I cannot stress the importance of understanding what is at stake here in this debate. Many believers set this debate aside as a “non-issue” or that we’re just arguing over theological semantics that have no real significance in the believers life. What is at stake is a correct and truthful understanding of 1) man, 2) God, and 3) how a person is saved, which inevitably affects your Gospel presentation.
What you believe concerning these things has ramifications in your life all across the board in regard to your dictation of the Gospel to unbelievers, what you believe about God, and how you live out what you believe in your life, just to name a few. It has to do with coming to a true, scriptural understanding of our nature as humans being so exceedingly corrupt and God’s unsurpassable holiness, justice, love, mercy, grace, perfection, sovereignty, and righteousness.
This is one of the best responses against synergism I have read. John Hendryx does an excellent, loving, and tactful job of presenting synergism for what it is: holding up man’s will over against God’s will (which isn’t this the very thing that caused the fall to begin with?). It’s a little long, but well worth the read, so print it out if you need to.
To sum up the issues in a very generalized manner, synergism states that man cooperates with God in the regeneration (born again) process, that faith precedes regeneration; and monergism states that there is no cooperation between God and man until God regenerates the soul, that regeneration precedes faith (i.e. gives us the eyes to see, the ears to hear, removes our heart of stone and replaces it with a heart of flesh).
If you haven’t figured out where my convictions lie, I believe in monergistic regeneration. My personal subjective experience backs this up too. I have no other explanation for the change that occurred in my life. It was literally an overnight change (ask my dad, brother, or anyone else that knew me at that time). I pursued drugs and wickedness of all kinds, and yet in the midst of those very things I found myself strangely drawn to scripture where God unlocked my chains and set my soul free from the destructiveness of being enslaved to sin and self, even in the midst of drug use (Ephesians 2:1-3)!
We are so in need of God and His Spirit, in real, personal fellowship with Him. If we were to see our true selves as we actually are, we would be appalled beyond words, on our knees trembling in fear of God at how far we really fall short in the light of His infinite holiness. But we are so blinded by our sin that we can’t see that we’re sinful. I have no righteousness of my own. I can boast in nothing but the cross of Christ. Thank God that Jesus came into this world to live the life we couldn’t live, die the death we should die, and rose from the grave by the power of God, just as we will if we believe in Him for salvation. Thank You Father that You did not spare Your only Son but gave Him up for us all …