In lecture 14, Dr. Trueman discusses the famous humanist Desiderius Erasmus. Humanism looked back to the glory of the classics, with a belief that classical studies improved a person. Out of this arose a reforming zeal but no consensus as to how this should be accomplished.
Erasmus, the stunning intellect of the day, desired to distance himself from Luther’s teaching so produced a diatribe, De libero arbitrio diatribe sive collatio (Of free will: Discourses or Comparisons) in 1524. Owing to Erasmus’ stature, Luther knew he had to respond but didn’t relish the idea. The result was On the Bondage of the Will (1525), an anti-Pelagian work pointing to the perspicuity of Scripture.
Erasmus and Luther viewed Christianity differently. Erasmus believed Christianity was a way of life, lived out by following Christ’s example. He felt no need for doctrinal certainty. Conversely, Luther was driven by a need for certainty, viewing Christianity as a set of assertions.
Towards the end of the lecture, Dr. Trueman discusses internal and external perspicuity and stresses the importance of this article in the Protestant church.