Archive for September 23rd, 2007

Mike Ratliff has written an excellent post on “Limited Atonement” which you can read here. I consider it to be excellent because Mike is clearly concerned about presenting a balanced and fair explanation of not only the monergist/synergist debate but also strives to show how monergism allows for man’s free will when understood against the backdrop of his earlier post on “unconditional election”. He concludes with a summary statement that I am in full agreement with:

The doctrines of grace is a Soteriological view that is highly misunderstood, even by many Calvinists. Many have a tendency to remove Man’s Responsibility to believe and repent to the point of not offering the Gospel freely to all. To do that is the result of dishonest interpretation of clear Biblical texts. On the other hand, most Synergists’ Soteriological views remove the Sovereignty of God and seem to elevate man to that position. Can you see how each extreme is out of balance? The correct view of our incredible Salvation is one in which God is glorified and man cannot boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Amen! I think Mike has gone a long ways towards helping both sides to see that we are alot closer in our beliefs than sometimes the “extreme” viewpoints would have us believe. I heartily concur with his statement:

I believe that many of the Synergistic and Monergistic disputes are born from prideful arguments that have little to do with describing and defining the truth.

Towards glorifying God and not allowing man to boast, and also in the interests of promoting synergy across “many aisles” I thought the following might be of interest to those who wonder what our Catholic friends have to say about the subject of faith. They also attempt to balance God’s sovereign role in faith with man’s free will:

Faith is a Grace

When St. Peter confessed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, Jesus declared to him that this revelation did not come “from flesh and blood,” but from “my Father who is in heaven.” Faith is a gift of God, a supernatural virtue infused by him. “Before this faith can be exercised, man must have the grace of God to move and assist him; he must have the interior helps of the Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and converts it to God, who opens the eyes of the mind and ‘makes it easy for all to accept and believe the truth.’”

Faith is a human act

Believing is possible only by grace and the interior helps of the Holy Spirit. But it is no less true that believing is an authentically human act. Trusting in God and cleaving to the truths he has revealed are contrary neither to human freedom nor to human reason.

In faith, the human intellect and will cooperate with divine grace: “Believing is an act of the intellect assenting to the divine truth by command of the will moved by God through grace.”

Faith and Understanding

What moves us to believe is not the fact that revealed truths appear as true and intelligible in the light of our natural reason: we believe “because of the authority of God himself who reveals them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived.”

Interesting isn’t it? What divides us is, in many cases, inconsequential to what should be uniting us, our mutual faith in our one Lord and Savior who made it possible for us to be reconciled to God.

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