Martin Luther - Lesson 12

Luther on Predestination

Four positions on predestination include the Calvinist, neo-Protestant, intuitu fidei, and Gnesio-Lutherans.

Gordon Isaac
Martin Luther
Lesson 12
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Luther on Predestination

Luther on Predestination

Luther, the Pastor: How Not to Think About Election from Luther's Letters

Philosophy and Theology


Theology of Glory - Assumes the freedom of the will and binds one to one's choice

Philosopher - Expounds on the definition of man

1. Erasmus sees the continuity of man and creation and works to revelation completes nature.

2. Freedom of the will in need of grace to complete the nature of man.

3. Do your best and God will do the rest. We can't know about how salvation happens. Free will is not important.



Theology of Cross- Begins with the bondage of the will

Theologican - According to Luther - Instead deals with man as sinner


1. "We are not dealing here with the philosophical knowledge of man, which defines...

2. Luther sees the discontinuity of man and the reconciliation of man

3. Puts to death the old nature and then becomes new creation

4. Old wine in new wine skins. Understanding of the will has no recourse on the sinful nature of man.


“The Bondage of the Will” pg137 You define 'free-will' thus.

“The Bondage of the Will” pg 140

“The Bondage of the Will” pg 141

“The Bondage of the Will” pg 158, Deuteronomy 30


I. Luther on Predestination

A. The questions which arise

1. Romans 9 - Jacob I love but Esau I hated. Is God unjust? Not at all. I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, etc.

2. Pharaoh's heart hardened.

B. Paul's sensitivity to the question

C. Erasmus' urging of the same. Does this make God the author of sin?


II. The Logic of the Matter

A. Justification and Predestination

1. God alone executes salvation. What is there to do? It is already done in Christ Jesus. You are given a gift.

2. From God's perspective we are talking about predestination.

B. Divine Necessity

1. Passive voice, man subject = justification

2. Active voice, God as subject = predestination


III. The Reformation Teaching

A. Not a theory- but about actuality

B. The Bound Will

1. “The Bondage of the Will” pg 217

2. “The Bondage of the Will” pg 169-170

a. Deus Nudus -Deus Velatus

b. naked God- God that is clothed

c. act hidden - revealed

d. will not preached - is preached

e. Law, wrath, damnation - Gospel, Love, sign opposite

C. God Makes His Move

D. Preaching and the Sacraments


IV. Four Solutions

A. The Calvinist - Calvin approaches this differently. Double predestination - God chooses both for salvation and damnation. All things happen by God's decision. We preach to make the elect known.

B. The Neo-Protestant - Absolute love as basic. Unified image of God. God is transformed from a personal message to a larger view of God. God is good and God loves everyone.

C. The intuitu fidei - foreknowledge of faith. Compromise of the two natures of God. God chooses who he knows will accept and believe.

D. The Gnesio-Lutherans - Abstain from resolving the two natures of God. Gospel of God as pure and universal love and God of the world. Avoids asking the how question. If I do not know if I am elect when I hear the word, then how can it be gospel.


Preface to the book of Romans.

All Lessons
  • Introduction to the life and theology of Martin Luther.

  • Luther expressed his views in a way that was shaped by his theology and the culture.

  • Martin Luther was born in Germany in the late 15th century, just after Guttenberg developed his printing press.

  • When Martin Luther posted the 95 theses, his intention was to discuss and debate the misuse of indulgences, but it was interpreted by the church heirarchy as an attack on the power of the papacy.

  • Luther's writings demonstrate his ability to understand and articulate issues that are at the core of the nature of God and man. His theology is distinct from philosophy and consists of many comments on passages in Psalms and Romans.

  • Faith alone justifies. By faith the Christian is made to love God, therefore a person does good works because they cannot remain idle.

  • The work of Christ when he allowed himself to be crucified on the cross, teaches us about God's nature, our nature and our relationship to God.

  • Luther's fourfold sense of scripture focused on historical (literal), allegorical (figurative), tropological (moral), and anagogic (future).

  • Luther's view of the atonement differs from classical views taught during his time and view held by the scholastic tradition.

  • Luther's teaching on justification by faith is central to his theology.

  • Theology of the cross assumes bondage and moves to freedom.

  • Four positions on predestination include the Calvinist, neo-Protestant, intuitu fidei, and Gnesio-Lutherans.

  • Luther's commentary on Galatians is an attempt to set "Law" in its proper setting.

  • The sacraments are an external expression of an internal reality.

  • Luther's teachings on the importance of baptism and arguments for infant baptism.

  • Luther's view of the theological and personal significance of the Lord's Supper.

  • The kingdom of God and secular government have areas of unity and areas of differences.

  • Luther gives a definition of the church and describes characteristics of the church.

  • Luther developed a catechism to help people focus on the foundational beliefs of the Christian faith.

  • Martin Luther's writings can encourage people to pursue their relationship with God on a deeper level.

This course is an introduction to the life and writings of the great German reformer, Martin Luther. There are 20 lectures totaling approximately 18 hours. These lectures were given at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts.