Synergism, in general, may be defined as two or more agents working together to produce a result not obtainable by any of the agents independently. The word synergy or synergism comes from two Greek words, erg meaning to work and syn meaning together, hence synergism is a "working together."

Regarding the doctrine of salvation, this is essentially the view that God and humanity work together, each contributing their part to accomplish salvation in and for the individual. This is the view of salvation found in Arminianism and its theological predecessor Semi-Pelagianism. John Hendryx has stated it this way. Synergism is "...the doctrine that there are two efficient agents in regeneration, namely the human will and the divine Spirit, which, in the strict sense of the term, cooperate. This theory accordingly holds that the soul has not lost in the fall all inclination toward holiness, nor all power to seek for it under the influence of ordinary motives." ^[1]^

In other words, God has done His part, and humanity must do theirs. This is opposed to the monergistic view ^[2]^, held by Reformed, Calvinistic ^[3]^ ^[4]^ and Lutheran ^[5]^ groups where salvation is seen as the work of God alone.

A distinction is to be made, however, between Calvinism and Lutheranism. Calvin seems to have held that God's calling to faith is irresistible, and is the result, not of God's mercy and grace in Christ, but rather flows out of God's divine decree of election. ^[6]^. The Lutheran Church, however, holds that a person may choose to resist the work of the Holy Spirit. ^[7]^ ^[8]^

Notes

  1. ? http://www.monergism.com/what_is_monergism.php
  2. ? Ephesians 2:1-8, 1 Corinthians 1:29, 2 Corinthians 12:5, Jeremiah 9:23
  3. ? http://wikipedia.org/wiki/Westminster_Confession_of_Faith
  4. ? http://reformed.org/documents/westminster_conf_of_faith.html, chapter IX, Of Free Will
  5. ? http://bookofconcord/fc-sd.php, The Epitome of the Formula of Concord, II. Of Free Will
  6. ? http://reformed.org/documents/westminster_conf_of_faith.html, Chapter III, of God's Eternal Decree
  7. ? Acts 7:51-53
  8. ? http://bookofconcord/fc-sd.php, The Epitome of the Formula of Concord, Article XI, of God's Eternal Election, 12

See also