Did Augustine know his Bible?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by SummaScriptura, Mar 26, 2012.

  1. SummaScriptura

    SummaScriptura
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    Honestly. Everytime I read him he is preoccupied with reasoning of a theological/philosophical nature and seems to resort to the Scriptures for proof-texting and polemics. Even when delving into the Scriptures he seems ever preoccupied with matters not primarily to do with the text.

    Someone who jumps to the application without first exegeting the text has a bad method.
     
  2. rsr

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    I'm not sure how this applies to Baptist history. Would you like it moved elsewhere?
     
  3. Jim1999

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    In understanding people we must also consider the time element. I still have a lot of Church of England, the church I grew up in and found Christ as Saviour, in me. I am solidly baptist now, but it did not happen overnight.

    So often I read people being quoted without reference to the time period. A grave error, I think.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  4. SummaScriptura

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    Do you feel that way when it comes to coercion-to-faith? For instance, was there ever a time period in which you feel forcing people to come into the Church was understandable or justifiable? Being a Baptist I don't think you do.
     
  5. menageriekeeper

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    I'm not Jim, but I believe the coercion of people to become Christian began with the Romans, not with the early church fathers. When government mixes with religion it always seems to devolve into something Satan appreciates.
     
  6. Jim1999

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    I had a lumber baron millionaire in my Quebec church. His wife and daughter attended regularly, but he refused. I met him one day at the local store and said it would be nice to see him in church. Then asked why he did not attend. "Too many hypocrites!" he responded. I then said, "Always room for one more!" With that we parted company. He showed up on Sunday. Three months later he came to Christ.

    Why am I telling this story? It illustrates that sometimes something other than the gospel brings people to church.

    History, science, nature can be used to attract people. Personalities work. In the end we all know that it is God's truth that ultimately moves people.

    We should never be afraid to use any means to present God's word, and we cannot ignore a person's history when dealing with them.

    The early church leaders did not possess all the facts and they were partly influenced by their surrounding. Such is the case with Augustine, Luther and Calvin. So, we quote them where we think they were correct and virtually ignore the rest of their thinking. It is the same all down through history.

    I hope this clarifies my position.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  7. SummaScriptura

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    Not precisely.
    ...and the end of the sword?
    Do you believe there was no one in the surrounding time of Augustine, Calvin and Luther who were declaring the necessity of freedom of conscience in matters of faith? Did they live in a vacuum, or did they harden their hearts to a truthful representation on this matter?
     
    #7 SummaScriptura, Mar 28, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 28, 2012
  8. menageriekeeper

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    They lived in a vacuum!

    Rome was not a democracy like the US. There was "freedom" of sorts, but only the sort where if you disagreed with Caeser or his supporters, you died. It was just how life was. Augustine, Luther, Calvin and a great many other "great Christians" were ALL products of their culture mixed with Christianity.

    We can't understand why they couldn't see the flaws in their theories, but likely they would look at us and think "if we'd only killed off a few more of them Christ would still be first in society".
     
  9. SummaScriptura

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    Augustine lived at a time when the situation with the Roman Empire you describe did not exist.

    Are you really prepared to say Christians in Augustine's day had less freedom from Roman interference than in Apostolic times? And yet, we had to wait 400 years for Augustine to develope a doctrine, based upon Christ's holy words, to explain why coercion-to-faith was of God.

    There never has been a time when God's people lived in the vacuum you describe. There have always been voices in the Church opposed to coercion-to-faith.

    Let's face it, we really must excuse Augustine becasue we realize if we don't suddenly other heroes more near, (Luther and Calvin) come up with the same smell of ofal on their legacies.
     
    #9 SummaScriptura, Aug 1, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 1, 2012
  10. OldRegular

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    There is no such thing as coercion to faith! Of course there is "Irresistible Grace"!:laugh::thumbs:
     
  11. SummaScriptura

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    lol, yes, at the end of a sword, apparently.
     
  12. OldRegular

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    No! That is nonsense! End of sword may get assent but not Faith!
     
  13. SummaScriptura

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    Hey, if its good enough for Auggie Daddy, Luther and Calvin, its good enough for me! :tongue3:
     
  14. OldRegular

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    Perhaps you don't understand faith! Scripture tells us that faith is the gift of God, not the gift of a sword point!
     
  15. HeirofSalvation

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    He does.....he is engaged in some element of sarcasm. :rolleyes: You may be reacting by getting dangerously close to what he is describing here:

    Be careful not to prove him correct!! :eek:
     
  16. Van

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    One of the wonderful things about our computer age is that we can study a passage and read commentary from a wide variety of scholars.

    But once we have determined for ourselves what we think the Bible says, it is hard to retrace our steps. The fact that when we cannot be blown about by every wind of doctrine means we might feel insulted when confronted with views that do not fit our paradigm.

    Baptists are foursquare for separation of church and state, those that govern should not dictate "at the tip of their sword" doctrine. However, many that come from churches that mixed church and state, i.e. RCC or Church of England, still think a top down approach by dictatorial elitists who see themselves as ever so special, is the way to go. They would ban or burn at the stake those who say the orthodox view is corrupt.

    So just was we can make fun of Augustine for his top down dictatorial views, we can make fun of others in church history too. Kind of gives a broader insight into the idea of suppressing the truth in unrighteousness.
     
  17. 12strings

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    I would say that if we are honest, NEARLY all of us would have to admit that Augustine probably knew his bible MUCH better than we do; as likely did Luther, Calvin, Arminius, & Wesley.

    That said, we know he wasn't right about everything, and so we take what we thing is good and ignore the rest.
     
  18. HeirofSalvation

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  19. preachinjesus

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    We can't possibly imagine how complicated it was for Augustine's day to have a Bible much less handle it with 21st century hermeneutical expectations.

    Since the full canon of Scripture wasn't formally codified until AD 397 at the Synod of Carthage one might accurately point out that Augustine didn't "have" a text of Scripturs at his disposal for some of his ministry.

    Likewise I'd challenge the OP's understanding of Augustine's use of Scripture. In reading De Trinitate or De Doctrina Christiana it becomes remarkably clear that Augustine has a thorough exegetical method undergirded by a deep knowledge of Scripture. Add in his commentaries and you've really got no case against Augustine's theology of Scripture.

    I'd say Augustine handled the Scripturss well and knew them better than most of us. His use of rhetoric and reasoning in his writings is likely due to his training as a rhetorician and philosopher (there were no seminaries in his day.) In total, I'd say Augustine properly employs his techniques to make and support his points.
     
  20. Michael Wrenn

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    Hmm... the Anabaptists were products of the same culture that Luther and Calvin were, and yet the Anabaptists resisted the state-church practice of murdering in the name of Jesus. You can't excuse the blood lust of the Magisterial Reformers by saying they were just products of the times.
     

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