Question 24: Write a brief description or definition of the following with regard to the remedy for inherited sin: Pelagianism; Semi-Pelagianism; Arminianism.
Answer: 1.) Pelagius “taught that man was created neutral—neither sinful nor holy—and with the capacity and will to choose freely either to sin or to do good.” The implication of this with regard to the remedy for inherited sin is basically that if one chose to do good, he may never suffer the penalty of sin committed by Adam because inherited sin is null and void in this heterodox teaching.
2) “Semi-Pelagians teach that man retains a measure of freedom by which he can cooperate with the grace of God. Man’s will has been weakened and his nature affected by the Fall, but he is not totally depraved. In regeneration man chooses God, who then adds His grace. Semi-Pelagianism is the teaching of the Roman Catholic church as well as some Protestant groups. Original sin is eliminated in water baptism” (Basic Theology, 255).
3) “Arminianism teaches that Adam was created in innocency, not holiness, that sin consists in acts of the will, that we inherit pollution from Adam but not guilt or a sin nature, that man is not totally depraved, that man has the ability to will to do good and to conform to God’s will in this life so as to be perfect, and that the human will is one of the causes of regeneration” (ibid.)
So a great emphasis is placed on the human will to be saved and remit oneself of sin.
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