I’ve finished reading the 61-page Introduction to The Bondage of the Will by Martin Luther, a cause for celebration.
Incidentally, I am reading a translation done by O. R. Johnston and J. I. Packer, so if you know those names, I assume they are the ones who wrote the Introduction.
The conclusion emphasized the centrality of denying free will and promoting the concept of monergism in salvation (the idea that God acts alone in saving people; we have nothing to do with it).
Faith is only something God gives you after He regenerates you, they say. Then they say this:
to rely on oneself for faith is no different in principle from relying on oneself for works, and the one is as un-Christian and anti-Christian as the other.
Eesh. That makes me cringe all over the place. But they go a step further. Disagreeing with Luther is un-Christian and also, get this, don’t know if you knew this or not, but disagreeing with Luther means you disagree with Jesus Himself.
I’m serious. Here’s the quote:
If the almighty God of the Bible is to be our God, if the New Testament Gospel is to be our message, if Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever–is any other position than Luther’s possible?
Let me answer that question with a very definite “yes.”
Disagreeing with Luther is not disagreeing with Jesus. Statements like this should alert you that you’re dealing with fanboys.
He went through a list of Reformers who held Luther’s views on this issue, including John Calvin, of course. They maintain that all the Reformers, at least the ones they like, all agreed on our inability to have faith and be saved unless God does it all.
One thing all these Reformers, at least the ones they mention, have in common is that they all loved Augustine.
Disagreeing with Luther does not make you disagree with Jesus Christ; it makes you disagree with Augustine. Which is totally fine by the way.
1 John 2:27 says “the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you.” If you have the Holy Spirit you don’t need a man to teach you.
If your doctrine is entirely based on a person, you’re not using the Holy Spirit. If you think you need to adhere to Luther or Calvin or Augustine or me in order to know Jesus, you’re out of your ever lovin’ mind.
People can help teach you, but to think you need a person to know Christ is insane. Never, ever elevate a person’s teaching to a level where you think disagreeing with them is disagreeing with Jesus.
Agree with Jesus; to the extent we agree with Jesus is the extent to which we will agree with each other.
This Introduction has entirely creeped me out.