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A Celtic Advent - Day 24

Today we meet St Pelagius, with whom is associated a heresy that pretty much boils down to rejection of the doctrine of original sin (see here).  Apparently, for around 30 years before he was deeemed to have become a heretic, he was a well respected theologian living and teaching in Rome.  It's always interesting which 'sound bites' become the 'truth' we unthinkiningly accept.

Seemingly, the reason Celtic saints and theologians went to Rome was to address what they saw as unbibilical and ungodly... which of course puts them on a level with the Reformers throughout these islands, and in western Europe who came to prominence more than a thousand years later.

Most of my adult life, I have claimed to be a 'happy heretic' and I still do.  If 'orthodoxy' means unquestioningly accepting what has 'always' been, then it's not healthy.  I like Brian MacLaren's term 'generous orthodoxy' which, as I recall it, measures orthodoxy by what it does (what some might call orthopraxy), allows for new understanding to emerge and has 'wriggle room' within it.

I also think that 'outliers' (a kinder word than heretics) are important for the health of the Church.  In ecumenical circles, Baptists (or at least baptistic churches) offer an important corrective to a 'norm' of infant baptism.  Likewise, Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches provide a perpsective on sacramentalism that would otherwise be lost.

Occasionally people say that 'heretics' are simply those whose time has not yet come.  Maybe that's true, or at least partly true - I guess many of the OT prophets would have been deemed 'dodgy' back in the day, and as for Jesus, the Nazarene Rabbi...


All of this has little or nothing to do with what I was meant to focus on, according to the book, but there you go, as I say, I'm a happy heretic.

Here, anyway, is the prayer:

Loving God, as I endeavour to obey the commands of Christ, may your love flow through me.  Give me more of your Spirit so that I can become more like Christ.  Amen.

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