Free To Say No?
Free Will and Augustine’s
Evolving Doctrines of Grace and Election
By Eric L. Jenkins
Due for release: 29/08/2013
Augustine’s theory of free will, originated around 396 AD, has influenced the development of religious, philosophical, psychological, and even political thought for 1600 years. Henry Chadwick, noted historian of the early church, claims Augustine’s psychological analysis even “anticipated parts of Freud.”
Augustine’s ideas have always been contentious, but none of them have generated more debate over the centuries than his doctrines of grace, election and free will. Are men responsible of their own actions and sins or has everything already been written? Augustine’s answer to this question changed during his life, as he confessed saying, “I admit that I try to be of the number of those who write by advancing in knowledge and advance by writing”, but, in his final works, he always claimed his evolved notion of free will remained consistent with his early view. This claim provoked significant debate, leading to three different approaches to evaluating Augustine’s theories of free will. The first approach seeks continuity by interpreting his later predestinarian teaching in light of his early teachings on the freedom of the will, the second one seeks continuity by attempting to harmonize Augustine’s early and later works with each other, whereas the third one suggests Augustine’s later doctrines of grace and election disputes his early theory of free will .
In this book, Eric L. Jenkins analyzes these three theories, studying Augustine’s works chronologically, in order to understand if the evolution of his doctrines of grace and election influenced his theory of free will, and lead him to modify his early vision. Above all, the author wonders if Augustine’s view of predestination gives men the possibility of saying “No” to the influence of grace, allowing them to choose whether or not following God’s will. Including quotes from Augustine’s works, Jenkins lets theologian’s words speak for themselves, focusing in particular on those crucial moments of major change.
Free to Say No? is a detailed e study of Augustine’s works that shows, through Augustine’s own words, how the theologian’s theory of free will changed during his life, displaying some inspiring insights as to why Augustine proposed such drastic changes.
About the Author: Eric L. Jenkins (MPhil, London School of Theology) has been a missionary for twenty years, including serving as the Director of a Bible School in Algeria – the land of Augustine.
About the Publisher: The Lutterworth Press has been trading since the eighteenth century and is one of the longest established and best-known independent publishers in the United Kingdom. It has been associated with James Clarke & Co. since 1984.
– Colin Gunton and the Failure of Augustine – The Theology of Colin Gunton in the Light of Augustine, By Bradley G. Green, ISBN: 9780227680056
– Treatise on Grace and Other Posthumously Published Writings, By Jonathan Edwards and Paul Helm (editor), ISBN: 9780227679050
– Christian Ethics as Witness Barth’s Ethics for a World at Risk, By David Haddorff, ISBN: 9780227173749