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Are You a Heretic?

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Written by Basil on 01/12/2006 7:46 PM. Filed under:

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You scored as Chalcedon compliant. You are Chalcedon compliant. Congratulations, you’re not a heretic. You believe that Jesus is truly God and truly man and like us in every respect, apart from sin. Officially approved in 451.

Chalcedon compliant




























Are you a heretic?
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Sorry, Jim. After you take the quiz, read below for my take on why some Orthodox Christians might score as Pelagians.

To be fair, though, Eastern Orthodox Christians can tend to look like Pelagians to Western orthodox Christians, unless they are very careful when they talk about grace, original sin, and righteousness. Why? Because Pelagius is a Western problem; the East never really even hears about him until the controversy is settled in favor of — wait for it — Saint Augustine! We have reservations about blessed Augustine already — mostly because of how his thought develops in later Western history without the Eastern bishops to correct some deficiencies — but we only know Pelagius through the lens of Augustine.

Don’t misunderstand: The basic problems with Pelagianism we affirm as problematic: no original sin, man is capable of righteousness without grace before the fall, man can raise himself up to God by works. The problem for the East, though, is in the nuance. In the West, since the controversy was settled in favor of Augustine, a host of problems begins because Augustinianism overcorrects for these deficiencies.

In the East, the controversy never took place, so our understanding falls somewhere between the two. Thus, to Western Christians, schooled in Augustine’s response to Pelagius, we look pseudo-Pelagian or even Pelagian, depending on how thoroughly Augustinian our interlocutors are. Catholics have very little problem except in how it’s nuanced; Reformed Christians (like R. C. Sproul) think we’re all out Pelagians and not really even saved.

So, Jim, don’t feel bad. You’re just reflecting an ages-old difference in nuance. However, here are some things you might look at differently if you were to take the quiz again:

As far as the percentages on the other heresies, I have no clue. Nestorianism may come into play because of the strong emphasis on the distinction between divine and human in Chalcedon, but I’m not sure.

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9 Responses to “Are You a Heretic?”

  1. Jim N. Says:

    thanks Basil. I’d never even heard of the guy till I searched for him on OrthoWiki. I got the morality v guilt items on the quiz… I’m wondering which ones I missed. And as you mentioned, some of the questions weren’t that clear and I insisted on answering fully disagreeably or fully agreeably, with no neutral. Chararcter flaw of mine. 🙂

    Good to know why I’d never heard of the guy. Also interesting about Sproul. Does he commente on the EO anywhere that you know of?

  2. Steven Harris Says:

    Thanks Kevin, I’m going to post a kind of answer sheet to the quiz in the next few days.

    You’re right about Orthodoxy, sadly the West has all too often got it wrong and allowed Augustine a little too much pre-eminence, but your article is very insightful.

  3. Theology and Biblical Studies Says:

    Eastern Orthodoxy and Pelagianism

    Kevin Basil has taken the
    heresy quiz and has some useful insights into the problems between West
    and East over Pelagianism, and he explains why some Orthodox might have
    scored highly as Pelagians.

    Check out the post here

  4. Journeyman James Says:


    67% Nestorianism? What?! Pelagianism?!?! Brits?!?!?! Good grief…   You…

  5. Ian Says:

    When I first looked at Orthodoxy, coming from a “Western” background, it did indeed look a tad Pelagian [which wasn’t a big deal for me as I’ve always been told I have those tendencies: though I think I’m more a semi-Pelagian misguided fool than a full-blown one. ;-)] It was interesting to speak to a few Orthodox and read a bit about it and get similar answers to those you provided.

  6. Chris J. Davis Says:

    Hmm, I was Chalcedon Compliant, but it was tied with Pelagian, my tiebreaker question pushed me over to Compliant.


  7. Victoria Says:

    Chalcedon compliant. What a good girl am I! But also 50% Pelagian, so I’ll be interested to read Basil’s explanation.

  8. Mary Says:

    Oh dear. I’m Chalcedon compliant, but also 100% Pelagian. hmmm

  9. adrian Says:

    The problem with this quiz is that the questions are being posed by the same pharoses that sent Jesus to the cross. If your faith is such that you can answer these accusations dogmatically then you will always be judged as not being a heretic. If on the other hand, like many Saints, not unlike Saint Joan, you are foolish enough to answer them as if they were a proposal to exemplify your prayers on a rosary, then you will always be judged a heretic. So the answer to this quiz is do not answer the questions that it poses, but pray upon the doubts that it casts.