Last week, one sub-section of the Christian evangelical internet world was ignited when Tullian Tchividjian (hereafer, “TT”) got the left boot of disfellowship from the The Gospel Coalition. The primary reason, according to D.A. Carson and Tim Keller who wrote up a public statement of the aforesaid booting, had to do with his views of sanctification that border on antinomianism, or for those who may not be familiar with big, 20-dollar theological terms, anti-law.
At any rate, as TT was being shown the web portal, he took it upon himself to blast TGC for the way the members had ignored the SGM scandal and the preacher who-cannot-be-named. Of course, many wonder why, if that was such a big deal to him, why make a stink only after you get the left boot of disfellowship? I am not sure when TT became a contributing blogger to TGC, but I recall the Elephant Room 2 kerfuffle from a few years back and as far as theological kerfuffles go, that one was of more significance than the SGM scandal and the preacher-who-cannot-be-named. Where was TT?
Back to the antinomian charge.
Now TT has his cheerleaders, like Chris Rosebrough of Fighting for the Faith (peace be upon him) who say that TT is NOT teaching any form of antinomianism. Not even a smidgen. All I can say is that TT has not been clear as to his views of sanctification and the role that God’s law plays in sanctifying believers. In a word, he is sloppy at best. That is also true of his Liberate conference friends, Paul Tripp and Elyse Fitzpatrick, who have also made vague, antinomiany like statements in their conference talks.
Interestingly, my pal Dan Phillips makes an extremely astute and important observation about TT’s neo-antinomian like statements and his connection to Key Life radio host, Steve Brown and his views of grace. Brown has some really bad and sub-biblical views of grace that are not only antinomian, but are libertine in their pronouncements. (Read Dan’s article to see what I mean). Brown teaches (or taught) at Reformed Theological Seminary at Orlando, where, as it just so happens, TT went to school. Hmmmmm…
So, with that background in mind, I wanted to direct any readers who are like scratching their heads and wondering what all this kerfuffle is about by directing them to some resources for your consideration. I’ll try to limit them to those readily accessible on the internet:
Curt Daniel’s lecture on historic antinomianism [this links immediately to an mp3 audio recording, so be alert]. In fact, I would exhort any serious student to listen to his entire lecture series on the history and theology of Calvinism. It will be well worth your investment of time.
Peter Toon’s The Emergence of Hyper-Calvinism in English Non-Comformity 1689-1765. His third chapter goes into detail regarding antinomianism.
Jerry Wragg’s Shepherd’s Conference 2014 message, The New Antinomianism. Goes into more detail regarding TT and pastoral concerns as this teaching impacts the church.
Wayne De Villier’s two-part lecture series at my Sunday school class, The Misleading Refrains of the Hyper-grace Movement Part I and Part II. Wayne goes into extensive detail of what this movement teaches by citing from the books and lectures of the key figures, including TT.
I think that if a person seriously weighs the concerns raised in Jerry and Wayne’s lectures specifically, he will see that this issue is more than a silly disagreement on semantics, but there exists some serious concerns as to how this view of grace/law impacts the sanctifying life of the believer.