Wowzers… law / Gospel as a homiletical principle

In my search for regional blogs, as part of my quest to learn more of Lutheran history, I found Skating in the Garden in High Heels under my Alb from Roland, IA. The major focus was on the law and Gospel, but also how the third use of the law ties in. The part below is mind blowing!

From Mark Alan Powell

Law and Gospel is primarily a homiletical principle.

“A sermon is a liturgical act that serves as ameans of grace, conveying law and gospel to people. The goal of a sermon is not to provide peopel with doctrinal or moral instruction. It is to proclaim gods’ word that judges or accuse and Gods word that comfort or saves”

As a youngster, thats what I heard, and it was very clear… as I went on to uni, and experieced non-liturgical US evangelical churches, sermons were not law and Gospel focused, but where instead, pretty much focused on moral or in some cases doctrinal instruction, and i went ?????

Just as Todd Rhoades said “When did we lose sexy? Where did he/she go? And how did the church find him/her?” it was if somehow the US evangelical churches during my time at uni, lost the law/Gospel, instead they most certainly found sexy, as well as significant morality, plus some doctrine as needed.

Granted, I dont think there is anything wrong with that per se (outside of liturgical churches, that is), as long as it doesn’t overshadow the Gospel, or the law for that matter. Yet, over the years, I’ve run into too many horror stories of the law and Gospel somehow being lost or ambiguous, even within the Lutheran church. In some ways, I think an overt emphasis from the pulpit on sex or morality, predisposes folks to be weak willed in such matters. Ie, taking the burn with passion thing to such an extreme that young kids marry way too young in order to have sex. Egads, talk about a disaster in the works. Even the whole pornography deal is culpable in some ways. When folks get it drilled into their heads in church, there is a danger of obsession I think. Not once do I remember my old pastors preaching on premarital or post marital sex, pornography,other moral issues outside of a highly integrated law and Gospel approach. Of course, add in the lectionary, and such subjects if covered at all, will be pretty rare in a 3 year cycle. I guess its why I had a bird over the star tribune thing. Self identified Lutherans were confused as to the law and Gospel, applying the third use of the law in the wrong arena, and a few even redefined santification as to split it off into something way out there.

Granted, some of this may be due to the huge influence of Christian media. I listen to a multitude of pastors from a wide range of denominations, i may disagree with parts, but as long as scripture is present, its cool. I can sort out the theological issues, but I’m not so sure the casual listener may do so, nor may they even want to. Again, I have to take some blame for this too… been out of the shoes for many yearrs.

Whoa, its almost 4:40AM I gotta run, so I will have to add more later

Some quick thoughts to continue:

Contemporizing, good or bad:

In todays world, even in the Lutheran church, Law/Gospel preaching is not done as well as it was, in some cases, it seems adrift wonder why? Where does seeker sensitive and discipleship fit?

Fascinating divergent opinoins on FC6

I need to look up the Norewegian Lutheran doctrinal stances that came out of Roland, IA. I wonder if it was when they resolved or perhaps one of the early meetings on the absolution controversy..

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