Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Augustine vs. Pelagius
Augustine vs. Pelagius
Well I have had one of those great weeks where I have failed to get along with those around me. Actually swallowed my pride today and put things right with a coworker where things had gone sour. So I was thinking of that wonderful Augustine quote “As flattering friends corrupt so quarrelsome enemies bring much needed correction”. Has ended up being an awesome week to remember how much I need God and how easily I am crushed by little things that should not matter. How prideful I am and how I constantly need God to humble me and push me on my way of sanctification. I judge not how that is going but it feels good to remember that I am so very little and God... well he is so very, Ineffable. Yep that from a fairly insignificant argument.
So anyway, Augustine. I continue to meander through Peter Brown’s bio if him. I love it! I read the chapter “causa gratiae”, “the case for grace” where he sets up the debate well between Augustine and Pelagius. Augustine makes causa gratiae. The next chapter begins with these two paragraphs which I love. The second paragraph is the only one I just took my pen ands circled in the whole book so far.
“…The basic conviction of Pelagius and his followers was that man’s nature was certain and fundamentally unchanging. Originally created good by God, the powers of human nature had, admittedly, been constricted by the weight of past habits and by the corruption of society. But such constriction was purely superficial. The ‘remission of sins’ in Baptism, could mean for the Christian, the immediate recovery of a full freedom of action, that had merely been kept in abeyance by ignorance and convention.”
Ok so there is one way of looking at it. Yawn! So as for Augustine’s take? Well again I put a big old circle around this part:
“Augustine’s audience by contrast, would be told repeatedly that even the baptized Christian must remain an invalid: like the wounded man found near death by the wayside in the Parable of the Good Samaritan, his life had been saved by the rite of Baptism; but he must be content to endure, for the rest of his life, a prolonged and precarious convalescence in the ‘Inn’ of the Church. For to Augustine, man’s nature was at a nadir of uncertainty: and it would be cured, in an equally distant future, only by transformation so total and so glorious that, in its light, the least symptom of man’s present collapse must always be regarded as a cause of profound sadness.”
Yeah that is the tonic I am talking about! If you don’t get why that is a point of rejoicing then brother I can not explain it. God is ineffable! As for us, we suck.