All Articles For Vol 91 Issue 02 10/15/2014

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Background and Summary In so many respects the Reformation was a return to Augustine. Sadly, in one important respect it was not. The one respect in which the Reformers generally did not return to Augustine, but deviated from him, was with regard to the doctrine of marriage. With firm resolve Augustine maintained the Bible’s teaching on marriage, divorce, and remarriage. He resisted the pressure of those who wanted to make allowances for divorce on grounds other than adultery and who permitted remarriage after divorce. In line with Scripture, Augustine permitted divorce only on the ground of adultery. But he insisted...

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“It is better indeed that men should be brought to serve God by instruction than by fear of punishment or by pain. But because the former means are better, the latter must not therefore be neglected…. Many must often be brought back to their Lord, like wicked servants, by the rod of temporal suffering before they attain the highest grade of religious development…. The Lord Himself orders that the guests be first invited, then compelled, to His great supper.” This quotation is taken from Augustine’s anti-Donatist writings in which he offers his interpretation of the command in the parable of...

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All who love the Reformed faith should give thanks for Augustine. Through him, the Lord imparted to us a rich, enduring knowledge, especially of grace. His contribution to our understanding of grace is substantial, even foundational, for by grace are we saved. But Reformed believers may want to consider his development of predestination greater, more important, and essential to our faith. Not because predestination itself is more important, or even because his development of it was so robust. Rather, please consider it because Augustine established the principle that without predestination, there is no grace by which we are saved. Our...

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The Pelagian conflict arose in the church when Augustine was in his sixties. God ordained that it be so, in his wisdom, to prepare Augustine to be the man who defended the truth of God’s Word. The issue that confronted Augustine was at the heart of the Christian faith—the truth of sin and grace. Augustine’s study of the Word had led him to see the depravity of man from the viewpoint of his own sin and to see his own salvation in the light of God’s sovereign grace. God used Augustine’s pathway to salvation in his own life to open...

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From the beginning of his Christian pilgrimage, when, as a young man, he heard the call, Tolle lege, tolle lege (“Take up and read”), and his eyes lighted on Romans 13:12-14, until the end of his life, when, on his deathbed, he asked that the penitential psalms be written out for him, so that he might read and mediate on them, Augustine loved the Scriptures. As bishop of Hippo, Augustine aimed to preach biblical sermons, and as a writer, Augustine saturated his treatises and letters with quotations from the Bible. Augustine was also a churchman—one who loved the church, one...

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 His Life Aurelius Augustine was born in AD 354 in the northern African town of Thagaste, located in present-day Algeria. Although they lived a fair distance from Rome, Augustine’s family considered themselves to be decidedly Roman—hence his given name. Augustine’s father Patricius was an unbeliever. He insisted that his son be well-schooled, convinced that this was the way to advancement in society and in life. Augustine’s mother Monica was truly a God-fearing woman who did all she could to train Augustine in the way of faith and obedience to God. However, for the first thirty-two years of his life, Augustine...

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Although it might seem a bit strange, at first blush, to devote the annual Reformation issue to a church father who died almost 1100 years before the great sixteenth century Reformation, we have good grounds for doing so. Our two main reasons are expressed well by the noted church historian Philip Schaff. First, Augustine’s theology was foundational for the Reformation. In his History of the Christian Church, Schaff contends that “Augustine is, of all the fathers, nearest to evangelical Protestantism, and may be called, in respect to his doctrine of sin and grace, the first forerunner of the Reformation” (Vol....

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 * Tractate XLV, Chap. X, 1-10, “Homilies on the Gospel of John” in A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nice Fathers of the Christian Church, v. VII, Philip Schaff, Ed. Grand Rapids; Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1986. 253-254. I bare still a subject of concern, and what concerns me I shall impart to you…. Hear, then, what it is that moves me. By the Prophet Ezekiel the Lord rebukes the shepherds, and among other things says of the sheep, “The wandering sheep have ye not recalled.” He both declares it a wanderer, and calls it a sheep. If, while wandering, it was a...

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