The Bondage of the Will   -     By: Martin Luther
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The Bondage of the Will

Baker / 1957 / Paperback

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Martin Luther's The Bondage of the Will is fundamental to an understanding of the primary doctrines of the Reformation. In these pages, Luther gives extensive treatment to what he saw as the heart of the gospel. Free will was not merely an academic question for Luther. Rather, he believed that the whole gospel of the grace of God was bound up with it and stood or fell according to how one understands the human will in relation to salvation. Luther affirms our total inability to save ourselves and the sovereignty of divine grace in salvation. He upholds the doctrine of justification by faith and defends predestination as determined by the foreknowledge of God. Luther considered this refutation of Erasmus to be his finest theological work and it has remained a classic in the history of Christian thought.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 322
Vendor: Baker
Publication Date: 1957
Dimensions: 5 1/2 X 8 (inches)
ISBN: 0801048931
ISBN-13: 9780801048937
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

The Bondage of the Will is fundamental to an understanding of the primary doctrines of the Reformation. In these pages, Luther gives extensive treatment to what he saw as the heart of the gospel.

Free will was no academic question to Luther; the whole gospel of the grace of God, he believed, was bound up with it and stood or fell according to the way one understood it. Luther affirms our total inability to save ourselves and the sovereignty of divine grace in our salvation. He upholds the doctrine of justification by faith and defends predestination as determined by the foreknowledge of God.

This accurate translation by J. I. Packer and O. R. Johnston captures the vitality of Luther's treatise, thereby conveying its relevance to our lives today. The translators write, "Do we not stand in urgent need of such teaching as Luther here gives us--teaching which humbles man, strengthens faith, and glorifies God?"

Author Bio

J. I. Packer, considered one of the most influential Evangelicals in North America, is the Board of Governors' Professor of Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. His many books include Knowing God and Keep in Step with the Spirit.

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  1. Rev. Don W. Robertson
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Foundational Book for the Faith
    February 20, 2012
    Rev. Don W. Robertson
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5

    This book and translation is excellent. Martin Luther lays the foundation for the Protestant doctrine of the total inability of the Will to believe in Christ outside of God's enabling grace. It gives a death blow to the false teaching that the will is not fallen and the view that it is able to believe savingly in Christ prior to conversion without the Holy Spirit regenerating the heart. I highly recommend that every Christian read this book to understand this issue about the will which was pivotal in Luther's thinking about the gospel of grace. Sadly many people who claim to be protestants today are actually unaware that they are disagreeing with Luther and the other giants of the reformation about this vital topic and consequently undermining the doctrine of God's Sovereign grace in salvation.

  2. Jonathan
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    February 17, 2009
    Jonathan

    First published in late 1525, this work represents Luther's fullest treatment on the issue of "free will." Luther interacts with his contemporary, Erasmus of Rotterdam, considering the nature of human "freedom" and its implications for understanding how one responds to the Gospel. Luther gives a classic reformed (i.e., Augustinian) response to the question, emphasizing the depravity of man and espousing a will-of-inclination view of man (i.e., man does what he most wants to do). Thus, while God permits evil, sinful people desire to do sinful things, are ultimately responsible for their own actions, and can only be saved by God's provident grace acting upon them and enabling them to respond in faith. This is one of Luther's most insightful and colorful writings. Luther argues full-voice against his opponent, taking a harsh (one might even say caustic) tone throughout. While this work is not a good place for those new to the subject to begin, those in the church interested in the historical theology, intermediate students in theology, pastors, and academics will find this work helpful for understanding the issues related to the free-will debate as well as a window into Luther's thought. It is to this audience that I highly recommend the book. This volume has an excellent introductory essay by J. I. Packer, outlining both historical and theological issues surrounding the work.

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