This correlation, if true, has no doubt been held and explained far more profoundly and accurately than I (a querelous little brat) could ever dream of doing. Nevertheless, I am excited at having made this particular revelation personal:
The correlaton is between Arianism and the dignity of nature. Clearly, if Jesus was (is) not God but a lesser, created being... how far of a stretch is it to proceed from this presupposition to the assumption of a natural dignity bestowed on the creature, unhampered (though perhaps weakened or neutralized for a time by the fall)? Especially in light of Jesus' incarnation (seen from the Arian standpoint) may we not begin to assume that all of the great and magnificent things done by this Christ are examples of the universal human possibility; albeit in the clearest and most honorable light as compared with all other men? And is it not the case, then, that the focus of Christ's redemptive activity is not in the mere forgiveness of sins or justification of the wicked sinner by grace, but in his exemplary instruction (no doubt still through his vicarious suffering) to humanity through word and deed, in his pedagogical revealing of the potency of humans to do good of themselves, or perhaps in tandem with the power of God? Perhaps, at the end of the dogmatic reflection, Jesus saves men by teaching them to save themselves?
Historical thesis: It is necessary that the heresy of Arianism precede and pave in definite and decisive forms the way for the later heresy of Pelagianism.
My correlative discovery should not be immediately applied sweepingly to all Arians. In historical reflection I wish as much as possible to treat individuals (even Arian individuals) as individuals, rather than guilty on all points by association with certain schools of thought. But if I apply my thesis to the immediate materials of knowledge available to me, I find some intriguing results:
1. The cult of the Jehovah's Witnesses, which has consistently indoctrinated an Arian christology, also lacks any satisfactory knowledge of justification by pure grace apart from works.
2. The same holds for Mormonism.
3. John Howard Yoder's Politics of Jesus, which very subtly places the doctrines of the trinity and the incarnation in the background in light of the importance of Jesus' ethical significance, is also smattered from cover to cover with clear statements of justification by the good works of disciples of Jesus (note particularly his chapter titled Justification by grace through faith, where he literally morphs the word "faith" into "faithfulness" and removes any forensic significance of justification in favor of a concrete social event).
4. N.T. Wright's questionable christology, wherein the human Jesus of history is relatively ignorant of his own Godhead and can only perceive a vocation laid on him which abstractly and nebulously presupposes divinity (cf. the christological chapters of his Simply Christian), would here be fittingly related to his idea that we are justified both by Jesus' faithfulness to God AND the concrete fulfilling of the law in the lives of the believers.
More to come, no doubt! I have certainly uncovered similar trends in Bishop John A.T. Robinson, but right now I am most curious about the work of James Dunn. He has already stated his position as monotheistic (by which he means that there is only God the Father; which is certainly a false monotheism inasmuch as it denies scriptural revelation), but he has also called the doctrine of sola fide a genuine "litmus test" against all bad theology. Given the fact that he hasn't read squat from the Reformation, my suspicion is that his sola fide may turn out to be perfectly commensurate with works-righteousness (hints in this direction being his complete disinterest in a vertical view of Paul's written subject matter, in favor of its social implications).