What is the meaning of synergism?


Clarify Share Report Asked May 06 2022 Mini Anonymous

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
By my understanding, synergism in a theological context is a belief or teaching that God and humans both play a part in salvation.

This is opposed to monergism, which is the teaching that God is the sole agent involved in salvation.

Cults are synergistic, in that they teach that God’s grace combined with our efforts are what makes forgiveness of sins possible.

As noted in passages such as Ephesians 2:8-9, even the faith that saves Christians does not come from themselves, but is entirely a gift of God's grace.

May 07 2022 1 response Vote Up Share Report

My picture Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
There is only one Bible verse that I could find about synergism:

The Bible says, "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for God is at work within you both to will and to do" (Phil. 2:12b–13a). Notice that there are two agents working here. We are called to work and God promises to work as well. We call this activity synergism. It is a cooperative effort between God and man. —R.C. Sproul

But I believe this is talking about a Christian's sanctification, not his salvation. The meaning of synergism is that it is the teaching that we cooperate with God in our efforts of salvation. No way.

May 07 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Image41 Ezekiel Kimosop
Theologically, synergism is a term that is employed by some theological schools in an attempt to distinguish between Calvinism/Reformed perspective of soteriology and the non Reformed/Evangelical perspective. 

The dictionary meaning of synergism is the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects. 

Some sections of deterministic theology deny the free will response of the sinner to God's saving grace. They argue instead that salvation is unconditionally performed exclusively by God on a chosen sinner even without their prior knowledge so that the sinners redemption is exclusively attributed to God's sole initiative and no contribution or action is required from the sinner. This is the mornergistic theory of salvation. 

In Evangelical theology, salvation is understood as the product of the operation of God's saving grace through the gospel of Jesus Christ on the one part and the sinners free will response upon conviction of sin. This is understood as synergism, a process that recognizes the involvement of God and the sinner. 

Both monergism and synergism are systematic terminologies and have their theological limitations when examined in biblical context. While it is given that God's saving grace in Christ Jesus was exclusively initiated by God Himself, it is impossible to entirely exclude human responsibility in the process of salvation. The fact that God chose to apply His saving grace freely to all sinners who willingly receive it cannot be disputed. It does not however imply that the sinner receives merit for the salvation process. Several passages of Scripture including John 3:16-17; Romans 6:23, 10:5-13 demonstrate God's free offer of His saving grace to sinners and His call for the sinner's response to the gospel. It is also undeniable that the works of the cross are the exclusive means by which the sinner can receive atonement. 

Deterministic soteriological groups insist that God chose those to be saved before the foundation of the world; far ahead of the works of the cross. This theory is majorly founded on their interpretation of a number of Scripture texts such as Ephesians 1 and Romans 9. My view is that it is difficult to reconcile the deterministic position with the wider revelation of Scripture. God could not have chosen sinners outside the very works of redemption that Christ came to fulfill. Scripture does not appear to affirm this theory. 

My view is that God's saving grace is freely available to all sinners without discrimination.

September 30 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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