Glorious Ruin

Glorious Ruin (David C. Cook, 2012)

Author Tullian Tchividjian (cha-vi-jin) currently is the senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, succeeding the late D. James Kennedy, and the grandson of evangelist Billy Graham.  Pastor Tchividjian’s expressed sincere hope for Glorious Ruin is “to explore how the reality of human suffering, in all its forms, might relate to the truth of God’s liberating grace in a way that is both honest and comforting.”

Two common responses to suffering that are barriers to honesty are moralizing (“the karmic result of misbehavior”) and minimizing (subordinating suffering to its possible benefits).  Both responses, the author states, are attempts to keep suffering at bay, to play God.  Chapters 4 and 5 discuss each respective concept in greater detail.

How and Why are honest questions asked by those going through adversity.  However, when we try to formulate our own answers, these questions can imprison us.  The only question that ultimately points us toward the truth is Who is present with us through our suffering.  We don’t need answers as much as we need God’s presence.  The gospel is a message of God’s rescue through pain, a “theology of the cross” rather than a “theology of glory”.  The gospel give us the freedom to speak honestly about our pain, since nothing rides on our ability to cope with or beat back suffering.

When we’ve come to the end of ourselves, the comforting good news of the gospel, that God has done for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves, makes sense.  God wants to free us from ourselves- suffering shows us we need something bigger than self-reliance.  In fact, we never move beyond our need for Jesus and His intervention- “the reality of His inexhaustible grace”.  God is interested in a new you, not a better you.  Pastor Tchividjian concludes: “the gospel alone provides us with the foundation to maintain joy in remarkable loss.”


About the author

Dave Henning

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