Luther’s Bombshell

 Sometimes it is asserted that the doctrine of man’s natural inability was the creation of John Calvin. While Calvin did an admirable job of articulating this doctrine (see for instance, The Bondage and Liberation of the Will), it certainly did not originate with him. Many others before and after Calvin understood this important truth. Martin Luther was arguing for the biblical doctrine of man’s natural inability when he wrote one of his most well known works, The Bondage of the Will. Luther understood that this was a fundamental doctrine to understand if true biblical Christianity was to be maintained.Luther - Bondage of the Will

After discussing the reality of God’s sovereignty over all things Luther makes this appropriate statement:

“This bombshell knocks ‘free-will’ flat, and utterly shatters it; so that those who want to assert it must either deny my bombshell, or pretend not to notice it, or find some other way of dodging it.” Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will, p. 80.


2 responses to “Luther’s Bombshell

  1. Hey Billy,
    So I am guessing that you would highly recommend this book? I have heard of it numerous times. Is it really difficult reading would you say for someone who is NOT in seminary? 🙂

    • tractsandtreatises


      It is certainly a book with tremendous historical value and significance. Interestingly enough, in Luther’s own opinion there were only two things that he ever wrote that were worth preserving: this book and a little children’s catechism.

      As far as recommending it…I do but at the same time, I think there are others who have done a better job teaching this doctrine. On the other hand, no one puts it quite like Luther:).

      Generally speaking, I do recommend that people discipline themselves to periodically read books that were not written in the last century. This will expose you to kinds of thinking and writing that will challenge you and develop your critical thinking skills. On top of that, there is simply a joy in reading classic literature written by those who God has given to the church at critical times in her history.

      I will caution you…this appreciation of classic literature does not come all at once. It can be cultivated. And when it is, the rewards are great.

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