Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Tullian Tchividjian Leaves The Gospel Coalition

One of my favorite websites is The Gospel Coalition. I visit it daily and take advantage of their large archive of sermons every week in my personal sermon preparation. I follow virtually all of their blogs and enjoy the conversation that takes place through that format there. On top of that:
The ministry of TGC consists of a council of pastors, a website (in English, Spanish, and French), a biennial National Conference, a biennial Women's Conference, various publications, a theological journal (Themelios), a dozen Regional Chapters, an International Outreach initiative dedicated to relieving theological famine around the globe, and much more.  (source)
But this has been a difficult week at TGC. First, both C. J. Mahaney and Joshua Harris are no longer part of TGC due to an abuse case at Sovereign Grace Church in Baltimore. Today, pastor, author, and grandson of evangelist Billy Graham, after five years blogging at TGC, has suddenly announced he is transitioning from TGC to his personal ministry site Liberate.

Both websites are great. TGC includes more voices while Liberate is primarily regards Tchividjian. Nonetheless, I enjoy both and invite all my readers and friends to take advantage of both resources. But apparently, Tchividjian's move from TGC to Liberate has not been a very friendly one. In his final blog at TGC (and first at Liberate), Tchividjian writes:
As many of you know, I and my “rascally” band of ragamuffins have been hard at work launching and developing a ministry called Liberate. Through an annual conference, a content based website, a pastors network, radio, writing projects, and soon-to-be television program, Liberate exists for one very specific reason: to connect God’s inexhaustible grace to an exhausted world.

Our plan for the past year or so is that we would eventually move all of my “blog” content from The Gospel Coalition site over to Liberate. I had informed The Gospel Coalition of my plan to make this transition in August when the new Liberate site is launched, but was informed on Thursday that certain members of The Gospel Coalition wanted the transition to happen ASAP. I was disappointed and a bit confused. We would’ve loved to have had more time to get things ready on our end and I have always been open to having any conversations with any of the staff at The Gospel Coalition who had any questions whatsoever about the content I was posting. I would’ve been happy to answer any questions they may have had and provide robust clarification if needed. None of the powers that be, however, ever mentioned anything to me (either by email or phone) before Thursday when I was simply told that the transition needed to happen now. I know I have had some differences with some of the other contributors to this site but my goal has always been to do nothing but preach the Good News with every post, to bring relief to the burdened and broken, and rest to the weary and heavy laden by fixing the readers’ eyes on the finished work of Jesus. You’ll have to judge for yourself if I succeeded or failed in this regard. So, even though the circumstances are less than ideal for me and my amazing Liberate team, we have managed to pull things together on our end and will have all of my content transferred over to Liberate by Thursday of this week.
Tchividjian does not clearly identify why the two sides have severed relations. My suspicion regards the recent debate regarding sanctification and Law vs. Gospel that has gotten rather heated. A number of reformed bloggers and leaders have serious disagreements and concern with Tchividjian. Nevertheless, Tchividjian does say the following:
I have long admired the original mission of The Gospel Coalition to be a hallway where Christians from all denominational backgrounds who may disagree on non-essentials could gather and rally around the Good News (hence, the name “Gospel Coalition”). But, in my opinion, the messaging of The Gospel Coalition has morphed over the last seven years and I find myself much more aligned with the very specific message of Liberate. So, now is the right time to pull the trigger. In fact, it’s probably over due.
. . . It’s not that I don’t have other “words” and opinions to speak regarding a wide variety of issues in the church and in our world (just ask my wife and kids and friends), but the public ministry and message God has called me to is very specific, more specific than the ministry and message of The Gospel Coalition.
You can read the rest here.

I have no dog in this fight and I am not interested in engaging in any sort of online bloggers battle (which would be unbiblical and sinful). I would encourage you, however, to take advantage of both resources. I appreciate Tchividjian and his ministry and love his heavy and exclusive emphasis on unexhaustable grace. At the same time, I appreciate TGC and have benefited greatly from their ministry and its leaders.

Ultimately pray for both. I hate seeing division among God's people.
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