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Question: Do you think Pelagius was a heretic?
Yes - 18 (64.3%)
No - 6 (21.4%)
Not sure - 4 (14.3%)
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Author Topic: Pelagius and Pelagianism  (Read 12293 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: February 16, 2011, 11:07:54 PM »

There has been a recent rehash on the study of Pelagius.  The question came up, "was Pelagius really Pelagian?"

Monachos.net has some historical writings by and on Pelagius.  For example:

http://monachos.net/content/patristics/patristictexts/194-pelagius-letters

Go here:

http://monachos.net/content/patristics/patristictexts

And type "Pelagius" in the author filter, and you'll find some links.
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« Reply #46 on: February 16, 2011, 11:19:56 PM »


The Beginnings of a Western and Eastern Reassessment of Pelagius

"Pelagius: To Demetrias"
by Fr Geoffrey Ready


http://web.archive.org/web/20040102171014/www.nireland.com/orthodox/pelagius.htm


"Few churchmen have been so maligned as Pelagius in the Christian West. For nearly 1,500 years, all that anyone has known of the British monk's theology has come from what his opponents said about him — and when one's opponents are as eminent as Augustine and Jerome, the chance of getting a fair hearing is not great. Consequently, it has been easy to lay all manner of pernicious heresies at Pelagius's doorstep. Only in the last couple of decades have scholars been able to recover and examine Pelagius's works directly. What they have found is that very little of what has historically passed for "Pelagian" heresy was actually taught by him."


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« Reply #47 on: February 16, 2011, 11:51:48 PM »

Thank you all for the replies. You've given me some things to think about.
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« Reply #48 on: February 17, 2011, 11:29:35 AM »

IMO, it's best to let anathematized heretics stay that way.
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« Reply #49 on: February 17, 2011, 11:38:54 AM »

IMO, it's best to let anathematized heretics stay that way.

That would be an anti-Nicene attitude in my opinion:

Quote
Concerning those, whether of the clergy or of the laity, who have been excommunicated in the several provinces, let the provision of the canon be observed by the bishops which provides that persons cast out by some be not readmitted by others. Nevertheless, inquiry should be made whether they have been excommunicated through captiousness, or contentiousness, or any such like ungracious disposition in the bishop. And, that this matter may have due investigation, it is decreed that in every province synods shall be held twice a year, in order that when all the bishops of the province are assembled together, such questions may by them be thoroughly examined, that so those who have confessedly offended against their bishop, may be seen by all to be for just cause excommunicated, until it shall seem fit to a general meeting of the bishops to pronounce a milder sentence upon them. And let these synods be held, the one before Lent, (that the pure Gift may be offered to God after all bitterness has been put away), and let the second be held about autumn.

As far as Church history goes, this was quite an impossibility and filled with contentions and disagreements among bishops (I believe one of the Cappadocian fathers was distressed by these synods), but the message is of the utmost ideal Christian attitude to make sure just judgment was made.
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« Reply #50 on: February 17, 2011, 12:43:38 PM »

Please cite the quote.

Also, the quote deals with excommunications of living people, not anathematizations, and especially not centuries-old anathematizations.

If we allowed for a review of those, cases could be made that Nestorius wasn't actually Nestorian, and that Theodore of Mopsuestia could not be anathematized because he died in communion with the Church (that was Pope Vigilius' beef). It is precisely because of the confusion and upset this would cause that such things are not done. Besides that, there is the faith placed in the holy fathers who pronounced the anathemas.
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« Reply #51 on: February 17, 2011, 12:47:28 PM »

Please cite the quote.

Also, the quote deals with excommunications of living people, not anathematizations, and especially not centuries-old anathematizations.

If we allowed for a review of those, cases could be made that Nestorius wasn't actually Nestorian, and that Theodore of Mopsuestia could not be anathematized because he died in communion with the Church (that was Pope Vigilius' beef). It is precisely because of the confusion and upset this would cause that such things are not done. Besides that, there is the faith placed in the holy fathers who pronounced the anathemas.

Sorry, I forgot to cite the fact that it was canon 5 of the Council of Nicea.

The point is that if there's reason that someone is not who we always thought he was, it is imperative for us (in fact, I would argue it to be a Christian duty) not to mischaracterize the said person.  This goes along with the commandment, "Thou shalt not bear false witness."  If Nestorius wasn't really Nestorian for instance, we should make due.  If we are able to condemn Theodore of Mopsuestia only after he died, we should be able to lift anathemas to such people as well.
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« Reply #52 on: February 17, 2011, 03:56:38 PM »

Where are these anathemas against the person of Pelagius?
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« Reply #53 on: February 17, 2011, 06:16:12 PM »

Where are these anathemas against the person of Pelagius?

It began in Carthage, made official in Ephesus 431:

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.x.xvi.vii.html
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« Reply #54 on: February 17, 2011, 06:24:56 PM »

IMO, it's best to let anathematized heretics stay that way.

That would be an anti-Nicene attitude in my opinion:

Quote
Concerning those, whether of the clergy or of the laity, who have been excommunicated in the several provinces, let the provision of the canon be observed by the bishops which provides that persons cast out by some be not readmitted by others. Nevertheless, inquiry should be made whether they have been excommunicated through captiousness, or contentiousness, or any such like ungracious disposition in the bishop. And, that this matter may have due investigation, it is decreed that in every province synods shall be held twice a year, in order that when all the bishops of the province are assembled together, such questions may by them be thoroughly examined, that so those who have confessedly offended against their bishop, may be seen by all to be for just cause excommunicated, until it shall seem fit to a general meeting of the bishops to pronounce a milder sentence upon them. And let these synods be held, the one before Lent, (that the pure Gift may be offered to God after all bitterness has been put away), and let the second be held about autumn.

As far as Church history goes, this was quite an impossibility and filled with contentions and disagreements among bishops (I believe one of the Cappadocian fathers was distressed by these synods), but the message is of the utmost ideal Christian attitude to make sure just judgment was made.

I have read that Pelagius himself anathematised when asked the erroneous beliefs of which he was accused.  That says a lot and if that is the case then the question of justice to the man and his memory must be examined.
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« Reply #55 on: February 17, 2011, 06:35:32 PM »

Where are these anathemas against the person of Pelagius?

It began in Carthage, made official in Ephesus 431:

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.x.xvi.vii.html

Mina, I read through the canons and, as I suspected, saw nothing to support the contention that the person of Pelagius was addressed; the only name mentioned was Celestius.
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« Reply #56 on: February 17, 2011, 06:38:12 PM »

Where are these anathemas against the person of Pelagius?

It began in Carthage, made official in Ephesus 431:

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.x.xvi.vii.html

Mina, I read through the canons and, as I suspected, saw nothing to support the contention that the person of Pelagius was addressed; the only name mentioned was Celestius.

The Council of Ephesus does not condemn Theodore of Mopsuestia, but it was a given that he was considered the forerunner of Nestorianism.  Likewise with Celestius and Pelagius.  It was implied or understood.
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« Reply #57 on: February 17, 2011, 06:48:20 PM »

I don't think that something as serious as an anathema can be "implied" or "understood".  He was either anathematized or not.  And so far it is sounding like he was not.

Where are these anathemas against the person of Pelagius?

It began in Carthage, made official in Ephesus 431:

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.x.xvi.vii.html

Mina, I read through the canons and, as I suspected, saw nothing to support the contention that the person of Pelagius was addressed; the only name mentioned was Celestius.

The Council of Ephesus does not condemn Theodore of Mopsuestia, but it was a given that he was considered the forerunner of Nestorianism.  Likewise with Celestius and Pelagius.  It was implied or understood.
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« Reply #58 on: February 17, 2011, 06:53:38 PM »

Well, I don't know what EO's officially take, but from a Coptic perspective, he is indeed condemned.
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« Reply #59 on: February 17, 2011, 06:56:34 PM »

Where are these anathemas against the person of Pelagius?

It began in Carthage, made official in Ephesus 431:

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.x.xvi.vii.html

Mina, I read through the canons and, as I suspected, saw nothing to support the contention that the person of Pelagius was addressed; the only name mentioned was Celestius.

The Council of Ephesus does not condemn Theodore of Mopsuestia, but it was a given that he was considered the forerunner of Nestorianism.  Likewise with Celestius and Pelagius.  It was implied or understood.

The Church, however, does have a history of anathematizing persons if association with them is dangerous enough, or simply anathematizing teachings associated with them if it is not so dangerous and if their legacy as actually having advocated said teachings is in question. As such, it does not appear that the person of Pelagius was anathematized, just as it appears that the person of Theodore was not anathematized, even at Ephesus II after Saint Cyril had written against him and numerous (Theodoret, Ibas, etc.) deviants had attempted to revive the heresies associated with him.
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« Reply #60 on: February 17, 2011, 06:57:12 PM »

Well, I don't know what EO's officially take, but from a Coptic perspective, he is indeed condemned.

How are you so sure? What is the source of synodical condemnation of Pelagius in the Coptic church?
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« Reply #61 on: February 17, 2011, 08:05:10 PM »

Well, I don't know what EO's officially take, but from a Coptic perspective, he is indeed condemned.

How are you so sure? What is the source of synodical condemnation of Pelagius in the Coptic church?

As far as I know, many bishops and even the Pope himself have spoken in their sermons against Pelagianism.

HG Bishop Youssef for instance wrote an article against it as well.
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« Reply #62 on: February 17, 2011, 09:00:22 PM »

Well, I don't know what EO's officially take, but from a Coptic perspective, he is indeed condemned.

How are you so sure? What is the source of synodical condemnation of Pelagius in the Coptic church?

As far as I know, many bishops and even the Pope himself have spoken in their sermons against Pelagianism.

HG Bishop Youssef for instance wrote an article against it as well.

It sounds like you are confusing the issues of Pelagius and Pelagianism.
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« Reply #63 on: February 18, 2011, 11:35:59 AM »

Theodore of Mopsuestia was anathematized at the Fifth Ecumenical Council, along with Origen, and the Three Chapters, IIRC. Theodore was dead when he was anathematized. The unprecedented anathema of a dead man who died in communion with the Church irked Pope Vigilius, but he was later "persuaded" to sign.
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« Reply #64 on: February 18, 2011, 10:19:12 PM »

Theodore of Mopsuestia was anathematized at the Fifth Ecumenical Council, along with Origen, and the Three Chapters, IIRC. Theodore was dead when he was anathematized. The unprecedented anathema of a dead man who died in communion with the Church irked Pope Vigilius, but he was later "persuaded" to sign.

Which only proves my point even further.  If the Church has shown herself to have the power to anathematize a dead person, she also has the power to lift anathemas of dead people (for example, St. Cyril of Alexandria lifted Alexandria's anathema against St. John Chrysostom).
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« Reply #65 on: February 20, 2011, 11:42:41 PM »

Theodore of Mopsuestia was anathematized at the Fifth Ecumenical Council, along with Origen, and the Three Chapters, IIRC. Theodore was dead when he was anathematized. The unprecedented anathema of a dead man who died in communion with the Church irked Pope Vigilius, but he was later "persuaded" to sign.

Which only proves my point even further.  If the Church has shown herself to have the power to anathematize a dead person, she also has the power to lift anathemas of dead people (for example, St. Cyril of Alexandria lifted Alexandria's anathema against St. John Chrysostom).

That anathema was not delivered ecumenically by a synod of the whole Church, but rather by detractors of St. John. For Eastern Orthodox, at least, it's not at all a light thing to reverse a decision of an ecumenical council.
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« Reply #66 on: February 20, 2011, 11:56:17 PM »

Theodore of Mopsuestia was anathematized at the Fifth Ecumenical Council, along with Origen, and the Three Chapters, IIRC. Theodore was dead when he was anathematized. The unprecedented anathema of a dead man who died in communion with the Church irked Pope Vigilius, but he was later "persuaded" to sign.

Which only proves my point even further.  If the Church has shown herself to have the power to anathematize a dead person, she also has the power to lift anathemas of dead people (for example, St. Cyril of Alexandria lifted Alexandria's anathema against St. John Chrysostom).

That anathema was not delivered ecumenically by a synod of the whole Church, but rather by detractors of St. John. For Eastern Orthodox, at least, it's not at all a light thing to reverse a decision of an ecumenical council.

Never said it's an easy decision, but it's possible under proper ecclesiological theology if good reason comes through.  The Church has the power to loose and bind, alive or postmortem.
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« Reply #67 on: February 21, 2011, 01:44:42 AM »

But there would be division and opposition were the Church to make such an unprecedented move. In holy tradition, the rulings and the opinions of the totality of the holy fathers and councils would seem, to me, to outweigh any "new insights" some modern council might possess. Can you think of an occurrence where the Church has always said "N" was the case, and then changed her mind to say the opposite? How could one say, in such an about-face, that the Holy Spirit is behind it?
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« Reply #68 on: February 21, 2011, 07:54:37 AM »

If I'm understanding my history correctly, the Church did not condemn Pelagius himself, but rather Pelagius' teachings (and, IIRC, a couple of those who taught it).

As to Pelagius, it seems there is no anathema to lift, and as to his teaching (or, if you don't believe he actually taught it, that teaching attributed to him), it seems the Church hasn't changed its collective mind on that teaching so there is no reason to lift that condemnation.

Am I missing something?
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« Reply #69 on: February 21, 2011, 10:12:40 AM »

But there would be division and opposition were the Church to make such an unprecedented move. In holy tradition, the rulings and the opinions of the totality of the holy fathers and councils would seem, to me, to outweigh any "new insights" some modern council might possess. Can you think of an occurrence where the Church has always said "N" was the case, and then changed her mind to say the opposite? How could one say, in such an about-face, that the Holy Spirit is behind it?

Indeed.  It's been a problem that bishops in history usually never seemed to get together in a peaceful manner:
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Possibly the opinion of St. Gregory Nazianzen had grown common, for it will be remembered that in refusing to go to the latter sessions of the Second Ecumenical he wrote, “I am resolved to avoid every meeting of bishops, for I have never seen any synod end well, nor assuage rather than aggravate disorders.”
from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf214.vii.vi.vi.html

You have to remember the Holy Spirit inspires the dogmas and faith of the Church, but on the judgement of individuals in the past, this has been at the discretion of personal clerical duties of binding and loosing.  You're only arguing its difficulties, but not its possibilities.
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« Reply #70 on: February 22, 2011, 07:14:11 PM »

Theodore of Mopsuestia was anathematized at the Fifth Ecumenical Council, along with Origen, and the Three Chapters, IIRC. Theodore was dead when he was anathematized. The unprecedented anathema of a dead man who died in communion with the Church irked Pope Vigilius, but he was later "persuaded" to sign.

Are you responding to me? I was speaking to an OO person, so what the reference to the 553 council of Constantinople does not apply.
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« Reply #71 on: February 22, 2011, 07:15:59 PM »

If I'm understanding my history correctly, the Church did not condemn Pelagius himself, but rather Pelagius' teachings (and, IIRC, a couple of those who taught it).

As to Pelagius, it seems there is no anathema to lift, and as to his teaching (or, if you don't believe he actually taught it, that teaching attributed to him), it seems the Church hasn't changed its collective mind on that teaching so there is no reason to lift that condemnation.

Am I missing something?

Sounds right.
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« Reply #72 on: February 22, 2011, 09:14:35 PM »

Theodore of Mopsuestia was anathematized at the Fifth Ecumenical Council, along with Origen, and the Three Chapters, IIRC. Theodore was dead when he was anathematized. The unprecedented anathema of a dead man who died in communion with the Church irked Pope Vigilius, but he was later "persuaded" to sign.

Are you responding to me? I was speaking to an OO person, so what the reference to the 553 council of Constantinople does not apply.

Can't you be a bit more empathetic to the argument made, rather than deride the source of the argument?  This applies to us as OO's as much as it applies to the EO's.  Consider that St. Cyril also would have quickly signed on for the condemnation of both Diodore and Theodore.
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« Reply #73 on: March 09, 2011, 01:01:37 PM »

Hello, is it OK if I make a comment about this topic?

In my opinion and according to my knowledge, Pelagius didn't teach that man could be sinless without God.

"I did indeed say that a man can be without sin and keep the commandments of God, if he wishes, for this ability has been given to him by God. However, I did not say that any man can be found who has never sinned from his infancy up to his old age, but that, having been converted from his sins, he can be without sin by his own efforts and God's grace, yet not even by this means is he incapable of change for the future." - His answer at the synod of Diospolis.

His ideas were rejected not only on theological but on political grounds too, because he basically rejected(me too) nominal Christians, who continued to live sinful life that they previously had...

Why was his doctrine so eagerly criticized? Didn't early Church Fathers teach the same about moral perfection? Pelagius didn't deny the grace of God, he just emphasized the ability of man to be sinless according to his will, which would obviously be helped by God, why would God desert a man with such enthusiasm? If we fully follow Augustine's idea, that means - men are evil, only God chooses who can follow his commandments - that's just blasphemy - ignoring God's justice...

So, does church anathemize the idea, that Christian should be sinless or that he can be if he wants to?

Augustine's famous refutation is: "It is impossible not to sin" - means even all Church Fathers were continuously sinning after starting holy life...

He rejected original sin, but was that original idea of Church? That human nature was tainted? Can't unbeliever live purely Christian life?
« Last Edit: March 09, 2011, 01:08:07 PM by OtherguyLB » Logged
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« Reply #74 on: October 31, 2011, 05:36:03 PM »

Quote
The [Episcopal Church] Diocese of Atlanta has been asked to rehabilitate Pelagius.
 
Delegates to the diocesan convention will be asked to reverse the condemnation of the Council of Carthage upon Pelagius, and to explore whether the Fifth century heretic may inform the theology of the Episcopal Church.
....
The proposed resolution has brought mixed responses from the Episcopal Church’s House of Deputies chat room, with some ridiculing the notion that the Diocese of Atlanta believed itself capable of redefining church doctrine.  However, other deputies have endorsed the resolution saying it gives a breath of Celtic Christianity to the Episcopal Church and enhances the church’s theological diversity.
 
The vote on Pelagius takes place on 4 Nov 2011.
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« Reply #75 on: October 31, 2011, 06:02:07 PM »

Pelagius gets a bad rep. He may actually not be a Pelagian.
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« Reply #76 on: October 31, 2011, 08:17:07 PM »

If you can deny the resurrection and still remain a bishop in ECUSA, rehabilitating Pelagius is the least of their concerns.
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« Reply #77 on: October 31, 2011, 09:42:40 PM »

Why just the Diocese of Atlanta? Shouldn't they need more people to vote on something that important?  Huh
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« Reply #78 on: October 31, 2011, 09:43:10 PM »

Why just the Diocese of Atlanta? Shouldn't they need more people to vote on something that important?  Huh

They're Episcopalian, remember?  Wink
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« Reply #79 on: October 31, 2011, 09:45:00 PM »

Aha!  Smiley

Sad to see, however, that they keep coming up with things that make it even more difficult to repair their cooperation with the older churches. (The Orthodox & the RCC)  Undecided
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« Reply #80 on: October 31, 2011, 10:09:13 PM »

There are already folks that want to rehabilitate Judas.
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« Reply #81 on: October 31, 2011, 10:10:20 PM »

Elaine Pagels and Lady Gaga, so far...  Tongue
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« Reply #82 on: October 31, 2011, 10:54:38 PM »

What I want to know is how all the non-insane Anglicans worldwide are still in communion with these bishops.
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« Reply #83 on: October 31, 2011, 11:34:16 PM »

What I want to know is how all the non-insane Anglicans worldwide are still in communion with these bishops.
Well the non-insane have simply left.
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« Reply #84 on: November 01, 2011, 08:55:25 AM »

What I want to know is how all the non-insane Anglicans worldwide are still in communion with these bishops.
Well the non-insane have simply left.

So....what are you saying about our Ebor and Keble?
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« Reply #85 on: November 01, 2011, 09:01:09 AM »

What I want to know is how all the non-insane Anglicans worldwide are still in communion with these bishops.

Could be a sense of duty, that's the church in which they've always been, and they can't bring themselves to go somewhere else... just a thought.

I wonder how many will wind up in WR Orthodoxy, or maybe the Roman Catholic Church, or with one of the stratified ultra-conservative Anglican groups that's broken off from the Episcopalians. I think one of them is called the Anglican Church of North America, and they have a church not too far from where I live. There's also an Africa-based group of Anglican churches that has accepted some breakaway parishes. Can't remember that organization's name at the moment.
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« Reply #86 on: November 02, 2011, 09:25:44 PM »

http://www.religiousintelligence.org/churchnewspaper/news/internationalnews/us-diocese-asked-to-rehabilitate-pelagius/

Delegates to the diocesan convention will be asked to reverse the condemnation of the Council of Carthage upon Pelagius, and to explore whether the Fifth century heretic may inform the theology of the Episcopal Church.

Resolution R11-7 before the convention states in part:

“Whereas the historical record of Pelagius’s contribution to our theological tradition is shrouded in the political ambition of his theological antagonists who sought to discredit what they felt was a threat to the empire, and their ecclesiastical dominance, and whereas an understanding of his life and writings might bring more to bear on his good standing in our tradition;”

“And whereas his restitution as a viable theological voice within our tradition might encourage a deeper understanding of sin, grace, free will, and the goodness of God’s creation, and whereas in as much as the history of Pelagius represents to some the struggle for theological exploration that is our birthright as Anglicans, Be it resolved, that this 105th Annual Council of the Diocese of Atlanta appoint a committee of discernment overseen by our Bishop, to consider these matters as a means to honor the contributions of Pelagius and reclaim his voice in our tradition.”


What voice in our tradition?  He was excommunicated as a heretic! I love how a lot of christian organizations today want to make church fathers out of heresiarchs!
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« Reply #87 on: November 02, 2011, 10:45:18 PM »

Speaking of the Episcopalian decision to 'rehabilitate' him- I feel sorry for the people who studied for the priesthood and learned that Pelagius was a heretic, only to have to go through this someday.
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« Reply #88 on: November 03, 2011, 07:55:29 AM »

Speaking of the Episcopalian decision to 'rehabilitate' him- I feel sorry for the people who studied for the priesthood and learned that Pelagius was a heretic, only to have to go through this someday.

There are Orthodox priests who actively apologize for Pelagius, too.

Let me see, if I can find that podcast from AFR...
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« Reply #89 on: November 03, 2011, 08:37:17 AM »

a priest just yesterday said that Pelagius taught that if man desires God then God is obligated to give him the grace to do good. that seems problematic. also, the Synod of Carthage (and later Trullo) condemned the idea that man is intended by God to physically die - a teaching ascribed to Pelagius. and someone offered quotes earlier that really make it seem that Pelagius' notion of salvation is simply moralism.
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