Monday, September 15, 2008

Jansenism Pt 1

I've realized that I like 2 systems of Theology greatly and agree with them. The systems are Catholicism and Calvinism. The problem is that they are contradictory. Blaise Pascal always seemed like a great man and I am reading Pensees right now, so I wikipedia'd him. As I read descriptions of his theology I realized I really agreed with alot of it. It was a form of Catholicism that didn't teach the Semi-Pelagian error of Trent to believe in Resistable Grace.

It seems very good as it blends alot of the truth about the fall, the gospel, predestination, and grace together and presents a truly Augustinian theology. I am planning on reading alot more of it.

Wikipedia says it well here:

"Jansen also insisted on justification by faith, although he did not contest the necessity of revering saints, of confession, and of frequent Communion. Jansen’s opponents (mainly Jesuits) condemned his teachings for their alleged similarities to Calvinism (though, unlike Calvinism, Jansen rejected the doctrine of assurance and taught that even the saved could not be assured that they were saved). Blaise Pascal's Ecrits sur la Grâce, based on what Michel Serres has called his "anamorphotic method," attempted to conciliate the contradictory positions of Molinists and Calvinists by stating that both were partially right: Molinists, who claimed God's choice concerning a person's sin and salvation was a posteriori and contingent, while Calvinists claimed that it was a priori and necessary. Pascal himself claimed that Molinists were correct concerning the state of humanity before the Fall, while Calvinists were correct regarding the state of humanity after the Fall.

The heresy of Jansenism, meaning here its denial of Catholic doctrine, is that it denies the role of free will in the acceptance and use of grace -- that God's role in the infusion of grace is such that it cannot be resisted and does not require human assent. The Catholic teaching is that "God's free initiative demands man's free response" (CCC 2002) [3] that is the gift of grace can be resisted and requires human assent."

Even if one is not allowed to believe in Irresistible Grace and be a Catholic, at least this shows me you can still believe in Total Depravity and Unconditional Election. Augustinian Thomism still offers some hope for me yet.

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