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What Luther Says

'The Gospel Is Not...'

Short. Sweet. True.

The Gospel is not, "God accepts your brokenness" (which is false, by the way); it's not even "Jesus ate with sinners"; it's the news that Jesus, true God and true man, gave Himself up as an atoning sacrifice for your sins; that because of this, your very real transgressions against God's Law have been forgiven, His resurrection manifesting the definitive proof that you, and indeed all mankind, are reconciled to God; that you have a righteousness that is not your own, but is solely by faith in the Son of God. 
Look at the Lutheran "church" which has embraced the Gospel Reductionism of "Seminex." Look at it. Mark it. There is nothing surprising about where they have ended up. 
*- T David Demarest

In addition, there's this too...

Ok, but what is the pure, true Gospel then if we were to elaborate a bit?

The following article is quoted in full from the Christian Cyclopedia provided by The LCMS.

The Law And The Gospel 
“The law is a divine doctrine which reveals the righteousness and immutable will of God, shows how man ought to be disposed in his nature, thoughts, words, and deeds in order to be pleasing and acceptable to God, and threatens the transgressors of the law with God's wrath and temporal and eternal punishment. For, as Luther says against the nomoclasts, ‘Everything that rebukes sin is and belongs to the law, the proper function of which is to condemn sin and to lead to a knowledge of sin’ (Rom. 3:20; 7:7). Since unbelief is a root and fountainhead of all culpable sin, the law reproves unbelief also.” (FC SD V 17) 
“The Gospel, strictly speaking, is the kind of doctrine that teaches what a man who has not kept the law and is condemned by it should believe, namely, that Christ has satisfied and paid for all guilt and without man's merit has obtained and won for him forgiveness of sins, the ‘righteousness that avails before God’ [Romans 1:17; 2 Corinthians 5:21], and eternal life.” (FC Ep V 4) 
“The word ‘Gospel’ is not used in a single sense in Holy Scripture, and this was the original occasion of the controversy. Therefore we believe, teach, and confess that when the word ‘Gospel’ means the entire doctrine of Christ which he proclaimed personally in his teaching ministry and which his apostles also set forth (examples of this meaning occur in Mark 1:15 and Acts 20:24), then it is correct to say or write that the Gospel is a proclamation both of repentance and of forgiveness of sins.” (FC Ep V 6) 
Law and Gospel do not differ if Law is taken in a broad sense, as in Isaiah 2:3, or if Gospel is taken in a broad sense, as in Mark 1:1. They do not contradict each other. Both are God’s Word; both are in the OT and NT; both are to be applied to people everywhere, including Christians. 
The fact that Law and Gospel differ in their narrow sense is suggested or indicated, e.g., Zechariah 11:7; Matthew 13:52; Luke 12:42; Romans 10:4; Galatians 3:24. The difference was used, e.g., 2 Samuel 12:1–14: Luke 7:36–50; Acts 2:37–39; 16:27–31; 1 Corinthians 5:1–5; 2 Corinthians 2:6–8. 
Differences: (a) The Law was written into man’s heart: the Gospel is not known by nature, but was revealed through Jesus and the Word of God. (b) The Law contains commandments of what we are to do and not to do and how we are to be; the Gospel reveals what God has done and still does for our salvation. (c) The Law promises eternal life conditionally; the Gospel promises it freely. (d) The Law demands perfect fulfillment and pronounces curses and threats if there is no perfect fulfillment; the Gospel has only promises and comforting assurrances. (e) The purpose of the Law is to serve as a curb, mirror, and rule (see also FC VI); the purpose of the Gospel is to forgive sins and give heaven and salvation as a free gift. 
Law and Gospel are both operative in conversion. But the very nature of justification excludes the Law and leaves the Gospel as the only means whereby God justifies the sinner. The incentive power of the Gospel and the criterion of the Law are operative in sanctification. WFG 
W. Geihsler, “The Law and the Gospel,” The Abiding Word, I, ed. T. Laetsch (St. Louis, 1946), 105–123; C. F. W. Walther, The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel, reproduced from the Ger. ed. of 1897 by W. H. T. Dau (St. Louis, 1929); W. Elert, “Gesetz und Zorn Gottes,” Morphologie des Luthertums, I (Munich, 1931; improved print., 1952), 31–39, tr. W. A. Hansen, “The Law and the Wrath of God,” The Structure of Lutheranism, I (St. Louis, 1962), 35–43; T. M. McDonough, The Law and the Gospel in Luther (London, 1963).

I hope that helps to clarify things for you.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, with so much current confusion in Christ's Church today over the core of our faith (a.k.a. the Gospel of Jesus Christ) is it any wonder why we see Christians so easily influenced by the culture around them when we can't even seem to grasp the basics?

NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular Christian, Candy-Making, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism almost 2 years ago now. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because we now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha!). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm experiencing and/or studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!


About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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