Tag Archives: synergism

How can models of salvation be compared on a scale of graciousness?: a response to Jerry Walls

    Daniel Sinclair has shared what he learned at the 2015 Rethinking Hell Conference. Since I was not there myself, I read his comments with interest, but I was surprised when my name showed up in his second point. I think that the ideas cited from Walls definitely merit some consideration, and I offer this as a contribution to the discussion of this very important matter.     Jerry Walls’s perspective on my model … Continue reading

Posted in Eschatology, Soteriology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Choose your theological mystery or conundrum

If we hear most loudly in Scripture the description of a world in which God has given moral creatures significant control of how things turn out, why would we thank and glorify God when good things occur? But if we hear most loudly in Scripture the description of a world in which God has maintained meticulous control, why would we feel responsible when evil occurs rather than holding God accountable? The synergist conundrum “I would … Continue reading

Posted in Theological method, Theology Proper | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Monergism/synergism, compatibilism/incompatibilism and the nature of human freedom.

Recently I have had some correspondence with a gentleman who has read a bit of what I have written and who has had questions. Among his recent inquiries was this one: Could you please explain to me the difference between compatibilism and monergism? Similarly, what’s the difference between synergism and libertarianism? I tried looking it up, but I can’t seem to really understand the differences in these concepts. His questions are common, and quite natural, given the complexity … Continue reading

Posted in Providence, Theology Proper | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

“Monergism” and “Determinism:” Are they useful terms?

I had brief correspondence recently with an evangelical theologian whom I am going to call “Peter,” so that I can cite some of our private conversation without putting him on public record. For my purposes here, what he said is the important thing, not who he is. Our brief interchange prompted me to ruminate about the terminology we use to describe a Calvinist understanding of God’s role and ours, in salvation and in history more … Continue reading

Posted in Theological method | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Is sanctification synergistic or monergistic?

Monergist and Synergist soteriologies Calvinism is monergistic in its soteriology, as evidenced particularly in two points in the well known acronym, TULIP – unconditional election and irresistible (or efficacious) grace. These points identify salvation as God’s sovereign work, in which God chose to glorify himself by saving particular people, in Christ, without any conditions on their part except those which God himself efficaciously enables them to fulfill, so that salvation is God’s work from beginning … Continue reading

Posted in Soteriology | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

God’s great grace to the non-elect

Calvinists put a great deal of emphasis on the grace of God. What makes our theology problematic to many synergists is that we frequently preface God’s grace with the adjective “sovereign,” to indicate that God has the right to be gracious to whomever he wills and, since by definition no grace is “deserved,” no one has ground to complain about how God treats them. What is often not apparent to synergists, who are distressed by … Continue reading

Posted in Providence, Soteriology | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Calvinism, Molinism, Arminianism, and Open Theism: monergism/synergism at the macro and micro levels.

Last November, I linked to a post by Roger Olson in which he accepted Open Theism as an option within Arminianism but rejected Molinism because he viewed it as a form of determinism. Initially, I agreed with Roger about Open Theism, but I disagreed with him about Molinism. After further thought, I proposed a more nuanced understanding, in which Arminianism, Open Theism, and Molinism are all distinct forms of synergism. Earlier this week, I mentioned … Continue reading

Posted in Theology Proper | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments