Post-Moral Failure: Commentary On Tullian Tchividjian Situation


Controversy still surrounds Tullian Tchividjian, Rev. Billy Graham’s grandson, months after his admission of committing marital unfaithfulness and being removed from pastoring the famed Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. I first reported on this situation in my post entitled: “Comfort Affairs and Pastor Tullian Tchvidjian’s Tragic Fall.”

Subsequently, Tullian has been defrocked–i.e stripped of his ordination and teaching elder status in the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA)–and has subsequently filed for divorce from his wife.

Today, most of the current controversy, though, is over another church, Willow Creek Presbyterian Church, hiring Tullian as a support staff member so quickly on the heals of his tragic, moral failure. Read Throckmorton’s blog posts on the matter here and here.

I am not going to weigh in here on whether or not the hire of Tullian was too hasty or not.

My interest is actually in a podcast interview Tullian Tchividjian gave with Vanderbloemen. Listen to the interview here. It is entitled “Recovering After You’ve Failed with Tullian Tchividjian.” The pertinent conversation regarding his moral failure shows up around twenty minutes into the interview.

The interview strikes me as coming from a man who takes full responsibility for his sin (or is–at least–trying to do so). I am refreshed by Tullian’s honesty in this interview where he acknowledges the temptation to offload responsibility for his failures onto others. He recognizes states that is an error.

Tullian realizes adultery or infidelity is a problem that arose out of his own heart through his own poor choice(s).

He does not engage in “The Shared Responsibility Lie. At least, I do not detect him doing so in this podcast. And I really appreciate that.

He does not attempt to shift blame onto his wife for choosing infidelity. Tullian looks at himself for the source of that failure as is Biblical (see post here).

I share this newsworthy post today to lift up his example:

Here is what I would expect to hear minimally from an unfaithful spouse or ex-spouse who was genuinely willing to engage in repentance. They would recognize they have a lot of work to do in unearthing what inside of themselves led them to the place of choosing lies and infidelity.

That said, I am an outsider. So, I cannot say whether or not Tullian is truly repentant. All I have are news reports and this podcast. But what I can say is that this podcast is a good start.

You cannot repent from something for which you refuse to take responsibility.

For the cynics out there, I want to point out that such an attitude is rare in my experience when dealing with cheating spouses or ex-spouses. It requires humility. By the way, that is not a character trait found in abundance among unfaithful partners.

Many cheaters absolutely refuse to accept responsibility for the treacherous betrayals of their covenant partners. I know my former wife is in that camp last time I checked.

I hope this is genuine for Tullian’s sake. My prayer is that he is strengthened as God brings healing to his heart and to those affected by his sins.