Pelagianism: The Boogie Man

Discussion in 'Calvinism & Arminianism Debate' started by Revmitchell, Mar 2, 2018.

  1. Revmitchell Well-Known Member
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    In their shortsighted and ill-informed effort to discredit our perspective, they have resorted to what is known as a “boogie-man fallacy.” This is a certain type of argument, which, in fact, is not an argument, but a means of forestalling discussion and erroneously labelling an opponent’s position with that of a known heresy so as to demonize and discredit it.

    For example, someone in a debate might say, “Look! His view sounds like something Hilter said once, so you shouldn’t listen to him any more.” Hitler is a known “boogie man” or “bad character,” so if I can associate my opponent’s views with Hilter, then I’ll discredit him all together. Likewise, Pelagius has become the Calvinist’s go-to “boogie man,” and many of them will stop at nothing to slap that label on us so as to marginalize and discredit anything we say.

    This method bears a certain resemblance to the ad hominem fallacy, and comes from the same root motivation: Discredit and marginalize the person and their views rather than objectively evaluating and offering a sound, non-fallous biblical rebuttal.

    The ad hominem fallacy consists of attempting to refute an argument by impeaching the character of its proponent, where as the boogie man fallacy seeks to associate an argument with that of someone whose character (or belief) has already been impeached (like poor ol’ Pelagius). This would be like an Arminian calling Dr. John Piper a “Hyper-Calvinist” (those who denounce the need of evangelism) on the basis that he teaches some similar views to that of known hyper-Calvinists.

    This is pure “guilt by association” and it is the lazy man’s approach to avoid an otherwise rational and informed discussion of the issues. Those who resort to such tactics either do not know any better or they are nefariously attempting to marginalize and demonize the views of those who disagree with them. Readers of this article can no longer appeal to the former as an excuse.

    If Traditionalists can rightly been labeled “semi-pelagian,” then by that standard we could conclude that Calvinists are “semi-gnostic,” after all those were the two groups promoting the extremes of both views in the fourth and fifth centuries. I would rather avoid such demonizing labels altogether and actually practice the principle of SOLA SCRIPTURA (scripture alone). Rather than appealing to ancient Catholic labels created by men who were known for their often violent and extreme intolerance of dissenting views, how about we approach each other with patience, kindness and good intentions? Let us not repeat the mistakes of those who lead the church into The Inquisition and other horrific abuses of dissenters, but instead set a better example for theological discourse to all who come after us.

    Pelagianism: The Boogie Man
     
  2. TCassidy Administrator
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    "Semipelagian thought teaches that growing in faith is the work of God, while the beginning of faith is an act of free will."

    So you no longer believe initial faith is an act of free will?
     
  3. Martin Marprelate Well-Known Member
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    Pelagianism is the theological doctrine propounded by Pelagius, a British monk :Redface, and condemned as heresy by the Council of Ephesus in AD 416. It denied original sin and affirmed the ability of humans to be righteous by the exercise of free will.

    Semipelagianism, named of course after Semipelagius :Laugh, is a 5th century doctrine that accepted the doctrine of original sin but asserted that man’s turning to God of his own free will, not after the provocation of the Holy Ghost, begins the process of spiritual rebirth.

    If you believe in one of these doctrines, why be shy? Come out and glory in it. If not, let us know where you differ and we will know not to call you such names.
     
  4. BobRyan Well-Known Member

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    Logical fallacies that allow dismissing Bible texts and opposing views via "vitriol", "name-calling", emotional-argument composed of sweeping accusations and villanizing etc.

    If one looks carefully they can find it in thread posts... and even thread titles.
     
  5. BobRyan Well-Known Member

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    Arminians normally argue that God is the one that supernaturally enables free will just as He supernaturally enables growth in faith.

    we all knew that ... right?

    It is one thing to to "agree" with the Arminian position ... it is another to refuse to state what it is.
     
  6. Reynolds Well-Known Member
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    "Free will" and how one views it is the problem. God allows man the "freedom" to operate within ,AND ONLY WITHIN, His permissive will. How "free" is that?
     
  7. thatbrian Well-Known Member
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    The label of "semi-Pelagian" is a generous one, for most Evangelicals because most Evangelicals are Pelagian.

    These terms are not slurs but ways of describing theological positions.
     
  8. BobRyan Well-Known Member

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    One could argue that currently North Korea is not "allowed" the free will to blow up all nations with whom they differ. One could argue that Hitler was not allowed to take over the world though he "willed" it. Free will has to do with sin vs obedience to God.. not how much world-class-evil one will be allowed to do up to whatever limit they of their own free will may choose.
     
  9. Rippon Well-Known Member
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    If you use the term Evangelical that means they are believers --Christians.

    Are Pelagians Christians?

    I don't think most American believers are Pelagian. They are semi-Pelagian.
     
  10. thatbrian Well-Known Member
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    I believe that most of these people are Christians.

    I've know many Evangelicals over 35 years, and I've yet to hear one mention "prevenient grace" or anything like it. Speak to the average Evangelical and he tell you that men are able to come to Christ unaided by the Holy Spirit, and that's where I label him Pelagian.

    I'm in good company when I make this observation about the Evangelical church, in general. RC Sproul wrote a great piece on the subject that I consider a must read.

    . . .I’ve often wondered if Luther were alive today and came to our culture and looked, not at the liberal church community, but at evangelical churches, what would he have to say? Of course I can’t answer that question with any kind of definitive authority, but my guess is this: If Martin Luther lived today and picked up his pen to write, the book he would write in our time would be entitled The Pelagian Captivity of the Evangelical Church. . .
    The Pelagian Captivity of the Church, by R.C. Sproul
     
  11. Rippon Well-Known Member
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    Maybe they are Pelagianistic, which really means they are semi-Pelagian.

    Someone may be called Calvinistic --not quite a Calvinist, but leaning in that direction.

    I don't have the time now, but check out the terminology in the Canons of Dort. I think they used the term Pelagian in the sense of semi-Pelagian. It doesn't mean they were full-on Pelagian --but leaning in that direction.
     
  12. Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    That viewpoint is not even Arminian,as classic Armianian theology affirms the fall, us being dead in our sins, sin natures, and that God has to initiate saving grace first towards us, so that Pel view below that even!
     
  13. Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    All of us were saved by the Calvinist model of salvation, but some of us just refuse to accept that view as being what the Bible teaches to us... Still are saved, but holding to a less biblical viewpoint.
     
  14. Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    Hardt o be a Christian if one denies the Fall, original sin, and that we are saved by own efforts..
    Full blown pel seems to be the ultimate work yourself to salvation method!
     
  15. TCassidy Administrator
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    My experience has been exactly the opposite. Most say their salvation started with the Holy Spirit convicting them.

    Much of my extended family is EFC, including my uncle who was Dean of Faculty at TEDS (EFC flagship school) for many, many years.

    If we look at the three terms, Pelagian, Semi-Pelagian, and Arminian, in my opinion Semi-Pelagian best describes the Evangelical community at large.

    Even Arminian is not an accurate assessment (even though most cage-stage "calvinists" love to throw the word around) as James Arminius was a Dutch REFORMED theologian and differed with Calvin only on Unconditional Election.

    A true Arminian would accept #1 Total Depravity, #3 Limited Atonement, #4 Irresistible Grace, and #5 Perseverance of the saints (with the exception that the authors of the Remonstrance, who published after Arminius was dead, said #5 still needed some additional study and clarification, not unlike the "Lordship Salvation" crowd today).
     
  16. David Kent Well-Known Member
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    EFC? I tried a google search for that and the main thing it came up with is Everton Football club.

    Does it mean Evangelical Free Church, or is it some organisation?

    I know of five Evangelical churches within about 30 miles from here that are reformed and three that are probably not, but those three are ex Brethren, and one is now called a Christian Fellowship.
     
  17. thatbrian Well-Known Member
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    How people describe their experience and what they say regarding how people come to Christ can be remarkably different. Pelagians-Arminians are inconstant. They must be.
     
  18. thatbrian Well-Known Member
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    Yes. I completely agree.
     
  19. thatbrian Well-Known Member
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    Adding this quote from Sproul: “Our lives say much more about how we think than our books do. The theories we preach are not always the ones we actually believe. The theories we live are the ones we really believe.”
     
  20. Rippon Well-Known Member
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    You mean inconsistent.