Don’t cover your face away from me, for I’d gladly meet my demise to see it, since to not see it will be demise certainly. Augustine
Confessions is an autobiography, but it’s far more. It’s a theological treatise, although it’s a lot broader. It’s a prayer, nevertheless it goes a lot deeper. To learn Confessions is to witness a superb and flawed man contending with the God he loves. In reality, the e-book in its entirety is addressed to God. With the intimacy of a memoir, the sophistication of a philosophical dissertation, and the honesty of a brokenhearted little one crying out to his father, Confessions transcends the signification of style. It cant be categorized. Nevertheless it should be reckoned with.
Any theologian price his salt must cope with the famed bishop from Hippo, Augustine. His affect on Western civilization is gigantic. His colossal legacy is such that hes usually cited in makes an attempt to finish theological debates, since his authoritativeness is broadly acknowledged.
My (Nearly) Deconversion Story
Studying Confessions for the primary time wasnt an earthly seminary project or a stale mental train for me. I found this e-book after strolling by a profoundly darkish interval of doubt by which all the things I believed about God, Jesus, and the Bible was deconstructed by a category I attended at a neighborhood church. The facilitator of the category was a pastormore particularly, a “progressive” Christian pastorwho had turn out to be an agnostic, by his personal season of deconstruction.
For a couple of lengthy and painful months, the category rattled me to my core. Week after week, criticisms of the church and evangelicalism had been entertained. I used to be left questioning if the Christianity I knew might traditionally be known as Christian. This despatched me on a quest to find historic Christianity. I wished to know what outlined “historic Christianity” and what had made it distinctive for two,000 years. As I started learning church historical past, somebody advisable I decide up a replica of Confessions.
In Augustine, I met a person so impassioned with love for God that his soul appeared to bleed each phrase on to the web page.I found a person who lived centuries earlier than me, however articulated a dedication to Jesus that felt so present and acquainted that I might have written it myself.
I didnt know what to anticipate, however I appreciated the concept that it was an outdated work of literature and would permit me to take a peek at what Christianity regarded like within the fifth century. I wasnt ready for what Id discover in its pages. I met a person so impassioned with love for God that his soul appeared to bleed each phrase onto the web page. With every pen stroke, I beheld the tender coronary heart behind the sensible thoughts.
Trendy Library. 528 pp..
On this intensely private narrative, Augustine tells the story of his sinful youth and his conversion to Christianity. He describes his ascent from a humble farm in North Africa to a prestigious submit within the Roman Imperial capital of Milan, his wrestle in opposition to his personal overpowering sexuality, his renunciation of secular ambition and marriage, and the restoration of the religion his mom had taught him throughout his earliest years. Augustines considerations are sometimes strikingly up to date, and the confessional mode he invented might be seen all over the place in writing at this time.
Trendy Library. 528 pp..
I found a person who lived centuries earlier than me, however articulated a dedication to Jesus that felt so present and acquainted that I couldve written it myselfwere I gifted sufficient to search out the phrases.
I learn in awe as Augustine reasoned by the character of Goda being not constrained by or contained inside naturerefuting pantheism and panentheism (a preferred view within the progressive Christian church). Although progressive Christianity questioned what I believed about God’s attributes, with prayer and reward Augustine demonstrated Gods self-sufficiency, immutability, and eternality with breathtaking readability. He contemplated the essence of reality, man, sin, salvation, and time. His consideration to element when confessing his sins convicted me that I had not thought deeply about my very own.
Despite the fact that correct theological phrases hadnt but been assigned, Augustine expounded ideas like divine simplicity and the depravity of man. Memorably, of substitutionary atonement, he writes, Jesus, your solely Son, in whom all hoards of data and knowledge are hidden away, purchased me again on the value of his blood (Ruden). For somebody who’d been taught that penal substitutionary atonement was “divine child abuse”that if God required the sacrifice of his solely Son, it made him some sort of cosmic abuserAugustines phrases felt like a chilly glass of water after crawling throughout a desert. His perception within the bodily resurrection of Jesus and his love for the Scriptures as Gods Phrase rang out like songs above the din of different noise: How fantastic are your Scriptures! How profound! We see their floor and it attracts us like youngsters. And but, O my God, their depth is stupendous. We shudder to look deep into them, for they encourage in us each the awe of reverence and the fun of affection.
The simplicity of a sinner saved by grace is placed on shining show in Confessions.
In progressive Christianity, its instructed that many of those doctrines had been the fashionable innovations of a white mans faith. However right here was a fifth-century African bishop saying, “No, these truths are timeless.” The character of God, the message of the gospel, and the hope we’ve in Christ to save lots of us from sin arent progressive, nor are they specific to any ethnic, socioeconomic, or political group. Theyre everlasting realities culminating in Jesus, who got here into the universe to save lots of sinners, as Augustine put it.
To him my soul confesses, and he heals it, because it sinned in opposition to him, he writes. The simplicity of a sinner saved by grace is placed on shining show in Confessions.
Confession and God’s Grace
Augustines prayers and confessions refuted lots of concepts that had facilitated my very own deconstruction. Id later study that Augustine was notably obsessed with exposing false variations of Christianity. Briefly, Augustine, my brother, helped lead me residence. And he did all of it by the artwork of confession.
Augustine begins the e-book by confessing a query. Referencing Psalm 144:3, he asks, Can any reward be worthy of the Lords majesty? He follows that with confessing reward: How magnificent his power! How inscrutable his knowledge! Subsequent he confesses a theological commentary: Man is considered one of your creatures, Lord, and his intuition is to reward you. That is the inspiration he lays for what has turn out to be considered one of Confessions most quoted sentiments: Thou hast shaped us for thyself and our hearts are stressed til they relaxation in thee (Pilkington). Lastly, Augustine confesses a prayer, I shall search for you, Lord, by praying to you and as I pray I shall consider in you.
The entire e-book flows from this format: Confession as questions. Confession as reward. Confession as theology. Confession as prayer.
Within the sacred act of confession therapeutic results in wholeness and maturity, and offers a strong basis upon which to construct a proper understanding of our God.
Like the remainder of us, Augustine’s experiences, relationships, and wounds formed his ideas. However the depth of his brokenness makes his confessions all of the extra related and significant. On this e-book I encountered a person obsessive about God. He does all the things in his energy to rid himself of something that might hinder his data of and relationship with God. His honesty is surprising at occasions. That’s an instance I wish to comply with. That’s an instance each Christian ought to comply with.
In Confessions, the African bishop taught me the fantastic thing about bringing all my hopes, goals, ideas, sins, and secrets and techniques to my heavenly Fatherwarts and all. Within the sacred act of confession therapeutic results in wholeness and maturity, and offers a strong basis on which to construct a proper understanding of our God.