Greg Strand is EFCA executive director of theology and credentialing, and he serves on the Board of Ministerial Standing as well as the Spiritual Heritage Committee. He and his family are members of Northfield (Minnesota) EFC.
Last week we learned about the discussion regarding justification and sanctification that took place between Tullian Tchvidjian and The Gospel Coalition which resulted in his blog being moved to his own new ministry site, Liberate, and the public response that ensued.
Over the weekend, Tchvidjian apologized. Based on things that were stated, it is appropriate. Repentance is not only necessary as part of believing the gospel (cf. Mk. 1:15), it is an ongoing mark of the evidence of the gospel in our lives. He acknowledged that he did and said things in his own defense, he responded to fellow Christians in a posture of non-love, and he contributed to the conflict in which the world looks on and questions the gospel and its fruit.
First, I want to say that I’m sorry. I’m sorry for saying things in my own defense. One of the things that the gospel frees you to do is to never have to bear the burden of defending yourself. Defending the gospel is one thing. But when a defense of the gospel becomes a defense of yourself, you’ve slipped back under “a yoke of slavery.” I slipped last week. I’m an emotional guy. And in my highly charged emotional state, I said some things in haste, both publicly and privately, that I regret. I never want anything I say to be a distraction from the mind-blowing good news of the gospel and last week I did. I got in the way. When you feel the need to respond to criticism, it reveals how much you’ve built your identity on being right. I’m an idolater and that came out last week. Because Jesus won for you, you’re free to lose…and last week I fought to win. I’m sorry you had to see that. Lord have mercy…
I commend what he has done, as it reflects the gospel he and we affirm.
That we have differences and disagreements with other Christians is a reality of life living on this side of glory (the reality of the not-yet of the kingdom). But when confessions are made after these disagreements and forgiveness is granted, this reflects glory (the reality of the now of the kingdom created by the gospel).
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 6:10).