Did You Know That You Were a Theologian?
Today is the day we honor Augustine of Hippo as one of the most well-known theologians in church history. He was born in Tagaste (present day Souk-Ahras, Algeria) in 354. Early on in his spiritual journey, he spent 10 years as an adherent of one Persian religion, which he later rejected in favor of the philosophical school of Neoplatonism. Among the many beliefs with which he experimented, one was the popular idea that all things spiritual were good, but all things of the flesh were evil. However, Augustine finally came to faith in Christ in the summer of 386, in part due to the influence and prayers of his mother, St. Monica. The following year, Augustine was baptized by Bishop Ambrose.
Augustine’s spiritual journey, written as a prayer, is the well-known spiritual classic, The Confessions of St. Augustine. In it, in contrast to his earlier beliefs, Augustine affirmed that all creation is good as it is made by God. Evil, by contrast, is the distortion or absence of good. The other book for which Augustine is famous is his book The City of God, which explores more theological and apologetic questions of faith. Augustine lived for 43 years after his conversion and continued to strive to vigorously explain and defend his faith. I tell you about Augustine because, like many of us, he struggled to find the truth of God in a troubled world. His quest for truth eventually led him to Christ, but he did not stop exploring his faith and working out what he believed. We may not have the training that Augustine had, but each of us is a theologian (of sorts). While some, like clergy, are trained in theology, everyone has their idea of how God the Father, Jesus and the Spirit act and respond in our everyday world. And no matter our training, we are all growing and learning to “think God’s thoughts after Him.”
The Clergy at St. Martin's are here to help you on your spiritual journey–to help you think through questions you have about life, the universe and God, and to grow in your understanding of faith. There are all kinds of saints who have gone before that can help. I personally like Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship and C.S. Lewis’s classic Mere Christianity.
May our Lord bless you in your studies and on your journey.