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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Irresistible Grace and Synergy

Augustine taught a severe view of the fall before the Pelagian controversy. If one remembers, the whole thing started when Pelagius either read or heard something from Saint Augustin: "Give me what you command and command what you will". This is how the controversy started. And so I wonder what Philip Schaff meant by "developed"? Does he mean his view being hardened by the controversy? If so I agree 100%ly! Or does he mean adding more ideas in support of it? Well, probably that too! We know that Saint Augustine first started to change his mind around the year 396A.D. I forgot the exact dates of the Controversy, but it was around the range of 405A.D. to about 418A.D. My favorite works of Saint Augustine were around 410A.D. to 412A.D. his determinism was pretty mild in his middle years, but towards the end of the Pelagian Controversy his determinism got worse

(From Richard's site.......our homie Maximus Scott did all the quotes)
The link:

"Philip Schaff 1819-1893

The Augustinian system was unknown in the ante-Nicene age, and was never accepted in the Eastern Church. This is a strong historical argument against it. Augustine himself developed it only during the Pelagian controversy; while in his earlier writings he taught the freedom of the human will against the fatalism of the Manichaeans. (History of the Christian Church VIII The Theology of Calvin § 112. The Calvinistic System

Alister Mcgrath

The main external threat to the church, particularly during the second century, appears to be pagan or semi-pagan fatalism, such as Gnosticism, which propagated the thesis that humans are responsible neither for their own sins nor for the evils in the world. It is quite possible that what some consider to be the curious and disturbing tendency of some of the early fathers to minimise original sin and emphasise the freedom of fallen humanity is a consequence of their anti-Gnostic polemic. While it is true that the beginnings of a doctrine of grace may be discerned during this early period, its generally optimistic estimation of the capacities fallen humanity has led at least some scholars to question whether it can be regarded as truly Christian in this respect.

The pre-Augustinian theological tradition is practically of one voice in asserting the freedom of the human will.

While there is still uncertainty concerning the precise nature of Gnosticism, it may be noted that a strongly fatalist or necessitarian outlook appears to be characteristic of the chief Gnostic systems. Far from recognizing the limitations of humanity’s free will, many early fathers enthusiastically proclaimed its freedom and self-determination (autoexousia)…God cannot be said to force the free will, but merely influence it. While God does not wish people to do evil, He cannot compel them to do good. (Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification, pg. 34-35)

To read the rest please visit


Drake Shelton said...

Is God beyond being/predication? A video by Drake:

Drake Shelton said...

Speaking of Romans 5:18-19 Shaw says

“The analogy affirmed in these verses leads irresistibly to this conclusion. The judgment that we are guilty is transferred to us from the actual guilt of the one representative, even as the judgment that we are righteous is transferred to us from the actual righteousness of the other representative. We are sinners in virtue of one man's disobedience, independently of our own personal sins; and we are righteous in virtue of another's obedience, independently of our own personal qualifications. We do not say, but that through Adam we become personally sinful—inheriting as we do his corrupt nature. Neither do we say, but that through Christ we become personally holy—deriving out of his fullness the very graces which adorned his own character. But, as it is at best a tainted holiness that we have on this side of death, we must have something more than it in which to appear before God; and the righteousness of Christ reckoned unto us and rewarded in us, is that something. The something which corresponds to this in Adam, is his guilt reckoned unto us and punished in us—so that, to complete the analogy, as from him we get the infusion of his depravity, so from him also do we get the imputation of his demerit." "Adam is not merely the corrupt parent of a corrupt offspring, who sin because of the depravity wherewith he has tainted all the families of the earth; but who have sinned in him, to use the language of our old divines, as their federal head—as the representative of a covenant which God made with him, and through him with all his posterity.”

From this passage methinks it safe to say that sin accrues to men as complete human persons from a federal representative in a covenant not as if human nature was some platonic idea separate from the persons that hypostatize it that Adam ontologically corrupts by his sin.

Farrell on page 225 wants the parallel element in Christ and Adam to be a universal efficacy but here Shaw proves that the parallel element is federal representation of two numerically different groups of people in different covenants.

Drake Shelton said...

In reference to what guilt Adam gave to his descendants Westminster Confession 6. 3-4 said,
“Section III.—They being the root of mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed, and the same death in sin and corrupted nature conveyed to all their posterity, descending from them by ordinary generation.
Section IV.—From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions.”
Shaw commenting on these passages said,

“These sections point out the consequences of the sin of our first parents in regard to their posterity. These consequences are restricted to those "descending from them by ordinary generation." This restriction is obviously introduced in order to exclude our Lord Jesus Christ, who, as man, was one of the posterity of Adam, but did not descend from him by ordinary generation. The genealogy of Christ is traced up to Adam (Luke iii. 38), but his human nature was supernaturally framed in the womb of the Virgin, by the power of the Holy Ghost.—Luke i. 35. In his birth, therefore, as well as in his life, he was "holy, harmless, undefiled, and separated from sinners…It may be proper to remark, that it is not the doctrine of the Scriptures nor of our standards that the corruption of nature of which they speak is any depravation of the soul, or any essential attribute, or the infusion of any positive evil. The Confessions of the Reformers teach "that original righteousness, as a punishment of Adam's sin, was lost, and by that defect the tendency to sin, or corrupt disposition, or corruption of nature, is occasioned. Though they speak of original sin as being, first, negative; i.e., the loss of righteousness—and, secondly, positive, or corruption of nature, yet by the latter, they state, is to be understood, not the infusion of anything in itself sinful, but an actual tendency or disposition to evil, resulting from the loss of righteousness." …Another branch of original sin is the imputation of the guilt of Adam's first transgression. This is rejected by many who admit original corruption. By the imputation of Adam's first sin, it is not intended that his personal transgression becomes the personal transgression of his posterity; but that the guilt of his transgression is reckoned to their account. And it is only the guilt of his first sin, which was committed by him as a public representative, that is imputed to his posterity, and not the guilt of his future sins, after he had ceased to act in that character. The grounds of this imputation are, that Adam was both the natural root and the federal head or representative of all his posterity. The former is the only ground mentioned in this section of the Confession, probably, because the representative character of Adam in the covenant of works has not yet been brought into view; but in the succeeding chapter this is distinctly recognised. And both in the Larger Catechism (Quest. 22), and in the Shorter (Quest. 16), the representative character of Adam in the covenant made with him, is explicitly assigned as the principal ground of the imputation of the guilt of his first sin to all his posterity.”

Drake Shelton said...

Actually I think i was supposed to post those in the video on the fall

Jnorm said...

Drake said:
"Actually I think i was supposed to post those in the video on the fall"

Don't worry about it. No harm done.

I'm in the middle of writing a book, and so I may not be able to interact with yout posts as much. But I will interact when I can.

Drake Shelton said...


Here is a piece for your chewing:

Lossky's Divine Darkness reviewed

Drake Shelton said...

Peter Mohila confession, part 1 q. 27 says

“And these words: 'As many as received him, he gave them power to be made sons of God."'[74] The Holy Doctor teaches that even though the human will has been spoiled through original sin, nevertheless, it still remains now in the will of every man to be good and the son of God, or to be evil and the son of the devil. All this remains in the power and the hands of man, with divine grace helping unto the good and averting from the evil, but not forcing that which pertains to the free will of man”

Here at the end he seems to be asserting the necessity of divine grace for fallen man to do good. I am curious to what you would say to this.

Jnorm said...


You will find alot of Latin/Roman Catholic and Protestant influences on Orthodoxy in the 17th century. Alot of western vocabulary was borrowed/used during that era. But with that said, from the quote you gave, I don't see him saying the samething that a Calvinist would say. Instead, I see that quote as saying the samething as what a 17th century Jesuit Molinist would say or what a 17th century Arminin protestant would say.

Drake Shelton said...

So then man from his natural powers chooses Christ and performs sanctified works and then God's grace is given to continue him in that way?

Drake Shelton said...

If you say yes, could you point me to an official EO church document that states as such. Ware said in his book the Orthodox Church that Mohlia's confession has been acknoledged by the Church as an official confession of faith. Your noncommital speech leaves me trying to guess what it is that you guys believe.

Drake Shelton said...

Turretin and Calvin on Christ’s Meriting Righteousness for the Elect, The Covenant of Works and Created Grace by Drake Shelton

Drake Shelton said...

Does Penal Substitutionary Atonement Assert a Split in the Trinity? Drake Shelton

Drake Shelton said...

Here is my article on Reymond's Supra-Lapsarian view

Drake Shelton said...

Blogs: Eastern Orthodox

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