Is it an oxymoron to label oneself Reformed Semi-Augustinian?

Discussion in 'Theological Forum' started by John P, Sep 5, 2016.

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  1. John P

    John P Puritan Board Freshman

    Sooo... I am currently taking theology classes for a Theology Minor at my university, and one of the classes we had to take was Systematic Theology. It was broken into two classes (1 and 2) and had a lot of reading. Now, going to a Pentecostal college, I knew that I was bound to run into theological beliefs that differed from my own (mainly Arminianism). However, the professor of my theology class once labeled himself as a Reformed Semi-Augustinian, and it got me thinking, since I truly wonder whether Augustine, the Calvinist before John Calvin, would have been content to hear that my professor only agreed with half of his theology.

    Now, I know I am being a bit long winded, but it is to show my reasoning before I give my professor's viewpoints from how I understand them:
    1. God gave up his sovereignty over the earth to mankind. God also cannot override the free will. Further, there is nowhere in the Bible that says God is sovereign. (I know, this sounds really wacky)
    2. Man cannot choose God, but God does not force a man to accept salvation. Instead, God enlightens the intellect and softens the heart enough for a person to make an autonomous choice whether to accept salvation or not. (this could work if one disregards Romans 9 and 11)
    3. Once we accept salvation, all the reformed concepts like eternal security, death to sin, being a new creation, God working in the heart of man, God preparing works for man to walk into all apply, with one exception, a man may choose to walk away at any time. (How can a man choose to leave if they have been regenerated and have the seal of the Holy Spirit? Further, doesn't Jesus say that he shall lose none which the Father hath given Him?)
    4. The 5 Solae are true, and we must all have the Berean Jew mentality.

    So, as I heard his viewpoint, I really wondered how in the world he could call himself reformed, since some of the most basic tenets of reformed theology are just plainly missing. So, I'm asking the good folks at Puritan Board, is it an oxymoron for this Professor to label himself as Reformed Semi-Augustinian?
  2. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    This is definitely not Reformed. And even semi-Augustinians will maintain a form of sovereignty and give an account of it in terms of foreknowledge. This kind of theology should not even be called Christian, since a Christian confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord of all, which means He has all power in heaven and earth given to Him as Mediator, and if it is given to Him as Mediator then it must be at the sovereign disposal of God.
  3. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    He may do so because a) he belongs to a denomination with "Reformed" in its title; b) he is (partial) a follower of Karl Barth.
  4. John P

    John P Puritan Board Freshman

    So you would consider him reformed even though he does not adhere to the sovereignty of God? Also, is there a concise, yet not too concise summary of Karl Barth's theological views somewhere on the internet? I probably already have heard his views, I just want to put a theology to a name. I know more about theologies than about who started them.
  5. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    I would like to address the first point. Why would your professor say that God gave up his sovereignty when he believes Scripture does not teach that he is sovereign to begin with?

    Anyway, I have heard something like that often. Either God gave up his sovereignty or he "masks" it. I have even had some people say to me that a God who can choose to be not sovereign is more powerful than a God who cannot give up his sovereignty. I think Charles Hodge deals with that effectively (although he is talking specifically about foreknowledge):

    Needless to say, your professor, in my opinion, is not even "semi-Augustinian."
  6. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    I would not consider him Reformed; I am merely stating why I think he may still consider himself Reformed despite his aberrant theology.
  7. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    There is no such thing as semi-Augustinian. That's why we label such semi-Pelagianism.
  8. John P

    John P Puritan Board Freshman

    I agree.
  9. John P

    John P Puritan Board Freshman

    This is the particular reason I do not like Open Theism specifically, but I do believe that Arminianism naturally leads into this.
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