Beliefs Institutions

Quiz: What do you know about Calvinism?

The Southern Baptists are debating the role of Calvinism within the movement. Test your knowledge of Calvinism by taking a short quiz. See if your score is predestined, or if you have free will to determine your score.

    TULIP is a handy acronym for remembering the five basic points of Calvinism. What do the letters stand for?

About the author

Sarah Pulliam Bailey

Sarah Pulliam Bailey is a national correspondent for RNS, covering how faith intersects with politics, culture and other news. She previously served as online editor for Christianity Today where she remains an editor-at-large.


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  • According to the book Calvin for armchair theologians page 157 t=total depravity. You should change your answer.

  • Thanks for your feedback, Teresa. That is the answer, actually. Are you getting something else?

  • Martin Luther was NOT an early Reformed theologian? That’s debatable, I think many Calvinists would consider him the FIRST Reformed Theologian (of the Reformation, that is).

  • I learned the TULIP acronym while listening to Garrison Keillor on “A Prairie Home Companion.” Public radio never fails to educate!

  • Two little boys are arguing in the street. The one shouts “You are just miserable sinners! We are totally depraved!”

  • I guess I have Russel Baer to thank at Kraybill Mennonite School for teaching me everything I needed to know for this quiz! RIP

  • I am sure that John Calvin is rolling in his grave at the thought that the most visible supposed proponents of his theology are people like Platt, Driscoll, and Piper (apart from anything else, they are all Baptists!). Calvinism has become caricatured beyond all recognition when we can ignore such things as his theology of union with Christ, ecclesiology and sacrament, the law, his understanding of the relationship between OT and NT, and speak of it purely in terms of an abstract TULIP theology (the jury is still out on whether Calvin himself held to L, although, for my part, I don’t believe that he did).

  • I did pretty poorly. My excuse? I’m a Catholic-rooted Buddhist. I appreciate the chance to learn though.

  • Can you email me the correct answers? Blind and my accessible software does not show me what I suspect are the highlighted answers. Thanks, Kevan

  • To me TUPLIP is a very limited way to look at Calvinism. I prefer to see it the way I was taught in Catholic school. … 1. Predestination, therefore there is no need to go on and on about earning salvation, although all must respond to the grace of God. … 2. Strict morality, although having nothing to do with salvation, is nonetheless binding because humanity was created to act for the “greater glory of God” and all good deeds and human achievements express humanity’s obligation to be active “for the greater glory of God.” … 3. … We must be active agents for the good on earth because that is God’s plan for creation. … 4. Christ atoned for the sins of the predestined, and established his church and sacraments for all to properly understand, honor and worship God and learn how to act morally for the “greater glory of God.” Even if one is predestined to hell.

    No doubt there are errors and biases in this view, and no doubt my memory has distorted what I learned (due to human corruption, of course), but I still think this is a more interesting understanding of Calvinism than TULIP.

    Of course I was raised an Arminian Catholic so I have my biases about all this. And I like what ignatius Loyola did with the “Greater Glory of God” concept more than I like what Calvin did with it. Calvin and Loyola attended the same seminary in Paris, not together, and Loyola not for long. Interesting coincidence. John Knox also attended that seminary.

  • I thought I would be told how many of the questions I got right. I think I got them all right, but why take the quiz if you are not told the results. Isn’t that a bit too Clavinist?

  • While my score was 100% I didn’t want to answer “Rick Warren” to the question, “What modern pastor isn’t Calvinist?”. I know, I know, most reading this comment will say “Warren isn’t a Calvinist!” Well, if you watched the 90 minute interview John Piper had with Rick Warren (see link below) I think you may at least admit Warren might be Calvinist. But I know many like to tear Warren apart on many topics—-but give the guy a listen before declaring him a non-Calvinist.

    Also, I think Luther may need to be thought of as a Reformed Theologian—what part of TULIP would Luther not affirm? Maybe use a different theologian as the wrong answer for that one.

    Other wise—fun test. Thanks.

  • Yeah, me, too, esp. the word “early” tripped me up thinking Luther was the FIRST to stand against the papacy.

  • No, “Reformed” and “Reformation” are two different things. The churches of the Reformation do all descend from the work of Martin Luther and today of many different types and traditions. In the generation of the Reformation following Luther, one of the types of distinct Reformation traditions that developed was the tradition that followed John Calvin’s teachings. This branch of the Reformation is called the “Reformed” tradition. It is confusing, but that’s what it’s called. So “Reformed” is but one particular subset of the Reformation tradition.

  • Matt, Luther would not affirm Irresistible Grace, Limited Atonement, and Perseverance of the Saints. Total depravity, yes. Unconditional election, probably yes.

  • But Luther was certainly “reformed” or even “calvinistic” in his soteriology, which is what this debate is really about. It would be more accurate, of course, to say that both Calvin and Luther were Augustinian in soteriology (of course you could say Biblical, but that is uncharitable to those who disagree). But when you get down to it essentially all of the significant theologians and leaders of the reformation affirmed predestination. Arminius was the exception to the norm for several hundred years.

  • Luther’s theology concerning the five points was sharper than Calvin’s. He is Reformed 🙂

  • Total depravity is one of the possible answers, maybe they changed it after you wrote them. It is my opinion that most Christians in one way or the other are Calminiams. They pick some of Calvin and some of Arminius’ theology. I refer, of course to Protestant churches, particularly various groups of Baptists.

    The Reformed Church in America (RCA) has its headquarters in Grand Rapids, MI. Talk about Calvinists! The Reformed Baptist churches are also headquartered up there.

  • Actually, Martin Luther came on the scene about 70-years later than the trailblazers. That’s the way of any movement, somebody throws down seeds, others water, and Luther pops up and gets the public’s attention.

  • I am pretty sure “Calvinists” are not followers of John Calvin but are instead followers of Jesus Christ. They agree with some of his theology but do not follow him.

  • The worst quiz I can recall. Of the seven questions (TULIP hardly counts) only one of the “correct” answers given if actually correct (Arminianism)