- Paperback: 128 pages
- Publisher: Concordia Publishing House Audio (January 1, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0758600208
- ISBN-13: 978-0758600202
- Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,055,186 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Handling The Word Of Truth: Law And Gospel In The Church Today Paperback – January 1, 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
Pless does a truly fine job of writing in modern terms and examples. He is quite the prolific wordsmith, so he makes what could be dull, academic discussion fun and enlightening. This is coupled with discussion questions after each of the 13 chapters. This makes it an excellent candidate for group and individual study. Also appendiced is Luther's Sermon on distinguishing between Law and Gospel.
Let me give several examples of this fine writing: "When the Law is not preached in such a way as to uncover unbelief, it will create Pharisees." "Doctrinal error left untreated can lead to spiritual death." "The human heart prefers its own enthusiasms rather than God's Word."
A significant, timely and well done resource for the Body of Christ. Urge all Christians to carefully and prayerfully work through this. The church will be blessed.
Pless writes his book for the theologian, pastor, or interested layman in terms that they will understand. The focus of the book is how to divide law and gospel. This book would be an excellent choice for personal study, adult Sunday school, or a home Bible study. Each chapter ends with questions for reflection and discussion. One neat feature of the book is the appendix, it has a reproduction of a sermon of Martin Luther on the distinction between the law and the gospel.
If you are looking for a scholarly text on the subject, I recommend C. F. W. Walther's classic book, Law and Gospel. However, it is an extensive book (over 400 pages) and can be cumbersome and difficult to understand because of the Lutheran terminology.
I have done a lot of different studies, and read a lot of books, and with most of them about every other page has a few thought-provoking sentences, which is disapointing. It does read a bit like a research paper (referencing some older books regularly), not the nice conversational tone of a good Anglican theologian (eg, Lewis or Packer). It is written by a Lutheran minister and DMin, so take it with that grain of salt--I grew up with Lutheran doctrine and a Lutheran attitude, so it is very familiar to me, but it can seem very supercilious and exclusive, which can be offensive if taken the wrong way.
The topic--defining, understanding, and rightly applying the 2 separate concepts of Law and Gospel--is essential and timely. I think of all denominations, Lutheranism does not mince doctrine or let things get fuzzy, and this is one area that should not be fuzzy. A former pastor of mine (Lutheran) said that Lutheran doctrine was German-engineered doctrine--not everyone wants German engineering, but you have to admire it when you see it. I think that is a true statement, if rather self-depricating-ly put. This book has encouraged me to go back to explore more the doctrinal heritage of the Lutheran church, which is very detailed, organized and uncompromising.
The questions at the end of each chapter are engaging, relevant and thought provoking. I used them for my own personal Bible study, and it was very worthwhile.
For an educated layperson, this is an excellent discussion of the Law versus the Gospel, and the importance of keeping them separate yet in constant polar tension--both personally, and in the "profession" of church ministry and evangelism. Without this proper distinction, both Law and Gospel lose their power--which is what I am afraid is happening in many churches today--leaving people hopeless and confused.
I appreciated the clustering of the Law and Gospel theses and the subsequent elucidation. It makes for very easy reading and should be on any essential reading list for confesssional Reformation Christians, and especially for those moving in that direction out of mainstream churches, Catholicism, or the various evangelical and Pentecostal branches.
My only criticism, and it is mild, is that that questions did not carry the same lucidity as the rest of the book. It seems as if someone other than the author might have prepared the questions.
That is a minor detraction. The book is outstanding for catechetical purposes.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent overview of how Law and Gospel work together for salvation.Published 2 months ago by Charles R Hunsaker
Read this book with Bo Giertz "The Hammer of God." Great read!!Published 6 months ago by Dirk Bettis
What a Plessing this is! Walther and Pless are like a super hero duo of law and Gospel.Published 13 months ago by Rufus123
If you have questions regarding the Christian Gospel concerning grace and the Law I recommend this book highly. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Walt Shinen
This is an extremely inspiring and educational book that is easily read, yet thorough in its explanation of Law and Gospel as taught in the Bible and by the Lutheran Church-... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Andrew Gooding
Super helpful in understanding the important distinction between the law (God's demands) and the gospel (God's fulfillment of the command in our stead).Published on March 6, 2014 by Ryan Couch
John T. Pless, in his book, provides a clear and concise summary of CFW Walther's book titled "Law & Gospel. Read morePublished on February 12, 2014 by RHB
This is a must read book. Pless gives his readers the tools to understand historical Lutheran interpretation of scripture--the Law and Gospel. This book is a gem.Published on January 6, 2014 by Tim