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“Plucking the TULIP” in PDF format

(Amended 2 April 2013)

I have combined the various postings on “Plucking the TULIP” into one long (26 pages) research style paper.  The aim here is to make the overall argument against TULIP available in one document.  Hopefully, this will make it more convenient for readers to  follow the arguments I have been making concerning the Reformed doctrine of double predestination.

Note: In response to various comments I made a number of minor changes to the PDF file of Plucking the TULIP on 2 April 2013.  The biggest change is change in fonts from Calibri to Times New Roman.  Another change is the correction in wording from “imitative” to “initiative” on page 14.  Other minor changes include em dashes, minimizing the use of bold fonts, and consistency in citation of references.  Thank you to all the readers with sharp eyes!

Robert Arakaki

Plucking the TULIP (PDF version 2-April-2013)



  1. Hinterlander

    Thanks for doing this, I was about ready to do this myself.

  2. Darlene

    Robert, have you considered writing a more thorough response to “L” in the tulip series? I think that the Reformed teaching on Limited Atonement is one that is especially disconcerting, and furthermore, reveals an ignorance and disregard for the love of God in Christ Jesus for the world. Lutherans, who would agree with the Reformed on many other areas of theology, cannot bring themselves to subscribe to such a view. Personally, I think that Limited Atonement is the most egregious teaching of the TULIP. Such a view distorts the gospel message of the love of God for the world. Those who evangelize within such a framework cannot proclaim to all that “Christ loved you enough to die for you upon the cross of Calvary.” They cannot do so because according to “L” Christ died only for the elect, and the person hearing the gospel message may not be one of the Elect, i.e., Christ does not love them nor did He die for them. How, pray tell, is this good news?

    Furthermore, such a teaching is a distortion of the Incarnation, in which Christ assumes all humanity, not just the humanity of the Elect. In St. Athansius’ writing “On The Incarnation”, he stresses the love of Christ for all and death of Christ for all. It is the very nature of such an outlandish pronouncement that even many Reformed Christians and Evangelicals will say that they are a 4 point Calvinist.

    Ok, I’m down off my soap box now. 🙂

    • robertar

      Thanks for the suggestion! And I like your observation about the implications of Christ’s incarnation for the salvation of all humanity.

  3. Justin

    All I’m getting on this PDF is boxes and question marks….when I “copy” and “paste” then it goes into words…not sure what it’s all about but I can’t really read it properly…

    • robertar


      I’m stumped. I spoke with my web administrator and he can’t figure out what the problem might be. I can tell you that I composed the document on MS Word then converted it using doPDF v7. Are you using a PC or a Mac?


      • John


        Thanks for this.

        I found no trouble in saving it. I have a Microsoft Vista platform with an Adobe Reader X add-on. All I did was double-click on the link and it opened into an Adobe document which I was then able to easily save to one of my folders. Apparently, any Microsoft/Adobe combination will work.

        Perhaps a Mac does not work happily with Adobe, or even worse, may not accommodate Adobe. This may be the solution to your problem – get an Adobe-friendly platform.


        • Carson

          Given that Mac OS X uses PDF as its display engine, I’m fairly sure that the issue is not “a Mac does not work happily with Adobe.” 🙂

          It looks, if I’m reading the document properties correctly, like all the fonts used in the document may not be “embedded” (and thus usable on any platform), and is instead relying on the reader having the Calibri font (and variants) installed. This would be the case with Windows Vista and up, as well as for any version of Windows which has Office 2007 or 2010 installed, but not (I don’t think), a default install of Windows XP. Or OS X.

          If that is the problem, the solution is either to embed all the fonts, or to use a font which is available on more platforms (Times New Roman, for example).

          • robertar


            Thanks for the suggestions on how to improve Plucking the TULIP! I guess I’ll have to bring out my Chicago Manual of Style. I’ll try and clean up the PDF text over the next few days or so.

            FYI I used doPDF, not Acrobat, to convert my MS Word documents. I’m using a MacBook Pro with Parallels. I’m not happy with Apple’s word processing software: Pages or Mellel. My personal favorite is Lotus WordPro. I use the 2007 MS Word program because I’m constantly exchanging papers with others.


          • Carson

            Ah, more evidence that it’s a font issue, from Wikipedia:

            Instead of embedding the full font file, doPDF 7 embeds only font subsets, making the resulting PDF file smaller.[6]

  4. Carson

    Because I enjoyed reading this, I would very much like this to be widely circulated: I want it to look its best. It is in that spirit that I hope you will receive the following notes. Everything below refers to the PDF that I downloaded today, not to the original articles.

    May I suggest using emdashes throughout where appropriate, instead of doubled hyphens?

    The use or non-use of italics for non-English words (primarily “ousia,” “hypostasis,” and “filioque”) is not consistent. I like italics better for it, but that’s just me.

    In several blockquotes throughout, you say “emphasis in original,” but nothing is emphasized.

    On page 12, in the second blockquote from Calvin’s Institutes, is the emphasis in the original? (I suggest that you note it, either way.) It would also be clearer with regard to that blockquote’s introductory paragraph if instead of saying “Calvin writes,” you said, “In another place, Calvin writes,” given that the preceding sentence cites a completely different section of the Institutes than the one you quote.

    In the last paragraph on page 14 (ending at the top of p 15), shouldn’t Pelagianism get a brief mention?

    On page 16, perhaps a footnote on Gregory of Nazianzen saying “AKA to the Orthodox as Gregory the Theologian” for those who may not know ?

    Also on page 16, it’s unclear who you’re quoting in the second blockquote (the cite says “in LaCugna”).

    On pp. 21-22, the enumerated list should probably be indented.

    Clearly these are all pretty minor.

    • robertar


      Thank you for observations. I found them very helpful! I just uploaded a newer version of the PDF file of “Plucking the TULIP” on 2 April 2013.


  5. David L. Jones

    Dr. Arakaki,

    Christ is in our midst!

    I am Antiochian Orthodox and I have a close friend who is a Reformed/Calvinist pastor. Here are his responses to your article. I would love to read your response to his points and questions.
    Here is his first response.

    Here is a very quick analysis of the article you sent.
    1. He spends a great deal of time discussing Augustine’s influence on the
    Reformed tradition without addressing Christ’s and Paul’s parallels with
    2. If it is Free Will: What is your intrinsic righteousness? If you argue
    the merit of Free Will you must recognize that you have an intrinsic
    righteousness within you. If one chose correctly one chose righteously.
    3. When you enter heaven what portion, as small as it may be, do you give
    for your RIGHT to be there? If you argue on the basis of Free Will there
    must logically be an answer. An inherit righteousness within self chose
    love and God.

    I would love to hear your answers. If you say it’s all God, your argument is
    Here is his second response.

    The author of your article makes several broad sweeping arguments about predestination without apparent understanding of Reformed theology. First, it must be mentioned that “predestination” is not an Augustinian, Calvinistic, nor Reformed term – it is first and foremost a biblical term. What is its proper context? What is it to destine beforehand? Foreknowledge is “preknowledge” nothing is destined, only foreknown. If this is truly biblical than what hope is there in Romans 8:28? How does God work all things for the good for those who love him, if He is not a causal agent? If He merely knows ahead of time of what we choose by free will, we in fact are CAUSING the good, God merely knows the good we cause ahead of time! The author of your article often used quotes stating that God does no use compulsion or coercion. He is a gentleman, who patiently waits to reward our small merit which enables us to choose him by free will while we are “children of wrath,” “enslaved to sin,” “ “lovers of darkness,” “dead in our iniquity,” “at enmity with God” etc, etc, etc. Jesus said to Nicodemus that one cannot even SEE the kingdom of God unless he is born again. Jesus goes on to say that salvation is IMPOSSIBLE for men, thanks be to God all things are possible with Him!

    If Paul, in Romans 9 is not talking about predestination in the Reformed sense, which many criticize as unfair, unloving, crass etc. Then why does Paul anticipate so many objections to his argument? Perhaps it would be better to phrase it this way. If Paul is arguing an Arminian/Molinist view of soteriology than why in the world would there be any objections at all!!! If by our free will we can either choose God or not and suffer the just consequence of either choice – where is the objection? Address these objections that Paul is anticipating from his readers:

    1. “What then shall we say? Is God unjust? (What could possibly be perceived as unjust by the free will model? What injustice is Paul referring to?)

    2. “One of you will say to me: ‘Then why does God still blame us? For who can resist his will.’” (If Paul is arguing free will his statement makes no sense at all. Resist his will? Does God impose his will upon us?)

    3. “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?” (We are made by our free will, not by God, He merely watches from afar through the corridors of time.)

    4. “Does not potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use.” (No, that God would be a monster Paul. He is obligated to judge us solely on the merits of our free will otherwise there is no love. We are merely robots programmed to serve him and love him.)

    5. Romans 9:11 states “Yet before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad – in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls – she was told, “The older will serve the younger. Just as it is written, Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” What is God’s purpose in election? See Romans 8:29. That His Son, Jesus Christ might be the First Born (Position of authority) among many brethren (heirs of Christ; believers). Here I believe we see the purpose of salvation: (1) God’s glory; (2) His love to us.

    I know you have heard all this before. But we keep coming back to the same debate. So, I’ve attached a brief but great article by R.C. Sproul delineating what the Reformed doctrine actually teaches. Note his point. (1) God DOES positively elect sinners to salvation; (2) God DOES NOT positively elect the reprobate to condemnation (that is He does not inculcate sin; its already in all of us). But, that he elects some and NOT others must mean that by his sovereign will He CHOOSES to leave them in sin. We are saved by God and condemned by our own sin nature.

    “Double” Predestination by R.C. Sproul

  6. www.myhaciendabellavista.com

    Hi there, just wanted to say, I enjoyed this article. It was inspiring. Keep on posting!

    • robertar

      Glad you found the article helpful!


  7. Jacob

    In the next week or two (Deo volente) I plan to do a major analysis of this. Largely depending on whether my internet holds up.

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