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Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Michael Wrenn, Mar 29, 2012.
Any semi-pelagians on here -- besides me?
How would you be defining that term?
Here are quick definitions of Pelagianism and Semi-Pelagianism: This is from a website Got Questions?
Now, here's the definition of Semi-Pelagnianism:
Hey Michael, does this definition fit you?
BTW, I'm not either one.
I think Pelagianism and Augustinianism are the extremes.
HP: You mean like one is extremely in accordance to truth and one extremely in error?
It is almost always that the two extremes are in error.
No, I mean both are extremes, and neither is the truth.
Michael, one has to realize that when most speak of Pelagian thought, it is always through the eyes of what Augustine/his detractors saw it as, not what it was or might have been in reality. it is in like kind to the way your ideas are castigated on this list by the likes a of a Calvinist.
For instance, take the notion by so many that Pelagius did not believe that we are affected in any way by the sin of Adam, just for starters. I do not believe that was his view in the least. That is a conclusion from a Augustinian point of view coming from the perspective of total moral depravity from birth, (Augustinian original sin) and to deny that false notion, in their eyes is equated in their thinking anyway, that man is not affected by the fall of Adam. In reality it is a false notion of what Pelagius really felt, and a failure to understand the Pelagian/Augustinian conflict for what it really was.
Show us one single issue that Pelagius was in reality far from the truth, and do so from his own writings or thoughts, not simply those putting thoughts and words into his mouth that were not in reality his beliefs at all.
It has been said by others, that Pelagius might well be one of the most misunderstood and abused man in history. I would agree with that sentiment.
Though Catholics are often accused of being semi-pelagian the truth is that we are not. Often the protestant view of semi-pelagian is a one idea thing where they miss some premises that Christians should not hold to. Here are three points of Catholic Desention from Semi-Pelagian thought:
Therefore I am not semi-pelagian.
I said before that I was "pretty much" a semi-pelagian. I don't agree with all of its points, especially not your number 3 above.
Just as I agree with some aspects of Arminianism, but not everything.
I'm just saying that of all the "isms" about man, sin, and grace, I identify with semi-pelagianism more than the others and am closest to the Anabaptist/General Baptist and EOC positions. I bleive this is closest to scripture, the early church, and the fathers. I believe truth is most often found in the middle of extremes. I believe Augustinianism/Calvinism and Pelagianism are the extremes here.
Thank you for your post.
What do you think of this article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelagianism
I strongly disagree with this statement: "Pelagius taught that the human will, as created with its abilities by God, was sufficient to live a sinless life..."
It seems to me that the early fathers held a semi-pelagian position. It is very clear that they did not believe what Augustine later taught, and what the Magisterial Reformers adopted from him.
It is not beneficial to unnecessarily castigate Augustine simply because of the heretical beliefs of Pelagius. Remember the context in history. Augustine arose to the occasion. Here was a heretic on the scene and he did his utmost to combat this heresy. We may not believe everything that Augustine believed. But at least he put the heretical doctrine of Pelagius in its place and stopped it from spreading, to a good degree. As I previously said, two opposing extreme point of views are often wrong. The truth often lies somewhere in the middle.
I agree with your last two sentences.
However, I believe that Augustine fought one heresy with another -- his. And his was just as damaging, and probably more so, than that of Pelagius. Not only was it terribly wrong, but it had a more far-reaching influence than Pelagianism, infecting the RCC and later the Protestant Reformers.
Until I was grown, I didn't know there was any other way of looking at things like depravity, original sin, atonement, etc., than what is taught in Western, Latin-influenced Christianity. Then I discovered the Anabaptists, Eastern Christianity, and the early fathers -- they saved me for Christianity.
I wanted to ask you: Since Augustine is held in high regard in the RCC and his beliefs have been accepted and very influential, how does the RCC escape believing in total depravity and other such Augustine-influenced doctrine as penal substitution (although the latter was only fully developed by Calvin)? Is it because Aquinas is even more influential in RC thought?
I have realized for quite some time that I am solidly Anabaptist/General Baptist in my beliefs and partly EOC, as far as what they have in common with Anabaptist soteriology.
I could not be Orthodox, though, and there are no Anabaptist or General Baptist churches near me. So, to have a local church fellowship, that leaves me with Southern Baptist, some sort of Welsyan-Methodist church, or continuing Anglican. Holiness/Nazarene is out because I can't hold with their doctrine of entire sanctification. United Methodist is our because I disagree with their polity and new views on baptism.
That leaves me with SBC and Anglican. Nearest conservative Anglican church is an hour's drive. So, I guess that leaves only SBC. But I don't know if I can abide the teachings on depravity, OSAS, penal substitution, and women's subjugation. These things drove me away from Baptists and almost from Christianity. Thus my dilemma.
This is sort of off topic; I am just thinking out loud. I'll try not to do this again; It's just so frustrating being in this situation, though. And the only fellowship I have within the CAC is by phone or email, and the occasional get-together. I am thankful for that, but I need more.
Okay, off my soapbox.
HP: Thinkingstuff, I know you are just quoting something you are reading, so do NOT take offense when I interact with those comments with you. I have always appreciated you and your interaction in debate and desire to do nothing to sour our long standing good interaction. :thumbs:
Here is yet another example of misinformation as to the beliefs of Pelagius. He is falsely accused of suggesting that man needs not God for faith or ability to live a holy life. Nothing can be further from the truth. You have to realize what Pelagius was reacting to, i.e., the notion by Augustine that man was totally incapable of proper moral choice or exercising faith without God first doing something to man to enable him to respond. Pelagius was responding to the notion of Augustinian original sin and foreign notions of grace that was not doctrine in the Church prior to Augustine.
Pelagius, as well as many others disagreeing with Augustinian original sin and Augustinian views of grace know full well that man is NEVER able to do anything apart from Gods granted abilities, and always works with God and by His proffered help in exercising faith and holy actions. God has granted to all men the requisite abilities to exercise faith and act morally upright. God simply does not have to grant some 'special grace' for man to exercise faith or obedience, because all men have ALREADY been granted such abilities from God if they are moral agents. God simply calls upon man to yield their will in agreement to his Word in the exercising of faith to believe and willful obedience to His commands. God does not have to 'do something' to man first as Augustine would indicate, in order to exercise faith or obedience to His laws. Man simply has to be willing to obey and to exercise faith in accordance to the measure of faith all are given and be willing to yield our wills in obedience with the moral powers to do such that all moral agents natural possess.
What makes sin sinful is that man is fully able to do something other than what he does, but selfishly refuses to do so when he is fully capable of doing it but again selfishly unwilling to act in accordance to God's commandments. Sinful man is unwilling, NOT unable, to exercise faith and obedience do what God commands, by virtue of God instilled abilities granted to all by God from the first light of moral agency.
Whereas Augustine lacked the moral fortitude to do what God commanded of him in abstaining from fornication, other men, even some heathen, clearly did not find themselves powerless over such temptations. Pelagius certainly must have been such a man. Clearly even Augustine recognized the internal ability of Pelagius to order his life in accordance to the demands of the law of love towards God and his fellow man. He was noted by all as a godly and pious man of impeccable character.
The bottom line is whereas Augustine could not find the power to deliver his own will from fornication, Pelagius, and many others as well, obviously did. Is it any wonder why we find Augustine so vehemently opposed to such a godly character and consistent holy life exhibited by Pelagius? From Augustine's warped notions of inability as set forth by his notion of original sin, it is no wonder why he tried so hard to malign the notions of Pelagius that stood to convict Augustine of his own unwillingness to do what he was indeed able but unwilling to do at the time.
HP: If man is a sinner due to the lack of ability, he might be pitied but never blamed. God blames men for their sin.
Why would you find this statement so disagreeable to what you must believe? Can you show us from Scripture where sin is said to be the results of inability, and if so, can one justly be punished for simply acting in accordance to irresistible influences of fate?
Is man to be blamed and punished eternally for doing something even God cannot do, i.e., act contrary to necessitated fate?
This is the lowest form of debate possible. It is called character assassination. When you can't score any points theologically or through the Bible or otherwise, you assassinate or attack the character of your opponent. How pitiful. And even then you don't tell the whole truth, which in essence is a lie!!!
The truth is that Augustine as a young man (in his late teens) lived a hedonistic lifestyle. Yes, it was very immoral. But at the age of 30 he converted to Christianity. Do you have documented proof that his profligate lifestyle continued after his conversion? If not, then you need to retract the garbage you just posted.
However Pelagius was a Catholic. That is noteworthy. I am not going to attack his character. But it is worth noting that he was considered a heretic even by the RCC at that time.
To sum it up then:
Augustine found Christ;
Pelagius found heresy.
DHK, are you going to tell us that the doctrines established by Augustine concerning original sin and his specific notions concerning grace, were in large part not in reflection of his past life enslaved by sin? Reflecting upon what led Augustine to jettison the doctrine of free will taught to him by Ambrose as I recall, and held to so firmly early on after his conversion? Enlighten us if you can.
Let me put your question, particular the mode of asking it, another way.
HP, are you going to tell us that the fervency that John Newton had for preaching the gospel, and his specific zeal for the abolition of slavery, was in large part NOT a reflection of his past life enslaved in sin? Reflecting upon what led Newton to "reject" the doctrine of "freedom" that he held to so firmly after his conversion?
Does your question make sense? No.