The Perfect DVD to give to your Calvinist Friends To Convert them to Free Will Doctrine!
Beyond Augustine is a church history and theological documentary by Jesse Morrell that examines the free will debate in light of the Early Church and the Gnostics. Did Augustine corrupt the church with Manichean or Gnostic doctrine? Is Calvinism or Reformed Theology really orthodox and historic Christianity, as Calvinists claim? Or are the Calvinists and Augustinians the spiritual descendants of the Gnostics and Manicheans? Were the Pelagians really the heretics in their free will debate with Augustine? These are the type of controversial questions Jesse Morrell examines in this documentary.
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“I verily believe, the real heresy of Pelagius was neither more nor less than this: The holding that Christians may, by the grace of God, (not without it; that I take to be a mere slander,) ‘go on to perfection;’ or, in other words, ‘fulfill the law of Christ.'” John Wesley
“Who was Pelagius? By all I can pick up from ancient authors, I guess he was both a wise and a holy man.” John Wesley
“Augustine himself. (A wonderful saint! As full of pride, passion, bitterness, censoriousness, and as foul-mouthed to all that contradicted him… When Augustine’s passions were heated, his word is not worth a rush. And here is the secret: St. Augustine was angry at Pelagius: Hence he slandered and abused him, (as his manner was,) without either fear or shame. And St. Augustine was then in the Christian world, what Aristotle was afterwards: There needed no other proof of any assertion, than Ipse dixit: “St. Augustine said it.” John Wesley
This is an excerpt from the footnotes of Jesse Morrell’s upcoming book, “The Vicarious Atonement of Christ.”
Calvinists typically accuse the teachers of free will, like Charles Finney and John Wesley, of being “Pelagians.” However, this is fallacious on many levels, not only because it is used as an ad hominem attack, but also because it is a non sequitur. Just because Pelagius taught free will does not mean that everyone who believes in free will is a Pelagian. The same logic would make everyone who believes in the Trinity a Pelagian, because Pelagius taught that too. But the doctrine of free will was the universal doctrine of the Christian Church, long before Pelagius even existed. On the doctrine of free will, Pelagius certainly was orthodox as he agreed with all of the Early Church Fathers before Augustine on that point. (See the article on the bottom of this post that proves this)
Calvinists also like to point out that, “Pelagianism has been condemned as heresy by councils all throughout Church history.” I always find it amazing when the so called “Reformed” and “Sola Scriptura” crowd will point to Catholic councils about Pelagius. They are not very reformed if they appeal to Rome, and they are not sola scriptura if they appeal to councils.
There were three councils that condemned Pelagianism; the Council of Ephesus in the year 431; the Council of Carthage in the year 418; and the Council of Orange in the year 529. This is because Pelagius was not invited nor present to defend himself but his opponents and adversaries stated his doctrine for him. When Pelagius was able to defend himself, the Council of Diospolis in 415 declared Pelagius orthodox. And Pope Zosimus also declared Pelagius’ orthodoxy in 417. He was always acquitted when present to clarify and defend his views. If these are our authorities to determine orthodoxy, do we accept the ones in favor of Pelagius or the ones against him?
In addition, the Council of Orange and the Council of Carthage were not ecumenical councils. They did not consist of Bishops from the entire church, which mean that the rulings of the Councils were not universally affirmed by the Eastern and Western churches.
If heresy is heresy because a council says so, or because of majority vote, Calvinism must be more heretical than Pelagianism was because there were more councils that condemned Calvinism than condemned Pelagianism. The Calvinist doctrines of predestination, limited atonement, and irresistible grace were condemned throughout history. Lucidus was condemned by the Council of Oral in 473, Council of Arles in 475, and Council of Orange in 529. And Gottschalk (Gotteschalcus) was condemned by the Council at Mentz in 848 and the Council of Chiersey (Quiercy) in 849. And what do Calvinists think of the Council of Constance in 1414 for John Huss, or the Council of Worms in 1521 for Martin Luther, or the Council of Trent in 1561 for the Protestants? Are these Councils not the voice of Orthodoxy as Ephesus and Carthage supposedly were?
In fact, the Council of Orange that condemned Pelagianism also condemned the doctrines of Calvinism. Specifically, the doctrine of limited atonement and double predestination was condemned by the Council of Orange. If the council is authoritative in the former case, it must be equally authoritative in the latter as well. But if it was mistaken in the latter case, maybe it was mistaken in the former as well.
On the other hand, the Synod of Philadelphia declared Albert Barnes as orthodox in 1829, after he presented his case for rejecting limited atonement, natural inability, and the imputation of Adam’s sin and guilt to all his posterity. And Lyman Beecher was accused of heresy for his new school theology in 1835 but was acquitted by the Synod of Cincinatti. Though “New England Theology” or “New School Theology” was accused of being “Pelagian” by “Old School Calvinists,” it was nevertheless declared orthodox by Christian Synods.
And just so that nobody feels left out, the Synod of Dort condemned the doctrines of Arminianism in 1618-1619. Certainly the Arminian camp should not, therefore, give credibility to councils which determine orthodoxy by popular vote.
But to determine if Pelagius really was a heretic, we should go to his actual words to see what he taught. It is a common error for Calvinists to quote from Pelagius’ opponents and accusers to express what Pelagius taught, rather than to quote from Pelagius himself. Certainly, Calvinists would not like it if people quoted from the opponents of Reformed Theology to state what Calvinism teaches. We should give Pelagius the same honesty and fairness that we would want our doctrine to be treated with.
An Historical Presentation of Augustinism and Pelagianism From The Original Sources by G. F. Wiggers is a classic and impartial work on the Augustine/Pelagius debate. By appealing to the original sources that are available, Dr. Wiggers compares and contrasts these two opposing theologies, defining and explaining the various doctrines within each system of thought.
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On the other side of the debate, was it Augustine that was really the heretic? When he converted to the church from Manicheanism, did he bring with him gnostic heresies? Does Augustinian theology contradict orthodox doctrine and the Early Church Fathers?
“Did Augustine Corrupt the Church with Gnostic Doctrine” is an excerpt from the book, “The Natural Ability of Man: A Study on Free Will & Human Nature” by Jesse Morrell.
To Read This Excerpt Online: Click Here
Beyond Augustine is a church history and theological documentary that examines the free will debate in light of the Early Church and the Gnostics.
Did Augustine corrupt the church with Manichean or Gnostic doctrine?
Is Calvinism or Reformed Theology really orthodox and historic Christianity, as Calvinists claim? Or are the Calvinists and Augustinians the spiritual descendants of the Gnostics and Manicheans?
These are the type of controversial questions Jesse Morrell examines in this documentary.
WATCH BEYOND AUGUSTINE THE FULL DOCUMENTARY:
WATCH THE TEASER TRAILER FOR BEYOND AUGUSTINE:
The Natural Ability of Man: A Study On Free Will & Human Nature by Jesse Morrell is an exhaustive theological volume that defends the Christian doctrine of man’s free will against the false Gnostic/Calvinist doctrine of man’s natural inability.
This volume explains the truth of man’s freedom of choice in light of Church history and other doctrines like total depravity, regeneration, atonement, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, predestination, repentance, faith, the believers security, original sin, etc. One Bible teacher called this book “the most comprehensive exposition on man’s natural ability in print.”
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Does Man Inherit A Sinful Nature by Jesse Morrell is a thorough examination and refutation to one of the oldest theological excuses for sin – a sinful nature. With an abundance of scripture, keen logic, and an appeal to Christian teachers throughout history, this book not only shows that men are not born with a sinful nature but that sin is actually contrary to the nature God gave us.
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