As hard as I tried, I was unable to resist the temptation to write about this. It would seem that the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta hasn’t much important to do given their intent to vote on the reinstatement of the 5th century heretic Pelagius at the upcoming 105th Annual Council of the Diocese of Atlanta which meets November 4-5, the last such meeting to be presided over by Bishop Neil Alexander.
The move to reinstate Pelagius is being led by the Rev. Benno D. Pattison, rector of the Church of the Epiphany in Atlanta. You can read all about it in this article at Virtue Online, which summarizes Pattison’s motivation:
According to Pattison, 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. “An understanding of his life and writings might bring more to bear on his good standing in our tradition.”
The article also cites the disdain of retired Bishop C. FitzSimmons Allison:
As one considers the theologically inept accommodation to the secular world there should be no surprise that Pelagian doctrine of the will’s freedom without grace would be dug up again. A world losing its trust in God will compulsively trust in the human will to obey if it is sufficiently rebuked, exhorted, threatened and scolded. No wonder Richard Hooker and St. Augustine called it a ‘cruel doctrine’.
There are so many things that could and should be said about this. And while I’m tempted to spell out precisely what I think, I suspect you already know. Try to imagine my red-bearded chin dropping with incredulity and then shaking, back and forth, praying this is someone’s idea of a little good-hearted ecclesiastial prankish fun. Yes, at any moment someone will pop out from hiding with a camera that has recorded the look of shock still on my face and tell me that this whole thing was cooked up to add a little humor to my day, and then we’ll share a hearty laugh and talk about how silly such a proposal would be. I’m waiting.