By Ken Silva pastor-teacher on Dec 5, 2008 in AM Missives, Apologetics, Brian McLaren, Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism, Current Issues, Dallas Willard, Dan Kimball, Doug Pagitt, Emergent Church, Erwin McManus, Features, Henri Nouwen, Joel Osteen, John Hagee, Marcus Borg, New Spirituality, Richard Abanes, Richard Foster, Rick Warren, Rob Bell, Robert Schuller, Roman Catholicism, Shane Claiborne/New Monasticism, Southern Baptist Convention, Spiritual Formation, T.D. Jakes, Theology, Tony Campolo, Tony Jones
A man-centered gospel is the belief that the determining factor in whether or not a man is eternally saved, in the end, relies (at some level) upon an act of his own will i.e. human decision. This is often called synergism because it is thought to be a cooperative effort between God and man. While a God-centered Gospel means that man has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with causing his salvation by “choosing God,” “deciding to follow Christ,” “asking Jesus into your heart,” and/or any other like phrases so common today.
Sola fide and sola gratia as used in the Protestant Reformation mean that while the sinner is dead in his trespasses and sins God Himself sovereignly regenerates those whom He will. As His gift God gives them the faith to believe in Christ, and they repent of their sins. This is actually diametrically opposed to any of the seeker-friendly postevangelical movements e.g. the Purpose Driven Life as taught by Rick Warren.
The sad fact is that the contemporary American Christian Church largely believes in synergism (man cooperates with God), while in stark opposition to the synergism of apostate Roman Catholicism, the Reformers (even before John Calvin) taught monergism (soli Deo gloria). Yet to a great extent today the Emerging Church movement overall, and voices in this Emergent rebellion against Sola Scriptura like Rob Bell in particular, also strongly believe in synergism (at best).