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Free Will Synergism Vs. Free Grace Monergism

Discussion in 'Bible Chat' started by rojoloco, Feb 18, 2011.

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  1. This was something that I found on that I thought I would share given the amount of discussion we have had on this topic lately. I feel John Hendryx puts it very well.

    Free Will Synergism Vs. Free Grace Monergism

    by John Hendryx

    Synergists teach '... and as many as believed were ordained to eternal life.' but The Bible teaches 'AND AS MANY AS WERE ORDAINED TO ETERNAL LIFE BELIEVED.' (Acts 13:48)

    Synergists teach that 'salvation depends on human will', but the Bible teaches that 'it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy." (Rom 9:16)

    Synergists teach '...'no one knows the Father except those who choose the Son.' But the Bible teaches that 'no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him' (Matt 11:27) They are the ones who 'choose' the Son.

    Synergists teach that 'All can come to Christ of their own free will', but Jesus teaches that 'no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.' (John 6:65) and all whom He grants will come (John 6:37) Free Will Synergism Vs. Free Grace Monergism

    Synergists teach that 'you are not Christ's sheep because you do not believe', but Jesus teaches that 'you do not believe because you are not of My sheep.' (John 10:26)

    Synergists teach that 'the reason you are not of God is because you are unwilling to hear and believe God's words.' Jesus, on the other hand, taught, 'The reason why you do not hear [God's words] is that you are not of God." (John 8:47)

    Synergists teach that 'salvation is so easy a cave man can do it" but the Bible teaches that "What is impossible with man is possible with God." (Luke 18:27)

    In the Divine economy men are responsible to believe the gospel, but are morally impotent to do so (when drawing from their own native resources). This inability (due to our intimate solidarity with Adam's sin) is something we are culpable for, much like owing a debt we cannot repay. So God has every right to call us all to account to 'repay our debt', so to speak, even though fallen man does not have the resources to do so. The Church has a privilege and an obligation to call all men to repent and believe the gospel (an imperative) but, left to themselves, no one believes. But God, in his great mercy, still has mercy on many, opening their hearts to the gospel that that might believe.

    To this sometimes a synergist often quotes "whosoever will may come" to which we reply that this quote does not teach an indicative of what we are able to do, but rather, teaches what we 'ought' to do. As Martin Luther said, "Does it follow from: 'turn ye' that therefore you can turn? Does it follow from "'Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart' (Deut 6.5) that therefore you can love with all your heart? What do arguments of this kind prove, but the 'free-will' does not need the grace of God, but can do all things by its own power...But it does not follow from this that man is converted by his own power, nor do the words say so; they simply say: "if thou wilt turn, telling man what he should do. When he knows it, and sees that he cannot do it, he will ask whence he may find ability to do it..." Luther BW,164
  2. Answer this please.

    My dear friend Mr Rojocolo.

    Matthew 11:11

    "Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he."

    This is an example of God's will, no argument here.

    We know John was assigned to the job, before he was born.

    Why is he least in the kingdom of Heaven?
  3. Another question

    1 Corinthinians 15:8
    "and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also."

    Paul was hand picked like the disciples for the job.

    No one argues with that Mr Rojocolo.

    No one would come to Jesus without the influence of the Holy Spirit.
    It is not free will, or foreknowledge.

    The rest of us can resist the Holy Spirit of course.

    But, read this next quote.

    2 Peter 3:9
    "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

    God does everything in His power to save everyone.
    In fact, He already did, Jesus Christ.
    He draws all men to himself. We resist.
    Even Christians resist as you and I know.
  4. I believe this to be a horrible misinterpretation that many give to this verse. I agree that it saddens God to see people perish but that verse is not one to support this. The word used in that verse for "wishing" is boulomai. It refers to the absolute decrees of God. The Greek word used for God's desires and wishes is different. Therefore, a literal translation of this verse would be:

    "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, and has absolutely decreed that none perish but for all to come to repentance."

    We know many will unfortunately perish because they reject God (being that their unregenerated nature compels them to) so we also know "wishing" is not the proper English word to be used. I love the NASB but they use this word as well. This is one instance where I agree with the KJV's translation because they are closer to a literal translation in their usage of the word "willing" instead of "wishing."
  5. If you wish

    2 Peter 3:9
    "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not WILLING for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

    This replacement still does not alter the meaning.

    Can you expand further Mr Rojocolo.
  6. The structure of the sentence is saying that God's purposeful decree is that none of the "you" will perish. It is not written as a description of God's desires. It is an account of God's active decree. Because of this, we know none of the "you" will perish because God has actively decreed it to be so in the usage of the Greek word boulomai. As a result, we now know the "you" is limited to a certain group out of necessity since we know many will perish. Some will perish but none of "you" will perish because God has decreed it to be so. In accordance with the rest of Scripture, we know the "you" refers to those whom Christ will not lose. Who are these people? It is those called by God. It is those predestined by God. It is the Elect. It is written "To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ" as noted in chapter 1 verse 1.It is a carefully aimed statement directed toward a very distinct group of people.
  7. What is your source on this definition Rojo?
  8. In reply

    Fascinating the way you read this passage, Mr Rojocolo.

    We obviously approach the verse from different angles.

    Why don't we get down to business and select a verse

    that is much more definitive.

    Romans 9:13 <SUP> </SUP>Just as it is written, "JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED."

    This should make you happy.
  9. My source is both the Strong's Exhaustive Concordance as well as my Lexicon. The simple fact is that the word boulomai most commonly refers to the purposeful will of God. There are only a handful of instances where it is referring to a desire but it is clear in those instances that there is no way for it to speak of a decree because it wouldn't even make any sense. However, more than 30 times in the New Testament it speaks of an absolute decree. 2 Peter 3:9 is no exception.

    Really, just looking at the context gives it away. The whole epistle is aimed at Christians. It speaks of Christians as "you" and "your" on many occasions. 2 Peter 1:1 starts off by telling us it was written to those with a like faith. The first part of 2 Peter 3 speaks of those who will perish. It then starts off verse 9 by speaking of a promise made by God. This promise is that those who believe will have eternal life. That promise is that the Son will not lose any whom the Father has given him. That promise is that all whom the Father calls will be saved. Verse 9 then goes on to speak of God's patience. Believe it or not, not all of us Christians were ever perfect from birth. We all were depraved beings on the fast track to Hell at one point before we were saved. If at any point God decides He is going to destroy the world and send Jesus back, He would be full justified in doing so. We really have no reason to continue living in a world that blasphemes God. He has every right to destroy His creation. However, patience is an attribute of God that He is choosing to employ. He made a promise and He intends to keep it regardless how long it takes and how much "bullying" He must endure until it is kept. Who is the promise made to? Is it made to everybody? Certainly not! We know people go to Hell. Furthermore, we know that since all whom God calls will be saved, not all are called. This is out of necessity. On top of this, verse 9 also tells us who the promise was for. It was for "you." We already covered that the "you" it speaks of is those of like faith. The "you" is Christians as well as Christians to come. God's promise was for Christians and He is patiently awaiting the day that all whom He has called/predestined come to Him. How do we know they will come? Is there a chance the end will never come if those whom He has called never come? Not at all! We are promised those whom He calls will come because the purposeful will of God (boulomai) decrees it to be so. Not only will none of the "you" ever perish but they will also all come to repentance. While the wicked spoken of in the preceding verses will perish, we can take comfort in knowing His promise to us will be kept.
  10. Mr Jiggyfly

    You can take over if you wish.
    We can not expect Mr Rojocolo to reason with us both.
    In Christ.
  11. What lexicon are you using?

    Here is what Strong's states.
    Middle voice of a primary verb; to “will”, that is, (reflexively) be willing: - be disposed, minded, intend, list (be, of own) will (-ing). Compare G2309.

    Don't see this supporting your earlier statement. How about posting the name of your lexicon and what it states.:wink:
  12. The lexicon I was using is found at However, I went to the Christian bookstore today and decided to look at several other lexicons to see how they varied and all of them were the exact same thing as the website above down to the little "*" at the end of the listing.

    As for the definition, the Strong's says this:

    middle voice of a primary verb: to "will," i.e. (refl.) be willing -- will (15x), would (11x), be minded (2x), intend (2x), be disposed (1x), be willing (1x), list (1x), of his own will (1x).

    This word means "to wish, to will deliberately," and expresses strongly the deliberate exercise of the will.

    Clearly, we can see it is not a passive word whatsoever. It is a very active word used with strong intention of the will. Thelo (the word you listed in your definition as G2304) is one that can mean to desire in the casual sense. In fact, that word is MUCH more common and is used 213 times in 201 verses. Boulomai is used only 37 times in 34 verses and, as I already stated, is much more purposeful in its use. If 2 Peter 3:9 were speaking of God's desires, the use of the word thelo would be a better choice. However, this was not the word used. Instead, Peter chose to use a much lesser used word that was synonymous with the purposeful and intentional will.

    I also have an interlinear Bible which gives the Greek, the KJV translation in the margin, and the literal translation in the other margin. This is what the literal translation says:

    The Lord is not slow (concerning) the promise, as some deem slowness, but is long-suffering toward us, not having purposed any (of us) to perish, but all (of us) to come to repentance.

    Once again, it all comes down to the purpose and intentional will of God and not merely His desires that may or may not come true. Let's look at the part that says "not having purposed any (of us) to perish, but all (of us) to come to repentance." The first part can be partially argued by one claiming that it only says God did not purpose any to perish. One could say that this verse says nothing about God decreeing that none would perish but rather states that God did not make a decree about it. This would make sense. However, the latter portion kills that theory. This is a 2 part equation and we must not fail to pay equal attention to both promises. While the first (when looked at by itself) may speak of either a decree or the lack thereof, the latter is much clearer and puts the former in perspective.

    God has purposefully decreed that all should come to repentance. If God has decreed that all should come to repentance, the first promise shows its true meaning. Out of compulsion, it can only mean that God has also decreed that none should perish. This is all the grammar allows for being that both parts are linked together by the same verb. God actively purposed that none should perish and God actively purposed that all should come to repentance.

    The problem here is that many who interpret this verse correctly (well, most of the way) tend to also interpret it as supporting Universalism. While they understand correctly the promise being made out of an intentional decree, they fail to understand the target audience. Many times over we see that Peter is writing to fellow believers. That is the "you" in the text. However, I've already covered this in previous posts so I won't beat a dead horse.

    The bottom line is this:

    Before the foundation of the world, God demonstrated His love toward us by purposing Christ to die (Romans 5:8) for those whom He would call (Romans 8:30). This was an intentional decree of His Will that none of His Elect would perish but that all would come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Until this promise is fulfilled, God is waiting patiently for His decree to unfold (2 Peter 3:9). Upon the completion of His promise, His patience will be set aside and judgment will come (2 Peter 3:10) to the mockers (2 Peter 3:3).
  13. Sorry, I'm back.

    Mr Rojocolo, I must insist we go back to what you previously said.

    "I love the NASB but they use this word as well. This is one instance where I agree with the KJV's translation because they are closer to a literal translation in their usage of the word "willing" instead of "wishing." "

    The KJV over the NASB, regarding the translation of this word.
    Otherwise the rendering of the sentence changes.

    You are a Calvinist through and through, Mr Rojocolo.

    For some the KJV is a "perfect" translation is it not.

    The some means Calvinists does it not.
  14. Actually, this is false on all counts (except for the fact that I am "a Calvinist through and through").

    I actually feel the NASB is more accurate than the KJV on most counts. Calvinists feel no loyalty toward any particular Bible. We tend to want one that is as accurate as possible (due to our belief of Sola Scriptura) but that is about as far as it goes. There are many reasons people choose Bibles. One may desire a Bible rooted in the Tyndale tradition. Others may desire a Bible that is word for word. Others may desire a Bible that is dynamic equivalent instead of formal equivalent. Others may desire a Bible that comes from the Augustinian family over the Byzantine family or vice versa.

    I love the NASB because it is rooted in the Tyndale tradition, is from the Augustinian family, and is a formal equivalent translation. However, it is not without its downsides in some areas. 2 Peter 3:9 is one of those areas where the KJV translators got it right. It isn't a matter of interpretation or deciding what word to use. The simple fact is that the NASB (and many others) simply got it wrong. They used a word that more closely matches thelos than boulomai. There was never one translator working on a Bible alone. There were large teams who often split up the books into sections. This is why within any given translation, there will be differences in style. It's because the individual people in charge of the section had their own style of work.

    Knowing the meaning of Greek words will do far more than any English translation ever will. The different versions do not change the meaning of the Greek word boulomai. The different versions simply change Peter's intent in his epistle. The Greek remains unchanging.
  15. Rojo there is nothing in the BLB lexicon you mentioned indicating "wishing" it merely references Strong's Greek dictionary. If you have any other sources please list them and substantiate your opinion.
  16. Try again.

    Mr Rojocolo, please provide your interpretation of the following passages from 2Peter.

    For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.

    For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them.
    It has happened to them according to the true proverb, "A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT," and, "A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire."

    For me this is simple. Shipwrecked Christians. Peter is warning who?
    Christians of course. Why? Because Peter like Paul has already witnessed Christians not being attentive to Jesus. They have seen the result, the wreckage.

    Even more so, "the last state has become worse for them than the first." This is the clinching phrase. They became worse after they rejected Jesus, having previously known Him.

    It is Mr Rojocolo, not possible to argue that these people did not know the Lord. They had escaped the defilements of the World.

    I challenge you Mr Rojocolo to attempt waive your Calvinist wand over these passages.
  17. I'm sick and tired of this debate of free will vs "election"
    If God have already His elects, why bother preaching to anyone? Will God fail to convert His "already" own?

    I believe the Bible teaches that everyone by free choice either chooses Hell or Heaven. That is plain meaning of whosoever believeth in John 3:16

    Now God already knows who will accept and who will reject His gift of Jesus death, but that is another issue altogether, His foreknowledge!
  18. I'll answer your first question with another question. 1 Corinthians 7:14 tells of the unbelieving spouse being sanctified through the faith of their believing spouse. Sanctification is obviously a term used in the ongoing result of salvation in the believer's life. Do you think this means the unbelieving spouse is saved by their believing spouse's faith or do you think there is an alternative answer? I opt for the latter.

    In much the same way, just because one escapes the defilements of the world does not mean they are necessarily saved any more than the unbelieving spouse is saved just because he/she is blessed in the household. Also, having a knowledge of God does not equate to having saving faith in God. This is evidenced in Matthew 7:21-23 where they claimed to have known Him yet Jesus tells them they never really did.

    Those mentioned in 2 Peter 2:20 are false converts and apostates. They were those who sought out religion, received a head knowledge of it, received blessings because of it, but never truly had saving faith from it. They were there for a season. They tasted the things of the Spirit and that which the Church as to offer (Hebrews 6:4) but never dedicated their lives to Jesus.

    This is evidenced by their return to the entanglements of the world. In fact, these types were spoken of in the parable of the seed and the sower. They were around for a time but eventually were overcome and entangled by the thorny vines. They were never born of God otherwise they would have overcome the world (1 John 5:4-5). They were never shown the grace of God otherwise they would have had the power to overcome sin. They had never been redeemed by God's grace (Ephsians 1:7). If they had been saved, they would have continued to work out their faith with fear and trembling, not because they had the power to do so themselves, but because God would have been at work in them (Philippians 2:12-13) and He has promised to complete that work which He has started (Philippians 1:6).

    As for why it would have been better for them to never have never known the things of God, this is easy. While ignorance is no excuse (hence the reason why even those who have never heard of Christ will still be accountable and go to Hell), it certainly is far worse for those who know and understand. As a parent, I was more lenient on my children when they were younger. Now that my son is about to start school, I am much more strict in my discipline with him. What I would not have spanked him for as an early toddler, I have no qualms about spanking for now simply because he knows better. Jesus gives us a perfect example of this same reasoning in Matthew 10:14-15 where he says it would be better for Sodom and Gomorrah, who never knew the truth, than for the city who hears it yet still rejects it.
  19. Because God has commanded us to. Need we any better reason?

    If left to us, we would freely choose Hell but no man will ever choose the way of righteousness out of his own doing.

    It says whosoever believes. It does not say everybody has an equal opportunity to believe. While I believe everybody has an equal opportunity, I do not believe anybody has the ability unless God opens their eyes to the Truth. Again, man freely chooses Hell but no man will ever choose Heaven. The only one who will ever do this is one who has first been regenerated by the Spirit, quickened by the Spirit, and compelled by the Spirit. You quoted John 3:16 but failed to read just 4 verses down to verse 20 where it tells you plain as day that while whoever believes can be saved, no man will believe on his own.

    Imagine being in a crowd of people who are loving life and abhor the thought of suicide. If I set up a noose and tell them whoever steps up to the rope will be hanged, how many people will do it? Obviously stepping up to the rope is the only way to be hanged and this will certainly happen if they do it. The opportunity is there. However, we both know that none of them will step up because they hate the very thought of it. Whosoever steps to the plate will receive their hanging yet no man will step to the plate because he hates the noose.

    And this makes God a bystander who watches things as they happen with no hand in the mix. Thankfully, I trust God to accomplish His task even if others try to subdue His plans. I am also thankful that I do not work for Him in my own power but trust that He will work through me (Philippians 2:13).
  20. Mr evstevemd.

    Mr evstevemd said,

    "I'm sick and tired of this debate of free will vs "election"
    If God have already His elects, why bother preaching to anyone? Will God fail to convert His "already" own?

    I believe the Bible teaches that everyone by free choice either chooses Hell or Heaven. That is plain meaning of whosoever believeth in
    John 3:16

    Now God already knows who will accept and who will reject His gift of Jesus death, but that is another issue altogether, His foreknowledge! "

    Dear Mr evstevemd I am not sure whether you are aware. You posted your opinion. If you are tired of debate, you do not have to read it. Nor do you have to post your view on election.

    This is not a personal debate. No one will be executed at the end of the debate. Rather it is interesting how others read the scripture.
    What assumptions they hold. Why they emphasise particular facets of the scripture.
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