Thursday, June 17, 2010

Some Augustinian Thoughts

It is common to hear people use the term Augustinian when referring to the Reformed/Calvinist doctrinal scheme. This is because all of the doctrines generally called Calvinist are actually as old as Christianity itself and were systematically formulated by St. Augustine.

These are a few of the doctrines Augustinianism teaches:

God foreknew what would occur because He purposed it to occur. What actually does happen, God intended should happen. Although His purposes or intentions cannot fail, He uses no influence to secure their accomplishment that is not compatible with the perfect liberty and entire responsibility of rational creatures. Since God is infinite in power and wisdom, He can control all events. Therefore the course of events must be in accordance with His will, because He can mold or direct that course at pleasure. Two things are evident from this. First, events must be the interpretation of His purposes. Secondly, no objection can be brought to bear against the purpose or decree of God, which does not bear equally against His providence. The Augustinian system, therefore, is nothing but the assumption that God intended in eternity what He actually does in time.
Augustinianism is founded on the assumption of God’s sovereignty. It assumes that, due to God’s perfection and relation to the universe of sinners as Creator, Preserver, Ruler and Judge, He can deal with them according to His own pleasure. God can rightfully pardon some and condemn others. Therefore, it is not of man, but of God that one and not another is made a participant of eternal life. On the other hand, all anti-Augustinian systems take for granted that God is bound to provide salvation for all; to give sufficient grace to all; and to leave the question of salvation and perdition to be determined by each man for himself.

It is vain for us to deny that God is a sovereign in the distribution of his favors if in His providence it is undeniable that He acts as a sovereign. There is perhaps no more clearly observable fact than this. Some are born rich, others poor. Some are intelligent; some are not. Some are born in possession of all their faculties; others are born blind, deaf or lame. Augustinianism accords with these facts of providence, and therefore must be true. It only assumes that God acts in the dispensation of His grace precisely as He acts in the distribution of His other favors; and all anti-Augustinian systems which are founded on the principle that this sovereignty of God is inconsistent with His justice and His parental relation (i.e., the Universal fatherhood of God) to the children of men are in obvious conflict with His providence.


  1. Amen, Andy! I am watching a DVD called "Amazing Grace" and the first half talks about this very subject.

    Hey, on a related note...please feel free to jump in at any time:

    This guy shows up to attack me every few months and tell me why we're all jerks and the Catholic church is sooo much better.

  2. The Roman Catholic Church is Pelagian. In the first preface of Calvin's Institutes, addressed to King Francis, Calvin cites about 37 major Fathers and contrasts contemporary Papist doctrine to show that Rome does not stand in the stream of historic Christianity.

    On virtually every subject from image veneration to justification to sanctification to the sacraments to Peter to Mary to heaven and hell, Rome is in stark disagreement with the Fathers, yet she somehow manages to buffalo people into thinking that the ancient church believed her distinctive heresies.


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