Semipelagianism

The doctrines first put forward by Cassian, Abbot of Saint Victor at Marseilles, and which amounted to a compromise between the Augustinian explanation of grace and that held by the Pelagians. According to Cassian and his followers

  • God‘s grace sometimes awaits man’s free cooperation
  • the beginning of faith is in one’s power
  • salvation, always supposing the assistance of grace, depends finally upon one’s own will
  • there is no such thing as predestination ante proevisa merita
  • grace is given to all, or when denied is withheld because God foresees one’s evil use of it

These opinions became popular in southern Gaul and were defended by Vincent of Lerins and others. Opposed by Augustine, Prosper of Aquitaine, and later by Fulgentius, Bishop of Ruspe, they were formally condemned in the Ecumenical Council of Orange in 529. It should be noted that the term Semipelagianism is a 16th century creation, having been first urged as a taunt against the opinions of Molina during that theologian‘s controversy with the Dominicans. A proper meaning for the word was discovered in applying it to Cassian and his school.