The Internet Monk has a great post (correction, rant) today about pastors who preach the law rather than the gospel. For a Baptist, he’s pretty smart:
Law preaching is powerful. It feels powerful. Even when it’s done poorly and just amounts to nagging, it makes the preacher feel like he/she is doing something. That’s one reason it’s so popular- you’re telling them what to do. You’re like Moses hitting the rock. Look what I did, you bunch of stubborn yokels. And joined with invitationalism and revivalism, it works. It fills the altar with crying students. I brings people down to get baptized for the 5th time and really mean it this time.
The Gospel, on the other hand, takes the power out of your hands. It’s the announcement of what God has done. You aren’t powerful at all. You’re one loser telling a bunch of other losers that they are going to be treated like winners. Bread for the thieves. Pardon for the unquestionably guilty. Love for rebels. You’re announcing that everyone gets paid the same. You’re issuing banquet seats to people who have no right to a ticket because they are dirty and sinful. You’re telling sinners that the lamb of God has paid the bill and it’s not going to appear on their charge anywhere.
Luther wrote many years ago, “… we have to fear, as the greatest and nearest danger, that Satan take from us the pure doctrine of faith and bring into the Church again the doctrine of works and men’s traditions.” To a large extent, I believe that the American evangelical church has indeed lost the Gospel, through the preaching of the law, without putting it in it’s proper context.
Read the whole rant here.