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From Wikipedia:

In Christian theology, synergism is the position of those who hold that salvation involves some form of cooperation between divine grace and human freedom. Synergism is upheld by the Roman Catholic Church, Orthodox Churches, and Methodist Churches.[1][2][3] It is an integral part of Arminian theology.[4][5]

Synergism stands opposed to monergism (which rejects the idea that humans have free choice), a doctrine most commonly associated with the Reformed Protestant as well as Lutheran traditions, whose soteriologies have been strongly influenced by the North African bishop and Latin Church Father Augustine of Hippo (354–430).[6] Lutheranism, however, confesses a monergist salvation but synergist damnation (see § Lutheran and Calvinist views).

What is the biblical basis for synergism?


Counterpart question: What is the biblical basis for monergism?

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    I could basically copy and paste here the scriptures I posted in your thread about conditional salvation. But let me add this one: Luke 9:24 "For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it." Also see the parable of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25. Christ died and established the New Covenant through which we maybe saved, but salvation is contingent upon us giving our life over to God and doing his will. Commented Feb 25, 2022 at 20:41
  • @RyanPierceWilliams Is salvation for you, then, solely a future event? Commented Feb 26, 2022 at 20:08
  • @MikeBorden we can speak of having confidence in salvation now. However, properly speaking, it would be accurate to say that salvation is in the future. After all, what are we saved from? The Judgement. And that is in the future. Commented Feb 26, 2022 at 22:22
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    @RyanPierceWilliams "After all, what are we saved from?". Slavery to sin (Romans 6:1-18), a futile way of life (1 Peter 1:18), the power of darkness (Col. 1:18), alienation from and enmity with God (Col. 1:22), condemnation (John 5:24), the wrath to come (1 Thess. 1:10)...There are so many past and present presentations of our salvation that relegating it all to the future can be misleading. Commented Feb 27, 2022 at 13:52
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    @RyanPierceWilliams Of course we must work out what God has worked in, we must walk in the spirit rather than in the flesh but it is God who works in us to will and to do his good pleasure. If one has not been saved they are not going to be saved by right action. Do you agree with the following: "I have been saved, I am being saved, I will be saved"? Commented Feb 27, 2022 at 17:48

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The biblical basis Synergists would claim are all texts that speak of individuals agreeing, or choosing, to put their faith in Christ for salvation. Perhaps the most representative of those would be Revelation 1:20 which has Christ say:

"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me." (NIV)

Jesus, however, is not addressing unbelievers in need of salvation, but Christians who are already saved, yet who don't have Christ present at their spiritual 'table'. Now, I don't wish to misrepresent Synergists, so if that is not a text they would use, then I hope they will correct me.

They could stress Deuteronomy 30:15 & 19 where a choice is put before the nation of Israel, whether to choose God's ways and so to choose life, or to follow the ways of the nations. Another similar text is Joshua 24:15 where the nation is challenged to choose for themselves, that day, who they would serve. To really answer the question, just consult a Bible Concordance under "choose" to find which ones speak of the unsaved choosing to be saved, or choosing not to be saved. Note that verses such as Proverbs 1:29 speak of not choosing to fear the Lord. Others speak of choosing the right and rejecting the wrong, but Synergists would have to argue their case for that applying to the act of being saved.

'Synergism' means 'working together', while monergism means "one work". Synergists believe that two forces are required to bring about the saving of a soul - the Holy Spirit and the will of man. If a person resists the Holy Spirit, then there will be no 'working together' to achieve that person's salvation. Synergists could call upon Philippians 2:12-13 for that (though 1:5-6 is part of that equation, meaning the theology in those four verses might not speak of the act of being saved initially.)

It would be better if Synergists answered your question, really, but given that that has not yet happened, hopefully this will get the ball rolling for you.

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  • Thanks Anne for sharing your thoughts (+1). I have the impression that the tops answers here and here represent synergistic views.
    – user50422
    Commented Feb 26, 2022 at 18:05
  • @Spirit Real Investigator Oh, yes, both of the accepted answers are very interesting, showing how this hot potato is prone to lots of debate, which this site is not out to encourage. I really hope some of the Catholics, Orthodox or Methodists on here will give you their explanation of Synergism, using the Bible for that.
    – Anne
    Commented Feb 27, 2022 at 14:49
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The Greek word συνεργεῖν (synergein) means "to work together" or "to cooperate". The following passages in Scripture demonstrate that there is synergy or cooperation between God and man:

"And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them [συνεργοῦντος, synergountos] and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen." Mark 16:20 NKJV

"For we are God’s fellow workers [συνεργοί, synergoi]; you are God’s field, you are God’s building." 1 Cor. 3:9 NKJV

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