The Lutheran Witness

Back to Basics: Law and Gospel

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Comments (16)
  1. Avatar Wilfred C. Hamann says:

    Thank you President Matt for that summation of what we Christians believe and, we trust, live.

  2. Avatar Kim Mitchell says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  3. Avatar Mike Conrad says:

    Thank you for this message!

  4. Avatar Charlotte Gebauer Koelling says:

    Social media have plenty of critics and plenty to criticize. However, their great blessing is the ability to spread a spot-on message such as this one to an audience far greater than could be imagined otherwise. Wonderful essay, President Harrison. We are blessed to be able to read and share it.

  5. Avatar Betty M says:

    Dear Pres. Harrison,
    The Law with it’s great demands, it’s power to shame and accuse, drives me ever closer to the Gospel of the cross in it’s horrible stark beauty!! We are so driven by “how much do we have to do to get the desired result but when the Gospel really speaks to us in a fresh way we ask ‘how much is it possible to do and can I possibly do more with God’s help?” One is driven by legalism and selfishness the other by selflessness and a minute grasp of the unfathomable love of the Triune God!!!

    Love it!!

    An LCMS family member through marriage! A Baptist convert!!

    Betty M.

  6. Avatar Mike Ramey says:

    One more aspect of the relationship between Law and Gospel is the matter of the Third Use of the Law. This is where the “got to” of the Law becomes a “get to” through the Gospel. The loving response to God’s Word is often neglected by many preachers. Allowing the Gospel to dominate does not mean the exclusion of guidance from the Gospel’s changes. That is a place where we need deep concern, too.

  7. Avatar Linda Nobili says:

    AMEN! Thank you for keeping this message alive today. I have come to view everything through the lens of Law and Gospel.. It explains so much! Thank you Pastor for this message.

  8. Avatar Richard says:

    This article alone is enough to make me go back to the LCMS church. Thanks President Harrison. May God bless you.

  9. Avatar JMH says:

    For those who haven’t read Walther’s “Law and Gospel”, thank you. And for those who have, a refresher is always welcome.

  10. Avatar JJM says:

    I love this concept. There needs to be more distinction between social values and the Gospel. However, the LCMS church is not the prime example of how to distinguish. As a member, I feel like there are more rules (laws) in the church that have very little gospel relevance. Is it for the good of the order, or because of flawed theological discernment? Whatever it is, our church is suffering because of it.

    1. Avatar Richard says:

      You must’ve went to a different LCMS church than the one I used to attend. I am going back to the LCMS, albeit a different congregation this time, and the correct view of Law and Gospel is the MAIN reason.

  11. Avatar David says:

    Dear Pres. Harrison,

    Thank you so much for this awesome message – it sounds like it’s right out of C.F.W. Walther’s book “Law & Gospel”. As a life-long ELS/WELS synod member I am so encouraged to see the president of the LCMS espousing this very confessional doctrine. May God continue to bless you and the Missouri Synod!

  12. Pastor Harrison,
    The law and gospel message earns a 5-star, gold-plated, diamond-studded, hand-delivered thank you from Martin Luther himself. Luther must be chagrined for much that passes for Lutheranism today, but he would be immensely proud of you and all pastors who preach this message. I served as International President of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. It’s a 3-year term. What LCMS is to Lutheranism, the EPC is to Presbyterians. We are conservative, Christ-centered, no-nonsense biblical pastors who defend and declare the whole Scriptures. My son Jason Hoffman, is the President of Gloria Dei in Urbandale, IA. For a year, I taught an adult Bible class there. The table manners may be different, but theologically, we are kissing cousins.

    My hope is to serve LCMS in the development office at Concordia, St Paul. We are now beginning our visits about that possibility. The LCMS is unswerving in its allegiance to Christ and the scriptures. Concordia has a sterling reputation in the Metro and the Nation for training persons to serve the Lord according to their gifts and do so in a winsome way. Thanks again, Pastor Harrison.

    Wayne M. Hoffman
    White Bear Lake, MN

  13. Avatar Tim says:

    I think President Harrison, along with a gross number of other people who call themselves shepherds need to revisit simple Lutheran Doctrine. To many of these learned doctors of Scripture need to understand what exactly the LCMS historically considers to be the proper distinction between Law and Gospel.

    The Gospel is indeed no system of ethics. It is the forgiveness of sins. That being the case, it should be noted that C.F.W. Walther said there is no good news for secure sinners, only the Law is to be preached to them (Thesis one, God’s No, and God’s Yes.) Simply put, people who are ok with the filth they roll around in are, well, you figure it out. However, people who are truly insecure need to embrace that forgiveness through repentance, and thereby cling to the promise of the Gospel. Knowledge of the Law leads us to understand what it is we should be terrified of (Rom. 7:7)

    What President Harrison’s message looks like to me is something out of John Calvin’s book on Christian Doctrine. Once saved, always saved. God is no pushover, which unfortunately too many of us have forgotten.

    1. Avatar William Lindenmeyer says:

      The Law rightly preached in all its terror leads to agony, grief and shame over sin. The Gospel rightly preached leads to true joyful release from sins and to Gospel motivated growing sanctification. It’s a natural Spirit produced fruit of the Gospel which focuses us on Christ and His forgiveness not on further law! We cannot and never will be motivated by the law! (Gal 5:22-23, John 15:3-5) Motivated by the Gospel let’s go to Church and be in the Word daily so that the law and Gospel will have it’s continuing way with us, so that CHRIST through His means will have His way with us. Thanks President Harrison for reminding us.

  14. Avatar James Patterson says:

    Thank you for this timely reminder. I meet lots of people from many walks of life, and the most angry people are former Christians. They are bitter toward God. I truly believe it is because they heard all law and little or no gospel. God bless our pastors as they keep law and gospel in the heart of all their preaching.