Man-made theology always leaves me scratching my head. I hate it. The Bible plainly tells the Gospel and the way to be saved, but man-made theology makes it difficult.
One thing I especially dislike is going to theological forums where these guys come together to argue their particular beliefs. They throw in terminology that is not found in the Scriptures so that you have to go to one of their dictionaries to understand what they are saying. One example is when they talk about their Calvinistic doctrine, they use the term “monergism”. Normal Bible people look at that and think, what’s that? Why don’t these people just talk normal? A couple of reasons. For one, they have high dollar theology degrees where they learned these things and they feel they must use the learned terminoloy. And second, I think it just makes them feel smart. “Monergism” as a theological term is opposed to “synergism” and means that God alone saves; God alone initiates salvation. “Synergism”, another term no normal Christian uses, refers to the idea that God and man both work to bring about salvation. A lot of Calvinist believe in “monergism”.
What is the correct teaching in the Bible?
Paul wrote to the Philippians, “12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:12,13). Now I’m going to say that these two verses show that both man and God are at work in salvation, not just God alone. To the man he says, “work out your salvation” and of God he says, “it is God who is at work in your.” Sounds like ‘synergism’ to me. The answer is not one or the other, but both God and man is at work in the process of salvation. Put another way, when God’s saving grace meets man’s obedient faith (Rom. 1:5; 16:26; 1 Thess 1:3), salvation results. “Monergism” doesn’t fit what the Bible says. Modern Calvinists don’t think, they just inherit this teaching.
Doesn’t God alone save? Salvation is a gift which cannot be earned by ones deeds. Paul said, “6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” (Rom. 5:6). So the salvation of man was initiated by God, not man. Man couldn’t do it. Paul also said, “the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). The gift is free and therefore cannot be earned or purchased.
At this point it sounds like Paul is agreeing with the “Monergist” doctrine and the Calvinists. But not so. Paul is not saying that man has no part in acquiring the free gift. Paul is saying that God initiated the plan of salvation and offers it to all. Then it is up to each man to hear and receive it.
John wrote, “12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,” (John 1:12). Some people do and some people do not receive Jesus. Those who do, based upon hearing, believing, and obeying the Gospel of Jesus, have the right to become children of God. So contrary to “monergism”, a man must “receive” Jesus and do His part to acquire the free gift.
Jesus said, “Unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish” (Lk. 13:3). Repentance is change of mind, attitudes, desires, and actions down to the very soul of the person. Contrary to “monergism”, because God sent His Son to die and taste death for all men, it does not follow that a man therefore does not have to repent. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is where God is providing the way to salvation and He is calling for all men to be saved, but man must do his part of making the decision to turn from sin to do God’s will.
Jesus said, “21 Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter” (Mt. 7:21). God has provided the perfect plan for sinful man to be redeemed. And everyone that believes in Jesus and does His will will be saved. Contrary to “monergism”, God isn’t making anyone do His will. God calls for man to be obedient and man has to choose where he will or not. Those that will be saved and enter the kingdom of Christ are those that believe, repent, and in every way do the will of the Father in heaven.
Paul wrote to the Romans, “9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation” (Rom. 10:9,10). Unless God is making men confess Jesus, that doesn’t sound much like “monergism”. God has brought the Gospel, “good news”, to the world. If we believe it, then we will confess it and it will result in our being saved. Of course, there is also the part of repenting and returning to do the will of God. And of course there is the necessity of being baptized into the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Now if the belief, repentance, confession, and baptism that God demands in order to be saved is done through faith by the individual sinner, then “monergism” is a man-made doctrine that ought to be put down once and for all.
Let me close with one more thought. Calvinism with its “monergism” and such says that man is lost not by his own doing, but because of Adam. And Calvinism says that man stays lost unless God “monergistically” regenerates the man. Calvinism says that man had no part in his sinfully depraved state and man has no part in his salvation. Calvinism also says that God isn’t going to regenerate everyone. That means that the ones that God doesn’t regenerate are lost because of what someone else did and he is not saved because God chose not to choose Him for salvation. These lost and unelected souls will go to hell for no reason of their own and there is nothing they can do about it. There is nothing they can say about it. Calvinism is a evil doctrine that ought to be put down and silenced once and for all.