Highlights from this week on my Twitter feed:
- While you establish free will, you make Christ void, and bring the whole Scripture to destruction. -Martin Luther #fb (Online Source)
- Just had a fantastic experience preaching the gospel at work. The Word of God really is sufficient! #fb (Online Source)
- The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I… http://bible.us/Ps27.1.ESV (Online Source)
- I am not a Christ-follower, I am a Christian. Know the difference. #fb (Online Source)
- A blog post is in the works on this one.
- “The Word of God can take care of itself, and will do so if we preach it, and cease defending it.” –CH Spurgeon #fb (Online Source)
- Bummer; my Bible’s battery died. (Online Source)
The Bondage of the Will by Martin Luther
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I wish I had known about this book when I was in high school. For much of my formative years I have struggled with seeing free will in the Bible, being taught about the “age of accountability” and told that it was very explicit in the pages of Scripture. It came down to a single decision: stand alone on the argument against free will or submit to the teaching of the church. Submit was what I thought was my only option.
Happy I was to find out more than a year ago that I was not alone: there are many people who agree that there is no free will in the face of God’s omnipotence. Not only that, but it is not a new idea at all. Martin Luther does a masterful job in this classic of laying out the teaching of the Bible and its very staunch view of God’s action in drawing us to himself as the only way to be reconciled to him.
It would stand to reason that Christians who hang with reformation theology would have a problem with talking about “works.” One blogger recently suggested that reformed Christians have a “fear of works.” Even from its inception, the Reformation was reactive against the authority of the Papacy and the doctrine of the Roman Catholic church regarding penance and works as being a payment for sin. At that time the Catholic church was the only option in terms of Christian teaching and worship, and its intimate relationship with the ruling powers easily allowed the false doctrine of justification by works violate and tarnish the gospel. Martin Luther, John Calvin and others challenged the church’s position and many were burned at the stake for their challenge.
But the Bible does teach us to do good, in fact (dare I say) it requires Christians to do good works. Surely without good works there would never have been a Reformation and no one would have taken up the banner of the true gospel even to death without them. There is a dramatic difference between justification by works, which is outright heresy, and justification by faith. Indeed we are justified by our faith, and it is this gospel that is so clearly defined in the book of Galatians.