In a previous tract on St. Augustine, I made the case that St. Augustine would properly be classified as Catholic and not Protestant. In their attempts to make St. Augustine into a Protestant, men like John Calvin and other Reformed Protestants (RP) have tried to make the case that St. Augustine taught justification by faith alone, also known by the Latin slogan "sola fide". RPs cite all the bountiful (but IMHO, selective) quotes of St. Augustine in Calvin's "Institutes of the Christian Religion" as proof that Augustine taught sola fide. Like all other myths, the myth that Augustine was some kind of proto-Protestant in the fifth century dies hard. I have found that proving that Augustine is a Catholic is like trying to prove Karl Marx was a communist to someone who believes Marx was a capitalist. The presuppositional grid that the RP views his world through seems to always view Augustine as the consumate Protestant. I invite the reader to discover for himself whether St. Augustine taught justification by faith alone (sola fide) as did the Reformers.
Two doctrines that Augustine believed in that are normally counted as contrary to sola fide are Purgatory and penance. RPs reject both Purgatory and penance on the grounds that they add something that needs to be done to procure salvation, e.g. works. Purgatory and penance both add suffering for the expiation of sins. Protestants reject this suffering saying that Christ's work is finished and complete. Catholics say that suffering is what we are called to do as Christians,
For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him. (Philippians 1:29)
Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ�s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. (Colossians 1:24)
I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus. (Rev 1:9)
Now if Augustine did teach sola fide, you would think that the first man to popularize the doctrine would cite Augustine as an authority. Is that what Martin Luther did? Most definitely not. Regarding St. Augustine, Luther wrote:
Unintelligent persons, however, with regard to the apostle's statement: "We conclude that a man is justified by faith without the works of the law," have thought him to mean that faith suffices to a man, even if he lead a bad life, and has no good works. Impossible is it that such a character should be deemed "a vessel of election" by the apostle, who, after declaring that "in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision," adds at once, "but faith which worketh by love." It is such faith which severs God's faithful from unclean demons,--for even these "believe and tremble," as the Apostle James says; but they do not do well. Therefore they possess not the faith by which the just man lives,--the faith which works by love in such wise, that God recompenses it according to its works with eternal life. But inasmuch as we have even our good works from God, from whom likewise comes our faith and our love, therefore the selfsame great teacher of the Gentiles has designated "eternal life" itself as His gracious "gift."
CHAP. 19 [VIII.]--HOW IS ETERNAL LIFE BOTH A REWARD FOR SERVICE AND A FREE GIFT OF GRACE?
And hence there arises no small question, which must be solved by the Lord's gift. If eternal life is rendered to good works, as the Scripture most openly declares: "Then He shall reward every man according to his works:" how can eternal life be a matter of grace, seeing that grace is not rendered to works, but is given gratuitously, as the apostle himself tells us: "To him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt;" and again: "There is a remnant saved according to the election of grace;" with these words immediately subjoined: "And if of grace, then is it no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace"? How, then, is eternal life by grace, when it is received from works? Does the apostle perchance not say that eternal life is a grace? Nay, he has so called it, with a clearness which none can possibly gainsay. It requires no acute intellect, but only an attentive reader, to discover this. For after saying, "The wages of sin is death," he at once added, "The grace of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
CHAP. 20.--THE QUESTION ANSWERED. JUSTIFICATION IS GRACE SIMPLY AND ENTIRELY, ETERNAL LIFE IS REWARD AND GRACE.
This question, then, seems to me to be by no means capable of solution, unless we understand that even those good works of ours, which are recompensed with eternal life, belong to the grace of God, because of what is said by the Lord Jesus: "Without me ye can do nothing." And the apostle himself, after saying, "By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast;" saw, of course, the possibility that men would think from this statement that good works are not necessary to those who believe, but that faith alone suffices for them; and again, the possibility of men's boasting of their good works, as if they were of themselves capable of performing them. To meet, therefore, these opinions on both sides, he immediately added, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." What is the purport of his saying, "Not of works, lest any man should boast," while commending the grace of God? And then why does he afterwards, when giving a reason for using such words, say, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works"? Why, therefore, does it run, "Not of works, lest any man should boast"? Now, hear and understand. "Not of works" is spoken of the works which you suppose have their origin in yourself alone; but you have to think of works for which God has moulded (that is, has formed and created) you. For of these he says, "We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works." Now he does not here speak of that creation which made us human beings, but of that in reference to which one said who was already in full manhood, "Create in me a clean heart, O God;" concerning which also the apostle says, "Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God." We are framed, therefore, that is, formed and created, "in the good works which" we have not ourselves prepared, but "God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
It follows, then, dearly beloved, beyond all doubt, that as your good life is nothing else than God's grace, so also the eternal life which is the recompense of a good life is the grace of God; moreover it is given gratuitously, even as that is given gratuitously to which it is given. But that to which it is given is solely and simply grace; this thereforeis also that which is given to it, because it is its reward;--grace is for grace, as if remuneration for righteousness; in order that it may be true, because it is true, that God "shall reward every man according tohis works." (A Treastise on Grace and Free Will)
Finally, consider what Alistair McGrath, the eminent Reformed Protestant
theologian writes about justification: