Church Discipline, Contemporary Grace Style

Rick Phillips of Reformation 21 weighs in on the Tullian Tchividjian affair.  Many of Tullian’s supporters are unaware that he is a leading voice in the  Contemporary Grace Movement (hypergrace). Phillips addresses it here.

Billy Graham and his grandson Tullian Tchividjian

Billy Graham and his grandson Tullian Tchividjian

I have so far refrained from public comment on the resignation of Tullian Tchividjian in light of his confessed sexual sin, limiting myself to praying for him and his family.  As one who has strongly criticized his theology, I wanted to avoid the impression that the personal failure of a leader automatically invalidates his teaching (or vice versa).  Only the Word of God proves our teaching.  Recent developments warrant comment, however, particularly as the actions of a theologically motivated community make clear its actual values and beliefs.  In the two-plus months since Tullian’s resignation, we have witnessed the Contemporary Grace Movement (CGM) in action, applying their doctrine to one of its most prominent spokesmen.  It is not fair, of course, to ascribe these attitudes to everyone associated with the CGM.  But if I was a card-carrying member of the movement, or a pastor who frequently endorsed the “grace” and “liberation” teaching espoused by Tullian and company, here are three questions I would be asking myself and other leaders:

  1. Does pastoral godliness matter?  This question is fairly raised, given both Tullian’s writings (including tweets) since his admitted sexual infidelity and now the response to it by his supporters.  For his part, Tullian has expressed an unwillingness to cease his public ministry, saying this would “undermine the very message” he teaches (one can only but regrettably agree).  This attitude has now been confirmed by Willow Creek Church (PCA) in Orlando, which just announced hiring Tchividjian to its ministry staff.  This a mere two weeks after Tullian filed for divorce, three weeks after he was deposed from the ministry, and a little over two months after he resigned his pastorate over admitted moral unfitness.  The apostle Paul’s teaching that a pastor (and by extension, a celebrity preacher) must be faithful to his wife and above public reproach (1 Tim. 3:2) also does not seem to matter.  Perhaps because Paul’s teaching falls into the category of law it is deemed irrelevant to the celebration of grace.  Continue reading


Tullian Tchividjian files for divorce

Tullian Tchividjian: Christianity is about Good News for Bad People

Billy Graham’s grandson steps down from Florida megachurch after admitting an affair

Anatonmy of an evangelical scandal by Janet Mefferd

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