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In the 1500s, Martin Luther wrote "The Bondage of the Will" to defend the Biblical teaching of the depravity of our nature and our slavery to sin. Luther's work was in answer to the writings of Erasmus on free will. Of Erasmus' defense of free will, Luther wrote: "Your book struck me as so worthless and poor that my heart went out to you for having defiled your lovely, brilliant flow of language with such vile stuff. I though it outrageous to convey material of so low a quality in the trappings of such rare eloquence; it is like using gold or silver dishes to carry garden rubbish or dung."


Obviously, Luther was unimpressed with Erasmus' theology or scholarship. Even so, he thanked Erasmus for debating the question of depravity: "You alone, have attacked the real thing, the essential issue. You have not worried me with those extraneous issues about the Papacy, purgatory, indulgences and such like--trifles, rather than issues.... You and you alone have seen the hinge on which all turns, and aimed for the vital spot. For that I heartily thank you."


The vital spot is: "Are we dead in sin (or just maimed)? Is salvation a gift of God's free grace (or something with which we cooperate)? Am I really without hope apart from God's sovereign mercy (or is my decision the key)?" These are the issues that matter, and "respectable" people hate the Bible's answer.



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