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Pelagianism is a heretical Christian doctrine developed by a British monk named Pelagius around 400 AD. Although he was British, Pelagius mostly wrote in Rome, where he came to the attention of the Roman Catholic authorities who have declared his teachings heretical on numerous occasions, the first being at the Council of Carthage in 412. [1]

Pelagianism denied the Catholic doctrines of original sin, the divinity of Jesus, and salvation by grace. Pelagius held that salvation was achieved through one's own efforts, and was not a gift from God. Pelagianism also taught that human beings were born in a state of innocence with a nature that was as pure as that which Adam was given at his creation.

As a result of his basic assumption, Pelagius taught that man has an unimpaired moral ability to choose that which is spiritually good and possesses the free will, ability, and capacity to do that which is spiritually good. This resulted in a gospel of salvation based on human works. Man could choose to follow the precepts of God because he had the power within himself to do so.