Pastor Tullian Tchividjian of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church has been removed from the list of contributors on the Gospel Coalition’s blog. I believe his older posts will remain. Maybe Dr. Mark Jones’ challenges concerning sanctification (a Christian’s growth in personal holiness) along with other prominent men such as Richard Phillips, David Murray, Daniel Hyde, and Kevin DeYoung have had some influence on the situation. I don’t know if the decision to remove Tullian Tchividjian from being a contributor was made by Pastor Tchividjian himself or the Council Members over at The Gospel Coalition. Either way, I have a hope that the Church is finally getting the point that this issue is important and that it is just as important as Dr. Jones declared it is in his recent Reformation 21 blog post.
“In aiming to protect the doctrine of justification, Tchividjian does more harm than good to this precious doctrine. We cannot be light-hearted about this doctrine; it is worth dying for. Even so, we can’t read justification into passages that are clearly talking about sanctification, as Tchividjian is prone to do in many places. When this type of theologizing is done by preachers on a consistent basis, their preaching becomes burdensome, and preaching (and God’s commandments) should not be burdensome. Ironically, by doing this (i.e., reading justification into sanctification), Tchividjian has made, to use his words, a “category” mistake.”
I personally appreciated Mark’s challenge here.
“But perhaps TGC will have the theological fortitude to remove Tchividjian’s blog. And will others say something? Oh that Tullian would be rebuked, not defended, by those wishing to recover the Reformed confession.” MJ
Maybe it is time for some cold reality to be splashed on the face of those who claim to be Confessionally Reformed and or Presbyterian. That reality can be stated like this, Just because you attach the name Reformed to something doesn’t necessarily mean it is good Reformed Theology. Good godly men have been lovingly raising awareness over aberrations concerning the teaching of sanctification and good works for the past few years. What some guys are pawning off as Reformed Theology doesn’t appear to be sound Reformed Theology at all. And that appears to include the teaching of sanctification and good works in its various formulations as noted by Mark Jones in his Reformation 21 blog post.
Additional Follow ups…
Follow up blog post 5/20/14 …. https://rpcnacovenanter.wordpress.com/2014/05/20/tullian-exit-stage-left-dazed-and-confused/
TGC explanation 5/21/14 http://thegospelcoalition.org/article/on-some-recent-changes-at-tgc
We want to give readers help in understanding some of the changes that have gone on at The Gospel Coalition of late. One minister, Tullian Tchividjian, was asked to move his blog off our website. Two other members of the Council, Joshua Harris and C. J. Mahaney, resigned from the Council (Tullian was not a member of the Council). Each move had significantly different reasons behind it.
In Tullian’s case, it was obvious to observers that for some time there has been an increasingly strident debate going on around the issue of sanctification. The differences were doctrinal and probably even more matters of pastoral practice and wisdom. Recently it became clear that the dispute was becoming increasingly sharp and divisive rather than moving toward greater unity. Earlier in the year our executive director spent two days with Tullian in Florida. Coming out of that meeting, it was decided that Tullian would move his blog. Finally the Council at its meeting last week decided that Tullian should move his blog immediately, and we communicated this conclusion to Tullian.
I honestly believe the Westminster Confession of Faith contains one of the best summaries and sound proclamations concerning sanctification and good works. So I will just leave you with its teaching as my final thoughts here.
I. They who are effectually called and regenerated, having a new heart and a new spirit created in them, are further sanctified, really and personally, through the virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection, by his Word and Spirit dwelling in them; the dominion of the whole body of sin is destroyed, and the several lusts thereof are more and more weakened and mortified, and they more and more quickened and strengthened, in all saving graces, to the practice of true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.
II. This sanctification is throughout in the whole man, yet imperfect in this life: there abideth still some remnants of corruption in every part, whence ariseth a continual and irreconcilable war, the flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.
III. In which war, although the remaining corruption for a time may much prevail, yet, through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regenerate part doth overcome: and so the saints grow in grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Of Good Works.
I. Good works are only such as God hath commanded in his holy Word, and not such as, without the warrant thereof, are devised by men out of blind zeal, or upon any pretense of good intention.
II. These good works, done in obedience to God’s commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith: and by them believers manifest their thankfulness, strengthen their assurance, edify their brethren, adorn the profession of the gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries, and glorify God, whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto, that, having their fruit unto holiness, they may have the end, eternal life.
III. Their ability to do good works is not at all of themselves, but wholly from the Spirit of Christ. And that they may be enabled thereunto, besides the graces they have already received, there is required an actual influence of the same Holy Spirit to work in them to will and to do of his good pleasure; yet are they not hereupon to grow negligent, as if they were not bound to perform any duty unless upon a special motion of the Spirit; but they ought to be diligent in stirring up the grace of God that is in them.
IV. They, who in their obedience, attain to the greatest height which is possible in this life, are so far from being able to supererogate and to do more than God requires, that they fall short of much which in duty they are bound to do.
V. We can not, by our best works, merit pardon of sin, or eternal life, at the hand of God, because of the great disproportion that is between them and the glory to come, and the infinite distance that is between us and God, whom by them we can neither profit, nor satisfy for the debt of our former sins; but when we have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants: and because, as they are good, they proceed from his Spirit; and as they are wrought by us, they are defiled and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection that they can not endure the severity of God’s judgment.
VI. Yet notwithstanding, the persons of believers being accepted through Christ, their good works also are accepted in him, not as though they were in this life wholly unblamable and unreprovable in God’s sight; but that he, looking upon them in his Son, is pleased to accept and reward that which is sincere, although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.
VII. Works done by unregenerate men, although for the matter of them they may be things which God commands, and of good use both to themselves and others; yet, because they proceed not from a heart purified by faith; nor are done in a right manner, according to the Word; nor to a right end, the glory of God; they are therefore sinful and can not please God, or make a man meet to receive grace from God. And yet their neglect of them is more sinful, and displeasing unto God.