Date of Award


Document Type

Major Applied Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry (DMin)


Practical Theology

First Advisor

Francis Rossow

Scripture References in this Resource

1 Corinthians 1:21; 1 Corinthians 1:18; 23-24; 1 Corinthians 1:24; 1 Corinthians 2:2; 1 John 4:10; 2 Corinthians 4:5; 2 Corinthians 4:7; Acts 4:12; Ephesians 4:13; John 1:12; John 1:14; John 1:17; John 14:6; Rom. 8:2-3; Romans 1:16; Romans 10:14; Romans 5:20; Romans 8:39


The importance of making the proper distinction between Law and Gospel clear in the sermon is nothing new for Lutheran pastors, especially in The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, thanks to Walther's theses on Law and Gospel. However, the people in the pew still do not generally recognize that distinction in the sermon. There is also considerable confusion among the laity about the proper relationship between the Gospel and the application of the Gospel in a sermon. In addition, pastors often fail to include or keep in balance all three components in the sermon (Law, Gospel and Gospel application). Therefore, I designed a six-week seminar to assist the lay people in their understanding and recognition of the distinctions among the Law, the Gospel and Gospel application in the sermon. (Gospel application is the author's term for the third use of the Law or sanctification).

The class of eleven participants met for six consecutive weeks. Each week we analyzed sermons and devotional materials in relation to the three components of the sermon (Law, Gospel and Gospel application). We also focused on recognizing and clarifying the proper distinctions among those three elements of the sermon.

Various forms of written and verbal feedback were used throughout the project in an effort to measure the effectiveness of the seminar itself and the seminar materials. They included pre-course and post-course surveys, as well as a survey of the entire congregation for comparison purposes. By statistical measurement the participants significantly increased their recognition of and ability to distinguish among the three parts of a sermon. After the completion of the seminar, I revised all of the materials and made recommendations for their use in future seminars by myself or others.

This paper is divided into two parts. Part one covers the theological background issues, as they relate to the ministry of preaching in the parish. Major issues that are covered include the proper distinction between Law and Gospel, the importance of clearly proclaiming the Gospel in every sermon, the need for preaching Gospel application (sanctification) in each sermon, and the slippery slope of preaching sanctification.

Part two contains a thorough summary of the design, development and results of the six-week seminar on preaching. Included in the appendices are copies of the survey materials and class materials which were used, as well as revised copies of the outlines for the six class sessions.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.