Monergism

by J.I. Packer

In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” JOHN 3:3

Regeneration is a New Testament concept that grew, it seems, out of a parabolic picture-phrase that Jesus used to show Nicodemus the inwardness and depth of the change that even religious Jews must undergo if they were ever to see and enter the kingdom of God, and so have eternal life (John 3:3-15). Jesus pictured the change as being “born again.”

The concept is of God renovating the heart, the core of a person’s being, by implanting a new principle of desire, purpose, and action, a dispositional dynamic that finds expression in positive response to the gospel and its Christ. Jesus’ phrase “born of water and the Spirit” (John 3:5) harks back to Ezekiel 36:25-27, where God is pictured as symbolically cleansing persons from sin’s pollution (by water) and bestowing a “new heart” by putting his Spirit within them. Because this is so explicit, Jesus chides Nicodemus, “Israel’s teacher,” for not understanding how new birth happens (John 3:9-10). Jesus’ point throughout is that there is no exercise of faith in himself as the supernatural Savior, no repentance, and no true discipleship apart from this new birth.
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We took the gloves off today a bit, but remained within bounds for brothers in the Lord, as Michael and I debated again on the DL. Accusations of a “schizophrenic God” and “robots” came up, which surprised me a little, but that’s OK, at least we got down to some brass tacks, so to speak, in examining the foundations upon which we stand in examining the Scriptures. I got the distinct feeling that some of my more famous internet stalkers, including some who call themselves Reformed (but spend most of their time opposing divine election and the perfection of Christ’s atonement) had gotten in touch with Dr. Brown. In any case, here is the second half of the debate.

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Monergism vs. Synergism

by Jason Moore on March 27, 2010

James White and Michael Brown discuss John 6, Romans 8-9, Ephesians 1 in a debate between Calvinism & Arminianism. Here is the program.

“…I suppose it is the classical Calvinist/Arminian debate, but I prefer the monergism/synergism description myself….” – James White

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