Saturday, May 28, 2011

Just Added - City Of God

Augustines classic work has just been added to the resource directory. Stuff was going on in the body of Christ prior to the reformation and this is an ancient classic worth adding to your reading diet.


Category: Heroes, Puritans, And Reformers
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Augustine wrote this monumental treatise to explain Christianity's relationship with competing religions and philosophies, and to the Roman government with which it was increasingly intertwined. It was written soon after Rome was sacked by the Visigoths in 410. This event left Romans in a deep state of shock, and many saw it as punishment for abandoning traditional Roman religion for Christianity. It was in this atmosphere that Augustine set out to console Christians, writing that, even if the earthly rule of the empire was imperiled, it was the City of God that would ultimately triumph — Augustine's eyes were fixed on Heaven. The book presents human history as being a conflict between what Augustine calls the City of Man and the City of God. The City of God is marked by people who forgot earthly pleasure to dedicate themselves to the eternal truths of Christian faith. The City of Man, on the other hand, consists of people who have immersed themselves in the cares and pleasures of the present, passing world.


McMurdo said...

Augustine was responsible for several serious heresies which blight the church to this day.

No health warning?

Anonymous said...

"Augustine was responsible for several serious heresies which blight the church to this day."

Such as ????

McMurdo said...

Here are a few examples.

- Prayers for the dead
- The perpetual virginity of Mary
- The apostolic succession
- All sex is sinful, including within marriage, hence celibacy is a superior state to marriage
- Saintly intercession
- The Real Presence in communion

I ask you - would you have someone who taught these things in your pulpit?

Because Augustine also taught predestination, Calvinists seem to overlook everything else. It seems to have made him untouchable. Yet I would regard him as, largely, a false teacher.

I believe that Augustine has done more damage to the church than 100 Rob Bells and Rick Warrens.

So why no health warning?

Cameron Buettel said...

Currently half way through City of God (it's huuuuge!). Haven't yet encountered any of those things you say. I've encountered a few bizarre ideas which I was expecting. As best as i can understand Augustine was not against sex but against sex for pleasurable reasons. Luther, who loved Augustine, nonetheless absolutely hammered him on this point and then went and married a nun!

No health warning as of now. You'll need to pint out exactly where these things are.

McMurdo said...

I have never had the privilege of studying theology, church history, the church fathers in any formal way, and I admit that I have not read any of St Augustine’s writings. And they are not right now very high on my reading list. So you are going one better than me. And everything I know about Augustine is based on what I have heard other (I think trustworthy) people say.

On the specific points I made, there are plenty of websites on Augustine. The most comprehensive seem to be from a Roman Catholic viewpoint (which only serves to underline my argument). An Example:

A straightforward one that gives a few direct quotes to underline my points:

A more profound (and to me, devastating) critique of Augustine is found in David Pawson’s sermon entitled ‘Degreecing the church’. His basic point is that the Western Christians have been subtly and profoundly affected by Greek Philosophy which emphasises the spiritual and diminishes the physical. It began with Origen who began spiritualising passages of scripture which had previously been read literally. Augustine, heavily influenced by Greek philosophers such as Plato, continued the tradition is largely responsible for this. An example of this approach is found in ‘City of God’ where Augustine spiritualises the teaching on Jesus’ millennial reign.

All of it is compelling listening, but if you want to get to the bit about Augustine, you need to go 58 minutes into Part 1. He refers to Augustine’s Amillennialism in Part 2 from 57 minutes into Part 2.

Another, written critique by Chuck Missler of Augustine’s teaching in City of God is found here:

McMurdo said...

For 57 minutes in my above post, read 27 minutes.

Btw, added to the irony of making Augustine a 'protestant saint' is the fact that self-proclaimed 'Augustinian' Protestants and 'Calvinists' strongly teach 'once saved always saved' - something which neither of them did!