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Posts Tagged ‘Pelagius

Is Denying Original Sin Heretical?

I saw on a site where the blogger was taking exception with a pastor who denied original sin.  The pastor mentioned has many more theological issues than just his denial of original sin but I want to focus on that one area of theology for a moment.  My question is, “Is it heretical to reject original sin?”

The doctrine of original sin, to me, is a doctrine that lacks biblical support.  I hold to original sin if you define original sin as the fact that Adam and Eve really sinned and their sin brought sin into the world and into human existence (Romans 5:12) but I reject the teaching that says that all human beings are born guilty of Adam’s transgression.  I read just recently on a Calvinist bloggers site about his rant against abortion (which I agreed with this writer on) and how babies should not be murdered for the sins of the father or the mother.  I agree.  The baby is innocent of sin.  The baby did nothing wrong but is aborted because of the sins of the parents.  This truly is unfair.  I agree.  Why doesn’t that apply to Adam’s sin?  Why must I pay the sins of Adam when God doesn’t ask me to pay for the sins of my children or my wife or even the sins of my own father?  Why do we take the transgression of Adam and apply it to the whole of humanity when we did not sin?

The teaching, to me, was Augustine’s overreaction to Pelagius.  Pelagius denied the fall of Man in Adam and he taught that we are born sinless and that we can remain sinless.  Pelagius taught that we are fully capable of living without sin and that we do not even receive a fallen nature from Adam’s sin.  Augustine, in my estimation, overreacted to Pelagius’ errors and he taught that not only are we sinners by nature but we are sinners at birth because of original sin.  Augustine, like other Catholics after him, taught that original sin is cancelled with infant baptism.  Other Reformers would later adopt his view including Martin Luther, John Calvin, and even James Arminius.  Since Augustine most Christian scholars have adopted his view on original sin and most evangelicals today embrace the teaching.

This is what I would like to do.  First, I want to do a post that covers the biblical basis for the Augustine teaching of original sin.  I want to show what the Bible says about this from a view that embraces original sin.  I will cite both Calvinist and Arminians who hold to the teaching of original sin including Arminius.

Then I want to look at the doctrine from a critical viewpoint.  I want to use theologians and even some bloggers who reject the teaching.  I want to see if the exegesis of biblical texts will indeed uphold or reject original sin.

We must rise and fall on the foundation of the Scriptures when it comes to theological issues.  Scripture is our final authority and not the creeds of men or the teachings of Augustine or Arminius (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  Even Peter wrote in 2 Peter 1:16-21 that his faith (and ours) is based on the authority of God in His Word.  We would do well to take all doctrines including the doctrine of original sin and apply it to the Word of God to see if it stands or falls.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

03/28/2012 at 10:43 AM

Posted in Original Sin

Tagged with , ,

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