Augustine and the Word of Love

In 387, Augustine, the man who would become the greatest theologian of the early Christian church, was baptized by Bishop Ambrose in Milan, giving up a glittering career in the emperor’s court and renown as a celebrated teacher of rhetoric. A year later he and several equally distinguished friends returned to North Africa and Thagaste where he was born. Settling there on his family’s estate, Augustine began a life of writing and contemplation. But by 391 he was ordained to the priesthood and had moved to Hippo Regius, on the coast of Algeria, to found a monastery. Legend has it that one Sunday as he was attending services in the cathedral, the presiding bishop, Valerius, looked out in the congregation and cried out, “Stop that man! Do not let him escape. He is to be my successor when I die.”

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Barry, once again your wise words make me think creatively about choices and opportunities in understanding God that I need to celebrate each day. Thank you!
You must write a book very soon or figure out a good excuse for not writing one.
Augustine also said
"God loves each of us as if there were only one of us."


Thanks, Sam! I always appreciate your thoughtful reflections and your encouraging words. And I’m working on collecting my essays into a book, as well as a couple of other book ideas.

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Our differences can be a power for good as long as we do not drag others into our own worldview. Augustine understood the principles of conviction and appeared more practical than doctrinal intellectualism. When I think of this piece, it reminds me of the spear and arrow we throw at each other because of our theological and doctrinal differences. It’s time we care less about doctrines to focus on the prime values of the Bible: justice, mercy, love, patience, joy, temperance, kindness, goodness, etc. These values are often less talked about, meanwhile, the Bible says they are the fruits of the spirit. Having said that I also believe each man stands at the peril of erroneous spirituality which sometimes appears as pure truth results.

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Now, WO advocates call their opponents misogynous, unChristian, oppressors and many other derogatory names. Ted is an evil man, with the worst of motives, imposing his will on the church in a most authoritarian way. (And this in spite of give and take for a year and an open vote) These advocates have the sole authoritative interpretation. Is that expressing charity to all?

It is just that the more liberal will deride the more conservative at least on this site. So this article seems a bit hypocritical to me.

Think of it as a downpayment on sincerity and authenticity.


The mistake was to not allow for diversity of practice in the first place. Acts 15 offers a practical template with remarkable parallels. This would have been a wise course, especially over an issue that is open to interpretation…a debatable matter, as Paul put it, yet one where large groups hold deep and sincere, but differing convictions.

Instead, the president ignored the TOSC results, because they weren’t what he wanted to hear. The vote clearly ended up reflecting areas of the world falling in line with their leaders, and what Ted wanted all along. He could have used his influence to steer this type of conciliatory course, but chose not to. Rather, he helped deepen the polarization, than attempt to bridge it. He wanted a uniformity based on his own views, and did nothing to stop it from playing out that way.

The results are not surprising. And, the type of Christian freedom and charity that Augustine spoke of has been remarkably in short supply in this process on all sides… not just that of the more liberal.



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While most of your posts are offensive, finally something we agree on!

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