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Carl Trueman: Luther on Justification and Sanctification

The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals have released the first two episodes of The Mortification of Spin with Carl Trueman and Todd Pruitt. It’s billed as a bi-weekly casual conversation about things that count. In the inaugural episode, “Rock Star Pastors in Las Vegas,” Carl Trueman draws upon his expertise to address the recent justification/sanctification debate. Much of the early material contains quips about Christians and culture, but Trueman throws his hat into the ring around the 13:37 mark:

Another aspect of this controversy is that some of the prime movers in what one might call the antinomian camp are Presbyterian ministers. They subscribe to the Westminster Standards. Westminster Standards—very very clear, it seems to me, on the importance of sanctification—on the importance of imperatives in the Christian life. If you really think that Luther nails it—the early Luther nails it—and he’s much better than the Reformed, then guess what, you should be a Lutheran pastor. You shouldn’t be taking your money from a Reformed denomination and teaching a kind of quasi-Lutheran anti-nominanism. That’s breach of vow. That should be called out. It’s not happening in my denomination, so it’s not my job to call it out. But that should be called out by the statesmen in these denominations.

That’s certainly not your typical warm-up. It’s more 1988 Mike Tyson than “Sugar Ray” Leonard, even though Trueman dances around his referents. Later into the program, Trueman addresses (albeit semi-indirectly) Tullian Tchividjian’s approach in Jesus + Nothing = Everything, arguing that such an approach is opposed to Luther’s later theology and ecclesiastical biography. Was Trueman too strong or perhaps even over the line? Was he on the mark? Listen to the new program and comment below. It doesn’t appear they’re open for comments themselves.

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