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Author Topic: How is theosis different from semi-Pelagianism?  (Read 906 times) Average Rating: 0
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Protoman2050
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« on: April 12, 2012, 01:20:38 AM »

I've been wondering, how is theosis different from semi-Pelagianism? Does Orthodoxy believe we can be free of hamartia/hamartema in this life?
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« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2012, 01:27:38 AM »

semi-pelagianism asserts that we can become divinized without the grace of God, or at least that we can make the first step towards God un-aided by his grace. Orthodoxy rejects both of these positions. Grace (God's presence/action in his creation) is everywhere present and fills all things, and we must co-operate with it every step of the way to obtain our salvation, from beginning to end. We can do nothing profitable for our salvation without it.
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« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2012, 01:30:52 AM »

Semi-pelagianism is a silly word that doesn't really mean anything.

But if this is a "by our own power or not" dealio, then I would say this:

You are never free from the possibility of sinning until the end.
Union with God always deepens, so it's not "finished" before or after death.

Humanity is different now that Christ has come, and we are now able to do things we couldn't before his coming, like:
Please God.
Be united to God's nature (NT meaning) without fusion.
Be indwelled by the Holy Spirit

etc.

And we do that by Christ's power and union.

So I fail to see how "semi-pelagianism" "augustinianism" or "pelagianism" fit into any of this in a cookie-cutter way.
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« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2012, 01:34:17 AM »

semi-pelagianism asserts that we can become divinized without the grace of God, or at least that we can make the first step towards God un-aided by his grace. Orthodoxy rejects both of these positions. Grace (God's presence/action in his creation) is everywhere present and fills all things, and we must co-operate with it every step of the way to obtain our salvation, from beginning to end. We can do nothing profitable for our salvation without it.

Thank you!
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« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2012, 01:37:36 AM »

I've been wondering, how is theosis different from semi-Pelagianism? Does Orthodoxy believe we can be free of hamartia/hamartema in this life?

On the first part, can you expand on how you are defining semi-Pelagianism? First because that 'semi' can cover a lot of subtle differences, and second because the question kind of reads like 'how are roads different from doors'. I take a discussion of Pelagianism (semi or otherwise) to be essentially a discussion about the freedom of the will and nature of 'fallenness'. 'Theosis' on the other hand is about what 'become partakers of the divine nature' means. I can construct an argument in which both full-blown Pelagianism and Calvinistic 'double predestination' are both fully compatible with 'theosis'--even though I don't believe either of those is consistent with the Apostolic teaching.

On the second question, yes. There are saints of whom it is believed that they reached a point, in this life, that they no longer sinned. Christ said, "Be perfect as your Father is perfect." We take that as an actual realistic goal.
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« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2012, 01:56:07 AM »

I've been wondering, how is theosis different from semi-Pelagianism? Does Orthodoxy believe we can be free of hamartia/hamartema in this life?

On the first part, can you expand on how you are defining semi-Pelagianism? First because that 'semi' can cover a lot of subtle differences, and second because the question kind of reads like 'how are roads different from doors'. I take a discussion of Pelagianism (semi or otherwise) to be essentially a discussion about the freedom of the will and nature of 'fallenness'. 'Theosis' on the other hand is about what 'become partakers of the divine nature' means. I can construct an argument in which both full-blown Pelagianism and Calvinistic 'double predestination' are both fully compatible with 'theosis'--even though I don't believe either of those is consistent with the Apostolic teaching.

On the second question, yes. There are saints of whom it is believed that they reached a point, in this life, that they no longer sinned. Christ said, "Be perfect as your Father is perfect." We take that as an actual realistic goal.

Semi-Pelagianism: That after God gives us grace to choose to follow Him, it's all up to us afterwards.

I'm getting really tired of Protestants essentially accusing Jesus of lying. According to them, we can't trust he means what he says about anything.
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« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2012, 02:10:49 AM »

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Selam
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« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2012, 02:12:23 AM »

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Selam

You mean you agree that Protestants accuse Jesus of lying?
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« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2012, 02:21:12 AM »


Semi-Pelagianism: That after God gives us grace to choose to follow Him, it's all up to us afterwards.

Okay, defined that way, the question makes more sense to me. But the answer is, as Ortho_cat basically already got at, that the difference is they are complete opposites. "It's all up to us" is basically what Orthodox mean by 'fallen'. Theosis, union with God through the Person of Jesus Christ, is the healing of the unnatural state in which everything is up to us because it is not a union of equals. In the union of the finite with the Infinite, of the created with its Creator, the only valid relationship is one of complete submission, complete dependence. "Not my will but yours". The deeper one goes into theosis, the less is 'up to us'--"for it is no longer I that live, but Christ that livest in me" (St. Paul).
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« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2012, 02:22:25 AM »


Semi-Pelagianism: That after God gives us grace to choose to follow Him, it's all up to us afterwards.

Okay, defined that way, the question makes more sense to me. But the answer is, as Ortho_cat basically already got at, that the difference is they are complete opposites. "It's all up to us" is basically what Orthodox mean by 'fallen'. Theosis, union with God through the Person of Jesus Christ, is the healing of the unnatural state in which everything is up to us because it is not a union of equals. In the union of the finite with the Infinite, of the created with its Creator, the only valid relationship is one of complete submission, complete dependence. "Not my will but yours". The deeper one goes into theosis, the less is 'up to us'--"for it is no longer I that live, but Christ that livest in me" (St. Paul).

That's what I thought.
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« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2012, 05:55:42 AM »

Pelagianism is condemned as a heresy, but semi-pelagianism?
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« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2012, 06:10:48 AM »

Pelagianism is condemned as a heresy, but semi-pelagianism?

That's how the RCs seem to think.

Quote from: NewAdvent.org
At a Synod of Valence (528 or 529) Cæsarius was attacked on account of his teaching, but was able to reply effectively. Having been assured of the "authority and support of the Apostolic See", he summoned on 3 July, 529, the sharers of his views to the Second Synod of Orange, which condemned Semipelagianism as heresy. In twenty-five canons the entire powerlessness of nature for good, the absolute necessity of prevenient grace for salutary acts, especially for the beginning of faith, the absolute gratuity of the first grace and of final perseverance, were defined, while in the epilogue the predestination of the will to evil was branded as heresy (cf. Denzinger-Bannwart, nn. 174-200). As Pope Boniface II solemnly ratified the decrees in the following year (530), the Synod of Orange was raised to the rank of an œcumenical council. It was the final triumph of the dead Augustine, the "Doctor of Grace".

Of course our perspective is not so pope-centered but at that time Rome was still Orthodox. I wonder if the Council of Orange is ratified by some Ecumenical council?
« Last Edit: April 12, 2012, 06:12:57 AM by Alpo » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2012, 06:12:55 AM »

Quote from: NewAdvent.org
the Synod of Orange was raised to the rank of an œcumenical council.

 Huh
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« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2012, 08:07:55 AM »

I've been wondering, how is theosis different from semi-Pelagianism? Does Orthodoxy believe we can be free of hamartia/hamartema in this life?

It's a matter of initiative.

Semi-Pelagianism teaches that man is capable of making the first move towards God without any help from God and then God responds to our actions.

Orthodoxy teaches synergism, which is that God reaches out to man and gives him a measure of grace, to which mankind must respond.

As far as being free from sin, we will always have to battle with the lust of the flesh and the "sin that dwelleth in me" as long as we have our mortal bodies.

A thought about how this relates to theosis, theosis means to become like God, which can only be done in union with God. Trying to become like God apart from God is what got mankind thrown out of paradise. And yes, "Semi-Palagianism" is one of those things that no one really believes but gets thrown around by Calvinists to discredit anyone who teaches that man's response to God's grace is necessary for salvation.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2012, 08:18:12 AM by Melodist » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2012, 11:58:53 AM »

semi pelagianism is also about the end times as far as i know.
but none of the non orthodox theories appropriately explains the orthodox perspective, so it's best just to learn the orthodox way really well, and then go back to the other theories later if u want to put it into perspective.

i can tell u a giraffe is a bit like a horse, but once u meet the giraffe, u will understand how unique it is!

i used to annoy people at church as a teenager (i was an annoying teenager!) when refusing to take a stand on the calvin / arminius debate (sovreignty / free will). i concluded in my precocious way, that they both had some good points to make but neither had completely got it right.
early signs of orthodoxy!
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welcome to the forum; there are lots of former protestants here. i am also from uk.
it took me a couple of years to decide to take the plunge, and in this time i went to several protestant and orthodox churches. i also took the opportunity to visit catholic churches and also take half the catholic catechumen class, as i wanted to be sure i wasn't missing anything out.
i found i could relax when listening to the orthodox sermons, as i knew they were not dodgy!
have u got good reading material? metropolitan kallistos ware (formerly know as timothy ware) has written 2 great introductory books; the orthodox church (which i haven't read) and the orthodox way, which is a bit philosophical, but good.
anything by father peter farrington (another poster here and also from uk) is very good (especially if u like the comprehensive perspective). his books are available on lulu (self publishing website).
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« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2012, 12:41:17 PM »

Quote from: NewAdvent.org
the Synod of Orange was raised to the rank of an œcumenical council.

 Huh

Maybe in the RC church?
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« Reply #16 on: April 12, 2012, 12:45:35 PM »

Quote from: NewAdvent.org
the Synod of Orange was raised to the rank of an œcumenical council.

 Huh

Maybe in the RC church?

lol...that's news to me. Did they bother consulting the eastern churches about this decision?
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« Reply #17 on: April 12, 2012, 01:53:53 PM »

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Selam

You mean you agree that Protestants accuse Jesus of lying?

I'm pretty sure he meant he was subscribing to the thread so that he could see when there were new posts, etc.

Anyway, on the topic of the thread: so the main difference is that semi-Pelagianism teaches that we make that first choice without God's grace, and then God's grace comes later - whereas Orthodoxy teaches that it's all done with God's grace?
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« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2012, 02:27:22 PM »

Anyway, on the topic of the thread: so the main difference is that semi-Pelagianism teaches that we make that first choice without God's grace, and then God's grace comes later - whereas Orthodoxy teaches that it's all done with God's grace?

I took Protoman's subsequent definition of what he was meaning by Semi-Pelagianism to be the opposite--that God gives us the grace to make our will free for the first choice but then once our will is free it 'all up to us' in terms of continuing/progress. But either way, yes the contrast to Orthodoxy is that God's grace is present and necessary at every point from the first choice on (as is man's free will choice--hence the idea of synergy, that theosis is about the united work of God and man, even if the 'work' of man in this instance is the work of submission).
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« Reply #19 on: April 12, 2012, 02:31:56 PM »

Anyway, on the topic of the thread: so the main difference is that semi-Pelagianism teaches that we make that first choice without God's grace, and then God's grace comes later - whereas Orthodoxy teaches that it's all done with God's grace?

I took Protoman's subsequent definition of what he was meaning by Semi-Pelagianism to be the opposite--that God gives us the grace to make our will free for the first choice but then once our will is free it 'all up to us' in terms of continuing/progress. But either way, yes the contrast to Orthodoxy is that God's grace is present and necessary at every point from the first choice on (as is man's free will choice--hence the idea of synergy, that theosis is about the united work of God and man, even if the 'work' of man in this instance is the work of submission).

Okay I see.

Then I wonder if both (grace at beginning, and grace later) would be Semi-Pelagianism, or if they would be something wholly distinct. Either way thanks for the correction.
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« Reply #20 on: April 12, 2012, 09:51:46 PM »

Then I wonder if both (grace at beginning, and grace later) would be Semi-Pelagianism, or if they would be something wholly distinct. Either way thanks for the correction.

We look at it like a dance. It requires the continual active participation of both who are dancing, but there is definitely someone who leads and someone who follows within that dance. We believe that God leads and we follow.
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« Reply #21 on: April 16, 2012, 03:46:28 AM »

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Selam

You mean you agree that Protestants accuse Jesus of lying?

I'm pretty sure he meant he was subscribing to the thread so that he could see when there were new posts, etc.



Correct.


Selam
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« Reply #22 on: April 16, 2012, 01:23:07 PM »

Pelagius and his teachings were condemned at the Council of Ephesus (or rather, that Council ratified previous condemnations). Semi-Pelagianism was not condemned in the same manner (i.e., not by an "ecumenical council"), but it was condemned locally (as it was only a local issue). However, it's not as if there were no Eastern voice in that conflict. St John Cassian, a desert ascetic and monastic who in the latter part of his life resided in Eastern Europe, wrote about his disagreements with Augustine and Pelagius (he disagreed with both of them for different reasons). His views are popularly labeled in Reformed circles as "semi-Pelagian", but nothing could be further from the truth. In my experience in the Reformed world, any views that are not identical to Reformed are labeled as either Pelagian or Semi-Pelagian, even if those views are nothing remotely close to either of those schools of thought.

Pelagius teaches that mankind can achieve salvation and virtue by the power of his own ability apart from God's grace. Semi-Pelagianism teaches that mankind can attain to repentance on his own, but needs God's grace for everything after that. Both of those views are incompatible with Orthodoxy, as Orthodoxy teaches that we need God's grace for everything in our lives, including our existence.
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