How much different are Orthodox, Catholics, Calvinists, and Arminians on the issue of monergism versus synergism? The thesis of this video is that historic Christianity, including traditional Calvinism, has affirmed that man works with God to will what is right and likewise man does evil by God’s permissive will. God gives grace to all, but His grace accomplishes different things for different people. Likewise, God hands the wicked over to punishment without compelling them to evil.
7:51 The quote from Luther with the injured horse comes from “On the Bondage of the Will”, and shortly after Luther gives that example, he’s talking about what you just said “main has free will, but apart from the Grace of God he will do evil”, he is comparing that with saying that:
It’s like saying a rock has free will to raise and fall, but apart from human will, it can only fall.
That description is not the view of Calvinism. Lutheranism teaches man has absolutely no free will but is in total bondage to sin. Calvinism gets the same view from Lutheranism. Calvinist Gordon H. Clark teaches the traditional Calvinist view. Man has no free will, therefore God makes people sin. Every evil done by man is God’s predestined will, since everything is predestined by God. The responsibility for all sin lies with God alone, since God is Absolutely Sovereign, and nothing takes God by surprise, as God predestines everything that happens to happen. This is the teaching of John Calvin in Institutes of the Christian Religion and it is the teaching of Calvinist Gordon H. Clark in his works published by the Trinity Foundation of Unicoi, Tennessee.
You wuould have to quote them because it sounds like you are accusing them of saying things, but I don’t know if their words line up.
I am not accusing anyone of anything. I am stating what I have read in Calvin and Clark. They do hold that God makes everything happen. That logically necessitates their view that God makes evil and sin happen. They distinguish between nonsensical jargon like infralapsarian superlapsarian and sublapsarian and what not, I don’t know or care to parse out the distinctions it doesn’t matter. All Calvinism is based on predestination, and some Calvinists are just more logically consistent with the TULIP 5 points of Calvinism. Their words don’t line up with Scripture. The KJV has a Calv9inist view, “I create evil”, and Calvinism believes literally that. The MT Masoretic text is faultily mistranslated by the Puritan Calvinists of the KJV, and should follow the Septuagint “I make trouble:, “troublesome things”. I suggest a closer reading of Calvin’s Institutes and Clark’s works at the Trinity Foundation, Unicoi, TN, before you state with no basis that I am accusing people. The facts show that Calvinism is an error. I suggest Orthodox Christian Lawrence Renault’s excellent book “TULIP Reconsidered” and also Baptist Lawrence M. Vance’s “The Other Side of Calvinism”. There are also other anti-Calvinist books.
Craig is right, that may be the reformed view, but is not the Lutheran view. Craig’s example with the “horse” comes directly from “On the Bondage of the Will”, Luther states that God, being eternal and immutable good, cannot do evil. Man corrupted his very own nature trough original sin and now even know God continues to be good, man can only see him and his actions as evil, because of his nature, still God works trough evil man to accomplish his will, but his not responsible for it. Like a carpenter working with bad lumber.
I think the best Eastern Orthodox Christian reply to Calvinism and TULIP, the 5 points of Calvinism, is Alexander Renault’s book, “Rethinking TULIP” in which Mr. Renault looks at the Patristic Church Fathers evidence for free will against predestinarian Calvinism.
I think God does not choose to work through evil men. He only work through penitent sinner, not evil men who are impenitent. Sinners who repent are not considered evil men but righteous by faith and repentance.
Almost all human goods are predicated on overcoming evil. There is no courage without danger, no mercy without trespass, no healing without sickness. We feed the hungry, house the homeless, visit the prisoner, clothe the naked, and so on.
Of course God ordains evil. Is there really any question? We can think of it as ordaining good under the guise of evil. What Joseph’s brothers intended for evil, God intended for good.
If, as Craig mentioned, God controls all things, then, since evil things come to pass, God must in some sense bring them about, if only by permitting them.
John Piper in no way ascribes evil to God. That’s utter nonsense. God is never the direct agent, the initiator, so to speak, of evil. Evil doers, acting according to their wicked natures, do their dirty deeds (done dirt cheep). And they, and they alone, are responsible for their actions. For they alone intend them for evil.
I don’t know the ins and outs of EO synergism. I know that the Roman take on things strikes me as incoherent. Though they swear allegiance to synergism, they will tend to admit that both cooperative grace and our cooperation with that grace can be ascribed to the actions of God. As the Second Council of Orange puts it:
“[I]f anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, “What have you that you did not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7), and, ‘But by the grace of God I am what I am’ (1 Cor. 15:10).”
But, of course, that’s admitting to monergism, isn’t it? There is but one primary actor. Everything that WE do is derivative, contingent, secondary.
Augustine and Aquinas are clearly monergistic in this way. The Council of Trent is, as well. It lists five causes of justification, and all five are ascribed to God. We don’t enter into the formula in any direct sense.
I think the incoherent view is actually the biblical one. Paul says “I am doing these things, but it is God doing them”, which is incoherent in itself.
Typically though, this is called Compatibilism.
no receiving requires a will to accept
Studied Pastoral Ministry (Graduated 2011)1y
Another way of asking this is, “Is the Gospel fluid?” Is it something that mutates over time, according to our own interpretations, inferences, and “insights,” or was it complete when Jesus sent the Apostles out, “teaching them to obey all things whatsoever I have commanded you?”
If we see it as complete, then St. Paul’s admonition that, “If any man, or even an angel from Heaven, bring you any other gospel than what we have preached to you, let him be cut off (anathema).” If it is not, then that warning is meaningless and even “Un-Christian.”
Concerning the Creed, this was the consensus of the whole Church. Here is how it came about.
The Church had been scattered across the known world for three centuries. There were Churches spread from Ireland to India, from the Slavic lands down past Sudan. Each bishop was carefully taught from the words of the Apostles, by rote from their own teachers. After all that time, were they even teaching the same message?
The bishops were all gathered at Nicæa in 325 to settle an issue striking at the heart of this message: Who, really, is Jesus Christ? They met, and they discussed what they knew from their own teachers – and theirs, &c. They found that they all still held to the same Gospel, regardless, and they summarised what they knew in the words we know as the Nicene Creed. When they were done, they wrote, “If any change the words of this Creed, let him be anathema.” Arius, the author of the confusion they met to address, tried later to add a single letter to that Creed. The Greek word, “omo-ousios” means, “one essence.” Adding an i would change the whole meaning, with “omoi-ousios” being, “like essence.” Christ is then no longer God, but “like God,” whatever one chooses to make of that. (Interestingly, before he could carry out this subterfuge, he wound up dying in the same way as Judas and Herod!)
Another generation of bishops met about 50 years later to confirm the Creed and complete and, essentially, confirm it. They also agreed, If any change the words of this Creed, let him be anathema.” As, also, did Pope St. Gregory, on a bronze plaque he had erected.
Scripture, Christ Himself, and the Apostles all confirmed that the Father, alone, is the Source of all Life and Deity. Christ is Divine because He is eternally begotten of the Father. The Spirit, likewise, draws His Being from the Father. The Creed says the Son is eternally-begotten, not, was begotten. The Incarnation is a matter of History, of one particular place, at one particular time. The Spirit, similarly, proceeds from the Father. He has proceeded at different times, as when Jesus breathed on the Apostles saying, “Receive the Spirit.” Again, particular place and time: a Historical event, and His Being does not depend on such. (The Creed is very careful to mark a difference between Historical events – “He was crucified under Pontius Pilate, died, and was buried, and on the third day He rose…” from Eternal realities, e.g., “with the Father and the Son He is worshipped and glorified.”
On Christmas Day, 800, Pope Leo III chose to align his See with a rebel warlord called Charlemagne. As a political concession, he decided to tack on, “and from the Son,” to that Apostolic Creed, in defiance to Scripture, the whole Church, and his sainted predecessor Gregory. At best, this addition confuses Historical and Eternal realities. It only gets worse from there, with many today believing that God, the Holy Spirit, is some kind of impersonal “Force,” or a feeling (effectively) generated by emphatic preaching, pretty songs, or sound systems.
Would you call that heresy?
Any system which holds the two in tension–divine sovereignty and creaturely freedom–can be categorized as compatibilistic. Calvinism and Thomism, the two clearest examples. But compatibilism is not synergistic in my view.
Of course, it appears that the very terms, monergism and synergism, are murky at best. No two sides seem to mean the exact same things by them. Much needs clarification (e.g., the relationship between primary and secondary causality and the presence of fallible as opposed to infallible grace).
Monergism and Calvinism are clearly heresies: and even so, the sum of all the heresies is FILIOQUE (Filioquism) of the CAROLINGIANS.