Does everyone need Jesus? Pelagius (@AD400) is credited with a doctrine that suggested nothing actually changed in the Fall. In other words, when Adam and Eve sinned, nothing really happened. Sure, they were kicked out of the Garden and things like evil and suffering entered the world, but nothing of their spiritual essence changed. All that needed to happen for them to be restored to fellowship with God was for them to obey. They could be back on the track simply by their choice.
There is some question as to whether Pelagius ever taught this or his followers simply went too far with some of his other teachings. The bottom line, and the doctrinal concern with what has become known as “Pelagianism,” is that there would be no need for a Savior. The cross, I suppose, would become the ultimate example of obedience.
Pelagius, Eutychus, Arius, Montanus, Nestorius, Apollonarius—these were all reasonably good men, popular in their day, who had ideas that were just a little off. They, and many like them through the centuries, were just trying to understand the mysteries of the faith. They thought they had discovered some answers. But history called their ideas wrong and their names became associated with heresy.
Not all error is primary. Sometimes we really just see things differently. At least one of us is wrong, but it doesn’t matter all that much. So we have Lutherans, and Calvinists and Arminians and others—and even though they fight each other, the differences are not as significant as some would have us believe. There is still one Savior, who is God in human flesh, and we need Him.
All primary doctrinal error leads ultimately to one of two ends: the denial of the deity of Jesus Christ or the denial of our need for a Savior. Legalism teaches, when all of the decorations are removed, that we can and eventually must save ourselves. Liberalism teaches that Jesus was just like us, to the extent that He offers nothing of real value to our salvation. The natural path of error slopes toward either of these. But even these are the same error. Basically there is one question: does everyone need Jesus?
Yes, everyone needs Jesus. It’s all about Him, or we have nothing.