Friday Five Interview: Tullian Tchividjian

Its a great privilege to interview Tullian Tchividjian. William Graham Tullian Tchividjian (pronounced cha-vi-jin) is the Senior Pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Tullian comes from a very famous family. He is the grandson of Billy and Ruth Graham.

I first learned about Tullian Tchividjian after reading his terrific book, Unfashionable: Making a Difference in the World by Being Different. Recently, I read his latest book, Surprised by Grace: God’s Relentless Pursuit of Rebels. (Read my review here) This is a terrific book that I highly recommend.

Tullian is also a contributing editor to Leadership Journal. He speaks at conferences throughout the US and his sermons are broadcast daily on the radio program Godward Living.

I’m grateful that Tullian stopped by to answer five questions for Friday Five:

1) I thoroughly enjoyed Unfashionable. I really think it spoke to today’s younger generation of pastors and Christian leaders about the tendency to want to fit in. Do you think this is a struggle for our generation?

Yes! Many well-meaning Christian’s have concluded that the best way to reach the world is to become just like the world. And so we become preoccupied with persuading the world around us that we’re cool, that we can “hang.” But I’m convinced that serious seekers today aren’t looking for something appealing and trendy. They’re looking for something deeper than what’s currently in fashion. New generations are thirsting for truthfulness, not trendiness. They long for someone to speak to them truthfully about a time and a place other than their own, about something and someone other than themselves. They want to know that there are different people out there who are willing to die for what they believe. That’s why, if you stop and listen, you’ll hear that the cry of our times is for something completely otherworldly. People are up to their necks in up-to-date structures and cutting-edge methodologies. They’re beginning to understand that modern capabilities cannot make us better and more satisfied people, nor make this world a better, more satisfying place. They seem desperate to recover a world that once was, a world that allows for mystery, miracle, and wonder—a world with windows to somewhere else. So, the point I make over and over in Unfashionable is that Christians make a difference in this world by being different from this world; they don’t make a difference by being the same. This is critically important, because in our trend-chasing world it’s tempting for Christians to slowly lose their distinctiveness by accommodating to culture. But by trying so hard to fit in, many Christians risk having nothing distinctive to say to those who feel, in Walker Percy’s memorable phrase, “lost in the cosmos.” In contrast, I’m calling this generation to embrace the delicious irony Christ demonstrated in bringing a message of God’s kingdom that subversively transforms both individuals and the world. Only by being properly unfashionable can we engage our broken world with an embodied gospel that witnesses to God’s gracious promise of restoration, significance, and life.

Book Review – Surprised by Grace – Tullian Tchividjian

You don’t grow up in the church, as I have, without knowing, memorizing, and internalizing the story of Jonah. From the time I was old enough to do Sunday School, all through Vacation Bible School, Children’s Church, and on through sermon series, books, teen discussions, etc, I have heard Jonah’s life dissected in every which way. Jonah is the preacher’s favorite “don’t-rebel-or-you-will-face-God’s-wrath” text. But often, in our desire to zing the rebel, we miss the very heart of the story of Jonah. This is why I was so wonderfully captivated by the majestic presentation of the book of Jonah by one of my favorite pastors and authors, Tullian Tchividjian.  Tchividjian approaches the story Jonah from the perspective of the Gospel, seeing Jesus on every one of its pages. The real message in this short prophetic book is not about how angry God is when we rebel, but how merciful God is to pursue...

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