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Thread: Article: Gottschalk of Orbais : 9th Century Predestinarian?

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    Article: Gottschalk of Orbais : 9th Century Predestinarian?

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    Brandan....I do not think there are any writings in full league with our view of predestination.

    These men before Calvin were only given glimpses of predestination and the doctrine of Equal Ultimacy, however it was skewed still with Augustine's view of merit and justice.

    Any attempt by those men to continue refining their thought and teaching was met with harsh reprisal from Satan's counterfeit church called Romanism.

    Romanism can never quench the truth from God's elect people thoughout any age, and even today.

    The battle will always be in full swing. That's our calling and mission on this forum and elswhere.


    Nicholas

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    Re: Article: Gottschalk of Orbais : 9th Century Predestinarian?

    Quote Originally Posted by Saint Nicholas View Post
    Brandan....I do not think there are any writings in full league with our view of predestination.
    That's what I was thinking.... It would be neat if they existed, but it's also pretty neat that we are the first we know about that hold to our views of predestination.
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    I am convinced that the writings of any true gospel teacher from the second century on have been destroyed--unless the Vatican kept some of them preserved in the vaults. It was interesting how the Vatican brought earlier NT manuscripts out of the vaults once they were discovered elsewhere in archaeology--acknowledging that they had possession of them all along!

    The preserved writings of the 'fathers' are all sacramental and opposed to the gospel, while some of them teach more orthodox views of the Trinity and anti-Gnosticism. The latest study I received from Ed Vrell on Tertullian convinced me that he (Tert) ranks among the worst of anti-gospel heretics in history. Origen was no worse.

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    There are some really good things here though. I'm surprised to see that double predestination became a controversy during such an early time as this. Weren't these the dark ages? I wish we could venture further into the other responses to these writings and see if there were any that espoused a non augustinian view of predestination. Supralapsarianism.

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    Re: Article: Gottschalk of Orbais : 9th Century Predestinarian?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dans la Musique View Post
    There are some really good things here though. I'm surprised to see that double predestination became a controversy during such an early time as this. Weren't these the dark ages? I wish we could venture further into the other responses to these writings and see if there were any that espoused a non augustinian view of predestination. Supralapsarianism.

    Dan sadly to say from an historical point of view, I truly subscribe to the notion that all early post Apostolic writings that were in harmony with the Pauline message of the Gospel and Election, were hidden or destroyed by the "heretical church fathers". And perhaps the true torch bearers of the Gospel were killed and banished from society. These heretical church fathers were themselves steeped in Hellenistic neo-Platonic philosophies along with Eastern mystical animism. They were none the less still pagans although wearing a false christian mantle. Both Papist and Protestant can have them.

    Nicholas
    My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand..........John 10:27,28

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    still, if you were to walk into any church oday and espouse all 6 of these points, (with two of them slightly amended), both clergy and laity would be aghast.

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    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12376b.htm
    Predestinarianism is a heresy not unfrequently met with in the course of the centuries which reduces the eternal salvation of the elect as well as the eternal damnation of the reprobate to one cause alone, namely to the sovereign will of God, and thereby excludes the free co-operation of man as a secondary factor in bringing about a happy or unhappy future in the life to come.
    .....
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    ....
    Toward the middle of the fifth century heretical Predestinarianism in its harshest form was defended by Lucidus, a priest of Gaul, about whose life in all other respects history is silent. According to his view God positively and absolutely predestined some to eternal death and others to eternal life, in such a manner that the latter have not to do anything to secure their eternal salvation, since Divine grace of itself carries them on to their destiny. As the non-elect are destined for hell, Christ did not die for them. When Faustus, Bishop of Riez, ordered Lucidus to retract, he abandoned his scandalous propositions and even notified the Provincial Synod of Arles (c. 473) of his submission (cf. Mansi, "Concil. Collect.", VII, 1010). It seems that within half a century the Predestinarian heresy had completely died out in Gaul, since the Second Synod of Orange (529), although it solemnly condemns this heresy, still speaks only hypothetically of its adherents; "si sunt, qui tantum malum credere velint" (cf. Denzinger, "Enchirid.", tenth ed., Freiburg, 1908, n. 200). The controversy was not renewed till the ninth century when Gottschalk of Orbais, appealing to St. Augustine, aroused a long and animated dispute on predestination, which affected the whole Frankish Empire. Rabanus Maurus (about 840) wrote a refutation of Gottschalk's teaching and clearly summed it up in the following proposition (P.L., CXII, 1530 sqq.): As the elect, predestined by the Divine foreknowledge and absolute decree, are saved of necessity, so in the same way the eternally reprobate become the victims of predestination to hell.

    Through the efforts of Hincmar, Archbishop of Reims, the Synod of Quierzy (849) compelled Gottschalk, whose enforced stay in the Order of St. Benedict had cost him dearly, to burn his writings with his own hand, and silenced him by imprisoning him for life in the monastery of Hautvilliers near Reims. At the present time, however, scholars, because of two extant professions of faith (P.L., CXXI, 347 sq.), are inclined to free the eccentric and obscure Gottschalk from the charge of heresy, and to interpret in an orthodox sense his ambiguous teaching on "double predestination" (gemina prędestinatio). It was an unhappy thought of Hincmar to ask the pantheistic John Scotus Eriugena to write a refutation of Gottschalk, as this only served to sharpen the controversy. To the great sorrow of Charles the Bald the whole western part of the Frankish Empire resounded with the disputes of bishops, theologians, and even of some synods. The Canons of the Provincial Synod of Valence (855) may be taken as an expression of the then prevailing views on this subject; they emphasize the fact that God has merely foreseen from eternity and not foreordained the sins of the reprobate, although it remains true that in consequence of their foreseen demerits he has decreed from eternity the eternal punishment of hell (cf. Denzinger, loc. cit., nn. 320-25). It was essentially on this basis that the bishops of fourteen ecclesiastical provinces finally came to an agreement and made peace in the Synod of Tousy held in 860 (cf. Schrörs, "Hinkmar von Reims", 66 sq., Freiburg, 1884). The teaching of the Middle Ages is generally characterized on the one hand by the repudiation of positive reprobation for hell and of predestination for sin, on the other by the assertion of Divine predestination of the elect for heaven and the co-operation of free will; this teaching was only for a short time obscured by Thomas Bradwardine, and the so-called precursors of the Reformation (Wyclif, Hus, Jerome of Prague, John Wesel).
    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06682a.htm
    A medieval theologian; b. about 800, d. after 866, probable 30 October, 868 (or 869), in the monastery of Hautvilliers near Reims; son of a noble Saxon count named Berno, who presented him when still a child, as an oblate in the Benedictine monastery of Fulda. When Gottschalk came of age, he felt no vocation for the religious state, and asked to leave the monastery. But his abbot, Rabanus Maurus, following the prevailing opinion of the age, held that a child, who had been presented as an oblate by his parents, was bound to become a religious, and in consequence, Gottschalk was made a monk against his will. Before receiving major orders he fled from Fulda and obtained dispensation from his vows at the Council of Mainz, in June, 829. Rabanus Maurus, however, appealed to the emperor and defended his position in a special treatise: "De oblatione puerorum" (P.L., CVII, 419-440), whereupon Gottschalk was compelled to live the life of a monk but was granted the privilege of exchanging the monastery of Fulda for that of Orbais, in the Diocese of Soissons. In order to make his enforced life in the monastery more bearable, Gottschalk, who had brilliant talents, gave himself to the study of theology. He found great pleasure in the works of St. Augustine whose doctrine on grace and predestination attracted him in an especial manner.


    If we may believe his opponents, Gottschalk misinterpreted some difficult some passages in the writings of St. Augustine and developed a false doctrine of double complete predestination for eternal salvation and for eternal reprobation. He left his monastery without permission, and under the pretence of a pilgrimage to Rome, traveled through Italy, spreading his doctrine wherever he went. In 840 Noting, the future bishop of Brescia, informed Rabanus Maurus of the rapid spread of Gottschalk's doctrine in Upper Italy, and asked him to write a treatise against it. The treatise is found in P.L., CLXII, 1530-53. After his return from Italy, Gottschalk had himself ordained priest, not by the bishop of Soissons, to whose diocese he belonged, but by the chorepiscopus Richbold of Reims, and again returned to ltaly. In 846 Rabanus Maurus warned Count Eberhard of Friuli against Gottschalk, who was enjoying the count's hospitality. Gottschalk now returned to Germany by way of Dalmatia, Pannonia, and Noricum. On 1 October, 848, he appeared at the Council of Mainz, where his doctrine on predestination was condemned as heretical and he was delivered for punishment to his metropolitan, Hincmar of Reims. At a synod held in Quierzy in the spring of 849, he was obliged to burn his writings, was deposed from his priestly office because he had been ordained by a chorepiscopus without the consent or knowledge of his own bishop, and was whipped in accordance with the rule of St. Benedict, which prescribes such punishment for refractory monks. He was then imprisoned for life in the monastery of Hautvilliers where he died obstinate and mentally deranged, after an imprisonment of about twenty years.


    Most of Gottschalk's writings have been lost. There still remain two short treatises in defense of his doctrine on predestination, in the form of two confessions of faith (P.L., CXXI, 347-366); some fragments of a work against Rabanas Maurus (P.L. loc. cit. 365-368); and some well-written poems (Traube, loc. cit. below).

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    So he really was holding to augustinian doctrine. I would like to know where Augustine got his Theology. If Augustine did propose double predestination, then he might have very well learned it from someone else and merely popularized it. Did Augustine compromise predestination to only foreknowledge because of the same kind of backlash that Gottschalk would later receive? Did Augustine even have a glimpse into the truth, or did he completely miss the mark? What about Gottschalk?

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    Re: Article: Gottschalk of Orbais : 9th Century Predestinarian?

    Dan, who knows? On the surface it might appear that Gottschalk "GOT IT" - although was never given an opportunity to really develop his theology - he died for his beliefs. Augustine I don't believe taught a limited atonement - Gottschalk DID. I can't say for sure where Augustine stood regarding "double" predestination.
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    Re: Article: Gottschalk of Orbais : 9th Century Predestinarian?

    Quote Originally Posted by Saint Nicholas View Post
    Dan sadly to say from an historical point of view, I truly subscribe to the notion that all early post Apostolic writings that were in harmony with the Pauline message of the Gospel and Election, were hidden or destroyed by the "heretical church fathers".
    Just as the Lord used the death angel to kill all the first born males in Egypt, so the Lord uses heretical church fathers to hide His truth from the world.
    Rom 8:18-21, (NASB), For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

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    Re: Article: Gottschalk of Orbais : 9th Century Predestinarian?

    Quote Originally Posted by Calvinator View Post
    Just as the Lord used the death angel to kill all the first born males in Egypt, so the Lord uses heretical church fathers to hide His truth from the world.
    Indeed this is true, but for the select, there is always a remnant.

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    Re: Article: Gottschalk of Orbais : 9th Century Predestinarian?

    If Gottschalk taught both double predestination and definite atonement (which he did), he is closer to the truth of the gospel than any published writer from the 2nd thru 15th centuries A.D.

    On matters of the 'fall', neo-Platonic dualism, etc. Tertullian and Augustine had permanently changed the thinking of christendumb for 7 centuries and Gottschalk probably never got around to working out the consequences of how the implications of his teaching would change those doctrines.
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Well this has been an interesting bit! It makes me wonder how many other non-published writers (that were closer to the truth of the scriptures) had their testimonies survive the dark ages. Probably not many if any. This must be a rarity.

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    Wycliffe and Huss come to mind; both are widely recognized as holding to SOME FORM of justification by grace alone in Christ alone assured through faith alone. Both held to SOME FORM of gospel predestination/election.

    The following link is somewhat informative in this regard:

    http://www.christian-thinktank.com/nowhim.html

    Most of the writings of all of these men are lost.

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    http://www.prca.org/books/portraits/gottes.htm

    Gotteschalk: Martyr for Predestination


    Introduction

    In a series of radio sermons, broadcast in the forties, Rev. Herman Hoeksema called predestination "the heart of the gospel." This precious truth of predestination was first taught in the church in the fifth century by Augustine, the Bishop of Hippo, who developed this doctrine of Scripture in his controversy with the Semi-pelagians. The Roman Catholic Church, while claiming Augustine as one of its saints and while professing to be faithful to Augustine's teachings, rejected Augustine's doctrine of double predestination. The Roman Catholic Church committed itself to Semi-pelagianism, and this became the dominant and official view of this church, a position which the Romish Church still holds.

    Not only did the Roman Catholic Church reject Augustine's doctrine of double predestination, but, far worse, it persecuted and killed an ardent defender of this doctrine about three hundred years after Augustine died. This is the story of a relatively obscure monk by the name of Gotteschalk, who gave his life in defense of a scriptural truth which has been the confession of every Reformed and Presbyterian church at some time in its history. And it is still the confession of those who are faithful to the Word of God. That one man in the dark and dreary Middle Ages was willing to give his life for that truth is inspiration to all God's people who confess that God is sovereign also in election and reprobation.

    His Life

    Gotteschalk was born in the home of a German Count, Bruno by name, in 806. His name, appropriately, means, "Servant of God." Little did his parents, when giving him that name, realize how appropriate it was. When he was still a young child, Gotteschalk's parents gave him to the Hessian monastery of Fulda as an oblata, i.e., as a gift to God.

    When Gotteschalk was about 23 years old, he rebelled against a monastic life and asked permission to be released from the monastery. His appeal was made to the Synod of Mainz which met in 829, which Synod granted his request. However, Rabanus Maurus, the abbot of the monastery, disagreed with the decision of the Synod and appealed to the emperor. He succeeded in his efforts to keep Gotteschalk in the monastery, but became the life-long enemy of this faithful servant of Christ. Gotteschalk was, however, transferred to the monastery in Orbais, France, in the diocese of Soissons in the province of Rheims. Here he was ordained to the priesthood.

    Determined to make more of his life than remaining a mere monk, Gotteschalk applied himself to the study of the writings of Augustine. During his study of Augustine, Gotteschalk was surprised to learn that the Bishop of Hippo had taught a sovereign and double predestination, a doctrine quite different from what was taught in the Romish Church. After studying the Scriptures, Gotteschalk became convinced that Augustine had faithfully set forth the truth of predestination, and he became an ardent and vocal preacher of this doctrine.

    In his excitement over this discovery, he discussed the issue with his fellow monks and succeeded in persuading many of them of the truth of his position.

    About this time (837-847), Gotteschalk began a series of lengthy travels throughout the Mediterranean world, visiting Italy, Caesarea, Constantinople, and Alexandria, along with other places. Wherever he went, he preached and taught his views on predestination. He was confident, though perhaps naively so, that the church, after hearing him out, would agree with him and alter its Semi-pelagian position. He corresponded with scholars, debated with theologians, preached to people, and spoke of his views at every opportunity. He considered his views so essential to an understanding of Scripture and the true gospel that he could scarcely speak of anything else.

    His interest in the doctrine of predestination was not, however, interest for its own sake. Gotteschalk believed with all his heart in the truths of sovereign and particular grace. And he saw, as Augustine had seen, that sovereign and double predestination was the biblical foundation on which the truths of sovereign grace rested.

    His Martyrdom

    In 846 and 847 Gotteschalk found a home with Bishop Noting of Veronica in Italy. This was the beginning of his troubles. He discussed predestination with Bishop Noting, pointing out how Augustine had taught sovereign and double predestination and how these views obviously agreed with the Scriptures. But Bishop Noting was alarmed. He wrote a rather lengthy letter to Rabanus Maurus, Gotteschalk's old enemy, to acquaint Maurus with what Gotteschalk was teaching and preaching. Maurus, who by this time had become archbishop of Mainz, decided to silence his monk once and for all. He called a Synod in Mainz (or Mayence) to meet on October 1, 848, at which Synod the German emperor was also present. Maurus himself presided. Gotteschalk was asked to present his views, which he did "in the joyous conviction that it was in accordance with the one doctrine of the church."

    It is striking that Gotteschalk, in his defense of his views, not only boldly and courageously defended double predestination (election and reprobation), but also insisted that Christ died on the cross of Calvary only for the elect.

    Under the heavy-handed influence of Maurus, Gotteschalk was condemned and his views were branded as heresy. Maurus handed Gotteschalk over to Hincmar of Rheims, the metropolitan bishop of Gotteschalk. The accompanying letter read in part: "We send to you this vagabond monk, in order that you may shut him up in his convent, and prevent him from propagating his false, heretical, and scandalous doctrine."

    Hincmar, though a rather learned man, was also arrogant and cruel. He determined not only to keep Gotteschalk confined to the monastery, but to elicit from his monk a retraction. To accomplish this, Hincmar called a Synod at Chiersy which met in 849. The results of this Synod were fatal for Gotteschalk and his views. Gotteschalk steadfastly and courageously refused to recant, even in the face of the cruel threats of Hincmar. The Synod condemned him. They adopted decisions which approved such heretical teachings as conditional reprobation, a universal atonement, and a desire on God's part to save all men. The Synod deposed Gotteschalk from the priesthood, ordered his books to be burned, ordered him to be shut up in a monastery, and had him publicly whipped.

    But the cruel Hincmar was not yet finished with his "rebellious" monk. Evidently unable to tolerate any disagreement with his position, he was determined to force Gotteschalk to recant. Within the walls of the monastery Gotteschalk was whipped so severely that he nearly died. But as he lay on the floor of his torture chamber, bloody and near death, he continued to refuse to retract his position. Even the rage of Hincmar could not elicit from this saint a denial of what he believed to be God's truth. The treatment of Gotteschalk was so cruel that it was protested by some leading clerics of his day.

    Utterly defeated by the courage of Gotteschalk, Hincmar allowed the saint to languish in prison. While imprisoned, Gotteschalk, after recovering somewhat from the cruel treatment he received, composed two confessions in which he clearly stated his views. In these confessions, which have come down to us, he gave expression to his firm conviction that the truth of God would stand. He affirmed his faith in double predestination, in the particular atonement of his Savior, and in God's sovereign purpose and will to save in Christ only those who were ordained to eternal life; while at the same time he confessed his belief that the wicked are sovereignly reprobated to hell in the way of their sins against God.

    After twenty years of imprisonment, Gotteschalk died at the age of 62 or 63 in the year 868. Hincmar forbad that he be buried in consecrated ground, and the last indignity of dying outside the church was heaped on him. He died faithful to the end, a noble martyr for the cause of the truth. He died for a faith which was not again to be heard in the church until the time of Luther and Calvin some 700 years later.

    Conclusions

    With the martyr's death of Gotteschalk, events took an ominous turn in the Roman Catholic Church. The church had officially condemned the truth of Scripture and had, on its highest ecclesiastical levels, condoned heresy. The result was that from that point on the church gave official sanction to false doctrine and stretched the wings of her protection over those who opposed the truth, while destroying God's servants who defended the truth and fought for it with the courage and boldness of faith. The church set herself on a path which was to continue through the centuries until Europe ran red with the blood of countless martyrs. Crushed by the cruel and despicable Inquisition, the church of Christ could barely survive. And when God brought Reformation in the sixteenth century, the pages of the history of the Reformation were written in the blood of the saints which still cries out for vengeance.

    Our Belgic Confession describes the false church as that institution which "persecutes those, who live holily according to the Word of God, and rebuke her for her errors, covetousness and idolatry" (Art. 29). Nor has Rome changed her position in the least. She is prevented in our day from carrying out her wishes; she hides her cruelty behind a mask of benevolence as she speaks of "erring brothers"; but given the right circumstances, and they may very well come, her fangs shall once again be bared, and those who stand for the truth shall have to endure the full fury of her hatred of God.

    Gotteschalk was a lonely voice in a barren wasteland. His courage was great and his death a martyrdom. Hans vonSchubert is correct when he writes concerning Gotteschalk: "It is not only our right but also our obligation to regard this German Calvin as one of the first heroes of the history of our faith."

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