Sunday, July 05, 2009

Two false gospels: Daughters of Augustine--Part Two

Pastor David Cloud of Way of Life Literature has several good articles about Calvinism in his topical database. One if these is called The Calvinism Debate; it was very helpful to me in understanding Calvinism and comparing it to scripture. One of the sections that was helpful was called 'Some central errors of Calvinism. Number 7 of this section was called 'CALVINISM GOES BACK TO THE “CHURCH FATHERS” FOR AUTHORITY INSTEAD OF STRICTLY TO THE NEW TESTAMENT APOSTLES AND PROPHETS' and stresses that Calvin was very dependent upon Augustine for his doctrines and philosophies. St. Augustine is also a major founder of much Catholic doctrine. Following is section 7:

Calvin freely acknowledged that his authority was Augustine. Consider the following quotes:

“If I were inclined to compile a whole volume from Augustine, I could easily show my readers, that I need no words but his” (Institutes, Book III, chap. 22).

“Let Augustine answer for me…” (Ibid.).

“[Augustine is the one] we quote most frequently as being the best and most faithful witness of all antiquity” (Institutes, Book IV, chap. 14).

“Augustine is so wholly with me, that if I wished to write a confession of my faith, I could do so ... out of his writings” (Calvin, “A Treatise on the Eternal Predestination of God,” trans. by Henry Cole, Calvin’s Calvinism, Grandville, MI: Reformed Free Publishing, 1987, p. 38; cited in Laurence Vance, The Other Side of Calvinism, 1999, p. 38).

WHO WAS AUGUSTINE? He was so polluted with heresy that the Roman Catholic Church has claimed him as one of its “doctors.”

Augustine was a persecutor and the father of the doctrine of persecution in the Catholic Church. The historian Neander observed that Augustine’s teaching “contains the germ of the whole system of spiritual despotism, intolerance, and persecution, even to the court of the Inquisition.” He instigated bitter persecutions against the Bible-believing Donatists who were striving to maintain pure churches after the apostolic faith.

Augustine was the father of amillennialism, interpreting Bible prophecy allegorically; teaching that the Catholic Church is the kingdom of God.

Augustine taught that Mary did not commit sin.

Augustine believed in purgatory.

Augustine was one of the fathers of the heresy of infant baptism, claiming that unbaptized infants were lost, and calling all who rejected infant baptism “infidels” and “cursed.”

Augustine exalted church tradition above the Bible and said, “I should not believe the gospel unless I were moved to do so by the authority of the Catholic Church.”


A great danger of christians following the doctrines of one man, such as Calvin, and Augustine before him, is that people become dependent upon those doctrines as systematized or 'crystalized' by that one man instead of seeking God directly in His word and letting the Holy Spirit teach us. This doesn't mean it's not good to be taught by godly men; of course it is; but we are responsible to compare everything to scripture and God promises He will teach us if we seek Him diligently in His word.
I'd like to look more at what Calvin taught as he received it from Augustine next time I post, if possible.

16 comments:

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Hi Jennie,

One of the reasons why people get so conflicted about whether to adhere to sola scriptura or not, is because of the abundance of written material produced by the Apostolic fathers who were the immediate successors to the 12 apostles.

I can say with absolute certainty and I hope you concur, that Truth will never be in conflict with Truth. If any of those Church Fathers made a doctrine that was in conflict with Truth, then that doctrine cannot be Truth. If however a Church Father made a doctrine that was in harmony with Truth, then that doctrine is Truth. Jesus said, "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand" (Matthew 12:25). Therefore, there is no way God is going to send mixed messages to His people to confuse them. God is not the author of confusion.

What about new revelation? God makes new revelation about Himself and of His will all the time, but that new revelation is never in opposition to His word. New revelation clarifies an already known truth, and makes it clearer and easier to understand. God does not reveal all to us at once, for several reasons. He keeps certain information to Himself which we may never be privy to, but reveals all that we need to know, for the circumstances and times we find ourselves in. His new revelations however never go against what has already been revealed.

"The secret things belong unto the LORD our God but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do the words of this law" (Deuteronomy 29:29).

What people fail to understand is that there is nothing new in the New Testament that was not spoken of in the Old Testament, and that the New Testament is a fulfillment of the Old Testament. If we are going to add to scripture, then what we add must harmonize with the existing Word. All New Testament writings harmonize perfectly with the Old Testament. I have proven that for myself.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

I have something interesting to share with you pertaining to the salvation of infants. You probably already know this but I found this in the Bible and I want to share. I do welcome you checking this out scripturally.

It seems as if God keeps a record of every person on earth who was ever conceived or born. In Psalm 139:16 we read:

"Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in THY BOOK all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them."

This "book" appears to be none other than the Book of Life, which is the same as the Book of the Living. When speaking of the enemies of Christ, David prophesied, "Let them be blotted out of the BOOK OF THE LIVING, and not be written with the righteous" (Psalm 69:27). It seems as if everyone's name is in this Book of Life(Living) until the time of reckoning when the sinners are blotted out and the righteous remain in the book, to receive eternal life.

We definitely therefore do not have to worry about the souls of children who have died in the womb or in infancy. Innocent children who have committed no sin. Their names are in the Book of Life, unblotted out.

Just a little teaching I wanted to share with all mothers who may have lost children in a miscarriage or during childbirth, or in infancy.

Jennie said...

Hillary,
"What about new revelation? God makes new revelation about Himself and of His will all the time, but that new revelation is never in opposition to His word."
People understand the term 'new revelation' in different ways. From what I understand, there is no 'new revelation' as far as God revealing some new plan that has never been mentioned before in scripture; but I don't think that's what you're saying. If you are saying that God, as we grow, reveals things to each of us that are in His word, but we have never understood or seen these things before. This can also apply to prophetic passages, that as events unfold or approach, He will give us understanding of them, and of things in His plan we've never understood before, even though it is all in scripture.
"If we are going to add to scripture, then what we add must harmonize with the existing Word."
We can't add to it, in the way that what is added would also be considered scripture, but we can add understanding to it, as God reveals facets of it to each of us, that we can share with each other to edify each other.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Jennie,

You did understand me correctly about new revelations. New revelations will never contradict what has been revealed before. New revelations are mainly God's way of opening our understanding of existing truths: but I must say also that as God opens our understanding, He also reveals new and upcoming events that are going to impact our lives. Like John on the Isle of Patmos, certainly he had the prophesies from the book of Daniel to draw on to help him explain the extensive persecutions they were experiencing at the hands of the Romans, but God needed to reveal to him how it was going to all play out spiritually and physically until the end of time. In the book of Revelation God revealed to John new information that helped to clarify the book of Daniel, and other prophetic books such as Ezekiel, Malachi, Zechariah, etc. further without contradicting them.

Nothing major in the spiritual realm should be a surprise to God's people. God always send a prophetic word in due season, before something occurs to prepare His people against calamity.

"Surely the LORD GOD will do nothing but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets" (Amos 3:7).

Elena said...

FYI, Rich Mullens - on the annoying music player, was Catholic.

Jennie said...

I've heard two stories; catholics say that he became catholic before he died, and others say that he was investigating Catholicism, but never converted. Ironic, isn't it. He's not here to confirm either story.

I've been thinking of taking the music player off, since I usually turn it off anyway, while I'm on.

Paul said...

quote:
"Augustine taught that Mary did not commit sin."

It is very easy to take prolific writers like Augustine out of context either intentionally or unintentionally and impose a conclusion that is not always warranted.

Augustine(ca. AD 390)

"For to speak more briefly, Mary who was of Adam died for sin, Adam died for sin, and the Flesh of the Lord which was of Mary died to put away sin." Augustine, Exposition on Psalm 35, Section 14

This issue is discussed further in the post below.

Paul said...

The works of Saint Augustine
By Augustine, Edmund Hill, Roland J. Teske , S.J, John E. Rotelle O.S.A., p.33

In Nature and Grace 36, 42, Augustine finds the Virgin Mary at the end of Pelagius' list of righteous men and women from the scriptures. Pelagius said, "Piety demands that we admit that she was without sin." Augustine says, "Let us then leave aside the holy Virgin Mary; on account of the honor due to the Lord, I do not want to raise here any question about her when we are dealing with sins. After all, how do we know what wealth of grace was given her in order to conquer sin completely, since she merited to conceive and bear the one who had no sin?

The works of Saint Augustine
By Augustine, Edmund Hill, Roland J. Teske , S.J, John E. Rotelle O.S.A., p.190
3. Despite the clear statements of scripture regarding universal human sinfulness, Augustine remained open for a time to the view that some human beings led sinless lives with, of course, the help of God' s grace. In Nature and Grace 60, 70, he referred to the position that some persons led a sinless life on earth as "a legitimate question among true and pious believers" On this point, see also The Spirit and the Lettered, 66 and Nature and Grace 42, 49; 44, 5 1 ; and 68, 82. In his notes to the present work in ALG I,p.654, A. Zumkeller claims that the reason for Augustine' s tolerant attitude toward this position was Ambrose' s statement in his Exposition of the Gospel according to Luke (Expositio evangelii secundum Lucam) 1, 17- 1 8, that Zechariah and Elizabeth led sinless lives. See also Nature and Grace 36,42 for Augustine' s refusal to discuss any sin on Mary ' s part. As late as 4 1 7 Augustine regarded the question as matter for discussion among Catholics rather than between Catholic and heretics; see The Deeds Of Pealgius 30, 55. Nonetheless, the Council of Carthage in 418 declared the universality of human sinfulness a matter of Christian faith; see DS 228-230, so that in 419 Augustine rejected as against the faith the view that human beings could, even with the help of grace, be without sin; see his Answer to the Two Letters of the Pelagians IV, 10, 7.

See: "Chapter 7.— What is the Meaning of "In Whom All Have Sinned"?

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/15094.htm

Jennie said...

Thanks Paul,
I see I need to read alot more about Augustine. I don't think Pastor Cloud is a historian, either, and while I agree with his conclusions on Calvinism as a doctrine, I don't necessarily agree with everything he says about the church fathers. He tends to lump them all together as heretics, since many of them have some beliefs that we might consider incorrect. I don't know if these things should be considered heresy. We all probably have beliefs that are wrong, and as long as they don't make preclude salvation, I tend to think that we should show christian love in those cases.
I welcome comments from those who know more about Augustine than I do, which isn't hard to do:)
I have seen however, that Calvin was influenced unduly by some teachings of Augustine, and seems to have misunderstood some doctrines, as Pastor Cloud has written in the article I linked to.

Paul said...

Jennie,
James White asked me to pass on the link below. He addressed many of the objections regarding Augustine in his Church History series. Parts 18 & 19 specifically deal with Augustine but the entire series is quite helpful and Dr. White's knowledge of History is very thorough. If you had a chance to listen to his interaction with R.C Apologist Matthew Bellisario this past Thurs. Eve. his grasp of Church History was apparent.

Church History series:
http://www.prbc.org/Sermons2.htm

Papacy Discussion from The Dividing Line Broadcast:
http://aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=3370

Jennie said...

Thanks Paul,
I'll look at them.
Have you heard of Dr. Joseph Morecraft? My daughter is listening to some cds that include his teaching on church history, by Vision Forum ministries (visionforum.com). They are from their history conference. He had an interesting perspective on Augustine, that I need to go back and listen to, since I only caught part of it.

Moonshadow said...

WHO WAS AUGUSTINE? He was so polluted with heresy that the Roman Catholic Church has claimed him as one of its “doctors.”

That made me laugh ... very genuinely ... when one realizes that the Western Church is so tainted with Catholicism. So much so that the mid-19th century Russian theologian Alexis Khomiakov charged that "All Protestants are crypto-papists,” and advised Protestants to "Shake off your Roman Catholicism." (quoted in Bishop Ware's book The Orthodox Church)

But I won't suggest that Protestants are fooling themselves. At least read Ware if you haven't. Yet, like Webster, Bishop Ware is just another man trying to justify his switch.

Jennie said...

Teresa,
I'm going to try to bring in some more about Augustine in the next post on this series. I'm very curious about the influence his teachings had on both the catholic and the protestant churches. He obviously had good influences and some not so good.
At the risk of making everybody mad at me, I would like to ask (and I don't know if you can see the connection between this and what I just said about Augustine)
SINCE THERE IS A MOTHER OF HARLOTS PROPHESIED, WHO IS SHE AND WHO ARE HER DAUGHTERS?

Moonshadow said...

WHO IS SHE AND WHO ARE HER DAUGHTERS?

The answer is in the first comment.

Is this what you are getting at?

I'm not mad because this isn't news to anybody.

Peace of Christ.

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Jennie,

I think we need to move that discussion to a new post. This thread will start to get unfocused we if start something new here.

It will be interesting to see the theories here as to who this Harlot in Revelation is. I see Teresa hinted at one possible theory, but I would like to see what other theories or explanations people have. This is a hot button topic!

And I agree, part one of this series needs to end. It is losing focus, and becoming argumentative. It has gotten to the point where people are actually arguing against, and opposing the very word of God! Too many answers that run counter to the written word.

Jennie said...

Teresa,
Something like that. All the symbols in Revelation have their basis in the Old Testament prophecies, also. So we can look at what the 'woman' means there, and why she became the 'harlot'. Israel, God's people as seen in the Old Testament was called both 'harlot' and 'bride'.
But Hillary, you are right; we need to keep this thread on Augustine; I just want to show where error leads, why teachers are said to be judged more sternly, and get people to pay attention to the warnings of prophecy and take them to heart.