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The Bondage of the Will

by Martin Luther

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,402185,499 (4.33)9
Written in 1525 in response to the writings of Erasmus, "The Bondage of the Will" conveys Luther's beliefs on the issue of free will during the Protestant Reformation. Because of the fall of man, he debates with Erasmus on whether or not human beings are free to decide on good or evil. He asserts in this well written and uniquely styled work that we are incapacitated by sin, and human beings must rely on the complete sovereignty of God to redeem us and bring about our salvation. Because man is dictated by Satan, he must be saved entirely by God, and this liberation should lead to the service of God. Considered a masterpiece of Reformation literature, Luther's writing is a combination of deep theological thought with a gentle humor and a refreshing directness. Because of its primary position in Reformation doctrine, "The Bondage of the Will" is a vital link in understanding the ideas of Luther and his place in the Christian tradition.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
Martin Luther's Bondage of the Will (1525) is a response to Desiderius Erasmus's "Diatribe on Free Will.’ The work is considered as one of the great masterpieces of the Reformation.
Luther writes powerfully about man's depravity and God's sovereignty in his direct style, which combines spirituality and humor. For Luther, the crucial issue was the ability of free will, and the extent to which it is subject to God's sovereignty. This key issue of free will is directly connected to the plan of salvation, in his view. Is man able to save himself, or is his salvation entirely a work of divine grace?
That sin incapacitates human beings from working out their own salvation, and that they are completely incapable of bringing themselves to God. As such, there is no free will for humanity because any will they might have is overwhelmed by the influence of sin.
Bondage of the Will is vital to understanding the primary doctrines of the Reformation.
  wpcalibrary | Oct 26, 2022 |
From Daniel Christensen
  WHC_Librarian | Aug 26, 2022 |
The title of this book could easily be called "THE GOSPEL." One of the most important books from Church history expounding the most obvious and crucial truths of our most gracious God. Grace alone. Readers will walk away from this book praising God in awe of His (God's) glory and grace. ( )
  FORTBEAUPRE | Sep 6, 2021 |
Luther is writing this as a response to Erasmus, who was a well known humanist scholar. Erasmus decided to stay within the Roman Catholic church. Erasmus wants Luther to see the ramifications of saying, "there is no free will." However, Luther forcefully counters all the polemics made by Erasmus.

He says, everything is by God and if he is omniscient, his immutable will shall prevail no matter what. I could really feel Luther's caustic words. He quotes a lot of scriptures and simply shows that it does not support free will. It only says, "What ought to be done, not what can be done."

Luther is forceful, persuasive and writes in an abrasive tone. He had struggled with sin, even though he knew Christ died for his sins, He kept confessing and confessing. He felt horrible inside as he knew that he was not good enough, he tried everything to get rid of sin. It simply did not work, it won't work. It can be fought by the Spirit of God ––Romans 8:13.
Finally, It was an epiphany when he found his answer in the book of Ephesians, "By Grace you have been saved and not by works, so that no one can boast."

On Sovereignty of God,
Luther says, "That God foreknows nothing by contingency, but that he foresees, purposes and does all things according to his immutable, eternal and infallible will. By this thunderbolt, Free-will is thrown prostrate and utterly dashed to pieces. Those, therefore, who would assert Free will, must either deny this thunderbolt, or pretend not to see it, or push it from them."

In Bondage of the Will, Luther simply settles that Everything is by God and for his Glory.Nothing can be done by Man and if it is from Man, then it will be from the flesh. Whatever your position be in this topic, I would advise to be loving, gentle, warm and friendly. It seems that within the church, there's a lot of animosity, division as a result of this. A good book, I would recommend it to all Christians.

––Deus Vult––
Gottfried

( )
  gottfried_leibniz | Apr 5, 2018 |
Luther is writing this as a response to Erasmus, who was a well known humanist scholar. Erasmus decided to stay within the Roman Catholic church. Erasmus wants Luther to see the ramifications of saying, "there is no free will." However, Luther forcefully counters all the polemics made by Erasmus.

He says, everything is by God and if he is omniscient, his immutable will shall prevail no matter what. I could really feel Luther's caustic words. He quotes a lot of scriptures and simply shows that it does not support free will. It only says, "What ought to be done, not what can be done."

Luther is forceful, persuasive and writes in an abrasive tone. He had struggled with sin, even though he knew Christ died for his sins, He kept confessing and confessing. He felt horrible inside as he knew that he was not good enough, he tried everything to get rid of sin. It simply did not work, it won't work. It can be fought by the Spirit of God ––Romans 8:13.
Finally, It was an epiphany when he found his answer in the book of Ephesians, "By Grace you have been saved and not by works, so that no one can boast."

On Sovereignty of God,
Luther says, "That God foreknows nothing by contingency, but that he foresees, purposes and does all things according to his immutable, eternal and infallible will. By this thunderbolt, Free-will is thrown prostrate and utterly dashed to pieces. Those, therefore, who would assert Free will, must either deny this thunderbolt, or pretend not to see it, or push it from them."

In Bondage of the Will, Luther simply settles that Everything is by God and for his Glory.Nothing can be done by Man and if it is from Man, then it will be from the flesh. Whatever your position be in this topic, I would advise to be loving, gentle, warm and friendly. It seems that within the church, there's a lot of animosity, division as a result of this. A good book, I would recommend it to all Christians.

––Deus Vult––
Gottfried

( )
  gottfried_leibniz | Apr 5, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
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Martin Lutherprimary authorall editionscalculated
Johnston, O. R.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Packer, J. I.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Written in 1525 in response to the writings of Erasmus, "The Bondage of the Will" conveys Luther's beliefs on the issue of free will during the Protestant Reformation. Because of the fall of man, he debates with Erasmus on whether or not human beings are free to decide on good or evil. He asserts in this well written and uniquely styled work that we are incapacitated by sin, and human beings must rely on the complete sovereignty of God to redeem us and bring about our salvation. Because man is dictated by Satan, he must be saved entirely by God, and this liberation should lead to the service of God. Considered a masterpiece of Reformation literature, Luther's writing is a combination of deep theological thought with a gentle humor and a refreshing directness. Because of its primary position in Reformation doctrine, "The Bondage of the Will" is a vital link in understanding the ideas of Luther and his place in the Christian tradition.

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