Ben Witherington III, in a story on John Calvin, remarks,
I also discovered that Calvinism is actually in the main a redoing of Augustine’s theology. Calvin’s is not at all a distinctively Protestant form of theologizing. But he deserves full marks for working out the logical implications of Augustinianism to the nth degree, as well as for adding some new wrinkles.
Jonathan Wright comments,
I’ll be brutally honest. I’m not a fan of many of Augustine’s conclusions but, as much as I’d sometimes like to punch the Bishop of Hippo on the nose, I’d reserve my most splenetic criticism for those who have abused his legacy.
Augustine helped to invent the notion of coercion in matters of faith but, when you look at the facts, he was much keener on civilised debate (albeit backed up by the threat of force) than extreme punishment. In this arena, as Chadwick opines, Augustine’s ideas have been “disastrously exploited” by those who came after him.
As for predestination, sex, or ecclesial authority: don’t get me started. Augustine was often self-satisfied and intolerant but, then, who wasn’t in the fifth century? At least Augustine thought hard and deeply, and the sins of the children oughtn’t to obscure the achievements of the father.
As a commentator noted this week, the East (Orthodox) has great disdain both for Augustine and Calvin. While I find great strength of wisdom in Augustine, and lately, in Calvin, I cannot agree with the conclusions concerning predestination which both men shared – to some extent – but they do not deserve the disdain of the East, do they?