Saturday, August 07, 2010

Sola gratia


“Putting on hold the issue about defining synergism for the moment... you seem to be saying we are accountable for a part of our salvation, despite the fact that we don’t cause it. But the issue with ‘saved by grace through faith’ one of accountably – God’s reason for saving by grace through faith is so we will be unable to boast. If the cause of faith doesn’t determine accountability, and accountability is the issue, then the cause of faith isn’t the real issue at hand. In short, you are not really denying one of the premises, so you are stuck with the conclusion.”

i) I’m discussing “accountability” because you’re trying to artificially reduce and shift the issue to “responsibility,” and in the process you equivocate. That obviously doesn’t mean I accept your framework. Indeed, I made it clear that I don’t accept your framework.

ii) Accountability is by no means the only issue. There’s the central issue of what it means to be saved solely by grace, which you’re attempting to divert attention away from.

iii) ”Responsibility” is a moral or legal category. It isn’t “synergistic” in the sense of “two parties working together.” You’re jumping categories again.

That’s analogous to the distinction between justification and sanctification. Justification, like responsibility, is a forensic state, not a subjective process.

“As for your statement that we do not cause faith, many Calvinists are satisfied by saying we do not cause regeneration even if we do cause faith.”

What Calvinists typically say is that faith is a gift of God. They also say monergistic regeneration causes faith. Born-again Christians exercise faith, but they don’t cause faith.

“We are saved through faith.”

I never said we're “saved through faith.” Faith is a necessary condition of salvation. And we are justified by faith (alone).

“If salvation includes coming to faith, then we come to faith through faith.”

Wrong again. We “come to” justification through faith, we “come to” faith through regeneration, and we “come to regeneration” through saving grace.

“From this it’s clear (at least to me) that in the context of saved by grace through faith, that saved is equivalent to justified, forgiven, redeemed and adopted. The grace that leads to faith is a different topic.”

”Clear to you” because you confuse and oversimplify the process.

“Faith and justification are related concepts, but the two are conceptually distinct.”

I never conflated the two. That’s just your tendentious way of first imputing to me something I never said or implied, then “correcting” my alleged mistake.

“We believe; God justifies the believer. It’s true, simple, and cleanly solves the problem you find yourself in above.”

To the contrary, that only pushes the problem back a step. What’s the source of justifying faith?

You’re doing a fine job of illustrating how little credit Arminians give to God. You want the least God you can get away with.

“To my knowledge, the reformers (Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Melanchthon, Bullinger, Knox….) didn’t use the terms monergism or synergism, nor did their Roman Catholic opponents.”

You’re back to your bad habit of committing the word=concept fallacy. The question at issue is the concept of sola gratia. Is it monergistic or synergistic?

“Likewise, when Calvinists say sanctification is synergistic, they are not denying sanctification is by grace, nor are they saying man has LFW with respect to sanctification.”

i) When using “synergism” in the technical sense, they avoid “synergism” in reference to sanctification. Instead, they use “cooperation.”

ii) The comparison with sanctification doesn’t help you, for that’s another case in which Arminianism denies sola gratia. In Calvinism, the process of sanctification is the inevitable result of monergistic regeneration. Moreover, God preserves the regenerate from committing apostasy. So the human will is not an independent variable, unlike Arminianism. Rather, we have a cause/effect relation.

1 comment:

  1. Steve,

    Would you please define the tem synergism in both the modern sense and the historical theological sense?

    In the prior thread Peter Pike stated, “No Calvinist denies that sanctification is synergistic.”

    Isn’t it the case that, in the historical sense of the term, all Calvinists deny that sanctification is synergistic?