Friday, June 26, 2015

Fight It Back, Tullian Tchividjian, This Fade to Black

I've never met Tullian Tchividjian, nor have I had any conversations with him via email or phone. However, I've read enough of what he's written to take up a defense of his gospel preaching. On a side note, I am sometimes asked "What is your favorite post of all the posts you've written?" The one where I defend Tullian Tchividjian's gospel preaching is always my answer.

When information from an anonymous blogger went public last Sunday that Tullian stepped down from his pastorate at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church because of an extra-marital affair, my heart was saddened. I don't know any details of Tullian's sin, but there's enough information out there to know that the decision to step down was wise and necessary..

The moment I heard Tullian stepped down as pastor I began following Tullian on Twitter.

Here's the first tweet from Tullian I saw:

Amen. Tullian. What you've said is gospel truth,

Then, 24 hours later, I read Tullian's second tweet since his sin became public.

Again, amen, Tullian. This gospel truth is sometimes difficult to understand for people who've always equated horizontal consequences with vertical favor. We both know that a believer in Christ has had his sin nailed to the cross, and God's condemnation is borne by Christ. However, since our sins occur in time, the horizontal (human) consequences that result from our sin are often painful. Surrender early indeed. The muscle of self-discipline grows weary quickly, so it's better to avoid temptation than to fight it after it's risen. And we all succumb to temptation and sin -- even as believers in Christ. You are so on target about horizontal consequences being different from vertical consequences.

Then, Tullian tweets a few hours later.


Grace would only be grace if we were undeserving. Otherwise, God's favor would be merited and couldn't be called grace. God feeds off  the bottom of humanity. "Not many self-righteous are called...."

But, alas, Tullian tweeted a final tweet this past Tuesday, less than 48 hours after his resignation, It is this tweet that has caused me some turmoil.

Tullian, I don't know if you are reading this post or not, but I'd like to share with you a conversation my wife and I had the other night about your "fade to black" tweet. We both believe your desire to fade into the background is the result of the criticism you received for your statement to the Washington Post regarding your wife, as well as the public humiliation your sin has brought to you.

The other night I couldn't sleep. My wife sensed it, and she questioned me.

"What's bothering you Wade?"

"Tullian Tchividjian" I replied.


"His statement, 'I'm so sorry. I love you all...fade to black..'"

"Why is that bothering you?"

"Because the message of grace is too powerful in and of itself, regardless of the failure of the messenger. Tullian has preached grace powerfully, but his statement 'fade to black" indicates to me he struggles understanding the difference between the message and the messenger."

"What do you mean?"

"Grace is for sinners. Tullian, like all of us, is a sinner. The message hasn't changed, so why "fade to black?"

"Because he's failed Wade. He's violated his covenant with his wife. He's an adulterer. He's disqualified as a pastor."

"I don't disagree. That's not what's bothering me. It's the message "Fade to black..."  Why "fade to black"? Right now the message of grace is needed more than ever. Tullian should know that at this very moment he has the opportunity share the gospel of Jesus Christ in such a way that it will impact the woman who sold herself into prostitution, or the young girl who had sex with her boyfriend and had an abortion, or the married man who committed adultery on his wife, or the businessman who stole from his company and is headed to jail..."

"But people aren't going to listen to him because of his sin, Wade. They'll call him a hypocrite. I understand why he feels the need to 'fade to black.'"

"Maybe that's our problem with church today. We have created an environment where we must have preachers who pretend they're perfect in order to deliver the powerful message of grace, and if they aren't, then the people refuse to believe their message. Maybe the real sin is church people or church leaders who create religious environments where people can't be real about their struggles, transparent about their failures, and open regarding their weaknesses. In other words, maybe what we've done is create a culture of celebrity preachers who must be perfect in every way - looks, speaking, marriage, etc...-- or else they must "fade to black."


"So what's bothering you Wade is not that Tullian stepped down, but that he went silent with his message of grace."


"Well, what in the world could Tullian Tchividjian say right now?"

"Exactly what grace teaches him to say. I screwed up. I'm a sinner. I committed adultery. Worse, I blamed my wife. I am a bottom feeder in need of Divine favor. I'm not going to white wash it, lie about it, or justify it. I broke my marriage covenant. I committed adultery. But my "big sin" didn't just happen overnight. I walked through multiple smaller doors before I reached the exit door. I loved the adulation of those who thought me inspired. I sought the praise of men. I built a culture at both the church and the ministry I lead that revolved around me. My sin of adultery is only the last step up the ladder of personal pride. My adultery happened to be the step that actually broke my life and caused my fall from ministry, but it's only the last public sin of a long list of personal private sins. I'm a sinner just like you in need of God's grace now more than ever"

"Wow. Wade. That's too long to put on Twitter."

"Yep. I think maybe that's the issue for me. The message of God's grace is too complicated, too profound, too messy to fit into 140 characters on Twitter."

"So, what would you have preferred Tullian tweeted?"

"Something like this: 'My adultery may have disqualified this messenger from the pastorate, but it's certainly not disqualified my message about Him. Truth be known, I need more gospel now; more of Him now; not less. I'll be tweeting more about Jesus.'"

That, more or less, was my wife's and my conversation the other night.

To Tullian and my pastor friends who wish to "fade to black" when it comes to the gospel in the face of our sins, I offer some words that I wrote a few years ago about Jesus:

"In Hebrews 10:17-18 the Lord says, “This is the covenant I will make with them (us)… I will remember their sins no more.” For the life of me I can't understand why pastors would put emphasis on remembering what God forgets. There’s no denial Christians struggle with ‘indwelling sin.’ There's also no denial that sin is destructive. The question, though, is "How does a believer defeat indwelling sin?" I am absolutely, positively, one-hundred-percent convinced that every Christian leader who places more emphasis in his ministry to Christians on indwelling sin than he does Jesus Christ, will ultimately lead his people down the path of religious bondage, emotional pain and spiritual abuse. Sin's power and influence are only diminished by displaying the beauty of Jesus Christ. Focus on sin and it entices you; focus on Christ and He enraptures you. An easy way to remember this axiom of the faith is: "There's no high like the Most High!" When God's people regular taste of Him "and see that He is good," every false high that sin brings will be recognized as a sorry substitute for the real thing. The ancient people said as much when they asked of Philip, "Sir, we would see Jesus" (John 12:21).

Tullian, your adultery has cost you a great deal in terms of this world and your human relationships. However, I urge you not to "fade to black."

We would like to continue to see Jesus in you.


Pege' said...


Wade Burleson said...

Pege, as one who's been to the brink of darkness and back, I know this resonates with you. I am grateful that I continue to hear Jesus through you as well!

Shari England said...

Oh wow! That's powerful. Know that"fade to black" feeling well. I think though he may no longer be qualified to pastor, he may be better qualified now to minister to others in similar situations. My heart hurts for him.

Wade Burleson said...

Shari, agreed.

Mrs. Troop said...

Yes! I couldn't agree more. Sin, though so very heartbreaking, is where grace grows. I'd rather hear from someone who is real, and has tasted grace, than from someone who doesn't see their own need for Christ.

Beth Duncan said...

This is sad. I have read enough about Tullian Tchividjian to know that he is a good pastor. I like the way you said that enough was out there to know that his decision to step down was necessary, but also that he needs to speak Grace. The way I see it, although we might be disqualified to do certain things for God due to some sins that we have committed, we are never disqualified from serving Him. Never. That's another thing His Grace does for us.

Wade Burleson said...

Amen, Beth.

Devin said...

Hey Wade. I agree with the heart of your post. At the same time, I have been through the same situation as Tullian - resigned a thriving ministry and somewhat public platform b/c of my own sin in spite of my constant message of grace. I understand Tullian's decision to "fade to black" b/c I have been there. I dropped from the face of the planet for quite a while and have just start re-engaging in a smaller context after 4+ years. You can't imagine the scrutiny one faces in this situation (and I had far less of an audience than Tullian). I know part of the reason I needed to "fade to black" is b/c many people came to my defense for the purpose of encouraging me and responding to my sin with "everyone sins - we got your back." I had more than my fair share of the other as well but I know my heart was in such a sinful place that the effort to encourage merely stroked my ego and I became obsessed with what people were saying. For everyone person who spoke out against my sin, I sought those who were more understanding to help me feel better about it. Pride was a large part of my destructive steps away from God & I'm sure part of Tullian's drift as well.

In essence, I needed to "fade to black" to experience true brokenness before God. My deepest repentance came after I was out of the spotlight and forced to deal with my sin while no one was watching. Access to the opinion of other people is to easy and when you are going through what Tullian is facing it is easy to search for those whose words downplay the seriousness of your sin.

I am not sure if Tullian should "fade to black" or not. I know his message of grace has helped in my healing for the last 4+ years and I will miss hearing him. But I 100% get why he made this decision and respect him for it.

It has been a long process for me to return to a place where I am once again talking about the redemptive work of Jesus in my life in a public setting. And I am still not quite sure I am always ready. But I do know that my "fade to black" was a necessary part of my healing and restoration and that the message of grace is more real to me now than ever.

Alan Paul said...

I have long been bothered by laity who require their pastors to be sinless. What makes them different than me? Nothing. At. All. And yet when I have expressed these sentiments in the past, I am shot down with a reference to James 3:1. (Of course, never mind the rest of that chapter!)

Wade Burleson said...


Powerful words worthy of my reflection.

Thanks for sharing.

Wade Burleson said...

Devin - by the way, you've articulated precisely what my wife told me in another conversation.
I still stand by my encouragement to continue the message in the midst of sin recognition, but sure understand the perspective of needing to 'fade to black' from someone who's articulated it as beautifully as you.

Victorious said...

Wade, you said...
But my "big sin" didn't just happen overnight. I walked through multiple smaller doors before I reached the exit door.

For me, this is why fading to black right now is probably wise. This may not apply to Tullian, but generally this sin doesn't just happen accidently. It requires some planning or (for lack of a better word) entertaining...or as you said walking intentionally through multiple smaller doors. It doesn't just happen overnight or even spur of the moment. That's why it takes more time and reflection than an impulsive lie or angry words to a loved one.

And not only does Tullian, in my opinion, need time, but we do too. Those who trusted and respected what he stands for. Some of us need time to try to understand how this could happen and grieve that it did.

I often think about how Jesus even found it necessary to retreat or withdraw to the lonely places for a time for prayer. Solitude is often where grace is applied and the sinner is able to receive it.

I could be wrong but those are my thoughts.

Wade Burleson said...


I understand.

The "fade to black" part which I wish not to fade to black is the gospel -

It's precisely in times of failure that the gospel is powerful. I'm advocating that when people refrain from owning sin and celebrating Christ in the downfall, then we make it seem as if our trust is in ourselves and not in Someone else.

I'm not expecting others to understand, nor is it my desire to convince anyone that I'm right. I'm only attempting to reach Tullian to let him know that the gospel he has so eloquently preached is something that doesn't need to fade to black.

His ministry at CRPC. His marriage. His influence. All of the things that aren't eternal may fade to black - but the gospel should never fade to black - and I'm anxious to see that it doesn't.

Ramesh said...

I get this blog post on Grace. But why so much discord in this pastors home life? Why indeed?

Contrast this with the witch hunt that took place on this president. And all the major accusers themselves are also fucked up.

If I understand the history correctly… - The Washington Post

Ramesh said...

BTW I think this pastor should be allowed to preach as he confessed and repented of his misdeeds. I do not think this disqualifies him from preaching. On the contrary it makes him MORE suitable for preaching and pastoring. Unlike the hypocrites preachers who are leading perfect lives. Sarcasm alert in the last sentence.

Wade Burleson said...

Thy Peace,

The Washington Post article to which you linked is not surprising to me. People who point enjoy the fall of others are usually hiding something themselves.

Sinner Saved By Grace said...

I am one who believes we need to celebrate his sin coming into the light! Not celebrate "the" sin, but celebrate it coming to light. God's light pulsing into Tullian's life, is something to celebrate. For those whose sin is still hidden, are in bondage to that sin.

Tullian..."fade to black"? Not even close!

Victorious said...

Thy Peace,

On the contrary it makes him MORE suitable for preaching and pastoring.

Then let's bring back Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggert, Nate Morales, Doug Phillips, Bill Gothard, Mark Driscoll, etc. They can all preach a powerful gospel now, right?


While I don't think for one minute believers expect pastors to be perfect, I also don't think serious sins such as adultery, child molestation, etc. should be treated so lightly that it may appear to non-believers we don't take them seriously.

I also don't think certain types of sinners are more effective in reaching other certain types of sinners. Wade's experience in the jail at Cozumel proves that theory wrong. (That's my favorite post and Thor runs a close second.)

OK, I'll be quiet now.

RB Kuter said...

I think his actions display his brokenness

Ramesh said...

My thinking is Tullian Tchividjian was forced to confess. After repentance or if he says he repented he should be restored. Why not to preaching and pastoring? Even though Paul is against it. My thinking this experience of sin, confession and repentance makes someone stronger and more suitable for preaching and pastoring.

I understand most will not agree with this.

Christiane said...

A truly humbled man can draw thousands to Christ. If Tullian has been truly humbled, he may be even more able now to preach the gospel, because he has felt its healing power in his own life.

He needs time to mourn at the foot of the Cross. Give him some time. And pray for him and for all of us together who are not worthy of so great a Lord. Healing will come.

Aussie John said...


I'm so blessed by the spirit of your article.

As the finger pointing begins I am forced to ask a question which often arises in my mind: When will we see those who claim to be followers of Christ recognize that a fellow believer who falls into sin is a WOUNDED brother/sister? As Paul advised the Galatian believers. "Brothers,if anyone is caught in any transgression,YOU WHO ARE SPIRITUAL SHOULD RESTORE HIM in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted".

One of the saddest things to see in a group of people claiming to be recipients of God's grace is the fact that they are often those who, as one authoress said, are those who belong to the only army which shoots its wounded. Tullians aunt, Anne Graham Lotz wrote a book entitled "Wounded By God's People".

She writes about people who "... have been so burned by the organized church that they no longer feel they can be comfortable in it."

How can this be?

I also, would encourage Tullian to remember the finality of the finished work of Christ on behalf of sinners such as all who call upon Christ's name.

Martin Luther described every Christian when he used the term ""simul justus et peccator" meaning simultaneously righteous and a sinner, or at the same time a sinner and a saint.

We forget that, and we forget just what the grace of God in Christ is all about!

Victorious said...

Aussie John, with all due respect there are millions of women who can testify first hand about being "wounded" by God's people for no other reason than having had the misfortune of being born female.

Tullian didn't "fall" into sin. He walked into adultery. Of course, I don't think he calls it adultery yet. It's called an "affair", "inappropriate relationship", "marital issues" or some other minimizing term that makes it appear more of a "mistake" than a deliberate course of action.

So where is the "husband of one wife" verse that's always used to "wound" women but now the "above reproach" part is being ignored.

If I sound harsh, it's because this is a very serious sin where at least the offender sees the wisdom in fading to black for a time. That speaks volumes to non-believers and believers as well in my opinion. This is not a time to play the grace card. We are all well aware it's there, but the appropriate time to place it on the table is after the time of discipline and mourning.

devhud said...

Just an observation ... obviously Tullian's fade to black was short-lived (which is another conversation in and of itself). But I think it is interesting the comments that followed his latest tweet. Again I think "fade to black" is the best option in this situation. Who knows if he is checking constantly how people are responding to his platitudes but the temptation is there and distracting from what his focus should be in this season (IMO of course). There's a time and place to re-emerge but personal experience says that Jesus needs to do some gritty and grimy work in Tullian's life that most likely requires him step out of and stay out of the spotlight for a while. In this scenario, every tweet brings the temptation to keep the spotlight on you.

Ramesh said...

Is it adultery if BOTH partners are cheating?

I am hoping Tullian and his wife can salvage their marriage. If they do they have their work cut out for them.

Victorious said...

Is it adultery if BOTH partners are cheating?

tsk...tsk.. Nope! It's marital issues, indiscretions, mistakes, moral failures, inappropriate relationships, weakness of the flesh, accident, unfaithfulness, failure to resist temptation, etc. But adultery? No way!


Seriously, if each one committed adultery then each is guilty of adultery. Just like if both steal both are guilty of stealing.

Ramesh said...

Thanks. I assumed adultery is when at least one of the partners is faithful to marriage and the other is cheating.

Victorious said...

Thy Peace, please forgive me for responding with sarcasm. You deserved better. I've lost patience with this kind of sin in the church/body of Christ and it's best if I take a break myself.

Again, my apologies for the way I answered your perfectly reasonable question.

Ramesh said...

Hey I did not take it in any bad way. I always love your comments. I understand the snark. It is perfectly OK.

Ramesh said...

Mary Ann, I know lot of conservatives don't like Chomsky but he is apt here.

"If you quietly accept and go along no matter what your feelings are, ultimately you internalize what you're saying, because it's too hard to believe one thing and say another. I can see it very strikingly in my own background. Go to any elite university and you are usually speaking to very disciplined people, people who have been selected for obedience. And that makes sense. If you've resisted the temptation to tell the teacher, "You're an asshole," which maybe he or she is, and if you don't say, "That's idiotic," when you get a stupid assignment, you will gradually pass through the required filters. You will end up at a good college and eventually with a good job.” 
― Noam Chomsky

Ramesh said...

The filters Chomsky is talking about is this: "The whole educational and professional training system is a very elaborate filter, which just weeds out people who are too independent, and who think for themselves, and who don't know how to be submissive, and so on -- because they're dysfunctional to the institutions.” 
― Noam Chomsky

Sorry Wade for this short diversion.

Southern Dreaming said...

I see a book on the (near) horizon and another church plant.

I've been closely affiliated with two name seminaries and I am up to my eyeballs with this stuff. Too bad for him he was in a church. The seminaries can more easily hide it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Wade, the message has been and will always continue to be: Grace. I don't deserve it, can't earn it, and am always surprised by grace. Thank you Jesus for daily shoveling grace out to me!

Aussie John said...


I would like to assure Victorious that her and I are on the same page. When I use the term "fall" I'm not meaning an accidental matter. I'm sorry for the use of a misleading term which most on my side of the globe would understand.

The same applies to the word "wounded". There are always two people wounded when sin occurs, the one sinned against,and the sinner.

I am thankful that he "grace card" applies to sinners such as Victorious and myself, and that as a recipient of that great grace we have no option but to remember that but for that grace there go I. I cannot point the finger at another sinner without three fingers pointing back at myself.

After half of a long lifetime as a pastor, with some hard lessons learned,one of which is the truth of Paul's advice to the Galatians,which I mentioned in my comment.

We could learn from our Lord Himself when He dealt with the woman caught in adultery.The self-righteous religious heavies were about to dish out rough justice, indeed according to them, justified murder by stoning. Jesus advice was "You who are without sin cast the first stone". To the woman He showed what grace is, saying, "Go and sin no more".

I cannot help but repeat what I said in the above comment:

"Martin Luther described every Christian when he used the term ""simul justus et peccator" meaning simultaneously righteous and a sinner, or at the same time a sinner and a saint.

If we forget that every Christian is at the same time a sinner and a saint, we forget just what the grace of God in Christ is all about!"

I'm thankful we live in this New Covenant age of grace, and not under that covenant of law which the Pharisees wanted to apply to that wounded woman.

Victorious said...

Aussie John,

Thanks for clarifying the word "fall" and it's different connotations.

The story about the woman caught in adultery has been used almost as a standard method of avoiding righteous judgment. My research shows it was not included in any of the original manuscripts along with several in Mark 16. The not casting stones of course is contrary to the very mode of confrontation Jesus employed against the Pharisees. He confronted them with their sin and did so publicly.

I'm not advocating public humiliation or public discipline in every instance. But when an individual is a very public figure, is known as a spiritual leader, and then commits a very serious sin, it needs to be acknowledged publicly. The same goes for false teachers/ings. That tells the world that we are aware of his/her human nature and weakness, but because of his/her lack of self control, he must step down from the position as a model or example to the flock.

God is the dispenser of grace...there is no question about that. And yes, both you and I are sinners and in need of His grace, but the affect of my sin on the world-at-large cannot be compared to that of a very visible personality. Just as the Pharisees were highly visible and highly influential so are some "celebrity" personalities in the church today. And just as Jesus needed to admonish the Pharisees strongly and publicly, that's what's needed in this situation.

We are called to judge righteously. That means wisely evaluating a situation and acting accordingly. It appears Tullian has done that and hopefully determined the best course of action at the present time and has requested (I believe) privacy while he and his wife evaluate the consequences of their sin not only on themselves, but on the church as well.

Sorry for being so long-winded and I respect that others may disagree with my conclusions.

Anonymous said...

Not to diminish the place for Grace in adultery but the thought comes to me that Grace seems to be recognized by some as being more available than if one does not tithe.

Ramesh said...
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Ramesh said...
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Ramesh said...

Very shocking that one act of adultery kicks a person out of ministry. For every Tullian there are possibly 100s this stuff happens for both men and women in ministry. The worse thing is it is all or nothing. The entire family suffers due to adultery of one (I am intentionally using the word adultery rather than its synonyms). Maybe (seriously) for people in ministry they need to have some insurance that softens the blow for the family when crap happens. I am sure Tullian was being well paid before but the 100s of others this happens to were paid little so there savings would be miniscule. This is the nuclear option in Christian ministry!

Ramesh said...

Sorry Wade for too many comments I am making.

I wanted to add that one can lookup the statistic that porn use is higher in the bible belt states. As the divorce rate is higher, I am guessing adultery is also higher amongst the pew sitters. Fortunately they don't lose jobs over this. At the most a call for confession and repentance. This looks to be a bigger ongoing problem for Christians and people in Christian ministry.

Debbie Kaufman said...

I hear where Victorious is coming from as I think the same way. Affairs like this are why women are kept from serving and interacting with men in the church. It's why the separation from women occurs in the church.

It's a I told you so situation. I enjoy talking theology with men and women. I enjoy talking with both men and women and having men and women for friends.

I also take my vows seriously and would not want to have an affair, I love my husband so. And we have been through rough waters, marital difficulties, but I still never wanted anyone else but my husband. So maybe I can't relate, but I had a problem with Tullian saying his wife had an affair, so he confided in a woman friend and it went further. That to me was blaming his wife for his downfall. Maybe in time he shouldn't fade to black, but it's hard for me to understand affairs of any kind, especially among Christians.

I guess I am angry somewhat about it because it puts women right back to being separated in church due to avoiding affairs and this just isn't the answer to the growing problem of affairs in the church.

I love the message of Grace that both you and Tullian preach. I believe in it. I experienced it. I think Tullian was exactly on target according to what I see scripture teaching. I am just sad that this message of women being submissive, men having to keep us down, will be the message given, not the messge of Grace.

Ramesh said...

Debbie I did not know Tullian was in adultery with another married woman from his church. I only came to know of this from Wade's blog. I had not even thought through women in church you bring up. It is getting way more complicated than I read of this blog post. I am praying for the other couple whose lives are destabilized from this incident(s). I am hoping I read your comment correctly.

Ramesh said...

I am beginning to realize this story is way above my head. I see everyone is focused on Tullian. But no one is talking about the other parties. At this point the way church lives go I am assuming THREE different families are being affected by this incident (s). I can not go back and delete my earlier comments. I freely admit this is above my pay grade.

Ramesh said...

This will be my last comment for this post. This story if it can be properly reported will read like a cascading arithmetic of adulteries. How one became two then three and possibly four. Do they stop at four or they still progressing?

This aspect boggled my mind. I admit Debbie's comment initiated this complexity in my head. This story is not just Tullian. There are other lives and families being affected too.

Southern Dreaming said...

Thy Peace, you have said it well. The sheep of the church are scattered and all the attention is on the perpetrator. I wonder if the elders are giving them the attention they need or just "working with Pastor Tullian and his family."

Anonymous said...

Just my musings, but perhaps part of all this mess and pain is that we don't take the Bible nearly as seriously as we claim.

For starters, scripture is clear as to who can be the preacher, and yes, it is a high a strict standard we dare not monkey with. Scripture also tells us not many should even be teachers.

And yet we desire our "kings" like Israel did. We graduate a ton of them every year. Way more than that "not many" thing can accommodate.

We hire them, we like them, we choose up sides as to who has the better "king", and then we are appalled that our "king" would disobey God in the bedroom. So our disobeying in the sanctuary is better?

I do at times wonder what if we ceased this business of being a pastor or Christian leader as a career choice. What if ALL Christians served only on a volunteer basis? Oops, seems like there would be a lot fewer aspiring to the position, huh?

What if we simply looked around at who was actually living those lists of qualifications and recognized them as ALREADY LEADING.

Sure, Podunk Holler might not have 15 men-o-gawd and at least 3 women lining up yelling for their turn as woman-o-gawd.

But we'd be taking the Bible seriously, and not setting these leaders up for a fall and then blaming them for letting us down.

Our family recently made the stone cold rational choice to not recognize any person's ordination or office or to feel obliged to feed their kitty monetarily. When a person is truly leading, truly serving God, it shows whether they have a degree, paperwork, hands have been laid on, or what. And no amount of bureaucratic mumbo jumbo makes a leader.

Does Tully still have a message? Time will tell. But he has forfeited his call and credentials according to scripture as far as filling a pulpit.

He hasn't asked this old lady's opinion, but if he did, I would tell him: get a real job. Seek God's aid in cleaning up your act. Don't forget to thank Him for grace. Now you know what it means to be a beggar seeking bread. Don't forget to tell the other beggars where to find it.


Aussie John said...


I have come to a place in my life where I cannot look at any sinner as a greater sinner than myself, nor can I say that their sin is any greater than mine. That applies to whatever sin Tullian has committed.

The church has subtly developed a Jewish concept which teaches "that he who observed any principal command was equal to him who kept the whole law,' and gave for an example the forsaking of idolatry."

In fact saying that to fulfill one law was as good as fulfilling all the law. That is something we don't hear preached from pulpits, but are inclined to believe as truth.

In an attempt to correct this false doctrine James hit the nail on the head when he said, "For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it".

By the way, I don't believe James was using the term "law" in regards to the ten commandment, but referring to the whole Jewish law, including the ten.

In today's church scene it has become accepted that there are some people who are less deserving of God grace than are others, hence the common thinking that, "there are some who are worse sinners than I".

Someone once wrote, "The law is one seamless garment which is rent if you but rend a part; or a musical harmony which is spoiled if there be one discordant note; or a golden chain whose completeness is broken if you break one link ".

I'm certain that is what James is getting at, so if I break one of those laws, even of the ten,I, by so doing breaks the whole law, even the law of love, which is the fulfilling of the law.

God requires perfect,not partial,obedience, which Christ did on our behalf.

We don't seem to realize that if we are going to live by the law, we better be prepared to die by the law, accepting the consequences for eternity.

I cannot keep the whole law, much less the ten, and neither can anyone reading these words. All I know is I am a sinner, as Tullian is, but our God's grace revealed in our Lord Jesus Christ, is greater than all our sin.

Ramesh said...

Sorry. Couple of last things.

If Tullian and his wife were in the secular world all this would be quite normal. My own life was messed up quite a bit.I fully understand the marital pains, separation and attempting to get on with their lives. Except the requirements Paul laid on preachers and pastors. Counting adulteries makes it more dramatic and of course being in a Christian spotlight. I am sure there are sound reasons why Paul had his requirements for preachers and pastors.

Christiane said...
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Ramesh said...

Correction: Information related to the marital status of the woman Tullian had an affair was not released.

Gordon said...

Linda is like the candid child who said the king has no clothes ! There is far too much pretension in both the pulpit and the pew, and many church structures can predispose and set up the chief for a great fall. It happens all too often, whether it is exposed or not. To me, Linda's solution for a wider participation in taking the lead, is both wise and workable in the growth of the Kingdom . It brings variety and freshness to the pulpit and to the congregation. It counters the burnout and many of these other problems to which the professional career ministry is so easily prone. We should be aware that one church has not got all the gifts of the Spirit, let alone one man.
Acts 8:4 " Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word". All gifts were exercised under the guidance of the Head of the Church, Jesus Christ.

Southern Dreaming said...

I have not seen pronouns identifying the gender of any of the new partners of this ministry couple.

Anonymous said...

Please note I consider myself giving Paul a run for his money as chief of sinners.

It seems at times as sanctification works its way in my life by God's grace that it is like fighting bindweed. Kill off one and 17 more show up to take its place.

All I am saying is that we could learn a thing or three by the pioneers who served where I have lived my life, the western portions of the USA.

If a person said they had a call to preach, and if the church agreed they met the basic scriptural requirements, they were allowed to occasionally fill the pulpit. Only if they showed a life that met the requirements of scripture PLUS ability to rightly proclaim the truth were they then ordained and encouraged to get the needed education.

Today we have it backwards--we assume everyone saying they are called of God is so called, we educate them, and then we put them in positions of authority the scriptures say belongs only to God. They are set up for failure by the very people who will crucify them when they fall.

And then we fail to follow the Bible again by allowing them back in the pulpit after a "suitable time of repentance". All sins equally offend a Holy God, yes, but different sins reap different consequences.

One of the consequences of a pastor guilty of adultery is that you have forever forfeited the pulpit.

That doesn't mean God cannot forgive, use mightily, and comfort deeply that fallen pastor.

But just as if a public school teacher were to slap a child they will never again stand in front of a classroom, the Word is clear who can and cannot fill the pulpit.

Pastors are one of God's gifts to the church, and we do honor them and support them in our family. But we don't accept ordination papers or degrees as proof of calling, but their lives and messages will clearly show calling.

I do believe we are going to experience deep cleansing in the church, and while not all pastors are guilty of simony by a long shot, enough are that a volunteer army may be what it takes to get to the root of some deep evil.

And for the record, I believe we in the pew are going to get the same sort of scrubbing. I do expect drastically falling numbers right now in churches that follow the Bible rather than public opinion, political leaders, or prominent preachers of apostasy. (Not all prominent preachers preach falsehood. Just some.)

In the end I expect a much smaller, but much more faithful church.


Rex Ray said...

Moses brought good and bad news: ‘Only ten but one is adultery’.

Jesus said, ‘He without sin may cast the first stone’.
The age of those that left first were old.

How was Jesus tempted as we when he never lived to that ‘middle age crazy’?

My father said a good looking preacher had a harder ‘row to hoe’.

A family of six joined our church in 2008. Their four kids went down my 40’ high slide 83 times. The wife was the administrator of our church school that lasted one year. He ran an automotive shop and worked a lot on our church. She and her oldest son went on our church mission trip to Mexico twice. He played our church drums. A couple years ago they were divorced. Last year one of the younger sons lived with her in Hawaii. He got on drugs and committed suicide. She came back to our town with a drinking problem. Last week we went to her funeral…she had shot herself.

Wade, I wish she had read “Not to fade to black”.

Anonymous said...

My advice to Tullian - Stay off of Twitter ....its a terrible way to communicate. Nobody needs a blow by blow account of your emotions after you have FAILED your family, congregation and God. Mark in Houston.

Ramesh said...

For me at least this story is acting like a mirror :)

The Law acted as a mirror, reflecting back to the Hebrews their sinfulness and God's holiness.

The Church Is Changing - A Reformation of the Church Based on the Truth of Scripture

Rex Ray said...

I’ve never thought about the word “republic” in the Pledge of Allegiance. I’ve always thought that ‘democracy’ was king.

But now I see ‘democracy’ can be like a mob lynching a guilty or innocence person WITHOUT the rule of law.

I agree the White House turning into a rainbow has CONDEMNED itself.

Thy Peace,
You remind me of my Dad telling me that I was always right but when I was wrong, I was DEAD WRONG.

Wade’s post is “funny”???

I wondered what happened to you when you wrote a four letter word Fri Jun 26, 08:25:00 PM 2015.

Ramesh said...

Rex Ray: I need to go back and listen to Wade's sermons on "The long reach of your speech".

Also just some political changes reading Chomsky, Dewey, Russell and others. Work in progress.

Ramesh said...
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Anonymous said...



Bobby Brown said...

Thanks Wade for this post. Next to your dad Tullian has been a great influence on Marjory and my life. We are saddened at this news. However I love this particular part of your post. "'My adultery may have disqualified this messenger from the pastorate, but it's certainly not disqualified my message about Him. Truth be known, I need more gospel now; more of Him now; not less. I'll be tweeting more about Jesus.'" The fact that someone may abuse the truth that they teach does not negate the truth. Coral Ridge has removed all his messages from their web site. I can understand their doing this to protect Tullian as well as themselves and I respect the fact that it is the choice to do that. However I am hoping that they will release his archives to someone who will post them once again on the internet. Perhaps you can help in this area if you agree. Again the abuse of a truth does not destroy the truth. His message has been a tremendous help to us and to those we teach. My prayer is that his material will once again become available to the internet.

Bobby Brown

Anonymous said...

My emotions are ripped when I hear of marital tragedies among preachers. I'm very sad about both Tullian Tchividjian and Bob Coy's "moral failures". Their sin has been shouted from the rooftops. Their closest loved ones are torn asunder. Surely their wives, children, and entire family are suffering! Everyone, it seems, are judging them. But, what lesson is in this FOR ME? I cannot point my scolding finger. Our sweet Jesus, No! #1 - I remind myself this was NOT a surprise to God! He still loves each one of those persons who sinned ...and he wants me to love them to the point I'd lay down my life for them. #2 - I look myself squarely in the heart, and say, "With the help of Christ, regardless of who does it, Janie, just see that YOU don't do it!" Each one of us have sinned. And sometimes we have surprised even ourselves how gross we can act. God says to His people, "Confess, Repent, and Abide in the Vine." We may be tempted to flog ourselves continually after our great sin, but that's Sin-Fellowship. Jesus said, "They shall know you are Mine if you have love for one another." My vantage point is unique and I've often asked God why my story turned out like it did. In 1982 I struggled, I wondered WHY my 30 year-old minister husband was choosing to divorcing me? I've known him since I was 13. I married him when I was 17. I'm his sister in Christ. How can he just toss me out to the world at the age of 28? What had I done? (Nothing) It took over 20 years to learn: wrong thinking! Regularly together husbands and wives need to pray, date, and talk with each other. Many ministers spread themselves too thin for their family's sake. Surely they have goals. However, unintentionally they may create a sense of "the church" being the other woman. They must not fail to remember their lovely bride needs him. It is Jesus Who refers to the church as His bride. Likewise, each one of us Christians need each other. Tullian and Bob need our prayers, our forgiveness, and our love, ...not our scorn. They are going through their own personal hell. Lest we forget who the true enemy is: Satan goes to school on us, deceives, entices, sets the trap, siezes to destroy. But he cannot. Jesus Is Our Life.

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