Lutheran vs Reformed Traditions on the Law-Gospel Distinction

15 Dec


Though both Luther and Calvin accepted the threefold use of the law (civil – basis for government; pedagogical – condemns us and reveals our desperate need for Christ’s righteousness;  normative – shows us how to live holy and God-pleasing lives), there are differences in emphases which, in my opinion, have significant effects on the nature and zeal shown for Christian piety (pursuit of personal holiness).  At the Orthodox Presbyterian Church website, there is a good QandA page which explains the difference.  Here’s their answer:


Question: I have studied Lutheran theology a bit, but have yet to better understand some of its distinctions from Reformed/Calvinistic theology. Could you provide me a reference for where I might compare/contrast these theologies?

Answer: The Law/Gospel distinction. Lutheranism tends to draw a very distinct and pronounced divide between Law and Gospel (as well as between Old Testament and New Testament). The Law…

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