Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Some Thoughts on Pneumatology and Monergism

How does the Holy Spirit work with people? Does he have different techniques with different people, or differing approaches for different intended affects? I don't know that the scriptures tell us enough to get too dogmatic about such questions, but they tell us something.

We have instances in the scriptures where the Holy Spirit appears to act almost monergistically in the life of a person. Bezalel and Oholiab (perhaps), Saul, and Caiaphas are examples, none of whom can we say with any confidence were "right" with God and therefore likely to be among those walking the streets of gold. And then we have instances and references in the scriptures where the Holy Spirit is repudiated by people he was trying to influence like Jonah, the Jews, and the folk in the church. Hmmm, man thwarting God Almighty--seems weird, and a little scary!

We also have instances in the scriptures where there appears to be a working partnership between the Holy Spirit and the person he's inspiring. Really, that's how the scriptures got here in the first place, but we also have the examples of Moses, David, Elijah, Elishah, John, Jesus, Peter, Philip, Paul, John, and more. Even though one could try to infer a monergistic-like experience in Acts 2 or Acts 10, I really don't believe that was what was going on (see Acts 2:4 or 1 Corinthians 14:32).

What we don't see, clearly, in the scriptures is an imposition of the Holy Spirit upon someone who is a Christian. So, if  the Holy Spirit monergistically convicts, infuses, and regenerates the born again apart from the any decision or cooperation of the saved, how is it that everything else the Spirit does is resistible?