Pastoral Musings

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John Piper And Augustine on Forgiveness

Posted by Pastoral Musings on February 26th, 2011

John Piper

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As much as I respect Augustine and his great intellect, there were times that he got it wrong.  John Piper deals with one such issue.

In Augustine’s Enchiridion, chapter 46, which I am listening to in spare moments, he says this:

Here lies the necessity that each man should be born again, that he might be freed from the sin in which he was born. For the sins committed afterwards can be cured by penitence, as we see is the case after baptism.

This is, if I understand him, misleading at best.

Not that I want to minimize the significance of 1 John 1:9 (“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins”). But to speak of new birth as being the way we are freed from pre-baptismal sin, and then penitence as the way we are freed from post-baptismal sin, is to create a two-phase dealing with sin that contradicts the way the death of Christ works—propitiating every sin of God’s elect, past, present, and future.

Read the complete post at  No, No, Augustine! – Desiring God.

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2 Responses to “John Piper And Augustine on Forgiveness”

  1. Joel Says:

    We cannot help but to read Augustine as Augustine – a poor, depraved, man… I think that sometimes, he felt that he had to constantly do penitence in order to escape his lingering desires and therefore everyone else had to as well.

  2. Pastoral Musings Says:

    The man lived with the misery of his past. It’s a sad thing when people cannot fully embrace the reality of the full forgiveness that is offered in Christ. Though many may be forgiven, yet they live in fear that it hasn’t happened.
    How I remember some of those days.

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