Ministerial Meanderings

God centered theology in a man centered world.

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Location: Springfield, Missouri, United States

I was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Laurel, Maryland. I served in the United States Air Force for 20 years then retired. Then God led me to become a pastor. I was converted to Christ in the summer of 1966. I enjoy the company of my wife, children and grandchildren. I live with my three cats Hobbs, Taz, and Chloe.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Theocentric Monergism

The topics of monergism and synergism deal with who is doing the meritorious work of salvation. Put another way, who is doing the things that count? Jonathan Edwards (1703 - 1758), considered by some to be the greatest theologian ever produced in the United States, said once "God does all and man does all." Yet Edwards went on to explain that everything man does finds it's source in God, so that man, at no point, could claim even the smallest amount of credit for aiding in his own salvation. Edwards was a monergist. To him, God did everything meritorious. Then God revealed, by the Holy Spirit, to men what He had done for them. Men responded by repenting of their former works and turning in faith to Christ as savior and believing the testimony of God (and what He has done for men). But salvation, is not general, but personal. God reveals what He has done for YOU, or for ME, and when we are shown, we respond.

This is theocentric monergism. This comes from the Greek "theos" meaning God, and "kentron" meaning center. It is God centered. It gives God all the glory for the salvation of men. It upholds the 5 sola of the Reformation Soli Deo Gloria which means "To God alone be the glory." It gives man none of the credit and God all the credit for all the work involved in our salvation. Yet, this view does not deny that men act in our salvation. As Edwards said, "God does all and man does all." At every point, every action of God finds a corresponding response in men. Yet, at no point does man act without God's prior action.

The other extreme of this is anthropocentric monergism. This is Pelagianism. Man does all the work that is meritorious in salvation and God responds to what man has done. This is man centered. It is the opposite of theocentric monergism. In anthropocentric monergism, man gets all the credit. He makes himself holy enough to be saved.

In the middle is synergism. In this system of theology, man and God cooperate together to bring about salvation. This would include both Arminianism and Semi-pelagianism. There are significant points of difference between the two (Arminianism and Semi-pelagianism), however they share the idea that God does his part and man does his part. And with both parts working together, man is saved.

Of these three, it is my firm conviction that only Theocentric monergism is the biblical viewpoint. The Bible says that God shares His glory with no man. Only a viewpoint that credits everything entirely to God is the only viewpoint that glorifies God alone.

Let's examine our theology, at every point, to make sure we hold a theology that is theocentric. Because any theology that is not 100% God centered, is not a biblical theology. Either it is trying to put man on God's throne, or share that throne with God. And that is no theology for a Christian to have. I hope you agree.

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