Hidden away in the middle of all the news of Duggars, child molestation, racial division, war and other sensational news, came very sad news this past weekend. For some, it was barely a blip on the screen of their news monitor.
For me, a pastor’s wife from the PCA, albeit retired now, and originally from Ft. Lauderdale, it struck me with a great deal of sadness. Yes, another gifted pastor has fallen to sexual sin.
It shouldn’t be shocking really. He is a human being, as much as we wish otherwise…as much as he kept reminding us how human he was…Tullian Tchividjian fell. Fortunately, he didn’t fall from the grace of GOD! The message he has been preaching is still true.
There was a time when, at this point, my self righteousness would kick in and preach him a sermon in my head, telling him all the reasons why he should have done this… or I would never that…
But living in a community of grace like I have in the past couple of years has turned me around. It has been good for my self-righteous soul. I realize that given the right set of circumstances, I could be in his shoes…easily!
His life looks so fun and fulfilled. Not a care in the world…
or is it as great as it seems?
For one thing, I can’t imagine what the pressure of being Billy Graham’s child/grandchild must be like. It seems to follow you in any news headline. Have you measured up to the legacy? Have you let the legacy down? How awful!
It is a wonderful heritage for sure. Frankly, I wish I had known Ruth Graham. She sounds like she would have been a delightful person for sure! But the pressure of that name? It also sounds like Ruth and Billy Graham have not been the kind of people who perpetuated that thinking. But having it out there can still be a pain. Ouch!
Walking into the Coral Ridge pulpit followed by the difficult church split a few months later (predictable for sure when you follow a long time pastor who dies, but difficult none the less) and the loss of his beloved dad on top of it? The stress points must have been mounting up by the 1000’s!
Then writing all those books and getting strokes from the outside world? Toss in the stresses that naturally come with marriage, moving, grief and teenagers and which does anyone want to choose…dealing with them and your own personal pain or enjoying adulation that comes from rebuilding and re-creating a church?
It certainly isn’t all easy. It is a lot of work for sure. But for someone who may be inclined to workaholism, it can give quite a rush. It can also be lonely for a wife.
It is for sure I don’t know the facts of this situation. I can only guess. But the sadness of the whole scenario is one that I’ve seen repeated too many times over the years. Friends my age have lived through this from their perspective as the children…sometimes as actual children, sometimes as adults. No matter how you slice it, it is an unhappy time.
Other friends have lived through it as the spouse who was totally unaware of the affair going on. In this case, it seems both ended up having affairs. No matter what, it represents enormous pain everywhere!
Here is my hope…
My hope is that the elders in his church are supporting him in a healthy way...as well as his presbytery. He will have church discipline and work will be done to hopefully restore him some day to ministry. That is certainly the goal if Biblical church discipline: restoration.
Ultimately, my hope is in Christ. He is the author and finisher of our faith. He will instigate the healing that is needed…the work He has already started. He will use the elders and presbyters in wise ways. It will be good.
Whether Tullian and Kim are able to submit to the loving authority of their elders will be a matter of prayer for all as well as the hope for the future of their family.
Sadly, unbelievers and theological enemies rejoice together. Unbelievers say, “See, Christians are all hypocrites.” Actually, he isn’t. He has confessed. He may have had help, but he has confessed his sin. If he fudges, he will have more help with his confession of sin.
Theological enemies say, “See, grace doesn’t really work.” They are wrong. Grace does work. GOD is more forgiving than they are. The truth of 100% grace, 100% works is still in place as Tullian has said…and Scripture says!
Sadly, it will take time for Tullian to pick up the pieces of his life and family. He will learn the truth of what he has preached in new and deeper ways. It is the grace of GOD that has revealed this darker part of his life in new ways. I look forward to seeing what GOD does in his life after the healing time. It will be good.
But I am sad for all of his family. His wife, who also had an affair, his children who all must be hurt, and the pain all of them must be in at this time. This sin is only a symptom of deeper pain that they must have been having earlier. And to all of his extended family who are also feeling the sting of this loss. We love you and are praying for GOD’s grace to be felt even more in your family!
It isn’t any easier to have public scrutiny when you are having to deal with issues you would like to keep private. I can’t even imagine!
I also pray for their church. It is a painful thing when a pastor falls. Painful for everyone. Great grief is involved. Dreams are lost. Painful hurts in friendships and relationships have occurred, income ceases, idols have fallen off pedestals. It is crushing! But out of all this, GOD is still going to be glorified. That is also hopeful. He always manages to do it. In the meantime, there is much pain happening at this church of brothers and sisters in Christ.
Pray for Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. They have grieved the physical loss of a pastor who died. Now they are grieving the loss of a gifted pastor who has died in a different way. Their hope needs be in Christ as they grieve…and pray for these people they love.
While you are at it, pray for your pastors and the leaders in your church. No one is immune to sin, especially disabling, crippling sin that will put them out of ministry for a time.
Satan is out to disable GOD’s church in any way he can! He knows his days are numbered. He knows how who will win in the end. He wants to cause as much havoc as possible!
Be alert and on guard. Protect you pastors and staff. Protect your pastors and their marriages in any way you can. Particularly, pray for them that GOD will protect them from disabling sin in their lives!
I have updated this a few times since I originally published this 6/25/2015. martha 6/28/2015