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Bondage of the Will Analytical Outline

Bondage of the Will Analytical Outline

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Published by revhrcurtis
An analytical outline of Luther's On the Bondage of the Will based on the Packer edition.
An analytical outline of Luther's On the Bondage of the Will based on the Packer edition.

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Published by: revhrcurtis on May 22, 2011
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07/21/2011

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The Bondage of the Will: An Analytical Outline
 NB: I requested the Rev. Sam Schuldheisz to create this analytical outline from the Packer editon of 
Bondage of the Will
and he kindly consented. Packer's outline is utilized and keyquotations are listed, along with the page numbers, under each section of the outline.+HRC 
I.Introduction:
So, you see, what kept me from rushing in with an answer to you was not the difficulty of so doing, nor pressure of other work, nor thegrandeur of your eloquence, nor fear of you, but simply disgust,disinclination, and distaste – which, if I may say so, express my judgment of  your Diatribe. (63-64).
But I may ask you, my dear Erasmus, to bear with my want of eloquence, as I in these matters bear with your want of knowledge. Goddoes not give everything to any single man, and we cannot all do everything– as Paul says, ‘there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit’ (1 Cor.12.4). It remains, therefore, for these gifts to render mutual service, and forone with his gifts to bear the burden of the other’s lack; so shall we fulfill thelaw of Christ (cf. Gal. 6.2). (65)II.Review of Erasmus’ Preface:i.Of the necessity of assertions in Christianity:
To take no pleasure in assertions is not the mark of a Christian heart;indeed, one must delight in assertions to be Christian at all. (66)
Nothing is more familiar or characteristic among Christians thanassertion. Take away assertions, and you take away Christianity. (67)
 Why then do you – you! – assert that you find no satisfaction in assertionsand that you prefer an un-dogmatic temper to any other? (67)
The Holy Spirit is no skeptic, and the things He has written in our heartsare no doubts or opinions, but assertions – surer and more certain thansense and life itself. (p. 70).ii.Of the perspicuity of Scripture:
I certainly grant that many passages in the Scriptures are obscure andhard to elucidate, but that is due, not to the exalted nature of their subject, but to our own linguistic and grammatical ignorance; and it does not in33
 
any way prevent our knowing the contents of Scripture. For what solemntruth can the Scriptures still be concealing, now that the seals are broken,the stone rolled away from the door of the tomb, and the greatest of allmysteries brought to light – that Christ, God’s Son, became man, that Godis Three in One, that Christ suffered for us, and will reign forever? (p.71)
Take Christ out of the Scriptures – and what more will you find in them.(71)
In a word: The perspicuity of Scripture is twofold, just as there is a doublelack of light. The first is external, and relates to the ministry of the Word;the second concerns the knowledge of the heart. If you speak of theinternal perspicuity, the truth is that nobody who has not the Spirit of Godsees a jot of what is in the Scriptures. All men have their hearts darkened,so that, even when they can discuss and quote all that is in Scripture, they do not understand or really know any of it. They do not believe in God,nor do they believe that they are God’s creatures, nor anything else (Ps.14:1). The Spirit is needed for the understanding of all Scripture and every part of Scripture. If, on the other hand, you speak of the externalperspicuity, the position is that nothing whatsoever is left obscure of ambiguous, but all that is in the Scripture is through the Word broughtforth into the clearest light and proclaimed to the whole world. (73-74)iii.Of the importance of knowing what power ‘free-will’ has:
This is the hinge on which our discussion turns, the crucial issue betweenus; our aim is, simply, to investigate what ability ‘free-will’ has, in whatrespect it is the subject of Divine action and how it stands related to thegrace of God. If we know nothing of these things, we shall no nothing whatsoever of Christianity, and shall be in worse case than any people onearth! (78)
Indeed, you yourself see that all good in us is to be ascribed t God, andassert as much in your outline of Christianity; and this assertion certainly involves a second, namely, that God’s mercy alone works everything, andour will works nothing, but is rather the object of Divine working, else all will be not ascribed to God. And yet a little further on you deny that it isreligious, godly, or wholesome to assert or know these things! (78-79)iv.Of the necessitating foreknowledge of God:
 You cannot know what ‘free-will’ is without knowing what ability man’s will has, and what God odes, and whether He foreknows of necessity. (79)
It is, then, fundamentally necessary and wholesome for Christians to know that God foreknows nothing contingently, but that He foresees, purposes,and does all things according to His own immutable, eternal, infallible33
 
 will. This bombshell knocks ‘free-will’ flat, and utterly shatters it; so thatthose who want to assert it must either deny my bombshell, or pretend notto notice it, or find some other way of dodging it. (80) v.Of the importance of knowing that God necessitates all things:
For if you hesitate to believe, or are too proud to acknowledge, that Godforeknows and wills all things, not contingently, but necessarily andimmutably, how can you believe, trust and rely on His promises? WhenHe makes promises, you ought to be out of doubt that He knows, and canand will perform, what He promises; otherwise, you will be accountingHim neither true, nor faithful, which is unbelief. And the height of irreverence, and a denial of the most high God! (83-84)
It is no game and no joke to teach the holy Scriptures and godliness, for itis so very easy to fall here in the way that James described: ‘he that offendsin one point becomes guilty of all’ (2.10). For when we show ourselvesdisposed to trifle even a little and cease to hold the sacred Scriptures insufficient reverence, we are soon involved in impieties and overwhelmed with blasphemies – as you are here, Erasmus. (85) vi.Of the alleged advantages of suppressing certain truths:
 What may be found in or proved by the sacred writings is both plain and wholesome, and so may safely be published, learned and known – andindeed, should be. (86)
Consciences are bound by God’s law alone, and the Papal tyranny, which by its falsehoods frightens and murders souls within, and uselessly exhausts the body from without, is an intruder that should be banishedforthwith. (89)
The world and its god cannot and will not bear the Word of the true God,and the true God cannot and will not keep silent. Now these two Gods areat war; so what else can there be throughout the world but uproar? (91)
If the Word were removed, eternal good, God, Christ, and the Spirit, would be removed with it. (92)
So the Word of God and the traditions of men fight each other inimplacable opposition. God and Satan are personally engaged in the sameconflict, each laboring to destroy the works and subvert the doctrines of the other, like two kings, laying waste each other’s kingdoms. (93)
In the text you quote [1 Cor. 6.12], Paul speaks only of behavior and thepractical application of doctrine; he is dealing with those who, boasting of their Christian liberty, seek their own ends without considering how they 33

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