This is the "kick off" for Reformed theology's "TULIP"
Short rundown -
- T - Total depravity of man
- U - Unconditional election
- L - Limited atonement
- I - Irresistable grace
- P - Perserverance of the saints
What is the history of this doctrine? Let's go back...way back.
In the early part of the Fifth Century a man named Pelagius showed up in Rome. He was from Briton, possibly Ireland. He may have been a monk, but we don't know for sure. What we do have evidence of is his teachings.
The heresy known as "Pelagianism" is essentially free-will taken to the extreme.
The basics are:
- Even if Adam had not sinned, he would have died.
- Adam's sin harmed only himself, not the human race.
- Children just born are in the same state as Adam before his fall.
- The whole human race neither dies through Adam's sin or death, nor rises again through the resurrection of Christ.
- The (Mosaic Law) is as good a guide to heaven as the Gospel.
- Even before the advent of Christ there were men who were without sin. (from Catholic Encyclopedia)
Pelagianism denies original sin and because we are not tainted with sin, we each have a choice of whether to sin or not. If we keep the "Law", we have not need of Christ's sacrifice.
Augustine's (...) said that mankind is a massa peccati, a "mess of sin," incapable of raising itself from spiritual death. For Augustine man can no more move or incline himself to God than an empty glass can fill itself. For Augustine the initial work of divine grace by which the soul is liberated from the bondage of sin is sovereign and operative. To be sure we cooperate with this grace, but only after the initial divine work of liberation.
Augustine did not deny that fallen man still has a will and that the will is capable of making choices (...) The state of original sin leaves us in the wretched condition of being unable to refrain from sinning. We still are able to choose what we desire, but our desires remain chained by our evil impulses. He argued that the freedom that remains in the will always leads to sin. Thus in the flesh we are free only to sin, a hollow freedom indeed (...) Therefore we are not only partly dependent upon grace for our conversion but totally dependent upon grace. (from Leadership U)
We have a will, but is it truly "free", if the only thing that we can must choose to sin?