June 18, 2024

Have you been curious about Kurt’s doctoral research? Tune in as he talks about the so-called Semi-Pelagians.

Kurt> Well, a good day to you. And thanks for joining us here on another episode of veracity hill where we are striving for truth on faith, politics, and society. On this episode, we’re talking about faith, specifically, the doctrine of original sin. And to get even more specific, I’ll be talking about the so called semi collegians. In this episode, I’m hoping to just come to you today, a bit laid back, hoping to get some questions from some of the followers here online, but also talk about my doctoral research on John Cassian, Vincent of Lorenz and Faustus of Reese. And of course, there are different French pronunciations for some of these places. So I just try my best. And there are even some Latin pronunciations. So I’m happy to talk about the work that I’ve done. I’m on deadline. Now I’ve got just a few weeks until I have to submit a final draft. And basically, the work that I have left is just to revise some footnotes and and have them all be consistent with each other. So yeah, so I’m looking forward to finishing up. And it’s been five years that I’ve been researching and writing at a part time pace about these guys. And there are a lot of misconceptions out there about who they were, what they believed. And why study these guys. Well, it’s very much related to the Calvinist Arminian discussions that Protestants have to the present day. And so that’s really what got me interested in learning more about these guys. But I guess before I jump in, certainly I have to promote the upcoming defenders conference. So on October 18, and 19th, at Christchurch of Oak Brook, we’re talking about gospel differences. And we’ve invited for scholars to present their views on why there are differences in the Gospels. And well, why should I talk about it? And maybe we should just let me also talk about it in a promo video that we made. So check this out. More presents a picture of who Jesus was.

Kurt: And sometimes these pictures differ in their accounts. What he said what he did, when he did it, who was there? For some people, these differences can be a barrier to faith, because the Gospels are allegedly historically unreliable. Hi, this is Kurt Jaros with defenders media. And let me tell you about the best apologetics conference in the world. Our annual defenders conference brings together different perspectives on one particular issue. This year, we’ve invited three Christian scholars Mike Licona, Craig Keener, and Rob Bowman, all to present their case for why there are differences in the Gospels. We’ve also invited an enthusiastic intelligent non Christian, Bart Ehrman, if you haven’t had the chance to engage much with a non Christian perspective on the Gospels than as baptism by fire. Join us on October 18, and 19. in Oak Brook, Illinois, as these various speakers present their case on why there are differences in the Gospels. Be sure to go to our website for more information and registration, the defenders conference.com Are you prepared to give an answer for the hope within or perhaps to address your own doubts? We look forward to seeing you. So the defenders conference is going to be a great opportunity. Friday night, Saturday, stay the weekend, go see the city of Chicago on Sunday and head on home Sunday night or Monday if you’re able to. It’s really just a fun weekend for folks also interested in these apologetic topics. Last year our conference was on the alleged genocide commands. Now for this new format that we’ve been doing. For our conference, which we started last year, I have to always say now, a lead allegedly or some qualifier like that, because well, we’ve got different views on this. So some people don’t even want to say there are differences in the Gospels. I don’t think we can go that far.

Kurt: I think some I think there’s a better case to be made, that there are no contradictions. So the question is, what is the contradiction? What is the difference? And well, it’s just going to be a real fun time hearing from the scholars and you should consider coming to Chicago just in a couple of weeks. So looking forward to that. Okay, so my doctoral research. Here it is. I’ve got a draft printed by the way for those that are watching this. Here’s my thesis. It’s 345 pages not even including the bibliography, which that might be a whole nother like 15 to 20 pages, at least. So yeah, it’s been a great big work, a labor of love. And so, what has got me interested in the summer Appalachians? Well, I am interested in the soteriological discussions between Calvinists and Armenians. And I never really felt at home in either of those camps, certainly not the Calvinists camp. And so when I went to Biola, the theology professor said, Well, you can be one of two positions, you can be a Calvinist or you can be on our Minion. Well, I feel bad for the Lutherans and cat Catholics. They’ve been around longer than the Calvinists and the Armenians have. So I wonder what they believed. So certain biblical interpretations by Calvinists, and Armenians didn’t, I didn’t fully agree with and even the Armenians while I was much closer to that view, never really, again, felt at home. And then I also heard about these semi collegians. So I guess before we even get into the semi play jeans, people, I’m familiar with this, Chris is nodding his head. I should talk about Augustine and Palladius. Well, St. Augustine, or Augustine, was a bishop of hippo in North Africa. And he is he has the largest corpus is the largest amount of works in Christian history, in the Latin west, from the church fathers. And so he is very well known for his confessions. He’s well known for the City of God, some other writings as well. But he’s also known for his defeating of Polygiene ism. And what is plagiarism? Well, there was a monk named Palladius, who was from modern day Great Britain, and he was a very holy man, he was pious. And he was kind of cushy with the the powers that be in Rome. But he believed that you could earn your salvation that the fall of Adam didn’t affect Adams Adam’s progeny. And that we were each of us created just like Adam, I’m so I’m painting with broad strokes here, there are specifics about what Palagius believed, and what specifically was condemned.

Kurt: But those were two critical points to Palagiunism, there were others as well. But the two critical points again, that you could earn your salvation, and that the fall didn’t affect humanity in any drastic way, just sort of like a sociological way that now we are born into a world with bad examples. So who were the semi collegians? Well, what has been labeled the semi palladiums were monks that responded to Augustine and Palladius. And it’s frequently communicated that these monks tried to build a bridge between the two camps. Augustine believed, well, there’s some debate over what Augustine believed, but he certainly believes salvation was by grace, and that you couldn’t earn it yourself also believed that in the fall presented drastic consequences. He also believed some further things and again, there’s debate over exactly what he believed he shifts his views at a certain point changes them admittedly, one moment here. I sneeze excuse me,

Chris: bless you.

Kurt: Thank you, Chris. All right, so you have Augustine and Palaius and you have these monks from Southern France. Now, these were not the first monks to query Augustine. But they were the first to object. The first monks to query Augustine, that is to question what it was he was really saying, were monks from another city in North Africa, called HydroMet them. And these monks were concerned that what Augustine had written, was defeating for the monastic lifestyle. That is, if salvation was Grace, and nothing else, why work out your salvation? Why would you put to death, the desires of the flesh as the monks really tried to do? So they wrote to him seeking clarification, and he wrote two responses to them, and I might have it here. Around the corner, it would be neat to show everyone I seen him post Nicene fathers or somewhere, well, it’s not popping up here. I’ll load it up. But so he wrote two works two of his final letters. So this happened towards the end of his life. Augustine died in 430. AD. And so one of the works was called on rebuking grace. And he basically tries to toe the line, showing that it’s still beneficial to work out and go through the process of sanctification. Now, we don’t hear from the monks at hadramout ever again. So we presume maybe their concerns were met. But we do hear from other monks. And we hear from a disciple of Augustine named prosper, prosper of Aquitaine and also one of his associates, Hillary, Hillary, the lay man, not to be confused with the later Hillary of our lay, who was a bishop, so prosper and Hillary both write letters to Augustine, and they describe the monks in southern Gaul, and that would be modern day Southern France. So from their letters, we can discover a few things of what they said. And sometimes this is beneficial, and sometimes it’s not because we’re not sure if prosper was accurately communicating the right beliefs of the monks. So there’s debate over that. All right, I’m gonna load up here. Let’s see here. My thesis, I’ve got some hot links to different sections.

Kurt: So it would be very helpful to first see what prosper says. And then I’m going to today I’m going to get into the primary sources as well and some other issues including the second Council of orange, which is another interesting take. So let’s see here. Okay, so here we have the monks that had Ramadan. Okay, so, to them, Augustine wrote grace and free choice and also rebuking grace. Then what happened at Gaul? We have here Augustine’s last two works. Okay, so here, so the letter from prosper, he makes known prosper makes known the anti Augustinian sentiment. And there’s debate even among some scholars about whether the monks were responding to Augustine directly or to a certain form of Augustinian ism, sometimes scholars call this extreme or hyper Augustinian ism. And in my dissertation, I actually even sort of question that, because unfortunately, these historical theologians don’t go through the efforts of trying to show how hyper Augustinian ism is not Augustinian ism. So that’s still a question that some historical theologians haven’t waded into whether the views in Gaul are representative of St. Augustine himself. Alright, so prosper rights against this doctor, that is Augustine, resplendent with the glory of so many poems and so many crowns which he gained for the exultation of the church and the glory of Christ, some of ours to their own great misfortune speak and murmur in secret, but we came to know their criticisms. When they find the ears ready to listen, they defame the writings, the writings Augustine published against the Palladian error. They say, he completely sets aside freewill and under the cover of grace upholds fatalism. So you’ve got some concepts there. Prosper says of these other monks, indeed, even church leaders, they say he is completely set aside, free will and under cover of grace upholds fatalism. Those familiar with the Calvinist Arminian Arminianism debate, we’ll see these concepts here freewill under the cover of grace, or a setting aside, free will, right.

Kurt: That’s a concern our minions have against Calvinists, under the cover of grace, the idea that it’s only grace. So even Armenians would claim of Calvinists, or even Calvinists would say of their own position, that grace is the reason for everything, and the human will, does not have faith. Faith itself is the gift that God gives. And so then then this last one here upholds fatalism. So this is the concern that Armenians have against Calvinism that is just leads to this sort of determinism where we’re not. We don’t have any responsibility for our actions. So you see some of these similar attacks, whether they’re warranted or not placed that aside, but this is what the monks believed. So this is the scope of my dissertation looking at the semi palladiums. I’m not necessarily here arguing they were right in their views. It’s a historical investigation. So I’m arguing for a specific view and interpretation of their writings. So that places aside whether I think they were right or my own positions on the matter. In fact, I do personally think they were wrong on some issues. But on some other ones, I think they were right on and even more so than our minions today. So I would more closely associate with what these guys said. But I don’t think that label semi pledging is a good one. And we’re gonna get into that a little bit later in the second half of the program. Okay, so prosper, and Hillary, right to Augustine, and Augustine, he writes back on so he writes back the two final works, that he formally officially publishes, or writes. So he pens on the predestination of the saints, and also the gift of perseverance. And they were written either about 428 or 429. Folks thing just a year before he died. So in there, Augustine References The monks,

Kurt: and he calls them Christian brothers. And he says that they are simply mistaken on the issue of predestination. But he says that they are not palladiums. And that’s also really important, because prosper, believes that the monks here, John cash in and or, as I call cash in and company, for short, prosper, believes they are, quote, The remnants of Palladius. That that’s really what, what prosper believed. And Augustine corrects him on that. And I think that’s vitally important for our discussions in contemporary Protestantism, because Augustine viewed these guys and their views, as Orthodox, broadly speaking, Christian Orthodox, so that the issue that he took with them was over the doctrine of predestination. And a lot of people say the second Council of orange rejected semi Pelagianism. But it never embraced Augustine’s view of predestination. So I’ll contend and will contend in debates and talks and books that I publish, that we cannot say, the second Council of orange defeated semi Pelagianism. So we’re going to get more into that. And eventually, I’m hoping that I can break down and do maybe an episode on each of my chapters, that’d be a lot of fun. Right now, I’m just sort of giving an overview and update for those that are unfamiliar with my research. And I’ve sort of kept a close guard here of this material intentionally. Because sometimes in PhDs, if you don’t want it to get out, someone else might steal your idea or something like that. Thankfully, I don’t think I have to worry about that. This, this is a very narrow issue. So okay, so getting back here to the historical facts of the matter. So what happens is, Augustine writes these works on the predestination of the saints and gift of perseverance in response here, and that’s basically the last we hear of Augustine. So that happens in 428 429, sometimes sometime around then. So when and where do these so called semi collegians. Come in? The first one chronologically speaking this John Cassian. As I mentioned, Prosper, certainly has heard of, maybe even interacted with Cassian. So this is happening before Augustine writes, In response. Cassian is contemporaneous with Augustine, and there’s debate over where he was born, but he spent much of his young adult life in Egypt, learning from the Egyptian monastic fathers monasticism was born in Egypt. Basically, what would happen is people would forsake living a common lifestyle, seeking after worldly pleasures and they would go and live off in the desert, literally. It’s sometimes they did this by themselves. Sometimes they did it in cluster And so cash and learns from them. And eventually, likely because he’s or his his leaders are kicked out. He finds himself up in under the authority and leadership of John Chrysostom. And Chrysostom was the Bishop of Constantinople. And Cassian is ordained by Chrysostom into the ministry. And he was under Chrysostom’s authority and leadership for a couple of years. But eventually, Cassian goes westward, and ends up landing in southern France in matricide, where as Tradition holds, he founds two monasteries, one for men and one for women. And would cash and does so there were certain very small attempts at monastic movement in southern Gaul. But what caching does is he brings Eastern monasticism to the west, and he tailors it for his audience. We have done I believe in episode with Augustine Cassidy, where he talks about Cassian. And so that’s a bit more technical than what I’m even hoping to present here. But for those that want to learn more, I’d go back and find that episode. That would be which episode? Chris Don’t you know, all the episodes with one, the one with Augustine Cassidy searching it here. It’ll pop up.

Kurt: Oh, of course, veracity Hill doesn’t pop up. So with Augustine Cassidy, his CV is extensive. Let’s see here, Episode 73. Is that one if you want to check that out for the love of historical theology? Okay, so cash in his most famous work is the conferences, and these are the teachings of the Egyptian fathers. And they are not a they are not a word for word. Communication. Cashin has tailored the message he has there, I say this invented speeches that are the voice of the Egyptian fathers. And so in this, especially conference, 13, he presents some controversial statements about the role of man in the process of salvation. And he says, in some cases, that the humans take the initiative in the salvation process. And by which he means that faith comes out of or from the human and to prosper. This was a no, no. And so this is why he writes to Augustine, and in fact, prosper, wrote a response book called, basically, against the conference, sir. And that is a work explicitly written against cation. And what makes this interesting, sometimes in historical theology, we only have one side of the conversation we have what one person says, and they might be quoting, or the trouble is, we don’t get comments in context. So we don’t know for sure if these those are fair interpretations. But so here’s the nice thing with cash and we have his works. And we also have prospers work. So we can compare and contrast whether prosper, wrote fairly against caching. And there are some scholars today that say, No, he didn’t actually. And in fact, you can see how he lifts clauses out of cash in his own sentences, and that it conveys a different idea which caching himself surely did not intend to convey. You can see him sympathetic to those scholars that think Cassian was mistreated. And also to when we look at Cassian’s, broader thoughts, and other segments where he talks about the necessity of grace, for every good action, the the seeds of goodness that God implants in that God waters. So you can see here, how can we cash and hold those two things? That man plays this role, but then God does this work? It’s because for cash and there’s cooperative action here, it’s a both and not an either or, and that’s a very important distinction in these three monks, John cash and Vincent of Laurens and foster Safaris. When we’re talking about nature and grace, and how grace works. We’re not looking at either the grace of God or the free will of man, we’re looking at both the grace of God and the free will of man, and that is vitally important for how we understand this in my play jeans. How We look at the second Council of orange, how we look at Augustine’s own thought.

Kurt: And all of this is related to original sin. Because what is the type of human nature that humans inherit as the result of the fall? Is it a human nature that can will the good? Or is it a human nature that cannot will the good objectively speaking? So we’ve had a number of episodes where we’ve talked about that I recall, we did a show on Calvinism, where I was talking to my guest about who was reformed, about whether Calvinists think humans can do good actions. He said, Yes, of course, civil civic goods, you know, an atheist can walk his grandmother across the street, that’s a civic good, but is it good in the eyes of God? And that’s really what I’m wondering. And the Calvinists said that my understanding was correct. The Calvinist position is no, an atheist walking his grandma across the street is not an objectively good action, because the atheist does it out of you know, selfish desires, or he wants some benefit in the end. Okay, so we’ve got a couple more minutes before we need to take a break. Let’s see here. I’m gonna see if there any questions. No questions yet, but there are some people watching. So thank you. If you do have a question, let me know. I know that there were some folks that commented earlier about this episode when I teased it yesterday on social media. I believe it was John. And let’s see here.

Kurt: Gordon? Oh, there is a comment or question from Devi. Let’s talk about that. First. Devi, thanks for watching, tuning in, monastics kind of the Egyptian Amish. Yeah, that’s right. They wanted simple living. They didn’t want any valuables. And in fact, you, in many cases, not always, sometimes people think this is always the case. But in many cases, they had to take a vow of poverty. And sometimes and with the monastics some of them were secluded, and some of them actually worked. And associated in society, sort of on a regular basis, they would sell goods, you know, because they had to feed themselves. And you know, they had to still make a living. So they would work the land, they wouldn’t you know, a lot of monasteries are known for wine making. So there was still this interaction with society as to post a complete isolation. Of course, in Egypt, it was more isolated than in southern Gaul. But now, there was an island in the coast of France, couple islands called the islands of Lorenz. And there was a monastery there founded by a fellow named St. Honorata. So island life was probably a bit more secluded, believe it’s like 20 miles off the coast. And so I’ve been there. In fact, it’s the background to my desktop here. In effect, Chris, maybe I’ll lift this up. Although it’s probably not going to look good on the camera, but but the island is really cool. Here’s the monastery, which was revamped Chris’s quality looks alright. So here, and actually, you can see here, this building was created to keep the monks safe from scavengers and pirates and foreign invaders, they would climb up in a ladder, and remove the ladder, so that their attackers would have trouble getting them. Fascinating. So Mikayla and I have been there. And so that’s where Vincent of Lerins spent time and, and some people think, the Commonitorium, which he wrote, was not written there, but nevertheless, is associated there. And his thought certainly is, was very influential. So Mikayla and I traveled there before I started the Ph. D. program, all the more so it’s meaningful to me, I’d love to go back someday and do some manuscript hunting, as they say, All right. Well, so I’ve just sort of given a broad overview, I’ve gone through a little bit of the the figures haven’t even really talked much about Vincent or Faustus, hopefully, I’ll get the chance to in the second half of the program, and I’ll talk about the second Council of orange as well. That’s that’s a fun thing. So hopefully, I’ve whet your appetite. And you’ll continue on with me learning along about who these guys were. And, again, I’ll be beating the dead horse of the importance for our discussions today, and for fairly interpreting who these guys were, and the value their views can bring to the contemporary Protestant discussions. So stick with us through this short break from our sponsors.

*clip plays*

Kurt: Thanks for sticking with us through that short break from our sponsors. If you’d like to learn how you can become a sponsor, you can go to our website, veracity hill.com, click on that patron tab to learn more. And if you want to be a supporter who just chipped in a few bucks each month to keep us going and growing, we would love to get your support. And this is certainly something that I’m looking to do as I expand my teaching ministry and hoping once I finish the dissertation and get into doing some public debates, and publish some works, should be a lot of fun. It’s exciting to see the progress from research and writing to go into publication. And I’m that as I’m working on my professional development in academia, I’ve also got a chapter in a book that’s been accepted for publication on presuppositional ism. That’s one of my interests in apologetic methodology. And so I’m very pleased to say that the book will be published by the Davenant. Press. And yeah, so I’m sure I’ll give more attention when that book comes out. So I’ll talk about that. And maybe we’ll do a show on presuppositionalism invite Scott Oliphant on that’d be good. I’ve had a chance to dialogue with him on Justin Brierley is unbelievable program. All right. Well, in this laid back episode here, I’m talking about my research, whetting your appetite about and introducing you perhaps for the first time to John cash and Vincent of Lorenz and Faustus, have Reese, and I talked about Augustine and Palladius, prosper. There are a lot of figures here. But it’s it’s really important to remember who these guys are because of the value that they bring to the table. So prosper and Hilary, while they were opponents of the Gallic monks. They do talk about what these guys believed. They do mention how they believe there are consequences for the fall, for example, and that distinguishes them from the Malaysians. And in fact the Gallic monks, as I’ve called them. Right explicitly against Palladius and plagiarism. So let me talk about that before getting into Vincent and Foster’s. The ways in which these guys distinguish themselves from plagiarism. Cassian wrote a work, it’s the only western work in church history, written against Nestorianism. Now Nestorianism is the belief that there were two persons in Christ there was the the Son of God, the second person in the Trinity, that’s one person and there was Jesus of Nazareth, the human side, that’s another person. So a fella named historians believe this, and Cassian was asked to write a work against that. So what makes this intriguing is That caching associates Nestorianism with Polygiene ism, and he’s the first to do so. And I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty there. But the point that we need to know is that caching explicitly, explicitly in his work against Nestorianism calls out plagiarism as a heresy. Now, there’s questions and a discussion about conference 13. And the material there, whether that is written against Polygiene ism, there are some scholars that think that is the case. And in fact, there’s one scholar Augustine Cassidy, who believes that conference 13 is more against plagiarism that it is Augustinian ism. And the reason why there’s some of this debate is because cashin doesn’t name names. He just talks about ideals and principles. So sometimes we have to draw out conclusions. And that’s where historical theologians get into the debates and discussions about maybe who the author’s intended audience was, or who he was critiquing if anybody at all. So there’s, that’s why there’s debates between historical theologians. And here in the office, I have a shelf basically, one level just devoted toward books for my doctoral research. So a lot, a lot of fun books there. Okay, so, Cassian writes against Nestorianism. But in there, he writes against plagiarism. Vincent of Lorenz in his Camana torium explicitly calls Palladius. He talks I mean, he basically insults him. That’s what the church fathers did back then they insulted people that were heretics.

Kurt: So, so, Vincent does that. And then Faust is also in the prologue, and first two chapters of de Gracia specifically explicitly calls out Palladius for his views. So these guys were not sympathetic to Palladian ism, they infect critiqued it many times explicitly. So there’s no sympathies there for that view. So in calling them semi Bluejeans, is that really a fair assessment? No, it’s not. Some historical theologians have opted to call these guys, semi Augustinians. And there’s been some welcoming to that label. But unfortunately, other scholars scholars, rightly I would agree with would also say, they would not call themselves semi Augustinian. These guys did not try to create a bridge between those two camps. These guys were defending Eastern Greek theology. If I had to give it in an anachronistic terms, it would be like an Eastern Orthodox view, in the Protestant West. When that happens, we can’t say they you’re trying to build something from two other views, they already believed something else. And they brought it over geographically. So cash ins work was very important for that movement. And it really was a movement I’m talking, many church bishops defended this view of what’s been designated as semi Pelagianism. But we’ll get into that towards the end of the show. Vincent, all right, he’s got some important works. The commodity thorium helps us to understand the governing rule of faith or doctrine, specifically, how is it that we can understand and know what is the true teaching of the Church? So he wrote this excellent work excellent work about that, and even make some fine arguments about how sometimes even church leaders are corrupted, and sometimes poor thought enters into the church, and that we need to sometimes many times get rid of this. And so I think some of that is indirectly critiquing Augustinian ism. But again, scholars debate the issue. So So maybe one day I’ll get into the specific arguments, I’d like to instantly do in the dissertation. Okay, so there’s the Commendatore. And there are also what are called the Vincentian objections. And these are objections, attributed to Vincent. But we do not have the primary source. We only know of the existence of these objections through prosper of Aquitaine. You see there is again, and that’s why it’s important that we know these historical figures. So you have these objections. They’re about 12 or 13, possibly 16. I think 12 or 13. And so prosper attributes and says what these objections are. Now there’s concern if price Aspera was a poor interpreter of cash. And is he also poorly interpreting Vincent? And that’s the concern that Cassidy Augustine Cassidy has. I’ve brought up his name a few times. And so, but I actually argue that we should think that prosper is still moderately reliable in how and what he conveys are Vincent’s words. What are those objections? So those objections, surely are anti Augustinian? And let me just read a few of those objections, if I can hotlink over to that section.
Okay, so here are a couple of those objections. And specifically, I was looking for some of the objections that were related to Original Sin for my research. So for example, Objection, four talks about the human will. And the objection is this, the greater part of mankind were created by God not to do His will, but that of the devil. The greater part of mankind were created by God not to do His will, but that of the devil. You see how this is related to the Calvinism and Arminianism discussions. Our minions are concerned against Calvinism, that God predestines the majority of humans to eternal damnation, whether that be through what some call the doctrine of double predestination, or even if he just passes over, whether that’s a meaningful difference or not. So this objection is right in that same family, let’s look at objection, five here. God is the author of our sins by making man’s will evil, he fashions a nature which have its own inclination cannot but sin. This is again, a concern that the monks had against Augustine, that Augustine was promoting a view of human will, which was unable to will the good. So, okay, let’s, in the interest of time, continue to move on. But then throwing a monkey in the wrench of how we should interpret and understand Vincent is that in 1940, we discovered a document about written by Vincent, which is a collection of excerpts of Augustine. And the author thinks highly and revered as Augustine, which doesn’t quite fit with the picture we have of Vincent from the combinatorial or the objections. So some scholars now debate how should we interpret Vincent? And so there’s debate over that. So and that’s something that Vincent foretells in his Commendatore him he says, In the future I wish to write on the Trinity and the incarnation. And so the except appears to be just then the excerpt of the Latin short term for the excerpts of Augustine. Okay, so Vincent writes the combinatorial and 433. I’m sorry, 434, three years after the Council of Ephesus. So he lived in the first half of the second fifth century. The last player of cation company is Faustus of Greece, and fastest lives. And his ministry is chiefly in the second half of the fifth fifth century. And he is known for a robust defense Some have even called him the best defender of semi Palagiusm because he defends what he calls the Premack razza. The first grace and a view of human nature, much different than the way Calvinists and even our minions would describe human nature, that humans retain a sufficient amount of human freedom to accept the gospel message. But that the only reason why humans have this will in the first place, is because of God’s grace. So he still couches human nature, as backed by divine grace. You see here it’s not an either or but a both and God ultimately deserves the credit because without God and His working in the course of human history, from even creating In humans, from his work in the life ministry, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, and then just his common grace to us today, we wouldn’t be here we wouldn’t be in this having this discussion, we wouldn’t be talking about these issues about salvation, and how humans can be saved. So that’s why Faust This is perhaps the greatest defender because he explicitly defends this view of human nature. With Cassian, it’s, it’s harder to understand what’s going on. And it’s not a theological treatise, per se.

Kurt: Whereas with Vincent de Gracia that’s that is the case. It is a theological treatise. So it’s what his view is there is more explicit. And we know that fastest was not sympathetic to Augustine’s views on predestination, because he specifically calls out the predestined Aryan Herot, what he thinks is a heresy. Now, he is sympathetic in other ways to Augustine’s view of original sin, about the means through which a fallen human nature has acquired, for example, the transmission that is similar to one of the positions that Augustine defends in Augustine’s writings. So fastest, was a very influential church leader, he was a bishop. And his work is so influential that through a series of interesting events, brings about ultimately the second Council of orange. So, but some 30 years passed by foster dies. And but through a series of weird events. This comes about so there’s one historical figure named serious and serious was the bishop in Southern France. And he had certain other church authorities who were his theological opponents. So he decides to call this impromptu Council, which has now been called the second Council of orange in 529. And this impromptu Council included laypersons signing on to this statement of faith, as if it’s an official, you know, an official church document, and you just have commoners signing on. Now, Thomas Smith, who wrote a biography of Faustus, and when wrote on the day, God Graziano has said that it’s only on the Augustinian side, that you get laypersons sign down via allegedly official church statements. And that’s, that’s weird, you don’t get that in what official church teachings should be. Okay, so with the time that’s left, I want to talk about the second Council of orange. I know I’ve only just briefly talked about the the three main guys cash and company, John cash and Vincent of Lerins, and fastest of Rhys, but I do want to talk about the second console of orange. So here’s why I want to talk about it. Semi Pelagianism is defined by just to take two authoritative texts, the concise Oxford Dictionary of the Christian church, while not denying the necessity of grace for salvation, maintained that the first steps towards the Christian life were ordinarily taken by the human will, and that Grace supervene, only later, Grace supervene Only later. So the human nature all on its own unaided, could accept the gospel message a person be converted, and grace would come as part of like a sanctifying process, something like that. The Evangelical dictionary of theology explains that the semi Bluejeans affirm affirmed that the unaided will perform the initial act of faith, the unaided will perform with the initial act of faith. So this is what’s commonly described as semi Palagiusm.

Kurt: And so I want to analyze this against the eighth cannons of the second Council of orange. And in the interest of time, let’s just take a couple of them. And let’s see if this is what Cashman company really believed. Let’s say number one here, if anyone says that the whole person that is in both body and soul was not changed for the worse, through the offense of Adam’s transgression, but that only the body became subject to corruption with the liberty of the soul remaining unharmed, then he has been deceived by Palladius is error and opposes the Scripture. Well, okay. Looking at cash in Vincent and Faustus, neither of those three guys would say that the fall didn’t affect human nature in any even drastic way. They did believe in a drastic fall. But the question is, to what extent to what extent did the fall harm and damage human nature. Let’s look at number five. If anyone says that, like its growth, the beginning of faith and the willingness to trust by which we believe in Him who justifies the ungodly and attain the regeneration of Holy Baptism is present in us naturally, and not through the gift of grace, dot dot dot. What happens here with many of the cannons is you get the oh, I’m forgetting the grammatical term for the three dots. Thank you ellipsis you have the ellipses is that the plural ellipses in these cannons and then in the end, it says, Let them be an anathema or something like that. So here if the beginning of faith and the willingness to trust is present in us naturally, and not through the gift of grace, okay, well wait a second fastest explicitly argues that man retains what I call natural free will. Alright. So does this mean it can you know, it goes in contrast to foster says teaching and basically saying he’s a heretic? Well, actually, no, because there’s a conjunction here. present in us naturally, and not through the gift of grace. We’re call for Faustus. What I call natural free will is the prima gracia, it’s the first grace. For Faustus. It’s both the grace of God and human freewill. It’s not an either or disjunction, okay. It’s not present in us naturally, and not to the gift of grace. It’s that, hey, if you think it’s there naturally, but it’s not the grace of God. That’s what is to be rejected. For Faustus, he believed it was the grace of God. So on a if we have to be technical, if we’re really just trying to get down to the truth here, five does not accurately describe phosphatases view. Now, whether that’s the intention of the council here is a point of debate. What? What was serious his view? And was he intending to critique Faustus and his followers? Maybe we need to reopen the debate and say, Hang on a second. Maybe the second Council of orange is addressing something else. Maybe it’s not, though, maybe serious was really trying to defeat Faustus and his followers. But if that’s the case, number five is a straw man. Number five does not accurately describe fastest.

Kurt: Let’s look at number six. If anyone says that mercy is divinely bestowed on us, when, without God’s grace, we believe desire, try labor pray, watch, apply ourselves ask seek and knock, but does not confess that the bestowal and inspiration of the Holy Spirit brings on us the strength to believe to will or to do these things as we all thought, dot dot dot. Well, wait a second here. If anyone says that mercy is divinely bestowed on us when without God’s grace, okay, well, it doesn’t apply. It doesn’t apply to Faustus. It doesn’t apply to Vincent, and it doesn’t apply to John Cassian. They all believed in the necessity of grace for every good action. So the question is about how this grace functions? And is it a success of view God’s grace than human nature? Or is it a different view? One that I think is the case, a concurrent view? It’s a both and it’s not an either or.

Kurt: In Augustine, we see this either or disjunction in multiple writings over his career. He talks about this problem that he thinks about any, he says here in trying to answer this question, looking at Romans nine, specifically, of course, the controversial passage in Romans nine. And answering this question, I have tried hard to maintain the free choice of the human will, but the grace of God prevailed. Augustine writes, In a letter to 60s of Roman for 18. He also says what marathan has a person before grace, which can make it possible apart from a super edit active or sorry, I skipped a line there. One Moment couldn’t make it possible for him to receive grace, when nothing but grace produces good merit in us, and what else but his gifts does God crown when he crowns our merits, basically saying Augustine the same, it’s all God, everything. It’s all it’s all divine on Grace and free will which he wrote to the monks and hadramout them. Chapter 33 God then works in us without our cooperation, the power to will, but once we begin to will, and do so in a way that brings us to act, then it is that he cooperates with us. But if he does not work in us the power to will and does not cooperate in our act of wheeling, we are powerless to perform good works of a salutory nature. Wow. To me, that’s very consistent with what today we recognize as Calvinism. So I’m happy to say here that I think Calvinism is consistent with the later Augustine’s view, the later Augustine’s view, not the early Augustine. So, you see here this either or concept of grace and freewill for Augustine, it’s either God’s grace or free will. And if it is free will, humans can do nothing good, if there is no grace behind it. So I think that’s problematic. Personally, I would disagree with that view and be more sympathetic to the Gallic monks as I’ve called them. Okay, so we’ve looked at the second consul of orange and a couple of these cannons. And oh, James is watching James, great to have you watching today, man. I guess it’s been a while though. I James is local here in West Chicago. And I’ve seen him from time to time, so it’s nice to have him watching. Okay, so here’s what’s interesting about the second Council of orange. It was a church council. So it was formally submitted as being consistent with the Catholic Church, lowercase c, Catholic universal church. So there’s a response from the Pope, about the second Council of orange, and the Pope at the time was bonnafon. The second and here’s what bonnafon says and his interpretation of these canons, he writes, you indicate that some bishops have goal even though they agree that other good things come from God’s grace, want the faith by which we believe in Christ to be from nature, rather than from grace. They in piously assert that it remained in the power of human free choice, which comes from Adam and is not now bestowed on individuals by the abundance of Divine Mercy. For the sake of dispelling this confusion. You ask us to confirm what the authority of the apostolic see your declaration, in which on the contrary, and according to Catholic truth, you define that true faith in Christ and the beginning of every good intention is inspired in the mind of each person through the intervention of God’s grace. Okay. A lot to unpack there. Vana, foster second, says, These opponents serious that you talk about and you have critiqued here. They say that faith comes from the human and rather than from grace. Well, again, that does not describe the view of the so called semi pro Adrian’s they did not believe that it was human nature and not grace. It was human nature and grace. It was a both and process. There’s a cooperative action that occurs here. So the beginning of every good intention is inspired in the mind of each person through the intervention of God’s grace.

Kurt: The question is the location of grace. All right, does Grace enter into the person’s life after they have been born? Does it somehow snap into existence? Does God perform some act upon their will? Or does God’s grace remain from the creative act is more powerful enough than the effects of the fall to remain in human nature? From birth? It’s still God’s grace. We have to be accurate if we’re going to critique our opponents, we have to be accurate in critiquing their view. That’s the only fair way to treat our intellectual opponents. So if you want to say it’s not of God’s grace, you have to say it’s not God’s regenerative grace. Okay, you got to get into the precise meaning that people have here. If you paint with the broad strokes, you’re going to commit a strawman. You’re not going to fairly criticize your opponents, and you’re going to make them look like something other than what they really believe. Okay, So we see here from bonnafon, his own letter bonnafon, the second letter to serious that what the second Council of orange critiques is not a view of the so called semi Bluejeans. So what I’m basically doing in my dissertation is I’m calling for a reexamination of the second Council of orange. I’m calling for a reexamination of the so called semi collegians. The term semi Palladian. It came 1000 years after these guys lived. It came at first, in the writings of Theodore Baeza, he was the disciple of John Calvin 1000 years after these guys lived, the Gallic monks lived closer to the time of Christ, than when this label first appeared. We shouldn’t call them semi Palladian, we shouldn’t call them semi Augustinian. They were their own thing they were defending what I say is the Eastern Greek tradition. And we should look at them in light of that. So that way, we can more carefully look at their arguments and hold them fairly instead of placing them in our preconceived categories. So okay, so that’s really sort of what I wanted to say on today’s show. I know there’s been a lot, but I hope for some people that have been interested in wanting to learn more, I can think Jonathan, he’s one of my followers. I’m sure this episode is gone, just as well as he might have imagined. And if you want to learn more, I’d be happy to share that with you. And I’m hoping I’ll have a time to even almost craft like a course or a series. So folks that are interested in going deeper and want to learn more about these guys may do so. So on next week’s episode, we’ll be joined by Rob Bowman, talking about a little bit about gospel differences, but not too much, and other apologetic issues. Looking forward to having him on the program before the defenders conference. So Bowman will be the last guest. And then we’ll come to you live as best we can from the defenders conference, assuming there’s a good internet connection. If not, we’ll put up the recording of the episode pretty quickly of that panel discussion. That’ll be a lot of fun having the three evangelical views and Bart Ehrman Bart shared about it on his profile. So I’m excited about that. So I think he’s, I think he’s looking forward to the event as well. And so are the three events all because they’ve all told me, Keener, like Conan and Bowman have all said that they were looking forward to the event. It will be a lot of fun. And I certainly hope that you’ll join us. So if you have more questions, you know, you can email me Kurt at recipe hill.com. Whether that’s about the defenders conference, or about today’s episode, I’m very much looking forward to being done with the dissertation. I mean, here’s the draft again, I just have footnotes to finish up, it’d be great to submit and to be done. And then to do well to defend it. That’s then you’re really, really done. But I’m excited about the arguments that I’m making here. And I hope, you know some people will eventually end up reading this themselves. That’s a high honor to have someone reading your work and giving it consideration even if they ultimately disagree with you.

Kurt: All right. Well, that does it for the program today. I’m grateful for the continued support of our patrons and the partnerships that we have with our sponsors. They are defenders media, consult Kevin, the sky floor rethinking Hill, the Illinois Family Institute, Fox restoration, and did I catch them all Chris? I did. Okay, good. And I’m also grateful for the fine work that Chris does week in and week out. And it’s I mean, that promo video was great. Well done. And for those that if you want to rewatch that promo video, you can go on to our YouTube channel, and hear all the little grunts and noises that the gospel authors make those grunts and noises come from Chris. So that’s a lot of fun. Okay, and last but not least, I want to thank you for listening in, and for striving for truth on faith, politics, and society.

Not at this time
Not at this time

Mark Lester

Mark Lester is a Media Associate at Defenders Media, 501c3 and contributes to the work of Dr. J through Veracity Hill.

View all posts

Never Miss an Episode!