I have been rereading Luther’s “Bondage of the Will”. I do it because as a preacher I need to be reminded of one of Luther’s great statements – “the love of God does not find but creates that which is pleasing to it”.  Luther spells out that the human will is bound and cannot “make a decision for Christ”.  This of course seems harsh and impossible for Christians who have been stuck in the middle of the Protestant stew for so long that “justification by faith” has led to the supremacy of faith and not Christ.  Telling an American Christian that they have no free choice sounds like a bad April Fools joke.

In a forward to another book about Luther’s best book, Steven Paulson writes “whatever communication does not give Christ to sinners unconditionally is error that leads to death. The free will is demonstrably not Jesus Christ. So Luther concluded this summary of Scripture in his book this way: “that whatever is not Christ is not the way, but error, not truth, but untruth, not life, but death, [and so] it follows of necessity that `free-will,’ inasmuch as it neither is Christ nor is in Christ, is fast bound in error, and untruth, and death” (307). This kind of logic allows for no imaginary middle ground, gray area, or synthesis of works. There is what Luther calls a division at this point that brooks no mending or alteration. At Christ the free will meets its end, and yet precisely there is the beginning of true faith. Who has dared to say this much as a preacher or theologian?” ( “The Captivation of the Will” by Gerhard Forde, edited by Steven Carlson.)

For those still bound up in decision theology check out again the decisions that the disciples made “on the night in which He (Jesus) was betrayed”.  Start with Judas if you want, but you might get caught up in the “devil made him do it” issue.  Just look at the way all the disciples “choose to follow Jesus”.