Tullian Tchividjian

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Tullian Tchividjian
Tullian Tchividjian cropped.jpg
Born William Graham Tullian Tchividjian
(1972-07-13) July 13, 1972 (age 45)[citation needed]
Jacksonville, Florida, U.S.
Nationality American
Education B.A., Columbia International University,[citation needed]
M. Div. from Reformed Theological Seminary[citation needed]
Known for Senior Pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (2009–2015)
Spouse(s) Kim Tchividjian (m. 1994; div. 2015)
Stacie Phillips (m. 2016)
Children 3
Parent(s) Stephan Tchividjian
Gigi Graham
Relatives Billy Graham (grandfather)
Ruth Graham (grandmother)

William Graham Tullian Tchividjian (/ˈtʌliən ɪˈvɪɪn/; born July 13, 1972)[not verified in body] is a former pastor of the Presbyterian Church in America denomination, and author of more than a half dozen books about Christianity and current issues, including One Way Love and It is Finished (David C. Cook, 2013 and 2015). A grandson of Christian evangelist Billy Graham, Tchividjian founded an Evangelical Presbyterian Church congregation before being tapped to merge it and become the second senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida (after the church's late founder and longterm leader, D. James Kennedy). Serving 2009–2015, Tchividjian resigned after allegations of an extramarital affair, the first of more than one to which he would admit, the initial admission being sufficient for his being deposed by his denomination as unfit for Christian ministry. In addition to his book publications, Tchividjian blogged for some time for The Gospel Coalition, has contributed to a variety of secular and Christian publications, and has appeared on a variety of major televisions news programs. As of December 2016, the Christian publisher David C. Cook remained committed to publishing Tchividjian's next book.

Biography[edit]

Early life and education[edit]

William Graham Tullian Tchividjian, whose third given name is shortened from his namesake, the theologian of antiquity, Tertullian,[1] was born on July 13, 1972,[citation needed] in Jacksonville, Florida.[1] He is one of seven children of Stephan and Gigi Tchividjian, Gigi the eldest daughter of Billy and Ruth Graham's five children, and Stephan, a psychologist of Swiss-Armenian ancestry.[1] He is the nephew of evangelists Franklin Graham and Anne Graham Lotz.[citation needed]

Tchividjian attended the Westminster Academy, an educational ministry of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for a time, but is described as having "dropped out during a period of rebellion—sinking into South Florida's "pleasure-saturated culture" ...then [coming] to a personal faith in Jesus at the age of 21 and return[ing] to a Christian lifestyle."[1]}} In this same rough time frame, he attended and graduated from Columbia International University, in Columbia, South Carolina, with a B.A. in philosophy.[when?][verification needed][citation needed] Tchividjian subsequently earned an M.Div. degree at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando,[when?][citation needed] and was ordained in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) denomination.[when?][citation needed]

Career[edit]

New City Presbyterian Church (Coconut Creek, Florida) and earlier[edit]

Before founding New City Presbyterian Church (New City), an Evangelical Presbyterian Church congregation, Tchividjian spent "a short two-year stint at a large Presbyterian church in Tennessee" that is unnamed in available sources from that period.[2][better source needed] Tchividjian went on from that position to found and pastor New City in Coconut CreekMargate, Florida, about 12 miles northwest of his earlier Westminster Academy school in Ft. Lauderdale,[1][2][3] ca. 2003.[2] The church has been described as "a young church plant,"[4] and in 2009 it would merge with the nearby, larger, and widely known Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church.[4] At the time of the merger, it was described as being a congregation to 650 persons.[2] Tchividjian noted at the time that "the denominations [of the merging churches] are both theologically conservative and [they] have maintained a good working relationship over the years."[2]

Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)[edit]

Merger and installation[edit]

As described by Tchividjian and others to James D. Davis, Religion Editor of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the process to decide leadership that resulted in the merger of the two congregations was a year-long process managed by "Coral Ridge's 15-member Pulpit Nominating Committee" (Dan Westphal, chair), who evaluated 150-175 candidates nationally and internationally.[1] Coral Ridge is described as having approached Tchividjian three times during the process, beginning in May 2008, and his having stipulated the necessity of a church merger for him to consider that pastorate at Coral Ridge; the final discussion between Tchividjian and Coral Ridge began "just before Christmas [2008]."[1]

Westphal announced the committee's selection of Tchividjian, pending congregational approval, to Coral Ridge congregants in a Sunday morning service on January 18, 2009, to "[g]asps, then applause" (as described by Davis of the Sun-Sentinel).[1] The merger of the two congregations was official on Easter Sunday, April 12, 2009.[3] Tchividjian was approved, with his installation on May 10, 2009 as senior pastor of Coral Ridge, formally succeeding its late founding pastor, D. James Kennedy;[1] the installation address was delivered by Evangelical Christian writer and social critic, Os Guinness,[3] and more than 5,000 are reported to have attended the installation worship service.[5] Tchividjian brought with him a less formal worship style from New City, for instance, conducting services in a suit and tie rather than the vestments Kennedy had worn.[citation needed]

Challenge[edit]

At one time drawing 7,000 worshipers, Kennedy's Coral Ridge "had been in decline" since the death of its famous first preacher in 2006; Tchividjian's presented vision, his relative youth (aged 36 at time of installation), and his association with the famous Graham family[6] and were seen by the church elders as a way to "revive... the aging congregation."[4] At the time of Tchividjian's installation, Coral Ridge was described as having a weekly attendance at 1,800,[1] from a membership of 2,200 persons.[2] The combined weekly attendance of the merged congregations was anticipated to be on the order of 2,450 persons.[7]

However, the response of the church to the difference in pastoral styles, and "Tchividjian’s rejection of culture war politics" led to "chaos" in the church, and Tchividjian’s recall was sought by a group led by Kennedy’s daughter, Jennifer, within 6 months of his installation.[4] In its description of the conflict, Bobby Ross, Jr. of Christianity Today describes its outcome as "Tchividjian [having] survived an attempt… by… church members to remove him.[8]

Tchividjian was retained by a majority of the congregation in September 2009.[citation needed][9] and the individuals bringing the removal action were described as being banned from the church.[4]

Congregation size[edit]

At its peak, under Kennedy, as many as 7,000 worshipers attended Coral Ridge, although this number had declined between Kennedy's death in 2007, and 2009.[2][4] In a Press Release from both churches just prior to the merger, Coral Ridge was described as having 2,200 members (with weekly attendance at 1,800[1]), and New City as being "a church of 650 people."[2] More than 5000 were said to be in attendance on the Sunday of Tchividjian's installation as the church's new senior pastor in spring of 2009.[5] In September 2009 Coral Ridge was described by Christianity Today as having "2500-member[s]".[8] As of February 2015, attendance at Coral Ridge was described as being 1,600.[10]

Resignation[edit]

On June 21, 2015, Tchividjian resigned as senior pastor of Presbyterian Church after admitting to an extramarital affair.[11] On August 11, he was deposed by the South Florida Presbytery of the PCA, who ruled him "unfit for Christian ministry."[4][12]

Willow Creek (Winter Springs, Florida)[edit]

On September 2, 2015 it was announced that Tchvidjian was hired to a non-leadership, non-pastoral staff position,[13][14] as Director of Ministry Development at Willow Creek Church (PCA) in Winter Springs, Florida.[15] Tchvidjian was fired from the position at Willow Creek on March 16, 2016, following the disclosure of a second extramarital affair, one predating his earlier admitted affair,[16] one that had also occurred during his previous position in pastoral leadership at Coral Ridge.[17][18]

Other ministries led[edit]

Tchividjian was among those who founded LIBERATE, a resource ministry[clarification needed] that held an annual conference, and published music, books, a website,[citation needed] and a daily radio program on Moody Radio by the same name.[citation needed] LIBERATE was closed indefinitely after Tchividjian's resignation from Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church.[4][19] A related organisation, Liberate Network, was initiated by Tchividjian after his hiring by Willow Creek Church in Winter Springs, Florida, but was disbanded within months of its launch, following his departure from that second church after further disclosures about sexual improprieties.[14][20]

Writings[edit]

Articles[edit]

Tchividjian has written for Christianity Today,[citation needed] and other print outlets.[citation needed] In addition, Tchividjian was a contributor to Don't Call It a Comeback: The Old Faith for a New Day, published by the Reformed network called The Gospel Coalition (TGC) in 2011,[citation needed] and was a contributing editor of Christianity Today's Leadership Journal.[when?][citation needed]

Blogging[edit]

Tchividjian was a regular blogger at TGC.[when?][citation needed] In 2014, a dispute regarding differing theologies of sanctification[21] was described by TGC founders Tim Keller and Don Carson as "becoming increasingly sharp and divisive rather than moving toward greater unity,” leading the TGC Council to decide to remove Tchividjian’s blog from the network's website.[22] Christianity Today described Tchividjian's final blog post on the network as "complain[ing] that he had been abruptly ordered off the Reformed network,"[4] but noted that he later apologized for his role in the "very public 'break-up.'"[23]

As of December 2016, Tchividjian has also written a few blog posts for a variety of other publications, including the Huffington Post,[24] and the religious ecumenical website OnFaith.[25]

Books[edit]

Tchividjian has written several books. Some of the works are as follows.

Jesus + Nothing = Everything (2011) tied for Christianity Today’s Book Award in the category Christian Living in 2012[26] and was a finalist in the non-fiction category for the 2012 Christian Book Awards[27] from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free (2012) was a finalist in the non-fiction category for the 2013 Christian Book Awards from the ECPA.[28] His books have been translated into Spanish and Chinese.[29]

As of December 2016, the Christian publisher David C. Cook remained committed to publishing Tchividjian's next book.[30]

Social media[edit]

Tchividjian has maintained a presence on social media throughout his ministry, and has "remained active on social media" since resigning his ministry positions in 2015, stating to Christianity Today that "leaving the public eye would undermine the message of grace" that he had advocated.[4]

Public appearances[edit]

Tchividjian has appeared on Fox News,[31] Morning Joe,[32] Sean Hannity,[citation needed] and the 700 Club.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

In a story done at the time of the announcement of the merger of his New City church plant and Coral Ridge, Tchividjian is described as enjoying "weightlifting while playing the likes of Coldplay or John Mayer on his iPod… surfing when time permits, as well as spending time with wife Kim and their children."[1] Tchividjian married his first wife, Kim, in 1994 and they have three children, Gabe, Nate, and Genna.[2][4]

On August 20, 2015, Tchividjian filed for divorce from Kim, in Broward County, Florida.[4] Following settlement of the divorce,[when?][citation needed] he married Stacie Phillips, in August 2016.[33]

Further reading[edit]

  • Ross Jr., Bobby & Tchividjian, Tullian (September 24, 2009). "Tullian Tchividjian: Allow Your Critics to Teach You" (interview). Christianity Today. Retrieved December 7, 2016. [Quote:] The new pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church talks about the effort to remove him from the pulpit. 
  • Weber, Jeremy (May 21, 2014). "Tim Keller, Don Carson Explain Why Tullian Tchividjian Was Asked to Leave Gospel Coalition". Christianity Today. Retrieved December 7, 2016. [Quote:] Tchividjian apologizes that his public breakup with TGC has 'given the world the justification they're looking for to disbelieve the gospel.' However, he then added to the ongoing debate over how TGC members have publicly responded to allegations of an abuse coverup by Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM), revived this weekend after TGC council members C. J. Mahaney and Joshua Harris resigned in the wake of the criminal conviction of a former youth worker at SGM's then-flagship church. / In an interview with the Christian Post's Morgan Lee, Tchividjian strongly criticized how fellow TGC members have defended Mahaney, saying it looks like 'the good-old boys club covering their own' and 'I've just been sort of disgusted by the whole thing.' 
  • Klett, Leah Marieann (March 21, 2016). "Tullian Tchividjian Was Advised by Coral Ridge Elders to Be 'Mindful' in Revealing Undisclosed Affair To Wife Because of Children". GospelHerald.com. Retrieved December 7, 2016. [Quote:] [A]ccording to a recent report published by The Christian Post, Tchividjian… confessed to having an affair with a married woman two years ago after he was confronted by two Coral Ridge elders. / At the time, he was not advised to step down as lead pastor, but instead was advised not to immediately inform his wife about the matter - she only learned about this last week, a 'highly placed source' told the news outlet. 'To make matters worse, the two elders never informed the rest of the session about this situation.' 

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Davis, James D. (January 19, 2009). "Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church Chooses Pastor". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Archived from the original on January 20, 2009. Retrieved January 30, 2009. [Quote:] Sunday's announcement capped a year of work by Coral Ridge's 15-member Pulpit Nominating Committee, which considered 150 to 175 ministers in more than 15 states, plus other countries. / Coral Ridge actually approached Tchividjian three times, the minister said. First was in May for the pastorate alone. / The second time, from summer to the end of September, the churches discussed merger, but New City backed away, unsure of the complexities, Tchividjian said. / The committee approached him again just before Christmas and got a warmer reception. "When something comes around a third time, we felt God could be doing something, and we should start asking about it," he said. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Devin, Nicole & Rohman, Jane (March 16, 2009). "Tullian Tchividjian Formally Accepts Call to Serve: Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church and New City Church Agree to Merger" (press release). ChristianNewsWire.com. Washington, DC. Retrieved December 11, 2016. [Quote:] After an exhaustive due diligence process and with the overwhelming support of church members and governing boards, Tullian Tchividjian, 36, has accepted the call to serve as senior pastor at South Florida's Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. In doing so, the church of 650 people which Tchividjian founded 5 ½ years ago just outside of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida will merge with the 2,200-member Coral Ridge church founded in 1960.  [better source needed]
  3. ^ a b c CRPC Staff (2009). "History: April 12, 2009, May 10, 2009". CRPC.org. Fort Lauderdale, FL: Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (CRPC). Retrieved 9 December 2016. [Quote:] April 12, 2009 (Easter Sunday) - Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church and New City Presbyterian Church, then meeting in neighboring Coconut Creek, FL., officially merge together. Rev. W. Tullian Tchividjian, the grandson of Dr. Billy Graham and then senior pastor of New City, is called by the congregation and Session of Coral Ridge to serve as the second senior pastor in the church's 50 year history. / May 10, 2009 - Rev. Tchividjian is officially installed as senior pastor of Coral Ridge. Dr. Os Guinness delivers the installation address. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Morgan, Timothy C. (August 22, 2015). "Tullian Tchividjian Files for Divorce". Christianity Today. Retrieved August 30, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Young, Eric (April 13, 2009). "Coral Ridge Church Installs Tchividjian as New Senior Pastor". The Christian Post. Retrieved August 25, 2010. 
  6. ^ The following source speaks of his "famous name," which we believe is apparent in referring to his being a grandson of Billy Graham. See "Early life and education," above.
  7. ^ This estimate is drawn from reports and the church news release at the time, specifically, from Coral Ridge being described as having a weekly attendance at 1,800 (see Davis, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, January 30, 2009), and New City's description as having 650 (see Devin & Rohman, ChristianNewsWire.com, March 16, 2009).
  8. ^ a b Ross Jr., Bobby & Tchividjian, Tullian (September 24, 2009). "Tullian Tchividjian: Allow Your Critics to Teach You" (interview). Christianity Today. Retrieved December 7, 2016. [Quote:] The new pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church talks about the effort to remove him from the pulpit. 
  9. ^ [1][dead link][dead link]
  10. ^ Aman, John (February 15, 2015). "Major Change at Famous U.S. Megachurch". WorldNetDaily. Retrieved December 9, 2016. [Substitle:] D. James Kennedy successor keeps quiet on public moral concerns. 
  11. ^ Bailey, Sarah Pulliam (June 21, 2015). "Billy Graham's Grandson Steps Down From Florida Megachurch After Admitting an Affair". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 19, 2015. 
  12. ^ As described by Timothy Morgan of Christianity Today, The PCA’s Book of Church Order requires that a Christian minister must display an extended period of "eminently exemplary, humble and edifying life and testimony" before he can be in ministry. See Morgan, Christianity Today, August 22, 2015, op. cit.
  13. ^ Blair, Leonardo (September 3, 2015). "Willow Creek [Winter Springs, Florida] Church Says No Rules Were Broken in Hiring Tullian Tchividjian". Christian Post. Retrieved December 7, 2016. [Quote:] The position offered to Tullian is a non-ordained, support position. Recognizing his deposition from office, it does not involve any functions unique to the office of elder in general or teaching elder in particular. 
  14. ^ a b Lee, Morgan (March 16, 2016). "Tullian Tchividjian Fired by Church, Liberate Board Members Quit". Christianity Today. updated. Retrieved April 27, 2016. [Quote:] Kevin Labby, the church’s senior pastor, also announced to Patheos blogger Warren Throckmorton that he and four other board members (out of nine total) have resigned from the Liberate Network… In September, Willow Creek (unrelated to Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois) hired Tchividjian as the congregation's director of ministry development… / The position did not involve pastoral or teaching responsibilities… 
  15. ^ Blair, Leonardo (September 2, 2015). "Too Soon? Billy Graham's Grandson Tullian Tchividjian Lands New Job at Willow Creek Church". Christian Post. Retrieved September 2, 2015. 
  16. ^ For the actual source texts summarized for this sentence, see the quote appearing in the Lee Morgan citation, Christianity Today, March 21, 2016, and in the Leonardo Blair citation, Christian Post, March 17, 2016.
  17. ^ Lee, Morgan (March 21, 2016). "Tullian Tchividjian Confesses Second Affair Concealed by Two Coral Ridge Elders". Christianity Today. Retrieved April 27, 2016. [Quote:] When Tchividjian stepped down in June 2015 as lead pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, he explained that he 'developed an inappropriate relationship' with a 'friend' after learning that his wife was having her own affair. His wife disputed his account, writing that his statement 'reflected my husband’s opinions but not my own,' but did not offer details. / On March 13, Tchividjian confessed to a prior extramarital affair from 2014, Coral Ridge confirmed to CT. Later in 2014, one of Tchividjian’s friends informed two of Coral Ridge’s then elders of the affair (one elder left the church prior to this month’s revelations). 
  18. ^ Blair, Leonardo (March 17, 2016). "Willow Creek [Winter Springs, Florida] Fires Tullian Tchvidjian After He Confesses to Another Affair". Christian Post. Retrieved April 27, 2016. [Quote:] Willow Creek Church in Winter Springs, Florida, confirmed Thursday that they have fired Tullian Tchvidjian, 43, grandson of evangelical icon Billy Graham, after he revealed a previously unconfessed affair he had with another woman. / "When we heard the disclosures he made just a few days ago, the session acted within hours to end his employment at the church," Willow Creek's Senior Pastor Kevin Labby told The Christian Post in an interview Thursday morning. / "The disclosures that he made involved the fact that he had a previously unconfessed inappropriate relationship with another woman… / In a statement to The Washington Post last June, Tchividjian said he began his previously confessed affair after he discovered [his wife] was cheating on him… / His recent confession, according to Labby, contradicts that narrative. The Willow Creek senior pastor indicates that Tchividjian's newly confessed affair occurred prior to discovering [his wife's] infidelity. / When asked what prompted Tchividjian's confession, Labby said new rumors, which he is not at liberty to discuss, had come to light. 
  19. ^ Ong, Czarina (June 26, 2015). "Liberate Ministry Closing Down After Founder Admits Extramarital Affair". Christian Today. Retrieved July 20, 2015. 
  20. ^ LN Board of Directors (2016). "From the Board of Directors". Liberate Network, Inc. Retrieved December 7, 2016. [Quote:] The remaining board members of the recently launched Liberate Network have decided to cancel the 2017 Liberate Conference and dissolve the organization. Those that had registered for the conference will be issued full refunds as soon as possible. / We’d like to thank those that have stood alongside Liberate in championing the message of ‘God’s inexhaustible grace for an exhausted world.’ However it is in the best interest of that very message—which is bigger than any network and any man—for Liberate to come to an end. 
  21. ^ DeYoung, Kevin (May 13, 2014). "What We All Agree On, and What We (Probably) Don't, in this Sanctification Debate". TGC. 
  22. ^ Carson, Don; Keller, Tim (May 21, 2014). "On Some Recent Changes at TGC". TGC. 
  23. ^ Tchividjian, Tullian (May 30, 2014). "Reflections On My Break-Up With The Gospel Coalition". Liberate. Archived from the original on June 26, 2014. 
  24. ^ HP Staff & Tchividjian, Tullian (December 7, 2016). "Tullian Tchividjian [search]". Huffington Post. Retrieved December 7, 2016. 
  25. ^ OnFaith Staff & Tchividjian, Tullian (December 7, 2016). "Tullian Tchividjian [search]". On Faith. Austin, TX: OnFaith, Inc. Retrieved December 7, 2016. 
  26. ^ Reynolds, Matt (December 29, 2011). "2012 Christianity Today Book Awards". Christianity Today. 
  27. ^ "2012 Christian Book Award Finalists Announced". ECPA. March 28, 2012. 
  28. ^ "ECPA Announces 2013 Christian Book Award Finalists; Winners to Be Announced Mon., Apr. 29". ECPA. March 17, 2013. 
  29. ^ Google Staff (December 7, 2016). "Google Search, "Tullian Tchividjian" inauthor". Google.com. Retrieved December 7, 2016. 
  30. ^ Blair, Leonardo (December 2, 2016). "Tullian Tchividjian Says His Family Is 'Fighting to Breathe'; Book Publisher Remains 'Committed'". Christian Post. Retrieved December 7, 2016. 
  31. ^ Green, Lauren & Tchividjian, Tullian (October 10, 2013). "Spirited Debate: Has Moralism 'Hijacked' the Christian Faith?" (interview, book release). Retrieved December 7, 2016. 
  32. ^ MSNBC Staff & Tchividjian, Tullian (December 7, 2016). "Tullian Tchividjian [search]". MSNBC.com. Retrieved December 7, 2016. 
  33. ^ Justice, Jessilyn (November 29, 2016). "Tullian Tchividjian Marries After Emotional Plummeting From Affair". CharismaNews.com. Retrieved December 7, 2016. 

External links[edit]