About me

Greetings!  I am Bill Hornbeck.  I grew up in the Christian Reformed Church denomination in Muskegon, Michigan.  I learned about Reformed Doctrine at home, at a Christian Reformed church, and at Christian Reformed schools from kindergarten through high school.

In 1977, I moved to Florida to go to law school, and I stayed here in Florida.  I attended and was a member, even a lay leader, of Protestant churches in a wide range of denominations and also in some nondenominational churches and small fellowships.  At first, I thought Reformed Doctrine would be preached in all Protestant churches.  When I heard some strange preaching or teaching, I first thought that the problem was just with that particular minister or teacher.  Eventually, when I spoke about what I encountered to a childhood friend (with whom I grew up in church and school), he asked me if I remembered “TULIP” which is also known as the Five Points of Calvinism and the Reformed Doctrine of salvation.

“TULIP” is a nutshell summary of the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation as more fully taught in the Reformed confession of faith called Canons of Dordt.  “TULIP” is an acronym for “Total Depravity”, “Unconditional Election”, “Limited Atonement”, “Irresistible Grace”, and “Preservation of the Saints” (also known as “Perseverance of the Saints”), the “T”, “U”, “L”, “I”, and “P” of “TULIP”.

These Five Points of “TULIP” should not be isolated from each other, but rather the points combine to teach of a God Who saves from predestination to glorification.  “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;  and these whom He predestined, He also called;  and these whom He called, He also justified;  and these whom He justified, He also glorified.”  Romans 8:29-30.

“Salvation belongs to the LORD”.  Psalm 3:8.

“For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.”  So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.”  Romans 9:15-16.

“11 I shall remember the deeds of the LORD;
Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.
12 I will meditate on all Your work
And muse on Your deeds.
13 Your way, O God, is holy;
What god is great like our God?
14 You are the God who works wonders;
You have made known Your strength among the peoples.
15 You have by Your power redeemed Your people,
The sons of Jacob and Joseph.  Selah.”  Psalm 77:11-15.

I studied the differences between Calvinism and Arminianism.  That study made me aware that often what bothered me was not just bad preaching or teaching by a particular minister, but rather the problem was more wide spread, caused by bad doctrine that broadly and deeply affected a certain Protestant church and sometimes its denomination, which church or denomination, at some time of its history strayed away from Reformed Doctrine rediscovered in the Reformation.  The truth, logic, beauty, and simplicity of “TULIP” proved to be in sharp contrast to this bad doctrine which I encountered.

“TULIP” glorifies God alone for salvation. 

But, in sharp contrast, other doctrine glorifies man for man’s works, or at least, other doctrine glorifies man for man’s wisdom and man’s alleged free-will to choose Christ.  Other doctrine teaches that God loves everybody, Christ died for everybody, and man is ultimately saved by producing enough works or enough will to distinguish himself worthy for salvation.

“For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;  but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.  But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”  1 Corinthians 1:26-31.

I am now passionate about proclaiming “TULIP”, because it is the sound doctrine of salvation and because most Protestant Churches do not teach it or at least do not emphasize it enough.  They may pay “lip service” to Reformed “doctrines of grace”.  They may even list some of the points of “TULIP” in their web site.  But, when you listen to the sermons, the sermons focus on man and what man should do, rather than focus on God and what He has done.  The sermons try to build up faith in man and man’s alleged free-will and man’s works, rather than build up faith in God and God’s will and God’s works.  The sermons hide or minimize God’s predestination (also known as “Unconditional Election”, the “U” of “TULIP”) as if they are embarrassed by it or as if they viewed it as an obstacle to growing a church.

Rather than shun God’s predestination also known as “Unconditional Election”, we should rejoice in it and cling to it, recognizing that due to our natural condition of “Total Depravity”, “Unconditional Election” is our only chance for salvation. 

The Canons of Dordt in the FIRST HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of Divine Predestination states “election is the fountain of every saving good”.

Article 9.  This election was not founded upon foreseen faith, and the obedience of faith, holiness, or any other good quality of disposition in man, as the pre-requisite, cause or condition on which it depended;  but men are chosen to faith and to the obedience of faith, holiness, etc., therefore election is the fountain of every saving good;  from which proceed faith, holiness, and the other gifts of salvation, and finally eternal life itself, as its fruits and effects, according to that of the apostle:  “He hath chosen us (not because we were) but that we should be holy, and without blame, before him in love,”  Ephesians 1:4.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.  In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”  Ephesians 1:3-6.

Christ will build His church.  From man’s perspective, the church may look small and weak.  But, God will accomplish all of His good pleasure.

“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying,

“Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” Revelation 7:9-10.

On a final personal note, I am an attorney who graduated college from Harvard University and law school from Stetson University College of Law.  I am married with three sons.  Although I do my best to present true teachings, these are my teachings as a layman. (I am an attorney, not a minister). And, although I have been taught by and otherwise influenced primarily by certain Reformed and Presbyterian denominations through the years from a very early age to date, my teachings are not necessarily the teachings of the Christian Reformed Church, the Protestant Reformed Churches, Presbyterian churches, nor any other denomination. The reader is advised to follow the example set forth in Acts 17:11: “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.”

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