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A tremendous resource! All you want to know about the distinctive Lutheran witness to the proper relation of Law and Gospel is in this volume. It attends to the classic debates within Lutheranism about that relation, with special focus on the third use of the Law. The definitive essay by Stephen Hultgren alone is worth the price of the book.


—Dr. Robert Benne
Jordan-Trexler Emeritus Professor and Research Associate in the Religion and Philosophy Department of Roanoke College, Salem, Virginia Professor of Christian Ethics at the Institute of Lutheran Theology, Brookings, South Dakota

If decisions on human sexuality in recent years illustrate how great segments of Lutheranism have lost their way, the essays included in The Necessary Distinction help guide you to anchors we all need. These authors take Christ, the Scriptures, and our confessions seriously. They are not carbon copies of each other. They put you through your paces, even if you wrestle with certain details of their views. Pastors as well as informed lay theologians will profit from them. What a welcome contribution to the 500th Reformation anniversary year!


—Rev. Dr. Robert Bugbee
President, Lutheran Church–Canada
Vice-Chairman of the International Lutheran Council

In our day, when many Lutherans seem to have lost their way biblically, this book is much needed. It is for those who preach the Word and those who hear the Word, for the theologically trained and those who aren’t. It is a gift to our churches and to all who are committed to the “necessary distinction.”


—The Rev. Dr. David M. Wendel
Assistant to the Bishop for Ministry and Ecumenism,
The North American Lutheran Church

The Necessary Distinction is a sparkling collection of essays. The writing is done with clarity and conviction and, most of all, with a deep appreciation for the Lutheran tradition. This book is a cool drink for those thirsty for new perspectives on the proper relationship between Law and Gospel. It is a work that is indeed “necessary” for preachers and teachers seeking to proclaim God’s radical grace in Jesus Christ.


—Dr. Mark D. Tranvik, Professor of Religion
Augsburg University, Minneapolis, MN

"This material is being released for study and discussion purposes, and the author(s) is (are) solely responsible for its contents. It has not been submitted to the process for doctrinal review stipulated in the Bylaws of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod and does not necessarily reflect the theology of the Lutheran Confessions or the doctrinal position of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod." (From the 2016 LCMS Handbook, Bylaw [b], p. 35.)