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 1

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.

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An Introduction, from Julie Anne Smith and Brad Sargent

Several of those who have alleged victimization by Tullian Tchividjian have contacted me (Julie Anne) over the past year and a half. Rachel (which is her real first name) was one of them. She is the survivor of Tullian Tchividjian’s clergy sexual misconduct in the spring and summer of 2015. She’s also named as “Woman #2” in our recent Partial Timeline post. Discovery of their sexual relationship by staff at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (CRPC) led to Tchividjian being asked to resign as Senior Pastor there, and his being “deposed” by the South Florida presbytery (i.e., having his ministry credentials removed).

Rachel’s story is critically important to consider, in part because she tried to inform multiple Christian leaders – mostly men who were supposedly responsible for overseeing or counseling Tchividjian – about what she experienced as his patterns of lies, seduction, and spiritual abuse. She herself admits, she didn’t always do this in the best way, with rants and emotional comments on posts. But she and her family had been harmed, and she was also trying to get Tchividjian to follow through in repaying over $11,000 he had borrowed from Rachel and her husband to hire a private investigator.

So, it turns out that her personal story intersects with the three main ministries that have been parts of Tchividjian’s platform during the past several years: Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (Fort Lauderdale, FL), Willow Creek (Presbyterian) Church (Winter Springs, FL), and the Liberate Network. At this point, we know of no other survivor whose actions connect with all three. We are grateful she has agreed to share her story so that others can be warned about wolves in the Body of Christ, and also learn about what real repentance and recovery can look like.

Although the first two posts present most of the unfolding history from 2015 and 2016 in chronological order, this has taken much time and work to put the pieces into sequence. As with many survivors of abuse and trauma, recollections tend to come out in bursts, often with different sets of details, emotions, and/or emphasis. So, it took multiple rounds of her writing and our editing and Rachel’s final additions to produce those two history posts, plus the other two posts with thoughts she has for those involved in situations of abuse.

This is a complex situation that involves numerous individuals and organizations. So, we have added background information at the beginning of some sections. This is to help frame the larger picture of what was going on so some of Rachel’s specific statements have more context. Also, if we added clarifying dates or other details to her text, they will be noted [by being in square brackets]. Most of the links that appear in her text have also been added by us to expand the history and context of what she is saying.

But we wanted to keep it as Rachel’s story, in her own words as much as possible. So, well over 90% of all the material in this series of posts comes directly from Rachel, with some minor editing to help clarify the content. She has reviewed the content of all of these articles and agreed to let them be posted here on Spiritual Sounding Board.

Parts #1 and #2 give the overall history of the clergy sexual abuse Rachel was drawn into, what happened after her involvement with Tullian Tchividjian, and how that ties in with where things stand today for both him and her.

Part #3 shares her process of recovery, and her message of help and hope for others who’ve found themselves drawn into the vortex of supply for someone who exhibits narcissistic behaviors.

Part #4 shares her thoughts directly to Tullian Tchividjian about his attitudes and actions, and a message for those who’ve been shielding him from facing the consequences of his hyper-grace theology that has severely harmed others. It ends with concluding thoughts from us as editors.

Some final notes:

This is Rachel’s story. Although she personally knows many of the others who’ve allegedly been harmed by the actions of Tullian Tchividjian and/or those who try to protect and promote him, these individuals need to be given the choice to raise their own voice – if and when they are ever ready to do so. So, she is not telling the stories of other people, only her own, except where occasionally something needs to be said about others because their stories happen to intersect with hers in ways that affected how things unfolded.

As such, our team of moderators will be watching comments for this series of posts closely. We may delete or edit statements or questions about people other than Rachel as we see fit. Please don’t be pushing for information that is not Rachel’s right or responsibility to give.

Also, please keep comments on-topic, so readers do not have to wade through material that doesn’t relate to the Tullian Tchividjian situation. If a post raises issues that may be important but create a tangent to the post, please feel free to go to the Off-Topic Discussion page.

You’ll find additional information, analysis, and resources on this case in the Partial Timeline and the Resource Bibliography.

One additional note: Rachel is not a trained mental health professional, but she uses mental health terms in describing some of Tullian Tchividjian’s behaviors and apparent character issues. These are her opinions based on her limited knowledge, and are not meant to be a factual diagnosis.

Edited to add 11/30/16: 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.  ~ja

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MY STORY, PART #1

#1. Being Groomed for Money, Sex, and Power:

April and May 2015

Hi, I’m Rachel.

Before I begin sharing my story, I want you, the reader, to understand my heart in coming forward with it. I have not made the choice to do so easily or without prayer and guidance over many months. I do not hate Tullian or wish to merely embarrass him or monstrify him to you. I do not seek revenge or my own vindication, to be heralded as a victim or excused for my sin.

The reason I am choosing to be open and very vulnerable with you, is to highlight an example of how an abuse system was born and flourished inside the ranks of reformed evangelicalism. This story is a very public example of pastoral sexual abuse – something unfortunately prevalent in the church. It is also a case study in how our ways of doing church often promote someone with a narcissistic personality and cocoon him in a position that only feeds his pathology.

The issues I hope to highlight are much bigger than Tullian Tchividjian, his victims, or one sector of the church. The details, though ugly, do matter so that you can piece together the true picture. That has been difficult because the internet is Tullian’s primary platform, and survivors usually have none. Much media attention has been given to this story, but Tullian’s internet spin can be analyzed alongside details of his covert activities during the same seasons he spoke publicly about his repentance. That’s why I’m being as specific as possible … so you can see and decide for yourself.

My heart breaks telling this story. The events of the past two years have permanently changed my life and those of my husband and two young children. Many other people have been affected in similar ways over a period of many years. Theirs is not my story to tell. To those who have had the courage to come forward before me, I extend my thanks. And to those who will never speak of their experiences, I pray that my words may help you in some way. For my part in the story, I am truly broken and repentant before the Lord. I extend a public apology to all who have been hurt by my sin.

To Tullian, I ask that you would please dedicate the next substantial season of your life to keeping out of the public eye and off of social media. I believe you need to seek serious professional help and a way of supporting your family financially that does not involve Christian ministry or book sales. There is no way we can make recompense for the full damage we cause by our sin. My social media rants (included in this post unchanged) have been angry and emotional. I’m not looking for more money back. I request that you do not seek to re-establish contact with me.  I consider that we are both just clay in the Lord’s hands. His, not ours, is the only story I want my life to tell. I fear for your soul and for the damage you continue to cause to the church and her reputation in the eyes of the world. Please stop.

And so I begin …

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My husband and I started to attend Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in the summer of 2014. Our family needed help from the Body of Christ – at the time we started attending, our marriage was running on fumes. But our attendance there did us much more harm than good. CRPC, under Tullian Tchividjian, had become a desperately sick and ill-equipped establishment. His church was largely spiritually immature. Sadly, we didn’t know.

We had moved our household to Fort Lauderdale that spring and now lived close to the church. We had heard Tullian Tchividjian was a good preacher, and a grandson of Billy Graham. But we had never followed him online or read any of his books. Tullian was on summer vacation when we started to attend, and he was not the reason we went there initially. We have young children and were looking for a local church where we could find genuine Christian community.

Tullian’s message appealed to me greatly. Previously, we attended a mega-church where the senior pastor had fallen into adultery. Tullian’s preaching seemed like a breath of fresh air – liberating almost. I had a Presbyterian upbringing, and was inclined towards reformed theology. And CRPC was a member of the PCA (Presbyterian Church in America).

Also, I’d had an affair four years prior and the sermons seemed to be exactly what I needed to be able to accept God’s forgiveness for that and move on. As I got to know the women of the church, I invested my life with some of them, sharing my story and my gym habit. I wrote a Christian fitness blog and encouraged many of them in fitness.

Tullian baptized our kids that fall after we became members of the church. At that time he found my email address on the church records and sent me a personal email with a tweeted photograph of our son he had already posted. I replied cordially, though I would’ve preferred to have been asked prior to having a photograph of my child on his very public social media platform. I also thought it strange that my husband did not receive a similar email.

I first talked to Tullian in person at a Thanksgiving football game in 2014. The interaction was very brief. He was wearing shorts and all I remember thinking was that his legs looked very disproportionately skinny. I never felt any physical attraction to him. I never sought him out in any way. I didn’t follow him on Twitter … I didn’t even use Twitter. But my husband felt something that day and said to me that he thought Tullian was attracted to me. I discounted that thought as absolutely ridiculous.

At a Christmas Eve service in 2014, I was asked to do a Bible reading. When I went up to the pulpit prior to my reading, Tullian was sitting there. Much later he told me he had gone up there especially just to see me up close. After my reading I totally forgot he was there. When I climbed down from the pulpit I heard his voice behind me: “Merry Christmas!!” I apologized that I’d forgotten about him sitting there (I was nervous about the public speaking), and wished him a Merry Christmas also. I did not interact with him again until April 2015.

Tullian spends a lot of time at the gym. He emailed me in mid-April 2015 and asked me to help him with training advice. He gave me his cell number and asked me to call him. We started texting. I knew he had a trainer (“Kara”), and since I’m not one, I found that a little “off.” But I sent him some YouTube links for exercises he could use for his back rehabilitation.

Then he started texting me songs to “thank” me for my exercise tips. One song he sent me at this early stage was this: “Still I Wait.” The lyrics were sexually charged: “I really want to lay with you, but I resist because of the pain it puts me through …” [Warning: many of the lyrics for “Still I Wait” by Jonas Steur are beyond merely suggestive, to more sexually explicit.]

I put it on in the car with my kids!!!!! I was horrified. Later, I challenged him on it. He denied ever listening to the lyrics. I never expected my pastor, Billy Graham’s grandson, to be the pathological liar I later discovered that he was.

Prior to the Mockingbird Conference [in New York City; April 16-18, 2015], the nature of our texting relationship was overly friendly. But, apart from the subtle sexual hints and intensity of conversation, not much was really said. We talked about music, working out, fashion, and my “story.” I thought he was charming, somewhat effeminate, and just overly chatty. I believed he genuinely cared about his parishioners and wished to be perceived as really available and “just one of us.” I really liked him. Also, it was becoming apparent how “similar” we appeared to be (we are not at all similar, though he made me feel that way … which I later learned is a “grooming” technique manipulators use).

When he came back from New York, he approached me about his wife, Kim, supposedly having been caught by him in an affair. He singled me out as his right-hand woman, befriending my husband also at this time. It seemed we were becoming special friends, insiders in his life, and strangely vital to his process. He invited himself to stay at our home, paraded around without his shirt when my husband was at work … honestly, I wasn’t that impressed (my husband had a better physique), but he pushed hard into my life and I felt sorry for him.

It turns out he lied ridiculously about Kim, but I’d believed him. I’m a pleaser by nature. I found it difficult, oftentimes, to put a protective boundary in place with people in general, and almost impossible with him.

As Tullian made his way deeper into our lives, he asked to borrow money from us to hire a private investigator. He wanted documented proof that Kim was having an affair. If we paid on his behalf, he wouldn’t have to use their accounts, and that would prevent Kim from finding out about it. We used our credit card for payments on April 25, May 1, and May 6, 2015. He requested all the investigator’s bells and whistles, and the bill totaled over $11,000.

Later on, despite numerous attempts we made to get Tullian to repay, he kept delaying. He promised to pay monthly, but nothing ever came. My husband was embarrassed to keep asking when Tullian seemed to be in such personal crisis. I told my husband to back off, assured that the payment would come. It never did until something happened 10 months later. We’ll get to that soon …

Payment Invoice and Receipt from Private Investigators ~ May 6, 2015

Tullian Tchividjian Private Investigator Invoice Clergy Sex Abuse

Tullian counseled my husband, bought him a vape, and invited him several times to his home to talk about our marriage privately, without me there. Tullian told me it felt good to be able to counsel him since he was on a sabbatical from CRPC and missed his role as a pastoral counselor. I found out later that he even counseled my husband to divorce me before we separated. And Tullian counseled me in a way that made me feel responsible for the breakdown of my marriage.

Despite the fact that my marriage of 13 years had been very challenging and emotionally harmful at times, I was the one made to feel completely to blame by Tullian. It was in this climate I got involved physically with Tullian. I make no excuses for my sin, but the context is relevant for people to understand the true story.

Emotional self-flagellation was my specialty … and I was emotionally in crisis. I had been with my husband since a virginal teen and my life was blowing up. That made me vulnerable … and I eventually came to see that Tullian always seemed to set people up so that he could turn their own sin against them for his benefit. And he uses false theology to do it.

He is famed for saying, “We are all far worse off than we think we are.” This statement means more than the fact that he had a low anthropology theologically. He means to minimize sin and cause us to believe we have no reason to fight against it in our lives. He denies this of course, but promotes sin by “living above the law” himself. His theology has morphed into something that facilitates his expression of his personality disorder. The false gospel he preaches does not call the sinner to repentance, but rather excuses the sinner to stay in his sin. It is dangerous.

Of course, hyper-grace appeals to those of us who have fallen and who need to know God’s mercy and love for us. Yet Scripture states that our favor with God is contingent on true repentance. This vital point was always neglected by Tullian. He left out the reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness that Scripture calls for … he hated “to do lists.” He did not appear to truly know or fear God. He resented spiritual conversation and told me, “You know the Bible better than I do.”

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#2. Beyond Grooming to Sexual Involvement:

May and June 2015

Tullian enlisted me as liaison between the private investigator and himself. I felt desperately uncomfortable in this role. I approached the leadership at Coral Ridge about my awkward feeling and, taking their advice, tried to distance myself. I requested that one of his male employees take the role from me. That happened, though my credit card continued to be charged (despite my request that it wouldn’t) with “no expenses spared” for Tullian’s private investigation of his wife.

Each time I created distance, Tullian pursued me with more intensity. He seemed frenetic and was not handling himself well emotionally. I felt very sorry for him. He texted me constantly, leaning hard on me all hours of the day and night. He had no regard for my family life or other obligations, and I felt obliged to be at his beck and call “in service to the gospel.” I was exhausted and overwhelmed. But I tried to believe the best about him always, doubting myself instead.

While the church had put Tullian on a sabbatical to deal with his “family crisis,” he told me they were pushing him out. I grew very cynical of the church at that time, siding with Tullian. I figured out later that he’d lied outrageously to me, but I continued to believe every word.

In due course, and I believe due to Tullian’s ungracious handling of his situation, the church later called for his resignation. At this stage he was outraged, feeling totally betrayed by them. He had me completely on board. I spent a lot of time with him, telling myself he just needed me as a friend. He told me he had nobody. He told me his “mighty men” had forsaken him. He started contacting lawyers about negotiating a large settlement package to accompany his resignation.

Our relationship became physical from the end of May through June. Wracked with guilt, I told Tullian that I would not be a distraction from his efforts to reconcile with Kim, which he was supposedly trying to do. (Now I fully believe that he had ZERO intention of reconciliation all along. But he wanted then to convince the world that he did.)

I watched Tullian torment Kim by text during our time together. He lied to her about me. He rallied their children with lies against her. I begged him to stop. He truly, truly messed with her mind … gaslighting her to absolutely ensure she would never want to reconcile.

He told me once that he never thought he would be lucky enough to see Kim have an affair. And that he’d wanted to leave her for years and years, but couldn’t because of the collateral damage to his “career.” I always stressed ministry as “God’s call”… but Tullian stressed that it was his “career.” He said he loved his life and hated Kim for potentially ruining it for him.

When our relationship got physical, I absolutely knew we were sinning. Tullian had zero remorse, saying he didn’t believe that pre-marital sex was unbiblical … and he’d been love-bombing me with promises of marriage. He preached the “gospel” and said “tetelestae” [Greek for, “It is paid for,” which among the last words of Jesus on the cross]. He said we were doing nothing wrong.

The unfolding history continues in Part #2.

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Series Table of Contents

An Introduction, from Julie Anne Smith and Brad Sargent

MY STORY, PART #1

  • #1. Being Groomed for Money, Sex, and Power: April and May 2015
  • #2. Beyond Grooming to Sexual Involvement: May and June 2015

MY STORY, PART #2

  • #3. The Light Will Uncover What’s Been Done In Darkness: June and July 2015
  • #4. Tullian Starts Divorce Proceedings: August 2015
  • #5. Spiritual Business Starts Getting Taken Care Of: August 2015 – March 2016

MY STORY, PART #3

  • #6. My Process of Repentance and Recovery (spring 2015 and Onward), and My Message for Those Drawn Into Clergy Sexual Misconduct: There is Help and Hope for Us!

MY STORY, PART #4

  • #7. My Personal Response to Tullian Tchividjian: An Open Letter, November 2016
  • #8. My Response to Tullian’s Supporters and Protectors:  An Open Letter, November 2016
  • #9. Final Thoughts From the Editors

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151 thoughts on “Survivor of Tullian Tchividjian’s Alleged Clergy Sexual Abuse Goes Public with Her Story – Part 1”

  1. Julie, When I say ‘ignorant,’ I am referring to biblical ignorance (they don’t understand Scripture) and what I’ll call a spiritual ignorance (lack spiritual wisdom). If boz was not ignorant, he would have recognized the insincerity and carnality of tulian when he was a student at RTS. (Yes, if professors interacted with him, they should have spotted this as well… tulian’s self-assertion was all over that interview RTS published with him in 2007 (see 3 Jn 9; Matt 23:8-12). The other thing that stood out to me about that interview was this most simple fact: there was no actual conversion narrative. When and how did he come to faith? If you have been shown grace, you boast in grace!)

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  2. Lydia, That Calvin was a despotic ruler of Geneva is but a slanderous myth. The actual history concerning Michael Servetus, for instance, was that Calvin requested that he not be put to death for heresy but Calvin’s plea was not granted because he did not hold power. If you read Calvin himself, you can easily see how the picture of Calvin as a power hungry dictator holds no water.

    re: sanctification being of grace, see Phil 1:6 & 2:12-13 as some key passages but as I said, Galatians is filled with it as this is the central issue in that letter. Calvin learned this from Augustine who said “Command what Thou will, and grant what Thy command.” Pelagians and semi-pelagians (roman catholics) hate this. Salvation is by grace along and sanctification is part of our sanctification – what Paul speaks of as “being saved” in 1 Cor 1:18; 15:2 and 2 Cor 2:15. This is why the sanctification of a believer is assured – because it is part of our salvation which we have received by grace alone. Paul gives thanks to God for churches growth in Christ because our sanctification is a work of God’s grace in us. If this were not so, Paul would not have thanked God but the Christians themselves! Grace exalts God and produces worship of him. If salvation and our “growth in grace” (2 Pet 3:18) were by works, then we ourselves would receive the credit and praise. That guy tulian espoused a false gospel because there really was no grace of sanctification.

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  3. Everyone should read Sinclair Lewis’ novel “Elmer Gantry.” It shows that this pastoral womanizing phenomenon is nothing new and perfectly nails this type of character. If we read more literature, we would probably all be more self aware of this stuff – nothing new under the sun.

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  4. Joel, Good point. Henry Ward Beecher (d.1887), who is the American source for evangelicalism’s centering on the love of God, committed adultery with a number of women in the church he pastored. He demonstrated that he himself had not received the love of God and did not know God. “No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; nno one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, olet no one deceive you. … Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. … No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God.” 1 Jn 3

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  5. Admin note: I really want to keep the comments as close to the Tullian Tchividjian topic as we can. Many people are reading these posts and I want to make sure that other survivors, people connected with CRPC or Tullian, feel comfortable posting. They will be less likely to comment if the subject has switched to another topic. If you’d like to continue the conversation on John Calvin, please move it here: Off-Topic Discussion. Thank you!

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  6. Dante, the “myth” meme comes from reformed history sources. They ignore the records, his second time around in Geneva and claim he still had no real power. The petite council records, for one, blow your theory. People will do and say many bizarre things to prop up cult of personality even with dead guys.

    Try Jesus instead of Calvin.

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  7. All this tragedy because Rachel gave out her personal email address when she joined the church! So sad! I believe her when she says she never sought out or looked for TT in any way (neither was she ever physically attracted to him). One day, TT just decided to rummage through the church records and obtain her personal email address. Sounds like an unauthorized use of private information to me. Could this be a breech of confidentiality? Rachel did not furnish her personal email address to CRPC expecting to be personally contacted by TT. Like when you purchase something online. They request your phone number in the rare event they have a question about your order.

    I used to work for a company and it was strongly discouraged for management (the only individuals with access to employees’ phone numbers) to contact employees at home. Only in instances where it was your day off, and the store was busy, they might call to see if you wanted some extra hours. The workers generally welcomed such calls, as they presented the opportunity to earn extra cash, but for questions such as, “Where can I find such-and-such?” “How do I do this?” it was not allowed. My mother once became very upset with a teller at her bank because he researched her phone number in the bank’s system and called her at home to see if she would like to apply for a credit card. That is not why my mom gave the bank her phone number when she opened an account, and she felt this was a trespass. It’s like when you fill out the questionnaire at the doctor’s office. They want all of the patient’s contact info in the extreme case that if an appointment needs rescheduling or some other business-related issue needs addressing and trying to reach out by phone proves impossible (eg. cell turned off, no voicemail, disconnected/wrong number), there is still one last form of communication. The doctor is not going to email you on a personal level with a tweeted photo to chat about.

    It also struck Rachel as odd that she was the sole recipient of the email. Her husband had evidently provided his email address to the church as well, but was skipped over by TT (wonder why?) and TT publicly posted the picture of Rachel’s child on the internet without her permission (another violation of confidentiality) and then followed-up with a request for rehabilitation exercises. (“Here’s my private cell #, please text me the info, even though I already have a personal trainer and you’re a married woman, I’m a married man, and I have just the same access to YouTube [and the public library] as you do.”) By the way, when I held jobs at the school district and the County, employees with access to confidential data (such as addresses and phone numbers) were required to sign a document affirming that the information would NEVER be misused in any fashion. Any violation thereof was grounds for immediate dismissal.

    I wonder what sort of policy CRPC had regarding the safeguarding of confidential information (which should also preclude the pastor from posting photographs, taken in the church, of his five-year old congregant’s baptism without the parents’ permission).

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  8. Stephanie, I would have been livid it my child’s picture was shown publicly without permission. But how can you get mad at your pastor who just baptized your kid? All he would have to do is say something nice about the child and that would suck most moms into the first step of his trap. And this is how it happens, baby steps, one after the other, until you find yourself in a relationship beyond your wildest dreams.

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  9. Stephanie, you make some really important points.

    Why would any person in ‘authority’ who is a married male (and a ‘pastor’) think it appropriate to contact a female ‘church member’ without at least copying in her husband?

    It’s deliberate predatory behaviour.

    A ‘pastor’ would be more interested in coming alongside the husband to pray with him and help encourage him in the Lord.

    No?

    Not sliming on his wife behind the seeds and getting paid by him in the process.

    WAKE UP BELIEVERS

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  10. Dante, you sound like someone who has all the Reformed group think jargon down. Have heard it all million times. Not interested in that black hole today.

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  11. Lydia, The Reformed faith has a high view of the word of God, studies the word of God and follows the word of God because the Reformed faith is about knowing and loving God who revealed himself in holy Scripture. There would be no Protestant faith if it were not for the reformation that the Lord brought about in the 16th century. All of this was absent in tulian which is why the PCA should have never permitted him to be ordained.

    [Admin note: deleted personal attack.]

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  12. This is a request for the blog moderator to consider deleting the last three sentences of Dantes post at 8:58AM 12-11-16 which are a totally inappropriate personal attack.

    Lydia shouldn’t be treated like that, especially not here.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Avid Reader,

    I agree with you. Even I fume at times, but I try to not overstep the boundaries (I rant, as Mark has jokingly said, within the point of discussion as best I can because this blog is serious stuff that actually affects and involves real people), But Dante’s attack is out of line, totally. Lydia has made wonderful, thought-provoking contributions for a long time and the attack on her is indecorous.

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  14. Dante. Dante. Dante.

    you don’t know WHO the Word of God is.

    You and your Reformed buddies get off scrutinising words on a page.

    Jesus Christ IS the Word of God.

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  15. That is not an attack, that is an exhortation. An attack is destructive, what I wrote is constructive. The NT replete with exhortations. An exhortation is ethical instruction to call one to obedience to the Lord in accord with Scripture and so grow in Christ. It’s about repentance from sin. One of the reasons tulian’s preaching (his brand) was false was because it was void of repentance and love for Christ. It was easy to see.

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  16. Salt, Christ the word is known only by the written word. There is no separating of Christ from the inscripturated word. To dishonor and reject the verbal word of God is to dishonor the incarnate word of God.

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  17. Gee, you miss a few hours and all sorts of things happen. I appreciate it, guys. Thanks for the support. I live at ground zero for Neo Calvinism and have followed the trajectory of Calvinism from Augustine to the latest resurgence so have heard it all and expect no less. Whatever it was. I even had the Presbyterian Seminary as a client years ago and we laughed about the social justice and frozen chosen wings of Calvinism Things have changed…..a lot. A lot.

    I honestly don’t care if someone is Reformed or not except when they start selling it or use it as excuse for totally depraved (unable) behavior or to defend old dead Tyrants. I don’t seek to sell my Pelagianism (wink) even though I believe that all adults, except the mentally challenged, can “choose” not to do evil to others.

    So thanks and back to the real reason people are here. Spiritual abuse.

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  18. Speaking of Dante, I wonder if there isn’t a deep, deep, ring of hell reserved for those who, denying Jesus, set up a false god they name Grace, a false God in whom they fully trust, and who they constantly test by engaging in all manner of aberrant behavior.

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  19. Gary (nice to “see” you, btw), Grace is such a beautiful name, I hate to see it getting thrown around to bully people to their way of doctrinal thinking. That doctrine then becomes an idol and where is Jesus?

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  20. Gary, it is to the point that when I hear the word Grace from a professional paid Christian I think, uh oh, someone has been abused or is about to be. It has become nickname for ‘license to sin against others’ in large swaths of Christendom.

    Tullian, spouting Grace, tweeted he could do nothing good.

    We should have believed him.

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  21. YES. Search the Scriptures because they testify about Him not because they give eternal life.

    There’s a huge difference between being notified about the Saviour (then walking in the Spirit with him) vs obsessing over the meaning of the words “gift” and “faith”…. whilst abusing your nearest and dearest whilst seated on the throne of Moses.

    I love the Scriptures but only because they speak of my Lord. I don’t worship words on a page.

    there are many believers who don’t love the Lord so much. But they just LOVE arguing about things relating to him. If they loved him they would not abuse others and hide behind his WORD

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  22. Sounds like you blame him for it all. You give him money have sex with hi and he stayed at your house running around without a shirt on and you didn’t have any idea what was going on. You sound awfully smart to be so stupid. Once I would like to have you say you played a part in this. It takes two to tango.

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  23. Joyce,

    None of this would have happened if Tullian hadn’t done it. He knew better. He was a pastor so God holds him to a higher level of responsibility than everyone else. The real question is—why did Tullian go after her and break up her marriage in the first place? He could have kept his shirt on, he just didn’t want to.

    Joyce, it’s very rude how you are blaming the victim here. What you don’t understand is that no one would ever be ripped off if con artists didn’t do their dirty work in the first place.

    Con artists are deceptive. They lead people astray. That’s why the burden of blame belongs on the con artists. Plus let’s not forget how the church puts so much pressure on women to be submissive and obedient and ignore their own discernment. Then when women are too submissive, they get blamed for doing exactly what they’ve been taught their whole life to do. There’s a lot that needs to be done with teaching women to be strong. We need more Rachel Denhollenders.

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