Sterilifidianism

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This entry was written by Jason Koutoufaris-Malandrinos.
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Sterilifidianism is a Christian theological position which holds that faith alone brings salvation – regardless any good deeds. The word was coined by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in order to “more properly name[]monergism (or, in Coleridgian idiom, “Antinomian Solifidianism”).[1]

Although the word can be used to describe the “belief in the sufficiency of a ‘barren’ faith”,[2] Coleridge contrasts sterilifidianism with Pelagianism as the two extremes between which lies “the Gospel Medium” (as interpreted by John Bunyan, whose Pilgrim’s Progress Coleridge was reviewing). Coleridge expands on his views: “It is indeed Faith alone that saves us; but it such a Faith as can not be alone. Purity and Beneficence are the Epidermis, Faith~Love the cutis vera of Christianity. Morality is the outward Cloth, Faith the Lining; both together form the Wedding-garment given to the true Believer by Christ [...]”.[3]

Perhaps this professed moderation, accompanied by the propagandistically anti-monergistic nature of sterilifidianism as a word, could reveal Coleridge on the verge of an Eastern Orthodox version of synergism. But it would take Kallistos Ware to discuss such a speculation.

Notes

  1. George Whalley (ed.), The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge 12: Marginalia 1 (Abbt to Byfield), Princeton University Press, 1980, p. 814.
  2. According to the definition found in Oxford English Dictionary.
  3. Ibid., p. 814-815. For more references, see p. 814 n24(1).