In the last week a lot has happened in the Christian culture. Tullian Tchividjian was as asked to remove his blog from The Gospel Coalition. The Gospel Coalition posted an article as to why this was the case. On top of that, a former youth leader at Covenant Life Church (affiliate with Sovereign Grace Ministries) was convicted of sexual abuse.
So, why am I writing this? I am writing this to plead with Tullian, The Gospel Coalition, and everyone else taking sides.
Pastor Tullian Tchividjian, I respect you. Recently I have developed an increased interest in reading your blog and have greatly enjoyed your ministry with TGC. Yet, I have never read one of your books (which I think will change in the near future). You have impacted my mother with your teaching greatly and some of my dear friends. I thank you!
Pastor Tullian, I want to humbly ask you to evaluate what is happening here. Obviously your friends from The Gospel Coalition have hurt you. Some maybe deeper than others. You may even be correct in stating that they have changed their focus from the original vision. Perhaps the way it went down was disrespectful.
I do want to ask you though, what good do you foresee being quick to comment negatively about TGC?
What I mean is that you were very quick to be in interviews about all that has happened. I will be the first to admit, I am sorry for all that you have gone through. It sounds very stressful to me. What is more shocking though is that I have not seen anyone encourage you to talk with The Gospel Coalition behind closed doors. Your friends have hurt you (maybe sinned against you), should this not be resolved within the two parties it involves? Now the Christian Media is covering this and it seems now to be more dramatic than it needs to be.
Pastor Tullian, I ask you to humbly seek to resolve this with your friends. Now that it is public, once resolved, perhaps post something. I do not need nor want to be taken through the gossip wheel when I do not know the full story. Each story has two sides. You and TGC need to work this out so you guys can have unity and point each other to the Gospel. I think this will help both of you have a greater impact for God’s glory.
The Gospel Coalition
TGC, I have been blessed by your ministry primarily through the bloggers that you have chosen to host. I
enjoy reading what they have to say and have been challenged as well as encouraged. I trust God will continue to bless your ministry as he has done already (same for Tullian).
I plead with you to talk behind closed doors with Pastor Tullian. I believe this should happen for greater unity, to make amends (if necessary), and for the love of the Gospel. I love the Gospel. I know you do too. I think you would admit that how everything went down this last week is not how you envisioned.
I do not have all the details, nor do I need them, but I ask that you seek your brother out and make amends. If you were wrong, admit it humbly. If you are not, communicate with Pastor Tullian.
Is it possible that this huge drama fest has happened over a mis-communication? With better and open communication, maybe this probably could have been avoided.
Is it possible that The Gospel Coalition’s view on sanctification and Pastor Tullian Tchividjian’s perspective is actually very similar. I do not know if a conversation ever took place, but it does appear that a great assumption has taken place without any effort for clarification.
I hope and pray that you seek out Pastor Tullian to make amends to set an example of humility but ultimately because you love Jesus.
Sovereign Grace Ministries
What to say about SGM? I have grieved over what has happened. The victims need to be cared for in many ways. They need to be loved. Praise God justice is being brought forth. Those involved in the abuse need to be shown the love of God.
Contrary to Tullian’s comment about their lives being ruined, God’s grace is better than abuse. In an effort not to sound insensitive, let me clarify. Their lives will be most likely be affected in some way, but I am so thankful God is in the business of redeeming people –the victims and those involved.
With this said, I want to focus primarily on C.J. Mahaney. Pastor Mahaney has ministered to me a lot. I believe I have read all of his books and he has taught me a lot about preaching to yourself from the New Attitude Conference(s) that I attended. I grieve with what C.J. is going through.
I also know leaders can make mistakes. This would be a big mistake if he did indeed make it. I am not saying he did or did not make it (in case you are unfamiliar, some are accusing C.J. of covering up child abuse in his church or at least not reporting it to authorities). C.J. denies any knowledge of knowing about the abuse and says he did not cover it up (See here).
One side is saying “C.J. deserves to be behind bars.” The other side is saying, “Lay off C.J., he did not know anything.” They are accusing each other band have created division.
I am not taking sides. All I am saying is that both sides cannot really prove anything and should not accuse him of something that has not been proven. If you can prove it, I would ask you to take it to the courts. If you can’t, then is it not at least possible that C.J. is innocent?
If C.J. did cover this up, I will be sad. I will grieve over sin. I will be thankful for the influence God has used him in my own life.
These camps need to end. I do not see any good coming from them. It may be hard to believe SGM did not know, but is it possible?
I know this firestorm will pass. It is sad that all of this has happened, especially within the last week. I know God is good and has a reason for all of this (one that I may never know). As a pastor, I am required to report cases of abuse to the authorities. Fellow pastors, know your responsibility.
We can rest assured that God’s grace is sufficient. God will continue to pursue Pastor Tullian, TGC, SGM, C.J. Mahaney, me, and you fellow Christian! God’s grace is more powerful than any sin.
May God be glorified in our own actions as we act from here on out on both sides.
Will you join me in prayer for everyone involved?