conscience, he has an ideal of life, he forms right resolves, he recognizes the claims of law and, he accuses himself when he sins. All these things Pelagius regards as indications of a certain holiness in all men, and misinterpretation of these facts gives rise to his system; he ought to have seen in them evidences of a divine influence opposing man?s bent to evil and leading him to repentance. Grace, on the Pelagian theory, is simply the grace of creation ? God?s originally endowing man with his high powers of reason and will. While Augustinianism regards human nature as dead, and Semi-Pelagianism regards it as sick, Pelagianism proper declares it to be well .
Dorner, Glaubenslehre, 2:48 (Syst. Doct., 2:338) ? ?Neither the body, man?s surroundings, nor the inward operation of God, have any determining influence upon the will. God reaches man only through external means, such as Christ?s doctrine, example, and promise. This clears God of the charge of evil but also takes from him the authorship of good. It Is Deism, applied to man?s nature, God cannot enter man?s being if he would and he would not if he could. Free will is everything.? lb., 1:626 (Syst. Doct., 2:188, 189) ? ?Pelagianism at one time counts it too great an honor that man should be directly moved upon by God and at another too great a dishonor that man should not be able to do without God. In this inconsistent reasoning, it shows its desire to be rid of God as much as possible. The true conception of God requires a living relation to man, as well as to the external universe. The true conception of man requires satisfaction of his longings and powers by reception of impulses and strength from God. Pelagianism, in seeking for man a development only like that of nature, shows that its high estimate of man is only a delusive one. It really degrades him by ignoring his true dignity and destiny.? See Ib., 1:124, 125 (Syst. Doct., 1:136, 137); 2:43- 45(Syst.Doct.,2:338, 339); 2:148 (Syst. Doct. 3:44). Also Schaff, Church History, 2:783-856; Doctrines of the Early Socinians, in Princeton Essays, 1:194-211; Woter, Pelagianismus. For substantially Pelagian statements, see Sheldon, Sin and Redemption; Ellis, Half Century of Unitarian Controversy, 76.
Of the Pelagian theory of sin, we may say:
A. It has never been recognized as Scriptural nor has it been formulated in confessions by any branch of the Christian church. Held only sporadically and by individuals, it has ever been regarded by the church at large as heresy. This constitutes at least a presumption against its truth.
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