The Gospel Sandwich Sermon

The Gospel–Sandwich Sermon. This kind of sermon has a three–part outline: Law, Gospel, Law—a slice of Gospel between two slices of Law. The Gospel Sandwich was popularized by Billy Graham and other “evangelistic” preachers. These preachers present clear Law and clear Gospel. And if they stopped there, all would be well. But at the end of each sermon, they add one, final demand of the law: “Decide.” “Make your decision for Christ!” They leave the sinner with this one law he must keep and thus rob him of the Gospel’s comfort. Walther diagnoses the problem with this kind of preaching:
"Modern theologians assert that in the salvation of man two kinds of activity must be noted: in the first place, there is something that God must do. His part is the most difficult, for He must accomplish the task of redeeming men. But in the second place something is required that man must do. For it will not do to admit persons to heaven, after they have been redeemed, without further parley (talk). Man must do something really great—he has to believe. This teaching overthrows the Gospel completely."
The Gospel Sandwich is also a favorite among pastors who just don’t trust the Gospel to motivate and produce good works in believers. So, after they have preached Law and Gospel, they return to the Law once again for a list of do’s and don’ts. With the Gospel Sandwich, the demands of the Law, not the comfort of the Gospel, gets the final word.

Excerpt from: Todd Wilken. "A Listener's Guide to the Pulpit." (pg. 5)

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