"...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)


  • Rev. John Samson
  • Rev. David Thommen (URC)
  • John Hendryx
  • Marco Gonzalez

    We are a community of confessing believers who love the gospel of Jesus Christ, affirm the Biblical and Christ-exalting truths of the Reformation such as the five solas, the doctrines of grace, monergistic regeneration, and the redemptive historical approach to interpreting the Scriptures.


    Community Websites

    Monergism Books on Facebook


    Latest Posts



    Ministry Links


    Augustine and Calvin and Jesus on the Fallen will

    Augustine argued that there are four states, which are derived from the Scripture, that correspond to the four states of man in relation to sin: (a) able to sin, able not to sin (posse peccare, posse non peccare); (b) not able not to sin (non posse non peccare); (c) able not to sin (posse non peccare); and (d) unable to sin (non posse peccare). The first state corresponds to the state of man in innocency, before the Fall; the second the state of the natural man after the Fall; the third the state of the regenerate man; and the fourth the glorified man.

    The debate in the church on the the will has always been (b). Calvin and the Roman Catholic Pighius debated about this in bondage and liberation of the will. Calvin said,

    " has choice and that it is self-determined, so that if he does anything evil, it should be imputed to him and to his own voluntary choosing. We do away with coercion and force, because this contradicts the nature of the will and cannot coexist with it. We deny that choice is free, because through man’s innate wickedness it is of necessity driven to what is evil and cannot seek anything but evil. And from this it is possible to deduce what a great difference there is between necessity and coercion. For we do not say that man is dragged unwillingly into sinning, but that because his will is corrupt he is held captive under the yoke of sin and therefore of necessity will in an evil way. For where there is bondage, there is necessity. But it makes a great difference whether the bondage is voluntary or coerced. We locate the necessity to sin precisely in corruption of the will, from which follows that it is self-determined."

    This aligns perfectly with what Jesus said to the Jews who rejected him:

    34Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. 38 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father....Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God." John 8 34-47

    Notice that Jesus does not say you are not of God because you do not hear the words of God. Rather he says, you are not of God ... therefore you do not hear them. In John 10:26 Jesus says something similar to them, "but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock." He does not say "you are not part of my flock because you do not beleive." No he says plainly, "You do not believe BECAUSE you are not part of my flock.

    Posted by John on May 28, 2011 10:51 AM


    Dear John:

    It is a lazy, beautiful day here in Munich, Germany, where I live. Clicking around theology blogs, as I do, I discovered this most recent post of yours. While this entry is, essentially, a continuation of the points you wished to emphasize in our last exchange, in particular, the blog entry entitled, "Grace Unmixed," (which I left to you the last word), nevertheless, with a new post, I feel compelled once again to respond.

    First, I assumed that this is John H. (not John S.) because the post is an exact copy of our exchange in the aforementioned paragraph.

    Second, if you desire to delete my response, because it is not in keeping with your beliefs or agenda, or for whatever is your can do what you want. But, on the other hand, I see it as an opportunity for all seekers to find the truth. In any event, I am willing to continue an exchange privately via email. You have my address.

    Third, so with interest, I went to your homepage, Of course, as a Roman Catholic, I immediately saw and clicked on the link wishing to contrast Augustine, Council of Orange, and the Council of Trent.

    Forth, this led me to the article which, highlighted in red and blue, purportedly attempts to establish that the Roman Catholic Church, has basically anathematized St. Augustine.

    Fifth, I read everything, even the highlights in red and blue and found no conflict whatsoever with the Catholic Church's teaching. That is to say, no conflict at all between what was approved from the Council of Orange, what was rejected, and the teachings of the Council of Trent. In addition, I also read the link on the page to the Council of Orange. Still no conflict for me there.

    How could this be possible? Where you see conflict, I see none. Rather, I see only harmony between what was approved from Orange and what Trent says?

    The answer, I believe, lies in finding between "thesis" and "antithesis", a "synthesis." This is the only explanation I can logically find at the moment.

    With this in mind, I offer this link, which explains things, at least from my point of view and resolves, at least in my mind, the "apparent conflict," which are always resolved by reaching a higher understanding.

    Sixth, it seems to me, that reformation (Protestant) theology, of whatever sort, always tries to focus its arguments on areas of disagreement (either thesis or antithesis) but, at the same time fails to see that Rome has already resolved any apparent conflict hundreds if not a thousand years in the past and advanced further by synthesis. Synthesis can only be achieved by thesis and antithesis.

    So, whereas the approximately 40,000 Protestant denominations (and growing) continue to live in the past on issues that have already been resolved before they were even born, the ONE Catholic Church, established by Christ, continues to advance. In this regard, I guess I should thank you.

    Finally, I submit to you, that it is ludicrous, and defamatory, to suggest, or to put in print, or post on a blog on the internet, that the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church are at somehow at odds with Augustine, a Bishop of the Catholic Church, a Saint of the Catholic Church, and indeed, a Doctor of the Catholic Church, who bears the title in the Catholic Church of "Doctor of Grace."

    May I respectfully submit to you, the it is not the RC Church which misunderstands Augustine, for they have synthesized his teachings. After all, the Church was there, you were not.


    You have only asserted that your view is the same Augustine and Orange on grace without demonstrating it. If your views were in line with the quotes I have posted then you would wholeheartedly embrace the Reformation because this is PRECISELY what we believe.

    It is the Bible and Augustine who gave us the Reformation. Not only was Luther an Augustinian monk, Calvin quoted Augustine more than any other theologian. Calvinists and Augustinians are synonymous. The Jansenists are an example of Catholics who consistently and rigorously followed Augustinism.

    Fact is, that your views are contrary to Orange and Augustine on grace is so OBVIOUS that is quite ridiculous (and outrageous) to pretend otherwise. You are wasting my time and frankly I will no longer tarry with your fanatical babbling. Everything you have said is dishonest and is contrary to both Scripture and reason. Please move on.


    Dear John,

    What is a Council? Where does it come from? What authority does it have? Where does this authority come from?

    It basically comes down to a question of authority, doesn't it? Where does this authority lie?

    Doesn't it lie with the See of Peter to which Jesus said, "And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it." - Matthew 16:18.

    Yeah, yeah. I know. Protestants like to assert (in Greek, no less), that Jesus is the big rock and Peter is just a pebble. (Did Peter speak Greek? Did Jesus?) So what, then, if Jesus is the Big Rock and Peter the pebble? Peter is still chosen by God.

    But, I have yet to meet a Protestant who could interpret, or even address for that matter, the next verse..."I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." - Matthew 16:19 Jesus certainly gave His authority to the pebble! Or did Jesus make a mistake?

    Clearly, the authority of Jesus is given to Peter.

    If a Council is ordained by God, then ALL Councils in the See of Peter are ordained by God. If any Council in the See of Peter is not ordained by God...then ALL councils can have no meaning with any certainty whatsoever! This is certainly not what God intends.

    So, my specific question to you is, "Why or how can you give ANY credence to what was approved of the Councils of Orange (submitted and approved by the Pope no less), but on the other hand, reject the Council of Trent (also approved by the Pope) other than by your own FREE WILL! By the way, of which you assert, you have none?


    I think you need to take some time to pray. It appears you have learned nothing about your theological opponents' viewpoint regarding the will or anything else, which leads me to assume that you are willfully misrepresenting my position. This is a serious character flaw which you need to seek help for. Seriously.

    Again, the only people who do not have a free will are those who are unregenerate, not regenerate Christians who have been set free by Christ. They are no longer in bondage to sin but now (with renewed heart) freely, with their will, believe the gospel. .... Further, Your arguments have been utterly decimated so your only response is to lash out and argue against straw men upholding non-existent theological positions. I will not say it again. Please move on.

    I will no longer be taking your posts..

    Positive glad that I navigated in your web page by accident. I'll be subscribing to your feed in order that I can get the latest updates. Appreciate all of the details right here

    Post a comment

    Please enter the letter "a" in the field below: