Monergism versus Synergism

One thing that is making me a little uncomfortable and wary is when it looks like you are straying a bit too far from traditional Christianity. I am all about accepting the adjustments needed to embrace science and evolution, but keeping them only to the minimal changes needed. Too often, it seems to me, this unavoidable challenge is taken as an excuse for changing the religion completely to something nearly unrecognizable, till it hardly seems any different than popular culture. It is not that I am hostile to that kind of religion, but only that the reconciliation with science doesn’t require anything of the sort. And the fear that this is some kind of slippery slope is one of the reasons for resistance to science. The acceptance of science and Christianity as compatible is too important for this to be used as an excuse for pushing non-traditional theology.

I am not too concerned with the analogy of adoption – God is more a Father to me than my biological dad. Other parallel metaphors that imply the intimacy, reality and irreversibility of the relationship (such as being born again and being a new creation) reinforce that, plus the accounts of his fatherly providential interventions in the life experiences of many, including my own.

Our bodies as well as our minds and spirits do come from God. From whom else could they come? Are we created in the image of the evil one? No, we are created in the Image of God, Who gives us life and all that we have.

But life comes with the reality of death. The miracle of our minds and bodies comes with the reality of congenital defects and diseases. The ability to love comes with the reality of hatred.

God does not create death, disease, and sin, but God surely allows them. Life is not lying around being lazy. Life is taking risks for ourselves and others.

God created us to be loving as God is. But also like God we must choose to be good and loving, not forced to be good and loving, we must make a choice for God or for ourselves. Thus we have the Fall where humans learned what sin was all about by becoming sinners.

God created us as God’s children, created in God’s own Image, just as our parents procreated and parentally created us in their images. We have the choice of honoring our earthly parents and our divine Parent by choosing to live a responsible life in a real world of joy and failure, suffering and hope, love and death.

God does not have a body. Created in the image of God has nothing to do with our bodies and biology.

Exactly. I certainly agree that this is all a part of God’s intention. But the word “design” is misleading because it makes us think of blueprints and this is contrary to the nature of life.

Yes. Not quite the words I would use but I think we essentially agree. I certainly do not think we had to become sinners or participate in evil in order to learn about it. In fact, I think that is a classic meme of temptation where the tempter convinces the innocent that this is what is required for them to be an adult. But it is not true. These things do not make an adult or grant maturity or wisdom.

If you have already been achieved an “adoption” that is irreversible, why does Paul describe salvation as a “race” that is not over until death (2Tim 4:6-8)?

Earlier in his life, Paul stating that he could not judge himself eternally saved (1Cor 4:3-5). Yet you judge yourself eternally saved. Please explain this contradiction.

If your “adoption” is irreversible, why does Paul tell believers that must have “ endurance … receive what is promised” (Heb 10:36) and why does he urge believers to “run with perseverance the race” (Heb 12:1)?

If your “adoption” is irreversible, why does Paul state that he himself could be “disqualified” from the “race” of salvation (1Cor 9:24-27)?

Because he is eager for reward after having served faithfully and energetically? (Yes, there are degrees of reward.) He was in no danger of losing his adoption, already being a new creation created by God and having no fear that God was going to trash it!


There is no contradiction because that is not what he is talking about. You are adding to the text and inferring something that is not there. He is talking about his faithfulness* being judged, because we will not know our ranking, our “place at the table” until we get there – that is not for us to judge. He is not worried about whether or not he is likely to become unborn (as in unborn again!).

Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself.

If he was talking about his eternal salvation, do you really think he cared very little??


We covered this in the other conversation, if memory serves. Perseverance and endurance are birthday presents when we are first born again. We are to test ourselves (remember that?). If we are not enduring and not persevering, then we should really be questioning ourselves as to whether or not we are truly joint heirs, now, with Christ! We should not be confident at all!


Again, you are not seeing the forest for the trees and not even looking at the immediate context particularly well. Once more, you have added ‘salvation’ where it does not belong!

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize?

Only one person is going to be saved? Is that what you think he means? Is he talking about being disqualified and thrown out of the race? No, he is talking about being disqualified from winning, winning the wreath of first place.

Run so that you may obtain it.

It is a family competition among loving siblings, so to speak.

(May I invoke Hebrews 5:11 again? :slightly_smiling_face:)


*That varies among believers. I certainly don’t consider myself particularly faithful, nor energetic.

He doesn’t. ‘Salvation’ was inserted by you. He is speaking of the Christian’s earthly life. And it’s not over until death. Funny how that works. :slightly_smiling_face:

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
2 Timothy 4:6-8

He sounds pretty confident, wouldn’t you say, before ‘that day’?

So noted. [I’m presuming this was probably directed at me.]

I’m certainly not here to try to unsettle people from any steadfast convictions to follow the Spirit. I only hope to help provide perspectives that help remove already-existing stumbling blocks for those already plagued by such things - especially unfortunate man-made stumbling blocks.

I think occasionally some traditions need to give way for truth and relationship. And I want to attend to those discernments as the Spirit may lead. Also - what I hear from others (including many here such as yourself) is part of my necessary spiritual attention. To that end, certainly take whatever (if anything) is useful and ignore everything else.

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It seems to me that if you don’t get it about the assurances and guarantees of salvation (and yes, self-examination*, too) and you are never sure of it, what kind of freedom do you have? It also looks like you are, in fact, being disobedient and sinning by not trusting and having childlike faith.


*Honest self-examination will not result in self-righteousness because it will always discover sin. Discovering sin doesn’t mean you have lost your salvation but that there is still work to be done. An example of a sin where I suspect we all fall short is in rejoicing over our salvation (and especially if you are not sure that you even have it!).

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

On a similar note, there are the mandates to be thankful and to not complain.

Give thanks in all circumstances

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

The first is easy, be thankful in all circumstances – you can always be thankful that things aren’t worse. But being thankful for everything? Remarkably, I was able to be thankful for my kidney cancer, one reason being that the timings and placings of several things were cool evidence of God’s providence. Day to day, though, I have not been thankful for way slighter issues.

(Antinomians, take note – there are a lot of mandates to obey in the above.:slightly_smiling_face: They are not rules to focus on for their own sake, but they are to inform us how to love better. We are to fix our eyes on Jesus, to rejoice and be thankful. The terrible rules help us to be more like him. :slightly_smiling_face: My love fails short.)

Seems like good advice, and relevant to the discussion…


Wow, what a revelation - a Christian’s earthly life doesn’t end until death! Who knew?

Paul says he has “finished the race” and “keep the faith” … meaning he considered the road to salvation a life-long process that isn’t over until death.

Funny how your irony after my irony isn’t so funny.


No, just that the Christian life here is a life-long process. Funny how that works. You did not refute any of my arguments, you are just repeating yourself.

Keeping the faith until death is just one more certification that he was already saved all along:

Was he dead when he wrote that?


Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4


Desire God. You can’t lose.


*Isaac Watts, “Not With Our Mortal Eyes

Yes, he is confident … but as I have already explained, it’s only because he knows his “time of departure” (ie, his death) is imminent and that therefore he has “finished the race”.

Contrast this with his attitude earlier in his life - Paul says, “I do not even judge myself” and “judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts” (1Cor 4:3-6). You contradict this passage twice by judging yourself eternally saved and “before the time”.

No, but he knew he that he was very close to death - information that no doubt was given to him via a special revelation from Christ … for how else could he know he was about to die? Christ probably also informed him at that time that he was destined for eternal life.

Such special revelations are very rare and are not given to the average believer - the average believer knows he is eternally saved only when he is judged after death by Christ (although there are plenty of deluded believers who think they can judge themselves before Christ does).

What you’ve already ‘explained’, ad nauseum, is that we cannot determine for ourselves if we are saved. Do you think maybe you are contradicting yourself. ← (irony alert)


We already talked about that, too, and you never refuted my argument. You just forgot and are repeating yourself. Again.


And now you have to presume special revelation that Paul could certainly have recorded with the quoted text. Good grief.

I wonder how else he could have possibly known he was close to death. I don’t suppose that there is an outside chance that he was a Roman prisoner, is there. Under a death sentence.

And what do you have Paul doing? Oh, being a deluded believer that can judge himself before Christ does on ‘that day’.

I could return your insult about my being deluded (like Paul was :slightly_smiling_face:), but suffice it to say that I have demonstrably answered all of your objections both here and in the other conversation, and you have consistently failed to counter my arguments and then simply forgotten them or failed to allow for them in your thinking, resulting in repeatedly bringing up the same issues over and over, like you were making a new argument. I weary of this.

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