Man's freedom and bondage in the thought of Martin Luther and James Arminius
Dell, Robert Thomas
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The purpose of this dissertation is to compare the concepts of human freedom and bondage and the interrelationship of God's grace and man's free will in regeneration and salvation in the writings of Martin Luther and James Arminius. Luther seems to deny all free will to man in his salvation and insists that salvation comes by grace alone. Arminius affirms man's free will to accept or reject God's grace and believes that salvation is the product of God's grace and man's free will cooperating. Luther and Arminius agree that all men sin and become bound in sin in such a way that they are unable to obtain salvation without grace. Both agree that sinful man lacks spiritual freedom to do good which will merit salvation. Both allow that man enjoys some freedom coram deo. However Arminius clearly affirms man's freedom to accept or reject God's grace, while Luther makes room for such freedom through the paradox of grace, although he denies that man has a free will coram deo. The problem of man's freedom and bondage is traced through the history of Christian thought. The anthropologies of Luther and Arminius are then compared. Luther's principles of Sola Gratia et Soli Deo Gloria are explored. They make God and His Spirit the active agent in salvation and man becomes but the passive recipient of God's work in him. Arminius with his principle of man's free will affirms that there are two active agents in man's salvation, God's grace and man's free will. Then an attempt is made to resolve these apparent differences by comparing the monergistic idea of a paradox of grace with the synergistic argument for free will. Finally, problems posed by these two views are summarized and criticised and a reconstruction of Luther's teaching of the will in bondage is attempted. [TRUNCATED]
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Boston University.
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