Theologian Thursday: Pelagius c.354-c.420

I thought it was about time we showed some love to heretics around here, so I present to you: Pelagius.

You'll often see Pelagius pitted against Augustine in a battle about obedience: Pelagius believed that people choose to obey God or not, while Augustine said people can only obey God by God's grace. The debate stems from the idea of original sin and the "fall" of Adam. Basically, is humanity evil simply because we happen to be human?

Pelagius was condemned and anathemized by Pope Innocent I (and then pardoned and re-condemned by the succeeding pope), and most of his works were destroyed, which is unfortunate, given the rise of Arminianism, evolution, and other ideas that may actually support his ideas about free will and the nature of humanity, as well as challenge widespread Western ideas about original sin. However, most people still write Pelagius off as teaching an "unbiblical" works-based faith, and Augustine's theology has held the minds of the Western church ever since.

What you should read:

(To read more about my rating system, click HERE.)

Gender Equality:
Granted, it was very early in church history, and women were still basically property, but there's nothing much in anything I've read or heard that suggests Pelagius would be any different.

Environmental Sensibility:
Again, this just does not seem to be an issue for Pelagius. He was clearly worried about other things. He does have a work called "On Nature," but it's not what you think (i.e. it should be called "On Human Nature").

Heretical Tendencies:
Five stars here, because, yes, he is technically a heretic. Though, perhaps if we still had more than just fragments of his works, he could defend himself a little better.

General Badassery:
I'm going to give him a three, just for taking on Augustine, who is pretty bad-ass himself.

And a quote:

"Those who are unwilling to correct their own way of life appear to want to correct nature itself instead."

An interesting thought.

I'd love to hear your opinions on Pelagianism! Leave them in the comments si vouz plait.