"Verily there is one spring and cause of the decay of religion in our day which we cannot but touch upon, and earnestly urge a redress of: and that is, the neglect of the worship of God in families, by those to whom the charge and conduct of them is committed. May not the gross ignorance and instability of many, with the profaneness of others, be justly charged upon their parents and masters, who have not trained them up in the way wherein they ought to walk when they were young; but have neglected those frequent and solemn commands which the Lord hath laid upon them so to catechize and instruct them, that their tender years might be seasoned with the knowledge of the truth of God, as revealed in the Scriptures; and also by their own omission of prayer and other duties of religion in their families, together with the ill example of their loose conversation, have inured them first to a neglect and then contempt of all piety and religion. We know this will not excuse the blindness or wickedness of nay, but certainly it will fall heavy upon those that have been thus the occasion thereof; they indeed die in their sins, but will not their blood be required of those under whose care they were, who yet permitted them to go on without warning, yea led them into the paths of destruction? And will not the diligence of Christians, with respect to the discharge of those duties, in ages past, rise up in judgment against and condemn many of those who would be esteemed such now?"
-Reprinted from the Preface to the Philadelphia Confession of Faith
The Life of Augustine His influence, No.8
Cassian had taught in the matter of salvation, "Man has the natural ability to make they first step." His first error naturally led to his second: "This first step merits the help of God." Then, in the third place, he had stated, God "wishes and helps all to be saved." The way was paved for an even greater error.
In the fourth place, Cassian taught "our will determines our acceptance of our rejection of salvation. The final decision is dependent upon the exercise of our free will." If we adopt this, it must follow that from eternity, Christ could have been a Captain without an army; and Heaven could have been empty. Such a theology makes man the "captain of his own fate, the master of his own soul." Will there be empty seats at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb? What says the Word of God?
"Inherit the Kingdom PREPARED FOR YOU from the foundation of the world."—Matthew 25:34
In the fifth place, Cassian taught "sinlessness was attainable by food works." Such is the logical conclusion if man’s salvation rests upon his own ability and will. Cassian was reasonable at least and for this we give him credit. How many today adhere to the same principles but turn back from this rational conclusion because they do not like the result of the former tenets!
We heartily concur with Cassian here because if man is indeed the "master of his own fate; the captain of his own soul", then it must follow his salvation is only as stable as is frail man. Cassian placing salvation in the hands of man also placed the keeping of his salvation in the hands of man.
Is sinlessness attainable by good works? What does the Word of God declare?
"If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." -- I John 1:8
Salvation involves three great truths:
1. No man is lost because of anything he does--he is born that way.
2. No man is saved because of anything he does --"Salvation is of the Lord." -- Jonah 2:9
3. No man remains saved because of anything he does. "Christ Jesus ...is made unto us Wisdom, and Righteousness, and Sanctification, and Redemption: that according as it is written, ’He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."
-I Corinthians 1:30,31-
God had raised up Augustine to champion his truth in the days of Pelagius. Who is be the David to fight this Goliath? No one singularly: this time the Lord will use a slough of saints to rise up and to "contend for the faith once delivered" unto the church.
The Synod of Orange convened in the year 529 and repudiated as Unscriptural the Semi-Pelagianism formulated by Cassian.
"The year ’529!’" someone may exclaim. "Why even bother to write about it?" Who would suppose that after being soundly defeated by the Biblical preaching of Augustine, Pelagianism would be resurrected by Cassian in the form of Semi-Pelagianism? And who would suppose that after being repudiated as thoroughly unbiblical by the Synod of Orange --who would even dream it would dare raise again its ugly head? But it did! And for 1000 years it was the theology of the Roman Catholic Church.
"So what?" you ask. Who would ever believe such unscriptural doctrines would eat their way into the orthodox faith? But they have! And the Church today is filled with many a rift by those who believe as Cassian taught in sinless perfection while others believe in Cassian’s view pertaining to the freedom of the will. Still others believe in a universal atonement instead of what Matthew records the angel told Joseph: "...and thou shalt call His name ’Jesus’ for He shall save HIS PEOPLE from their sins;" and as Paul taught in Ephesians "Husbands, love your wives as Christ also loved THE CHURCH and gave Himself for IT." -- Matthew 1:21; Ephesians 5:25.
How did such doctrines worm their way into the Church? Read about it in the next edition of THE ANGELUS.
"YE CALL ME ’MASTER’ --
and Obey Me not;
Ye call Me the ’LIGHT’ and See Me not;
Ye call Me the ’WAY’ and Walk Me not;
Ye call Me the ’LIFE’ and Desire Me not;
Ye call Me ’WISE’ and Follow Me not;
Ye call Me ’FAIR’ and Love Me not;
Ye call Me ’RICH’ and Ask Me not;
Ye call Me ’ETERNAL’ and Seek Me not;
Ye call Me ’GRACIOUS’ and Trust Me not;
Ye call Me ’NOBLE’ and Serve Me not;
Ye call Me ’JUST’ and Fear Me not;
Ye call Me ’MIGHTY’ and Honor Me not; --
When I CONDEMN THEE BLAME ME NOT!"