Thursday, December 18, 2008

Throwing A Bone To My Calvinist Friends

So today I was reading Edward Gibbon the Enlightenment Historian and a fellow convert to Roman Catholicism ...though he relapsed to Anglicanism and was in all honesty a Deist - making him overall a man after my own heart as he has endeavoured in all my favourite religions and pastimes. Anyway, I was reading his famous "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" and I figured I'd include a quote I read of his on St. Augustine which gave credence to Calvinism.

"he (St. Augustine) possessed a strong, capacious, argumentative mind; he boldly sounded the dark abyss of grace, predestination, free-will, and original sin; and the rigid system of Christianity which he framed or restored has been entertained with public applause and secret reluctance by the Latin Church...The church of Rome has canonised Augustin and reprobated Calvin. Yet, as the real difference between them is invisible even to a theological microscope, the Molinists are oppressed by the authority of the saint, and the Jansenists are disgraced by their resemblance to the heretic. In the mean while the Protestant Arminians stand aloof and deride the mutual perplexity of the disputants. Perhaps a reasoner still more independent may smile in his turn when he peruses an Arminian Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans"

though I definately see how the modern and early modern Papacies have anathema'd St. Augustine's views on limited atonement and predestination as well as irresistible grace, Calvin is still very different than St. Augustine. Calvin doesn't acknowledge bishops, the necessity for complete church unity, the same definition of the real presence, the efficacy of relics, and the authority and infallibility of the Papacy.

Still I realize today St. Augustine got it right, and no matter what the Church says, he still got it right. So Calvinists and Catholic Augustinians rejoice together in our common teacher.

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