I am passing on this Vimeo of a Roundtable on the Gospel including Tullich Tchividjian, Mike Horton, and the "Rodfather," Rod Rosenbladt. I found this interesting because of the intersection of the Lutheran Rod Rosenbladt with these evangelicals on the very central core of what the Gospel is and how it works. You watch and tell me what you think.
Pr. Peters: an excellent discussion. Mike Horton and Rod Rosenblat are clear about the need to be in constant (weekly, daily) need of the Gospel and its gifts. There is a tendency to look upon the Gospel (once we finsh confirmation) as something checked off our to do list, and focus on how we can "help" Jesus in the world as if He needs our help. I enjoy listening to the White Horse Inn weekly as well as Issues Etc. Both reinforce the importance of the Gospel.
The Gospel, the Priceless Jewel, is a multifaceted. It is true that, as opposed to the Law, it is irrational and it has power. Irrational, not in the sense of “insane”, but in the sense that it is so contrary to human nature that no human being could have thought it up (Isaiah 48:3-8). It has power, but not a power of its own, but it is “the power of God.”
With regard to “irrational”, we have to be careful that we do not proclaim anything “irrational” to be the Gospel. The Gospel has to be revealed to people by its Author. Once that revelation has taken place, it is possible to draw rational conclusions from irrational assumptions. I propose that one of these, as far as the Christian is concerned, has to be: “God expects nothing from us.”
There is no simple syllogism I can cite for this assumption, but Scripture gives us that conclusion in the words of our Lord, John 8:36, “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed,” and confirmed by St. Paul, Gal. 5:1 ff, “For freedom Christ has set us free, “ and (v13) “for you were called to freedom, brothers, only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence.”
If that is indeed true, then how do we prevent “sinning so that grace might abound”? As Dr. Rosenbladt (what an apt hint at a leaf from the “Luther Rose”) suggests, many pastors look to the Law for this purpose. Call it Third Use, First or Second, but it is all the same Law, and as we all agree, and as Dr. Rosenbladt points out, it has no power. But simply saying that the answer lies in the “power of the Gospel” is really not enough, because in a way this comes close to making Law out of the Gospel.
The answer lies in a facet of the Gospel about which Lutherans, for a long list of reason, do not talk about very much. The answer is that in Baptism, by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we become new creatures. This is what God prophesied through Jeremiah, when He said, Jeremiah 31:33, “I will put my Law (Torah – not the 10 Commandments) within them, and I will write it on their hearts.” This is also what St. Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 2:6ff, which he concludes with the words, (v 16) “But we have the mind of Christ.”
Scripture, the Church, the Confessions, and I agree that in us “the mind of Christ” is not perfect. But even as Martin Luther in his commentary on Romans suggests, the answer to the misbehavior of Christians is not fear induced by the Law, but as St. Paul writes in Chapter 12, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your logical (λογικὴν) worship.” It is reminding God’s people of His mercies to which the imperfect “mind of Christ” reacts, by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is “the mind of Christ” in us that reminds us that His mind was to take on the form of a slave (not a servant with union regulations, but a slave with no rights whatsoever), and which keeps us from using our “freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence.”
Peace and Joy!
George A. Marquart
This is the stuff that brought us into Lutheranism. This is "typical" fare from the White Horse Inn radio program, of which Mike Horton and 'Rodfather' are regulars.
If it weren't for Rod Rosenbladt's clear distinctions of Law and Gospel, we would still be floundering in the sea of evangelicalism.
Of course, cedit and glory where it is due: God the gracious Father used Rod Rosenbladt to put the real Gospel into our ears.
Horton is confessional Reformed and Rosenbladt is confessional Lutheran. They should have a common understanding of the Gospel.
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