Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fate vs. Free Will Throughout Church History

This is the beginning of a very interesting article from over at The Pristine Faith Restoration Society to continue reading click the link at the bottom of this post.

We stated in the introduction that Calvinism has its roots in the views of St. Augustine. This man was also largely responsible for the acceptance of a-millennialism into mainstream Christianity, and the Roman Catholic doctrine that the Catholic Church is now God's Kingdom on earth. Prior to his conversion in the fourth century, Augustine was heavily involved in a pseudo-Christian Gnostic cult that held heretical ideas regarding the nature of God as well as the person of Christ. All of the Gnostic cultists were heavily influenced by the writings of the Greek philosophers. And Augustine was no exception. 

Fate vs. Free Will Throughout Church History
Historical Period
Free Will
God's grace is given to all who submit willingly
Each man's destiny is predetermined
I. First through Fourth Centuries All Christian Writers Gnostic Cults, Greek Philosophers, Pantheists, Buddhists
II. Fifth through Fourteenth Centuries Most Christian Writers, Catholics, Orthodox St. Augustine & some later Christian writers, Waldenses, Moslems, Buddhists
III. Fifteenth through Twentieth Centuries Arminians, Wesleyans, most Baptists, Catholics (Jesuit), Orthodox Calvinists (Reformed), Catholics (Dominican), Moslems, Buddhists

Prior to the writings of Augustine, the Church universally held that mankind had a totally free will. Each man was responsible before God to accept the Gospel. His ultimate destiny, while fully dependent on God's grace and power, was also dependent on his free choice to submit to or reject God's grace and power. In the three centuries from the Apostles to Augustine the early Church held to NONE of the five points of Calvinism, not one. The writings of the orthodox Church, for the first three centuries, are in stark contrast to the ideas of Augustine and Calvin. Man is fully responsible for his choice to respond to or reject the Gospel. This was considered to be the Apostolic doctrine passed down through the local church elders ordained by the Apostles, and their successors. Below we have listed a few representative quotes from the earlier writers in order to give the flavor of the earliest tradition regarding election and free will. Some deal with the subject of perseverance and apostasy.

Click here to continue reading

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