Sanctification, Monergistic, or Synergistic?


Simply put, monergism is work that is done by one agent, while synergism is work that is done by two agents.  If you are a Christian you’ve probably heard of, and  perhaps thought about sanctification.  Sanctification is the effect of being set apart by God, for God.  In this process, He progressively conforms your will and behavior to His.  He does this work by the power of His Holy Spirit, who indwells the believer.  As an effect of this conforming work, the believer thinks and behaves differently than he did before God worked in him.  

I think part of the problem with this question is that people associate monergism with Calvinism.  Calvinists believe justification to be completely monergistic.  So when a Calvinist starts talking about sanctification tons of people just stop listening.  You might be surprised to know that many Calvinists think sanctification is synergistic.  

Having said that, I think if we consider where sanctification finds its origins we can be helped.  Think about the Bible for a moment.  It was written by God.  No Christians doubt this.  We know that He wrote it by using individual men.  These men had their own lives, with their own personalities, and experiences.  They made real choices and lived the consequences.  We also know that they wrote exactly what God wanted them to.  We also know that unless God determined for them to have the experiences, and lives that they had, we wouldn’t have the same Bible.  

We wouldn’t say that a pencil was synergistically responsible for a written work because it is not at all an agent equal to the author.  The literature did not find its origins in the pencil but in the mind of the author.  We would say that the author monergistically created the work of literature.  The problem is that our man-centered theology and thought process gets in the way of seeing how sanctification is no different.  Of course, we are used in the process of sanctification and it is being worked out on us and in us, thanks be to God.  His glory should be the primary focus of our lives because God is perfectly glorious.  We can’t equate ourselves with God.  When we elevate our stature and lower God’s, is when we assume synergism.  We are simply His creatures, part of His creation, that has sprung from His mind, that He is using to bring glory to Himself, which is the most loving thing He could do for us and to us.

So much like a baby in a crib, given that all things it needs are provided by God, it will grow according to the plan that God has laid out for it.  No force of its will can make it grow faster or slower.  Sanctification is like that process.  We are growing in faith, holiness, and knowledge of our own personal sin.  We are producing works in keeping with the Spirit.  Let’s not equate ourselves in err to God.  We are made in His image, but nonetheless, we are made.    

Our lives will end.

Our lives will end. The time we have, we are spending. It is up to us how we spend it, but once it is gone we cannot get it back. We can spend it being angry, sad, or hurt by our loved ones, or we can love them more than being angry, sad, or hurt. Nonetheless, the time will be gone and we will be remembered. If God is our master, wash the feet, endure the suffering. Jesus left the majesty of Heaven, to seek and save the lost. He washed the feet of sinful men whose sins He would suffer for on the cross. Our sins, on the cross of His suffering. Surely our loved ones have sinned and hurt us. We have sinned and hurt Jesus. What is our suffering compared to His? Forgive the broken sinful people in our lives, and love them more than we love our own anger, sadness, hurt, pain, and being victims. We are more than that, through Christ we are conquerors. He has won the victory in the war. Dear Christians, just keep fighting the battles. When we fall to the enemy’s tactics, remember Jesus. Repent, and get back in the fight against sin. We must give grace and mercy to our loved ones and all people who hurt us or make us feel like victims. Our time will be well spent, loving well.

1 Peter 4 (NASB) 1 Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 3 For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. 4 In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you; 5 but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.
7 The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. 8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Be hospitable to one another without complaint. 10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Share the Sufferings of Christ
12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. 14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; 16 but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner? 19 Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.

 

Hell.

lake-fire
Hell, being in the presence of the one true God, perfectly holy, pouring out His righteous and just wrath upon you, that of which you built up for yourself during your life. Where there is complete darkness. No hope of illuminating light. In the presence of God without hope of being in communion with Him. A bottomless pit, feeling that horror of a step missed before an eternal fall, perpetual descent in darkness. All that can be heard is the wailing and gnashing of teeth. All your fellow denizens suffering their own rewards for inequity for all eternity. A fire that burns your being that never consumes you, but persists in torturous torment. The next moment is worse than all before it. How long have you been here in this place? Has it been a moment? Has it been a year, or one thousand? Why didn’t you heed their warnings? Why did you believe some of them when they told you Hell was just a fairy tale, designed to make you behave? Your flesh is infested with crawling, wriggling worms feasting with no relent, no reprieve. If only the fire and the worms would consume you and bring your suffering to an end! No, this will not end. It will go on for eternity.

In an untormented mind, you reasoned with no reason that this could not be true! If God is real isn’t He supposed to be loving? So I’ve been told! He wouldn’t dare do this to me! Fool! God is also infinitely just and righteous. Your sins are against Him! How must an infinitely evil crime, against an infinite God be punished? Infinitely! From this hopeless estate there is no escape. There is no corner, nor hole to hide from the holy wrath of almighty God. No chance to recant of a false testimony against Him whose creation testified to you about Him continuously while you were alive. No repentance now from your willful rebellion against Him. O for relief from this unbearable attention! Heed this warning and let it settle in your mind! You know you deserve Hell. You know God is true. Repent before this becomes your fate! Put your faith in God in the flesh, Jesus the god-man, who worked atonement on the cross for you who would repent and believe in Him. He can cleanse you and clothe you in His righteousness. You can be eternally forgiven instead of condemned. For while you live in sin you are already under certain condemnation. Turn from your ways and turn from wrath. Turn towards Christ Jesus and His ways. Turn towards His glory and abide in Him.

The Hypocritical Statement of Target.

target

How can anyone look at their statement, and not see the extreme hypocrisy behind it?  This seems like a no-brainer to me.  Here is a quote from their site, “…Inclusivity is a core belief at Target. It’s something we celebrate. We stand for equality and equity, and strive to make our guests and team members feel accepted, respected and welcomed in our stores and workplaces every day…”  Let’s look a bit more closely at this.  First, they insist that “Inclusivity is a core belief at Target.”  Now remember, inclusivity is their justification for allowing men in the ladies’ room and women in the men’s room.  To most reasonable people inclusivity would imply that Target allows everyone from every walk of life to shop at their stores without prejudicial treatment.  They provide public restrooms for their patrons to relieve themselves.  So to be true to their policy, they should either do away with restrooms, offer only a universal public restroom, or offer separate restrooms for every type of pseudo-gender that any insane person identifies as.  Those are pretty much your options if you insist on identifying as, “inclusive.”

The first solution is not practical.  As part of good customer service people expect to have access to a public restroom.  The second option would be fine, but they would have to have several separate, self-contained unisex bathrooms, that only could be occupied by one person at a time, each.  This is not as burdensome and impractical as the last option.  In that case, every time someone imagined a new gender, Target would have to install and label a new restroom just for their newly sinfully imagined gender.  The sin addled mind is incapable of making righteous use of reason.

Of course, there is the fourth option.  They could just do what they are doing right now.  They are taking the discriminatory, bigoted, hateful, intolerant, exclusive, and hypocritical approach. They force the 99.8% of the public, who identify as either male or female to fall in line with the new morality.  Which by the way, is neither new nor moral.

Here is another quote from their site, “…We believe that everyone—every team member, every guest, and every community—deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally. Consistent with this belief,Target supports the federal Equality Act, which provides protections to LGBT individuals, and opposes action that enables discrimination…”  They say that they believe in absolutes.  You can see this when they say, “everyone, every team member, every guest, and every community.”  but this isn’t what they really mean.  Sure they say it and it sounds good, but it isn’t the truth.  They are lying to us.  It is impossible to do what they are saying.  When you have communities with world views that make mutually exclusive statements, you can’t equally affirm them all.  Ultimately you will affirm some of them over the others, and that is what Target has done.  they are affirming the anti-Christian, secular, satanic, sinful, destructive, death culture worldview, over its antithesis.  In so doing, they have prejudicially discriminated against all who oppose the worldview they affirm and have acted to exclude them from consideration in regards to their beliefs.  They have upheld the beliefs of the perverse over the moral and called it good while denigrating anyone who criticizes them as evil.

The left has created this insane notion that reality doesn’t matter and there is no absolute truth.  It is obvious that there are only two genders.  The problem is that we should have never engaged them in the conversation or used their terminology.  It should still be considered a crime for a man to go into the ladies’ room.  It should be a crime to do a sex change surgery.  It should definitely be against the Hippocratic oath.

Since we allowed the discussion, we somehow gave some sense of legitimacy to their argument.  As soon as this issue came forward we should have laughed in their faces, refused to discuss it, kept things the way they were, and walked away.

I get it.  Sinful people are hurting.  They need real help.  Not this insanity.  You don’t give a suicidal person a knife.  We have to do what is good for crazy people because they aren’t competent enough to know what is good for them or to want it.  They need to be regenerated by God and saved from their sins.  They need counseling and help not mutilation by surgeon.  Most of all they need Jesus.

Earth Day? Christian say what!?

burning earth
This really bothers me.  I know many Christians who seem to be obsessed with the environment and the ethics of how we treat animals.  I wonder if they are worshipping an idol?  Sometimes, in some cases, it sure seems that way.  I remember reading in the Bible…  That is God’s word, in case, some of you don’t recognize that is what we believe about it.  I know that has come into  question with some of our more liberal and green brothers and sisters.  Anyways, I remember God saying in His word, that He would destroy the earth with fire.  (1 Peter 3:3-18, Revelation 21:1-4)  So settle down and relax.  We aren’t going to ruin the joint.

Matter of fact, God put it under a curse just like us after the fall.  He wants us to conquer the Earth.  He wants us to subdue it.  It is intended for us to utilize its resources for the glory of God, by reducing human suffering, and increasing human flourishing.  Think about it.  Places where the Earth has been subdued, have roads, clean water, agriculture that produces animals for meat, and plants for food, electricity to light our nights, to power our machines, to warm us in winter, and cool us in summer, education which brings forth medicines and advances in the medical arts, culture, and so on.  If that isn’t good for human flourishing I dare you to take your unwashed hippy dippy slappy happy hind end out into the wilderness with no provisions from modern life, and survive for five years with no outside help.  Then let me know how well you flourished and helped others to flourish while reducing human suffering.  It ain’t gonna happen skippy.  Nope, the places around the Earth where human suffering is the greatest are the places that have not been subdued in any way.  If there were no electric heat or lights in McMurdo at the south pole there would be no human life there.

I’m not telling people to be careless with what we are entrusted.  I’m just telling them to stop worshipping the creation instead of the Creator.  Of course, we don’t foolishly strip mine, or cut an entire forest down without replanting trees.  Of course, we don’t pollute the air so badly that it poisons the water, soil, and plants for generations.  If people are suffering because we are afraid of ruining the breeding habitat of an owl, we move the owls and use the land.  If we can’t move the owls, I guess they have to die to make a better place for people.  Owls, after all, are not created in God’s image.  When it comes down to plants and animals versus humans, we always need to go with what will cause human flourishing and reduce human suffering.  These glorify God.  

1 Peter 3:3-18

3Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 4and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” 5For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, 6through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. 7But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

     8But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 9The 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.

     10But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.

     11Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! 13But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.

     14Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, 15and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, 16as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. 17You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, 18but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Revelation 21:1-4

1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. 2And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, 4and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”

A Review of the 2015 Amplified Bible in Paperback, from Zondervan

443905
Instead of going through and listing several changes between the older Amplified Bible and the new for 2015 Updated Amplified Bible, I decided just to show one as a brief example.  Then I will explain some pros and cons.  The verse we are going to look at is 1 John 3:9.

First we’ll look at the familiar KJV.

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

[1 John 3:9 KJV]

Now the NASB.

No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

[1 John 3:9 NASB]

Next, the old version of the Amplified.

“No one born (begotten) of God [deliberately, knowingly, and[a]habitually] practices sin, for God’s nature abides in him [His principle of life, the divine sperm, remains permanently within him]; and he cannot practice sinning because he is born (begotten) of God.”

The same verse in the 2015 Amplified.

“No one who is born of God [deliberately, knowingly, and habitually] practices sin, because [a]God’s seed [His principle of life, the essence of His righteous character] remains [permanently] in him [who is born again—who is reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, and set apart for His purpose]; and he [who is born again] cannot habitually[live a life characterized by] sin, because he is born of God and longs to please Him.”

SBL Greek, “1 John 3:9 (SBL NT) πᾶς ὁ γεγεννημένος ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ ἁμαρτίαν οὐ ποιεῖ, ὅτι σπέρμα αὐτοῦ ἐν αὐτῷ μένει, καὶ οὐ δύναται ἁμαρτάνειν, ὅτι ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ γεγέννηται.” Pas ho gegennamenos ek ton theou amartian ou poiei, hoti sperma autou en auto menei, kai ou dunatai hamartanein, hoti ek tou theou gegennetai.  Anyone having been born of God sin not practices because seed of him in him abides and not he is able to continue sinning because of God has been born.

Now after looking at all of those versions for comparison you might have noticed a few differences.  In the KJV the Greek word, “ποιεῖ (poiei)” is being translated as, “commit” when it more accurately means, “practice.”  So all of the other versions have a more accurate translation of the first part of this verse.  What is inside the []’s in the Amplified translations is added commentary that is put in line with the Biblical text.  It is not the actual translation.  So the added, “[deliberately, knowingly, and habitually]” is intended to help you understand what is meant by, “…practices sin…”  

The KJV renders the next part as, “…for his seed remaineth in him:…”  The NASB is pretty similar with, “…because His seed abides in him;…” And then the old Amplified has, “…for God’s nature abides in him [His principle of life, the divine sperm, remains permanently within him];…”  This caused some people to get a bit testy.  I think the 2015 fixed the problem by changing their comments to, “because God’s seed [His principle of life, the essence of His righteous character] remains [permanently] in him [who is born again—who is reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, and set apart for His purpose];” but in my opinion added another problem, that being excessive commentation.  Finally, the last part of the verse is the same in the KJV and the NASB.  “…because he is born of God…”  and the old Amplified, “… because he is born (begotten) of God.” 

and the 2015, “…because he is born of God and longs to please Him…”  Now here is a problem that might not be evident at first.  Notice that there are no brackets around, “and longs to please Him.”  These words are not in the Greek, KJV, or the NASB.  They are added as if they are part of the translation.  There is no notation to let you know they are added text.  Now perhaps the people who compiled the 2015 Amplified meant to put them in brackets, but didn’t.  Nevertheless, it is a cause for concern.  

Having brought your attention to these things, I think it is prudent to say that I can give a qualified recommendation for this Bible.  I would recommend it for mature Christians who understand textual criticism, and want some insights into the translation process.  I wouldn’t recommend this for Christians who have no understanding of textual criticism.  False teachers are always going to find some way to twist the Bible around to make it say what they want.  People who say the Amplified version is a responsible are placing the blame on the translation and not the false teacher.  I think the Amplified might be helpful as a side Bible for comparison, but I wouldn’t use it for a study Bible.  I also wouldn’t use it to read from as the added text causes some discontinuity.  

The Bible itself is a paperback with a hybrid binding.  The paper is fairly opaque, for the cost, and the print is uniform and clear.  It is arranged in a double column, paragraph format.  There are notes at the bottom of the page.  The page numbers appear at the top outside corner of the pages with the book name, chapter, and verse range.  There are section headings in bold type.  The expanded text shows up in brackets in line with the text [like this] see how that works?  The hybrid binding and creased cover allow this Bible to open well considering the fact that it is not a sewn binding.  I wouldn’t count on this Bible lasting a long time as a daily reader because of the construction.  It is a value line type of Bible.  The most expensive binding I found this in was an imitation leather, so it isn’t exactly meant to be a durable product.  

Here is a link to the Lockman page for this Bible, The Amplified Bible is a Literal Equivalent translation that, by using synonyms and definitions, both explains and expands the meaning of words in the text by placing amplification in parentheses, brackets, and after key words. This unique system of translation allows the reader to more completely and clearly grasp the meaning as it was understood in the original languages. Additionally, amplifications may provide further theological, historical, and other details for a better understanding of the text.

Here is a blurb from a Christianbook.com

Product Description

If you want to get all the rich nuances of the original Bible languages, the Amplified Bible is for you. No working knowledge of Greek or Hebrew is required—just a desire to know more about what God says in his Word. With its unique system of brackets, parentheses, and italics, the Amplified Bible defines and expands key words and phrases right in the text. Verse by verse, the deeper meaning behind the message of Scripture unfolds as you read.

This updated edition of the Amplified Bible is even easier to read and better than ever to study and understand. It includes more amplification in the Old Testament and refined amplification in the New Testament. Additionally, the Bible text has been improved to read smoothly with or without amplifications, so that the text may be read either way. It’s the same feel and style of study material that you expect from the Amplified Bible–now with even clearer wording for deeper understanding

Now available in a more portable size, the Amplified Bible is perfect for an on-the-go lifestyle. Whether you are headed to class, to church, to a coffee shop, or on a trip around the globe, the Amplified Bible can travel with you.

Features

  • Complete Amplified Text
  • Thin, portable size
  • 8.50″ x 5.50″

Product Information

Format: Paperback

Number of Pages: 1440

Vendor: Zondervan

Publication Date: 2015

Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 X 1.25 (inches)

ISBN: 0310443903

ISBN-13: 9780310443902

Availability: In Stock

Text Layout: Double Column

Text Color: Black Letter

Text Size: 8 Point

Thumb Index: No

Ribbon Marker: No

Spine: Glued

Page Gilding: None

Page Edges: White

A Review of, “Answering Jihad” by Nabeel Qureshi

ansjihad
The full title of the book is, “Answering Jihad A Better Way Forward.” The majority of the book is a concise primer on Islam, and some of its doctrines. It also briefly juxtaposes some facets of Islam with corresponding aspects Christianity.

The big question, in my summation, that it answered definitively was, “Do the authoritative founding documents of Islam prescribe violence as an integral part of the practice of Islam?” It would seem that the answer is, “Yes.” He also answers another question that has got our liberal friends in a tizzy, “Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God?” Of course, this is simply answered with a resounding, “No.” by people like me. Qureshi does answer in the negative but is more diplomatic with his response. He takes some time addressing why some people might think that they do. He also explains why some Christians from other countries might use the word, “Allah” as an interchangeable word for God. As an American, this would never enter my mind, so it was interesting to learn why it would happen in other countries. Nonetheless, we should answer the liberals in this nation with a, “No.” He explains how similar does not equate to same. It is not enough to have some similar attributes and then coincidentally make it consequential.

Nabeel Qureshi takes just enough time to flesh out the truth, without weighing the reader down with minutia. He utilizes a writing style that the layman will be comfortable with while maintaining accuracy. It is a quick read, that can be read in a day. It is a good resource to hand to friends who may have new Muslim co-workers or neighbors. I agree with Qureshi’s conclusion that the best way forward is friendship, not fear. If we can take the time to understand where they are coming from, and then invite them into our culture, it would go a long way to improving relations with the moderate muslims of the world. With the help of men like Qureshi we can also spot the Muslims who are educated in the founding documents of Islam and are engaging in the prescribed violence from the quran and hadiths.

I recommend this book as a primer. Definitely, get a copy for yourself, and then give it to anyone who would be in a position to befriend muslims. I would look for any other books this author might have coming out in the future.

 

ISBN-13: 9780310531388