All Articles For Contending for the Faith

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Miracles Speaking of miracles in connection with the providence of God, the subject is surely of sufficient importance to merit special attention and consideration. On the one hand, the miracles of Holy Writ are usually treated in connection with the providence of the Lord. And, on the other hand, the subject itself is surely of sufficient significance. The Scriptures record many miracles, especially in the New Testament. Miracles are recorded, of course, also in the Old Testament, especially during the ministry of Elisha. But they abound in the New Testament.

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Calling attention to the truth as set forth by Augustine in connection with the doctrine of sin, we would make two preliminary observations. First of all, we have already called attention to the life of this church father, to his walk in sin and in immorality and his calling out of darkness into God’s marvelous light. Pelagius did not experience this mighty transformation by the grace of God.

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Compromise decisions, always the result of being afraid to maintain the Scriptural truth of God’s absolute sovereignty, are never conducive to the welfare and real peace of the church of God. At the synod of Chiersy, 849, Gottschalk had been condemned as an incorrigible heretic, deposed from the priesthood, publicly scourged for obstinacy, compelled to bum his books, and shut up in prison.

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In our preceding article, we called attention, in connection with Augustine’s conception of sin, that this renowned church father, among other things, maintained that man’s freedom of choice applies only to Adam as before the fall; since his fall, man no longer has this freedom of choice, to be able to choose the good. Before we call attention to Augustine’s conception of the fall of man and its consequences, as set forth by Philip Schaff in his History of the Christian Church, we must note that whereof Augustine speaks most frequently and most fondly. Vol. III, 823:

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Continuing our discussion of the history of doctrine as it involved Gottschalk, we wish to make a few comments upon our preceding article. It is very difficult for us to believe that Gottschalk maintained the doctrine of a conditional predestination, as far as the doctrine of reprobation is concerned. Schaff quotes from Gottschalk, which might conceivably lead one to believe that Gottschalk taught a reprobation upon foreseen sin and unbelief. However, in the first place, the teaching of God’s sovereignty and a double predestination go hand in hand.

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In our preceding article we called attention to a second objection lodged against the usual definition of miracles (a miracle is an event, in the external world, brought about by the immediate efficiency or simple volition of God), that they should be referred to some higher, occult law of nature and not to the immediate agency of God. Hodge’s answer to this objection is also pertinent and decisive:

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In our preceding article we. were calling attention to Schaff’s presentation of Augustine’s conception of the consequences of sin. In that church father’s view, the consequences of sin, both for Adam and his posterity, are comprehensive and terrible in proportion to the heinousness of the sin itself. Augustine particularizes the consequences of sin under seven heads. The first four are negative. We quoted them in our preceding article, and they are: loss of the freedom of choice, obstruction of knowledge, loss of the grace of. God and the loss of paradise.

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When discussing the doctrine of sin as maintained by the Church of Rome,—incidentally prior to the Reformation, the Church of Rome was the Church of God and of Christ in the midst of the world, bearing in mind that in 1054 this Church was split into two large parts, the Eastern half of which had its center in Constantinople and the Western half of which had its center in Rome,—we should call attention to the views of sin as entertained by the scholastics of the Middle Ages, by men such as Anselm, Abelard, Thomas Aquinas and Duns Scotus. 

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