I see a lot of folks doing the Throw-back Thursday (TBT) thing and I just never felt like anything we did here warranted a TBT. Well, today I guess is a good time to bring up an older post that relates to something that has popped up again in social media. I’m so disgusted by it, and this time around it seems worse since I’m not even in any of the Reformed groups I was in the last go-round… no… this time I’m seeing the vitriol in Lutheran circles. The TBT subject for today is the expressed lack of satisfaction in the penance of Tullian Tchvidjian, and the willingness of some to condemn his pastor with him.
Mostly what I see happening right now is folks pushing their own agendas by borrowing from the name of Tullian Tchvidjian while blasting his current Pastor, Kevin Labby, for mentioning the same name in a favorable light. Nothing that has been written thus far regarding Tullian has expressed any deeper thought than “I don’t think we should hear about him at all, he hasn’t truly repented because no one could this quickly”. Some posts go the extra sanctimonious route of I’m super offended on behalf of his victims at his old church because he hasn’t paid enough penance. If you don’t fall in line with those looking to stone Tchvidjian and Libby, then you are immediately labeled a “Gospel Reductionist”.
The latest article that got under my skin was from the good folks at ChurchWatchCentral. I like their work. They do good work. Tullian has nothing to do with Hillsong. He has nothing to do with Driscoll. This is a hit piece.
Here’s what we know:
Pastor Libby has been publicly encouraging Tullian
Liberate Network is being brought back online
Tullian has been sharing the Gospel and Speaking in public
I’ll get worried when there’s talk of restoring Tullian to the Office of Pastor. Until then, I pray he has truly repented and I trust that he’s being restored Biblically in his local church. Notice that none of the hit pieces on Tullian actually have substantive penitential standards… they are placing themselves over Tullian and Libby as judges. I’d rather not go there until I can see a clear violation of Scripture.
2 Corinthians 2:5-11 (ESV) | Forgive the Sinner
5 Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you. 6 For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, 7 so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. 9 For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything. 10 Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, 11 so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.
If people within his new congregation or his old one have an issue with forgiving Tullian, that’s between them, God, and Tullian. As for those who are as disconnected from the local church body as I am… I encourage you to exercise forgiveness and pray for his full restoration (not necessarily to the Office of Pastor, but surely able to share the Gospel as a layman). If you cannot do that, that’s between you and God… Tullian doesn’t owe you anything.
If there is unrepentant sin, it needs to be called out and the Law needs to be preached fully… and then we need to preach the Gospel with equal force and conviction. It is God who saves, God who grants faith, God who grants repentance, and God who forgives and restores according to His Will and His Grace, and for His Glory.
Romans 16:24-27 (ESV) | Doxology
Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.
In Christ Jesus,