Willing to Believe: Augustine

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by skypair, Feb 7, 2008.

  1. skypair

    skypair
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    There are a few major points I would like to make on this chapter:

    1) The Catholic church for centuries embraced Augustine's theology -- yet Augustinianism was like Calvinism in EVERY point but one, how regeneration was accomplished. By making regeneration = infant baptism (p.76), all other issues between Catholicism and Reform were moot. "Works" to Catholics were merely the carrying out of their faith (sanctification) as the same are to the Reformers. All the baptized/regenerated were going to heaven eventually.


    2) As regarding Augustinianism vs. Calvinism -- can anyone say "plagerism?!" Warfield says "This doctrine of grace came from Augustine'e handsin its positive outline completely formulated:..." (quoting Sproul with his italics next) --

    "sinful man depends ... entirely on the free grace of God ... free because it is neither merited or earned."

    "It is indispensable because it is a necessary condition for recovery."

    "It is prevenient because it must come before the sinner can recover."

    "It is irresistible because it is effectual, accomplishing God's purpose..."

    "It is indefectible because ... [it] is perfect, infallible, and unflawed."

    Of course, these 5 points are just the beginning of what is a complete reproduction of Augustine's theology by Calvinism.

    3) Augustine may have been the first known churchman to use the technique of "redefining terms." One such instance causes huge confusion in the church to this day -- his definitions of "free will" and "liberty." "[F]ree will [is] the ability to make voluntary decisions free from external constraint and coercion. It is self activity. ... This freedom is necessary condition or prerequisite for moral behavior of any kind."

    The sinner has "free will" but not "liberty" - no "moral ability." Externally free but internally bound or "dead." "Can a man be restored from his fallen condition by free determination of his own will? 'God forbid.' Once a man has committed suicide, he is powerless to restore himself to life." ~Augustine Oh, puleease!

    Augustine denies the objection that "God saves people who are unwilling to be saved or that grace operates against their wills, forcing them to choose... The grace of God operates on the heart in such a way as to make the formerly unwilling sinner willing." Of course, barring any insight or experience in which a sinner did anything more than "change his own mind" and "liberate" himself, we must believe Augustine rather than the scriptures on this.

    skypair
     
    #1 skypair, Feb 7, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 7, 2008
  2. skypair

    skypair
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    Sproul spends several pages illucidating Schaff's outline of Augustines 8 things that happened as a result of Adam's fall. His summary to that was that man now is born "in a mass of sin."

    If you think that would be worth considering, by all means just ask.

    skypair
     
  3. bound

    bound
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    So are we to know ourselves as Augustinians or Calvinians and not Christians?

    My grave concern over such is that there were 'many' early Church Fathers who have great merit in their understanding of the Scriptures. It seems a little narrow-minded to focus so completely on just 'one' source...

    Your Thoughts?
     
  4. Beth

    Beth
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    I'm not thrilled

    I am not thrilled with Augustine.
     
  5. Bill Brown

    Bill Brown
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    Understand that Augustine - like Martyr, Ireanus, Ambrose, Polycarp et al where in the process of understaning Christian theology. This was the reason for the numerous councils that debated and protected the chuch from destructive heresies. Augustine understood the sovereignty of God. Luther and Calvin based much of their theology on Augustine. Unfortunately so did Erasmus. Augustine was off in some areas that can be attributed to the fact that theology was still fluid during his time.

    Today we have the luxury and great blessing to exist during a time where most of the major theological battles have been fought. We can read the bible and commentaries by some of the greatest non-apostolic minds. Every knew heresy that has come on the scene in the past 500 years is just a repackening of what existed in the first 300 years of the church. Don't be too harsh on Augustine. He was right on much and off on some. The areas in which he was right have been validated by the clear teaching of scripture and by the Reformers.

    "Value humanity but have faith only in God."
     
  6. skypair

    skypair
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    I think you are absolutely right on this point.

    One observation I make of this is that these early leaders were constantly putting out fires and establishing "firebreaks" that contained the fire but that also destroyed some of the territory they were meant to protect.

    For instance, it was totally unnecessary to make man "totally unable" to respond to God just because Pelagius said that man could do anything that God commanded, even live a perfect life.

    skypair
     
  7. Bob Alkire

    Bob Alkire
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    I agree with you here!
     
  8. skypair

    skypair
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    Bob,

    Tomorrow I will post the next chapter -- Semi-Pelagian. I think this is where "I am."

    To me, early Christianity was like the "wild mouse" ride at the midway of your county fair. Remember that? My wife couldn't drive all the way up Hale'akala (10000' volcano in Maui) because it was too much like a "wild mouse" -- can't see where the next turn is going!

    You know -- it really made a big difference to have a "mass-circulation" Bible to test all these "theories"/theologies by.

    skypair
     

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