REASON NOR FREE-WILL POINTS TO HIM:
LUTHER'S ASSERTION THAT THE WHOLE MAN IS IN BONDAGE
©1998 Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals
In the years immediately following Martin Luther's emerging fame after posting the Ninety-Five Theses in 1517, many European observers wondered how the Renaissance and Reformation movements might relate to one another in the future. After all, both were interested in a type of reform in the Church. Furthermore, each movement was led by a brilliant man who had angered the Church's hierarchy, and who might therefore benefit from an alliance with another visible figure. Individually, the men might be marginalized, but together, some speculated, their reform proposals might receive more serious attention. Desiderius Erasmus (c. 1466-1536) was more than fifteen years older than Luther (1483-1546), and considerably less interested in theology proper. Yet, as J. I. Packer has written, "many anticipated that the outspoken young Saxon and the cool clear-thinking Lowlander would join forces."
Such expectations seem hardly believable to those living after the Reformation--or, more specifically, after Luther and Erasmus' heated public exchange about the human will. For Luther opened his 1525 response to Erasmus' Freedom of the Will by announcing that using Erasmus' brilliant eloquence to convey such a weak argument "is like using gold or silver dishes to carry garden rubbish or dung." And he concluded his critique by offering a sincere--but nonetheless shocking--prayer that Erasmus might one day be converted to Christianity. Yet, in spite of the debate's vigor, it was possible for men in earlier years (c. 1517-1519) to speculate about common cause. Such hopes were encouraged by the attempts of Philip Melanchthon, who was both an evangelical and a humanist, to bring the two men closer together.
Additionally, the evangelicals had been the beneficiaries of much of the humanists' work. Most obvious is Erasmus' Greek scholarship which aided Protestant New Testament exegesis, but Erasmus had also in fact been a political asset to the evangelicals on a number of occasions: He had urged the Church to be moderate in its judgment of its critics (Luther particularly), he had argued that Rome should stop burning the reformers' books, and he allegedly declined an offer of a bishopric if he would publicly reject Luther's teaching.
Ultimately, though, as the visible leader of the humanist movement too often identified with the new Evangelicalism, Erasmus decided that he must comment on Luther's destabilizing writings. After the death of Pope Leo X and the ascent of Adrian VI in 1521, Erasmus was on better terms with Rome. For Adrian was a friend of Erasmus'. Additionally, Luther's increasingly public observations that Erasmus was able to critique the Church but was not able to offer anything better (specifically because Erasmus' theology was not Christocentric enough), surely angered the elder scholar. Finally, though, it seems to have been Luther's dismissive statements about the human will--which Erasmus understood to degrade the entire man (and, by implication, God)--which prompted Erasmus to action.
The result was the 1524 publication of Erasmus' Diatribe [or Discussion] Concerning Free Will, despite a prior letter from Luther warning him that he would be better off not getting in over his head. Erasmus had long made it clear that he was wary of theological dispute because it tended to be divisive. He preferred peace within the Church because Christ was, after all, the agent of peace. Yet, under pressure from both friend and foe to reveal where he stood regarding Luther's teaching on Christian freedom, Erasmus concluded that engaging Luther on the will would be beneficial for at least three reasons: He could publicly distance himself from the heretical Luther, he could defend the dignity of man from the abuses of Luther's "extreme" view of Adam's fall, and he could offer a public sermon about the superiority of piety (which is beneficial to both the pious and their neighbors) over doctrine (which is often destructive).
Luther's response, The Bondage of the Will (1525), which he generally considered his best work, is surprisingly forceful. (At least Erasmus accomplished his goal of showing his distance from the zealous Luther!) The other two aims of Erasmus' book (his position on the freedom of the will, and his prioritization of piety over doctrine) are, Luther insists, intimately connected. For Erasmus can only place his hope in man's piety because he believes that man's will is free to attain piety. Protestants, on the other hand, despair of attaining righteousness by their own actions, so if man is to have any hope at all, it must be found in theology, not ethics.
But, Erasmus replies, is that to imply that theology is silent on ethical matters? Did not Jesus, God Incarnate, say that the summary of the law is love of God and love of neighbor?
Identifying the Chief Division in Theology: Law and Gospel
Clearly, our interlocutors need to reach agreement on some definitions. Most importantly, Luther complains that Erasmus "makes no distinction at all between the voices of the law and of the gospel; so blind and ignorant is [Erasmus' book] that it does not see what the law and the gospel are." The problem here is that the law is not good news to a law-breaker; it is horrifying to learn that God demands something from man that he does not have (righteousness). It is only as a consequence of this horror--that is, as a consequence of law--that the message of Christ's living and dying has any meaning. To the poor and the despairing, Luther writes, "the gospel is preached and this is just the word that offers the Spirit and grace for the remission of sins which was procured for us by Christ crucified. It is all entirely free, given by the mercy of God the Father alone as He shows His favour towards us, who are unworthy, and who deserve condemnation rather than anything else."
This is not to say that the law is unimportant. It is essential; it drives us to Christ. "By the law is the knowledge of sin" (Rom. 3:20), and an awareness of sin yields an awareness of the need for a Savior. This is what Luther calls "the work [or] the office of the law," for "it is a light to the ignorant and blind..." The law in this most basic theological incarnation does not tell man that he is weak and exhort him to do better. Instead, it displays disease, sin, evil, death, hell and the wrath of God. It does not help nor set them free from these things; it is content merely to point them out. When a man discovers the sickness of sin, he is cast down and afflicted; nay, he despairs. The law does not help him; much less can he heal himself. Another light is needed to reveal a remedy. This is the voice of the gospel, which displays Christ as the Deliverer from all these evil things.
Obviously then, Luther's charge that Erasmus fails to distinguish between the voice of law and the voice of Gospel is tantamount to saying that he does not understand the first point of theology. Luther argues that Erasmus seizes man's problem (the severity of the law) as if it is an answer--and thus has no real need for God's answer (the Gospel). Throughout The Bondage of the Will, Luther reiterates both points: that Erasmus regards the unattainable standard of the law as attainable; and that he "will not take the slightest trouble to know about Christ."
Helpful vs. Idle Theologizing
In addition to distinguishing the parts (law and Gospel) within the whole of theology, Luther also draws a distinction between theologizing that is profitable and theologizing that is pointless. This distinction is derived from the division between those things which God has revealed and those on which he has remained silent (or left hidden).
[We] must discuss God, or the will of God, preached, revealed, offered to us, and worshipped by us, in one way, and God not preached, nor revealed, nor offered to us, nor worshipped by us, in another way. Wherever God hides Himself, and wills to be unknown to us, there we have no concern. Here that sentiment: "what is above us does not concern us," really holds good...If God has not spoken on a matter, Christian theology should not regard that matter as a topic on which it needs to speak definitively. "But if [the topic under consideration] is a matter of concern to Christians and to the Scriptures, then it ought to be clear, open and plain, just like all the other articles, which are perfectly plain."
Now, God in His own nature and majesty is to be left alone; in this regard, we have nothing to do with Him, nor does He wish us to deal with Him. We have to do with Him as clothed and displayed in His Word, by which He presents Himself to us.
Yet to say that the Word defines the theologian's business is not to say that the Christian never brings questions with him to the text. It means, instead, that the Christian will patiently trust God even if the answer in the Word is neither complete nor completely satisfying. If God's answer (or lack of an answer) seems inexplicable, recall with Job who is God and who is man in this questioning. If there appears to be conflict between our sense of justice, and what God has revealed as his way of action, Luther exclaims with Paul: "Let God be true, but every man a liar" (Rom. 3:4). The problem in any conflict, of course, is not God but us, so Luther counsels: "In everything else, we allow God His Divine Majesty; in the single case of His judgement, we are ready to deny it! To think that we cannot for a little while believe that He is just, when He has actually promised us that when He reveals His glory we shall all clearly see that He both was and is just!" The Christian waits on God's timing, because the day of Christ's return will reveal the God "to whom alone belongs a judgement whose justice is incomprehensible, as a God whose justice is most righteous and evident--provided only that in the meanwhile we believe it..."
The Whole Man Is "Flesh"
But Adam's children are rebels by nature, and we are not content to wait with the Word. Reason asserts herself, and demands that God justify himself now. When he does not submit to our commands, we choose to engage in speculative theology. Like our parents, we believe we know better than God, and we lust after forbidden fruit.
According to this story, however a theory divides one (simply into mind and body, or into the reason, the will, and the passions), it is impossible to shield any part of him or her from complicity in--and the consequences of--Adam's fall. The mind is guilty of unbelief, the will of pride, and the passions of lust. This is the foundation of Luther's entire argument in The Bondage of the Will: No part of the self is untainted; therefore, no part of the self either will or can seek the pure God, who neither will nor can tolerate any contamination. (The root defect of most arguments which reject predestination then is an insufficient grasp of the effects of the fall.) If there is to be any relation between God and humanity, God must take the initiative. In the case of every Christian, God has been the pursuer, just as he pursued Adam and Eve as they hid from him in the garden. As descendants of a line of rebels, we have inherited fear of the just Law-Giver.
But, Erasmus asks, shouldn't some distinctions be drawn within human nature? Does not Paul distinguish between "spirit" and "flesh," implying the former is noble and the latter ignoble? Church father Jerome takes up the distinction and lodges man's weakness first in the flesh.
No, Luther bellows, Paul is not following Plato; he is not praising some higher part of man (mind) and condemning some lower part (body). He is not talking about two parts of an individual man, but two parts of collective humanity:
What is the meaning of: "Ye are not in the flesh, if the Spirit is in you," but those who have not the Spirit are of necessity in the flesh? And he that is not Christ's, whose else is he but Satan's? It stands good then, that those who lack the Spirit are in the flesh, and under Satan.Human pride wants to ensure that at least the higher or "best parts" do not belong in the category of the corrupted. Yet, Christ "plainly proves that what is not born of the Spirit is flesh." In other words, the man who has not become a Christian by the converting power of the Holy Spirit is, in his reason and will just as much as his body, entirely "flesh" (or sinful). Paul and Luther are not offering a Greek distinction between mind and body as higher and lower, pure and impure. Instead, the biblical distinction is between those who have and those who have not been initiated into the kingdom.
Now let us see what Paul thinks about endeavour and the power of "free-will" in carnal men. "They that are in the flesh cannot please God." Again: "The carnal mind is death." Again: "The carnal mind is enmity against God." Once more: "It is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (vv. 5-8). Let the guardian of "free-will" answer the following question: How can endeavours towards good be made by that which is death, and displeases God, and is enmity against God, and disobeys God, and cannot obey him?
Outside the kingdom are those who do not despair of their own works. Instead, they strive for (an intrinsic) righteousness by the law. (To Luther, this lack of despair in their own merit is part of what distinguishes non-Christians from Christians. For unlike Christians, "the rest of men resist this humiliation; indeed, they condemn the teaching of self-despair; they want a little something left that they can do for themselves. Secretly they continue proud, and enemies of the grace of God.") Inside the kingdom is the other group, those who have the righteousness of Christ, which comes by faith. This is an imputed or "reckoned" righteousness, which "consists, not in any works, but in the gracious favor and reckoning of God. See how Paul stresses the word 'reckoned'; how he insists on it, and repeats it, and enforces it." This is significant to Luther because it is very odd to repeat that a man is called or reckoned something that he actually is (intrinsically). Who is surprised that the ocean, which is deep, is called deep? The point is that man is not righteous (intrinsically), yet God calls him righteous (on account of Christ). This is the "God who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did" (Rom. 4:17).
Luther continues his exegesis of Paul: "'To him that worketh,' he says, 'the reward is reckoned, not of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is reckoned for righteousness,' according to the purpose of God's grace." Highlighting Paul's use of the word "reckon .. about ten times" in Romans 4, Luther is arguing that "flesh" corresponds to those outside the kingdom, those who work for their salvation and trust in themselves. "Spirit" corresponds to citizens of God's kingdom, those who do not work for their salvation but instead by the power of the Spirit trust in the vicarious living and dying of Christ.
A Will, But Not a Free Will
Once the reader begins to understand that Luther is talking about the universal sinfulness (or "fleshliness") of man in his fallen state, it becomes clearer why he makes so little effort to distinguish between reason and will--and why he is even discussing (attacking) reason at all in a debate which is supposedly about the will rather than the reason. Luther's book is called The Bondage of the Will, but it could just as easily be titled The Bondage of the Whole Man. No one claims that the affections are pure. Luther's goal is to ensure that no one can claim that any other part of man is pure either. It seems self-evident that only a pure part of man would seek a pure God who destroys all impurity (e.g., Lev. 10). If God is holy, it is only by positing that some portion of man is free from unholiness that one can argue that man (or that portion of man) yearns after such a terrifying God. Luther, as if to economize his writings, is arguing for the contamination of the reason and of the will side-by-side. Both of them are dead in trespasses and sin. Neither contributes anything to man's salvation.
Yet, contrary to Erasmus' reading of this argument, Luther is not saying that the will and the reason were not good creations, that they do not exist, or that they are of no earthly value. Where Erasmus, in Luther's view, is continually jumping from theology to philosophy, and mixing "up everything, heaven with hell and life with death," Luther is trying to have an exclusively theological discussion about whether humans contribute anything (besides the sin) to salvation. "I cannot worship, praise, give thanks or serve Him, for I do not know how much I should attribute to myself and how much to Him. We need, therefore, to have in mind a clear-cut distinction between God's power and ours, and God's Work and ours, if we would live a godly life." Anticipating Calvin, Luther sees this matter as intimately connected to the starting point of all existential knowledge: knowledge of God and knowledge of self.
In an argument that could grow monotonous if it were not so wonderfully life-producing, Luther repeatedly charges Erasmus with applying Paul's condemnation of "the old man" only to the "gross affections" rather than also to "what you call the most exalted faculties, that is, reason and will." Mocking Erasmus' claim that knowledge of man's complete depravity can serve no constructive purpose, Luther shouts the incapacity of humanity and the complete (and even good works-producing) work of God all the more. Regarding the will:
"Who" (you say) "will try and reform his life?" I reply, Nobody! Nobody can! God has no time for your practitioners of self-reformation, for they are hypocrites. The elect, who fear God, will be reformed by the Holy Spirit; the rest will perish unreformed. Note that Augustine does not say that a reward awaits nobody's works, or everybody's works, but some men's works. So there will be some who will reform their lives.Regarding the mind:
"Who will believe" (you say) "that God loves him?" I reply, Nobody! Nobody can! But the elect shall believe it; and the rest shall perish without believing it, raging and blaspheming, as you describe them. So there will be some who believe it.Contrary to many caricatures of Lutheranism (sadly often even by her sister faith, Calvinism), Luther does not deny sanctification; he simply (and properly) will not allow it to eclipse justification. Christians do grow in intrinsic righteousness, but only as an effect of--never as a cause of--the imputed righteousness of Christ. This is his point when he criticizes Erasmus for not distinguishing between commands (law) given to Christians and those given to non-Christians. The indicative and imperative moods must be distinguished. Meaningful exhortation (what Calvinism calls the "third use" of the law) can only come after condemnation (what Calvinism calls the "first use" of the law). This is because the will that was dead to God has been made alive by God. This is not to exalt the "free will" of the unregenerate but rather to praise the Spirit who converts people and now uses them for the glory of God. So does Luther understand the productive and barren trees: "those who are not justified are sinners; and sinners are evil trees, and can only sin and bear evil fruit."
You say that a flood-gate of iniquity is opened by our doctrines. So be it.
Erasmus, in repeatedly attacking Luther's position of "necessity," apparently thinks that Luther is embracing philosophical determinism or fatalism. What he doesn't understand, though, is that Luther isn't trying to address this philosophical problem. As noted earlier, Luther believes the theologian's task is assigned by the Word, and the Christian Scriptures do not speak to the philosophical problem of the appearance of fatalism--a problem which is common to every articulated belief system. As he frequently reiterates, Luther is not talking about "compulsion." A will, by definition, cannot be under compulsion, or it would cease to be a will. Luther is not disputing the existence of man's will; instead, he is asserting that all of the desires of the fallen will are sinful.
When the reader hears this, he wants to argue, offering distinctions between higher and lower objects, greater and lesser actions. Luther is not disputing these distinctions. He is arguing rather that even the noblest impulse or action of which any child of Adam can conceive is stained with sin. Luther is not saying that we shouldn't draw distinctions between civic (earthly) righteousness and unrighteousness. We should; but we shouldn't thereby conclude that God's standard (the right act proceeding from the right motive: his glory) is the same as the county courthouse standard (the right act).
When Luther says the will is bound, he is saying that it has no options which are not sinful. He is not saying that one thereby has no options at all. He frequently distinguishes these things as man's will "above" and "below" him. We may "credit man with 'free-will' in respect, not of what is above him, but of what is below him. That is to say, man should realize that in regard to his money and possessions he has a right to use them, to do or to leave undone, according to his own 'free-will'..." Nonetheless, "with regard to God, and in all that bears on salvation or damnation, he has no 'free-will', but is a captive, prisoner and bondslave, either to the will of God or to the will of Satan." The Christian (by the converting work of the Spirit) is willfully enslaved to the will of God; the natural person (by the receipt of Adam's nature by birth) is willfully enslaved to the will of Satan. Neither will is free (to pick its master at random), but both wills, by definition as wills, willfully serve their received master.
Reason, But Not Reason as King
The same distinction between freedom below and universal bondage in things above applies to reason as much as to will. It is the universal sinfulness of reason (as it doubts or tries to go beyond the Word) that Luther is attacking when he condemns reason as the "Devil's whore." He is talking again about speculation, about impatience with the Revealed God and yearning to know the secrets of the Hidden God, of believing Satan's lies about the tree, of boredom with God's incarnational revelation in Christ.
Some theologians draw a helpful distinction here between the ministerial and magisterial uses of reason. Ministerial reason is the basic way we think about things below and about those things which God has chosen to reveal from above. Magisterial reason is the mind's prideful claim that it is not created, that it is the maker of reality, that it will not abide any limits God may place on it. This is the distinction which is at work when Luther distinguishes between the (proper) "Kingdom of Reason" (earth) and the "Spiritual Kingdom" (heaven).
Just as Luther could place no hope in a will enslaved to sin, he can place no hope in human reason blind to this enslavement: "Show me out of the whole race of mortal men one, albeit the most holy and righteous of them all, to whose mind it ever occurred that the way to righteousness and salvation was simply to believe on Him who is both God and man, who died for men's sins, and was raised, and is set at the right hand of the Father!" And not only will man not allow that (true heavenly) righteousness comes from another, he also will not allow that there is divine judgment for man's (earthly) righteousness: "Look at the greatest philosophers! What thoughts had they of God? What have they left in writing about the wrath to come?" The unregenerate have no ability to believe this truth apart from the "predestinating" Spirit. For when natural man
hears Christ teach the true way of salvation, by new birth, does he acknowledge it and confess that in time past he sought it? No; he starts back, and is confounded; and not only says that he does not understand it, but turns from it as an impossibility... Who ever thought that the Son of God must be "lifted up, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life" [John 3]? Did the best and acutest philosophers ever mention it?No, so "the whole world," and "human reason" and "free-will, are forced to confess that they had not known nor heard of Christ before the gospel entered the world."
Reason is naturally self-justifying, Luther says, which is why Erasmus naturally assumes either that man can fulfill the law or that he already knows he cannot. In reality, though, the law comes to condemn, as the preparation for the Gospel, telling the person what his self-justifying reason would not: that he is a sinner. For "neither reason nor 'free-will' points to [God]; how could reason point to Him, when it is itself darkness and needs the light of the law to show it its own sickness, which by its own light it fails to see, and thinks is sound health?" The person thus humbled, given the gift of faith in Christ, will then trust God even when God tells him that the penalty for sin is death--be that the death of the sinner or the death of the Substitute. "Faith and the Spirit" believe "that God is good even though he should destroy all men."
The problem of the person who knows himself to be a sinner and naturally the enemy of God is not why God predestines only some, but why he predestines any at all! This is where Luther unleashes his string of glorious paradoxes: God quickens by killing, justifies by pronouncing guilty, carries up to heaven by bringing down to hell, reveals by concealing; he is merciful though he damns, just though he creates objects for destruction.
When the interlocutor inquires further regarding the philosophical question of why the "will of Majesty purposely leaves and reprobates some to perish," Luther points to Romans 9 and the command that man be silent about God's "dreadful hidden will." Luther knows that man is not yet satisfied, but he thinks the theologian's task is sufficiently fulfilled when he gets Erasmus to the place where the Word commands him to be silent:
But here Reason, in her knowing and talkative way, will say: "This is a nice way out that you have invented--that, whenever we are hard pressed by force of arguments, we run back to that dreadful will of Majesty, and reduce our adversary to silence"... I reply: This is not my invention, but a command grounded on the Divine Scriptures... Paul says: "Why then does God find fault? Who shall resist His will? O man, who art thou that contendest with God? Hath not the potter power?" and so on (Rom. 9:19, 21).Everyone Willfully Cooperates with God
Luther's position is neither fideist (having faith in faith) nor irrational. Instead, it is reason based on revelation. This theological task might properly be distinguished from apologetic tasks (for example, seeking to persuade the non-Christian that the Bible is in fact God's revelation). But within the context of those who claim to believe in revelation (as in the case of this debate with Erasmus), it would be utterly insane for the reason of finite creatures to ignore the limits prescribed by the infinite God's revelation.
As J. I. Packer argues, Luther's picture--and indeed the biblical picture--is of anything but a deistic or Epicurean god. While Aristotle's god may be so unaware of this world that he sleeps, Luther's God is "incessantly active" in both the creative and redemptive spheres, in the initiation and sustenance of each. In this, human nature reflects God's nature, for God will not allow humans "to be idle." One does not merely exist, but is always active, and is always willfully desiring and acting "according to his nature."
The only question is about that nature. Either one wills and acts according to the fallen nature received from Adam, as one "ridden" by Satan. Or one wills and acts as the new creation of God, trusting in Christ and directed by the Spirit. Both the non-Christian and the Christian, though, are animated by God--that is, both receive their existence and energy from him, for there is no such thing as an act independent of God. And both individuals in a sense fulfill the will of God: the first his hidden will (of glorification in justice); the second his revealed will (of glorification in mercy). "Yet God does not work in us without us; for he created and preserves us for this very purpose, that He might work in us and we might cooperate with Him, whether that occurs outside His kingdom, by His general omnipotence, or within His kingdom, by the special power of His Spirit." Luther is not saying that the "dead" person cooperates with God as God makes him alive; this is God's action alone. Nonetheless, after God's justification and regeneration, one does indeed cooperate with God in the glorification of his Creator and Redeemer. The redeemed person does this willfully--but because God gave him the will, not because his will was free to change itself.
Though the great theologians who guard "free-will" may not know, or pretend not to know, that Scripture proclaims Christ categorically and antithetically, all Christians know it, and commonly confess it. They know that there are in the world two kingdoms at war with each other. In the one, Satan reigns (which is why Christ calls him "the prince of this world" [John 12:31], and Paul "the god of this world" [2 Cor. 4:4])... In the other kingdom, Christ reigns. His kingdom continually resists and wars against that of Satan; and we are translated into His kingdom, not by our own power, but by the grace of God, which delivers us from this present evil world and tears us away from the power of darkness. The knowledge and confession of these two kingdoms, ever warring against each other with all their might and power, would suffice by itself to confute the doctrine of "free-will," seeing that we are compelled to serve in Satan's kingdom if we are not plucked from it by Divine power. The common man, I repeat, knows this, and confesses it plainly enough by his proverbs, prayers, efforts and entire life.In yet another paradox, while the Christian begins with despair, he receives complete assurance: "I have the comfortable certainty that I please God, not by reason of the merit of my works, but by reason of His merciful favour promised to me; so that, if I work too little, or badly, He does not impute it to me, but with fatherly compassion pardons me and makes me better. This is the glorying of all the saints in their God."
1. J. I. Packer and O. R. Johnston, "Historical and Theological Introduction," in Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will (Old Tappan, NJ: Revell, 1957), 25.
2. Luther, op. cit., 63. (Unless otherwise noted, all footnotes refer to the previously cited version of Luther's Bondage.)
4. Packer, op. cit., 31, 36.
5. Ibid., 26, 36.
6. Ibid., 37.
7. Luther, op. cit., 163.
8. Ibid., 180.
9. Ibid., 159, 287.
10. Ibid., 287.
11. Ibid., 164.
12. Ibid., 169-70.
13. Ibid., 129.
14. Ibid., 84.
15. Ibid., 315, 317.
16. Ibid., 299-300.
17. Ibid., 249.
18. Ibid., 100-01.
19. Ibid., 296.
20. Ibid., 164, 78, 305; see also Calvin's Institutes, 1.1.1-2.
21. Luther, op. cit., 313.
22. Ibid., 99.
23. Ibid., 189, 159, 180.
24. Ibid., 301, 189. See also Luther's The Freedom of a Christian, in Three Treatises (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1960), especially pages 310-16, for further discussion of the good works of Christians.
25. Luther, op. cit., 81, 222.
26. Ibid., 107, italics added.
27. Ibid., 276, 297.
28. Ibid., 306.
29. Ibid., 161, 287, 202.
30. Ibid., 233.
31. Ibid., 101.
32. Ibid., 176-77, 169.
33. E.g., "When you are to dispute with Jews, Turks, Papists, Heretics, etc., concerning the power, wisdom, and majesty of God, employ all your intelligence and industry to that end, and be as profound and as subtle a disputer as you can... Such arguments [for divine truth based on human and earthly analogy] are good when they are grounded upon the ordinance of God. But when they are taken from man's corrupt affections, they are naught." (Luther's comments on Gal. 1:3 and 3:15. He also affirms Cicero's teleological argument for God's existence.)
34. Packer, op. cit., 51. See also Luther, 262.
35. Luther, op. cit., 200, 316, 206, 203-04.
36. Ibid., 103-04, 203-05, 268.
37. Ibid., 312.
38. Ibid., 314.
Benjamin E. Sasse is a doctoral student in history at Yale University, and is co-editor (with Dr. James M. Boice) of Here We Stand.