“The Pelagian Captivity of the Church”

Original sin and free will have been the subjects of my recent readings in the Institutes. Interestingly, an article that deals with these subjects came to my in-box the other day. I believe that it came from Monergism.com.

The article is entitled “The Pelagian Captivity of the Church.” It was written by R.C Sproul and published in the May/June 2001 issue of the Modern Reformation magazine.

In the article, Sproul, of Ligonier Ministries, gives us very succinct overviews of Pelagianism and the semi-Pelagianism that he believes dominates most of  evangelicalism today. 

In the course of the article he reminds the reader that church councils throughout the ages have condemned Pelagian and semi-Pelagian teaching.

He also states that the leading Protestant theologians “of the first epoch of the Reformation”, men such as Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli, all asserted “the helplessness of man in sin and the sovereignty of God in grace” and “the moral inability of fallen human beings to incline themselves to the things of God.”

Sproul boldly makes references to Roman Catholicism and two well-known Protestant evangelists of the 19th and 20th Centuries and their positions on and beliefs regarding man, free will and salvation.

Toward the end of the article, Sproul asks the question,

Do we have a free will? Yes, of course we have a will. Calvin said, if you mean by a free will a faculty of choosing by which you have the power within yourself to choose what you desire, then we all have free will. If you mean by free will the ability for fallen human beings to incline themselves and exercise that will to choose the things of God without the prior monergistic work of regeneration then, said Calvin, free will is far too grandiose a term to apply to a human being.”

This was really a very interesting and timely article to read. You can read it here.

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