What does Reformed mean?
Our minister preaches and explains the Gospel within a Reformed and Presbyterian theological context. Reverend Locke’s understanding of the Bible is best understood through the word: MONERGISM. How is the Gospel understood from a Monergistic point of view and why does it matter?
Monergism: In regeneration, the Holy Spirit unites us to Christ independent of any cooperation from our unregenerated human nature. He quickens us through the outward call cast forth by the preaching of His Word, disarms our innate hostility, removes our blindness, illumines our mind, creates understanding, turns our heart of stone to a heart of flesh — giving rise to a delight in His Word — all that we might, with our renewed affections, willingly & gladly embrace Christ. The Prophet Ezekiel inspired by the Holy Spirit asserted “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.” (Eze 11:19, also 36:26) The Apostle Paul said, “For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.” (1 Thess 1, 4, 5). I.e. In regeneration the word does not work alone but must be accompanied by the “germination” of the Holy Spirit. And again “…you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.” (1 Pet 1:23)
The Century Dictionary defines it as follows:
“In theology, the doctrine that the Holy Spirit is the only efficient agent in regeneration – that the human will possesses no inclination to holiness until regenerated, and therefore cannot cooperate in regeneration.”
It means that the very desire for faith, by which we believe in Him who justifies the ungodly comes to us through regeneration — and if anyone says that this belongs to us by nature and not by a gift of grace, that is, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit amending our will and turning it from unbelief to faith and from godlessness to godliness, he/she ignores the teaching of the Apostles, for Paul says, “…Even when we were dead in sins, [God] hath quickened us together with Christ, by grace ye are saved.” and “…he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3:5) And again, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). or if 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).
It is in contrast to synergism which the Century Dictionary defines as “…the doctrine that there are two efficient agents in regeneration, namely the human will and the divine Spirit, which, in the strict sense of the term, cooperate. This theory accordingly holds that the soul has not lost in the fall all inclination toward holiness, nor all power to seek for it under the influence of ordinary motives.”
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For further study read some of the links below. All of these links are from my favorite website called www.Monergism.com
Blessings to you as you consider the claims of Christ on your life.
The following essays on monergism are listed in order of depth. For those who are exploring the issue for the first time, I recommend reading the first articles, since they are written on a more basic level. When you begin to understand the critical nature of this doctrine and wish to explore it further, go ahead and study the other essays and charts listed further down this page. They are filled with biblical support. The ideas and concepts presented here may come as a suprise to some. Nevertheless I would encourage you to stick with it because such a reaction is normal and I am confident it can be prove beyond doubt that monergism is a sound and biblical doctrine – a doctrine centered in the person and work of Jesus Christ that I believe may just change your life.
A Simple Explanation of Monergism by John Hendryx
Monergism simply means that it is God who gives ears to hear and eyes to see. It is God alone who gives illumination and understanding of His word that we might believe; It is God who raises us from the dead, who circumcises the heart; unplugs our ears; It is God alone who can give us a new sense that we may, at last, have the moral capacity to behold His beauty and unsurpassed excellency. “In theology, [monergism is] the doctrine that the Holy Spirit is the only efficient agent in regeneration [the new birth] – that the human will possesses no inclination to holiness until regenerated [born again], and therefore cannot cooperate in regeneration.”
Regeneration Precedes Faith By R. C. Sproul
One of the most dramatic moments in my life for the shaping of my theology took place in a seminary classroom. One of my professors went to the blackboard and wrote these words in bold letters: “Regeneration Precedes Faith.”
Two Views of Regeneration by John Hendryx (See this helpful chart for clarity)
This is a comparison chart showing the real differences between monergism and synergism.
I say that man, before he is renewed into the new creation of the Spirit’s kingdom, does and endeavours nothing to prepare himself for that new creation and kingdom, and when he is re-created has does and endeavors nothing towards his perseverance in that kingdom; but the Spirit alone works both blessings in us, regenerating us, and preserving us when regenerate, without ourselves…” Luther (Bondage of the Will pg. 268)
For those who want to dig deeper into monergism, study the following essays:
A Divine and Supernatural Light, Immediately Imparted to the Soul by the Spirit of God, Shown to be Both Scriptural and Rational Doctrine A Sermon by Jonathan Edwards I am delighted to share this sermon with you. Here, with great affection for his subject, Edwards both biblically and rationally lays out the case that the spiritual knowledge and illumination needed to understand the gospel and to internalize the excellencies of divine truth, is imparted by God alone (monergism). This knowledge is given immediately by God and not obtained through natural means that operate by their own power. While God often makes use of natural means, yet the medium is not what causes the effect. God may teach us many things through nature and reason, and even use the words of Scripture to convey a doctrine or proposition, but only God can illumine them in such a way wherein we see their beauty and excellency. Those who are unregenerate have no capacity to love what is spiritual and are not partly but wholly dependent on God to translate them from darkness to light. Edwards does an excellent job explaining how spiritual light is actually given. – JWH
What is Monergism? by John Hendryx
Monergism (monergistic regeneration) is a redemptive blessing purchased by Christ for those the Father has given Him (1 Pet 1:3, John 6:37, 39). It conveys that power into the fallen soul whereby the person who is to be saved is effectually enabled to respond to the gospel call (Acts 2:39, 1 Cor 1:2, 9, 24, Rom 8:30 John 1:13, Acts 13:48). It is that supernatural power of God alone whereby we are granted the spiritual ability to comply with the conditions of the covenant of grace; that is, to apprehend the Redeemer by a living faith, to come up to the terms of salvation, to repent of idols and to love God and the Mediator supremely. The Holy Spirit, in quickening the soul, mercifully capacitates and inclines God’s elect to the spiritual exercise of faith in Jesus Christ (John 6:44, 1 John 5:1). This instantaneous and intensely personal work of God is the means by which the Spirit brings us into living union with Him.
Reversing the Curse by John Owen Outstanding!
The Holy Spirit’s Work in Bringing Sinners to Christ. “To say that we are able by our own efforts to think good thoughts or give God spiritual obedience before we are spiritually regenerate is to overthrow the gospel and the faith of the universal church in all ages.” – John Owen
Monergism vs. Synergism by John Hendryx
This is a full-length in-depth essay on the biblical doctrine of monergistic regeneration as compared with synergism. My aim in this essay is to show from Scripture that faith is the result of regeneration, not the cause of it. A corresponding aim is to show that the opposite view is unscriptural and harmful to our understanding of the Gospel. Monergism and synergism are terms that may or may not be familiar to you but are of immense importance to evangelicals if we hope to maintain fidelity to the Scriptures as we enter the new millennium. This God-honoring but largely forgotten truth is critical to the blessing and renewal of the Church and key to understand if we are to successfully reform our thinking along biblical lines. These words describe two very distinct views of God’s saving grace – the process wherein God changes a person from “dead in sin” to “alive in Christ.”
Regeneration by J.I. Packer
Regeneration, or new birth, is an inner re-creating of fallen human nature by the gracious sovereign action of the Holy Spirit (John 3:5-8). The Bible conceives salvation as the redemptive renewal of man on the basis of a restored relationship with God in Christ, and presents it as involving “a radical and complete transformation wrought in the soul (Rom. 12:2; Eph. 4:23) by God the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5; Eph. 4:24), by virtue of which we become ‘new men’ (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10), no longer conformed to this world (Rom. 12:2; Eph. 4:22; Col. 3:9), but in knowledge and holiness of the truth created after the image of God (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10; Rom. 12:2)” (B. B. Warfield, Biblical and Theological Studies, 351).
God’s Part and Man’s Part in Salvation by John G. Reisinger
God and man must both do something before a man can be saved. Hyper-Calvinism denies the necessity of human action, and Arminianism denies the true nature of the Divine action.
Biblical Regeneration and Affectional Theology by John Hendryx
True religion consists, in large part, in the affections … and this begins with the initial step of saving faith all the way through to final perseverance. But how can the natural man, who “loves darkness” (John 3:19), work up any affections or desire for God? or apprehend His beauty and excellence? We know that human reasoning is never free from the effects of sin, and that people deny God, not because they lack evidence, but because their hearts are rebellious. So the unbelievers’ problem is ethical first and then intellectual and thus he/she requires a supernatural work of God to understand and apprehend spiritual truth as revealed in Scripture.
Responding to Critics of Monergism: Passages Which Show Receiving the Sprit After Faith by John Hendryx
Many of our synergist friends will point to verses that clearly do show that we receive the gift of the Spirit only AFTER we believe, so how can this Website argue that we can be regenerated without being indwelt by the Holy Spirit?
Does Monergism Rob Humanity of Free Will? by John Hendryx
At first glance it may appear that monergism radically violates human free will, and as what might be expected, there has risen up some modern teachers who are quite vocal in their hostility toward it. But not only has this been the historic teaching of the Church among its greatest theologians, but also this short essay will set out to show that no one is coerced into something they do not want to do. Man always freely chooses either to reject or receive Christ in the gospel. God did not coerce you when he gave you physical eyes to see … so also He does not coerce you when He gives you spiritual eyes. In both cases they are faculties that you willingly use.
God’s Great Mercy and Our New Birth by John Piper
God is the one who caused us to be born again. New birth is God’s work. His mercy not our work produces a new being called a child of God and an exile and alien in the world. “God raised him from the dead and gave him glory so that your faith and hope are in God.” The resurrection is about God. God did it. So we trust God. We hope in God. And Peter says, “Blessed be God!”
A Defense of Monergistic Regeneration by Gannon Murphy
Is the saving grace of God irresistible or resistible? Moreover, is the regenerating power of God installed in the believer’s life before or after the decision is made to receive Christ as Savior? The former position, sometimes called the monergistic view of regeneration or irresistible grace, is the classical position of Calvinists. According to this view, “the grace of God is the only efficient cause in beginning and effecting conversion.”
The Necessity of the Spirit’s Work (1859) by C. H. Spurgeon
Salvation must be the work of the Spirit in us, because the means used in salvation are of themselves inadequate for the accomplishment of the work. And what are the means of’ salvation? Why, first and foremost stands the preaching of the Word of God.
Salvation: Synergism or Sola Gratia? Charlie Martin (.pdf)
The translated Latin into English is: Sola = Alone, Gratia = Grace; hence, “Grace Alone”. Man is so spiritually bankrupt that he cannot exercise the slightest approach towards his salvation. Dead men can’t think, move, crawl, or even lift a finger because there is no life in them. And so it is in the spiritual realm; God must raise us from the dead in the spiritual sense, (Regenerate us) in order to be able to comprehend the call of the Gospel. In Eph. 2:12 it states that, in the unregenerate state, all men are without Christ,—having no hope— and without God in the world. They have no hope (especially in their will) because they are dead! So, Sola Gratia means that we are totally unable to come to Christ unless God himself does a complete work of regeneration in us by grace alone
The New Genesis by R.C. Sproul
When Jesus uses the word unless in speaking to Nicodemus, He is stating what we call a necessary condition. A necessary condition is an absolute prerequisite for a desired result to take place. We cannot have fire without the presence of oxygen because oxygen is a necessary condition for fire.
Ordo Salutis @monergism
Responsibility, Inability and Monergistic Grace by John Hendryx
The truth of God’s word is honored not in holding exclusively to one truth to the exclusion of another truth, but in believing the whole counsel of God. The Bible plainly teaches that man is responsible to repent and believe the gospel just as it plainly teaches that he is morally unwilling and unable to do so.
Which Christians Historically believe in Monergism? historical and contemporary references
Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, Martin Luther (who considered this doctrine the heart of the Reformation), John Calvin, John Owen, the Puritans of the 17th century, Augustine, George Whitefield, and some contemporary pastors and theologians such as Martyn Lloyd-Jones, John Piper, Wayne Grudem, R.C. Sproul, Michael Horton, J.I. Packer, James Montgomery Boice, James White and signatories to the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.