The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel: Thesis XV

“In the eleventh place, the Word of God is not rightly divided when the Gospel is turned into a preaching of repentance” (C.F.W. Walther, The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel reproduced from the German edition of 1897 by W.H.T. Dau (St. Louis: Concordia, 1986), 3).

4 thoughts on “The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel: Thesis XV

  1. Thank you, Vicar Michael, for sharing each of Walther’s theses. (I look forward to more.) This is one of my favorites. When I read the book some years ago, it was like, “Wow, that’s how I used to live.” Or “I can identify with that.” It was such an eye opener for me – I am still amazed at it.

  2. What does this thesis mean, and what specifically is a “preaching of repentance”? In Acts 2 Peter seems to me to be preaching the gospel, the good news of Jesus. When his listeners ask what they must do, he tells them to repent and be baptized. Is that a “preaching of repentance?”

  3. Peter is preaching Gospel in the “broad sense,” i.e., both Law (repent!) and Gospel (believe!). Walther means that the Gospel in the “narrow sense” (i.e., Jesus died for your sins and forgives them) should not include anything like “you are a sinner; repent!”


  4. In addition, the words of Peter in Acts 2 make his hearers what God wants them to be: beggars, with their only hope found in God. Peter’s sermons leads to these words: “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified” (2:36, ESV).

    Peter’s words put his hearers in a box with no way out. They had killed the Christ.

    But then we notice how those people, after hearing the hard words of Peter, were “cut to the heart.” They ask what to do, and Peter leads them to repentance and baptism, the action of God that brings forgiveness of sin and the Holy Spirit. And Peter concludes with these words: “the promise is for you…” Acts 2 is actually an example of the proper distinction between Law and Gospel, not some sort of evidence against this thesis.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s