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The relationship between Orthodoxy and Semi-Pelagianism


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#1 Yolanda

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 06:36 AM

The relationship between Orthodox and Semi- Pelagianism

Saint John Cassian considered we can believe in God by ourself. i think god gives everybody conscience and goodness, it's common grace, so we can look for Holy Trinity, but apostle paul said: "So it is my desire for you to be clear about this; that no one is able to say by the Spirit of God that Jesus is cursed; and no one is able to say that Jesus is Lord, but by the Holy Spirit"(1 Corinthians 12:3); "And this is the certain faith which we have in God through Christ"(2 Corinthians 3:4). in fact Saint John Cassian affirmed we can believe in God by grace, i think he didn't distinguish between the grace of theosis(deification) and common grace.

We know infant can be baptized, i think it's proved the grace before wish. Luke 1:15 -- "For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb."

But we are adult, in the first we must study doctrine, so our wish before grace? i don't think so, because no grace we can do nothing.

No conflict between our effort and grace of god( uncreated energy of God ), i think it's communion with God, 1 John 4:19 -- "We love him, because he first loved us."

How do you view Semi- Pelagianism?how do you view humanity?

#2 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 01:16 PM

I think Pelagius has been much maligned, and it seems that his views were misrepresented by African bishops and Augustine.

#3 Yolanda

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 07:37 AM

Pelagianism is heresy, but Semi-Pelagianism is not.

Saint John Cassian's Conference XIII http://www.osb.org/l...nf13.html#13.13
CHAPTER VI.That without the grace of God we cannot make any diligent efforts.
CHAPTER VIII.Of the grace of God and the freedom of the will.
CHAPTER IX.Of the power of our good will, and the grace of God.
CHAPTER X.On the weakness of free will.
CHAPTER XI.Whether the grace of God precedes or follows our good will.
CHAPTER XII.That a good will should not always be attributed to grace, nor always to man himself.
CHAPTER XIII.How human efforts cannot be set against the grace of God
CHAPTER XVIII.The decision of the fathers that free will is not equal to save a man.

I think the crux of the problem is communion through our effort and grace of god. we are human, a good creation of god. but we abandon god, and forget him, like a child
run away from home.

#4 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 12:45 PM

Can Pelagius be separated from the heresy named after him? He might qualify as a semi-Pelagian, and if that means he was not a heretic, that would be most satisfactory.

#5 Yolanda

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 04:19 PM

It's difficult for me to read and write english, so many words that i don't know.:(

^_^ I found some information and learned a lot of knowledge. I am very happy that some people and I have the same point of view, let us read these posts together:

。◕‿◕。。◕‿◕。。◕‿◕。。◕‿◕。。◕‿◕。。◕‿◕。。◕‿◕。。◕‿◕。。◕‿◕。。◕‿◕。。◕‿◕。。◕‿◕。。◕‿◕。。◕‿◕。。◕‿◕。。◕‿◕

Semi-Pelagianism and Orthodoxy http://www.orthodoxc...ic,25944.0.html

Question:

Can someone explain the difference? On the surface they sound very similar but I have heard more than a few Orthodox say that the Orthodox are not semi-Pelagians.

Melodist Answer:
1 John 4:19
"We love him, because he first loved us."

2 Cor 6:1
"We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain."

Heb 11:6
"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."

John 6:44
"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day."

John 12:32
"And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."

The main difference between Orthodox synergism and semi-palagianism is this. Palagians believe that a man can become reunited to God through his own actions without the grace of God. Semi-palagianism is the belief that man comes to God without any help from God and then is perfected by the grace of God. Orthodoxy teaches synergism, that God always takes the initiative in every step our salvation and that we react to His grace in willful cooperation and obedience out of love.

Question:

So grace is absent from the condition that makes our acceptance of salvation possible?

Melodist Answer:
No. God must call us first for us to respond to him. However, God calls every man to be reconciled to Him because that is His will. Everyone gets the opportunity to come back to the Father. God takes the first step in reconciling everyone to Him, not everyone reponds positively to that initial grace given by God. It's just like the wedding feast. Everyone receives an invitation somewhere in the story. Unfortunately, a lot of people either refuse the invitation or come to the feast unprepared and not wearing the wedding garment that was given to them by the master.

John 6:44
"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day."

John 12:32
"And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."

Acts 2:17
"And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:"

1 Tim 2:3-4
"For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth."
The word "will" here refers to the desire of God for all men to be saved, not the future act of God saving all men.

Matt 22:9 -10
"Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests."
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jnorm888:

If one reads the writtings of the classical semi-pelagians of the west......like Saint John Cassian, Saint Vincent of Lerins, ...etc. as well as read the local western council of 2nd Orange 529 A.D.....which was against some of the teachings of both Saints John Cassian and Augustine, then one will notice that the classical semi-pelagians believed that prevenient grace was only either for "some" men that come to God or for "most" men that come to God. And this is pretty much why 2nd Orange condemned it. For 2nd Orange tought that prevenient grace was for every man that came to God.

And this is why the term "semi" was used for them. This is what you will find when you read the primary works. The semi-pelagians did come out on top at another local western council some decades earlier around 473 A.D. at the council of Oral...or something like that. It was against a hard Augustinian by the name of Lucian...or Lucianus...or Lugianus....I forgot.

When you combine the two local western councils of Oral 473 A.D. with 2nd Orange 529A.D., then the outcome is the teaching of "operans becoming co-operans". Which basically means "monergism" will eventually become "synergism" once Divine Grace hits the human will.

In Orthodoxy.......because of Pan-entheism and our Essence vs Energies distinction, our paradigm will automatically be slightly different. God's Divine Energies are everywhere and they permeate everything and so we can't truelly be semi-pelagian even if we wanted to........for God's grace is everywhere, and so our form of synergy is one of simultaneity.

If we had to speak in western terms we could do so, but what we would mean by those same terms would be slightly different.


Also check out this old thread
http://www.orthodoxc...ic,21719.0.html (Semipelagianism, Original Sin and Ancestral Sin)


ICXC NIKA

Question:

In Orthodoxy.......because of Pan-entheism and our Essence vs Energies distinction, our paradigm will automatically be slightly different. God's Divine Energies are everywhere and they permeate everything and so we can't truelly be semi-pelagian even if we wanted to........for God's grace is everywhere, and so our form of synergy is one of simultaneity.


This is one of the more helpful comments on the net regarding Orthodoxy and semi-Pelagianism. Is it possible for you to elaborate further on it? Thanks!

Jnorm888 Answer:
Classical semi-pelagianism didn't see prevenient grace as being for all who came to Christ. It would say that the thief on the cross went to God first. But if God's Divine Energies are universal and everywhere........then it is an issue of Acts chapter 17

"27God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring."

When we are seeking God. We are already doing so not only within His Divine Energies......but His Divine Energies also permeate us while we are doing it. And so.....the idea of what comes first..... free will or grace is to think that some how God's Grace doesn't exist where our free will is. Or that some how our free will can exist where God's grace isn't.

If Acts chapter 17 verses 27 to 28 is true.....then it's co-existing and simultaneous. For where can we go where the Divine Energies are not? Where can we hide?

ICXC NIKA



http://www.orthodoxc...ic,21719.0.html

Question:

I have come upon some EO who claim that the EOC is "semi-pelagian." I don't know what those people are thinking. I have noticed, however, that people who make that claim are the same ones who like to widen the gap between Catholicism and EO'xy as much as possible. In their eyes, since Semi-Pelagianism was condemned by the Latins, then that means it must be OK to claim that descriptive for EO'xy. In their unthinking anti-Catholicism, these people completely neglect the fact that the feature that caused Semi-Pelagianism to be condemned by the Catholic Church is one of the very features for which the patristic and historic Catholic and Orthodox Church condemned Pelagianism.

As a brother exhortation, I would ask you to read more of the Fathers, and less of the interpretative efforts of modern theologians (Catholic or Orthodox). Go back to the sources.

Irish Hermit Answer:
I would suggest the same, that the Orthodox look at the Fathers. In this case we find a Western Father St. John Cassian who expressed a position whiich is sometimes called, derogatively, semi-Pelagianism but which is in line with Eastern understanding.


See St. John Cassian on Grace and Free Will: his famous Conference XIII.

http://www.ccel.org/...pnf211.toc.html

St. John Cassian was a contemporary of St. Augustine in Gaul. Though living in the West he was in heart and mind a Father of the East. He was the first to respectfully object to certain of Saint Augustine's theological imprecisions concerning grace and free will. He was supported in his anti-Augustine stance by the monasteries of southern France.

Conference XIII is a superb statement of the Orthodox doctrine of synergy (wrongly dubbed "semi-Pelagianism" by modern Western writers): God working with man to effect his salvation.

One should also read two "books" in St. John's treatise Against the Nestorians which deal with the heresy of Pelagianism: Book I and Book V (at the above URL.)


Irish Hermit:
And in Saint Augustine's writings on these matters, a far lesser percentage is worthy. Indeed much is heretical and was rejected by the Church in the West.

However, I do not really want to start engaging you, and I have not yet read through this thread. I simply wanted to point out to Orthodox readers that the position which the West calls "semi-Pelagianism" is the position of the Orthodox Church. It is the doctrine of synergy.

Saint John Cassian, Saint Hilary of Arles and Saint Vincent of Lerins joined in the rebuttal of Saint Augustine. These Saints found quite a number of issues in Auguistine's teachings which neded refutation ~

~ his doctrine of sin and grace

~ his assertion that the will is in total bondage

~ his teaching on the irresistibility of grace

~ predestinarian thought - the creme de la creme of the horrors of Augustine's thought.

These Saints did agree with Saint Augustine partially, concerning the seriousness of sin. But in their minds the doctrine of predestination was new and alien to the Faith of the Church. It conflicts with the Tradition and it is deeply dangerous because it renders all human efforts ineffectual.

In opposition to Saint Augustine, Cassian and the Western monks taught that while a sickness is transmitted by Adam's sin, human free will still exists and it has not been entirely obliterated. Divine grace is indeed indispensable for salvation, but it does not of necessity need to precede a free human choice, because, despite the weakness of the human will, the will can and does take the initiative toward God. In other words, Cassian is saying (as do the Orthodox today) that divine grace and human free will must work together for salvation ~ synergy. In opposition to the stark and cruel predestinarianism of the Bishop of Hippo, Cassian upheld the doctrine of God's universal and all-encompassing will to save all humankind and not just an arbitrairily chosen portion of it.

In the case of predestination to salvation or damnation/reprobation Saint Augustine was unfortunately just as fierce and just as heretical as John Calvin 1000 years kater. Calvin was simply re-presenting the Augustinian teaching which the Church of the West had wisely laid to one side and ignored.

See this EWTN article
by Fr William Most.

ST. AUGUSTINE ON GRACE AND PREDESTINATION Fr. William Most
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.ewtn.com/...GY/AUGUSTIN.HTM

The article deals with Augustine's teaching of the "Massa damnata et damnabilis."

We remember that when Saint Photios of Constantinople began to read Augustine in Greek translation he found these and other ideas so heretical that he assumed, very charitably, that Augustine cannot have been responsible for them. He thought that heretics in later centuries had corrupted Saint Augustine's text.


jnorm888
What the local latin council of 2nd Orange comdemned was the idea that the free will of "some" men can preceed the grace of God.

Saint John Cassian was a great man of the Faith. He made a small mistake in 1 or 2 places in his work called the Conferences where he spoke about the possibility of the free will of "some" people being able to preceed the grace of God. He mostly tought in most places that the grace of God preceeds the will of man.

I get upset with Both Roman Catholics and certain Reformed protestants for seeing Saint Augustine as some great hero with no flaws in his writings, but demonize Saint John Cassian for 1 or 2 flaws.

Most of what Saint John Cassian wrote is Orthodox and sound doctrine. And if you can overlook the many theological flaws of Saint Augustine then why not overlook a few minor flaws of Saint John Cassian?

#6 Yolanda

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 05:59 PM

It's strange that the forum forbade those posts.

We know John Cassian is a very holy saint, only he didn't know the grace is uncreated energy of God, but he affirmed we can believe in God by grace and we have goodness. Just because a word to judge that he is heresy, it's unfair and taken out of context.




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