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Will and Grace: The Essence of the Pelagian Debate
Journal of Asian Evangelical Theology (2016)
  • Steve Curtis
The early centuries of the Christian church saw a number of clarifying councils and theological treatises directed at objective doctrines such as the triunity of God and the hypostatic nature of Christ. By the late fourth century, the discussions were becoming more subjective: to what extent does man possess a free will? What is the cause of sin? What are the theological implications involved in salvation, and to what extent does the grace of God hold sway? Such questions naturally led back to the very beginning of time and to the nature of Adam and the consequence of his sin – both for himself and for humanity. While such considerations had certainly existed embryonically in prior centuries, it wasn’t until this time that they came to the fore in the collective thought of the Church. The grace of God and the sinfulness and responsibility of man were, in some respects of course, understood and assumed by the early Church, and yet the dearth of defined doctrines inevitably led to poor theological constructions and, ultimately, heresy. Those involved in the debate stood on opposing sides of a well-defined and inviolate theological divide that has ever since been known as Pelagianism. This paper will identify the major figures and beliefs in the historical context of the controversy, and analyze the substance and implications of the contrasting theological systems.
  • Augustine,
  • Pelagius,
  • Free will,
  • Pelagianism,
  • Reformed,
  • Theology,
  • Original Sin,
  • Depravity
Publication Date
September, 2016
Citation Information
Steve Curtis. "Will and Grace: The Essence of the Pelagian Debate" Journal of Asian Evangelical Theology Vol. 20 Iss. 2 (2016) p. 55 - 73
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