Augustine: Imparted or Imputed Rightousness?

Discussion in 'General discussions' started by thistle93, Feb 22, 2018.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. thistle93

    thistle93 Puritan Board Freshman

    Hi! I was recently told by someone that Agustine believed in Imparted righteousness not imputed righteousness. Does anyone know if this is correct or false and where I could find from his writings where this is either espoused or denied? Thank you! For His Glory- Matthew
     
  2. DTK

    DTK Puritan Board Junior

    Before I consider offering any words from Augustine, I would be grateful if you would distinguish for me your understanding of "imparted righteousness" versus "imputed righteousness," and if you intend by these terms for them to be applied to the context of justification.
     
  3. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Senior

    Do you by chance mean infused? That is what Rome teaches. As for imparted, the Reformed teach it with regard to sanctification.
     
  4. thistle93

    thistle93 Puritan Board Freshman

    Hi! Yes I was referring just to justification not sanctification, so I guess I should have used term infused. Thanks!
     
  5. DTK

    DTK Puritan Board Junior

    Ok, I will take a stab at this . . . From my studies of Augustine, both primary and secondary sources, I have been of the mind that Augustine had the tendency to confound regeneration, justification, and sanctification all as one on-going process, and there are instances in the canon of his writings that seem to indicate this. But as I continue to read him, he seems to make more subtle distinctions here and there that lead me to think that he is more complicated than than how members of the Roman communion, as well as others, have tried to explain him.

    On the one hand, it is true that because he wrote and spoke in Latin, having never studied Greek until his later years, Augustine translated the Latin verb iustificare (to justify) as iustum facere (to make righteous) in contrast to the New Testment meaning of δικαιόω (to declare righteous). Generally speaking, Latin-speaking theologians followed Augustine’s understanding that iustificare meant “to make righteous," thus leading us to understand him as emphasizing the infusion of an inherent righteousness that *grows* throughout the course of the lives of the faithful as they persevere in holiness and/or sanctification. Yet in other places of his corpus, he gives hints (if not affirmations) of an imputed righteousness. At times he speaks of justification as an "event" (the forgivesness of sins initiated at conversion) or an act of God's free grace, and yet at other times as a "process" which is only completed when God's elect are glorified.

    Now, to be sure, I have collated many citations from Augustine on this issue in attemps to compare and contrast him with the Reformers. But rather than simply cite him here, I would encourage you to read the following article by Dongsun Cho (from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) who has effectively stimulated and challenged my own thoughts with respect to Augustine's position on justification. The article can be read, and even downloaded, here online... https://www.degruyter.com/downloadpdf/j/perc.2014.12.issue-2/perc-2014-0010/perc-2014-0010.pdf

    Cho interacts with both primary and secondary literature on Augustine's view. He identifies Martin Bucer as the reformer who most connects with Augustine's thought (even more so than Luther), and concludes that while Augustine's doctrine of justification was not identical with the reformers, nonetheless he can be described as a forerunner of that doctrine as expounded by the Reformers. I think that Cho makes a thoughtful case for this. At any rate, Tolle, lege Cho's article.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
  6. JTB.SDG

    JTB.SDG Puritan Board Freshman

    Imputed guilt from Adam is a teaching that seems to have actually begun with Ambrosiaster and Augustine in the 4th century. A.D. (see Moo, Romans, p326). Augustine held that “Such was the union between Adam and his descendants, that the same consequences of his transgression came on them that fell upon him. . .involving both guilt and corruption. . .[and] that the loss of original righteousness and the corruption of nature consequent on the fall of Adam are penal inflictions, being the punishment of his first sin.” (Hodge, Systematics, p136). Thus, “from the beginning, the universal Church has agreed in holding that the guilt of Adam's first sin was directly charged to the account of the human race in mass, just as it was charged to himself. Likewise, Adam's first sin was punished in the race by desertion and consequent depravity, just as it was punished in him.” (Hodge, The Imputation of Adam's First Sin To His Posterity, #13). Again, in his Systematic Theology, Hodge writes: “The imputation of Adam’s sin has been the doctrine of the Church universal in all ages. It was the doctrine of the Jews, derived from the plain teaching of the Old Testament Scriptures. It was and is the doctrine of the Greek, Latin, Lutheran, and Reformed churches. Its denial is a novelty. . .The points of diversity in reference to this subject do not relate to the fact that Adam’s sin is imputed to his posterity, but either to the grounds of that imputation or to its consequences. . .The Lutherans and Reformed held the same doctrine with more consistency and earnestness. But in all this diversity it was universally admitted, first, that certain evils are inflicted upon all mankind on account of Adam’s sin; and, secondly, that those evils are penal.” (p160).
     
  7. DTK

    DTK Puritan Board Junior

    In your citations above, Moo and Hodge do not appear to be of the same mind. At any rate, the early eastern church (generally speaking) did not view original sin as communicating Adam's guilt to his posterity, but viewed it as rendering all Adam's posterity subject to mortality and death. This is why Julian (a disciple of Pelagius), in his dispute with Augustine, sought to appeal to the example of John Chrysostom as denying the doctrine of original sin (See Augustine make reference to this repeatedly some 8 or 9 times in his Unfinished Work in Answer to Julian, while trying to defend John Chrysostom against the claims of Julian the Pelagian).

    Unlike Augustine, the eastern church did not view original sin as communicating Adam's guilt to his posterity, but rather having rendered Adam's posterity mortal and thus subject to death. Hence, unlike the Pelagians who outright denied original sin, the eastern church denied that aspect of original sin as having communicated Adam's guilt to his posterity. I leave off the language of imputation because you don't find it expressed that way (generally speaking) by early writers in the eastern church.

    Yes, the doctrine of original sin was universally held by the church catholic, but east and the west did not view original sin in the same way. Notice how the eastern orthodox theologian Meyendorff expresses it...
    I hope this helps to distinguish the differing views of the east from the west on original sin.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2018
  8. JTB.SDG

    JTB.SDG Puritan Board Freshman

    David, are you meaning the fact that the doctrine began with Augustine on the one hand, and on the other that this doctrine was held from the very beginning of the church? If so, maybe a better way to put it is that Augustine helped to clarify what the church universal had held from the beginning. The 4th century is pretty early though. I think the point is that this stuff didn't begin with the Reformation.
     
  9. DTK

    DTK Puritan Board Junior

    I think what I said is sufficiently clear, as I addressed the differing views of original sin between the eastern and western churches. I welcome you to think, believe, and hold to whatever point you wish. But I never said that this "stuff" began with the Reformation. If you desire to embrace what Hodge asserted as true, concerning the history of the church catholic (i.e., the church universal) then you are welcome to follow his thought.

    But the subject of this thread concerns Augustine's view on how righteousness is communicated to the Christian believer.
     
  10. JTB.SDG

    JTB.SDG Puritan Board Freshman

    David, I was asking about your statement on Moo versus Hodge. Regarding the statement about the Reformation, I was just referring to the context of Hodge's writings. For Augustine, just stick with Hodge's quote at the top. I'm no Augustine scholar, but on other matters I trust what Hodge says. Blessings.

    PS, Matthew; the page number was for the online version. In the original 3-Volume set, this is in Volume 2, pp157-164. The quote itself is on p161.

    Hodge goes on to say of Augustine's belief: "That the loss of original righteousness and the corruption of nature consequent on the fall of Adam are penal inflictions, being the punishment of his first sin." (p161). Again, I am definitely no authority on this issue; I'm just citing what Hodge says.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
  11. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    That wouldn't be accurate, as Chrysostom and Basil wouldn't have gone with Augustine on this point.
     
  12. Cymro

    Cymro Puritan Board Junior

    For anyone interested and is able to tune in to BBC radio 4 next Thursday at 9:10 am, Melvin Bragg’s programme, In Our Time, has a panel of “experts” discussing Augustine’s Confessions.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
  13. JTB.SDG

    JTB.SDG Puritan Board Freshman

    Guys, I don't have any horses in this race. I'm no Augustine scholar, and I'm pretty terrible at church history, to be honest. All I'm doing is quoting Hodge. If he's wrong, that's fine. Here are the quotes again:

    “From the beginning, the universal Church has agreed in holding that the guilt of Adam's first sin was directly charged to the account of the human race in mass, just as it was charged to himself. Likewise, Adam's first sin was punished in the race by desertion and consequent depravity, just as it was punished in him.” (Hodge, The Imputation of Adam's First Sin To His Posterity, #13).

    Again, in his Systematic Theology: “The imputation of Adam’s sin has been the doctrine of the Church universal in all ages. It was the doctrine of the Jews, derived from the plain teaching of the Old Testament Scriptures. It was and is the doctrine of the Greek, Latin, Lutheran, and Reformed churches. Its denial is a novelty. . .The points of diversity in reference to this subject do not relate to the fact that Adam’s sin is imputed to his posterity, but either to the grounds of that imputation or to its consequences. . .The Lutherans and Reformed held the same doctrine with more consistency and earnestness. But in all this diversity it was universally admitted, first, that certain evils are inflicted upon all mankind on account of Adam’s sin; and, secondly, that those evils are penal.” (p160).
     
  14. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Hodge is correct when he is talking about the Western church. But that is not the Eastern Orthodox doctrine. They believe that death is imputed, but not guilt. As to whether they believe Adam's sin is imputed, it depends how that is glossed. But to be fair to Hodge, there wasn't much scholarship on the Greeks when he wrote. The East, except for Russia, was enslaved to the Ottomans (often with Western financial backing).
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page