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Joined: 2011/1/13
Posts: 6


Thank you to UntoBabes and to the others for the links and explanation.

Giggles (Paul),
I have decided not to discuss Calvinism with Calvinists, but I don't want to look like I'm being impolite and ignoring you. So I'll just say this: if the 5 points were an insufficient or false representation of Calvin's views (written to respond to a specific question or for a specific occasion), then people like John Piper,
John MacArthur and Eric Holmberg wouldn't use them in their sermons and presentations. You may say that although they are Calvinists, they don't understand the teaching correctly (still, I think they're smart enough and they've read enough). Alright. If those bright minds and Calvin admirers don't get it, then how can I, who see nothing but rotten fruit in Calvin's life, understand it better?

I do want to understand Augustine better though. For two reasons:
1. The wisdom he received from God has helped me a lot (his commentaries on the psalms, his treaty on widowhood, the confessions). (Although this does not make me idolise him and I have already detected some errors in his books.)
2. If people want to speak wisely in refuting Calvinism, they shouldn't just drop somebody's name in without exact quotes. But that happens too often.

Alright, I'm off to read now.
Blessings to you all with "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence - Caitelen Schneeberger" from youtube.


 2011/1/14 6:45Profile

Joined: 2007/4/3
Posts: 293


In response to your request, this link will provide a plethora of quotes from Augusine's work on the topic.

Some interesting quotes as well.....

For them [the Pelagians], grace means the knowledge with which the Lord God helps us, by which we can know what our duty is. The true meaning of grace, however, is the love that God breathes into us, which enables us with a holy delight to carry out the duty that we know.
Augustine - Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, 4:11

Can you say, ‘We will first walk in His righteousness, and will observe His judgments, and will act in a worthy way, so that He will give His grace to us’? But what good would you evil people do? And how would you do those good things, unless you were yourselves good? But Who causes people to be good? Only He Who said, ‘And I will visit them to make them good,’ and, ‘I will put my Spirit within you, and will cause you to walk in my righteousness, and to observe my judgments, and do them’ (Ezek.36:27). Are you asleep? Can’t you hear Him saying, ‘I will cause you to walk, I will make you to observe,’ lastly, ‘I will make you to do’? Really, are you still puffing yourselves up? We walk, true enough, and we observe, and we do; but it is God Who He makes us to walk, to observe, to do. This is the grace of God making us good; this is His mercy going before us.
Augustine - Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, 4:15

"To will is of nature, but to will aright is of grace." - Augustine
"God bids us do what we cannot, that we may know what we ought to seek from him."- Augustine

"Grace alone brings about every good work in us."- Augustine

"Nature is common to all, but not grace."- Augustine
"The grace of God does not find men fit for salvation, but makes them so."- Augustine

"The nature of the Divine goodness is not only to open to those who knock. but also to cause them to knock and ask."- Augustine

"Let God give what he commands, and command what he will."- Augustine

"Grace does not destroy the will but rather restores it."- Augustine

"In some places God requires newness of heart [Ezek 18:31]. But elsewherre he testifies that it is given by him [Ezek. 11:19; 36:26]. But what God promises we ourselves do not do through choice or nature; but he himself does through grace."- Augustine

"Indeed, God requires faith itself of us; yet he does not find something to require unless he has given something to find."- Augustine

'Can we possibly, without utter absurdity, maintain that there first existed in anyone the good virtue of a good will, to entitle him to the removal of his heart of stone? How can we say this, when all the time this heart of stone itself signifies precisely a will of the hardest kind, a will that is absolutely inflexible against God? For if a good will comes first, there is obviously no longer a heart of stone.' - Augustine

"Since these things are so, everything that is commanded to human beings by the Lord in the holy Scriptures, for the sake of testing human free will, is either something we begin to obey by God's goodness, or is demanded in order to show us our need of grace to do it. Indeed, a person does not even begin to be changed from evil to good by the first stirrings of faith, unless the free and gratuitous mercy of God produces this in him…. So, therefore, we should think of God's grace as working from the beginning of a person's changing towards goodness, even to the end of its completion, so that he who glories may glory in the Lord. For just as no-one can bring goodness to perfection without the Lord, so no one can begin it without the Lord."
- Augustine, Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, 2:23

 2011/1/14 9:45Profile

Joined: 2008/10/30
Posts: 2091

 Re: Augustine and Calvinism

You ask "John Calvin may have quoted Augustine to support his points? Where and how?"

You ask again, "Can anyone give me a reference (or references) to a book..."

The link below is 'to a book' which Calvin qoutes Augustine quite a bit to 'support his points'. If this isn't what you were looking for, it looks as though you do have some replies on your thread that may be of some assistance to you in your search.

According to what you have written below,it almost had me asking the question of whether you had reached your 450th birthday yet! But maybe I'll just let that go, as many are sensitive regarding their age. It may be inappropriate and I do not want to offend anyone.

"...I, who see nothing but rotten fruit in Calvin's life."

"...because of the way he lived his life"

 2011/1/14 10:16Profile

Joined: 2011/1/13
Posts: 6


"But maybe I'll just let that go, as many are sensitive regarding their age. It may be inappropriate and I do not want to offend anyone."
You said it. And you also stated your purpose - to offend me. What more can I say? There's no need.

 2011/1/14 14:34Profile

Joined: 2011/1/13
Posts: 6


I see from "Limits Of God's Plan for Human Salvation" that UntoBabes pointed me to that Augustine gave Calvinists the idea of the many different meanings of the word "all" ('God desires all men to be saved'). Very cunning.

From the very good article "Three men and Calvinism" that Tears_of_joy gave me:
"Now it logically follows, that if infants are saved by baptism, then they are damned without it. And this is precisely what Augustine taught."
Sad, because we all know what David said when his and Bathsheba's first child died. And we know that according to Jesus, the Kingdom belongs to the children and to those like them.

Augustine also developed the idea of purgatory? Ugly.

Here's what else I learned from that article:
The sentence stood and Servetus burned. In 1561, Calvin wrote the Marquis Paet, high chamberlain to King of Navarre, "Honour, glory, and riches shall be the reward of your pains; but above all do not fail to rid the country of those scoundrels, who stir up the .people to revolt against us. Such monsters should be exterminated, as I have exterminated Michael Servetus, the Spaniard."

"It can be proved that Arminius was not an Arminian." :)

Augustine: "Why therefore should not the Church use force in compelling her lost sons to return? The Lord Himself said, “Go out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in Wherefore is the power which the Church has received ... through the religious character and faith of kings ... the instrument by which those who are found in the highways and hedges - that is, in heresies and schisms - are compelled to come in, and let them not find fault with being compelled."
I guess Calvin only took this further in his cooperation with the State to kill all those heretics and witches and force people to go to church.

Thank you to everyone.

 2011/1/14 15:36Profile

Joined: 2008/10/24
Posts: 146


You may want to try reading Augustine's "Enchiridion" also known as "Faith, Hope and Love."- I was told it gives a pretty concise description of Augustine's view on providence and unconditional election. Russ

 2011/1/14 15:38Profile

Joined: 2009/12/12
Posts: 592


No worries NewSpared. Without trying to draw you further into debate, I would suggest you define Calvinism (for your own study purposes). The word has gathered many applications and designations by this point in history. For some it means this and for others it means that. I commend your desire to go straight to the source for your study into Augustine; if you are sincere about your desire to understand Calvin’s specific teaching, go to the source and read Calvin himself. I’m not how sermons from various preachers factor into what Calvinism (in the sense of Calvin’s teachings) is. I have listened to a lot of Piper and he by no means limits the full range of what he calls Calvinism to the five points. Here is a brief article from him on the origin of Calvinism:

He quotes Warfield describing the Calvinist primarily as, “the [person] who sees God behind all phenomena, and in all that occurs recognizes the hand of God…'who makes the attitude of the soul to God in prayer the permanent attitude…' and who casts himself on the grace of God alone, excluding every trace of dependence on self from the whole work of salvation.” God is shown to be (1) behind all of life, (2) worthy of ever-present prayer, (3) inspiration to humility and brokenness, and lastly but not least, (4) the Source behind the thrust of the famous points.

To iterate, the five points are Calvinism applied specifically to soteriology. They are certainly encompassed within the breadth of its doctrine but are by no means exhaustive is all I was sharing with you. Calvinism speaks on and to all facets of life. Piper corroborates his belief on this in this article, , saying, “the so-called Five Points were not chosen by the Calvinists as a summary of their teaching. They emerged as a response to the Arminians who chose these five points to oppose.” And later, he adds, “We would like to spell out what we believe the Scripture teaches on these five points. Our great desire is to honor God by understanding and believing his truth revealed in Scripture. We are open to changing any of our ideas which can be shown to contradict the truth of Scripture. We do not have any vested interest in John Calvin himself, and we find some of what he taught to be wrong. But in general we are willing to let ourselves be called Calvinists on the five points, because we find the Calvinist position to be Biblical.”

You’re already finding some good meat with Augustine but also some bones to spit out. If you desire to learn about his relationship with Calvin’s teachings, I simply encourage you to seek the sources themselves with an open heart. Blessings.


 2011/1/14 18:57Profile

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