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Location: Greensboro, NC, United States

Thursday, July 23, 2009

John Cassian's Inconsistent Semi-Pelagianism

I received this quote in my email last night:

God is not only the suggester of what is good, but the maintainer and insister of it, so that sometimes He draws us towards salvation even against our will and without our knowing it. It follows then that no one can be deceived by the devil but one who has chosen to yield to him the consent of his own will. - Saint John Cassian (360-433)

I have read nothing of Cassian myself. He is credited, of course, for advancing the Semi-Pelagian view of sovereignty and free will that has carried on in some form or another down to the present day. I found this quote to be quite interesting in that light. The second sentence of that quote is clearly semi-Pelagian. But the first sentence seems to go against all that semi-Pelagianism stands for. It is clearly in the classical Augustinian stream of thought. I guess it just goes to show that the sovereignty of God in salvation, being the truth, is ultimately inescapable (to some degree) even by those who, though true believers, set themselves against it. As it has often been said, an Arminian has a tendency to sound like a Calvinist when he's on his knees.

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