Thursday, December 22, 2011

Salvation and Synergism

Calvinists have a tendency to emphasize the divine activity in man's salvation. "Synergism" is viewed as a dirty word to be associated with free-willers who don't understand that if grace isn't sufficient to cause belief &c., salvation cannot validly be argued to have occurred by means of grace alone.

But etymologically, synergism only refers to activity in which multiple persons are involved. Contrarily, monergism refers to activity in which only one person is involved.

While the meaning of a word can evolve over time, a group shouldn't abandon a term just because of some misconceptions about it. If that were the case, perhaps Calvinists should abandon the word "predestination" because some people conflate it with "fatalism."

Rather, the burden lies on Calvinists to clarify what they mean.
So the question is: strictly speaking, is the whole process of salvation synergistic or monergistic?

Obviously, there are aspects of the process of salvation which are monergistic. God alone is active in the regeneration of man. Then again, man actively assents to truth. His faith and knowledge of God's word is not passive. Since faith is a condition for justification, salvation entails synergism (although man's activity always finds its root in God's determinative grace).

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