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William

Poll Question: Salvation is Synergism or Monergism?

Poll Question: Salvation is Synergism or Monergism?  

37 members have voted

  1. 1. Is Salvation Synergism or Monergism?

    • Synergism
      9
    • Monergism
      28


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Monergism is derived from a combination of a prefix and a root. The prefix mono is used frequently in English to indicate that which is single or alone. The root comes from the verb “to work.” The erg of monergy comes into our language to indicate a unit of work or energy. When we put the prefix and root together, we get monergy or monergism. Monergism is something that operates by itself or works alone as the sole active party. Monergism is the opposite of synergism. Synergism shares a common root with monergism, but it has a different prefix. The prefix syn comes from a Greek word meaning “with.” Synergism is a cooperative venture, a working together of two or more parties.

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Oh how I loathe religious labels, but that's my problem. Christ is always the Good Shepherd and we are always the lost sheep that He seeks. That's my monergism label sorted.

 

Now, I once heard a preacher say words to the effect that if you don't know the day, the hour, the minute, and the second you were saved you are probably not saved.  That's legalistic claptrap in my book. Instant regeneration is possible and regularly experienced by some with whom God has been dealing. But some people are drawn to Christ over a period of time in which they have a real struggle living righteously, and like backsliding Israel in the Old Testament are dealt with by God in many ways. Sometimes they end up in prison where the soil of their heart receives the enrichment it needs to become fertile enough for God's Word to flourish and bear fruit. However, many a false conversion is the result of an emotional response in an artificial environment where the time and date is noted on a decision card, but the repentance is not genuine and under pressure the "sprout" soon withers and dies.

    

Two verses for consideration:

1Peter 4:16-18
(16)  Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
(17)  For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
(18)  And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

 

Matthew 19:23-26
(23)  Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
(24)  And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

(25)  When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
(26)  But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

 

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8 minutes ago, Placable37 said:

Oh how I loathe religious labels, but that's my problem. Christ is always the Good Shepherd and we are always the lost sheep that He seeks. That's my monergism label sorted.

 

Now, I once heard a preacher say words to the effect that if you don't know the day, the hour, the minute, and the second you were saved you are probably not saved.  That's legalistic claptrap in my book. Instant regeneration is possible and regularly experienced by some with whom God has been dealing. But some people are drawn to Christ over a period of time in which they have a real struggle living righteously, and like backsliding Israel in the Old Testament are dealt with by God in many ways. Sometimes they end up in prison where the soil of their heart receives the enrichment it needs to become fertile enough for God's Word to flourish and bear fruit. However, many a false conversion is the result of an emotional response in an artificial environment where the time and date is noted on a decision card, but the repentance is not genuine and under pressure the "sprout" soon withers and dies.

    

Two verses for consideration:

1Peter 4:16-18
(16)  Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
(17)  For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
(18)  And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

 

Matthew 19:23-26
(23)  Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
(24)  And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

(25)  When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
(26)  But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

 

Did you vote?

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1 minute ago, William said:

Did you vote?

Have voted. Yes thankyou brother William.

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2 hours ago, William said:

Monergism is derived from a combination of a prefix and a root. The prefix mono is used frequently in English to indicate that which is single or alone. The root comes from the verb “to work.” The erg of monergy comes into our language to indicate a unit of work or energy. When we put the prefix and root together, we get monergy or monergism. Monergism is something that operates by itself or works alone as the sole active party. Monergism is the opposite of synergism. Synergism shares a common root with monergism, but it has a different prefix. The prefix syn comes from a Greek word meaning “with.” Synergism is a cooperative venture, a working together of two or more parties.

William I'm still unsure about which to choose . As God is three persons in one. Let us make man in our image from the very first book . So it does seem that the three persons do play a active roll all throughout the bible with our salvation. Yes but still one God. So maybe it's Monergism but maybe it's also Synergism too. Maybe it could both . Your definition of both is very deep. So I'm really still thinking about both. 

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1 hour ago, Prim said:

William I'm still unsure about which to choose . As God is three persons in one. Let us make man in our image from the very first book . So it does seem that the three persons do play a active roll all throughout the bible with our salvation. Yes but still one God. So maybe it's Monergism but maybe it's also Synergism too. Maybe it could both . Your definition of both is very deep. So I'm really still thinking about both. 

Hi Prim, I'm thinking you might keep much the same hours as me in this hemisphere. Welcome anyway. I don't quite follow your logic when you speak of the three Persons with regard to Monergism or Synergism. That the three Persons of the Godhead are in agreement about all things is a given, but as for answering the poll the question is whether God, (all three Persons) alone prompts a person to seek salvation (Monergism), or whether a person must first want to be saved completely of their own choice before God in co-operation with this choice bestows His grace upon them (Synergism).

 

Sitting on the fence is understandable if insufficient study and thought has gone into it, or if it is a discussion that is distasteful due to confusion over semantics, but illumination does come to those who desire it, and then it should be obvious that God is the prime-mover in our salvation - without His provision for our salvation what hope have we of obtaining it? It is His good kindness that leads us to repentance.(Romans 2:4)

 

Of course the question as to why His good kindness doesn't lead everyone to repentance is problematic if we accept that God is abundantly able to make the unwilling willing. (Philippians 2:13) The problem is resolved when it we accept that God knows when His work will be to no avail, and foreknows in whom it will avail much. (Romans 8:28, 1 Peter 1:2 ) 

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6 hours ago, Prim said:

William I'm still unsure about which to choose . As God is three persons in one. Let us make man in our image from the very first book . So it does seem that the three persons do play a active roll all throughout the bible with our salvation. Yes but still one God. So maybe it's Monergism but maybe it's also Synergism too. Maybe it could both . Your definition of both is very deep. So I'm really still thinking about both. 

Hi Prim,

 

I believe I can see how you are applying the terms. You're applying Synergism as a cooperation within the Trinity. Lemme clarify, monergism states salvation is of God's works alone. Synergism says salvation is a cooperation between man and God (the works of man and God).

 

4 hours ago, Placable37 said:

Of course the question as to why His good kindness doesn't lead everyone to repentance is problematic if we accept that God is abundantly able to make the unwilling willing. (Philippians 2:13) The problem is resolved when it we accept that God knows when His work will be to no avail, and foreknows in whom it will avail much. (Romans 8:28, 1 Peter 1:2

I pretty much agreed to everything you stated until I got down to the above quoted portion. Then I saw someone having a problem with the Sovereignty of God in Salvation.

 

If you're interested you may want to look into the difference between "universal" vs "effectual" grace. And even touch upon the "outward" vs "inward" calling of God.

 

God bless,

William

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2 hours ago, Placable37 said:

Hi Prim, I'm thinking you might keep much the same hours as me in this hemisphere. Welcome anyway. I don't quite follow your logic when you speak of the three Persons with regard to Monergism or Synergism. That the three Persons of the Godhead are in agreement about all things is a given, but as for answering the poll the question is whether God, (all three Persons) alone prompts a person to seek salvation (Monergism), or whether a person must first want to be saved completely of their own choice before God in co-operation with this choice bestows His grace upon them (Synergism).

 

Sitting on the fence is understandable if insufficient study and thought has gone into it, or if it is a discussion that is distasteful due to confusion over semantics, but illumination does come to those who desire it, and then it should be obvious that God is the prime-mover in our salvation - without His provision for our salvation what hope have we of obtaining it? It is His good kindness that leads us to repentance.(Romans 2:4)

 

Of course the question as to why His good kindness doesn't lead everyone to repentance is problematic if we accept that God is abundantly able to make the unwilling willing. (Philippians 2:13) The problem is resolved when it we accept that God knows when His work will be to no avail, and foreknows in whom it will avail much. (Romans 8:28, 1 Peter 1:2

Placable37 & William . thank you for explaining some more.  The word Synergis is than being used in reference to humanity.  Meaning the ability of oneself to reach out and obtain Gods gift of salvation without God firstly drawing that person to himself. Ok my misunderstanding I thought the question were being asked of solely of Gods attributes in salvation . And yes it's some late in the great southern land. Sleeptime for me. Thank you both again.

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16 hours ago, William said:

Hi Prim,

 

I believe I can see how you are applying the terms. You're applying Synergism as a cooperation within the Trinity. Lemme clarify, monergism states salvation is of God's works alone. Synergism says salvation is a cooperation between man and God (the works of man and God).

 

I pretty much agreed to everything you stated until I got down to the above quoted portion. Then I saw someone having a problem with the Sovereignty of God in Salvation.

 

If you're interested you may want to look into the difference between "universal" vs "effectual" grace. And even touch upon the "outward" vs "inward" calling of God.

 

God bless,

William

It would be be good revision for me. Until I make time for that gotta say with regard to Philippians 2:13 methinks no point God working in anyone "to will and do His good pleasure" if He hasn't elected them, since He never wills anyone to sin against His will. Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done...

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I voted and my team is winning!

 

PS...I just learned of this term, monergism, this week.  Slow learner here.  Now sanctification is synergistic I would think.  😉  However we can only respond to the spirit (in our obedience) by the power of the Spirit so we're back to monergism again.  Hmmmmm.......

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Papa Zoom said:

I voted and my team is winning!

 

PS...I just learned of this term, monergism, this week.  Slow learner here.  Now sanctification is synergistic I would think.  😉  However we can only respond to the spirit (in our obedience) by the power of the Spirit so we're back to monergism again.  Hmmmmm.......

Good news, Papa Zoom and everyone, one aim of monergism is to produce synergism, according to Peter's "to do" list in these 11 verses...

2 Peter 1:1-11
(1)  Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:
(2)  Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
(3)  According as his divine power has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that has called us to glory and virtue:
(4)  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
(5)  And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
(6)  And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
(7)  And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
(8)  For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that you shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(9)  But he that lacks these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
(10)  Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if you do these things, you shall never fall:
(11)  For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
 

Edited by Placable37

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On 7/3/2018 at 4:07 PM, Papa Zoom said:

I voted and my team is winning!

 

PS...I just learned of this term, monergism, this week.  Slow learner here.  Now sanctification is synergistic I would think.  😉  However we can only respond to the spirit (in our obedience) by the power of the Spirit so we're back to monergism again.  Hmmmmm.......

In Salvation, which will you claim the glory thereby rejecting  Soli Deo Gloria?

 

Do you think God minds sharing His glory?

 

  • 1 John 4:19 We love because he first loved us.
     

God bless,

William

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William,

I appreciate your handling of this discussion, especially the choice of words for the poll.

I voted "monergism" for this reason: 

We humans, mere mortals, have no righteous "within" us at all. Our righteousness is as filthy rags and yet, as Abraham, we are declared righteous by our belief in the One True God (Monotheism). Abraham was declared righteous because he (single person) believed. Jesus said himself He came not to call the righteous but sinners (unrighteous).

My point is this: we believe individually and are declared righteous therein, singularly. Now, as God provides provision for us (synergism) thru the community of believers, we build each other up, sharpen, as it were. We, as a community of believers, must encourage (Greek: Paruxosmos) others to "love and good works" (Hebrews 10:24). Blessings, my friend.

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9 hours ago, Mlw1108 said:

I voted "monergism" for this reason: 

We humans, mere mortals, have no righteous "within" us at all. Our righteousness is as filthy rags and yet, as Abraham, we are declared righteous by our belief in the One True God (Monotheism). Abraham was declared righteous because he (single person) believed. Jesus said himself He came not to call the righteous but sinners (unrighteous). 

"The Holy Spirit makes us partakers of Jesus Christ by Faith Alone. That which we call ‘faith’ Eph. 1: 17 ; Phil 1:29  is the sole instrument by which we take hold of Jesus Christ when He is offered to us, the sole vessel to receive Him John 3:1-13, 33-36" - by Dr. Theodore Beza (1519-1605)

 

Question, do you believe regeneration precedes faith?

 

Second question, you stated "Jesus said himself He came not to call the righteous but sinners (unrighteous)."  Luke 5:32. Could you clarify a little on your reference? Who was Jesus referring to as righteous? And was he making a point that they were not in need of Him?

 

9 hours ago, Mlw1108 said:

My point is this: we believe individually and are declared righteous therein, singularly. Now, as God provides provision for us (synergism) thru the community of believers, we build each other up, sharpen, as it were. We, as a community of believers, must encourage (Greek: Paruxosmos) others to "love and good works" (Hebrews 10:24). Blessings, my friend.

Confused by your insertion of (synergism). Please clarify, do you believe there is anyone else which can be partly credited our salvation (community of believers, saints before us, Mary, etc)?

 

God bless,

William

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On 7/3/2018 at 11:53 PM, William said:

Do you think God minds sharing His glory?

Isaiah 48:9-11:

 

For my name’s sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.

 

Conclusion, we believe, serve, and love a jealous God that is not willing to share His Glory!

 

Further study:

Quote

God chose his people for his glory:

He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace. (Ephesians 1:4-6, cf. vv. 12, 14, NASB)

God created us for his glory:

Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, every one who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory. (Isaiah 43:6-7)

God called Israel for his glory:

You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified (Isaiah 49:3).

I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, declares the Lord, that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory. (Jeremiah 13:11)

God rescued Israel from Egypt for his glory:

Our fathers, when they were in Egypt, did not consider your wondrous works . . . but rebelled by the Sea, at the Red Sea. Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make known his mighty power. (Psalm 106:7-8)

God raised Pharaoh up to show his power and glorify his name:

For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.” (Romans 9:17)

God defeated Pharaoh at the Red Sea to show his glory:

And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host; and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord . . . And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen. (Exodus 14:4, 18; cf. v. 17)

God spared Israel in the wilderness for the glory of his name:

I acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, in whose sight I had brought them out. (Ezekiel 20:l4)

God gave Israel victory in Canaan for the glory of his name:

Who is like your people Israel, the one nation on earth whom God went to redeem to be his people, making himself a name and doing for them great and awesome things by driving out before your people, whom you redeemed for yourself from Egypt, a nation and its gods? (2 Samuel 7:23)

God did not cast away his people for the glory of his name:

Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the Lord . . . For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake. (l Samuel 12:20, 22)

God saved Jerusalem from attack for the glory of his name:

For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David. (2 Kings 19:34; cf. 20:6)

God restored Israel from exile for the glory of his name:

Thus says the Lord God, It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name.. . . And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name. . . . And the nations will know that I am the Lord. (Ezekiel 36:22-23; cf. v. 32)

Jesus sought the glory of his Father in all he did:

The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood. (John 7:l8)

Jesus told us to do good works so that God gets glory:

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16; cf. 1 Peter 2:12)

Jesus warned that not seeking God’s glory makes faith impossible:

How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? (John 5:44)

Jesus said that he answers prayer that God would be glorified:

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (John 14:13)

Jesus endured his final hours of suffering for God’s glory:

“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour?’ But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again’ (John 12:27-28).

Father, the hour has come; glorify your son that the Son may glorify you. (John 17:1; cf. 13:31-32)

God gave his Son to vindicate the glory of his righteousness:

God put [Christ] forward as a propitiation by his blood . . . to show God’s righteousness . . . It was to show his righteousness at the present time. (Romans 3:25-26)

God forgives our sins for his own sake:

I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. (Isaiah 43:25)

For your own name’s sake, O Lord, pardon my guilt, for it is great. (Psalm 25:11)

Jesus receives us into his fellowship for the glory of God:

Welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. (Romans 15:7)

The ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Son of God:

He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. (John 16:14)

God instructs us to do everything for his glory:

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (l Corinthians 10:31; cf. 6:20).

God tells us to serve in a way that will glorify him:

Whoever serves, [let him do it] as one who serves by the strength which God supplies – in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (l Peter 4:11)

Jesus will fill us with fruits of righteousness for God’s glory:

It is my prayer that . . . [you be] filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9, 11)

All are under judgment for dishonoring God’s glory:

They became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images. (Romans 1:22, 23)

For all havesinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

Herod is struck dead because he did not give glory to God:

Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory. (Acts 12:23)

Jesus is coming again for the glory of God:

They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed. (2 Thessalonians 1:9-10)

Jesus’ ultimate aim for us is that we see and enjoy his glory:

Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. (John 17:24)

Even in wrath God’s aim is to make known the wealth of his glory:

Desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, [God] has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he prepared beforehand for glory. (Romans 9:22-23)

God’s plan is to fill the earth with the knowledge of his glory:

For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. (Habakkuk 2:14)

Everything that happens will redound to God’s glory:

From him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:36)

In the New Jerusalem the glory of God replaces the sun:

And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives its light, and its lamp is the Lamb (Revelation 21:23).

Source: https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/biblical-texts-to-show-gods-zeal-for-his-own-glory

 

 

Soli Deo Gloria,

William

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In replying to your reply to my reply to your reply (did I miss one?):

Question 1 "...do you believe regeneration precedes faith?"

- Yes, based upon my understanding of our origin as human beings from the Gen 2:7 record. The breath (Heb: nismat) that made our clay forms into "living souls" is also a Sixth Sense of which the other five (Sight, Smell, Sound, etc.) can be acclimated into recognizing. This wind, breath, spirit (Heb: ruach; Grk: pneumas) can in fact be sensed. Just as offspring born into our world know the presence of their mother, we too know our Creator's presence. Adam knew God's voice thru his sensory faculties (hearing). Jesus said "my sheep know my voice" (Jn 10:27). We all have a natural affection for our mothers, inspite of our age. She is our one and only Alma Mater. We love her  not because of our first love but hers. John reminds us that "We love him because He first loved us" (1 J. 4:19). The Spirit also works (Grk: energeo) in us to bring forth fruit, much fruit (Rom 7:5). Fruit to love Him as He loves us.

Question 2 "...the righteous...?".

- The grumbling Pharisees and their scribes (Lk 5:32). The sick that recognize they need a physician need Him, the Great Physician. The Pharisees were not sick in there eyes and by there standards defining sickness.

I trust this clarifies.

FYI: I am new at this forum business and rather enjoy the discussions. I wish I had time to respond in a more prompt manner. Thanks for what you do.

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My initial inclination was to vote monergism, as Jesus has finished all the work necessary for salvation.  

But I also know that the Scripture states that it is not God's will that anyone perish. Which means if monergism was correct, then no one would perish. And yet we see that people do perish. 

That leaves me to conclude that man does play some role in the whole equation, even if that role is simply that of receiving the finished work. So in that sense I voted synergism. 

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Posted (edited)

I am not sure I am WILLING to vote, at least not yet. I routinely argue the Monergistic/Synergistic dispute with a friend of mine who is Russian Orthodox. He is a Synergist, of course. I often have said to him that if the Orthodox and the Catholics are too overly Synergistic for my taste, verging very closely on Semi-Pelagian, then we Lutherans, and certainly the Calvinists, are too Monergistic. Complete denial of Free Will, as Calvin is CERTAINLY guilty of, and Luther is essentially guilty of, makes very little philosophical sense. On the other hand, trying to suggest that our Free Will can please God without the Grace of Christ must also be wrong. it seems that it must be some combination of both. 

 

Humans have to have the basic Free Will enough to express an interest in being a moral agent. Calvin's idea that God delights in Electing some to Grace and some to Damnation makes God a Divine Monster. Luther's idea that God delights in Electing some to Grace, and passes by the rest, who are then damned by process of elimination, is little better, in my opinion. I reject that idea that God delights in damning, or willfully passes by, even one human soul. If we end up damned, it is we who do it to ourselves, not God. I believe in Hell. I believe that there are people who go there. But not because God put them there by some Divine Preordainment. That thought is perverse.

 

And this idea that "once saved, always saved" is pure bull. We are told to work out our salvation in fear and trembling. It IS possible to LOSE one's salvation. 

 

I do not have the answers. I don't pretend to. I think perhaps that is why I refuse to vote, at least for now, although if I DID vote, I would probably come closer in the direction of Monergism than Synergism. I have always found Synergism to be too close to Pelagianism for my taste. 

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On 8/5/2018 at 6:15 AM, Diego said:

I am not sure I am WILLING to vote, at least not yet. I routinely argue the Monergistic/Synergistic dispute with a friend of mine who is Russian Orthodox. He is a Synergist, of course. I often have said to him that if the Orthodox and the Catholics are too overly Synergistic for my taste, verging very closely on Semi-Pelagian, then we Lutherans, and certainly the Calvinists, are too Monergistic. Complete denial of Free Will, as Calvin is CERTAINLY guilty of, and Luther is essentially guilty of, makes very little philosophical sense. On the other hand, trying to suggest that our Free Will can please God without the Grace of Christ must also be wrong. it seems that it must be some combination of both. 

 

Humans have to have the basic Free Will enough to express an interest in being a moral agent. Calvin's idea that God delights in Electing some to Grace and some to Damnation makes God a Divine Monster. Luther's idea that God delights in Electing some to Grace, and passes by the rest, who are then damned by process of elimination, is little better, in my opinion. I reject that idea that God delights in damning, or willfully passes by, even one human soul. If we end up damned, it is we who do it to ourselves, not God. I believe in Hell. I believe that there are people who go there. But not because God put them there by some Divine Preordainment. That thought is perverse.

 

And this idea that "once saved, always saved" is pure bull. We are told to work out our salvation in fear and trembling. It IS possible to LOSE one's salvation. 

 

I do not have the answers. I don't pretend to. I think perhaps that is why I refuse to vote, at least for now, although if I DID vote, I would probably come closer in the direction of Monergism than Synergism. I have always found Synergism to be too close to Pelagianism for my taste. 

Diego,

 

First, please define "Free Will".

 

Second, you attacked a misrepresentation of Calvin's view of double predestination. What you stated is not the historical Reformed doctrine of double predestination. Then you went on calling the vile doctrine of your imagination a monstrous God of the Reformed creation.

 

Third, are you a monergist or not? Can you say, "God of my salvation" or not?  I have never met a Lutheran that did not agree with at least the first two points of the TULIP, and that's because they are monergist. From there, I've witnessed one Lutheran after another withdrawing from any dialogue or debate as they throw their hands up and call it a mystery. And though I agree that these things are a mystery we mean different things by it. What some leave as a secret, unexplained, or unknown, "Reformed" acknowledge a mystery is God's revelation. That is, the mystery of God is revealing the unknowable what would not be knowable without God for no finite mind can perceive or comprehend His infinite wisdom (how something works). This not only includes the unfathomable mysteries of the universe but the intentions of the human heart. Which is where we will begin our discussion on monergism. And the first point of Calvinism which is Total Depravity or Inability. I'm asking, is your heart and mind open to receive the divine revelation (mystery) of God, or will you throw your hands up worrying about whether you're not Lutheran enough and call it a day and attribute your present state of not knowing to deliberate ignorance?

 

Fourth, OSAS has very little to do with this thread. I won't try to defend it as it is not a Calvinist doctrine.

 

Fifth, I realize you don't have a clear conviction, but you have enough conviction to state Luther and Calvin wrong. The ironic thing is that if you asked Luther or Calvin about their doctrine they would suggest that their theology is Augustinian. If you asked Augustine he would state his theology is Pauline. If you asked Paul he would simply say his theology is the Gospel. And I will contend there is perfect harmony, that is, systematically from cover to cover in the 66 books of the Protestant Bible which addresses and conveys these very developed 5 doctrines known as the TULIP.

 

Sixth, I suggest we drop the Lutheran Confessions in this topic, that is, because they are written by synods and councils which have contradicted one another (LCMS, WELS, ELCA, etc).

 

God bless,

William

 

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I do not think we CAN drop the Lutheran Confessions in this topic, which were not written by synods and councils which have contradicted each other. The Book of Concord, Concordia, the Lutheran Confessions. Those three titles all refer to one book, a collection of ten documents, that was finalized in its German formulation by 1580, and in its official Latin formulation by 1584. LCMS, WELS, and ELCA were not even thought of, as they are US American Churches, and the New World had only just been discovered by 1584.

 

I do NOT think I have misrepresented Calvin. He specifically stated that God elects some to Heaven, and condemns some to Hell, in Councils secret before the foundation of the world. Luther says very nearly the same thing when he says that God preordains some to Heaven and passes by the rest. I admit, I added the fact that God delights in the Elect (and in Calvinism, the Damned, since he PREORDAINED them to that fate). To be frank, I do not see how God can do anything OTHER than delight in Electing or Condemning people, if in fact that is what he does, which I frankly do not think he does either as such.

 

Am I a monergist or a synergist? Well, the Bible says, "For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building." 1 Corinthians 3:9, KJV. If I look at the Greek, the literal interlinear translation says, "for we are fellow-workers; of God farmed field, of God building you are". And the word for "fellow-workers" in the Greek is literally "synergoi".

 

On the other hand, Romans speaks at length about how man is essentially powerless before God, and that we can do nothing. That God is the worker all in all. I don't have any Bible verses to back that up, but you have read Romans yourself, so you can probably know what I am talking about. 

 

The point is that both 1 Corinthians and Romans were written by Paul. I am not an idiot, and I do not impute idiocy to you. So I am left believing that if the Roman Catholics and the Orthodox emphasise 1 Corinthians too much, then Luther himself (albeit not the Evangelical Lutheran Church) and Calvin emphasise Romans too much. Perhaps the truth is closer to somewhere in the middle. That is why I do not care to vote. It should also be pointed out that if Luther and Calvin claimed their theology was Augustinian (and Luther's, at least, certainly was; after all, he WAS an Augustinian monk), then the Orthodox never really read Augustine. Augustine was a Western Father. He spoke absolutely NO Greek whatsoever, and wrote only in Latin. His work wasn't even translated to any dialect of Greek until the 19th Century. So to be fair, I do not think we can blame them for understanding things a bit differently than the West.

 

To deal with the question of denominational Lutheran differences, since you seem to delight in reading off the alphabet soup of Lutheranism, LCMS, WELS, ELS, LCMC, the Lutheran Church of Australia, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, and so-forth are all Confessional Churches. They can all be taken to represent the Evangelical Lutheran Church. ELCA, ELCC, ELCE, the (Lutheran) Church of Denmark, the (Lutheran) Church of Norway, the (Lutheran) Church of Sweden and similar Churches can all be said to not be Confessional Churches. They cannot properly be said to belong to the Evangelical Lutheran Church as we Confessional Lutherans understand the term, although they would probably disagree. 

 

A Confessional Lutheran is, of course, any Lutheran who accepts all ten of the Confessional documents contained in the Book of Concord as written up and accepted by Lutherans in Germany and Scandinavia (which then accounted for all of us) by 1580 in their German formulation. Some of those documents were written by Luther, some by Melanchthon, and one or two by other scholars like Martin Chemnitz and the like. I urge you to take a look at the Lutheran Confessions. bookofconcord.org is a delightful place to get started with that.

 

Now, am I a Monergist or a Synergist? I would say more of a Monergist, but NOT completely. I do find myself leaning more in a Monergistic direction, which is why I am an Evangelical Lutheran and no longer a Roman Catholic. But I am an Evangelical Lutheran and not a Calvinist because Calvin goes too far, in my most humble opinion. I think Lutheranism gets it about right.

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I'm a monergist. My salvation depends altogether on the mercy of God. My " free will" is bupkus. I can choose not to go on a murderous rampage, or to be nice to somebody who is nice to me, but what has that to do with salvation?" Free will" without the transformative effect of the Holy Spirit ( given in Word and Sacraments) is the " free will" to reject God, to be my own law, to be the Devil's subject. Here is something from the Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord dealing with this subject: 5] Against both these parties the pure teachers of the Augsburg Confession have taught and contended that by the fall of our first parents man was so corrupted that in divine things pertaining to our conversion and the salvation of our souls he is by nature blind, that, when the Word of God is preached, he neither does nor can understand it, but regards it as foolishness; also, that he does not of himself draw nigh to God, but is and remains an enemy of God, until he is converted, becomes a believer [is endowed with faith], is regenerated and renewed, by the power of the Holy Ghost through the Word when preached and heard, out of pure grace, without any cooperation of his own.

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CONFESSIONAL LUTHERAN, I would not argue with that. But the question of Monergism v. Synergism still relies on Biblical, rather than Confessional, writings.

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1 hour ago, Diego said:

I do not think we CAN drop the Lutheran Confessions in this topic, which were not written by synods and councils which have contradicted each other. The Book of Concord, Concordia, the Lutheran Confessions. Those three titles all refer to one book, a collection of ten documents, that was finalized in its German formulation by 1580, and in its official Latin formulation by 1584. LCMS, WELS, and ELCA were not even thought of, as they are US American Churches, and the New World had only just been discovered by 1584.

"Since your majesty and your lordships desire a simple reply, I will answer without horns and without teeth. Unless I am convicted by scripture and plain reason--I do not accept the authority of popes and councils for they have contradicted each other--my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise, God help me. Amen." - Martin Luther

 

I too will attempt my very best to continue in this Reformer's spirit by the grace of God.

 

1 hour ago, Diego said:

I do NOT think I have misrepresented Calvin. He specifically stated that God elects some to Heaven, and condemns some to Hell, in Councils secret before the foundation of the world. Luther says very nearly the same thing when he says that God preordains some to Heaven and passes by the rest. I admit, I added the fact that God delights in the Elect (and in Calvinism, the Damned, since he PREORDAINED them to that fate). To be frank, I do not see how God can do anything OTHER than delight in Electing or Condemning people, if in fact that is what he does, which I frankly do not think he does either as such.

Lemme share with you a common distortion (what you convey) and actual historical Reformed double predestination doctrine. This is the best explanation I turn up from the wealth of resources here in our database:

 

I once heard the case for “single” predestination articulated by a prominent Lutheran theologian in the above manner. He admitted to me that the conclusion of reprobation was logically inescapable, but he refused to draw the inference, holding steadfastly to “single” predestination. Such a notion of predestination is manifest nonsense.

 

The much greater issue of “double” predestination is the issue over the relationship between election and reprobation with respect to the nature of the decrees and the nature of the divine outworking of the decrees. If “double” predestination means a symmetrical view of predestination, then we must reject the notion. But such a view of “double” predestination would be a caricature and a serious distortion of the Reformed doctrine of predestination.

 

The distortion of double predestination looks like this: There is a symmetry that exists between election and reprobation. God works in the same way and same manner with respect to the elect and to the reprobate. That is to say, from all eternity God decreed some to election and by divine initiative works faith in their hearts and brings them actively to salvation. By the same token, from all eternity God decrees some to sin and damnation (destinare ad peccatum) and actively intervenes to work sin in their lives, bringing them to damnation by divine initiative. In the case of the elect, regeneration is the monergistic work of God. In the case of the reprobate, sin and degeneration are the monergistic work of God. Stated another way, we can establish a parallelism of foreordination and predestination by means of a positive symmetry. We can call this a positive-positive view of predestination. This is, God positively and actively intervenes in the lives of the elect to bring them to salvation. In the same way God positively and actively intervenes in the life of the reprobate to bring him to sin.

 

This distortion of positive-positive predestination clearly makes God the author of sin who punishes a person for doing what God monergistically and irresistibly coerces man to do. Such a view is indeed a monstrous assault on the integrity of God. This is not the Reformed view of predestination, but a gross and inexcusable caricature of the doctrine. Such a view may be identified with what is often loosely described as hyper-Calvinism and involves a radical form of supralapsarianism. Such a view of predestination has been virtually universally and monolithically rejected by Reformed thinkers.

 

In sharp contrast to the caricature of double predestination seen in the positive-positive schema is the classic position of Reformed theology on predestination. In this view predestination is double in that it involves both election and reprobation but is not symmetrical with respect to the mode of divine activity. A strict parallelism of operation is denied. Rather we view predestination in terms of a positive-negative relationship.

 

In the Reformed view God from all eternity decrees some to election and positively intervenes in their lives to work regeneration and faith by a monergistic work of grace. To the non-elect God withholds this monergistic work of grace, passing them by and leaving them to themselves. He does not monergistically work sin or unbelief in their lives. Even in the case of the “hardening” of the sinners’ already recalcitrant hearts, God does not, as Luther stated, “work evil in us (for hardening is working evil) by creating fresh evil in us.” Luther continued:

 

When men hear us say that God works both good and evil in us, and that we are subject to God’s working by mere passive necessity, they seem to imagine a man who is in himself good, and not evil, having an evil work wrought in him by God; for they do not sufficiently bear in mind how incessantly active God is in all His creatures, allowing none of them to keep holiday. He who would understand these matters, however, should think thus: God works evil in us (that is, by means of us) not through God’s own fault, but by reason of our own defect. We being evil by nature, and God being good, when He impels us to act by His own acting upon us according to the nature of His omnipotence, good though He is in Himself, He cannot but do evil by our evil instrumentality; although, according to His wisdom, He makes good use of this evil for His own glory and for our salvation.

 

Thus, the mode of operation in the lives of the elect is not parallel with that operation in the lives of the reprobate. God works regeneration monergistically but never sin. Sin falls within the category of providential concurrence.

 

Another significant difference between the activity of God with respect to the elect and the reprobate concerns God’s justice. The decree and fulfillment of election provide mercy for the elect while the efficacy of reprobation provides justice for the reprobate. God shows mercy sovereignly and unconditionally to some, and gives justice to those passed over in election. That is to say, God grants the mercy of election to some and justice to others. No one is the victim of injustice. To fail to receive mercy is not to be treated unjustly. God is under no obligation to grant mercy to all—in fact He is under no obligation to grant mercy to any. He says, “I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy” Rom. 9. The divine prerogative to grant mercy voluntarily cannot be faulted. If God is required by some cosmic law apart from Himself to be merciful to all men, then we would have to conclude that justice demands mercy. If that is so, then mercy is no longer voluntary, but required. If mercy is required, it is no longer mercy, but justice. What God does not do is sin by visiting injustice upon the reprobate. Only by considering election and reprobation as being asymmetrical in terms of a positive-negative schema can God be exonerated from injustice.

 

1 hour ago, Diego said:

Am I a monergist or a synergist? Well, the Bible says, "For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building." 1 Corinthians 3:9, KJV. If I look at the Greek, the literal interlinear translation says, "for we are fellow-workers; of God farmed field, of God building you are". And the word for "fellow-workers" in the Greek is literally "synergoi".

 

On the other hand, Romans speaks at length about how man is essentially powerless before God, and that we can do nothing. That God is the worker all in all. I don't have any Bible verses to back that up, but you have read Romans yourself, so you can probably know what I am talking about.

And there you have it. "That" word is proof of synergism in salvation! It's really simple quite frankly, because a word exists like dispensation then the theology of dispensationalism must be correct! Or so the logic goes.

 

1 But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.

2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready,

3 for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?

4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human?

 

5 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each.

6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.

7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.

8 He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor.

9 For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field, God's building.

 

10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—

13 each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.

14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward.

15 If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

 

Where does that leave the Corinthians in Paul's agricultural metaphor? What has the field done? Paul planted and Apollos watered, they are fellow workers which scattered the seed and watered. They are united in their work for and with God. Now how is that Synergism? How has Paul or Apollos contributed to their very own salvation? Isn't this about the field?

 

Second metaphor Paul likens the Corinthians to a building. Now what has the building done? Is this about Paul's and Apollo's salvation? Is the building building upon itself? Or, as in both metaphors are the field and building dependent upon those that received the instrumental grace (Paul leaves nothing to himself) of God to accomplish His will? If the Corinthians were to credit Paul or Apollos with their salvation rather than God how do we steer around verse 7? If the Corinthians attributed their salvation to Paul or Apollos how do we steer around verse 10 and 11 where Paul, who laid the foundation credits Jesus Christ (again, leaving nothing to himself)?

 

Malachi, Matthew, the kingdom parables, and Revelation teach that the entire church receives due reward together, at the same time, on the day of the Lord's second coming, when each man's work is tested as by a refining fire. On that day, all work professed to be in service to the Lord will be judged, only that work that was precious and profitable to the Lord will stand and merit reward, anything less that he did will be worthless, though the man himself will be saved 1 Cor 3:15.

 

1 hour ago, Diego said:

The point is that both 1 Corinthians and Romans were written by Paul. I am not an idiot, and I do not impute idiocy to you. So I am left believing that if the Roman Catholics and the Orthodox emphasise 1 Corinthians too much, then Luther himself (albeit not the Evangelical Lutheran Church) and Calvin emphasise Romans too much. Perhaps the truth is closer to somewhere in the middle. That is why I do not care to vote. It should also be pointed out that if Luther and Calvin claimed their theology was Augustinian (and Luther's, at least, certainly was; after all, he WAS an Augustinian monk), then the Orthodox never really read Augustine. Augustine was a Western Father. He spoke absolutely NO Greek whatsoever, and wrote only in Latin. His work wasn't even translated to any dialect of Greek until the 19th Century. So to be fair, I do not think we can blame them for understanding things a bit differently than the West.

 

To deal with the question of denominational Lutheran differences, since you seem to delight in reading off the alphabet soup of Lutheranism, LCMS, WELS, ELS, LCMC, the Lutheran Church of Australia, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, and so-forth are all Confessional Churches. They can all be taken to represent the Evangelical Lutheran Church. ELCA, ELCC, ELCE, the (Lutheran) Church of Denmark, the (Lutheran) Church of Norway, the (Lutheran) Church of Sweden and similar Churches can all be said to not be Confessional Churches. They cannot properly be said to belong to the Evangelical Lutheran Church as we Confessional Lutherans understand the term, although they would probably disagree. 

 

A Confessional Lutheran is, of course, any Lutheran who accepts all ten of the Confessional documents contained in the Book of Concord as written up and accepted by Lutherans in Germany and Scandinavia (which then accounted for all of us) by 1580 in their German formulation. Some of those documents were written by Luther, some by Melanchthon, and one or two by other scholars like Martin Chemnitz and the like. I urge you to take a look at the Lutheran Confessions. bookofconcord.org is a delightful place to get started with that.

That's one heck of a lot of disagreement! Will they all agree to what the biblical and unbiblical definition of free will is? By the way, you skipped the first question, which was paramount to this discussion. WHAT ARE WE EVEN ARGUING ABOUT? Diego says, free will. William responds, what's that!

 

1 hour ago, Diego said:

Now, am I a Monergist or a Synergist? I would say more of a Monergist, but NOT completely. I do find myself leaning more in a Monergistic direction, which is why I am an Evangelical Lutheran and no longer a Roman Catholic. But I am an Evangelical Lutheran and not a Calvinist because Calvin goes too far, in my most humble opinion. I think Lutheranism gets it about right.

And exactly how do Calvinist go too far? Do they give God too much credit?

 

Lastly, how do Lutherans get "it" about right? Is that only so right, and exactly what is it?

 

God bless,

William

 

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4 minutes ago, Diego said:

CONFESSIONAL LUTHERAN, I would not argue with that. But the question of Monergism v. Synergism still relies on Biblical, rather than Confessional, writings.

Very true, but we do lean on the Confessions because they're extracted from Scriptures, no?

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Well, William, I am impressed. I have never seen someone say so much and yet actually communicate so little. I still think we have to get back to the Scripture of the thing. If we are moved by the Holy Ghost (and I know this was actually in CONFESSIONALLUTHERAN'S commentary, but you also brought it up in a manner of speaking) to be baptized, our own will being dead, that raises the question? Who then agrees to be baptized? What is the very PURPOSE of Baptism, if we cannot freely respond to God's prevenient Will as manifested through the Holy Ghost?

 

I think what I am saying, and I am NOT doing very well at it, I freely admit that, is that it IS the Holy Ghost that moves us to be baptized. But what if we refused God's Grace, offered by the Holy Ghost? We cannot choose baptism ourselves! But do we have the power to refuse it? I suggest that we do.

 

Look, I don't have all the answers. I don't pretend to. I joined the Evangelical Lutheran Church because I was called, by the power of Christ, on the Cross, literally offering his hand to this lost sinner and saying, "Take my hand and be saved". This happened literally. In a Vision, vouchsafed personally to me. 

 

Now I am no Saint. And I have always regarded Visions as things that are given to Saints. I am a sinner, and only I know how much. And yet God himself came to me, Jesus on the Cross came to me and said, take my hand sinner, and be saved. So I did the only thing I could. I reached out, and I took his hand. Was it my Free Will? It damned sure felt like it! But could I have refused? It doesn't seem likely that any man could refuse and invitation like that! So take it as you will. I have to go now. 

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