Augustine was baptised by Bishop Ambrose of Milan, on April 24, in the year 387AD. It was Easter Sunday. “Augustine of Hippo … is one of the central pillars on which our entire Western civilisation is built…” (Christian History Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 3). His “massive intellect” shaped Western theology (Latourette). His “significance in the church is difficult to overestimate!” (Christianity Today, December, 1987). Such quotations could be multiplied.
His book, Confessions, written in 401AD is regarded as a classic among Christian literature, powerfully sharing his personal journey and spiritual growth. Roman Catholicism regards him as one of their ‘saints’, whilst many a Protestant finds his theology embedded in Augustine’s writings.
He waged war – verbally and with his pen – against pagans, astrologers, Manichees, Donatists, Pelagians, Arians, Apollinarians, and a host of other beliefs that opposed the Christian faith.
“One statistician counted in his writings 13,276 quotations from the Old Testament … and 29,540 from the New Testament!” (And that was before the days of Cruden’s Concordance!)
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In his ‘De Civitate Dei’, The City of God, written between 413-427AD and inspired by the fall of Rome to the Visigoths in 410, Augustine separated the moral and spiritual realities of Christianity from political elements. He sought to find the proper relationship between the two forces and saw the church as independent from, if not superior to, the civil state.
One may not agree with all of Augustine’s teaching; nevertheless his impact on the church (one way or another) merits him a place in Christian history.
More information about Augustine’s life and conversion is presented in another post on his life, found at: http://chrisfieldblog.com/ministry/church-history/aurelius-augustine
This post is based on notes by my late friend Donald Prout. I have updated these historical posts with information gleaned from other sources. I am indebted to Don for awakening in me an interest in Church History. Don’s notes can be found at: www.donaldprout.com
Find hundreds of succinct Church History posts at: http://chrisfieldblog.com/topics/ministry/church-history