“The ironic thing about legalism is that it not only doesn’t make people work harder, it makes them give up. Moralism doesn’t produce morality; rather it produces immorality.”
Tullian Tchividian is the name of the guy who said this. He is the grandson of Billy Graham and pastor of Coral Ridge Church.
Or rather, WAS the pastor of Coral Ridge Church. This past week he resigned from his position as pastor because he was having an affair, after his wife admitted her own affair on him.
Read the quote again in light of that last paragraph.
Here’s the thing: Tullian has a very grace oriented gospel. He has been charged as being antinomian over and over, and it is quite easy to jump on his doctrine in this time. Pretty easy assignment.
Yes, I do think his theology is messed up. Yes, I do think his view of Christian living contributed to his moral failing.
But let me also say: your flesh is pretty good at falling into immorality. Legalism makes people wig out and fail morally. I’ve seen it many times. Legalism does make you give up.
People then flip out to a hyper-grace view and teach that we can do whatever we want because Jesus loves us. This view of things also feeds your flesh to fail morally.
The New Testament continually tells us to do good. We are told over and over to fight off sin and flee youthful lusts. We are told to wake up and follow righteousness, to come out from among them, and be righteous.
Legalism often leaves us with no hope. Legalism is discouraging and frequently gives very little doctrinal basis for action. It’s simply be good for goodness sake.
Hyper-grace often leaves us with no call to do better. Hyper-grace basically makes life pointless and my behavior irrelevant. Being good has little to do with anything.
It is my opinion based on many years of studying the Bible and dealing with actual human beings (including myself), that true Christian living is living by faith. Living by obeying what God says.
It’s not simply be good cuz God said so. Although He did say to be good, He said lots of other stuff about how and why to do good. He teaches you all that God has done for you to make goodness a possibility, as well as teaching proper motivation for doing good. God filled the New Testament with encouragement to do good works.
Sound Christianity is based on everything God said, not just your favorite parts of what He said.
At no point does the believer stop and say, “Ah hah! I’ve got it all figured out now! I’m good to go.” Nope. The Bible kicks us in the pants over and over. Anyone who thinks he stands, take heed lest he falls.
Tullian thought he was standing firm on the finished work of Christ, while he was having an affair. This is not a screed against Tullian. This is a warning to all believers: Take heed lest ye fall.
We live by faith. Fight the fight of faith.