King's Business - 1915-04

Bible Teaching and the 20th Century By DYSON HAGUE Vicar of the Church of the Epiphany and Professor of Liturgies, Wycliffe College, Toronto, Formerly Canon of S t Paul’s Cathedral, London, Canada

we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8-10.) Above all, he was the daring ad­ vocate of the theorem that there is no causal connection between our sin and Adam’s Fall, or that Adam was in any sense the representative of his race, as St. Paul states in Romans 5: 12-21. In one word, his teaching evidently was that we make a great mistake in laying emphasis upon the sinful nature of man and our need of Divine Grace, because there is in everybody a certain natural holiness, and that neither evil nor good is born in anyone. It’s the result of either evil or good example, and environ­ ment is the great thing. Pelagius would be a very popular preacher to­ day—especially with admirers of “The Inside of the Cup.” Now, it is evi­ dent to any open student of the tend­ encies of the Twentieth Century that this sort of teaching has permeated many of the theological fountain­ heads of to-day, and from these cre­ ators of theological opinion it has filt­ ered into the minds of a large num­ ber of the influential speakers and authors of today. The current teach­ ing of many of the influential theo­ logians of today is simply a revamped Pelagianism. THEOLOGICAL FOSSIL. Total Depravity is now largely re­ garded as a myth. It is looked upon as the fossil of a lost and effete the­ ology- - The teaching of the Bible that the heart is deceitful above all things', and desperately wicked, and the teaching of St. Paul which reveals

UR PROPOSAL is to deal with certain theo­ logical tendencies of the age, and to show the re­ lation of these age-ten­

dencies to the teaching of the Bible, especially as concerns its anti-Pela- gianism and Soteriology, its Christ- ology and anti-Arianism. Perhaps there is no fallacy of the age that is more popular than its practical Pe- lagianism and its general attitude with regard to the nature and the guilt of sin. What do we mean by Pelagianism ? Pelagius—Briton, monk, philosopher—was the outstanding polemic theologian of his age. He was the champion of human nature, and of all that it is able to accomplish by itself. In his days the idea of the Superman was happily unexcogitated, and Darwinism, of course, unknown —but Pelagius was the ardent advo­ cate of the possibilities of human nature apart from grace, and the super-excellence of man as man. Ob­ sessed with the nobility and ability of man as man, he was the first to categorically deny the innate heredi­ tary doctrine of sin. It was the philosophical inference from his pri­ mary assumption that ability limits obligation. He was the first apolo­ gist of a kind of teaching rampant to-day in many circles, Christian and non-Christian, which is practically tantamount to Sinlessness, and in clean contradiction to the teaching of St. John: “If we say that we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in Us. If we say we have not sinned

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