Pelagianism is a theological theory named after Pelagius. Little is actually known about Pelagius (c 354-440) apart from the fact that he was an ascetic and focused much of his teaching on practical asceticism. He was fluent an Greek and Latin and not unlearned in theology. He did not believe in original sin and taught that man could, through ascetic practice reach God.

Pelagianism, then, is the belief that original sin  did not taint human nature (which, being created from God, was divine), and that mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil without Divine aid. Thus, Adam's sin was "to set a bad example" for his progeny, but his actions did not  have the other consequences imputed to Original Sin. Pelagianism views the role of Jesus as "setting a good example" for the rest of humanity (thus counteracting Adam's bad example). In short, humanity has full control, and thus full responsibility, for its own salvation in addition to full responsibility for every sin (the latter insisted upon by both proponents and opponents of Pelagianism). According to Pelagian doctrine, since humanity is no longer in  need of any of God's graces beyond the creation of will, Jesus' sacrifice is devoid of its redemptive quality.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelagianism 4/15/07