But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral…—not even to eat with such a person.
-I Corinthians 5:11, NKJV
As a refresher, Tullian Tchividjian (TT) fell from grace when one of his affairs first became known. He lost his pastorate at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church as well as other ministry positions due to these moral failures along with the attempted cover-up of them. He subsequently divorced and remarried–allegedly one of his affair partners.
From his article he explains what happened:
Two things I had come to believe were secure forever (apart from my relationship to God) were my 21-year marriage and my calling as the senior pastor of the historic Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Both came crumbling down during the spring and early summer of 2015.
First my marriage. Then my position at the church. And with those two losses came a thousand other losses…Life went from feeling like a fairy tale to feeling like a violent tragedy.
Notice the passive position he is taking by describing these events in this way!
This sort of stuff angers me as a pastor who was cheated on by his first spouse and had to deal unjust treatment from the church. Here this pastor who actively blew up his ministry and marriage via lies and cheating, but a reader would not know that reading his dribble. It sounds more like he was the victim here.
When pastors who have destroyed their marriages and ministry by cheating write in this way trying to re-enter ministry without doing the hard work of long-term repentance, it make life more difficult for real minister victims of infidelity like myself and others who visit this blog. We end up being treated as if we are just like TT or others who were the perpetrators of the evil that destroyed their marriages and ministry.
A repentant and responsible adult in this situation would talk about how he blew up his own ministry and marriage by choosing to cheat and lie. He would not caste himself as a misunderstood protagonist of a tragedy not his choosing, because such a picture is another lie. TT chose this tragedy when he chose to cheat and lie!
One final word to the church: when people screw up bad, try to help them. Do your best to sacrifice anything and everything to help them. More than likely, they screwed up bad because they need help. Don’t turn your back on them. Pursue them. Something isn’t right with them and they need help.
If it is true that TT married one of his affair partners, the church turning his back on him is precisely what Scripture tells us to do (see I Corinthians 5:11 quoted above). He is still actively in sexual sin while actively claiming to be a brother. The Apostle Paul is clear what the church is to do in such situations and pursuing is not the prescribed course of action I see in verse 11.
Second, notice the subtle blame-shift in TT’s words.
They did not screw up because they lack character. Rather you caused them to screw up by not helping them. Got that?!
The solution to these moral failures is not about taking personal responsibility for one’s choices and actions; rather, the solution is getting the church to better help and support pastors who end up failing morally. It disgusts me.
Those are not the words of someone who is repentant!
Of course, it is true that a cheater needs help. But the help or lack thereof is not the source of such sin. Sin comes out of the sinner’s own heart as the Bible teaches (see James 1:13-15). As a former pastor, TT ought to know this.
The sort of help TT needs is more rebuke than anything. Godly help begins by refusing to accept dribble like this piece where TT plays the tragic victim and points the finger at churches for his (and others’) moral failures.
His words are words of someone who is still trying to avoid responsibility for his own poor choices and sinful actions.