On Death to Self

Pastor Tullian Tchvidjian of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, FL has a post up http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tullian/2011/08/13/on-death-to-self/?comments#comments  on the importance and ramifications of dying to yourself.


Pastor Tchvidjian has discovered Gerhard Forde and has been reading quite a lot of him as of late.

While there are things we can do to get out of ourself that will free us for the neighbor, and we ought try and do those things, I believe that God isn’t relying upon when it comes to putting ourselves to death.

I left a comment about Romans and Baptism over there (as I have done before), but the discussion usually ends up back in the arena of what we should be doing, saying or feeling.

Am I being too Lutheran persnickity about the external Word which acts for us and upon us, or is a little talk about ways we can die to the self alright?






10 Responses

  1. I think you are aiming right Steve. It’s good that Tchvidjian is engaging with Forde, but unfortunately, due to the issue that manifests itself in the sacraments (see we cannot get away from this!) one can even read (into) Forde Reformed-ish things. Ironically Forde speaks against these (self) willed “dying to the self” if he’s reading him clearly.

    To talk of ways “we” can die to self misses the ENTIRE point of Forde and Loewenich (whom Forde relied heavily upon), not to mention that particular issue of Luther in the HD and BoW. Such self appointed “sufferings” were rejected strictly by Luther because they are not TOC but a form of TOG. God appoints the sufferings and cross for the purpose “making room for faith”. Self appointed sufferings such as “dying to self”, per se, are simply more works we “do”. The whole point of suffering, truly, lay in the fact that it is laid upon one and one cannot do anything about it. The bondage of the will wishes to appoint or manufacture suffering that is more or less meritorious and remains in control. That’s the very bondage in which the will lays. What gets lost in “suffering” is not that its pain or distress, though it includes those, but that one finds oneself utterly dependant on the mercy and will of the other to ultimately nakedly trust (faith) in the promise of deliverance that is comprehended only by faith.

    An example will help: If I an American go to a very poor tyrannical third world country, I may suffer that for a while (temporarily). I.e. I experience it. BUT it’s foolishly self appointed, I can leave any time I wish. But one in that country as citizen, truly suffers it, he/she cannot leave and is left under the suffering with no empirical way out.

    This is the way true cross/suffering works in making room for faith, it does not “look through the Cross”, as Forde put it, to get on past it, but rather suffers (passive/passion) under the experience, rationalization or otherwise empirical reality that is opposite of what is promised by the nude Word of promise from God in Christ alone to which faith alone, ALONE, breaks through, from the hidden God to the revealed God.

  2. Steve: A totally unrelated comment here, but thought you might be interested. I noted recently in a Forde book that in some bio info it mentioned he was buried at a Lutheran church in Starbuck, Minn. Last week we had my family reunion at a town nearby and then on Sat. we all went to my niece and husband’s cabin on Pelican Lake. Guess where the cabin is? 3 miles down the road from the Lutheran church. That aft. I went to the church and there in the back yard about 25 paces from the back door is a rather small marker on his grave. It is a beautiful site overlooking a small lake that disappears into the woods across the highway. I stood for a while and thanked God for the testimony and life of this man, it felt like a very sober time of sensing the goodness of God.

  3. Thanks for your comments,Larry. It’s extra good to have someone’s insight who has been in the other camp.

  4. Ron, That really must have been a moving experience to be there at Gerhard Forde’s gravesite.A beautiful setting and a giant in Lutheranism. Thanks for sharing it with us,Ron.

  5. St Stephen, Great point you made over there about our death in baptism. Would that Pr T would read Forde on the sacraments.

    I rejoice that he has rescued Coral Ridge from political action that the unfortunate D James Kennedy subjected it to.

  6. Thanks,St.David. Maybe we can encourage Pastor T. To read Forde on the Sacraments.

  7. Do you think he will move to Lutheranism?

  8. I doubt it.

    It’s hard enough to try and get Lutherans to move to Lutheranism 😀

  9. Steve,

    I’m a little late coming to reading all the comments at Kevin’s blog. Quite a discussion. Interestingly, a few days ago I started working on a post responding to one of his points… coming at the law-gospel question from a slightly different issue in his essay. Suffice to say I think your take is solidly biblical.

    Carry on and keep contending for the faith once delivered.


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