Augustine (354-430) is considered one of the most influential Christian theologians and philosophers. In the Parchment and Pen Top 10 theologian series, he was ranked #1.
As a young man, Augustine studied rhetoric. During his studies he began his search for truth. That search led him to a group known as the Manichees, which held to a Gnostic dualism. In this system good and evil were two separate and opposing powers.
In 387, while teaching as a professor of rhetoric in Milan, Augustine became a Christian (largely due to the influence of Ambrose). Eventually he would go on to become the Bishop of Hippo (in North Africa).
As a Christian, Augustine wrote many works against Manichaeism in an attempt to help his friends understand the problems with that view and encourage them to become Christians.
In refuting the dualism of Manichaeism, Augustine explained that God was the Good Creator of all things and all that He created was also good. Evil was not a separate and opposing power (as they taught) but rather the absence of good. Man and the poor use of his free will was responsible for evil when he chose to sin. Continue reading
This is part 3 of a series of posts recreating the debate between Jerome and Augustine over the passage in Galatians 2:11-14. Think of it as the “cliff notes” to a series of letters written between them as a series of blog comments. You might want to start with part 1 and read Jerome’s blog post and the earlier comments.
Comment Section for the Antioch Incident
Augustine, I will attempt to explain my view more clearly so that you, and those you seek to impress, don’t assume that my opinion rests on the writings of other theologians but on my own careful study of the Scriptures.
Peter, not Paul, was the primary agent through which God taught us that the Law was no longer binding after the gospel of Christ. This can be clearly seen in the events recorded in Acts. It was Peter that had the vision regarding the ability to eat all foods, and it was he that first brought the gospel to the Gentiles when he visited Cornelius and his family (Acts 10:1-48). It was Peter that brought this news to the rest of the apostles and dealt with the criticism of the Jews who found this difficult to accept (Acts 11:1-18). Finally it was Peter that carried the argument during the Council of Jerusalem persuading those in attendance that the Law was obsolete and no longer binding (Acts 15:1-11). Therefore Peter, not Paul, was the author of the rule – that neither the Jews nor Gentiles should obey the Law (Galatians 2:14).
Since Peter knew this rule we can conclude that he only pretended to observe the Law because he was fearful that some Jewish believers would leave the faith (Galatians 2:12). Continue reading
This is part 2 of a series of posts recreating the debate between Jerome and Augustine over the passage in Galatians 2:11-14. Think of it as the “cliff notes” to a series of letters written between them as a series of blog comments. I added some interaction with more recent debates to highlight how the issues we face today are not much different than those faced in the early centuries of Christianity. The comments are based on how I thought the theologians might respond to modern theological issues based on the point of view they expressed in their letters. You might want to start with part 1 and read Jerome’s blog post and the earlier comments.
Comment Section for the Antioch Incident
Augustine, Bishop of Hippo
Jerome, the high esteem that others hold you in is well deserved. Here in northern Africa we eagerly await your next set of translations of the Scriptures and ancient commentaries into the Latin. Thanks for updating everyone of your progress in your blog.I do hope you saw my comments regarding the use of the LXX that I left.
Regarding the events that took place in Antioch, you have appealed to the writings of those in the past and have asked if anyone holds to my opinion.The path you are taking us down is one well traveled. Like you Rob Bell, a popular writer, claims his views are orthodox appealing to the pool of diverse opinions that can be found among the ancient writers. He can even find many of the opinions he holds in Origen, yet that does not end the debate on “the fate of every person who ever lived”. Nor will it be the end to our debate.
I know that you hold Origen in high regard and where he holds to the truth we should accept him, but even you have had problems with some of his opinions on other matters. I only wish that you would apply your great learning and knowledge of this man and catalog his heresies for all to plainly see.
I, however, am not without support in the ancient writers. Continue reading