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Perfectionism

The teaching that moral or religious perfection (in some cases sinlessness) is not only an ideal toward which to strive, but a goal attainable in this life. Within the Christian tradition, perfectionism has attempted to be faithful to certain neglected scriptural themes (cf. Matt. 5:48; 1 Cor. 2:6; Eph. 4:13; Col. 1:28; 4:12; Heb. 6:1; 1 John 4:18, etc.). Most proponents have identified Christian perfection with “perfect love.” Perfectionism in the early church reveals Gnostic and Platonic influence (cf. [[Clement of Alexandria]]*). Origen* developed perfectionism in the direction of ascetic and monastic renunciation of the world. This monastic ideal was dominant in the [[Middle Ages]] and remains a powerful force in Eastern Orthodoxy and [[Roman Catholicism]]. Jerome* revealed Pelagian influence, and Augustine's* teaching tended toward perfectionism though he drew back from such conclusions in controversy with Pelagianism.* Mysticism* influenced perfectionism and became intertwined