Friday, January 25, 2013

Did Augustine Corrupt The Church With Gnostic Doctrine?

2 comments:

chipsmydog said...

Having suffered through 15 minutes of a carnal view of scripture and equating man's free will to God's autonomy, I have to say, this is nothing new.
Anthropomorphic philosophies are endless and demeaning to the God of Paul, Peter, James, and John.
Do you ever get to any scripture references or is all the time focused on the quotes of early church leaders that Augustine, the reformer, had to set straight with a more correct and true doctrine?

Richard Coords said...

Here is one in which the early Church quoted Matthew 23:37:

130-200 AD, Irenaeus: “This expression, ‘How often would I have gathered thy children together, and thou wouldst not,’ set forth the ancient law of human liberty, because God made man a free (agent) from the beginning, possessing his own soul to obey the behests of God voluntarily, and not by compulsion of God...And in man as well as in angels, He has placed the power of choice...If then it were not in our power to do or not to do these things, what reason had the apostle, and much more the Lord Himself, to give us counsel to do some things and to abstain from others?” (Against Heresies XXXVII, Book 4, Ch. 37)

The early Church knew all about the free-will vs. Determinism debate, because the Gnostics fought the early Church over free-will, in their attempt to get the early Church to reject it, in favor of Stoic and Platonian Determinism. Augustine was a Gnostic for nearly a decade before converting to Catholicism, in which he later "discovered" a hearty Determinism in Scripture. The Pelagians' under emphasis on grace then became the perfect opportunity to push for Determinism. The weakness for Augustine was that there was no one, in 300 years of early Church history, that he could firmly and unequivocally cite for support. John Calvin admits that Augustine was "frequently" charged with teaching Stoic doctrine. The result is the Gnosticism, at least in some form, never truly died, but retained its legacy in the form of arrogant Calvinism.