Hi friends and neighbors. I've had a few folks ask me about the blog lately and I think I'm going to ty re-up it. Back in the day when I had a wide readership I was writing kind of to proces and express my own thoughts and I was also always sticking my nose in major theological and ecclesiastical issues of the day. I developed a wide readership but not many of those were members of my church.
As I try to re-up the blog I'm going to try to self-consciously focus on topics of utmost relevance to my church, the local one, not the universal one. At the same time I hope that these kinds of topics will still be of interest to the wider church. I won't try to conduct church business here on the blog but will blog on biblical and theological topics relevant to things we are dealing with. One thing I'd like to do - and this will help build continuity with what I used to blog - is offer some sermon related material. Often, a preacher prepares more during his study during the week than he is able to share in the sermon and a good deal gets left on the cutting room floor. So, I'll share some of that.
For now I'll mention that I am doing a series on the law of God and I'm taking the old tack that sees the law and gospel as the two parts of the Word of God, both needing to be preached together. The older and more conservative Lutherans are the most noted for this approach, but this is also a foundational matter in the Reformed tradition.
I mentioned today that, as disciples of Christ, we are apprentices of Christ who are called to learn to use the tools of the trade. Our main tool of the trade is the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, and I offered a word picture of thinking of the law and gospel as the two hands by which we grip the sword, the Word of God. To properly handle the Word of God we must be able to distinguish the hand of the law which contains commands, prohibitions, and threats, from the gospel which contains words of promise, provision and redemption.
Since I'm just using this as a kick-off post to help get me back in the groove of blogging I'll stop there, except to emphasize that law and gospel must be properly distinguished and noted if we are to apply the Word of God to our lives. For now here's a couple of links which may be helpful. I'm working my way through these first two books:
C. F. W. Walther - The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel - a traditonal Lutheran treatise, maybe the magnum opus from the Lutheran tradition on the law and gospel.
Edward Fisher - The Marrow of Modern Divinity - a reformed treatise, combating the errors of legalism and antinomianism.
Quotes on Law and Gospel - this is a compilation from Scott Clark at Westminster West of quotes from Calvin and others in the reformed tradition on the law-gospel distinction. This is part of Scott Clark's ongoing defense of the law-gospel distinction in the reformed tradition, showing that this is not only a Lutheran distinctive.