LUTHER AND ERASMUS: THE CENTRAL CONFRONTATION OF THE REFORMATION

by JEAN-MARC BERTHOUD in Vol. 3 No. 1 / Apr 2017



Abstract
One of Martin Luther’s lasting achievements is his confrontation with Erasmus on the freedom of man’s will. After first absorbing the nominalistic semi-Pelagian synthesis consensus, Luther revolted against the intellectual and spiritual mediocrity of that prevailing system of thought by using Ockham’s logical razor and recovering biblical realism. The Bondage of the Will is the first confessional statement of the Reformation. Two opposing visions of reality emerge: Erasmus’s skepticism and semi-Pelagianism versus Luther’s realism and the sovereign grace of God in salvation. However, there is a major breach in Luther’s magnificent dogmatic achievement: in his doctrine of the two kingdoms the order of creation is abandoned to the initiative of man’s thinking apart from the sovereign authority of Scripture.


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