Dr. Jim Gifford posted this series of articles at SBC Tomorrow. Dr. Gifford states in the introduction: “…In this post and a few subsequent ones, I will try to highlight Augustine’s thinking as it influences Baptist life in the doctrines stemming from his views on God’s providence and nature and grace.” He further describes his thesis:
For our purposes, Augustine introduced some novel ideas into Christian doctrine—ideas that had never been taught by Christians before his time. These include:
- Meticulous divine providence (God wills all that occurs)
- Original sin via the real headship of Adam (all humans present and participant in the first sin)
- Original guilt (eternal damnation spread to all humanity via real-participation original sin)
- Unconditional election of some to salvation based upon God’s choice alone
- Irresistibility of the grace of God
That these are Augustinian innovations will be shown in this series of posts. It is rather easily verifiable that no Christian before Augustine ever taught anything that resembled what Augustine and his followers made of these doctrines. One just has to read the Fathers thoroughly and closely and not yield to the temptation (as John Gill did, for example) and read his or her own thoughts back into them.
Of course, I strongly disagree with his assessment and his critique of Augustine. At first, I wanted to do a formal critique of Dr. Gifford’s series; however, after careful consideration and study, I realize that the historical nature of his thesis is beyond my current abilities to properly refute. But I do think his criticisms of Augustine and Augustinianism are important and deserve to be addressed.
Below are links to the entire series:
- Coming Series on Saint Augustine and Southern Baptists by Dr. James D. Gifford Jr
- Augustine and Southern Baptists: an Introduction
- Augustine and Southern Baptists: Augustine and Divine Omnipotence
- Augustine and Southern Baptists: Augustine and Human Nature: Part 3A; Part 3B
- Augustine and Southern Baptists: The Upshot of Augustine’s Assumptions: Divine Determinism
- Augustine and Southern Baptists: Augustine’s Exegetical and Hermeneutical Method
- Augustine and Southern Baptists: Augustine’s Critics and Legacy: Part A; Part B
By reblogging this on SBC Open Forum, I hope to enable a discussion that is free from biased constraints. Feel free to comment below on any part of the linked series. I have contacted Dr. Gifford by email, and he may reply to your comments as time allows.