Clergy Sex Abuse, Divorce, It's All About the Image, Marriages Damaged-Destroyed by Sp. Ab., Mental Health and the Church, Narcissistic Pastors, Personal Stories, Recovery Process, Spiritual Abuse, SURVIVOR STORIES, Tullian Tchividjian, Women and the Church

Survivor of Tullian Tchividjian’s Alleged Clergy Sexual Abuse Goes Public with Her Story – Part 4

Tullian Tchividjian, Personal Survivor Story, Clergy Sex Abuse

Statue of Lady Justice © Sebastian Duda, Fotolia #35822634.
Statue of Lady Justice © Sebastian Duda, Fotolia #35822634.

LINKS: My Story: Part #1Part #2Part #3Part #4Part #5.

Editors’ Note: This is Rachel’s story, and she is sharing what she recalls of her relationship with Tullian Tchividjian. She is sharing her facts, opinions, and what she believes to be true. Tullian is a public figure of interest. It is not defamatory to share opinions, beliefs, and personal stories publicly. In order to prove that she is being defamatory, it would need to be shown that she knowingly told lies, and did so with malice.

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#7. My Personal Response to Tullian Tchividjian:

An Open Letter, November 2016

Background, from the Editors

The following comes mostly from a comment on the post “Master of Manipulation” by Nate Sparks (November 23, 2016) about “Kara,” another woman in Tullian’s inner circle that he was grooming. She asked that Nate delete her comment, which he kindly did, as it revealed information about other people’s stories of dealing with Tullian Tchividjian that those people had not yet revealed themselves.

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I read Tullian’s feeble Facebook post today [November 23, 2016]. This is what you had to say to the world:

Facebook Post by Tullian Tchividjian ~ November 23, 2016


And here’s what I want to say to you:

Tullian, you have done NOTHING to address the damage you did to me or to my family, or to so many others you specifically should be addressing … people like Kara who YOU KNOW were your true friends and who would’ve gone to bat for you and often did.

Confess the truth to your wife [Stacie] and to your fans on Twitter … stop with these weak, self-promoting generalizations. If you gave a hoot about us you would have told the world EXACTLY what you did and immediately paid back every single dollar you ever took. (And you would add to that the $150 a week several of us have been paying a psychologist for the past year or more.) If you were someone transparent or to be pitied, you would have fully confessed what you did to me and to my husband and children. You would have done all in your power to get us the help we needed. Instead, you left us in your trail of dust.

Furthermore, you lied to your children and to my local community about me, doing all you could to sully my reputation. Three affairs? You knew every detail of my past. I was transparent with you, but you contorted that for your own purposes, didn’t you?

I’m not “out for a fight,” despite having been reached out to by lawyers who assure me you should be brought to justice. (If I was out for a fight, you would be in court by now.) But my Lord is a man of war and you are an affront to His gospel and to His name. May He judge you as He sees fit.

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#8. My Response to Tullian’s Supporters and Protectors:

An Open Letter, November 2016

Background, from the Editors

This is Rachel’s response to the article Tullian Tchividjian wrote for (“The Freedom in Losing it All,” September 27, 2016). In it, Mr. Tchividjian speaks about his apparent devastation after the events that disclosed his clergy sexual misconducts, including how he contemplated suicide but opted for “grace” instead. He talks about a journey of the last two years, which Rachel references in her comments analyzing and reacting to such statements of his as this:

The journey God has taken me on over the last two years has been one of complete deconstruction…not just externally but internally. The exploration of who I am, who God is, what is real, what matters, and so on, has been one of pure stripping. It has felt like my skin being painfully ripped from my bones. Just when I think I can’t take anymore, God seems to dig deeper. As painful as it has been, however, it has also been very liberating. As my counselor and mentor told me the other day, “The purpose behind the suffering you are going through is to kick you into a new freedom from false definitions of who you are.” So true. Death before resurrection has always been and will always be Gods mode of operation. Dark desperation always precedes deep deliverance. That is my hope. That is my only lifeline.

Rachel posted anonymously as “Concerned.” This is most of her comment, only changed to turn it from a third-person anonymous to her first-person perspective, now that she has gone public in reporting her story.

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Concerned. Anyone reading this article with some semblance of reason or knowledge of the publicized time line should see that Tullian clearly suffers from narcissism and has no business on a site set up to reach bruised reeds. Only six months have passed since he was caught in a web of lies and lost his position in Orlando with Willow Creek Presbyterian Church. What’s this about two years???? Stop the spin!!!!!

Tullian is married again less than a year after divorcing Kim. Now … is this evidence of repentance, true recognition and dealing with his failure… or AVOIDANCE? What kind of therapist is he listening to? There is ongoing HEARTACHE in his wake in Fort Lauderdale, with two broken marriages as a result, both with children involved. I am the woman he had the affair with in the summer of 2015. I am still in a divorce process, and have been isolated and ostracized by a system that Tullian himself established and even dared to criticize in this post. He was the abuser, not the victim. He went to great lengths to make sure I was cut off and my voice would not be heard. […]

Tullian […] has NEVER publicly addressed his predatory behavior or dealt even close to appropriately with the people involved. Generic statements of apology sound more like Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” to those whose lives have been trashed by this man.

To those applauding him for his “confessions” and granting him respect and sympathy, you know nothing of the reality of the situation at all. It’s a lot darker than has so far been revealed, and the pain that continues as a direct result of his lies and spin is evidence of zero repentance.

There will come a day when all that is hidden will be revealed. Until then, pastors are called to a high calling. Fear God. He will deal with liars. And please stop feeling sorry for Tullian … your sympathy is his narcissistic supply and he will continue to seek it and use it to make a living peddling Jesus. He believes his own narrative. Psychologists say that Narcissistic Personality Disorder in adults takes years of therapy to even begin to address. Tullian should NOT be back in the public eye. Please consider if you are truly helping him by posting his writings on your site, publishing or selling his books, promoting his speaking or events.

Suffice it to say that the Lord creates the ravager to destroy, and puts a limit none can pass. I am thankful for His deliverance, and dealings with me and for His care and beauty demonstrated to me so intimately. He is the friend who sticks closer than a brother. He is there when the rest of the world walks out. He is humble and beautiful and His gospel is TRUE … for all who come to Him IN TRUTH He will in no way cast out.

But He is also to be feared, and those who hurt his flock will not escape His judgment. From personal experience, I can attest that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God. His chastening for me was profoundly painful. I’m no man’s judge, though it takes only an ounce of biblical discernment to assess that Tullian was, and remains to this day, a wolf in the Body of Christ.

Tullian will continue making a fool of himself and garnering an audience, doing so until God says, “Enough.” I pray Tullian will come to a place of self-understanding and genuine repentance this side of eternity. Until then, please don’t lend him money or give him your cell number.

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#9. Final Thoughts From the Editors

From Julie Anne:

We had originally planned to post Part #4 on Thursday evening, December 1st, with the two “open letters” from Rachel, plus final thoughts on the series from both myself (Julie Anne) and Brad. However, because of the breaking news about a statement from Willow Creek Church – Tullian Tchividjian’s former ministry employer – my thoughts and emotions are racing, and there are people I need to be in touch with right personally to help process this development. So, I will expand on what I originally planned to post here as my “final thoughts,” and put those into a new Part #5 post when the timing is right.

For now, here is the Statement: Former Church Says Tullian Tchividjian Should Not Be in Ministry, from Warren Throckmorton’s blog:

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

This statement was posted at about 8:30 PM on December 1, 2016. We posted about this on Spiritual Sounding Board and will continue any updates on the news at least at that SSB post.

Thank you for your support and prayers for all who have been touched directly by this situation, who’ve needed hope that they would be heard and helped. This news is a blessing – thank you to Pastor Labby and the Session of Willow Creek Church! ~ja

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From Brad:

I often think in terms of keeping multiple parts of the whole intact. So, in the case of talking about spiritual abuse and recovery, I try to keep both individuals and institutions in mind. Oftentimes the topics interconnect, which makes sense when we’re thinking about systems of abuse, and how something happens in one part of it affects people and processes in other parts.

There is much I could write about for my “final thoughts” as Part #4 in this series gets posted. But as it turns out, today I had two friends direct message me about different situations. One dealt with issues involving an individual more than an institution, and the other was about institutions more than individual issues. So, I’ve decided to post my responses to each. I’ve summarized what they asked me, and edited what I told them. I have also added a few shorter posts of material from other social media comments I’ve made recently, adding in some other links, and some random reflections I’ve had the past few days. I hope you’ll find the thoughts and resources in these of help … Brad/futuristguy

Bits and Pieces Build the Big Picture

My friend Justin Tse is a professor who writes a lot on culture and evangelicalism. In a Facebook post of his from November 29, he talked about Rachel’s story in Posts #1 and #2 – all that were available at the time – and thought they were amazing. Some stories are just-get-it-out-there-quick, but he felt hers had obviously “stewed” for a long time so the ingredients and flavors could come together and so it was rich and insightful. (You need to read his thread, as his own words are amazing and insightful, too.) This was one of my comments in response:

Part of my theory of recovery from abuse is that we blurt out bits and pieces of our recollections of the experiences, the emotional reactions we had, the perspectives we’re getting — but rarely exactly the same combination. Gradually, we build up to larger and larger chunks of details and interpretation. Eventually, maybe we see the big picture of the systems involved and see how many different individuals get used within such systems. And this could be why we maybe tend to progress from personal recovery, more to advocacy if we’re relationship oriented or activism if we’re more socially oriented. But it take time to — as you said — “stew” on the ingredients til the contours of the story and the stage are more clear.

I have witnessed the process take place with friends who are survivors – both men and women – as they gradually retrieve more and more details of their experience, fill in the bigger picture, interpret the nuances better. Because figuring out our story can be so piecemeal for so long, sometimes people who try to help us with that process end up with “listener’s fatigue.” This is hard work – whether we’re a survivor, family member, friend, fellow church member or leader, trying to sort it all through. Look at how long it took Rachel to get the pieces together in a way that was more comprehensive and coherent, that reflects having done a lot of personal work of recovery in order to get to a better place of discernment. But look at the fruit of her having done so …

Stronger Than Espresso’s “Holiday Healing” Project

From a comment I posted on The Wartburg Watch:

My friend Dr. Christy Sim is Executive Director of Stronger Than Espresso, a non-profit dedicated to survivors of violence and abuse. If her name seems familiar, it may be because I’ve posted other times in comments here about her research work on recovery from violence and abuse. That includes her summaries on the small percentage of sexual assault allegations that prove false, and on Bystander Intervention Theory.

Check out Stronger Than Espresso’s “Holiday Healing” page. I believe what they’re doing offers an important opportunity for survivors to participate in some creative, concrete ways that help process feelings and experiences that often get wrapped up in the holiday season.

Giving People Grace As They Deal with Changing Their Mind

As more evidence emerges from the reports of survivors and related documentation, we’ve started to see some shifts taking place among men and women who had previously been promoters and protectors of Tullian Tchividjian. It seems the information is challenging the ways they had seen him and what he’d said about his situation. And we’re witnessing a whole range of responses, even if the number of them that we know about is relatively small at this point.

Some have come forward on social media to share their conclusions. Some have apologized for their roles in pushing back on those who’d questioned his claims of “repentance,” vague apologies, and the like. Others have expressed sadness, anger, rage, or other emotions at having trusted him and now feeling lied to and betrayed. Others have taken concrete steps like removing his books from their library or sermons or links from their website.

Many of us who are survivors of spiritual abuse know exactly what it is to have been duped and/or otherwise turned into pawns. So, we welcome the news of others waking up to having been used for the unjust purposes of celebrity leader. But let’s face it, change is tough, and this is even more so because people may genuinely have been helped by parts of Tullian Tchividjian’s sermons and books on grace, even if they didn’t absorb all the poisonous parts of his unbalanced message.

Understandably, some in the survivor community are asking questions like, “What’s it going to take? How long before his 106,000 Twitter fans catch a clue?” These kinds of questions aren’t necessarily asked with contempt. Often it seems to be more out of frustration at the pace, along with a deep desire for righteousness. In my opinion, discernment has never been about IQ. There’s something else going that presents a barrier to critical thinking in Christendom fandom. What is it? This was a comment I posted in response to one of those types of questions

If it were only a matter of rationality, the evidences would likely be more than sufficient. The bonds of emotional superglue to celebrities are harder to dissolve.

However, we’re seeing that happen, too. Several inner-circle social media people who had promoted/protected Mr. Tchividjian have apologized publicly for having done that. At least one ministry leader announced that, with regret, he was removing sermons from Mr. Tchividjian from his website.

To me, this indicates the Spirit has been at work, whether behind the scenes or in front on stage, and that there is hope for change for any/all.

“There is no statutes of limitations for attempting to bring forth righteousness in the face of past abuse.”

Just this morning, I received a direct message on social media from a long-time friend who’d read this series on Rachel’s story. He was getting in touch because of an unresolved situation he heard of from the church he used to be in. It reportedly involved a violation of fiduciary duty between a pastor and counselee. The counselee went to the elders with the accusation, but they dismissed it. The counselee and friends left and have since been done with church. My friend asked me what I thought would be the right thing to do since this happened years back, and he was hearing it second-hand instead of having been directly involved with the incident. What follows is my response. I haven’t edited it much, so it’s wordy and choppy because it was straight off the top of my heart.

Several key things for survivors. One is the need to speak the truth of what they experienced, and what it did to them – how it affected them: spiritually, emotionally, relationally, sexually, etc. Another is for there to be justice done in exposing the perpetrator so that what they did to the victim won’t happen to others.

When victims are silenced, dismissed, marginalized, deflected, it seems like one of two things typically happens. Either they go silent (implode and internalize the wound so it doesn’t heal) or they go shrill (explode and externalize the wound so it becomes “emotional shrapnel” to others). Those are opposite responses to “exasperation.” Intriguingly, the New Testament talks to fathers about not exasperating their children [Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 3:21] because it will potentially discourage them or stir up anger in them. Not trying to totally proof-text applications, but it does seem to match what’s easily observable in the world of survivors — either we implode or we explode.

Because you had a position of standing in the previous ministry situation — some authority/responsibility — you could legitimately step in now as a sort of father figure/authority figure on behalf of the church and offer to listen. That way, the ones who were silenced at least know they have an opportunity to be heard by someone who has empathy and can help interpret their situation with knowledge of Scripture and what should have happened with that pastor, as well as how God tells us Himself He views injustice and violence. They may not want to take you up on it now, but trust me, they’re very likely to remember your reaching out to them — regardless of whether they take you up on your offer ever or not.

If they’re open to letting you hear their story, and sit with them in their grief, then perhaps that will be all they need for at least some healing to take place. They will feel heard, justified in their earlier attempts to do what’s right for the sake of justice and righteousness. Other steps may unfold after that, but it starts with the listening.

The role of a surrogate father/elder/authority figure by you as someone who attempts to do right in the place now of the ones who did wrong then is what I talk about in this post on “agents of damage” and parallel “agents of healing.” A kind of “transformational transference” moment in time. It was specifically men in authority who perpetrated and perpetuated the abuse; a man who steps in to do what is possible now to make things as right as possible could make a difference.

So, that’s the overall framework worth thinking through in discerning what to do. You don’t have to reveal any/all confidential info you know about the pastor involved that has no bearing on this young woman’s story. But it gives you a perspective of understanding and empathy with her.

There is no statutes of limitations for attempting to bring forth righteousness in the face of past abuse …

My Final Note for Now …

There are many other issues I could write about, but I haven’t had enough time to steep on them yet — let them “stew,” as my friend Justin Tse so well put it. Perhaps I’ll address them in some future posts. For instance, this case study includes systems of genuine versus pseudo-accountability in the American evangelical Church, and how that contributed to both destructive situations and constructive solutions. It’s crucial to see that not every leader or institution involved directly in this situation failed, even if they didn’t succeed perfectly. And there’s also much more to analyze in terms of a “Tullian Tchividjian Industrial Complex” here, and media, organizations, and others who have kept him going – but what will they do now that the narrative is out of his control, as well as theirs?

Last word: I hope for genuine graciousness toward everyone involved in this. It takes time to gather the pieces, to put them together, to figure out what they mean, to discern and decide what to do next, to find support and encouragement in the journey forward. May we have a conciliatory heart toward one another in the midst of what’s been a divisive situation, and wherever possible, be available as Kingdom agents of hospitality and healing.

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31 thoughts on “Survivor of Tullian Tchividjian’s Alleged Clergy Sexual Abuse Goes Public with Her Story – Part 4”

  1. Even though the truth is coming out, and justice seems to be coming, it still is not a feel good moment. There is still so much to wade through in the aftermath. Not like it all goes away when validation happens. I appreciate the brave people that stepped forward to reveal the truth and I suspect more will come out, which needs to happen. I hope that we all learn something so the church doesn’t have to go through this again. It is really hard to get one’s heart pulled out, and stomped on, even though I am in the balcony of this. I can’t imagine the pain of those directly involved and the struggles they are walking through.

    God bless everyone that exposed this. God bless the victims and I pray for healing in their lives and specifically their children’s. I feel for the kids that were adversely affected by the fallout. It shouldn’t be this way for them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Giving People Grace As They Deal with Changing Their Mind

    I do think this is important, but I also think ‘changing their mind’ should be accompanied by some sort of mea culpa and true heart searching and discussion of how to avoid making these mistakes again, especially if they have been directly involved in promoting or defending Tullian empathically, especially if they have called critics (who were really more discerning than they!) names or unforgiving or what have you. Those people, to me, should be saying more than ‘whoops I was wrong’. They should be saying I was wrong, and I’m looking at why I was wrong, and I’m sorry to those I called names for being RIGHT.


  3. Lea,

    That’s a great point. Totally agree that there needs to be proof of repentance. Words are not enough.

    “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.”
    Matt 3:8 (NLT)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So very painful to read. I wish I could see the light at the end of the tunnel for the American Evangelical church. But, all I see is a wake of bodies.


  5. Here are some thoughts on repentance, restoration, restitution that I posted a couple years ago.

    This is part of that post. The list of tweets comes from a “slate of eight” suggestions, in a guest post I wrote related to SGM/Sovereign Grace Ministries and standing with SGM survivors.

    Overview: Restitution should be holistic, deal w/ past wrongs, & give survivors & their loved ones hope for the future

    Restitution #1 We publicly admit to moral, ethical, legal responsibility for failure to report, & accept consequences.

    Restitution #2 We apologize in person to survivors, their families & supporters – if they will let us – THEIR choice.

    Restitution #3 We use our own resources to help pay survivor’s fees to counselor of their choice for at least 10 years

    Restitution #4 We ensure the church we lead institutes & follows preventive practices against sexual abusers & abuse.

    Restitution #5 We require prevention, interception, & intervention training on abuse by all paid & volunteer leaders.

    Restitution #6 We teach regularly on & demonstrate God’s care for those made victims by the misuse of power by others.

    Restitution #7 Anyone w/ culpability in enabling abuse, but refuses consequences, is fired & whole church is told why.

    Restitution #8 Any culpable church, ministry or agency refusing their responsibility should be decried & dismantled.

    So, I offer that as my “Slate of Eight” concrete suggestions to address enablers of victimization & making restitution

    Finally: Love covers a multitude of sins; don’t let sins of abuse negate covering survivors w/ God’s love. Restore!


  6. Guaranteed right now some are saying ” that redhead sounding board lady has taken down another ANOINTED MAN of God”. The fact is this whole special anointing thing is garbage theology and Tullian is NOT a man of God. There is nothing to indicate that he is truly born again and thus his PR styled “repeatence” is meaningless. He is done in ministery especially within his old denomination, due to his recent remarriage. He needs to come to a true understanding of the real gospel and reconcile himself to the Lord. He also should never been allowed to serve in any position of leadership as he doesn’t meet the scriptural qualifications.

    My prayer is that the church everywhere learns from this case, from the Jack Schaap case, from the Doug Phillips case, from the Sovergn Graceless case etc etc and quits with the hero/ celebrity worship of clergy. The church is worse on this than the Kardashian groupies and that is truly pathetic.

    There will be attempts to blame the victims and even this blogger. Maybe even Google reviews. It’s always someone else or something else ! It can’t be the narsasistic psychopath behind the pulpit. He is anointed. Problem is our rightousness is of filthy menstrual rags according to the scriptures. This guys are anointed with their own egos and nothing else. Defund the church and this abuse stops.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Brad I really appreciated this paragraph of yours.
    “When victims are silenced, dismissed, marginalized, deflected, it seems like one of two things typically happens. Either they go silent (implode and internalize the wound so it doesn’t heal) or they go shrill (explode and externalize the wound so it becomes “emotional shrapnel” to others). Those are opposite responses to “exasperation.” Intriguingly, the New Testament talks to fathers about not exasperating their children [Ephesians 6:4 and Colossians 3:21] because it will potentially discourage them or stir up anger in them. Not trying to totally proof-text applications, but it does seem to match what’s easily observable in the world of survivors — either we implode or we explode.”

    It’s exactly what I’ve noticed. You have articulated it very well.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. There is a fountain from which Tullian’s twisted theology flows. Look for it’s source. Endemic in certain theological institutions that serve the PCA, is a pattern of administrative and board leadership reflective of Tullian’s narcissistic sociopathology which affects their pastoral candidates and appears to have resulted in a variety of Tullian like stories throughout its history.


  9. Scott, I believe this “special anointing” comes down to this idea that “The Ministry”! is a special “Thing” only reserved for very special believers who have been to Seminary and who are “set apart” for the “work of the Gospel”.

    Or in other words:

    Those who have bought the clergy/laity lie and who are enabling men (and women) into adopting religious titles like Pastor, Bishop, Prophet etc.

    The rest of us -non educated-unqualified folk are the ones not fulfilling Matthew 23.

    You know… the useless parts of the body that are needed to take care of those who don’t make the “middle class cut” in order to fit into the Sunday club mould.

    To the highways and byways folk.

    The sinners who need Good News.

    I personally would love to see all these professional sermoneers step off their religious temple pulpits and go share JESUS on the gutters in the ghettos.

    But they won’t go.

    It’s beneath them.

    It’s a “greatest and the least” matter.

    And God will sort through it at the end

    Scarier thought is that if enablers are following TT and are deceived into thinking he is a special man of God…

    They’ve likely left their first love. If they even knew him to begin with.

    Scary thought 🏌


  10. An Insider: Hopefully ALL the corruption will get exposed; all those involved and for what reason to reveal Heart attitudes and the evil behind it all motive and agenda (men in leadership couldn’t cover-up and hide obvious abuses and sin anymore). Thank goodness Rachel came forward and hope/trust more women will come forward and ALL that they endured and their families.
    Brad: (does this help, someone keeps using term gaslighting had to research; someone sent me this). John Paul Jackson in his “Jezebel Spirit” CD/Tape was excellent teaching on true repentance vs. remorse (true repentance was to CHANGE)!
    Salty: Think of Luke 14:all; Beatitudes, Sermon on the Mount; Matthew 20:16; 19:30, Mark 10:31; Galatians 3:28. The Golden Rule is Biblical. Pastors/Leaders MAJORITY forgot to live the Bible and that they’re sheep just like the people made out of the same dust, dirt, bowl of mud=no one greater. Humility is key!


  11. I have heard many people say that “true repentance” is “accepting the consequences of one’s sin.” I find this very problematic, for several reasons:

    (1) None of us have “true” repentance. Our repentance will always be imperfect. Christ is our True Repentance. He was baptized with a baptism of repentance by John for us because He knows our repentance is always imperfect.

    (2) “Accepting the consequences” reminds me very much of the Roman Catholic doctrine of purgatory. Rome says that Christ took our eternal punishment, but that temporal punishments must take place in this life and in purgatory. As if such would somehow change our hearts. As if somehow “accepting the consequences” would somehow change our hearts to so-called “true repentance.”

    (3) This kind of thinking only leads to despair, because we will never know if we have “true repentance.” And in fact, nobody does.

    (4) Who are we to judge when someone has “true repentance” or not? If this were the case, the prophet Nathan could have said to King David, “If you had ‘true repentance’, then you would accept the consequence that you must die because of your adultery.”

    Remember that the Old Testament punishment for adultery was death. Yet, God in His mercy spared David’s life. There was no debate over whether David had “true repentance” or not.

    (5) Once we become the judges of whether someone has “true repentance” or not, then we will become law-oriented and accusatory. It is best to look at our own sins, and then look outside of ourselves to Jesus, our Perfect and True Repentance.

    (6) True Repentance is looking away from ourselves and to Jesus. It is always motivated by the Gospel, and never by the law.

    (7) There indeed are consequences for our sin in this life. We sin against both God and our fellow humans.

    (8) We do not have to seek out consequences to prove “true repentance.” To do so practically is similar to Rome and leads to despair.

    For those who know they are broken and wretched, our only Hope is to look away from ourselves and our efforts.

    We look to Christ and His perfect baptism of repentance. To His life, death, and resurrection.

    He is our True Repentance.


  12. Joshybrisby,

    I agree with you 100%.

    Repentance is not “turning from sins” but in the context of salvation it is a change of mind from unbelief to belief.

    The Pharisees believed in God. But they were trying to work for their salvation by law keeping.

    Discipleship is turning from one’s sins and it is a daily event.

    The gospel is not “turn from your sins and be better”.

    The gospel is “while we were yet sinners Christ died for us”.

    We believe first.

    This involves a change of mind about who God is (lawgiver and judge and creator) and who we are (sinners with a death warrant).

    Jesus is the Saviour and not our ability to change.

    I cannot look to my “fruit” to prove my salvation but I can to judge my health status.

    Matt 7 Folk appeal to their “many wonderful works”.

    TT may very well be a genuine believer. He claims to be. But his behaviour is extremely troubling. ESPECIALLY considering he understands that Jesus paid it all.

    If you want an example of licentious behaviour… we have a fine example here.

    The guy is not fit to open his mouth in any capacity to instruct others. Except perhaps to highlight what not to do in life.


  13. Josh brisby,

    Thanks for the warning you cant change and the resurrection was not enough for you in that regard. This way, people can avoid you and any havoc you may wreck in their lives…. since you a Jesus excuse.


  14. Another thing that has bothered me beyond the obvious pastoral abuse here in this situation is the lack of ethics in most churches regarding gifts, favors and the like. I have a background in public accounting and working in large public corporations where everyone is required to sign an ethics statement. One of the standard clauses is that there is a limitation on the dollar amount of gifts and other favors that you can receive from a vendor, supplier or customer (generally around $50). A general rule would be that if you can’t reciprocate with a like gift or favor that you should decline to receive that gift or favor. This is designed to prevent conflicts of interest which can lead to fraud. How does this relate in this situation? TT’s $11k loan from one of his parishioners is no different than a personal loan from a supplier. This would you fired in the corporate world. I’m sure there were many other similar situations with TT and others in this church.

    Essentially, many of them were buying access to TT. I’m not saying that’s what this lady was doing but others were. I’ve seen this in other churches as well. I remember at a former church that the pastor announced in one of his sermons that someone in the church had given him front row tickets to a Dallas Mavericks game. This pastor is a good man and I don’t think he was trying to get benefits from the well connected in the church. However, pastors are human and when these kinds of things are allowed to happen it opens the pastors up to all kinds of things. I think these kinds of situations contributed to and perpetuated TT’s sexual issues and pastoral abuse. If the church had an ethics policy that was signed by the staff and made public to the congregation it might have slowed or prevented TT from financing his illicit deeds while he was on sabbatical and beyond.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Texas guy,

    Back when I was in the mega church world, I was blown away that several layers of upper staff and leaders always had hundreds of gift cards in desk drawers they lived off. It was a never ending supply and I never figured out how that worked. Where does one get 100 50 dollar Olive Garden cards, for one example? Everything from restaurants to spas to oil changes. It was a form of income in addition to all the other streams of income they enjoy including tax-free housing allowance, conferences, etc.

    I came to realize that local upscale restaurants want that business. It’s a cheap endorsement from a mega church with 20,000 attendees as potential customers.


  16. Where does one get 100 50 dollar Olive Garden cards, for one example?

    That’s insane. Goodness.

    We don’t treat pastors like they can be influenced by ‘worldly’ things/gifts/etc. That’s what it comes down to. And nobody wants to stop sweet 90 year old betty from baking cookies, but there are some things that seem quite excessive. There should be reasonable lines drawn.


  17. just reading this from Rachel “There will come a day when all that is hidden will be revealed” true, but would that be a bit too late? a person or a group of people could destroy your reputation and get away with it until Jesus comes. when would that be?
    what about the implications you have to deal with now?


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