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."

In Calvinism, "synergism" is used pejoratively to describe the Arminian doctrine of salvation, although many Arminians would disagree with the characterisation. According to Calvinists, synergism is the view that God and man work together, each contributing their part to accomplish regeneration in and for the individual. John Hendryx, a leading Calvinist thinker, 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." [ [ What is Monergism?] ] Arminians, especially of the Wesleyan tradition, might respond with the criticism that Hendryx has merely provided a description of semi-Pelagianism, and they recognize that grace precedes any cooporation of the human soul with the saving power of God.

In other words, God has offered salvation, and man must receive it. This is opposed to the monergistic view as held by Reformed or Calvinistic groups in which objects of God's election participate in, but do not contribute to, the salvific or regenerative processes. Classical Arminians and most Wesleyans would consider this a straw man description, as they have historically affirmed the Reformed doctrine of total depravity. To this, Hendryx replies by asking the following question: "If two persons receive prevenient grace and only one believes the gospel, why does one believe in Christ and not the other? What makes the two persons to differ? Jesus Christ or something else? And that 'something else' is why Calvinists believe Arminians and other non-Augustinian groups to be synergists." Regeneration, in this case, would occur only when the unregenerate will cooperates with God's Spirit to effectuate redemption. To the Monergist, faith does not proceed from our unregenerate human nature. If faith precedes regeneration, as it does in Arminianism, then the unregenerate person must exercise faith in order to be regenerated.

Synergism is also an important part of the theology of the Eastern Orthodox Church.


ee also

*Eastern Orthodoxy
*Regeneration (theology)

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  • Synergism — Syn er*gism, n. [See {Synergetic}.] (Theol.) The doctrine or theory, attributed to Melanchthon, that in the regeneration of a human soul there is a co[ o]peration, or joint agency, on the part both of God and of man. [1913 Webster] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • synergism — synergism. См. синергизм. (Источник: «Англо русский толковый словарь генетических терминов». Арефьев В.А., Лисовенко Л.А., Москва: Изд во ВНИРО, 1995 г.) …   Молекулярная биология и генетика. Толковый словарь.

  • synergism — index collusion, synergy Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • synergism — UK US /ˈsɪnədʒɪzəm/ noun [C or U] COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT ► SYNERGY(Cf. ↑synergy) …   Financial and business terms

  • synergism — 1650s, theological doctrine that human will cooperates with divine grace in regeneration, from Mod.L. synergismus, from Gk. synergos working together (see SYNERGY (Cf. synergy)). Used in a broader (non theological) sense by 1925 …   Etymology dictionary

  • synergism — [sin′ər jiz΄əm] n. [ModL synergismus < Gr synergos, working together: see SYNERGY] 1. the simultaneous action of separate agencies which, together, have greater total effect than the sum of their individual effects: said esp. of drugs 2. the… …   English World dictionary

  • synergism — Synergy Syn er*gy, n. [Gr. ?. See {Synergetic}.] 2. Combined action; especially (Med.), the combined healthy action of every organ of a particular system; as, the digestive synergy. [1913 Webster] 2. An effect of the interaction of the actions of …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • synergism — sinergizmas statusas T sritis chemija apibrėžtis Dviejų medžiagų aktyvumo padidėjimas jas sumaišius. atitikmenys: angl. synergism rus. синергизм …   Chemijos terminų aiškinamasis žodynas

  • synergism — sinergizmas statusas T sritis augalininkystė apibrėžtis Bet kokių dviejų veiksnių bendro veikimo sustiprėjimas. atitikmenys: angl. synergism rus. синергизм …   Žemės ūkio augalų selekcijos ir sėklininkystės terminų žodynas

  • synergism — noun Etymology: New Latin synergismus, from Greek synergos Date: 1910 interaction of discrete agencies (as industrial firms), agents (as drugs), or conditions such that the total effect is greater than the sum of the individual effects …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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