Baptists, Bulletins, and Bedtime

May 12, 2014

I so love this:

Tullian Tchividjian (Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church) has been under a lot of criticism for not sufficiently warding off antinomianism in his presentation of the gospel. I see Tchividjian as basically a Barthian, not because he is influenced by Barth (he isn’t) but because he reads the Bible without illusions of his own “victorious” life. God bless him. Tchividjian really emphasizes that Christ has done everything, and he is excited about it! He thinks introspection is looking in the wrong direction.

He also dared to challenge the American moralism of his predecessor at Coral Ridge, D. James Kennedy, who spent his waning years using the American founding fathers as his (by far) most frequent sermon illustrations — yes, I’m serious. That’s one more reason to love Tchividjian.

11 Responses to “Baptists, Bulletins, and Bedtime”

  1. Robert F said

    How the heck did this guy end up being D. James Kennedy’s successor? Was there some kind of leadership revolution at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church? That would be an interesting story to hear. Wow.

    • Kevin Davis said

      Tullian’s church that he founded, New City (EPC), merged with Coral Ridge after Kennedy died. Tullian refused to leave New City, when Coral Ridge indicated that they were interested in making him their senior pastor, so they settled on a merger. However, there was a sizable minority at Coral Ridge that didn’t like the whole thing, especially once Tullian started preaching. He never directly rebuked Kennedy’s moralism, of course, but it was obvious to everyone that he was intentionally marking a shift in how the gospel was presented at Coral Ridge — not a drastic shift, of course, because Tullian is still a Reformed evangelical. Eventually, many people left, but the church remained in tact and is strong today.

      I am sure that I am missing some nuances and important details, but that’s the gist.

    • yeah, he’s not saying Jesus CAN’T fully satisfy me; he seems to be saying if you’re fully satisfied, why HAVEN’T u given up ALL for God? the answer is b/c all our righteousness is as filthy rags. even when we WANT to do good, and be good, and be filled with God, our sin creeps in and tells us what’s good, and pure, and holy, and perfect isn’t enough.

  2. There are a few people I deeply respect out there—Mark Jones in particular—who do take umbrage with this continued ‘oversight’ on Tullian’s part. Nevertheless, I’m not all that bothered by it, because I’m not so sure he’s rehashing the old pernicious antinomianism of 16th and 17th centuries.

    Plus, if you’re never accused of antinomianism, you’re probably not preaching the gospel properly.

    As an aside, I went to RTS at the same time as Tullian, but didn’t know him well. I’m a bit too much of a morose realist to hang around such excitement for long. Always enjoyed our brief howyadoins though.

    • Kevin Davis said

      I read a piece by Jones online a little while back, and he did seem measured and responsible.

      After watching multiple videos of Tullian, my sense is that he’s a pastor first and foremost. He doesn’t always carefully qualify his statements, and it’s not hard to isolate sentences and conclude, “ah ha, antinomian!” But he’s not a scholar. He’s a pastor. That doesn’t mean that he’s not accountable to good theology, but if he were to overly qualify his presentation of the gospel, his preaching would likely suffer. I’ve heard my fair share of horrendous sermons — dreadfully punctilious — from perfectly orthodox PCA guys. I’m glad to see that Tullian maintains connections with RTS-Orlando. I just had coffee with a close friend of mine at RTS-Charlotte, and this seems to be a big debate on the campus — though thankfully this friend of mine agrees that Tullian is hardly a serious threat. Unfortunately, we Reformed evangelicals love our controversies!

  3. Joel said

    So apparently The Gospel Coalition has shown him the door now?

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