Pelagianism: A Monergist Model of Redemption

, posted by Martin Glynn

“Pelagianism? Monergist? Martin, I think you need to recheck your definitions.”

No, it’s true! For those that read mostly internet Calvinist literature, the word “monergism” is understood to be synonymous with determinism. However, the term specifically means that only one party’s actions (energy) matters within the processes of redemption and sanctification. The process involves two parties: God and the human. Therefore, monergism is any belief system that views either party as the only effective actor within the process, whether it be God (Calvinism/Augustinianism) or the human (Pelagianism).

Therefore, it strikes me as odd that many Calvinists seem to celebrate monergism as if the concept alone justifies the superiority of Calvinism. The truth of the matter is, it seems to me, that most Calvinists simply think monergistically. Many believe that it must be God or humanity, and if we are not saying God, that that amounts to saying it is humanity. That just isn’t true.

Here is the truth of the matter:

  • Pelagianism: Monergistic: Believes that the human initiates and completes the process of redemption and sanctification by living the kind of life modeled by Christ.
  • Semi-pelagianism: Synergistic: Believes that the human initiates the process of redemption, but it is completed through the assistance of God and Christ’s redemptive sacrifice
  • Semi-augustianism (Arminianism): Synergistic: Believes that God initiates the process of redemption, and completes it within those humans that respond to His initial promptings.
  • Augustinianism (Calvinism) :Monergistic: Believes that God initiates and completes the process of redemption and sanctification of a few select persons.

Those that celebrate “Monergism” and condemn “Synergism” do so without fully understanding the terms. Both Pelagianism (a monergistic theology) and Semi-pelagianism (a synergistic theology) are just as heretical, and both Augustianism (a monergistic theology) and Semi-augustinianism (a synergistic theology) fall comfortably within the boundaries of orthodoxy.

See the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church to collaborate definitions of terms

For original post, see here.