Today I was made aware of a new statement being proposed for publication by various members of the Southern Baptist Convention. Now, anyone who is following the New-Calvinist movement is aware that the movement has begun to take hold of the SBC and that many in the SBC have begun to push back. This statement is a formalized attempt to do just that.
That in itself is fine, I have no problem with that. People are fully able to, and encouraged to, hold their own theological distinctions and defend them. However, when Christians start to drift into significant error, probably unwittingly, in order to defend other views I see a problem.

Now, my title recalls the 5th century error of Pelagius. This error is complex and I don't want to risk oversimplification, but at its essence Pelagius argued that the sin of Adam bore no direct influence on the human race. That is to say that Adam's sin did nothing but provide a bad example for subsequent humans to follow. It did not bind their will or impart a sin nature that would orient them toward sin and selfishness. It did not impart any guilt or separation from God inherent in our nature.

Augustine refuted this error by teaching that although human will was free either to sin (posse pecare) or to not sin (posse non-pecare). However, after the fall Adam's sin has obliterated our ability to not sin and has rendered us unable to not sin (non-posse non-pecarre). Furthermore, the concept that we also inherit Adam's guilt is a concept that would be later developed from Augustinian thought in the Reformation.

That brings us to Article Two of the Statement of the Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation. It reads in its denial as follows:

We deny that Adam’s sin resulted in the incapacitation of any person’s free will or rendered any person guilty before he has personally sinned.
Now, in the affirmation they affirm that all persons will ultimately sin because of an "inclination" toward sin, this is an inconsistent position as an inclination toward sin does not equate to an inevitability of sin. Pelagius also taught that it is highly likely that a person would freely sin given enough time and bad examples.

I know some of you reading this are going to say "Arminians are not Pelagian!" I agree! However, this statement is not in accord with classical Arminianism either. This article in this new statement is radically dangerous and leads to a Pelagian idea that a person could live their entire life without sinning.

A) A person is born without a bound will, meaning that they will not necessarily sin (they probably still will, but it not a necessary result)
B) A person does not inherit any form of guilt from Adam's sin
C) A person is born essentially tabula rasa and since they could live a life without sinning, they could live a life that is in no need of redemption
D) This render's Christ's sacrifice as merely a helpful aid or example in living a righteous life

Now, am I describing Pelagianism or the results of Article Two? Can you tell the difference? I can't... that's a problem.

 





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