Law & Gospel in sermons mandatory?

Started by yagart, September 24, 2006, 07:55:52 PM

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Is there a Lutheran sermon formula that says all sermons must include the Law and Gospel messages?  Years ago I was going to leave the LCMS for a community church, but my LCMS Pastor told me that other denominations will fail in that they might have a topical sermon that goes for a month and at times will completely leave out the Gospel, whereas the LCMS sermons will always have Law & Gospel no matter the topic. He was correct and I do need to hear the Gospel in the sermon each week – it renews me. 

Please give sources where it says Law and Gospel are required in all sermons.

Thank you.


I am not certain there is any publication that gives a formula or even states that there must be both Law and Gospel. Most of us are so completely steeped in the proper distinction between Law and Gospel that it is almost second nature.

Speaking as a LCMS Pastor, we read Walther as the primary text in this regard.  I just finished leading a study on Law and Gospel in my congregation to educate the saints about the distinction and I urge them to listen to my sermons and classes for both, kept in balance.

The other primary topic you will find to be almost second nature in Lutheran Pastor's teaching is the Theology of the Cross.  There are many wonderful sources for learning about that theology, which is not as simple as it sounds.

I hope that begins answering your questions....there are many folks here who will likely do a much better job of addressing this topic for you.


Can you please give the name of the book where Walther writes about this?


Quote from: yagart on September 25, 2006, 01:58:51 PM
Can you please give the name of the book where Walther writes about this?

C.F.W. Walther, "The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel".  It's published by CPH and should be standard reading for any Christian.


To clarify, the book is a summary of a series of lectures Walther gave to students at the seminary in St. Louis, MO, in the 1880's - notes were taken and later put into book form by one or more of the students.  Still an excellent book, although as in any book of that age there are some dated illustrations and manners of speech which are less familiar today.  My father made sure my brothers and I had read through it two times by the time we finished high school.


Another thought--I just finished reading the 8th of the 39 evening lectures in this book, and the thought hit me how important it is that the book is called "The Proper DISTINCTION Between Law and Gospel." This is, I think, where many evangelicals don't get it right. So many see the Bible as Law and Gospel, but don't distinguish between them. So, they can be good on the gospel, but then go right on to law, and don't see how they relate or interact.

Robert Franck

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