iMonk on WHI on Law/Gospel in the Sermon on the Mount

iMonk has an interesting critique of the White Horse Inn guys concerning their most recent episode.  It has to do with Law/Gospel in reference to the Sermon on the Mount.  It’s a good read, especially for anyone like me who was raised Lutheran.

Greg, I know you are all over this one.  We’ll have to ask Horton to respond when he comes in May.

Fellers, thoughts?

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8 responses to “iMonk on WHI on Law/Gospel in the Sermon on the Mount

  1. I loved this article by iMonk and I completely agree with it. Seriously the Law/Gospel distinction to me is a tradition which may has some benefits, but in the end it is just a tradition and may not be the best summary of what scripture says on this subject. In fact, I think it is wrong in some ways. (or atleast the ways I understand it.)

    Recently, I felt rebuked by one of my professors, Bruce Waltke, because he said that most theologians today are not competent exegetes. We mainly deal with philosophical matters and we don’t even know how to read the Word of God. So to piggyback on Zach’s post, show me the biblical warrant for believing this. There may be some, but is there much? As a group we should try to seek what scripture has for us here. Lets try to be faithful exegetes.

  2. Greg – Where are you? Get on this! This is your baby

    Ben DeSpain – this is a formal rebuke for not getting on this post. Matt 18 in your face. Deal with it.

    z

  3. What does being raised Luthern have to do with this??? Honest question, I have no idea what Lutherns believe on this subject. Z any info. would help.

  4. I (of course) disagree with the iMonk — I think he’s right about his interpretation: “Maybe the problem is the way I hear some of the enthusiasm for the law/Gospel distinction…” I listened to the same show and thought that, while the overwhelming emphasis of the show was what iMonk enumerated, that the WHI guys made clear that they were discussing the SotM and the L/G distinction in terms of our standing before God.

    Horton himself is usually pretty good about making this clear when he is speaking against evangelical church-dom, and since the WHI has taken the position in our context of pushing back against that evangelicalism and its bad theology (mainly in terms of justification and conversion, which then trickles into preaching and ecclesiology), we ought to first give them the benefit of the doubt and try to understand what they are intending to say, both broadly and specifically. I’m not accusing the Monk or anyone else of doing this, but I think it would help alleviate the misunderstanding (since that is how I think this is playing out).

    I know it’s repetitive, but nearly every WHI show lately has been trying to get people to stop doing two dangerous things at church:
    1. Stop telling the people what to do before telling them what God has already done, and
    2. Stop using the wrong logical key words between those two things (it’s usually “in order to” rather than “because of”).
    The Law/Gospel distinction seems to be the best way to explain how those two things relate, how one’s standing before God is inseparably and foundationally related to one’s living before men. I am (and I’m sure the WHI guys are too) open to hearing a new, better, more consistent hermeneutic that would help the church rightly live out/in the Gospel.

    Did I totally miss the point? I wouldn’t be surprised.

  5. Los,

    Luther and his spiritual lineage are known for being the initial proponents of the law/gospel distinction. Of course it has spread beyond Lutheranism, but Lutheran stands in contrast (though not completely) to the traditional Calvinistic view of the three uses of the law (which iMonk brings up). If you want to see this in a Lutheran confession go here and check out the book of Concord. There is a part of it called The Eptome of the Formula of Concord. Section V is the part about Law and Gospel. It is very informative.

  6. Carlos:

    Also, I posted these links a while ago on the same sort of issue, giving a good pan-confessional picture on the L/G distinction:

    here are some comments from the Reformers about the Law/Gospel distinction:

    Clark 1, Clark 2, Clark 3, Clark 4, Clark 5, Fonville.

    Have fun.

  7. whoa…we’re bringing in big guns…Scott Clark, daaaaaang bro. 😉

    as usual, I will satisfy my insecurities, longing for a peaceable Framian mediation, by exercising my defense mechanism of agreeing with all of you:

    1, Law/Gospel…in relationship to JUSTIFICATION, as Matt pointed out, our standing before God, is a powerful and biblical hermeneutic. Would it be enough for me to site Romans on this…not as a proof text, but as an example of Paul showing his hearers the eschatological reality of the kingdom being actualized by crushing them with the law, both natural and special, and then showing them their need for what, as Matt said, ‘Christ has already done.’

    2, I totally agree with Richter…my exegesis sucks sometimes. CAN I SCREAM THIS AT MY DAWGS…that is why I love Frame/Bahnsen, their apologetic is laden with scripture. I just read an arcitcle by Bahnsen that is almost rediculous, one page (alone) had over 25 footnoes (in a book doode) and they were all scripture. POINT, whether its reformed systematics, BT, HT, or APOLO, it better be based on scripture and filled with it.

    3, This brings me to my 3-dimensional triperspectival point, so, 12 inclusive thoughts (jk): There are various helpful and biblical hermeneutics, I prefer Redempt-Hist, Law/G, and Pipierian Glory-Joy-Salvation. Those help us to as we understand scripture from the Literary, Logical/Progressional, and Confessional perspective (thanks to J for his picture/window thing)…that’s triad # 2. The third is your historic BT, HT, ST. The, fourth, that is, the bottom layer, the foundation of the triangle is found in exegesis and its multi faceted function of revealing, appliying, and defending the actual faith handed down.

    SO, I’m not sure I made much sense, but my point was to say that with L/G we’re dealing with a one among many. When you read Horton on the Sermon OT M you see him using various forms of interpretation (PS, the first time anyone told me wscal was lutheran, I laughed, the 3 uses of the law are alive and well there…i assure you). I agree with this method. Pratt (cf. Spirit of the Ref) shows that the SotM cannot be merely seen in L/G distinctions, of course not, Ridderbos in ‘When the time had fully come’ looks at the SotM through more of a BT lense (proper). When I read it I tend to think more of ethics in terms of philosophy…the point is that we, with all our different loves, add to one another…as long as, as J so rightly said, we’re not doing isogesis.

    GO RON PAUL. and PS, this is what’s nice about being a pseudo baptist with no real historic tradition (that I’m aware of), I can steel from all the presbos/dutch at will.

  8. yay, matt got a pic…praise the LORD

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