BORN SLAVES, Clifford Pond; Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., Phillipsburg, N.J.; 93 pp., $3.50 (paper). (Reviewed by Prof. H.C. Hoeksema)
This little book offers a summary of Martin Luther’s classic work, The Bondage of the Will. In a brief preface about “The question” the author, or compiler, of this work tells us the gist of the book: “The question is-does man have something called ‘free-will? Can a man freely and without help turn to Christ for salvation from his sins? Erasmus answers: ‘Yes!’ Luther says a resounding: ‘no!’ Luther was convinced that ‘free-will’ strikes at the heart of the biblical doctrine of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone. We must have the same conviction. We must fight against ‘free-will as vigorously as Luther did. Erasmus said: ‘I can conceive of “free-will” as a power of human will by which a man may apply himself to those things that lead to eternal salvation or turn away from them.’ To this we also must give a resolute ‘No! Man is born a slave to sin!’ He is not free.”
As a rule I do not favor books which are only summaries of larger classics. It is much better to read and digest the larger classic itself. Along this line, this book has its shortcomings, too. For one thing, it is obviously a severe condensation of Luther’s large tome. For another, it does not follow the same order as the original work of Luther. But the author-compiler does not hide, but rather admits, these facts.
Hence, if this small volume will give the reader a taste of Luther’s work and thus an incentive to digest the original work of Luther, it can serve a good purpose. Besides, in spite of the shortcomings mentioned, the book is both interesting and accurate: a good taste of Luther.