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Reformed Pastors Respond to Tullian Tchividjian’s Explosive Exit From The Gospel Coalition

( [email protected] ) May 22, 2014 07:29 PM EDT
Pastor Tullian Tchividjian recently announced his surprising exit from The Gospel Coalition, "the central hub of the Reformed evangelical movement.” As tensions rise and respected theologians express anger and hurt, Pastor Kevin DeYoung wants everyone to remember that ultimately, "the most important story is the gospel story."
The Gospel Coalition is commonly described as ''central hub of the Reformed evangelical movement.'' The Gospel Coalition

Following Pastor Tullian Tchividjian's explosive exit from The Gospel Coalition, several reformed pastors have taken to social media to address their take on the situation.

In his letter of resignation, Tchividjian, who is the grandson of evangelist Billy Graham, revealed he had hoped keep blog content on the TGC website until August, but was "disappointed and confused" to discover that TGC members wanted his posts removed "ASAP."

"I know I have had some differences with some of the other contributors to this site but my goal has always been to do nothing but preach the Good News with every post, to bring relief to the burdened and broken, and rest to the weary and heavy laden by fixing the readers' eyes on the finished work of Jesus," he wrote.

According to Tchividjian, the decision seemed to mostly "be personal, some of it theological."

He expressed frustration that "no one at The Gospel Coalition" confronted him about the content of his blog posts or approached him with theological questions.

"To me, it's somewhat disconcerting that 'Jesus plus nothing equals everything' is much more controversial in some Evangelical circles than 'Jesus plus something equals everything,'" said Tchividjian. "I've been widely known as talking about grace without 'buts or brakes,' that God's grace is much more radical than anything we could ever imagine and that we could never over-exaggerate it."

However, Pastor Kevin DeYoung revealed The Gospel Coalition's aversion to Tchividijan's theologically-light articles in a blog post titled "The God of Diverse Excellencies" published earlier today.

"You want to know why theology matters?" he asks. "It matters because we become what we worship. Therefore, we need to know what God is like and what Jesus is like. If we have a lopsided Lord, we will become lopsided Christians."

"We need to know Jesus Christ as both the Lion and the Lamb," he continued.

DeYoung, along with TGC contributors Don Carson and Justin Taylor, was earlier rebuked by Tchividjian for their "disturbing" statement published on the TGC website defending C.J. Mahaney, the former president of Sovereign Grace Ministries who has been involved in an ongoing lawsuit regarding the cover up of sexual abuse at Covenant Life Church.

"I thought it was premature. I thought it was insensitive. I communicated with the guys who wrote this statement that I was disappointed... and that they needed to clarify that their statement was not a statement from The Gospel Coalition, per se, but was their own personal statement," Tchividjian explained.

"There were some of us on the coalition, or who were associated with it, who didn't want to be associated with their defense of C. J.," he continued. "I've just been sort of disgusted by the whole thing."

Controversially, popular pastor and author Joshua Harris and Mahaney both announced this week that they have left the leadership council of TGC which is commonly described as a "central hub of the Reformed evangelical movement."

Though Mahaney has not offered an official statement on the matter, Harris tweeted on May 19, "I resigned the @TGC Council because I don't want the present challenges at my church to distract from this terrific ministry. Godspeed, TGC!"

"No man can do me a truer kindness in this world than to pray for me. -Charles Spurgeon," he later added.

Despite all of the controversy currently swirling around many well-respected pastors, Kevin DeYoung, who is the pastor of University Reformed Church in Lansing, Michigan, wants everyone to remember that at the end of the day, spreading the gospel is the most important thing.

"The most important story is the gospel story," he tweeted earlier today. "We will be forgotten but the gospel will live on."