Tullian Tchividjian has made waves recently amidst what seems to be a coerced departure from the Gospel Coalition. More than just the grandson of celebrated evangelist Billy Graham (I won’t hold that against him), Tchividjian is a celebrated theologian and is considered more than just an up-and-comer, graduating the status of up-and-came several years ago. The great body of Tchividjians work has been sound, God-honoring, edifying, and Scripturally solid. For some time, however, it seems that Tchividjian’s teaching has minimized the Doctrine of Sanctification.
Both the title and the content of Tchividjian’s farewell post to the Gospel Coalition took pot-shots at the organization, and he used his exit as an opportunity (which he calls “pulling the trigger”) to fire rounds at several of the organization’s recently-departed board members, CJ Maheney and Joshua Harris, and to (according to some) impugn the Gospel Coalition as a whole for not dealing more directly…
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It has been my experience in over forty years of pastoral ministry that the more we preach duty, the less people grow in sanctification. Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not suggesting that duty is not important. The New Testament Scriptures are replete with injunctions to obey Christ’s commandments, but sanctification is really the living out of our standing before God. If we do not understand that standing and that it has nothing whatsoever to do with our obedience, we will become entangled in morbid introspection. In my experience, it has been one of the downfalls of Reformed preaching that it tends to leave people looking at themselves rather than pointing them to Christ.
I believe Dr. D. Lloyd-jones was right when he suggested that if our preaching of the gospel does not leave us open to the charge of Antinomianism, we have not preached the gospel freely enough. I think Reformed teaching has tended to guard gospel preaching against Antinomianism so carefully that, at times, it has sounded like justification by one’s evidences. Where saving faith exists, obedience will exist, but we must never leave people searching for evidences, but must always leave them singing, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.”