In his book, Grace Unknown, R.C. Sproul states in print, some theological matters that I have heard him say many times on his radio program, Renewing Your Mind. This has to do with the matter of monergism and synergism.
Regarding monergism, this is what Sproul says it is:
“Monergism is something that operates by itself or works alone as the sole active party. Monergism is the opposite of synergism. … Synergism is a cooperative venture, a working together of two or more parties. When the term monergism is linked with the word regeneration, the phrase describes an action by which God the Holy Spirit works on a human being without this person’s assistance or cooperation. … Monergistic regeneration is exclusively a divine act. Man does not have the creative power that God has”
~ pg. 183-4
Regarding synergism, this is what Sproul says:
“As part of the process of our sanctification, perseverance is a synergistic work. This means that it is a cooperative effort between God and us. We persevere as He preserves.”
~ pg. 212
Jerry Bridges also says something similar.
In his book The Bookends of the Christian Life, we find written the following:
“… Paul summed up the concept of qualified synergism with a sweeping, dramatic statement: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11-13).”
“So while the Holy Spirit is working in us synergistically to enable us to accomplish our growth agenda, He’s at the same time working monergistically to change us according to His agenda.”
~ Pg. 91
In another book of his, which he co-authored with Bob Bevington, The Great Exchange: My Sin for His Righteousness, Bridges states:
“Definitive sanctification is monergistic, i.e. God acts independently of man to cause the sinner to see the glory of Christ in the Gospel. … When the Bible uses the word sanctification, it is frequently referring to progressive sanctification, which is gradual transformation of the believer in his or her day-to-day experience. Progressive sanctification is synergistic; the believer works in cooperation with God in dependence on His providing the enabling power to change.”
~ Pg. 216
(3) Bruce Demarest in his book, The Cross and Salvation says something similar.
It should be clear that regeneration differs from conversion in several important respects. (1) Conversion involves a synergism of divine and human working, whereas regeneration is strictly a monergistic operation.”
He also some other things that are quite interesting… but I do not want to digress.
(4) J.I. Packer on the very same issue.
“Regeneration was a momentary monergistic act of quickening the spiritually dead. As such, it was God’s work alone. Sanctification, however, is in one sense synergistic – it is an ongoing cooperative process in which regenerate persons, alive to God and freed from sin’s dominion (Rom. 6:11, 14-18), are required to exert themselves in sustained obedience. God’s method of sanctification is neither activism (self-reliant activity) nor apathy (God-reliant passivity), but God-dependent effort (2 Cor. 7:1; Phil. 3:10-14; Heb. 12:14). Knowing that without Christ’s enabling we can do nothing, morally speaking, as we should, and that he is ready to strengthen us for all that we have to do (Phil. 4:13), we “stay put” (remain, abide) in Christ, asking for his help constantly – and we receive it (Col. 1:11; 1 Tim. 1:12; 2 Tim. 1:7; 2:1).”
I think that Packer’s explanation might have the key to help me understand what has not been making sense.