I'm going to phrase things better this time, I hope!
Okay, so first, an interesting two points.
(1) The wiki article on Semi-Pelagianism identifies Semi-Pelagianism in a way I have never heard which could explain why it is heresy, it would just mean that so often people don't know what they're talking about when they talk about Semi-Pelagianism (Sort of like Benjamin's critique above):
I would certainly have a problem with that.Semipelagianism in its original form was developed as a compromise between Pelagianism and the teaching of Church Fathers such as Saint Augustine, who taught that man cannot come to God without the grace of God. In Semipelagian thought, therefore, a distinction is made between the beginning of faith and the increase of faith. Semipelagian thought teaches that the latter half - growing in faith - is the work of God, while the beginning of faith is an act of free will, with grace supervening only later. It too was labeled heresy by the Western Church in the Second Council of Orange in 529.
(2) The OrthodoxWiki does not have a page for Semi-Pelagianism. Despite someone's attempt to create one, it was deleted. I think at the very least this is interesting in light of my assertion that, according to people like Benjamin's definition of "Semi-Pelagianism", the East does not find it heretical.
Now, I'd love to give you some quotes to show a bit better what I mean by the East's view, particularly that of the early Greek fathers --- the same view to which I subscribe. These come from J.N.D. Kelly's great work, Early Christian Doctrines.
Originally Posted by p. 347Kelly offers Theoderet as an example of the final conclusion on the matter in the East, in the 5th century:Originally Posted by p. 350
However, it must also be said:Originally Posted by p. 374
Kelly concludes, I think correctly:
My point is this: The Early Fathers simply weren't Augustinian and didn't believe in Total Depravity. As such, the Eastern Church doesn't really either. They certainly believe in a weakness, a futility of the will, needing light and grace but not its "death", the rotting corpse of Post-Reformation thought in need of resurrection like Lazarus. If that is Semi-Pelagianism (as Benjamin would have me to believe), then I am left with no choice but to conclude that Semi-Pelagianism was the view of the West before Augustine and has always been the view of the East --- and therefore the fact that it was deemed heretical is nonsense.Grace thus conceived (Theosis) is a state of communion with God, and if a man must use his free will to attain it, there can be no question but that the blessedness in which it consists is wholly the gift of God.