Monday, February 25, 2008 at 1:11PM
A modified form of Pelagianism that does not deny original sin; however, in this view, original sin does not keep people from taking the first step toward a right relationship with God by an excercise of the will. This view was condemned as heretical by the Council of Orange in 529 (see below).
- A. A. Hodge in Outlines of Theology: Pelagianism, Semi-Pelagianism & Augustinianism:
3. What are the three great systems of theology which have always continued to prevail in the church?
Since the revelation given in the Scriptures embraces a complete system of truth, every single department must sustain many obvious relations, logical and otherwise, to every other as the several parts of one whole. The imperfect development, and the defective or exaggerated conception of any one doctrine, must inevitably lead to confusion and error throughout the entire system. For example, Pelagian views as to man’s estate by nature always tend to coalesce with Socinian views as to the Person and work of Christ. And Semipelagian views as to sin and grace are also irresistibly attracted by, and in turn attract Arminian views as to the divine attributes, the nature of the Atonement, and the work of the Spirit.
There are, in fact, as we might have anticipated, but two complete self-consistent systems of Christian theology possible.
- From The Canons of the Council of Orange:
CANON 7. If anyone affirms that we can form any right opinion or make any right choice which relates to the salvation of eternal life, as is expedient for us, or that we can be saved, that is, assent to the preaching of the gospel through our natural powers without the illumination and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who makes all men gladly assent to and believe in the truth, he is led astray by a heretical spirit, and does not understand the voice of God who says in the Gospel, “For apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5), and the word of the Apostle, “Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God” (2 Cor. 3:5).
From Systematic Theology by Louis Berkhof:
[Semi-Pelagianism] admitted that the whole human race is involved in the fall of Adam, that human nature is tainted with hereditary sin, and that all men are by nature inclined to evil and not able, apart from the grace of God, to complete any good work; but denied the total depravity of man, the guilt of original sin, and the loss of the freedom of the will.
- Got Questions.org: What are Pelagians and Semi-Pelagians?
- Theopedia: Semi-Pelagianism
- John Hendryx: Differences between Semi-Pelagianism and Arminian beliefs
- Herman Bavinck: Quote on Semi-Pelagianism
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