Monergism musings

In looking over some articles at the site of one of our new theology links,, I was struck (as a firm believer in the Doctrines of Grace) by the inevitability of mongerism for those who embrace Sola Garcia.

As I let my mind rest on the complete Sovereignity of the Lord and on His total holiness, I simply can not comprehend any reality outside sovereign grace wherein to dwell.

If this is foolishness, then let me continue to be foolish, as the Lord predicted that both He and we would be regarded (1 Cor 2:14).

Further, the work of the Holy Spirit, as the active agent in the equation here on earth, is then equally unavoidable in the quickening of the Elect.

Now, before someone points it out, this is a simple equation. There certainly great theological discussion on the details and concepts. Having acknowledged that, however, the basic truth is, as it is express above or similarly, in the end quite simple.

Does this mean that those who believe (and confess Him as Lord) are then permanently freed from worldly turmoil, temptations, doubts and other difficulties? Not a chance. Perfection in experiential knowledge of the truth, as far as I can see, will only be in the presence of the Lord when He returns. Living here on earth in the interim, we witness and are faced with the battle for truth, and Spiritual Warfare is the daily reality.

Nonetheless, we have His assurance that we rest in Him, and despite the circumstances of a world moving towards spiritual calamity before His return, His Spirit works within us and we will indeed see Him face to face for all eternity.

All glory be to our Lord!


3 thoughts on “Monergism musings

  1. cnaphan

    If I understand it correctly, the “synergist” says “I can do nothing good apart from the Holy Spirit” and the “monergist” says “The Holy Spirit does everything”.

    How is that reconciled with the hundreds of exhortations to stop sinning in the New Testament alone? Jesus gives a lot of practical advice on how to resist temptation and stay free of sin. Why would he spend so much time on this if regeneration were a purely supernatural process that happens without our consent or knowledge? Why would Paul claim “I give blows to my body, and keep it under control, for fear that, after having given the good news to others, I myself might not have God’s approval.” (1 Cor 9:27)

    It seems to me that exhorting a person to change their ways when they cannot, while knowing God is the sole agent of change, is either futile at best, or deceitful at worst.

    If Paul believed in monergism, why would he fear that he will lose God’s approval if he does not stop sinning? Does he doubt the Spirit’s efficacy and potency in regenerating him sufficiently? From his other writings, it is clear he believes he could do nothing with the Holy Spirit, but there’s nothing to indicate that he did not consider himself and his flock as agents, allbeit a hopelesslly weak and insufficient ones, empowered by the Spirit. Which is synergism, not monergism.

  2. kwilson

    I think you are splitting hairs to no avail. You are called (before you exist for that matter), you hear and you come (you can run but you can’t hide in modern terms), none of which you are the driving force for – though it may appear to you that you are. You would not come of your own volition, and without the predestined call and the Spirit you would remain in the grasp of the Prince of the Air.

  3. cnaphan

    Perhaps we should say that before you can will to attain a certain level of holiness, the Holy Spirit has already moved your will, and whatever you happen to do in the pursuit of perfection flows from the movements of the Spirit like water flowing from a opened dam.

    But I’m still not convinced. Even right now, I will to be perfect and to give myself completely to God, but noone, save Christ and on this side of Heaven, will ever attain that. But still, I have the will, but not the knowledge of how or the power to do so. Or perhaps I lack the real will but only have knowledge of the will I ought to have? That makes sense because my will is contaminated by every sort of worldly will, and I lack the power to purge away all wills save the only will I want to have. And how can a poor soul change its will by itself? Will to will something different? What a heavy burden!

    Only the Spirit can move our will, which is essentially what you’re talking about. That leaves me free to think of myself as cooperating with the Spirit in doing good works, self-control, etc…

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