For those of you who have been living in a cave for the past week or so, the latest kerfuffle in the Presbyterian and Reformed world is over the subject of sanctification. So far it centers around Tullian Tchividjian, and Dr. Mark Jones, and the accusation that Rev. Tchividjian has (at minimum) some serious antinomian leanings.
Since the dustup started, the Rev. Dr. Carl Trueman, Rev. Rick Phillips, and Chris Rosebrough have all thrown their hats into the ring, with Trueman offering to be Jones’s second in a debate with Tchividjian over the tertius usus legis and Tchividjians’s consistently poor use of Luther, Phillips accusing Tchividjian of out-and-out antinomianism, and Rosebrough interviewing Tchividjian on Fighting for the Faith and accusing Dr. Jones of teaching that good works are necessary for salvation. And lets not forget that Dr. R. Scott Clark is practically frothing at the mouth over this issue, too.
Now you’re all caught up. Are you tired yet?
Since unlike Carl Trueman, I genuinely am standing on the sidelines of the Reformed community, I figured, “What the hell, I’ll toss my 2 cents into the discussion, too.”
The first thing that I should draw your attention to is that Dr. Mark Jones has written a book on this subject that is well-worth your attention: Antinomianism: Reformed Theology’s Unwelcome Guest? In this wonderful little book, he thoroughly demonstrates that Tchividjian has much more in common with John Eaton and John Saltmarsh that with the Westminster divines. In short, the charge of antinomianism against Tullian Tchividjian has been amply proven. Now all that remains is for his presbytery to charge him (something I doubt they’ll do).
Next, I should also draw your attention to the fact that a perusal of Chris Rosebrough’s Facebook wall also amply proves that he has not yet demonstrated that he has understood the fine distinctions that Dr. Jones makes between the necessity of good works as a consequent condition for salvation (which he affirms), and the necessity of good works as an antecedent condition for salvation (which he denies). Rosebrough has repeatedly stated that Dr. Jones is a heretic who teaches that works are necessary for salvation, ignoring the nuances of Dr. Jones’s position, and attributing to him a position that he explicitly denies on pages 62-64 of his book.
This is perhaps the most disappointing aspect of this “controversy.” I’m an avid listener to Pirate Christian Radio, and hold Mr. Rosebrough in high esteem. Yet in this case, he has begun engaging in a witch hunt against Mark Jones that I simply cannot fathom.
This should be a warning to us all. Before we criticize a theological position, we must make every effort to correctly understand it.
I would appeal to Chris, therefore, as a brother in Christ, to repent of his accusations against Dr. Jones, as he has demonstrated that he does not understand the position Dr. Jones is defending in his work.