Thursday, October 20, 2011

Officially Going Pelagian: Let's Get it Out in the Open

It has been some time since we last checked in with the Episcopal Church in the US, which continues to implode and decline at a rapid rate.

The latest development is the move by some in the Diocese of Atlanta to officially adopt Pelagian heresy as the official doctrine of the Church. David Virtue of Virtue Online reports:
If the Rev. Benno D. Pattison, Rector, the Church of the Epiphany in Atlanta, has his way, the 5th Century heretic Pelagius, declared so by the Council of Carthage, will be reinstated at the next and final Diocese of Atlanta annual meeting presided over by Bishop Neil Alexander.

Nearly 500 clergy members and parish delegates will gather in Rome (Georgia) Nov. 4-5 for the 105th Annual Council of the Diocese of Atlanta and vote on reinstating Pelagius who denied original sin as well as Christian grace.

Pelagius was an ascetic who denied the need for divine aid in performing good works. For him, the only grace necessary was the declaration of the law; humans were not wounded by Adam's sin and were perfectly able to fulfill the law apart from any divine aid. He denied the doctrine of original sin as developed by Augustine of Hippo. Pelagius was declared a heretic. His interpretation of a doctrine of free will became known as Pelagianism.

According to Pattison, the historical record of Pelagius's contribution to our theological tradition is shrouded in the political ambition of his theological antagonists who sought to discredit what they felt was a threat to the empire and their ecclesiastical dominance. "An understanding of his life and writings might bring more to bear on his good standing in our tradition."

Pattison wants to see Pelagius's "restitution as a viable theological voice within our tradition might encourage a deeper understanding of sin, grace, free will, and the goodness of God's creation, and that the history of Pelagius represents to some the struggle for theological exploration that is our birthright as Anglicans.

"The church needs to reclaim his voice in our tradition," concluded Pattison.
Of course, the issue isn't "reclaiming his voice." That is entirely unnecessary as the voice of the Episcopal Church been loudly Pelagian for years now. The point is, rather, to openly embrace heresy and make it official.

I can't help but thinking this is a good thing. It gets tiresome listening to these Anglican/Episcopal bishops running around mouthing submission to the ecumenical creeds as a pro forma matter all the while trashing the Great Tradition of Christian orthodoxy by their actions. This at least has the virtue of openness and honesty.

Persecuting the orthodox has already begun in South Carolina, so to make it official is to let everybody know exactly where things stand. I suppose making Arius a saint and openly repudiating Athanasius and the Nicene Creed can't be far off for this formerly Christian sect. When your "church" has no problem with John Spong, Pelagius and Arius don't seem like a stretch.

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