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Indeed, in Book II, The Christian Institutes, which was published in 1556, John Calvin considers a majority of the Medieval scholastics unwittingly semi-Pelagian. However, it is essential to understand what the semi-Pelagian concept means before making sense of Calvin's standpoint. Semi-Pelagian is a theological position that lies between Pelagianism and the teachings popularized by Augustine of Hippo concerning the origins of salvation. According to this school of thought, salvation was promoted by God's grace initially, but the power of human free will was the principal basis of the experience. It is also appropriate to define the term unwittingly. Unwittingly refers to a state in which a person does something without being aware or unintentionally. Thus, being unwittingly semi-Pelagian means that the Medieval scholastics acknowledged the role of God's grace and free will in matters of salvation, though they did not realize that they were in between.
To understand the explanation even better, it is crucial to account for some medieval scholastics highlighted by Calvin in his text. One of these scholars is Bernard. According to Calvin, Bernard claims that a person experiences salvation when they receive the Gospel with their ears. Bernard continues to state that nothing is better than to cultivate righteousness by obeying God’s commands (Calvin, 1556). Besides, to Bernard, the highest felicity is to be loved by Him. These assertions, therefore, vividly show that Bernard envisaged...