4. An Appeal to Publisher David C Cook, and Others Promoting Tullian Tchividjian

Part #4 of 4, by Julie Anne Smith

 

SUMMARY

The public ministry platforms of Tullian Tchividjian — including his books — have become an issue of public concern and debate, in light of his various degrees of involvement with multiple women.

  • Part #1 introduced the third woman reportedly seduced by Tullian Tchividjian into a sexual relationship. Her story extends his womanizing behaviors back into 2013.
  • Part #2 shared an infographic showing what Tullian Tchividjian’s pursuit of multiple women looks like, when it is layered over some of his ministry platform and publication data for Fall 2013 through 2016.
  • Part #3 provided reference information about Tullian Tchividjian’s publishers and his publications, both out-of-print and presently available, from three publishers: Crossway, David C Cook, and Multnomah. It also highlights the “Christian Living” category bestseller status in 2014-2015 for his most recent book, One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World (David C Cook, released October  2013), and related character contradictions in light of his self-admitted moral failures plus newly emerging reports of emotional grooming and clergy sexual misconduct.
  • Part #4 addresses issues with David C Cook specifically, given their reported intention to publish a future book by Tullian Tchividjian.

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One of the more frustrating things about abuse is that sometimes you know the truth about an abuse situation before others. It’s especially difficult when your friends or people you respect are still believing and defending the abuser. This is what happened in the case of Tullian Tchividjian. Some people came to realize that Tullian Tchividjian was not who he claimed to be after the first sexual relationship outside of marriage went public. Many more saw the light after the second woman was revealed. Yet, many church leaders still extended grace, believing that Tullian had been truly remorseful and wanted to make a positive change.

This seeing-the-light process that other people needed to go through seemed extremely long for me, but that is because I had information directly from the victims — information which I held in confidence. But as the victims have slowly recovered and have agreed to release more from the accounts of their experiences, they discredited Tullian’s testimony, which was previously the only testimony. With the victims’ narratives going public, more people saw the truth and were no longer being duped by someone whose intention was to control the narrative.

The following is a brief summary of the rest of the article. The article is a bit long because the situation is complicated. But, that’s often what happens in these types of cases as we slowly put the pieces of the big puzzle together. We had a lot of missing pieces, but now we have much better clarity. Details follow the bullet section overview.

  • In September, I was given new information that had not been released publicly, about a third victim of clergy sexual misconduct by Tullian Tchividjian.
  • In October, I contacted his publisher, David C Cook (DCC), to ask if they knew about the new information. I was giving them an opportunity to investigate and rethink their relationship with Tullian Tchividjian, as it had been reported they had contracted another book from him.
  • Three months later, there had been no healthy response from DCC.
  • This led me to wonder: What is their primary objective?  It’s long past the time to “work” with Tullian Tchividjian. Protective measures need to take place. So, I decided to publish the results of this part of the ongoing investigation.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Because this case is so convoluted, it will make better sense if it is detailed in chronological order.

September 2016: New information

On September 6, 2016, Warren Throckmorton reported on his blog that Tullian Tchividjian was writing a book.

In late September, the third woman with whom Tullian Tchividjian had a sexual relationship contacted me privately. I had to carefully weigh the information now in my possession. This was information that most likely David C Cook didn’t know, but needed to know in order to protect their business and witness for Christ.

I decided that I needed to contact the publisher, David C Cook, to ask questions in an effort to “do no harm.” There were two primary reasons behind this: (1) to get clarification on the book contract and Tullian Tchividjians’ current status with David C Cook, and (2) because the third woman had contacted me about Tullian Tchividjian’s sexual relationship with her while he was married, and I wanted to know if they were aware of that important information.

Many people expressed anger as they watched Tullian Tchividjian wanting to get back into the limelight again. They also knew that publisher David C Cook reportedly had an ongoing contract with him. They had found out he preached October 31st, 2016, at Spring Hills Community Church in Santa Rosa, California.

But now there was another victim that no one else knew about. Tullian could once again play the repentance card and pull the wool over every one’s eyes while continuing to earn an income writing books on spiritual matters. Were conferences next? Something was wrong with this picture.

So, I reached out to David C Cook, his main publisher, in October. Tullian still has an audience through books published by DCC; he could continue to write and get books published with little oversight and accountability. Had Tullian confessed to his publisher about this particular woman? I knew there was most likely a moral turpitude clause that publisher David C Cook requires.

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What is a “moral turpitude” clause?

Literary agent Steve Laube discussed moral turpitude clauses in his excellent article, What to do about Morals? He mentions that “many faith-based publishers have had a ‘moral turpitude’ clause in their contracts for a long time. . . . It is understood in the legal community as actions or activities that can get you fired from your job, deported if you are a foreigner in this country on a Visa, or have your contract cancelled if you are an author.”

Mr. Laube referred to this Wikipedia article on moral turpitude:

MORAL TURPITUDE. In the event Author is publicly accused of an act of moral turpitude (substantiated by the preponderance of evidence, a court decision, or Author’s own admission), a violation of any Federal law or any other conduct which subjects or could be reasonably anticipated to subject Author or Publisher to public ridicule, contempt, scorn, hatred or censure, or could materially diminish the potential sales of the Work, Publisher will have the right to terminate this Agreement upon written notice to Author of the public disclosure of such conduct or alleged conduct.  In the event of such termination of this Agreement, Publisher will have the right to demand from Author and receive payment within thirty (30) days of the demand, a sum equal to all advances paid to Author under terms of this Agreement that have not been recouped by Publisher prior to said termination.  Upon such payment all rights granted to Publisher in the Work will terminate and vest exclusively in Author, provided that Publisher will have the right to sell or otherwise dispose of all remaining copies of the Work in any manner Publisher deems appropriate.

I cannot imagine a Christian publisher not having a moral turpitude clause. This important legal clause would protect them in case an author committed some crime or moral behavior that caused financial harm to the publisher. David C Cook could recoup any money paid to Tullian Tchividjian if he failed their moral turpitude clause. Surely infidelity and lying would be part of that.

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Back to my thought process

about contacting David C Cook.

Now, of course I understand that contractual agreements are confidential. I get that. But I wanted David C Cook to know that I had additional incriminating information about their money-making poster boy. Did they, as a Christian publishing company, and a non-profit corporation at that, want to be promoting an ex-pastor who has a history of lying, and chronic predatory sexual grooming behavior, and now three times followed through on the grooming to get into sexual misconduct while he was still married to his now ex-wife, Kim?

If DCC is still in a contractual agreement, who are they speaking with to ensure that Tullian is being honest with them? Keep in mind, the only time Tullian has ever admitted to his sexual relationships is after he has been confronted. He has never volunteered any confession of his own accord about wrongdoing . . . ever.

Here are some of the questions I tried to get cleared up:

  • Was/is Tullian Tchividjian being truthful with them?
  • Did he confessed about this additional woman to David C Cook?
  • How involved is David C Cook in monitoring Tullian’s personal life?
  • Who else are they in contact with to confirm Tullian’s testimony to them?
  • Did they give Tullian an advance on royalties for his next book with them? (Several reliable sources claimed they had given him a sizable one.)
  • What is the status of the new book that Warren Throckmorton reported about?
  • Did Tullian Tchividjian sign a contract that contained a moral turpitude clause?
  • Was David C Cook adhering to their agreement in the moral turpitude clause? In other words, if Tullian Tchividjian had violated the moral turpitude clause, were they going to follow through with the agreement?

My initial conversation was with someone who handled Tullian Tchividjian’s business at David C Cook. This person asked me not to reveal their name, so I will honor that request. The conversation did not get off to a good start. I sensed immediate defensiveness. There was a reluctance to reveal information. Most of my questions were answered with, “That’s confidential, I cannot disclose that information.”

So, because of confidentiality reasons, I was not able to gain much information in my call with the source at David C Cook. This source, who was clearly in the know, said they were in regular contact with Tullian Tchividjian, and had also been in contact with others to follow up on care for him. The source refused to indicate whether Tullian Tchividjian had signed a moral turpitude clause, even when I pushed further. The person did, however, permit me to release the following statement (which I have not released until now). Keep in mind, this quote is from October 2016:

“We are not currently working with Tullian on a book in progress.”

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

December 2016: Are they going to publish

Tullian Tchividjian’s new material or not?

So — I was not able to ascertain in October 2016 whether David C Cook’s people knew about this new woman he’d reportedly engaged in sexual misconduct with. But, at least I knew they were given the information by me.

Whether they found out the info from me is irrelevant, but what is important is that Tchividjian’s publisher needed to make important decisions based on that information.  What were they going to do with this information? My hope was that they would soon “see the light.” But on December 2, Leonardo Blair at The Christian Post reported that publisher, David C Cook, said that “nothing has changed” with their relationship with Tullian Tchividjian:

Tim McDonald, chief advancement officer with David C Cook, told CP on Friday however that nothing has changed.

“Our status with him (Tchividjian) hasn’t changed. We’re committed to him and his family as a publisher and will continue to be so,” he said while declining to comment on an expected release date for the book.” (emphasis added)

This puzzled me because it conflicted with what I had heard from the employee of DCC back in October:

“We are not currently working with Tullian on a book in progress.”

You can probably see why I was puzzled. So I contacted the same source at David C Cook again on December 2, 2016, and left a voice mail telling him that I was confused by The Christian Post’s comment and asked for clarification.

He texted me this response on that same day, December 2, 2016.

david-c-cook

David C. Cook, Tullian Tchividjian clergy sex abuse, spiritual sounding board

 

Here’s that quote from the off-the-record source at David C Cook publishers:

“No, there is not an ‘upcoming’ book–no topic, no release date–there may be a book in the future, but that’s very far off in my opinion. Our highest hope is for restoration–that is our prayer for all.

This response did not sit right with me. To me, it was a lame response. It said nothing about whether or how David C Cook planned to do anything regarding a more formal statement about Tchividjian’s chronic problem of sexual grooming and acting on it. I stewed more. I see this as something of grave importance because Tullian Tchividjian has a large following, even after his scandals. People are still clinging on to his every word. All you have to do is look at his Twitter or Facebook page to see that people are itching to have anything from him.

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January 2017: Corresponding with Tim MacDonald.

I called DCC again, and this time, I was directed to Tim MacDonald. Mr. MacDonald reports directly to Chris Dornboos, the publisher’s Chief Executive Officer.

 

Mr. MacDonald and I played phone tag for a few weeks, but were finally able to connect instead by e-mail. Below is a copy-and-paste of my correspondence to Mr. MacDonald dated January 30, 2017:

 [Personal sentences redacted]

Mr. Tchividjian has publicly acknowledged his extramarital relationships from 2015 (Rachel; acknowledged June 2015) and from 2014 (kept secret except from at least Steve Brown and two Coral Ridge Presbyterian elders until publicly admitted in March 2016). Another woman has come forward whom he reportedly groomed starting October 2013 and engaged in a sexual relationship. Other women have reported his relational/emotional grooming and connection going as late as September 2016. So, this covers nearly the entire time since initial publication of the bestselling One Way Love.

This information is captured in the infographic found in this post at Spiritual Sounding Board:

I have asked the victims what they would want from institutions who have kept Mr. Tchividjian’s platform going. Are you interested in reading them? 

A side note: during one of Mr. Tchividjian’s trips to the offices of David C Cook, one of the women with whom he had a sexual relationship actually picked him up from the airport. If anyone from David C Cook was curious as to why he needed no ride from the airport, there’s the explanation.

Another issue I specifically would like to get cleared up is regarding the statements attributed to David C Cook and interpreted by Leonardo Blair and Warren Throckmorton. I came to a different conclusion regarding David C Cook’s involvement with Mr. Tchividjian. Will you please explain the discrepancies between the statements attributed to you/David C Cook found in these online articles?

December 2, 2016. The Christian Post. Tullian Tchividjian Says His Family Is ‘Fighting to Breathe’; Book Publisher Remains ‘Committed’, by Leonardo Blair.

December 1, 2016 (updated December 2). Warren Throckmorton. Statement: Former Church Says Tullian Tchividjian Should Not Be in Ministry, by Warren Throckmorton.

Below are other general questions:

Do you plan on keeping Mr. Tchividjian’s books in print? Or will you be removing them from publication – and if so, when? Or have some other plans regarding his past books?

Does David C Cook have a signed contract with Tullian Tchividjian for a forthcoming book, or tentative plans of any kind with him in future projects?

What is your response to the statements of some within the “spiritual abuse survivor communities” that they intend to boycott David C Cook products permanently if you publish another book from Mr. Tchividjian?

Will you be issuing a public statement regarding the situation with Tullian Tchividjian and his moral failure and chronic lies? 

Thank you, Tim, for your time. I strive to post accurate information and make great effort to speak directly with sources (as I have with the women involved, including his ex-wife, Kim). I believe my first ministry is to come alongside those who have been harmed in the church. Spiritual abuse survivors are my first priority. My second objective is to look at the “system” connected with the abuse and identify who has been involved in allowing the abuse to continue. This “system” includes identifying people, leaders/friends, churches, and organizations/institutions closely connected with the perpetrator of abuse. This objective involves identifying what Christian leaders and organizations have done or have not done when presented with factual information regarding a very public Christian leader who has a history of moral failure and/or spiritual abuse. Sadly, David C Cook became a part of this system once anyone from David C Cook found out about the issues surrounding Mr. Tchividjian. But with that knowledge comes a responsibility.

There are far more people involved than Mr. Tchividjian, his immediate family, and the women with whom he had sexual relationships. His former church, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, and his large number of followers still have questions and are in a lot of pain. They need clear answers. I have spoken with quite a number of people who used to go to Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church and who have been so hurt by Mr. Tchividjian, they are no longer attending any church at all.

A response from David C Cook is very important. You can either validate these people who have been harmed by making an appropriate response, or you can cause more harm by doing nothing.

I would be happy to discuss this further with anyone from David C Cook if there are any questions, or you would like more information. My greatest hope is that you “do no harm” in this situation.

In His grace and truth,

Julie Anne Smith

www.SpiritualSoundingBoard.com

*********************************************

Here is the response Tim MacDonald sent me:

 

Tim MacDonald, David C Cook, Tullian Tchividjian sex abuse scandal

Important text from MacDonald reads:

“We do not have any plans to publish a new resource with Mr. Tchividjian and as you know any contractual agreements with any author are confidential.”

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Readers, what do you think about how David C Cook has been handling: (1) the series of clergy sexual abuse scandals of Tullian Tchividjian, (2) questions about whether they do or don’t have a book contract with him, and (3) what they intend to do about his books that are already in print?

3. Research Findings on Publishers of Books by Tullian Tchividjian

Part #3 of 4, by Brad Sargent

SUMMARY. The public ministry platforms of Tullian Tchividjian — including his books — have become an issue of public concern and debate, in light of his various degrees of involvement with multiple women. Part #1 introduced the third woman reportedly seduced by Tullian Tchividjian into a sexual relationship. Her story extends his womanizing behaviors back into 2013. Part #2 shared an infographic showing what Tullian Tchividjian’s pursuit of multiple women looks like, when it is layered over some of his ministry platform and publication data for Fall 2013 through 2016.

This post provides reference information compiled by Brad Sargent about Tullian Tchividjian’s publishers and his publications, both out-of-print and presently available, from three publishers: Crossway, David C Cook, and Multnomah. It also highlights the “Christian Living” category bestseller status in 2014-2015 for his most recent book, One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World (David C Cook, released October  2013), and related character contradictions in light of his self-admitted moral failures plus newly emerging reports of emotional grooming and clergy sexual misconduct. This research writing is part of his due diligence to produce a forthcoming case study on this situation, focusing on systems of accountability and how they succeeded or failed, and possible reasons why. This information on publications is all drawn from publicly posted documents and websites.

This series concludes with Part #4, in which Julie Anne Smith addresses issues with David C Cook specifically, given their reported intention to publish a future book by Tullian Tchividjian.

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tt-timeline-5-4-books-120

The above infographic was provided to Spiritual Sounding Board by a reader who wishes to remain anonymous. The preparer based this chart on information that appeared in the Partial Timeline post, which provided details of various women whose connection with Tullian Tchividjian has been made public, and publication information that was likewise available online.

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Continue reading

2. An Infographic on Tullian Tchividjian’s Pursuit of Women and a Public/Publication Platform

Part #2 of 4, by Julie Anne Smith and Brad Sargent

Part #1 introduced the third woman reportedly seduced by Tullian Tchividjian into a sexual relationship. Her story extends his womanizing behaviors back into 2013. This post shows an infographic on what Tullian Tchividjian’s pursuit of these women looks like, when it is layered over some of his ministry platform and publication data for Fall 2013 through 2016. (UPDATE: The revised version below of 12-17-2016 replaced the original version posted on 12-16-2016. See the updates in Notes #1 below the infographic for details on the differences.)

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tt-timeline-5-4-books-120

(Click on infographic to see it full screen.)

Continue reading

1. Third Woman Victim of Tullian Tchividjian’s Seduction Gives Details; She Reportedly Extends Timeline of His Adulteries Back into 2013

Introduction to Four-Part Series:

Tullian Tchividjian Situation Update

We (Julie Anne and Brad) were planning a two-part series to update the situation on Tullian Tchividjian, focusing on what has been happening with his current and former publishers, and individuals who’d been promoting him over the years.  However, we are now able to share related breaking news — a third woman with whom I (Julie Anne) have been in touch gave us permission to share certain details of her story. She was reportedly drawn into a sexual relationship by Tullian Tchividjian, with a very similar pattern as other women have stated he used for grooming them emotionally. Tchividjian lured them in to trust him and doubt themselves, and then in two other cases at least, eventually seduced them into sexual involvement.

This newly revealed woman says that her connection with Mr. Tchividjian started in October 2013 and ended in August 2016 before he got remarried. Her additional account changes things — her narrative extends Mr. Tchividjian’s apparent manipulative patterns back into 2013. It also means he has kept silent about this relationship for over three years, which fits the general pattern he has displayed with two other women, of not admitting to adultery until it has been exposed publicly.

And so, this has led us to reconfigure the material we had into a series of four posts: Continue reading

Survivor of Tullian Tchividjian’s Alleged Clergy Sexual Abuse Goes Public with Her Story – Part 5

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. Continue reading

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.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

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. Continue reading

Survivor of Tullian Tchividjian’s Alleged Clergy Sexual Abuse Goes Public with Her Story – Part 2

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 Part 2, a continuation of Rachel’s story which began here. The remaining parts of the series will be posted soon.

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 Continue reading

Survivor of Tullian Tchividjian’s Alleged Clergy Sexual Abuse Goes Public with Her Story – Part 3

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. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Tullian Tchividjian – Partial Timeline of Alleged Clergy Sexual Abuse and Spiritual Abuse

Tullian Tchividjian, Clergy Sex Abuse, Spiritual Abuse

Tullian Tchividjian, Clergy Sex Abuse, scandal, spiritual abuse

Facebook profile photo

This is a partial timeline of the situation involving Tullian Tchividjian. It focuses on his various publications since 2007 (if a book title appears twice, the first is a hardcover version and the second is paperback), his church ministry roles since 2009, and his publicly revealed illicit sexual involvements. We’re limiting the timeline to these topics and key events, to help focus attention on the overlaps between his ministries and publication writing periods that were paralleled by emotional and sexual grooming of women who were in some way within his sphere of influence. Continue reading

1-1/2 years Later, Bethlehem Baptist Church Doesn’t Seem to get Domestic Violence: A Personal Story

Bethlehem Baptist Church, Pastor Jason Meyer, Domestic Violence, Emotional Abuse, Spiritual Abuse

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 7.49.07 AM

Pastor Jason Meyer, Bethlehem Baptist Church

Almost exactly 1-1/2 years ago, I wrote an article about John Piper’s former church, Bethlehem Baptist Church (BBC) regarding domestic violence, Encouraging Shift from Bethlehem Baptist Church Regarding Domestic Abuse and Care for Abused Women. Around that time, BBC pastor, Jason Meyer, preached a sermon and humbly expressed how he and his church had not handled domestic violence appropriately.

You can listen to the sermon or read the transcript here: Fooled by False Leadership

The following is the opening paragraph of the Elders’ Statement which was also released at the same time:

Elders’ Statement on Domestic Abuse
We, the council of elders at Bethlehem Baptist Church, are resolved to root out all forms of domestic abuse (mental, emotional, physical, and sexual) in our midst. This destructive way of relating to a spouse is a satanic distortion of Christ-like male leadership because it defaces the depiction of Christ’s love for his bride. The shepherds of Bethlehem stand at the ready to protect the abused, call abusers to repentance, discipline the unrepentant, and hold up high the stunning picture of how much Christ loves his church.

I was cautiously optimistic about the steps Bethlehem Baptist seemed to be taking. They brought in professionals to help them learn and understand domestic violence signs. They professed to want a heart to empathize with women who were harmed by domestic violence.

One domestic violence case was ongoing at that time. Natalie had reached out to the Bethlehem Baptist leaders for help years earlier. But now, the church leadership was doing a complete overhaul in how they were going to counsel when there was abuse involved . . . . or so they implied. Continue reading

Ex-Pastor Tullian Tchividjian Speaks Out at Website for Ex-Pastors

Tullian Tchividjian article at ExPastors.com, clergy sex abuse, suicide, repentance, restoration


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Only one month after Tullian Tchividjian remarried, he has publicly released a new article at a site for former pastors, ExPastors.com. In the article, The Freedom in Losing it All, Tchividjian shares lessons he has learned about himself since his sexual scandal.

 

The following is an excerpt from the article: Continue reading

Tullian Tchividjian and Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church Discussion: “He demanded that people be loyal to him.”

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Tullian Tchividjian is Back, Fully Endorsed by His Pastor, Kevin Labby

Continue reading

Domestic Violence is NOT a Marriage Issue, but an Abuse Issue

Domestic Violence, Naghmeh and Saeed Abedini, Divorce, Marriage, Abuse, Church Response to Abuse

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Saeed and Naghmeh Abedini — Two Kinds of Violence, Both Still a Prison

Pastor Saeed Abedini, #FreeSaeed, Released from Prison, Domestic Violence, Naghmeh

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After The Gospel Coalition Staunchly Defended CJ Mahaney in Sovereign Grace Ministries Sex Abuse Scandal, They Now Promote the Movie Spotlight (Sex Abuse Coverup)

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Attorney David Gibbs III Discusses the IBLP Lawsuit and Answers Important Questions

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Doug Wilson Series: Introduction, Christ Church Celebrates 40 years and Background

Doug Wilson, Christ Church, CREC, Greyfriars Hall, Association of Classical & Christian Schools, Canon Press, New Saint Andrews, Steven Sitler, Jamin Wight

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Concerns about Tullian Tchividjian’s Ministry Comeback as Director of Ministry Development at Willow Creek Church

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Tullian Tchividjian has a new pastor, Kevin Labby at Willow Creek Church, and a new job there as Director of Ministry Development only weeks after stripped of minister credentials


Tullian Tchividjian has a new job at Willow Creek Church. While some are applauding this new development, many are not. Here is his new job listing at Willow Creek website:

Tullian Tchividjian
Director of Ministry Development

tullian_bioWe’re so delighted to welcome Tullian Tchividjian to the staff of Willow Creek Church. A graduate of Columbia International University (philosophy) and Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando (M.Div.), Tullian is a best-selling author, having written seven books on the gospel of Jesus Christ and its liberating implications. Most recently, Tullian served as the senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church and founded Liberate, a ministry devoted to connecting God’s inexhaustible grace to an exhausted world. He loves the beach, loves to exercise, and when he has time, he loves to surf. He’s also a huge fan of both the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Heat. (Source)

My observation is that people are having great difficulties with Tullian Tchividjian for a few reasons:

  • he has not stepped away from a public platform for a season of reflection and repentance since he was confronted about his adultery
  • he snubbed his former elders’ accountability and restoration process by seeking refuge with a friend and his church
  • he is now in a ministry position too soon after being confronted about his adulterous affair while serving as senior pastor at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church

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Kevin Labby is the senior pastor at Willow Creek, a Presbyterian church, in Winter Springs, Florida. Here is part of his bio where you can see Pastor Labby’s favorite people (I bolded key names):

Some influential voices in Kevin’s life include Martin Luther, John Calvin, Tim Keller, Steve Brown, Tullian Tchividjian, Nancy Pearcey, Steve Childers, R.C. Sproul, Elyse Fitzpatrick, Jerry Bridges, Francis Schaeffer, Robert Farrar Capon, Brennan Manning, Abraham Kuyper, Paul Tripp, and others. In his spare time, Kevin enjoys spending time with his family, reading, plunking around on his guitar, finding a reason to have lunch at Four Rivers Smokehouse, or cheering for the Buffalo Bills and the Orlando City Lions. (Source)

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For the first time, Tchividjian publicly announces Kevin Labby as his pastor:

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Friends who Give Close Friends Grace

Doesn’t it make sense why Tullian Tchividjian would find shelter at Willow Creek with a pastor who has been his friend? I know of another celebrity pastor who took shelter at his friend’s church when he was going through his own personal sin. It must be okay for celebrity pastors to do this, but common folk aren’t afforded that kind of “grace.” They stay at their church during the restoration process.

Let’s look at more important connections: Paul Tripp, who is Tchividjian’s close friend and personal counselor during his marital crisis, is scheduled to speak at Willow Creek in February 2016 (Source). It’s like one big happy family at Willow Creek.

It’s clear that Tullian Tchividjian is also well-loved by the folks at Key Life ministry. In fact, the founder, Steve Brown had a lot to say about Tullian and their relationship in an article describing his thoughts since the scandal went public:

You see, I love Tullian…I love him a lot. I’ve known him since he was six years old and have prayed for him daily for most of his life. He is a former seminary student of mine, and I have known and loved his family (both on the Tchividjian and Graham side) for much of my adult life. Tullian’s late father, who I miss very much, was a close friend.

At the Steve Brown’s ministry website, KeyLife.org, all three men, Tchividjian, Paul Tripp, and his new pastor, Kevin Labby, have articles published or participate in interviews. These three men minister in the same circles. Key Life organization and Steve Brown also participate with Tchivijian’s Liberate conferences, the most recent called Key Life Pastors Pre-Conference at Liberate 2015.

One interesting note, Tullian Tchividjian is listed under the Guest Author category at the Key Life website. I stopped counting at 15 articles/interviews for Tullian Tchividjian. But Paul Tripp is listed as a Key Author, and he has only one article listed. I searched the Wayback Machine and found a screenshot from March of 2015 which lists Tchividjian under the heading of “Authors,” so obviously they have since revised their website to differentiate between “Key Authors” and “Guest Authors.” But what’s interesting is Tchividjian’s name is now under the less prominent “Guest Author” heading even though he is one of the most prolific contributors at the site. Also, since the March 2015, they have added Paul Tripp to the new Key Author lineup (he was not listed at all previously).

Why are these connections a noteworthy? Because these folks are good friends with Tchividjian. There’s nothing wrong with having good friends, but there is something wrong when the same friends are also in business ministry with Tchividjian. And it is a problem when they can use their celebrity platforms to speak out publicly and defend Tchividjian and his image (Steve Brown: here, Paul Tripp: here), but do not give an ear and a public platform to Tullian’s wife, Kim Tchividjian. Emergent leader/pastor Tony Jones also did this with his ex-wife. He was able to get his prominent Emergent leader friends to publicly vouch for him, while his ex-wife, Julie, was publicly scorned.

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Pastoral Vows and Presbytery Church Order

Yesterday, after news was broken about Tchividjian’s new job at Willow Creek, T.L. Arsenal wrote An Open Letter to the South Florida Presbytery:

It appears as though Tullian has not only joined another PCA church in the area, but is now listed as a staff member at Willow Creek Church.

I cannot fathom a circumstance where the Presbytery that was “committed to continuing to offer him pastoral care” has advised or sanctioned him being on staff in a church two weeks to the day of having deposed him.

In an article by Carl Trueman, Trueman reminds us of vows Presbyterian pastors take:

Tchividjian is, or at least was, a Presbyterian pastor. That binds him by solemn vow not simply to teach certain doctrines and to live in a certain way but also to act relative to his sin according to certain principles and processes. When he finds himself delinquent in doctrine or life, he should report himself to his Presbytery and place himself under its discipline and pastoral care.

There are safety checks for pastors within PCA. These processes are designed to help come along side those who have fallen in sin and need to come to restoration:

The elders at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, where Tullian Tchividjian previously served as senior pastor, released a public statement in which they clearly said they are going to be coming alongside Mr. Tchividjian:

Several days ago, Pastor Tullian admitted to moral failure, acknowledging his actions disqualify him from continuing to serve as senior pastor or preach from the pulpit, and resigned – effective immediately.

We are saddened by this news, but are working with and assisting Pastor Tullian and his family to help them through this difficult time, and asking people to join us in praying that God will bring restoration through this process and healing to all involved.

Tullian Tchividjian, when he made a vow to become a pastor, knew the guidelines, yet it appears he has abandoned those whom he had previously submitted, and has left Coral Ridge entirely and moved to Willow Creek, his friend, Kevin Labby’s church.

Do you suppose Kevin Labby has contacted the elders at Coral Ridge to discuss this important church discipline issue?
Do you suppose Kevin Labby has contacted Tullian’s wife, Kim to talk with her to hear her side?
Spiritual Response vs Business Response

When we look at this case in a spiritual sense of a church and its elders at Coral Ridge making efforts to bring restoration to a fallen leader, we see that Mr. Tchividjian has completely prevented that from happening. He has interfered and usurped the Biblical process of accountability by elders, a process by which he took a vow when he became a pastor, and sought shelter from a friend.

However, when we look at this case in a business sense, it makes perfect sense. Do you see how many followers Tullian Tchividjian has on Twitter?

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Tullian Tchividjian scandal, Willow Creek, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, moral failure, adultery

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Many people will freely give grace and disregard a Biblical restoration process in order to see and hear from their favorite celebrity pastor.  (Since Tchividjian is no longer a pastor, he might want to change his Twitter handle: @pastortullian.)  But regardless, whether Mr. Tchividjian was stripped of his credentials or not, people have already forgiven him and still see him as pastor without making sure he has fully repented and properly restored.

Willow Creek, by the way, made a video announcing Tchividjian’s new job and Warren Throckmorton has posted an update on his article that they have since removed it:

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Willow Creek shows poor discretion in how they have handled this. If they wanted to give Tullian Tchividjian a job in a non-ministerial position, fine. They could have done it without any fanfare. But by promoting Tullian publicly, now his fan base knows where to find him: at Willow Creek church.  There are benefits to hiring Mr. Tchividjian with his fan base, but I’m not sure those benefits are spiritual – – at least right now, so soon after his fall.

Here’s a bit of related satire I found on Twitter. Click on the image to enlarge:

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Narcissistic attention whore finds a pimp to prop him back up and they turn the house of God into a spiritual brothel. Jesus wept. ~Michael Newnham (after hearing about TT’s new job at Willow Creek)


Update: Sept 2, 2015 – Warren Throckmorton updated his link to say that the video at Willow Creek was removed because it was someone’s family account.

Related articles (must read!): Anatomy of an Evangelical Scandal, by Janet Mefferd

Update 3/24/16:  For some reason, I found this blog post in draft mode when it had previously released.  Because of the ongoing case with Tullian Tchividjian, I thought it was important to release it again in case people are searching for more info on this story. Sorry for any confusion.  ~ja