Total Depravity 2
Complementary and concurrent with the foundational Solas of the Protestant Reformation are the Doctrines of Grace contained in what is commonly referred to as Reformed Theology. Reformed Theology, so called because it is the theology (study of God) emerging from the Protestant Reformation, best reflects the teaching of Scripture regarding the plight of sinful man and salvation of the same by God alone. At the heart of Reformed Theology is the question of how sinful man is made acceptable before a righteous God.
Throughout church history there have been two main mutually exclusive viewpoints that seek to answer the questions surrounding God’s sovereign grace and how it is applied to sinful man: Monergism and Synergism.
Monergism (one working) articulates that God saves sinners without their cooperation. Salvation is solely a work of God. God chooses, redeems, regenerates and reconciles the sinner enabling them to repent of their sin and to respond to God’s invitation by God given faith. The sole motivation for this work of God is His sovereign and benevolent grace. God’s grace (unmerited favor and mercy towards the sinner) does not eliminate repentance and faith at conversion but rather enables the sinner to exercise repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.
Synergism (working together) articulates that salvation not only involves human cooperation but is dependent upon it. While God initiates salvation, the realization of one’s need for such salvation from God depends upon human choice. One of the more common perspectives explains that “God’s election of sinners depends on his foreknowledge of who would respond and that entering and remaining in God’s favor are made possible but not assured by grace.” The ongoing debate between Monergism vs. Synergism is depicted in the Jan/Feb. 2012 issue of Modern Reformation magazine.
The Doctrines of Grace are (1) Total Depravity; (2) Unconditional Election; (3) Limited Atonement; (4) Irresistible (Effectual Grace); (5) Perseverance (Preservation) of the Saints. The Doctrines of Grace clearly consistently speak of a biblical and monergistic saving work by God on behalf of sinners.
The examination of the five biblical Doctrines of Grace is for greater understanding of their content and meaning, the removal of common misunderstandings and misconceptions, greater clarity in the content of the gospel, along with fostering a greater love and appreciation for all that God has accomplished solely through our Savior Jesus Christ.