Pelagius: My Favourite Heretic

Pelagius is a very controversial figure. The Pelagian Heresy has been thought of by many to be the most commonly recurring heresy. It keeps popping up here, there, and everywhere. But heresy is in the eye of the beholder, and Pelagius felt that the notion of original sin itself was heretical.

Ironically, many modern Christians have views very much in line with what Pelagius taught. I think it is a “heresy” well worth revisiting.

Pelagius taught that to be a Christian is more a way of life than it is a set of doctrines. He taught that people can live good lives even if they are pagans. He taught that people have inherent worth and goodness and that we can achieve great things if only we have the patience to live truly virtuous lives.

This is a quote from his letter to Demetrias:

Whenever I have to speak on the subject of moral instruction and the conduct of a holy life, it is my practice first to demonstrate the power and quality of human nature and to show what it is capable of achieving, and then to go on to encourage the mind of my listener to consider the idea of different kinds of virtues.

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