For the past week or so as I have mentioned in previous posts I have been reading Walther's comments on the proper distinction between law and Gospel. I must admit by reading this there have been many times where something seemed to really click with me.
One thing that struck me as I was reading today was the comment that many preachers in the reformed church do not correctly divide law from Gospel. Walther writes:
"They give them a long list of efforts that they must make in order, if possible, to be received into grace: how long they must pray, how strenuously they must fight and wrestle and cry, until they can say that they feel they have received the Holy Ghost and divine grace and can rise from their knees shouting hallelujahs.
But the required feeling may rest on a false foundation. It may not be the testimony of the Holy Spirit in the heart, but a physical effect, produced by the lively presentations of the preacher. That explains why sincere persons who have become believers not infrequently feel one moment that they have found the Lord Jesus, and in the next, that they have lost Him again. Now they imagine that they are in a state of grace; at another time, that they are fallen from grace."
This feeling that people get when they hear a very charismatic preacher is something that I hear of all the time. I have in fact experienced it myself. Man can not help but get lost in what seems to be such a good thing. When in fact it is a good thing just being presented in the incorrect format. Thus causing more harm than good to the penitent sinner. The bottom line though as Walther is saying here that no matter how much we praise God is does not afford us his grace. Nor do we gain grace from anything but faith alone. That is that which consists of reaching out for the grace that God has already declared to be ours.
This is in my opinion something that the Lutheran Church does a good job of. That is making the service based on the Word and Sacraments and not how well the message is delivered. There is much more to the Church than the speaking ability of the man charged with watching over the congregation. The Divine Service provides a true worship setting. One which is focused on the saving grace of our Lord only after learning how undeserved of the grace we really are. When we base our faith off of how much we "raise our hands" or bow down to pray we are dangerously mixing the doctrines of Law and Gospel. One does not make way for the other.