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On the plus side: the Atlanta Diocese of the Episcopal Church is taking on a substantive theological question concerning the patristic heritage of the church.

On the negative side: well, let’s listen in :

Whereas the historical record of Pelagius’s contribution to our theological tradition is shrouded in the political ambition of his theological antagonists who sought to discredit what they felt was a threat to the empire, and their ecclesiastical dominance, and whereas an understanding of his life and writings might bring more to bear on his good standing in our tradition, and whereas his restitution as a viable theological voice within our tradition might encourage a deeper understanding of sin, grace, free will, and the goodness of God’s creation, and whereas in as much as the history of Pelagius represents to some the struggle for theological exploration that is our birthright as Anglicans, Be it resolved, that this 105th Annual Council of the Diocese of Atlanta appoint a committee of discernment overseen by our Bishop, to consider these matters as a means to honor the contributions of Pelagius and reclaim his voice in our tradition And be it further resolved that this committee will report their conclusions at the next Annual Council.

While few would doubt that there were indeed political machinations involved in the eventual defeat of Pelagianism (on the level of official church teaching, anyway), I nevertheless await with less-than-bated breath the arguments for the ways in which his contributions might “deepen” our understandings of sin and grace. But I’ve been surprised before . . .

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