August 10, 2015

Carl Trueman on the Tullian situation (Tullian still looking for public acclaim)

Karl Marx commented that history repeats itself the first time as tragedy, the second as farce. When it comes to ministerial falls, sadly the tradition today is to go straight to farce. Thus it is with Tullian Tchividjian’s fall and rise. All of the celebrity conventions are there: The use of a well-known counselor brought in specially, the faux intimacy of the twitter feed, and now a slick podcast on coming back after a fall – less than two months since his confession that he betrayed his wife and broke his marriage vows. There are even the predictable fans out there who seem to think that Tchividjian is essential to the gospel, as the message clearly depends upon his return to the pulpit ASAP. I confess, I have no idea why he has this compulsive need to make the whole of his life a public performance or why people fall for it.
read more at Alliance of Confessing of Evangelicals

In the "slick podcast" with William Vanderbloemen he says he had found out all this THREE months prior to June, so when he was at Concordia in St Louis in mid April, giving a lecture, he was already aware of all infidelity going on. He still made tasteless jokes about his son's (and his and his wife's) prior sexual sin there. What in the world??

I feel more and more sympathy for Kim the more this guy opens his mouth.

He says he wants to go away and be anonymous but he just has to keep showing us himself when he's at his worst because it will undermine the message otherwise.  So it's all for us that he's doing this.  What a guy!

Here is a note I wrote up for Facebook recently explaining how I really became convinced Tullian was bad news, after second guessing myself for about 3 years (~2012-2015).
What is wrong with Tullian

August 4, 2015 at 7:37pm
I had been a friend of Rosebrough and trying to raise the alarm on Tullian for a while now. I have never been satisfied with the answer. This past February or March I raised the issue again because of the flap that came out over the Nadia picture Daniel Price tweeted out at LIBERATE. Our concerns were met by some really abysmal mocking behavior from two Sister of Katie Luther gals (Sandra Ostapowich and Ellie Corrow) as well as pastor Donovan Riley.  Rosebrough seemed to have learned at least a little better how to handle such disagreements, but he directed me to listen to the Issues Etc segments on Nadia Bolz Weber that he did on November 6, 2013. But I already had listened to those when they came out.

He also explained why he doesn't post such pictures anymore in an article entitled "Photos That Are Precious To Me" (linked further down) which was a response to an article Pulpit and Pen put out, which article I agreed was going a little too far. Rosebrough's reasoning for not posting photos anymore is wise in that article, but he clearly rewrote and misrepresented the events and made it look like we attacked Michael Horton - same as he did to us when it happened.

When asked why he did that, he told me (and I quote) "I had to change the narrative in order to 1. Not come off as trying to justify myself and 2. address the issue of interpretation."  But of course, it did exactly the opposite because it misrepresented what several of us said in the first place regarding the Horton/Warren issue, so I pretty much felt like he was lying through his teeth and just expecting me to be stupid enough to believe it.  Since when are Christians served by "changing the narrative" (i.e. misrepresenting the facts i.e. lying?)I mildly opened the door for him to clarify, saying "I don't understand why that would be necessary, but ok." but he never responded with further info.  That was enough for me to believe he wasn't interested in continuing the conversation and all the apologies he had ever issued over the Dan Kimball/Horton situation suddenly were robbed of their meaning for me and some others he had apologized to.  I can no longer trust him.

I have listened to every sermon of Tullian's from 2009 to 2012 when he started to lose his flavor for me and I felt something was missing. I still didn't want to believe he was antinomian and, some of the critiques on that side were a bit unbalanced themselves. (Steve Lawson's comes to mind as a shining example. I still don’t like that one but I might not be *quite* as hard on him about it anymore.)

I have been questioning ever since and becoming more and more alarmed with his quoting of heretics and outright unbelievers as if they understand grace.

Just a few weeks ago on a long road trip I listened to those Issues Etc from Nov 6, 2013 discussion of her theology with Chris and Todd Wilken. They talked about Nadia's understanding being all subjective and based on feelings. And then the sermon review that same day by Todd Wilken illustrated a lot of the same thing. And I thought... oh... well Tullian doesn't do that, surely... I don't remember hearing any of that subjective stuff. I had listened to this sermon review before and thought I couldn't tell any difference between her and Tullian, but Chris personally reassured me that there was a lot of difference so I listened again and began to waver on my conviction... because my memory of Tullian was already getting foggy).

And then I went and listened to his speech at Concordia from this past April, which was about when the whole adultery thing blew up, only later did I realize he was at nearly the same time, in the process of making his tasteless jokes about his grandson being nicknamed "paybacks" in the midst of all this. (where are the paybacks jokes now? Will there be in the future? I would be mortified if I was his child caught in that situation to be held up for jokes and tittering, and all the seminarians there who LAUGHED, shame on them!) It was a total minimization of both his children's sin and his and his wife's prior sin before they got married. Note, I am not saying forgiveness is impossible or that people should continue to have to pay for their sins which are forgiven in Christ. I am not sinless in the area of sexuality. But making light of our past sins only trivializes that forgiveness and makes it a matter of joking and shows we really don't understand or trust grace that we claim is so important.

While I was listening to that sermon, besides the tasteless crude joking, I realized with horror that he never really appealed to the authority of God's revealed Word, sin and repentance, and his guilt before God. He just talked about being sure there was more than this life of misbehavior he was living.... and of being drawn to God so he decided he should study the Bible. All that solid theology? I just filled it in. It was assumed. It wasn't there. Just like Purpose Driven Life, the danger was in so much that was left out.

No credit is ever given to the law of God as something that convicted him of his sin.

Tullian has also posted approvingly of people giving testimonies that are similar, which leave out the conviction of sin, God's wrath and just judgement of sinners, and the gospel. Just stuff like God isn't angry with me, God loves me and has a wonderful plan for my life.

I also listened to Wilken and Christopher Jackson talking about the theology of Radical Lutheranism and it all clicked when they analyzed Forde. Tullian is very enamored with him. I agree sometimes he says some good things, but so does every heretic, otherwise he wouldn't get any followers. You have to throw out what he thinks of the atonement and insert your own Biblical definition for his stuff to continue to make sense. But that is like using a Mormon presentation of the gospel and saying it's OK, in spite of all the other crap they teach.

relevant links:

The Theology of Nadia Bolz Weber with Rosebrough and Wilken

Wilson's review of Nadia's All Saints sermon

Article TT linked to that he said if we didn't cry over we "may not be human" version of his post saying exactly that:

Concordia appearance - even gives a verbal hat tip to Daniel Price...

Issues Etc on Radical Lutheranism

Photos that are Precious To Me (Chris has since removed this post so find it on the Wayback machine or a pdf copy of the Wayback Machine version here)
Chris Rosebrough and Nadia Bolz Webber: Would You Take A Picture With A Heretic?