Monthly Archives: March 2012

Was St. Augustine a Proto-Protestant?

Many Protestants believe St. Augustine was a Proto-Protestant who would have opposed the Papacy if he were alive today.  Is this true?  Was St. Augustine really a Proto-Protestant Christian?  Answer: would a Protestant submit to the decision of a Pope?  It is interesting to note that during the Pelagian controversy (4th-5th century A.D.) St. Augustine wrote, after two synods sent their decisions on the matter of Pelagianism to the Pope for his approval,

“Two synods having written to the Apostolic See about this matter; the replies have come back; the question is settled.”

Could a Protestant today say the same thing?  Would a Protestant be willing to send a Theological question to the Pope and submit to his decision?  St. Augustine had even more to say on the office of the Bishop of Rome.

“….Why! a faggot that is cut from the Vine retains its shape. But what use is that shape if it is not living from the root? Come, brother, if you wish to be engrafted in the Vine. It is grievous when we see you thus lying cut off. Number the bishops from the See of Peter. And, in that order of fathers, see whom succeeded whom. This is the Rock which the proud gates of hades do not conquer. All who rejoice in peace, only judge truly.” (St. Augustine, Psalmus Contra Pertem Donati)

Elsewhere St. Augustine wrote,

“Peter … On account of the primacy which he bore among the disciples.”  (St. Augustine, Enarratio in Psalmum 108)

and

The Church of Rome “…in which the authority of the Apostolic office has always stood fast.” (St. Augustine, Epistle 43:7)

Could a Protestant say the same things?  Would a Protestant be willing to submit to the decision of the Pope and consider him to be the rock upon which the gates of hell would not prevail, the Apostle with primacy over the other disciples and the authority that has always stood fast?  Neither was St. Augustine a Proto-Protestant.

See here for more on this topic.