Tuesday, February 26, 2013

When I Saw Pelagianism in Hardshellism

I have appreciated Brother Stephen’s current series on Pelagianism so much. It has reminded me of when I first began to see for myself that this was being indirectly taught by my former acquaintances; though like me, probably totally oblivious to the fact that they were doing so. I came to see that the reason why gospel exhortations were not to be seen as directed to the unregenerate because they were not able to respond. Sadly, there was a time when I would concur.  I now know, thankfully, that though man lost all ability of will due to the fall, God did not lose his right to hold man accountable. Here’s a thought of mine I penned down a few years ago when the Lord saw fit to rescue me from the doctrine of do-nothing:

“Moreover, to reason that ‘command implies ability’ is an error in and of itself. It is the exact line of thought pursued by the 4th century British Monk Pelagius. Having noticed that the scriptures command men to repent and believe, he deduced from it that man must be able to comply with the terms. This led him to deny the Augustinian view of man’s depravity and consent to FREE WILL! Many in our day are guilty of the same reasoning as Pelagius! They see the commands of repentance and faith in scripture and feel that they must necessarily imply ability on the part of the recipient. Instead of renouncing depravity, however, they have flown to what they feel is the only other alternative; that being, to claim that the commands of repentance and faith are addressed exclusively to those who are already alive, because they alone are able! This demonstrates much ignorance upon the fact that the commands of scripture (e.g. Look unto me and be ye saved – Is. 45:22) are not meant to suggest ability on the part of the hearer, but to EXPOSE THEIR INABILITY! It is “that he may know his sin, not (emphasis mine - KF) that he may believe that he has any strength (Luther, The Bondage of the Will). In other words, it is okay for the commands of faith and repentance to be addressed to the lost, for if the Lord chooses to grant the increase, they can be the means by which the man is made to see his sinfulness, and that he can’t comply with the demands. To assert that the commands of faith and repentance must be addressed only to those who are ‘already saved’ because they alone are able to comply is to regurgitate Pelagianism! Failure to recognize this, though, is a major reason why evangelism among much of the Primitives is absolutely dead.”

The result of this Pelagian tenet is to shift the evangelical appeals to audiences "already regenerated", thus opening up the door for conditional time salvation.

One error leads to another.

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