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Augustine’s Theology Against Pelagianism

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Augustine’s Theology against Pelagianism by Mark S. Castlebury
HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY I
CHHI 520
Professor John M. Landers
09 May 2014

ABSTRACT
This paper will examine Augustine’s response to the doctrinal challenges presented in the heresy of Pelagianism concerning grace and original sin. Augustine’s writings against Pelagius serve as our primary source for understanding his response. It is expected to find that Augustine responded in a biblically orthodox manner showing the true nature of man while defending the doctrines of grace and original sin.

CONTENTS
ABSTRACT ii
Pelagianism 1
THE BACKGROUND OF PELAGIUS 2
THE WRITINGS OF PELAGIUS 3
THE TEACHINGS OF PELAGIUS 6
AUGUSTINE 7
AUGUSTINE’S BACKGROUND 7
ORIGINAL SIN 8
TRANSMISSION OF SIN 9
THE GRACE OF GOD 10
CONCLUSION 10
BIBLIOGRAPHY 11

Pelagianism
The Heresy of Pelagianism began in the fifth-century and was named after the British monk Pelagius. He is well known even today for his views on original sin and freedom of the will. A definition provided by William Shed in his work Dogmatic Theology states that, “Pelagius affirmed the freedom of the will, which for him meant that a person always has the ability to choose good as well as evil. That is, for Pelagius the power of contrary choice is essential to free moral agency. According to Pelagius, a person is always ‘able to sin and able not to sin’ (posse peccare et posse non peccare). Naturally, such a view of freedom carries implications for the doctrine of original sin. Pelagius denied that human beings derive a corrupt nature from Adam; if they did then they would not be responsible for their sins. Rather, Adam’s transgression served merely as a bad example to his descendants.”
While this is a good summary of the Pelagius views, there is a theological aspect that needs a bit more defining, and accordingly the definition provided by…...

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