He was Catholic

Many claim Augustine was a Protestant — but he was Catholic.

Protestant anti-Catholics claim this Church Father and Doctor of the Church was really a Protestant (or a proto-Protestant) to prove...

  1. The Protestant Reformation brought back "true" Christianity which was lost somewhere in the historyof the Catholic Church.
  2. Throughout the history of the church there was always a remnant of "true" Christianity.

I provide quotes from Augustine's writings to show that if he was a Protestant he was not a very good one since he believed in everything Catholic.

   The New Testament Church


Augustine Was Protestant?

Augustine was not a Protestant.

Some Protestants claim their denomination existed in the Early Church; some Baptists make this claim (the Trail of Blood).

Those who claim their denomination has historical continuity with the church of the New Testament typically claim that such groups as the Albigensiansand Waldenseswere the "true" church.But these were heretical groups.


Papacy

Let us not heed those who deny that the Church of God can remit all sins. Failing to recognize in Peter the 'rock', these unhappy souls . . . are unwilling to believe that the keys of the kingdom of heaven . . . have been given to the Church.

From Christian Combat, Chap. 31:33, (search for the word "combat")

Notice Augustine connects several ideas:

Are, then, ill-affectioned murderers successors of the apostles? . . . But they are outside the rock, to which the Lord gave the keys, and on which He said that He would build His Church.

On Baptism, Against the Donatists, Book 7, Chap. 43, Para. 85

Augustine states that the Lord gave the keys to the "rock." Therefore, the rock does not refer to Peter's confession of faith but, rather, to Christ's church founded by Peter and the apostles.

The very house of God, which is said to be built upon a rock, . . . which house also received the keys, and the power of binding and loosing.

On Baptism, Against the Donatists, Book 7, Chap. 51, Para. 99

As therefore they have remained in their perversity cut off from the body of the Church, while Peter has been crowned in the primacy of the apostles through the glory of martyrdom. . . .

On Baptism, Against the Donatists, Book 7, Chap. 1



Sacraments

The Sacraments of the New Testament give Salvation.

Exposition on the Book of Psalms, Psalm 74, Para. 1

In the ordained persons the Sacrament of Ordination.

On the Good of Marriage, Para. 32

Augustine considers ordination to be a sacrament.

Therefore the good of marriage throughout all nations and all men stands in the occasion of begetting, and faith of chastity: but, so far as pertains unto the People of God, also in the sanctity of the Sacrament.

On the Good of Marriage, Para. 32

Augustine considers marriage to be a sacrament.


Eucharist (a sacrament)

"And was carried in His Own Hands": how "carried in His Own Hands"? Because when He commended His Own Body and Blood, He took into His Hands that which the faithful know; and in a manner carried Himself, when He said, "This is My Body."

Exposition on the Book of Psalms, Psalm 34, Para. 1

In this passage Augustine seems to refer to more than the "Real Presence."

Now will He speak openly of the same Sacrament, whereby He was carried in His Own Hands. . . . When the Lord said, "Except a man eat My Flesh and drink My Blood, he shall have no life in him"?

Exposition on the Book of Psalms, Psalm 34, Para. 11



Calvinism

It is true that Augustine, in his defense against Pelaganism, wrote very strongly in favor of grace. Many Calvinists interpret this to mean that his views support Calvinism. But in contrast to the views of Calvinism, Augustine also wrote that man has free will and that we must cooperate with God's grace.

As far, then, as lay in our power, we have used our influence with them, as both your brethren and our own, with a view to their persevering in the soundness of the catholic faith, Which neither denies free will whether for an evil or a good life. . . .

Letter to Valentinus, No. 215 (Letter II), Para. 4, 426 A.D.

That they can be influenced to persevere in their faith demonstrates Augustine believed man has free will. He also states this to be the view of the Catholic Church. In Calvinism there is no question whether or not believers will persevere. In addition, Augustine agrees with the Catholic view that God's grace is necessary for all aspects of salvation.

"No man can come to me, except the Father who hath sent me draw him"! For He does not say, "except He lead him," so that we can thus in any way understand that his will precedes. For who is "drawn," if he was already willing? And yet no man comes unless he is willing. Therefore he is drawn in wondrous ways to will, by Him who knows how to work within the very hearts of men. Not that men who are unwilling should believe, which cannot be, but that they should be made willing from being unwilling.

A Treatise Against Two Letters of the Pelagians, Book I, Chap. 37
(The Beginning of a Good Will is the Gift of Grace).

Although salvation originates with God's grace, Augustine claims that man uses free will to cooperate with God.

Restrains every one of us in our investigations so as that we may not so defend grace as to seem to take away free will, or, on the other hand, so assert free will as to be judged ungrateful to the grace of God, in our arrogant impiety.

On the Merits and Forgiveness of Sins, and on the Baptism of Infants, Book 2, Chap. 28

Calvinism denies man's free will but Augustine defends man's free will.

But since there are some persons who so defend God's grace as to deny man's free will, or who suppose that free will is denied when grace is defended.

A Treatise on Grace and Free Will, Chap. 1

Augustine is writing this book to address those who deny man's free will.

Now He has revealed to us, through His Holy Scriptures, that there is in a man a free choice of will.

A Treatise on Grace and Free Will, Chap. 2

Augustine supports his view of man's free will using the scriptures. There are many quotes about free will in this book. Search for the phrase "free will" to find them.

"They could not believe," because that Isaiah the prophet foretold it; and the prophet foretold it because God foreknew that such would be the case. But if I am asked why they could not, I reply at once, because they would not; for certainly their depraved will was foreseen by God, and foretold through the prophet by Him from whom nothing that is future can be hid. But the prophet, sayest thou, assigns another cause than that of their will. What cause does the prophet assign? That "God hath given them the spirit of remorse, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear; and hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart." This also, I reply, their will deserved. For God thus blinds and hardens, simply by letting alone and withdrawing His aid: and God can do this by a judgment that is hidden, although not by one that is unrighteous.

On the Gospel of St. John, Ch. XII, Tr. 53, Para. 6

Augustine taught that God responds to our faith. God does not desire that anyone should be blind to the truth but they must be open to God to receive His grace.

If, however, being already regenerate and justified, he relapses of his own will into an evil life, assuredly he cannot say, "I have not received," because of his own free choice to evil he has lost the grace of God, that he had received.

On Rebuke and Grace, Chap. 9

Augustine states that it is a result of man's free will choice to do evil that a person loses God's grace.


Mary

Let us rejoice; let the nations be glad and exult. It is not this visible sun, but its invisible creator, who has consecrated this day, when the virgin mother gave birth from her fertile and unimpaired womb to the one who became visible for us, by whom in his invisibility she herself was created; a virgin in conceiving, a virgin in giving birth, a virgin when with child, a virgin on being delivered, a virgin forever. Why be astonished at these things? That is how he made her, who was himself made from her. He already was before he was made; and being almighty, he was able to be made, while remaining what he already was. He made a mother for himself, while he was still with the Father; and when he was made from his mother, he remained in the Father. How could he cease to be God on beginning to be man, when he enabled his mother not to cease to be a virgin when she gave him birth?

Sermon 186, 1

In this passage Augustine declares that Mary was a virgin for her whole life.

Thus Christ by being born of a virgin, who, before she knew Who was to be born of her, had determined to continue a virgin.

Of Holy Virginity, Para.4.

Augustine states that Mary had chosen to remain a virgin for life even before she knew that Christ was to be conceived in her by the Holy Spirit.