Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Pelagianism: An Unorthodox Christian View

Pelagianism is Christian denomination that reforms the understanding about salvation; that is, the means by which humanity and God are restored to a right relationship. Pelagianism challenges two views held by most Christian churches, namely: The concept of the "Original Sin" and the salvation provided by the crucification of Jesus. Pelagianism was founded by a British monk called Pelagius.

Pelagius believed that the consequences of Adam and Eve’s sin (the Fall) were restricted to themselves only; and thereby denied the belief that original sin was passed on to the children of Adam and thus to the human race. Adam's sin merely "set a bad example" for his descendants and Jesus "set a good example" for mankind (thus counteracting Adam's bad example). Pelagianism teaches that human beings are born in a state of innocence with a nature that is as pure as that which Adam was given at his creation before he sinned. Pelagius taught that salvation could be attained through free will alone, without the redemption of divine grace.

Pelagius taught that man has an unimpaired moral ability to choose that which is spiritually good and possesses the free will, ability, and capacity to do that which is spiritually good. This resulted in a gospel of salvation based on human works. Man could choose to follow the precepts of God and then follow those precepts because he had the power within himself to do so.

Thusly, Pelagius claims that humans are fully responsible through their free will, for both sins and goodness. Because by denying the effect of the original sin on mankind, humans cannot justify their actions as a consequence of the original sin. Likewise, humans are responsible for their own goodness and their own salvation. In a certain sense, and according to the teachings of Pelagius, Jesus' existence was a living proof that humans can be good, and had no redemption value beyond that.