“We may fear the damning, accusing YOU. We may fail to hold this office firmly and preach it. But ask yourself, which sounds better to you? Christ forgives us? Or Christ forgives you? And which do you think makes a better impression on the YOUs of your congregations? The Law which accuses YOU makes the Gospel which saves YOU so much sweeter. Don’t confuse the 1st and 2nd persons. This isn’t about US or WE. It’s about YOU AND Y’ALL. The Gospel never sounded sweeter than when it’s preached to YOU, or shall I say, FOR YOU precisely because the Law was preached TO YOU. Indeed, AT YOU.”
From a Sermon preached by Rev. Dan Torkleson at the Southwest Wisconsin District’s Pastors’ Conference, May 11, 2011.
Read the full text Witness, Mercy, Life Together. «.
I need to hear from the Pastor in the pulpit that I AM a SINNER and that Jesus forgives ME. All too often the words the Preacher lumps himself in with the rest of us sinners, defeating the purpose for which he is called. Don’t soften the message of the Gospel by saying, “We’re all sinners. Jesus died for us all. Jesus forgives. We’re all forgiven. He lives and now we live in love and peace.” While there is truth in those generalized statements, it sounds more like the old Coca Cola commercials — I’d like to teach (pause) the world to sing (pause) in perfect harmony…. And don’t just talk generically and generally about sins of greed, lust, and selfishness, to which we all can nod our collective assent, but hit the sins in the congregation, in the world around us. That’s the song our Preachers need to sing.
If the law does not accuse me of wrongdoing, then I will not know my sin. If the law does not condemn me, then I have nothing to repent of. If the law does not tell of God’s anger and wrath, I will never know the import of Christ’s love for me. Yes, we are all forgiven, but there is a reason the preacher is at the front of the congregation — he has been singled out and called by Christ to proclaim the very word of God to his flock. He is different — no less a sinner than I am — called to carry out the apostolic function of preserving and defending and proclaiming the clear message of Christ until he comes in spite of what I or others in the congregation may want to hear. For the very Word is placed into the Preacher’s mouth each time he stands to preach. Get yourself out of the way preacher man and let Christ speak.