Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Arminianism vs. Pelagianism

I am getting very tired of sitting in class and hearing people confuse Pelagianism with Arminianism. There is the assumption, for whatever reason, that because Arminianism arose in conflict with "Calvinism" that it somehow must be the polar opposite of the traditional Reformed view of a meticulously sovreign God. It is not. Arminius was a Calvinist, and his theology attributed the overwhelming majority of the work in salvation to God's activity. For Arminius, the role of human free will in salvation was analogous to a beggar stretching out his hand to receive a gift. It is sadly inappropriate then to examine the 5-step "plan of salvation" and, discovering that God has been entirely removed from it and salvation left primarily in the hands of humanity, to label that "thoroughly Arminian." It's not. Pelagius is the heretic condemned for suggesting that man could theoretically achieve salvation of his own efforts, not Arminius. Arminius gave human free will only the cooperative role of accepting the otherwise unmerited and unobtainable grace.

If we are going to damn men posthumously for their theological systems, the least we can do is attach to their names the systems they actually held.

No comments:

Post a Comment