Influential heretic Charles Hodge makes some excellent and astute observations about the speculations of theologians in a section on the Trinity under the subheading of “Arianism,” and also in a section termed “Erroneous and Heretical Doctrines on the Person of Christ”:
“It is to be constantly remembered that these speculations were the business of the theologians [e.g., Origen, Dionysius of Alexandria, Arius–CD]. They neither expressed nor affected to express the mind of the Church. The great body of the people drew their faith, then, as now, immediately from the Scriptures and from the services of the sanctuary. They were baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. They addressed themselves to the Father as the creator of heaven and earth, and as their reconciled God and Father, and to Jesus Christ as their Redeemer, and to the Holy Ghost as their sanctifier and comforter. They loved, worshipped, and trusted the one as they did the others. This was the religious belief of the Church, which remained undisturbed by the speculations and controversies of the theologians, in their attempts to vindicate and explain the common faith. This state of confusion was, however, a great evil, and in order to bring the Church to an agreement as to the manner in which this fundamental doctrine of Christianity should be stated, the Emperor Constantine summoned the First Ecumenical Council, to meet at Nice, in Nicomedia, A.D. 325″ (Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, Volume 1, p. 453).
“We must indeed always bear in mind the difference between the speculations of theologians and the faith of the great body of the people of God. It is a false assumption that the doctrines taught by the ecclesiastical writers of a particular age, constituted the faith of believers of that age. The doctrines of theologians are largely determined by their antecedents and by the current philosophy of the day in which they live. This is unavoidable. The faith of the common people is determined by the Word of God, by the worship of the sanctuary, and by the teachings of the Spirit. They remain in a great measure ignorant of, or indifferent to, the speculations of theologians” (Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, Volume 2, pp. 397-398).
For instance the great Augustine believed in salvation by the work of baptism (i.e., baptismal regeneration). Since ALL true believers throughout all of history believe in salvation conditioned on Christ alone, their faith was NOT the “faith” of Augustine. Augustine’s faith was in the work of baptism. He was ignorant of the righteousness of God revealed in the gospel (Romans 10:1-4). Christ profited him nothing. He fell from grace.
“Behold, I, Paul, say to you that if you are circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man being circumcised, that he is a debtor to do all the Law, [you], whoever are justified by Law, you were severed from Christ, you fell from grace” (Galatians 5:2-4).
Augustine’s view of salvation was determined by a ritualistic legalism. The faith of God’s regenerate people alive during the time of Augustine was determined by the Word of God. For more on Augustine’s damnable belief in salvation conditioned on the sinner see the post, “Augustine gets a pass”: