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Saturday, March 2, 2024

False Dichotomy: Pelagianism or Calvinism

 Below is my response (with a minor edit or two) to an internet friend's recent blog post: You Are Saved By Your Works

"You Are Saved By Your Works  ... because you're the only variable in the equation."

 The heresy expressed here is call 'Pelagianism'.  While The One True Bureaucracy has *officially* condemned this belief as heresy since the 5th century, it *also* inculcates the heresy in its adherents, even to this day.  If it helps to ease your mind, there are also some so-called Protestants who are actually Pelagians, such as the 'Holiness Movement'.

 "I've never understood the position some Christians take that you can do nothing on your own and you cannot be saved by your own actions. Maybe I'm misunderstanding it, but as far as I can tell, when it comes to salvation, there are only two actors: you and God. Since He is constant and His Universe is a given for all people everywhere, the only variable is you, your decisions and your actions.

If we aren't saved by our own actions, then what was the point of free will?"

 Does this help? -- You are reasoning from a dichotomy, false as it turns out, between Pelagianism, on the one hand, and “ultra Calvinism”, on the other.

 The Pelagian position is that one can become righteous-unto-salvation by one’s own works.  Or, put another way, that Christ’s death and resurrection is superfluous to one’s salvation; that if one has made oneself “good enough”, then God *owes* one a spot in Heaven, as it were.

The “ultra Calvinist” position is that human nature is so enslaved to sin that not a one of us can even so much as *regret* that we sin, much less repent of it; and thus that only those few in whom God works some mysterious change-of-nature which over-rides Original Sin can ever repent and be saved.

And, by the way, IF you were to look into the *reasoning* presented to justify the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, you will find that that reasoning is just “ultra Calvinism”, but applied to a single individual only … despite that The One True Bureaucracy *officially* condemns Calvinism as heresy.

The *Biblical* position is that *all* our righteousness is as filthy (menstrual) rags compared to the perfect (i.e. total/complete) righteousness of God.  That is, no matter *how* “good” we are, we can never be “good enough” to escape Sin/Death (Understand, that sin *is* capital-D Death).

The *Biblical* position is that *no one* is good, but only God.  Jesus himself asserts this.

The *Biblical* position is that the only contribution we make to our own salvation is to stop fighting/rebelling against God.  Or, to put it another way, it’s not so much that repentance of our sin causes or leads to our salvation, but rather that repentance of our sin allows the sin to be tossed into Hell without dragging us with it.  Sin is Death, and those who do not repent of their sin clutch their own Death to their breast as being more precious to them than Life Himself.  To truly repent of one’s sin is to stop refusing to be saved from Death.

Accepting a freely-given gift is not even on the same plane as earning a reward, much less on the same axis. 


The *Biblical* position is that “good works” are the result of salvation, not its cause.


If we aren't saved by our own actions, then what was the point of free will?" 

The point of free-will is that you are free to open your hands, thereby letting go the Death which you have been heretofore tightly grasping to your breast, so that you are free to receive the Life which has always been there for you to receive.


ADDENDUM: We are not saved by our own works any more than we are damned by our works.  You see, from our origin, we are already damned, we are already carriers of the infection of sin and dearth, we are already dying and headed for Death -- this is merely what the doctrine of Original Sin means.  Much as people misunderstand what 'Immaculate Conception' (which is false) refers to, most people also misunderstand what 'Original Sin' (which is true) refers to.

Think of it this way: We are not sinners because we commit sins; rather, we commit sins because we are sinners.