All tagged Law and Gospel

A Note on the Seriousness of Preaching

[Our] stories are decidedly unserious when viewed through the lens of the seriousness of God’s affairs. Jesus put the matter succinctly: “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36). Human affairs are not serious in and of themselves. Rather, they are consequential because they garner meaning and significance within the overarching story of God and man.

The Law and the Already Terrified Conscience

Where contrition is evident, the conscience has already been prodded, piqued, finally terrified. More Law only serves to confirm the lie this person is already at risk of believing: that the last work of the conscience is also God’s last word. But God’s last word is the word of absolution, not the confirmation of the conscience’s testimony, but now its contradiction.

First Principles of Preaching: The Verb Itself (Part 2)

The Christian sermon is Gospel preaching. We only preach the Gospel. Only the Gospel is the sermon, notwithstanding necessary admonishments of law and requisite exhortations toward sanctification. The verb has content - Gospel - or else the verb preach does not apply and, for that matter, neither does the noun “sermon”. Something else is happening, call it what you may, but it is not a sermon and one has not preached.

Preaching to C and E Christians

No doubt a few preachers cringe at the thought of “C and E” (Christmas and Easter) Christians showing up for Christmas Eve Services.  For many, these fair-weather parishioners come across like neighbors who want to borrow a hedge-trimmer, but never intend to return it. They are akin to free-riders who donate nothing to the community. I must confess, when I preach on Christmas or Easter I do not share this sentiment held by some of my peers.

Preaching Perfection

It is painful to listen to a pastor try to find some Good News in Jesus’ words about the camel and the eye of the needle (John 15:24) or the perfection of your heavenly Father (Matthew 5:48). Worse is when a brother gives up searching and just preaches a life of perfect love and goes back to his chancel bench since, “…that’s what the text says.” Whenever I hear the first I give thanks, despite the pain, for Law-and-Gospel homiletics classes because I know what it is like to hear the second and those scare me.