Thursday, June 7, 2012

Why Traditional Baptists Are Not Semi-Pelagians

It's really been interesting to watch the response to the recently published statement of Traditional Baptist belief from our Calvinist brethren. If you read the comment section of the post (more than 700 comments), you will see that Traditional Baptists are being accused of heresy and even blasphemy. The particular heresy that we are being accused of by our Calvinist brethren is Semi-Pelagianism.

If one reads the definition of Semi-Pelagian in the 2nd edition of "The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church": Semi-Pelagians "maintained that the first steps towards the Christian life were ordinarily taken by the human will and that Grace supervened only later."

Now the portion of the statement of Traditional Baptist belief that is accused of agreeing with the Semi-Pelagian heresy is Article 2. Here is Article 2 in its entirety.

Article Two: The Sinfulness of Man

We affirm that, because of the fall of Adam, every person inherits a nature and environment inclined toward sin and that every person who is capable of moral action will sin. Each person’s sin alone brings the wrath of a holy God, broken fellowship with Him, ever-worsening selfishness and destructiveness, death, and condemnation to an eternity in hell.

We deny that Adam’s sin resulted in the incapacitation of any person’s free will or rendered any person guilty before he has personally sinned. While no sinner is remotely capable of achieving salvation through his own effort, we deny that any sinner is saved apart from a free response to the Holy Spirit’s drawing through the Gospel.

Genesis 3:15-24; 6:5; Deuteronomy 1:39; Isaiah 6:5, 7:15-16;53:6; Jeremiah 17:5,9, 31:29-30; Ezekiel 18:19-20; Romans 1:18-32; 3:9-18, 5:12, 6:23; 7:9; Matthew 7:21-23; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25; 6:9-10;15:22; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Hebrews 9:27-28; Revelation 20:11-15
There is nothing is this statement that even hints that we believe that one comes to Christ without the initiation of the Holy Spirit. The fact that we believe that each person has a free will and either makes a choice for Christ or not, does not constitute Semi-Pelagianism. The Article specifically states that we deny that anyone can be saved apart from a free response to the Holy Spirit’s drawing through the Gospel. This statement affirms the opposite of Semi-Pelagianism. We do not initiate salvation; the Holy Spirit is the initiator.

So in regard to the statement of Traditional Baptist beliefs affirming Semi-Pelagianism, such an accusation is incorrect.

P.S. Typically I do not allow comments on my blog because my schedule does not allow me adequate time to moderate such comments. I wish moderation was not necessary but due to the vitriol which some commenters use, moderation is necessary. Having said that, I am opening comments on this post for those who wish to honestly, rationally, and calmly discuss my thoughts on this issue. If you do choose to comment, please be patient with me as I have very little time to moderate the comments. I will do my best to get your comment up as soon as possible. May God richly bless you.


Rick Patrick said...


You hit the bullseye! Semi-pelagianism REQUIRES initiation by man, which this Traditionalist Statement expressly DENIES.

That won't stop Calvinists from calling us heretics. It will only stop them from being right.

Jeph said...

My response,

God bless!

Tim G said...

Bingo! Well worded Les.

Les Puryear said...


I allowed your link without looking at it for now. if it is immflamatory or degrading to Traditional Baptists I may change my mind. I'll check it later.

Les Puryear said...


Send me your comment again. I deleted it by mistake.

Jeph said...

That's okay. Here's the link,

A Suggested Solution

Les Puryear said...


I appreciate your apology and it is accepted on my part.

I also appreciate your effort to compromise on the statement. However, as eloquent as is your argument, I do not agree with nor do I personally accept your suggested changes in the statement.

The statement is fine just as stated.



Jeph said...


First, I wanna thank you for accepting my apology, and thanks for appreciating my effort.

Part of me has anticipated your refusal, so I wasn't really surprised by your response.

God bless,

Anonymous said...

Its time for Prots to get over this slavery to the councils of pedophile Catholic priests. No council ever had any authority over the church universal except the Jerusalem Council because it had the APOSTLES THEMSELVES to preside over it. The councils of the pedophiles do not have that. Quit condemning things just because the Catholics did. Its stupid!