Samuel Bolton, one of those present at the Westminster Assembly, wrote a pamphlet called The True Bounds of Christian Freedom. In this work he gives this simple yet profound Biblical formulation regarding our relationship to the law.
We cry down the law with respect to justification, but we set it up as a rule of sanctification. The law sends us to the gospel that we may be justified; the gospel sends us to the law again to inquire what is our duty as those who are justified.
Sadly, it appears that yet once again confusion is rising with respect to the place of the law of God in the life of the believer. Tullian Tchividjian (pronounced cha-vi-jin), the talented grandson of Billy Graham now serving as Senior Pastor at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church and a contributor to The Gospel Coalition, is at the center of this controversy. Here are some links that, if you follow them, will give you an overview of the problem, help alert you to its danger, and sharpen your understanding on this vital subject.
David Murray – Over two years ago, with his gracious reviews of Tchividjian’s book Jesus + Nothing = Everything, Dr. Murray of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary pointed out the root problem of his theology. Tchividjian’s commingling of justification and sanctification caused him to downplay the law of God in the believer’s life. Read first his review of the book, then these second and third articles which develop more fully the theological concerns.
Michael Kruger – More recently, because of a controversial post by Tchividjian, a virtual firestorm broke out on the blogosphere. The President of the Reformed Theological Seminary of Charlotte, NC, expressed here his concern over Tchividjian’s failure to rightly acknowledge what is known as the third use of the law.
Mark Jones – These matters caused Tchividjian’s fellow PCA minister Dr. Jones to make this public offer to fly from Canada to Florida to meet with him in order to debate this issue. Then Jones’ blogging partner on Meet the Puritans, Danny Hyde, wrote this article to clarify why God’s law is not burdensome to the believer.
Kevin DeYoung – On the blog of The Gospel Coalition, this article then appeared by DeYoung to outline the issues at stake.
Rick Phillips – Here then is the latest expression of concern over at Reformation21 by another evangelical leader with a careful diagnosis of the matters at stake.
With all of these respected pastors and theologians expressing concern, one prays Tchividjian will heed the correction he is being offered.
I will conclude by expressing thankfulness that in worship yesterday one of my elders encouraged the proper use of the law of God in our lives by reading this answer from Question 97 of the Larger Catechism, which asks, “What special use is there of the moral law to the regenerate?”
Although they that are regenerate, and believe in Christ, be delivered from the moral law as a covenant of works, so as thereby they are neither justified nor condemned; yet besides the general uses thereof common to them with all men, it is of special use, to show them how much they are bound to Christ for his fulfilling it, and enduring the curse thereof in their stead, and for their good; and thereby to provoke them to more thankfulness, and to express the same in their greater care to conform themselves thereunto as the rule of their obedience.