I appreciate the fact that his latest post consists substantially of a quotation from Warfield in which the great Princeton scholar acknowledges that the Council of Orange disposed of semi-Pelagianism, so that we can lay to rest the question of whether the Catholic Church is semi-Pelagian. Instead, Warfield wants to call the Church "semi-semi-Pelagian."
Turretinfan says (again) that the label is unimportant to him, but I hope that I may be excused for being somewhat skeptical of this, inasmuch as he continues to press "pelagian" against us in some form or fashion. If it doesn't matter, why use it at all? It just doesn't work to call us "pelagian" in any sense, so why not just say that we disagree on this point?
But I digress.
The title of this post is "More Serendipity." I consider my last post juxtaposed with Turretinfan's latest to be serendipitous precisely because of how (it seems to me) my last post responds in important ways to his. Also noteworthy in the same regard is my antepenultimate post, as well as my combox ramblings here and here.
Warfield identifies the issue as a dispute over the irresistibility of grace. Since he is (apparently, and for all I know) the one coining the term "semi-semi-pelagianism" I won't quibble too much about that (but see below), but I would say that identifying a point of disagreement and labeling it pejoratively is a different thing from demonstrating that he's correct in his judgment. And of course Turretinfan hasn't presented Warfield's argument, but only Warfield's judgment.
Lastly, this issue is one that is at the core of disagreement between Catholics and (at least some) Protestants, and Turretinfan and I aren't going to settle the matter. So (particularly in view of the stuff that I've already written lately, referenced above) I don't intend to spend a whole lot of time here on the Catholic view beyond a few particulars that will hopefully serve to sum up what I have been saying.
First of course I think that Scripture demonstrates the Catholic view and contradicts the Protestant. Representative example (not the only one, and maybe not even the best one, but the one that I have ready at hand in my brain): Romans 10:2. Paul acknowledges the zeal of the Jews for God - something that they could not possibly have apart from grace - and yet they did not believe in Christ. But if they received grace so that they could be zealous for God and yet did not believe...clearly then they have resisted that grace.
Secondly, the Catholic view is what the Church has always taught. Perhaps of greater interest right now is that St. Augustine unambiguously taught it, so that Warfield's description of his own view as "Augustinianism" is flatly mistaken. See my previous posts in response to Turretinfan on the topic of [semi-]Pelagianism. St. Augustine was a Catholic on the subject, and it won't do to try and pretend otherwise. Whatever he and Turretinfan want to call their view on this point, it is not Augustinianism, and I know of no good reason whatever why we ought to abandon what the Church has always taught in favor of the Protestant innovation.
Thirdly, it's worth pointing out that - as far as I can tell - Turretinfan (or perhaps Warfield, to whom he attributes this) seems to be attempting to revise the history of the subject. Turretinfan summarizes things this way:
1. The sufficiency of grace;
2. The necessity of initial grace; and
3. The general necessity of grace.
1. The sufficiency of grace; and
2. The necessity of initial grace.
1. The sufficiency of grace.
Uhh... maybe I missed it, but I don't remember seeing "sufficiency of grace" as a point of contention in the historical disputes over Pelagianism or semi-Pelagianism at all. It's historically inaccurate to say that this was at issue before the Reformation, as far as I know. If on the other hand Turretinfan concedes that point, and merely intends to point out that in addition to the other errors the Pelagians and semi-Pelagians also erred on the "sufficiency of grace," I'd have to say that to attribute additional meaning to historically established labels does not illuminate anything, but rather confuses the issues, and the labels ought to be restricted to their proper and accepted use rather than put to use as cudgels for other purposes.