Abounding Grace Radio On The Attraction Of Legal Preaching

Abounding Grace LogoIn case you missed it here’s the audio of the re-broadcast of the Abounding Grace Radio interview with Chris Gordon. Here’s the original post: The Attraction of Legal Preaching.

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  1. Understanding the Law/Gospel distinction has ruined me for almost all preaching. I feel discouraged and depressed as I listen to one or two sermons a day on my long commute. It seems like in Galatians 3-4 Paul is arguing that not understanding sanctification by grace is evidence you don’t understand justification by faith alone. It’s probably my own lack of holiness but on a practical level i get the same amount of benefit from a celebrity reformed pastor who believes the five points and five solas, defends them, etc. but doesn’t seem to translate that belief into actual sermons as i do from an outright judiazing moralist.

    • Pete,

      With any breakthrough like this, whether it’s learning the distinction between law and gospel, the doctrines of grace, or the regulative principle there’s usually what Mike Horton calls a “cage phase.” That’s the period when, seeing the discrepancy between what is and what should be, one needs to be put in a cage. 🙂 That frustration is natural. It’s important, however, to channel it properly. There are lots of gospel-preaching ministers out there and more access to edifying sermons and messages via the internet.

      Why do you draw that inference from Gal 3-4? I take both chapters to be addressing the Judaizers re acceptance with God. Ch. 5 does turn to the Christian life as it flows from our free acceptance with God.

      Hang in there. The law/gospel distinction is liberating and that’s something for which to be thankful. When we hear preachers who aren’t there yet we can be frustrated yes but also hopeful that they too will see the truth of the distinction. I didn’t get it for a long time. The Lord was gracious. Who knows when the light will go on for others? Unfortunately lots of our ministers have been told for a long time that the distinction is “Lutheran” and ergo “not for us.” That’s not true but it will take time for more to see it and people are seeing it.

  2. Pete, I don,t think I understand just where you’re coming from. Are you saying gospel preaching isn’t practical? Or that the third use of the law is neglected? Do you understand HC 2, that the normative use of the law guides our response of gratitude to the grace of the gospel? In recent months Jon Payne had a good article in Reformation 21’s website about how that response of gratitude is to be informed by the normative use of the law. Perhaps you could elaborate. I thought this radio conversation is extremely important and relevant.

    • RSC, I was trying to say Galatians 3-4 supports what was being argued on the radio show. It seems that Paul is going back and forth between justification and sanctification in pursuit of sola fide. When he’s arguing about justification he’s coming in the front door when he’s arguing about sanctification the back door. “Having begun by …” Seems to assume sola fide then “now perfected?” Seems to be Paul showing the judiaizers that their law based sanctification is inconsistent with sola died thereby undermining or revealing that though they confess sola fide in practice they show they don’t get it…. Just like the Peter episode in chapter 2….bottom line is I’m agreeing with you

    • I too loved the program and as a preacher I found it relevant, important, confessional, and Pauline…. I was trying to say this: given that it depresses the crap out of me to hear even famous reformed (in name?) pastors who turn everything into law or golawspel. Sorry for not being more clear, my lament centered around preachers not embodying what dr. Clark’s program outlined

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