Premature Exultation – Semi-Augustinianism

David Waltz seems excited by a quotation from R.C. Sproul regarding labeling Roman Catholic doctrine.

Waltz writes: “The fact that the Catholic Church maintains that it is impossible to accept the gospel without grace (gratia praeveniens), this separates Her teaching from “all forms of semi-Pelagianism”; instead, embracing “moderate-Augustinianism, or of what might be called Semi-Augustinianism, in distinction from Semi-Pelagianism.”” (first quotation is from Sproul, second quotation is from Schaff, and the emphasis was provided by Waltz) (source)

Waltz’s exultation at being distinguished from “all forms of semi-Pelagianism,” is a bit premature. You see, Sproul – like the others we’ve examined (link) (link) – is careful to distinguish between Augustine’s correct position and Rome’s incorrect position – although I do not think that Sproul was necessarily thinking of Rome in the discussion he was conducting.

What one wishes to call the position is the wrapper: Semi-Augustinian with Sproul or Schaff (in his narrowest sense, see here, for example); Semi-Semi-Pelagian with Warfield; or Semi-Pelagian with Schaff (in the broadest sense in which he uses the term). The content inside the wrapper is the problem: the erroneous position of Rome. It’s not wrong because it disagrees with Augustine, of course. It’s not wrong because it leans toward Peliagius, either. It’s wrong because it disagrees with Scripture, as noted here (link).


7 Responses to “Premature Exultation – Semi-Augustinianism”

  1. David Waltz Says:

    Hi TF,Given the fact that you have not posted the last two comments I have submitted via the combox on your blog, I doubt you will be posting this one; but, at the very least, I do hope you be will be reading it.You need to make a slight correction concerning this: “quotation is Sproul, emphasis and typo are Waltz”. It should read, “first quotation is Sproul’s, second is Schaff’s, and the typo is Waltz’s.” (Have corrected the typo, thanks much.)Lord willing, I will be addressing some of the issues you raised in your post tomorrow.Grace and peace,DavidP.S. Feel free to post any comment on my blog; I do not moderate…

  2. TheoJunkie Says:

    Very true.Of course, the distinction you noted is why I would sooner attend a Catholic church than a non-reformed Presbyterian one.So… if you were going to be stranded on a desert island and you were only able to bring one denomination with you, and it couldn’t be reformed… which one would you bring?

  3. Turretinfan Says:

    Thanks for the comment, David.I think I currently have > 20 comments awaiting moderation. The two you mention may be in that batch.I have updated the post along the lines you indicate.-TurretinFan

  4. Turretinfan Says:

    TJ: lolI would not be able to tolerate the open idolatry in RC churches for any extended period of time. I’d rather go to a conservative, Arminian, fundamentalist church, where the idolatry would be absent, the Bible would be preached, and Reformation would not be precluded by the anathemas of Trent. -TurretinFan

  5. Carrie Says:

    I’d rather go to a conservative, Arminian, fundamentalist church, where the idolatry would be absent, the Bible would be preached, and Reformation would not be precluded by the anathemas of Trent. Amen!

  6. GeneMBridges Says:

    Theo,Wouldn’t a non-Reformed Presby church be:1. A Federal Vision church at best or2. An Apostate church (eg. PCUSA) at worst.I know of no Presby churches that could be classed as Arminian.I’d also add that, speaking for myself,the reason I tar many Arminians with “Semi-Pelagianism” is the fact that their doctrine of UPG makes their doctrine of total depravity superfluous at a functional level. Sure, they believe in it on paper, but when it cashes out, UPG relieves the bondage of the will. Consequently, their belief in the bondage of the will is functionally useless.

  7. TheoJunkie Says:

    Actually, I think I meant to type “Protestant” instead of “Presby…”…But perhaps it was a Freudian slip and I had PCUSA on the subconscience…. and to think I actually defended PCUSA not several years ago…

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