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"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

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  • « Augustine and Calvin and Jesus on the Fallen will | Main | The Gift of Faith »

    AUGUSTIN CONFESSES THAT HE HAD FORMERLY BEEN IN ERROR CONCERNING THE GRACE OF GOD.

    Augustin explains that he changed his view from synergism to divine monergism in salvation. He argues that due to our fallen state, we are not only partly dependent upon Christ for our conversion but totally dependent upon Christ.

    "It was not thus that pious and humble teacher thought--I speak of the most blessed Cyprian--when he said "that we must boast in nothing, since nothing is our own." And in order to show the, he appealed to the apostle as a witness, where he said, "For what hast thou that thou hast not received ? And if thou hast received it, why boastest thou as if thou hadst not received it?" And it was chiefly by this testimony that I myself also was convinced when I was in a similar error, thinking that faith whereby we believe on God is not God's gift, but that it is in us from ourselves, and that by it we obtain the gifts of God, whereby we may live temperately and righteously and piously in this world. For I did not think that faith was preceded by God's grace, so that by its means would be given to us what we might profitably ask, except that we could not believe if the proclamation of the truth did not precede; but that we should consent when the gospel was preached to us I thought was our own doing, and came to us from ourselves. And this my error is sufficiently indicated in some small works of mine written before my episcopate. Among these is that which you have mentioned in your letters wherein is an exposition of certain propositions from the Epistle to the Romans. Eventually, when I was retracting all my small works, and was committing that retractation to writing, of which task I had already completed two books before I had taken up your more lengthy letters,--when in the first volume I had reached the retractation of this book, I then spoke thus:--"Also discussing, I say, 'what God could have chosen in him who was as yet unborn, whom He said that the elder should serve; and what in the same elder, equally as yet unborn, He could have rejected; concerning whom, on this account, the prophetic testimony is recorded, although declared long subsequently, "Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated,"' I carried out my reasoning to the point of saying: ' God did not therefore choose the works of any one in foreknowledge of what He Himself would give them, but he chose the faith, in the foreknowledge that He would choose that very person whom He foreknew would believe on Him,--to whom He would give the Holy Spirit, so that by doing good works he might obtain eternal life also.' I had not yet very carefully sought, nor had I as yet found, what is the nature of the election of grace, of which the apostle says, ' A remnant are saved according to the election of grace.' Which assuredly is not grace if any merits precede it; lest what is now given, not according to grace, but according to debt, be rather paid to merits than freely given. And what I next subjoined: ' For the same apostle says, "The same God which worketh all in all;" but it was never said, God believeth all in all ;' and then added, ' Therefore what we believe is our own, but what good thing we do is of Him who giveth the Holy Spirit to them that believe: ' I certainly could not have said, had I already known that faith itself also is found among those gifts of God which are given by the same Spirit. Both, therefore, are ours on account of the choice of the will, and yet both are given by the spirit of faith and love, For faith is not alone but as it is written, ' Love with faith, from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ.' And what I said a little after, ' For it is ours to believe and to will, but it is His to give to those who believe and will, the power of doing good works through the Holy Spirit, by whom love is shed abroad in our hearts,'--is true indeed; but by the same rule both are also God's, because God prepares the will; and both are ours too, because they are only brought about with our good wills. And thus what I subsequently said also: ' Because we are not able to Will unless we are called; and when, after our calling, we would will, our willing is not sufficiently nor our running, unless God gives strength to us that run, and leads us whither He calls us;' and thereupon added: ' It is plain, therefore, that it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy, that we do good works'--this is absolutely most true. But I discovered little concerning the calling itself, which is according to God's purpose; for not such is the calling of all that are called, but only of the elect. Therefore what I said a little afterwards: ' For as in those whom God elects it is not works but faith that begins the merit so as to do good works by the gift of God, so in those whom He condemns, unbelief and impiety begin the merit of punishment, so that even by way of punishment itself they do evil works'--I spoke most truly. But that even the merit itself of faith was God's gift, I neither thought of inquiring into, nor did I say. And in another place I say: 'For whom He has mercy upon, He makes to do good works, and whom He hardeneth He leaves to do evil works; but that mercy is bestowed upon the preceding merit of faith, and that hardening is applied to preceding iniquity.' And this indeed is true; but it should further have been asked, whether even the merit of faith does not come from God's mercy,--that is, whether that mercy is manifested in man only because he is a believer, or whether it is also manifested that he may be a believer? For we read in the apostles words: ' I obtained mercy to be a believer.' He does not say, ' Because I was a believer.' Therefore although it is given to the believer, yet it has been given also that he may be a believer. Therefore also, in another place in the same book I most truly said: ' Because, if it is of God's mercy, and not of works, that we are even called that we may believe and it is granted to us who believe to do good works, that mercy must not be grudged to the heathen;'--although I there discoursed less carefully about that calling which is given according to God's purpose."

    - Augustine, A TREATISE ON THE PREDESTINATION OF THE SAINTS chapter 7 [III.]

    Posted by John on May 29, 2011 09:41 PM

    Comments

    This is great.

    AUGUSTIN CONFESSES THAT HE HAD FORMERLY BEEN IN ERROR CONCERNING THE GRACE OF GOD.

    I can hardly wait for your next entry....may I suggest:

    CEPHAS (AKA: PETER) ADMITS DENYING JESUS THREE TIMES AFTER DINNER!

    or perhaps:

    PAUL (AKA: SAUL) ADMITS THAT HE PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS!

    I have ONE, and ONLY ONE, specific question. I would really, really appreciate ONE Specific answer to this question. Go ahead, search the Scriptures.

    My ONE SPECIFIC question is: "What is the appropriate response of a regenerated man to God's grace?" In other words, "How can a man know that he has been regenerated?"

    Now, Scripture says, "I will sprinkle clean water upon you to cleanse you from all you impurities, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts. I will put my spirit within you and make you live by my statutes, careful to observe my decrees. " Ezekiel 36:25-27

    Of course, this is "regeneration." "Born Again."

    But, what does Scripture then say will be the response of such a regenerated man? Reading on...

    "Then you shall remember your evil conduct, and that your deeds were not good; you shall loath yourselves for your sins and abominations." Ezekiel 36:31

    Oh, never mind. Scripture has answered for you. But, I don't see any self-loathing going on around here? Rather a bunch of self-righteousness!

    By the way, you forgot to put in bold this part in your blog post...I'll fix that for you.

    "Both, therefore, are ours on account of the choice of the will, and yet both are given by the spirit of faith and love, For faith is not alone but as it is written, ' Love with faith, from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ.' And what I said a little after, ' For it is ours to believe and to will, but it is His to give to those who believe and will, the power of doing good works through the Holy Spirit, by whom love is shed abroad in our hearts,"

    Oh, wait here's a better headline!

    AUGUSTINE SAYS THAT FAITH IS NOT ALONE!

    Bob,

    Of course faith is not alone. Obedience is ALWAYS the result of regenerating grace. This is what I and all the reformers affirm. To suggest otherwise is another one of your ridiculous misrepresentations (straw men) of our faith. Let me say it clearly >>> Both faith and obedience are equally difficult apart from renewal of heart -- but both result from grace.. But Augustine, UNLIKE YOU, shows in his quote above, that faith, obedience and perseverance are the effectual, inevitable and invincible result of grace. Monergistic not synergistic.

    We affirm that faith is NOT alone. That obedience and faith and perseverance to the end are the inevitable result of regeneration. (Rom 8:29,30) This is the teaching of the Bible, Augustine and the Reformation, not modern Roman Catholicism.

    Salvation is by Grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone, as revealed int he Scripture alone to the glory of God alone. The obedience that inevitably results from regenerating grace is not salvific but demonstrates the reality of the new birth. Christ's obedience alone is sufficient for salvation, but that salvation will result in works. We are saved by Christ alone, not Christ plus our works. works spring from our new nature.

    Quotes from John Calvin that salvation is only by grace through faith — but this faith is not alone.

    It is therefore faith alone which justifies, and yet the faith which justifies is not alone: just as it is the heat alone of the sun which warms the earth, and yet in the sun it is not alone, because it is constantly conjoined with light. (Acts of the Council of Trent: with the Antidote, 6th Session, can. 11)

    We confess with Paul that no other faith justifies "but faith working through love" [Gal. 5:6]. (Institutes 3:11:20)

    We dream neither of a faith devoid of good works nor of a justification that stands without them. This alone is of importance: having admitted that faith and good works must cleave together, we still lodge justification in faith, not in works. (Institutes 3:16:1)


    You see Bob, you know nothing about the Reformation but somehow think you are an expert on it. Learn what people believe before making your outrageous erroneous claims. Debate what people believe, not what you make up in your imagination about their beliefs. I have put quote after quote of Augustine to show his view was monergistic, not synergistic like modern RCC. If you cannot deal with it, go ahead, continue in your imagination about what he and Orange really said. But don't involve me in your fantasies.

    Dear John,

    What can I say? You once again failed to address my quote from Scripture, my ONE and ONLY ONE question. And Scripture cannot be set aside, as Scripture itself says.

    Now what should anyone care what the Reformation says or what individual Reformers have to say? From where does this authority come? One of 40,000 different denominations!

    For Scripture clearly says that the Big Rock, Jesus, gave the authority to bind and loosen to Peter, the "little pebble" in Greek. Peter was still on earth and Jesus going to heaven. How is it that Jesus could do otherwise?

    You see, Scripture says that the Father gave all power to judge to the Son. How can it be that the Son does otherwise than the Will of the Father? It a like manner, the Son gave this power to Peter. In other words, the judgement of the Son is exactly the same as the judgement of the Father. It can be said that as the Father judges, so does the Son. What is the difference?

    In a like manner, Jesus gave the same power to Peter. All authority comes from above, as Scripture says. Now Peter has this authority on earth, but his decision is exactly that of the Son, whose decision is exactly that of the Father in heaven. So if Peter makes a decision, His will being the same as the Son from whom he has been given power, whose will is the same as the Father....it can be said that the Father indeed judges, the Son judges and also that Peter judges. What is the difference if they are all of one will? Like the souls of the glorified, they cannot will other than what God wills.

    If a Prophet speaks the Word of God, God speaks.

    First, in the case of Augustine. His writings, even though some may have been in error, were submitted to the See of Peter. The Pope. In a like manner, the conclusions of the Councils of Orange were also submitted to the See of Peter, ie the Pope. In a like manner, Paul, who received the Gospel directly from the Lord in a Revelation according to Scripture, nonetheless after a time, consulted and submitted to Peter. Even when he confronted Peter to his face. The decision was left to Peter.

    Even you yourself, Calvin, Luther, whoever, feel that they have to submit to Peter. What I mean is, that in your posts, you always appeal to Augustine as an authority, who was a Big C Catholic bishop and Saint and Doctor of the Church. Or you appeal to Orange, which was a Catholic council, some propositions being approved by the Pope. You always appeal to a higher authority, from which I can tell, always is a Catholic one. You just don't like the decision.

    Who will judge the Pharisees? Jesus, Scripture, says it will be Moses, in whom they had placed their faith. Can a glorified Moses decide anything else than what the Father Himself would decide? Or the Son for that matter? Hence, saying Moses will judge them is the same as saying the Son or the Father will judge them. The only difference is, they will not see the Son, or the Father, as is fitting, but rather Moses.

    Also, Scripture says that the 12 Apostles will judge the 12 Tribes of Israel. Scripture does not say that the Father or the Son will judge them. But, nevertheless, they are judged by God. Because a glorified Apostle cannot judge in any other way.

    Finally, the Church, the Pope, Peter, having authority from God, has already judged the Reformers. In whom do you place your faith? Calvin? Where does he get his authority? Luther? Same question. Neither are mentioned in the Bible, did not compile the Bible and have no authority whatsoever to interpret the Bible. Especially, 1,000 years later!

    Your trust is in Catholic Augustine? The Catholic Council of Orange? Approved by the Pope. But you do not accept the authority of the Pope. Now you know who will be YOUR judge. For if you deny Peter, you deny Scripture and the one who gave him power to bind and loosen, the Son. And if you deny the Son, then you deny the Father who sent Him. Catholic St. Augustine will be your judge. Lord have mercy.

    Bob

    Well, I guess since I answered your question so thoroughly, and so contrary to what you thought I believed, and since you are not going to apologize for your wild misrepresentations, and cannot refute it with Scripture, you have to run off to cower behind the robes of your pope.

    Amazingly your text itself proves my theological point. Matthew 16:16-18, the text you give me itself TEACHES monergistic regeneration. Simon did not know and confess Jesus as the Christ of his own flesh but God revealed it to him monergistically .... I find this rather ironic since this is what the real debate we have been having is about.

    16Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." 17And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

    Next, your isolated verse about the apostolic authority of Peter somehow means the RCC is both absurd and and your conclusions regarding it are completely extra-biblical. There is no doubt whatsoever that the pope and the RCC heirarchy was NOT what Jesus had in mind in this discussion with Peter. It was not mentioned in the discussion and it is a mere power play by your people to assume it into the text. Even if I were to give you that Jesus intended Peter as the person on whom he would build the church it is a HUGE stretch of your imagination to infer from this that Jesus ALSO intended the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. Peter and the rest of the 11 had apostolic authority. We find his teaching in the bible. It is on his confession and his teaching in Scripture that we rest on authoritatively, not your Roman Catholic church - which is so arbitrary to assume as having the same authority as Peter that it is desperate and sad. Not to mention that Popes and councils have contradicted one another to no end.

    Neither Luther or Calvin or Orange or Augustine were quoted to show authority but to show how the RCC contradicts itself. The Calvin quotes are not to show authority but to show you again that you are wrong about the Reformers view of a faith which Calvin says, is not alone.

    You must love taking a bruising. Because your man-made arguments are so easily overthrown. I do not take delight in it. But knowing you will never be persuaded at least others may read these posts and benefit by seeing how far your reasoning falls short, so that the truth of the gospel might prevail.

    Apostolic authority is conferred, as is written in Scripture, by the laying on of hands. Who laid their hands on you?

    >>>>>Apostolic authority is conferred, as is written in Scripture

    Only in your imagination. There were 12 Apostles and they alone were inspired infallibly to write the authoritative Scripture. If there are still apostles why don't you guys just add new pages to your Bible every year?

    Please move on. You are so defeated that it is ridiculous. Your not admitting it is even worse, like the Pharisees who were blind but claimed to see. That the bible teaches divine monergism in regeneration is so obvious that it takes a hard heart to refuse to see it and then run to your pope rather than the Scripture itself for answers.

    The ironic thing is that you claim Augustine as your authority and yet reject his teaching on free will and regenerating grace.

    "Do not neglect the gift you have, which was conferred on you through the prophetic word with the imposition of hands of the presbyterate." 1 Timothy 4:14

    My imagination???? Who is the blind Pharisee now?

    Bob

    For you to pull the rabbit out of the hat by extrapolating from a laying on of hands for pastoral gifts into some kind of apostolic authority is extra biblical, man-produced nonsense. There is no such idea in the text. This shows that you have an emotional investment in your belief and are not relying on Scripture but your reading into Scripture the theology of your RCC pope. A true eisegesis of desperation.

    John

    "They presented these men to the apostles who prayed and laid hands on them." Acts 6:6

    "Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who went down and prayed for them, that they might receive the holy Spirit, for it had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

    Then they laid hands on them and they received the holy Spirit." Acts 8:14-17

    "So Anannias went and entered the house, laying his hands on him (SAUL)...be filled with the holy Spirit." Acts 9:17

    Bob

    At least, Look at the context of the text Acts 6:6 you have posted before making this kind of exegetical mistake. This is a laying on of hands for deacons...

    "It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. 3 Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4But we [the apostles] will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word."

    In other words it was the apostles job to authoritatively teach and not wait tables so they found men full of the Holy Spirit to do so, because it is an important job... that way they could continue on with the critical matter of teaching the gospel authoritatively while others served people in other way.

    Furthermore, this verse does not say that the apostles laying on of hand of these people conferred upon them the gift of apostleship. nothing like it even. Again your view is a false reading into the text brought in later by your church... an idea not in the original text.

    john

    "When Simon saw that the Spirit was conferred by the laying on of the apostle's hands...Acts 8:18

    Was Saul an apostle before hands were laid on him...before he received the Spirit? Acts 9:17 My original question remains. Who has laid their hands on you?

    Bob

    If you remember, Paul was called of Jesus himself on the road to Damascus be an Apostle:

    At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me. 14And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.' 15And I said, 'Who are you, Lord?' And the Lord said, 'I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, 17 delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles— to whom I am sending you 18 to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'

    So his laying on of hands WAS to confer apostleship.

    This passage also teaches divine monergism in salvation. Christ appointed him to be his servant. DO you think there is any possibility he could refuse Christ? No, Christ appeared to him to tell him what to do, not get his opinion.

    Your view is proven wrong on all accounts. but you are not interested in the truth are you?

    So nobody has laid their hands on you. That's what I thought.

    Bob

    Protestant pastors also have their hands placed on them at ordination but it has nothing to do with the passing on of apostolic authority, because the Scripture does not say this anywhere.

    Further,I just demonstrated to you with scripture, beyond question, on all accounts (scripture texts) where you showed me of the laying on of hands that this practice was irrelevant with regards to the passing on of apostolic authority beyond those who knew Jesus Christ himself, and the context of the verse determines the outcome of its meaning ... like deacons who had hands laying on them so the apostles could teach... and yet with all evidence to the contrary, you continue to make a circular arguments based on the erroneous idea that we have already established is not so. There is, therefore no reason, logic or biblical authority to what you have to say. In fact, your position was demonstrated, beyond any reasonable doubt to be contrary to Scripture. Your posts and ideas are filled with sloppy thinking and non-existent exegesis. So this is becoming crazy. To continue arguing the same thing in the face of such mounting demonstrable biblical evidence against you is more of an argument of a unstable person than someone who is concerned about getting to the bottom of truth.

    Interestingly in no case did you will interact with Augustine's words in this post most likely because your pope contradicts him but you prefer to live in contradiction than seek the truth of something.

    Solus Christus
    John

    helo. i'm hapi to discover your site. i love to hear sound doctrines. your post on the gift of faith helps my limited mind to cope the message of the gospel.

    i long to hear from you and to help my faith grow by the way God used you for his glory.

    more power!!!

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