An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church


A state of corruption that is believed to affect the unredeemed human nature. The doctrine of original sin affirms that the first human beings sinned against the Creator in such a way that their descendants inherit a corrupt nature. It derives by contrast from the scriptural teaching that the divine Word took flesh to redeem the human race. Theological schools differ as to the extent of inherited depravity. The extremes are found in Calvinism, including Puritanism, on the pessimistic side; and Eastern Orthodoxy, along with the Jesuit school in Roman Catholicism, on the optimistic side. A certain depravity of human nature is assumed in the Thirty-Nine Articles (Art. XIII: “Of Works before Justification”). However, the Caroline Divines were not over-concerned with the question of depravity, and most Anglican authors follow a middle way.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.