There could be many more, but we will highlight five reasons that Tullian Tchividjian ought to step down and away from any Pastoral ministry. The grandson of Billy Graham may have been born into evangelicalism’s royal family, however, this automatic privileged status ought not to provide an easy way for him to jump from one ministry leadership position to another repeatedly. This is precisely what Tullian has done amidst questionable behavior and salacious scandals.
First, Tchividjian, as mentioned briefly already, was involved in an ongoing adulterous affair in 2015 with a woman that he befriended: Rachel Steele. This public scandal was cause for him to be terminated by the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. This itself should seal the deal. But we continue.
Second, after Coral Ridge, amidst a brief stint at Willow Creek Church in Florida, it was discovered that Tchividjian had another affair that he had sought to conceal from 2014. This led to his immediate firing and defrocking of prior ecclesiastical ordination. Now we see the serial adulterer emerge. One wonders, how many were there, altogether?
Third, when it was discovered that Tullian had kept secrets, the leadership of Willow Creek Church Florida made this declaration as reported in The Palm Beach Post: “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.” Though this statement was taken down from their social media for some reason, it is the right judgment. Even, more, it remains the conviction of the pastor at Willow Creek at the time, Kevin Labby.
Fourth, Tchividjian has remarried after divorcing his first wife, Kim. This is perhaps, one of the most ignored sins in North American Evangelicalism. You do not have to go far to find a ready minister granting “permission” for violators of Christ’s clear message about divorce and Remarriage to make vows to another as life-long spouse. Yet this advice leads one to go ahead and perform another form of adultery. Not ashamed to mention that she is on her third husband, the latest Mrs. Tchividjian has multiplied Tullian’s adultery count. One wonders whether Stacie Tchividjian will be the last.
Fifth, not only has Tullian Tchividjian ignored multiple ecclesiastical censures, and has sought to establish another congregation that he may rule over, he also accepts speaking engagements elsewhere and leaves his current wife, Stacie Tchividjian, to fill the pulpit. Yes, that was correct. Mrs. Tchividjian recently spoke before her and her husband’s entire supposed flock in a place she deems sacred. To the horror of this writer, Stacie has had the gall to suggest that if she didn’t do well, God was to be blamed. Not only is this courting blasphemy, but it is also clearly contrary to the New Testament injunctions about women serving as pastors and preaching/teaching in the church to a mixed audience. This speaking behind the Sacred Desk should be reserved for Elders/Pastors specifically called and gifted by God, who alone have divine sanction to do so.
To see this debacle, click here.
Finally, Tchividian’s qualifications for ministry leadership, no matter how perceived by his band of followers is in reality non-existent. He is clearly not a man of God without or above reproach. Years ago the volume Can Fallen Pastors Be Restored?: The Church’s Response to Sexual Misconduct, Edited by John H. Armstrong (Chicago: Moody Prerss, 1995) bucked the usual nonsense and took a biblically faithful approach that reminded us all that some sins, though forgiven by Christ when due repentance is evident, will simply never permit one to become once again above reproach. “Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? So he that goeth in to his neighbour’s wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent. Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry; But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house. But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul. A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away” (Proverbs 6:27-33, emphasis added).
Tullian Tchividjian, Stand Down!
[Editor’s Note: Contributed by Theodore Zachariades]