It was objected that it was disingenous for me to use Augustine’s exegesis against Irenaeus’s position. The (non)reasoning was that Augustine rejected sola fide and thus Reformed couldn’t extend the hand of fellowship to him. Supposedly, we give him a “free pass.” What to make of it?
Well for starters, it is a bogus logical fallacy (we are getting a lot of those lately; seems to be a connection somewhere). Because I disagree with a man on one point does not mean I cannot assent to a point I think he gets correct. So did Augustine deny sola fide? Before I answer it was pointed out that I can’t say “such wasn’t an issue then.” I reply, says who? Who are you to establish the parameters of the debate? In any case, I don’t think I am really competent enough to judge either way. The quote in “Spirit and the Letter” seems to affirm that he did not formulate justification in the same way that Luther did. Of course, this is fairly unremarkable. All Reformed students of historical theology know this. In some ways it would have been impossible for Augustine to affirm sola fide because his use of Latin (iustificare) means that one does something vis-a-vis justification (which is a huge problem for the Latin language).
My point was that Augustine, unlike Orthodox Bridge and Irenaeus, actually makes an argument for his position. I happen to agree with his premises and conclusions (at least broadly; this also raises the issue of creationism vs. traducianism, of which I am undecided).