that “God has chosen for the intent of the atonement to only be efficacious for those that believe”, as you put it. God is God, and He of course has every right to choose whom He will save, and how he will save whom He chooses (that is, He has the right to determine if there will be conditions or not, among other things). God’s mere act of choosing does not necessarily entail the standard Calvinistic opinion that God must choose unconditionally.

      I do touch on God’s intentions in the atonement in my post Feedback: Arminians Limit the Power of the Atonement, specifically under the heading ‘Provision and Intention’.

      Regarding predestination, you can find a brief introduction here.


  6. Scott B March 17, 2016 / 8:06 am

    Also, how does an Arminian understand John 15:16?

    • Arminian April 18, 2016 / 5:19 pm

      Simply by understanding that the text is referring to Jesus choosing the disciples for service.

  7. Bob Guerrero August 7, 2020 / 11:16 am

    Both doctrines are biblical. We cannot accept the one and reject thr other. What is excesses in one teaching must be cheched and balanced by the other teaching. Both camps must meet in the middle ground. . .

    • Cartwright August 7, 2020 / 2:29 pm

      Hi Bob,

      I can certainly appreciate the desire to find middle ground and minimize division!

      But I have to disagree with you when you say that we can’t accept one position and reject the other.

      There are certainly some areas of mutual agreement between Arminianism and Calvinism in general, and FACTS and TULIP in particular. The ‘T’ in both acronyms is an example.

      But there are also positions that are mutually exclusive. For example, grace is either irresistible, or it’s not; election is either unconditional, or it’s not. By definition, accepting one position logically requires you to reject the other position.

  8. diosdado apias September 9, 2021 / 9:47 pm

    Lets us be down to earth. we live on earth under the reality of life here and what we experience as human. man has free will, we can not deny it. we are a thinking human being. Otherwise, we could not have decided on what we became here on earth. some are bad and some are good. some are previously bad and became good while some are previously good but became bad. Because of the sin of Adam and Eve, we their descendants inherited a disobedient tendency to God just as Adam and Eve disobeyed God to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. but it does not mean that we are totally deprave—We are created in the image and likeness of God. We have a good nature but we have also will and this makes us human to do good or bad; to obey or not to obey God’s will. we have the power to choose between options presented to us. Because our will we can obey God and learn His teachings and commandments, and cling to him as our God and savior. We can have repentance because of our will to do so; and we can do away with it because of our will for whatever reason that motivates us do so. That is why those who are considered justified and save because they turn, believe and have faith in God and His son Jesus will be also condemn because they can be turn away also from their faith in God and Jesus. I think Arminianism is more biblically realistic than TULIP of Calvinism.

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