Theology of the Reformers - Lesson 2
The Importance of Augustine in Reformation Theology
The Importance of Augustine in Reformation Theology
TH230-02: The Importance of Augustine in Reformation Theology
I. Introduction to Augustine's Influence
A. Context and Background
B. Reformation Theology
II. Key Theological Concepts
A. Original Sin
C. The Sovereignty of God's Grace
III. Augustine's Impact on the Reformers
A. Martin Luther
B. John Calvin
C. Other Reformation Leaders
IV. Augustine's Enduring Legacy
A. Modern Theological Perspectives
B. Influence on Church History
- Through this lesson, you gain insights into church history as a theological discipline, the Reformation, key figures, theological contributions, and the lasting impact of the Reformation on theology and the church.
- Through this lesson, you grasp Augustine's pivotal role in shaping Reformation theology, influencing key figures like Luther and Calvin, and leaving a lasting impact on the church.
- Through this lesson, you gain insights into Scholasticism, Humanism, and Mysticism, understanding their roles in shaping the Reformation and the influences of key figures within each movement.
- In this lesson, you explore Martin Luther's life and theological contributions, uncovering key events leading to the Reformation and examining the lasting impact of his work on Christianity.
- Through this lesson, you gain a comprehensive understanding of the diversity in the Reformation in Saxony, its theological differences, and its impact on society and modern theology.
- In this lesson, you gain insight into Huldrych Zwingli's life, theology, and contributions, exploring his views on the Lord's Supper, role in the Swiss Reformation and Anabaptist movement, and key writings, while also understanding his lasting impact on the Reformation.
- By studying this lesson, you gain insights into John Calvin's central role in the Swiss Reformation, his theological contributions, and the lasting impact of his ideas on church organization, education, and social reforms.
- Through this lesson, you gain insight into John Calvin's theology, its key components, and its lasting influence on the Reformed tradition and society.
- By studying this lesson, you gain a deep understanding of John Calvin's theology in Book One of The Institutes, focusing on the knowledge of God, Christ, providence, and predestination, and its impact on Protestant theology.
- In this lesson, you explore the key themes and insights from Book One of Calvin's "Institutes of the Christian Religion," gaining a deeper understanding of God's sovereignty, human humility, and the centrality of Scripture in Reformation thought.
- Gain insights into Book Two of Calvin's "The Institutes," exploring the knowledge of God the Redeemer in Christ, sin's nature, law and gospel, and its lasting impact on Protestant theology.
- By examining Calvin's Farewell Address and other Reformation issues, you gain insight into the key themes and controversies that shaped the theological landscape and learn about the enduring influence of the Reformers.
The leaders of the Protestant reformation built on the thoughts and teachings of scholars who came before them and spent their lives seeking God and explaining his Word.
Dr. Timothy George
Theology of the Reformers
The Importance of Augustine in Reformation Theology
[00:00:03] This is tape two of Dean Timothy Georges The Theology of the Reformers. Lecture two is the importance of Augustine in Reformation Theology. Now, what I want to do today is take you back to Saint Augustine, because I don't think I finished him. So we're going to talk the first at least hour and maybe later on him. Now, you might say. This is, of course, on the theology of the reformers. Why are you talking about Saint Augustine? This isn't the first. And the answer to that question, of course, is that is a stupid question, because if you have read the institute even a little bit, you know that Calvin is constantly over and over again referring to St Augustine. He quote you quote Saint Augustine more than any other figure in the history of the church and more than any other source altogether, with the exception of the Bible alone. And so you cannot understand the Reformation. It's impossible to understand the theology of the reformers without knowing something about Augustine. Now, I know some of you know something about a guest, and some of you may even have taken Dr. Brady's course on Augustine. And if you have, I just ask you to bear with me for for this lecture. For the rest of you, this is really important stuff. It may be more important for you to understand the Augustinian background of the Reformation than it is to understand Luther Calvin themselves, because this is where they're coming from. So that's my apology for doing that, if you needed one. Now, I did start St Augustine last week, and now I want to go back just very briefly and recap a little bit of what he said. And then I want to move on into some other areas that have particular implications for the Reformation.
[00:01:40] And I want to do this in terms of five major battles that Saint Augustine fought. And I would say one. But anyway, he fought them five different issues that he confronted in his life and in his theology. We talked about a few of them last week, and I'll briefly just recap those. The first one is dualism. And the background to this, of course, is the Manichean heresy. And I referred last week briefly to the fact that Augustine himself was a member of the Manichean sect. This was a religion that came originally from Persia in its earlier form. It was identified with Zoroaster, but in the pit, in the Patristic period and the Hellenistic period, it came to be identified with Mani. You May and I, the Prophet Mani, was a radically dualistic religion, absolute right, absolute wrong, light and darkness, good and evil, right and wrong, locked in a cosmic and eternal struggle. And Augustine himself became a manichean. He never saw the highest level of that sect. He always remained what we would call a cat, a human, a learner. But he was a part of that sect. And one of the great breakthroughs he had was the discovery that matter was not inherently evil, that God himself had created matter and blessed it and said, it's good. It's very, very good. And so Augustine brought into the mainstream of medieval and reformation theology this understanding that the creation is good. It's not evil. Matter in and of itself is not bad and therefore should not necessarily be shunned. And now there are two issues here that get to the Reformation, and we've already touched on one of them, and that is the fact that while matter is good, it can also become abused because it is not simply good anymore.
[00:03:54] It is also fallen, Right? Sin has entered into the picture and therefore, while matter is good, it is also tainted with a tendency toward Augustine would say nonbeing away from God, away from reality. And therefore there is a tendency in the human heart always to pick some little part of the material world and set it up as though it were absolute transcendence. And the name for that is idolatry. And so that's one of the concerns that come out of Augustine struggle with dualism. The other issue is the question of the sacraments. Because August in Sacramento theology had such a powerful influence on the Middle Ages. And again, here he's he's he's coming at the other side. Matter is good. And therefore God can and does speak to us not only in Scripture, not only by his spirit, but also in the signs of the sacraments, in bread and in wine and in water. And so the affirmation of the created order undergirded and affirmed this sacramental view of the Christian life that was so important to Augustine, and then later becomes an issue in the Reformation. So that's the first issue. Dualism. He rejects dualism in its Manichean form, and yet there these two issues that are left kind of dangling for the Christian tradition to work out over the next thousand years, and that come full force on the plight of the reformers because they have to deal with these issues afresh in the 16th century. As I'm going through this, if you have questions, you don't understand what I'm saying. You would disagree with what I'm saying. Interrupt. That's okay. I want you to understand. I'd rather go slow and have you understand and rush through it and cover a lot of material that leaves you wondering what I'm talking about.
[00:06:02] Okay. I'm going to speak up real loud so everybody can hear from the first point to do. Exactly. And the second point had to do with this time. Well, no, I said out of this rejection of dualism, there are two issues that both relate to the question of matter. So he rejects the Manichean view that matter is evil. But if you're going to say matter is good, then you have this question of how matter is to be used with reference to worship particularly, and the sacramental theology. On the one hand that comes out of Augustine and this fear of idolatry on the other. Sometimes those are working at cross. For example, the medieval view of the Lord's Supper. We'll come to all of this later is just to give you a little for of you here. But what the reformers objected to in the doctrine of transformation was that these people had made a little piece of bread. God, they were bound, dallying and worshiping matter. But you see in the Catholic view, what was going on there was the real presence of Christ. It was it was it was not idolatry at all for the Catholics. They didn't see it that way. They saw it as union with Christ. And that is a part of the ambiguous heritage of Saint Augustine. Okay. I know there are a lot of questions there, and don't worry about that. But I just want to understand the problem right now. We'll work with the answers later. Now number two. The second battle he fought. I'll just mention this briefly, because I don't think it's as important for the purposes of the Reformation skepticism. You remember he went through that brief phase in his pilgrimage when he was himself a skeptic, was questioning, doubting that there could even be any truth or any knowledge that was available, questioned everything down, everything, and finally began to doubt his doubts and question his questions.
[00:08:08] And so we moved out of skepticism into something else. Well, yes, this continues to be an issue, of course, in the history of Christian thought and does surface in the in the period of the Renaissance, particularly right before the Reformation, as a number of people are beginning to raise the issue of religious knowledge. And is there any knowledge of God at all? It is available to human beings. And if there is, how is that transmitted to us? That's an issue that comes up in the Renaissance and it blossoms into full flower in the Enlightenment after the Reformation. And of course we all live with it today. It's one of the inheritances of the Enlightenment that informs the modern worldview, which is why, you know, not everybody believes in God. Not everybody accepts the Christian, the premises, the presuppositions of the Christian faith. But some of the roots of this are back there with St Augustine. Now, let me go to something new. Donut ism. Donut ism. What is donut is? Well, it's named after a man named Don Ortiz. You don't need to worry about him. But it had to do with the question of where is the true church, Ruby Ecclesia, where the church, the donor artists in North Africa were a rigorous state That is strict. Very strict. Segment of the North African church. In fact, they were so strict that they withdrew from the Catholic Church. They were a schism, a split in the Church of North Africa, so that when Augustine became the bishop of Hippo in the year 395, he had to confront the fact that the church in North Africa was split along these lines, some very rigorous stick and strict, and others more lax and inclusive. And the question of the donor is focused on the sacraments and what is it that makes a sacrament efficacious or valid? Well, the donator said it depended on the holiness of the priest who administers it.
[00:10:36] And if you've got an unholy, ungodly, sinful priest who is committing adultery on Saturday night, then when he gets up to preside at the Lord's Supper on Sunday morning, it's no good because his personal sin corrupts the act of worship he is leading. That's the essence of the donor artistic position. And so the Dawn artist had withdrawn from the so-called Catholic priests in churches because they said they're all corrupted by loose living and sinful behavior. Well, now, Augustine certainly wasn't in favor of sin. I mean, after he became a bishop and a Christian, but he did not agree with the donor just on this point. And you some are you can summarize the two positions like this Augustine's position said the sacrament word x, Oprah, Oprah. Righto. That's a famous Latin term. It's one of those kinds of words that might even show up on your final exam. So everybody jotted down. X, Oprah, Oprah, Rato. It literally is hard to translate literally from the work worked out of the work worked literally what it means. The idea is that whenever the sacrament is performed in the name of Jesus Christ and the promise of Scripture is read related to it, that that sacrament is valid and efficacious, regardless of the sinful condition of the priest who happens to be administering it at the time. Now, the donor artistic view was this. X, Oprah, Oprah run tests out of the work of the one who works it out of the work of the worker, literally. And I had to make a lot of sense out of the work of the one who worked its way on the basis of the work of the administrator. So you see over here the focus is on the work, the office, the sacrament over here with the donuts.
[00:13:01] This is the donut is the focus. Is on the operator. It's on the worker. It's on the press. Now, that's a very important debate in the history of Christian thought becomes an issue in the Reformation, particularly with the Anabaptists. One of the reasons the Anabaptists rejected not only the Roman Catholic Church, but also Luther and Calvin is, as in the Protestants, was that they said, Look, your lives are not any different than the Catholics. You're all living in sin and God doesn't honor that. And the sacraments you do aren't valid. Some of the anabaptists went so far as to say that, so they were bringing back this position of the donatus. However, in the early church in Augustine's day, he prevailed eventually over the dönitz and his view came to be recognized as the Orthodox Catholic view of the sacraments. Questions which I understand from the workers who were not relevant. But what about the sacrament itself? Regarding the people of the people of Europe? Is that you already. Both of. Ask it again. In other words, if I refuse to leave the community as well, have to take appreciated because we will receiving. Are you giving the only practical? Maybe one that my father would work with. It's a different question that you're asking because you're asking the question of what is the proper posture of reception of the person receiving the Lord's Supper. Let's say you are, you know. Right. That's right. Exactly right. Exactly right. But I guess this is dealing with the question of the basic efficacy of the sort of the objectivity of God's grace in the sacrament. And he says it's real and it's objective because Christ made this promise of promise does not depend on the simple condition of the administrators of it, which raises this issue again in a different way in his time.
[00:15:20] So it's not something that ever completely goes out of view. Yeah, I don't think it's I think it's all of them, all of the glory. God, it doesn't seem like somebody to be able to communicate that. Well, that's right. It's arguing perfection is necessary. It doesn't say you have to be absolutely perfect, but you need to have your sins. Forgive. You need to be prayed up, as we used to say in the church where I grew up. You know, you know, you need to come clean with God and with that and with the congregation, if you're going to stand there in God's name and administer his word in the sacrament. Yeah, that was done with the father. And already as a son walking while I was right there all the way to say something. Yeah. But I think that's how it got started, really. A hundred years before August and during the time of persecution, there were some of the Dionysus himself was one of the priests, and some had fallen away and had sort of given in to the persecutors and denied the Christian faith under threat. And then later on, you know, they wanted to be brought back into the church and others said, no, you know, you've apostasy as you've denied the faith. You know, you're no longer in the church. I mean, that was part of the issue. The readmission of the those who had fallen the lot, they were called the lapsed ones. That's how the whole debate got started. But by the time of Augustine, it's clearly had gone beyond that question of readmitted, lapsed the persecuted Christians into this wider issue. Arturo, what was the result of the work for that was the food for the people that they left behind? Yeah.
[00:17:22] Well, I was struggling to get free labor and I would eventually to do that. Yeah. So you're not a donor? I mean, yeah. You're not going to be allowed to do it. Well, I mean, sure, you can extrapolate from this particular issue into the wider question of Christian ministry and witness, of course. Yeah. I think there are lots of implications here. I'll tell you where this became an issue for me one time, and that's when I was in England and I was taking worship with at York Minster. And if you've been to England, you've been to New York in New York. Minster some you have great, beautiful cathedral, one of my favorite cathedrals in all of England. And lo and behold, the preacher of the day was none other than the Bishop of Durham, which is a neighboring diocese. His name was Daniel Jenkins. You know Daniel Jenkins. He caused a great roar several years ago because he denied the virgin birth of Christ. I think he denied the bodily resurrection of Christ. Now, there's a pretty passé now a lot of bishops and now all this stuff, like Bishop Spong here in America, that he was very famous or infamous in England for having denied all this. He was in the headlines, he was preaching, and it was one of the worst sermons I've ever heard. He they mythologized all the miracles. I mean, you would put voortman to shame at and and then and then came the Lord's Supper. And of course, he was the presiding officer. And I was faced with a crisis of conscience. Do I participate? Do I take the Lord's Supper from such a what seemed to me obviously heretical bishop. And so that was where the issue came down.
[00:19:07] It became a real live issue for me. Now, if you want to know what I do in life, I know I did not just the Lord's Supper. And then later I visited the Cathedral of Durham, where he was the presiding bishop. That's another great massive Romanesque cathedral. And I was walking through there and I was thinking how horrible that such a person was the bishop of such a cathedral. But then I looked at all of those massive columns and. Statues, which makes our little chapel look like a shantytown. And, you know, it struck me that God, in his grace and providence, had protected his church. Jesus said upon this rock, I will build my church and the gates of hell shall never prevail against it. And not even a, you know, a little pipsqueak heretic like Daniel Jenkins can shape the church because God's grace is objective and real and true. And that's what Augustine was trying to say over against the Dawn artist. Now, can it be abused, this position? Of course it can. And it has been again and again and again. The Anabaptist and the Dionysus. Have a good point. And we see it all about us today. I mean, you know, does God work through Jim Baker or his the brother over in Louisiana that was, you know, doing all these sorts of things? Well, yes, I think he does. People are say they hear the gospel preached over the radio or the television from these unworthy vessels, let us say not unkindly, because as somebody else said, we've all seen them come through to the glory of God. But yes, God can work and day. Thanks be to God. Okay, enough on the it and perhaps. Let me go to another issue, and that is Palladian plagiarism.
[00:21:04] Now, when is this class over? 440. Okay, we'll break in a little bit. Okay. We'll take a break right after plagiarism. But stay with me for a little longer through a plagiarism. Now, now we're dealing with all of these issues were important in the Reformation, but this issue was of major, major league importance in the Reformation. So I'm gonna spend a little bit longer on plagiarism just so that you get some of the parameters down. Who was Pelagius after all? After whom? This particular view or heresy is name. Well, he was from from Britain or rather Ireland, we think because he had red hair and and a temper apparently. And so historians think of him as Irish. He had in any event, he had come from the British Isles down to Rome, and he had met Augustine, who at that time was in Rome, and he had met him when he overheard him pray the following prayer. Oh, Lord, give what you command and command what you will. I'll say it again. Give what you command and command what you will. Now, Paul Agius was deeply offended by this particular prayer because he said it undercut the moral nerve of Christianity to give what you command and command what you will. What was this business about? Praying that God would give you what he commanded. Now he's he's given you the commandments. You're supposed to obey them. But Augustine was praying, Oh, Lord, give me the very thing you command. And it seemed to Paul Agius, who was a moral reformer, that's really what he was. He came down to Rome and he saw all these Christians living in laxity, living in sin. And he wanted to reform the church. He wanted to call the church back to purity and holiness and rigor ism.
[00:23:22] There's a similarity here between the donor list and pledges on this point. And Augustine seemed to him to be preaching cheap grace give what you command and command, whatever you will. And so the battle was joined. Augustine, on the other hand, realized that he would never have become a Christian at all had it not been for God's present grace to use one of John Wesley's favorite terms. In book two of the confessions, Augustine describes his own struggle before his conversion. He says, I could not discern the beauty of a chaste affection from the fog of impure lust fulness. I straggled further from the. And that led us to be alone. Oh, God. And I was tumbled up and down and even spilled and poured out. And they boiled over in my fornication and held us by peace. Yet. Oh, my joy, how slow art thou unto thy grace and mercy do I ascribe. For thou hast resolved my sins, as it were. Ice. Well, two very different understandings here of how God's grace is at work in a human life. Now, you sometimes have heard of five point Calvinist or five point AUGUSTINIANS. I want to give you the five points of pledges. Some of you may be five point pledge, and I hope and pray not, but there are people in the world who are. Point number one, Palladio says. Has to do with original sin. And this is what the legend says. He says, Sin is not inherited. It's not passed down from generation to generation in some kind of biological propagation through the act of sexual intercourse or whatever. No sin is transmitted not by propagation, but by imitation. And so he denied the Seminole identity of the human race in Adam.
[00:25:58] And he denied the unity of the human race as participant in the consequences of original sin. In other words, a sin is a wrong thing you do. Period is an act of transgression. Period. It's your particular act of transgression. Period. That's it. None of this talk about, you know, sin kind of being passed down from the parents to the children and from one generation to the other. And, you know, he got very nervous with that kind of talk, because what it seemed to him to obviate human responsibility is a moral reformer, wants people to change and live. Right. And if you go around telling them that, you know, you're all sinners anyway, you're sinners by nature, you know, you're going to just cause them to relax into their transgression. And so they deserved differed very strongly. Now, Augustine, on the other hand, thought that original sin was something that was collective. There is no such thing. Augustine says as an isolated individual act of transgression, that does not at one of the same time involve both those who have come before me and those around me and those who will come after me. So what happened in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve Sin was not simply their seeing back then and there? It's my central. I mean, you see this illustrated today, you know, in the story of mothers who are on drugs and addicts. And when they have their little babies, the baby is a drug addict, never took drugs, never decided to be a drug addict. But what happened to the parent becomes a reality to the child. And you extrapolate from that little example onto the whole human race and you begin to understand something of the awesome consequences of original sin.
[00:28:04] John Donne. You know, John Donne, his writings, he was a great Anglican preacher and point in the 17th century. Here's how he describes original sin in the Augustinian tradition. Adam sinned, and I suffer. I forfeited before I had any possessions or could claim any interest. I had a punishment before I had a being, and God was displeased with me. Before I was I. I was built up scarce 50 years ago in my mother's womb, and I was cast down almost 6000 years ago in Adam's loins. I was born in the last age of the world, died in the first. How and how justly do we cry out against a man that has sold a town or sold an army? And Adam? Adam sold the world. That's original sin. Now, second. Palladium says that atom was created mortal. Adam was created mortal. He would have died had he not said, Why do people die? If you ask almost any modern expert on death or dying that question, the answer is we're human. You grow old, you die. That's what it means to be finite. That's what it means to be a human being. And of course, that's true in our present fallen world. But Palladio says that Adam was created mortal. He would have died had he never sin. So part of what it means to be a human. But Augustine says, Oh, no. Mortality is directly related to spin. It is the consequence of sin. And he cited Romans 623 as one of the verses in the Bible to verify this. He describes Adam after after he and Eve had sand. He says suddenly there was injected into him that pestilential corruption by which he lost the stability of life in which he was created.
[00:30:27] And he began verging toward old age and death. What a graphic description. Now, one day he looked in the mirror and there was a wrinkle in his hair, began to turn gray, began to turn loose. He got older and older and sicker and sicker, so he became decrepit with disease and he died. And that was directly related to his rebellion against God. That's a watershed issue and how you see all of these issues. Number three, Grace. Grace is part of nature. This is courageous. Elijah says that there is no opposition between grace and nature, but rather grace is present in the creation of human nature itself. So that's why I was so upset with Augustine's prayer. Give what you command and command what you will have, and pray that prayer. I mean, God had given everything that he needed to give when he made you, when he created you, when he endowed you with the ability to keep the commandments and so forth and so on. So grace is present within nature. It's a part of nature. You don't need some extra grace coming to you from outside of yourself. The way Augustine seemed to talk. The only grace you need is already. But now there were two places you fudged a little bit on this. You said there are two places in the history of salvation where, in fact, God has this apologist. God has in fact, given a little extra of grace. Who can guess what they are? Sorry, I'm just talking about Grace. I haven't gotten to that distinction yet. That comes a little bit later. So that's one of them. I say, Jesus, okay, not so much the cross, but let's say Jesus and Moses and Moses in the sense of giving the Ten Commandments the law and the incarnation.
[00:32:36] And these two events play just as God did give a little extra of grace. But look at both of them in the law. What do we have in the law? Well, you have the Ten Commandments. You know, you have a code of do's and don'ts and a Jesus. What do you have in Jesus? Not so much as death on the cross. It pay the penalty for our sin. But it was the fact that Jesus lived a perfect life. He provides a perfect example of someone who kept the law. And therefore you can look at Jesus and you can keep the law saying he's your in your example, you know, sort of like that story about the little Bantu hen, you know, what Bantu his small little chicken him and somebody showed him of that, took a big huge ostrich egg and put it right next to that little Bantu hand and said, Now look at that and try harder next time. That's what Jesus said. Look at him and try harder next time. Grace is a part of nature now, for perfection is possible in this life. It's possible to be perfect. Why not? If you don't believe in original sin and you think that every sin is an individual act of transgression and you think that grace is simply a part of nature, why in the world would you not think perfection was possible? So very logical position. Perfection is possible. Now, Pelagius did not say that he thought perfection was common. He did not say he thought he himself was perfect. But he says it is possible to be perfect. Jesus, of course, we all agree, was perfect. There were some other worthy people like Daniel, Joe, maybe, and others who were perfect in the Bible and therefore.
[00:34:29] And then five predestination. Is based on foreknowledge. Everybody believes in predestination. I mean, if you believe the Bible and something like Thomas Jefferson, you've been to Monticello, and I tell you your testimony, you know, he took his penknife and cut out all those verses. You didn't like that. He didn't like that. There are some people who have Holy Bible like Thomas Jefferson, but if you really believe the Bible, you got to believe in freedom and call in the Bible. You might write these in Romans all these life. Well, the question is not whether you believe in predestination or not. The question is how do you understand predestination in relation to God's whole activity in creation and redemption? That's the question. And for Palladio, as he says, sure, we believe in predestination. But God looked down the corridor of time and he saw individual X living there in the fifth century. And he knew because he's omniscient, that individual X word of his own free will obey the law and merit God's favor and salvation. And on the basis of this foreknowledge, our individual acts would achieve of his own free will and capacity. God determined to save or elect or predestination him or her. That's predestination based on foreknowledge. This was Pelagius, his way of reading and interpreting those text in the Bible. It had to do with this issue. Augustine, on the other hand, says predestination is not based on anything that we do. It is based simply upon God's good pleasure. What Paul called a.k.a God's good pleasure or his will. Well, this is an issue again that comes up again and again and again and again in the Reformation. I write about it in my book and now you know a little more about why I said that the Reformation is the acute Augustinian ization of Christianity, because these are the debates that are going to be played out between Erasmus and Luther and their famous debate on the bondage of the will between Calvin and a host of his opponents.
[00:36:44] And even later on in the 18th century, between, say, a John Wesley and George with the same debate that we still have today in the school, because not everybody here agrees eye to eye on this issue. And so some of those roots go back to Saint Augustine. Now, you don't have to be make this point not clear. You don't have to be a radical Augustinian on predestination to abstain from full blooded Palladian ism on predestination. And if they want to think other words, there are differing. There are mediating positions here and a generation or two, after trying to distance death or row the position that we call today, semi palladian ism, which tried to take a little bit of a gospel and a little bit of allegiance. And that's really what the whole Middle Ages, what one way and one sentence to understand the Middle Ages is to say that the 1000 years from Augustine to Luther was a continual watering down of St Augustine and a qualification and a reinterpretation. And that's exactly what Thomas Aquinas was doing. He came a lot closer to death, and then he did ages, in fact, in many ways. Thomas Aquinas was a pretty radical Augustinian on this issue. But again and again, back and forth, the church is going to debate this issue, and it certainly is going to debate this issue in the Reformation. Let's take a little break and we'll come right back and pick up with one more thing on the guest. And then I'm going to go straight to the late middle age by one of the students as to whether or not we should move this class to in 101 it if it's available at this hour. What is your thinking on that? Is that a better I think the larger room for you so you can spread out a little more? Would that suit everybody? Will you find out for us, Anton, If it's possible.
[00:38:42] And we'll announce that we'll switch over there next week, starting next week if we. If we can. Now, is there anyone who did not get a copy of the syllabus? Who would like a copy of the syllabus or who has lost your copy and wants another one? Anybody? I've got two or three extra. Not too many and I'll pass it back him back to pass right back to the handsome guy in the middle of the back row, Brother Evans. Okay. Any any questions? Now before I go to number five and then what I'm going to do, because this is the last day I can give to a guest and we've got too much to cover, but I feel like we've got to have a foundation. So that's what I'm doing today. Any question on these first four before we go to number five? Russ? Yep. In terms of whether or not we feel that predestination does not have to do with every human endeavor, it has to do with destination where you're going and. So it has to do with the final state of human beings. And Angel does that man that well. Yeah. Now, right now, of course, it's related to the larger doctrine of Providence. That would be the doctrine that really has to do with, say, God's rule over everything and reality. A It's related to that, of course, but as a doctrine, predestination has to do with our eternal destiny. All right. Mike, I'm sorry. Yes, sir. We'll go back to television before we talk tomorrow. Based on the U.S. campaign or what they think is too little, too late, for which the reason for the Cold War? I wouldn't call it it arose out of the sense of I that Christianity was to be totally distinct and different from the world around it, come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord.
[00:40:48] Those kind of verses, they would quote that call for Christians to live a wholly separated and godly life. And now you see these priests that are living just like worldly people. And so that seems to the donot is to disqualify their ministry. Okay. I hadn't made that connection, but I see your point. I do see your point there. I don't listen to what I'm doing. In August of responses to three and four is what you're asking for, because this is a decision you don't get to make up for. Having said that, you really do it. Okay. So you want August and what August In August, it would say that Grace is in opposition to make sure it's not the same thing as make it. It's over and above nature. Something different than nature. To be a Christian is not simply to be born in this world, you must be born again. That's the point. And number four, it's the opposite. Perfection is not possible in this world. Now in heaven, of course. And we're glorified fully and all sin is removed. But in this life, perfection is not a possibility. All right. Anything else? Burning question, Confusion. I think you probably do actually believe it going to we really new more people to follow more closely with God. Yeah we believe you really do believe that perfection is possible and he thought there had been some perfect people who lived in a world other than Christ, not didn't care. And so far he didn't think that was common. There weren't a lot of perfect people around, but here it's possible. In his scheme, there's no reason why it would not be possible. We didn't do anything with it. Oh, yeah, totally. Yeah. Don't confuse Westley with Polegate.
[00:43:01] That's done a lot of times by quickly Calvinist. The people that lump all error into one little pot. None of you, I'm sure know Leslie was an Augustinian. And you read Wesley's treatise on Original Sin? About 600, 700 pages long and very Augustinian. Of course, Wesley differs from Augustine and Calvin on predestination and some other issues. But I can live with a good Wesley, who did quite well. And they're not alone. I believe. Of course, our modernism is not plaguing it. I think our modernism is an error. In my view, it's not a heresy. You might debate that later. Okay. Let's go now to the fifth issue, which is paganism. There are certain events in human history that just stand out above other events and they become benchmarks of a whole era. The French Revolution was that kind of event in 1789, the storming of the Bastille in our century. The Holocaust was that kind of event in Germany. But in the fifth century, the fall of Rome was that kind of easing. It happened in 410 and zero. ST Jerome You all know that, or Jerome, if you must. But correctly, as a German, Jeremy St Jerram was a monk. You translate the Bible into Latin, the Vulgate. You know, he was busy working in Bethlehem when the news reached him that Rome had fallen. And he says he was he was working on his translation of Ezekiel and he was so overcome by the news that Rome had fallen that he quit working on his commentary. And he says, I was in a super I couldn't even remember my name for days. So devastated with this move that Rome had fallen. Why is it such a big deal? Well, of course, Rome was the eternal City Roma, a turn off eternal City.
[00:45:26] And it was taught and believed that Rome would never fall, that Rome would stand forever. And long as the world stood, Rome would stand. And now for Rome to have fallen. And of course, for a Christian, you see, it has a whole different meaning. Because Rome was, after all, the place where Peter and Paul were both martyred for the Christian faith, and where by this time there is already a pretty strongly developed doctrine of the Bishop of Rome. Now, we haven't gotten to papal infallibility and all that. That comes later. But even in Augustine's time, the papacy was beginning to emerge into what later became the the medieval, a doctrine of the infallibility of the pope wasn't actually declared a dogma until 1870, but the idea that Rome could fall was a shattering blow. And some people said it's going to destroy the whole Christian faith. The Roman Empire is fallen. And it would be kind of like if what happened to us is, you know, suddenly we heard the news that Washington has been bombed, New York destroyed. Wow. So August, in response to this move, while Jerome was really in disbelief and stupor, forgetting his own name, Augustine began to write The City of God, which was his magnum opus. Once I taught a seminar in another school and I had the students read the entire City of God to You were getting off easy with this. The Institute. They read the entire City of God and in stereo, as it were. All of Augustine's anti Palladian writings. Read those for the whole seminar. I commend the City of God to you. Not for this course. You've got too much else to do, but that sometime before you die, you ought to read the City of God.
[00:47:24] It's worth the time and effort that you would invest in it. And what Augustine is saying is to give a definitive answer to Paganism. The idea that Rome was eternal and would never fall is a pagan idea. And he says the city of God does not depend on the rise and fall of human kingdom. They come and go, and he has a wonderful line in the city of God where he compares the rulers of this world with robber barons. He says they're all robber barons. Even the good ones are bad and they're going to come and go. Empires will rise and fall, but the city of God is dependent on that which is eternal and immutable, namely the will of God and the grace of God revealed in Jesus Christ. And so He caught the Christians of his age and of the millennium that followed how to live in the midst of a world that was falling apart politically, socially, economically. The myth of paganism was now discredited. The last of the Roman emperors to be deposed was in 476, and after that, the whole landscape of medieval Europe was just a mess for a long time. We call this the Dark Ages. And while you know, we shouldn't make too much over that because our own century could be called the Dark Ages in a lot of other ways. It is true that from, say, the death of Augustine until the time of Thomas Aquinas, the Middle Ages, Europe was wracked and ravaged by all kinds of upheaval and disorder. But in the midst of it, it was the vision of Augustine and his understanding of the City of God as that community of faith sustained by love and sustained by the work of the Holy Spirit that enabled Christians to live with hope in the midst of despair and to go on singing the song, chanting the song as they did in the monasteries, day after day, week after week, copying down the manuscripts of Scripture.
[00:49:46] While we have so many of these things to read today, because they were copied word by word, letter by letter during these dark ages. Well, I don't wanna say any more about that because that leads me to far astray. But keep in mind, that's a very important thing. It was really a distant vision of the City of God that gave the paradigm for a medieval view of church and state or empire and papacy as it came to be developed in the Middle Ages. All right. Let me go now because we only have about 15 minutes, right? Or 40. Are you sure we're supposed to talking? Okay. How did this class get so short, huh? Oh, somehow it's just a two or three hour course. Okay. That's why it's so short. Okay. I was thinking this is a three hour course. I've got to change that in a little bit. Anyway, you're in it for two, so we won't. We won't do anything. Now, let me go. This is the start of a new lecture I'm going to get. At least get into it. Called the Waning of the Middle Ages. The whining that you and I and G of the Middle Ages, those of you that are real expert. And I know Bill Nikitas is and maybe some others, you will recognize that as a famous title of the famous book by a Dutch historian. I think that yes, I could write that on the board. John, I think that the waning of the Middle Ages just been reprinted under a new title. What's the new title? I can't think of it either. We are it's a famous book and it's well worth your, you know, in the autumn of the Middle Ages, the autumn in a beautiful new edition.
[00:51:29] The autumn of the Middle Ages. Okay. We're talking now about the 14th and 15th century. Okay. Now I know I'm jumping a long way, but after all, this is about the Reformation. So here's a gospel who died in 430. And Luther was born in 1483. So I'm talking now about the two centuries just prior to the time of the reformers, what we call the late Middle Ages. They were, of course, a period of transition and realignment. They were marked by a gradual disintegration of the hierarchy and universal order that had characterized the high Middle Ages. This period, say, from 1000 up to 1300. This was the time, say, of Pope Gregory the seventh. Of innocent. The third. We all know innocent. The third. He was probably the greatest of all the medieval popes in terms of his power and glory. Boniface The eight. Boniface the eight two in his bowl Unum thank them said that there is no salvation available to anybody without direct obedience to the Roman pontiff. Exaggerated claims of papal superiority. But now we're dealing with the era after the apex of the Middle Ages. And so highs in is title, the waning of the Middle Ages, the autumn of the Middle Ages, when some of the what is sometimes called a medieval synthesis that was held together so beautifully by Thomas Aquinas and by Dante. If you've read Dante's Works, it seems to be unraveling and coming apart. And I want to talk about this in terms of two or three different impulses. First, the intellectual. Second, the institutional. And third, the spiritual. Okay. So we're going to do this, which, by the way, is how I do history. And you do those three things you've done everything to do in history, I think.
[00:54:02] Intellectual history. History of ideas. History of theology. Institutional history. I mean, that's, you know, kind of teams and armies and and and institutions, universities, papacy, spirituality, what people believe, how they pray. That's history. That's all there is to it. Well, we're going to touch base with all three of those real briefly, for the late Middle Ages, intellectual tradition, the institutional decline and the spiritual vitality and diversity. So, number one, the intellectual tradition of the late Middle Ages, late medieval thought. Well, you have to go back here to Thomas Aquinas. You can't leave him out completely. He died in 1274. By the way, if you want to read a good little book on Thomas that G.K. Chesterton called The Dumb Ox the Dumb Ox, a wonderful little short, brief read. You can do it at night. We're going to sleep. There's an excellent little introduction to Thomas Aquinas. One of the things that Thomas did was bring together the thought of Augustine. I said before he was an Augustinian and his theology, your doctrine of predestination, other things. Anyway, he was a faithful Augustinian, but he sought to bring together that patristic Augustinian heritage of theology, along with a new set of ideas and terminology vocabulary that and methodologies that had come into medieval Christendom from the Islamic world of all places. And I'm referring to the thought of the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle. Aristotle's ideas had been lost to the West, for the most part. Some of his works on grammar and so forth had been preserved. But most of his most of his body of the body of his thought had had been lost until they were recovered through the Arabic Muslim philosophers and now reintroduced into Western philosophy. And Thomas Aquinas was not the first but the major theologian to come to grips with Aristotelian philosophy and tried to combine it and bring it into some harmony with the Augustinian tradition.
[00:56:29] And he did this, of course, in the Summa theological, his great systematic statement of Christian theology. You know, but there are certain things in Aristotle that are just hard to square with, impossible to square with Christianity. And this got Aquinas into trouble, not so much in his lifetime, although somewhat in his lifetime. But after his death, he died in 1274. And in 1277, a number of the propositions of Thomas Aquinas were condemned by the Bishop of Paris as heretical because they seemed to give too much various features of Aristotle's philosophy that threatened basic assumptions of Christian faith. Such as what? Such as the doctrine of immortality, the immortality of the soul. And another doctor was the eternity of the world. I mean, Aristotle has no doctrine of creation. The world has always been, Well, you just can't square that within with one one. And so you see, Thomas was trying to do that. But the more he imbibed of Aristotle, the more difficult it came for him to be true and faithful and clear about some of these basic Christian affirmations. And at least the way some of his thought was interpreted through a group of philosophers known as the Alvaro really seemed to threaten the Christian faith. And so in 1277, many of his propositions were condemned and there was a reaction against Thomas Aquinas. Now, later on, he was recovered and actually was canonized in the next century. And of course, today is recognized by many Roman Catholics anyway, not all, certainly by the pope. The present pope and Cardinal Ratzinger is recognized as the definitive thinker of Roman Catholic thinking. That was not the case, however, for a great bit of the middle age or late middle Ages. And so there arose a new school of thought, replacing Thomas Aquinas, whose views to some extent were the views of a philosopher and a theologian named Verne Skoda.
[00:59:03] By the way, he died in 1308. I always find it helpful to know when people died just to kind of place them somewhere on timeline. Aquinas died in 1274. Donne SCOTUS died in 1308. Aquinas was a Dominican member of the Dominican order. Done. SCOTUS was a Franciscan. And it was his reaction to some of the teachings of Thomas and others and followed even further than Thomas and the imbibing of Aristotle that set the terms of the debate in the late Middle Ages. And the one thing I want you to remember about Donne showed is there's much that I could say to you about his thinking, his thought. But remember, his focus on the absolute freedom of God. Now, you could summarize Aquinas and Donne showed us in two words. This is oversimplifying, of course. But what Thomas Aquinas was about was this word being his favorite verse in the Bible was when God said to Moses from the burning book, I am that I am boom. And so I modern Thomas In England, a man named ESI Moscow has written a wonderful little book called From this Perspective, a modern atomistic perspective called Who is Is God? God is He who is done showed us. On the other hand, we will not speculate about the essence of God. The being of God is metaphysics of God. What's really central is the will of God, what God chooses to do. And so God's will. According to Dunn, SCOTUS is not bound by anything outside of himself. God is really free. And so he could have done anything. And you get this very interesting development. And they were debating this sort of thing in Paris and Oxford, places like that in the 14th and 15th and 16th century.
[01:01:49] This was a kind of stuff Luther was trained in as a student at Erfurt, the Via Moderne. It was called The Modern Way. And one of the things I would you talk about, the absolute free to die could do anything. They began to debate all these public justifications of, well, God is pure will and he's free to do anything to a God, make a harlot to be a virgin. Could God become incarnate in an army? And they have a whole chapter of theology that is developed known as Athena's Christology, where they're actually debating whether God could have become incarnate in a donkey and an ass as well as in a man. And then you have other theologians aren't sure, you know, give me a hard with God to become incarnate in a pumpkin or a rock that have to become incarnate in a human being. Well, one of the things the reformers are going to react against, against this whole kind of theology is they're going to say, I no doubt many of you are saying right now in your mind, this is like what is do Christian theologians have speculating about these matters? The Bible doesn't say anything about exactly the response or how you do this kind of thing. It's speculative. In fact, Calvin has a section in the institute. You'll get to it if you don't die. First called vain speculation. Ricky excoriates those theologians. That and Erasmus also was, you know, how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? All these kinds of questions. Erasmus reacts against this as well. Now, there's one more distinction I've got to give you here before I move away from some of this heavy, heavy stuff of philosophy and theology. And that is the distinction.
[01:04:11] I write about this in my theology, the reformers. By the way, that's a good You want to get a commentary on some of this? You could read that chapter on theology in the late Middle Ages. The distinction between God's ordained power and his absolute power potentia absolute of absolute power and his ordained power potentially or do not. Okay. Now, the person that really pushed this forward was a man named William of Ockham. You see, that spelled different ways. This is the way I spell it. Who died in 1349? So a generation after then SCOTUS. Now God. What is God's absolute power against your absolute? It is what God might have done or might still do. I mean, you're thinking back now, the will and absolute power and freedom. And so God can do anything. God could have become incarnate in a pumpkin or an ass by his absolute power. But God ordained power or not, that is in fact what God has really done in creation, in Revelation, in time in history. He could have become incarnate in an ass by his or by his absolute power that we know. In fact, by his ordained power, he became incarnate in a man. Jesus Christ. This also has implications for ethics, for the moral order. Adultery is wrong, but it is wrong because God has, by his ordained power, forbidden it. Thou shalt not commit adultery. But if God were to order adultery, it would be meritorious. And so you get all the speculation again that God could God even command the man to hating instead of love by his absolute power? He could. So you see, what you have here is the separation of ethics and theology, the pulling apart of morality and metaphysics. Now two implications that are related to the Reformation.
[01:07:02] We can only know what God has ordered, what He is ordained by revelation and not by reason. See, this reason is where you're speculating about all these things God might or might not have done by his absolute ordained by his absolute power. But when we actually look in Scripture and they would say also the tradition of the church in Revelation, then in fact we tend to know and understand by revelation, not by reason, why it is that God has done and has commanded us to do. So that's and that's one of the debate that's going to come out in the Reformation is what is the relationship between reason and revelation when reason in Revelation. And one of the reasons Martin Luther reacted so strongly against scholastic theology is because it seems to him that Scholastic theology is dominated by human reason. And he has a very bad words to say about reason. He calls it the devil whore, and he has some bad things to say about Aristotle reliving sometime on those things. And so you could say the theology of the reformer, Luther's mainly Calvin Cranmer boots or put them all together include the Anabaptist, if you want to. I think it would be true of all of them to say that for the Reformation, the Protestant Reformation theology is to be done within the limits of Revelation alone. Theology within the limits of revelation alone. They were biblical theologians. What they were. Does it mean they didn't use their reason? Because remember, in 1521, what does Luther say when they bring him before the died of arms and they show him all these books he's written, ask him to recant. And he says, Unless I am persuaded by reason and by conscience, I cannot.
[01:09:14] I will not. You can't. God help me. Amen. Reason is still there, but it is in a very instrumental, subordinate servant role. It is not an autonomous authority. It is not a source to which you might appeal. No theology is done within the limits of revelation alone within of decision that unless by reason and conscience, my conscience is pointing to the Word of God. So I wouldn't say it's on the same level. Scripture for Him is above reason and conscience, and we have to follow them only insofar as they are informed by scripture. We'll come to that. Good question. Now, my last point on on this done showed us William of Ockham kind of stuff. My second implication for the Reformation is this going back to this distinction between the absolute the potency or the not that. They began to say, well, God, by his absolute power. Could bypass the ordinary means that he has established in the salvation of the Senate. And you think this through. We know if you're done, go the way you move a living in the late Middle Ages. You know that by his ordained power, God has established certain channels for his sacramental grace, baptism, the Eucharist, penance, confession. These are the ordained channels that God has set up by which a sinner can come to salvation. What the church is all about. But they begin to say, okay, that's true. But by his absolute power, God might suspend these ordained channels and means of salvation. And by his or by his absolute power, God might even justify a sinner by being alone. Now, that was why that phrase justification by faith alone. Somebody asked before that was Luther original. He did not invent that phrase. It was there in the theology of the late Middle Ages.
[01:12:01] But here's what Luther does. Instead of saying God may on some special occasion out of some whim or arbitrary decision of his, He may, by his absolute power, choose to bypass the sacrament and justify a sin or by faith alone. What Luther says is this is God's ordained way of justifying every sinner, not by his absolute power and some kind of mystery. But this is what, in fact, God has revealed to us in His Word is His way of salvation. For all those who come to cross, for all to be justified by faith alone. That was a radical thing for Luther to say. But the vocabulary and the the background, the conceptual background of his thinking was informed by this debate. And the light now ages. Now I've gone over my time. I apologize. And we we'll finish this next time and move right into Erasmus and Luther. So be reading the Luther stuff for next week.