The Unseen In Tullian Tchividjian’s Apology And News Coverage

It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before.

-I Thessalonians 4:3-6, NIV


A short summary of the Tullian Tchividjian situation:

Tullian Tchividjian is the grandson of Rev. Billy Graham. Until about a year or so ago, he was also the senior pastor at an evangelical megachurch in Florida, Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. That all changed when an affair came to light and Tchividjian stepped down citing that the affair was a lapse in judgement following discovering his wife’s own affair (see link here).

He was not being honest but manipulative by issuing that statement…

Believing Tchividjian was on the road of repentance, a friend offered him a staff position at his church, Willow Creek Presbyterian Church. Once a second affair came to light earlier this month (3/16) that predated the one that led to TT’s exodus from Coral Ridge, Willow Creek Presbyterian Church terminated Tchividjian’s employment with them.

Leonardo Blair, a reporter for The Christian Post, reported that this affair was with a married woman who also happened to be a congregant at Tchividjian’s church, Coral Ridge Presbyeterian Church, while he was still the pastor there. So, it was not only another case of infidelity exploding the narrative given to The Washington Post a year prior, but it was also a case of ministerial misconduct as he abused his position as pastor in cheating with this married woman who was under his care.

So what does this minor Christian celebrity pastor do when caught?

Like what seems in vogue with evangelical minor celebrity pastors in crisis these days, Tchividjian hires a Public Relations firm that puts out an official statement supposedly demonstrating his repentance over all these matters. You can read the actual text of that statement here. One glaring omission in that statement is the actual subject matter of this post.

Tchividjian does NOT apologize to the MOW’s husband!

And I have yet to read an article or blog post that catches this omission. The married woman’s husband–from the most recently revealed affair–is completely unseen and unmentioned. This bothers me greatly!

The evangelical world is so entrenched in seeing affairs as binary situations–i.e. between the cheater and the affair partner or the cheater and his spouse–that they miss the other victims. It is without any doubt that Tchividjian wronged this man–whether he was a member of Tchividjian’s church or not is unimportant.

Scripture is very clear about such matters as being unacceptable (see I Thessalonians 4:3-6 quoted above).

Also, Tchividjian may have destroyed a whole family by cheating with this Married Other Woman (MOW). The children–if any exist, I do not know–are unseen as well. However, we do know that a husband was involved and was wronged.

Having once been a husband of an unfaithful wife, I am saddened and angered regarding this omission by Tchividjian and the Christian news outlets. Yes, this is personal. But it is far more than that. I desire to see an evangelical world where we actually care for the real victims and require real repentance of the perpetrators of this adulterous evil.

How do we get to a place of healing for adultery victims if they remain unseen and unmentioned?

The answer is we don’t.

What sort of real accountability is there for cheating Christians if the evangelical world could care less if the cheater (pastor) apologized to the spouse of his or her affair partner’s spouse (or former spouse)?

None is the answer.

I hope more is going on behind the scenes in the Tchividjian situation regarding actual godly change. However, this is a public situation now. A public repentance and correction of past public lies needs to take place for the church not to be maligned. A PR statement absent an explicit admission of those deceptive ways as well as absent an apology to the husband he wronged is definitely far from that!

It is past time for the Church to start seeing adultery victims, the faithful spouses. Way past time!


2 thoughts on “The Unseen In Tullian Tchividjian’s Apology And News Coverage”

  1. I have a question about this. Is it always necessary to identify yourself in order to offer an apology?

    My husband of 20 years had a 7 month long affair with a woman who had been married for 2 years and the affair only ended because I caught them. After I caught my husband cheating, I anonymously tried contacting the other woman’s husband to let him know there had been infidelity. I wanted to stay anonymous because all 3 of them are in the military, and my husband would lose his job if the affair came to light (she is a lesser rank and works with him, he’d enabled her most recent promotion and had her recognized for an award…) Her husband works in a different unit but is a higher rank than my husband and shares a lot of overlapping friends and important contacts, so if he wanted to open an inquiry into the matter he could have easily pulled the right strings to do so.

    Well apparently she had been simultaneously having multiple affairs, because this man told another soldier (who then relayed to my husband) about how he’d found out she had been “whoring around” and he was leaving her (they are now divorced.) If he identified my husband as one of those men then it’s only through his kindness that he hasn’t brought it up, knowing that we have 5 kids who need their dad’s income and insurance. So my husband has been let off the hook in that regard.

    It’s been a year since then, and my husband is only now saying he wants to humble himself before God and is willing to do whatever it takes to restore our marriage. I honestly would have divorced him before had I not found out about the affair in the same week that our oldest son broke his back in a car wreck and I found out I was pregnant. It’s taken the both of us this whole year of just co-existing as parents under the same roof to get our oldest son back to a semi-normal state of health and get past my high risk pregnancy (which included 2 major surgeries) and the chaos of the newborn stage. I was completely and helplessly dependent on him, and he probably took advantage of that, but now I’m grateful that I stuck around to see his change of heart.

    One of my issues, though, is that he’s never taken any responsibility for his part in breaking up another marriage. He’s perfectly content to see the other woman’s fault in being a cause of my pain. But whenever I bring up that the adultery involved him breaking up her marriage as well, he rolls his eyes and shrugs it off. I’ll complain that I feel like she stole from me, and he agrees, but then doesn’t see that him taking something that wasn’t his to have is likewise stealing. Just today I asked him if he would be willing to apologize to her ex-husband and he adamantly refused, saying (rightly so) that it would jeapordize his job.

    I want my husband to offer a humble, sincere, heartfelt apology to this man. If it were possible for him to do so without identifying himself, would that even count? If you were the wronged man how would it make you feel? If it were me, and I didn’t know who the woman he’d cheated on me with is, I think the anonymity would seem cowardly and it would just infuriate me further. (As it stands, I know who the woman is and she is anything but humble or sorry so needless to say I’m not expecting an apology from her.) Anyway, I’m hopeful that if there was a way to genuinely apologize without putting his family’s economic well-being on the line, he might be more serious about considering it.


    1. Hopeful,

      That’s a really sticky situation. Generally, I would say that one needs to take full responsibility for one’s actions in order to signify true repentance. One consequence of your husband’s actions is his possible loss of employment. Unfortunately, that negatively impacts your family in a major way. I honestly do not know what to say in this matter. It is very sticky when innocent people are involved in eating the consequences rightfully due to the cheater.

      However, I would be more concerned about your husband’s sincerity. How do you know this is the only one, and he isn’t carrying on with another? It sounds like it only ended because she got exposed to her (then) husband. That is troubling and a red flag to me.

      I would encourage you to do what you can to protect yourself financially in the case your husband has just pushed his cheating underground or has to pay for the illicit relationship you just described. The fact that you had to wait a year for him to come to the table to work on the marriage, and he continues to act reluctantly about owning the full consequences of his infidelity are not good signs this behavior is over.

      Sorry, I do not have more re:telling the faithful husband…you really are in a difficult, difficult place.


      PS The fact that she was a subordinate says that he was abusing his power to get involved with her as well.

Comments are closed.