Patrick Hamilton’s sentence of death read: “We, James, by the mercy of God, Archbishop of St. Andrews, primate of Scotland, have found Master Patrick Hamilton many ways inflamed with heresy…that man hath no free will.”The struggles of these loyal exponents of the Gospel of free grace culminated in the Protestant Reformation. At the Council of Trent, the Roman Church officially repudiated the doctrines that put salvation into the hands of God only. Rome chose free will and human merit. Luther and Calvin continued the apostolic teaching. In our present century of ignorance, one must insist that Luther as well as Calvin rejected the Pelagian-Romish-Arminian view of man. It was Erasmus, the man who drew back from the Reformation and made his peace with Rome, who defended free will. The book that Luther wrote in reply to him is titled The Bondage of the Will. In its Conclusion there is this sentence: “For if we believe it to be true that God foreknows and foreordains all things, that he can neither be deceived nor hindered in his prescience and predestination, and that nothing can take place but according to his will…then there can be no free will in man, in angel, or in any creature.”
While the later Lutherans – under Phillip Melanchthon’s compromising spirit, which went so far as to seek reunion with Rome – abandoned many of Luther’s doctrines, it must be remembered that these matters were not in dispute among Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin, nor among Ridley, Cranmer, Latimer, Bucer, Zanchius, and Knox. The same is true of the victims of Bloody Mary. Richard Woodman, who was burned at the stake with nine other martyrs at Lewes in Sussex, answered his examiners: “If we have free will, then our salvation cometh of ourselves: which is a great blasphemy against God and his Word.” Richard Gibson, examined by the Bishop of London, was called upon to profess that “a man hath by God’s grace a free choice and will in his doing.” Gibson denied the proposition and was burned to death with two others in Smithfield. Thirty-four persons were persecuted and expelled from the towns of Winston and Mendelsham, because “they denied man’s free will and held that the Pope’s church did err.” If more evidence is desired for the Calvinism of the Reformation, there is an abundance of it in the history books and in the original writings of these faithful men.
In the non-Lutheran world the Reformation faith was first adulterated by Arminius, who, influenced by Melanchthonian Lutheranism, rejected the Reformed view of free grace and retreated to a more Romish or semi-Pelagian position. The Synod of Dordt in 1618 condemned Arminius as a corrupter of the faith, though it did not rise to the explicit heights of the Westminster Assembly thirty years later. It is the latter’s Confession that is the highwater mark of Protestantism. No other creed is so detailed and so true to the Scriptures. Therefore the present day reader is requested to give exact attention to a quotation from the Westminster Confession. Though some circumscribed souls may be astonished, this is what Christianity is.
Gordon H. Clark. Religion, Reason and Revelation (Kindle Locations 4749-4779). The Trinity Foundation.
Collect of the Day
O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Saturday, May 03, 2014
While the later Lutherans – under Phillip Melanchthon’s compromising spirit, which went so far as to seek reunion with Rome – abandoned many of Luther’s doctrines, it must be remembered that these matters were not in dispute among Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin, nor among Ridley, Cranmer, Latimer, Bucer, Zanchius, and Knox. -- Gordon H. Clark
According to Dr. Gordon H. Clark, predestination of both the elect and the reprobate, the bondage of the will, and the sovereignty of God were never in dispute among the Reformers, including Martin Luther: