No. 24. >> I think I know the answer to this question. But I'll ask it anyway. It seems to me many people have a lot to learn about God's plan for marriage and the family that you've been teaching us in this class. Is it appropriate for me to teach these things in church? Or does that somehow detract from the real purpose of the church, the proclamation of the Gospel? >>DR. JOEL D. BIERMANN: Excellent; excellent, David. You're seeing how -- you're already putting into question: How am I going to apply this? What's this mean for me? And this is exactly what doctrine is all about. You know, let me just digress here a minute. Systematic theology is by definition the application of God's truth to contemporary situations. Too many church people, too many seminary students, have this idea that systematic theology, oh, that's that dry, arid doctrinal stuff. I want to do practical theology. But see, that's a total misunderstanding. Because doctrine is practical. And it needs to apply to real life situations. And if it's going to be good systematic theology, it's going to have immediate practical relevance. And so now you're going to take what you're learning and apply it to your situation. Good. That's exactly what you should be doing. And should you be preaching this? Yes, brother, preach it, please. Take this truth and use it and give it to your people. If you don't, if you don't give them practical concrete guidance on how to live their life, they are going to go find it somewhere else. And I think we have all had the experience of some of the very best members we have are those who will be really tuned into God's things and they will be listening to Family Life Radio, reading Dobson books, reading Focus on the Family kind of stuff. They get their hands on anything they can to try to help them be more knowledgeable about God's will. And unfortunately we in the Lutheran Church somehow think we're going to dirty ourselves by getting involved in such mundane evangelical things. It's nonsense. Our people need to be taught real practical truth. And God has lots of that for their lives. You can do it from the pulpit. But don't get up there and just kind of do a lecture on marriage. Instead, preach. But preach about marriage. Preach about God's will for marriage. That's law. Preach about what God expects. You're preaching law. And that's going to kill a lot of people who are not doing those things. But you're also going to be educating them along the way. You see, remember, law has three functions. It curbs. It shows our sin. And it guides us. So when you ally the law on people, you're doing all three, or better, the Holy Spirit is doing all three a at once every time. Yes, you're going to be killing people. But you're also going to be teaching them along the way. And when I'm convicted of my sin, I'm also learning what God's will is. And I'm learning new skills and new ideas. Things I hadn't heard before. And if you're not going to give it to them, who else will? And who better to teach your people about God's will for their lives than you. I'm sure you want God's people living their lives seriously following God in all of their lives. Not just Sunday morning for three hours. But all through the week. You want Christ informing all they do. Teach them how to do that. Give it to them. Give it to them practical straight-up. Know you're doing it. It's not being legalistic. It's not sliding into sort of a lecture series. It's doing good preaching. You're preaching the law. And you're giving them the Gospel of Christ and forgiveness. Both things. They can co-exist very nicely.