Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Stuempfle, 1990, Chapter 2, “Law: Hammer of Judgment and Mirror of Existence” Stuempfle 1990

Chapter 2, “Law: Hammer of Judgment and Mirror of Existence” pp. 20-33

Stuempfle moves his discussion into the particular use of the Law. He observes that Lutherans and Calvinists alike view God’s Law and our failure as a foundation to good preaching. But how is the Law to be used? Following Luther he considers God’s Law as a hammer. Following Tillich he considers it as a mirror.

God is good. So is His Law. Used as a hammer, it can serve to break our sinful attitudes, to probe for weaknesses, and to construct something pleasing. Luther viewed God’s Law as useful in a “political” sense, restraining evil and giving order to society. But more often Luther saw God’s Law directing us to an “inner righteousness” which could stand before God. As a hammer, the Law breaks our hypocrisy and evil and points us to Jesus. The idea of guilt and a need for forgiveness is not always foremost in our world. Tillich tended to view God’s Law as a mirror, showing us our feelings, our emotional estrangement ultimately from God. When we see our real situation we realize our need for the Gospel.

Stuuempfle closes the chapter with three commitments we can make about the Law. 1) We preach it to confront sin. 2) We use it so people can see their darkness. 3) We preach the Law to serve proclamation of the Gospel.

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