Synergism

The view that the will of man cooperates with the action of divine grace by having an independent part to play in conversion. As such, synergism is Semi-Pelagian* in character, denying the efficacy of divine grace and man's spiritual “death.” Synergism came into prominence in second- and third-generation Lutheranism as a reaction against the strongly monergistic, Augustinian emphasis of Luther* himself (“Free will determined without grace has no power with respect to righteousness, but is necessarily involved in sin”). Melanchthon,* in his later period, taught the universality of divine grace and forbade further investigation into the divine and human factors in conversion. He spoke of “the Word, the Holy Spirit, and the will, not absolutely inert, but struggling against its own infirmity” as the “three concurrent causes of good action.” The inadequacies of synergism reflect the methodological failure of attempting to analyze a theological issue in psychological terms.