Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It doesn't matter what you do, just so you believe

Earning Hope
Chalice Notes
by Kent Doss
April 19, 2010

...In our world view, it’s your actions that make the difference, not just what you believe. We have forsaken original sin and salvation by faith alone...

Most of us have some notion of original sin in the Christian church. That’s the fallen or sinful state of human beings that is passed down generation to generation because of the “Fall” in the Garden of Eden when Eve ate fruit from the tree of knowledge. Just be being descendents, all of humanity is likewise sinful. It’s a pretty core piece of Christian theology, but it wasn’t so until the early 400s. Augustine of Hippo was the champion of this doctrine and he was one of the most powerful and influential theologians of Christian history.

But at the same time, one of our very important theological predecessors was arguing the opposite. He argued that salvation can be earned and humanity’s natural state is not original sin. Rather than the sin of a mythical predecessor, he focused on free will, and the importance of right action, not just having the right theological faith. His ideas quickly spread, which is one reason the opponents acted so promptly and firmly. In fact they acted so forcefully and so completely that nearly all of his written works have been destroyed. Most of what is known about Pelagius today is recorded in the letters and books of Orthodox theologians who argue against him...

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