In discussing the monergistic (i.e. Calvinistic) approach to dealing with and contrasting the differences in beliefs between Mormons and monergists, I think it best to let monergists speak for themselves in terms of what they believe, and the scriptural basis for those beliefs. Leroy, a frequent visitor to this blog, has volunteered his own writings as a source of material to describe and defend the monergistic perspective. He has a web page here which describes his understanding of monergism, and gives some "prooftexts" to defend his perspective.
Monergism was formally articulated by John Calvin in the 16th century. Though its followers may assert the doctrines to be the original message of scripture, Calvin is recognized as the person who created the first comprehensive and systematic presentation of the doctrine in its current recognized clarity. A definition of monergism from monergism.com is as follows:
Monergism (monergistic regeneration) is a redemptive blessing purchased by Christ for those the Father has given Him (1 Pet 1:3, John 6:37, 39). This grace works independently of any human cooperation and conveys that power into the fallen soul whereby the person who is to be saved is effectually enabled to respond to the gospel call (Acts 2:39, 1 Cor 1:2, 9, 24, Rom 8:30 John 1:13, Acts 13:48). It is that supernatural power of God alone whereby we are granted the spiritual ability and desire to comply with the conditions of the covenant of grace; that is, to apprehend the Redeemer by a living faith, to come up to the terms of salvation, to repent of idols and to love God and the Mediator supremely. The Holy Spirit, in quickening the soul, mercifully capacitates and inclines God's elect to the spiritual exercise of faith in Jesus Christ (John 6:44, 1 John 5:1). This instantaneous and intensely personal work of God is the means by which the Spirit brings us into living union with Him.
Here are now Leroy’s comments from his web page, without editing of content, though I did have to paste several comments on the page together to get all of the T content:
T: For the purposes of God, in accordance with His Holiness and perfection, and for reasons that His creations will not know on Earth, beginning with the fall in original sin and the spiritual death of Adam and Eve, no one has been willing or able to do anything in accordance with righteousness. Everyone has inherited the spiritual death through Adam and is a natural enemy of God who does not seek God in spirit or truth and will not love God of his or her own natural will. We are dead. Our works are dead. Our philosophies, systems, desires, and imaginations are dead.
T: Total depravity and Total inability and Total unwillingness and Total reliance and Total dependence
T: Gen. 6:5, Gen. 6:11-12, Job 15:14-16, Psa. 14:1-3, Psa. 51:5, Psa. 58:3, Psa. 143:2, Prov. 5:22, Prov. 14:12, Prov. 20:9, Eccl. 7:20, Eccl. 7:29, Eccl. 9:3, Isa. 1:4-6, Isa. 44:18-20, Isa. 44:25-28, Isa. 48:8, Isa. 53:6, Isa. 64:6-7, Jer. 4:22, Jer. 9:5, Jer. 13:23, Jer. 17:1, Jer. 17:9, Matt. 7:18, Matt. 7:23, Matt. 12:34-35, Matt. 15:13, Mark 10:26-27, Luke 8:11-12, John 1:13, John 3:3, John 3:19-20, John 3:27, John 6:44, John 6:65, John 15:5, Rom. 1:18-32, Rom. 3:9-23, Rom. 5:12, Rom. 7:14, Rom. 8:5-8, Rom. 9:8, Rom. 11:8, Rom. 11:32, Rom. 14:23, 1 Cor. 2:14, 1 Cor. 15:21-22, Gal. 3:22-23, Eph. 2:1, Eph. 4:17-19, Phili. , 2 Tim. 4:3-4, Titus , Heb. 11:6, James , James , James , 1 John
T: Only by being set free by the Spirit can we freely will and act in righteousness. Regeneration precedes faith. Faith always follows regeneration. You must be born again to receive saving faith and no one is saved without faith. The unregenerate are under the law of sin and death and, making choices out of their own free will, never please God. They cannot believe because they always choose not to. Rebirth happens in an instant for the elect and is the sovereign act of God.
Let it never be said I did not try to be as supportive as possible of presenting the other side’s position. Of course I disagree with the premise that simply because men are capable and have committed sin, they are incapable of feeling the Spirit or choosing right or wrong.
The fundamental teaching of the Fall was that men are able to discern right from wrong, as the god’s are likewise able to do. Quoting God:
And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. (Genesis 3:22-23).
This point will be the basis of all argument by me. Namely, unless you can show me from scripture where God is quoted as saying, more or less,
“Behold, the man is
then scripture is explicit saying we do know good and evil. Emphasizing the lasting nature of that ability to choose, God has man driven into the world with that knowledge, to protect him from partaking of the Tree of Life and living forever. Until a Savior could be sent, if Adam were to live forever in his fallen state, he could never be brought back into the presence of God (1 Cor -22).
Such a change in doctrine, namely that man somehow lost his ability to discern good and evil, would require a definitive, authoritative exposition on the order of the change from the Law of Moses to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Or of circumcision of the flesh for circumcision of the heart. It must be a definite, contextually equivalent statement of superordination . I make this point explicit because it is not enough to simply say that we deduce such has happened because of our interpretation and application of certain verses of scripture.
This is where you will find me a highly conservative scriptural warrior. Time and again I encounter people who protest or criticize the
Such a position for me as an LDS believer in continuing revelation through the Holy Spirit and modern day prophets is actually defensible. I don’t see the scriptures as the only word on doctrine or theology. Even so, I am starting with the first definitive statement in the Bible on the will of men, their ability to choose good and evil, and I am laying down the gauntlet: Show me in scripture where this was changed, or admit monergism is a rational development based on a scriptural interpretation, and not a Biblical imperative.
If scripture is to be interpreted as the only authority in the area of theology, then your theological position must flow from precise statements of scripture, not your understanding of scripture from theological statements. If the Bible is the source, theology should just be a systematic explanation of what is, not the other way around.
So Genesis 3:22-23 is the place to start, in my mind.
Paul’s statements of “none do good” (Romans -18) or are righteous, or fear God must be understood in the context of Genesis . As I hear evangelicals so often say, use scripture to interpret scripture. Unless there is a definitive statement rebuking the agency of man, then Paul is writing in a clear understanding that men can choose to do good or evil, regardless of their fallen state. Likewise, looking beyond Paul's citations from the Old Testament to the actual scriptures he cites, it is clear from the scriptures that these are not saying there are not people capable of doing good, but rather that fallen man cannot save himself. Read Ecclesiatestes 7, Psalms 14, or Psalm 53; Psalm 5, Psalm 140, Psalm 10, Isaiah 59 and Proverbs 1, (Psalm67?) and Psalm 35. These are the most likely source verses for Paul’s quotations in Romans 3. Every one of the chapters, while making some blanket statements about there are no righteous or other such statement, also clearly says there are also righteous and good people out there.
On the other hand, Leroy cites Gen 6:5, 11-12 as support of the Total Depravity of man. Yet right there, right in the heart of the statements Leroy cites is this statement about Noah: "These [are] the generations of Noah:
Noah was a just man [and] perfect in his generations, [and] Noah walked with God." (Gen 6:9)
So even though it says that every imagination from the heart of men was evil (vs. 5), Noah, a man, was just and perfect, and even walked with God, whatever that means. In other words, there are still non-wicked people among mankind, and there is no teaching saying the evil being done was by monergistic nature versus their choice. Since we have no statement undoing Gen yet, Biblically I have to think the author of Genesis is in effect telling us the people are choosing evil. This would seem to be a more scripturally consistent reading in light of 1 Peter where those people of Noah's day are said to have been "disobedient", which clearly means they made a choice to do evil. In fact, the word Peter uses for “disobedient” means to resist being persuaded and to not obey. Again, it sounds like a choice to me, and in light of the context of Genesis 6, it seems to fit the text better than to assert they were evil because they were fallen and incapable of choosing to obey. According to Peter, they refused to allow themselves to be persuaded from their evil. (BTW, we will go through each “proof text” individually to verify their context and merit, and present those discussions for the reader.)
Paul was not teaching we cannot do good. He was teaching we do not have the ability to save ourselves. In Rom he says the whole world is guilty of sin because of the Law. But in verses 22-24, Paul makes this statement about for whom Christ’s righteousness is applied:
22 Even the righteousness of God [which is] by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Notice the two classes for whom Christ’s righteousness is applied:
1. Unto all
2. Upon all that believe
Why? Because as concerning sin, there is no difference whether you believe or not. As verse 23 reminds us, “All have sinned”. This is the restatement of Romans 2:11
11 For there is no respect of persons with God.
If God forgave some sins simply because of a random, unknowable criteria, then he would be a partial god, and in my view, a fallen god. He would be unjust. It would be the moral equivalent of “hate crimes” legislation, even though the transgression of the Law of Moses was about deeds. ‘Thou shall not’… types of statements, and when you did, you transgressed the Law. There was no penalty for not feeding the poor, and the standard for that was not laid out. You gave tithes and offerings, or you burned at the Lord’s coming. These were actions. Thus Paul also teaches (Romans -14) that when the gentile did by nature those things contained in the Law of Moses, they became a Law unto themselves. Transgressing those elements of the Law so discerned meant they committed an act of sin. Doers of the Law of Moses were Justified, and it was impossible to keep every element of the Law perfectly.
Paul then teaches that because of Christ’s atonement for the sins of the whole world, all are justified (Romans ). But he teaches that there are two types of faith working for Justification: The faith of the believer, which allows him to remain Justified, and the faith of Christ on behalf of the rest of the world. If after being justified by the Faith of Christ, the world casts him aside, then are they truly punished for actively rejecting the Savior, breaking the rules Christ instituted for the reception of saving grace. But they made a choice, or else Christ is a respector of Persons, not giving all an equal chance for salvation.
Mankind is fallen, and has a nature which wars against the things of God. But since the Fall, mankind is also able to discern Good and Evil. It is a false paradigm, in my view, to say on the one hand I am free any time I want to turn my car to the right, and then give me a care which is only capable of turning left or going straight. If man is incapable of comprehending or choosing good, he cannot be held accountable for the bad he does. But if he can choose good, then he must be able to obtain the same results as any other person potentially can obtain, or else God is a respecter of persons. God can certainly set the rules, and the fact he even provides for rules to be created is a great act of grace on his part.
In my opinion, TULIP would fall solely based on the false nature of this tenet of their theology. Sadly, all five elements of TULIP are false constructs, creating a net, as it were, of self-referencing false doctrine. Within the body of this post we can explore the supposed scriptural support for both points of view.
What say you?