books, C. F. W. Walther, false teaching, Gospel, Law, preaching, Reformed Theology, Scripture, theology
In part 6 of my ongoing series on C. F. W. Walther’s Law and Gospel: How to Read and Apply the Bible, I said:
…if the only teaching applied to people is the Law, then they despair, die and perish in their sin. More on this in a future post…
Here is that future post.
This statement is one side of a coin. Some people grow up, live and die under all-law preaching and never have this melt-down I’ve described, or better put, never realize that this is what’s ticking under their hood.
The other alternative is for a person to be crushed under the weight of the fact that they don’t love the Lord with all of who they are…and to not let themselves off the hook because they realize that they do not keep the law perfectly.
Teaching people that “it takes more than faith to really please God” is, in reality, extremely cruel. To those who are convinced of their own righteousness, it pushes them on in their odious good works. Telling the ones who despair of their sin such a thing drives them further and further away from the Gospel…that Christ has obeyed perfectly in their place all that the law demands.
Perhaps I haven’t been blunt enough.
- When your pastor tells people that the Gospel is the door you walked through and now it’s time to get busy and serve God, he is preaching the law improperly and unbiblically.
- When you pastor tells you that “church isn’t for you [as a believer],” he is preaching the law improperly and unbiblically. He is also lying to you…through his teeth.
- When your pastor informs you that you aren’t supposed to be a consumer on a Sunday morning, he is lying to you…and brow-beating you with law which does not come from God. Sunday is for you to be nourished with God’s gifts of his word and hopefully (at least once in a while) his body and blood…it’s not for you to give back to God as if he needed anything.
- When your pastor talks more about the implications of the Gospel than the Gospel itself, he is preaching the heresy of the Higher Life that comes to us through Keswick theology (check out the charts at the end of the PDF).
- When your pastor gives the Gospel only to the non-Christian and never preaches the Gospel as being applicable (but merely assumed) to the believer, he is putting you on a rat-wheel of good works whether he intends to or not. Intention doesn’t figure into what I’m saying.
- When your pastor mines Scripture for “lead like Jesus” principles, he’s serving his own agenda. Worse than that, it’s an agenda which has nothing to do with the Scriptures. He’s deceiving you and preaching law in a most twisted way.
Perhaps I’ve been too bold. But each of these examples demonstrate a misuse of God’s law, often through misrepresentation. If the answer to my sin (not serving, not being a friend, not being a good husband, father, whatever) is “try harder this week,” your pastor is not preaching the Bible, the Gospel or anything in accord with valid doctrine. If he isn’t telling you, “You’ve failed this week to love your neighbor…but Christ has died for that! Repent, and believe the good news that Christ has secured your forgiveness through the shedding of His blood”, run from him. If the actual solution to sin is try harder, then Christ came for no purpose whatsoever.
So ask yourselves: where is the Gospel in the sermon I’m hearing?
I can’t find parts 1-5 anywhere here on your posts of your ongoing series on C. F. W. Walther’s Law and Gospel: How to Read and Apply the Bible. Can you direct me so that I can read them in order??
By the way I am a Christian, consider myself Evangelical, and also deal with SSA and temptations. I do not follow the Gay lifestyle, and I am celibate. I find it a very hard, and lonely path.
I came accross your website by accident. I really appreciate it. I have been reading your posts and those who follow you. I find that I learn from here, I get encouragement, and re-enforcement of teachings/Christian doctrine, and see different points of view.
I admire that you are so strong in your convictions of keeping to the Gospel and not falling into the trap of SSA. I have notice that some of those who posted and were vocal to keeping in accord to the Gospel view of homosexuality have turned to the other direction. It’s a hard path and we who are out their need positive sites like this one or more so to find others who are strong examples like you. I only wish there was someone else or some others dealing with the same issue of SSA and who have strong commitments, or strong spirits, and strong doctrine, like you here in my same area. Alas over the years I have found none. Those I came across in my area were not strong or had ulterior motives.