What's going on? Gamecock posts a near-perfectly Catholic explanation of good and evil, fallenness and redemption, now O.P. explains Catholic eschatology as well as I've seen any individual Catholic do it. The Presbyterians are beating the Catholics at presenting Catholic (and, evidently Presbyterian) doctrine!
Presbyterians are traditionally very Augustinian on the subjects of Soteriology (study of the operation of Salvation) and Eschatology (study of prophecy).
- Soteriologically, we favor Augustinian/Thomist monergism over Jesuit/Molinist synergism, but we do differ from traditionally Augustinian soteriology in that Augustine and Saint Thomas would generally (99.9% of the time) say that Baptism bestows Regeneration (I was going to say "causes regeneration", but "bestows" probably does more justice to the Augustinian view that God is the one doing the Causation), whereas Presbyterians would say that Baptism symbolizes Regeneration but does not itself efficaciously bestow the New Life ex opere operato (this should not be taken as ruling out the possibility that God might see fit to regenerate an infant at Baptism -- but, in the Presbyterian view, the operation is not via Baptism). IOW, Baptism is associated with Regeneration, but in a symbolic rather than a causative or efficacious sense. With that theologically-significant difference reserved, however, the Presbyterian ordo salutis is essentially identical to the Augustinian.
- Likewise, the format of Presbyterian Eschatology is essentially derived from Augustine -- Amillennial, in fact anti-millenarian, with emphasis upon the Church Age as the "thousand years" during which Satan's full power is under bondage while the Church "spoils his house", i.e., redeems Converts from the formerly-captive Gentile Nations; which view lends itself to the understanding that much of the preceding 19 chapters were fulfilled, at least to a substantial degree, relatively early in Church History (as Revelation 1:1 would imply: "things which must shortly come to pass"). A major point of difference between Presbyterian and Roman eschatology might be found in the original Westminster Confession of Faith section 25:6, which identified the End-Times "AntiChrist" (presumably associated with Satan's final "Gog and Magog" rebellion in Revelation 20:7-9) with the institution of the Roman Papacy (on the other hand, there have been Roman interpreters who have advanced similar theories proposing that AntiChrist would be a "False Pope" who would deceitfully usurp the Episcopacy of Rome); However, this clause, though reflecting a view common amongst the Early Reformers, has since been deleted from section 25:6 of the Westminster Confession of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (the OPC being, in my biased but confident opinion, the "conscience" of the Presbyterian Churches in terms of fidelity to traditional Presbyterianism)
There are, of course, stark differences between Presbyterianism and Augustinian Romanism on Ecclesiology, Sacramentology, Icons and our relations to Departed Saints, and other areas; and, of course, our Soterological similarities to the Augustinian/Thomist tradition within Rome does not alter our fervent disagreements with the Soteriology of the Jesuit/Molinist tradition within Rome.
However, in the areas of Soteriology and Eschatology, it shouldn't be too surprising to find a Presbyterian who is familiar with his church's teachings sounding very Augustinian indeed -- as Presbyterian theology in those areas is heavily, heavily derived directly from Saint Augustine.
posted on 03/30/2004 7:19:22 PM PST
(We are Unworthy Servants; We have only done Our Duty)
Just wondering how the answer to those questions I sent you were coming along?
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