Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 26:50 (Spring 2013)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

Jesus + Nothing = Everything. By Tullian Tchividjian. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2011. 220 pp. Hardcover, $18.99.

Tullian Tchividjian is Billy Graham’s grandson and the Senior Pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. His book, Jesus + Nothing = Everything concerns the dangers of legalism and the importance of looking to Christ alone for our justification and sanctification.

The book grew out of the difficulties Tchividjian experienced when he became the Senior Pastor of Coral Ridge. Under the pressure of members calling for his dismissal, Tchividjian rediscovered the supremacy of Christ while reading through Paul’s epistle to the Colossians.

Tchividjian says that every person has desires that they seek to fill with things in the world (i.e., they seek for everything). But the world ultimately leaves us empty (i.e., with nothing). This is also true for those who seek to combine the Christian faith with some other cause, such as social justice, environmental concerns, social mobility, etc. The true fulfillment of these desires is for Christ to be our all in all (i.e., everything). Hence, the title, Jesus + Nothing = Everything.

Tchividjian explains that we must understand that through faith we are positionally in Christ. As such, Jesus is our righteousness, justification, sanctification, and everything else we could need.

Tchividjian makes excellent points about the centrality of justification, and makes the welcome suggestion that to be justified means being eternally secure: “To be justified means that you’re forever right with God, eternally in” (p. 139). He goes on to say, “Among many other things, this means that God’s acceptance of us cannot be gained by our successes nor forfeited by our failures” (p. 140). To say that justification makes us “forever right” and “eternally in,” and adding that it cannot be “forfeited,” surely suggests belief in eternal security, though he does not explicitly endorse that doctrine.

In keeping with these claims, Tchividjian is opposed to calls for obedience based on fear and guilt. Rather, we should be motivated by the assurance of being saved by God’s free grace. We should “obey from the secure basis of grace, not guilt” (p. 141). He adds, “It’s always the gospel of God’s free grace that should motivate our right doing; otherwise we’re nothing better than Pharisees, making sure we’re keeping all the rules, mainly because when we do, we feel better about ourselves—especially when we compare ourselves to those who aren’t doing right” (p. 153).

Tchividjian’s thoughts on sanctif...

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