Charles Buck's Theological Dictionary

189 Semi-Pelagians


A name anciently, and even at this day, given to such as retain some tincture of Pelagianism. Cassian, who had been a deacon of Constantinople, who was afterwards a priest at Marceilles, was the chief of these Semi-Pelagians, whose leading principles were, 1. That God did not dispense his grace to one more than another, in consequence of predestination, i.e. an eternal and absolute decree, but was willing to save all men, if they complied with the terms of his Gospel.–2. That Christ died for all men.– 3. That the grace purchased by Christ, and necessary to salvation, was offered to all men.–4. That man, before he received grace, was capable of faith and holy desires.–5. That man was born free, and was, consequently, capable of resisting the influences of grace, or of complying with its suggestion.–6. The Semi-Pelagians were very numerous; and the doctrine of Cassian, though variously explained, was received in the greatest part of the monastic schools in Gaul, from whence it spread itself far and wide through the European provinces. As to the Greeks, and other Eastern Christians, they had embraced the Semi-Pelagian doctrines before Cassian. In the sixth century the controversy between the Semi- Pelagians and the disciples of Augustin prevailed much, and continued to divide the Western churches.

Charles Buck (1771-1815) was an English Independent minister, best known for the publication of his “Theological Dictionary”. According to the “Dictionary of National Biography”, a Particular Baptist minister named John C. Ryland (1723-1792) assisted Buck by writing many of the articles for the aforementioned publication. One may conclude, based not only Buck’s admiration for his friend Ryland, but also on the entries in his Theological Dictionary, that he stood head and shoulders with the High-Calvinists of his day.

Charles Buck on the Biblical Covenants (Complete)
Charles Buck's Theological Dictionary