Tullian Tchividjian on The White Horse Inn
I am several months behind on The White Horse Inn and lately I’ve been trying to catch up. I’d like to point readers to the first part of a recent two-parter [link], where host Michael Horton interviews Tullian Tchividjian as part of the latter’s book tour.
This episode is notable because it is one of the rare instances where Reformed types actually talk about sanctification. If I had to make a list of the reasons I’m not Reformed, it would go something like this: contemporary Reformed types have an explanation of sanctification, even a theology of sanctification, but none of them actually have seemed to have experienced it.
As I listen to the exchange here, it sounds to me like host and guest agree that sanctification is a matter of stopping certain sins, as if that were the sum total of sanctification. Tchividjian is one of the rare Reformed types who will countenance the Pauline phrase “work out your salvation with fear and trembling,” but then both of them dive down the usual Reformed rabbit hole of reclassifying this working out until it is unrecognizable.
I will admit that I come to discussions of sanctification with the taint of some kind of Holiness perspective that suggests that “justification is God’s work; sanctification is ours” and the notion that sanctification results in a person having victory over particular sins and becoming in some quantitative sense less sinful. And I tend to hear Horton and Tchividjian reacting to that perspective. But neither that perspective nor its opposite is right, and I don’t understand why these two don’t sound like they understand that. They sound to me like they’re following the usual pattern of setting up a straw man with beliefs no one actually has, knocking it over, and putting nothing in its place.
Also: perhaps I’m mishearing, but it sounds to me like to every spiritual problem Tchividjian proposes a solution that involves buying a book he’s written, is writing, or is planning to write. It might lead one to wonder if there was such a thing as Christianity before the invention of movable type.