I have a long way to go (bad habits die slowly, for sure). But a Copernican revolution of sorts has taken place in my own heart regarding the need to preach the law then the gospel without going back to the law as a means of keeping God’s favor. May God raise up a generation of preachers who storm the gates of worldliness with “It is finished.””
In this account, he is not only describing an experience that lies at the heart of our work here through Mockingbird, but doing so in reference to one of our favorite books—The Hammer of God—by the late (great) Swedish Lutheran Bishop, Bo Giertz. This name will not be unfamiliar to longtime Mockingbird readers, because his work is often on the first list of books we recommend when people who have had a similar “Copernican revolution” ask “what do I read now?”
In addition to The Hammer of God and his AMAZING daily devotional called To Live With Christ, I’m excited to be able to add another Giertz resource to that list! Thanks to the work of love that is translation, Bror Erikson has brought us a volume of Giertz’s sermons and reflections entitled Then Fell the Lord’s Fire that is a must have for anyone who has found themselves in need of some good books after the “revolution.” With 28 sermons, Then Fell the Lord’s Fire is a practical textbook for how the distinction between law and Gospel unlocks the entire Bible—both Old and New Testaments—as the witness to God’s undying mercies. The 10 essays—covering a range of topics from preaching justification by Faith to what it means to be a pastor—illustrate how when law and Gospel are rightly distinguished from each other, the work of the church becomes imminently practical because it is unequivocally pastoral. In other words, he shows how if you’re not hearing why the Gospel is GOOD news, then you’re not hearing the Gospel.
Consequently, the book will be of interest to both ordained and layreaders, because it will teach preachers how to preach and lay people what to listen for from their pastors. As a Lutheran Bishop, there are aspects of Giertz’s work that cover concerns that may not be shared by people in other traditions; however, what can be celebrated among all, and something that is evident from the first sentence to the last, is his deep concern that preachers bring the life giving message of the Gospel to a law-wearied world. I can’t recommend this book enough, particularly as a pastor who–like Tullian–is reading after the revolution in my own heart, because through it you will be encouraged, inspired, and most importantly, ministered to once again by the promise: “It is finished.”