The origin of the Nazarene church is the Pentecostal Holiness and Methodist revival movements of the late 19th and early 20th century. Where does one begin in pointing out the dangers of these movements? The Bearded Puritan will address one: synergism. Synergism is the belief that there is human cooperation with God in salvation. All Christians affirm synergism to some degree in SANCTIFICATION but not all Christians affirm synergism in REGENERATION, or being born again/saved…the beginning of the Christian life if you will. Nazarenes are among those that affirm synergism in regeneration. What does this entail? Well, they would affirm that Jesus Christ did all the work to justify sinners, just as The Bearded Puritan would affirm. But the reception of this gift (i.e. the work of Christ) is by God’s offer and man’s free choice of receiving that gift. They would not say man gets any glory. They would say that man does cooperate freely. The Bearded Puritan is a monergist, standing in line with the likes of John Calvin and Saint Augustine rather than John Wesley and Jacob Arminius. With this in mind, the logical conclusion then seems to be if one cooperates to “get into Christ” (i.e. receive the benefits of his work), then one can negatively cooperate and “get out of Christ”.
Lets turn to the Scriptures. Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” God begins. God completes. Doesn’t sound like synergism. Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” That’s God initiating. Not our doing. Of course some may respond with, “You have to unwrap a gift see! We are cooperating!” The Bearded Puritan’s response would be, doesn’t that give you something to boast about? By the synergist’s logic, a dead man cooperates in bringing himself to life.
The problem isn’t so much the view of whether or not one may lose their salvation. The problem is the view of how one came to “possess” salvation. If one assists in the coming in a positive manner, then why can’t one “assist” in a negative manner in the rejecting of that salvation? The Bearded Puritan would posit a question to the synergist, yes that’s you Mr. and Mrs. Nazarene, Did you want to become a Christian before you became one? Maybe you were an exception to the case. Maybe you did long for Christ even when your heart was dead and enthralled with sin.
The root of the problem really is the root, the beginning, where it all started with you becoming a Christian. Does one contribute in coming to Christ? Then sure one can forfeit Christ. If one doesn’t contribute, and it’s completely a work of God that he promises to complete, what is there to fear?