Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Of preachers and preaching.

Thought experiment time.

Take a fresh look at the excerpt of a sermon I posted below. Do you read it differently if I tell you that our own David Petersen wrote it?

Do you read it differently if I told you that I actually wrote it?

What about if I told you that this sermon flunked LCMS Doctrinal Review?

How about if I told you it passed DR and has been published by CPH?

Would any of that matter to your interpretation of this sermon? We all like to think that we are objective - especially in our chosen field of study, theology. But I wonder. I didn't see anything in the sermon to find objectionable; others did. But I wonder if I was tainted by the fact that it's one of my favorite preachers who wrote it. I wonder if others were drawn into over analyzing and being overly critical because of the debate we have been having and assumed that it couldn't be right because it was posted by me in the context of this debate.

Well, for what it's worth, this sermon is from one of my favorite preachers and artists of the English language, Dr. Norman Nagel. It's the conclusion to his sermon for 14 Pentecost in the volume of his selected sermons from CPH. That's a book you should own.



  1. What? Norman Nagel used law in his sermon conclusion? Exhortation? Parenesis?


  2. I love you guys. This is hilarious! First, this is about improving your preaching. You don't play "gotcha games." You set a trap with a Nagel sermon. No one bites on your trap. Then, you applaud yourselves about how clever you were for setting a trap that no one bit on.

    If you are trying to improve your preaching, Dr. Nagel is the best place go. Ha!

    My favorite Nagel sermon doesn't mention the Lord's Supper (what!?!) and has exhortation in it. It's right here (

    "No more living as if He did not die and rise again for you and so no more anxiety."

    I'm sorry that I come off sometimes as sophomoric. It's really hard to relay joy on the internet. Most folks think I'm full of it or read me as sarcastic. Very sorry!

    Thank you for your forgiveness and love and your continued support of Higher Things. You guys are a gift from God.

    Have a blessed Advent preparation.

    1. It's only a trap for those who think Dr. Nagel's sermon wasn't Nagelesque enough :).

      Suffice it to say that while the Law always accuses (semper) it does not only accuse (tantum). A preacher can end the sermon with exhortation and not leave his people in their sins. A preacher can encourage to godly living without falling into legalism.


  3. I think this speaks to the importance of hearers having a relationship with their pastor. The better you know him and where he is coming from the more accurately you will understand what he did and did not intend to say.

    Likewise, this encourages me as a preacher to be better known by people through visits, C&A, etc. for the sake of the preaching.

  4. So I guess this is LCMS' own version of the GOP's establishment versus the Tea Party. Nice. The comment boxes on this topic appear to me like the numbered agents at SPECTRE, rubbing their hands together and cackling in their cleverness, only to delete their comments or disappear behind hidden panels when the opposition makes a point, making it even more difficult to follow the conversation... invoking blessed servants like Nagel, Gerhard, and Luther like politicians do with Reagan, Lincoln, or Washington when they want to one-up conservatives.

    The one thing in all this that rings crystal clear is that words mean things. Pr Borghardt has been dinging that bell on 'antinomian' but I guess it's tough to hear it over the hand wringing. Ironic since LCMS prides itself in language: the etymology and selection of words.

    I appreciate the pastors of my church body being diligent in their preaching methodology to us (the laity). But I find it hard to believe at this point that this diligence was intended in 'good faith'. Otherwise I would expect this to be something that the brothers would discuss among themselves in private spaces, and it no doubt is.

    But the moment such a topic is posted on blogs open to public consumption, I have a hard time seeing the 'good faith' through all the vitriol and face twisting.

    Pr Borghardt has rightly stated earlier this month that LCMS has real problems to address -- starting with the reality that the average LCMSer does not know an 'antinomian' from an 'anemone' BECAUSE THEY DO NOT KNOW THEIR OWN CONFESSIONS. I'm a third generation Lutheran who had not read one letter of the Confessions (save the Small Catechism) until I was drawn to them by the grace of God five years ago, for NO LCMS pastor in my life to that point ever did (which was seven at that time; not including vicars or the LCMS school I attended through 6th grade).

    Pr Harrison is doing blessed work towards correcting this egregious failing of this synod over the past decades; likewise Pr Fisk/WEtv, Pr Borghardt/Higher Things, Pr Wilken/Issues, Etc., and others. If some form of significant negative nomianism among the LCMS clergy exists then the Spirit will mercifully convict us through the work of the whole and call our synod to repentance.

    Beyond that, this public confessing of "antinomianism" is coming off as against the manner of good Christian discipline/practice (Matt. 6:16-19); it distracts from the anfechtungen LCMS is truly contending against (e.g. women's ordination, open communion, unionism); it is potentially putting up a facade, hiding Christ from those burned out by all the rampant legalism saturating Christendom from within and without.

    1. Mr. Radke,

      I'm glad you found the Confessions! That is a great experience for any lifelong Lutheran.

      I think you may be reading rancor into our discussions here at Gottesdienst. I can't speak for what's tossed around at other places on the web - but I think our conversations here have been constructive. No, we don't all agree. But we are talking about the core of our calling - preaching - so I don't view it as a peripheral issue.

      God bless,

    2. Mr. Radke,

      I want to commend you for your post. What you have written hits the nail squarely on the head in describing how many of us feel about this ongoing "discussion/debate."

      I have to believe that my brothers here at Gottesdienst really do have the best of intentions, but I have been disappointed in the approach taken here lately in addressing this issue, since that approach has appeared to include the same presuppositions and insinuations that have accompanied the posts others have made ad nauseum around the Lutheran interwebs for quite some time. Those presuppositions and insinuations (and, in the many posts of others, actual accusations) amazingly paint a picture, whether intentional or not, that many of their confessional Lutheran brothers are guilty of antinomianism, which is hardly the case. It does no good to say, "Well, I've noticed this tendency in my own preaching," or to cleverly create a new category that one imagines might lessen the blow (soft-antinomianism, semi-antinomianism, partial-antinomianism, etc.), since, well, antinomianism has an actual definition. Words mean things.

      If we want to talk about preaching and identify an area in our preaching that very well may need improving, I'm all for it. Let's do that! But, that is not what has been happening. When you begin a series of posts with one titled, "Are You an Antinomian?" you have immediately brought in all the past baggage from previous heated exchanges among confessional Lutherans wherein accusations were hurled back and forth, and you have just assured yourself of one thing, namely, the impossibility of having the actual, fraternal conversation you very well may wish to have. Then, when you play a "gotcha game" a few posts later, as was done here with the conclusion of a Dr. Nagel sermon, it is difficult to conclude that what is really wished for is a fruitful, fraternal conversation about preaching. I don't find anything constructive about this approach.

      Yesterday, I listened to an excellent interview of Fr. Paul McCain by Fr. Todd Wilken on Issues, Etc. regarding FC VI "Third Use of the Law." Seriously, that was extremely well done. Would that our internet conversations were conducted in the same spirit as was displayed in that interview. Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case, and we are not the richer for it, and neither is the church healthier for it. We can do better (and I most definitely include myself in that "we").

      The better we can do would begin with those who believe there is a problem recognizing that they're talking to brothers and colleagues when this subject is addressed. Let's just presuppose that our confessional Lutheran brothers actually have a Bible and a copy of our Lutheran Confessions (as well as a library full of other theological resources). That would be a good start. Then, we can also safely, I think, presuppose that they're serious about being pastors and theologians, and that they have, and continue to, actually read and study those resources. Let's not pretend like we're the only ones who have ever read Luther or Chemnitz. Let's not treat our brothers like they're our junior confirmands.

      In other words, let's not allow the words of the venerable Dr. Scaer the Elder ring true among us: "That's why I hate Lutheranism. It's just a parlor game."

      Oh, and Jesus loves you. Amen. (Wouldn't want to end on exhortation!) :) (That's a JOKE!)

    3. I must say, I am really puzzled by some of the responses to these conversations about how whether or not Pastors should and how they can best make sure that their parishioners are aware that God actually demands actual obedience, not only of heathens, but also of His Christians.

      I am really puzzled as to where it comes from, this apparent absolute assurance that this conversation is intended only as an attack and insult against a particular person or particular persons.

      I am puzzled about the apparent assurance that all who take part in this conversation are part of a well organised malicious conspiracy - except for those against those whom this conversation is, apparently, a conspiracy - whoever they might be.

      I still do not know who this person would be, or these persons - or how anybody else would know - or how that person or these persons would be supposed to know, so as to be hurt and harmed by the attacks and the insults, as is apparently the purpose for which this whole discussion has been engineered by the conspirators - which would apparently be all who have participated - except some - somehow ...

      I just do not see it. It makes no sense to me whatsoever.
      And I am puzzled by this new principle of pastoral ethics that has suddenly developed, that bright and theologically skillful Pastors who have thoughts to share about preaching are not allowed to publicise their thoughts on the internet, for the benefit of brother pastors such as myself, because of the danger that a layman might choose to seek out a website where Pastors discuss such things that, and might choose to read what is posted there, and choose to continue reading, and to continue, and to continue, and might, at the end of the exercise, find that he or she has not benefited from having chosen to take the time and make the effort to do so. And therefore, only those who are familiar with these bright minds on a personal level so as to talk on the phone on a regular basis are allowed to learn about the thoughts. Or Pastors in their own circuits. Pastors such as myself, who do not know any of these bright minds personally, whom they are highly unlikely to call up on the phone to share their thoughts, and who would not know whom to call, and when, and regarding what, we must be kept unaware of the theological thinking been done.

      I assume that this would mean that Pastors are not allowed to write articles on such topics for theological periodicals, either or to write books on preaching - for just as is the case with such discussions on the internet, there is no guarantee that a layman might not get his hands on a copy of a such publication - and then we would have the same devastating disaster again - in whichever way that would be a devastating disaster.

      I fail to fathom the philosophy.

    4. O, and I am aware that my failure to fathom might be due to my lack of intellectual capacity.
      And at this point I would not be surprised if somebody would have the courtesy to point this out to me, and this time directly.

    5. Dear Fr. Jais,

      I doubt your failure to fathom the responses from some of us has anything to do with intellectual ability. It probably has more to do with being blessed to have not witnessed the previous seven trillion incarnations of this "discussion/debate," a summary of which is something like this:

      Pastor A: "There is a huge problem among confessional Lutherans. Many of them are antinomians."

      Pastor B: " What? Who are these antinomians?"

      Pastor A: "They are those who do not preach the third use of the law."

      Pastor B: "I don't know what you mean by that. We preach the law; the Holy Spirit uses that law when and where and how He pleases."

      Pastor A: "You're an antinomian, then. You obviously reject the language of exhortation and admonishment used by Sts. Peter and Paul, Luther, Chemnitz, Gerhard, and our Lutheran Confessions."

      Pastor B: "What? I most assuredly do not reject that language! I include exhortation and admonishment in my preaching of the law. I'm simply pointing out that the uses of the law are not mine, but the Holy Spirit's, which is clearly taught in our Lutheran Confessions (FC VI:11-12, et. al.)."

      Pastor A: "Do you end your sermons with exhortation?"

      Pastor B: "Well, no, not usually. I usually end with Gospel. But . . ."

      Pastor A: "As I said, you're an antinomian!"

      That's the backdrop to what you're witnessing here. And, you can not only see the defensiveness from some, who have been wounded in the past, but also the attitude of those who have inflicted those wounds in comments like, "What? Norman Nagel used law in his sermon conclusion? Exhortation? Parenesis? Shocking."

      None of this is to say that pastors should not be allowed to write articles on such topics on blogs or in theological periodicals, etc. The objection many of us have is not to discussing subjects like this, but the manner in which these subjects have often been discussed - which have often been nothing like discussions at all, but more like pissing contests. Playing "gotcha games" certainly does nothing to improve upon that, IMO.


    6. Dear Brother,

      I've tried to be very clear in what I'm aiming at. I'll try again.

      In my own preaching I hadn't been including specific language aimed at exhortation. The Law I included in my sermons was solely designed by me in 2nd use terms.

      The Formula says that antinomianism is the denial that the Law has any use in the Christian life except to accuse of sin and condemn. I found that my preaching was following that *in practice*. I've never denied what the Formula said....but looking in the mirror of my actual sermons from my early ministry, I had to admit that I had been following an Antinomian preaching.

      When I begun to discuss this with other brothers, some agreed. Some disagreed. Two statements that were specifically mentioned to me in both spech and writing were, "where there is Law there is only condemnation" and "if you end your sermon with Law you leave the people in their sins because you can't control whether the Law is 2nd use or 3rd use."

      In my practice I used to practice in accord with those statements - both of which deny the 3rd use of the Law.

      I am sorry the discussion has been viewed with rancor by many. I must admit: I've never read a single sermon by you, or George, or anyone else who reacted so vociferously. I really don't get. Obviously I struck a nerve I did not mean to.

      I hope this explanation helps you understand what I'm driving at.


    7. Jais said, "I must say, I am really puzzled by some of the responses to these conversations about how whether or not Pastors should and how they can best make sure that their parishioners are aware that God actually demands actual obedience, not only of heathens, but also of His Christians."

      When Jesus was posed with a similar question he answered, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” He went on to develop the difficult teaching of the Eucharist (at that particular time, by foreshadowing) later in that chapter; he built on this further when He said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”

      This is expanded most profoundly when Jesus spoke through St Paul re. our Baptism into His death and resurrection and said, “And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”

      As I have come to understand the Divine Service is that it is exactly that: God serving His Church, through the climax of the liturgy in the Holy Communion. We are there to be prepared for and then receive Christ crucified in the Blessed Sacrament for the forgiveness of sins, for the renewal of faith, for the preservation of the Kingdom of God which eagerly awaits His imminent final advent and life eternal in the world to come.


      As an aside: I notice that the wonderful citations from Luther's 1535 commentary on Galatians are indeed from his lectures on the book. I am not suggesting there are not exhortations to works in any of his sermons (or that of other Lutheran fathers). What I mean is that perhaps articulate exhortations to good works are meant to be (mostly) part of the teaching office, not the preaching office.

    8. Mr. Radke,

      Is there a distinction between the teaching office and the preaching office? That may be another important facet to this debate. In the Chemnitz-Andrae authored church order of 1569 they mandate that the preacher should preach for about an hour and that "the people learn something definite" from his sermon.

      Recall that it is only with the advent of Methodism that Sunday School came about. Have a look at Walther's sermons, or any old Lutheran: lots and lots of teaching. Perhaps this is another thing we need to revisit in our self-evaluation of our own weaknesses in this age. There is probably a middle ground between Chemnitz' hour long very "teachy" sermons and my 10 minute homilies solely aimed at Law-Gospel proclamation. . . .


    9. Pastor HRC raises another sticky-wicket of an issue.

      I've noticed an increasing number of sermons among us that are no more than 5-6 minutes long, maybe as long as 8 minutes.

      We are putting out people on a spiritual starvation diet when we allow our "sermons" to be only 5.5-6.5 minutes long.

    10. I fully agree about present average sermon length. The "times viewed" on Pr Fisk's videos (which average about 20-25 mins), and the (somewhat) higher average segment on Issues Etc. re. doctrine/theology + the show's popularity are a great indicators that the audience want more AND will listen to more Jesus in the confessional Lutheran context; a combined audience that likely includes nearly all age groups.

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    13. Dear Pastor Messer:
      thank you for your response.
      I makes me think of the saying about becoming that which you fight against.

      Here is how this conversation comes off to me:
      Pastor A:
      I found something here that Luther says which i think might be interesting for some of you guys.

      Pastor B:
      How dare you call me an Antinomian, and all my friends, by bringing a long Luther quote, which is obviously the equivalent of mentioning me and my friends by name. And why don't you mention any names? That you don't mention any names proves that those people you accuse don't exist.Stop accusing me and my friends by name. There is no such thing as antinomianism in the LCMS.

      Pastor C:
      I know that some of our members actually thinking that the Gospel means that you are free to live in sin without repentance, and nobody is allowed to say, for example, that it is sinful to have non-marital sexual relations, because there is such a thing as forgiveness, and that means that nothing is really sin, for that is what some of our pastors say, and at least one District President will support Pastors and congregational members who believe that against a Pastor who says differently. And I think that is a problem.

      Pastor B:
      It is not a problem at all anywhere. You should have had conversations with these people instead of whatever it is I assume you did instead, for I know for a fact that you have not sat through many hours in painful conversation on these topics in your congregations and at Circuit Winkels, being mocked and ridiculed by your members and your colleague and your District President, and accused of being stupid and evil and not a Christian.
      And what you say happens never happens. What you are describing never happens, as long as you do not rip up the whole thing again by mentioning names in public. LOL. You are ridiculous. Your concerns are ridiculous. What might very well be your own painful experience - and I know that it might very well be, for I am not an idiot - is ridiculous. LOL.

      Pastor A/D/E/F/G:
      Well, we are not really out to accuse anyone. We are trying to have a conversation about the place of the Law and preaching, because we see a challenge here, and we have difficulties coming to terms with it.

      Pastor B: No, you don't. Stop accusing me and my friends specifically. And mention some names. Start taking your brothers seriously and be brotherly with them. You are all ridiculous.Your concerns are ridiculous.. LOL.

      Pastor A/D/E/F/G:
      But we are not accusing anyone.

      Pastor B:
      Stop accusing me and my friends. Start being brotherly with us. You are all ridiculous. LOL. There, I said it again. That is so cute. I can't get over how cute I am. We are all cute at Higher Things.

      Pastor H: Everybody who agrees with the Book of Concord and Luther and Chemnitz that the Law should be preached is a Methodist.
      I am not an Antinomian, for there is no such thing as Antinomianism.
      It is just that I think that it is wrong to preach the Law, and the Gospel should always stand alone. I am not an Antinomian. The Law sucks,

      Layperson A/B:
      You Pastors should be ashamed for talking about this anywhere other than on the phone and at Winkels so that other Pastors than your friends and neighbours can know about it.
      Don't you realise that we as laypeople can find our way onto this site, and we can choose to spend a lot of time reading through everything you write, and some of us might prefer not to do that, so how dare you make that possible for us?

      Pastor C: I really do not understand what is going here.

      Pastor I: Well, they started it.

    14. This is not to say that I do not appreciate you providing me with the background. For I do. I did sense that there was some prior history at work,

      On the other hand, I do believe that any given conversation in some sense is its own context. It seems to me that the proper time and place for responding to past abuses and errors are in the past, as they occurred. Just as I think that the proper time to answer a wrong statement is in direct response to it, rather than in response to another and perhaps completely different statement.

      It might even actually be that people have learned something in the meantime - even if they do not specify that they have, or that they have changed their minds, or even that they have modified their positions a bit, or that they are trying to express themselves in a different manner.

  5. It would be wise to stop whining about how the issues are being discussed and simply engage the issues:

    Pastor Mark Surburg had yet another excellent blog post on the point at hand, and it would be good to discuss it:

    1. Yes, Rev. McCain, let us engage the issues.

      I want to know how all of this "antinomian outing among LCMS clergy" addresses the fact that orthodox evangelicalism (i.e. Lutheranism) is hemorrhaging folks of my generation, and those following mine, to 'pop Christianity', Roman Catholicism, Eastern mysticism (be it the church body or the non-Christian philosophical schools).

      Because when it comes to Christian 'to do' lists, these generations will not be insulted by imitations of the real deal developed by churches/schools who have been steeped in this theology for centuries, or charismatically upon this continent: hence the crisis of our Lutheran youth exiting us -- as Pr Borghardt, Pr Fisk, et al. have rightly ringing the clarion call upon.

      When are we going solemnly engage our children and youth with their identity as preserved in the Confessions, so they are prepared to act as Spirit-led, Christ-fed witnesses when the legalism (Christian or secular) or 'squishy therapist Jesus' of their friends and fellow students fails them, burns them out...?

    2. Mr. Radke, several years ago an article appeared that put matters well and sounded a very important word of warning and caution. It is by Professor Kurt E. Marquart of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I strongly encourage you to give it your most serious attention.

      Antinomian Aversion to Sanctification?

      An emerited brother writes that he is disturbed by a kind of preaching that avoids sanctification and "seemingly questions the Formula of Concord . . . about the Third Use of the Law." The odd thing is that this attitude, he writes, is found among would-be confessional pastors, even though it is really akin to the antinomianism of "Seminex"! He asks, "How can one read the Scriptures over and over and not see how much and how often our Lord (in the Gospels) and the Apostles (in the Epistles) call for Christian sanctification, crucifying the flesh, putting down the old man and putting on the new man, abounding in the work of the Lord, provoking to love and good works, being fruitful . . . ?"

      I really have no idea where the anti-sanctification bias comes from. Perhaps it is a knee-jerk over-reaction to "Evangelicalism": since they stress practical guidance for daily living, we should not! Should we not rather give even more and better practical guidance, just because we distinguish clearly between Law and Gospel? Especially given our anti-sacramental environment, it is of course highly necessary to stress the holy means of grace in our preaching. But we must beware of creating a kind of clericalist caricature that gives the impression that the whole point of the Christian life is to be constantly taking in preaching, absolution and Holy Communion-while ordinary daily life and callings are just humdrum time-fillers in between! That would be like saying that we live to eat, rather than eating to live. The real point of our constant feeding by faith, on the Bread of Life, is that we might gain an ever-firmer hold of Heaven-and meanwhile become ever more useful on earth! We have, after all, been "created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:10). Cars, too, are not made to be fueled and oiled forever at service-stations. Rather, they are serviced in order that they might yield useful mileage in getting us where we need to go. Real good works before God are not showy, sanctimonious pomp and circumstance, or liturgical falderal in church, but, for example, "when a poor servant girl takes care of a little child or faithfully does what she is told" (Large Catechism, Ten Commandments, par. 314, Kolb-Wengert, pg. 428).

    3. Marquart continues...

      The royal priesthood of believers needs to recover their sense of joy and high privilege in their daily service to God (1 Pet. 2:9). The "living sacrifice" of bodies, according to their various callings, is the Christian’s "reasonable service" or God-pleasing worship, to which St. Paul exhorts the Romans "by the mercies of God" (Rom. 12:1), which he had set out so forcefully in the preceding eleven chapters! Or, as St. James puts it: "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world" (1:27). Liberal churches tend to stress the one, and conservatives one the other, but the Lord would have us do both!

      Antinomianism appeals particularly to the Lutheran flesh. But it cannot claim the great Reformer as patron. On the contrary, he writes:

      "That is what my Antinomians, too, are doing today, who are preaching beautifully and (as I cannot but think) with real sincerity about Christ’s grace, about the forgiveness of sin and whatever else can be said about the doctrine of redemption. But they flee s if t were the very devil the consequence that they should tell the people about the third article, of sanctification, that is, of new life in Christ. They think one should not frighten or trouble the people, but rather always preach comfortingly about grace and the forgiveness of sins in Christ, and under no circumstance use these or similar words, "Listen! You want to be a Christian and at the same time remain an adulterer, a whoremonger, a drunken swine, arrogant, covetous, a usurer, envious, vindictive, malicious, etc.!" Instead they say, "Listen! Though you are an adultery, a wordmonger, a miser, or other kind of sinner, if you but believe, you are saved, and you need not fear the law. Christ has fulfilled it all! . . . They may be fine Easter preachers, but they are very poor Pentecost preachers, for they do not preach… "about the sanctification by the Holy Spirit," but solely about the redemption of Jesus Christ, although Christ (whom they extol so highly, and rightly so) is Christ, that is, He has purchased redemption from sin and death so that the Holy Spirit might transform us out of the old Adam into new men . . . Christ did not earn only gratia, grace, for us, but also donum, "the gift of the Holy Spirit," so that we might have not only forgiveness of, but also cessation of, sin. Now he who does not abstain fro sin, but persists in his evil life, must have a different Christ, that of the Antinomians; the real Christ is not there, even if all the angels would cry, "Christ! Christ!" He must be damned with this, his new Christ (On the Council and the Church, Luther’s Works, 41:113-114).

      Where are the "practical and clear sermons," which according to the Apology "hold an audience" (XXIV, 50, p. 267). Apology XV, 42-44 (p. 229) explains:

      "The chief worship of God is to preach the Gospel…in our churches all the sermons deal with topics like these: repentance, fear of God, faith in Christ, the righteousness of faith, prayer . . . the cross, respect for the magistrates and all civil orders, the distinction between the kingdom of Christ (the spiritual kingdom) and political affairs, marriage, the education and instruction of children, chastity, and all the works of love."

      "Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, unto Thy Church Thy Holy Spirit, and the wisdom which cometh down from above, that Thy Word, as becometh it, may not be bound, but have free course and be preached to the joy and edifying of Christ’s holy people, that I steadfast faith we may serve Thee, and in the confession of Thy Name abide unto the end: through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord. Amen."

      Kurt Marquart

      Concordia Theological Quarterly

      July/October 2003
      Pages 379-381

  6. "As an aside: I notice that the wonderful citations from Luther's 1535 commentary on Galatians are indeed from his lectures on the book. I am not suggesting there are not exhortations to works in any of his sermons (or that of other Lutheran fathers). What I mean is that perhaps articulate exhortations to good works are meant to be (mostly) part of the teaching office, not the preaching office."

    First, yes, exhortation is replete throughout Luther's sermons.

    Second, you are making a false and extremely dangerous distinction between preaching and teaching.

    1. "Second, you are making a false and extremely dangerous distinction between preaching and teaching."

      Rev. McCain: Your admonishing tone above is not consistent with the notes in The Lutheran Study Bible for II Timothy 1:11 (and Ephesians 4:11, James 3:1).

      It is within those contexts that I am referring to how 'catechesis' and 'evangelizing' might be applied within the of the pastoral office, which has long ago certainly come to have a wider definition to include both teaching and preaching. I am not suggesting the two are (or should be) mutually exclusive: there will always be 'teaching' in 'preaching' and vice versa, but there are specific settings -- preaching in the Divine Service, teaching in Bible studies -- where one predominates. Notice I was very careful to say "articulate exhortations to good works..."; exhortations to do good works are passive in right Law/Gospel preaching.

      Along these lines: Did the medieval Church have separate, less formal Bible studies as churches do now? Or was everything contained in the sermon as part of the cultural expectations of that age?

  7. If a man is preaching and is not teaching he is not preaching. To suggest otherwise is to be profoundly mistaken about the very nature of the proclamation of God's Word.

    I do not know what you mean when you say "exhortations to do good works are passive in right Law/Gospel preaching."


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