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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Is Sanctification Monergistic or Synergistic? A Reformed Survey – Kevin DeYoung

While my own view is that the entire ordo salutis is a monergistic work of God in the unconditionally elect, there are those who cannot decide.   Kevin DeYoung wants to have it both ways and says that sanctification is neither monergistic nor synergistic.  So which is it?

Basically, my view is that sanctification is received passively since everything the elect person does is either motivated by God's work in us or negated by God's withholding of sanctifying grace.  If we "cooperate" with God's grace in sanctification, it implies that God is captive to us in our progress in our growth in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  (2 Peter 3:18).  Also, if we get proud, God can and does allow us to fall into grievous sins to humble us in our pride.  Jesus is the author and fnisher of our faith.  (Hebrews 12:2).  If our new birth, conversion, and repentance are all gifts of God, then so must be even our active obedience to God. (Cf. John 3:3-8; John 1:13; Philippians 2:12-13).  If salvation is all of God, then the implication is that even our sanctification is all of God's work in us.  Remember that our obedience is never enough to make us stand worthy in the final judgment. 

Does that mean sanctification is entirely passive?  No.  We are passive receivers of the grace of sanctification.  But this passive reception produces real action on our part since God is the ultimate cause of all that we do, whether it be good or evil.  God is not the author of our good acts or evil acts since He gives us a genuine moral will.  But without God's grace we would never obey the moral law at all.  Therefore, it is God's grace and grace alone than brings about our sanctification through the truth.  (John 17:17).  

Basically, if God guarantees the perseverance of elect saints, it no doubt logically follows that God guarantees the process of sanctification and the final glorification of the elect.  The Westminster Confession certainly implies this in Chapter 13, Of Sanctification.  While I don't believe this is a hill to die on, it seems to me that the entire ordo salutis, including sanctification, is entirely a work of God or "monergistic".  I might add that any idea of cooperation that includes the proposition of "libertarian free will" is essentially semi-pelagian, not Augustinian or Calvinist.  Sanctification is both monergistic and "active" in the sense that God's monergistic work in the hearts of the elect produces active progress in the process of sanctification.  I do not agree that it is "synergistic" since this implies the Wesleyan and Arminian doctrine of "libertarian free will", which did not exist in Adam even prior to the fall.

Click here to read Kevin DeYoung's article:  Is Sanctification Monergistic or Synergistic? A Reformed Survey – Kevin DeYoung

You can listen to Gordon H. Clark's explanation of sanctification in What Presbyterians Believe:   Sanctification.  He has a lecture here on sanctification as well.  According to Sean Gerety, G. H. Clark advocated a synergistic view of sanctification.   [Note well:  If you listen carefully to Clark's lecture on sanctification he does say that sanctification is synergistic.  However, in light of what Clark says elsewhere that God causes both sin and salvation, it logically follows that Clark was not advocating the Arminian doctrine of synergism at all.]

Sincerely in Christ,

Charlie J. Ray

Addendum:  The perseverance of the saints is also monergistic.   (Matthew 24:24; Mark 13:22).

8 comments:

Mr. Mcgranor said...

Semi-pelagian is your peoples and Lutherans pretended undermining of that which you lack or undermine. As you well know free-will has lead to degenerate and perverse piety in the West; because free-will needs cultivation in Christ. Liberty is tantamount in Protestantism. We leave the fatalism to the Catholics.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Deification is a lie from the Garden of Eden. "You shall be as God is." Genesis 3:5.

Free will did not exist before the fall and it most certainly does not exist after the Fall since all men are slaves to sin because of Adam. (John 8:32-34). You save yourself according to your theology. The Bible, on the other hand, says that God alone saves. (Daniel 4:34-35; Psalm 115:3)

Charlie J. Ray said...

The Emergent apostasy was preceded by the apostasy of the Eastern Orthodox and Rome after the 4th century. Good thing Augustine and other theologians of the church stood for the Gospel and that teaching survived despite apostasy. God always reserves for himself a remnant:) Romans 11:1-5

Charlie J. Ray said...

"Fatalism" is the idea that stuff happens on its own and it was predetermined to do so. The doctrine of God's sovereignty and absolute predestination is not fatalism since God is a personal God, who is three Persons. God predetermines whatsoever happens and is in accordance with His logical and omniscient mind and will.

In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, (Ephesians 1:11 NKJ)

Mr. Mcgranor said...

Again you 'jump ship'. Also your argument on free-will not existing before the fall is foolish. You do not really misunderstand free-will apart from God, do you?

Charlie J. Ray said...

I'm not the one jumping ship. That would be the Arminians since they have sided with Rome against the Protestants. Arminianism was condemned as a semi-pelagian heresy at the Synod of Dort in 1618-19.

Also, you side with Erasmus in arguing for free will. In order to substantiate "libertarian free will", which is different from the volition of moral agents in general, you would need to show that Adam could have chosen other than what actually happened. In order to prove that you would need to show how Adam acted independently of God's decree. (Isaiah 46:9-10; Isaiah 14:24).

If God did not decree the fall, then why would God place the tree of the knowledge of good and evil there in the first place? The fall could easily have been prevented by not testing Adam's obedience to the command not to eat from that tree. Furthermore, why did God place the serpent in the Garden to test Adam and Eve? He could have easily prevented the temptation or test by not allowing Satan into the Garden in the first place.

In other words, God used secondary causes to bring about what He had decreed to happen in the first place and it was all for His own glory.

Nothing God foreknows could be contingent to God since what God foreknows will absolutely happen. Logically then, God is the ultimate cause of both good and evil. (Isaiah 45:7). God is not the author of evil but He does create it by secondary means. (James 1:13-17; Proverbs 16:4; Romans 9:18-22).

Charlie J. Ray said...

Besides, Arminians even deny that mankind has an enslaved will after the fall and the cursing of mankind with original sin and total corruption and total inability. Your doctrine of "common grace" or "prevenient grace" restores "free will" according to you. But Paul disagrees with you and so does Jesus. (Romans 6:6-7; John 8:32-36). Notice that Jesus specifically says that unless the Son makes you free you are yet a slave to sin.

Charlie J. Ray said...

The Bondage of the Will was the shot heard around the world during the Reformation of the sixteenth century. Unfortunately, almost 500 years after the Reformation, most of the beneficiaries of the Reformation have never heard of or read this crucial book. What is worse, many have exchanged the Gospel for the free will heresy.

During a Sunday school class on the history of the Reformation, I once heard a taped lecture delivered by a seminary professor in which he highly recommended this book. This tape was from a Reformed church. After waxing eloquent about Luther’s masterpiece and saying quite emphatically that all Christians should read this book, he finally admitted that he himself had not read it. I would say that he is not typical of but is actually more knowledgeable than most Christians today, for most Christians do not even know that the Reformers denied free will. If anyone today denies that man has a free will, he is likely to be ostracized, censored, and, perhaps, labeled a heretic.

Martin Luther began the Reformation with a denial of free will. This was fundamental to the Biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone. At the time, Erasmus, a brilliant scholar, wrote a diatribe called Discussion on the Freedom of the Will, defending the Roman Catholic doctrine. In response to Erasmus’ diatribe, Luther wrote a point-by-point rebuttal titled The Bondage of the Will. Luther’s work, a masterpiece, is irrefutable. (Perhaps this is the reason why most Christians simply choose to ignore it rather than read it and debate against it.)
Luther's Shot Heard Around the World

If you want to read The Bondage of the Will, here it is.

THIS, therefore, is also essentially necessary and wholesome for Christians to know: That God foreknows nothing by contingency, but that He foresees, purposes, and does all things according to His immutable, eternal, and infallible will. By this thunderbolt, "Free-will" is thrown prostrate, and utterly dashed to pieces. Those, therefore, who would assert "Free-will," must either deny this thunderbolt, or pretend not to see it, or push it from them. Martin Luther

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