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The Life of St. Morgan of Wales AKA Pelagius
GospelTruthNet ^ | GTNet

Posted on 08/04/2004 12:32:44 PM PDT by xzins

The Life of St. Morgan of Wales




Early Life and Education

St. Morgan of Wales is more commonly known by his Latin name Pelagius Britto -- indicating his association with the sea and Celtic British origins. He was born around 360 A.D. in South Wales in Bangor-is-y-coed or Caerlleon-ar-wsyg near the Severn estuary. He came from a Christian romanized Celtic background, the son of a decurion.

Morgan received a Latin education and was taught Holy Scriptures, inheriting the Celtic tradition which had links with the Church of Gaul and the Eastern Church. An emphasis was placed on faith and good works, on the holiness of all life, and on the oneness-of-all.

In 380 Morgan went to Rome to study law but soon abandoned his law career for the Church, becoming a monk. In doing so, he was to become the first-known major Celtic writer and theologian.

Morgan was a big, enthusiastic man -- strong, broad-shouldered and stout. His physical stature was compared to that of Milo the wrestler. He had a ram-like jutting forehead and a preference for going bareheaded. He walked with a slow, plodding gait, "at the pace of a turtle." While his opponents portrayed him in uncomplimentary language their descriptions reveal a man of deliberateness, confidence, and keen mind.

It was Morgan's habit of strolling from crossroads to street corners in public squares throughout Rome, talking to people and exhorting them to follow better ways. With an astute knowledge of Holy Scriptures he would discuss theology, ethics, and doctrine with everyone he encountered -- from the lowliest of work-women to the most educated men. He openly proclaimed that women should be taught Holy Scriptures.

Morgan became the spiritual advisor to many and moved about successfully in Roman Christian circles, emerging as a theologian of note and as a man of personal sanctity, moral fervour, and charisma. He became a major religious and intellectual force of his time, pointedly showing that his ideas had solid foundation in the Holy Scriptures and in the writings of the Church Fathers.

Conflict with the Roman Church

It would be naive to believe that great theological debates are not influenced by events at a more personal level. Such events erupted into a great controversy in the Roman Church beginning around 410. Morgan faced the opposition of major leaders of the Latin Church and the civil authority of the Roman Empire. The causes of this opposition are rooted in Morgan's role as a Christian ethicist and moral theologian.

Morgan was appalled by the laxity of Christian discipline among religious and secular leaders in Rome. He chastised the wealthy and powerful, including Emperor Honorius, for their abuses of property and privilege, exhorting them to the Christian virtues of mercy and charity.

He also came in conflict with the two major personalities of the Latin Church -- Augustine of Hippo and Jerome of Dalmatia.

Augustine was considered the pre-eminent of the Latin Church theologians. A former Manichaean, he had converted to Christianity in 387. As a Christian theologian he promulgated the doctrines of original sin as a congenital disease passed on at birth and of predestination and election. Morgan believed such doctrines were un-Scriptural and were not supported by the writings of the Early Church Fathers. He speculated that Augustine's theology was laced with his previous Manichaeism -- which taught a radical dualism between spirit and matter, and a hierarchical division between the elect and the unsaved. Morgan believed that these teachings had crept into Augustine's work and were responsible for the perpetuation of abuses in Rome. Morgan was of the opinion that Augustine's concepts of original sin and election contributed to a Christian fatalism which denied human responsibility for sin and granted divine sanction to a hierarchical society.

Jerome was considered the greatest of Latin Church grammarians and linguists. He was responsible for the translation of the Latin Vulgate Bible and he wrote several important commentaries on Scriptures. Although ordained a priest he never said Mass. Despite his many achievements, Jerome was known to be sarcastic, impatient, arrogant, and aggressive. He was abrasive and egotistical in dealing with other Christians. The virulence of his criticism was evidenced in his attack on a certain priest named Jovinian. Many, including Morgan, reacted negatively to Jerome's personal abuse and libel of Jovinian. Later Morgan and Jerome conflicted in advice given to a young woman with which both men had been acquainted. Jerome told her not to worry herself with theological problems while Morgan stressed the importance of study. Jerome's best method of defense was attack and he accused Morgan of heresy.

Morgan had placed himself at personal odds with Augustine of Hippo and Jerome of Dalmatia. Augustine had previously referred to Morgan in favorable terms with praise for Morgan, calling him "a man of high reknown, a great orator, and most excellent Christian." However, in 413 he openly attacked Morgan in two sermons. Jerome's conflict with Morgan also came to a head in 413 and both were aligned against him. The Roman Emperor Honorius would soon join the battle.

Councils and Synods

When Rome fell to Alaric in 410 Morgan and Celestius (one of his followers) departed with numerous other refugees for Carthage in North Africa. Morgan and Celestius soon parted company with Morgan moving on to Palestine while Celestius stayed in Carthage -- the center of Augustinian theology. In 411-412 the African Church condemned Celestius as a heretic but not charges were brought against Morgan.

In 415 Augustine sent Orosius to Jerome in Palestine with the mission of convicting Morgan of heresy. Augustine was of the opinion that the root cause of Celestius' heresy was in the teachings of Morgan.

In June 415, a Synod was convened in Jerusalem with Orosius accusing Morgan of heresy. Morgan was present to defend himself and was acquitted. A second council was called in December at Diospolis (Lydda) with two previously deposed Gallic Bishops bringing charges against Morgan. Again, he was present to defend himself and, again, he was acquitted.

In dissatisfied reaction the Augustinians convened two of their own councils in 416 -- at Carthage and Milevum where they condemned both Morgan and Celestius. Morgan was not present to defend himself.

The Augustinians also appealed to Pope Innocent I who claimed universal authority for the Bishop of Rome by declaring that nothing done in the provinces could be regarded as finished until it had come to his knowledge. Innocent I, often referred to as "the first Pope", declared that the Pope's decisions affected "all the churches of the world" and reflects his attempt to exert control over the East as well as the West. The Augustinians successfully persuaded him to issue a conditional condemnation of Morgan and Celestius on January 27, 417 which would be effective only if they did not return to orthodoxy. However, Innocent I died on March 12 and was replaced by Pope Zosimus I on March 18.

Zosimus was an Eastern Christian who decided to re-examine the case, calling for a Synod at the Basilica of St. Clement in Rome. Morgan was unable to attend but sent a Confession of Faith which was intended for Innocent I (Morgan being unawares of the previous Pope's death). Zosimus was favorably impressed with Morgan's defense and proclaimed that Morgan was totally orthodox and catholic and that he was a man of unconditional faith. Zosimus went on to say that Morgan had for many years been outstanding in good works and in service to God; he was theologically sound and never left the catholic faith. The conditional condemnation was effectively overturned. Zosimus proceeded to condemn and excommunicate Morgan's accusers (Heros and Lazarus) and sent several letters to Carthage including one summoning Paulinus (another accuser) to Rome to account for his charges. Paulinus rudely refused.

On September 21, 417 Zosimus advised the African Church: "Love peace, prize love, strive after harmony. For it is written: Love thy neighbor as thyself." He upbraided them for their discord in the Church and ordered them to cease their disruptions.

It would have appeared that the Augustinians had been thoroughly defeated. They had been unable to successfully condemn Morgan whenever he was present or when allowed to present his defense in writing. Three councils had declared him innocent of heresy. All they had to show for their efforts were Morgan's condemnation by their own courts and their own chastisement by the Bishop of Rome. Undaunted and disobedient, they appealed to the Roman Emperor Honorius.

Emperor Honorius, a target of Morgan's exhortations against the abuses of wealth and power, willingly came to the assistance of the Augustinians. On April 30, 418 he invoked the power of the state and issued an Imperial Rescript -- a civil document -- ordering action against Morgan on the charge that public meetings and credulous adolescents affect the peace of Rome. An ecclesiastical document written by Pope Zosimus followed. It condemned Morgan as a heretic and banned him from Rome. The exact reasons why Zosimus reversed his position after the Imperial Rescript are unknown but it was done only after pressure from the Emperor. The text of Zosimus' condemnation is lost and the formal grounds for the condemnation are purely a matter of speculation.

Immediately upon Zosimus' death in 418 two different Bishops were consecrated Pope - Eulalius and Boniface I. Eulalius, like Zosimus, was a Greek. At the Synod of Gangra (Armenia) in 381, Eulalius was among the Bishops who passed Synodical canons in support of the equality of marriage and celibacy and condemned those who denied the legitimacy of the married priesthood. Both positions were in opposition to the views of the Augustinians. In 419 Eulalius was replaced with the pro-Augustinian Boniface only through the intervention of the Emperor.

Within the context of personalities and politics (ecclesiastical and secular) it appears that the Augustinian campaign against Morgan was only part of a developing conflict between the West and the East over the primacy of Rome and the dominance of Latin theology over the whole Church. Not so curiously, St. Morgan was condemned by Western, pro-Augustinian Synods and the Roman Emperor while exonerated by Eastern, non-Augustinian Synods and a Pope of Eastern origin. It has been frequently commented that if Morgan had been born in the East there never would have been a controversy.

Even after death, Morgan would be ensconced in controversy. The Ecumenical Council of Ephesus in 431 was called to combat the Nestorian heresy. Among those accused of Nestorianism was Celestius (one of Morgan's followers). In a closing letter written by the Bishops of the great Council there is a brief mention of Morgan by his Latin name, Pelagius, which lists him among those who have been deposed. The letter is unfortunate and the inclusion of his name is probably an Augustinian interpolation for the Council was not called to debate Morgan's teachings. Nowhere in the proceedings of the Council does his name or reference to his teachings appear. And no Canon of any Ecumenical Council of the undivided Church ever condemned Morgan of heresy.

The Teachings of Morgan

It is difficult to glean from history the teachings of Morgan for little remains of his writings. We must rely on the polemics of his Augustinian opponents who have displayed less than honorable intentions when dealing with Morgan and who have often confused his teachings with that of the condemned Celestianism. Nontheless, we have a fairly good idea of the thrust of his teaching.

Morgan was not a systematic theologian like Augustine or Aquinas. He was, primarily, a Christian ethicist and moralist who sought practical applications of the Christian virtues to daily life. His theological concepts are grounded in attempting to balance faith and works in that way which is reflected in the Epistle of St. James and epitomized and by the life of Christ. For Morgan, Christianity was not an abstract system of thought but a concrete way of life. Unlike Augustinianism with its grounding in neo-Platonic philosophy and Manichean religion, Morgan's theology is grounded in the Holy Scriptures and the Early Church Fathers.

Morgan believed that man's salvation was a cooperative effort between God and man. Man's power to save himself was predicated on man freely choosing to accept the saving grace of Christ through baptism. Through the exercise of his free will man can choose to receive that grace from God by which man can live a perfect life.

Morgan's central message was that the Church was to be a perfect religious institution consisting of Christians wholly dedicated to the observance of a code of behavior enjoined by Jesus Christ and followed by His Apostles. Morgan insisted that God wanted His people to be holy and that He had given His people the means to accomplish perfection. A person's baptism has presented him with the unique opportunity to become a Christian, abandoning old pagan ways and leading a new life. We squander this opportunity when we lapse into old, comfortable habits of self-indulgence and careless pursuit of worldly things. To Morgan the established leaders in the Church are to blame for general lapses in behavior when they mislead their flock by encouraging them to accept standards of Christian behavior which are below that enjoined by Christ.

Morgan's view of God's grace was broader than that of his opponents. He wrote, "This grace we do not allow to consist only in the law but also in the help of God. God helps us through His teaching and revelation by opening the eyes of our heart, by pointing out to us the future so that we may not be preoccupied with the present, by uncovering the snares of the devil, by enlightening us with the manifold and ineffable gift of heavenly grace."

Morgan asserted that with God's grace Christians could more easily do that which He had commanded them to do by their free will. He wrote, "God works in us to will what is good, to will what is holy, when He rouses us from devotion to earthly desires and our love of the present only after the manner of dumb animals, by the magnitude of our future glory and the promise of its rewards, when, by revealing wisdom to us, He awakens our sluggish will to longing for Him, when He urges upon us all that is good."

Morgan believed that man began to sin from that moment when he became consciously able as a child to imitate the sins of others, not because of some flawed nature forcing him to do so but because he was ignorant of his true essence and potential. His will had been corrupted by Adam's example of sin and the fallen world's habit of sin. To enable man to correct this flaw God first provided the Law. Although the Law failed it allowed man to recognise the error of his ways and to become conscious of his sins. Man was still in possession of the capacity to live without sin but was prevented by the inability to draw "upon the treasure of his soul" -- the free will with which God had endowed him at creation.

To help man make the right choices God has endowed him with three faculties or capacities -- posse (natural ability or potential), velle (will), and esse (action).

Posse is the capacity to be righteous and not to sin. It is a part of man's nature which God gave him at creation. It can never be taken away from him and he never loses the ability to do good. But if he is to exercise it properly he must employ velle and esse, will and action.

Velle is man's capacity to make his own free choice of right action. Esse is man's ability to translate that choice into right action and to live according to the nature given to him by God, that is, without sin.

The capacity to make choices and to translate them into right action are both under man's control and produce righteousness. But since Adam's sin and the Fall, man's capacity to be righteous, despite being reinforced by the Law, has atrophied because of man's failure to make the right use of his capacity to make choices. In order to restore the divinely-endowed faculties of man, God has offered the opportunity of redemption by the saving death of Jesus Christ, who forgives our sins, restores our will, and sustains it by His own teaching and example.

Morgan's doctrine provides for a grace of creation, a grace of revelation, and a grace of redemption. It is God who, in the first place, has given man the possibility of doing good as his original endowment of grace and has confirmed and strengthened it by revelation and redemption through Jesus Christ.

St. Morgan and St. John Chrysostom

It is an irony of history that at almost the same time St. Morgan of Wales was facing charges of heresy in Rome for having upbraided the wealthy and powerful of that city St. John Chrysostom was facing the same dilemma in the East.

John interpreted the Scriptures literally and sought to show how they applied practically to contemporary life. As Patriarch of Constantinople he sought to reform the Eastern Church of his day. His primary concern was the misuse of wealth by the rich. In his reforms he made huge personal donations to the poor, cutting back on clerical pomp and extravagance. He was also outspoken in his condemnation of secular extravagance, and although beloved by many he made many influential enemies. Among those was the Eastern Empress Eudoxia (condemned by John for her vanity and lack of charity) and many prominent churchmen, including Theophilus of Alexandria (John's previously thwarted rival for the title of Patriarch of Constantinople).

The Synod of Oak in 403, under the leadership of Theophilus, condemned John on 29 charges, including an unsupported accusation of heresy and the charge of having personally attacked the Empress in a sermon. John was banished twice but continued his outspoken preaching. He died of exhaustion in Pontus. His body was returned to Constantinople 31 years later and was buried in the Church of the Apostles. Today he is venerated as one of the Greek Doctors of the Church in the West and one of the Three Holy Hierarchs and Universal Teachers in the East.

Those who unequivocally stand for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and proclaim it without respect for whom it convicts inevitably face the wrath of the wealthy and powerful. Both St. John Chrysostom and St. Morgan of Wales did so with eloquence and suffered charges of heresy and banishment by rigged courts. St. John Chrysostom eventually restored to his rightful place as a teacher of the faith. Those of Celtic spiritual heritage equally venerate St. Morgan of Wales -- preacher of the Gospel and martyr of the intellect, the patron saint of the misunderstood.

A Selected Bibliography


Evans, R. F.; Four Letters of Pelagius, London, 1968

Evans, R. F.; Pelagius: Inquiries and Reappraisals, London, 1968

Ferguson, J.; Pelagius: A Historical and Theological Study, Cambridge, 1956

Nicholson, M. Forthomme; "Celtic Theology: Pelagius", An Introduction to Celtic

Christianity, edited by James P. Mackey, Edinburgh, 1995

Rees, B. R.; Pelagius: A Reluctant Heretic, Suffolk, 1988



The Theological Influence of St. Morgan


St. John Cassian (4th-5th Centuries)

St. Vincent of Lerins (5th Century)

St. John Scotus Eriugena (9th Century)

Peter Abelard (12th Century)

St. Thomas Aquinas (13th Century)

John Duns Scotus (13th-14th Centuries)

William of Ockham (14th Century)

Philip Melancthon (16th Century)

Jacobus Arminius (16th-17th Centuries)

Jeremy Taylor (17th Century)

John Wesley (18th Century)

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (20th Century)


TOPICS: Catholic; Charismatic Christian; Eastern Religions; Evangelical Christian; General Discusssion; Mainline Protestant; Orthodox Christian; Theology
KEYWORDS: augustine; grace; jerome; pelagius; wales; works
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1 posted on 08/04/2004 12:32:57 PM PDT by xzins
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To: Revelation 911; The Grammarian; SpookBrat; Alamo-Girl; P-Marlowe; betty boop; Dust in the Wind; ...


A look at Pelagius from an article positive toward him. Despite your position, it is an interesting history lesson.

2 posted on 08/04/2004 12:36:53 PM PDT by xzins (Retired Army and Supporting Bush/Cheney 2004!)
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To: xzins
A brief summary of Pelagianism:

Pelagius, a Welsh monk, began this teaching that bears his name. He denied that we inherit original sin from Adam’s sin in the Garden and claimed that we become sinful only through the bad example of the sinful community into which we are born. Conversely, he denied that we inherit righteousness as a result of Christ’s death on the cross and said that we become personally righteous by instruction and imitation in the Christian community, following the example of Christ. Pelagius stated that man is born morally neutral and can achieve heaven under his own powers. According to him, God’s grace is not truly necessary, but merely makes easier an otherwise difficult task.

3 posted on 08/04/2004 12:41:21 PM PDT by Pyro7480 (Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, sancta Dei Genitrix.... sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper...)
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To: Pyro7480

My understanding is that you have posted the Augustinian viewpoint of Pelagius....Augustine took Coelestius' positions and applied them to Pelagius.

Pelagius' views that are in this article are not the same as you posted.

4 posted on 08/04/2004 12:57:55 PM PDT by xzins (Retired Army and Supporting Bush/Cheney 2004!)
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To: betty boop

Ping to above article/review of controversial, historic Christian figure, Pelagius.

5 posted on 08/04/2004 1:00:51 PM PDT by xzins (Retired Army and Supporting Bush/Cheney 2004!)
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To: xzins
Just from the author's own words I question the objectiveness of this article. Please consider the author's statement.

"It is difficult to glean from history the teachings of Morgan for little remains of his writings. We must rely on the polemics of his Augustinian opponents who have displayed less than honorable intentions when dealing with Morgan and who have often confused his teachings with that of the condemned Celestianism.

If all we can glean from history was from the writings of Augustine, then how can we conclude such a favorable report? And this report shows nothing of what Morgan (Pelagius) taught according to other sources. It doesn't discuss how Morgan's beliefs were held in such ill repute that the theology evolved into Semi-Peligian which later Arminian (and eventually Wesley) used to develop his theology. In my mind it is a dangerous practice to have an "evolving" theology rather than a "systematic" theology.

Some of Pelagius' thoughts included:

1. Adam was created liable to death, and would have died, whether he had sinned or not.

2. The sin of Adam hurt himself only and not the human race.

3. Infants at their birth are in the same state as Adam before the fall.

4. Neither by the death nor fall of Adam does the whole race of man die, nor by the resurrection of Christ rise again.

5. The Law introduces men into the kingdom of heaven, just in the same way as the Gospel does.

6. Even before the coming of Christ there were some men sinless.

This from an anti-Calvinist website: Pelagius

Too bad the author neglected to mention the core beliefs and history of this man.

6 posted on 08/04/2004 5:51:54 PM PDT by HarleyD (For strong is he who carries out God's word. (Joel 2:11))
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To: HarleyD; xzins; Pyro7480

The Pelagian Drinking Song

Pelagius lived at Kardanoel
And taught a doctrine there
How, whether you went to heaven or to hell
It was your own affair.
It had nothing to do with the Church, my boy,
But was your own affair.

No, he didn't believe
In Adam and Eve
He put no faith therein!
His doubts began
With the Fall of Man
And he laughed at Original Sin.
With my row-ti-tow
He laughed at original sin.

Then came the bishop of old Auxerre
Germanus was his name
He tore great handfuls out of his hair
And he called Pelagius shame.
And with his stout Episcopal staff
So thoroughly whacked and banged
The heretics all, both short and tall --
They rather had been hanged.

Oh he whacked them hard, and he banged them long
Upon each and all occasions
Till they bellowed in chorus, loud and strong
Their orthodox persuasions.
With my row-ti-tow
Their orthodox persuasions.

Now the faith is old and the Devil bold
Exceedingly bold indeed.
And the masses of doubt that are floating about
Would smother a mortal creed.
But we that sit in a sturdy youth
And still can drink strong ale
Let us put it away to infallible truth
That always shall prevail.

And thank the Lord
For the temporal sword
And howling heretics too.
And all good things
Our Christendom brings
But especially barley brew!
With my row-ti-tow
Especially barley brew!

-- Hillaire Belloc

7 posted on 08/04/2004 6:17:37 PM PDT by bonaventura
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To: xzins
Augustine is one of my personal heroes. The Confessions are arguably one of the most influential books I've read. So I have my bias, as a Calvinist who loves the writings of Augustine.

The take-home message here is that Pelagius was a good, sharp guy -- though one who was completely wrong, in my opinion. Those of us on the Reformed side of the equation cannot turn Pelagius (or Arminius) into the epitome of evil. Pelagius was probably a good guy.

This state of things is not without other parallels. Any orthodox Christian would consider Albert Schweitzer's "Historical Jesus" downright heretical. But his medical work in Africa earned him a well-deserved Nobel Peace Prize.

8 posted on 08/04/2004 6:41:03 PM PDT by jude24 (sola gratia)
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To: xzins

Thanks for the ping!

9 posted on 08/04/2004 8:08:47 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: xzins
Morgan's view of God's grace was broader than that of his opponents. He wrote, "This grace we do not allow to consist only in the law but also in the help of God. God helps us through His teaching and revelation by opening the eyes of our heart, by pointing out to us the future so that we may not be preoccupied with the present, by uncovering the snares of the devil, by enlightening us with the manifold and ineffable gift of heavenly grace.

As St. Augustine pointed out, this form of "grace", while true, is defective. Certainly, God does enlighten us- the Scriptures and Fathers are in certain testimony of that. However, if all He did was enlighten us to the truth, we would hardly be in a better spot. What Plato said is wrong: to know the good is not necessarily to do it. I think we can all attest to that from personal experience. It is one of the inanities of human behaviour: we will sometimes deliberately do wrong knowing it is bad and will probably end in no good to ourselves even. Mere ignorance is not our only problem.

And if this were our only problem- that of not being sufficiently enlighened- then we would not need a Saviour the way we have been given one. Jesus is useful as the perfect exemplar of piety, but that is all, if grace only consists in seeing the good.

But God's grace, as proclaimed by the catholic faith, is far more than just a divine enlightenment. God not only shows us the good, He enables us to do it! We have a much deeper problem than ignorance: we have corruption within ourselves, wound about our nature as St. Maximus put it. Humanity fell into sin and death, not just ignorance, and we were in desperate need of Someone to deliver us out of it. That someone is Jesus Christ, perfect God and perfect Man in one Person, Who not only showed us the perfect life, but through His Incarnation, Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension, freed us from corruption, pardoned our sin, delivered us from bondage, transfered us to His own divine glory, and enabled us to live in communion with God. That is grace. That is what the Church Catholic has always taught and believed: that Jesus is not simply a good man, or even a perfect man, but that He is God made man, and that His redemption of us is not simply the setting of a good example, but a radical remaking and transforming of man through grace that He pours out on undeserving, unmeriting creatures, freely forgiving them and inviting them into His Life.

As a slight digression, I must also note that the Council of Orange, in which Pelagianism was rebuked soundly, while not an Ecumenical Council, has always been accepted by the Eastern Church.

10 posted on 08/04/2004 8:52:04 PM PDT by Cleburne
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To: HarleyD

One does have to wonder, however, why such theology wasn't roundly condemned at the councils at which he defended himself. Why does there appear to be one portrayal of it when Morgan was was declared innocent? Why, when he was not present, was it condemned?

It is a historic curiosity to me, and it has been for some time.

So far as actual writings of Morgan...we either have them or we don't.

Couple this with the interesting fact that when Augustine, on his mission to England, appealed for the Celtic Church to recognize Rome, that Columba rejected that appeal. Augustine's mission was a failure in that regard, and Morgan came out of that Celtic Church.

There was an inter-church rivalry ongoing at that moment. The Celtics were more orthodox and aligned with the east. That rift wasn't overcome until William the Conquerer imposed the Roman primacy after his subjugation of the Island.

Should we read any charges from Augustine's pen with a critical eye regarding the events of the day?

11 posted on 08/05/2004 3:07:04 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army and Supporting Bush/Cheney 2004!)
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To: jude24
See #11.

I'm particularly concerned with Augustine's failed mission on behalf of Rome to incorporate the Celtic Church.

The period of peace that followed the British defeat of the Saxons at Mons Badonicus (c.500) once again allowed for growth of the Celtic Church (especially through the work of St. Columba), although isolation from the Continent continued until the mission of St. Augustine. Having converted King Æthelbert of Kent to Christianity, St. Augustine attempted to convince the leaders of the Celtic Church to change those practices (such as the dating of Easter and the forms of baptism and tonsure) that were at variance with the Roman Church and to accept the imposition of a diocesan organization on the essentially monastic structure of their church. He failed, and it was not until the Synod of Whitby (664, see Whitby, Synod of) that such agreement was largely reached, although independent Celtic churches continued on in Wales and Ireland. See J. T. McNeil, The Celtic Churches (1974); F. E. Warren, The Liturgy and Ritual of the Celtic Church (1987).

I fear that Augustine (who was human, I think....and sinful) might over over-stated his case for personal reasons.

12 posted on 08/05/2004 3:35:21 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army and Supporting Bush/Cheney 2004!)
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To: xzins
I fear that Augustine (who was human, I think....and sinful)

That's the whole point of The Confessions. The conversion of a man caught up in the cults of the day who prayed, "Give me purity and continence, but not yet" so that he would become a Saint and Doctor of the Church.

Could Augustine have overstated his case? Perhaps. He did it before with the Donatist controversy when he took "compel them to come to the feast" and used that to justify closing the Donatist churches by military intervention.

13 posted on 08/05/2004 4:34:00 AM PDT by jude24 (sola gratia)
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To: jude24

It's significant that Morgan is associated with both the Celtic Church and the Eastern Church, both out of the orthodox eastern rather than the Roman tradition.

It's significant that Morgan's case, when presented by Morgan, was affirmed. When presented by his opponents in his absence, he was castigated.

It is significant that Rome's overtures, with Augustine heading the delegation, were rebuffed by the Celtic Church.

You have added more: Augustine had a history of being heavy-handed militarily with the Donatists.

14 posted on 08/05/2004 4:56:24 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army and Supporting Bush/Cheney 2004!)
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To: xzins; Dr. Eckleburg; RnMomof7
"Should we read any charges from Augustine's pen with a critical eye regarding the events of the day?"

I always read Augustine with a critical eye because his writing is subject to errors (which Augustine admits). But Augustine succinctly laid out the church's theological position from the time of Christ to 400AD at the Council of Orange and well as some of his other writings. Morgan introduced a NEW position based upon his interpretation of James. There was no traditional bases for his theological position and this fact should not be ignored. (sheeze-I'm starting to sound like a Catholic.) It was only Morgan's interpretation based on nothing more than his opinions.

When Morgan's viewpoints became less and less popular they changed them (called semi-Pelagian), not based upon the scripture but based upon how Morgan interpreted the scriptures. The reason for this change was to make this viewpoint more appealing. Arminian took these ideas and further refined them. (Go to any Pelagian or Arminian website and they proudly proclaim this.) Augustine's position never changed from the established beliefs of the church which is what Calvin based his theology on.

You're right, there was a effort to appease both sides in the early church after Morgan was branded a heretic. IMHO, I believe this appeasement was the start of the errors of the RCC which eventually culminated in the rejection of Augustine's view, the Reformation (those who were loyal to Augustine) and the acceptance of Morgan's view at the Council of Trent. (Yeah, I know that many RCCers will say I'm wrong but IMO, the RCC has rejected the Augustine's position of salvation through total grace as documented at the Council of Orange.) Had the church had a Paul there at the time of Morgan he would have set the Pope straight just as he did with Peter.

Whatever faults or biases Augustine may have had against Morgan, the indisputable fact is the doctrine of the church as laid out at the Council of Orange. Salvation is through a gift of God period-not through what we may "freely" do. This is the traditional belief of the church.

15 posted on 08/05/2004 5:16:40 AM PDT by HarleyD (For strong is he who carries out God's word. (Joel 2:11))
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To: HarleyD

My point is an argument from circumstantial evidence.

That argument is "caution about Morgan's views, because they are presented by his adversaries and not by his own writings which we no longer have."

See my post to Jude at #14 summarizing.

In short, when Morgan was present to explain himself no one had a problem with his views. When they were explained by Augustine, then they had problems with them.

16 posted on 08/05/2004 6:37:11 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army and Supporting Bush/Cheney 2004!)
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To: xzins

Ha! The Author, after giving us a biased historical prologue, gives us his unsubstantiated thesis,

"Unlike Augustinianism with its grounding in neo-Platonic philosophy and Manichean religion, Morgan's theology is grounded in the Holy Scriptures and the Early Church Fathers.",

then goes on to give the same old tired "arguements". Why do you bother to post articles by these Finney hacks?

17 posted on 08/05/2004 6:48:26 AM PDT by lockeliberty
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To: lockeliberty; xzins
"Why do you bother to post articles by these Finney hacks?"

Perhaps he's coming out of the closet, so to speak. ;)


18 posted on 08/05/2004 7:13:41 AM PDT by Jean Chauvin ("There is a seeker born every minute!" -P. T. Finney)
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To: lockeliberty; Jean Chauvin; P-Marlowe

Why did I bother posting this article?

For the same reason I posted the article by Landmark Temple from a Calvinist perspective regarding evangelism and the elect.


I don't accept the doctrine commonly called "pelagianism." (I do wonder at the historical accuracy of ascribing that doctrine to Morgan of Wales.)

Nor do I accept all of calvinism.

19 posted on 08/05/2004 7:20:19 AM PDT by xzins (Retired Army and Supporting Bush/Cheney 2004!)
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To: xzins
I understand what your saying but even giving Morgan the benefit of the doubt, Augustine was held in high esteem for his doctrinal insights. I seriously doubt the early church fathers would just rubber stamp Augustine's views at the Council of Orange and brand Morgan a heretic based upon Augustine.
20 posted on 08/05/2004 7:23:34 AM PDT by HarleyD (For strong is he who carries out God's word. (Joel 2:11))
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