James White and Tom Ascol were going to debate Ergun and Emir Caner on Baptists and Calvinism back in the Fall of 2006. However, it never happened, for whatever reason (you decide (1), (2)). So White and Ascol decided to put together this audio clip with their opening statements for the debate that never was, as well as rebuttals to statements the Caner’s have made leading up to the debate. They give the Caner’s a fair look by playing audio clips from their sermons pertaining to Calvinism. Then White and Ascol respond to their statements. Very good …
Even though I could go through and give arguments for each of the five points, I believe this is much more helpful. This debate cuts directly through to the core of the matter. Many believers who know and love Christ disagree on Calvinism and its tenets, but the heart of the debate can be summed up in the debate between the theological system of monergism and synergism and nothing more. Though these may seem like high and lofty words, used merely by scholars to define doctrinal systems, just bear with me for a moment because these concepts are not difficult at all: synergism is essentially the idea that “faith arises out of an inherent capacity of the natural man,” (Hendryx) or in other terms, that faith is produced by our unregenerated (i.e. sin bound) human nature, that man cooperates with God in salvation and more specifically in regeneration; and monergism is the idea that God alone does the work in salvation, having provided everything necessary to save His people, and that our faith in Christ is simply the result of a newly regenerated heart. Or simply put in a question format, does man cooperate with God in salvation, or is it God’s work alone? When two people hear the Gospel, why does one person believe while another doesn’t? Your answer to these questions reveals your system of doctrines on the nature of God, man, sin, election, regeneration, faith, justification, sanctification, as well as many other doctrines. And though many think these two opposing concepts to be mere hair-splitting over theological differences, these really do have larger ramifications in the areas of personal sanctification, evangelism, prayer, ministry philosophy, teaching/preaching, and many other areas. This is indeed a very important debate and much is at stake for the Gospel and ultimately God’s glory. And the main question we must answer is, what does the Word of God teach concerning these things?
Here I’ve listed what I feel are some very important articles addressing this subject with substantial Scripture references, and I ask you to take some time and read them, study the Scriptures mentioned, and determine it for yourself. I really do believe (speaking from experience of course) that once you understand and see that monergism is the more Biblical of the two positions, you will be drawn deeper into worship of the Almighty God, and stand in awe at your own unworthiness and His great might, power, and mercy to save His people from the consequences of sin and reconcile them to Himself (the latter being the greatest of all the blessings of salvation).
Two Views of Regeneration (A Very Helpful Chart)
Monergism vs. Synergism – John Hendryx
The Work of the Trinity in Monergism – John Hendryx
Monergism – Synergism Debate – Hendryx vs. Moser
Responding to Critics of Monergism – Hendryx
Regeneration Precedes Faith – R.C. Sproul