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Augustine's Writings on Irresistible Grace: Origins of Islam and Calvinism

The Calvinistic doctrine of Irresistible Grace is the final piece of their doctrine of predestination, stating that if God wants a person to believe in Him, then that person cannot choose to be an unbeliever. This therefore establishes the belief that man does not have free will and is fully subject to God's sovereign will for his life. This heretical doctrine, first written by the Roman Catholic church father, Augustine, also exists in Islam's most trusted sources.

Augustine of Hippo's Views on God's Will Overwhelming Man's Thoughts and Actions

Augustine (354 - 430 A.D.) has written many chapters on how he believed that God was the agent behind everything that man does, specifically pertaining to faith. Though the subject matter of these writings was not limited to man's religious beliefs, that will be the focus of this post. For more content on Augustine's beliefs pertaining to God's will, Augustine's Writings on God Being the Author of Sin(article not yet written) is recommended.

In On Grace and Free Will, Augustine misinterprets and twists passages from Ezekiel 11 to try to prove his point about Irresistible Grace and man's lack of free will.

(Augustine) On Grace and Free Will Ch.29 God is Able to Convert Opposing Wills, and to Take Away from the Heart Its Hardness: "Now if faith is simply of free will, and is not given by God, why do we pray for those who will not believe, that they may believe? This it would be absolutely useless to do, unless we believe, with perfect propriety, that Almighty God is able to turn to belief wills that are perverse and opposed to faith. Man's free will is addressed when it is said, 'Today, if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.' (Psalms 95:7-8) But if God were not able to remove from the human heart even its obstinacy and hardness, He would not say, through the prophet, 'I will take from them their heart of stone, and will give them a heart of flesh.' (Ezekiel 11:19)"

Though Augustine paid lip service to free will in this chapter, his true beliefs about God taking control of people's minds is further explained in his interpretation of John 6.

(Augustine) Tractates on the Gospel of John, Tractate 26, Sec.2: "'Murmur not among yourselves: no man can come unto me, except the Father that sent me draw him (John 6:43b - 44a).' Noble excellence of grace! No man comes unless drawn. There is whom He draws, and there is whom He draws not; why He draws one and draws not another, do not desire to judge, if you desire not to err. Accept it at once and then understand;"

Therefore, Augustine believes that a man can only harden his own heart if God has already chosen not to draw him. This is predestination at its finest.

Augustine's Views Being the Forerunner for Calvinism and Islam

We can compare chapter 29 of On Grace and Free Will with the Westminster Confession of Faith Ch.10 Sec.1 to see that their interpretations of Ezekiel 11:19 are the same. Furthermore, we can also see that Charles Spurgeon's quote about salvation shows that he has the same viewpoint as what the Quran states in surah 76:29-31.

(Calvinism) The Westminster Confession of Faith Ch.10 Sec.1: "I. All those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only, He is pleased, in His appointed time, effectually to call, by His Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death, in which they are by nature to grace and salvation, by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God, taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them an heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and, by His almighty power, determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ: yet so, as they come most freely, being made willing by His grace."

(Calvinism) Charles Spurgeon: "A man is not saved against his will, but he is made willing by the operation of the Holy Ghost. A mighty grace which he does not wish to resist enters into the man, disarms him, makes a new creature of him, and he is saved."

In Islam, the Quran and Hadiths leave nothing to the imagination regarding their doctrines. They make it 100% clear that that they believe in the doctrine of irresistible grace.

(Islam) Quran 10:99-100 Abdel Haleem Translation: "Had your Lord willed, all the people on earth would have believed. So can you [Prophet] compel them to believe? No soul can believe except by God's will, and he brings disgrace on those who do not use their reason."

(Islam) Quran 76:29-31 Abdel Haleem Translation: "This is a reminder. Let whosoever wishes, take the way to his Lord. But you will only wish to do so if God wills- God is all knowing and wise-- He admits whoever He will into His Mercy and has prepared a painful torment for disbelievers."

(Islam) Sahih Muslim 6724 The Book of Al-Qadr: "One of you may do the deeds of the people of Paradise until there is nothing between him and it but a cubit, then the Decree overtakes him and he does the deeds of the people of the Fire and enters it. And one of you may do the deeds of the people of the Fire until there is nothing between him and it but a cubit, then the Decree overtakes him and he does the deeds of the people of Paradise, and enters it."

Irresistible Grace Refuted Using the King James Bible

In true Christianity, salvation is a gift that God offers to people, but doesn't force upon them. It is something that a person has to choose to believe. Therefore, if a person has to choose to believe on Christ to be saved, then that same person can choose to remain unsaved by not believing on Christ. Though the passages that are quoted in this section will be used to directly attack and disprove both Calvinism and Augustinian doctrines, the fallout from these arguments will also prove Islam's view to be false because Islam, Calvinism, and Augustinianism are the same thing.

Romans 10:12-15 describes how the gospel is shared by preachers, giving people the knowledge to make a decision, and that it is not a magical event where God illuminates somebody. Romans 10:16-17 mentions how some people do not believe in spite of hearing.

(True Christianity) Romans 10:12-17 King James Version: "12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."

Hebrews 6:4-6 describes a person who has obtained the knowledge of how to be saved and fully understands it, but chooses to not believe. These people were even "partakers of the Holy Ghost," showing that a person can still choose to remain unsaved after they have been drawn by God.

(True Christianity) Hebrews 6:4-6 King James Version: "4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame."

This shows that the Westminster Confession of Faith and Charles Spurgeon are wrong regarding irresistible grace, since they say that the Holy Spirit will change the will of a person. This can be tracked back to Augustine because, though Augustine said "God," because the Holy Spirit is the third member of the Trinity, being worthy of being called God.

Furthermore, the passages that show how false prophets reject the Gospel will show that irresistible grace is false from the same perspective. Jesus Christ even paid the price for the false prophets' sins, but they would not believe because of their own will. They "withstood Moses," "resist the truth," and "deny the Lord that bought them."

(True Christianity) 2 Timothy 3:6-8 King James Version: "6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith."

(True Christianity) 2 Peter 2:1 King James Version: "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction."

This post is part of the series The Hard Truth About Calvinism and Islam under The Catholic Origins of Calvinism and Islam

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