Reformed Therapeutic Gospel (RTG)

In Adam's fall, victims of circumstance and conditionality all...just rolls off the tongue.


That was really strange to watch. Certainly, they affirmed that the Law is good, but it's hard to believe that they think that is true. And the "small L" law concept ... I don't know where to start. As you titled this post: they present a Reformed version of a theraputic gospel. 

True theology says we worship and follow the triune God because of who He is, not because of what he does for us! That's what makes Reformed theology so wonderful: It's about God, not man. Tullian and company seem determined to make it about man.

What (many many) things does Psalm 119 say the Law does?

What does Psalm 19 say the Law does?

What does God write on the heart in the New Covenant?

What does the converted heart feel about the Law in Rom 7:22?

Someone should fill these guys in on the Law's other uses in Scripture. Then, they wouldn't have to sound so self-contradictory when they keep saying that the Law is good in the same manner of talking by which they might have said that affliction is good.

Dear Craig, I could use a little more explanation/teaching on what you see wrong with this video. I think I know, but it isn't immediately obvious to me, and I think other readers might miss your point too.

I can definitely see how this video doesn't say everything that needs to be said about the Law. Is your point that it conveys a small, man-centered view of the Law? I can see that.

But, there's another prevalent error on the other side of the pendulum that creates the same effect.  If we act as though we're above the pain and grief that come through the condemnation of the Law and therefore also above needing a healing balm -- that is if we're reformed stoics with a perfect head knowledge of the Law, oblivious to the sting of death that comes through the Law -- we also belittle God's holiness, His Law and the Gospel.

Now, I will make a disclaimer: I had a hard time watching the video for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was the affect of the guy on the right. For that reason, I'm sure I missed some things. If you want to tell me to go back and watch it more carefully before you answer, I say, "Fair enough."

I will also add that I struggle with this tension all the time in figuring out how to talk to patients. On the one hand, I want them to come to Christ because He is worthy, and He commands it. I don't want to present the Gospel as a pill for what ails you or a get out jail free card. But, at the same time, the Lord did say "Come to me all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." I don't think He would lure us with the promise of rest if we didn't have a "felt-need" of rest, would He?


OK, I guess, as far as it goes. But, as an old man, I wonder why these guys would think they have improved on the "three uses" of the Law by omitting two of them.

Obiously God uses our circumstances and our feelings to draw us in...that's how He converted me. It certainly wasn't my intention to say "stiff upper lip! Stop feeling!"

I'm infering some things based on context, which includes two men who are part of a ministry called "Liberate", speaking God's "two words: Law and Gospel". They describe their mission in the following way:

A Our mission is to announce (and then announce again and again) this liberating word to a wounded and worn out world, hoping that the burdened and burnt out, the Christian and the non-Christian, will hear and rest in the freedom that Jesus came, died, and lives to give.

Toward the end of the talk, they tip their hand very clearly...little "l" law for them is a lack of success. Failure. Being burnt out. Wounded victims. The good news is to stop They assume the ministry  of law is active in their hearers, and doesn't really need much speaking...they're here to announce freedom. So really, no law message, except a bit of that "little 'l' law"...and no message of repentance.

Being burnt out is not repentance. It's a symptom needing diagnosis. Many times, it's a sign that repentance is needed. The feeling doesn't need to be salved, it needs to be connected to the source: actual sin. In short, a diagnosis is needed. The Great Physician doesn't just salve feelings resulting from unrecognized sin, undiagnosed sin, or unrepented sin. 

I think Liberate is confusing pill-popping to gospel ministry.

Dear Craig,

Thanks for taking the time to clarify. I hadn't stuck it out all the way to the end and therefore missed the "little L law" stuff. And you're right, it's a huge (and often wrong) assumption that the listeners are already repenting.


I wonder why they don't go completely lutheran and apply speech-act theory to sacraments which the reformed have always called "visible words"

So if God speaking "I forgive your sins" and it happens. Doesn't God "using" the sacraments to "say" I forgive your sins ALSO do that?

So what objection could there be to that?

Add new comment