Monday, June 21, 2010

What is Monergism?


Monergism: In regeneration, the Holy Spirit unites us to Christ independent of any cooperation from our unregenerated human nature. He quickens us through the outward call cast forth by the preaching of His Word, disarms our innate hostility, removes our blindness, illumines our mind, creates understanding, turns our heart of stone to a heart of flesh -- giving rise to a delight in His Word -- all that we might, with our renewed affections, willingly & gladly embrace Christ.

The Prophet Ezekiel inspired by the Holy Spirit asserted "I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God." (Eze 11:19, also 36:26)

The Apostle Paul said, "For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction." (1 Thess 1, 4, 5). I.e. In regeneration the word does not work alone but must be accompanied by the "germination" of the Holy Spirit. And again " have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God." (1 Pet 1:23)

The Century Dictionary defines it as follows:

"In theology, the doctrine that the Holy Spirit is the only efficient agent in regeneration - that the human will possesses no inclination to holiness until regenerated, and therefore cannot cooperate in regeneration."

It means that the very desire for faith, by which we believe in Him who justifies the ungodly comes to us through regeneration -- and if anyone says that this belongs to us by nature and not by a gift of grace, that is, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit amending our will and turning it from unbelief to faith and from godlessness to godliness, he/she ignores the teaching of the Apostles, for Paul says, "...Even when we were dead in sins, [God] hath quickened us together with Christ, by grace ye are saved." and "...he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit." (Titus 3:5) And again, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God" (Eph. 2:8). or if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10).

It is in contrast to synergism which the Century Dictionary defines as

"...the doctrine that there are two efficient agents in regeneration, namely the human will and the divine Spirit, which, in the strict sense of the term, cooperate. This theory accordingly holds that the soul has not lost in the fall all inclination toward holiness, nor all power to seek for it under the influence of ordinary motives."

For more in-depth treatment of this topic click here....


Steve Martin said...


We don't want God, but He wants us.

Now, after He chooses to give us faith, we do want Him.

But even then, the old Adam still resides in us and we constantly stray from our Father.

God is a real God. He does not wait for us to act before He does something for us.

Joe A. said...

It's certainly not devoid of substance, but that seems like an immense amount of lofty, flowery wording expounded from scripture of which I am thankful is provided to us in layman's terms. Sometimes when reading certain theology and its cousins, I get the impression that I am reading an eloquent writer exercising his eloquence to a point beyond necessity. Perhaps it just another form of worship?

Wayne Dawg said...

Steve - Thank God He does not wait for us...otherwise we would all end up in Hell.

Joe - Which part of the explanation of Monergism is lofty and flowery?

That verbiage is probably the clearest verbiage in laymans terms that you're going to find for the definition of Monergism.

To what are you refering to is another form of worship - that God saves us from His wrath independent of us doing anything to earn or merit that salvation?

Joe A. said...

No, I mean their eloquent writing is perhaps a form of worship. No comprendo your last question.

Wayne Dawg said...

"No, I mean their eloquent writing is perhaps a form of worship."

I guess it's in the eye of the beholder.

I personally don't see an eloquent writing style in the above. I see a simple but yet detailed explanation of the term "Monergism" with Scripture references and then the antithesis of that term defined as "Synergism".

"No comprendo your last question."

I was thinking you were going in a different direction with your worship statement.

Anonymous said...

Strange, how across different traditions and in different religions this concept is common.

e.g. St John of Cross in Dark Night of the Soul and St Teresa of Avila in Interior Castle talk about the same notion. As does Eastern Orthodoxy - (see particularly Archimandrite Sophrony for its rendering in Western Theology).

But similar ideas are also found in Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam - indeed in the influence of the latter on Western thought is often ignored by Westerners and Christians in particular...

As a former Evangelical Christian, who came to know a much more fuller (and dare I say wholesome) Christianity in looking at wider traditions - I spent several years of my life in a monastic community where, surprise, surprise, many Evangelical Christians came (and more importantly came back!) looking for something that their own tradition frequently lacked. I suppose this is could be termed 'mysticism' - tho' it is a phrase now burdened with a pejorative slant. But this is what you appear to be hinting at here?

Have a good holiday!


Wayne Dawg said...

Sorry "S", no mysticism there at all.

Just basic Sola Deo doctrine that is taught throughout the Scriptures.

Happy Independence Day!

Sola Deo Gloria