And now this commandment is for you, O priests. If you do not listen, and if you do not take it to heart to give honor to My name,” says the Lord of hosts, “then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings; and indeed, I have cursed them already, because you are not taking it to heart. Behold, I am going to rebuke your offspring, and I will spread refuse on your faces, the refuse of your feasts; and you will be taken away with it….For the lips of a priest should preserve knowledge, and men should seek instruction from his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. But as for you, you have turned aside from the way; you have caused many to stumble by the instruction; you have [m]corrupted the covenant of Levi,” says the Lord of hosts. So I also have made you despised and abased before all the people, just as you are not keeping My ways but are showing partiality in the instruction
“Do we not all have one father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously each against his brother so as to profane the covenant of our fathers? Judah has dealt treacherously, and an abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the Lord which He loves and has married the daughter of a foreign god. As for the man who does this, may the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob everyone who awakes and answers, or who presents an offering to the Lord of hosts.
This is another thing you do: you cover the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping and with groaning, because He no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. Yet you say, ‘For what reason?’ Because the Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she IS your companion and your wife by covenant. But not one has done so who has a remnant of the Spirit. And what did that one do while he was seeking a godly offspring?
– Malachi, chapter 2
Billy Graham’s grandson got “married” last month – to another man’s wife, while forsaking the companion and children of his own marriage covenant. Reportedly, Tullian is not the first pastoral violator of Luke 16:18 in the Tchividjian / Graham families, only the most famous. What God had to say in Malachi 2 about generational sin rings true once again.
There was a widely-reported attempt at what currently passes for “church discipline” in contemporary evangelicaldom, in an effort to reconcile the covenant Tchividjian family, which we know fell short. A few days ago, several pastors involved in that failed disciplinary effort signed and released a letter of rebuke addressed to Tchividjian following further witness accounts of the abuse of Tchividjian’s senior pastorate at megachurch Coral Ridge Presbyterian. Amazingly, that letter appeared to be a pastoral admission that sanctity (if not exceptionless indissolubility) of God-joined holy matrimony is indeed a heaven-or-hell matter,
“For the sake of his eternal soul, we implore Tullian Tchividjian to repent of his wickedness and demonstrate his repentance by submitting himself to the leadership of his church of membership, pursuing forgiveness, healing, and reconciliation with those whom he has sinned against.”
Certainly, what constitutes “pursuing forgiveness, healing and reconciliation” may not necessarily align with the rightly-divided word of God, but it’s a glimmer of hope that such pastors merely admit that one can indeed walk away from the faith. Once saved, guard your heart!
Separately, it turns out that Tullian’s uncle and brother are both board members for a pastoral counseling organization, “Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE)” aimed at preventing sexual abuse in pastoral counseling settings, as several counselees of Tullian Tchividjian in the 2014-2015 time frame came forward with lurid details of attempted seduction. From the Christian Post article covering this development:
“The GRACE board is deeply disturbed about the revelations of sexual misconduct by Tullian Tchividjian. As an organization that deals with the abuse of God’s lambs and the damage silence causes we feel compelled to speak,” the GRACE board said, in part.
Tullian Tchividjian lost his job at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as well as his marriage to his now ex-wife, Kim, in the summer of 2015 after the church discovered an adulterous affair between him and a parishioner on the church’s server.
“We were caught by the IT department of CRPC on the second week of June (2015). Tullian received a phone call from a staff member at the church saying that the contents of his phone could be read on the church’s public server. Tullian asked the staff member to delete everything,” according to a recent confessional by the [married] parishioner who gave her name only as Rachel.
Standerinfamilycourt left this commentary response to the Christian Post article on their Facebook page:
Firstly, according to scripture (Matt. 19:6 and 8; Rom. 7:2-3 and 1 Cor.7:39), there is no such thing as an “ex” covenant wife, in reference to Kim Tchividjian, whom Tullian “divorced” in utter disobedience to #LukeSixteenEighteen.. Nor is there any such thing as a legitimate “wife” in remarriage following man’s divorce. Jesus repeatedly stated with zero exceptions and zero ambiguity that EVERYONE who “marries” a divorced person enters into an ongoing state of adultery.
How many of those clergy signing onto the (deserved) censures of Tullian Tchividjian nevertheless turn right around and contribute to the perverse incentives by routinely performing weddings that Jesus called adulterous? Or by tolerating remarriage adulterers in their pastoral ranks? Or by preferring an adulterously “married” clergyman to run a church over an involuntarily “divorced” shepherd who is now celibate in obedience to Christ (Matt. 19:12)?
Jesus, in a sense, rebuked Moses (Matt. 19:8) for choosing the cowardly path of regulating and “managing” marital desecration in the desert wilderness, instead of rooting it out and removing its perverse incentives, in order to remain faithful to the 7th through 10th commandments. Here we see the GRACE organization attempting to do the same thing in doubling down on standard, coventional counseling ethics rather than the sort of much-earlier biblical screening Paul described and insisted upon in the first place:
An overseer, then, must be above reproach, THE HUSBAND OF ONE WIFE, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach….
namely, if any man is above reproach, THE HUSBAND OF ONE WIFE, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion.
In the decades since the church opted to get in (literal) bed with the Sexual Revolution, we now popularly “understand” that phrase to mean “faithful to my current serial polygamy partner” – despite the one-way trip to hell that Paul repeatedly warned about for one dying in that ongoing sinful state.
What does this have to do with Tchividjian who committed his pastoral crimes while literally the husband of the God-joined wife of his youth? Simple: his calculus looked at the Kent Hovinds, Shane Idelmans, Jim Bakkers and Israel Houghtons among his ministry peers, and he reached the perfectly rational conclusion that his career would suffer no meaningful long term damage from forsaking his covenant family and indulging his lusts.
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