Formula of Concord
1 Corinthians 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
Ephesians 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
2 Timothy 2:26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
"Of Free Will they teach that man's will has some liberty to choose civil righteousness, and to work things subject to reason. But it has no power, without the Holy Ghost, to work the righteousness of God, that is, spiritual righteousness; since the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, 1 Corinthians 2:14; but this righteousness is wrought through the Word."
Augsburg Confession, Article XVIII, Freedom of the Will, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 51. Tappert, p. 39. 1 Corinthians 2:14.
"Now, although both, the planting and watering of the preacher, and the running and willing of the hearer, would be in vain, and no conversion would follow it if the power and efficacy of the Holy Ghost were not added thereto, who enlightens and converts the hearts through the Word preached and heard, so that men believe this Word and assent thereto, still, neither preacher nor hearer is to doubt this grace and efficacy of the Holy Ghost, but should be certain that when the Word of God is preached purely and truly, according to the command and will of God, and men listen attentively and earnestly and meditate upon it, God is certainly present with His grace, and grants, as has been said, what otherwise man can neither accept nor give from his own powers."
Solid Declaration, Article II, Free Will, 55-56, Formula of Concord, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 903. Tappert, p. 531f.
"Why is so much assumed about the ability of human nature? It has been wounded, hurt, injured, ruined. It has need of a true confession, not of a false defense." [Augustine, De natura et gratia, chap. 53; quoted with approval by Chemnitz]
Martin Chemnitz, Examination of the Council of Trent, trans., Fred Kramer, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1971, I, p. 411.
"Moreover [On the other side], both the ancient and modern enthusiasts have taught that God converts men, and leads them to the saving knowledge of Christ through His Spirit, without any created means and instrument, that is, without the external preaching and hearing of God's Word."
Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, II. 4. Free Will, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 881.
"Against both these parties the pure teachers of the Augsburg Confession have taught and contended that by the fall of our first parents man was so corrupted that in divine things pertaining to our conversion and the salvation of our souls he is by nature blind, that, when the Word of God is preached, he neither does nor can understand it, but regards it as foolishness; also, that he does not of himself draw nigh to God, but is and remains an enemy of God, until he is converted, becomes a believer [is endowed with faith], is regenerated and renewed, by the power of the Holy Ghost through the Word when preached and heard, out of pure grace, without any cooperation of his own."
Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, II. 5. Free Will, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 881.
"Hence the natural free will according to its perverted, disposition and nature is strong and active only with respect to what is displeasing and contrary to God."
Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, II. 7. Free Will, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 883. John 8:34; Ephesians 2:2; 2 Timothy 2: 26.
"For, first, although man's reason or natural intellect indeed has still a dim spark of the knowledge that there is a God, as also of the doctrine of the Law Romans 1:19ff., yet is is so ignorant, blind, and perverted that when even the most ingenious and learned men upon earth read or hear the Gospel of the Son of God and the promise of eternal salvation, they cannot from their own powers perceive apprehend, understand, or believe and regard it as true, but the more diligence and earnestness they employ, wishing to comprehend these spiritual things with their reason, the less they understand or believe, and before they become enlightened and are taught by the Holy Ghost, they regard all this only as foolishness or fictions. 1 Corinthians 2:14..."
Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, II. 9. Free Will, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 883. 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 4:17f.; 1 Corinthians 1:21
"And, in a word, it remains eternally true what the Son of God says, John 15:5: Without Me ye can do nothing. And Paul, Philippians 2:13: It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure. To all godly Christians who feel and experience in their hearts a small spark or longing for divine grace and eternal salvation this precious passage is very comforting; for they know that God has kindled in their hearts this beginning of true godliness, and that He will further strengthen and help them in their great weakness to persevere in true faith unto the end."
Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, II. 14. Free Will, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 885. Philippians 2:13; John 15:5.
"Thirdly, in this manner, too, the Holy Scriptures ascribe conversion, faith in Christ, regeneration, renewal, and all that belongs to their efficacious beginning and completion, not to the human powers of the natural free will, neither entirely, nor half, nor in any, even the least or most inconsiderable part, but in solidum, that is, entirely, solely to the divine working and the Holy Ghost, as also the Apology teaches."
Formula of Concord, Thorough Declaration, II. 25. Free Will, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 891.
"Today's Gospel also teaches by this parable that our free will amounts to nothing, since the good seed is sowed only by Christ, and Satan sows nothing but evil seed; as we also see that the field of itself yields nothing but tares, which the cattle eat, although the field receives them and they make the field green as if they were wheat. In the same way the false Christians among the true Christians are of no use but to feed the world and be food for Satan, and they are so beautifully green and hypocritical, as if they alone were the saints, and hold the place in Christendom as if they were lords there, and the government and highest places belonged to them; and for no other reason than that they glory that they are Christians and are among Christians in the church of Christ, although they see and confess that they live unchristian lives."
Martin Luther, Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John N. Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 103. Matthew 13:24-30;