An Open Letter to Tullian Tchividjian, Including a Personal Note from a Sex Abuse Survivor
Pastor Tchividjian, As a blogger who deals with abuse in church and connects with survivors of spiritual and sexual abuse, I wanted to share with you some of the feedback I have received regarding your recent Christian Post article, Tullian Tchividjian Blasts Sovereign Grace Ministries Handling of Sex Abuse Scandal; Prematurely Departs The Gospel Coalition and subsequent apology article, Tullian Tchividjian: Reflections On My ‘Break-Up’ With The Gospel Coalition. In the first Christian Post article, you gave survivors hope. Finally a prominent Christian leader was publicly speaking on their behalf and calling out leaders who defended C.J. Mahaney:
“Give me a break. These people, they’re family. Of course he knew,” Tchividjian told The Christian Post. “C. J. was, for many years, the micro-managing head of the organization and nothing happened under the umbrella of Sovereign Grace that he wasn’t made aware of, so for anyone to say, ‘Well he didn’t know,’ that’s totally naive.”
Tchividjian added that he was “pretty disturbed” when Don Carson, Kevin DeYoung, and Justin Taylor published a statement on TGC website in May 2013 which defended Mahaney, saying that it looked “like the good-old boys club covering their own.”
However, in your apology, there was nothing mentioned about SGM and C.J. Mahaney, nor the sex abuse victims. I’m not a sexual abuse survivor, but it struck me that survivors might feel abandoned again. I wasn’t the only one who was troubled.
This comment came in on Facebook:
This comment came in on Twitter:
As predicted, some sex abuse survivors were disturbed and contacted me. Some of these survivors used to call themselves members of Christ’s body. They once were thriving members of the Body of Christ until someone committed a horrific crime against them.
How could sex abuse happen, under watchful eyes of a church body, a church shepherd?
While victims suffered shame, embarrassment and emotional anguish, it crushed their spirits, too. They felt that the very people who could bring a balm of spiritual comfort, encouragement, and refuge abandoned them — and sometimes even wrongly shamed them or even blamed them.
When church sex abuse survivors hear of other church sex abuse cases, they watch the response of church leaders. They want to see justice for those victims, even though they might not have seen justice in their own cases. They are watching leaders like hawks. Now, maybe it’s not fair that they do so, but I think some of them are trying to make sense of their own abuse story. They ask themselves:
How could I have experienced sex abuse with people connected to the Body of Christ?
Why do I as a victim feel like I am the sinner and the abuser is free?
Where is God in all of this?
The abandonment they feel is a very painful result. However, many of them transfer those feelings of abandonment over to God. They feel this way because if a pastor abandons them spiritually, one who should be so connected to God and His ways, they conclude that God must be abandoning them, too.
If these legitimate questions remain unanswered and are not addressed correctly and soon, some will abandon their faith. They’ve told me so. When sex abuse victims seek spiritual and emotional help from church leaders and don’t get that help, they become re-victimized in another way, by spiritual abuse.
Today at my personal church service, we discussed Romans 12. It brought to mind sex abuse survivors within the Body of Christ, how we are all connected in Him, and how we all have been given His grace and a measure of faith.
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
Without the survivors, we are missing part of the Body. They are that important. We then read the next few sentences about using our gifts appropriately. Now, the following verses show us where the rubber meets the road. What theme bears up the Two Greatest Commandments? Love. What is the best way to respond to someone who is hurt, whose faith has been shipwrecked, whose spirit is fractured? We love them. We stand beside them. We listen to them. We hate what is evil and hold fast to what is good.
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Pastor Tullian, we saw you show love towards the victims in your first response. We watched you abhor the evil suffered by little ones. You demonstrated righteous love — the kind of love that Christ would show. Now, the absence of your words in the public apology regarding SGM has brought confusion to the victims and those who minister to them. I would like to publicly ask you to address this issue for the sake of those hurting sheep who clung to your earlier words.
I don’t want these precious folks to feel abandoned, but that is what has happened.
If you have any doubts as to the necessity of such a public statement, then maybe this will help. I want to share one very personal e-mail with you because this person has become very dear to me. Over a year ago, she e-mailed me concerning another church sex abuse case. She wanted to offer her assistance to me (researching/transcribing) because she wants sex abuse in the church to stop. Over time, she has shared her troubling story with me.
When someone sends me a personal story, it is like gold to me. People who reach down to the most intimate and painful areas of their lives to share their story have given an amazing gift – a gift of trust, of hope, of human vulnerability and nakedness that I find to be so rare.
Please read this e-mail with those eyes of compassion, knowing you have been given a gift. I also want you to know that this dear woman has held onto this story for decades under silence as her generation did not talk about such things. Also, please note that my friend Billie is one who has suffered secondary abuse – spiritual abuse – which has led to a shipwrecked faith. Where would she be today emotionally and spiritually if church leaders had cared for her with the love that Christ commands?
Here is Billie’s personal e-mail to me that she has allowed me to share. I believe her e-mail represents the voices of many sexual abuse victims who have been deeply troubled by the recent sequence of events.
Billie McGregor is a 65-year-old mother of three sons and grandmother to a blended brood of eleven grandies whom she
adores. Having been sexually molested by a first degree relative beginning at the age of 13 who was a Deacon in a small southern Baptist church and law enforcement officer she was rescued at the age 16 after a suicide attempt and removed from her home. At the age of 18 she moved from the south and began her long, difficult road to recovery, which she attributes mostly to her love for her children, grandchildren and the children of her deceased brothers and sister; as well as years of appropriate therapy specifically focused on sexual trauma.
Dear Julie Anne,
When I saw the article on the SSB Facebook page about Tullian Tchividjian’s apology to say that I was left speechless is an understatement. If you recall, I didn’t even respond with a comment. How very unlike me. My powerful, outspoken self was momentarily silent.
I remember sitting here at the keyboard and my tremors began acting up as they do in times of stress. They start in my head and then usually work down to my hands until I have to either take another dose of my meds or lay down and rest for a while.
I took a break and thought perhaps I was just too tired from having had my grandies, Katie and Maggie for a while. Certainly that could have contributed I guess, but even though two active toddlers are a handful, that much love for a few hours brings me so much joy, that rarely do I suffer from an exacerbation of tremors from it, unless we’ve been outside running around.
Once I felt sufficiently rested, I decided that I would just write Tullian myself. Maybe it was time he heard from me. Perhaps he should hear my story and share my pain and feel how disappointed I am for victims among the faith he professes that he did not speak out about them in his apology letter. I even went so far as to get the first line or two written. But then I stopped and I realized: he just really doesn’t get it does he?
For a while he said all the right words, but for me; and I feel confident that for others as well, every bit of good that he may have been attempting came crashing down around our heads by his neglect of mentioning one word about the victims in his apology letter.
He said sorry to Tim Keller. He could have done that privately, which I’m sure he did over the phone. He said sorry to his fellow Christians and all the assorted Gospel Guys for arguing. He offered up a nice, seemingly “Christian”, humble letter.
But to me it was for naught because of his failure to mention his position regarding the victims of sexual molestation by clergy.
Not one word, not one single bloody reference to the little girls and boys, young men and women who have been forcefully violated by warped sexual predators. Not one thought did he offer regarding those children who have had their lives changed forever not only by those who molested them like Nate Morales, but also by those who covered up the crimes of their molestors for years like Grant Layman and to add insult to injury not one word did he speak in defense of the victims who have had to watch for so long while C J Mahaney has bamboozled his way across the stage portraying himself as a “Christian” and being applauded and begged for an encore by the likes of Piper, Carson, Mohler, et al…….Christian scholars? Godly men? Righteousness?
Not one word……..about the people who to me are the most important of all – far more important than Tim Keller or anyone affiliated with any of the rest of those groups…..the victims.
Thank you for being one on whom we can depend upon, Julie Anne. One with a voice and a statement that will always be on behalf of the victims of childhood sexual molestation. Many people who speak against this injustice give me the strength to speak out, but none more than you. Thank you for giving me a voice.
In Sisterhood I shall forever remain……….
Your friend forever,
Please, Pastor Tchividjian, will you please say something for the Billies out there? They need to hear your voice.
Related links: Second Amended Complaint: SGM Sex Abuse Lawsuit
71 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Tullian Tchividjian, Including a Personal Note from a Sex Abuse Survivor”
“I have learned now that while those who speak about one’s miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.”
― C.S. Lewis
We must all speak up for the Billies. I stand with them.
Thank you so much for posting this. I was so elated when Pastor Tullian first started speaking out against TGC and then when I read his apology, I felt so deflated and disheartened. I almost left a comment on his blog, but then decided against it, for whatever reason. I guess it’s not too late, but I do hope he reads this post. He mentioned that a watching world needs to see Christian unity, but in this case, I think what a watching world needs to see even more is someone prominent in the evangelical world call out people like CJ and TGC, and the world especially needs to see someone like him stand up for survivors of abuse. THAT’s what they need more than watching someone espouse unity with folks who continue cover up and fail to call out their own. I am curious to know what his brother thinks about his apology.
JA/Billie – thank you so much for speaking out on Tullian’s seeming recant of his incredible stance he seemed to be taking last week…I join you in the roller coaster ride this feels like….
in addition to seeming to publicly abandon his concerns over the sgm sexual abuse matters, i’d like to raise the other “thread” that he spoke out on in his original criticism – that seems to have been abandoned….
it seems that the gospel coalition has a problem with his theology…it seems that no one spoke to him about this…it seems that TGC’s statement about moving tullian’s blog would lead any reasonable reader to believe that a TGC member flew to florida to discuss this with Tullian – Tullian denies this – and tullian called them out publicly for this PUBLIC statement made by the TGC – he said that NO ONE spoke to him about these matters and that the TGC statement was deceptive, deceitful, and a lie….
did these facts change – it would seem they did not – why on earth is tullian backing off of speaking truth about how TGC is framing this matter….does he fear something? backlash from….”the good old boys club” – his words….
and…in addition to backing off on the matter to which he has DIRECT KNOWLEDGE…he seems to be moving back into the shadows on the sgm sexual abuse matters…WHY!!!!!!!!???????
WHERE ARE THE LEADERS OF THE CHURCH ON THIS?!?!?! i’m just sick over this…..
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Very good points, Maze.
Julie Anne and Billie, thank you, thank you, thank you! There are many of us “Billies” out there everywhere. Not only was I molested by my older brother when I was four (for which I was blamed and beaten by my grandmother), but as a teen, I was sexually assaulted by a deacon, inside church property, and the pastor merely swept it under the rug. WHEN will child sexual abuse survivors EVER see justice???
With the “Good Ol’ Boys” mentality and apology tours like the one by Tullian, we will only be futher harmed. His apology just negated everything he said the week before in his post against TGC.
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Shortly after Tullian posted, I sent him this thank you email:
Dear Pastor Tchividjian :
I am a mom of one of the plaintiffs from the SGM lawsuit. My daughter, Renee, was abused by a teenaged boy at CLC. We are the family that a CLC pastor directly said to us, “Don’t call the police”.
I just wanted to thank you personally for taking such a public stand for the victims of sex abuse and cover-up from SGM. You wrote with a common sense and frankness that I think has been lost to many of the Evangelical leaders today. I have been appalled at the responses and lack of response to the SGM sex abuse scandal by men in Christian leadership, whom in the past, I have respected.
In the secular corporate world a scandal such as what has been outlined in our Legal Complaint, would be handled with much greater promptness and due diligence to eradicate the systemic problems. Instead many top Christian leaders have ignored the victims and protected the very men accused of this 30+ yr. pattern of cover up — legalistically hiding behind “proof texts” on how to handle accusing Pastors or what one scripture states about suing, rather than rushing to the aid of the trampled upon sex abuse victims. I think we all know what Jesus would do!
Thank you for standing up for the victims.
I still stand by this. However, did TGC lie or not about how they gave him the boot? A good friend, such as he describes Tim Keller in this apology, would not treat him in that way.
Thank you JA for helping me to view Tullian’s apology in a whole new light. I left a comment on his apology on his blog:
with a link back to this post. It’s currently awaiting moderation.
Thanks for sharing the email you sent, Pam. You’ve done well in helping us to understand your world and that is important for us as a Body to hear.
I appreciate what you do for sex abuse victims, coming directly from your family’s experience. We need to learn from you and make changes to protect our kids.
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BTW, here’s what I wrote on Tullian’s apology post:
“The saddest thing about all of this is that, because of the public visibility of those involved, this conflict gained a lot of attention. The reason this grieves me so deeply is because the Bible says God wants the way Christians love one another to be a visual model of the way God loves us. He wants us, in other words, to live our lives together in such a way that we demonstrate the good news of reconciliation before the watching world.”
Reconciliation can only happen when all parties involved acknowledge their sin, ask forgiveness, and repent. The church leaders who covered up the sexual abuse–where is their repentance? Sometimes loving like Jesus means fashioning a whip, turning over tables, and driving abusers out of the temple of God. Sometimes Christian love requires a Nathan rebuking a David crying, “You are the man!”
For reactions from sexual abuse victims on your apology (in which there is not one word about these trampled people) see: https://spiritualsoundingboard.com/2014/06/02/an-open-letter-to-tullian-tchividjian-including-a-personal-note-from-a-sex-abuse-survivor/
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Thanks, Ellen. Good words!
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It takes a while but eventually after so many hurts, bait and switches in position, we learn not to trust the celebs in Christendom. We get our hopes up…thinking oh! they get it and are standing up to evil in their midst….only to have that dashed. It has happened quite a bit over the years.
This is not going to be popular here but my experience is so vast in this department that the minute I hear someone is a “pastor” I am automatically suspicious of them. I know what it takes to make a living as a pastor. It takes followers paying a tithe. And eventually, pragmatism has to take over. What is the answer? Well for me it was: Jesus Christ and other believers who did not need to make a living off Jesus’ name. It has been the only safe path for me. And I am only speaking for myself.
“We get our hopes up…thinking oh! they get it and are standing up to evil in their midst….only to have that dashed. It has happened quite a bit over the years.”
I was surprised to see this tweet from Tullian today, but maybe I shouldn’t be.
“Tullian Tchividjian @PastorTullian · 19h
It’s no small thing for a pastor to serve the same church for 25 yrs. Congratulations to my friend @jackngraham and @Prestonwood! Love you!”
I don’t know about their relationship-if there is love involved or not. (The way the words -love you- and -my dear friend/my good friend- are thrown around by some of the celeb professing Christian leaders it’s hard to gauge sincerity. Everyone can’t be your dear, dear, good friend, ya know?) I also don’t know much about Prestonwood, Jack Graham, Langworthy and the abuses other than reading about it in passing.
Tullian needs better discernment and should take a moment before tweeting love to someone involved in a church abuse scandal and accused of not reporting an abuser and reflect on how his professed love for such a person may affect others.
Sorry to go off topic, JA, but here is another link that summarizes. I know you have a post or two as well:
“Boz Tchividjian rattled the evangelical world in 2013, when he declared that the problem of child sex abuse in evangelicalism is “worse” than the problem in the Roman Catholic Church. The grandson of Billy Graham, a former child sex crimes prosecutor for the state of Florida, and now a law professor at Liberty University, Tchividjian has both the public profile to hold an audience, and the professional experience to back up his assertions.
Tchividjian is not the only prominent evangelical speaking out. “Catholic and Baptist leaders have more similarities than differences on the child-abuse front,” wrote Robert Parnham, executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics. “Both have harmed church members and the Christian witness by not swiftly addressing predatory clergy and designing reliable protective systems.””
“When allegations surfaced that Langworthy may have molested at least one boy, leaders at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Texas (one of the largest in the SBC), including the Senior Pastor (and future SBC President) Jack Graham, took the allegations seriously enough to fire Langworthy in 1989. Yet they did not report him to the police, although state law at the time required it.”
Read more here:
Billie – Thank you for allowing Julie Anne to post your response. You and your story are important!
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I am so grateful to all who have had the courage to stand up and to raise your voices against all of this mayhem and injustice. I do not have the words to express the depth of my sorrow for what you have endured, especially concerning the revictimization within the place that should be the House of Prayer. I’ve interacted with some of you, and I have been deeply honored by that. Thank you for helping so many others find their own voices by lending yours to them — and to us and to me.
Zach Hoag over at The Naunce takes Tchividjian to task for his apology in his post, Pastor Tullian & The Myth of The Watching World: http://tinyurl.com/nc3xlmy
“In fact, this whole notion of “the watching world” being so scandalized by intra-church controversy, online or otherwise, is a total myth. It’s a poorly motivated attempt at maintaining religious appearances and keeping peace, not reforming religious abuses and making peace.”
The other post that called Tchividjian out was Brent Detwiler’s post: Take 2 on Tullian Tchividjian:http://tinyurl.com/psbj9nv
“I am not impressed with Tullian’s theological explanation for his apology. Actually, I am concerned.
…Personally, I don’t think his charges are unfounded because he doesn’t withdraws his charges. Tullian does not ask forgiveness for making false accusations in his apology. I think he would if guilty of libeling Carson, Keller or Peays.
…While Tullian does not retract this statement in his apology, he does not affirm this statement in his apology. He should have. As a result, victims are feeling deserted once again.
…I hope Tullian will continue to speak out on behalf of all the victims of sexual abuse in SGM by holding C.J. Mahaney and his enablers accountable in a very bold and public fashion. It must be done.
I also hope he holds Keller, Carson, and Peays accountable if his charges are just because they are serous! By the way, why haven’t any of these men offered an apology to Tullian of any kind?”
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Ellen, what you said is very good!! Thank you for saying it.
I am very worried about how this is beginning to look. Tullian needs to remain a voice for the voiceless, & “adoring” Tim Keller or any other mere man is rebellion against Christ, our only Lord & King.
Traci said “He mentioned that a watching world needs to see Christian unity, but in this case, I think what a watching world needs to see even more is someone prominent in the evangelical world call out people like CJ and TGC, and the world especially needs to see someone like him stand up for survivors of abuse. THAT’s what they need more than watching someone espouse unity with folks who continue cover up and fail to call out their own.”
Bravo, Traci. You put that perfectly.
It is essential to PRIORITISE THE NEEDS OF THE VICTIMS. That is the key thing that people like Tullian don’t get.
Billie — thank you.
Julie Anne — thank you.
Tullian — are you listening? Did someone twist your arm behind your back and put mud in your ears?
And Tullian, if you are surprised about the intensity of outrage over your apology, then let me point out something to you. A Christian leader who publicly says something that promotes justice for victims of abuse, but then doesn’t put all his strength to the wheel, is going to cop LOTS of anger from victims. Why? Because victims are out there craving even a drop of water in the desert, and even drop of water from a well known leader seems like a whole gallon. Their hope rises. The anticipation of relief. The crushed desire rises from the ashes. And when the leader fails to deliver, or worse, backs down and betrays them, their outrage is extreme. And FULLY understandable.
We’ve given up long ago hoping for relief from the CJs, Pipers, Doug Phillipses of this world. But our hope rises from the sink hole when someone like Tullian says a word that takes up our cause.
So, be aware, all Christian leaders! There are no half measures in being victim-advocates. It’s all or nothing. That’s how God does it, and that’s how Christians should be doing it as well.
Ellen Mandeville, Tullian’s blog now shows your comment. Good on you for persisting with him. I’ve submitted a couple of comments there myself which are waiting in moderation.
So, be aware, all Christian leaders! There are no half measures in being victim-advocates. It’s all or nothing. That’s how God does it, and that’s how Christians should be doing it as well.
This is just what I was getting at with my comment on the other thread about going outside the camp.
Tullian cannot eat his cake and have it too on this. He can’t say “stand for the victims!” (until it actually costs him something like fellowship or influence or identity with the team. Thank God it doesn’t mean the stake and flames in this age.) and then turn around and say “we’re all on the same team here!” Obviously that is not true. If that was true, where are the other voices and why does Tullian feel he has to chastise them publicly and with righteous indignation if they are all on the same “team”?
Who wins, Tullian, when you set your hand to the plow and then turn back? What does the watching world see when they see that?
This is my comment on Tullian’s blog:
“I admire the candor of this post and the wisdom of what you say about grace. But Paul, in Ephesians, also wrote: “Don’t participate in the fruitless works of darkness, but instead, expose them.” (5:11) One thing you certainly do not need to apologize for (not that you have) is exposing the awful mess at Sovereign Grace Ministries to more people. You are one of the pitifully few Christian leaders to speak out forcefully against the apparent child molestations and cover-up of same that has occurred at some of the churches under their umbrella.
I echo the concerns of some of the other commenters. Is love only shown when speaking in gentle tones, or do “works of darkness” sometimes necessitate shouting? I’m not talking about defending oneself, but defending genuinely helpless victims of evil.
I am so tired of Christian leaders speaking publicly about how much they love, adore, admire, venerate, etc., other Christian leaders. Mr. Tchividjian, this is the same rhetoric used by C.J. Mahaney’s friends in the letters you so rightly criticized. Was Tim Keller so wounded by your saying that he was wrong about something that you feel you must praise him to the skies? It’s all part of this aura we place around Christian celebrities. And God forbid we call out our friends on something.
I am in no way equating you with the adorers of Mahaney. They seem to have lost all perspective. And when they are criticized, they suddenly become preachers of “niceness.” I’m afraid that more and more believers are equating their faith with niceness. All things being equal, niceness is always to be preferred. But sometimes all things are not equal.”
Although I wish he had explicitly said that he was not apologizing for criticizing certain people for defending Mahaney, and thereby minimizing the sexual abuse victims, I *do* think, after reading his post several more times after I commented, that he was only apologizing for defending himself concerning the facts about his leaving TGC, although the two matters may be connected, whether or not he thinks so. (Detwiler makes a good case that he didn’t even need to apologize for *that*.) Maybe I’m being uncharacteristically optimistic, but I suspect that he didn’t mention the victims because they had nothing to do with what he was apologizing for. If this is true, I hope he writes another post that makes this clear.
Note: JA changed link to direct to original Boz article.
Jeff B – I have thought the same thing, but I have been watching the response immediately after he posted it and the response has been loudly – WHAT ABOUT THE ABUSE?
With so many people coming to the same conclusions, his apology needs clarification. It’s simple to do and a person who cares about victims of abuse would do it after this much pushback. If he doesn’t, then I have serious questions about what is really important to him.
I haven’t read the comments posted on TT’s blog, but have you noticed any pushback for his “fans”. I doubt it.
I’m posting my comment in moderation here in response to “pushback for his ‘fans'”:
Tullian has confused people with his apology because it seems to contradict his statements of standing arm in arm with Boz for and with the victims. And actually, his response sounds more like the response of someone immediately after a shame session by an abuser. Brent Detweiler speculated that perhaps Tim Keller had nothing to do with the article about the TGC statement about doctrinal issues between them, and perhaps TGC used his name. Perhaps Keller felt that Tullian failed to check facts and failed to come directly to him to keep matters private. That is another tactic that Christian bullies often use to keep people from shouting from the rooftops what goes on in secret. Victims who are watching intently know this verbal tactic of manipulation quite well. I think that this is what concerns them most at this point.
Barbara and zooey111,
Thanks for your kind words. For some reason my first comment never appeared. Perhaps I did something wrong. When I submitted it again, then it appeared and it has stayed.
Barbara, thanks for helping me to understand why Tullian’s apology feels like a betrayal to victims of abuse: “A Christian leader who publicly says something that promotes justice for victims of abuse, but then doesn’t put all his strength to the wheel, is going to cop LOTS of anger from victims.” Not being a victim of sexual nor spiritual abuse, I didn’t fully understand why people were feeling gutted over Tullian’s apology. Now I understand better. Thank you!
Excellent points, Cindy. Knowing how TGC operates, it makes one wonder if TT was strong-armed into making this apology statement. Just when we thought someone was going to stand on his 2 feet against the TGC machine, this happens. Ugh
For so many key church leaders in TGC to maintain this staunch front of silence about the SGM abuse case and protecting CJ should make us realize how powerful and influential this group is. This is all the more reason for us to blast how ungodly these men are. When doctrine comes before precious lives, we have a Pharisee problem. I am sick of this nonsense.
So… Barbara, I copied your message to Tullian and pasted it into a reply over on his blog post apology: http://www.pastortullian.com/2014/05/30/reflections-on-my-break-up-with-the-gospel-coalition/#comment-15791
I hope you don’t mind! It’s so true that putting the needs of the victims before all else, i.e. before tweaked noses of church leaders, is the right thing to do.
TT’s mother commented that she is so proud of him and loves him dearly. Tullian’s mother is also Boz Tchividjian’s mother. You really think Boz is standing up against powerful people, or does he just make it look like he is doing so? Perhaps it’s a matter of good cop, bad cop.
It’s conferences, book deals, speaking engagements. If you want to believe it’s about doctrine, instead of money, power, and control of the laity by the clergy, I can’t convince you.
The question above “How can abuse happen in Christian Churches?” has been a question that puzzles me.
In my view, churches where the Love of Christ isn’t emphasized or embraced or even taught, or taught incorrectly, is where much of the abuse you are talking about.
If we love God or love each other, it is an impossibility to purposely commit the kind of abuse you are talking about. (and that would include Spiritual Abuse)
A Montana Hyper-Blogger on May 27, admitted to me on his thread, that he repetitively reminds his Congregation Multiple times every single service of their “unworthiness”. I suggested to him that centering a Ministry around “worthiness” is nothing more than an unbalance view of scriptures bordering Spiritual Abuse.
Abusive Pastor’s like to call it “tough love” when in reality the one’s that embrace an unbalanced interpretation of scriptures and force feed their views, is abusive with no evidence of Love.
I now question my former Pastor’s Love for God and our Church because he was rough like we were part of his hunt or sport and that he didn’t come clean about his Stealth Doctrine when he resigned.
A Church embraces the Law above Christ will lack the Love of God and will be vulnerable to all kinds of Abuses.
Because I network behind the scenes with Boz and others whose ministry is to defend victims of abuse, I feel I can confidently say that Boz would and does stand up against powerful people when it comes to sex abuse.
I have not seen him back down on this and he has had strong words about the SGM situation.
I recently commented about something very similar on the previous thread. My comment was broad and is in three parts in three comments that follow from this one. I agree with you.
Please pray with me and everyone else here, I’m sure, that TT himself is actually reading the comments under his apology post and that they plant some good questions in his mind. Pray that he receives them in the right spirit and that he grows in heart and mind to understand the vantage of the victim. Pray that he finds the wisdom in the comments that note that he may have left too many elements unsaid and he might actually understand that should now be able to relate to the victim many times over in his dealings with TCG.
The short of my view (discussed in greater length in the linked comment) is that many good pastors with good intentions slip into abusive patterns without realizing it. TT is in a good place to consider where he now finds himself in such a process and what many believe he still needs to address more thoroughly,
perhaps.Edited. Forget the perhaps!
If we Love God and Love each other (whether we are a Preacher or not) we wouldn’t be applying abuse or lying to Congregations or verbal retaliating or shunning those that don’t embrace Hyper-Theologies.
I think there are a lot of abusers who embrace the Law above Christ. I’m sure many abusers don’t look at it that way not realizing their actions say otherwise. In the mean time, they are guiding themselves and their congregations toward rebellion.
Churches are lacking the kind of Love that Christ commanded us to have described in 1 Corinthians 13:13 “Now these three remain, faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love”, otherwise abuse wouldn’t be occurring.
I will pray for TT.
JA – I agree. If he doesn’t clarify his statement to say that he in no way withdraws what he said about Mahaney and SGM, it would be very disappointing. He was so vehement in his interview with the Christian Post that it’s hard to believe that he would change his mind and now think that they are innocent of all charges, no matter what the Big Boys have or have not said to him since then. If it’s just fear, then that’s another story, and a very sad one. I hope his brother speaks to him about this.
A watching world?? WTH? Most of us outsiders have never even heard of these dudes. I certainly hadn’t before I happened upon this blog and Wartburg Watch recently. (Long story.)
No, Pastor Tullian. The world isn’t watching. Yours is a minuscule pond. We still haven’t even figured out who the big fish are. And rest assured we aren’t watching them. 😉
“I agree. If he doesn’t clarify his statement to say that he in no way withdraws what he said about Mahaney and SGM, it would be very disappointing.”
That might help with a few people but I think he has already blown it. Anything he says now will seem like another scripted piece. He will always have his fan base like they all do. But the larger audience he could have reached is mostly put off. I keep thinking of those 100 comments within a few hours of the T4G facebook statement on defending Mahaney. They took it down in no time not expecting that response from people. Yet, they have kept their fan base.
“He was so vehement in his interview with the Christian Post that it’s hard to believe that he would change his mind and now think that they are innocent of all charges, no matter what the Big Boys have or have not said to him since then. If it’s just fear, then that’s another story, and a very sad one. I hope his brother speaks to him about this.”
You know, there are other events years back that lend some insight into him. Has anyone read up on what happened after the merger with Coral Ridge and how that played out. Tullian is a power player, too
It seems like a lot of it is about the money rather than the people. 5 years ago were led to stop tithing to the church. What freedom! We now give to the rescue mission, to people who are down on their luck, and to missionaries who we have known and trusted for years. Again, what freedom.
A comment I submitted yesterday morning on the Tullian Tchividjian apology blog remains blocked, to wit:
May I respectfully submit that you are, in effect, apologizing to the priest and Levite who ignored the plight of the man who was robbed, beaten, stripped naked and left half dead on the road to Jericho? Where are the prominent pastors who are willing to play the role of the good Samaritan to those whose lives have been devastated because church leaders were not there to protect them from the most egregious kinds of harm, or even to do anything after the fact? If you will become proactive in the cause of even just the most vulnerable of the Evangelical Churches’ victims, that would be a true demonstration of Christians loving one another.
Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:18 ESV)
Gary, that is a fantastic thought…spot on….there it is….Jesus gets it….hopefully convicting…frankly, oddly comforting to me…
I’m glad that you responded to old Walter. My comment didn’t get approved. Again, I now question whether Tullian actually reads the comments himself or whether he has someone else screen them for him.
So… while Tullian’s apology didn’t come across to me as reneging on his statement regarding church leadership covering up sexual abuse, I’m coming to understand why it does to victims of sexual and spiritual abuse. From Barbara Roberts in the comment section of the post I linked above:
“Tullian — are you listening? Did someone twist your arm behind your back and put mud in your ears?
“And Tullian, if you are surprised about the intensity of outrage over your apology, then let me point out something to you. A Christian leader who publicly says something that promotes justice for victims of abuse, but then doesn’t put all his strength to the wheel, is going to cop LOTS of anger from victims. Why? Because victims are out there craving even a drop of water in the desert, and even drop of water from a well known leader seems like a whole gallon. Their hope rises. The anticipation of relief. The crushed desire rises from the ashes. And when the leader fails to deliver, or worse, backs down and betrays them, their outrage is extreme. And FULLY understandable.
“We’ve given up long ago hoping for relief from the CJs, Pipers, Doug Phillipses of this world. But our hope rises from the sink hole when someone like Tullian says a word that takes up our cause.
“So, be aware, all Christian leaders! There are no half measures in being victim-advocates. It’s all or nothing. That’s how God does it, and that’s how Christians should be doing it as well.”
“May I respectfully submit that you are, in effect, apologizing to the priest and Levite who ignored the plight of the man who was robbed, beaten, stripped naked and left half dead on the road to Jericho? ”
What a great way to put it.
We appear to be living in the age of what I am proposing to call the Jericho Road church. It isn’t just that so called pastors fail to care for or even notice victims of the most egregious kinds of abuses. By way of example, Wheaton College had a pedophile professor. According to the accounts available to me, when the professor got caught, little if any attempt was made to reach out to the perp’s financially and emotionally devastated wife. Some of the faculty did, however, go to some lengths to support and minister to the pedophile through the criminal prosecution proceedings. The College even trumpets the fact here: http://tinyurl.com/mg3bakw. It is as though Wheaton College, along with Evangelicalism in general, believes that the good Samaritan ought to have ministered to the robbers instead of the man left half dead on the road to Jericho.
Would that people like Tullian Tchividjian (not to mention the professors at Wheaton College) would come to see that unless and until Evangelicalism begins to live out the example of the good Samaritan, it is doubtful whether the movement can make any legitimate claim to being Christian. C.f. Mt. 25:31-46 re: the separation of the sheep from the goats.
Yesterday, I tweeted and tagged Pastor Tchividjian linking to this blog post. I’m fairly certain he mans his Twitter account (in looking at his tweets). And he has tweeted since then, so there’s a good chance that he has read this post.
I don’t know if you noticed Diane’s note above, but I find the tweet from Tullian Tchividjian to Jack Graham, congratulating him on 25 years in at Prestonwood disturbing. It just rubs me wrong to celebrate 25 years of “ministry” when during that time, children were sexually abused.
Cindy K and Gary W,
I posted your blocked responses over on Tullian’s apology post: http://www.pastortullian.com/2014/05/30/reflections-on-my-break-up-with-the-gospel-coalition/#comment-16027
I actually posted it twice, the first time stated that it was awaiting moderation. I had links in it, so thinking that that may be what caused it to get caught in moderation, I posted again w/o links and my reply appeared right away.
Yesterday, I tagged Pastor Tchividjian in a tweet linking to this blog post. It was retweeted several times. I checked and Tchividjian has sent out tweets since that time and his Twitter account appears to be manned by him. So, there is a good likelihood that he has read this article.
I’m not sure if anyone read Diane’s comment above, but I found it disturbing to see Tchividjian congratulating Jack Graham on his 25 years of service at Prestonwood Baptist, knowing that there were children abused under his watch. Would we be celebrating Sandusky’s Penn State football career? Can you imagine? How can one celebrate a 25 years of “good ministry” when abusers are not reported and children are sexually abused? What exactly are we celebrating? Something is surely amiss here. (Not saying Graham abused, but abuse occurred under his watch, just like CJ Mahaney.)
Here is the tweet I sent out:
Good for you, Ellen.
Fascinating. Thank you. It will be interesting to see if your comment containing our blocked comments stays up. I won’t be surprised if you get blocked now, although it does not appear that TT, in comparison to what we have come to expect from the T4G etc. crowd, is being rather liberal in permitting non-supportive comments.
Ellen! What a cheeky thing to do! You didn’t need to do that, but I’m certainly hopeful that someone will read it and will think about it.
You know, I did comment back to Walter about something else, but I don’t know why that one didn’t post, either. He was saying that we should note who the real enemy is (TGC). I said that it’s not helpful to think of them as enemies, either. We are members of one another (hopefully), and we’re just working out how we’re all supposed to fit together. I don’t know what was uncharitable or insignificant about that comment from anyone’s viewpoint. But I haven’t seen it pop up.
This stuff is all so weird.
Cindy, maybe Cheeky Woman should become my new online name! 😉
As a child, rightly or wrongly, I rarely felt listened to. Not having your comments posted, for whatever reason, irks me. So, since my comments were posting, I decided to post those that weren’t. 🙂
I’m currently reading the second amended complaint filed by eleven plaintiffs against SGM, which I accessed from Boz Tchividjian’s “Where Are The Voices?” post: http://netgrace.org/where-are-the-voices-the-continued-culture-of-silence-and-protection-in-american-evangelicalism/
Words fail me.
What I’m reading in this complaint against SGM gives a whole new meaning to toxic community. If anyone ever wonders if The Enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy or that The Enemy masquerades as an angel of light, just have them read the complaint: peterlumpkins.typepad.com/files/second-amended.pdf
The link to the 2nd Amended complaint is posted at the bottom of this current article. I always like to keep it handy on related articles so people can have a reality check as to the extent of abuse going on in the hierarchy of CJ’s regime.
That’s well done, Julie!
Weird. My latest comment disappeared from Tullian’s apology post and one of Cindy K’s comments appeared. But not the two that I quoted from above… Giving the benefit of the doubt, perhaps the blog is experiencing technical difficulties. Here’s what I had posted, but is since gone:
There are claims over at http://www.SpiritualSoundingBoard.com on the “An Open Letter to Tullian Tchividjian Including a Personal Note from a Sex Abuse Survivor” that replies on this post are not making it past moderation. Indeed, my very first reply never has been posted, but my query about it was. Since then, my other replies have appeared right away. Why are first time responders to this blog not making it through the moderation process?
Here are the posts which haven’t yet appeared:
From Cindy K:
“Tullian has confused people with his apology because it seems to contradict his statements of standing arm in arm with Boz for and with the victims. And actually, his response sounds more like the response of someone immediately after a shame session by an abuser. Brent Detweiler speculated that perhaps Tim Keller had nothing to do with the article about the TGC statement about doctrinal issues between them, and perhaps TGC used his name. Perhaps Keller felt that Tullian failed to check facts and failed to come directly to him to keep matters private. That is another tactic that Christian bullies often use to keep people from shouting from the rooftops what goes on in secret. Victims who are watching intently know this verbal tactic of manipulation quite well. I think that this is what concerns them most at this point.”
From Gary W:
“May I respectfully submit that you are, in effect, apologizing to the priest and Levite who ignored the plight of the man who was robbed, beaten, stripped naked and left half dead on the road to Jericho? Where are the prominent pastors who are willing to play the role of the good Samaritan to those whose lives have been devastated because church leaders were not there to protect them from the most egregious kinds of harm, or even to do anything after the fact? If you will become proactive in the cause of even just the most vulnerable of the Evangelical Churches’ victims, that would be a true demonstration of Christians loving one another.”
Well, of course your comment in which you publish Cindy’s and my blocked comments is gone. For these rock star “pastors” to succeed, truth must ever take a backseat to image and reputation. I am not entirely giving up on TT, but I will be watching for actions, not listening for words.
In the meantime, we can only grieve that a brother of Boz Tchividjian and grandson of Billy Graham is choosing to silence the voices of those who would speak for those whose very souls have been emotionally and spiritually robbed, battered, laid naked and left to wither and die by TT’s colleagues.
You asked where are the prominent pastors who are willing to play the role of the good Samaritan to those whose lives have been devastated. Have you listened to any of Tullian Tchividjian’s sermons? This is where doctrine does matter. Tullian preaches a Redemptive-Historical instead of a Grammatical hermeneutic. The good Samaritian isn’t us, it’s Jesus. It’s never “what would Jesus do”, it’s “what has Jesus done”.
Tullian’s apology has earned him the “godly response” award from his fellow pastors. This is how they make a living. Unless another court verdict is forthcoming, this will be swept under the rug.
No, I haven’t listened to any of TT’s sermons. What you describe, though, sounds an awful lot like the doctrine of imputed righteousness, according to which Jesus can only work righteousness for us, not in us. We get the benefit of being counted righteous, but that’s just a legal fiction. Surely our Lord deals in truth, not fiction. My personal belief is that our Lord is about the business of imparting, not imputing, His righteous. It may be objected that we are such worms that righteousness simply cannot be imparted to us, but in that case God is not omnipotent.
Mom had her appt today with the surgeon. They said that even though they got all the cancer, it was the most aggressive kind, so beginning on the 15th of this month, she will undergo radiation treatments for 45 days to try to prevent it from returning and going into her bloodstream. No chemo unless it returns. Please continue to remember her in your prayers.
My husband and I drove right past TT’s church last night, about the third time we’ve driven by there. He was like a kid. “Oh look! There’s the Coral Ridge Old Navy… ” (Then insert the name of any business with the name Coral Ridge in the title.)
I’m glad that he found that amusing, because it lightened the mood for me. I half felt like pulling up and going in to find out if someone there screened his blog and what constituted a publishable comment. (But then, I thought of that guy in Memphis who pickets across the street from Adrian Rogers old church with his sign that says “Pickles Have Souls!”)
Waiting, I’m glad that your mom had a good follow up appointment. I bet she will be happy to see you visit towards the end of the treatments. But I pray that she remembers your support after she’s finished with them and appreciates your help.
This Tullian Tchividjian was just interviewed the other night on TBN’s “Praise the Lord” show. The topic was grace, I believe.
If you do a google search, you will see that TT has been on TBN before as far back as 2008.
If you have ever checked out TT’s schedule, he has very little time to be a pastor of his flock. Kevin DeYoung has said that the elders at his church made the decision that because of blogs, books, and conferences DeYoung didn’t have time to be involved in pre-marital counseling.
“May I respectfully submit that you are, in effect, apologizing to the priest and Levite who ignored the plight of the man who was robbed, beaten, stripped naked and left half dead on the road to Jericho?”
Amen, Gary!! That is the best response yet!!
“My personal belief is that our Lord is about the business of imparting, not imputing, His righteous. It may be objected that we are such worms that righteousness simply cannot be imparted to us, but in that case God is not omnipotent.”
And again, a big “amen”, Gary!!
Debbie, You might find this interesting. It is simply another view to consider.