LIBERATE Launches Today


When I am not writing about art, culture, and theology here at Patheos, I serve as Director of Theological & Cultural Practices at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and my chief responsibility is curator of LIBERATE, the online resource ministry of Senior Pastor Tullian Tchividjian. The website launches this afternoon at 3pm (EST) and I invite you to visit.

Our mission is, following Jesus’s in Luke 4, “to proclaim liberty to the captives” (v. 18) and we do this is by bringing God’s two words (law and gospel) to a worn our world, and exploring their implications for our private and public lives. We continue:

Through the demand of his law, God confronts and condemns people in their bondage and sin; through the declaration of his gospel, God comforts and forgives people with the liberating love of Jesus Christ. We want sufferers to hear these “two words” (law and gospel) so they can believe the promise that frees us from our past of guilt and shame; frees us from the present bondage of bitterness, insecurity, self-reliance, and fear; and frees us for the joy of worshiping God and serving our neighbor.

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.

The website features sermons from Tullian Tchividjian and others; Tullian’s blog and blog posts by other contributors, such as Knox Seminary professor (and Director of Content) Jono Linebaugh, Elyse Fitzpatrick, and many others. We also have and will continue to produce video conversations with theologians, pastors, culture makers, and counselors. We hope that you will find these resources helpful and of interest, which retrieves classic Reformational law and gospel preaching that is the crux of sixteenth century Lutheran, Anglican, and Reformed traditions. It is also our conviction that the reassertion of the sacramental nature of law and gospel preaching, opens up fruitful space to reconsider the nature and scope of cultural participation and social action for the evangelical church that tends to swing from triumphalism to withdrawal.

My theological understanding of artistic and cultural practice derives from the implications of God’s two words, and so LIBERATE will serve as an important context and continued source for my thinking. In the weeks to come here at Patheos I will be writing about Tullian’s book Jesus + Nothing = Everything and its relevance for a robust theology of cultural life. (For Patheos readers see Tim Dalrymple’s two-part interview with Tullian here and here.)  In addition, upcoming topics at Patheos will include the importance of art for a theology of culture; an analysis of Andrei Tarkovsky’s The Passion of Andrei Rublev; disruptive grace in Vincent Gallo’s Buffalo 66; the grace-filled theology behind the baptism scene in O Brother Where Art Thou?; icons and evangelicals; the unpreached God of Melville’s Moby-Dick; the importance of criticism; and an appreciation of the recent work of Los Angeles-based artist Robyn O’Neil. Some of these posts will also appear over at LIBERATE.

It’s also been a few weeks since my first of two blog posts on Thomas Kinkade’s work, The Dark Light of Thomas Kinkade, generated considerable attention and many comments, quite a few of them negative. I’ve waited to respond in order to offer more thoughtful observations, and I will be doing so in the next few days. Visit my first post on Kinkade this weekend and join the discussion of a topic that continues to receive attention.

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  • Dear Daniel, People don’t want to have “dirty, angry, depressing paintings in our homes.
    Thomas Kinkade brought beauty and inspiration back to the art world.
    Paintings like “Walk of Faith”, “Garden of Prayer”, “New Horizons” are dedicated to our Lord
    Jesus Christ. Please focus on Him and not the man. Thom prayed that his paintings bring
    glory to Jesus Christ. God has touched lives through Thom’s amazing paintings.
    You are joking or mentally ill if you think we want ugly abstract paintings in our
    Christian homes.
    These paintings have helped children through World Vision, Make a Wish, Victory Junction,
    St. Judes hospital, schools, churches, Presley’s Place, Salvation Army etc.
    We will all be praying for you to wake up and see reality. God bless, Steven

    • Daniel A. Siedell

      Steven, I don’t think the alternative to Kinkade is dirty, angry and depressing paintings. Honesty is a better word. I do not doubt that Kinkade’s paintings have helped people, but there are many people who are depressed by those illustrations and many others like it that line the walls of hospitals that are supposed to offer a “break” for weary family but end up doing the very opposite because they are denials of the reality of the human condition, which makes them decidedly unChristian. I find much abstract art very beautiful and I have it in my Christian home.

      • Dear Daniel, I don’t want a painting of a sick person in bed.
        I want the “Prince of Peace” or “A Prayer for Peace” or “Good Shepherd”.
        Thom was not dangerous, I personally knew him for 21 years.
        He signed John 3:16 on the originals and painted tributes to his faith in every painting.
        God bless you, hope you get rid of the abstract art. The majority of people in hospitals
        love Thom’s paintings. You are the 1%. Steven Austen

        • Dear Daniel, What do you think of Thomas Kinkade’s “Via Delorosa” painting?
          Is that real enough for you? How about “Garden of Gethsemane” or “Momartre”, “Gazing”,
          “Liberty Plaza”, “Evening on the Seine”, “Winter’s Dusk”, “Ceasaria” “Tower of David”,
          “Capitola Sunset’, “Portifino”, “Mount Arbel”, “Sunrise” and more?
          How can you talk about a fellow Christian (yes who had trials in his life, we do) and an
          American artist without even looking at these paintings?
          Look at “Pacific Grove” and “Radiant Surf” before you call Thom dishonest and dangerous
          ever again. Jesus Christ knows your heart so please take a look at these paintings.
          Thom painted “The Cross’ for Billy Graham one year ago. Thom loves our Lord.
          stop being negative, yes we fell and now we have God’s Grace.
          God bless, Steven

  • Chris Schrader

    Greetings Daniel. I wanted to send an email directly to you to avoid the blog wars…but I failed to find such a link. In regards to your blogs on Kinkade, let’s ASSUME you are 100% correct in your posts. If you truly believed that Kinkade’s work was so dangerous, hence Kinkade was dangerous, did you ever contact Thomas as a brother-in-Christ to seek to help him? Did you ever seek to follow the restoration/reconciliation principles in Matthew 18:15-20 while Thomas was alive and could possibly benefit from your insights which you apparently sought to derive from Scripture? If Thomas’ paintings were in effect ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’ and he deliberately sought to mislead the flock, while also failing to repent and be reconciled, your blogs MAY be more justified. I only hope you did seek to bring grace into his life by contacting him while he was alive. May we all follow Paul’s commands to the Ephesians as we communicate with each other: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4:29-32, ESV). May the Spirit grant you wisdom on communicating the truth in love.

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