Hearing Lutheran Voices in Reformed Pulpits
Those who try to follow the pulse of American Christianity would be familiar with the name Tullian Tchividjian (even if it takes a little practice to pronounce it correctly!). Pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Tchividjian represents a growing trend in evangelicalism to engage a broad spectrum of orthodox Christian writers and theologians. On the one hand, denominational distinctiveness in Evangelicalism is on the rise. “Non-denom” churches that dilute their Christian tradition are less attractive to the younger generation of Christians. Yet within this effort to communicate a clear witness of the faith is a recognition that there are witnesses from other traditions and confessions that are still worth listening to. There is a kind of eclectic Evangelical confessionalism that listens to the polyphony of voices in the Christian tradition, and finds a song worth playing again–in the pulpit, in publishing, and in social media. This means that Lutheran theologians qua Lutheran are actually beginning to play a greater role in shaping the broader Christian witness in America. This also means that we have a similar opportunity to listen and learn from others outside our tradition. At the very least we might learn the patience of empathy and the humility that accompanies an appreciation that theology is larger than any one person or period and that we are indebted to the people of our past and present.
Back to Tchividjian. Tchividjian has been reading Luther and Lutherans for a while now and his writing exhibits this. A little over a year ago, his tweets and blog posts were littered with quotes from our own Bob Kolb and Chuck Arand, as Tchividjian was happily reading their book, The Genius of Luther’s Theology. In a recent interview, Tchividjian said that Genius was probably the best book on Luther’s theology that he had ever read.
Below is a sermon by Tchividjian on the “Two Kinds of Righteousness.” For more information on this theological distinction see our recent FAQs on 2KR (as Chuck Arand affectionally calls it).