Monergism vs Synergism

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Reformer, Nov 11, 2008.

  1. Reformer

    Reformer
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Messages:
    236
    Likes Received:
    0
    This is a topic that I believe is a debate over the nature of the Gospel itself. I believe that Synergism is an attack on Gods grace. I guess we should define the two terms first.

    Monergism: The belief that God is is the all-determining reality in salvation, which therefore excludes free human participation.

    Synergism: The belief in divine - human cooperation in salvation. Or, any belief in human responsibility and ability to freely accepted or reject the grace of salvation

    That said I cannot find how Synergism avoids works in salvation. I fully understand that synergist have prevenient grace and will say because God grants us grace first it is not works, but I see this as only delaying the works problem. It would come down to OUR decision, admittedly after some Grace but still our decision. I will also say if I were to agree (and I won't) that we do have the ability to make the decision, then I would have to ask why do some accept and others reject, are some spiritually better than others? Of course not so what made the difference?

    I will also say that some may say different amounts of prevenient grace might be granted, but if this true is it not just a different type of Divine Election and reprobation. I saw on one thread where one person said something to the effect of the Bible teaches both, that is a new one to me, I really can't figure out how anyone could come to that conclusion.

    I will also note that, as far as I know the only Monergistic theology is Reformed (Calvinistic) Theology. That would also mean that most false religions are some type of Synergism. Right? Man + God = salvation, is the bottom line as far as I can tell. I am truly trying to understand how any Christian could see Synergism as true.


    Reformer
     
  2. jcjordan

    jcjordan
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2007
    Messages:
    316
    Likes Received:
    0
    Be very careful here. I don't like your definition of synergism. I think one can be monergistic and still believe in human responsibility.
     
  3. webdog

    webdog
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Messages:
    24,691
    Likes Received:
    0
    When someone gives you a gift this Christmas, are you devoid of any participation in the entire process? Will you have worked for your gift? Are you the one who gets the credit for receiving the gift?

    Scripture clearly teaches both monergism (salvation is all of God) and synergism (choose you this day...)
     
    #3 webdog, Nov 11, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2008
  4. Reformer

    Reformer
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Messages:
    236
    Likes Received:
    0
    In my effort of fairness I got my definition of Synergism from the book Arminian Theology, but I would agree we are responsible the ability part is the part I would have a problem with.
     
  5. webdog

    webdog
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Messages:
    24,691
    Likes Received:
    0
    Not sure I understand, as both camps share in the ability part. Where we differ is to whom the ability is given :confused: Any way you look at it, if God has given everyone the ability to have faith, or the extra-biblical "saving faith" given to the "elect" only, we are still responsible for faith in Christ, else God is believing for us which doesn't save anyone!
     
  6. Reformer

    Reformer
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Messages:
    236
    Likes Received:
    0

    No I'm not void of participation I must open the gift, I must decide to accept it and on and on.....But Your analogy is flawed we are DEAD in sin and trespasses, what could he do but stink, can a dead mad receive and open a Christmas gift.
     
  7. webdog

    webdog
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Messages:
    24,691
    Likes Received:
    0
    False presupposition of what dead in sin actually means. We are also called to be "dead to sin". Are you unable to sin?
     
  8. Reformer

    Reformer
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Messages:
    236
    Likes Received:
    0

    Did Lazarus have the ability to raise himself from the dead? I hate to tell you that Reformed theology dose not believe a sinner has the ability to help God save him. Especially before salvation.
    We are told that are are dead in sin, and we are commanded to be dead to sin. huge difference. One is God telling us what state we are in, while the other is Him telling us what we should be.

    To get back on topic, can you tell me where you Synergistic folks find in Scripture prevenient grace, I'm not saying it is not there but what is your Biblical basis for it? or it is just a Theological belief derived from a Systematic theology?
     
  9. webdog

    webdog
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Messages:
    24,691
    Likes Received:
    0
    Strawman. Quite ridiculous, actually.
    No difference, but how you choose to interpret it...which is eisegesis. Dead is simply separation. In sin, we are separated to God. As believers, we are to be separated to sin.
    I thought the topic was monergism / synergism?
     
  10. swaimj

    swaimj
    Expand Collapse
    <img src=/swaimj.gif>

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2000
    Messages:
    3,426
    Likes Received:
    0
    Reformer, consider this quote:
    Would you consider this viewpoint monergistic or synergistic? Do you agree with this quote or not?
     
  11. Reformer

    Reformer
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Messages:
    236
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ridiculous is correct, I simply built on YOUR analogy, YOU built the strawman.

    If you can't tell the difference in a explanation of our fallen state and a command of God you should go take elementary English.


    If you do not know that prevenient grace is one of the major theories in Synergism (in a Christian view) You should steep out of the conversation and do a little study.

    Furthermore If you refuse to answer a question with something other than a sarcastic question, I will ask you to respectfully keep you sarcasm and to yourself. Try this....... answer the questions at hand.
     
    #11 Reformer, Nov 11, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2008
  12. Reformer

    Reformer
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Messages:
    236
    Likes Received:
    0
    In the respect that we exercise the faith that God gave us, with the desire that he gave us I could agree with it. all though I might also disagree with it depending on what exactly the writer was speaking about and how he was useing it at the time. But I think I would feel pretty comfortable saying that I would agree.

    That being said I think this statement is way to broad to be considered either Monergistic or Synergistic, entirely..... but I think it leans toward the Monergist side.

    Now the guessing game.Who said it? I'm gonna go wild and guess A.W. Pink But I think I'm wrong.

    Reformer
     
  13. swaimj

    swaimj
    Expand Collapse
    <img src=/swaimj.gif>

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2000
    Messages:
    3,426
    Likes Received:
    0
    Jonathan Edwards

    Thanks for playing along.
     
  14. Reformer

    Reformer
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Messages:
    236
    Likes Received:
    0
    I know you wont believe it but he was my first guess but I decided the language was to "modern."
     
  15. Allan

    Allan
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2006
    Messages:
    6,888
    Likes Received:
    0
    Then by your own definition you are a synergist as are all those of the sovereign grace doctrines. I say this because evey person who holds to the sovereign grace doctrines believes whole-heartedly that man freely believes in Christ. This 'believes' is important to understand because no man is saved apart or seperate from this action on man's part. Thus in order that a man might be saved (whether Monergist or Synergist) you have man cooperating (to an extent) in his salvation because without man believing no man will ever be saved. Thus a necessary and biblical cooperation is in fact part of the salvation process.

    The ONLY way a person can be a true monergist is if God eternally saves man apart from man's having to believe (or apart from faith - which is a Primitive Baptist view)

    Then I would encourage you to examine Rom 4:3-6. Faith is not a work and never is to been seen as such.

    Again, the same delima is in Monergism. You can not and will not be saved until 'your' decision to believe is made but that decision is still yours to freely make. You are saved by grace through faith. It is this part of your view that can not be properly explained - that it is all of God but man can not be saved unless he believes. Even if the Cals view were true that God gave you faith, the desire to be saved, understanding - We find that in the end He still does it all so that 'you' will believe and be saved. Your salvation is still dependant upon you believing. Thus you can not and will not be saved apart from you choosing to believe whether in Monergism or Synergism. Therefore man IS responsible to believe because without belief/faith you can not be saved. God's bringing man to that point of decision is all God, no question. God saving man is something only God can do, thus again, all of God. However excersizing of faith is that to which man is responsible. Faith does not save a man grace does but it is through faith that grace imparts salvation. There is no value whatsoever in faith of itself, the only value faith can have is that to which it clings. In other words - It is the object of faith that gives faith any value.
    (ie. saving faith gets its value not in the faith itself but it's value come from the object or one who will save them. ) Thus saving faith is only different from what is called common faith due to the object to which said faith has been placed, and that difference alone make it a 'saving faith'.

    What make them differ? Simple, their choice.

    Be careful of such a question because it leads to a hyper double predestination view. How so you might ask? Because if God made one to believe then by virtue of said question He also made one NOT believe.

    If you are refering to the scripture 'who makes you to differ' (1 Cor 4:7) as the basis for your question, then you are using that passage as a proof-text which is of course always out of context. The context, per Paul, refers only to believers and this question is never once used to describe the differences between unbelievers and believers. This is significant since we know Paul is the one using it to descibe why believers differ one from another but he never uses this question as a contrast of believer against unbelievers.

    Wrong. Most false religion are works ( + maybe some mercy) = salvation

    Synergism is grace + faith = Salvation


    This is monergim in short and it just so happens to be synergisms too
    Man (even in Monergism) is cooperating with God, they just have tried to reduce it as best they can but the problem is that they can not remove it without it becoming heretical.

    Because Synergism is found through out the scriptures. However I think it is the Calvinists defintion of synergism that is the problem (remember they made the word and definition up regarding theology), most specifically the word 'cooperation'. If by this you mean that man has a part to play in the process of eternal salvation then they would agree based upon the 'responsibility of man / faith'. See, even in this senerio man does not save himself nor determine to be saved but is placing his faith in the truths God has revealed and save that man. This equals no work but trust in His grace. Faith is not exchanged for anything but trusting in the grace presented to do what God said He would.

    If by 'cooperation' you mean that God has done what He can and now it is up to man to save himself. This equals a works based salvation that is only partially dependant upon His grace. That is a semi-pel view. It makes places a 'value' upon faith and make it monitary in the sense that faith is exchanged for salvation.
     
    #15 Allan, Nov 12, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2008
  16. Allan

    Allan
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2006
    Messages:
    6,888
    Likes Received:
    0
    There is no valid biblcal reason to equate Lazarus death and resurrection to being "dead in sin". No one, not Jesus or any apostle ever alluded to, or specifically used it as such. In fact if we were to use it then Cals would have a trouble-some time with Jesus own words concerning the account. "He who believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.". I use this to say that each side can abuse this to be an illistration of their view. But this story has nothing to do with being dead and ability regarding spiritual aspects.

    This is true. However one IS telling us the state we are in, and thus 'dead' TO sin. According to your definition if we ARE dead to sin then we would have no ability TO sin. But in this Paul is showing that even in a particular state (dead spiritually) of whether being 'in' or 'to' one does have ability. The real question is when does this ability transpire or become active?

    If there is a choice or the freedom to choose at any time (whether to a limited group or not) then synergism is explicit. However, there is an abundance of scripture and to set them out here would pretty much be over kill for anyone. But I will give some - His grace (previent) is that He reveals himself to all men (Rom 1-3 otherwise there would be no knowledge there is a God even amounst the heathen), that Christ lights every man that comes into the world (John 1) , the Holy Spirit is sent out into the world to convict the world (john 16:8), the gospel is to be sent out to all the world and preached to every creature (Mat 28:19-20).

    No man deserves any of the above and so for God to reveal Himself and spiritual truths, and Christ to illuminate, and the Holy Spirit to convict, and the gospel offer to be genuinely given to all men everywhere - this is grace pure and simple. Then comes the question that must be asked - Why is this grace given?
     
    #16 Allan, Nov 12, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2008
  17. Reformer

    Reformer
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2008
    Messages:
    236
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't see how by the provided definition you could conclude that I or it is a synergist. I could be wrong but doesn't the belief come after regeneration in the reformed view of the order of salvation. It looks to me like in order to be a "true monergist" that would be acceptable.

    Thank you for this, I will have to put further study into this.

    I fail to see the delima, I never said it was our decision, it is Gods. HE chose US.
    If my salvation was dependant on MY, fill in the blank, then again I fail to anything but works.

    But what makes their choice different? same delima


    Wouldn't faith be the ultimate good work. I know, I know, I'm gonna study that earlier reference.:tonofbricks: But until then I will ask is it our faith or another's faith that was given us?


    Maybe you should give me YOUR definition of the two.

    I got my definition from Roger Olsen's book Arminian Theology in a effort to be fair, but I will admit I have no idea about the history of the "system" I am just now trying to learn, so I'm new at it. about the last part of the paragraph, it makes sense, not saying I agree, but I see where you are coming from. And that is what I am trying to do.

    I can't imagine how one could have trouble with this. We ARE dead IN sin, we are TOLD TO BE dead TO sin. He wouldn't have told us we were dead in sin if we were not, and He wouldn't have told us to be dead to sin if that were something we shouldn't practice. This is why the answer to the "real question" is different for these two different situations.

    I will look further, but at this point I see no previent grace.

    AMEN!!! something we can agree on:laugh: :laugh: So why is this grace given? for Gods glory in bringing the elect of God to salvation.


    SIDE NOTE: thanks for having a real, truthful conversation void of annoying sarcasm and rudeness, it annoys me a lot when I am trying to get honest information from someone I disagree with. My main goal is to understand the others view not to convert them or myself. I believe if we would all try to understand others theology we would have more in common than we think. For instance the more Arminian writings I read the more I see how they have arrived at their conclusion and at the same time the more I disagree with them. I am fairly new at theology so forgive me if I say something stupid.
     
  18. swaimj

    swaimj
    Expand Collapse
    <img src=/swaimj.gif>

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2000
    Messages:
    3,426
    Likes Received:
    0
    Reformer, here is what I find troubling about monergism. You guys are SO adament that salvation is "God-only", yet you will agree with a statement like the one I quoted which, in some sense, says that man is a participant. It works like this: You define your postion in a way that I find troubling. When I probe a little, you soften your definition in a way that I can tolerate. Then a couple of days later I see you post on the BB defining your terms as you did originally.

    Consider these options:
    Salvation is 100% God and 0% man.
    Salvation is 0% God and 100% man.
    Salvation is 100% God and 100% man.

    You guys state your position like #1. NOONE holds to #2! When I probe, I discover that you actually agree with #3, yet you continue to state #1.
     
  19. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    29,402
    Likes Received:
    12
    The real doctrinal difference in much of this debate (including all of the C/A discussions) is over man's complete and total inability to do one good thing, make one right choice, seek, call, come, believe, desire, want, will, etc or NOT.

    If salvation is 100% of God, then God must do it all. Not only provide the salvation by grace alone (redemption/propitiation by Christ), but then also give the newly-regenerated man repentance and faith so that he CAN make the right choice, belieer, seek, call, etc

    And I believe then and ONLY then does man's part kick in. AFTER the regenerating inward and private work of the holy Spirit.

    With a proper view of depravity/inability, the myth of syergism to "get saved" is eliminated and the reality of God saves and THEN we react is correctly focused on.
     
  20. swaimj

    swaimj
    Expand Collapse
    <img src=/swaimj.gif>

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2000
    Messages:
    3,426
    Likes Received:
    0
    Dr. Bob, you say God does it all 100%. But please read Edwards statement again
    Edwards, and surely Edwards would be considered a monergist, says God does all and we do all...in different respects. Edwards statement recognizes shades of meanings and degrees of meaning in theology. You will repeat your point of view again, no doubt, and yet you will refuse to disagree with Edwards. You say God does all, but Edwards says God does all AND man does all. Is Edwards wrong? If so how? Have you figured out something that Edwards, widely regarded as the most brilliant American theologian of all time, did not know? If so what?
     

Share This Page

Loading...