About Augustine

Augustine's Confessions I’d like to introduce you to someone who has been a tremendous influence on me.  He’s a character, who once admitted during a rebellious stage, “I was ashamed to be less scandalous than my peers.”  He was a questioner and searcher who navigated through the rough waters of life, alternatively running from the truth, denying the truth and finally, relentlessly seeking the truth.

He’s now referred to by title as “Saint,” but I tend to think of him as my friend Augustine.  I know.  He’s been dead for more than a few centuries.  But the tales he left behind, the insight, and the soul-baring story he shared with the world, have impacted my life and ministry in a profound, unforgettable manner.

Augustine’s story, aptly titled Confessions, is refreshingly honest —probably more so than I will ever be.  He has been described by fans and historians as  “a great sinner who became a great saint” … “the greatest African who ever lived, the keenest mind of the ancient world after Plato and Aristotle, the outstanding genius of the Roman Catholic Church and the spearhead of the Protestant Reformation”1 … and, “the best—if not the very first—psychologist in the ancient world.”2

But what draws me to him the most is his passion and his unabashed love for God.

Born in 354 A.D., the son of a poor, pagan freeman and a devout Christian mother, Augustine was unusually intelligent. Shoving aside his mother’s prayers, he spent his adolescence in rebellion, exploring sexual pleasure and running with a gang.   He eventually established himself, through higher education, as a scholar and teacher. A mistress kept him company, and his successful lifestyle had all the trappings of a man who had it all.

But an intense struggle plagued his life as he wrestled with his intellect, his mother’s prayers, and his spiritual hunger to find the truth.  The Confessions are the story of that struggle and his ultimate passion for God, which he finally expressed so eloquently:  “I love you Lord, not doubtingly, but with absolute certainty. Your Word beat upon my heart until I fell in love with you, and now the universe and everything in it tells me to love you, and tells the same thing to all of us, so that we are without excuse.”

The Confessions of Augustine have been translated many times throughout the centuries, but I don’t think anyone has captured the sense of Augustine better than my friend Dr. Sherwood Wirt.  in his modern english translation.

Augustine taught me that no matter where we are in life, no matter what we’ve done or how far we’ve strayed, it is never too late to come to the Lord and surrender our hearts and wills to His love and mercy.

“I came to love you late, O Beauty so ancient and so new,” he wrote.  “I came to love you late.  You were within me and I was outside, where I rushed about wildly searching for you like some monster loose in your beautiful world.  You called me, you shouted to me, you broke past my deafness.  You bathed me in your light, wrapped me in your splendor…you touched me and I burned to know your peace.”

May we all long to know His peace with such fervor!

Ray Bentley