On Semi-Pelagianism

St. Nicodemus the Hagiorite 1749-1809

Semi-Pelagians, who differed from the Pelagians in this respect, namely, that the former asserted that our whole salvation depends upon our self-mastery, whereas the latter asserted that although the beginning of salvation consists in self-mastery, yet it must be followed by grace, and not preceded by it, except sometimes. This tenet, however, is also overthrown in the present Canon and in the Scriptures. For the Apostle says: “It is God himself who is working in you to make you both will and work according to His good will.” (Phil. 2:13); and again: “Not that we are sufficiently capable of ourselves to consider anything also on our own part; but our sufficient capability comes from God(2 Cor. 3:5). In quoting this latter passage against the Semi-Pelagians, St. Augustine says (in his book concerning the destiny of saints, Chapter 2): “Let persons weigh their words well who think that the beginning of the faith originates with us, while the completion of the faith rests with God; for, who does not know that reasoning comes first and faith afterwards?” So that according to the same saint (Book on John): “The man co-operates with the Christ who is acting within him unto salvation everlasting and unto justice.” But then Solomon too has said: “And a will is being made ready by the Lord.” (The Rudder. Footnote 76 on Council of Carthage ca. 419 ad: Canon 129,  pg. 1354)