When I began to wrestle with the Professor's argument, I was surprised to learn that his strange-sounding teaching was not novel. Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield - even the great medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas taught this doctrine. Thomas Aquinas is the Doctor Angelicus of the Roman Catholic Church. For centuries his theological teaching was accepted as official dogma by most Catholics. So he was the last person I expected to hold such a view of regeneration. Yet Aquinas insisted that regenerating grace is operative grace, not cooperative grace. Aquinas spoke of prevenient grace, but he spoke of a grace that comes before faith, which is regeneration.Read Dr. Sproul's entire essay here. The portion of St. Thomas' work to which Dr. Sproul is likely referring is here, which I published on this blog earlier today.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
From an essay entitled "Regeneration Precedes Faith," the American Calvinist theologian R. C. Sproul makes these comments about St. Thomas Aquinas, about whom Pope John Paul II said "the [Catholic] Church has been justified in consistently proposing... as a master of thought and a model of the right way to do theology":