A wise man once said that we should let sleeping dogs lie, but some dogs never seem to rest. Some ideas arouse the primal passions of men to soaring heights. The few who comprehend the stakes involved fiercely defend the plot on which they stand. Some dogs must be wrestled anew by every generation. Perhaps the biggest and most imposing “dog” in the history of the Christian Church is the controversy over the nature and extent of man’s sin and God’s grace. The implications span the philosophical spectrum to include such topics as the nature of man’s free will and the predetermination of history. According to James White (an active contemporary participant in the debate), the crux of the debate for the Christian “has to do with abilities and inabilities”1. Do men possess the innate ability to please God? And if man will be saved from his sin unto salvation, to what extent and degree must God graciously intervene? The controversy began with a new teaching from the pen of a monk named Pelagius in the 5th century.
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