In Jesus + Nothing = Everything, Tchividjian (in the good company of Calvin, Luther, and many others) makes a clear distinction between the imperative and indicative, the law and the gospel. This distinction is often criticized as if the distinction itself creates an antithesis or an opposition, as if there is embedded in this distinction the further claim of LAW = bad/anti-gospel and GOSPEL = good/ anti-law.
However, the relationship between law and gospel, as understood by those who would insist on a clear distinction between the two, would be better stated as LAW = God's good, righteous and holy standard and GOSPEL = God's free gift of Jesus, the perfect fulfillment of the holy standard.Laura writes that at the core of the accusation of antinomianism leveled against Tullian is a conflation of Law and Gospel:
Gospel fulfills law, it doesn't replace it or oppose it. What is important is to understand the relationship between these two good things given by God, and not to either conflate them into one thing or set them in opposition to each other. When law and gospel are not understood as distinct from each other, the result is usually a weakened law--a standard that we think we can fulfill, and also a weakened gospel--Jesus plus something (that we do) equals everything. Tchavidjian goes to great lengths to keep law and gospel distinct in his book.She sums up near the end of her review:
Clearly, Tchavidjian sees growth in maturity, and struggling against sin as desirable realities in the Christian life. And clearly he upholds God's law as a good guide for Christian living. The accusation that he advocates a kind of anti-nomianism is unfounded, arising from a misunderstanding of the law/gospel distinction and the relationship between resting in the gospel and following God in obedience....
The bottom line of my comments here: I encourage those who would seek a fuller understanding of the gospel and of the freedom they have in Christ to read Jesus + Nothing = Everything. You may just find yourself resting in the gospel a little more fully and struggling toward obedience a little more faithfully.Read the whole article here.