C.J. Mahaney, Dr. Albert Mohler, Failure to Report Crimes, Joe Carter, John Piper, Mandatory Reporting, Mark Dever, Sexual Abuse/Assault and Churches, Sovereign Grace Ministries, Sovereign Grace Ministries Lawsuit, Spiritual Bullies, The Gospel Coalition, Together for the Gospel

Why The Gospel Coalition – or at least Al Mohler and Company – Must Apologize

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Taylor Joy Responds to the recent developments at The Gospel Coalition involving Joe Carter, Tullian Tchividjian, C.J. Mahaney

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Many people are responding to the recent developments with Tullian Tchividjian being booted from The Gospel Coalition (TGC), ridiculous comments and vitriol by Joe Carter, public spokesman of The Gospel Coalition, TGC’s support of and even promotion of C.J. Mahaney in his ministry efforts, despite the fact that he and the family of churches he presided over are under investigation for covering up and failure to report sex abuse crimes.  One such person is Taylor Joy, a regular reader here. 

Last night she shared with me a post she was going to put on her own blog and graciously gave me permission to post it here. Her voice resonates with mine. Let’s hear Taylor Joy share her thoughts on the matter.  ~Julie Anne

Edited to add:

BREAKING:  C.J. Mahaney issues public statement:

Even with those constraints, however, let me be clear about this: I have never conspired to protect a child predator, and I also deny all the claims made against me in the civil suit.”


Why The Gospel Coalition – or at least Al Mohler and Company – Must Apologize

 

I read this exchange with Joe Carter of The Gospel Coalition, and my stomach sank. Carter seems completely oblivious to the culpability that members of TGC—heck, FOUNDERS of TGC!!!–have towards the Nate Morales abuse survivors.

Since he can’t seem to put the connections together, allow me to spell it out for him:

1) Carter claims that “TGC has no authority to get involved in matters at the local church level.”

REALLY? Well, apparently, Al Mohler, Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, and others didn’t get that memo. They are the face of TGC, and they’ve publically supported C.J. Mahaney since the civil lawsuit began.

Even better–Mahaney sat on the front speakers’ row at the Together 4 the Gospel conference.  Sorry, when founding members of TGC support a local pastor–that’s an involvement!  Like it or not, Mr. Carter, The Gospel Coalition **members** have been actively endorsing C.J. Mahaney for a long time, except for Tullian Tchividjian.

Oh, whoopsie–Tchividjian is not a member anymore, is he?

If TGC has no authority over the cover-up of Nate Morales’ abuse, then why were Mohler et al allowed to use Together 4 the Gospel slogans and stationary to support C.J. Mahaney?  Or does TGC have no authority over T4G matters either?

2) Carter claims that many protestants want a hierarchical organization for the church, similar to Catholicism, but then claims that such a structure doesn’t exist, and that each church is autonomous.

Carter must have his head in the sand, because the Young, Restless, and Reformed movement promotes a different–but just as binding–type of authority structure:

Image

The Neo-Calvinist crowd cannot promote such stringent authoritarianism in the home and the church, then claim that TGC has nothing to apologize for.  If Mohler, Piper, and friends weren’t actively promoting that everyone submit to some figurehead above them, then parents of abused kids at Sovereign Grace wouldn’t have been programmed to submit to their pastor’s “authority,” and keep the abuse from the police.  You can’t program “authority” into the hearts and minds of the sheep, then disavow any responsibility once the wolves come in.

3) Carter claims that TGC has already spoken out against child sexual abuse, and that its critics are saying it “wasn’t enough.”  He refuses to make a statement in support of the victims, because he thinks critics will CONTINUE to say it wasn’t enough, unless TGC outright condemns Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries.

Um…well…DUH!!!

Founding TGC members supported Mahaney, who was just revealed to be a bald-faced liar!!  That was a slap in the face to every victim who had to endure the cover-up, and submit to their pastoral “authority!!” These victims and their parents believed the falsehood that GOD HIMSELF set up this type of authority, and if they didn’t SUBMIT, they were disobeying GOD, and where do you think they GOT THAT IDEA???

From YOU GUYS.

So. No. Speaking out against the amorphous idea of child abuse in general is not enough.  It will never be enough.  Your organization has specific sins to repent of:

1) Supporting Mahaney vocally, and publically, despite multiple witnesses to a HUGE cover-up of sexual abuse.

2) Teaching unBiblical hierarchical authority structures for the church and home, and even going so far as to imply that if a church member disagrees with these authority structures, he or she may not be saved. This created such a culture of fear that few were willing to break with the authority, and go to the police.

The Gospel Coalition needs to apologize. Publicly.  Immediately.  Now.

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143 thoughts on “Why The Gospel Coalition – or at least Al Mohler and Company – Must Apologize”

  1. If I had my way, every minister and every pew sitter would be forced to read the lawsuit. I sent a link to a person last night. “Oh, heaven’s. I had to stop reading it.” To which I replied, “Thank you, for reading at least some of it. These children had to live it.” I also said that God will hold accountable people who have fawned over TGC and T4G and ignored the children.

    God bless you, Taylorjoyyoung! “The Neo-Calvinist crowd cannot promote such stringent authoritarianism in the home and the church, then claim that TGC has nothing to apologize for.”

    Like

  2. I figured Calvinism and Calvinistas would soon come to an end of their minor resurgence, I just didn’t think they would crumble quite like this — sex abuse scandals and cover-ups (Mahaney et al.), hierarchical abuse and manipulation (TGC, T4G, Mohler, Piper et al.), and plagiarism (Driscoll). All the king’s horses and all the king’s men can’t fix this mess. (I just picture Jesus shrugging His shoulders, shaking His head, saying, “Don’t look at Me — I wasn’t in the resurgence from the beginning.)

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  3. Credendum, I think, sadly, that so many believers (and people in general) want to keep the peace, that they won’t stand up against false theology until someone is caught with their pants down. 😦

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  4. C.J. Mahaney needs to man up and confess what he knew and when he knew it, rather than relying on fancy lawyering and the statute of limitations to keep his coverup going.

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  5. Mahaney et. al. Can deny ’til the cows come home. The facts do not change, nor does their culpability in the abuses and cover-ups.

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  6. I’m late to this party but have been a fan of C.J.’s for several years, and read his wife and daughters’ blog. What am I missing in that I don’t hear of any evidence that C.J. actually knew? Where is the proof please? Joanna

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  7. read CJ statement again:

    “Even with those constraints, however, let me be clear about this: I have never conspired to protect a child predator, and I also deny all the claims made against me in the civil suit.”

    “conspired”.

    hmmm.

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  8. Joanna, What sort or “proof” are you looking for? Even the courts have to rely on “evidence”

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  9. Lydia,

    It all depends on your definition of:

    “is”
    “conspired”
    “protect”
    “predator”

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  10. Credendum,

    The Calvinistas may end up sugar coating any wrong doing in order to preserve their Methodology. A Stealth Calvinist Preacher proclaimed his own sin as accidental.

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  11. Hi JA. Mom’s doing well. The ER sent her back to her room at the skilled nursing facility. They said it was just normal post-op bleeding. She’s doing a lot of physical, occupational and respiratory therapy. Her only difficulty is in getting in and out of bed. She is walking and exercising fine. She is a large woman, close to 300 lbs, so it’s hard for her.

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  12. BREAKING: C.J. Mahaney issues public statement

    HUMBLY, of course.

    Oh, whoopsie–Tchividjian is not a member anymore, is he?

    unperson.
    Officially Purged from The Party.

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  13. Cindy K And Lydia –

    I picked up on that too. I would add “child” to that definition list as well. IMHO Mahaney has his own, personal definition for each of those words.

    When I recall all the stories at SGM Survivors along with what they were told by pastors and how they were treated by the same pastors, it doesn’t equal I (Mahany) am not guilty of anything that the civil suit claims.

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  14. If TGC has no authority over the cover-up of Nate Morales’ abuse, then why were Mohler et al allowed to use Together 4 the Gospel slogans and stationary to support C.J. Mahaney? Or does TGC have no authority over T4G matters either?

    They have no authority when it is to their advantage to have no authority; they have absolute diktat authority when it is to their advantage to have absolute authority.
    Just like Papa Chuck did with all those independent(TM) Calvary Chapels.

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  15. I picked up on that too. I would add “child” to that definition list as well. IMHO Mahaney has his own, personal definition for each of those words.

    My Dear Wormwood,
    Remember my previous epistle regarding the value and use of semantics? Specifically the redefinition of words from their terrestrial meanings into their diabolical meanings?
    Your Ravenously Affectionate Uncle,
    Screwtape

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  16. Joanna, Mahaney’s brother-in-law just admitted in a court of law that he was aware of the abuse at the church, but never contacted the authorities. This is the same church where Mahaney was senior pastor. I believe it is not a stretch to think C.J.’s brother-in-law would inform him about child abuse happening under his nose.

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  17. “Lydia,

    It all depends on your definition of:

    “is”
    “conspired”
    “protect”
    “predator””

    Right. Add:

    Apostle
    Strong leader
    Child (Bridget)
    Report
    Biblical
    Gospel
    Sin
    Forgivness

    Oh we could go on and on. Wonder if the judge/jury will have the new re-definitions?

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  18. Micromanager
    Care group reports (big time, they knew everything going on)

    Oh he knew. he just did not “conspire” because it was biblical not to report and allow the perps to go on to other churches and molest more kids.

    Was CJ senior pastor of CLC in 1997? 2007? Me thinks Grant outed him as “leadership” was told.

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  19. Ann, it is not only a stretch, but a huge stretch. This was a group in which sin-sniffing was prevalent and care group leaders reported group members’ sins to pastors. I’ve read this over and over again. CJ had an incessant need to be in the know about the ongoing sins. It doesn’t line up with what was practiced for him to not know. And keep in mind, there were many cases.

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  20. Joanna complains that “I don’t hear of any evidence that C.J. actually knew?” Well then, why is he hiding behind the statute of limitations? Why doesn’t he, as a professed man of God, waive the statute of limitations and let the truth come out in the God-ordained civil courts (c.f. Rom 13:1)? Is it because he has something to hide? Why doesn’t he lift a finger to aid his organizations’ victims? I submit that he fails to do so because his guilt demands denial–in this case denial of the very existence of those he failed to protect. Why is it that Mahaney is so careful to deny only that he participated in a conspiracy. Why does he not deny actual, personal participation in a coverup? Why does he not deny that he failed to protect? Why did he literally remove himself geographically from the scene of the crimes? If Mahaney is free of blame, why did he not stay behind to effect restitution for the harms perpetrated under his watch?

    If nothing else, Mahaney is guilty of failing to come to the aid of some of the most vulnerable of God’s children, who suffered egregious, devastating, life-destroying harm within the family of churches over which he, Mahaney, exercised a dominating influence.

    Or so I opine.

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  21. Mark,

    Accidental … oh my, not according to consistent Calvinistic theology — how disturbing.

    BTW, as a Calvinist, well over a decade ago, I, too, dismissed sin as merely a nuisance, given that God ordains and brings about *all* things — according to Westminster Confession of Faith, and Calvinism in general. Yikes. So glad to be rid of that false teaching.

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  22. Joanna,

    You say you have been a fan of C.J.’s for many years? Do you not recognize that it is idolatrous to put any man other than Jesus on a pedestal? Ditch the gurus, as Lydia refers to them. Follow Jesus. Only Jesus. You don’t need C.J. to get to Jesus. In fact, if you are attempting to get to Jesus through C.J., it can’t be done.

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  23. Gary W.,

    Do not Mahaney &c.’s supporters and defenders make you *just as* angry and frustrated as the actual people who committed the crimes? That is how I feel. I see no valuable difference between the one who commits such a crime and those who either hide or protect the victimizers.

    And this is problem with the Calvinist God: He doesn’t get His hands dirty by forcing someone to sin or commit a crime — He merely foreordains all the circumstances and secondary causes in order to bring about sin and crime. This. Is. Heinous.

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  24. Credendum,

    Yes, the self anointed “leaders” who defend Mahaney, and even those who only remain silent, are already on the same circle of Dante’s Inferno as C.J. himself. (God forgive me if I have crossed the line between discernment as condemning judgment.) I don’t put mere followers such as, probably, Joanna in the same category. I count them as being among the deceived. They are themselves victims. My prayer is that their eyes will be opened before they, too, suffer harm.

    As to J.C. of Geneva, I will only say that I was once rather radically into the TULIP pentagram. It was rather convenient to be assured of my eternal security, though my life was not, shall we say, evidencing the fruits of salvation. Beyond that, be forewarned that J.A. may, as she has done in the past, ask us to move to another thread should we wish to discuss the life, times, and theology of the murder of Miguel Servetus.

    Advance apologies should further comments be directed at me. I’m off to attend to something I’d rather avoid.

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  25. Credendum: You wrote, ” So glad to be rid of that false teaching.” Can you provide a good website regarding that? I’ve been in Calvinistic churches for years, but the fruit is so awful. If you do, thank you in advance – I don’t want to hijack the thread, I just really need some resources.

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  26. “So glad to be rid of that false teaching.”

    Ditto! That horrible lie hurt worse than the abuse itself, and nearly destroyed my relationship with God. Sayonara to that, and good riddance, I say! Busy celebrating the pure goodness, holiness and love of God now, in whom there is no darkness at all.

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  27. Credendum,

    Yeah, the former Stealth Calvinista in my Church preached when we “accidentally” sin we want to make sure we get right with God.

    I made the mistake suggesting that when we sin we know exactly what we are doing 99% of the time. (not what he wanted to hear)

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  28. @Credendum:

    And this is problem with the Calvinist God: He doesn’t get His hands dirty by forcing someone to sin or commit a crime — He merely foreordains all the circumstances and secondary causes in order to bring about sin and crime.

    Sounds like Total Plausible Deniability to me.

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  29. In fact, if you are attempting to get to Jesus through C.J., it can’t be done.

    That’s right, because there is no mediator between us and Christ. We have equal access to God. We are the priesthood of Believers.

    But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.1 Peter 2:9

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  30. Founding TGC members supported Mahaney, who was just revealed to be a bald-faced liar!! That was a slap in the face to every victim who had to endure the cover-up, and submit to their pastoral “authority!!” These victims and their parents believed the falsehood that GOD HIMSELF set up this type of authority, and if they didn’t SUBMIT, they were disobeying GOD, and where do you think they GOT THAT IDEA???

    From YOU GUYS.
    So. No. Speaking out against the amorphous idea of child abuse in general is not enough. It will never be enough. Your organization has specific sins to repent of:

    1) Supporting Mahaney vocally, and publically, despite multiple witnesses to a HUGE cover-up of sexual abuse.

    2) Teaching unBiblical hierarchical authority structures for the church and home, and even going so far as to imply that if a church member disagrees with these authority structures, he or she may not be saved. This created such a culture of fear that few were willing to break with the authority, and go to the police.
    The Gospel Coalition needs to apologize. Publicly. Immediately. Now.

    Taylor Joy, I like the way you think.

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  31. oneh20,

    For resources highlighting the false teaching of Calvinism, I suggest Googling the following:

    Society of Evangelical Arminians
    Classical Arminian (blogspot)
    Roger Olson

    On my own site, which is relatively new, I have a ton of Arminian resources: Look under the Tab “Arminianism,” and click on “Arminian Links.”

    Like

  32. Could you please share the link of the lawsuit with me? I am trying to catch up on the back story. I am really working on finding truth after years in IBLP/ATI and Vision Forum all over my home and the last church we were in as a family was PCA, so we had to learn to be Calvinists…UGH, I am a hot spiritual mess. I am trying to get back to the young teen who loved God and wanted to know His ways…..and now I find myself trying to pull the threads of deception as I have followed the wrong shepherds…Spiritual abuse from narcissistic pastors running rampant in my last 30 years.

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  33. Certainly, Deb, and thank you for asking. If you look on my sidebar, you will find Sovereign Grace Ministries lawsuit and C.J. Mahaney to find stories related to Sovereign Grace Ministries.

    Here is a link to my article on the Second Amended lawsuit: https://spiritualsoundingboard.com/2013/05/14/second-amended-complaint-against-sovereign-grace-ministries-filed-today/#more-7607

    Brent Detwiler has compiled legal documents here: http://abrentdetwiler.squarespace.com/class-action-lawsuit/

    Deb – I hear you on the unlearning. I am doing the same thing after being indoctrinated in Patriarchy and a form of Neo-Calvinism. Just give me Jesus.

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  34. Credendum: Wow. That’s some anti Calvinist jag today. All I’m going to say here is “Dude, you might want to try switching to decaf.”

    I tend to look at things through a political lens and I am disappointed in the behavior of the GC, Al Mohler and Joe Carter in this whole mess. I find it mystifying why the “Gospel Coalition” as a group haven’t moved to distance themselves from the whole mess. It would make sense to the public at large to issue some series of statements putting daylight between you and trouble. I am not surprised with Al Mohler hanging tough with his guy Mahaney, just very disappointed. My understanding is that Mohler and Mahaney go way back as personal friends. I understand friendship being what it is, but Mahaney’s covering up and running is really a bridge too far.

    I’m also disappointed in Joe’s behavior too. The courage to speak out against the use of torture by the U.S. in it’s war on terror and the use of waterboarding has been lacking here. An earlier commenter either here or elsewhere noted that Joe sounds angry in his writing and I agree with that assessment. I wish Joe would summon his courage and start calling balls and strikes as he sees them, letting the chips fall where they may.

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  35. Great response, CA, thank you. You are right, if you have only seen CJ at conferences, read his book on humility you might get a different idea of him than if you had been reading SGMsurvivors.com for any length of time.

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  36. It is clear that TGC is really a coalition of self-appointed false prophets who enable and endorse sin.

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  37. @ an attorney: I think you touch on something that people forget: These men are SELF appointed. I’ve never understood this worship of ordinary men.

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  38. “UGH, I am a hot spiritual mess.”

    Oh no you aren’t!!! You are on a journey and that is wonderful news. What a blessed journey! You are more healthy than many because you are willing to go on this journey.

    It always boils down to “me and Jesus” to put it simply. Something that helped me was to focus on the Gospels only for about 3 years and pray a lot as the Holy Spirit is our Advocate.. Most often the cults twist Paul and I believe we cannot understand Paul UNTIL we know Jesus inside and out. And He lives.

    Blessings!!

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  39. “My understanding is that Mohler and Mahaney go way back as personal friends. I understand friendship being what it is, but Mahaney’s covering up and running is really a bridge too far”

    It probably helped that Mahaney and SGM gave SBTS $200,000. That came as a big surprise to many SGM’ers who never thought to ask to see a budget in all their years there. I cannot remember the year exactly. It used to be on the SBTS website but now that has been deleted since bloggers started pointing it out a few years back.

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  40. -j

    How dare you-you know nothing about me. I’ve read one of his books, bought a cd album of some sermons, bought some SG music, and have read his wife and daughters blog pretty much since the beginning. If that makes me an idolater, so be it. You have lost me as a reader here because of this ridiculous conclusion about me. If others are like you, no wonder C.J. is already tried and convicted without any proof whatsoever-just a link between his brother-in-laws admission to being part of C.J.s family.
    And for the record, it does seem very much that he would know. I am just amazed at those of you who have dubbed him guilty when there has yet to be solid proof. I asked an innocent question, thinking perhaps he admitted somewhere that he knew and I missed it, just having heard about this whole fiasco. I didn’t expect to be branded an idolater. Again, how dare you. I will not be coming back here. Ever.

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  41. Joanna,

    I”m sorry you have not felt welcome here. I would recommend you read SGMsurvivors.com to read first-hand stories of people who have suffered under his teaching and high-controlling methods.

    You mention there has yet to be solid proof. Well, that is likely because CJ has not been brought before a court yet. Another issue (statute of limitations) caused much of the case to be dismissed. That does not mean that CJ is not guilty, it just means other things prevented him from being judged in a court. The case is not closed. I think we will hear much more and the truth will come out. We’ve already heard countless witnesses say that he knew.

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  42. Joanna,

    I know that in my day that my pastor in Maryland (in a denomination that interacted with CJ) once meant the world to me. I think that I would have fought to the death for him to defend his name. Even months after I left when working through my intense, polarized, troubling, mixed feelings about him, my counselor said, “Do you know that you sound like his greatest defender?” I don’t think that I would have believed anything bad about him until I witnessed some of these things first hand — and that likely would not have happened if I had not worked in the church office from time to time and was very involved in projects there. But things happened that I couldn’t deny, and that allowed me to put other people’s claims about him into perspective.

    Julie Anne graciously republished this post of mine here on SSB, talking about the great disappointment in leaders and the painful process of realizing things. It explains a little about how the most virtuous of people and loyal people find it hard to come to terms with things when those they love behave wrongly and cause great pain. I would be honored if you would read it, and it may help you understand the context of this current post.

    (That said, I lived in that area and shared some culture and participated with some of the same ministries with CLC. From that experience and the reputation locally, I was not at all surprised to read about Noel and Happymom and the personal accounts of many others. It is a heartbreaking thing, and I strongly identify with it.)

    https://spiritualsoundingboard.com/2013/12/12/when-your-religious-leader-falls-off-the-pedestal/

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  43. Seriously, if the statute of limitations has run, C.J. Mahaney should have *absolutely no problem* in manning up and telling all. In my opinion, the reason he is not saying anything is because it would absolutely destroy his reputation to tell the unvarnished truth. And it is my belief Mahaney’s reputation among his friends, those providing him with speaking honoraria and opportunities for book sales matter to him more than truth.

    And yes, I’m absolutely trying to shame C.J. into telling the truth. At the very least, I’m trying to get him to withdraw from next month’s TGC shindig in Phoenix, the Anchored Conference.

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  44. Taylor Joy,

    (You wrote “YOU GUYS”!!! Now I really do think that we were separated at birth.)

    I guess that I have just accepted the fact that these guys are tyrants, and I take their jackboot thug tactics for granted now. I still get angry about it, but I guess after having been on the receiving end of it once, it doesn’t surprise me. Their voicing support for CJ only served, in the long run, to draw attention to their hypocrisy and simply backfired. The same happened when they did it to me.

    So what makes me really sick about this now is their foolish statements that state that legal = moral. That is a basic discussion in most all ethics classes and in many philosophy classes in academia. I guess these wise men missed class on those days and got the questions wrong on their tests. This is a discussion of moralism that concerns discussions of the unborn. Civil law for the Christian should never be misinterpreted as moral law and vice versa — especially not in a pluralistic society without a state religion.

    But they made a bold statement that because the Maryland judge excluded some of the plaintiffs that this was proof that there had been no wrongdoing on CJ’s part. So on top of throwing even alleged victims under the bus which was tragic enough, they made a grave philosophical error here that any undergrad in philosophy should be able to peg without cracking open a book.

    This is a grave moral error on a philosophical level. Headless Unicorn Guy or Brad, have you read any Hume or even Kant on this issue? I’d love to hear your thoughts on how this applies.

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  45. Says TT in the article:

    “I told Ben Peays this last night. I called him and I told him, ‘That statement’s misleading and you know it,'” said Tchividjian, “… The way the statement read, it was as if he came down to Fort Lauderdale to talk with me on behalf of the coalition regarding the theological issue that they were having with me. That is categorically false.”

    Tchividjian explained that Peays flew down to Florida as a consultant for the pastor’s new ministry, Liberate, which also picked up the bill for his flight. He added that he (Tullian) initiated a conversation about moving his blog content off the coalition’s website and that “it was never ever insinuated that that’s what The Gospel Coalition wanted.”

    “To cover themselves so they would not look like bullies, they took a trip that Ben took two months ago, turned that trip and made it look like The Gospel Coalition sent him down to cover these concerns — and that’s just a flat-out lie. That’s a lie,” said Tchividjian. “It just calls into question their integrity. Why would they spin it that way? Why did they say it that way?”

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  46. “Carson and Keller are currently in Geneva, Switzerland.”
    From the Christian Post article link in Cindy K’s 11:37AM comment.

    The irony is rich. sigh

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  47. From TT’s mouth, Taylor Joy’s and everyone else’ to God’s ears:

    “Why doesn’t someone just come and out say ‘I didn’t abuse children but to the degree that it happened under my watch I’m sick to my stomach and I will apologize and I will do everything and anything I can do to cooperate with the investigation and serve the victims and their families.’ Period. Signed, C. J. Mahaney,” Tchividjian said.

    “Say that, it still seems like ‘I didn’t do anything.’ I’m just like ‘Oh my gosh man.’ If I was the head of an organization where this kind of behavior had been taking place for years, even though if I didn’t actually perform this kind of behavior, even if I didn’t even know about the behavior, the only thing I would say is ‘I’m sick. I’m sorry. I will do whatever I need to do to help the victims and their families,'” Tchividjian added. “… If The Gospel Coalition would have said that, instead of Don Carson and Kevin DeYoung and Just Taylor, basically writing in the middle of the trial, a defense of C. J. That’s a major blemish.”

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  48. “Why doesn’t someone just come and out say ‘I didn’t abuse children but to the degree that it happened under my watch I’m sick to my stomach and I will apologize and I will do everything and anything I can do to cooperate with the investigation and serve the victims and their families.’ Period. Signed, C. J. Mahaney,” Tchividjian said.
    “Say that, it still seems like ‘I didn’t do anything.’ I’m just like ‘Oh my gosh man.’ If I was the head of an organization where this kind of behavior had been taking place for years, even though if I didn’t actually perform this kind of behavior, even if I didn’t even know about the behavior, the only thing I would say is ‘I’m sick. I’m sorry. I will do whatever I need to do to help the victims and their families,'” Tchividjian added. “… If The Gospel Coalition would have said that, instead of Don Carson and Kevin DeYoung and Just Taylor, basically writing in the middle of the trial, a defense of C. J. That’s a major blemish.”

    Right…. Better late than never I guess. But TT should have made this statement sooner. He is truant. If TT really did have an “Oh my gosh man” moment (I’m not saying he didn’t) why not do what he actually could do at that moment – speak up… and by doing so actually help the victims and their families. He could do some self-reflecting & issue a sorry of his own….

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  49. Hmm, you have a point about the timeliness of TT and speaking out about the abuse, A Mom. Why does it always have to be so complicated? Why can’t it just be: what in the hell is wrong with you who silence abuse immediately? not 2 yrs later. I mean, come on, how long has sgmsurvivors been around? Over 5 years??

    Typing from phone – pardon typos

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  50. Banabas in training–Thanks! 🙂
    Cindy K–I certainly hope we were–that would be so cool. 🙂

    OH MY GOSH, TULLIAN!!!
    I hope his voice echos out far and wide…I honestly can’t believe he’s being so bold.

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  51. JA –

    SGMsurvivors has been around for 7 years. Not that anyone was paying attention in the beginning 😦

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  52. Tullian could, and should, say he is sorry for being silent for the past year, and admit why he has been silent.

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  53. Amom, totally agree about the lateness of TT. But I have felt for a while now the movement would turn on itself. It was all about numbers to make a strong faction. I actually think they were going for a sort of “family of churches” of thing or a parachurch oversight with a few of the celebs at the helm.

    All we are seeing now are the factions forming. Driscoll/James McDonald were the first. Now for the first time I am actually seeing New Calvinist SBC pastor blogs very carefully hinting around they would like to see CJ go away. That is a first. They are very careful and Mohler is never mentioned.

    The movement is splintering into factions. And some of us know they will lie and obfuscate, redirect, deflect or anything that serves their agenda. Because we have seen it firsthand.

    NONE of them are innocent in this. Including TT. They cannot claim ignorance of CJ because statements went up and statements went down. They are playing the PR game and accusing victim supporters of all kinds of sin.

    The heresy charge against TT is simply a deflection and redirection device. They are hoping he will defend himself. If he is smart he will stay on CJ message and not play their game their way.

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  54. “I hope his voice echos out far and wide…I honestly can’t believe he’s being so bold.”

    Oh I can. They attacked his doctrine because of what he said about CJ. If you have been reading around the Reformed blogs you would know this is war. depending on how the reaction goes you might see a big group hug soon, too. That is always good for PR. And it is total fake when it happens. The war goes covert.

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  55. Joanna, Also trying reading SGMwikileaks for some insight into the leadership thinking of SGM before so many churches started leaving. I believe a link to it is on Brentdetwiler.com

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  56. Lydia,
    I have to wonder how much of the doctrine war is just fake PR. Why push a debate over the third use of the law when the real issue is reformed theology preaches the law of sin and death to regenerated Christians? Tullian does this, and his critics all do this. Romans 8:2 “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.” You’ll never hear a reformed preacher tell you about the law of the Spirit of life.

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  57. Stephen,

    You must seriously sensitive if you think I need decaf in light of my comments — I wasn’t even angry or trying very hard. God help us all if I really put my mind to it. Sorry, bro, but Calvinism and Calvinism’s ilk conspire to bring us the worst in theology and brings out the worst in people. That’s just science. :^)

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  58. Why are they attacking & blame-shifting each other? My opinion? It is no different than the Survivor TV show (outwit, outlast, outplay). THEY are seeing popular opinion souring, attendance shifting, income dropping. And it should. Why is fallout growing? Because a precious victim, then someone else, then other individuals spoke up AND wouldn’t shut up. I hope we’re just now seeing the tip of the ticked off laity/pewsitters iceberg. I hope we realize this movement is not about right religious theology, but about who controls the mutton, as Paul Dohse likes to say. Meaning, the bottom line is personal power, control, authority… not so much you and Jesus/God/HS.

    During the Survivor finale, I was struck with how real-world it is vs. being just a game. Anything is game (lies, etc.) for a rise to the top. When the jury confronts the player, all they want & beg for is acknowledgement that is what happened & maybe an apology. Then the ruthless, lying player is rewarded & wins, JUST BECAUSE THEY DECIDED TO COME CLEAN at the end. So, does the liar come clean because they are actually sorry for how they played the game or is it because they know that’s what they need to do at that point in time to secure what they want?

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  59. “I have to wonder how much of the doctrine war is just fake PR. Why push a debate over the third use of the law when the real issue is reformed theology preaches the law of sin and death to regenerated Christians? Tullian does this, and his critics all do this. Romans 8:2 “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.” You’ll never hear a reformed preacher tell you about the law of the Spirit of life.”

    IMO, which means nothing, the “doctrine war” is “wag the dog” tactics. The war was started publicly to deflect and redirect the issue of Mahaney and TGC’s defense and promotion of him for the last several years when it was obvious there was a huge problem.

    They have done it over other things. They did it to Driscoll using the Elephant room thingie. Truth is, Driscoll was becoming an embarrassment. I mean, it took them that long to have a problem with Driscoll’s doctrine…..(ACts 29 partnerships, sharing stages, etc)

    I don’t think people have a clue how deceptive these guys are. You cannot prove anything except track their DEEDS. Don’t ever believe what they say. Watch patterns of behavior, timelines and deeds. I saw the same stuff go on in the mega church leadership all the time. Spin, deflect, redirect.

    I have big problems with Tullian’s doctrinal stance, too, along with TGC’s because I am not a determinist. . Seriously ,what difference do specifics on how “sanctification” works make when the foundational premise is determinism? Sheesh!

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  60. There’s only one problem with this post, Julie Anne:

    Why should the Utterly Righteous Predestined Elect, God’s Speshul Pets, apologize to anyone? Especially those Utterly Depraved Heretics, Apostates, and Heathens Predestined for Eternal Damnation?

    Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.

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  61. Another reason they are falling apart? The shining light on a hill, the Minneapolis reformed Mecca Money Machine is gone. Piper has retired. Calvin’s Geneva, Switzerland is where it’s at. That’s where Carson & Keller apparently are…

    I am ashamed to say I once make a pilgrimage to that Mecca & fueled the machine with my own money. Ugh. Never again. I stand with the precious victims & those who are standing/using their voice here & want them to know evil was/is NEVER God-ordained.

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  62. Piper is even wackier….

    Here’s his “Vision (for Husbandly Leadership) for Your Family Vacation” audio interview. Yes, Vision is in his title. A vision for your vacation is what he had for today’s listening audience. Sorry manly men, Piper’s vision doesn’t give you a leadership break, not even during vacation. 😉

    http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/vision-for-your-family-vacation

    You’re right, Lydia. They do think we are idiots!

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  63. http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2014/05/where-the-sanctification-contr.php

    Richard Phillips is an OLD CALVINIST.

    “It is precisely the grace of God that is being denigrated, since it is by God’s amazing grace that Christian’s are not only justified through faith alone but are born again and given the power of Christ to live new lives ( Eph. 1:18-20)

    “In Nov. 2012, I expressed concern about Tullian’s description of Christians as totally depraved since this doctrine has the point of arguing the spiritual inability of the totally depraved person, and Christians are no longer depraved.”

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  64. http://www.wadeburleson.org/2014/05/tullian-tchividjian-gospel-standard.html

    Wade seems to think that TT is falling out with the old line Presbyterians (pre-New Calvinism) on justification/sanctification. I haven’t read enough to say that, and I find that I get hung up on some things that TT writes on this subject. (If what Wade says is true, TT has more of a Lutheran take on what Calvin wrote which Calvin basically took from Luther to start with. But from what I understand, Luther didn’t have a big problem with Calvin, or we would have heard all kinds of bombast about it and he would have written several books. It’s the Presbys that called Lutherans antinomian — like they’re now saying of TT.)

    I love it! Wade says that if you’re not called an antinomian these days, you’re basically not preaching the Gospel.

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  65. Wade, Tullian, T4G are all determinists so any disagreement over sanctification is moot. As far as I can discern they all believe in imputed guilt so we are born vipers in diapers foreordained for salvation or hell. Also all of them subscribe to penal substitutionary atonement. So when folks are starting from that premise, there is really no where for me to go with them.

    I kept getting sucked into these debates on minutia and finding them black holes of mental gymnastics with references to dead guys to interpret scripture for us.. And one day listening to NT Wright I had a Eurecka moment. He said what I realized was totally true about these debates in American evangelicalism today:

    They are 16th Century questions with 19th Century answers. When our questions should be 1st Century with 21st century answers. (paraphrasing but I think I got the gist. We give dead guys–mere humans– to much power to discern truth for us)

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  66. The ones who are bragging about being called antinomian these days are NOT preaching the gospel. I fell for that line awhile back. Not going to fall for it again. Jesus spoke of only two things: the traditions of men, and antinomians.

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  67. I’m no fan of Rosebrough (a Concordia trained and ordained Lutheran minister), mostly because he once threatened to sue me… But here’s an interview with TT. I just started listening to it now.

    fightingforthefaith.com/2014/05/is-tullian-tchividjian-an-antinomian.html

    E.T.A.:

    TT is addressing Carl Trueman’s article, and he’s clarifying his view concerning the “third use of the Law” which doesn’t sound New Calvinist at all. He sounds quite balanced and old Calv in his descriptions.

    (I don’t know if this is consistent with his other writings or not. I haven’t read enough of his material.)

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  68. Cindy, I heard that exchange when I first found the piper vid. But I have to disagree with you. He is not only the New Calvin but he is the 21st Century global Apostle New Calvin.

    My question was: Who paid for that vid to be shot in Geneva? DG donors? What dupes.

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  69. I also read this (chewing it over offline with “Another Tom” who visits here from time to time): http://www.tulliantchividjian.com/2014/05/09/acknowledging-failure-is-a-virtue-a-response-to-jen-wilkin/

    This Rosebrough interview sounds more specific, but here’s a little comment from TT in this written article which gives me pause. I’m not sure what he means. Another Tom suggested that perhaps TT is just not being very theologically precise and is just explaining things more pastorally.

    But TT writes:
    “Sanctification, simply defined, is love for God and love for others. But what actually produces love for God and love for others? Not the law. Nowhere does the Bible say that the law produces love. Nowhere. What the Bible does say is that love for God and others is produced only by God’s love for us.

    The article is sound, but I’m stuck on the statement (which may be just oversimplified) that sanctification is love expressed. Sanctification is the sovereign work of God in my inner man, and it is not something that I do. I can make it easy on myself by cooperating with the Holy Spirit, or I can resist it, but it is all God’s work. Stinking, unholy flesh cannot purify itself. The Law can’t do it either. So in that context, sanctification is what God does in me, and the fruit of that work is manifested in my behavior and my emotion as love for God and others. So perhaps he is just not being theologically precise, but he’s oversimplifying it a bit to much. No way ever is sanctification affected by what I do. The fruit of that sanctification is what I do.

    So I don’t know if he’s just skipping a step here, or he’s saying that we sanctify ourselves or that our works sanctify ourselves. That’s not what he’s saying in this interview with Rosebrough.

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  70. I remember that drama from Rosebrough, When you get down to it the doctrinal wars guys all have something…..It is how they make their living so they keep it all hidden.

    Let’s face it. If not for Brent (documentation Nazi) Detwiler most of SGM would still be a family of churches. And he was one of them. It always takes insiders.

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  71. Lydia, we don’t disagree! I’m just pointing out the obvious — and as my husband says, I’m too nice. He sounds like NAR (New Apostolic Reformation). Millions and millions of people will be lost if Piper doesn’t resign from his church so he can devote himself to the world.

    (Oh, pllluuease… Spare me.)

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  72. These ministers talk in code. They understand each other, but we can’t understand them. And that’s the way they like it. John Piper….he’s so humble. And I have swamp land in Florida to sell you.

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  73. “Lydia, we don’t disagree! I’m just pointing out the obvious — ”

    I was kidding. Piper wears me out. You are too nice. I just wonder who was going to pay for his global apostling.

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  74. “Sanctification is the sovereign work of God in my inner man, and it is not something that I do.”

    This is where we disagree. I think sanctification is something we have to “do”. We have to “abide in Christ, renew our minds, all the one anothers, grow in Holiness, etc. We have an Advocate, counselor to help us. I don’t think we can wait around for God to do a work in us. I think that work was done on the Cross with Justification. And we either accept or not. But we must live out the kingdom now.

    I found a neat book a while back by JC Ryle in an used bookshop called Holiness. it was one of the best explanations of Justification/sanctification I had never read. Weird because he was an Anglican Bishop and there was quite a bit I disagree with him on concerning sacraments. He wrote another book with the unfortunate title of :Practical Religion which is was very interesting, too. Especially concerning prayer and sin.

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  75. “These ministers talk in code. They understand each other, but we can’t understand them. And that’s the way they like it.”

    Carmen, there is so much to this I don’t know where to start. It is as if it is designed to be confusing so people have to keep coming back to figure it out. With Piper he says it with passion and arm waving with a billion adjectives thrown in and it sounds so glorifying to God until you strip all the drama away and it makes no sense.

    They make it up as they go along. Then there is the whole “white coat syndrome” that because they have a title and stand on a stage people tend to automatically think they deserve respect and trust.

    Why are they talking about “third law” when there is the kingdom to live out in real time here and now? Because living out the kingdom now does not bring in money/celebrity. There are no followers in living out the kingdom now. Only believers who come together as a Holy Priesthood.

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  76. Lydia,

    I’m arguing it from a Reformed perspective, not pontificating about it.

    These guys call themselves reformed and claim by faith and by grace alone. But what they’re saying isn’t consistent with justification as a forensic declaration and definitive and progressive sanctification as separate. They’re teaching infused grace that come after and as a result of good works. At best, it’s semi-pelagian, and at worst, it’s Arminian freewillism.

    You can be a Christian and absolutely saved and in love with Jesus with a semi-pelagian or Arminian faith. My great issue with this concerns the fact that they’re not preaching something consistent with Reformed theology. Some of these guys take it further and make it sound like man has no agency at all, and I think that has lead to the swing back into stuff like Norm Shepherd’s attempt to put some balance back into the discussion (though I don’t think it reads very well, shall we say).

    If they want to be Roman Catholic, let them go ahead. (I believe that there are going to be plenty of Roman Catholics in heaven and know many who are very much regenerate in faith and in fruit.) I was just trying to point out the places where I’ve read TT and find elements that make him seem like a New Calvinist — to see if there is any truth to TCG’s claim that they dismissed him prematurely over doctrine.

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  77. Cindy, that helps a little. :o)

    I have been reading Reformed/NC/YRR blogs for the last 8 years and they don’t seem to understand one another either. I have seen so many variations of determinism that my head swims. I personally do not think they understand what they believe.

    The only time they are united is when a non Calvinist engages. I finally got to thinking if we stop debating them they will implode on each other over doctrine and I think that is starting to happen. The rest of us are mentally exhausted and only discuss it on blogs where people are trying to figure it out.

    The absolute best explanation for it came from a blog called American Jesus with an Open letter to Calvin.

    Here is the quote:
    “Which is why, John, it’s hard not to conclude that Calvinism is a sustained exercise in the defense against the obvious. By which I mean you’re constantly on the defense against the obvious conclusions of your claims.” – See more at: http://theamericanjesus.net/?p=12190#sthash.ckGSnj2z.dpuf

    I wish I had read that 8 years ago before I tried slogging through the Institutes, getting into debates with YRR and everything else. The historical study of the Reformation though was worth it. Church history was an evil bloody mess.

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  78. OK!!! I just don’t get it. I spent 20 years in bible study. My teacher said we were getting a better Bible education than Seminary students. We studied Calvinism, Antinominionism and all the other isms. I studied verse by verse Revelations , Galations, Judges, and at least 20 other books . My husband and I felt empowered to start a para church ministry. It was very successful. Did all of our Bible training help us. Not as much as our reliance on the Holy Spirit helped us. The ministry began in Gd’s timing and ended 16 years after in His timing,

    When I read about all this stuff, first law, third law , I really just don’t get it. Who cares, and why? What does thus have to do with being born again and being Indwelt by The Holy Spirit.? With being a Pastor/Teacher?

    All of this intellectual verbal garbage makes me sick. Just to set the record straight, I am an educated person, with degrees and experience in many fields. Theology, also. I have come to the point in my Christian life where I knw simple is better and knowing God is better than human knowledge.

    It seems like many are arguing the equivelent of “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin”. Who cares?

    Sorry for the rant, Jyst had to get it out there.

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  79. Even though it may seem like the debate between TT & the guys at TGC is just a bunch of theological babble amongst Calvinists, the questions they raise about the nature of sanctification are important considerations for all believers. So, if I may, I’d like to take a stab at providing some background that may help clarify some of the issues being discussed.

    I think it’s important to keep in mind that the word sanctification (or sanctify or sanctified) is used in two different ways in the NT. One is positional sanctification, which, like justification, is considered a “done deal” (e.g., “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Cor 6:11). This is the predominant use of the term. The other use is practical or progressive sanctification, which is the concept of growth in personal holiness (e.g., “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.” 1 Thess 5:23). Even though this second use of the term is the less common use in the NT, it is the one that is being discussed in the debates between TT & TGC.

    In the “done deal” use of the term, sanctification, like justification, is a work of the Holy Spirit, not based on human activity or merit. In the “growth in personal holiness” use of the term, believers have debated since the NT era about whether sanctification is something we do, or something only the Holy Spirit does, or both. And, of course, along with questions about what part human activity plays in sanctification come questions about what part Law plays. (In this context, Law means any of God’s commands or requirements, whether in the OT or in the NT.)

    The function of Law (and our obedience to it) in our sanctification has been discussed and debated by theologians of most theological stripes (Calvinist, Arminian, Lutheran, Catholic, Anabaptist, etc.) The term “antinomian” basically means someone who believes and teaches that Law (God’s commands) has no place at all in the life of a believer — not as a standard, or as guide, or in any other way. True antinomians are those who teach a very cheap form of grace, in which all that is expected is for a person to profess faith in Christ (e.g., walk an aisle, pray a prayer, maybe get dunked), and then those professed believers can live their lives with zero change or evidence of the Holy Spirit being in their lives. But often people who do actually believe that God expects obedience to His commands get falsely labeled antinomian just because they aren’t as legalistic as the one calling them that, or when they have a different view of the function of Law in the life of a believer.

    Christian theologians (again of most theological stripes, not just Calvinists) have defined three primary use of Law. One is to curb the sinful behavior of mankind in general (i.e., to keep unbelievers in check by warning them of the consequences of disobedience to God’s commands). Another is to function as a mirror, to show us our unrighteousness when we disobey and our need for forgiveness and Christ’s righteousness. And the “third use” (sometimes debated or denied by some groups) is to guide or teach believers how they should live.

    In the case of TT, he has very clearly stated that he believes that human effort is involved in growth in holiness (progressive sanctification). So the term antinomian does not apply. He also affirms the “third use” of Law by stating that Law is useful as part of that growth. So his views in that matter are in line with most theologians in church history. Where TT places great emphasis, and where TGC guys tend to differ from him, is in the “means” by which Law aids in sanctification. Simply put, what TT says is that God’s commandments carry with them no power of any kind to obey those commandments. His focus is on the inner working of the Holy Spirit to empower believers to obey God’s commands. He also teaches that it is only through focusing on God’s grace as demonstrated in the gospel that the Holy Spirit creates within us that inner motivation and ability to obey. This appears to be the biggest beef that TGC guys have with him. They typically teach that preaching and teaching God’s commands can be a means of motivation for believers to obey those commands.

    As I said, I think it is useful for all believers to consider these matters and search the scriptures to see what they teach about how we grow spiritually, and what should be our motivations for obeying God’s commands.

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