Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate. Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Tullian Tchividjian: Restored by a Lutheran dude?
As many of you know, Tullian Tchividjian is starting a new church. Yep, he’s been restored and he and *the babe* are poised to make money, once again, off the gullible faithful.
Thanks to Julie Anne Smith for her post.WARNING: Tullian Tchividjian Attempts a Ministry Comeback by Faking True Restoration and Repentance with His Victims; AND He’s Starting a New Church???
As you know, I contend that biblical restoration means being restored to the congregation, not to the pulpit. Because of TT’s numerous affairs and the fact that he told his female fan club to go after the b**** when discussing Julie Anne Smith, I don’t believe this guy belongs within a mile fo a pulpit.
A number of people were shocked that the defrocked Tullian Tchividjian was getting a crazy amount of support from a Lutheran pastor, Patrick Thurmer, who wrote A Word from Tullian’s Pastor.
I am a solo pastor of a small Lutheran church. Ever since arriving here just over 20 years ago we have been welcoming sinners, serving the Gospel to those that God brings our way, and functioning as a recovery place for those who have bottomed out. That’s what we at Living Faith Church are committed to being for the Tchividjians and anyone else who walks through our doors.
I can’t speak with authority about the man Tullian used to be. But I can speak with confidence about the man Tullian is now. And this I know beyond a shadow of a doubt: the work of God in his life is real. And I am furthermore confident that God has a useful place in His Kingdom for all of us, including Tullian.
Being a Lutheran myself, I almost had a heart attack. However, I quickly discovered that a Lutheran from my synod wrote the best darned assessment of Tullian’s stupid theology. It was discussed at TWW: Tullian Tchividjian and a Lutheran Response. This is a must read. Here is an excerpt.
1. “Consider for a moment what the families, the parishioners, the fellow pastors in the ministerium go through every time Tchividjian and Bird write a book, post an article, or are highlighted in the news or on social media for discussing the depths of their sin and how much they are forgiven. That is shameful and anti-Christian for a forgiven sinner to thrust forgiveness in the face of those abused so that they can profit from it.”
2. “While we have no authority over them, as Christians we call on them to stop and will continue to tell other fellow Christians that they should not follow men who have disqualified themselves in this way.”
3. “The fruits of the spirit and repentance spring forth therefrom. May it be also with these men for the good of those whom they have wronged, for the good of the church at large and its reputation in the world, and for their own good also. This is how they are to use their many and great gifts. They are to employ their gifts in the places where God has actually called and put them: in their homes to repair the ruins and limit the further harm they can do to those they’ve already abused”
So, what sort of Lutheran Church is Patrick Thurmer? Was it ELCA? Nope. It was a little known denomination called Church of the Lutheran Brethren. It got its start after a spiritual awakening occurred in the Midwest in the late 1800s. Here is their website if you wish to read more about them.
As you will see, it is very small denomination consisting of @123 churches. In discussions with a Lutheran professor, I learned that they are not well accepted within traditional Lutheran churches. Thurmer’s beliefs on *grace* and his shocking willingness to accept Tchividjian’s supposed “repentance.” Tchividjian did not ask for forgiveness from numerous people who were seriously hurt by his blatant malpractice of the faith. I don’t know what Bible he reads but my Bible would seem to indicate that Tchividjian has not done what he knows he should do.
iWe’ll keep you posted of Tullian’s latest scheme to get money from people attending his *church.* My guess s that *cheap grace* will become a meme.
As an aside, apparently Tullian Tchividjian is blocking lots of people associated with Julie Anne Smith’s blog and TWW. He is apparently blocking people who’ve never before commented on his Twitter feed. There are a number of people whose goal it is to get him to block them now so they, too, can be part of he in crowd.
What in the world is a Baptist?
When I first became a Christian in Massachusetts, I attended an American Baptist Church which was pastored by a part time professor at Gordon Cowell Theological Seminary. Frankly, it was a typical evangelical church with typical conservative beliefs. It held to believer’s baptism and seemed to be very similar to other churches I’ve attended as I travelled around the country. Imagine my shock when a Baptist (SBC) friend in the south alerted me that the American Baptists were *liberal.* Huh? Here is a synopsis of their beliefs.
Then I was told that Cooperative Baptists weren’t *real* Baptists and were most likely heretics.
- Soul freedom is the ability of all people to relate directly with God. The belief in the priesthood of all believers is an important basis for this principle.
- Bible freedom is the principle of recognizing the authority of Scripture and the right of every Christian to interpret it as the Holy Spirit directs.
- Church freedom is the idea that every local church is autonomous and empowered to choose its own leaders and direct its own affairs.
- Religious freedom is the principle of separation of church and state. CBF supports this principle through affiliation with the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.
Southern Baptists appear to be known for their ardent opposition to women in the pulpit and in the ill-defined concept of a the man being the head of the family. However, they still cannot tell me what a man can do in a marriage that a woman cannot do. I’ve met a number of Cooperative Baptist who seem like good old average Christians to me but I’m Lutheran so don’t listen to me.
Recently, the Southern Baptist have been rocked by numerous and well documented allegations of sex abuse. Some claim that the SBC is the new RCC. They seem to believe that they should be commended for *doing something* like saying the opposed *child sex abuse.* However, since most of the world believes that, it isn’t such a big whoop. W=hat will matter is when they actually do something. Frankly, they are running behind most denominations.
Now let me make it even harder to figure this stuff out. Even if you stick within the SBC, each church is autonomous. Wade Burleson is SBC just like Tom Ascol of the Founders is SBC. So, what does it mean to be an SBC type of Baptist? Some churches are Calvinists, others are not.
Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Churches (IFB) also have numerous documented instances of sex abuse and coverup.
The Star Telegram published: Hundreds of sex abuse allegations found in fundamental Baptist churches across U.S. Who are these Baptists?
Independent Baptists, often also known as Independent Fundamental Baptists (IFB), are a group that started within the greater Baptist denominations in the late 19th to early 20th century. At the time, many national Baptist denominations were moving away from biblical inerrancy and other conservative beliefs, leading many local churches to withdraw from denominational affiliation and take the “Independent” label. With their strong stance on the fundamentals of the faith, they also adopted the name “Fundamentalist.” For identification purposes, most IFB churches will advertise themselves as “Independent, Fundamental, Bible-Believing,” and, in some cases, “KJV-only.”
Many within the IFB movement will claim to trace their origin to Jesus’ ministry.
Contemporary Independent Baptists believe in strict separation from the world and any church not associated with the Independent Baptist name. They refer to Ephesians 5:11, “Have nothing to do with fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them,” as a proof text for not associating with churches outside the IFB movement.
They are conservative in their dress: most women still dress in below-knee-length skirts, and the men wear collared shirts.
I was first introduced to the problem of sex abuse in these churches when I read Jeri Massi’s (Yes, of Dr Who fandom fame) Schizophrenic Christianity: How Christian Fundamentalism Attracts and Protects Sociopaths, Abusive Pastors, and Child Molesters
These churches are known for their wretched treatment of young teen girls who have been molested by their pastors. They are often made to stand before the congregation to confess their sin while the pastor is absolved.
The most famous example of abuse in these churches involved Jack Schaap of First Baptist Church, Hammond.
The First Baptist Church of Hammond is a fundamental Independent Baptist church in Hammond, Indiana. It is the largest church in the state of Indiana, and in 2007 was the 20th largest in the United States. Though founded in 1887 by Allen Hill, it was under Jack Hyles‘ leadership from 1959–2001 when it became one of the megachurches in the United States and during the 1970s had the highest Sunday school attendance of any church in the world. In 1990, the church had a weekly attendance of 20,000. It also operates Hyles-Anderson College, a non-accredited institution
In 2013, he was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison for molesting an underage girl. Read The Five Most Revolting Details from the Evidence in the Jack Schaap Case
Schaap’s claim that Christ wanted the two to be together. The two spoke on the phone or texted each other more than 600 times, according to prosecutors. In one transcript, a text from Schaap reads: “Yesterday was ‘off-the-charts!’ :)))”. Another read, in part, “[this] is exactly what Christ desires for us. He wants us to marry + become eternal lovers!”
Frankly, they are no different than the SBC in their actions even though the SBC likes to project that they are *woke.* According to the Star Telegram which documented a number of molestations in the IFB:
Twenty-one abuse allegations were uncovered exclusively by the Star-Telegram, and others were documented in criminal cases, lawsuits and news reports. But victims said the number of abused is far greater because few victims ever come forward.
One hundred and sixty-eight church leaders were accused or convicted of committing sexual crimes against children, the investigation found. At least 45 of the alleged abusers continued in ministry after accusations came to the attention of church authorities or law enforcement.
Compounding the problem is the legal statute of limitations. For many alleged offenders, the statutes on the crimes have expired.
Many of the allegations involve men whose misconduct has long been suspected in the independent fundamental Baptist community. But most of their victims have not publicly come forward, on the record, until now. Even pastors have for the first time — in interviews with the Star-Telegram — acknowledged they moved alleged abusers out of their churches rather than call law enforcement.
To go against the advice of the pastor of an independent fundamental Baptist church is almost unthinkable. The “man of God” is chosen by God and is the church’s direct link to him. To question the pastor is to question God.
Many pastors build authority through fear and interpretation of Bible verses. Children learn the story of Elisha and the she-bears: As the prophet Elisha walks up the path toward Bethel, a group of children surrounds him and makes fun of his baldness. Two she-bears emerge from the woods and maul 42 of the children. The lesson: Don’t challenge the man of God.
Even if they leave, some ex-members wonder for years whether bad events in their lives were caused by an angry God. Jennifer McCune, who came forward this year to allege that Dave Hyles raped her when she was a 14-year-old in Texas, still wonders 36 years later if God punished her by giving her late husband cancer.
Westboro Baptist…Isn’t or is it?
According to Wikipedia:
The WBC is not affiliated with any Baptist denomination, although it describes itself as Primitive Baptist and following the five points of Calvinism. Many other Baptist churches, Baptist-affiliated seminaries, and Baptist conventions, including the Baptist World Alliance and the Southern Baptist Convention (the two largest Baptist denominations), have denounced the WBC over the years.
But, even with crazies like these, things can change but not much…Religions News Services wrote They’re still here: The curious evolution of Westboro Baptist Church.
In the last few years, membership has even broadened beyond the Phelps clan. The newcomers include a family from the Southwestern United States, a man from England who married a Phelps granddaughter, and a college student from Ohio, who was later followed by his mother. Perhaps the most unexpected “new” member is Katherine Phelps, a daughter of Fred Phelps Sr. who had been estranged for decades.
The face of the church has changed as well. For the past four years Westboro has been led by a council of elders, a handful of married men who preach in rotation, and media relations have shifted to Steve Drain, who joined the church in 2001.
This new blood has had an impact. There is a gentler tone, at least internally, members say. The church has even started proselytizing, producing a video titled “The Gentile Church Age Is Coming to an End: Get to the Church!”
Why this post?
In today’s changing religious environment, words can have many meanings even from year to year. So, don’t assume a Baptist is a Baptist is a Baptist. Even SBC Baptists don’t know they’re SBC Baptists. When JD Greear ran for SBC president, he had to get up in front of his congregation and tell them that, in fact, they’re SBC Baptists. I knew a number of members who denied that it was the case until he admitted it. I got a good chuckle out of that. These members were not told they were SBC Baptists when they joined the church and the members didn’t even think to ask.
Even now, there are SBC Baptists who claim that Greear is not a Calvinist SBC Baptist. On one prominent SBC Baptist blog, I read some comments by people *in the know* who claimed that Greear is not a Calvinist. These folks obviously do not know how to read a website. Always thoroughly read a church website before you visit for the first time. Check under the *Resources* tab. If you see lots of books by John Piper, Mark Dever and CJ Mahaney, all of whom have been featured on The Summit’s website, you can be sure you are dealing with Calvinism.Greear took down Mahaney’s books just recently after a certain person mentioned it on Twitter…
Get smart! Make sure words mean what you think they mean. Check to see if your church is what it says it is. And, when things don’t make sense, like the *Lutheran* Church which supported serial philanderer, Tullian Tchividjian, check it out. Don’t be like the people in Greear’s church who argued with me that they were not SBC Baptists or in a Calvinist church. I can read a website and figure it out within 5 minutes. You can, too.