Hadrian of Rome: A Pre-Reformed Pope?

Pope Paul IIIPope Hadrian of Rome & Augustinian Predestination Soteriology

During the reign of Pope Hadrian of Rome (772-795) the Church in Spain was going through internal and extremely fascinating controversies. One of the controversies concentrated on what was the proper way of understanding God’s divine choice and predestination. Two major traditions crossed swords. Those who held the Augustinian predestination soteriology led by Elipandus of Toledo and those who rejected it led by Migetius. The clanks and clangs of their swords reached Pope Hadrian of Rome.

In a nutshell Augustinian predestination soteriology stressed the sovereignty of God in electing in Christ Jesus some fallen humans who are in bondage of sin (Jn. 8:34) and hostile towards God (Ro. 8:7) to receive his mercy and compassion while passing over other equally fallen humans to receive his righteous justice (Ro. 9-11). Those whom God the Father elected are given to His Son and they are kept to the end of time (Jn. 6) We, the Church, choose Christ because He chose us first (Jn. 15:16, Acts 13:48, Eph. 1:3-11). Faith is thus not the cause of our election but its effect (Jn. 10:26-28). Augustine expounded:

Let us, then, understand the calling by which they become the chosen, not those who are chosen because they believed, but those who are chosen in order that they may believe. ‘You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you’ (Jn. 15:16). For, if they were chosen because they believed, they would, of course, have first chosen Him by believing in Him in order that they might merit to be chosen.(PS 17.34)

Elsewhere Augustine wrote:

They were chosen before the foundation of the world by that predestination by which God foreknew His future actions, but they were chosen out of the world by that calling, by which God fulfilled that which He predestined. ‘For those He predestined, He also called,’ that is, with that calling which is according to His purpose.”¹

Augustinian predestination soteriology hold that all who believes in Christ Jesus as Lord will be saved. However as the result of sin, no one left on her own will believe (Ro. 3:10-18). Christ’s person and works are foolishness (1 Cor. 1:18, 23) to those without God’s Spirit. Only those whom the Father draws and give to His Son will believe (Jn. 6:44, 65; 12:36-40; 17:19-20; Phi. 1:29).

In 786 Pope Hadrian’s solution, as recorded in his Letter 95 to the Spanish Bishops, was to return the bishops to the works of Fulgentius. Citing Fulgentius, Pope Hadrian wrote that “we have always acknowledged to be taught to us by apostolic doctrine, and which we thus faithfully preach. For, clearly and frequently blessed Paul makes known the predestination of those whom God saves by grace.”(Epist. 3.642)

Pope Hadrian invoked Romans 8:29-30 and explained that, “God begins his work of predestination in calling, and completes it in glorifying”(ibid.) Siding with Elipandus, Pope Hadrian concluded that, “the truth of predestination must be held by all of the faithful.”(ibid.)

Long before the Reformer Martin Luther, who took Augustinian predestination soteriology far beyond Augustine before him and John Calvin after him in his work On The Bondage of Will, Pope Hadrian defended what we now call Reformed predestination and election doctrines of grace.

Pope Hadrian, Letter 95. MGH, Epist. 3:642:

Augustine, The Predestination of the Saints, 17.34, in The Works of Saint Augustine: Answer to the Pelagians IV: To the Monks of Hadrumetum and Provence, ed. John E. Rotelle, trans. Roland J. Teske (Hyde Park, N.Y.: New City Press, 1999), 177–178.

[1] Augustine, On the Predestination of the Saints, 34, in Saint Augustine: Four Anti-Pelagian Writings, 260. For Augustine election is final: “The ordering of his future works in his foreknowledge, which cannot be deceived and changed, is absolute, and nothing but, predestination.” (NPNF 5:542)

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50 thoughts on “Hadrian of Rome: A Pre-Reformed Pope?

  1. Prayson, I am replying by my phone, so my response will be (mercifully) short.

    I think you are doing it again: ascribing views to an author that there is no evidence that he held, based only on his quotations of a few passages of Scripture that Calvinists quote to assert a strong view of predestination. It is doubtless that Scripture does say these things and that it does teach a definite predestination — but to label someone’s view “Calvinistic” is to ascribe to him a very elaborate and very specific interpretation that he does not express at all. It is true that the Augustinian and Thomistic views of predestination do have high views of God’s sovereignty and bear some similarities to Calvin’s — but this is rather because Calvin follows in their tradition, not the other way around. Calvin can be said to in some ways be Augustinian, but to say that Augustine, or Hadrian, or anybody else, is “Calvinist” requires some very specific exegesis, which you haven’t given. (Augustine, for what it’s worth, in contrast to Calvin, maintained that the free will of man has an essential role in accepting the grace of God.)

    • Joseph, thank you for your input. I am so glad to have Roman Catholic friend like you. I totally agree with you. My original title was Hadrian of Rome and Augustinian Predestination Soteriology. By Calvinistic I simply mean Augustinian view of predestination and election.

      The title was aimed to deliberately provoke my readers. Reformed theology is partly a revival of Augustinian setoriology. By Calvinistic, I do not mean Calvin’s teachings. As I pointed at the end, that long before Luther and Calvin, Pope Hadrian defended Augustinian predestinationary soteriology.

      I am not sure where you think I did not present Hadrian correctly. Do you have citation(s) that shows otherwise? Do you mean that he did not follow Augustinian tradition? I think he did follow Augustine since he follows Fulgentius of Ruspe, whose works (see Letter 17, 34-60) follows Augustine. Moreover see Pope Hadrian I to Charles the Great, 784-91.” Trans. in H. R. Loyn and John Percival, The Reign of Charlemagne: Documents on Carolingian Government and Administration (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1976), 133-4.

      I do not know what you mean by strong view of predestination. What I meant is simply Augustinian predestination. 😉

      • I think your original title was better. 😉 What rankled my feathers was the implication that any pope was “Calvinistic” or even “Reformed.” Those terms are not synonymous with “Augustinian.” Reformed theologians attempt to appropriate the title of “Augustinian,” but in truth Reformed theology departs very significantly from Augustine, especially in the necessity of works to salvation and the necessary assent of the human will to salvation. Reformed theology commonly appeals to “monergism”; Augustine cannot be said to be “monergistic” at all.

        God bless you, and His peace be with you!

        • I use them synonymous ;). We could do an article together on two views of Augustine’s Soteriology where I will defend that it monergistic and you the opposite 🙂

          Thanks for your input and understanding.

          • I’ve already done that, at least twice. 😉 Here:

            The Doctrine of Justification: Augustine is Catholic (In the context of a review of Alister McGrath’s splendid book on the doctrine of justification.)
            Against a Charge of Pelagianism (Including a collection of a dozen or so quotes from Augustine.)

            Augustine’s works are so voluminous, one can’t make a case that he is “Calvinistic” or “monergistic” by simply taking a few quotations out of context that appear to support Reformed views (but after all, that’s also what Calvinists do for Paul 😉 ). The quotations I’ve given, though, ought to make clear that he isn’t. And McGrath is an authority. He is more familiar with Augustine’s writings on justification than probably anybody alive today. And if even a Protestant scholar admits that Augustine teaches the necessity of human cooperation with God’s grace (which Augustine himself makes quite clear), then any claim that Calvin’s theology is wholly Augustinian, or vice versa, has not a leg to stand on.

            Protestants often seem desperate to lay claim to some precedent for their views in the Church Fathers — but it simply isn’t there (as McGrath also admits). Either they must make the case that sixteenth-century theological innovations, complete breaks from the whole of Christian tradition, actually reflected the correct view (which is McGrath’s tack), or they are faced with the fact that the “Reformation” was not a return to anything apostolic at all.

          • Thanks Joseph. Well, then the ball is on my side to show otherwise as I go through Augustine in his context.

            My thesis is that Augustine early writings does show the fangs of synergism but Augustine as he himself confessed in his A Treate On The Predestination of The Saints(ch. 7.3) changed his view to monergism, which is expressed in his latter writings.

            By Calvinistic, as I would defend, does not mean Calvin but Augustinian Soteriology which I believe is purely monergistic. My claim is that Luther and Calvin are echoing Augustinian Setoriology. We are all catholic after all. 😉

          • That’s a fine thesis, Prayson, except for the fact that nearly all of Augustine’s teachings on grace and free will come from his writings against Pelagianism, which only became an issue in the last fifteen years of Augustine’s life. The treatise from which most of my quotes come, On Grace and Free Will, was one of his final works. Arguing against Pelagianism, Augustine naturally wanted to assert the role of grace over free will, since Pelagius argued that it was all free will — but Augustine was very careful not to deny free will. In exactly the same way, Paul asserted the role of faith against the works of the Judaizers — but did not deny that works play a part. Calvinists take both arguments out of their polemic context and end up with exactly the opposite of what both men were arguing. Peace be with you!

          • Thanks Joseph 🙂 Well, you have to wait and read it.

            BTW: I do not think Luther or Calvin disagree with free will as outline by Augustine:

            Augustine: A Treatise against Two Letters of the Pelagians 1.7

            “For even he who persuades and deceives does not act in them, except that they may commit sin by their will, either by ignorance of the truth or by delight in iniquity, or by both evils,—as well of blindness as of weakness. But this will, which is free in evil things because it takes pleasure in evil, is not free in good things, for the reason that it has not been made free. Nor can a man will any good thing unless he is aided by Him who cannot will evil,—that is, by the grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. For “everything which is not of faith is sin.” And thus the good will which withdraws itself from sin is faithful, because the just lives by faith. And it pertains to faith to believe on Christ. And no man can believe on Christ—that is, come to Him—unless it be given to him. No man, therefore, can have a righteous will, unless, with no foregoing merits, he has received the true, that is, the gratuitous grace from above.”

            A Treatise On Rebuke and Grace 31 (cf- 32-33).

            The first man had not that grace by which he should never will to be evil; but assuredly he had that in which if he willed to abide he would never be evil, and without which, moreover, he could not by free will be good, but which, nevertheless, by free will he could forsake. God, therefore, did not will even him to be without His grace, which He left in his free will; because free will is sufficient for evil, but is too little for good, unless it is aided by Omnipotent Good. And if that man had not forsaken that assistance of his free will, he would always have been good; but he forsook it, and he was forsaken. Because such was the nature of the aid, that he could forsake it when he would, and that he could continue in it if he would; but not such that it could be brought about that he would. This first is the grace which was given to the first Adam; but more powerful than this is that in the second Adam. For the first is that whereby it is effected that a man may have righteousness if he will; the second, therefore, can do more than this, since by it is even effected that he will, and will so much, and love with such ardour, that by the will of the Spirit he overcomes the will of the flesh, that lusteth in opposition to it. Nor was that, indeed. a small grace by which was demonstrated even the power of free will, because man was so assisted that without this assistance he could not continue in good, but could forsake this assistance if he would. But this latter grace is by so much the greater, that it is too little for a man by its means to regain his lost freedom; it is too little, finally, not to be able without it either to apprehend the good or to continue in good if he will, unless he is also made to will.”

            Thus for Augustine fallen human possesses a liberum arbitrium captivatum, and through God’s grace it is made liberum arbitrium liberatum See: Answer to the Two Letters of the Pelagians 1.9

            I might be wrong so I will love to know which passages in Luther or Calvin that led you to believe otherwise.

            For all I know Luther and Calvin contended that after the fallen, we are in bondage of sin. We are slaves to sin. Augustinian’s liberum arbitrium captivatum. It is in this sense they hold that we have lost the free will to do good and to choose the things of God.

            Using Logos Bible Software 5, I have made a collection of all the works of Luther, Calvin and Augustine and going through their interpretation of the core passages with the aim of showing that Luther and Calvin are closely following Augustine. 🙂 Next articles will be focus to show these 😉

          • Yes, Augustine did teach this about the liberum arbitrium captivatum and the liberum abitrium liberatum — as I summarized in the post from McGrath. But as even these quotes indicate, Augustine taught that the liberum arbitrium liberatum also has the freedom to reject God’s grace — a thesis I don’t think Calvin would agree with.

            Also, you assert in the post that Luther and Calvin held “Augustinian soteriology” — but an understanding of free will is only one cog in the machinery of soteriology. Augustine also taught, as I’ve said, that human cooperation with God’s grace was necessary for salvation. He also held no notion of “sole imputation” or of justification as a forensic declaration. Grace, in Augustine’s view, not only exonerates the sinner, but actually makes him just. And so on and so forth. There is a great deal in Augustine that is opposed to Reformed views. And taking one or two points from Augustine’s overall theological system does not give the Reformed the right to claim to be “Augustinian.”

          • Joseph, could you be wonderful and direct me to a place where Augustine states that when God’s grace makes the elect’s liberum arbitrium liberatum the elect can(not ability but capability) reject God? Augustine above is talking about Adam’s free will before the fall. I hope we are not confusing Adam’s free will before the fall, with elects restored will through grace.

            Luther and Calvin appear to simply state what Augustine stated in A Treatise On The Predestination Of The Saints 13. No one who after being freed rejects Christ.

            We are not to forget that for Augustine, the co-operation itself is also God’s doing. Thus not at all in contradiction to reformers. See Augustine’s A Treatise On The Predestination Of The Saints 7.3

            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.”

            More clearer in the very work you cited: On Grace and Free Will 33

            “But yet, however small and imperfect his love was, it was not wholly wanting when he said to the Lord, “I will lay down my life for Your sake”; (John 13:37) for he supposed himself able to effect what he felt himself willing to do. And who was it that had begun to give him his love, however small, but He who prepares the will, and perfects by His co-operation what He initiates by His operation? Forasmuch as in beginning He works in us that we may have the will, and in perfecting works with us when we have the will. On which account the apostle says, “I am confident of this very thing, that He which has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6) He operates, therefore, without us, in order that we may will; but when we will, and so will that we may act, He co-operates with us. We can, however, ourselves do nothing to effect good works of piety without Him either working that we may will, or co-working when we will. Now, concerning His working that we may will, it is said: “It is God which works in you, even to will.” (Philippians 2:13) While of His co-working with us, when we will and act by willing, the apostle says, “We know that in all things there is co-working for good to them that love God.” What does this phrase, all things, mean, but the terrible and cruel sufferings which affect our condition? That burden, indeed, of Christ, which is heavy for our infirmity, becomes light to love. For to such did the Lord say that His burden was light, (Matthew 11:30) as Peter was when he suffered for Christ, not as he was when he denied Him.”

            From these passages, we note that there is nothing in us that is not given from above. This includes our co-operation. Quotation on freedom of will and sin below, Augustine equated bondage of sin to a dead person. I dead person cannot co-operate, unless God spiritually resurrects him. When resurrected man can co-operate with God. As Augustine a chapter earlier states, “It is certain that it is we that act when we act; but it is He who makes us act, by applying efficacious powers to our will”(ibid, 32). Thus Augustine is correctly viewed as monergistic at first ordered level and synergistic at the second ordered level. This is compatible with Luther and Calvin.

            More on free will. I think Luther and Calvin(Inst. 2.2) simply echoed Augustine in Enchiridon 30

            “But this part of the human race to which God has promised pardon and a share in His eternal kingdom, can they be restored through the merit of their own works? God forbid. For what good work can a lost man perform, except so far as he has been delivered from perdition? Can they do anything by the free determination of their own will? Again I say, God forbid. For it was by the evil use of his free-will that man destroyed both it and himself. For, as a man who kills himself must, of course, be alive when he kills himself, but after he has killed himself ceases to live, and cannot restore himself to life; so, when man by his own free-will sinned, then sin being victorious over him, the freedom of his will was lost. “For of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.” This is the judgment of the Apostle Peter. And as it is certainly true, what kind of liberty, I ask, can the bond-slave possess, except when it pleases him to sin? For he is freely in bondage who does with pleasure the will of his master. Accordingly, he who is the servant of sin is free to sin. And hence he will not be free to do right, until, being freed from sin, he shall begin to be the servant of righteousness. And this is true liberty, for he has pleasure in the righteous deed; and it is at the same time a holy bondage, for he is obedient to the will of God. But whence comes this liberty to do right to the man who is in bondage and sold under sin, except he be redeemed by Him who has said, “If the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed?”

            Since Reformed Soteriology affirms what Augustine affirmed, I think it is rightly tagged Augustinian.

          • Prayson, you seem to be confusing two separate propositions. Yes, it is true that the captive free will, the free will of the man dead in his sins, cannot choose God or do any salutary work on his own behalf. Yes, it is only God’s grace that can free the captive free will; it is only by God’s grace that man can be free to pursue God or to do any good works at all. But– the whole notion of free will demands that man then has the freedom to choose or reject God.

            You admit that Augustine’s theology is “monergistic at first ordered level and synergistic at the second ordered level.” This is entirely consistent with Catholic theology. As I read Reformed theology, it allows no notion of synergism at all. You propose that even man’s cooperation is the work of God. Do not mistake will for choice. God gives man the ability both to will to do good and to work — but it is man, by his own prerogative, by his own freedom, who chooses, according to Augustine’s theology. This is consistent with the Catholic view and contrary to the Reformed view.

            And again, what of the other propositions? Luther and Calvin teach that justification is a purely forensic act by which Christ’s righteousness is imputed to the believer and does not actually make him just at all. Augustine rejects this.

          • Joseph, what I am asking for is a passage from Augustine that lead you to believe that an elect, liberated by God’s grace is capable of rejecting Christ Jesus.

            I think it is you Joseph who is transporting Augustine explanation of Adam’s free will before the fall to the Elects’ restored free will. Do you hold that since Adam could choose to follow God’s will or not before the bondage of will then the Elects’ after restored free will through grace can(in sense of capability) reject Christ(not following God’s will)? If yes, then that position is not Augustine’s position. See: On Predestination of the Saints 13

            “This grace, therefore, which is hiddenly bestowed in human hearts by the Divine gift, is rejected by no hard heart, because it is given for the sake of first taking away the hardness of the heart. When, therefore, the Father is heard within, and teaches, so that a man comes to the Son, He takes away the heart of stone and gives a heart of flesh, as in the declaration of the prophet He has promised. Because He thus makes them children and vessels of mercy which He has prepared for glory”

            Synergism of Augustine is under his monergism’s umbrella. This is consistence with Luther and Calvin. They both hold that good works, or using co-operations with God, comes after God’s grace, yet this co-operation, as Augustine stated, is still God’s doing, namely from above. Without Him we can do nothing. It is God’s who both will and works in our co-operation.

            Reformed Theology stress the first ordered level but it does not reject second order. Direct me to a Reformer(from Wycliffe to Calvin) who rejected synergism on a second ordered level? As far as I know, Luther did not. See The Disputation Concerning Justification, LW 34. 165

            “I reply to the argument, then, that our obedience is necessary for salvation. It is, therefore, a partial cause of our justification. Many things are necessary which are not a cause and do not justify, as for instance the earth is necessary, and yet it does not justify. If man the sinner wants to be saved, he must necessarily be present, just as he asserts that I must also be present. What Augustine says is true, “He who has created you without you will not save you without you.”1 Works are necessary to salvation, but they do not cause salvation, because faith alone gives life. On account of the hypocrites we must say that good works are necessary to salvation. It is necessary to work. Nevertheless, it does not follow that works save on that account, unless we understand necessity very clearly as the necessity that there must be an inward and outward salvation or righteousness. Works save outwardly, that is, they show evidence that we are righteous and that there is faith in a man which saves inwardly, as Paul says, “Man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved”. Outward salvation shows faith to be present, just as fruit shows a tree to be good.”

            This is all I hold and defended so far. I did not raise questions on imputation. That could be another article altogether 😉

          • It is typical of Reformed arguments to affirm free will with one hand and take it back with the other. What is “free will” that does not have the freedom to choose otherwise? Is free will really “free” if it isn’t capable of choosing something else?

            See chapter 40 (XIII) in On Rebuke and Grace. Or do a Logos search on “falling away.” Augustine writes of it numerous times, of the righteous falling away. Only one with freedom to reject grace truly has the freedom to cooperate with grace. This is Augustine’s (and the Catholic Church’s) theology.

          • Joseph, I do not see what you are claiming from Augustine. Quite the contrary I hope you are not overlooking these truths in the very chapter you directed us:

            “Hence it was said to the apostles, “If ye abide in me;” and this He said who knew for a certainty that they would abide; and through the prophet, “If ye shall be willing, and will hear me,” although He knew in whom He would work to will also.”

            And further

            “Therefore the number of the saints, by God’s grace predestinated to God’s kingdom, with the gift of perseverance to the end bestowed on them, shall be guided thither in its completeness, and there shall be at length without end preserved in its fullest completeness, most blessed, the mercy of their Saviour still cleaving to them, whether in their conversion, in their conflict, or in their crown!”

            I am simply presenting Augustine’s position. See Augustine, On the Predestination of the Saints, 13(emp. mine)

            “What does ‘Everyone that has heard from the Father, and has learned, comes to me,’ mean except that there is no one who hears from the Father, and learns, and does not come to me? For if everyone who has heard from the Father and has learned comes, it follows that everyone who does not come has not heard from the Father and learned, for if he had heard and learned and yet does not come, but, as the Truth says, ‘Everyone who has heard from the Father, and has learned, comes.’”

            Could you cite Augustine supporting your view that the elect after being liberated from the bondage of sin is capable of rejecting Christ? I find that view incorrect both from Holy Writ and Augustine. Being liberated from being slaves of sin, elects are slaves of righteousness( Ro. 6:18).

            I hope you are aware that Augustine believe the elect may only temporary fell away. See: Augustine, Tractates on the Gospel of John, 28–54, 45.13, 199.

            “If he was predestinated, he strayed temporarily, he was not lost forever; he returns to hear what he has neglected, to do what he heard. For, if he is of those who have been predestinated, God foreknew both his straying and his future conversion. If he has gone astray, he returns to hear that voice of the Shepherd and to follow Him.”

            Elsewhere Augustine stated( On the Gift of Perseverance, 21, )

            “They were not ‘of them, because they had not been ‘called according to His purpose,’ they had not been elected ‘in Christ before the foundation of the world,’ they had not ‘obtained their lot’ in Him, they had not been ‘predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things.’ For if they had had been all this, they would have been ‘of’ them, and they would no doubt have remained with them.”

            I would like you, Joseph, to cite Augustine supporting your understanding. 😉

          • Prayson, you are missing a crucial distinction that Augustine makes (and that Catholic theology, following Augustine, likewise make). There is a difference between having been elected to receive initial justification and having been elected to final perseverance. Not all who receive the grace of justification, whose wills are freed by grace, persevere to the end — because those people have the freedom to reject God. God foreknows this outcome, and ordains it, but by a mystery beyond our comprehension, their choice to reject God was not God’s will.

            You’ve taken some snippets out of context here. In the whole context of that chapter:

            But, moreover, that such things as these are so spoken to saints who will persevere [N.B. there will be some saints who do not persevere], as if it were reckoned uncertain whether they will persevere, is a reason that they ought not otherwise to hear these things, since it is well for them “not to be high-minded, but to fear.” For who of the multitude of believers can presume, so long as he is living in this mortal state, that he is in the number of the predestinated? Because it is necessary that in this condition that should be kept hidden; since here we have to beware so much of pride, that even so great an apostle was buffetted by a messenger of Satan, lest he should be lifted up. Hence it was said to the apostles, “If ye abide in me;” and this He said who knew for a certainty that they would abide [God foreknew]; and through the prophet, “If ye shall be willing, and will hear me,” although He knew in whom He would work to will also. And many similar things are said. For on account of the usefulness of this secrecy, lest, perchance, any one should be lifted up, but that all, even although they are running well, should fear, in that it is not known who may attain,—on account of the usefulness of this secrecy, it must be believed that some of the children of perdition, who have not received the gift of perseverance to the end [N.B. some receive the grace of initial justification but do not receive the gift of perseverance to the end], begin to live in the faith which worketh by love, and live for some time faithfully and righteously, and afterwards fall away, and are not taken away from this life before this happens to them. …

            This describes those having been freed from the bondage of sin falling away. He calls them “saints,” those who “begin to live in the faith which worketh by love, and live for some time faithfully and righteously” — which would not be possible if these people were still dead in their sins. This is inconsistent with Reformed theology. The Reformed understanding of the “perseverance of the saints” is that all who receive the grace of justification will persevere.

            Now I ask you again, how is free will “free” if man does not have the freedom to choose otherwise? That is a contradiction and a denial of free will.

          • Joseph, I have being posting long quotes from Augustine to avoid your charge of “taken out of context” 😉

            Augustine clearly stated that the elect cannot ultimately fall away. They may temporary fall away but surely will return to their Sherpherd. You are overlooking this Augustinian truth Joseph. Those who fall away are not the elects. Avoiding your charge of taken out of context, I have taken the whole chapters 🙂 from On the Gift of Perseverance, 9 (emp. mine)

            “Now, moreover, when the saints say, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,” what do they pray for but that they may persevere in holiness? For, assuredly, when that gift of God is granted to them,—which is sufficiently plainly shown to be God’s gift, since it is asked of Him,—that gift of God, then, being granted to them that they may not be led into temptation, none of the saints fails to keep his perseverance in holiness even to the end. For there is not any one who ceases to persevere in the Christian purpose unless he is first of all led into temptation. If, therefore, it be granted to him according to his prayer that he may not be led, certainly by the gift of God he persists in that sanctification which by the gift of God he has received.”

            Elsewhere ibid. 13

            “If, then, there were no other proofs, this Lord’s Prayer alone would be sufficient for us on behalf of the grace which I am defending; because it leaves us nothing wherein we may, as it were, glory as in our own, since it shows that our not departing from God is not given except by God, when it shows that it must be asked for from God. For he who is not led into temptation does not depart from God. This is absolutely not in the strength of free will, such as it now is; but it had been in man before he fell. And yet how much this freedom of will availed in the excellence of that primal state appeared in the angels; who, when the devil and his angels fell, stood in the truth, and deserved to attain to that perpetual security of not falling, in which we are most certain that they are now established. But, after the fall of man, God willed it to pertain only to His grace that man should approach to Him; nor did He will it to pertain to aught but His grace that man should not depart from Him.

            Even further ibid. 14

            “This grace He placed “in Him in whom we have obtained a lot, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things.” And thus as He worketh that we come to Him, so He worketh that we do not depart. Wherefore it was said to Him by the mouth of the prophet, “Let Thy hand be upon the man of Thy right hand, and upon the Son of man whom Thou madest strong for Thyself, and we will not depart from Thee.” This certainly is not the first Adam, in whom we departed from Him, but the second Adam, upon whom His hand is placed, so that we do not depart from Him. For Christ altogether with His members is—for the Church’s sake, which is His body—the fulness of Him. When, therefore, God’s hand is upon Him, that we depart not from God, assuredly God’s work reaches to us (for this is God’s hand); by which work of God we are caused to be abiding in Christ with God—not, as in Adam, departing from God. For “in Christ we have obtained a lot, being predestinated according to His purpose who worketh all things.” This, therefore, is God’s hand, not ours, that we depart not from God. That, I say, is His hand who said, “I will put my fear in their hearts, that they depart not from me.””

            These among other passages appear to contradict your position, Joseph. So if I were to be charged with taking Augustine out of context, then a citation(s) from Augustine ought to be produced showing that those who God the Father draw to His Son, those He chose before the foundation of the world, are capable of ultimately falling away, namely departing Christ? This you have not done, Joseph.

            Moreover if co-operation was of first level(synergism) and monergism of second, then you would be very right. But for Augustine monergism is of first level, thus elects staying in Christ is on God’s hand not theirs, thus cannot ultimately depart Christ.

            I did not raise my understanding of free will, that could be for another article. Here we are looking at Augustine’s position.

          • Yes, it is “only given by God that we depart” — but this does not change the fact that some of those who depart are those whose wills have been freed by grace. You are still failing to distinguish between elected (chosen) to receive initial justification, and being “the elect,” those who will ultimately persevere to the end and be saved. I have already shown this.

            Apparently, Augustine is “Reformed,” no matter what he actually believed. I would encourage you to read McGrath’s book. But I am tired of this.

            Peace be with you.

          • Joseph, Augustine does not separate the initial grace and perseverance, as if God gives the former but not both to the elect. I have just finished reading the whole of On the Gift of Perseverance twice. Augustine is crystal clear that those whom God chose before the foundation of the world are give the gifts of both initial grace for their liberation of will and perseverance to the end. God keeps them to the end, and none, not even a single one will ultimately be lost because it is not in their hands to persevere but in God’s. It is God who initiated and God who make the persevere to the end.

            Augustine is monergistic at first level on this point. For he clearly stated that both initial grace and perseverance is in God’s hands. May I point again from what I already whole-chapter quoted, Augustine clearly stated that: “This, therefore, is God’s hand, not ours, that we depart not from God. That, I say, is His hand who said, “I will put my fear in their hearts, that they depart not from me.””(ibid, 14 emp. mine). The elects are not left to persevere on their own. Yes they do work (co-operate at second level) for it is God who works in them, both to will and to work for God’s good pleasure(Phi. 2:13)(at first level).

            It is not true, following Augustine, that “some of those who depart are those whose wills have been freed by grace” because those who are freed by grace are kept by God Himself. Christ Jesus made it clear that none would be lost(Jn. 6:39). This Augustine is very clear. See On the Gift of Perseverance 47

            These gifts, therefore, of God, which are given to the elect who are called according to God’s purpose, among which gifts is both the beginning of belief and perseverance in the faith to the termination of this life, as I have proved by such a concurrent testimony of reasons and authorities,—these gifts of God, I say, if there is no such predestination as I am maintaining, are not foreknown by God. But they are foreknown. This, therefore,is the predestination which I maintain.”

            This Augustine made equally clear in On Rebuke and Grace, 23

            “Whosoever, therefore, in God’s most providential ordering, are foreknown, predestinated, called, justified, glorified,—I say not, even although not yet born again, but even although not yet born at all, are already children of God, and absolutely cannot perish. These truly come to Christ, because they come in such wise as He Himself says, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me, and him that cometh to me I will not cast out;” and a little after He says, “This is the will of the Father who hath sent me, that of all that He hath given me I shall lose nothing.” From Him, therefore, is given also perseverance in good even to the end; for it is not given save to those who shall not perish, since they who do not persevere shall perish.”

            Thus, as I have shown you, if it is I who took Augustine out of context, then do show from Augustine that he has two groups of elects or show where he supports your synergism at first level, namely elects are left to persevere on first level?

            Moreover show where Augustine states that those who God chose before the foundation of the world are capable of absolutely losing their eternal glory. You claimed to have shown this, but you have not. On the other hand I have provided you with numerous proofs from Augustine to show you otherwise. 🙂 I expected you would do the same if you were to claim support from Augustine for your position Joseph.

            I am not tired of this because it gives me motivation to read and reread Augustine’s works. 😉 I love thinking and sharing, mostly we great thinkers like you. 🙂 I conclude with Augustine, thus, “I think that I have taught sufficiently, or rather more than sufficiently, that both the beginning of faith in the Lord, and continuance in the Lord unto the end, are God’s gifts.“(On the Gift of Perseverance, 66)

          • Prayson, I think you’re reading very selectively, or else still failing to grasp Augustine’s distinction. Yes, “the elect,” those “chosen from the foundation of the world,” are one group, and they cannot fall away: these are the ones who, Augustine affirms, were given the gift of perseverance to the end. But Augustine is also explicit that not everyone who receives the grace of justification receives the gift of perseverance to the end; that many receive grace in this world and live righteously among those elected to final perseverance, but fall away and are condemned; and that this falling away is by their own will, not God’s. I am surprised that you read On the Gift of Perseverance and did not see these things. Why do you suppose Augustine is even writing a treatise on the gift of perseverance, if this were not a separate gift from the gift of justification?

            I’ve got a lengthy collection of relevant quotes, most from these two very treatises, but I will share only the most explicit for now:

            Is such an one as is unwilling to be rebuked still able to say, “What have I done,—I who have not received?” when it appears plainly that he has received, and by his own fault has lost that which he has received? “I am able,” says he, “I am altogether able,—when you reprove me for having of my own will relapsed from a good life into a bad one, —still to say, What have I done,—I who have not received? For I have received faith, which worketh by love, but I have not received perseverance therein to the end. (On Rebuke and Grace 6.10)

            The man rebuked has received faith, but not perseverance to the end. He has relapsed from a good life (which he could only live by faith in Christ) into a bad one of his own will.

            If, then, these things be so, we still rebuke those, and reasonably rebuke them, who, although they were living well, have not persevered therein; because they have of their own will been changed from a good to an evil life, and on that account are worthy of rebuke; and if rebuke should be of no avail to them, and they should persevere in their ruined life until death, they are also worthy of divine condemnation for ever. (On Rebuke and Grace 7.11)

            Again, those who have not persevered have changed from a good life to an evil life of their own will.

            The faith of these, which worketh by love, either actually does not fail at all, or, if there are any whose faith fails, it is restored before their life is ended, and the iniquity which had intervened is done away, and perseverance even to the end is allotted to them. But they who are not to persevere, and who shall so fall away from Christian faith and conduct that the end of this life shall find them in that case, beyond all doubt are not to be reckoned in the number of these, even in that season wherein they are living well and piously. For they are not made to differ from that mass of perdition by the foreknowledge and predestination of God, and therefore are not called according to God’s purpose, and thus are not elected; but are called among those of whom it was said, “Many are called,” not among those of whom it was said, “But few are elected.” And yet who can deny that they are elect, since they believe and are baptized, and live according to God? Manifestly, they are called elect by those who are ignorant of what they shall be, but not by Him who knew that they would not have the perseverance which leads the elect forward into the blessed life, and knows that they so stand, as that He has foreknown that they will fall. (On Rebuke and Grace 7.16)

            Reformed theology holds that those who fall away from thr faith did not have true faith in the first place. Augustine disagrees: though these people were never truly part of “the elect” by God’s foreknowledge (those elected to receive final perseverance), they did indeed believe and were baptized and lived according to God.

            SOME ARE CHILDREN OF GOD ACCORDING TO GRACE TEMPORALLY RECEIVED, SOME ACCORDING TO GOD’S ETERNAL FOREKNOWLEDGE (Augustine, as well as the editor, makes a clear distinction between those who have received grace and those who are elected to final perseverance.)

            Nor let it disturb us that to some of His children God does not give this perseverance. Be this far from being so, however, if these were of those who are predestinated and called according to His purpose,—who are truly the children of the promise. For the former, while they live piously, are called children of God; but because they will live wickedly, and die in that impiety, the foreknowledge of God does not call them God’s children. For they are children of God whom as yet we have not, and God has already, of whom the Evangelist John says, “that Jesus should die for that nation, and not for that nation only, but that also He should gather together in one the children of God which were scattered abroad;”8 and this certainly they were to become by believing, through the preaching of the gospel. And yet before this had happened they had already been enrolled as sons of God with unchangeable stedfastness in the memorial of their Father. And, again, there are some who are called by us children of God on account of grace received even in temporal things, yet are not so called by God; of whom the same John says, “They went out from us, but they were not of us, because if they had been of us they would, no doubt, have continued with us.”9 He does not say, “They went out from us, but because they did not abide with us they are no longer now of us;” but he says, “They went out from us, but they were not of us,”—that is to say, even when they appeared among us, they were not of us. And as if it were said to him, Whence do you prove this? he says, “Because if they had been of us, they would assuredly have continued with us.”1 It is the word of God’s children; John is the speaker, who was ordained to a chief place among the children of God. When, therefore, God’s children say of those who had not perseverance, “They went out from us, but they were not of us,” and add, “Because if they had been of us, they would assuredly have continued with us,” what else do they say than that they were not children, even when they were in the profession and name of children? Not because they simulated righteousness, but because they did not continue in it. For he does not say, “For if they had been of us, they would assuredly have maintained a real and not a feigned righteousness with us;” but he says, “If they had been of us, they would assuredly have continued with us.” Beyond a doubt, he wished them to continue in goodness. Therefore they were in goodness; but because they did not abide in it,—that is, they did not persevere unto the end,—he says, They were not of us, even when they were with us,—that is, they were not of the number of children, even when they were in the faith of children; because they who are truly children are foreknown and predestinated as conformed to the image of His Son, and are called according to His purpose, so as to be elected. For the son of promise does not perish, but the son of perdition.2 (On Rebuke and Grace 9.20)

            Some are God’s children who receive God’s grace and live piously (which they can only do by God’s grace) but do not receive perseverance to the end. Reformed theology holds, again, that those who fall away from the faith only appeared to be living in righteousness, but Augustine again contradicts this: they did not have merely simulated righteousness, but did not persevere in the righteousness they had.

            I HAVE now to consider the subject of perseverance with greater care; for in the former book also I said some things on this subject when I was discussing the beginning of faith. I assert, therefore, that the perseverance by which we persevere in Christ even to the end is the gift of God; and I call that the end by which is finished that life wherein alone there is peril of falling. Therefore it is uncertain whether any one has received this gift so long as he is still alive. For if he fall before he dies, he is, of course, said not to have persevered; and most truly is it said. How, then, should he be said to have received or to have had perseverance who has not persevered? For if any one have continence, and fall away from that virtue and become incontinent,—or, in like manner, if he have righteousness, if patience, if even faith, and fall away, he is rightly said to have had these virtues and to have them no longer; for he was continent, or he was righteous, or he was patient, or he was believing, as long as he was so; but when he ceased to be so, he no longer is what he was. But how should he who has not persevered have ever been persevering, since it is only by persevering that any one shows himself persevering,—and this he has not done But lest any one should object to this, and say, If from the time at which any one became a believer he has lived—for the sake of argument—ten years, and in the midst of them has fallen from the faith, has he not persevered for five years? I am not contending about words. If it be thought that this also should be called perseverance, as it were for so long as it lasts, assuredly he is not to be said to have had in any degree that perseverance of which we are now discoursing, by which one perseveres in Christ even to the end. And the believer of one year, or of a period as much shorter as may be conceived of, if he has lived faithfully until he died, has rather had this perseverance than the believer of many years’ standing, if a little time before his death he has fallen away from the stedfastness of his faith. (On the Gift of Perseverance 1.1)

            Those who believed and had faith but no longer do can nonetheless be rightly said to have had faith, and even to have persevered for a time, but did not have the gift of perseverance to the end.

            And if this be so, in that portion indeed in which we ask that men from unbelievers may become believers, it is not perseverance, but beginning, that seems to be asked for; but in that in which we ask that men may be made equal to the angels of God in doing God’s will,—where the saints pray for this, they are found to be praying for perseverance; since no one attains to that highest blessedness which is in the kingdom, unless he shall persevere unto the end in that holiness which he has received on earth. (On the Gift of Perseverance 3.6)

            Augustine makes a certain distinction between the beginning of faith and perseverance in faith.

            Let the inquirer still go on, and say, “Why is it that to some who have in good faith worshipped Him He has not given to persevere to the end?” Why except because he does not speak falsely who says, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, doubtless they would have continued with us.”1 Are there, then, two natures of men? By no means. If there were two natures there would not be any grace, for there would be given a gratuitous deliverance to none if it were paid as a debt to nature. But it seems to men that all who appear good believers ought to receive perseverance to the end. But God has judged it to be better to mingle some who would not persevere with a certain number of His saints, so that those for whom security from temptation in this life is not desirable may not be secure. For that which the apostle says, checks many from mischievous elation: “Wherefore let him who seems to stand take heed lest he fall.”2 But he who falls, falls by his own will, and he who stands, stands by God’s will. “For God is able to make him stand;”3 therefore he is not able to make himself stand, but God. Nevertheless, it is good not to be high-minded, but to fear. Moreover, it is in his own thought that every one either falls or stands. Now, as the apostle says, and as I have mentioned in my former treatise, “We are not sufficient to think anything of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God.”4 Following whom also the blessed Ambrose ventures to say, “For our heart is not in our own power, nor are our thoughts.” And this everybody who is humbly and truly pious feels to be most true. (On the Gift of Perseverance 8.19)

            All who appear to be good believers do not persevere to the end. These are intermingled with those who do receive final perseverance. He who falls away from faith falls away by his own will.

            Therefore, of two infants, equally bound by original sin, why the one is taken and the other left; and of two wicked men of already mature years, why this one should be so called as to follow Him that calleth, while that one is either not called at all, or is not called in such a manner,—the judgments of God are unsearchable. But of two pious men, why to the one should be given perseverance unto the end, and to the other it should not be given, God’s judgments are even more unsearchable. Yet to believers it ought to be a most certain fact that the former is of the predestinated, the latter is not. “For if they had been of us,” says one of the predestinated, who had drunk this secret from the breast of the Lord, “certainly they would have continued with us.”10 What, I ask, is the meaning of, “They were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would certainly have continued with us”? Were not both created by God—both born of Adam—both made from the earth, and given from Him who said, “I have created all breath,”11 souls of one and the same nature? Lastly, had not both been called, and followed Him that called them? and had not both become, from wicked men, justified men, and both been renewed by the laver of regeneration? But if he were to hear this who beyond all doubt knew what he was saying, he might answer and say: These things are true. In respect of all these things, they were of us. Nevertheless, in respect of a certain other distinction, they were not of us, for if they had been of us, they certainly would have continued with us. What then is this distinction? God’s books lie open, let us not turn away our view; the divine Scripture cries aloud, let us give it a hearing. They were not of them, because they had not been “called according to the purpose;” they had not been chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world; they had not gained a lot in Him; they had not been predestinated according to His purpose who worketh all things. For if they had been this, they would have been of them, and without doubt they would have continued with them. (On the Gift of Perseverance 9.21)

            It is a great mystery of God’s un searchable judgments that of toe pious men, one should receive perseverance to the end and the other should fall away. Both had been truly called by His grace; both had followed Him and been justified and been renewed in the laver of regeneration (Baptism). Yet according to the mystery of God’s will, they did not continue with us.

            CHAPTER 33.—GOD GIVES BOTH INITIATORY AND PERSEVERING GRACE ACCORDING TO HIS OWN WILL

            From all which it is shown with sufficient clearness that the grace of God, which both begins a man’s faith and which enables it to persevere unto the end, is not given according to our merits, but is given according to His own most secret and at the same time most righteous, wise, and beneficent will; since those whom He predestinated, them He also called,1 with that calling of which it is said, “The gifts and calling of God are without repentance.”2 To which calling there is no man that can be said by men with any certainty of affirmation to belong, until he has departed from this world; but in this life of man, which is a state of trial upon the earth,3 he who seems to stand must take heed lest he fall.4 Since (as I have already said before)5 those who will not persevere are, by the most foreseeing will of God, mingled with those who will persevere, for the reason that we may learn not to mind high things, but to consent to the lowly, and may “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God that worketh in us both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”6 We therefore will, but God worketh in us to will also. We therefore work, but God worketh in us to work also for His good pleasure. (On the Gift of Perseverance 13.33)

            This heading is absolutely clear: initiatory and persevering grace are two separate gifts. Beginning in faith and persevering to the end are both gifts of God’s grace, but are separate: not all who receive the former receive the latter. This is Catholic theology; it contradicts Reformed theology.

          • Joseph, I believe you misunderstood me. When I contended that initial grace and perseverance are separated, I do not mean they are one gift, but that they are both given to God’s elect. You agreed that ““the elect,” those “chosen from the foundation of the world,” are one group, and they cannot fall away: these are the ones who, Augustine affirms, were given the gift of perseverance to the end.”

            This is all I am contending. The elects are those who receive both initial grace and perseverance to the end, and as you agreed, cannot fall away. I have not finished reading On Rebuke and Grace yet. When I am done, will respond to your comment.

          • This seems contraty to what you were arguing before. Before, you were failing to make any distinction between “those who were drawn to the Son” (that is, who receive the grace of faith to believe in Him) and “those chosen before the foundation of the world” to be saved. Not all who believe in Christ will persevere to the end, as the above quotes make clear.

            You argued quite plainly that “It is not true … that ‘some of those who depart are those whose wills have been freed by grace’ because those who are freed by grace are kept by God Himself. This is inconsistent with Augustine’s thought. He argues quite firmly that many are drawn to the Lord, believe in Him, are justified and regenerated, and live righteously — that is, their wills have been freed to have faith in Him and to walk by His grace — but will nonetheless fall away and not persevere to the end.

            I have not argued at any point that those given the gift of final perseverance will fall away — final perseverance itself means that they will not fall away. You have consistently accused me of this, I suspect, because you’ve failed to make any distinction between the gift of justification and the gift of final perseverance. It is only those given the gift of final perseverance who were chosen from before the foundation of the world — but those who fall away depart from His grace by their own free wills, against His will. He has foreknowledge of their falling away — hence, they are not among those elected to final perseverance — but God did not reject Him, but they rejected God.

          • Joseph, I finished reading On Rebuke and Grace. It is true that Augustine made clear that those who fall away fall away by their own will. What I disagreed with you is that God’s elect, those who God chose before the foundation of the world, to receive his gifts of initial grace and perseverance are capable of fallen away. I contended that God’s elects are given both initial grace and perseverance to the end. None of the elect is given only initial grace but not perseverance.

            It appears that we may be speaking pass each other because you speak generally about humans will I speak about the elects.

            The first passage you used is, you would said, “taken the passage out of its context”. In its context it is the person who wished not to be rebuked that stated “For I have received faith, which worketh by love, but I have not received perseverance therein to the end.”(RG 10) not Augustine. This person wrongly reasoned that to be excused from rebuke.

            Augustine responded by affirming that perseverance is of God and if we say its of man and not God, “we first of all make void that which the Lord says to Peter: “I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not.” For what did He ask for him, but perseverance to the end? And assuredly, if a man could have this from man, it should not have been asked from God”(ibid 10) He equally affirm that “He who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ”(quoting Paul).

            Augustine is speaking about those who “were living well, have not persevered therein; because they have of their own will been changed from a good to an evil life”. He does not say that those who “were living well” are also the one whom God elected before the foundation of the world. (Compare this with those justified in 14). Quite the contrary, Augustine stated that these who “were living well” cannot be said to be among God’s elect at any point, this includes the point where God gave the a love for Christian living, “. Comparing the elects and those who “were living well”, Augustine wrote(ibid 16):

            “The faith of these, which worketh by love, either actually does not fail at all, or, if there are any whose faith fails, it is restored before their life is ended, and the iniquity which had intervened is done away, and perseverance even to the end is allotted to them. But they who are not to persevere, and who shall so fall away from Christian faith and conduct that the end of this life shall find them in that case, beyond all doubt are not to be reckoned in the number of these, even in that season wherein they are living well and piously“(ibid 16)

            Augustine states that these, those who “were living well”, are like Judas, and those who are called but not elected. They are called to freely accomplish God’s purposes. We in our ignorance can count them as elects, “but not by Him who knew that they would not have the perseverance which leads the elect forward into the blessed life, and knows that they so stand, as that He has foreknown that they will fall.”(ibid 16). They fall away because God had not chose them before the foundation of the world. Those who God chose, God himself keep them, thus cannot fall away.

            Now, again in second passage, it is those who do not wish to be rebuked that argued that “” Wherefore are we rebuked?”—so then, “Wherefore are we condemned, since indeed, that we might return from good to evil, we did not receive that perseverance by which we should abide in good?”(ibid. 11) Not Augustine. It is in chapter 18-20 where Augustine does states that God gave them regeneration, faith and love for Christ, as Judas was, but they fall because God called them but not elected them. He did not chose the before the foundation, thus does not keep them. They never were part of the elects.Even “when they were in the faith of children; because they who are truly children are foreknown and predestinated as conformed to the image of His Son, and are called according to His purpose, so as to be elected. For the son of promise does not perish, but the son of perdition”(ibid 20)

            The elects are different because they desire to be rebuked, “when they are rebuked they are amended; and some of them, although they may not be rebuked by men, return into the path which they had left; and some who have received grace in anyage whatever are withdrawn from the perils of this life by swiftness of death.” (ibid 13) Augustine continued:

            “For He worketh all these things in them who made them vessels of mercy, who also elected them in His Son before the foundation of the world by the election of grace: “And if by grace, then is it no more of works, otherwise grace is no more grace.” For they were not so called as not to be elected, in respect of which it is said, “For many are called but few are elected;” but because they were called according to the purpose, they are of a certainty also elected by the election, as it is said, of grace, not of any precedent merits of theirs, because to them grace is all merit.”(ibid 13)

            Augustine returned to this also in the closing chapters(mostly 43) where he wrote “to the number of the predestinated, rebuke may be to him a wholesome medicine; and if he does not belong to that number, rebuke may be to him a penal infliction”(43)

            Elsewhere (ibid 21), Augustine is worth to whole be quoted, as this is what I have constantly contended:

            “Those, then, were of the multitude of the called, but they were not of the fewness of the elected. It is not, therefore, to His predestinated children that God has not given perseverance, for they would have it if they were in that number of children; and what would they have which they had not received, according to the apostolical and true judgment? And thus such children would be given to Christ the Son just as He Himself says to the Father, “That all that Thou hast given me may not perish, but have eternal life.” Those, therefore, are understood to be given to Christ who are ordained to eternal life. These are they who are predestinated and called according to the purpose, of whom not one perishes. And therefore none of them ends this life when he has changed from good to evil, because he is so ordained, and for that purpose given to Christ, that he may not perish, but may have eternal life . And again, those whom we call His enemies, or the infant children of His enemies, whomever of them He will so regenerate that they may end this life in that faith which worketh by love, are already, and before this is done, in that predestination His children, and are given to Christ His Son, that they may not perish, but have everlasting life.”(ibid 21)

            Augustine in chapter 23 makes all the points I have attempted to show you throughout. Thus again present you with the whole chapter with my emphasis.

            “For this reason the apostle, when he had said, “We know that to those who love God He worketh all things together for good,”—knowing that some love God, and do not continue in that good way unto the end,—immediately added, “to them who are the called according to His purpose.” For these in their love for God continue even to the end; and they who for a season wander from the way return, that they may continue unto the end what they had begun to be in good. Showing, however, what it is to be called according to His purpose, he presently added what I have already quoted above, “Because whom He did before foreknow, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren. Moreover, whom He did predestinate, them He also called,” to wit, according to His purpose; “and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified.” All those things are already done: He foreknew, He predestinated, He called, He justified; because both all are already foreknown and predestinated, and many are already called and justified; but that which he placed at the end, “them He also glorified” (if, indeed, that glory is here to be understood of which the same apostle says, “When Christ your life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory”), this is not yet accomplished. Although, also, those two things—that is, He called, and He justified—have not been effected in all of whom they are said,—for still, even until the end of the world, there remain many to be called and justified,—nevertheless, He used verbs of the past tense, even concerning things future, as if God had already arranged from eternity that they should come to pass. For this reason, also, the prophet Isaiah says concerning Him, “Who has made the things that shall be.” Whosoever,therefore, in God’s most providential ordering, are foreknown, predestinated, called, justified, glorified,—I say not, even although not yet born again, but even although not yet born at all, are already children of God, and absolutely cannot perish. These truly come to Christ, because they come in such wise as He Himself says, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me, and him that cometh to me I will not cast out;” and a little after He says, “This is the will of the Father who hath sent me, that of all that He hath given me I shall lose nothing.” From Him, therefore, is given also perseverance in good even to the end; for it is not given save to those who shall not perish, since they who do not persevere shall perish.“(Ibid 23)

            These are truth that I have contended, namely those who God chose before the foundation of the would are not capable of falling away. They are not only giving initial grace and then co-work(synergism) with God in first level. Thus may fail and fall away. No, for them it is purely monergism, from the initial grace to the perseverance to the end, is not in their hands, but God’s. Their good works are not the cause of perseverance but the result of it. It is God working in them. “It is He Himself, therefore, that makes those men good, to do good works”(ibid. 36) This is what Luther and Calvin herald.

            Joseph I pointed out that you wrongly transferred Adam’s free will to those who God restore their free will. Well, What you fail to notice is that the restored freedom is unlike that of Adam before the fall. Augustine pointed this out too. It is not liberty “to be able not to sin” which was of Adam, but liberty “not to be able to sin”(ibid 33). See more chapter 38. Augustine made yet another similar argument I earlier made 😉

            “From being made free from sin they have become the servants of righteousness, in which they will stand till the end, by the gift to them of perseverance from Him who foreknew them, and predestinated them, and called them according to His purpose, and justified them, and glorified them, since He has even already formed those things that are to come which He promised concerning them.”(ibid. 35)

            Other truths, which ought not be missed in On Rebuke and Grace, for Augustine the number of predestined is absolutely certain. No increase. No decrease (ibid 39)

            “I speak thus of those who are predestinated to the kingdom of God, whose number is so certain that one can neither be added to them nor taken from them; not of those who, when He had announced and spoken, were multiplied beyond number. For they may be said to be called but not chosen, because they are not called according to the purpose. But that the number of the elect is certain, and neither to be increased nor diminished”(39)

            After going through the who book, I concluded that we are probably speaking pass each other since there is nothing in Augustine that I did not point before, namely the elects are given both the gifts of initial grace and perseverance and thus are incapable of falling away. God is solely and personally response for them before they were even born, to ensure there eternal life.

          • Fine, but you’ve backtracked from your argument that Augustine’s theology was “Reformed.” There are indeed a few elements from which Luther and Calvin were inspired or from which they based their theology, but his larger theological project is quite inconsistent with Protestant ideas. If you wish to argue that those few elements allow you to legitimately call Augustine “Reformed,” then you’re welcome to your opinion. But while you’re at it, you might as well call all of Catholic theology “Reformed” — since Catholics do not disagree with those points at all. Catholic soteriology is essentially Augustinian, but unlike Calvin, we do not pick and choose only the parts we like.

          • Joseph, I never called Augustine’s theology reformed but stated that Reformed Soteriology is a rivival of Augustinian Soteriology.

            Reformed theology simply returns to Augustine. There is so little, if any, new of Luther or Calvin, that is not taken from Augustine 🙂

          • What about the idea of sole imputation, the imputation of an alien righteousness that covers us but doesn’t actually make us righteous? That’s not Augustinian. What about the idea of justification as a forensic declaration and not an effectual transformation? That’s not Augustinian. And those are just the first couple of major areas of soteriology that occur to me. In all the rest of Reformed theology, what about Calvin’s rejection of images in worship? What about the “priesthood of all believers” that would deny the special roles of bishops and priests? What about sola scriptura and sola fide and all the rest? Yeah, no, Reformed theology isn’t actually very Augustinian at all.

          • Thank Joseph for pointing out these areas. I am reading all of Augustine’s writings, book after book and I am comparing it to the works of Luther and Calvin.

            Thanks to Logos 5, I have all the works of all three of my theological giants. I would like to examine your position. Would you be kind to direct me to Luther’s and Calvin’s works in those areas, focusing on Soteriology, you believe they differ from Augustine? Moreover it would be brilliant if you could introduce a passage from Augustine that you believe Luther or Calvin rejected when it comes to Soteriology.

            We have seen already that Reformed Theology holds Augustinian doctrine of election and predestination of the elects. It also hold the bondage of will, radical depravity, and sovereignty of God both on the initial grace and perseverance of the elects. So, stating that Reformed Theology is not actually very Augustinian at all is simply false.

            I am lining up what Augustine stated and how Luther and Calvin reechoes as I trace the similarity and differences in these theologians. Thus would welcome a challenge that Luther and Calvin differed on the essential/primary issues on Soteriology with Augustine. I do not think they do.

          • Prayson, only a very small portion of the works of Augustine have even been translated into English, let alone were published as part of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers. So you don’t have all the works of Augustine in your collection at all. It’s a common saying in patristics that anyone who claims to have read all the works of Augustine is not being truthful. I certainly haven’t. And I haven’t read very much of either Luther or Calvin.

            I’ve already shown you, repeatedly, through the course of the thread, passages and sentiments from which Luther and Calvin parted company with Augustine. You seem determined to gloss over these differences and hold that Reformed theology is “Augustinian” despite them. Reformed theology does not hold Augustine’s doctrine of election and predestination. It is only by ignoring this whole discussion that you can even assert that. Augustine did not hold any view akin to the “unconditional election” asserted by Calvinists. For Augustine, God’s election “from before the foundation of the world” was an absolute foreknowledge of man’s ultimate destiny, but man’s free will, choice, and cooperation were essential to that outcome. Whether those who received the grace of justification persevered to the end was foreknown from the beginning of time, but it is only by men’s own will and cooperation with God’s grace that they actually do persevere to the end. These views are all very contrary to Reformed soteriology.

            You’re free to believe what you want to believe. But by default, Augustine is a Catholic theologian. His theology is the backbone of the Catholic theological tradition. And as McGrath admitted, Luther and Calvin broke with that tradition and presented novel doctrines never before seen. The onus is on you to demonstrate otherwise. And you won’t do that by glossing over differences and pretending things are the same when they are not.

          • Joseph, Logos has another collection, Fathers of the Church series(127) which contains more translated works of Augustine than NPNF. I have all works available in English 😉

            I do not know how much I will cover, but I am going book after book, with the aim of comparing him to Luther and Calvin. I careless about common sayings. Unlike in old, now we have access in our own hands(Logos 5 on iPad and iPhone) at all times.

            I have read much of Luther and Calvin, and have used their commentaries(also Augustine’s) almost every time I prepared for my sermons for the last 4 years.

            Joseph, you have repeatedly asserted without providing proofs from Augustine, let alone Luther and Calvin what you claim the latter differ from Augustine. What you accused of me, I think is unjustified, on the other hand it apply to your very own self. If you claim that Luther or Calvin did not hold Augustine’s teaching of sovereign election and predestination, then place Augustine passage next to Luther or Calvin passage and show it.

            Joseph, you are so good at being so wrong. The views you presented is contrary to Augustine and thus contrary to Reformed Theology. Augustine actually wrote against such semi-Peligian-like view. Augustine does not teach synergism on the matter of God’s elects. God does not simply give initial grace and wait to see if you will co-operate with Him in perseverance. No.let me requote Augustine: “I think that I have taught sufficiently, or rather more than sufficiently, that both the beginning of faith in the Lord, and continuance in the Lord unto the end, are God’s gifts.”

            I have shown you over and over again passages that Augustine states that both initial grace and perseverance of God’s elects are not in elect’s hand, but soley on God’s.”This, therefore, is God’s hand, not ours, that we depart not from God.“(on the Gift of Perseverance 14) This is monergism. Co-operation in Augustine is secondar. His synergism is under his monergism. Our will to co-operation is of God. We co-operate because it is God’s gift in us to will. We work but it is God working in us.I am surprised that you still hold to your errors even after showing you these truth from the chapters I fully quoted. 🙂

            More, maybe not for you Joseph, but for those who desire to follow where the proofs points, of Augustine’s passages that a contrary to your position stated:

            “These gifts, therefore, of God, which are given to the elect who are called according to God’s purpose, among which gifts is both the beginning of belief and perseverance in the faith to the termination of this life, as I have proved by such a concurrent testimony of reasons and authorities,—these gifts of God, I say, if there is no such predestination as I am maintaining, are not foreknown by God. But they are foreknown. This, therefore, is the predestination which I maintain. Consequently sometimes the same predestination is signified also under the name of foreknowledge; as says the apostle, “God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew.” Here, when he says, “He foreknew,” the sense is not rightly understood except as “He predestinated,” as is shown by the context of the passage itself. For he was speaking of the remnant of the Jews which were saved, while the rest perished. For above he had said that the prophet had declared to Israel, “All day long I have stretched forth my hands to an unbelieving and a gainsaying people.” And as if it were answered,What, then, has become of the promises of God to Israel? he added in continuation, “I say, then, has God cast away His people? God forbid! for I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.” Then he added the words which I am now treating: “God hath not cast away His people whom He foreknew.” And in order to show that the remnant had been left by God’s grace, not by any merits of their works, he went on to add, “Know ye not what the Scripture saith in Elias, in what way he maketh intercession with God against Israel?” and the rest. “But what,” says he, “saith the answer of God unto him? ‘I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee before Baal.’ ” For He says not, “There are left to me,” or “They have reserved themselves to me,” but, “I have reserved to myself.” “Even so, then, at this present time also there is made a remnant by the election of grace. And if of grace, then it is no more by works; otherwise grace is no more grace.” And connecting this with what I have above quoted, “What then?” and in answer to this inquiry, he says, “Israel hath not obtained that which he was seeking for, but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.” Therefore, in the election, and in this remnant which were made so by the election of grace, he wished to be understood the people which God did not reject,because He foreknew them. This is that election by which He elected those, whom He willed, in Christ before the foundation of the world, that they should be holy and without spot in His sight, in love, predestinating them unto the adoption of sons. No one, therefore, who understands these things is permitted to doubt that, when the apostle says, “God hath not cast away His people whom He foreknew,” He intended to signify predestination. For He foreknew the remnant which He should make so according to the election of grace. That is, therefore, He predestinated them; for without doubt He foreknew if He predestinated; but to have predestinated is to have foreknown that which He should do.”(GP 47)

            Yet another passage from the work that I will also line up, On The Merits And Forgiveness of Sins, And On The Baptism of Infants (29): “How utterly insignificant, then, is our faculty for discussing the justice of God’s judgments, and for the consideration of His gratuitous grace, which, as men have no prevenient merits for deserving it, cannot be partial or unrighteous, and which does not disturb us when it is bestowed upon unworthy men, as much as when it is denied to those who are equally unworthy!

            If what I showed you early, do read not my words but Augustine’s passages I presented you with, were not enough, I am collecting passages in the work I am currently rereading On the Predestination of the Saints, to which I will show you what I have so timelessly stated in our thread.;) Joseph, I think it is you who need to reread Augustine, without reading your presuppositions into it. 🙂

          • Blarg. I give up. I don’t think you would admit a difference even if I rubbed your nose in it. Do you deny that Augustine teaches that many receive grace, believe in Him, are justified and regenerated, live righteously for a time, and then fall away by their own will? This, on its face, is contrary to Reformed doctrine.

          • Joseph, it I who ought to give up. Augustine states that those who fall away are not Elects and they were never one at any point, just like Judas. Elects on the other hands cannot fall away. This is Augustine thoughts and Reformed doctrine. You yourself agreed that the elects who are given the gift of perseverance cannot fall away. I wondered why then do you turn salty water in my eyes with your comment?

          • Yes, Joseph, but not ignoring its a proper context, viz., all is not referred to every human being, but every elect. The context is often from Romans 8. Augustine, for example in On The Spirit and the Letters, 7,

            “When I shall have proved this, it will more manifestly appear that to lead a holy life is the gift of God,—not only because God has given a free-will to man, without which there is no living ill or well; nor only because He has given him a commandment to teach him how he ought to live; but because through the Holy Ghost He sheds love abroad in the hearts of those whom he foreknew, in order to predestinate them; whom He predestinated, that He might call them; whom He called, that he might justify them; and whom he justified, that He might glorify them

            Reformed Theology holds that all of God’s elects are foreknown, predestinated, called, justified and in future be glorified. It is in this context that I, as following early Reformed heritage of Luther and Calvin, hold and on this way they, God’s elects, are saved. They are gifted with prevenient grace to responded to God’s calling. They are also gifted with perseverance grace to do good works, being in bondage to righteousness, to the very end. Their entire salvation is from beginning to the end solely in God’s hands. Nothing in and of the Elect is not given from above. Nothing.

          • Thank you for admitting that. So Calvin is not simply Augustine repackaged.

            I think you are misunderstanding me and Catholic theology in general. I never said that “al was referred to every human being.” According to Augustine’s theology, as well as Thomas Aquinas’s, God wills and predestines that a man be justified and that he receive the gift of perseverance to the end. But if a man falls away, that is his will, not God’s. Augustine denies the doctrine of divine reprobation (also known as “double predestination”) that Calvin emphasizes and that is crucial to Reformed theology.

          • Joseph, I admitted exactly what Augustine wrote, namely all who are justified, in its context, namely together with being foreknown, predestinated, called and future glorified. As I directed you to Augustine again and again. You yourself agreed that God’s elects cannot ultimately fall away because their salvation is not in their hands but God’s. God gives them the gift of perseverance. He Himself work their will to stay. Non-elects fall away by their own will.;)

            Luther and Calvin doctrines of reprobates finds its roots also in Augustinian Soteriology. What I stated above is purely Augustine’s thoughts. Example in Augustine Tractates on the Gospel of John, 11–27, commenting on John 10:26, Augustine stated; “What did He mean, then, in saying to them, “Ye are not of my sheep”? That He saw them predestined to everlasting destruction, not won to eternal life by the price of His own blood.”(ibid 48.4) He expounded further:

            “And they shall never perish:” you may hear the undertone, as if He had said to them, Ye shall perish for ever, because ye are not of my sheep. “No one shall pluck them out of my hand.” Give still greater heed to this: “That which my Father gave me is greater than all.” What can the wolf do? What can the thief and the robber? They destroy none but those predestined to destruction. But of those sheep of which the apostle says, “The Lord knoweth them that are His;” and “Whom He did foreknow, them He also did predestinate; and whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified;”—there is none of such sheep as these that the wolf seizes, or the thief steals, or the robber slays. He, who knows what He gave for them, is sure of their number. And it is this that He says: “No one shall pluck them out of my hand;” and in reference also to the Father, “That which my Father gave me is greater than all.”(ibid. 48.6)

            Previously, he stated:

            “Murmur not among yourselves: no man can come unto me, except the Father that sent me draw him.” Noble excellence of grace! No man comes unless drawn. There is whom He draws, and there is whom He draws not; why He draws one and draws not another, do not desire to judge, if thou desirest not to err. Accept it at once and then understand; thou art not yet drawn? Pray that thou mayest be drawn”(ibid. 26.2)

            These passages are multiple in Augustine’s writings. Luther and Calvin reviving Augustinian Soteriology of cause reechoed it.:)

          • I am not aware of active reprobation in works of Luther or Calvin. Reformed Theology hold the classical understanding of active election, namely God actively works in the will of the elects from prevenient to perseverance to end, while passively passing over non-elects to freely continue into their bondage of sin.

            I stated before that you presented a semi-Peligian-like view which is against Augustine and this contrary to Reformed Tradition. When you commented that:

            “For Augustine, God’s election “from before the foundation of the world” was an absolute foreknowledge of man’s ultimate destiny, but man’s free will, choice, and cooperation were essential to that outcome. Whether those who received the grace of justification persevered to the end was foreknown from the beginning of time, but it is only by men’s own will and cooperation with God’s grace that they actually do persevere to the end. These views are all very contrary to Reformed soteriology.”

            I wish to provide justification that supports my accusatuon that Augustine wrote against your understanding in On Predestination of the Saints.. Avoiding “taking out of context”, I whole quoted Augustine:

            “Therefore,” says the Pelagian, “He foreknew who would be holy and immaculate by the choice of free will, and on that account elected them before the foundation of the world in that same foreknowledge of His in which He foreknew that they would be such. Therefore He elected them,” says he, “before they existed, predestinating them to be children whom He foreknew to be holy and immaculate. Certainly He did not make them so; nor did He foresee that He would make them so, but that they would be so.” Let us, then, look into the words of the apostle and see whether He chose us before the foundation of the world because we were going to be holy and immaculate, or in order that we might be so. “Blessed,” says he, “be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us in all spiritual blessing in the heavens in Christ; even as He hath chosen us in Himself before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and unspotted.” Not, then, because we were to be so, but that we might be so. Assuredly it is certain,—assuredly it is manifest. Certainly we were to be such for the reason that He has chosen us, predestinating us to be such by His grace. Therefore “He blessed us with spiritual blessing in the heavens in Christ Jesus, even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and immaculate in His sight, predestinating us in love to the adoption of children through Jesus Christ to Himself.” Attend to what he then adds: “According to the good pleasure,” he says, “of His will;” in order that we might not in so great a benefit of grace glory concerning the good pleasure of our will. “In which,” says he, “He hath shown us favour in His beloved Son,”—in which, certainly, His own will, He hath shown us favour. Thus, it is said, He hath shown us grace by grace, even as it is said, He has made us grace, even as it is said, He has made us righteous by righteousness. “In whom,” he says, “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches is His grace, which has abounded to us in all wus dom and prudence; that He might show to of the mystery of His will, according to His own pleasure.” In this mystery of His will, He placed the riches of His grace, according to His own pleasure, not according to ours, which could not possibly be good unless He Himself, according to His own pleasure, should aid it to become so. But when he had said, “According to His good pleasure,” he added, “which He purposed in Him,” that is, in His beloved Son, “in the dispensation of the fulness of times to restore all things in Christ, which are in heaven, and which are in earth, in Him in whom also we too have obtained a lot, being predestinated according to His purpose who worketh all things according to the counsel of His will; that we should be to the praise of His glory.”(PE 36)

            He in next chapter wrote:

            It would be too tedious to argue about the several points. But you see without doubt, you see with what evidence of apostolic declaration this grace is defended, in opposition to which human merits are set up, as if man should first give something for it to be recompensed to him again. Therefore God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world, predestinating us to the adoption of children, not because we were going to be of ourselves holy and immaculate, but He chose and predestinated us that we might be so. Moreover, He did this according to the good pleasure of His will, so that nobody might glory concerning his own will, but about God’s will towards himself. He did this according to the riches of His grace, according to His good-will, which He purposed in His beloved Son; in whom we have obtained a share, being predestinated according to the purpose, not ours, but His, who worketh all things to such an extent as that He worketh in us to will also. Moreover, He worketh according to the counsel of His will, that we may be to the praise of His glory. For this reason it is that we cry that no one should glory in man, and, thus, not in himself; but whoever glorieth let him glory in the Lord, that he may be for the praise of His glory. Because He Himself worketh according to His purpose that we may be to the praise of His glory, and, of course, holy and immaculate, for which purpose that we may be to the praise of His glory, and, of course,holy and immaculate, for which purpose He called us, predestinating us before the foundation of the world. Out of this, His purpose, is that special calling of the elect for whom He co-worketh with all things for good, because they are called according to His purpose, and “the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.”(37)

            And again:

            But these brethren of ours, about whom and on whose behalf we are now discoursing, say, perhaps, that the Pelagians are refuted by this apostolical testimony in which it is said that we are chosen in Christ and predestinated before the foundation of the world, in order that we should be holy and immaculate in His sight in love. For they think that “having received God’s commands we are of ourselves by the choice of our free will made holy and immaculate in His sight in love; and since God foresaw that this would be the case,” they say, “He therefore chose and predestinated us in Christ before the foundation of the world.” Although the apostle says that it was not because He foreknew that we should be such, but in order that we might be such by the same election of His grace, by which He showed us favour in His beloved Son. When, therefore, He predestinated us, He foreknew His own work by which He makes us holy and immaculate. Whence the Pelagian error is rightly refuted by this testimony. “But we say,” say they, “that God did not foreknow anything as ours except that faith by which we begin to believe, and that He chose and predestinated us before the foundation of the world, in order that we might be holy and immaculate by His grace and by His work.” But let them also hear in this testimony the words where he says, “We have obtained a lot, being predestinated according to His purpose who worketh all things. He, therefore, worketh the beginning of our belief who worketh all things; because faith itself does not precede that calling of which it is said: “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance;” and of which it is said: “Not of works, but of Him that calleth” (although He might have said, “of Him that believeth”); and the election which the Lord signified when He said: “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” For He chose us, not because we believed, but that we might believe, lest we should be said first to have chosen Him, and so His word be false (which be it far from us to think possible), “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” Neither are we called because we believed, but that we may believe; and by that calling which is without repentance it is effected and carried through that we should believe. But all the many things which we have said concerning this matter need not to be repeated.(38)

            I should not get ahead of myself before I reread the book and show you that nothing Luther or Calvin wrote about predestination and election that Augustine did not say. 🙂

          • Prayson, none of the above disagrees with Catholic doctrine or with anything else I have said.

            Regarding Calvin and active reprobation, he is pretty blunt about it. He dedicates a whole chapter to it in the Institutes (Volume 2, chapter 23), rejecting the Fathers who disagree with him, and mincing words when it comes to Augustine’s view. A small snippet — there is a lot more where this came from:

            The human mind, when it hears this doctrine, cannot restrain its petulance, but boils and rages as if aroused by the sound of a trumpet. Many professing a desire to defend the Deity from an invidious charge admit the doctrine of election, but deny that any one is reprobated, (Bernard. in Die Ascensionis, Serm. 2.) This they do ignorantly and childishly, since there could be no election without its opposite reprobation. God is said to set apart those whom he adopts for salvation. It were most absurd to say, that he admits others fortuitously, or that they by their industry acquire what election alone confers on a few. Those, therefore, whom God passes by he reprobates, and that for no other cause but because he is pleased to exclude them from the inheritance which he predestines to his children.

            These are views that Augustine neither holds nor represents. In Augustine’s view — as I have already quoted above — it is by God’s will that those who persevere to the end (“the elect” in your parlance) are saved; but it is by their own will that those who have received grace but walk away from it have rejected Him. Augustine does not go so far as Calvin in defining any active reprobation; for it is God’s will that all be saved, as Scripture itself tells us. This is not in contradiction to God’s sovereign will as Augustine understood it: for God, in willing our salvation, allows us the free will to choose or reject Him.

            I notice that you are now limiting your claim to that “nothing Luther or Calvin wrote about predestination and election … Augustine did not say.” That is wise, but still, I think, too far-reaching. For one thing, Luther and Calvin did not even agree with each other when it came to predestination and election. I’m sure you’re aware than Lutheran and Calvinist soteriology are quite different, if not completely at odds with each other (I know plenty of Calvinists who would reject Luther as too Catholic!). Much of Calvin’s doctrine not only goes beyond but also rejects Luther’s views. So already, the claim that “nothing Luther or Calvin” wrote disagrees with Augustine is absurd on its face — unless Augustine disagrees with himself. Second, I think not even Calvin himself would embrace the view that “nothing he wrote” regarding predestination or election disagreed with Augustine — for as this and so many other quotes show, he was quick to mark his departure from prior theologians and to show himself an independent thinker, not dependent on the authority of any other man, but only on (his interpretation of) the word of Scripture alone. You seem determined to elevate Augustine to some kind of absolute authority that not even Calvin did. To suppose that any man — much less one over a thousand years later — synthesizing the arguments of a thousand years of theologians, and proceeding from his own scriptural interpretation, would verbatim adopt precisely the exact views of an ancient writer, undermines the originality and insight of Calvin, and stretches the credibility of your claim. I’ve already shown multiple ways in which Calvin departed from Augustine in other theological claims.

            You seem determined to maintain that Calvin agreed with Augustine. Why is that so important? If you were to admit that Calvin doesn’t agree with Augustine in every regard, would that somehow undermine the validity of his views? Why is it essential to agree with Augustine, if Scripture alone is the rule of faith?

          • Or, to put it more succinctly: Considering the Reformed “TULIP,” Augustine can be said to hold to “T,” the total inability of the captive free will to choose God. But all the rest fall. Unconditional election (U), irresistible grace (I), and perseverance of the saints (P) are inconsistent with the view that man has the free will to choose or reject God. Limited atonement (L) is simply inconsistent with Scripture and never held by anybody until modern times, arguably not even Calvin.

          • I hope you are not confusing Reformed Theology with American revision of the Synod of Dordt’s 4(1) response to Arminianism, viz., TULIP. I am reformed but do not think TULIP correctly captures Reformed Theology. 😉

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