Augustine Evolving Views on God’s Sovereignty (Part 2)

We have been examining Augustine’s changing views on faith, free will, and God’s sovereignty. His original views on these topics evolved from a synergistic model (where God and man cooperate in coming to faith) to a monergistic model (God alone causes man to come to faith) that became the foundation of Reformed theology.

In the last post we delved into Augustine’s interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:3-4 based on what he wrote in from The Spirit and the Letter, written in 412 AD.Saint_Augustine_Portrait

In summary:

  • free will was given to us by God when He created us. Our free will was able to choose between faith and unbelief.
  • God desires all the people He created to be saved, but this desire is constrained so that people maintain their ability to freely choose to be saved. Our consent is required in order for God to save us.
  • The reality that all people are not saved does not thwart God’s will since it is also His will that those who remain in unbelief will perish. Only those who remain in unbelief and escape the penalty would truly thwart God’s will.

Before we consider his revised interpretation using quotes and observations from the Enchiridion of Faith, Hope, and Love written 10 years later, I want to address the idea that Augustine did in fact change his mind. Continue reading

Augustine Evolving Views on God’s Sovereignty (Part 1)

In a previous post we examined Augustine’s changing views on free will. His original view regarding free will and faith mirrored that of the other early church writers and theologians. But later, Augustine articulated views that we now kSaint_Augustine_Portraitnow as unconditional election and irresistible grace.

These changes coincided with Augustine’s shift in how he understood God’s sovereignty. We will continue to examine Augustine’s changing views by looking at how he interpreted the passage 1 Timothy 2:3-4 over time.

This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

This first post will examine quotes and observations from The Spirit and the Letter, written in 412 AD. The second post will examine quotes and observations from the Enchiridion of Faith, Hope, and Love written 10 years later. Continue reading

Contemplating Contemplation (Part 2)

Been teaching on discernment and decision making so thought I would repost this, originally written in March 9, 2010. This post was modified from the original.

 In the first post, we examined the discipline of “centering prayer”, which for many is an essential practice for hearing from God.  If we want to hear from God then, according to Richard Foster, we must pursue silence.

This silence of all outward and earthly affection and of human thoughts within us is essential if we are to hear his voice.

In order to hear God’s voice one must practice emptying their mind.

What does it mean to hear from God? Do we need to empty our mind? In this post we look at several different theological areas and how they are connected to the idea that we should seek the voice of God.

Our view of Scripture as the inspired and inerrant Word of God is important. In this collection of books we have the promises, commands, and revelations of God written and preserved for us as objective truth. The Scriptures are given to us so that:

  • we can be made wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus (2 Tim 3:16)
  • we are equipped for every good work (2 Tim 3:17)
  • we have examples to instruct us (Romans 15:4; 1 Cor 10:6)
  • we can have our hearts and motives exposed (Heb 4:12)
  • we know what God has promised and commanded

This is a non-exhaustive list, I encourage you to add more in the comment section.

In thinking through centering prayer we must wrestle with how we view Scripture. Is Scripture sufficient for living out the Christian life or do we need more guidance?

Continue reading