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The Bondage of the Will Paperback – December 17, 2009
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After slogging through 95 pages of its barely understandable jargon, I asked my dad, Pastor Gerry Mohr (LCMS) if Luther's reputation for intellect was, perhaps, a bit unearned. He replied, "Cole whipped out his translation effort in three months or less. Luther's original is a direct reply to a work by Erasmus directly aimed against what Luther was teaching. Cole does not take the time to understand either Erasmus or Luther; he gets a quick job finished. Good translation is not generally done like that. And Cole does not convey well the arguments and language of Luther in English.
"Read the translation by Packer & Johnston. These translators say, "This edition was originally to have been a revision of Cole's. It became evident, however, that the tortuous style of this translation so obscured the meaning and force of the original that it was better to attempt a completely new translation, which might more adequately convey the impetuous flow and dialectical strength of Luther's powerful Latin."
"Packer & Johnston (who are Reformed, not Lutheran) say in their introduction, "This, then, is the Luther whom we meet in The Bondage of the Will: a great-hearted Christian warrior; a thorough exegete (he wins the battle of the texts hands down); a profound systematic theologian; and above all, an unflinching defender of the grace of a sovereign God.""
In his treatise Luther systematically demolishes Erasmus' arguments in favor of free-will. Luther brilliantly illustrates why the will is in total and complete bondage and enslavement to sin, and why free-will is a completely meaningless term. Luther argues that the only thing the will is free to do is to sin and rebel against God.
Luther shows that salvation is totally dependent on the grace of God and His sovereign Will. To say that even a small part of the human will can prepare itself to receive God's grace is an utterly ludricous sentiment. Erasmus believes that a human being by a very small effort can earn God's grace. Luther totally destroys this view and shows that to espouse such a view makes one worse than the Pelagians, who held that it took numerous great works to earn God's grace.
This book is as applicable today as it was when Luther first wrote this book. When so many Protestant Churches hold to a soteriological view more akin to that of Erasmus, it is absolutely vital that the truth of the Reformation be brought back into the spotlight. Read this book to gain a greater understanding of the major area of disagreement among the Reformers and the Catholic Church of the time, and also to understand that our salvation is not predicated on any meritorious work that we accomplish, but simply on the grace of God.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
All of Dr Lawson's books are collectible and worthy of being read over...and over,,,, (to bad he played ball in the wrong conference :-) )
I should have read reviews prior to buying this particular interpretation. For those like me who cannot seem to follow the Bible's King James version, this is a no go for you. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Todd Nuccio
Luther's greatest work. Logic on fire. Filled with the Spirit. Only buy the Packer/Johnston version. The introduction is invaluable and the translation is the best out there. Read morePublished 3 months ago by D. Bayly
I love Martin Luther. I love his sense of humor, his exhaustive, and to the point, explanations. How he untangles the verbiage of Erasmus and goes straight to the core of the... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Sue Ferdig
This book by the great reformer Martin Luther is a must read for any Christian. The price could not be beaten it was the best spent 99cents. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Charles Adams
Luther is one of the best Christian writers of all time. A great learning tool in your walk with Christ.Published 5 months ago by 65speciallady
I want to make it clear that I am really glad that I read this work. I want to know how the giants of history thought. In that context, I found this work most illuminating. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Francis C. Donnelly