Pelagianism, Semi-Pelagianism, Catholicism and Calvinism
Pelagianism, the name came from Pelagius (c. 350 to 425 AD), believes that we have freedom to will and to work for our salvation. It rejects original sin and considers God’s grace to be facilitator, i.e. it is not something necessary for our salvation. Because in Pelagianism we can will our salvation there is no predestination.
Semi-pelagianism believes in original sin that affects all mankind. However in semi-pelagianism we can still use our freedom to take the first step in our salvation and then God helps us through His Grace – in other words human freedom comes before God’s Grace. Although God’s Grace is necessity, since we can take the first initiative in our salvation semi-pelagianism also rejects predestination.
Catholicism believes in original sin, which makes us unable to take the first step in our salvation. God takes the initiative to save us by giving us His Grace and we have freedom to cooperate with this Grace or not. Since the initiative for our salvation belongs to God there is predestination. God chooses whom He wants to save but condemns no one to hell. Those who end up in hell do so because they use their freedom to reject His Grace.
Calvinism believes in original sin and, like Catholicism, also believes we cannot take the first step in our salvation – they call this condition total depravity. God takes the initiative to save us by giving us His Grace but it disagrees with Catholicism on how we response to His Grace. In Calvinism we don’t have freedom and this means God predestined some to heaven by giving them His Grace, which is irresistible to them and foreordained the rest to hell by withholding His Grace from them.