which holds that individuals can take the first steps toward salvation
by their own efforts without the aid of grace.
taught that Christians can take steps towards God by their own efforts
This view was propounded
by the British theologian and exegete, Pelagius, who taught in Rome
during the late fourth and fifth centuries. Pelagius did not recognize
an original sin which leads to actual sins and argued that each individual
is born with the freedom to sin or not to sin. Correspondingly, Pelagius
taught that individuals are unhindered by original sin. They are thus
free to accept the divine offer of salvation without the aid of grace,
or to reject it. Controversy over Pelagianism continued for centuries
in the West, through the period of the Protestant reformation and beyond.
It was frequently rejected by councils and theologians. Augustine
of Hippo was the most formidable of Pelagius' many opponents in the