Concordia Theological Monthly

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Document Type



christian life, faith, luther, law, good works, salvation, erasmus, st. paul, sins, doctrine, grace, justification

Submission Type

Bible Study; Lecture; Sermon Prep


In what has been called "the greatest piece of theological writing" to come from his pen, The Bondage of the Will, Luther scores his contemporary Erasmus very sorely because of his unwillingness to assert plainly and forthrightly each and every truth which the Scriptures contain. Erasmus took a stance frequently duplicated today when theologians contend that Scripture does not contain propositional truth. Although we grant, of course, that it does not embrace formulations like a dogmatics textbook, the fact is that Scripture, as Luther reminded Erasmus, contains many doctrinal assertions which must be expressed and defended. "Take away assertions," Luther argued, "and you take away Christianity." Therefore to Erasmus, whose thinking Luther characterized as not mattering "a scrap what anyone believes anywhere so long as the world is at peace," the great Reformer shouted with vehemence, still hoping to put starch in the puttylike backbone of the great humanist: "Let us have men who will assert!"


Practical Theology

Scripture References in this Resource (separated by semi-colons)

1 John 2:3-4; Ephesians 4:17-32;

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Submission Audience

Laity; Ministers; Scholars