Tullian Tchividjian is booted from The Gospel Coalition (TGC) website while C.J. Mahaney and Josh Harris quietly leave TGC council amidst ongoing sex abuse lawsuits in which a former Sovereign Grace Ministries volunteer is found guilty of sex abuse charges.
Confirmation bias regarding one’s friends can become a powerful weapon against the truth. It gives way to black and white thinking which makes the hard work of discernment easier. “This person is my friend and has given me quite a bit of money in their kindness towards me, so I am more inclined to believe that they are incapable of gross wrongdoing.” But people are not simply all or nothing – much the way children understand people when they are very young. Complicated people are quite messy, and the more complicated they are, the more we need to work at figuring out “who” they are. We may agree with them on A,B, and C – but not on D,E, or F. And the more reason we are given to like someone, the greater our bias. Could the Gospel Coalition hold a more favorable opinion of Mahaney than of Tchividjian because of “attitude polarization”? Could the “Mahaney Money Machine” be a factor?
There has been a lot of activity going on at The Gospel Coalition.
Dee at The Wartburg Watch recently reported in her article, Twitter Wars and Predictions Surrounding SGM and the Nate Morales Conviction:
Over the weekend, a firestorm erupted on Twitter. #IStandWithSGMVictims was started by Zach Hoag. A number of people sent tweets to The Gospel Coalition which promptly blocked a number of people using the hashtag.
This was indeed a firestorm. The hashtag: #IStandWithSGMVictims was quite popular and became a Twitter “trend.” Take a peek at the scores and scores of people in solidarity for the SGM victims and also those who are tired of church leaders not taking action against sex abuse in church.
The sad part about this was response by Joe Carter, spokesman at The Gospel Coalition. One of the most common signs of high-controlling behavior is when someone attempts to control conversation by shutting it down. That is exactly what happened over the weekend. Many people were “blocked” from following The Gospel Coalition after they sent out a tweet that included #IStandWithSGMVictims in the tweet. I’ve been blocked a long time ago from The Gospel Coalition (@TGC), but this time, Joe stooped to a new low and personally blocked me.
Here is the tweet where he accused me of slander. If you click on Source, you can see where I asked Joe to provide proof. He never did. Instead he blocked me.
Keep in mind, shutting down communication is nothing new at The Gospel Coalition. It has been reported here and at Wartburg Watch numerous times that if anyone mentioned anything regarding C.J. Mahaney and the Sovereign Grace case on TGC blogs, many (if not most) of the time these comments were removed. And why would they be removed? Because they have long defended Mahaney who until this last weekend was on The Gospel Coalition council.
That brings us to another unfolding event over the weekend. Along with a newly designed website at TGC, some noticed that C.J. Mahaney and Josh Harris were no longer listed as council members. Several have reported this story. Harris responded about it on Twitter:
I resigned the @TGC Council because I don’t want the present challenges at my church to distract from this terrific ministry. Godspeed, TGC!
— Joshua Harris (@HarrisJosh) May 19, 2014
Harris voluntarily left TGC apparently because of the current sex abuse legal case his church is involved with (and its former ties with sex abuse cases within Sovereign Grace Ministries). We have not heard a statement from C.J. Mahaney as to why he has left TGC. This was long overdue, if you ask me.
However, Harris and Mahaney are not the only ones to be missing from the council. Late last night, I read this note from Tullian Tchividjian about how he was apparently booted from TGC. He mentioned that he had earlier told TGC of his plans to move his blog from TGC and transition to his own blog site, but TGC gave him no notice that they were booting him now:
None of the powers that be, however, ever mentioned anything to me (either by email or phone) before Thursday when I was simply told that the transition needed to happen now. I know I have had some differences with some of the other contributors to this site but my goal has always been to do nothing but preach the Good News with every post, to bring relief to the burdened and broken, and rest to the weary and heavy laden by fixing the readers’ eyes on the finished work of Jesus. You’ll have to judge for yourself if I succeeded or failed in this regard. (Source)
Now, why would TGC want Tchividjian to leave? Some have suggested it is because Tchividjian’s gospel has too much “grace.” Dee of The Wartburg Watch mentioned this in the following Twitter conversation:
Dee noticed something unique about Tullian Tchividjian in her excellent article, Grace and Obedience: Why I Agree With Tullian Tchividjian and Not With Jen Wilkin and posted this quote from Tchividjian. Tchividjian’s grace message is not the same kind of message we hear from other Neo-Calvinists:
So when I say “Because Jesus succeeded for you, you’re free to fail”, I’m NOT saying “go out and sin more so that grace may abound.” I’ve never heard anyone say that. What I AM saying is that you ARE failing and that if you are in Christ, your failure does not condemn you (Rom. 8:1). Furthermore, your failure cannot separate you from God’s love (Rom. 8:31ff). So, because Jesus succeeded for you, you’re free to fail without fear of being cast out, abandoned. Even our most cataclysmic failures won’t tempt God to “leave us or forsake us.” Perfect love casts out all fear.
Jonathan Merritt interviewed Tchividjian about his book, One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World and once again, also notice the grace theme:
Tchividjian takes Christians to task for their legalistic focus on performance. But he also casts a vision for a more grace-filled future. Here, we talk about what he thinks is wrong with the Christian church today and what he believes the answer is.
I love this quote from Tchividjian on morality and free grace.
The fact is, that the solution to restraint-free immorality is not morality. The solution to immorality is the free grace of God. Only undeserved grace can truly melt and transform the heart. The route by which the New Testament exhorts sacrificial love and obedience is not by tempering grace but by driving it home. (Source)
Tchividjian continues by touching on a common issue that we have dealt with in high-controlling church environments:
Furthermore, it seems that the good news of God’s grace has been tragically hijacked by an oppressive religious moralism that is all about rules, rules, and more rules; doing more, trying harder, self-help, getting better, and fixing, fixing, fixing–—ourselves, our kids, our spouse, our friends, our enemies, our culture, our world. Christianity is perceived as being a vehicle for good behavior and clean living and the judgments that result from them rather than the only recourse for those who have failed over and over again. (Source)
It’s interesting. The Gospel Coalition has never had any problem with C.J. Mahaney on their council all this time – even through this sex abuse case has been:
“American evangelicalism’s biggest sex scandal to date.” ~Janet Mefferd
Throughout the Sovereign Grace lawsuit and sex abuse cases there has been one underlying theme that seems to be prevalent. It is the idea that as long as someone has the right doctrine, nothing else matters. It seems that The Gospel Coalition has long sided with Mahaney because he has the “correct” views on complementarianism, he has the right views on Reformed doctrine, he has the right views on the Cross, and sin, and the Gospel. Since Mahaney had all of those really important doctrinal matters correct, it seems they were willing and have been willing to overlook the fact that C.J. Mahaney likely knew about sex abuse cases that occurred in his church and that he and his pastors failed to address those problems appropriately.
T. F. Charlton in his article, Sovereign Grace Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Just Got More Complicated remarks:
T4G and TGC’s defense of Mahaney have left critics asking what it would take for evangelical leaders to consider the possibility that one of their own might be complicit in the coverup of child abuse. (Source)
I’m really struck at the irony here. It seems that C.J. Mahaney should have been the one booted from The Gospel Coalition, not Tullian. We’ve heard nothing but crickets from The Gospel Coalition on these issues. It does seem to appear that “correct” doctrine over grace and victims is what counts for The Gospel Coalition.
I think “Martin Luther’s Disciple” sums it up succinctly in his comment over at Phoenix Preacher blog regarding this situation:
176 thoughts on “The Gospel Coalition Shake-Up – Tullian Tchividjian and Too Much Grace for The Gospel Coalition?”
This comment was left by John R. on Kevin DeYoung’s TCG blog, as Kevin is being hammered by pro-Tullian supporters. FYI, Tullian was never a TGC council member
“I find it worth noting that Tullian has never said a word publically about the SGM scandel either until the day it became public that he was asked to stop blogging for TGC. If any here want to point a finger at Kevin over TGC’s handling of it, you’ll also have to point the same finger at Tullian. In fact, by Tullian’s own account, he was going to REMAIN at TGC for months to come if allowed to. Suddenly the day they discontinue his blog, he’s instantly apoplectic about the SGM controversy.
To all the Tullian fanboys here who are taking up his mantra: seriously ask yourself why you never heard a word about this from Tullian before last night. Ask yourself about the odds of such an amazing coincidence. And then link to me where you yourselves have commented on the SGM case before today. Those of you who can do so, I’ll take seriously. Those of you who cannot, I’ll simply assume you have chosen to take whatever bat someone will hand you to bash every non-fanboy who comes down your path. And I’ll feel free to ignore you. I’m not impressed by your sudden umbrage.”
Without being able to understand Tullian’s motives, and what kind of an environment exists within TGC, are we seeing an example of groupthink? Once the dissenter is removed from the group, only then do they feel able to talk?
I’m sorry if this has already been shared, but just saw it. http://www.christianpost.com/news/tullian-tchividjian-blasts-sovereign-grace-ministries-handling-of-sex-abuse-scandal-prematurely-departs-the-gospel-coalition-120062/
Phoenix Preachers take on the CP article:
May 21, 2014 at 9:34 am
The story went up last night and came straight back down without explanation.
According to the reporter it was simply because it wasn’t supposed to run until this morning.
According to me, it was because a number of us had already copied it and threatened to post it in it’s entirety anyway.
So I would be wary of praising folks like TT who have chosen to go public with criticisms after the court cases. It’s pretty easy to punch a bully once he’s been knocked down and beaten.
This sort of Monday morning Pastorbacking doesn’t cost them very much. Where was TT when the wagons circles and victims were called lairs and slanderers? Where were they when CJ was declared fit for ministry?
I’d be way more impressed if TT had siad something of substance a year a ago and was willing to take the heat until before the courtroom testimony of Grant Layman. That would have been moral courage. Instead we have folks like Brent Detwiler and TT going on Janet Meddford and looking like real heroes, when in reality, they have been part of the problem and have only recently begun to speak up. But most of the heavy lifting has been done by little known (mistly women) running survivor blogs.
“Without being able to understand Tullian’s motives, and what kind of an environment exists within TGC, are we seeing an example of groupthink? Once the dissenter is removed from the group, only then do they feel able to talk?”
Group think is part of it but TGC exists for another reason: Money. The more people who follow the more books they can sell, speaking gigs come their way, etc, etc. It is about creating a big tent for Reformed brand for the Reformed celebs. Remember, Acts 29 was literally taken away from Driscoll. He is now a figurehead only and they allowed him to save face while distancing themselves from him. Now go to an Acts 29 church and it is “Driscoll who?” I am serious. A big Acts 29 church plant (which has started its own church planting network) here has some former high level Mars Hill staffers working there! Driscoll who? They think we are so stupid.
Truth is that movement is starting to flesh out factions. Once the focus was on growth there was some unity but as growth as climaxed, it is about power bases.
Go take a look at SGML CJ’s new church plant in Louisville and all the Reformed celeb speakers who made their way there to affirm him from Piper, Dever to Jerry Bridges and many more. Someone needs to take a screen shot.
When he first came here, CJ’s “church plant” was meeting at a Private Christian school where some of us have our kids. But we got him out of there because they have to have a zero tolerance policy for child molestation and when the civil suit was filed it became too obvious. The boards names were put on blogs and people contacted them!. Now they meet at a hotel and these celebs made their way there to preach to a room of about 40 people. All to prop up CJ. They have to. There are too many book blubs, shared stages and they have invested way too much in him. It is about saving face. I think they will start quietly distancing themselves from him without saying a word.
I’m not a Mefferd listener, and when I went to her site and tried to link to the live show, it wouldn’t load for me, and I tried it in three browsers. I then talked to someone else who had the same issue.
I did find this link which works just fine, if anyone else was met with the same.
Let’s not forget that Trueman was also one of the three who declared CJ fit for ministry after they had reviewed Detwiler’s documents. At this point I’m thinking he wished he’d minded his own business.
About TT, and I’m not defending him, but how long does it take to put an article like that together? Was it already in the works when TT found out he was being booted? Was he booted and then interviewed for the article, or was the article in process before the verdict and testimony of Layman was known? It might be worth asking the article’s author.
I hope all the Tim Keller fans are paying attention. He sold out and is part of the cover up for Mahaney and child molesters. What a crock this statement is. They think we are idiots.
Bridget, Good questions.
Lydia, what a mile high pile of shmoot. It belongs to the rubbish pile. Keller reminds me of the wizard of oz. Expert magician. Oops, I mean vision-caster.
My heart goes out to victims who may read that garbage. Wonder what comment TGC would have made if Pope would have termed molestation as “issues”.
Learn & discern comments on Keller’s TGC response, anyone?
These are most definitely “group think” organizations. TT may be Sunday “pastorbacking,” but the way I see it, regardless, he’s seen some light. Remember, it takes years for some of us to “get it” before we start standing up to the status quo. There was a day long ago in another life when I used to praise C.J. Mahaney. I hope this means TT has started to wake up and smell the coffee.
Lydia, >>>Jesus reserved his most harsh words for the “religious” leaders from his own tribe–the Jews.. We could learn from that. Many of them were frauds who had set themselves apart, best seats, wanted to be honored and obeyed, etc.<<< Amen. Sounds like the TGC and SGM tribes.
Sounds like the propaganda police asked Keller to quell the masses. It is a crock. This is serious abuse going on that has caused much harm, pain, and heartache. He makes it sound like they’re just having disputes over who wrote the book of Hebrews. And trying to say the leaders are calm and respectful and so should the followers. Well, TT has basically called CJ a liar. And BD has been yelling Abuse and Hypocrisy for years. His statement was just a PR tactic. These people betray that they really don’t care about the victims.
TGC online is now Pravda.
“TGC online is now Pravda.”
Tim Keller has admitted in his book “The Reason For God” that he was emotionally drawn and heavily influenced by the neo-Marxist critical theory of the Frankfurt School.
Is anyone else having trouble accessing the On Some Recent Changes post at TGC? I get a blank page.
It still comes up for me, Diane, and I have a screen shot of it if anyone needs it.
How odd. OK…I will try something else. Thanks, Cindy.
“Tim Keller has admitted in his book “The Reason For God” that he was emotionally drawn and heavily influenced by the neo-Marxist critical theory of the Frankfurt School.”
Oh My Word.
Diane, Exact same complaint on other blogs about that page. Not sure what is going on. Could be traffic. Could be gone.
This whole thing has become a Kremlin watch. Keller blew it, though. There were so many people who thought Keller was the only hope. He has just proved he is part of the cover up. The irony is everyone knows it is all spin and lies. These celebs are so used to people listening and believing them they cannot see how ridiculous they look
Cindy, you have several errors in there about the various Presbyterian denominations. John Robbins is way off the scale (was, as he died afew years back). Piper is too liberal for Robbins! There is no “George” Hodge–it was Charles Hodge. My mAin point echoes Barbara of Cry for Justice said about Trueman. He seems to be trying to hide his lack of prior discernment about CJ Mahaney and others. Keller seems to be the wisest of all the Gospel Coalition folk. Of course Robbins cannot stand Keller–but for the opposite reason I bet almost anyone on this blog would. Trueman needs to “fess up” and soon if he wants any credibility. He cannot depend on his accent to draw followers to him forever!
To find out what John Robbins thinks of John Piper you can check out the follwoing article.
To say that Piper is too liberal for Robbins is misleading. The article clear lays out what Robbins believes is his greatest error which is legalism not liberalism. I suggest you read it.
I think you got Robbins mixed up with Morecraft. Robbins was never a member of the RPCUS.
From the TGC post linked above-
“Joshua has spoken publicly about his reasons for resigning. In light of the ongoing civil suit against his church he felt it best for TGC if he stepped down.”
Josh Harris’ words via twitter:
“Joshua Harris @HarrisJosh · May 19
I resigned the @TGC Council because I don’t want the present challenges at my church to distract from this terrific ministry. Godspeed, TGC!”
Present challenges? How do we specifically know Harris meant civil suit by “present challenges?” Maybe by present challenges he meant CLC member hemorrhaging, or money woes, or his home downsizing/selling/moving into a more affluent area–that can be a challenge, for sure. lol Assuming Harris told TGC that the civil suit was the reason, and they felt confident in stating as such in their post, why didn’t Harris tweet civil suit? Oh…just more of that transparency Harris is preaching about, I guess.
Stuff like that just bugs me.
“C. J. had been considering stepping out for a good while—both a year ago and a month ago he offered to do so for a variety of reasons, including a major move and change in his role, the responsibilities of a new church plant, and other issues.’
Oh those pesky “other issues”…let’s put those last in order so people will read right over them. So not tricky…
Why didn’t Mahaney resign a year ago? Did someone stop him? Or a month ago? Did they refuse his resignation? If so, why did they accept it now? Pretty sure we know why.
How embarrassing for Mahaney. At least Harris tweeted out something; although, imo, a sugar coated “present challenges” insulting phrase. (BTW-if you listen to Harris’ sermon last Sunday, these particular “present challenges” (he means lawsuit and all the sins of not telling the authorities and/or possible cover-ups) are sent from God to grow Harris and his church up. Yes…it’s all about them!!!) Mahaney evidently needs his fanboys to cover for him yet again with a statement because he is too ignorant to come up with one on his own? Too busy? (Take some time off from the sports radio gig and from re-tweeting other people’s thoughts, Mahaney.)
“Tim Keller has admitted in his book “The Reason For God” that he was emotionally drawn and heavily influenced by the neo-Marxist critical theory of the Frankfurt School.”
Then he has something in common with Geoff Botkin.
“Joshua Harris @HarrisJosh · May 19
“No man can do me a truer kindness in this world than to pray for me.” -Charles Spurgeon”
Really? I thought he pretty much preached about the necessity of transparency and people speaking into his life their observations about any sins they happen to notice. I thought he wanted small groups and accountability partners and meetings with other elders and men sharing with him and each other their sins and struggles. That is what bored me to tears reading the SGMwikileaks. The CONSTANT drivel about this person’s pride or lack of accountability or refusal to heed their judgments, or refusal to meet, or sin of this or that, or he laughed too loud or he frowned, so shun him…etc. Now he thinks it’s appropriate to tweet from Spurgeon that the greatest kindness is to pray. FOR HIM.
(Cadfael fan, by chance?)
I fixed George to Chas. (I have a friend named George H. and hadn’t had caffeine yet. That’s funny.)
I never said that Robbins was liberal. He has several articles about Piper and calls them all out on their crazy doctrine. He left the OPC because they were too liberal. Helped start the RPCUS. I used to think Robbins thought everyone was Roman Catholic and just said it about everybody, but he was actually right.
The fact that he was Clark’s intellectual heir pretty much defines him as quite fundy anyway.
The whole Presby family tree is pretty convoluted, and it took me a long time to figure that all out. You can’t just walk into a Presby church and expect to get an RC Sproul, Sr. Though he jumped the shark, too. I think after that train accident he was in. 😦
What else is wrong? I didn’t call Gordon H Clark Gordon C Clark, did I?
I don’t know about anyone else, but Keller blew it with me over complementarian nonsense. He talks about stuff that people shouldn’t even discuss in mixed company. I also can’t believe that Carson is in with them, either. I lost great respect for both. Alistair Begg ought to know better, too.
Jonathan — holy moly. That’s right. the OPC had two babies. That Reformation Church, and it was Morecraft who was the RPCUS. Though Robbins was all over Wilson, too. Let me fix that. No posting pre coffee.
And Robbins was PCA.
I think I fixed everything. I wrote it off the cuff and didn’t check anything, so thank you, all.
I guess my point in all of that is the emergence of this New Calvinism stuff which some say came through a misinterpretation of Vos. Academics then sit there and ponder stuff that’s really peripheral to the heart of the Gospel. And everyone’s worried about branding themselves and proving how smart they are.
The other issue is the elitism that basically emerges in the name of defending against liberalism (which is a worthy cause), but at the cost of Christian liberty. As Kevin Swanson is want to say, you have to be concerned about being “contaminated” by lesser Christians. It’s part of the disease of fundamentalism as an ism… Not that Biblical inerrancy is not important, but it turns into something between gnosticism (better or real Christianity) and the Spanish Inquisition.
If it’s still fowled up, let me know. That’s why I asked specifically for people to note it for errors. THANKS!
It is very convuluted which is too bad. I think the OPC and PCA could’ve been a great voice for presbyterianism but that ship has long since sailed.
I do enjoy reading your blog and postings even if presbyterian history isn’t your thing….;-)
Keller blew it with that statement he put on TGC today which is full of spin. Everyone who has a brain knows why CJ/Harris resigned on the same day. Keller is now part of the cover up for Mahaney and protecting child molesters. Keller does not care about the victims.
Check it again for me, I beg ya! I usually get peer review on stuff like this before I post it. I’m getting it now. 😉
I’m still partly reeling from my experience at the OPC, and I finally stopped contributing to The Trinity Foundation when we received a mailing just completely trashing women having any opinion about Scripture. That OPC was sicker than the Gothard oriented cult we left.
I miss Robbins, though I don’t know that he would have thought much of me. I asked them for peer review of some of my work in the past, but they were overcommitted and acted funny — I guess because I’m missing a vital piece of anatomy.
I do hold some of these movements in high respect on principle, and so many of them are just an incredible paradox. John Rice, an amazing evangelist, separated from the SBC over some very legit criticisms, but then they went so far into legalism and developed the doctrine of separation. And Rice was vitriolic concerning women. ?????
I really respect the RPCUS for leaving the OPC, and as crazy as Morecraft is, I think he’s really a moral man who does what he understands is right. He was not afraid to take Wilson to task, and that is admirable. He was under even greater scrutiny over Schilssel who was a theonomy fave. That speaks to his virtue, as does his willingness to hold Phillips accountable. That inspires me with a little hope.
We’ve all got our issues, but it’s so sad to see these played out in religion at high levels. How are we supposed to be one. We can’t seem to get a grip on unity within diversity as opposed to uniformity. As we’ve seen played out with TGC jackboots this week, it’s a game of uniformity.
I think the person who noted that Tullian never spoke up for SGM victims until now, has a great point.
Cindy, the whole Presbie scene is so fragmented they are sometimes called split P’s. Yes, Cindy, Cadfael! Are you a fan, too?
I tried listening to Tullian’s Romans sermon on his new blog and was immediately turned off–he should have gotten right into the Word. Sounds like another narcissist. Now Boz is wonderful! No problems with him. BTW people like to talk down Luther on sanctification, but I am reading Christian Liberty translated by HJ Grimm and Luther is pro sanctification. Just do not confuse it with justification.
Big Cadfael fan, and my husband wore out the paperbacks until they almost fell apart. I love Derek Jacoby in the series, too. He was wonderful. (My husband started out in a forensics program, became a postmortem forensic toxicologist, so he lights up like a Christmas tree reading/watching. He was also deeply moved by the moral examples in the book –something often sadly lacking in his field. He would have been a Cadfael.)
(I drank booze last night for muscle pain, took a muscle relaxer, had no AM coffee, woke up early, and started writing ignorance.)
It just bothers me so much that they can’t get it together, but they go on about how superior their elder rule systems are. So you boot the elders when you have trouble. Like James MacD earlier this year whose elders said anything contrary to their consensus was satanic, but they fail to mention that they booted the elders that didn’t agree with them. Voddie Baucham is also apparently notorious for doing this, too.
Luther argued that anything that argued against sanctification was a misapplication of the law. So I can read the OT law and get convicted to be more holy, but if it argues against my salvation and right standing with God, it’s legalism. That’s the litmus test as opposed to the Presby/Covenant Theology idea that each law goes into one of three categories, and only one applies, but no one can figure out which goes into what category…. And you need a scorecard for that, too. So they call Luther antinomian for not appreciating the law. Luther also has that law in the gospel and the gospel in the law thing going on and didn’t feel pressed to divide them like Presbys.
And Presbys have that whole panic over actually giving man any role in his own salvation — by agency but also by experience, too. Like it should be a sad if not painful thing to get saved. God forbid that we get any of that resurrection power. We get that by beholding the external gospel and remain depraved (so we can hang on to our sin).
Sorry, everyone. It’s been a long school day because of a group speech project. Thanks, Cindy, for manning the fort. Can’t wait to catch up.
No one’s commented on the Mefferd interview yet.
Dissatisfaction on Tullian’s part and some of the members of the TGC who have been bickering about him for a year, apparently, because he didn’t think that the statement of support was wise or fair to the victims. He planned on leaving anyway, and wanted a year to prepare. But instead of giving him until August, they want him out the door and don’t want him to slow down long enough to let it hit him on the backside on the way out. He’s to be gone now — which looks like Thursday.
Tullian said that Keller’s/Carson’s claim in that TGC statement of doctrinal issues was news to him, and no one ever confronted him about any such problems. So it sounds like a Hail Mary Pass on the part of TGC. Lets just tell the tourists something and hope that they buy it. So TGC didn’t even have the courtesy and respect to deal assertively with Tullian, if that is even true. They passively aggressively talk about him privately.
It’s like Jr. High School.
Tullian dared to utter the words: Of course he (CJ) knew!”
The closest any of the TGC guys have come is to say CJ has not been legally accused of anything. AS if that is the standard for Christians. Therefore he is innocent of protecting child molesters–not reporting. But for those who have read the victims stories it is much worse than that. they have helped predators with legal fees, taken vacations from a rich dad who molested his girls and on and on.
But the only thing they are really saying seems to be that CJ knew nothing all those years. The result is that CJ looks like a weak empty suit figurehead. Oh, the irony.
Empty head suit figure.
Oh, and I love how Tullian called CJ a “pope.” Hee, hee. He is, though. He’s just a few notches down from the real pope, though. That’s Mohler, since he’s so, so smart. Sadly, he is another paradox. More oft than not and on basic doctrine, he’s very good, and I agree with him. But then, with patriarchy and micromanaging everyone else’s spiritual life on top of the eternal depravity of the Christian stuff….
I’ve been so mad about this stuff over the past two days, I keep breaking out in hives. I haven’t had this happen in almost a decade. It’s ridiculous.
You can get an Al Mohler bobble head doll at SBTS bookstore:
Your own little idol for your book shelf
Here’s Eric Pazdziora’s correspondence with Joe Carter today:
What a nut this guy is.
I have been extremely upset, over the past few days, about the aftermath of the Morales conviction and the ways in which T.G.C. (I refuse to use the word Gospel in referring to them because good news it most definitely is not) has handled it. Thinking out loud, jotting down things in stream of consciousness and not in any particular order;
1. Did they honestly think the truth could be concealed forever? God is just, and sin and evil cannot be hidden forever .. or do they not really believe their own theology?
2. Interesting that they are speaking out now about sexual abuse in the church, when the silence was deafening before. I agree with many here that it has been too little, too late, though the most that can be hoped for is that some who read about these troubling developments will educate themselves and not be afraid to seek help.
3. I agree with something you said in an earlier comment about Mohler saying some things one could agree with .. which is true, though in my opinion they have lost credibility and created a crisis of trust, and, understandably, a crisis of faith for many. While some of the content of their articles and sermons may be true, I would have trouble listening to them and not wanting to run away screaming. Maybe, it could be argued, we ought not throw out the baby with the bath water, .. though in this case I doubt if there is a baby.
4. If they have any concern for the victims of rape and sexual abuse, they really need to read this blog and start, however belatedly, to take the concerns of survivors seriously. Above all, they need to get it that cosmetic changes, without addressing the authoritarian systems that have helped create this scandal in the first place, they have already lost the trust that many sincere Christians placed in them, and once having lost it, they may never get it back.
Amen, Andrea. Good words.
“Confused. Was there no such thing as sin before the law was written in tablet stone? Cain murdered Abel before the 10 commandments were written down. Does that mean he didn’t sin?
Law doesn’t CAUSE us to sin. As if something outside of us makes us do wrong. It is a matter of personal choice. A decision.
What about those who knew nothing of the 10 commandments thru-out history? Was it impossible for them to sin or do wrong because they never saw it on stone, animal skin, paper, pc monitor?
I believe the knowledge of right & wrong, good & bad are generally imparted to each person by God & this knowledge grows as they do. Each are responsible. Saved or unsaved.”
You asked the perfect questions and I am glad you asked. When I respond, it is always with scripture, so that there is no opinion.
(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
…the law is the knowledge of sin.
Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it.
…I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.
…For without the law sin was dead.
For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.
1 John 3:4
…sin is the transgression of the law.
…the law is the knowledge of sin.
(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
I can even expound on this much more. I hate that people are taught to be “obedient” to the law.
We are to be obedient to the law…but the law is Faith, and there is only two commandments to be obedient to. That’s it. Love. That is the law under the New Covenant. Love.
Our church just got done with everyone doing a “Read the Bible in 90 Days”.
I truly wish that more would participate in something like that. It’s great to see people say to others, “Now I get it!!”. I’m like, “Finally!!, and you are how old now?”
Just one more thing you said:
“Law doesn’t CAUSE us to sin.”
Study the scripture a bit more, and you will see just the opposite. The Law does indeed cause us to sin.
Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound
Another translation NIVr of Romans 5:20:
The law was given so that sin would increase.
You had said:
“Detailed law written on our hearts (like don’t murder, steal) is good for us to follow. ”
You don’t need a law to tell you not to murder or not to steal if you are loving your neighbor.
Love fulfills the law. You follow love, not “thou shalt not murder”. Do you see the difference yet, between following law, and following love? It isn’t BOTH…it is either.
I saw a comment at TGC’s website article on Tullian/CJ that floored me with its arrogance. I’m going to copy it here (as I did at Wartburg Watch) because I want people to see it – and, hopefully, a pastor or theologian who’s far more competent than I will challenge it.
Here it is, in case TGC’s moderators choose to delete it:
“I went back to the TGC’s post on its website re: Tullian and CJ, and was floored by a comment made four hours ago according to the timestamp. I’m copying it verbatim (in case the moderators there decide to delete it):
“Dennis HC • 4 hours ago
Putting TGC’s and TT’s statements regarding this issue side-by-side, it seems clear which one is more gracious and less accusatory. Perhaps it’s just because Pastors Carson and Keller have more years of walking in the faith than TT. Or, perhaps it’s because Christian maturity and bearing fruit in accordance with salvation are benefited by a proper and biblical view of sanctification. My best wishes to both TGC and TT.”
As I said at TWW, the shot at Tullian is bad enough. The follow-up comment is way worse; it implies those who DO not have the commenter’s ‘proper and biblical view of sanctification’ are not mature and not bearing fruit in accordance with salvation.
At best this is poorly expressed. At worst, it implies a great arrogance on behalf of the Reformed world (or TGC’s corner of it) against the rest of Christendom.
Cindy, don’t forget Morecraft also was one who confronted Doug Phillips. He seemed to handle that situation as well as he could (without being in a position who could really do anything).
Anon, That really is an arrogant comment. But that seems typical of that lot. You’re either in accord with them or you are lost.
It’s sad what T.G.C. has morphed into. As happens sometimes with coalitions, the phenomenon which Richard John Neuhass described in an article about Christian Reconstructionism occurred here, in which the more militant elements in the coalition end up being the driving force. It became about power and money, and protecting an increasingly narrow set of theological positions, though I seriously don’t buy the claim that Tsavidgion was booted out for doctrinal reasons, and I don’t believe in coincidences, especially this one, which is too convenient. I read the TGC explanation for the shakeup, and it doesn’t even ring true.
On a separate note about listening to sermons and pronouncements from the pulpits and on blogs, it may take a while to catch on but it is possible to distinguish between truth and propaganda. A pastor who is complicit in sexual abuse or tells victims not to go to the police may speak flowing words and flowery oratory about moral rectitude, but it is vastly different to hear the same words spoken by someone like Jeff Crippen, PCAPastor on The Wartburg Watch or Sam Powell. One is telling the truth and living out Christian integrity while the other is preserving an appearance of virtuous Christian character.
In Doug Wilson’s article he wrote:
“So those who have embraced the false gospel of therapy hate the fact that we have forgiven sex offenders in church now…”
Have at it – have all the sex offenders in your church, Doug. I’m truly all for sex offenders attending the assembly. Yes, God forgives. Yes, He commands us to forgive. But He also gave us brains to use. Mark the sex offender – don’t let him spend any time with children. Watch him like a hawk. Forgiveness does not do away with living in reality. And if it’s current: Call The Authorities while you are praying for help to forgive him!
Talk about diversion!
All the TCG supporters I am in contact with throw the third law theory at me. I don’t think they really have any clue what’s gone on with SGM. I agree with the red herring theory.
A Mom and Ed,
I’m on cup of strong tea #2, so hopefully I’ll make better sense than I did about this time yesterday.
I see this issue going back to how Covenant Theology appropriates the Old Law for the Believer. My understanding of salvation and its elements is strongly Lutheran, and I just can’t wrap my head around the issue any other way. In short, I have a big problem with what I see as Covenant Theology’s down playing of the role of the Holy Spirit, Paul and John talked about concerning the way that the Believer is transformed spiritually after conversion. The Word is foolishness to the unbeliever without the revealing of it that comes only by the Holy Spirit. I think that, based on what I understand of what Calvin wrote on the issue, what Luther(ans) assigned to the Spirit, the Calvin(ist) assigns to the Law.
What emerges for me, more in New Calvinism than in the Old, is a downplaying of that New Creation change that happens in Christ. I think that part of this is also some fear on the part of Calvinists that if they assign any role at all to man in the process of salvation, they’re bearing witness against God’s sovereignty — even if man is just experiencing salvation as a beneficiary. This is more of a focus for New Calvinists.
Luther, or perhaps Lutherans that thought about this after he did, said that before conversion, the Law serves to constrain bad behavior in society and it teaches man about what sin is (Paul’s “schoolmaster”). Teaching man about his sinfulness shows him his need for Christ. After conversion/regeneration, the Law only serves as a standard, like a ruler to which one goes back to see if one’s own estimate of an inch is really and truly an inch. From there onward, it is the Holy Spirit that woos and motivates us to be in compliance with the Law. We are translated into the Kingdom where the Law is love. We do right because we love God, not by following rules. For the Believer, the Law serves only to curb, mirror, and guide through it’s function as the fixed standard/ruler.
Now, Calvin said that there is one additional function of the Law — to admonish a person to be holy. That flies in the face of what Luther believed (and what I think Paul did, too). So while the Law absolutel does admonish us as a fixed standard of right and wrong, Calvin also saw it as a motivator. For me, that extends the use of the Law from that of a fixed standard/ruler to that of a rule book.
I am also troubled by the way that Calvinism breaks down the law and then says that only the moral law applies. But what one man might think is ceremonial law, another says is really the moral law. Even Gary North admits that this is true and that no one can agree. Who is right? I have to read some Calvinist expert to tell me which law goes into what category?
(I’d rather take my chances with the Holy Spirit to curb, mirror, and guide me.)
Luther also wrote a little somewhere about how there is an intrinsic element of the Gospel in the Law, and of the Law in the Gospel. They aren’t mutually exclusive, but Calvinism tries to make them exclusive in many respects. So I see it as a theoretical problem.
That said, whatever way of looking at it helps you understand Christ better and causes you to grow in love for Him and others, then I don’t think it matters that much IRL how you make sense of the Law and the Gospel.
I hope that helps a little.
I agree with you. They didn’t even need to make a choice between victims and CJ or a choice between CJ and Tullian T. They could have just made general statements about God’s sovereign plan to work justice and to bless His own, knowing that our sins will find us all out in time. For what ever reason, be it money or God knows what, they made a bold confession to the world:
In a choice between wounded lambs and our favorite friends who allegedly care for lambs, we’re choosing our friends. I am just in awe that they jackbooted one of their own. Complete awe. I am in awe at their low opinion of good people who are expected to just parrot the party line as they say, “Move along. Nothing more to see here.” Keller has indeed played the role of the Wizard of Oz this week, saying “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.” And I don’t think that they have rightly estimated the ability of people to see exactly what they’re doing. But enough will stick with them, and I guess that’s good enough.
They would garner more support if they were up front and honest.
I was going to mention Luther, but I didn’t. He was on a correct premise, as far as I am concerned. He, from being a Catholic, understood what grace was all about. Still, he didn’t give up everything Catholic, as I would have hoped, but he was right in regards to grace.
The Catholics slam him, however, because he said these words: “Sin boldly”. But if you see it from the context of why he wrote those words, he was embracing grace, showing that grace means a lot to those who have sinned a lot.
Much like when Jesus asked who will love him more, those who didn’t have that many sins, or those with a multitude of sins.
As far as I am concerned, Luther was the pioneer and a legit father of the reformers. Calvin hijacked it.
Luther had his issues — like his anti-semitism.
To mix things up with me and make me crazier to the hardline Calvinist, I grew up in Moravian land, was baptized Moravian as an infant, and was influenced by those teachings, too — because that influence also drew my mother to conversion. The Moravians descended from John (Jan) Hus who was burned alive in 1415, predating the other Reformers. The Roman Catholic Church condemned him as a heretic for teaching the Word to the common man, speaking against the papacy and their control of the Word, opposing their understanding of the Eucharist, and against the selling of indulgences. I so loved that about my own journey and how that influenced my faith.
I received so many blessings in my spiritual life that ultimately come from the truth of the Word and God’s divine intervention. Whether from Hus or Luther or Calvin or Wycliffe, I’ll take it. 🙂 I just wish that all believers could lighten up on the uniformity and could rest in God to find true unity (which tolerates if not celebrates diversity).
It has and still is taking time for me to embrace the diversity that you discuss. But I am getting there. Slowly. But as for now, I cannot tolerate anything Calvin, or Catholic. I haven’t delved into Wycliffe yet, so I do not know much about him. I have heard of a few derogatory things about him, but not to the extent of people like Calvin. My focus right now is on Calvin, mainly because the majority of the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual abuse is coming from that particular camp.
I went over to Doug Wilson’s blog to read his post on pedophilia and it sickened me. Just about everything that man says sickens me. How can he call himself a Christian and be do wrong, so hateful, and so damaging in his directions to others? It is just mind boggling. I thank God for Ed’s being able to make comments over there. I am shaking too much and I am too angry to write anything to Wilson and his mean followers.
I think that what makes unity hard is the fact that it takes constant work and doesn’t come easily. As this stuff with TT and the TGC has played out as an example, we can’t just stick people in a “They’re okay and solid” (uniform) category without ever having to think about them anymore. We all grow and change, and we have to consider that this is true for everyone else. I guess that they don’t call it “fear and trembling for nothing.”
“T. F. Charlton in his article”
Minor correction, should be “her” article
Anon for a good reason: it also reminds me of what Jeff Crippen and Barbara Roberts called “flat-affect theology,” where mature Christians never get angry at all, but unbelievers and baby Christians get all emotional over things like child and spousal abuse.
That’s an interesting theology for followers of Someone who flipped a few tables and pulled out a whip. 🙂 However – I know that to be true. Any and all outrage is a “lack of self-control.”
What kills me is the authoritarian thread running through all the troubled camps making abuse able to be pulled off for so long – and all the tactics of silencing that allow for everything we’ve seen lately… be it Phillips, Gothard, SGM. The “You must submit to your elders” card is the ruin of so many Christian lives. And yet… and yet – there it is in the Bible.
So, how do we articulate to a naive but sincere Christian when NOT to submit to their elders?
oneh20, >>>And yet… and yet – there it is in the Bible.<<< Where? That line in Hebrews? Why is someone obligated to obey some line on "obey your leaders" written to a specific situation we really don't know anything about? What about Jesus' "call no one Teacher or Father for you have one Teacher"? Submission to local church leaders, in my mind and from studying original language and culture and history, is an abused concept. The overall message of Jesus was egalitarian, not hierarchical.
I always ask the question, is the root problem some control-freak, authoritarian leader who abuses his biblical authority, or the way we look at the Bible as some legalistic Rulebook and then allow leaders to hit us over the head with it and spiritually abuse us?
You’re preaching to the choir 🙂
My question was “So, how do we articulate to a naive but sincere Christian when NOT to submit to their elders?” When one lives in the camp of “Obey the authority God has placed over you” (like I do), how do we LOVINGLY engage in these conversations?
I’m not ready to jump ship – I love these people as much as I disagree with much of what they believe.
Oh, good. I wasn’t sure what you meant by “there it is in the Bible.” I always try to LOVINGLY (I lose patience a lot though, lol), share with them that God hasn’t really placed an authority over them. That there are misapplications of those lines “there in the Bible” and give examples. The problem is, if you don’t jump ship, is you risk them demonizing you for being too liberal regarding the Bible and then they won’t listen. People need to be open to looking at the Bible a different way or else they are stuck. I try to challenge people that they are actually being “unbiblical” being so line-item obedient to the Bible… it never says, nor was meant to be used that way, and in fact Paul, says we no longer live “the way of the written code.”
“The Catholics slam him, however, because he said these words: “Sin boldly”. But if you see it from the context of why he wrote those words, he was embracing grace, showing that grace means a lot to those who have sinned a lot.
Much like when Jesus asked who will love him more, those who didn’t have that many sins, or those with a multitude of sins.” Ed Chapman on Luther
I vehemently reject this “folks go sin boldly” mentality. I absolutely embrace grace. I DO NOT embrace: “Sin boldly”. I would never teach this “sin boldly to follow Jesus” religion to a child. That is total depravity. That is not Christian, IMO.
Yes, Jesus has grace for a criminal turned away from their sin. We forgive that person. But there is repentance & consequence & right action to follow, NOT MORE BOLD SIN. And yes, that person will be & should be exceedingly grateful. That does not equate to a “go & sin boldly” message so you can be exceedingly grateful. Really? Think about what you are telling victims of these bold sinners who hear this “sin boldly” message, Ed.
Someone who has committed horrid wrongdoing can receive grace for their sin. But be clear, grace requires repentance & turning away from sin. Grace does not embrace a sin boldly mentality. That cheapens grace, IMO. And emboldens the very criminals committing these heinous crimes discussed in this post & blog. Ugh….
Bottom line, sin boldly is present tense continuous action. That message does not stop evil, it says go ahead, go on with it. It is shocking to me that this message is assigned to Jesus Christ.
Those who aren’t Christ-followers can’t wrap their minds around this thinking: what Christians do doesn’t matter BECAUSE of grace. Those that care about themselves & other run from this representation of Jesus.
Christian victims also can’t reconcile this & some end up ultimately reject Jesus.
I find both situations VERY tragic, because Jesus doesn’t offer a “get in the boldly sin for the rest of your life” club.
Question… How does one love God, themselves, others AND embrace a “go & sin boldly” message? Wrongdoing is always hurtful to ourselves, others, God, right? I say it’s impossible.
A mom, Another reason I reject Luther’s sin boldy in that letter IN CONTEXT is because of his belief in infant baptism. How does “sin boldly” work in that scenerio for an adult who was baptized as a baby? Was the baby baptized for imputed guilt for Adam’s sin and the baptism takes them to Christ in case they die as a baby? But the baptism cover over sin boldly for an adult “believer” in that paradigm?
There are so many inconsistencies in Reformed thinking I cannot keep up.
Whoever says “Sin Boldly” has ripped the original sarcastic comment from Luther entirely out of context. He was bold and used what could almost be called “vulgar” or base tactics in sarcastic comments if not sardonic ones. He was German, after all, and he was angry at the tyranny imposed by the leaders. Look up what he wrote to Henry Tudor some time. Calling him a “cheeky fellow” doesn’t even come close to describing him. He spoke a guttural language and lived among the guttural.
The Catholics who hated Luther claimed that he created lies about “by faith alone” and characterized him as a rebel who couldn’t find peace in the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) because of his tragic sins. They said that his doctrines of demons about “not of works lest any man should boast” were his attempt to continue to be licentious (which was another way they tried to smear him).
Luther wrote stuff like “Faith is a living, restless thing. It cannot be inoperative. We are not saved by works; but if there be no works, there must be something amiss with faith.” (I found that in the book “Here I Stand,” and you can’t read more than two pages of Luther’s “Bondage of the Will” and believe that he came up with Reformation ideas to give people license to sin.)
If I’m not mistaken, Luther wrote this letter to Phillip Melanchthon while he was hiding out at Wartburg following the Diet of Worms ordeal (“here I stand, God help me”) when his life was in grave danger and the RCC was out to kill him. Only pieces of the letter remain, but you can definitely discern the contest. He wrote about how the Apostle Paul was against celibacy for priests (a big cause for the RCC’s angst against Luther), calling it something about a contract with demons that should be “boldly broken.” He also wrote about how happy he was that the people of Wittenberg were not following the RCC eucharist practices but were partaking of both the bread and the wine in the way that Paul set forth. (Remember that the details about the eucharist are a big deal at this time, too.)
In the context that the RCC had called marriage for clergy sinful and anything other than their communion practices sinful, Luther says in sarcasm and in that context to continue to go against the sins declared by the RCC by “sinning boldly.” It was a badge of honor of sorts if Melanchthon “sinned” (per the RCC) by following the truth of the Gospel.
Of course, when the Catholics found this document, all they focused on was “sinning boldly” against God, not against the “sins” that they established and declared — and those who disobeyed were called heretics. They just exploited this to support their mischaracterization of him as a flagrant sinner.
(Not that he got everything right, but in context of “sin boldly,” he was right on the money. I apparently “sin boldly” every day according to TGC, and have been doing so for some time.)
The crux of Luther’s argument in that letter was about grace and sin. The Catholics had made up sins and were offering face grace to absolve those fake sins, or perhaps just cover them. This was also a reference to the purchase of indulgences. Luther wrote this in that letter:
“If you are a preacher of Grace, then preach a true, not a fictitious grace; if grace is true, you must bear a true and not a fictitious sin. God does not save people who are only fictitious sinners. Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly. For he is victorious over sin, death, and the world. As long as we are here we have to sin. This life in not the dwelling place of righteousness but, as Peter says, we look for a new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. . . . Pray boldly-you too are a mighty sinner.”
I have read some commentaries that he was not only talking about indulgences here, but also about the perceived infallibility of the higher clergy who claimed that they had the right to be the mediator middle men between sinners and God. Like Jesus said of the Pharisees, they thought that they didn’t sin, but they were white washed tombs full of dead men’s bones. Some also consider this a statement against the deification or demigod status given to religious leaders. Like CJ….
Your post of May 23, 2014 @ 7:40 AM
You totally misunderstand Luther’s reasoning behind the “sin boldly” statement, just like the Catholics.
The Catholics took those two words, and said almost the same thing that you said. But I read it all, and in the context he really isn’t telling people to go out and sin, as you and the Catholics may think.
What he was conveying is that Grace means nothing without sin being involved. And that, I agree with. He was conveying that Righteousness is NOT obtained by obeying any law, but is obtained by our faith alone, THEN we get grace, and our sin is wiped clean.
As you will note, I provided you with a verse that states that the law was given SO THAT sin would “increase”. And where sin INCREASED, grace increased even more.
To me, that is exactly what Luther was saying. He wasn’t saying that about Christians sinning, of course.
Since Christians are not under the law, grace produces no sin at all in regards to eternal justice. Jesus took it all. The only thing that produces sin is the law.
You can’t break a law that doesn’t exist. Either it exists, or it doesn’t. For non-Christians, it exists. For Christians, it doesn’t.
A thief is only a thief under the law. A thief is NOT a thief under grace.
FLESH needs law. Spirit doesn’t. Life is both spirit and flesh. However, we have the body of Christ, and our spirit is free.
Some serious Bible words to study (word study…WITHOUT a concordance, and WITHOUT commentary of anyone but yourself, and a Bible) are:
8. Body of Christ
11. “DO, doer”
A hint to the above list…Where do Christians “live”? In Christ. That is why we are called Christians. Christ is a residence. We (our spirit) lives, or resides, in the Body…Body of Christ…ON EARTH.
Likewise, Christ’s Spirit (Holy Spirit) lives, or resides, in the Body of Christ…ON EARTH.
There is ONE Spirit…of Christ, and ONE Body…of Christ.
I’m giving a hint to spiritually dissect words, and don’t even think to use a dictionary, and in cases such as this, I could care less about Hebrew/Greek, Latin, etc. Just use your native tongue. Do not use commentary. Make your own.
Hey all, we’re driving home from family camp in which the topic was love vs law. It was so good. (I just read Ed’s old comment on law.)
The wifi at camp unexpectedly crashed on Saturday, so I have been completely out of the loop.
A huge thanks to the SSB elves, Brad and Cindy, for keeping an eye on things.
Don’t know if I am stating the obvious:
Does ‘The Gospel Coalition’ actually understand and proclaim the Good News about Jesus?
I just went to their home page and couldn’t find anything ‘Gospel’ related. No “read about what Jesus did for you!” stood out.
They seem to promote Platt, who is a certified Lordship “are you suuuure you are really saved?!” Salvationist.
I’d mark and avoid.