“God doesn’t need me to round up the Elect. But He gives me the unspeakable privilege of participating in this work of redemption.” R. C. Sproul, Amazing Grace (DVD)
Arminians must be asleep at the wheel. I’ve not seen the primary problem of monergism explored and discussed anywhere. The primary problem with monergism is that, in this time of crushing unemployment, monergism puts so many people out of work. I took a film crew through Bible Land, interviewing various people thrown out of their jobs by this doctrine.
In Corinth, I interviewed two laid-off teachers, Paul and Apollos. In a muted tone, Paul shared with us, “I used to have a good job planting, My buddy Apollos had a good job watering. We trusted God for the increase and things were good. (I Cor 3:6) Then this guy Calvin comes along and stirs things up. Now we learn it’s all God. We weren’t accomplishing anything.”
Apollos chimed in. “Yeah, when this Calvin guy started saying that God did it all, I sort of bought into it. I mean, we always knew that planting and watering didn’t accomplish anything unless God gave the increase, but the full implications of this monergism thing kind of snuck up on our blind side. That we didn’t really contribute anything at all.”
“Yeah,” Paul interjected, “we didn’t see that coming.”
Their despondent tone made me uncomfortable enough to try and say something encouraging to them: “Yeah, but God uses means. Your work had value.”
Paul snorted. “When you were a kid, I mean a little kid, did you ever slog around in your Dad’s huge sandals pretending to be your Dad? For years, I saw this in my mind as a picture of a baby believer. Now I realize there’s no such thing as an adult believer. Slogging around in Dad’s shoes pretending you’re doing Dad things is all there is. “
Not everyone put out of work by monergism was as dispirited as Paul and Apollos. Ezekiel, an out-of-work prophet, actually classed himself as Fun-Employed, a term denoting enjoyable unemployment. When we approached Ezekiel, he was sipping a poolside Pina Colada. “Yeah, prophecy used to be a high pressure job before I discovered monergism, I was always worried about blood on my hands if I didn’t tell people what God wanted me to tell them. (Ezek 3:17-21) Then I saw the light. How can I have blood on my hands when it’s 100% God? Monergism, what a gas! I realized my labor in the Lord was inconsequential. I was finally freed to just enjoy life. Thank you, John Calvin!” he smiled as he lifted his glass in a toast.
In Jerusalem, we found an interviewee with a position midway between forlorn and Fun-Employed. Calling himself numerous, colorful names during the interview– Lucifer, Prince of Darkness, the Enemy, Beezelbub—he shared his story with wistful acceptance. “Yeah, I was angry when I first discovered monergism. I mean, I’d spent all those years stealing seed planted by the Sower (Matt 13:19 ) or blinding the eyes of believers (II Cor 4:4) that I later find out are corpses who couldn’t have chosen God anyway. I was mad! Madder than hell, at first. But I got over it. I still keep myself busy doing stuff I’m permitted to do, but who likes being a puppet? It sort of takes the joy out of afflicting and oppressing people when you know you’re just being used for Somebody else’s purposes; especially someone who hates your guts. I find myself watching a lot of TV, especially Duck Dynasty. I really like that close family thing they’ve got going. I was so busy working on my career, I never took time to build a family of my own. Yeah, I like Duck Dynasty a lot.”