Initial edition compiled by brad/futuristguy; link selections, issue analysis, and opinions expressed are his own.
This resource bibliography contains links from bloggers, survivor bloggers, and mainstream Christian media. It is not intended to be comprehensive. Instead, the majority of links are to the following sources. They have done multiple posts on related subjects – often including the posting of breaking news – and so can offer greater context and continuity.
- Christian Post
- Christianity Today
- The Wartburg Watch/Dee Parsons and Deb Martin
- Warren Throckmorton
- Spiritual Sounding Board/Julie Anne Smith
Other sources include: The Aquila Report, Inquisitr, Janet Mefferd Today, Phoenix Preacher/Michael Newnham, and The Washington Post.
Additional links, notes, summaries, and/or timeline information may be added to these listings if opportunity allows – and without notice unless it is some kind of substantial correction, addition, or revision. If you find items that need correcting, please note them in the comments. Thank you – brad/futuristguy.
* * * AN INTRODUCTORY NOTE ~ MARCH 19, 2016 * * *
Because of my involvement with recovery movement ministries in the 1980s and 1990s especially, I’m an advocate of prevention so that less harm takes place in the future, and problems that haven’t gotten too deeply developed can be intercepted before the damage gets exponential. But I also realize that the reality of vigilance required for prevention often requires us to go through problems and develop resilience first. Otherwise, our theories seldom get practical enough to match the reality of needs.
So, I hope this resource bibliography helps us learn what we can from this situation as a case study. I don’t see this as about assigning guilt, but about learning the lessons woven herein now so we do better in preventing similar problems later. The way I see it, this can bring about a “redemptive edge” to what’s otherwise clearly been an extremely hurtful situation.
I also hope this resource post – and particularly the summaries, analysis, and notes – will help readers and researchers process this difficult situation and see the interconnection/system aspects of it with greater discernment. What makes this particular situation so complicated is not only what happened that should not have on the personal level – but, at the system level, what was NOT said that should have been voluntarily disclosed or vigorously asked, and what was NOT done but could have and should have been.
Systems didn’t work as they could have or should have – but then, many people in roles of responsibility were not being given full and honest information. So, opinions and decisions were bound to be severely flawed. The more recent disclosures of this past week shed significant light on the system issues by filling in many of these earlier gaps and lapses. They call on us to revisit the partial facts as we had them, thinking they were the full facts, and work to reinterpret them now in light of far more complete information. May we go forward with greater wisdom and graciousness …
* * * NOTES ON SYSTEM ISSUES * * *
The following blurb originally appeared in the Spiritual Sounding Board post of March 17, 2016, on Tullian Tchividjian and Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church Discussion: “He demanded that people be loyal to him.” It has been edited slightly here.
The following resource list includes posts from both bloggers and mainstream Christian media, and is not meant to be exhaustive. The initial blog posts, news reports, and public Facebook posts were selected and annotated by “brad/futuristguy” to help give historical perspective and current analysis on this situation. Links may be added here periodically without additional notice.
I see at least four concerns emerging from this situation with Tullian Tchividjian that have wider implications for the Church:
(1) The PERSONAL stories of those who suffered harm, and advocating for their healing and, when appropriate, the making of amends. This also includes the healing of a congregation in the aftermath of dysfunction, disappointment, and grief; not just the individuals who may have been directly victimized by abusive actions.
(2) The PROFESSIONAL aspects of fiduciary duty, namely, what “clergy sexual misconduct” is, why should it be considered “non-consensual” due to differential power dynamics, and how it figures into potential legal issues.
(3) The THEOLOGICAL principles and practices surrounding the paradox of restoration with robust repentance, versus the potential misuse of Law/Gospel that offers so-called restoration without a sufficiently demonstrated trajectory of transformation.
(4) The ORGANIZATIONAL system for doing due diligence in hearing the accounts of apparent victims of harmful situations, in evaluating the character and behavior of potential leaders and other public figures in the Church, and in overseeing/mentoring those who are in a repentance trajectory.
All of these issues relate to significant, practical questions for Christian communities. In selecting these resource links, I generally give preference to posts that offer primary sources (statements, Tweets, screenshots). Also, when there are posts on similar topics/time-frames, I usually choose the article or set of articles that I believe will offer a more comprehensive view – especially when any/all of the above four issues are involved. ~ brad/futuristguy
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Related Resources and Organizational Websites
Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (CRPC). Member of Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). Senior Pastor Rob Pacienza.
Willow Creek Presbyterian Church (WCPC). Member of PCA. Senior Pastor Kevin Labby. Note: WCPC is not related to Willow Creek Community Church in Illinois.
Book of Church Order (BCO) for the Presbyterian Church in America: Main page, and BCO 2015 PDF. This is relevant for its sections dealing with disciplinary processes and procedures for members of the presbytery. According to the main page link, the current version from Sixth Edition 2015 Reprint incorporates all changes up through the PCA’s General Assembly in June 2015. That makes the edition at the above link the applicable one in effect during the “deposition” (removal of pastoral credentials) for Mr. Tchividjian at the meeting of the South Florida Presbyterian on August 11, 2015.
Liberate was, according to the Wikipedia article on Tullian Tchividjian, “a resource ministry that held an annual conference, and published music, books, a website, and a daily radio program on Moody Radio, also called LIBERATE. Liberate was closed indefinitely after Tchividjian’s resignation from Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church.” The site – liberate.org – was part of the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, and is not available on the internet archive Wayback Machine.
LIBERATE (often typed in all caps) was, according to the Wikipedia article on Tullian Tchividjian, “a resource ministry that held an annual conference, and published music, books, a website, and a daily radio program on Moody Radio, also called LIBERATE. Liberate was closed indefinitely after Tchividjian’s resignation from Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church.” The website – liberate.org – was part of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church from 2012-2015, and attempts to find that on the internet archive Wayback Machine. in 2016 forward to CRPC’s website. But if you look at this April 11, 2015, Wayback Machine link for CRPC (one of the last captures from that site before Tullian Tchividjian resigned), you can research LIBERATE links and details for 2012-2015. [This paragraph edited to update Wayback Machine information and include researchable link 12-31-2016.]
Liberate Network, Inc. A relaunch in February 2016 of the defunct Liberate organization. Five of the nine board members resigned March 16, 2016, after additional disclosures of inappropriate relationships and other issues related to Tullian Tchividjian. On March 18, the remaining board members reported they have canceled the forthcoming 2017 Liberate conference and will shut down the organization. A list of the original nine members on the Board of Directors is available at this post from Warren Throckmorton.
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Key Events 2009: April 12 – Merger on Easter Sunday of New City Presbyterian Church, where Tullian Tchividjian was founding pastor, with Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, and installation of Mr. Tchividjian as Senior Pastor.
September 20 – Vote on whether to retain Mr. Tchividjian as Senior Pastor; a majority voted in his favor.
May 5, 2009. Christianity Today, Out of Step and Fine with It. Why Tullian Tchividjian, the grandson of the Most Admired Man in America, thinks Christians need to become unfashionable, by Collin Hansen.
August 13, 2009. Christian Post, New Minister of Famed Fla. Megachurch Facing Leadership Challenge, by Eric Young. [Link added 03-19-2016.]
* * * * * * *
March 12, 2010. The Wartburg Watch, Tullian Tchividjian and Transparency, by Dee Parsons.
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March 4, 2011. Christian Post, Interview: Tullian Tchividjian on Coral Ridge Conflict, Billy Graham, by Katherine T. Phan.
November 2011. Christianity Today, Inside the Battle at Coral Ridge. Tullian Tchividjian shares how he survived the attempted coup. Interview by Drew Dyck. The full version of this interview by Drew Dyck appeared in the Fall 2011 issue of Leadership Journal, as the article, War and Peace. Pastor Tullian Tchividjian survived a leadership coup by finding rest in the liberating power of the gospel.
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Key Events 2014: May – Controversy erupts between members of The Gospel Coalition and Tullian Tchividjian over the meanings, extent, and applications of “grace” – and over the public responses in defense of Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM) leader C.J. Mahaney and relative silence on the cases of sexual abuse and alleged cover up. SGM has been the subject of much investigative reporting and sharing of survivors’ stories by spiritual abuse survivor bloggers and others. Therefore, the many individuals and organizations and blogs of interest get involved in the public conflict.
May 12, 2014. The Wartburg Watch, Grace and Obedience: Why I Agree With Tullian Tchividjian and Not With Jen Wilkin, by Dee Parsons.
May 20, 2014. Spiritual Sounding Board, The Gospel Coalition Shake-Up – Tullian Tchividjian and Too Much Grace for The Gospel Coalition?, by Julie Anne Smith.
May 21, 2014. Christian Post, Tullian Tchividjian Blasts Sovereign Grace Ministries Handling of Sex Abuse Scandal; Prematurely Departs The Gospel Coalition, by Morgan Lee.
May 21, 2014. Christianity Today, Tim Keller, Don Carson Explain Why Tullian Tchividjian Was Asked to Leave Gospel Coalition (UPDATED June 2, 2014). Tchividjian apologizes that his public breakup with TGC has ‘given the world the justification they’re looking for to disbelieve the gospel.’ By Jeremy Weber. This post offers a series of links that overview much of this conflict’s development.
May 21, 2014. Phoenix Preacher, Tullian Takes TGC, SGM To Task, by Michael Newnham.
May 21, 2014. The Wartburg Watch, Tullian Tchividjian Takes SGM and TGC to Task, by Deb Martin.
May 22, 2014. Spiritual Sounding Board, Why The Gospel Coalition – or at least Al Mohler and Company – Must Apologize, by Julie Anne Smith.
May 27, 2014. The Wartburg Watch, The Gospel™Coalition and Tullian Tchividjian: A Case Study in Smart or Stupid, by Dee Parsons.
June 2, 2014. Spiritual Sounding Board, An Open Letter to Tullian Tchividjian, Including a Personal Note from a Sex Abuse Survivor, by Julie Anne Smith.
June 7, 2014. Spiritual Sounding Board, Sovereign Grace Ministries Sex Abuse Lawsuit and Tullian Tchividjian, by Julie Anne Smith.
* * * * * * *
Key Events 2015: June – Tullian Tchividjian acknowledges illicit sexual involvement and resigns his position as Senior Pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. His pastoral credentials are revoked.
[However, it would not be clear and public until March 2016 that the woman involved was a congregation member, raising potential issues of “fiduciary duty” and clergy misconduct.] His “Liberate” infrastructure with Coral Ridge Presbyterian gets dismantled.
August – Tullian files for divorce from his wife, Kim (they had married in 1994). He and counselor Paul Tripp state that the marriage is “irreparably broken.”
September – Mr. Tchividjian is hired as Director of Ministry Development by Willow Creek Presbyterian Church. Controversy erupts over multiple issues, such as whether this is too soon to be back in “ministry,” if there has been real repentance and restoration, and whether this is a platform/public leadership ministry or not. The church says no rules were broken in the hiring.
[However, in March 2016 another situation of Mr. Tchividjian’s unconfessed sexual misconduct would become public. It had apparently occurred even earlier than the one he had acknowledged. Also, his actions were allegedly known by at least two elders at his previous church, but they did not report this to the local PCA presbytery as they should have. The entire situation would undoubtedly have gone other directions, had more appropriate disciplinary actions been taken.]
February 27, 2015. Warren Throckmorton, Note to Evangelical Culture Warriors and Pastor Tullian Tchividjian from Benjamin Rush, by Warren Throckmorton.
June 21, 2015 (approximately). Statement from Coral Ridge Leadership on the admission of moral failure by Mr. Tchividjian, and his subsequent resignation from leadership.
June 21, 2015. The Washington Post, Billy Graham’s grandson steps down from Florida megachurch after admitting an affair, by Sarah Pulliam Bailey. This article features separate statements from both Tullian Tchividjian and his then-wife Kim, along with a key tweet with his response to the situation, background on the 2009 merger of New City with Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, and background on the 2014 break between The Gospel Coalition and Mr. Tchividjian.
June 21, 2015. Christianity Today, Tullian Tchividjian Resigns after Admitting ‘Inappropriate Relationship’ (UPDATED July 30, 2015). Billy Graham’s grandson says hiding from public eye would ‘undermine the very message that I claim to believe.’ By Bob Smietana and Morgan Lee.
June 23, 2015. Captain’s Log. My Perspective on Tullian’s Sin, by Chris Rosebrough. [Link added 12-07-2015.]
June 23, 2015. Christian Post, Wife of Billy Graham’s Grandson Who Admitted Affair Says His Statement Does Not Reflect Her Opinion, by Nicola Menzie.
June 23, 2015. Inquisitr, Tullian Tchividjian’s Wife, Kim, was Thrown ‘Under the Bus’ by Megachurch Pastor, Claims Critics, by Patrick Frye. [Link added 03-19-2016.] This article includes a series of four Tweets, dated June 22 and 23. Two are from @PastorTullian with his reactions to his resignation. Two are from other Tweeters, with their reactions to Mr. Tchividjian’s resignation and/or the manner in which he announced it.
July 6, 2015. Missio Alliance. Think the “Billy Graham Rule” Would Have Saved Tullian? Think Again …, by Ty Grigg. [Link added 12-01-2016.]
July 15, 2015. Key Life, The Warrior is a Child, by Steve Brown. [Link added 03-25-2016.] The original link is apparently no longer active, so here is the Wayback Machine archive link to that post [added 12-31-2016].
August 7, 2015. Christian Post, Billy Graham’s Grandson Tullian Tchividjian Says He Never Thought He Would Cheat; Now Sees Why People Commit Suicide, by Leonardo Blair.
August 14, 2015. The Aquila Report. Tullian Tchividjian Files for Divorce, by Timothy C. Morgan. [Link added 11-24-2016.] This post gives several very important pieces of legal and procedural information that help interpret actions taken by other people involved in the larger situation. QUOTE:
Tullian Tchividjian, Billy Graham’s grandson, filed for divorce on Thursday in Broward County, Florida. […]
There was little public information available about the divorce filing. Under Florida law, one party must establish that the marriage is “irretrievably broken” in order for the union to be dissolved. […]
On August 11, the South Florida Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) deposed Tchividjian, ruling him unfit for Christian ministry.
Tchividjian must display an “eminently exemplary, humble and edifying life and testimony” for an extended period of time before he can return to ministry, according PCA’s Book of Church Order.
The first two paragraphs of the quote help explain the similar wording of “irreparably broken” used in a public statement posted on August 26th by Paul Tripp, counselor to Tullian Tchividjian: Tullian Tchividjian’s Divorce. Paul Tripp was attempting to put it on record publicly that the marriage was “irretrievably” broken. Note: This is a Wayback Machine (internet archive) link.
The last two paragraphs relate to restoration to official ministry in the Presbyterian Church in America. Within just three weeks of Tullian Tchividjian being deposed (i.e., his ministry credentials in PCA being removed), he was hired as “Director of Ministry” at Willow Creek Presbyterian Church. This caused immediate controversy, as there was no extended period of time to display an “eminently exemplary, humble and edifying life and testimony.” Also, it would turn out in March 2016 that an earlier period of clergy sexual misconduct occurred in 2014 and was not acknowledged for nearly two full years. This cover-up overlapped with the deposing by the PCA South Florida Presbytery, the hiring by Willow Creek Presbyterian Church, and another six months thereafter when it was revealed publicly and then acknowledged by Tullian Tchividjian.
August 17, 2015. The Aquila Report, The PCA’s South Florida Presbytery Deposes Tullian Tchividjian from Ministry. The South Florida Presbytery voted to depose Tullian Tchividjian at its August 11, 2015 meeting. Written by Staff. [Link added 03-19-2016.] This post is important for the details it provides about the presbyterian system, and its processes and procedures for deposition (removal of ordination credentials) and restoration of a deposed officer of the church (regarding which, the PCA’s Book of Order says “… it is the duty of the Presbytery to proceed with great caution”). It also notes several key dates: Mr. Tchividjian’s resignation from Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church as pastor on June 21, and the congregational vote accepting that resignation on June 28. Here is the text of the Presbytery’s official statement:
The South Florida Presbytery met for its regular stated meeting on August 11, 2015 and acted on a case concerning TE Tullian Tchvidjian. While Pastor Tullian Tchividjian was deposed of his pastoral credentials, the South Florida Presbytery is committed to continuing to offer him pastoral care. Our goal in doing this is to both protect the integrity of the Church from which his credentials were given while, at the same time, wrapping Tullian in the grace offered by Jesus Christ to all those who confess sin, pursue repentance and desire restoration.
August 18, 2015. Spiritual Sounding Board, Tullian Tchividjian Stripped of Pastor Credentials; Continues Speaking Behind the Pulpits of Twitter and Facebook, by Julie Anne Smith.
August 22, 2015. Christianity Today, Tullian Tchividjian Files for Divorce. Billy Graham’s grandson lost his ministerial credentials earlier this month. By Timothy C. Morgan. This article was updated September 4, 2015, to note that Mr. Tchividjian had been hired by Willow Creek Presbyterian Church. He had first noted a connection with the church in an August 30 Tweet.
August 23, 2015. Spiritual Sounding Board, Tullian Tchividjian Files for Dissolution of Marriage and Timeline, by Julie Anne Smith.
August 26, 2015. Paul Tripp Ministries, Inc., Tullian Tchividjian’s Divorce, by Paul Tripp. [Link added 03-22-2016.] Note: This is a Wayback Machine (internet archive) link. Note that, according to Florida law where the divorce papers were filed, “one party must establish that the marriage is ‘irretrievably broken’ in order for the union to be dissolved.” (Link.) TEXT OF PAUL TRIPP’S STATEMENT:
I wish we lived in a world where pastoral counsel and heart, life and ministry restoration could take place in private, but those days are regretfully long gone. So, in light of the news getting out that Tullian Tchividijian has filed for divorce and to mitigate any unnecessary and unhealthy speculation regarding the details of the situation, as Tullian’s friend and counselor, I have decided to post this statement.
Sadly, there are times in this broken world where things that have been damaged by sin don’t get put together again. So, we groan, reminded that sin still lives inside us, that we live in a shattered world and that God’s work of redemption is not yet complete.
So, it has been with sadness that I, along with others, have come slowly and cautiously to the conclusion that his marriage is irreparably broken.
From the point of Tullian’s confession and repentance, he has been committed to dealing with the issues of his heart and to restoring his marriage. Much grace, counsel, thought, prayer and action has been invested over a six month period of time with the hope of healing the marriage, but sadly, there are times when the trust is so deeply broken and patterns so set in place that it seems best to recognize that brokenness, cry out for God’s grace, mourn, commit to forgiveness, rest in the truths of the gospel and with a grieved heart, move on.
I remain committed to Tullian as a brother and counselor and I will continue to give him the gospel as he now deals with what we together hoped and prayed would not happen.
August 26, 2015
That same day, a tweet from Boz Tchividjian in response to Paul Tripp’s post simply noted: “@PaulTripp There is so much more to this tragic story, which makes your statement very disturbing.”
August 26, 2015. Spiritual Sounding Board, Is Paul Tripp Violating Counseling Code of Ethics by Releasing Statement about Tullian Tchividjian?, by Julie Anne Smith.
August 28, 2015. Christian Post, Paul Tripp Says Billy Graham’s Grandson Tullian Tchividjian’s Divorce Is Necessary Because Marriage Is ‘Irreparably Broken,’ by Leonardo Blair.
September 1, 2015. The Reformed Arsenal. An Open Letter to the South Florida Presbytery, by Tony Arsenal. [Link added 09-30-2016.]
September 1, 2015. Warren Throckmorton, Tullian Tchividjian Hired as Director of Ministry Development at Willow Creek PCA in Winter Springs, Florida, by Warren Throckmorton.
September 2, 2015. Christian Post, Too Soon? Billy Graham’s Grandson Tullian Tchividjian Lands New Job at Willow Creek Church, by Leonardo Blair.
September 2, 2015. Legato. Tullian Tchividjian Bounces Back?, by John Barber. [Link added 11-24-2016.]
September 2, 2015. Mortification of Spin. A Grievous Ruin, by Todd Pruitt. [Link added 11-24-2016.]
September 2, 2015. Phoenix Preacher, Clarity on the TT Situation, by Michael Newnham.
September 2, 2015. The Reformed Arsenal. An Open Letter to Chris Rosebrough, by Tony Arsenal. [Link added 09-30-2016.]
September 2, 2015. The Reformed Arsenal. The Taste of Crow, by Tony Arsenal. [Link added 09-30-2016.]
September 2, 2015. Spiritual Sounding Board, Tullian Tchividjian Accepts New Job at Willow Creek Church in FL and Pastor Kevin Labby Answers Questions, by Julie Anne Smith.
September 2, 2015. Spiritual Sounding Board. Concerns about Tullian Tchividjian’s Ministry Comeback as Director of Ministry Development at Willow Creek Church, by Julie Anne Smith. [Link added 11-25-2016.]
September 2, 2015. Warren Throckmorton, Pastor of Willow Creek Presbyterian Says Church Reaction to Hiring Tullian Tchividjian is “Overwhelmingly Positive,” by Warren Throckmorton.
September 3, 2015. Christian Post, Willow Creek Church Says No Rules Were Broken in Hiring Tullian Tchividjian, by Leonardo Blair.
September 9, 2015. The Reformed Arsenal. Some Clarifications on the Tullian Dust Up, by Tony Arsenal. [Link added 09-30-2016.]
September 11, 2015. Warren Throckmorton, Pastor of Willow Creek PCA Kevin Labby Apologizes and Clarifies Matters in the Case of Tullian Tchividjian, by Warren Throckmorton.
September 11, 2015. Willow Creek Church, An Apology and Clarification, by Pastor Kevin Labby. [Link added 01-16-2017.]
December 15, 2015. Christian Post, Billy Graham’s Grandson Tullian Tchividjian Says He’s Healing After Summer Split From Wife, by Leonardo Blair.
December 30, 2015. Warren Throckmorton, Top Ten Posts in 2015, by Warren Throckmorton.
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Key Events 2016: Late 2015 and Early 2016 -Several posts talk about Tullian Tchividjian’s healing process, with quotes from him and/or those involved with overseeing his restoration process. The assessments are positive overall.
Meanwhile, Mr. Tchividjian’s former church, Coral Ridge Presbyterian, is in the candidating process to find a new Senior Pastor. Although they conduct an outside search, they hire Rob Pacienza, a long-time insider with an intimate working knowledge of the church and its recent events.
March – The Board of Directors for a new incarnation of Liberate via the Liberate Network, Inc., announces a relaunch, which will focus on the message of grace rather than the messenger – although they are hopeful of Mr. Tchividjian joining them on the Board eventually. The Board is pleased with his progress in a repentance/restoration process. Controversy continues in social media about what repentance and restoration should look like, and whether this fits biblical mandates or not, and whether the doctrine of “grace” being presented is a distortion.
In mid-March, another earlier – but unconfessed – situation of sexual misconduct by Mr. Tchividjian is revealed to his church and Liberate Network leaders, and he acknowledges the sin. His employment with Willow Creek Presbyterian is terminated immediately, five of the nine members of the Liberate Network Board resign, and within days the four remaining Board members announce the cancellation of the 2017 Liberate conference and the dissolution of the organization. That brings us up to March 18, 2016, when this initial edition of the bibliography was posted.
February 5, 2016. Christian Post, Billy Graham’s Grandson Tullian Tchividjian: God Has Met My Guilt With His Grace, by Stoyan Zaimov. Not even six weeks after this article was posted, a second situation of Mr. Tchividjian’s sexual misconduct came to light that apparently occurred even before his wife’s indiscretions and his own previously confessed-to relationship. According to reports posted March 17 and 18, 2016, he apparently did not voluntarily disclose this to those who were overseeing his restoration process, though he had about nine months in which to do so from the time he resigned in June 2015 over the first relationship. So, the statements in this article need to be reinterpreted in that light and it seems difficult if not impossible to take at face value now what appeared to be contrition and repentance then.
February 5, 2016. Gospel Herald, Tullian Tchividjian Reflects on Past Indiscretions, Adultery, Reveals He’s Doing Better ‘Spiritually, Emotionally and Mentally,’ by Leah Marieann Klett. [Link added 04-08-2016.] This article is included for historical purposes. Since it became known in mid-March 2016 that Mr. Tchividjian had a second situation of sexual indiscretion that went undealt with since 2014, that calls for reconsideration and potential reinterpretation of his prior statements about spiritual state, such as this one. Was due diligence done by his counselor, elders, and others with some role of connection and authority in this situation?
February 12, 2016. Spiritual Sounding Board, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church Has 11 Men and 0 Women on Their Pulpit Search Committee to Find a New Pastor, by Julie Anne Smith. The dominant theme of this post may be tangential to issues involving Mr. Tchividjian, but may have importance in the larger system of ecclesiology for the PCA denomination. Key Quote:
Is having an all-male Session the most accurate and appropriate way of representing the church? I wonder if the women at CRPC are so used to men taking the lead on areas such as this, that they may not question their role in the process of finding and hiring a new pastor. If that is true, then what a shame. In the process of voting for the Session to represent the congregation, I’m afraid that women’s voices will be put on the back burner.
What other implications do you see in having an all-male pastoral search committee?
February 22, 2016. Christian Post, Pastors Praise Tullian Tchividjian for ‘Honesty, Humility and Repentance,’ by Stoyan Zaimov. This post needs to be read in light of the fact that, less than 30 days later, a second previously “inappropriate relationship” which has been labeled as sexual involvement came to light – not voluntarily disclosed by Mr. Tchividjian – and Willow Creek Presbyterian Church terminated Mr. Tchividjian’s employment with them.
March 3, 2016. The Reformed Arsenal. An Open Letter to Kevin and Chris, by Tony Arsenal. [Link added 09-30-2016.]
March 5, 2016. Spiritual Sounding Board, Tullian Tchividjian is Back, Fully Endorsed by His Pastor, Kevin Labby, by Julie Anne Smith. Ms. Smith’s article overviews the background of the controversy over Mr. Tchividjian’s apparent return to a platform of public ministry. She includes links to prior Spiritual Sounding Board posts, and gives a series of Tweets and screenshots that provide the backdrop to her various challenges to the meanings of these events, what kind of oversight is/isn’t being offered, and where the concern is/isn’t for those who were victimized.
Her post also raises the specific issue of fiduciary duty, without using that technical term, which relates to when a professional in a role of authority/power such as a counselor or pastor engages in sexual activity with a client or congregant. This issue was also put forward in several comments on the March 15th post by Warren Throckmorton, starting with this linked comment.
March 6, 2016. Chuck DeGroat Facebook Page. Mr. DeGroat’s public Facebook post offers practical and theological critiques of what he sees as recent problems with too-quick “restoration” processes within his own Reformed tradition. Opening Quote:
I’m really stunned by recent stories of remarkably fast restorations of evangelical and Reformed megachurch pastors who’ve fallen. This isn’t a new phenomenon. But recent examples of “Reformed” pastors surprise me. We are of the tradition that believes in slow growth, a long obedience, a pilgrimage of repentance and transformation that takes years and decades, not days and months. Stories I hear of these pastors planting again or speaking again or even serving the church again puzzle me.
March 7, 2016. The Reformed Arsenal. Why I Care about Tullian Teaching, by Tony Arsenal. [Link added 09-30-2016.]
March 14, 2016. Christian Post, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church Appoints Rob Pacienza as New Pastor After Tullian Tchividjian Resignation, by Anugrah Kumar. This report gives Rob Pacienza long-term history with Coral Ridge Presbyterian and background on the process of his becoming the new pastor in the wake of Mr. Tchividjian’s resignation in June 2015. It also gives a profile of Pastor Pacienza, as well as some of the background that led up to Mr. Tchividjian’s resignation.
March 15, 2016. Janet Mefferd Today, Unqualified: ‘The great reproach to Christianity,’ by Janet Mefferd. Ms. Mefferd addresses the significant question that has been emerging the past five years especially about what to do regarding unqualified/disqualified church leaders. She uses three recent examples of Steven Furtick, Mark Driscoll, and Tullian Tchividjian to illustrate her conclusion: “But of all the sins that beset us, I have become convinced that one of the most grievous and most harmful to the Body is our dangerously unbiblical view of and cavalier attitude toward the sacred pastoral ministry.”
March 15, 2016. Warren Throckmorton, Liberate, Founded by Tullian Tchividjian, Relaunches Amid New Allegations, by Warren Throckmorton. Noteworthy for its series of links to articles by bloggers, and by mainstream media, both Christian and secular, on key historical points and issues of church practices in the unfolding situation. Also contains the text of the note posted by the Liberate Network, Inc., Board of Directors regarding its relaunch. (Since that organization is due to dissolve, as of notice given March 18, 2016, their statement may otherwise disappear.)
March 16, 2016. Warren Throckmorton, Tullian Tchividjian Out at Willow Creek Presbyterian; Majority of Liberate Network Board Members Quit (UPDATED), by Warren Throckmorton. This article may have been the first to post the news of Mr. Tchividjian being fired from his church staff position. It was updated later in the day to include the “Statement from Session of Willow Creek Church” about this action.
March 16, 2016. Christianity Today, Tullian Tchividjian Fired by Church, Liberate Board Members Quit, by Morgan Lee. Noteworthy for its overview of historical unfolding of the story in 2015 through the present. It also contains a series of links to previous Christianity Today articles on many of those developments.
March 16, 2016. Phoenix Preacher, Tchividjian In More Trouble, by Michael Newnham. He shares some analysis on how mainstream media differs from “survivor bloggers” when it comes to sharing the stories of victims of abuse, and the need to pay attention to the stories of survivors and not just those of well-known persons who may be involved. His perspective is important to note because there has been a shift in the balance of blogs and more conventional news media, with many personal stories and other kinds of information/documentation about alleged abuse situations now appearing first on blogs rather than in news reports.
March 17, 2016. Spiritual Sounding Board, Tullian Tchividjian and Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church Discussion: “He demanded that people be loyal to him”, by Julie Anne Smith. This article was posted as a follow-up to a comment from “Mrs. C.” on another Spiritual Sounding Board post. Her comment addressed the merger in 2009 of New City, which Mr. Tchividjian led, with Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. Here is the comment:
Mrs. C.: Coral Ridge had just lost their beloved Pastor, this was the only Pastor they had known for eons. They were in a vulnerable state that could easily be exploited. There was a huge wedge put in place between members when Tullian came on board. He demanded that people be loyal to him. Friends and family members were divided over it. Some stayed to try and make Coral great again. Others saw the handwriting on the wall and left forming their own church. The whole thing was sad, but I think if Dr. Kennedy had mentored his second string to take over the church, and it’s ministries, his death would not have left a large vacuum where a power struggle occurred. No one would have been able to exploit the situation and manipulate members’ emotions. There is a lesson for everyone in this. If we want our churches to be safe for all members I hope we learn it well. It is sad.
March 17, 2016. Christian Post, Willow Creek Fires Tullian Tchvidjian After He Confesses to Another Affair, by Leonardo Blair. This article includes extensive comments from Pastor Kevin Labby of Willow Creek Presbyterian Church (Winter Springs, Florida) on the new disclosures/confession that led to the firing of Mr. Tchividjian, and ongoing church-based oversight offered to help Mr. Tchividjian in a repentance process.
March 18, 2016. Warren Throckmorton, Tullian Tchividjian’s Liberate Network Dissolves and Cancels 2017 Conference, by Warren Throckmorton. The four remaining board members [Dr. Chris Crawford, M.D.; Rev. Matt Popovits; Mr. Peter Ouda, J.D.; and Rev. Dr. Paul F.M. Zahl] of Liberate Network, Inc. cancelled the 2017 Liberate conference. It was originally scheduled for February 23-25, 2017, at WCPC, and they will issue refunds for registrations already processed. The official statement currently appears here on the Liberate Network, Inc., site. As this may disappear when the organization is dissolved, the text is still available on Mr. Throckmorton’s post.
March 18, 2016. Christian Post, Coral Ridge Elders Knew of Tullian Tchividjian’s Affair With Married Woman, Advised Him to Keep Secret, Source Alleges, by Leonardo Blair. Mr. Blair wrote 7 of the 12 or so Christian Post articles from 2014-2016 listed in the initial compilation of this bibliography, and that continuity plus his perspective are helpful. This article reports on allegations of leaders who kept vital information private, gives responses of people affected by that apparent decision, and explores some of the system implications. Opening Quote:
At least two elders at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Florida allegedly had knowledge that their former pastor, Tullian Tchividjian, grandson to evangelical icon Billy Graham, had engaged in an adulterous affair with a married member of his flock and advised him to keep it secret from his wife.
This particular article by Mr. Blair is significant for what it reports about information that was apparently left undisclosed and/or not probed for, when knowledge of those details could have changed the course of events dramatically – and reduced the extent of disappointment and trauma inflicted on multiple families and two congregations. His article is also important for how it helps readers navigate through key aspects of the presbyterian organizational system for church discipline. More can be found on those processes and procedures in the Presbyterian Church in America’s Book of Order. [See links: main page with general information, 2015 Book of Order PDF.]
March 19, 2016. Live the Resistance, Why shut down LIBERATE?, by pk [Pastor Kevin Labby]. [Link added 03-21-2016.] Blog post by the pastor of Willow Creek Presbyterian Church.
March 19, 2016. Live the Resistance, Should we have hired Tullian?, by pk [Pastor Kevin Labby]. [Link added 03-21-2016.] Blog post by the pastor of Willow Creek Presbyterian Church.
March 21, 2016. Christianity Today, Tullian Tchividjian Confesses Second Affair Concealed by Two Coral Ridge Elders. Florida ministry leaders who tried to help reflect on what they’d do differently. By Morgan Lee. This post adds comments from leaders at both Florida churches, and links to other blog posts and statements by those directly or indirectly involved. This is a quote of the confirmation from Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church leaders about the allegation that two of their elders knew of Mr. Tchividjian’s extra-marital sexual involvement that occurred prior to his filing for divorce, but that they did not disclose that information. Items in square brackets added to clarify time frames and other details.
On March 13, [2016,] Tchividjian confessed to a prior extramarital affair from 2014, Coral Ridge confirmed to [Christianity Today]. Later in 2014, one of Tchividjian’s friends informed two of Coral Ridge’s then elders of the affair (one elder left the church prior to this month’s revelations).
Coral Ridge stated:
While Coral Ridge leadership has not had contact with Tchividjian since his resignation last summer [i.e., June of 2015], when we learned of his confession, our leadership immediately sought to verify the facts. The active elder did confirm his knowledge of the affair in 2014 and admitted he acted on outside counsel and failed to report the events to Tchividjian’s family, church leadership, and the other elders.
Coral Ridge immediately called a meeting for the elder to share this new information with the entire session, after which the layperson submitted his full resignation.
“When taking vows as elders at Coral Ridge, each individual commits before God to strive for the purity, peace, and unity of the church,” Coral Ridge stated to [Christianity Today]. “We are saddened that these two elders failed in their vows by withholding this information regarding our former senior pastor, which has since caused many families and churches much harm.”
The church announced the news to its congregation on Sunday. “We grieve for the individuals involved in this situation,” it stated, “and pray for peace and healing for all.”
March 21, 2016. Key Life, My Response to Recent Reports on Tullian, by Steve Brown. Here is the Wayback Machine internet archive link to Steven Brown’s article [added 12-31-2016]. In the March 18 article from the Christian Post (Coral Ridge Elders Knew of Tullian Tchividjian’s Affair With Married Woman, Advised Him to Keep Secret, Source Alleges, by Leonardo Blair), Mr. Brown was specifically named as allegedly knowing of Mr. Tchividjian’s 2014 extramarital involvement. Quoting from the Christian Post (CP) article:
[A] highly placed source informed CP Friday that the recent disclosure is really the result of a “systemic cover up” by church leaders that began two years ago.
“Tullian had actually been confronted about that two years ago. At the time, he was confronted by two elders at Coral Ridge and Steve Brown (Key Life Ministries), and confessed to having a relationship with a married woman,” said the source.
Mr. Brown does not specifically mention the Christian Post article, but states that he does not plan to say more on this subject:
Some of the reports about this incident are inaccurate or skewed. My default position is to defend, correct, and admonish. However, going into details about what is true and what isn’t is a place of self-defense I don’t want to go. Discussing Tullian’s situation more than I have is very uncomfortable for me too. I can’t go there without violating the essence of who I am and where I’ve been called. And so I will not make any further comment to the press or social media than what I’ve written here.
March 21, 2016. Phoenix Preacher, On Steve Brown, by Michael Newnham. [Link added 03-25-2016.] Quote:
We don’t know what Tchividjian “confessed” to, nor do we know why these men would think it good to cover it up.
We know that it was wrong to do so.
This morning the online memes are about what a scoundrel both Tchividjian and my hero are.
They make me flinch in pain when I see them.
My friends and brethren in blogging will show Steve no more quarter than we have any other.
I have wielded the sword that cuts me so deeply today.
It must fit my hand for a former hero as well.
March 21, 2016. The Gospel Herald, Tullian Tchividjian Was Advised by Coral Ridge Elders to be ‘Mindful’ in Revealing Undisclosed Affair to Wife Because of Children, by Leah Marieann Klett. This news report provides background that brings things up to date, and includes a comment from Hunter Frederick, founder of a crisis management and public relations firm. His comment adds another detail to the situation of the two Coral Ridge Elders who knew about Mr. Tchividjian’s earlier sexual indiscretions. Quote:
[A]ccording to a recent report published by The Christian Post, Tchividjian had, in fact, confessed to having an affair with a married woman two years ago after he was confronted by two Coral Ridge elders.
“At the time, he was not advised to step down as lead pastor, but instead was advised not to immediately inform his wife about the matter – she only learned about this last week, a “highly placed source” told the news outlet. “To make matters worse, the two elders never informed the rest of the session about this situation. One can only wonder whether the second situation could have been averted if the first situation had not been covered up,” the source continued.
“This is not a situation that Tullian had kept quiet and suddenly disclosed to someone for the first time last week. It’s been known by at least three others in addition to Tullian and the woman involved for over two years,” the source added, stating the recent disclosure is actually part of a “systematic cover-up.”
When asked to comment on the report, Hunter Frederick of Frederick & Associates, publicist/crisis comms advisor, clarified to The Gospel Herald that the elder board actually “advised Tullian to be mindful of how he told his ex-wife because of the children involved.”
The CP report notes that the latest revelation “significantly disrupts that narrative and created a lot of problems for those who have been trying to help him but were kept in the dark.”
NOTES: I am have some very specific problems interpreting the statement by Mr. Frederick in this Gospel Herald article. I posted the following comment. If will post an update here there is a response that clarifies the issues I find confusing.
* * * * * * *
The following links have been added starting September 30, 2016, following a post by Tullian Tchividjian at ExPastors.com that brought the situation back into the public eye.
April 9, 2016. Warren Throckmorton. Is There a Comeback In the Works for Tullian Tchividjian?, by Warren Throckmorton. Tullian Tchividjian spoke/“shared” at Spring Hills Community Church in California, three weeks after the dramatic public disclosure of his sexual misconduct in 2014. [Link added 09-30-2016.]
August 25-26, 2016. Tullian Tchividjian and Stacie Phillips were married, apparently on August 26. The day before, Kim Tchividjian tweeted a status that said, “Tonight is hard. Tomorrow will be harder. But God.” [Link added 09-30-2016.]
September 6, 2016. Warren Throckmorton. Things I Learned Today: The Mark Driscoll, Tullian Tchividjian, and Dustin Boles Edition, by Warren Throckmorton. “Tullian Tchividjian got remarried sometime over the weekend of 8/26. He has been in Texas and is working on a book.” [Link added 09-30-2016.]
September 9, 2016. Spiritual Sounding Board. Clergy Sexual Abuse: If she consented to sex with her pastor, is she guilty? By Julie Anne Smith. [Link added 11-25-2016.]
September 23, 2016. ExPastors.com. God is Not Done with You Yet. And Neither Are We, by Bo Lane. [Link added 09-30-2016.] UPDATE 01-03-2017. This article is no longer on the ExPastors.com site. The last Wayback Machine internet archive capture of it was November 13, 2016.
September 27, 2016. ExPastors.com. The Freedom in Losing it All, by Tullian Tchividjian. [Link added 09-30-2016.] UPDATE 01-03-2017. This article is no longer on the ExPastors.com site. The last Wayback Machine internet archive capture of it was October 22, 2016.
September 27, 2016. The Reformed Arsenal. Divorce, Remarriage, and Consequences, by Tony Arsenal. [Link added 09-30-2016.]
September 27, 2016. Relevant Magazine. Former Megachurch Pastor Tullian Tchividjian Almost Committed Suicide After Scandal. [Link added 09-30-2016.]
September 27, 2016. Spiritual Sounding Board. Ex-Pastor Tullian Tchividjian Speaks Out at Website for Ex-Pastors, by Julie Anne Smith. [Link added 09-30-2016.]
September 27, 2016. Warren Throckmorton. Tullian Tchividjian Posts Possible Book Excerpt at Expastors.com, by Warren Throckmorton. [Link added 09-30-2016.]
September 28, 2016. Charisma News. Tullian Tchividjian: The Disgusting Truth About Myself Made Me Want to Commit Suicide, by Jessilyn Justice. [Link added 09-30-2016.]
September 28, 2016. Christian Post. Tullian Tchividjian Reveals He Planned to Kill Himself After Losing Ministry Over Affair Scandal, by Leonardo Blair. [Link added 09-30-2016.]
September 29, 2016. Christian Today. Billy Graham’s Grandson Tullian Tchividjian Admits He Contemplated Suicide After Losing Church Leadership Position Over Affair, by Czarina Ong. [Link added 10-02-2016.]
September 29, 2016. ChurchLeaders. The Fall of Tullian Tchividjian—What We Can Learn About Sin and Hope From the Dark Journey of a Celebrity Pastor, by Meagan Briggs. [Link added 10-02-2016.]
September 29, 2016. Religion News Service. Billy Graham’s grandson on his near suicide and whether he’s planning a comeback, by Jonathan Merritt. [Link added 09-30-2016.]
September 29, 2016. The Wartburg Watch. Are Tullian Tchvidjian and ExPastors Playing It Straight? Time to Get Real and Grow Up!, by Dee Parsons. [Link added 09-30-2016.]
September 30, 2016. Christian Today. How Billy Graham’s Adulterous Grandson Survived Thoughts Of Suicide, by Ruth Gledhill. [Link added 10-02-2016.]
September 30, 2016. The Christian Times. Billy Graham’s grandson admits he almost committed suicide following scandals, by Jardine Malado. [Link added 10-02-2016.]
September 30, 2016. CNS News. ‘I Actually Wanted to Kill Myself’ – Billy Graham’s Grandson Reveals Battle with Depression, by Mark Judge. [Link added 10-02-2016.]
September 30, 2016. Spiritual Sounding Board. Is This Tullian Tchividjian’s Spiritual Comeback Tour?, by Julie Anne Smith. [Link added 09-30-2016.]
October 1, 2016. Divorce Minister. DM Processing Recent RNS Tullian Tchividjian Interview, by Rev. David. [Link added 11-25-2016.]
October 3, 2016. ExPastors.com. It’s Okay to Not Be Okay. This is a Safe Place. By Greg Atkinson. [Link added 11-25-2016.] UPDATE 01-03-2017. This article has been significantly edited (without notice) to remove references to Tullian Tchividjian and other celebrity pastors who have had additional evidence come to light in the past few months. The only Wayback Machine internet archive capture of the original version is from November 13, 2016.
ORIGINAL VERSION/October 3, 2016. Since this is the first article we’ve posted since we posted Tullian Tchividjian’s article – let me say up front. This is a safe place! We didn’t share a piece from Tullian because we believe he has “arrived” or “is ready to re-enter ministry.” None of us know that. That’s between God and Tullian.
The reason we posted it is because we knew it would resonate with the majority of our readers, AND might just put words to something that someone has been dying to say. If you want to hear more of my personal reason for posting the article, go here to read about it on my personal blog.
We reach all kinds of pastors and ex-pastors: broken, hurt, wounded, mad, angry at God, angry at the Church, confused, on the verge of suicide (like Tullian Tchividjian shared), in transition, now in lay leadership, pastors who have burned out and are ready to quit (like Pete Wilson), pastors who resigned and now serve another church (like Mark Driscoll), pastors who have resigned and now work a job outside the local church, pastors who were fired (like Perry Noble), pastors who were laid off due to finances or circumstances out of their control – all kinds of pastors and church leaders. You may not agree or like them, but we love and care for them, and want God’s best for them. God is gracious. So, we are gracious.
As my friend Pete Wilson once said, “It’s okay not to be okay.” And I would add, “This is a safe place. All are welcome here. Whether you like us or not, trust us or not, love us or hate us, agree with us or not, or are just checking us out – we welcome you.
And like it or not, Tullian is the very definition of an ex-pastor. For every mega-church pastor, author and/or conference speaker that finds themselves in a similar situation, there are hundreds or thousands of ex-pastors and struggling pastors that are hurting and/or burned out – they just pastor smaller churches and don’t have the platform that Tullian has. And to you, my friend, I also say, “This is a safe place.”
CURRENT VERSION/January 3, 2017. Let me say up front. This is a safe place! We don’t share a piece from “celebrity pastors” or fallen pastors because we believe they have “arrived” or “are ready to re-enter ministry” or “are the norm and model for other pastors.” We share insightful pieces because we believe they relate to most in ministry, regardless of church size.
The reason we post sometimes controversial posts is because we feel it would resonate with the majority of our readers AND might just put words to something that someone has been dying to say.
We reach all kinds of pastors and ex-pastors: broken, hurt, wounded, mad, angry at God, angry at the Church, confused, on the verge of suicide, in transition, now in lay leadership, pastors who have burned out and are ready to quit, pastors who resigned and now serve another church, pastors who have resigned and now work a job outside the local church, pastors who were fired, pastors who were laid off due to finances or circumstances out of their control – all kinds of pastors and church leaders.
You may not agree or like them, but we love and care for them, and want God’s best for them. God is gracious. So, we are gracious.
As my friend Pete Wilson once said, “It’s okay not to be okay.” And I would add, “This is a safe place. All are welcome here. Whether you like us or not, trust us or not, love us or hate us, agree with us or not, or are just checking us out – we welcome you.
For every mega-church pastor, author and/or conference speaker that finds themselves in a horrible situation, there are hundreds or thousands of ex-pastors and struggling pastors that are hurting and/or burned out – they just pastor smaller churches and don’t have the platform that “celebrity pastors” have. And to you, my friend, I also say, “This is a safe place.”
October 3, 2016. Greg Atkinson. What Grace Means to Me. By Greg Atkinson (the Executive Director of ExPastors.com). [Link added 11-25-2016.] This post indicates that Tullian Tchividjian made the first contact with ExPastors.com, and not the reverse. The distinction is important, if Mr. Tchividjian was attempting to set things in motion for a relaunch of his public platform – which the articles about him and by him in ExPastors.com contributed toward. QUOTE:
When Tullian Tchividjian reached out to us and I talked with him on the phone, I heard a man that had committed a sin (a serious sin before God and that is a hot-button for many people). I heard a man that had experienced brokenness, shame, loneliness, deep and dark sadness, and regret over what he had done to his family, and how he let his church and followers down.
As a matter of fact, Tullian was in such a dark place of sadness, regret, loneliness, anger, and frustration that he set out to take his life. He even wrote a suicide note that he shared in the piece we published. You can read it here.
Why did we share his piece? I shared today on ExPastors.com, we didn’t share it because he had “arrived,” or we thought he was “fully restored,” or that we believed he was “ready to re-enter ministry.” We don’t know any of that – that’s between him and God.
UPDATE 01-03-2017. This post by Greg Atkinson has been edited slightly from when it was originally posted (and captured on the Wayback Machine internet archive October 22, 2016). The following paragraph has been removed without notice of editing:
Why did we share his piece? I shared today on ExPastors.com, we didn’t share it because he had “arrived,” or we thought he was “fully restored,” or that we believed he was “ready to re-enter ministry.” We don’t know any of that – that’s between him and God.
October 3, 2016. The Wartburg Watch. It’s Clergy Sex Abuse; Not an Affair! By Dee Parsons. [Link added 11-25-2016.]
October 25, 2016. The Reformed Arsenal. Comment Regarding Tullian, by Tony Arsenal. [Link added 11-24-2016.]
November 14, 2016. The Reformed Arsenal. Tullian Tchividjian Returns to Teaching, by Tony Arsenal. A version of this is also published at The Aquila Report, Tullian Tchvidjian Returns to Teaching. [Links added 11-24-2016.]
November 17, 2016. The Christian Post. Tullian Tchividjian Honors Cliff Barrows Who Helped Him After His Life ‘Exploded’, by Stoyan Zaimov. [Link added 11-23-2016.]
November 20, 2016. Sparking Conversation. An Expastor’s Ego, by Nate Sparks, Content Editor: Lauren R.E. Larkin. [Link added 11-23-2016.]
November 21, 2016. Sparking Conversation. Do Unto Others …, by Nate Sparks, Content Editor: Lauren R.E. Larkin. [Link added 11-23-2016.] This is the account of “Lisa.”
November 22, 2016. Christian Post. Tullian Tchividjian Emerges From Scandal With New Wife, Preaches Sermon On God’s Redemption, by Leonardo Blair. [Link added 11-23-2016.]
November 23, 2016. Christian Daily. Billy Graham’s grandson Tullian Tchividjian surfaces from scandal with sermon on God’s redemption, by Lorraine Caballero. [Link added 11-23-2016.]
November 23, 2016. The Christian Times. Billy Graham’s grandson reemerges from scandal with new sermon on God’s redemption, by Jardine Malado. [Link added 11-23-2016.]
November 23, 2016. Christian Today. Tullian Tchividjian Has Remarried, Preaches about God’s ‘Magnificent Intervention’, by Mark Wood. [Link added 11-23-2016.]
November 23, 2016. The Gospel Herald Ministries. Billy Graham’s Grandson Tullian Tchividjian Confirms Marriage to New Wife, Embraces Second Chance in Christ, by Editorial Department. [Link added 11-23-2016.]
November 23, 2016. The Reformed Arsenal. Tullian, Revelations, and Disgust, by Tony Arsenal. [Link added 11-23-2016.]
November 23, 2016. Relevant Magazine. Tullian Tchividjian: I Wanted to Get Caught Because I Couldn’t Get Out of Mess on My Own. [Link added 11-23-2016.]
November 23, 2016. Sparking Conversation. Master of Manipulation, by Nate Sparks. [Link added 11-23-2016.] This is the account of “Kara.”
November 23, 2016. Spiritual Sounding Board. Tullian Tchividjian – Partial Timeline of Alleged Clergy Sexual Abuse and Spiritual Abuse, by Brad Sargent and Julie Anne Smith. [Link added 11-23-2016.]
November 23, 2016. The Wartburg Watch. Tullian Tchividjian: Where Is the Shame That Needed Grace? Lisa Tells Her Story to Nate Sparks and Lauren Larkin. This is a repost of the November 22nd article from Nate Sparks’ blog, with introductory comments by Dee Parsons. [Link added 11-23-2016.]
November 26, 2016. Christian News Network. Year After Affair Admission, Divorce, Tullian Tchividjian Emerges With New Wife, Preaches God ‘Bends Toward’ Sinners, by Heather Clark. [Link added 11-27-2016.]
November 26, 2016. Internet Monk. Saturday Ramblings: November 26, 2016, by Chaplain Mike. [Link added 11-27-2016.]
November 26, 2016. Our Unseen Hope: Surviving Abuse in the Church. Recognizing Spiritual Abuse, by LizTinnea. [Link added 11-27-2016.]
November 28, 2016. The Christian Post. Tullian Tchividjian Allegedly Tried Reconciling With Ex-Wife Before New Marriage, Asked Woman to Pray for Brother’s Death, by Leonardo Blair. [Link added 11-28-2016.]
November 29, 2016. Charisma News. Tullian Tchividjian Marries After Emotional Plummeting From Affair, by Jessilyn Justice. [Link added 11-29-2016.]
November 29, 2016. The Christian Times. Tullian Tchividjian allegedly tried to reconcile with ex-wife while in new relationship, by Jardine Malado. [Link added 11-29-2016.]
November 29, 2016. @revcjackson. Twitter Thread: I have a few things to get off my chest re the new revelations regarding Tullian Tchividjian, by Christopher Jackson. [Link added 11-29-2016.]
November 29-30, 2016. Spiritual Sounding Board. Survivor of Tullian Tchividjian’s Alleged Clergy Sexual Abuse Goes Public with Her Story, by Rachel, with editing, background, and analysis by Julie Anne Smith and Brad Sargent. In this four-part series, Rachel reports her experiences and connections with Tullian Tchividjian leading up to their sexual involvement in 2015 that led to his resignation as Senior Pastor from Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. Part #1 and Part #2 (posted November 29). Part #3 (posted November 30). Part #4 (posted December 1). Part #5 (posted December 7).
November 30, 2016. The Christian Post. Tullian Tchividjian’s Affair With Married Woman Was Allegedly Exposed on Church Server, by Leonardo Blair. [Link added 12-01-2016.]
November 30, 2016. Christian Today. Tullian Tchividjian Groomed Me, Says Woman He Had Affair With, by Mark Woods. [Link added 12-01-2016.]
November 30, 2016. Sparking Conversation. Tullian Tchividjian: Further Accusations and Important Resources, by Nate Sparks. [Link added 12-01-2016.]
December 1, 2016. Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion. Women Accuse Billy Graham’s Tullian Tchividjian of Narcissistic Spiritual Abuse, by Richard Bartholomew. [Link added 12-18-2016.]
December 1, 2016. The Christian Post. Women Accuse Tullian Tchividjian of Being a Liar and Serial Manipulator, Claim He Made Advances on Them, by Czarina Ong. [Link added 12-01-2016.]
December 1, 2016. Warren Throckmorton. Statement: Former Church Says Tullian Tchividjian Should Not Be in Ministry, by Warren Throckmorton. The following notice from Willow Creek Church was posted at approximately 8:30 PM (PDT) Thursday, December 1st. QUOTE:
We are deeply grieved by these latest allegations, and have profound gratitude for the courageous individuals who shared them, as well as those who worked tirelessly to chronicle their stories. I read their accounts multiple times through tears. My prayer is that they will receive the necessary care to move forward, and toward that end we continue to offer earnest prayers and full support.
We would also like to state in the clearest possible terms that we do not believe that Mr. Tchividjian should be in any form of public or vocational ministry. Rather, inasmuch as he is truly repentant and in accordance with his membership vows, we would urge him to immediately return to his church of membership, submit to its leadership, and pursue healing and renewal through repentance in the context of his local church to the glory of God and for the good of the broader Church and her witness to the world.
On behalf of the Session of Willow Creek Church,
Kevin Labby, Senior Pastor
Willow Creek Church – Winter Springs, FL
Willow Creek Church employed Tullian Tchividjian from August 2015 until March 2016. Mr. Tchividjian was fired when a second incident of his sexual misconduct while a pastor came to light that he had failed to disclose since May 2014, except to at least three men who kept his sin private: Steve Brown, and two men who were elders at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church where Mr. Tchividjian had previously been Senior Pastor.
UPDATE [December 2, 2016]: According to the Christian Post, David C. Cook Publishing still plans to publish Tchividjian’s next book, saying the publisher is still committed to Tchividjian and his family. The publisher did not respond to my inquiry on the same topic.
This article was reblogged at The Aquila Report, which has provided a series of original and reposted articles on their blog.
December 2, 2016. The Christian Post. Tullian Tchividjian Says His Family Is ‘Fighting to Breathe’; Book Publisher Remains ‘Committed’, by Leonardo Blair. [Link added 12-02-2016.]
December 2, 2016. Christian Today. Willow Creek Slams Tullian Tchividjian: He Should Not Be In Ministry, by Harry Farley. [Link added 12-02-2016.]
December 2, 2016. The Reformed Arsenal. Another Open Letter to the South Florida Presbytery – The Reformed Arsenal, by Tony Arsenal. [Link added 12-12-2016.]
December 2, 2016. Sparking Conversation. Law, Gospel, and Tullian Tchividjian (a Conversation with Ezer Uncaged). Podcast with Nate Sparks, Lauren Larkin, and Sarah Taras. QUOTE: “Today, December 2, 2016, my good friends Lauren Larkin (who served as content editor for my survivor narratives) and Sarah Taras invited me to participate in a special edition of their podcast (Ezer Uncaged). In this conversation, we discuss the allegations circling around Tullian right now from a theological perspective. Specifically, we look at the sermon Tullian preached on October 31, 2016, at Spring Hills Community Church of Santa Rosa, California.”
December 2, 2016. Sparking Conversation. Pastor Kevin Labby Calls Tullian Tchividjian to Repentance, by Nate Sparks. [Link added 12-02-2016.]
December 3, 2016. The Defeated Victor. The Leaning Church of Grace, by Dominick Santore. [Link added 01-04-2017.]
December 4, 2016. Sparking Conversation. Apology and Abuse, by Nate Sparks, Content Editor: Lauren R.E. Larkin. [Link added 12-04-2016.]
December 5, 2016. Warren Throckmorton. Money Behind the Message: Non-Profit David C. Cook May Not Easily Give Up Profits from Fallen Prophet Tullian Tchividjian, by Warren Throckmorton. [Link edded 12-05-2016.]
December 5, 2016. Pirate Christian. A Call to Repentance, issued by a group of nine (seven men and two women) who have been closely associated with Tullian Tchividjian’s ministry in the recent past. After recounting the history of confrontations and supposed repentance by Mr. Tchividjian, the group follows with this appeal. THE ENTIRE STATEMENT follows. Twitter handle links and blog posts of the “Call” after the names were not in the original statement. They have been added for reference purposes, for those who may want to track comments and responses. [Link added 12-05-2016.]
December 05, 2016
A Call to Repentance
We join with others in expressing our shared grief regarding these latest allegations, as well as our thankfulness for the courageous women who came forward to tell their stories. We join our prayers together that they will receive the care and support that they need to heal and move forward in their lives.
In the wake of the initial revelation in June of 2015 that Tullian Tchividjian had engaged in an inappropriate sexual relationship, a group of pastors and friends reached out to him in accordance with scripture’s clear admonition in Galatians 6:1–2:
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
In the months that followed, we were encouraged that Tullian seemed committed to walking a path of healing and renewal through repentance under the authority of his church of membership. However, later disclosures, and these most recent allegations, cast grave doubts over the sincerity of this commitment.
Inasmuch as Tullian Tchividjian has habitually and impenitently used his public platform, his family’s good name, and the name of Christ for his own selfish ends, we believe that he has disqualified himself from any form of public vocational ministry.
For the sake of his eternal soul, we implore Tullian Tchividjian to repent of his wickedness and demonstrate his repentance by submitting himself to the leadership of his church of membership, pursuing forgiveness, healing, and reconciliation with those whom he has sinned against.
We send our plea to Tullian in a spirit of gentleness and with broken hearts.
Pastor Matt Popovits
Pastor Donovan Riley
Pastor Scotty Smith* [
*According to a note from Warren Throckmorton, “For undisclosed reasons, Scotty Smith dropped out of this effort.” This change is reflected in some of the repostings of the statement.
December 5, 2016. The Reformed Arsenal. A Call to Repentance – The Reformed Arsenal, by Tony Arsenal. [Link added 12-12-2016.]
December 5, 2016. Sparking Conversation. Several More Pastors and Leaders Call Tullian Tchividjian to Repent, by Nate Sparks. While Nate is glad for the call to repentance, he also voices specific concerns about some of the individual signers and their networks, and how they/those have negatively affected efforts to bring this situation to light and bring healing to survivors.
December 5, 2016. Christian Post. Multiple Pastors Call on Tullian Tchividjian to Repent as Source Says His Mother, Gigi Graham, Is ‘Saddened’ by Sex Scandal, by Leonardo Blair. [Link added 12-05-2016.]
December 5, 2016. The Daily Cherub. Shocking: Celebrity Pastor Suddenly Wants Privacy After Getting Caught In A Web of Lies And Deceit. [Link added 12-05-2016]. QUOTE:
A former celebrity pastor mired in scandal and recently caught in a web of lies suddenly demands privacy, surprising thousands of his social media followers and book-buyers. “He would tweet selfies and really deep, resonating quips twenty-five times a day, receiving thousands of retweets and favorites. He would name-drop famous people and humble-brag about how many inspirational books he was selling. He clamored for churches all across the US to stream his conferences during worship services. Now, out of nowhere, when people are accusing him of spiritual abuse and adultery, he asks for privacy,” said Toni Bruxworth of Florida. “I’m really confused.”
The pastor, who once encouraged magazines like Christianity Today and Relevant to write stories about him, his ministry, and his workout habits, now finds it “unbecoming” and “unfair” to report on the misdeeds that disqualify him for further Christian work. Once a happy recipient of attention, this celebrity pastor is now actively working to silence the blogosphere. “He used to love it when he was the center of attention,” recalled Byron Rose of Alabama. “But now that people are reporting on his rampant hypocrisy and sexual deviance, he wants out of the limelight. My world is upside-down.”
We at The Daily Cherub hope to get the bottom of this remarkable, 180-degree change of ministry philosophy. When we do, we’ll let you know.
December 5, 2016. Divorce Minister. Letter Published Calling Tullian Tchividjian To Repentance, by Rev. David. [Link added 12-05-2016.]
December 5, 2016. Warren Throckmorton. A New Public Call from “Pastors and Friends” for Tullian Tchividjian to Leave the Ministry, by Warren Throckmorton. [Link added 12-07-2016.]
December 6, 2016. Captain’s Log. Tullian Resources Removed, by Chris Rosebrough. [Link added 12-08-2016.] QUOTE:
In light of the recent revelations regarding Tullian Tchividjian and my joining together with other pastors and friends in calling Tullian to repentance, Fighting for the Faith and Pirate Christian Radio have removed all resources that contain teaching or conversations with Mr. Tchividjian.
In journalism there is a hierarchy of evidence and Primary Source Evidence is at the top of that list. However, when it is demonstrated that a primary source has intentionally provided false information in order to obscure the truth and create a false and misleading narrative, that primary source is no longer credible. Recent revelations have demonstrated that Mr. Tchividjian has done exactly that. Therefore, all posts that could be perceived as ongoing support for Mr. Tchividjian have been removed from this site.
I can no longer support Tullian Tchividjian. Instead, I consider him to be a very dangerous and self-serving false teacher who has turned the gospel into a license for sin.
“For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality” – Jude 4
December 6, 2016. Charisma News. Pastors Implore Tullian Tchividjian to ‘Repent of His Wickedness’ After Remarriage, by Jessilyn Justice. [Link added 12-07-2016.]
December 6, 2016. Christian News. Publisher Won’t Pull Tullian Tchividijan Book Deal Despite Former Mistress Coming Forward, Calls for Repentance, by Heather Clark. [Link added 12-07-2016.]
December 6, 2016. Christian Today. Tullian Tchividjian ‘Disqualified From Ministry’ Say Pastors And Friends, by Mark Woods. [Link added 12-07-2016.]
December 6, 2016. The Defeated Victor. How Do We Move Forward? By Dominick Santore. [Link added 01-04-2017.]
December 7, 2016. Christian Daily. Pastors and friends call on Tullian Tchividjian to repent and quit Christian ministry, by Lorraine Caballero. [Link added 12-07-2016.]
December 7, 2016. Christian Headlines. Publisher Refuses to Cancel Tullian Tchividjian Book Deal Despite Scandal, by Amanda Casanova. [Link added 12-07-2016.]
December 7, 2016. The Reformed Arsenal. A Response to a Call to Repentance, by Tony Arsenal. [Link added 12-09-2016.] Tony Arsenal is one of the key bloggers who has followed the Tullian Tchividjian situation for a long time and posted very insightful articles that help us understand dynamics from an insider Reformed perspective. This post is helpful for the framework he shares about the range of responses to the Call to Repentance that was posted on December 5th. QUOTE:
On Monday, several several pastors and other prominent figures— who have been involved in events surrounding Tullian Tchividjian— issued a call to repentance. This statement has been received with —from what I can tell— three basic responses.
- Approval – There are those who see this and applaud it. They believe this to be an appropriate step taken by men and women who were involved in counseling and disciplining Tullian.
- Dissatisfaction – There are those who do not think the statement is strong enough, are disappointed that certain names are missing, or are frustrated that this statement did not come sooner.
- Disapproval – There are those who think this is an inappropriate thing to do, and view it as a kind of public shaming and think that it should be handled privately under the auspices of the local church.
I think, upon reflection, that I probably hover somewhere between Approval and Dissatisfaction, leaning heavily on the Approval side. […]
December 7, 2016. Our Unseen Hope: Surviving Abuse in the Church. What Can We Learn?, by Liz Tinnea. An important reflection and analysis, which begins with a post of a tweet by Julie Anne Smith. “Leaders: why did so many discount the warnings &victims of Tullian Tchividjian? Another TT will come along & we must learn from this.” [Link added 12-07-2016.]
December 8, 2016. Christian Post. Tullian Tchividjian’s Uncle, Brother, GRACE Board Call Sex Scandal ‘Gross Misuse of Power’, by Leonardo Blair. [Link added 12-08-2016.]
December 8, 2016. The Reformed Arsenal. Tullian’s Current Membership Status, by Tony Arsenal. [Link added 12-09-2016.] This post shares Mr. Arsenal’s research on church membership issues. Two paragraphs are especially important to note. The first is from the Stated Clerk of the South Florida Presbytery, where Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church is a member. The second is from the author. The post also gives additional technical details from the PCA Book of Church Order. QUOTES:
[From the Stated Clerk.] Tullian was deposed by South Florida Presbytery and therefore no longer an ordained Teaching Elder of the PCA. According to the policies outlined in the Book of Church Order, his membership was assigned to a church in South Florida Presbytery. The Session was was asked to transfer Tullian’s membership to Willow Creek, located in Winter Spring Florida, under the jurisdiction of the Central Florida Presbytery. However before the transfer was completed, Tullian left Willow Creek. The church where Tullian’s membership remained, in the South Florida Presbytery, attempted to contact him unsuccessfully and eventually followed Chapter 38, Paragraph 4 of the PCA Book of Church Order and removed Tullian from their membership rolls.
[From Tony Arsenal.] As stated above, I will forego any extensive comments to a later post. However, at this point I will simply note that currently Tullian is no longer a member in congregation, Session, or presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America. Furthermore, he neglected attendance or communication with his church of membership for at least a year.
December 8, 2016. Spiritual Sounding Board. GRACE Releases Statement Regarding Tullian Tchividjian – Supports Victims, Challenges Churches with Constructive Changes. [Link added 12-08-2016.] Various blogs among abuse survivor communities have different readerships, so we’ve linked to posts on other blogs so you can read the comments there. Some of the best insights for our community as a whole come from synthesizing the range of comments on such blogs.
Warren Throckmorton: Child Abuse Prevention Group Issues Strong Statement Against Tullian Tchividjian and “Sexual Misconduct.” (Includes a list of GRACE board members, some of whom are relatives of Tullian Tchividjian.) QUOTE: Given the family connections and visibility of GRACE, this is a remarkable development. I suspect the pressure will now increase on the mainstream Christian media to report on these developments as well as on David C. Cook to pull back on their publication schedule.”
The Wartburg Watch: GRACE Issues Statement of the Tullian Tchvidjian Scandal.
December 12, 2016. The Reformed Arsenal. Reflections on Erasures – The Reformed Arsenal, by Tony Arsenal. [Link added 12-12-2016.]
December 15, 2016. Spiritual Sounding Board. 1. Third Woman Victim of Tullian Tchividjian’s Seduction Gives Details; She Reportedly Extends Timeline of His Adulteries Back into 2013, by Julie Anne Smith. [Link added 12-18-2016.]
December 15, 2016. Spiritual Sounding Board. 2. An Infographic on Tullian Tchividjian’s Pursuit of Women and a Public/Publication Platform, by Julie Anne Smith and Brad Sargent. [Link added 12-18-2016.]
December 16, 2016. Charisma News. GRACE Board Members Take Up for ‘God’s Lambs’ Following Tullian Tchividjian Sexual Misconduct Allegations, by Jessilynn Justice. [Link added 12-18-2016.]
December 16, 2016. Here’s the Joy. What hypocrisy is and what it isn’t and why that’s important: a lesson from Tullian Tchividjian, by Rebecca Davis. [Link added 12-18-2016.]
December 17, 2016. Sparking Conversation. Julie Anne Smith and Brad Sargent bring New Allegations Against and Further Insights into Tullian Tchividjian Scandal. [Link added 12-17-2016.]
December 19, 2016. The Christian Post. The Christian Post’s Top 10 News Stories of 2016, by Michael Grybowski. Number 6 on their top 10 list is 6. Morally Compromised Christian Leaders, which summarizes events surrounding Perry Noble, Jamal Bryant, and Tullian Tchividjian. [Link added 12-19-2016.]
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January 3, 2017. Spiritual Sounding Board. ExPastors.com Apparently has Deleted Posts and References to Tullian Tchividjian, by Brad Sargent. [Link added 01-03-2017.]
Key Events: August-September-October 2017. A new blog with the masthead Tullian: Sinner and Saint was apparently launched in August, with its first post dated August 6th. This renewed endeavor for a public platform gained more recognition with a post on September 15th by Patrick Thurmer, A Word from Tullian’s Pastor, and another by Paul Zahl on September 29th, Dust Became Mercy: A Word About My Friend Tullian. It seems they want him to be a public figure, like he was before.
The site purports that “Tullian is a husband, a father, an author, a speaker, a sinner, and a saint who longs to see broken people encounter God’s boundless love.” However, there is no evidence available yet that he has repaired the damage he himself inflicted on multiple women he victimized in recent years (see above history and timelines) — many of them at the same time he was having books published (see this post on ministry-disqualifying character/behavior issues, and the related infographic that shows the overlap of details of sexual misconduct and publishing). This failure is the core to why there is some severe push-back against Tullian Tchividjian’s continuing attempts to restore a public platform for personal influence and teaching. [Summary, analysis, and links added 10-03-2017.]
October 2, 2017. Nate Sparks tweeted a series of comments and critiques about the apparent return to public ministry of Tullian Tchividjian. The first one is at this link, and there are over 40 other separate tweets, many with comment threads. One tweets gives an insightful summary in response to Tullian’s own blog article, Grace in Practice: A Tribute to Paul Zahl. Of this post, Nate Sparks says, “Wow…Tullian admits to everything while taking responsibility for nothing.” [Link added 10-03-2017.]
October 2, 2017. Spiritual Sounding Board. Tullian Tchividjian and Mark Driscoll are Baaaack, by Julie Anne Smith. [Link added 10-03-2017.]
October 3, 2017. The Calvinist International. Paul Zahl: The World Needs Tullian Preaching Again!, by Mark Jones. It appears Tullian Tchividjian is on the comeback trail — again — this time with support by Paul Zahl of Mockingbird ministry. This clear and compassionate critique by Dr. Mark Jones shares many helpful thoughts on grace and forgiveness — and consequences and repentance. He also shows a knowledge of the key issues in the unfolding history of Tullian Tchividjian’s multiple instances of clergy sexual misconduct, avoidance of accountability, and questionable repentance. He also gets at theological problems and probable destructive impacts of a comeback for someone who has disqualified himself from public ministry and whose governing authority removed his ministry credentials. [Link added 10-03-2017.]
October 3, 2017. Reformed Arsenal. Deceptive Dust – A Response to Paul Zahl, by Tony Arsenal. [Link added 10-08-2017.] This article’s opening section and link back to the original was reblogged at The Aquila Report on October 9th. [Link added 10-09-2017.] Mr. Arsenal concludes that, “Tullian Tchividjian is, by all outward appearances, an unrepentant and recalcitrant sinner who is still attempting to paint himself as the humble prodigal son. Let me provide three points of evidence to establish that claim.” He then details the evidences for these ongoing patterns with sections of one paragraph each: (1) Ongoing Adultery. (2) Abandoning Church Discipline. (3) Failure to Seek Reconciliation.
October 6, 2017. The Wartburg Watch. Restoration Craziness: Tullian Tchividjian Returns and Darrin Patrick Ditches Calvinism for the ARC, by Dee Parsons. In the wake of recent comebacks efforts by Mark Driscoll, Tullian Tchividjian, Darrin Patrick, and others, there has been quite of bit of discussion on survivor blogs and social media. This particular post addresses important elements in the overall push-back against leaders who’ve disqualified themselves from ministry leadership roles. [Link added 10-08-2017.]
October 10, 2017. Here’s the Joy. Tullian: Jesus + Nothing = Everything?, by Rebecca Davis. [Link added 10-10-2017.] A theological and praxological critique of these five points presented by Tullian Tchividjian in an interview with Decision magazine in November 2011:
- Because Jesus is strong for me, I am free to be weak.
- Because Jesus wins for me, I am free to lose.
- Because Jesus is Someone, I am free to be no one.
- Because Jesus is extraordinary, I am free to be ordinary.
- Because Jesus succeeds for me, I am free to fail.
This comment by Loriendil gives a particularly poignant quote that summarizes the article’s point of view, and a biblical conclusion from it.
October 12, 2017. Christian Post, Tullian Tchividjian, Billy Graham’s Grandson, Says He ‘Selfishly Wrecked’ His Life After Sex Scandal, by Charity Gibson. [Link added 10-12-2017.]