Monergism: “The view that the Holy Spirit is the only agent who effects regeneration of Christians. It is in contrast to synergism, the view that there is a cooperation between the divine and the human in the regeneration process.”
In Ezekiel 4:4-6, we read this command from the LORD:
“Lie also on your left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it. According to the number of the days that you lie on it, you shall bear their iniquity. For I have laid on you the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days; so you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. And when you have completed them, lie again on your right side; then you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days. I have laid on you a day for each year.”
Has Ezekiel lost his mind? Think of his family and friends, and mostly his young beloved wife. No, he wasn’t mad; he was uncanny, eerie, a shuddering mystery, weird, stricken by the word of God, but not mad.
I’m in a church congregation that doesn’t believe that “it is not to him who wills or runs, but to God who has mercy” Romans 9. I don’t die on a regular basis in church, or in the church grounds. Outside church, though, that is what Christianity is all about: dying – to live.
A few Sundays ago, after church, our small congregation gathered for a get-together on the lawn under a big tree to share one another’s home-made soups. I was talking to one of our congregation who had had a knee operation, whose knee had a will of it’s own, moving the leg wherever it willed itself to go. I grabbed the moment and leaped on to my hobby horse – regeneration. Collapsing to the ground, I stretched out full length, placed my elbow on my solar plexus, and with my upturned arm, I pointed up to the sky. Rigid. From my mouth issued the sermon of my life. “Dead, dead, see I am dead, and there is a flower growing out of my belly button. My blood is ice cold. Now, look, there is Christ standing over me . ‘Come! get up!’ I tremble inwardly.
“See, I say, continuing my sermon, I’m stiff, can’t lift a finger. Now, see, said I, slowly raising my head and bending upwards, Christ is pouring his life into me; he is regenerating me. Now he holds out a hand and gives me something – too wonderful for words; yet that’s what they are – words. I believed. Why? because, God wanted it. That’s what Ephesians 2 and Romans 9 is all about. As I sat down again in my chair feeling for the bowl of – now cold – soup, someone said: “It’s amazing how effective a visual sermon can be.”