Terminology – Pelagianism


Pelagianism views humanity as basically good and morally unaffected by the Fall. It denies the imputation of Adam’s sin, original sin, total depravity, and substitutionary atonement. It simultaneously views man as fundamentally good and in possession of libertarian free will. With regards to salvation, it teaches that man has the ability in and of himself (apart from divine aid) to obey God and earn eternal salvation.

Pelagianism falls away from Christianity in that the works of the person can earn them a spot into salvation instead of the grace of God alone.

I agree that there is a basic goodness in people and they can make morally sound choices. Morality is based on what is acceptable to a society though and I really do not feel that the goodness of a man is a factor into salvation.

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2 Comments

Filed under Bible, Christianity, Religion

2 responses to “Terminology – Pelagianism

  1. “Morality is based on what is acceptable to a society though and I really do not feel that the goodness of a man is a factor into salvation.” (Xander)

    But if we do not factor in, salvation is pretty much worthless. Then we get into who salvation effects and why. There is no real answer to that question since salvation is not something we are involved in and for all we know ‘everyone is a recipient of the actions of Jesus concerning salvation’ (ie: universal salvation). In fact, I am pretty sure that would be have to be the case since we are not involved in any of it therefore everyone stands equally before the idea.

    The problem with one’s actions having nothing to do with their own ‘salvation’ is it kind of goes against what Jesus himself taught in the scriptures. Now I can admit God’s grace is free to all, but salvation seems to have some limits.

    For example, in the sheep and the goats (a parable) the difference between eternal life and not having eternal life was one’s actions. There seems to be quite the clear cut line between heaven and hell in that parable and it’s solely based on one’s actions in their life.

    In Matt 7 Jesus is seen throughout talking about one’s actions. Matt 7:23 explicitly says ‘DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS’. Apparently someone that practices (does) ‘lawlessness’ will be asked to depart from the kingdom of God. Lawlessness is pretty to easy to decipher once one consider Jesus was a practicing Jew who followed Torah – which contained the law. Jesus is discussing morality more or less.

    As much as I want to agree with the church we cannot be involved in our salvation, this just isn’t the case. Even Paul says ‘work out your own salvation with fear and trembling’…were not passive in the process of our stake in being ‘saved’. The church took a stand at a certain point in time deeming Pelagian wrong, and to some degree he was limiting his theology. But he wasn’t altogether wrong according to scripture itself.

    As for a term like salvation – saved from what? It’s a Jewish ideology surrounding the messiah concerning the salvation of Israel from Roman occupation…to be a self regulating nation again. I can relate to that need for freedom – to practice one’s faith in relative peace.

    Gentiles made the jump to salvation being about a heaven and a hell, not about anything in this life. They have made the term quite ‘unmeasurable’ and ‘problematic’. First off, we don’t know if there is even a heaven and a hell, we have to guesstimate about those options. Secondly, what permits one to either place…again we guesstimate. Whereas with Israel becoming a nation, well that’s pretty easy to measure and say something solid about salvation.

    But maybe salvation is when the righteous are being persecuted for no good reason and losing their freedom to peace? We have seen this is stuff like people fleeing Russia to escape the tyranny of Communism on their freedom of religion and human rights. We seen this in King’s civil rights actions against the gov’t’s of America. We seen salvation as a tangible term.

    The debate over ‘a salvation’ you have no involvement in is unmeasurable – you cannot measure something you have nothing to do with (either by observation or by it’s width and depth).

  2. “But if we do not factor in, salvation is pretty much worthless.” (societyvs)

    In China, it is morally acceptable to kill female babies if they are unwanted by the father. If we factor in what is morally acceptable into salvation, then that is a factor. I know you are not going to agree with this practice. That leaves us with the possibility that there are absolute truths that are present across all of humanity and those can be the good works that we should do as a result of our salvation. I do not believe that the works contribute to the process of achieving salvation, even though they should be a part of salvation due to the out workings of it.

    “In Matt 7 Jesus is seen throughout talking about one’s actions. Matt 7:23 explicitly says ‘DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS’. Apparently someone that practices (does) ‘lawlessness’ will be asked to depart from the kingdom of God. Lawlessness is pretty to easy to decipher once one consider Jesus was a practicing Jew who followed Torah – which contained the law. Jesus is discussing morality more or less.” (societyvs)

    Great point. So the Law of God must be followed instead of the law of the land? We know that the Law of God is often in direct contrast to the law of the land, both then and now, so whose morality do we base salvation on?

    “As for a term like salvation – saved from what? It’s a Jewish ideology surrounding the messiah concerning the salvation of Israel from Roman occupation…to be a self regulating nation again. I can relate to that need for freedom – to practice one’s faith in relative peace.” (societyvs)

    Partially correct. When Moses spoke of the coming Messiah, there was not a nation, so this idea was not always present.

    I think the concept of salvation is universal to all people and it is interpreted many different ways. I think that is why there is so much confusion among the people on this topic.

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