Billy Graham’s Grandson Resigns from Florida Megachurch After Admitting to Affair

Photo Credit: Twitter
Photo Credit: Twitter

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The grandson of evangelist Billy Graham resigned last week from his role as pastor of a Florida megachurch after admitting to being involved in an inappropriate relationship.

Tullian Tchividjian, 42, the son of Virginia Graham, took over the pulpit of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in 2009 following the passing of founder D. James Kennedy. However, the selection divided the congregation, as some approved and others disapproved of his leadership. Several months after he accepted the job, Kennedy’s daughter and others began calling for his removal.

When a vote was taken over the matter and it was decided to keep Tchividjian as pastor, some left the church and started their own congregation.

As an author, Tchividjian wrote against what he saw as “spiritual performancism” and legalism in the Church, outlining his beliefs in the hyper-grace book “One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World.”

“The Gospel of Jesus Christ announces that because Jesus won for you, you’re free to lose; because Jesus was strong for you, you’re free to be weak; because Jesus was extraordinary, you’re free to be ordinary; because Jesus succeeded for you, you’re free to fail,” he wrote.

“[I]t seems that the good news of God’s grace has been tragically hijacked by an oppressive religious moralism that is all about rules, rules, and more rules; doing more, trying harder, self-help, getting better, and fixing, fixing, fixing—ourselves, our kids, our spouse, our friends, our enemies, our culture, our world,” Tchividjian further explained the Religion News Service in 2013.

He also spoke negatively of the “religious right,” stating that its “close association between the church and politics has done big-time damage to the brand of Christianity in the public sphere.”

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“I basically almost refuse to make any kind of public commentary on anything other than the gospel [from the pulpit],” Tchividjian told the Christian Post last year, opining that pastors should not be seeking to “champion a political or social agenda.”

On Monday, Tchividjian announced that he had resigned as senior pastor of Coral Ridge after admitting to leadership that he had inappropriately poured out his heart to another woman after he discovered that his wife had been having an affair.

“I resigned from my position at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church today due to ongoing marital issues,” he wrote in a statement. “As many of you know, I returned from a trip a few months back and discovered that my wife was having an affair. Heartbroken and devastated, I informed our church leadership and requested a sabbatical to focus exclusively on my marriage and family.”

“As her affair continued, we separated. Sadly and embarrassingly, I subsequently sought comfort in a friend and developed an inappropriate relationship myself,” Tchividjian continued. “Last week I was approached by our church leaders and they asked me about my own affair. I admitted to it and it was decided that the best course of action would be for me to resign.”

He said that he is sorry for his behavior and is asking for prayer as he seeks healing in his marriage.

“Both my wife and I are heartbroken over our actions and we ask you to pray for us and our family that God would give us the grace we need to weather this heart wrenching storm,” Tchividjian stated. “We are amazingly grateful for the team of men and women who are committed to walking this difficult path with us. Please pray for the healing of deep wounds and we kindly ask that you respect our privacy.”

Rob Pacienza, executive pastor at Coral Ridge, also released a statement to reporters.

“Several days ago, Pastor Tullian admitted to moral failure, acknowledging his actions disqualify him from continuing to serve as senior pastor or preach from the pulpit, and resigned—effective immediately,” he said. “We are saddened by this news, but are working with and assisting Pastor Tullian and his family to help them through this difficult time, and asking people to join us in praying that God will bring restoration through this process and healing to all involved.”

“No vertical condemnation does not mean no horizontal consequences,” Tchividjian posted on Twitter this afternoon. “Surrender early.”

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  • FoJC_Forever

    Islam doesn’t teach and practice the Fear of God, as is written in Scripture. Islam teaches the fear of death.

    Follow Jesus, find Truth.

    Follow Jesus, find Life.

  • cadcoke5

    While the crusades, as a whole, are not viewed correctly by the Islamic world, there certainly were some of the crusaders who committed atrocities. The irony, is that so much of the Islamic world is behaving like the bad crusaders they hate. The Islamic nations ARE the crusaders.

    This sort of Orwellian double-speak seems common today. In the U.S., killing an unborn child is called health care. Tolerance is used to justify intolerance against Christians.

  • weasel1886

    We went against what Jesus taught about solving problems with violence when we invaded Iraq and now we are facing the unfortunate consequences of that action.
    Chances are it doesn’t matter what we do at this point the violence will continue until we, as humans, figure out that war solves no problems.

    • Angel Jabbins

      Whether is was right to go into Iraq or not back when Bush was President, the reason we have ISIS gaining control there today is because we pulled out of Iraq too soon before it was truly stabilized and able to defend itself. This generation of Americans never likes to finish what it starts.

      ‘War solves no problems”. War should be the last resort but sometimes, unfortunately because of the sinfulness of men, it is necessary. I am glad and so thankful for my father’s generation who bravely fought and defeated Hitler so I could grow up in a peaceful world.

      • weasel1886

        We spent tons of money and lives building up Iraq yet a few thousand people are taking it over ?
        We have spent 10+ years there. Time to let them solve their own problems.
        Hitler came to power because the victors from WW I wanted revenge, another thing Jesus warned about

      • Phipps Mike

        “This generation of Americans never likes to finish what it starts.”
        It wouldn’t have been ABLE to finish. The stated reason by Bush to stay there so long was not only to train their troops to defend themselves, but also to instill Democracy because almost half of the population wanted Democracy. Only a FOOL would have believed that a system as old as the one Iraq had, could be changed and not challenged indefinitely. The holy wars are thousands of years old.

        • Angel Jabbins

          Yes, I agree you cannot install democracy in a place like Iraq. But the point is, mistake or not, we did go in, and we should have stayed to stabilize the place so that groups like ISIS would not gain control. How long did we have to say in Germany after WWII? A very long time.

  • Oboehner

    Enhanced interrogation technique.

  • Adam Calley

    Jews burned my Church down in Israel

  • rey sabas magan

    Do you know that Islam belief founded by Muhammad (570-632) of Saudi Arabia is only established between the years of 610-613 A.D (Anno Domini) and Did you know that MECCA Muslim considered the most sacred place of the Muslim belief is the Temple built by king Solomon of Israel and He is the son of king David of Israel.

    Meaning the JEWS or the ISRAELITES is the real proprietor of MECCA and they are actually chosen by God, and they are the first identified by God to be His blessed paople.

    Do you know that Iraneaus of Smyrma in Asia (125-202) disciple of John and Agustine of Thagaste in Northern Coast Aafrica (453-540) ancient Christians after Apostle Peter and Apostle Paul are more than far ahead than Muhammad.

    The JEWS or ISRAELITES and Christians BELIEF are EARLIER than the Muslim Belief.

    • Gene Schunek

      Actually Solomon’s Temple/Temple Mount is located in Jerusalem not Mecca, and is to the Muslims, the second holiest mosque in Islam. Mecca is the site of the Kaaba, site of the first mosque ever built and the holiest site in Islam. Also, Mecca is the birthplace of Mohammed and the location of the cave where Mohammed received the Koran from Allah.

  • Gena B

    IS is led by their father Satan. Why do you think the ones that they are persecuting the most are Christians? Doesn’t take a genius to figure it out.

  • Teresa M Hudson

    Tolerance is key.

  • Becky

    Demon possessed swines is all they are.

    And he shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; yea, the LORD our God shall cut them off. Psalm 94:23

  • Dan Ragan

    Muslims are the new Nazi’s, I think all freedom loving people, Christian or atheist, can agree that the spread of Islam needs to be stopped.