Will the real Semi-Pelagian please stand up.


As per Wikipedia:

Pelagianism is a theological theory named after Pelagius (ad. 354 – ad. 420/440). It is the belief that original sin did not taint human nature and that mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil without special Divine aid. Thus, Adam’s sinwas “to set a bad example” for his progeny, but his actions did not have the other consequences imputed to Original Sin. Pelagianism views the role of Jesus as “setting a good example” for the rest of humanity (thus counteracting Adam’s bad example) as well as providing an atonement for our sins. In short, humanity has full control, and thus full responsibility, for obeying the Gospel in addition to full responsibility for every sin(the latter insisted upon by both proponents and opponents of Pelagianism).

While Semi-pelagianism is a Christian theological understanding about salvation; that is, the means by which humanity and God are restored to a right relationship. Semipelagian thought stands in contrast to the earlier Pelagian teaching about salvation (in which man is seen as effecting his own salvation), which had been dismissed as heresy. Semipelagianism in its original form was developed as a compromise between Pelagianism and the teaching of writers such as Augustine of Hippo, in whose work salvation is seen entirely as the free gift of God. In Semipelagian thought, therefore, a distinction is made between the beginning of faith and the increase of faith; while the latter is the work of God, the beginning of faith is an act of free will. It too has been considered a heresy by mainstream Christianity since the Second Council of Orange in 529.

 My Take:

As fars as Wesleyans-they believe in prevenient grace and the second work of the Holy Sprit-thus they are far from being Pelagians. While most evangelicals and baptist-will emphasize the convicting work of the Holy Spirit-in presenting their gospel-it will sound like that -it is based on man’s decision and faith alone that rebirth and conversion happens. Here they re semi-pelagian. However when it comes to eternal security-It was the Wesleyans who will emphasized man’s will to remain faithful to the Lord -that will secure his salvation forever. This too sounds semi-pelagian-except a Calvinist will insist that -(with the proper internal motive or state of the Christian)-a true Christian will remain faithful to the end. Thus echoing the Wesleyan insistence of not being self-deluded to destruction by remaining in sin while proclaiming oneself as Christian.

Here the common evangelical or baptist is truly remiss. He is semi-pelagian at the start of the work of salvation-and antinomian and easy believism at the end. Which is worse? Wesleyans or common evangelicals/baptist?  I am not prepared to decide on this.

And for clarification -being a dispensational-does not immediately mean being antinomian. Maybe -anti Mosaic law. Is the doctrine of Free Grace as espoused by Zane hodges and company -antinomian? I think not-since they just want to emphasized that there is no sub-puritan preparationism in justification of faith. It is real trust in a real Savior. But more to this later.


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