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!