Comments on De Servo Arbitrio “On the Enslaved Will” or The Bondage of Will

Our depravity renders Christ's merit alone effective EDITED

Within the last several years I began looking at scripture through the eyes of the Reformers. When I say Reformers, I really mean Luther. I find I am more comfortabele with his conclusions, and he often articulates them far more effective than I do. We agree in several areas but not others. I struggle with Calvin and I too find his works to be lopsided, pushing the Sovereignty of God higher than scripture does and at the expense of human responsibility. To be fair, perhaps I just dont understand Calvin.

I concur with you that, to an extent, I was a free moral agent prior to conversion too. Tom, I dont know that the Reformers or anyone would say my and your positive moral choices are dung. They certainly contribute to a stronger community and family. Certainly God remembered Cornelius' prayer to Jehovah and alms to the people, and brought the Gospel into his life. This "just" man's sins still needed to be remitted through the Gospel Peter preached, he still needed to be given the Spirit and then be baptized. The related point being he was still incapable of contributing anything to his salvation as a "dirty rotten sinner" whose will was not free to choose until drawn by God. This started with a dream. One can see the same thing in Romans 1. While all Adam's race may be rotten there are degrees of how rotten humankind can get (God gave up 3 times).

To me, Cornelius' works were not dung in the sense that such a heart also made him more tender and receptive to Christ. Peter says God has in every nation those that fear Him; but that reverence does not help save. I believe Cornelius' works before hearing the Gospel were dung in relation to his justification the day he received the Gospel of remission and the Spirit of regeneration. The evidence is he still needed to hear the Gospel of repentance to be "loosed" from the sins that bound him, to be filled with the Spirit who regenerates, and finally to be baptized. Though "just" in one sense, he still needed to receive Jesus and His forgiveness through faith. In my opinion, the marred image of God in fallen man renders him/her incapable of doing anything that can contribute to her/his salvation or build up any merit to be dispensed. Without taking away choice to do right and wrong, I think that is all Luther is saying too. You have notices I included other doctrines that were present during Luther's day and our, and which from Luther's emerging view of scripture were inconsistent with a humanity that was a victim of original sin..

I agree that except where Luther brings it up in the classical Christian work we are looking at, whether a particular soteriology approaches pelagianism is beyond the scope of this thread. My point in responding was that Pelagius seemed to deny the depravity of humankind by allowing we can contribute to salvation. According to Augustine even the passages of scripture that speak of our turning to God cannot be done unless God turns us.

Submitted as a poster,

Submitted as a poster, (I may have forgot a couple of these - sorry)