Augustine was one of the most formidable minds that Christendom has ever witnessed. He is considered one of the giants of the faith; his writings so skilfully composed to leave even secular scholars to marvel at his genius. Yet, for the first three decades of his life, Augustine sought to live his life in the most pleasurable manner his bright mind could construct. Despite this, Augustine after his conversion, spent nearly half a century dealing with controversies against perfectionism. These included the heresies of Arianism, Manicheanism, Donatism and Pelagianism.
1. Outline of Augustine’s life
a. Birth and Parents
Augustine was born in 354 in Tagaste (now Souk Ahras, Algeria) in Roman Africa. He was born to Patricius, his father …show more content…
Pelagius agreed wholly with the second part of Augustine’s prayer “command what Thou dost desire,” because He, being God, created humanity, and thus deserves and requires humanity to be obedient to Him. However, Pelagius reacted against the first part of the prayer by saying that; whatever God commands implies the ability of the one who receives the command to obey it. Man should not have to ask for grace in order to be obedient.
The argument between Augustine and Pelagius would continue onto the extent of the corruption of humanity under Adam’s fall.13 Pelagius posed that Adam’s sin only affected Adam himself, and that there was no adverse affects upon the nature of humanity being born from Adam’s bloodline, thus there to be no imputation of guilt upon his offspring.14 He would continue to argue that God created man righteous, according to God’s image, and thus man is still born righteous, in the same likeness as Adam was created. Yet, like Adam, humanity has the ability to choose righteousness or lawlessness, being consistent to the created order found in Genesis 1-3. Pelagius states the only negative impact Adam had on his offspring was that he displayed a terrible example of how to be obedient to God. Hence, only when Adam’s offspring replicate his disobedience, can they be accountable …show more content…
Augustine’s views within a wider context of Church history.
The debate between Augustine and Pelagius brought about several important church rulings. These included the synod in 418, where the Council of Carthage condemned the teachings of Pelagius. He was later exiled to Constantinople in 429. Again in 431 the Council of Ephesus condemned Pelagianism. The condemnation of Pelagius’ teaching continues throughout Christian orthodoxy throughout the ages. Even the Council of Trent in the sixteenth century, who taught a form of semi- Pelagianism, restates the churches reproof of the teaching of Pelagius. Even the Church of Rome in their modern catechism repeats the condemnation of Pelagianism.
In the present time the debate between Pelagianism and Augustinianism is found between humanism and Christianity. Yet, within the church itself there is a struggle between the Augustinian view and forms of semi-Pelagianism. This philosophy teaches that saving grace is absolutely necessary for salvation, yet it teaches that the individual makes initial step of faith, before God bestows saving grace upon him. Therefore stating that man is rather extremely sick, rather than dead is sin (Rom 8:10).