Talk:Law and Gospel

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Note about history[edit]

We needed to point out in this foundational Christian concept its earlier history before it was popularized through C.F.W.Walther. drboisclair 18:35, 20 October 2005 (UTC)

Good Beginning[edit]

Thanks for starting this article. I didn't quite know how to articulate the early beginnigs of the doctrine[pre CFW Walther]. I will post his thesis that are listed in the beginning of the book Law and Gospel. N9urk 19:09, 20 October 2005 (UTC)

I think that this would be very helpful and informative. drboisclair 20:18, 20 October 2005 (UTC)


This article gives almost all of its attention to Lutheranism, and half of that to the LCMS. Other Lutheran denomniations, and also other denominational families, also think this is an important distinction. Undoubtedly Lutheranism was one of the first to address it; but I don't think a couple of LCMS theologians are worth 50% of the article....

The solution to making it NPOV is to add material on other groups, to make it more balanced. --SJK 11:38, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

I have no problem with adding the viewpoints of others here. Please feel free to add them. The article is still a stub, even from the Lutheran point of view. Since there is really no dispute here and since the flag is normally reserved for hot topics or to protest efforts to block bringing something to NPOV, neither of which is going on, do you mind if I remove the POV flag, in view of the presence of the stub flag?
Regardless of what you do, I'll visit the issue, if the Jesus page stays quiet and nothing fires up elsewhere on my to do list. --CTSWyneken 14:07, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
I want to clear the air here too. It was never our intention to make this article not NPOV. We put in what we know about it. As a theologian I can tell you that outside of Lutheranism there is very little on this topic. I would hope that there is no judgmentalism at work here. I try to make anything I do on this website NPOV. drboisclair 17:47, 25 March 2006 (UTC)
As an addendum to this I wish to point out that in different theological traditions there are different concerns. Roman Catholic POV would write volumes on Canon Law while Lutherans and other traditions would not write much at all. The reason that LCMS Lutherans have so much to say on this article is that it is of vital concern to them. To a theologian like Karl Barth it is of negligible concern. drboisclair 18:15, 25 March 2006 (UTC)

Um, I just forked this article to the Christianity Knowledge Base. I'll be watching this page for other theological perspectives, and, well, you're all invited to join the CKB! Grigory Deepdelver AKA Arch O. LaTalkTCF 00:32, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

I would like to clarify that I didn't mean to sound accusatory. I just read the article and felt it was non-neutral because half of it was spent talking (in somewhat glowing terms) about a particular Lutheran theologian, when I know this is an important topic in the whole of Christianity. I did not mean that as some sort of attack on its authors; of course we all are going to write about what we know. And I myself will add nothing, because I don't know enough about this particular topic to meaningfully contribute to it. However, I marked it as such in the hope that someone else might add stuff to make it more balanced..... --SJK 11:39, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
If I may chip in, why not put in what the Bible has to say about the Law and the Gospel, I mean, I seriously doubt anyone would discuss this issue at all if it wasn't in the Bible. Homestarmy 22:51, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
See MonkeeSage's post in the next section. Short answer: different interpretations complicate things. Grigory Deepdelver of BrockenboringTalkTCF 22:56, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
Aha, but you see, no interpretations are required when the Bible actually says stuff, whole sentences even. There's not much need to interpret something when its as clear and blatant as Paul managed to make it, but I notice the corresponding verses from the Bible do not seem to be in this article..... Homestarmy 23:07, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
Well, I've mentioned Matthew 5 and Galatians 3. That and the five books of Moses (especially the Ten Commandments) would be a good place to start. Not sure what to do with the other 603 commandments ;) Grigory Deepdelver of BrockenboringTalkTCF 23:34, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
I mean like have a section that shows the actual verses dealing with it, and what about Romans 7:7? Homestarmy 23:43, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

And all other relevant verses. If you don't think we've made progress, check out the oldest version of this article from last October: "The doctrine of the proper distinction of Law and Gospel was first articulated by CFW Walther who was the first (and third) president of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod in the 1800s." We have a ways to go, but I think significant progress has been made. Grigory Deepdelver of BrockenboringTalkTCF 23:48, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

What Luther said[edit]

Can someone provide a source for the statement "Martin Luther is credited with saying that anyone who could properly distinguish Law and Gospel should be given a doctorate in theology"?

As a paraphrase, it seems somewhat unlikely that it accurately reflects the supposed direct quotation if it indeed is one. Furthermore, "is credited" is a weasely phrase if this is supposed to be a paraphrase of Luther's remarks. On the other hand, if documentation is available where someone else gives this credit to Luther (whether or not Luther actually said anything about it), then that would be potentially more relevant. - rasd

Yes, in fact. It comes from several places, the most frequently quoted is from Luther's sermon on Galatians 3 on the "Distinction Between Law and Gospel." If time permits, I'll provide a citation later today. --CTSWyneken 11:43, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
It is unfortunate that fellow editors have to caricature the work of their peers with words like "weasely". Hardly in keeping with Wikiquette. drboisclair 07:18, 31 March 2006 (UTC)
Actually, I do not think that "weasely" is intended as an insult here. Its wikispeak for words used to get a point across that is POV by adding qualifiers.
BTW, as I suspected, the quote challenged is from the 1532 New Year's Day sermon of Luther on Galatians 3. I'm having technical problems posting from work to the wiki, but, if I can, I'll procide the full reference later. --CTSWyneken 12:01, 31 March 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, I certainly didn't mean weasely to insult anyone. Having read a lot of English research papers over the years, "is credited" is one of those phrases that raises flags. WHO gives this credit is important, otherwise the author (or this encyclopedia, in this case) becomes the de facto original source.
The quotation is quite effective there and certain can take the place of the earlier sentence. I'm curious about what's available for further analysis of Luther's position from later theologians. Perhaps there would be enough out there to develop a small section (or at least a solid paragraph) focusing in some detail on Luther's contribution to this question. --User:Rasd
That's where Walther, among others, come in. Yes, there's quite a bit out there on Luther's views. There's enough material, but it will take research. There is also the question of how much to include here, since it is really a Lutheran concern more than others. --CTSWyneken 13:52, 1 April 2006 (UTC)

Why not start, then, with Paul (Galatians 3) before getting into Luther and other later theologians? Also, at our wikia (formerly wikicity) we have a quote from Charles Spurgeon: ""I do not believe that any man can preach the Gospel who does not preach the Law." Grigory Deepdelver AKA Arch O. LaTalkTCF 14:14, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

You are weclome to do this, of course. I've been... tied up... with the Jesus articles lately. Hopefully peace will continue to reign long enough for me to finish documenting it. --CTSWyneken 13:52, 1 April 2006 (UTC)
The source is Homestarmy's Evidence Bible. I've asked him if the EB lists the original source of Spurgeon's quote. Grigory Deepdelver of BrockenboringTalkTCF 03:03, 8 April 2006 (UTC)
The problem I see with starting with the Biblical sources is that we cannot just assert what Paul meant — we can cite the verses, but then we need to give all the various interpretations of them from each major party. Not that I'm against that, it would just take a lot of work to catalog all of the references to "Law" in the NT, distinguish between the different meanings (e.g., OT, Moral Law, Ceremonies, just any rule in general, &c), and give the various relationships between them that mainstream interpreters of each tradition have ascribed to them. BTW, I couldn't find that Spurgeon quote on using a Google "" search. --MonkeeSage 05:17, 8 April 2006 (UTC)
Couldn't we at least cite out the full verses for now? Their just so good! :D Homestarmy 23:45, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

Christian theology in general[edit]

The article Antithesis of the Law also covers the relationship between Law and Gospel, but covers a broader spectrum of Christian viewpoints. Don't be fooled by the word "antithesis"; it's not all about antinomianism, it covers a broad spectrum of Christian beliefs. Grigory Deepdelver of BrockenboringTalkTCF 02:04, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

Can any of it be used here? What we would be looking for is information about how other Christians view the doctrine. I'm not sure (just don't know) that other Christians conceive of it the way Lutherans do. When we use it, it is thought of as a signature doctrine -- something that distinguishes Lutherans from all other Christians. The same would be said for the way we use Real Presence (I'd didn't know other Christians even used the term, so who knows on "Law and Gospel"?), "in, with and under," radical employment of the solas, and a few others. This is not to say other Christians haven't used such terms, it's just together its what separates Lutherans from the rest of Christianity. --CTSWyneken 12:07, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure, but there was a complaint earlier that this article, by focusing on Lutheranism, was too narrow. Obviously different Christians have different interpretations of Matthew 5 and Galatians 3. At the very least, there do seem to be other Protestants who agree with at least part of what Luther was saying. I'm not sure what the Catholic or Orthodox (eastern) interpetations are. At the very least, we could link these articles through "see also"s. Grigory Deepdelver of BrockenboringTalkTCF 14:36, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
I'll ask a Reformed friend or two for advice on where to look. If digging out from vacation doesn't take too long next week, I'll see what the Catholic Catechism says. --CTSWyneken 14:44, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
I'll also ask my Reformed friend, namely User:MonkeeSage. Grigory Deepdelver of BrockenboringTalkTCF 15:34, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

Proposed Outlines[edit]

How about (None of the below is actually proposed text, just ideas):

Intro: something about being posed in this manner, it is a signature doctrine of the Lutheran tradition. Beginning with Martin Luther, Lutherans argued that all of Scripture expresses two teachings, the Law and the Gospel. They are, in Lutheran teaching, two distinct and seemingly opposing doctrines. The Law demands perfect obedience and condemns all as sinners because no one observes it. The Gospel promises forgiveness, life and salvation and delivers it. Yet they work together. The Law shows a sinner the need for a savior, the Gospel provides one in Jesus. The Gospel provides the power to keep the law, imperfectly here, perfectly in Heaven. Working together, they fulfill God's will. (Luther and Walther say this much better.)

The Law and the Gospel in the Bible(Very brief. Links to articles on the Law and the Gospel as doctrines) Brief summary of key passages that speak about the Law and the Gospel)

Law and Gospel in the Early Church

Law and Gospel in the Middle Ages

Martin Luther and the Distinction Between Law and Gospel

Other Lutheran views

Other Christians on Law and Gospel

Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Traditions

Reformed Tradition

Anabaptist and Arminian Traditions

Pietist and Holiness Traditions

Restorationist Tradition

Pentecostal and Charismatic Tradition

Liberal Christianity

Fudementalist and Evangelical Traditions--CTSWyneken 15:00, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

This is a good outline; however, quite a bit of research would have to be done to glean what other traditions believe about Law and Gospel. I endorse this outline. drboisclair 15:21, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
I would leave points of the outline here until we can find text (or folks to write) to fill them in. --CTSWyneken 16:48, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

I also think this outline is a good starting point. For the sake of chronology, I might put the Roman Catholic and Orthodox (Eastern and Oriental and Assyrian Church of the East) views before (or combined with) the Middle Ages view, as these traditions became distinct before the Middle Ages, with the final schism in 1054 if I remember correctly. Grigory Deepdelver of BrockenboringTalkTCF 15:26, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

That would be fine, except we would have to separate the Catholic and the Orthodox views, then, since, technically speaking, there was no Roman Catholic title before the Reformation. --CTSWyneken 16:48, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
Of course. Grigory Deepdelver of BrockenboringTalkTCF 17:00, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
The introduction should point out that this article is about distinguishing Law and Gospel. Sometimes too you have Gospel in the broad sense, Gospel in the narrow sense (i.e. whenever it is contrasted with the Law), Law in the broad sense, and Law in the narrow sense. The Lutheran dogmatic tradition points out that never is Gospel in the narrow sense meaning Law, while "Law" is broader and can mean Gospel: law of faith. This is of the essence of Christian doctrine and theology. drboisclair 18:21, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

Updated and Reformatted Article[edit]

Okay, I've read eveyones suggestions above, but they are a bit beyond my scope of time and resources ATM, so I just tried to get the Lutheran and Reformed views on a good footing, and the rest can be expanded as we go. I tried to give the reader the basic background to the current discussions of the issue between the two groups that usually discuss it. I'm not overly familiar with Lutheranism, so I didn't do too much in the way of Lutheran references -- this was due to ignorance, so please fill in some refs, and correct me if I've made some mistakes! --MonkeeSage 02:51, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

Great! Now, don't forget the CKB mirror of this article. Grigory Deepdelver of BrockenboringTalkTCF 02:57, 8 April 2006 (UTC)
I am extremely pleased with the progress that is being made by you scholars! I forgot the large body of thinking that John Calvin did on this subject. He may have influenced Lutheran theologians either to agree with him or disagree. This is turning out to be a fine article. drboisclair 18:16, 8 April 2006 (UTC)

Housekeeping and adjustments[edit]

Dear Friends:

I'd like to complete the references, adjust the language and the layout a bit and look for another way to phrase the first paragraph. Amy objections? --CTSWyneken 11:40, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

Sounds good to me. I'd start by noting Jesus' commentary on the Law in Matthew 5 and Paul's explanation of the relationship between Law and Gospel in Galatians 3. It seems to me that all Christian interpretations would be based on these passages. I should ask, are we still looking for other denominations' interpretations? Other Protestants may not pay as much attention to this, the Catholic view is complicated by canon law, and who knows what the Eastern Christianity view is? Grigory Deepdelver of BrockenboringTalkTCF 11:48, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
I'm not ready to go that far, yet. ;-) These two traditions are probably the only ones who frame it this way. I did a search for the terms Law, Gospel in the Catholic Catechism and all I came up with is the "Law of the Gospel," which exactly what Luther and Calvin complained about. This could take some time, unless we have a Catholic who likes doctrinal treatises! 8-) I'd say we leave room for it. The trick is to keep the article on the relationship between Law and Gospel, since likely have an article on the Law and on the Gospel as doctrines already. So, let's leave other denoms here until we have time to work them or an interested party to help. --CTSWyneken 12:56, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

I'm crossposting this comment from the CKB. Yes, it's the same Homestarmy:

Why should Lutheranism have domination of this issue when the relationship between the Law and the Gospel is one of the most important issues for all Christians, that's why Spurgeon for one probably wrote about it and he was a baptist or something, what's the deal? Homestarmy 16:12, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

I mentioned the Catholic "Law of the Gospel" thing over at CKB, but I thought someone might want to comment here as well. Grigory Deepdelver of BrockenboringTalkTCF 19:19, 10 April 2006 (UTC)

As far as I know, it is not as important in traditions other than the Lutheran and Reformed traditions. Most other do not distinguish between them. I could be wrong, since I do not know the doctrinal corpus of other traditions all the well. I'd be happy to have references to the issue from other perspectives and even happier if someone from these traditions would add to it. --CTSWyneken 20:08, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
On my talk page over there, Homestarmy, MonkeeSage and I have been discussing the source of Spurgeon's quote. I'm sure we'll work it in soon enough! Grigory Deepdelver of BrockenboringTalkTCF 20:32, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
I think we're done now: scroll down to Spurgeon here Homestarmy 23:58, 10 April 2006 (UTC)
Well, it sure is a start. The problem we'll have with Moody and Spurgeon is that they are not systematians -- we need to hear more about the relationship between Law and Gospel. Here we just hear -- and correctly in the Lutheran understanding -- the functions of both. Anyway, feel free to write a section on what the evangelicals say. It would be a good addition. --CTSWyneken 01:15, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
I don't know as much about Moody..... :( Homestarmy 01:17, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

Go for it CST! Homestarmy: Spurgeon didn't teach anything different from what the Lutheran standard and Calvin cites say in the article. In your quote, Spurgeon is affirming that the Lutheran "second use" of the Law (which is the same as the Reformed "first use") is necessary in order to preach the full council of God: if you don't show people what they are according to Law (i.e., condemned rebels), they can't understand why they need the Gospel (i.e., salvation for Christ's sake). So you're not really preaching the Gospel unless you also preach the Law. I linked two of Spurgeon's sermons on the topic of law/grace in the external links section. I don't think the article is favoring any denomination. --MonkeeSage ☺ 02:43, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

Isn't it more likely he was trying to affirm the Bible rather than Lutheranism? Homestarmy 12:16, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
Yes, of course! It's the same thing! ;-) --CTSWyneken 12:24, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
Uhh....but if the article mentions mostly Lutheranism and almost nothing of the Bible it just looks like Lutheran or reformed doctrine that nobody else has that isn't important for people who aren't Lutherans or reformed people. That's not right! Homestarmy 12:48, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
I have no objection to adding the views of others. The trick is, for other traditions, the relationship between the two doctrines doesn't matter much. That is why we see so little mentioned about them and why its tough to generalize for them. --CTSWyneken 13:18, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

Homestarmy, think of it this way. Medieval Catholics looked at the Bible, but they also looked at church tradition and Aquinas' long summa of their theologica and other things besides the Bible. It was the early Protestant Reformers like Luther and Calvin who first sounded the clarion of sola scriptura (the Bible alone). So Luther and Calvin looked at the Bible and said, "Hey, this is what Paul said!" Others have come along later and have said, "What do you know? Luther and Calvin were basically right, Paul's words are pretty clear!" But it all started with Luther and Calvin looking at the Bible alone.

That's what CTSWYneken meant when he said, "it's the same thing." Luther and Calvin simply refer to the Bible, as do others who have come after them such as Spurgeon and MoodyGrigory Deepdelver of BrockenboringTalkTCF 14:57, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

But if somebody before Luther and Calvin hadn't of looked at the Bible and acted on this stuff in some form or another, then neither Luther nor Calvin would of had much Christianity to preach about because nobody would of seen much reason to even be a Christian, even if medieval catholics were looking at church tradition, somebody had to still be looking at the Bible even if they were looking at other things too. Homestarmy 15:04, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
Right. Lutherans accept the first seven ecumenical creeds because they agree with scripture, and Luther was himself of the order of St. Augustine. IMHO the problems started when Catholics began to say that the Pope was Christ's only vicar on earth, and that the pope was infallible when he talked about matters of religion. Thus medieval catholics had two sources of authority, the Bible and the mouth of the pope. By Luther's time, as he pointed out, some of the doctrines that the popes had approved of actually contradicted scripture. However, there were earlier doctrines, put forth by the Church Fathers, that agreed with scripture.
We can certainly explore what the Church Fathers said of the matter. Does anybody know if Augustine said anything about the relationship between Law and Grace? Grigory Deepdelver of BrockenboringTalkTCF 16:36, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
The Catholic churches problems notwithstanding, surely the church still used the law somewhat in accordance with the Bible? Homestarmy 17:12, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
Actually, that's not the issue. The problem is finding sources that speak about the issue when they don't think its important.
On the issue itself, Luther always maintained that the Church had continued to exist from the time of Jesus on. There were always faithful voiced. But many in the church got lost in the cares of survival and drifted into a human-oriented theology -- something which is almost impossible to avoid without constant theological study. Luther saw himself as a continuation of the church. He saw Rome and the Papacy as departing from it.
On the Law, Luther did recognize that Rome occaisonally got it right, and also with the Gospel. But he thought they confused the two. He saw them as promoting the law as saving and the gospel as requiring obedience. That is why Luther and Lutherans almost always put the two together. It is the distinction between the two that is crucial.
My brief look at the Catholic Catechism illustrates the point. It speaks of the "Law of the Gospel" and Jesus as the new Moses.
Anyway, I think we need to find out what all flavors of Christians think about the relationship between the law and the gospel and put it here. --CTSWyneken 18:27, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

Well, some concepts of "Messiah" include the idea of the second Moses, although I've also heard that term applied to Ezra. Just as long as we get past the idea of Jesus as the anti-Moses. Calling Matthew 5 the "antithesis of the Law" really bothers me. IMHO Matthew 5 is the correct interpretation of the law, not the antithesis of it.

On the Gospel side, sola gratia and sola fide are both relevant. Go solas! Grigory Deepdelver of BrockenboringTalkTCF 20:37, 11 April 2006 (UTC)


Somehow, Marcion should be added to this page, as he produced the first Antithesis of Law and Gospel [1]. True, he was declared heretical by the RCC, but so was Luther. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Yea, but just reading a bit on Marcion, I feel it's fair to point out there's a big difference between getting declared a heretic for challenging often un-supportable practices of the church and being declared a heretic for being a gnostic, who in particular apparently thinks that the God of the Bible is evil and that there is another, greater, "good" god that somehow was being supported by Judas, Cain, Jezebel, or whatever :/. Homestarmy 00:02, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

Marcion wasn't a Gnostic. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Please ignore this ananymous user. He refuses to register, doesn't know what he's talking about and simply won't admit he can be wrong. Do not respond to him. He4 doesn't realize how hard it is tell his comments from yours. Only because I know you can I tell the difference. --CTSWyneken 01:17, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
Err, a bit too late for that :/. My case seems solid though..... Homestarmy 01:19, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

Henry Wace in his introduction [2] of 1911 stated: "A modern divine ... could not refuse to discuss the question raised by Marcion, whether there is such opposition between different parts of what he regards as the word of God, that all cannot come from the same author." Adolf Harnack in Origin of the New Testament[3], 1914: "We have indeed long known that Marcionite readings found their way into the ecclesiastical text of the Pauline Epistles, but now for seven years we have known that Churches actually accepted the Marcionite prefaces to the Pauline Epistles! De Bruyne has made one of the finest discoveries of later days in proving that those prefaces, which we read first in Codex Fuldensis and then in numbers of later manuscripts, are Marcionite, and that the Churches had not noticed the cloven hoof." See also The Marcionite Prologues to the Pauline Epistles. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

I might not be the world's best Christian(tm), but im afraid i've never seen something like this in the preface to any pauline letters:
  • First, he rejected the whole Bible other than the Gospel of Luke. Second, he adopted a belief in two gods. One was good; the other was the Jewish god who was evil, but somehow created the universe.
And might I add that the forces of "we" in mr. Harnacks claims apparently doesn't include me, so I dunno who he's talking about. Plus, didn't the article say that Marcion used to be a preist-type person in the church, so it seems highly possible to me that he could of written those prefaces (If they were even written by him, which seems sort of weird) without a Gnostic perspective. Homestarmy 00:59, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
Marcion believed The Old Testament was the evil word of the demonic creator of the world, Yahweh. He was most definitely Gnostic and not Christian in the Nicene sense of the word. Think of him as Arius' alter ego. If we want to talk about his views, we need to mention the orthodox traditions reject him as no Christian at all. --CTSWyneken 01:23, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
Wait! I just saw who made the suggestion. I suggest we drop this line of reasoning altogether. --CTSWyneken 01:24, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

Have you guys read Marcion and Marcionism and Wace and Harnack?

The most ancient authority is Codex Fuldensis, but they [the Marcionite Prologues] also appear in at least thirteen other Codices.

In various sources, Marcion is often reckoned among the Gnostics, but as the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (3rd ed.) puts it, "it is clear that he would have had little sympathy with their mythological speculations" (p. 1034).

Marcion's canon was Gospel of Marcion, 10 Pauline Epistles, and his Antithesis.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, "it is obvious that Marcion was already a consecrated bishop" and "we can take it for granted then, that Marcion was a bishop, probably an assistant or suffrigan of his father at Sinope." Ernest Evans states that Marcion founded in Rome "a church which within half a generation expanded throughout the known world, vigorous enough to be in almost every place a serious rival to the Catholic church, and with strong enough convictions to retain its expansive power for more than a century, and to survive heathen persecution, Christian controversy, and imperial disapproval for several centuries more" (Evans 1972 p. ix). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, s.v., Apocryphal Gospels, II.3 (J. Hutchison):
The Gospel of Marcion would seem to have been intended as a direct counteractive to the Aramaic gospels. A native of Pontus and the son of a bishop, Marcion settled at Rome in the first half of the 2nd century and became the founder of the anti-Jewish sect that acknowledged no authoritative writings but those of Paul. This work forms a striking example of what liberties, in days before the final formation of the canon, could be taken with the most authoritative and the most revered documents of the faith, and also as showing the free and practically unlimited nature of the controversy, of which the canon as finally adopted was the result. He rejected the Old Testament entirely, and of the New Testament retained only the Gospel of Luke, as being of Pauline origin, with the omission of sections depending on the Old Testament and ten epistles of Paul, the pastoral epistles being omitted. The principal Church Fathers agree upon this corruption of Luke's Gospel by Marcion; and the main importance of his gospel is that in modern controversy it was for some time assumed to be the original gospel of which Luke's Gospel was regarded as merely an expansion. The theory was shown first in Germany and afterward independently in England to be quite untenable. It was lately revived by the author of Supernatural Religion; but Dr. Sanday's work on The Gospels in the Second Century (chapter viii) may be said to have closed the controversy. (Compare also Salmon's Intro, Lect XI.)
Ibid., s.v., Laodiceans, Epistle to The, III.2 (John Rutherfurd):
In an article upon "Marcion and the Canon" by Professor J. Rendel Harris, LL.D., in the The Expository Times, June, 1907, there is reference to the Revue Benedictine for January of that year, which contained a remarkable article by de Bruyne, entitled "Biblical Prologues of Marcionite Origin," in which the writer succeeded in showing that a very widely spread series of prefaces to the Pauline Epistles, which occur in certain Latin Bibles, must have been taken from a Marcionite Bible. Professor Rendel Harris adds that the prefaces in question may go back to Marcion himself, for in any case the Marcionite hand, from which they come, antedates the Latin tradition in which the prologues are imbedded.
Catholic Encyclopedia, s.v., Marcionites, II, III, IV (J. P. Arendzen):
We must distinguish between the doctrine of Marcion himself and that of his followers. Marcion was no Gnostic dreamer. He wanted a Christianity untrammeled and undefiled by association with Judaism. Christianity was the New Covenant pure and simple. Abstract questions on the origin of evil or on the essence of the Godhead interested him little, but the Old Testament was a scandal to the faithful and a stumbling-block to the refined and intellectual gentiles by its crudity and cruelty, and the Old Testament had to be set aside. The two great obstacles in his way he removed by drastic measures. He had to account for the existence of the Old Testament and he accounted for it by postulating a secondary deity, a demiurgus, who was god, in a sense, but not the supreme God; he was just, rigidly just, he had his good qualities, but he was not the good god, who was Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The metaphysical relation between these two gods troubled Marcion little; of divine emanation, aeons, syzygies, eternally opposed principles of good and evil, he knows nothing. He may be almost a Manichee in practice, but in theory he has not reached absolute consistency as Mani did a hundred years later. Marcion had secondly to account for those passages in the New Testament which countenanced the Old. He resolutely cut out all texts that were contrary to his dogma; in fact, he created his own New Testament admitting but one gospel, a mutilation of St. Luke, and an Apostolicon containing ten epistles of St. Paul.
[. . .]
It was the fate of Marcionism to drift away almost immediately from its founder's ideas towards mere Gnosticism. Marcion's creator or Jewish god was too inconsistent and illogical a conception, he was inferior to the good God yet he was independent; he was just and yet not good; his writings were true and yet to be discarded; he had created all men and done them no evil, yet they had not to worship and serve him. Marcion's followers sought to be more logical, they postulated three principles: good, just, and wicked, opposing the first two to the last; or one principle only, the just god being a mere creation of the good God.
[. . .]
Marcion's name appears prominently in the discussion of two important questions, that of the Apostle's Creed, and that of the Canon of the New Testament. It is maintained by recent scholars that the Apostle's Creed was drawn up in the Roman Church in opposition to Marcionism (cf. F. Kattenbusch, "Das Apost. Symbol.", Leipzig, 1900; A.C. McGiffert, "The Apostle's Creed", New York, 1902). Passing over this point, Marcion's attitude toward the New Testament must be further explained. His cardinal doctrine was the opposition of the Old Testament to the New, and this doctrine he had amply illustrated in his great (lost) work, Antithesis, or "Contrasts". In order, however, to make the contrast perfect he had to omit much of the New Testament writings and to manipulate the rest. He took one Gospel out of the four, and accepted only ten Epistles of St. Paul. Marcion's Gospel was based on our canonical St. Luke with omission of the first two chapters. The text has been as far as possible restored by Th. Zahn, "Geschichte d. N.T. Kanons", II, 456-494, from all available sources especially Epiphanius, who made a collection of 78 passages. Marcion's changes mainly consist in omissions where he modifies the text. . . . However cleverly the changes were made, Catholics continued to press Marcion even with the texts which he retained in his New Testament, hence the continual need of further modifications. The Epistles of St. Paul which he received were, first of all, Galatians, which he considered the charter of Marcionism, then Corinthians I and II, Romans I and II, Thessalonians, Ephesians (which, however, he knew under the name of Laodicians), Colossians, Philippians and Philemon. The Pastoral epistles, the Catholic Epistles, Hebrews, and the Apocalypse, as well as Acts, were excluded. Recently De Bruyne ("Revue Benedictine", 1907, 1-16) has made out a good case for the supposition that the short prefaces to the Pauline epistles, which were once attributed to Pelagius and others, are taken out of as Marcionite Bible and augmented with Catholic headings for the missing epistles.
  1. Marcion tossed out the Law, so he was obviously not interested in discussing the relationship between Law and Gospel as a unit of revelation — this page is discussing their relationship as a single unit (or deposit).
  2. Marcion's "Gospel" is not the "Gospel" being discussed in this article.
  3. Marcion's Antithesis was not a discussion of "Law and Gospel," rather of the alleged disharmony between the OT Deity and the NT. His opening point sets the frame for the whole: "This [OT] god is the author of evil - there must be another God. . ."
  4. The Pauline prefaces which trace to Marcion, were never thought to be part of the text of the epistles (see Harnack in your link), they were brief explanatory sentences (much like we have in modern study Bibles, e.g., "The Feeding of the Five Thousand") and have no bearing on this topic whatsoever.
Therefore, Marcion has nothing to do with this article. --MonkeeSage ☺ 03:49, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
All except our anonymous editor agree. Marcion does not belong here. Let's drop it. --CTSWyneken 12:22, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

Marcion taught extreme antinomialism. This article is the middle path between antinomialism and legalism. IMHO it's what Paul taught, but of course that reflects my views as a Lutheran.

This is a little off-topic, but when Andrew c and I were discussing Marcion at Jesus#Other views arising from early Christianity, it was unclear whether or not Marcion was technically a Gnostic. However, his beliefs were at least very similar to the Gnostics. Grigory Deepdelver of BrockenboringTalkTCF 05:52, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

Is there an article on the Law as a Christian Doctrine?[edit]

Does anyone know of one existing? Or the Gospel as a doctrine? If not, it would help to develop them. Perhaps: Law (Christian Doctrine)? --CTSWyneken 12:26, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

Antithesis of the Law is the closest article I know of. This paragraph in particular is relevant:

According to Augustine of Hippo, Jesus expanded the law but did not replace it. Others used analogy to explain this notion: Chrysostom used the analogy of a race saying that Jesus had added extra distance for the Christians to run, but the beginning remained the same; Theophylact of Bulgaria used the image of an artist colouring in an outline, and Thomas Aquinas saw it as how a tree still contains the seed. This view became the accepted Roman Catholic position, but was challenged in the Protestant reformation, with leading Protestants such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Huldrych Zwingli rejecting the idea Jesus had added to the Law, and instead arguing that Jesus only illustrated the true Law that had always existed, but that the Law had been badly understood by the Pharisees and other Jewish leaders. The Anabaptists took the opposite view and felt the Jesus had greatly reformed the Law, and rejected anything that the Bible doesn't mention him as having confirmed.


That's the law part. As for Gospel/grace, there is the divine grace article. See especially Divine grace#Tension between grace and works in the New Testament and Divine grace#Efforts to resolve the tension. Grigory Deepdelver of BrockenboringTalkTCF 19:31, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

Old_Testament#Christian_view_of_the_Law64.169.6.176 20:19, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
Also some info in the discussion of Sermon_on_the_Mount#Interpretation64.169.6.176 20:20, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

"The Double Standard View is the official position of the Roman Catholic Church. It divides the teachings of the Sermon into general precepts and specific counsels. Obedience to the general precepts is essential for salvation, but obedience to the counsels is only necessary for perfection. The great mass of the population need only concern themselves with the precepts; the counsels must be followed by only a pious few such as the clergy and monks. This theory was initiated by St. Augustine and later fully developed by St. Thomas Aquinas, though an early version of it is cited in Didache 6:2, "For if you are able to bear the entire yoke of the Lord, you will be perfect; but if you are not able to do this, do what you are able" (Roberts-Donaldson), and reflected in the Apostolic Decree of the Council of Jerusalem of Acts of the Apostles 15." 20:24, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

Friends, while we have some improvement above with an IP address signing, please do not interact with the anonymous user. I will not. --CTSWyneken 11:13, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
I'm thinking we need an article on each, then. This will allow us to limit this article to just the relationship between the two. Barring no objections, I'll start ones for Law (Christian Teaching) and Gospel (Christian Teaching). --CTSWyneken 11:15, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

Are you prejudiced against anon IPs? Some are vandals, but that's not always the case. Anyway, the section on "Christian view of the Law" is really relevant to the Christian view of the law. Grigory Deepdelver of BrockenboringTalkTCF 11:49, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

In a way, yes. I cannot build a relationship with an editor who may or may not be the same person who last edited from that domain -- or if the group he or she works with assigns random IPs, if it is the same person coming in under another IP, or if they go home and yet a third IP is used, if it is them. If he or she would simply establish an account, I'd know I was working with the same person. He or she need not put anything on their user page at all. It makes a big difference to me. I also, as you know, like to work off the article talk pages on user talk pages, which are a bit more private. I cannot do that with an IP talk page. Who knows if they'll have the same IP next time?
I do not think we should encourge such users to try to work on a page more than once here and there without a user ID. So I boycott them and suggest you do the same. --CTSWyneken 13:11, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

Do not make personal attacks anywhere in Wikipedia. Comment on content, not on the contributor. Personal attacks will rarely help you make a point; they hurt the Wikipedia community and deter users from helping create a good encyclopedia. Wikipedia:No personal attacks 20:16, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

It's hardly personal when we don't know what person we're talking to. CTS is attacking not the person, but the practice of not registering an account. Accounts are free, registration is simple and it makes things so much easier. It's often difficult to respond because the IP does not always match the person, as CTS has said. For example, could be any customer of SBC Internet Services. We wouldn't want to confuse you with someone else. I, for one, will listen to whatever is said, though I may disagree.
Accounts can be as private as you wish. There's no need to give out personal information. It can just be a code name. When Woodward and Burnstein talked to "Deep Throat," they knew they were talking to the same person even though it was over 30 years before they found out who that person was. A code name would also be useful here. Grigory Deepdelver of BrockenboringTalkTCF 21:22, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

First Paragraph Revision[edit]

OK, I've taken the plunge and revised the first paragraph? What do you all think? I'm not invested in this form, but I think it is clearer than the previous. Any ideas? Be bold! 8-) --CTSWyneken 12:45, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

Looks good. --MonkeeSage 10:48, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

Christian Doctrine Project?[edit]

Say, Archie and friends:

You all have nothing to do (especially David; pastors have nothing to do on Holy Week) ;-)

What would you think about opening a Christian Doctrine Project? --CTSWyneken 18:33, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

There is a series on Christian theology: see Template:Christian theology. There are also series on Mormonism, Methodism, Jehovah's Witnesses, Calvinism, Quakerism, and a portal on Eastern Christianity, Sadly, there does not seem to be a series on Lutheranism. Why not start a series on Lutheranism? Grigory Deepdelver of BrockenboringTalkTCF 19:21, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

Because we'd be accused of being POV. First the Real Presence, now Law and Gospel... we can't seem to keep a signature item all to ourselves! 8-)
Seriously, I'd thought of that. The Christian theology series is a good start, but is anyone checking to be sure they all link and fit together? --CTSWyneken 01:15, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

NPOV is official wikipedia policy. If you want to write from a Lutheran POV, why not create a Lutheran wiki, like the orthodox one: [4]—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

I really wish people would actually read WP:NPOV. The policy does not say "do not present any point of view" — it says the exact opposite! — "present all relevant points of view with due weight given to each." There is nothing wrong with writing articles from a Lutheran POV, so long as other relevant POVs are not suppressed. --MonkeeSage 23:16, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
This ties into what I have been saying on the talk page of that WP:policy! The alternative to NPOV is NNPOV. They always vilify POV! It is not Good=NPOV -> Bad=POV but Good=NPOV -> NonNPOV!drboisclair 13:56, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
Exactly. For example. Sacramental Union is NPOV because it basically says, "The Lutheran theology on the Eucharist is...." It does not say that this is the only theology of the Eucharist, and hence does not violate NPOV. OTOH, Real Presence is a broader article that includes other perspectives; essentially, all denominations that use the term "Real Presence." In a broader sense, there is no reason to baptize Judaism's view of Jesus or circumcise Christian views of Jesus. For this article, we are currently looking for other relevant perspectives.Grigory Deepdelver of BrockenboringTalkTCF 23:38, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
I would love to be part of a "Christian Doctrine" project! I would imagine that we should enlist the aid of other theologian editors. There would have to be room for all traditions to give their spin. It might be interesting to see where all the traditions are as opposed to where they were 500-200 years ago. You could use the Apostles/Nicene Creed as the outline, presenting the via salutis (way of salvation) tucked in there somehow. Good suggestion. drboisclair 13:53, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

Request for reference on Dispensationalism[edit]

Dispensationalist_Theology#The_four_basic_tenets says:

In addition to these seven dispensations, the real theological significance can be seen in four basic tenets which underlie classic dispensational teaching. Dispensationalism maintains:

1. A radical distinction between Israel and the church; that is, there are two peoples of God with two different destinies, earthly Israel and the heavenly church. 2. A radical distinction between the Law and Grace; that is, they are mutually exclusive ideas. 3. The view that the New Testament church is a parenthesis in God's plan which was not foreseen by the Old Testament prophets. 4. A distinction between the Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ; that is, the rapture of the church at Christ's coming "in the air" (1 Thess 4:17) precedes the "official" second coming by seven years of tribulation.

The first two tenets were held by other Christian groups at the time Darby wrote, but Darby's description of the Rapture and his use of the term "parenthesis" to describe the church distinguish him from other writers.

John Nelson Darby

A lot of his works are here:

This is against Dispensationalism but possibly interesting:

But surely we must draw a definite and broad line between the Law and the Gospel. It is at this point that the Dispensationalist considers his position to be the strongest and most unassailable; yet nowhere else does he more display his ignorance, for he neither recognizes the grace of God abounding during the Mosaic era, nor can he see that Law has any rightful place in this Christian age. Law and grace are to him antagonistic elements, and (to quote one of his favorite slogans) "will no more mix than will oil and water."

But instead of demonstrating the concord of the two Testaments, they are more concerned in their efforts to show the discord which they say there is between that which pertained unto "the Dispensation of Law" and that which obtains under "the Dispensation of Grace," and in order to accomplish their evil design all sound principles of exegesis are cast to the wind. As a sample of what we have reference to, they cite "Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot" (Ex. 21:24) and then quote against it, "But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also" (Matt. 5:39), and then it is exultantly asserted that those two passages can only be "reconciled" by allocating them to different peoples in different ages; and with such superficial handling of Holy Writ thousands of gullible souls are deceived, and thousands more allow themselves to be bewildered.

John Nelson (J.N.) Darby: This theological giant recovered and formulated Pauline vertical Dispensationalism. His life and ministry were positionally established in heaven. He scripturally taught that the Church is heavenly, and Israel earthly, plus the total incompatibility of Israel's Law and the Church's Grace. He was centered in the ascended Head of the Church--Christ, who is our Life.

It was Dr. Scofield who provided the classic definition of a dispensation. In the first chapter of Genesis he has a note which says, A dispensation is a period of time during which man is tested in respect to his obedience to some specific revelation of the will of God. He saw through the course of history seven periods of time in which God was doing different things with men. He called them: (1) the "dispensation of innocence," which covered the time before the fall when Adam and Eve were in the Garden, in fellowship with God; (2) the "dispensation of conscience," which followed the fall and extended to the time of Noah, when men lived according to their consciences; (3) the "dispensation of human government," which came in after the flood and went from Noah's time until that of Abraham; (4) the "dispensation of promise," which began when Abraham was given various great promises of God by which men were to live, as Dr. Scofield saw it, until the time when Moses brought the Law. (5) the "dispensation of law" ran on through many centuries until the coming of Jesus Christ, who introduced (6) the "dispensation of grace" in which we all live, and which is yet to be followed by (7) the "dispensation of the kingdom," which many call "the millennium," the thousand years of Christ's rule on earth which is yet to come.

Dear Friend: Thanks for the info! First of all, please register as a user and sign your talk posts. If you do not do this, we have no idea who you are. We don't need the text above however. Would you simply put author-title-place-publisher-date info where a footnote would go. If you're not comfortable with the reference systen. just put in parens. Someone else will take care of it. Thanks! --CTSWyneken 00:58, 30 April 2006 (UTC)
It still would be nice to get a reference for that first quote. It's at Dispensationalism#The_four_basic_tenets also. My guess is Ryrie, Charles C., Dispensationalism (Moody, 1995) ISBN 0802421873, but it's just a guess. 07:51, 1 May 2006 (UTC)
I have found several references that justify the statement, but they are all in secondary, hostile sources like Bahnsen. I trust Bahnsen, but to be thorough, I have verified one of the clearest of these references by a secondary source, so I will include it here and in the Dispensationalism article.
The most obvious and striking division of the Word of truth is that between law and grace. . . . Scripture never, in any dispensation, mingles these two principles. Law always has a place and work distinct and wholly diverse from that of grace. . . . Everywhere the Scriptures present law and grace in sharply contrasted spheres. (Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth, ch. 6, pp. 34, 36)
» MonkeeSage « 09:35, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

Excellent. Thank you. 19:51, 1 May 2006 (UTC)


I have taken the liberty of replacing the quoted reference to Philemon 3:9 with something a little more probable. IF anyone has the printed version available, can they check the actual wording. Rich Farmbrough 09:49 8 June 2006 (UTC).

Problem with saying that Lutherans believed in a "moral or sanctifying use" of the Law[edit]

In looking at this finely written article I am taken aback at the reference to the Lutheran "Third Use of the Law" as a "moral or sanctifying use." This may be true of the Reformed "Third Use of the Law" but it is not true of the Lutheran one. The Law does not sanctify, and Lutheran theologians avoid speaking of "ethics" and "morals" in the way of ethicists and moral theologians. We need to emend this section in order to accurately present the Lutheran position. Only the Gospel sanctifies as a means of grace, i.e. the Holy Spirit working through the Gospel. The Third Use of the Law in Lutheranism is a rule or guide that guards against humanly, as opposed to divinely, devised works. We must make plain, though, that Lutherans are not Antinomians. --Drboisclair 09:26, 9 June 2006 (UTC) As an addendum to this I would add that the Law can only show us God's will: it cannot cause us to do God's will. It cannot sanctify.--Drboisclair 15:40, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

I wonder if the author in this case is partly considering statements by early Lutherans such as in the Solid Declaration of the Fomula of Concord the statements that

the old Adam, as an intractable, refractory ass, is still a part of them, (...) Accordingly, we reject and condemn as an error the teaching that the Law(...) should not be urged upon Christians

[5]. I'd like to make the case that a more neutral statement can be made on that basis, and that the issue of the third use of the law remains in dispute. Some read the Formula of Concord and other writings as firm statements favoring a Third Use, others read it as a compromise position that does not establish the finality of a Third Use. In any event, we have here a point of some controversy that should be addressed in the article, hopefully as neutrally as possible. Unfortunately I do not have enough knowledge on the Calvinist/reformed understanding to contribute much to any final section on Third Use concepts, but I'm open to trying to work in some cited additions. burnunit 18:05, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
The problem comes in through Werner Elert, who although he has made a good contribution to 20th Century Lutheranism has a problem with the idea that "law" (Gesetz) can have any positive aspect. There is no doubt from a reading of the Formula of Concord that a "third use" is confessed. One has to be careful that one does not say that the law is a means of grace. It certainly does not sanctify. --Drboisclair 05:15, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

Gospel and Law[edit]

If you want a Reformed perspective to temper the Lutheran, it would be well to look at Barth. Evangelium und Gesetz demonstrates a reversal of the foundational Luther-an distinction between Law and Gospel. Compare the responses from Elert (Gesetz und Evangelium) and Althaus (Gebot und Gesetz - "The Divine Command"), both Lutheran. On the other hand, much more could fruitfully be made of Althaus's little book, because the fundamental difference between Gebot, Command, and Gesetz, Law, is passed over practically without comment. The usus legis deriving from an understanding that, as Barth says, Deus dixit (Gottingen Dogmatics), and what Althaus describes as God's fundamental statement, "I will be your God, and you will be my people," is very different from the Waltherian and literalist-orthodox Lutheran legalism, as well as from the so-called "Gospel-reductionist" side. We must understand that God is speaking/has spoken/will continue to speak into a relationship God upholds with sinful humanity. God's speaking accords with the state of the relationship. From this perspective, you can better see where Barth comes from when he inverts the paradigm because God speaks promise in law and law in promise. If you can gerrymander the Bible into strict law and strict gospel sections, you've an interesting hermeneutic.

Hope that helps with places to look; just a bit of my own research from the other side of the Lutheran fence. 02:19, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one WikiProject had rated the article as start, and the rating on other projects was brought up to start class. BetacommandBot 14:04, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

Separation of Church and State[edit]

How does the Law and Gospel doctrine relate to Separation of Church and State ? In a contemporary sense, and except in cases of rare cooperation, the law and gospel are both in the hands of the Church, since no modern state would ever claim to be able to hand down divine law in any authoritative manner. (talk) 01:23, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

Dispensational View[edit]

The "tenet" of mutually exclusive law/grace is not true. The quotes from Scofield and other early classic dispensationalists have been misconstrued. Charles Ryrie's Dispensationalism Today and The New Scofield Reference Bible (1967) explain that dispensationalists hold grace is present in all dispensations. That means dispensationalists do not view law/grace as mutually exclusive. In reality, the dispensationalist view the law is very similar to the Lutheran view of the law. So I see no reason for its inclusion here, particularly in light of the more nuanced views of the law which are explained in the sections above it. Lamorak (talk) 01:38, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Imperative and Indicative[edit]

I think everyone familiar with this topic is also aware of the use of Imperative and Indicative as a near-synonym. I'm just going to be bold and start such a section. Feel free to join in. --Firefly322 (talk) 17:21, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

Law and ...[edit]

Where's the Gospel? This article is just about how protestants regard the Law. Or perhaps the article title should be something else? Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 11:28, 23 July 2013 (UTC)