The Augustine Catechism

Augustine is considered by both Protestants and Roman Catholics to be the greatest of the Christian Fathers. He wrote The Enchiridion on Faith, Hope, and Charity (The Augustine Catechism) circa 420 AD in response to a request from a friend for the essentials of the Christian faith.

Augustine equated faith with belief and stated that God is to be worshipped with faith, hope, and charity (love). Faith believes, hope and love pray; but hope and love cannot exist without faith, so faith prays as well. We are slaves–either of sin—or of justice (righteousness)—and nobody comes to eternal life that does not love justice. The cause of our evil is a will that falls away from the good. Sin is conquered by delight in justice.

He preached salvation by grace through faith but also that genuine faith produces righteousness (not sinless perfection in time but nevertheless the fruits of the Spirit prior to crossing into eternity); and quoted Paul (I Corithians 6:9-10) in listing those who will not inherit the kingdom of God: fornicators, idolaters, male prostitutes, sodomites, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, and revilers.

Faith is belief. If you truly believe God your actions will reflect that faith and belief. If you believe His promise to pour out a blessing if you tithe (Malachi 3:10), you will tithe. If you believe His word that revilers will not inherit the kingdom of God, you will refrain from reviling others. And if you have faith and believe, you will be progressing toward the goal of loving God with all you heart, soul, and mind, and your neighbor as yourself.

A slave of justice (Romans 6:18) loves justice and will speak out against evil and do what he or she can to oppose it. Organized crime is running the United States because there are too many slaves of sin in the country and not enough slaves of justice.

Augustine’s catechism is a classic that belongs in every Christian library.

Donald Krumm

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