Predestination and Free Will: Augustine and Pelagius

AugustinePelagius

Dear hijas,

Augustine of Hippo (354-430) and the British monk Pelagius (354-418). Do you think these two guys had anything to do with our topic of predestination and free will?

Enough with the mysteries you say, tell us straight forward. Speak the truth without deviation. But what about Luther and Erasmus I say?

Martin LutherDesiderius Erasmus

‘Enough,’ you say, ‘enough.’ This is too much. How can Augustine and Pelagius, Luther and Erasmus, Calvin and Arminius have anything to do with predestination and free will? Stop the torture you say, how can there be so many people involved in this? I thought it was so simple. “Can’t you just point to one or two verses in Scripture to settle all this?”

Ah, well there, mis hijas, is the rub. It’s not so simple. The philosopher George Santayana (1863-1952) is famous for saying, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

We do well to pay attention to church history; to the councils and creeds and confessions that came out of the doctrinal disputes and clarifications of our learned fathers in the faith through time. ‘That which has been is that which will be, and that which has been done is that which will be done, So, there is nothing new under the sun.” Do you know which great philosopher said that? The philosopher and wise King Solomon (Ecc. 1:9).

Do we really think that we’re the first and only ones to struggle with the question of predestination and free will? That our brothers and sisters in the faith who came before us didn’t have this question?

So how did they resolve it? What were their answers? This, mis hijas, will take us on a journey through time; to look at Augustine and Pelagius, Luther and Erasmus, Calvin and Arminius. At councils and synods, confessions and creeds. At anathema’s and Remonstrances. Are you ready?

Vaya con Dios mis hijas,

Dear ol’ Dad

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