The Doctrine of Predestination
THE CONTRAST BETWEEN THE TRUE LUTHER and the traditional Luther is sharpest at the point of the understanding of free will. The issue has to do with the matter of preparation for grace (dispositio ad gratiam). Is there anything man can do to prepare himself to receive God’s grace? In answering this question negatively Luther wrote in Assertio omnium articulorum (1520), referring to the pope: “You argue that free will can prepare for the reception of grace, but Christ says contrariwise that such a thing is rejected, increasing the distance between man’s possibilities and grace.” 1 This same thought is expressed repeatedly in The Bondage of the Will. The very opening statement of purpose itself is significant. In the first part of the book Luther quotes Erasmus’s definition of free will: “I conceive of ‘free will’ in this context as a power of the human will by which a man may apply himself to those things that lead to eternal salvation, or turn away from the same.”2 Concerning this definition Luther says:
KeywordsHuman Reason Natural Religion View Reason Dualistic Framework Holy Ghost
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