Semipelagianism

From Academic Kids

Semi-Pelagianism is a softer form of Pelagianism, which taught that man has the capacity to seek God in and of himself apart from any movement of God’s Word or the Holy Spirit. According to semi-Pelagianism, man doesn’t have a complete capacity, but man and God could cooperate to a certain degree in this salvation effort: man can (unaided by grace) make the first move toward God, and God then completes the salvation process. This teaching is distinct from the traditional patristic doctrine of synergeia, that the process of salvation is cooperation between God and man from start to finish.

The word appears to have been coined between 1590 and 1600 in connexion with Molina's doctrine of grace, in which the opponents of this theologian believed they saw a close resemblance to the heresy of the monks of Marseilles (cf. "Revue des sciences phios. et théol.", 1907, pp. 506 sqq.). After this confusion had been exposed as an error, the term Semipelagianism was retained in learned circles as a designation for the heresy advocated by monks of Southern Gaul at and around Marseilles after 428. It aimed at a compromise between the two extremes of Pelagianism and Augustinism, and was condemned as heresy at the local Council of Orange in 529 after disputes extending over more than a hundred years, although the term itself was unknown in antiquity.

In more recent times the word is frequently used by those in the Reformed protestant camp to designate anyone who deviates from the Augustinian/Calvinist/Reformed Theology camp.


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