Law and Gospel shaping community

Last week I flew to St. Paul, Minnesota to defend my Doctor of Ministry thesis at Luther Seminary. I also had the privilege to hear my classmates share the insights of their research. It was an enjoyable time because of the encouragement and accountability we shared with each other. I appreciate the spirit of academic honesty that was shared among my cohort in this program.

I enjoyed the opportunity to share ideas with these other people because I knew that there would be a rigorous and yet kind assessment of ideas. I thought today how Christian community should be a gathering of people who can hold each other accountable with the law of God and kindly receive one another with the gospel. Lately, I want to know how law and gospel is not just a paradigm for preaching but also can be the worldview that shapes congregational life.

I wonder if part of the challenge is that people are afraid to speak the condemning law that reveals our sin because they worry that this condemnation will harm the other person. How can we share the law in such a way that a person is driven towards the gospel and not away from God?

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