This post was first published on December 11, 2009, as we wrapped up our series on Tullian Tchividjian and Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church.  After extensive research, we are convinced that Tullian “played it close to the vest”, withholding from the Pastor Search Committee and leadership his future plans for Coral Ridge, which are becoming more and more evident.  In our opinion, this was not only deceptive but dishonest.  Please be sure to read our concluding comments, which have been “penned” today.

As we wrap up our coverage of Coral Ridge’s new pastor, we have to wonder one thing – just how transparent was Tulllian Tchividjian with the Pastor Search Committee as well as the leadership of the church?  Did they know about the colleagues with whom he associates?  He is certainly being transparent on his blog in promoting them along with their books!  (You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours…)   Although Coral Ridge has a strong reformed tradition, is Hyper-Calvinism the direction in which the members now want to go because that’s where the church is heading and in a hurry!

Coral Ridge, much like Bellevue Baptist Church, had a theological giant at its helm for such a long period of time.  D. James Kennedy was heavily involved in the Moral Majority, and he often focused on America’s Christian heritage.  At one time the church was bursting at the seams with close to 10,000 members in the 1990s.  Coral Ridge even included billionaire Rich DeVos (Amway co-founder) among its ranks.  Rich’s contributions were probably substantial.  As the Moral Majority lost ground and Christians became disillusioned with the concept of using politics to moralize the nation, church membership has waned.  Desiring to be a beacon on a hill once again, Coral Ridge members were probably awed that the legacy of Billy Graham could live on if they chose one of his seven grandsons as their senior pastor.

The problem is Tullian Tchividjian is NOT Billy Graham!  As far as we can tell, he doesn’t share the same theology as his grandfather.  Here’s a case in point.  While we understand that many churches DO NOT include an altar call at the end of every church service (neither of us attend churches that do), it seems that this was part of Coral Ridge’s tradition.  Oh, there’s that word again…tradition.  The problem with Tully’s swift change in doing away with an altar call is this – that was the hallmark of Billy Graham’s ministry.  Now his grandson is suddenly getting rid of it!  Tchividjian has been at the helm of Coral Ridge for eight months now.  Why he didn’t go more slowly or get the input of the congregation is surprising to us. Of all the changes he could have made, that one is the most ironic.

We are saddened that D. James Kennedy’s only legacy, his daughter,  has been banished from the congregation her father started.  What a legacy for Coral Ridge!   Whether or not we approve of the tactics the dissidents used to try and oust their brand new pastor, we still find Tchividjian’s actions reprehensible!  As we stated in a previous post, the Coral Ridge members really need to educate themselves on this hyper-Calvinist crowd.  We have found these men to be demeaning to those who do not agree with their precise theology.  These puffed-up guys are not true Calvinists (with whom we have no problem) – they are what we call “Calvinistas”.  There is a HUGE difference!  The Wartburg Watch is chockfull of information about them.

Now that Tully is revealing his alliances on his blog and through his professional associations, it’s time for the Coral Ridge congregation to project into the future.  What do they want their church to be like in the decades to come?  You can definitely learn a lot about the future by studying the past.  And rest assured, these Calvinistas have a fairly short past that can be thoroughly investigated, especially on the internet.  Silence is definitely not golden!

We believe the pendulum has swung way too far to the right, and we don’t believe it will stay in that position for very long. This group is relatively small in number — that’s why they have to duplicate themselves in these reformed organizations (Gospel Coalition, Alliance for Confessing Evangelicals, Together for the Gospel, and the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood).   You see the same names over and over and over again. Yet there are some intriguing differences.

What is disconcerting is that there seems to be alliances between thoughtful Calvinists, such as Tim Keller and Calvinistas such as C.J. Mahaney. The difference in practices and beliefs  between these two groups is noticeable. For example, Tim Keller is widely recognized as a thoughtful man who believes in some form of evolution and a limited flood. He has been very effective in formulating methods of engaging the New Atheists. It is inconceivable to us that such a man would have much in common with Mahaney whose Sovereign Grace Ministries has been scarred with accusations of abusive tactics towards its membership.  Do Keller and others like him understand the ministries of all of the folks with whom they are aligning? Are they actually reading each others’ books?

Why is the belief in creationism important? Well, for your blog queens, it is not important. But, for some of the Calvinistas, this issue is at the same level of the virgin birth. Do you think we are exaggerating? One member of the Gospel Coalition said to Dee, “Are you saying creation is a “B” issue?” when she asked why the church couldn’t allow for an “old earth” perspective. People are thrown out of “creation” classes if they disagree with the young earth perspective. We wonder if said pastor would throw Tim Keller out of the class as well? In case you think we are misrepresenting Keller’s  beliefs, please refer to this excellent site set up by Francis Collins called Biologos  site or just “google” his name.  (http://www.biologos.org/resources/leading-figures)

Finally, we two women have another question. We understand that most conservative theologians do not believe women can be pastors. However, are there absolutely no women who could be  members of The Gospel Coalition?

The Calvinistas re trying to increase their ranks among the younger generation, but our prediction is that Christians are soon going to awaken from their slumber (by the prompting of the Holy Spirit) and realize how harmful these hyper-Calvinists have been to the cause of Christ.  When the pendulum does swing back to a more balanced theological position, we wonder how many of these Calvinistas will be knocked off their lofty pedestals?  And will Tully be among them?


 Now that Tullian is getting comfortable on his lofty pedestal at Coral Ridge, he is moving forward with his personal agenda which often centers around his ever-increasing friendships with the “New Calvinists”.  Here’s a case in point.  On the day that Josh Harris’ lastest and greatest book came out, here’s what Tullian wrote on his blog.  http://www.crpc.org/blog/?p=779

“My friends Justin Taylor, Josh Harris, Greg Gilbert, Collin Hansen, and Kevin DeYoung are down visiting. Each year, we all try and get together for a few days to talk, pray, think, and encourage each other. I’m so grateful for these friends. We have a great time together. Just being with them (I’m the oldest) is a great encouragement to me that God continues to raise up young men who love the gospel, care about the Bible, evangelism, expository preaching, sound doctrine, and attempting great things for God. 

As I was showing Josh that his new book, Dug Down Deep (it comes out today–it’s excellent) is sitting on my bedside table (almost at the top) he took a picture. Pastors, if your wives are tired of your many books lying around the house, show them this picture and maybe, just maybe, they’ll not only have great sympathy for my wife, Kim, but they may not bug you as much.” 

Please click on the link and take a look at the picture TT mentions.  What’s noticeably missing from Tullian’s “bedside table” is his Bible.  So many books to read…is there any time for Bible reading?

And, of course, Tullian has his own book, Surprised by Grace, coming out in a few months (Release Date: May 31).  We predict it will be quite a spectable.  Expect more self-promotion and backslapping with his Calvinista buddies on all of their blogs.  What a racket!  What we wonder the most is WHEN are these guys writing their books?  We assume the royalties go directly into their pockets, so are they “writing their masterpieces on company/church time”?  That’s called “double-dipping”

Here is  Josh Harris’ inspiring endorsement at this Amazon link: www.amazon.com/Surprised-Grace-Relentless-Pursuit-Rebels/dp/1433507757/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1260393280&sr=8-5 

“Twenty years ago Tullian was the wild, rebellious black sheep among Billy Graham’s grandchildren. Today he follows in his grandfather’s steps as a powerful preacher of the cross of Christ. As he retells the Old Testament story of Jonah he shows that while sin reaches far, God’s grace reaches farther. Tullian’s heart to see rebels—as well as cold-hearted Pharisees—transformed by the gospel of grace shines through on every page.”

Joshua Harris, Senior Pastor, Covenant Life Church, Gaithersburg, Maryland

Tullian and Josh first met around 2005, and you can see how much their friendship has grown since then.  As TT expands his “circle of friends” among those who would label themselves “New Calvinists”, he is becoming well-acquainted with a Southern Baptist pastor,  J.D. Greear.  Tullian will be speaking at Greear’s Advance the Church conference in Durham, North Carolina next month.  http://advancethechurch.com/

TT will be sharing the platform with Mark Driscoll, Johnny Hunt (current SBC president), David Platt (a rising star in the SBC), among others.  We find it interesting that J.D. Greear wrote about TT on his own blog yesterday, just as we are wrapping up this series on Tullian and Coral Ridge.

Tullian Tchividjian on Contextualization Without Compromise
“Today marks the 666th post to appear on this blog. I’m sure my friend Tullian will be thrilled to know that that number coincided with the 1st ever post on this blog about him…

Thought this was a great paragraph in an article by our friend Tullian Tchividjian on “Contextualization w/o Compromise.” Tullian, who is named for Tertullian, is speaking at our Advance The Church 2010 conference in April.”

Are J.D.’s words prophetic? We’ll keep you posted if there are any updates on this continuing saga at Coral Ridge…



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    I think it is intersting taht the offshoot group from CRPC chose the name New Presbyterian Church, when the church TT came to CRPC from was called New City Church. Perhaps a bit of a dig at TT’s former church and his tendency to break with traditions (like including the name of your denomination in your church name)?

    Off topic a bit, but I noticed this statement the first time this was posted” For example, Tim Keller is widely recognized as a thoughtful man who believes in some form of evolution and a limited flood.

    I can understand how people can interpret the first chapter of Genesis to refer to something other than 24 hour days, and I don’t consider that a major issue. It’s not a matter I think Christians should divide over of get overly dogmatic about, but I have more trouble with interpreting the Genesis flood as anything other than a worldwide event. The language of Genesis seems very plain on this. I know the idea of a global flood is not commonly affirmed by many secular scientists, and I don’t have all the answers concerning that. But the whole point of the narrative of Noah and the flood seems to me to be lost when it is interpreted as anything other than a global event.

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    Hi Junkster
    I highly recommend going to sites like Answers in Creation and Reasons to Believe to see how this issue is handled.There are some excellent answers that give possibility to believing in a limited flood and being faithful to Scriputre. For example, world wide could mean the known world at the time. Remember, the development of mankinds’ cultures centered around the river basin of the Nile, etc. Therefore, a flood that destroyed all of man in this area could have meant full destruction of all of man. In that sense, the world of man was destroyed.

    There is remarkable evidence for a devastating flood in that region of the world. This flood is acknowledged by all scientists (Christian and otherwise).

    Scripture deals with Adam’s fall and death. But, there is a possibility there was other death before the fall. Adam’s death did not occur on the day that he sinned. But wait…could this type of death mean spiritual death?Also, animals do not have souls so a rupture in the relationship with God might not apply to them. Also, Lucifer had fallen and was banished to earth. What really went on outside the garden? Adam was created outside the garden and then placed there. Why, if the whole earth was perfect, did God place Adam inside the Garden?

    I ask these as questions because I am not sure we will have the answers in our lifetime. Several evangelical pastors caution against using the Bible as a science textbook.The purpose of the Bible was to give us the big picture issues. Frankly, the Bible gives the best explanation for the issues that affect man: Creator God, rebellion, sin, redemption, etc. Throughout the ages man has tried to put a scientific spin on the Bible and has failed miserable. Take the church’s conviction of Galileo for having the audacity to say the earth revolved around the sun which the church of that day said contradicted the Bible.

    When I became a Christian, I was an ardent Star Trek fan. I believe God used that to lead me to Him. He is so far beyond our mortal imaginings. This is the God who made the black holes, the nebulas, etc. We cannot fully comprehend Him yet He gives us some clues, especially about His nature and ours. The longer that I am Christian, the more questions I have.

    However, I do know one thing. Science will never, ever discover anything that will disprove the Bible.So, when science seems to indicate the earth is quite old, maybe we should question utilizing the genealogies to pinpoint the age of the earth.Romans1:20 speaks to natural revelation. Both special and natural revelation was given to man to be able to address the complex nature of God and His creation. Instead, we need to ask questions such as, why the genealogies? Could the names in the Bible be an incomplete list? In my family, the older folks like to discuss how we are related to Governor Bradford of Massachusetts early days. They rarely mention farmers or even a guy who deserted during the Revolution and went to the area of Nova Scotia. Could it be that the list is incomplete? Why not? What was the purpose of the genealogies? The grouping of the genealogies seem to indicate a numbering system that point to the divine. So, could the purpose of the genealogies was not to point to a specific number of years but to point to the Son of Man being divine?

    What I might recommend is to do some reading of strong Christians who follow the Lord and yet believe in a limited flood. They have good answers and are far smarter than me. It is possible to believe in a limited flood and be Scripturally faithful. For those folks reading this who plan to attack me on YE…don’t. I have heard and read it all and am frankly getting tired of the same old, same old.There are other valid thought. I have more questions than answers and do not wish to be labeled one way or the other.

    One day, we will see HIm face to face and will see things more clearly. However, He will always be the Creator and we will always be the created. And, in that sense, could it be that we may never fully understand how He did it, just that He did? I am loathe to put Him into a box and say I know for a fact what the Bible means by the flood. I believe a flood happened. I know why. I know one day He will remake this world. How exactly the flood manifested itself…well, I would say it is open. I find I am less sure on these extraneous issues now than I was when I first became a Christian.I am loathe to be too secure on these extraneous issues.

    But, I have told God, on more than one occasion, that I would love to run among the nebulas and ride the comets one day.I am still waiting to see if He will let me.

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    Oh goody. More books and conferences so these young wannabes can spend their churches money and time reading everything but the Word. ONe has to wonder when they will grow up, mature in the faith and follow ONLY Christ instead of lining the pockets of the celebrities and idolizing them.

    Chrisitanity, as understood and practiced in the US, is becoming more and more pedantic. Like a mini version of Hollywood.

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    Good thoughts, Dee.

    I don’t have a problem with any of the things you said about the relationship of sin to death, or the age of the earth. Seems kinda obvious that in Genesis 3 the primary concept is spiritual death, since Adam didn’t die physically right away. Likewise, the primary concept in Romans 5 is a connection of sin to spiritual death, since Paul’s argument makes an anology between sin & death and righteousness & life — that is, sin:death as righteousness:life; more specifically, Adam’s sin is to death (first spiritual, later physical) as Jesus’ righteousness is to eternal life (first spiritual, later physical).

    So, I don’t buy the (common) argument of some YE-ers that there could have been no death of any kind prior to the fall. The Bible is clear that the fall is the cause of human death, but it is just a theological speculation to claim that there could have been no death of any kind prior to Adam’s sin.

    However, with the flood, the univeral language is very pointed and direct, and it makes the most sense (outside factors excluded) when read to refer to the whole earth. Yes, it is possible that universal references could refer to the part of earth that was known and populated (and thus not the whole globe). But that begs the questions of why Noah would have needed to build an ark at all, or why the animals would come to him for rescue, or why the earth’s population would not have been more spread out by that time. If the flood was not global, God could have told Noah (and the aninals) to move away. The whole story is kinda silly if that was possible. And, mathematically speaking, from the time of Adam to Noah, the Earth’s population could have already been as many as 3 billion people (even more if you assume the geneologies are incomplete) — kinda hard to contain in the Mesopotamian valley. Plus, how could water from a localized flood endure in that one region for a full year?

    Again, I don’t have all the answers, and I don’t think this is something for Christians to divide over, but it is worth some study and contemplation and prayer for greater understanding. But no matter how perfect we may think our knowledge is while on Earth, one day we will stand before God and realize just how little we really knew.

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    I was ironing some clothes and thought about this some more. Since you are such a great and kind reader, I want to be sure that I explain myself fully.

    What are the smallest seeds in the world? They are the epiphytic orchids seeds. So was the Bible wrong in saying the mustard seed was? Absolutely not. Jesus was talking to the people of that day in that region of the world. They wouldn’t know epiphytic orchard seeds from The Three Stooges.So, for them, the mustard seed was the smallest seed.

    If the Bible was a science text, well, this statement would be marked “wrong.” Actually, this is a favorite “gotcha” text of the philosophical naturalists. We are so comfortable using a regional explanation for this, why not for a few other texts, including the flood?

    When an ardent YE proponent told one of my current pastors that nature is fallen so that one cannot be certain of the earth’s age, etc., he asked if she believed in the laws of physics, mathematics, chemistry, etc. He went on to say that he found it a bit strange that many like her believe in not following nature’s laws only when it comes to the age of the earth. Yet in every other way, they accept the findings of nature. So, is nature only fallen when it comes to assessing the age of the earth?

    I have a hard time believing that God created the earth with an appearance of age. He said in Romans 1:20 that man could look at nature and see God and therefore man is without excuse. Well, if God concealed the age of the earth, what does it say about His nature? Is He a cosmic trickster?

    So, my bottom line is this, I think God can do anything He wants to do in the time frame that He wants to do it in. But, I also believe that He gives us clues in natural revelation. Someday, in another place and time, we may fully know the answer to this question. But, for me, right now, I have questions.

    Thank you for challenging me to think, Junkster. I am off with Deb, Dr.Jon and a bunch of friends to see Alice in Wonderland in 3D. It should bring back some old memories.


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    Whoops, we were writing at the same time. There are actually sites that explain some alternative answers to your questions. If you would like, I will copy and paste a few in the next week.
    Think how hard it would be to travel over very long distances over long periods of time with no roads, no nothing. The ark kept Noah in that area which was the area God had chosen to play out His grand story.For some reason, God has decided to make that area of the world the place for the beginning and the end.Thanks for challenging me. I promise to write more soon.

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    Will you have new content soon instead of reruns?

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    Starting next week. The reruns were request items to go with the TT updates.Normally we don’t do this.

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    What an excellent comment! I couldn’t agree with you more. Imagine if all the money being spent to attend these conferences — registration fees, hotels, food, books, etc., were being used in a missional way…

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    I suspect that for some of our readers our posts are not reruns. There is a very important reason why we are re-posting these articles.

    We truly appreciate your loyalty to TWW.

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    Very true. I just tuned in. Thanks for posting this about TT.

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    Good points. I’ll think some more on the global vs. local flood. I know a lot of YE folks tie the age of the earth and the extend of the flood together, as one of their primary arguments is that we cannot assume uniformity. But I don’t think it is necessary for someone to believe in YE theories to believe in a universal flood (or vice versa) — in my mind they are separate issues. I desire to hold faithfully to what the Bible teaches, but I recognize that my understanding of what it is saying will always be imperfect.

    There are various ways to harmonize the apparent age of the earth with Genesis 1, and I’m fine with any theory affirms that the Bible is not in error when properly understood. I also believe it is important for one’s theory to affirm that Adam and Eve were genuine historical persons, created in a direct, divine, supernatural, and specific way. But within that basic framework, there’s a lot of room for interpretation of the texts and of the scientific data.

    I don’t have a problem with the idea that God created the earth and the universe with the appearance of age, any more than I do with the thought that He created Adam and Eve full grown. I don’t see anything deceptive in that, especially since He gave us His Word to fill in details that we wouldn’t know if we had to go on observation alone. But I also don’t have a problem with the notion that perhaps He created over extended periods of time (day-age theory), or that there were gaps of vast eons between each of the six days (i.e., 6 literal days, just not consecutive days), or that there was a gap of time between Gen 1:2 and 1:2 (gap theory), or that Adam and Eve were in the garden for eons before they fell, or etc. etc.

    It can be fun to speculate on various possibilities of how God did it, but I think we should be careful to realize all our theories are speculation to one degree or another, and thus be gracious to those who have different opinions or theories. I personally think that kind of graciousness and unconditional love towards other believers would go a lot farther toward demonstrating the reality of our faith to unbelievers than would asserting any particularly interpretation of the Bible or of scientific data.

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    Dee plans to respond to your comment this afternoon.

    Have you ever checked out this link?


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    Hi Junkster

    Well, I started writing my response to you, and it got deleted which was very frustrating because I had written a lot! Aarghh.

    – I am very concerned for our children today. 75% of all Southern Baptist kids lose their faith in college. My guess is that other denominations are similar. I know that one of the reasons for this is that science courses introduce students to current science. The problem is that much of what is presented as scientific fact by groups like AIG is decades out of date. When college students see the real data, it doesn’t just cast doubt on the age of the earth. It casts doubt on the faith. Why can’t we tell our children that there are good Christians who believe the earth is very old and give them an out? Do we really think that teaching them hit and run YE creationism will allow them to stand up to the science they will see in the universities? YE routinely and always loses the debate on scientific evidence whether they debate atheistic scientists or Christian scientists. The evidence for a YE just is not there. If it was, there would be many proclaiming it, even atheists. You see, there would be YE atheists who would say the earth is young and there still is no God.

    -What worries me even more is that people call untrained men like Ken Ham, scientists. Ham was a biology teacher. He can talk about his theories, but he never went through a real doctoral program and never did research on a postdoctoral level. He will not even let the “research” published on his site be reviewed by real scientists who are not YE. Why? Do you really think it is because all scientists, except those who follow his thinking, are philosophical naturalists? There are so many scientists who are open to the idea of God, many of whom are Christians. And well over 95% of all real Christian scientists reject a young earth. And many of those are Biblical literalists. Yet, Ham will not allow them to review his research as well. Why? Well, I have some suspicions that he knows much of what he publishes will not stand up to scrutiny, even by fellow Christians. So, he blows off all scientists who do not see it his way as being in “danger of denying the doctrine of the atonement ” (that’s code for “heretic”).

    -The Bible is not primarily a science textbook. It is the story about us, our failing, our redemption, and our hope all seen through the eyes of our Creator/Redeemer. When we turn it into a science book, we lose the intent. Look at how the church has failed in using the Bible as science. Galileo is a case in point. Called a heretic and forced to recant because the church, using the Bible as a science book, declared that the sun revolved around the earth. I have already discussed the mustard seed issue.

    -In Romans 1, God lets us know about natural revelation. We use science to create medicine. We use telescopes to look at the universe. As we look into the depths of the universe, we see the stars closer together. Why? We are looking at the past, and God has given us a glimpse of the beginning. Did you know that the Big Bang theory was not accepted by scientists at first because it showed the universe had a beginning. And that, of course, led to the thought that maybe the Bible might be right. I am amused by Christians who deny the Big Bang because they think it isn’t Biblical. Well, what in the world is in the Bible? God spoke and the universe leapt into existence. The Big Bang points to a Creator!

    -Its really curious that so many of the YE types accept all of physics, chemistry, etc., yet throw it out the window when it comes to the age of the earth. Then they claim nature is fallen and can’t be trusted.

    -When it comes to the flood, there seems to be a preponderance of evidence for a local flood. I know you have questions. There are many Christian sites that deal with this. Deb already gave you one. Here is a question. Would a local flood make any difference in the Biblical narrative? Was man evil? Did God save Noah and his family because Noah was righteous? Did Noah exhibit trust in God to do as He asked even if it seemed foolish? Could it be that all of the known world was destroyed in a local flood? The underlying issues of man’s sin, God’s wrath, the preservation of a remnant, salvation, obedience, etc. are still present no matter how much was actually flooded.

    -I personally have a hard time with the earth being created with the appearance of age. God has given us both special revelation (Bible) and natural revelation. He knew that we would one day have telescopes and we would figure out the speed of light. To me, it is quite simple to combine scientific observation and the Biblical narrative to come out with what appears quite obvious. The world is very old, and the Bible does not clearly negate that fact.

    -I believe with all my heart that science will never ever discover anything that will disprove the Bible. Because all truth is God’s truth, be it the Incarnation or 2+2=4. Both are equally true and created by the One who made the mathematical laws and sent His Son.

    -What I encourage people of faith to do is to go to AIG, read a study, then go to Answers in Creation or Reasons to Believe and see what they have to say about that study. I encouraged an ardent YE type to do that in my former church. The next time I saw him I asked what he thought. He said, “I just can’t deal with it.” Yet, this man expected his kids to go off to college and stand before ardent atheistic scientists and defend YE science when he couldn’t even read about OE science from his Christian friends. A real man or woman would be willing to see all sides. BTW, I have read almost all of the AIG site, in keeping with my belief to seek first to understand.

    I have included a link to Answers in Creation dealing with a local flood.


    This site is interesting because it is written by Christians who deeply disagree with the science presented at Ken Ham’s Answers in Genesis website. I think you might find it interesting and far more informative than I could ever be.

    Finally, I hope one day to once again be around YE types who don’t point the heresy finger and act so afraid of carefully presented opposing views. There is nothing to fear. We are all Christians. I was astonished, angered, and dismayed by the ugly posse sent in to interfere with a wonderful discussion that would have presented both side of the issue equally. Instead, these narrow-minded individuals put me on a path that led me to join a Bible church in order to escape hysterical fundamentalism.

    It’s really too bad… We even let this YE crowd stay at our beach house for free, even though we are OE. And this was our payback for being open. It was the YE Smack Down. I guess they needed to do it. Only Christians would put up with such utter nonsense. They would have been laughed at in any other forum.

    Yep, Junkster, I agree. The world should see our love, but so many Christians are motivated by fear. I hope this gives you further insight into my story.

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    Excellent comments, Dee. I totally agree.

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    Fact check: Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church NEVER had an established altar call tradition. In fact, that would have been quite alien. Not that it wasn’t tried a time or two over the years, but it was certainly not a part of our regular church life.

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    Coral Ridge Member,

    When we were researching the controversy at your church, The Miami Herald appeared to state otherwise.


    “They faulted him for not maintaining the legacy of Kennedy and for altering traditions, such as calling for visitors to come to Jesus at the end of every sermon.”

    We assumed that “calling visitors to come to Jesus” meant an altar call.

    Thanks for the clarification.

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    Deb, this is my first comment on your blog. I appreciate the way you have exposed the situation at the New Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. As a former member I too want to echo what the previous entry stated that Dr. Kennedy did not believe in altar calls and never had one. Be careful in assuming that because Dr. Kennedy regularly called people to faith in Christ at the conclusion of his sermon is not the same thing as an altar call. The altar call was an invention of the heretic, Charles G. Finney and is not used in Reformed churches. You stated that Coral Ridge has a strong tradition of hyper-calvinism, which is totally incorrect. I do not know how you define hyper-calvinism, but Dr. Kennedy was far from being a hyper-calvinist. Certainly Tullian is far from this as well

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    It sounds like we didn’t make ourselves clear. However, we believe that Tullian is a hyperCalvinist and runs with that crowd. Follow us as we continue to watch this trend. Maybe you might agree with us at some point.

    However,Kennedy was not a hyperCalvinist. We are not against reformed theology. We are against the New Calvinism that is causing trouble in so many churches.

    We know we were wrong about the altar calls and feel bad about that. However, our point was not for or against the theological veracity of such a call. We do not believe that new pastors should come into the church and upset the whole apple cart. There should be sensitivity to tradition, sensitivity to long time members, and lots of love.

    Our best to all of you who have gone through such a hard time.May God heal and bring peace. Thank you for your kind comment.

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    My apologies for misunderstanding the conversation. I agree with your assesment of neo-calvinism, but the term hyper-calvinist would certainly not apply to Tullian and SGM. A hyper-calvinist is one who denys any proclamation of the gospel and takes a hyper-covenantal view. The term hyper-calvinism has historical roots in the Dutch tradition. I have not followed all of your discussion but Tullian strikes me as falling into the “grace” camp and shows some signs of holding to the “Sonship” theology. If you follow Jack Miller and his “Sonship” theology it comes close to what Tullian is affirming. There is some concern that Tullian has departed from the original vision he had at New City and has lost some of his original supporters.
    I used to have some connections with the Sheperding Movement of the 1970’s when I was a Charismatic, so I do understand your concern with SGM. I was never aware of its authoritarian view of leadership, which is a dangerous thing. I did not know that Mahanney was connected with Virgo, so that raises red flags for me. Virgo did have some connections with some strange Charismatics who have no ounce of Calvinism in them. I think it is important to understand that some of these men do not hold to the standard Reformed Confessions, so it is questionable wheather they can be called Reformed.

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    Thank you for your thougtful comment. I wrote this article and obviously misinterpreted the comment in the Miami Herald (see below).


    “They faulted him for not maintaining the legacy of Kennedy and for altering traditions, such as calling for visitors to come to Jesus at the end of every sermon.”

    Since I have never attended Coral Ridge, I assumed that “calling visitors to come to Jesus at the end of every sermon” meant an altar call. So sorry!

    I appreciated your comment on Hyper-Calvinism. Perhaps we should stick with “New or Neo-Calvinism” since Hyper-Calvinism is a theological position different from Calvinism.

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    Thank you, I think new or neo is a good description.

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    I agree with Deb. Unfortunately, hyperCalvinism and its meaning has morphed into a current day meaning which is different that the original meaning.

    However, we invented the term “Calvinista” to define this latest push. We believe that TT, CJ Mahaney, Al MOhler and others fit this description. It is Calvinism with an edge-hyperauthoritarian (my way or the highway), an emphasis on the sin state of the believer which thereby negates their ability to make suggestions or criticize the pastor, elders, etc and other certain doctrinal emphasis such as a certain eschatological timetable or age of the earth. It is causing so much trouble in churches all over the US.

    Please be sure to followup on Sovereign Grace Ministry abuse sites which clearly spell out the horrible issues there. TT is friendly with this crowd.

    Glad we got to clear things up.
    Blessings to you and your church.

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    Any thoughts on the latest post on the internet monk?

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    get a life and start helping people. Quit picking on pastors.

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    get a life,

    Actually, we believe we are helping our readers to be discerning, especially when it comes to pastors. We are taking our cues from God’s Holy Word which has similar warnings…

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    How do you know that we aren’t helping people? I would be very cautious here. Please say you disagree with us but don’t assume you know anything about us. It might surprise you.

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    They are helping many people! That is the whole point. And if someone does not want their teaching or behavior dissected, I suggest they not become a paid celebrity Christian.

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    It seems to me like Tullian came to that church like a Bull in a china closet. He destroyed 30 years of ministry in one moment. He should have kept his mouth shut for six months before reccommending any changes. Believe me, they’ll be selling the organ at a rumage sale before long.

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    You get what we are driving at. There are better ways to handle church conflict and change. There is a lesson for the evangelical church in these incidents. We can learn and improve.

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    God wanted change. That’s why things changed there. Tullian didn’t create the change. God did. Stop laying the blame where none was needed. It’s not about Kennedy or Tullian. It’s about God. Those folks took their lack of wanting things to change with them. They are happy. We are happy. LET IT REST GREG!!!!! There was enough of that nonsense the first six mths. The organ will be going to an organist the church will hire real soon. Don’t hate Greg. Appreciate. Maybe you can buy a toy version of the Rufatti organ on ebay. That way you can have one for yourself. Again it’s not about preferences from PEOPLE. It’s about what GOD wants. May HE get all the glory.

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    “Again it’s not about preferences from PEOPLE. It’s about what GOD wants.”

    So basically you are saying that only Tullian knows what God wants. And you are saying that Tullian is only changing what God wants changed. So, only he knows. He is your high priest and not Jesus Christ.

    The thing that bothers me is that Tullian’s response to all of this has been very UNChristlike and quite authoritarian. I know he is “cool” to many young minds full of mush but he has been quite the authoritarian. And that is not how the Body operates.

    And that would be the point of this blog: Following men instead of Christ.

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    change is good,

    You said, “God wanted change. That’s why things changed there. Tullian didn’t create the change. God did.”

    How do YOU know God wanted change? Did God tell you, personally? Just because it happened, God wanted it? Do you use that theology when someone leaves his wife? Well, it happened, so God must have wanted it. How about lying pastors who kick out of their church those who reveal their lies? Did God want that because it happened?

    Have a just a little humility and at least say, “In my opinion, I think God wanted change.”

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    I am not sure that you understand how insensitive change can cause great pain. let me give you a current example. The USA permits freedom of religion. So, a mosque is about to be built at Ground Zero. It is legal but is it good, kind, sensitive etc.? Of course not.

    TWWs intent is to begin to delve into church conflict and try to offer suggestions that can make transition easier. The new authoritarian pastors, my way of the highway, cause far too much pain. There are better ways to do things and we would like to see people being more concerned about the process than the end result.

    God is far more concerned about how we treat one another and how much we love one another than how cool the music is or how hip the pastor is. Do we sacrifice relationships for programs? I fear I see far too much of that.

    So, Change, can you think of a way that this situation can have been averted or at least minimized? That is the key.

    Finally, be very careful about proclaiming what God wants. I think He wants us to love one another, to treat each other with love and understanding, far more than He wants a new church coffee bar.

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    Thanks for your response to “Change.” It is so easy to ignore the explicitly clear commands of Scripture (“love one another,” “let each esteem others better than himself”) in the rush to accomplish what is not clearly known of God’s will. I can only imagine what could be happening at Coral Ridge if TRUE humility had been exercised (not just on Tullian’s part, but everyone’s).

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    You must tune in on Thursday. Did you know that theWall Street Journal did a cover story on the problems with the new, hip pastors? It was not at all flattering. I intend to to review it.

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    In my opinion, I think God wanted change.”

    OK let me rephrase it in my opinion, I think God wanted change.

    I know he is “cool” to many young minds full of mush but he has been quite the authoritarian. And that is not how the Body operates.

    My response to that would be to read the chapter in his book titled “Seduced by Cool.” Tullian would tell you that our church should not seduced by the “cool” trappings of Madison Ave. advertising. We should countercultural and not using what trends the world is following.

    I can only imagine what could be happening at Coral Ridge if TRUE humility had been exercised (not just on Tullian’s part, but everyone’s).

    I think alot of humility was exercised by most. There was a small dissenting majority that went and formed their own church who didn’t act with Chrislike humility. D. James Kennedy’s daughter, Jennifer was the head of that group. She was handing out anti-Tullian leaflets on people’s cars and in person at the door that her father took instructions from God to build and plant. Hmmm..don’t see much humility there. Sounds more like humiliation to me. I talked to a secretary that said she had to ask Jennifer to leave because she was being disruptive and driving new members away.

    I think He wants us to love one another, to treat each other with love and understanding, far more than He wants a new church coffee bar.

    Who said that Tullian wanted a new church coffee bar???? In fact in his book Unfashionable he actually criticizes such things. There’s a church here in town that has its own restaurant for crying out loud. He criticized churches that try to match what the world has to offer to stay “relevant.” He advocates that churches should offer something world doesn’t offer. Something countercultural. Something peculiarly refreshing that the world can’t offer all the time…the love of Jesus. BTW what would a worker at a coffee bar at a Calvinist church be called? A Calvinista Barista? Just checking. 🙂 Smile folks. Tullian’s not the little devil yall make him out to be!!!! Have a good day! My advice, check your facts out before you spew lies on the internet. May God Bless you folks.

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    Grammar Corrections

    Tullian would tell you that our church should not BE seduced by the “cool” trappings of Madison Ave. advertising. We should BE countercultural and not using what trends the world is following.

    There was a small dissenting MINORITY that went and formed their own church who didn’t act with Chrislike humility.

    He advocates that churches should offer something THE world doesn’t offer.

    Sorry I’m hungry, tired and blogs like yall’s make me lose my appetitie. Because of folks like yourself I can see why people lose their appetite for the church to begin with.

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    You didn’t understand my tongue in cheek so I guess I didn’t do a good job.I used the coffee bar because it has become the ubiquitous symbol of being “cool” not because CRPC has one. i did like the Calvinista Barista joke, however.Thanks!

    I did not say he was the devil. I said that he could have handled this better. In fact, he could have handled this in a countercultural way.

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    I still don’t think you understand the intent of this post or our blog. We are saying that their are better ways to handle conflicts. Sometimes we seem just like the world when we get into it with one another. Sorry we made you lose your appetite. However, it is not small, obscure blogs like ours that are causing people to leave the church. It IS the way church is being run that is causing people to leave the church. Frankly, people follow church splits and other unsavory problems in the local newspapers. Our little blog is only trying to make suggestions on better ways to do things.