The Christian Church has passed a long way to become one of the most powerful human social institutions. The process of its evolution and especially its initial stages can be associated with the numerous attempts to create a unified theological ground for further rise. However, differences in perspectives on the questions of faith, rituals, and canons gave rise to many discussions about the true character of particular ideas and visions. Thus, the increased importance of St. Augustine’s teachings contributed to the emergence of his disciples adhering to his concepts and trying to promote them. Saint Prosper of Aquitaine can be considered one of them.
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Saint Prosper of Aquitaine is a prominent Christian writer whose works cultivated the formation of the theological ground of the Church. One of his central activities was numerous attempts to defend concepts of faith and grace suggested by Augustine and propaganda of orthodoxy (Letter, 2012). In such a way, the majority of his works are closely related to the writings on predestination, free will, rebuke, and grace. At the same time, he became the main opponent of the Semi-Pelagian party as he emphasized the importance of pelagian philosophy and its further cultivation (Letter, 2012). In his texts, Saint Prosper cogitates about the doctrine of predestination, grace, and free will to show the importance of these aspects and their role in the Christian Church.
Thus, being an ardent defender of St. Augustine’s assumptions on faith, St. Prosper also reacted to the Council of Orange in 529. The given discussion became an important event in the history of the Church as it accepted the Augustinian theology and introduced measures criticizing semi-Pelagian doctrine (Woods, 2010). The Council stated that faith as the act of free will comes from the grace of God (Woods, 2010). This idea correlates with Saint Prosper’s view of the universal grace that precedes faith (Woods, 2010).
He states that God’s grace does not limit an individual’s will; however, it can trigger the emergence of critical changes needed to acquire the desire to act in an appropriate way, to do good, and to find a certain path to God.
Formulating his views on the main doctrines of faith discussed during the Council of Orange, Prosper states that predestination is the knowledge and preparation of God’s grace that gives salvation to individuals (Predestination, grace, and free will, 2013). For this reason, the predestination of God is unconditional (Letter, 2012). Cogitating about the nature and importance of grace, the theologian also states that grace distinguishes a person who believes from the rest of people who do not have faith (Predestination, grace, and free will, 2013). In such a way, it becomes a central factor of the Church as people should try to achieve such a state and direct their affection towards God.
Altogether, Saint Prosper’s teachings can be considered an important aspect that contributed to the formation of a particular theological framework for the development of the Christian Church. Being one of the most ardent disciples of St. Augustine, he accepted the ideas of the Council of Orange because of their focus on the importance of grace and free will. At the same time, in his teachings, Prosper continued cogitations about the nature of faith and predetermination to outline their unique importance for Christianity and their contribution to the appearance of a desire to do good and find God’s blessing. His works supported St. Augustine’s assumptions and contributed to the formation of the main canons of the Church.
Letter, P. (2012). St Prosper of Aquitaine: The call of all nations. London, UK: Ulan Press.
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Woods, F. (2010). Canons of the Second Council of Orange (1882). Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing, LLC.