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Bondage of the Will, The [Paperback]

By Martin Luther (Author), J. I. Packer (Translator) & O. R. Johnston (Translator)
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Item description for Bondage of the Will, The by Martin Luther, J. I. Packer & O. R. Johnston...

Overview
Presents Martin Luther's response to Erasmus concerning free will.

Publishers Description
A classic reference, fundamental to an understanding of the original doctrines of the Reformation.

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Item Specifications...


Studio: Revell
Pages   328
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.54" Width: 5.61" Height: 0.69"
Weight:   0.85 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jul 1, 2000
Publisher   Baker Publishing Group
Age  18
Edition  Reprinted  
ISBN  0800753429  
ISBN13  9780800753429  


Availability  0 units.


More About Martin Luther, J. I. Packer & O. R. Johnston


Martin Luther

Martin Luther (1483-1546) was professor of Bible at Wittenberg University, and many of his expositions came out of his classroom. Considered one of the most powerful discussions of justification by faith written by any of the Reformers, this commentary on Galatians has had a profound impact on many through the centuries.

Alister McGrath (PhD, University of Oxford) is the Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at the University of Oxford, president of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics, and senior research fellow at Harris Manchester College in Oxford. He is also a noted author and coeditor of Crossway's Classic Commentaries series.

J. I. Packer (DPhil, Oxford University) serves as the Board of Governors' Professor of Theology at Regent College. He is the author of numerous books, including the classic best-seller Knowing God. Packer served as general editor for the English Standard Version Bible and as theological editor for the ESV Study Bible.

J. I. Packer (DPhil, Oxford University) serves as the Board of Governors' Professor of Theology at Regent College. He is the author of numerous books, including the classic best-seller Knowing God. Packer served as general editor for the English Standard Version Bible and as theological editor for the ESV Study Bible.



Martin Luther was born in 1483 and died in 1546.

Martin Luther has published or released items in the following series...
  1. 40-Day Journey
  2. Anchor Library of Religion
  3. Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought
  4. Facets
  5. Library of Christian Classics
  6. Luther Classic Commentaries Luther Classic Commentaries
  7. Luther's Works (Augsburg)
  8. Luther's Works (Concordia)


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1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Authors, A-Z > ( L ) > Luther, Martin
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Protestantism > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Protestantism > Inspirational
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Protestantism > Lutheran
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Bible > General


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Reviews - What do customers think about Bondage of the Will, The?

The Christian Robot  Mar 8, 2007
The Bondage of the Will is necessary reading for anyone seeking to understand the roots of Protestant theology. I am a Catholic and found most of what Luther wrote to be poorly based and unscriptural, however, his treatise on the bondage of the will did serve to stress once again the Pauline doctrine of justification by grace alone. This doctrine which teaches that there is nothing a man can do to begin, promote, or accomplish his justification before God, but that justification is initiated, begun, and brought to fulfillment completely through God's grace has been Catholic doctrine from the beginning. Tragically, this doctrine was muddied and distorted by the late Scholastic theology of the "via moderna" - the only theology Luther was really familiar with. Apparently Luther knew very little if any Christian theology pre-dating the 14th Century. The doctrine of justification by faith alone appeared to him therefore as a novelty; something he had "rediscovered." This doctrine, however, is not what the Catholic Church took issue with. It was Luther's insistence that even after justification a man remains totally corrupt. Luther makes plain in this text that even subsequent to justification any good a person accomplishes is done without any human input; all good actions are accomplished by God alone. Luther is very unclear in his explanation of how this occurs. He says man's nature is changed, regenerated, and wills only good after justification, but somehow the man is also evil and deserves only eternal damnation. It is only by the grace of God he is spared this. What part of the man remains evil Luther doesn't clarify. If it is God alone that works the good in us according to our new nature and we have absolutely no ability to reject God's grace and action in our lives (just as under Satan we have absolutely no say in whether we sin since we are then ruled by Satan), we are not only in effect, but in our innermost being nothing more than automatons without any inherent meaning to our existence. Luther makes it extremely clear that in his view man has no free will after justification. He is "free" in the sense that he operates according to his nature, but he has no ability to act otherwise. That man is most free when he acts in accord with his nature has always been Catholic doctrine, but at no time in history did Christianity teach, and nowhere in the Bible does it say man cannot turn away from God or reject his grace. Believing this makes the Bible, indeed the whole of existence, an exercise in futility. Why would Jesus die for men whom he causes to sin necessarily? Why would he have to? Luther says this is part of God's "hidden Majestic will" that we have no right to question. He frequently sites Paul's words in Romans 9:14-25 and 11.33-36 in justification of this attitude, but Paul is clearly speaking in these passages of God's providential guidance of history and peoples - not the justification and salvation of individuals. Luther claims to be in agreement with St. Augustine, but anyone who has read Augustine knows there are scarcely two men more distant in thought. Augustine, as all Christianity, held that once an individual is justified he truly becomes a new creation capable of freely choosing the good through the grace of Christ. This action is done through the power of God's grace, yet it is truly the individual's own action as well. Furthermore, as Paul makes clear in numerous passages, an individual always possesses the ability to reject Christ even subsequent to justification. Although Luther claimed his doctrine of "necessity of immutability" offered consolation to those perturbed by conscience, in reality it creates a universe in which we have no control over our own destiny, all things are determined apart from us, and God damns or glorifies those whom he chooses on an absolutely arbitrary basis. I cannot see how this can be comforting, let alone "good news." Luther holds that simply because God has foreseen all things from eternity that everything happens of necessity. He makes a gigantic blunder in confusing God's eternal vision from outside time with the free operations of persons within time. Simply because we remember something from yesterday, it doesn't follow that we caused it to happen. In the same way, because God sees all things due to his being outside time, it doesn't follow that he caused them directly. He allows men to freely choose to reject his grace. He created us free and desires all men to be saved and offers all men his grace. Luther is absolutely right in saying man can do nothing to save himself - it is all grace, but he can do something to cause his damnation - he can reject this grace when it is offered to him each day of his life. Perhaps it was providential, though, that Luther stressed "grace alone." Much Christian theology had drifted far from this gospel truth. Finally, I found Luther's caustic sarcasm hard to stomach. I'm not a fan of Erasmus (to whom Luther was responding and who did a poor job of defining the Catholic position), but Luther's anathemas and ad hominem attacks detracted considerably from a book that would otherwise have been quite enjoyable to read.
 
Required Reading for Pastors  Nov 6, 2006
This fascinating book explores the question of just how much "free will" humans actually have in the light of God's will and sovereignty. With modern man's insistence on their own dominion over their own destinies, it is good and necessary to examine the scriptural evidence to the contrary. The question is, as fallible humans, are we going to place our trust in how things feel to us, or in the infallible, unshakeable Word of God? May we return the glory to Him unto whom it is due!
 
Must have  Oct 6, 2006
A must have resource for the serious student of theology on the topic of free will and predestination - two of the most perplexing questions of the Christian faith. This is a collection of responses from Martin Luther to objections raised to his views on the topic. The objections that were raised then are raised now and will be to the end of time. Read Luther's response and search the scriptures yourself to find the truth.
 
Is Scripture clear about election?  Jul 4, 2006
In this masterpiece, Luther does not merely explicate those Scriptures teaching unconditional election, but he also makes the crucial distinction between God's hidden will, which we are forbidden to pry into, and his will to save all, revealed to us in the proclamation of the good news of Christ's death for the sins of the world.

Luther struck at the root of the uncertainty of Erasmus concerning election: the latter scholar saw Scripture as unclear, with some passages favoring election and others favoring free will. In fact, a section on Scripture's perspicuity undermines Calvinists' appeals to the book for support. For in it, Luther put the Reformed "heretics" in the same category as the Arians and the likes of Erasmus: each of the three groups respectively read figures of speech into Scripture instead of believing what it said about the Real Presence, the full deity of Christ, or the total depravity of man. (My "Comment" clarifies this.)
 
An indispensible resource for all Christians  May 30, 2006
Martin Luther's book The Bondage of the Will is an excellent treatment of a question that is just as relevant in the 21st century as it was at the time of its writing. While the title, the context, the author, and the message may not be immediately appealing to most of today's Christians, the book is not an abstract theological splitting of hairs. It addresses a question that is absolutely central to Christianity: What do individuals contribute to their own salvation? Are we truly saved by the grace of God alone, or is God dependent on our exercising our free-will to do our own part in our salvation?

Luther energetically affirms that the Scriptures clearly teach that man's "salvation is utterly beyond his own powers, counsels, efforts, will and works, and depends absolutely on the will, cousel, pleasure and work of Another - God alone." The reason that Luther's thesis is as vital today as it was 500 years ago is because human nature, in all places and in all times, is characterized by the tendency to assert its own autonomy from God. Unfortunately, this is as true of Christians as it is of non-Christians. In his book, Luther answers all of the objections brought by Erasmus, carefully considering each passage of Scripture that Erasmus uses, and showing the arbitrary character of his interpretation. He also considers the arguments that Erasmus makes from "human reason", and considers other texts of the Bible that clearly teach the bondage of the will. The tone of Luther's writing in many places may come as a shock to modern ears in the age of sensitivity, but we must not forget that he was answering a point where he knew that the very essence of the gospel was at stake.

Luther's writing, presented in the Packer/Johnston translation, is not difficult to read. I enjoyed the book very much, and even found myself laughing out loud at certain points. I think that all Christians will benefit immensely from reading and thinking about this book. If you are familiar with reformed theology, you will enjoy reading one of the masterpieces of the reformation. If you are unfamiliar with reformed theology, or if you disagree with reformed theology, I would urge you to read and to carefully think about what Luther says in this book, and whether we can with sincerity dismiss what Scripture says about this issue. Think honestly with yourself whether or not it is true that our natural tendency as sinful people is to want to assert our own self-sufficiency in salvation, and to think that we can't really be as bad as God says we are. If you think that things like the freedom or bondage of the will and other such theological doctrines are unimportant, that is exactly what Erasmus thought too, who said in his preface that he finds "little satisfaction in assertions" (doctrines) and "prefer[s] an undogmatic temper to any other". Luther answers this position, too, and shows that if we call ourselves Christians, we cannot ignore assertions that God makes in His Word, and that the doctrine of the bondage of the will is so far from being an abstract and inconsequential bit of theology, that it is actually part of the very foundation of Biblical Christian faith.
 

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