1. Sources
    1. The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel
      39 Evening Lectures by C.F.W. Walther [1884/85]
      Reproduced from German edition of 1897 by W.H.T. Dau
      ©Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis , MO 1929, 1986
      [page references indicated by “WPD”]
    2. Law and Gospel and the Means of Grace
      By David P. Scaer
      Confessional Lutheran Dogmatics, Vol., VIII
      John R. Stephenson, Editor
      ©The Luther Academy , St. Louis , MO. 2008
      [page references indicated by “S”]
    3. Others as indicated
  2. Introduction
    1. Foreward
      1. By Jeroslav Pelikan
      2. Worth reading re: ancient and contemporary conflicts.
    2. Preface and Introduction
      1. By W.H.T. Dau for English readers, 1928.
      2. Good overview of sin, law and gospel.
      3. Origin of treatise.
        1. 1st published 10 years after Walther’s death.
        2. Built from steno transcripts by Rev. Th. Claus, student
        3. Dr. L. Fuerbringer, “censor” and compared to his notes.
        4. Lectures in the Baier-Lebrsaal on S. Jefferson Ave , St. Louis , MO.
        5. Friday evenings, lectures.
        6. Almost entirely students.
        7. Consider evening lectures to written apologetics
        8. Original in German.
  3. Walther’s Opening Comments (Sep. 12, 1884) (WPD 5)
    1. Speaks to them as students.
    2. Seeking “a most minute knowledge of all doctrines” (WPD 5)
    3. In other lectures, sought to ground them in every doctrine.
    4. Evening lectures to make them “really practical theologians.” (WPD 5)
    5. Of all doctrines:
      1. Justification is “foremost and most important”.
      2. How Law and Gospel to be divided in 2nd in importance.
    6. Scriptures appear to be full of contradictions
      1. Contains 2 entirely different doctrines.
      2. Doctrine of the Law.
      3. Doctrine of the Gospel

Thesis I. (WPD 6)

The doctrinal contents of the entire Holy Scriptures, both of the Old and the New Testament, are made up of two doctrines differing fundamentally from each other, viz., the Law and the Gospel.

  1. Introduction
    1. Both are Word of God.
    2. Both equally necessary.
    3. Both Old Testament and New Testament contain L & G.
    4. Both have for final aim man’s salvation.
    5. L & G are not contradictions.
    6. L & G, distinct from each other, but in “most perfect harmony with one another.” (WPD 7)
    7. L & G both significant also for Christians.
    8. L & G differ:
      1. Re: the manner of revelation to man.
      2. Re: contents.
      3. Re: promises.
      4. Re: threatenings.
      5. Re: function and effect.
      6. Re: persons to whom to be preached.
  2. Differences re: manner of L & G being revealed to man.
    1. Man
      1. Created with Law written in heart.
      2. Not completely destroyed after Fall.
        1. Even conscience of unbeliever may agree with Law.
        2. Conscience of unbeliever does not say Gospel is true.
    2. Ro. 2:14,15
      1. No supernatural revelation required re: Moral Law.
      2. Ten commandments: “bringing out in bold outline the dulled script of all the original Law written in men’s hearts.” (WPD 8)
    3. cf Ro. 16:25,26
      1. Impossible to “discover” Gospel.
      2. Gospel known only by revelation of Holy Spirit.
      3. All religions contain portions of the Law.
      4. Conversion would be impossible without Law on men’s hearts.
  3. Differences re: the contents of either (WPD 9)
    1. Re: The Law
      1. Tells what we are to do.
      2. Is speaking re: our works.
      3. Beyond “Thou shalt” has nothing to say to us.
    2. Re: The Gospel
      1. No instruction re: what we are to do.
      2. Reveals what God is doing.
      3. Is concerned with the great works of God.
      4. Has no demands.
      5. Re: “demands faith”
        1. Is a kind of invitation.
        2. To partake of heavenly blessings.
    3. Gal. 3:12
      1. “[E]xceedingly important passage” (WPD 9)
      2. Law says nothing re: forgiveness.
      3. Law makes demands.
      4. Gospel only makes offers.
    4. Jn 1:17
      1. “Gospel contains nothing but grace and truth” (WPD 9)
      2. Reading Law leaves us terrified.
  4. Differences re: their promises (WPD 10)
    1. L & G both promise everlasting life and salvation.
    2. But Law is conditional.
    3. Gospel is a promise of free grace.
    4. Scriptural support:
      1. Lk. 10:26-28.
      2. Mk. 16:15,16.
      3. Ro. 3:22-24.
      4. Eph. 2: 8,9.
  5. Differences re: threats (WPD 11)
    1. Gospel contains no threats, only consolation.
    2. Threats belong in the Law.
    3. Gospel removes the desire to sin from believers.
    4. Scriptural support
      1. Dt. 27:26.
      2. 1Ti. 1:15
      3. Lk 4:16-21.
  6. Differences re: the effects of L & G (WPD 13)
    1. Effects of preaching Law
      1. First place.
        1. Tells us what to do, but does not enable compliance.
        2. Rather, it causes increase in unwillingness to comply.
      2. In 2d place, uncovers to man his sins, but offers no help.
      3. In 3d place, produces contradiction.
      4. Conjures up terrors of hell, death, wrath of God.
      5. “[N]ot a drop of comfort”. (WPD 14)
    2. Ro. 7:7-9.
      1. Heathen does not know lust in heart is sin.
      2. Sin without consciousness of sinning,
      3. Shows how great sin is.
    3. 2Co. 3:6 “letter kills” (NIV)
    4. Effects of preaching Gospel
      1. In 1st place.
        1. When demanding faith, offers and gives faith.
        2. “We preach faith, and any person not willfully resisting obtains faith” (WPD 15)
        3. Not “the sound”, but “the contents” (WPD 16)
      2. Is 2d place.
        1. Takes all terror, fear, anguish from sinner.
        2. Fills sinner with peace and joy in Holy Spirit.
      3. In 3d place.
        1. Gospel requires nothing good that man must furnish.
        2. Issues no order, but changes man.
        3. Plants love.
        4. Makes man capable of all good works.
      4. Ac. 16: 30-34.
      5. Ro. 1:16.
      6. Eph 2:8-10 (again)
      7. Gal. 3:2
  7. Differences re: persons to whom L & G to be preached (WPD 17)
    1. Law: to secure sinners.
    2. Gospel: to alarmed sinners.
    3. “Accordingly, while the devil holds you in a single sin, you are not yet a proper subject for the Gospel to operate upon; only the Law must be preached to you.” (WPD 17)
    4. Lk 4:16-21 (quoting Is. 61:1-3)
    5. Walther quotes from a sermon of Luther on the proper distinction worth reading (WPD 18f)
    6. Walther finishes lecture (2d) noting that “In the writings of the Church Fathers we find hardly anything concerning the distinction between Law and the Gospel” (WPD 20)
    7. Walther begins 3d lecture with warning about the poison of false doctrine (WPD 20,21)
  8. Practical exhibition of manner in which “2 doctrines” must be proclaimed – using Luther’s writings:
    1. Notes people tend to value beautiful language and style more than contents of his [Luther’s] writings.
    2. Have greater regard for matter than manner.
    3. Hearers of Law must get this impression: “This sermon will help those still secure in their sins towards their salvation.” (WPD 21)
    4. Hearers of Gospel must get this impression: “This sermon applies only to those who have been smitten by the Law and are in need of comfort.” (WPD 21)
    5. Jn. 7:37
      1. Law produces thirst: knowing we do not meet its conditions.
      2. Gospel refreshes and leads to heaven.
    6. Luther: “If any one were well versed in this art, I mean, whoever could properly make this distinction, he would deserve to be called a Doctor of Theology.” (quoted, WPD, 23)
    7. Can not preach only 1 of L & G (WPD 24)
  9. Conclusion
    1. Why does Law lead into despair?
      1. Is “merely an accidental feature of its operation” (WPD 26)
      2. “In and by itself the Law, too, is good” (WPD 26)
    2. Believers rely on Gospel without the Law.
    3. In affliction, “Gospel is a rare guest in men’s consciences.” (WPD 27)
    4. Concludes 3d lecture warning must keep L & G apart in our own hearts.
    5. Begins 4th lecture re: warning vs. even slight concession in doctrine.
    6. Hold fast!

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