There is a sense that organizations that gather together to do things decently and in order fall into the trap that the Law likes to lay for us.  There is a way, and a very effective way, that the Law pretends to be the Gospel.  It moves us into areas that we might not otherwise go.  It makes organizations and planners say things like, “where there is a minimum of 50 and they follow the model constitution we will plant a church or do mission work,.” or  “if the plant isn’t producing, close it, or “we are looking to locate congregations in growing communities and, therefore, we’re not interested in you rejects out in the boondocks.”  Sometimes it couches itself in language about the use of scarce resources.  “Let us not do mercy work because our task is to preach the Gospel, and Jesus himself said that the poor would always be with us.” That was never said at the North Dakota Convention but it has been said by others.  Nothing like that was said in our convention and nothing like that has been said in any meeting that I have been involved in and yet some have the feeling that it is said and believed by some. The reason I believe is that the Law is hiding in good and Godly planning and pretending that we can use it.

Again James Nestingen – “[The Law] offers itself as gospel.  It makes one promise after another –‐ offering to restore order, to give a new ethical tone, to elicit genuine striving that will put apathy to flight –‐ all on a condition of minimal obedience.  But in the end, the masquerade is broken and along with it the last, desperate illusion –‐ that somehow, the sinner can also become a user of the law.  The law turns on its deluded manager with quiet ruthlessness, dealing out disappointments that turn to cynicism which culminates in despair.  It is the foreplay of death.  They are all the same in the dark.”[1]

[1] James Arne Nestingen, “Preaching Repentance”, electronic paper on