What Does Synergism Do?

“What does synergism do? When consistently applied, it turns grace from the free action of God based upon His own purposes into a demanded provision for every human being. The result of this is that this provision, and in particular, the central act of that provision, the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus, must become impersonal, theoretical, and unsaving, just so the autonomous will of man can be defended. Combine this with an unbiblical idea of evangelism (the idea that you proclaim what Jesus has done for you, thereby guilting people into doing something nice for Jesus in return, rather than the powerful command to every man, woman, and child to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ), and you have the foundation for this tweet from one of the leading Southern Baptist “Traditionalists.” I am so thankful for the biblical reality, laid out so plainly in the book of Hebrews (ironically, a book upon which this synergistic writer has written a commentary!) that the death of my Lord was not a vague, impersonal, hypothetical action, but a powerful, purposeful act of redeeming grace, made in perfect harmony with the Father’s salvific decree and the Spirit’s salvific application, whereby the elect of God, united to the Son in His death, burial, and resurrection, receive perfect propitiation for their sins.”

– Dr. James White


The ground of the free offer of the gospel is not the extent of the atonement or election but that Christ is a perfect and sufficient savior and promises to save all those who repent and believe in Him.

Pelagianism, Semi-Pelagianism, and Semi-semi-Pelagianism

Two articles by Turretinfan:

Article 1

Occasionally people will complain that the term “semi-pelagianism” gets thrown around too freely. As an antidote, here are some comments from noted historian Philip Schaff:

Semi-Pelagianism is a somewhat vague and indefinite attempt at reconciliation, hovering midway between the sharply marked systems of Pelagius and Augustine, taking off the edge of each, and inclining now to the one, now to the other. The name was introduced during the scholastic age, but the system of doctrine, in all essential points, was formed in Southern France in the fifth century, during the latter years of Augustine’s life and soon after his death. It proceeded from the combined influence of the pre-Augustinian synergism and monastic legalism. Its leading idea is, that divine grace and the human will jointly accomplish the work of conversion and sanctification, and that ordinarily man must take the first step. It rejects the Pelagian doctrine of the moral roundness of man, but rejects also the Augustinian doctrine of the entire corruption and bondage of the natural man, and substitutes the idea of a diseased or crippled state of the voluntary power. It disowns the Pelagian conception of grace as a mere external auxiliary; but also, quite as decidedly, the Augustinian doctrines of the sovereignty, irresistibleness, and limitation of grace; and affirms the necessity and the internal operation of grace with and through human agency, a general atonement through Christ, and a predestination to salvation conditioned by the foreknowledge of faith. The union of the Pelagian and Augustinian elements thus attempted is not, however, an inward organic coalescence, but rather a mechanical and arbitrary combination, which really satisfies neither the one interest nor the other, but commonly leans to the Pelagian side.

For this reason it admirably suited the legalistic and ascetic piety of the middle age, and indeed always remained within the pale of the Catholic church, and never produced a separate sect.

We glance now at the main features of the origin and progress of this school.

The Pelagian system had been vanquished by Augustine, and rejected and condemned as heresy by the church. This result, however, did not in itself necessarily imply the complete approval of the Augustinian system. Many, even opponents of Pelagius, recoiled from a position so wide of the older fathers as Augustine’s doctrines of the bondage of man and the absolute election of grace, and preferred a middle ground. Continue reading