Augustine, Millennial Man

by Ken Curtis, Ph.D.

Saint_Augustine

If a vote were taken on who were the most influential Christians that lived since Bible times, then one name would show up near the top on just about anyone's list. Whether Protestant or Catholic, Conservative or Liberal, any informed observer over the past fifteen hundred years would include the name of Augustine at or close to the top.

Some great leaders in our world made an impact on a whole generation. A select few even influenced a whole century. But Augustine was an incomparable figure in shaping the whole millennium of the Middle Ages and in many ways the foundations of modern Western civilization.

Fortunately, we know a lot about Augustine for he wrote what is considered the first autobiography in history. It is still published and sells well today over fifteen hundred years after his death. It is called The Confessions.

Augustine was a North African, born at Tagaste in what is now modern Algeria on November 13, 354 into a middle class family. His mother Monica was a strong Christian who persistently prayed for the salvation of her son, a brilliant young man who had no interest in the things of Christ. Monica tried to bring Augustine up in the ways and instruction of the Lord, but Augustine ignored her instructions. He loved to play, was prone to fits of temper, and was full of boyhood pranks, like stealing his neighbor's pears and throwing them to the pigs.

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