Paul's Passing Thoughts

Piper, Tchividjian, Christian Counseling, and the Calvinist False Gospel: The Law of the Spirit has NO Power to Change

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on May 22, 2014


The Bible is two different laws to the only two people groups in the world: the lost and the saved. To the lost, it is the law of sin and death. To the believer, it is the law of the Spirit of life:

Roman 8:1 – There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

We are no longer UNDER LAW, but UNDER GRACE, and being under grace is the same as being under the law of the Spirit of life. As Christians, the Spirit does in fact use the law to change us:

John 17:14 – I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

As I will keep proclaiming, the Achilles’ heel of Calvinism is law. Calvinism keeps the Christian under the law of sin and death. Hence, Jesus must fulfil the law of sin and death for us, and this is made up to be part of the atonement. But the law of sin and death has no part in justification—that’s why there is “no condemnation” for believers. But clearly, Calvin taught that Christians are still under the condemnation of the law and that Christ must perpetually save us from it by reapplications of the cross. In particular, note 3.14.9-11 in the Calvin Institutes. This construct turns the Bible and grace completely upside down. This is also why John Piper refers to the Bible as a book of “saving acts” (plural).

Note that John Piper, like Calvin, keeps Christians under the law of sin and death:

What Then Shall Those Who Are Justified Do with the Law of Moses?

Read it and meditate on it as those who are dead to it as the ground of your justification and the power of your sanctification. Read it and meditate on it as those for whom Christ is your righteousness and Christ is your sanctification.

Notice that Piper replaces the law of the Spirit of life with Christ alone as our sanctification. Notice also that we are to PRESENTLY read the law as those who are dead to it…[for] the power of your sanctification. Piper, like Calvin, only recognizes ONE law, the one we are dead to.

Tullian Tchividjian is more pointed about it:

So do you think the law no longer has—or should no longer have—a role in the Christian life?

No, I wouldn’t say that. While the law of God is good (Romans 7), it only has the power to reveal sin and to show the standard and image of righteous requirement—not remove sin. The law shows us what God commands (which of course is good) but the law does not possess the power to enable us to do what it says. You could put it this way: the law guides but it does not give. In other words, the law shows us what a sanctified life looks like, but it does not have sanctifying power—the law cannot change a human heart. It’s the gospel (what Jesus has done) that alone can give God-honoring animation to our obedience. The power to obey comes from being moved and motivated by the completed work of Jesus for us. The fuel to do good flows from what’s already been done. So, while the law directs us, only the gospel can drive us.

This, of course, asserts the idea, per Calvinism, that the power of our sanctification comes from justification. Per the usual, “gospel” and “Jesus” are words used to replace “justification” for cover on this issue. If our sanctification comes from justification, the law of sin and death is not ended and Jesus must continue to save us from it. The “finished” work isn’t so much finished, it needs to be perpetually applied to save us from the law of sin and death. Simply stated, Calvinism keeps us under the law of sin and death and ignores the law (“nomos”) of the Spirit of life. In other places, Tchividjian posits the idea that “the Bible never says that the law can give life.” That isn’t true,

Psalm 19:7 – The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul;

Psalm 119:93 – I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have given me life.

I won’t belabor the point, but Christ also said that man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of God, and when Moses said to “choose life” he was talking about the law.

In the final analysis, it’s works salvation via antinomianism; we have to work hard at doing nothing but the cross to keep ourselves saved from the law of sin and death which Calvin, even from the grave, keeps poised over our heads, ready to damn us at any time unless we live by faith alone in sanctification. And of course, faithfulness to the institutional church which has the “power of the keys” is our best shot to be “ready for the judgment.” Frankly, a judgment that we will not be attending because the final judgment is according to the law of sin and death, not the law of the Spirit of life that the Spirit does in fact use to change us.

And also take note: 95% of the Christian counseling going on in the institutional church is based on Christians being yet under the law of sin and death with Christ fulfilling it in our stead as part of the atonement. Good luck with that—it’s a false gospel.



16 Responses

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  1. paulspassingthoughts said, on May 22, 2014 at 9:08 AM

    Reblogged this on Clearcreek Chapel Watch.


  2. Carmen S. said, on May 22, 2014 at 10:12 PM

    Chris Rosebrough did an interview with Tullian on Fighting For The
    Is Tullian Tchividjian An Antinomian? ( May 22,2014)

    Chris said that he had listened to eight of Tullian’s Romans series sermons, and had watched the clock. “You preached 33 minutes on the law. How can people say you are an antinomian?” Tullian said that people at Coral Ridge say they have never heard so much law before.

    Tullian also admitted that he preaches the first use of the law to Christians, because they need to be broken before they can hear the “gospel” ( what Jesus did for them). “It’s not just for unbelievers.”

    Paul, only because of this website do I know about the law of sin and death and the law of the Spirit of life.


    • paulspassingthoughts said, on May 23, 2014 at 5:39 AM


      Yes, “the ‘law’ of the Spirit of life” is the law for Christians. The word is “nomos.” There are several other Greek words for the idea of natural law or a force. Calvinism preaches the law (also “nomos”) of sin and death to Christians because Calvinism keeps them under it. It is a denial of the new birth and a unwitting profession that Christians are unregenerate. The word of God is the sword of the Spirit (Eph 6:17).


  3. Bridget said, on May 23, 2014 at 10:37 AM

    I listened to a Calvinist preacher for nine years and never once did he speak of the law of the Spirit of life or that a Christian was a new creature In Christ Jesus. The last several years in the church I didn’t want to be in the service and listen to the preaching. It was not encouraging or life giving. I was feeling more like an unbeliever every week. The gathering was not a time like those described in the NT when believers come together to share, encourage one another, break bread, and worship. Every institutional church today is about a main man up in front of everyone.


    • paulspassingthoughts said, on May 23, 2014 at 10:54 AM

      I believe the church is in a Dark Age, I really do.


    • paulspassingthoughts said, on May 23, 2014 at 10:59 AM

      Romans 8:2 distinguishes the 2 and uses the word “nomos” for both. Should this be the first thing that we teach believers? YES.


    • paulspassingthoughts said, on May 23, 2014 at 11:00 AM

      …correction, “Should this be the first thing that we teach believers? YES.”


  4. Carmen S. said, on May 23, 2014 at 1:36 PM

    Since Chris Rosebrough said Tullian preaches law for 33 minutes, I decided to listen his Sermon on Romans:1-18. Tullian only preached on Romans 8:1 and Romans 8:13. If you subtract Tullian’s personal stories and commentary about himself, there would be very little left in that sermon.

    The Holy Spirit’s only job is to tell you’ve been adopted….. you’re in, you’re in, you’re in?


    • paulspassingthoughts said, on May 23, 2014 at 2:56 PM

      2 things:

      1. Interesting that I understand that he skipped 8:2?
      2. He really said that? Is that a quote?


  5. Bridget said, on May 23, 2014 at 4:09 PM

    Does the man who wrote the above article regarding TT not realize that what TT teaches is the same as what I’ve been hearing out of the New Calvinist camp for 15 years. What TT teaches is all that was taught at SGM. Then you have DeYoung and Piper tieing sanctification to glorification.


  6. Bridget said, on May 23, 2014 at 4:53 PM

    PS – I think the entire reformed camp is confused about what each other teach. Too much Calvin yathink?


  7. Carmen S. said, on May 23, 2014 at 7:52 PM

    1) Yes, he skipped 8:2.

    Romans Part 11 ( April 13,2014)
    27:29 minutes
    “Paul says here He’s come to do one thing, to preach one sermon inside you every single moment of every single day. The Holy Spirit’s job description is to preach to the deepest regions of your unbelief three words, “It is finished, it is finished, it is finished.” It is…it is “you’re mine, you’re mine, you’re mine.” The Holy Spirit’s job is to internally remind us of who we are, who we belong to, so that we can experience and live into the unbelievable and radical freedom that Jesus purchased for us and secured for us. So the Spirit was given to you to tell you over and over and over that you’re in. So you can put it this way, the ministry of the Holy Spirit inside of you is to constantly remind you of what Jesus has done outside of you. That’s what His job is.

    36:48 minutes
    “Generations of Christians were taught that Christianity was primarily a lifestyle. The essence of our faith centered on how to live. The ESSENCE OF OUR FAITH centered on how to live! If that’s the essence of our faith…how to live?!! The internal life of the individual?!! Where’s the hope? You won’t find any hope inside. Our only hope comes from outside. Our ongoing performance for Jesus rather than Jesus’ finished performance for us became the focus of sermons, books, and conferences. What I need to do, who I need to become became the endgame. Now, to be sure the Bible has lots to say about becoming like Jesus, but the storyline of the Bible is that Jesus became like us. That’s the storyline of the Bible. Our transformation is a secondary theme of the Bible. The primary theme is incarnation, substitution. Our becoming like Jesus is the fruit, the given fruit of Jesus having become like us.

    So the modern church has sadly reversed the order. The focus of the Christian faith has become the life of the Christian. And this shift and focus from the external to the internal has enslaving consequences that these verses set us free from. Completely.


  8. Carmen S. said, on May 23, 2014 at 8:19 PM

    Richard Phillips is an OLD CALVINIST.

    “It is precisely the grace of God that is being denigrated, since it is by God’s amazing grace that Christian’s are not only justified through faith alone but are born again and given the power of Christ to live new lives. ( Eph. 1:18-20)

    “In Nov. 2012, I expressed concern about Tullian’s description of Christian’s as totally depraved since this doctrine has the point of arguing the spiritual inability of the totally depraved person, and Christians are no longer depraved.”


    • paulspassingthoughts said, on May 23, 2014 at 9:24 PM

      Notice that he says “the power of Christ to live new lives.” In all of their jargon, they always stop short of saying that we change as persons. I will address their metaphysical double speak next week.


  9. Lydia said, on May 23, 2014 at 10:20 PM

    I listened to the fighting for the faith interview and I kept waiting for Tullian to say Jesus is obeying for you. I mean that is really what he is saying with this radical freedom stuff. NOT one word about becoming a new creature in Christ. I have been focusing on the “renewing our minds” and there is no way to do that without US being involved in the process.

    Tullians brand or way he presents it is a lot like Wade Burleson.


    • paulspassingthoughts said, on May 24, 2014 at 8:12 AM

      They ALL believe obedience is EXPERIENCED only through realm manifestation, viz,”vivification.” It is an actual Reformed doctrine. Moreover, it fuses justification,sanctification, glorification, creation,together in one big progressive mass with its growth determined by the collective psyche. BTW, that’s the crux of Puritan metaphysics and what drives their dominion theology.


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