Billy Graham’s Grandson Tullian Tchividjian Fired by Willow Creek After Confessing Another Affair

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WINTER SPRINGS, Fla. — Just over six months after hiring him as the Director of Ministry Development following his resignation as lead pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church upon admission of an affair, Florida’s Willow Creek Church has fired Tullian Tchividjian, the grandson of Billy Graham, as he has now confessed to a second inappropriate relationship.

As previously reported, Tchividjian, 43, 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.

Tchividjian announced in June that he had resigned as senior pastor of Coral Ridge after admitting to leadership that he had inappropriately become close 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.”

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“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.”

The former megachurch leader was then stripped of his ministerial credentials, and soon filed for divorce from his wife.

Less than two weeks after the filing, Willow Creek Presbyterian Church in Winter Springs announced that it had hired Tchividjian to serve as Director of Ministry Development. Some expressed concern over the timing of such a move.

“I understand that some might disagree with the timing. We sense genuine confession and contrition from Tullian, and are eager to welcome him to Willow Creek,” leader Kevin Labby said in defense of the decision. “We want to see the process of repentance continue in the context of a loving church family. We believe that it is important for the church to demonstrate faith in the reconciling power of the gospel by running toward those pastors caught in public scandal, not away from them.”

But on Thursday, Labby confirmed to reporters that the church has now fired Tchividjian as he confessed to another affair earlier this week. The affair reportedly had occurred before the last affair he confessed—and before he discovered that his wife was in a relationship with another man.

“When we heard the disclosures he made just a few days ago, the session acted within hours to end his employment at the church,” Labby told the Christian Post. “The disclosures that he made involved the fact that he had a previously unconfessed inappropriate relationship with another woman. He didn’t share specifics with us.”

“The feeling of the elders was that Tullian had a long period of time to share that with the church and for one reason or another he elected not to,” he said. “I can’t really comment on what motivated him to not come out with that, but one thing that led him to come out with the confession was the knowledge that there were rumors swirling in Florida where he was previously ministering.”

He outlined that while the elders of Willow Creek have terminated Tchividjian, “they have not distanced themselves from caring for Tullian and calling him to repentance.”

“The process of repentance is progressive and painful. It involves ongoing confession, not just of what’s going on in my life at the present but what’s happened in my life in the past,” Tchividjian said in a statement. “I am praying earnestly about what God would have me to do and remain wholeheartedly committed to the painful process of ongoing repentance that God began last summer. I am so sorry for how my sinful and selfish choices have hurt so many, especially my family. I kindly ask you to pray that God would bring real healing across the board.”

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  • Josey

    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. He also blamed his affair on an affair his wife was in, he should know excuses and blaming others for your sin doesn’t go over with God as Adam and Eve learned early on and that unless the Son sets you free you are not free at all, certainly Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was to set us free from our weaknesses, failures through faith in Christ’s ability to strengthen us. He can be forgiven if he repents but as far as being a leader of a church, only God can restore that if He chooses. At least he sounds sincere in repentance and acknowledges the hurt his sin has caused so many ppl, I will be praying for him as God leads me to, he will have a hard road to tow but as long as He seeks God for the answers and lines himself up with truth of God’s word and denounces those excuses to sin he has made in that book.

    We as humans are weak and can do nothing but through Christ we can do all things, He makes me more than a conqueror over sin. Bottom line I am not free to sin and do as I please, not my will Lord but Yours be done. We as Children of God, washed in Christ’s blood are not perfect by any means, we are constantly waging war against our own fleshly desires which is why we can cry out to Christ for help for He went through every temptation we face and w/out sin, Jesus was the perfect sacrifice and now seated at God’s right hand, He is the perfect mediator and intercessor for us.

    We are saved by grace alone when we repent of our sins and truly trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, He will forgive, put within you a new heart, your old life no longer exists but as a Child of God we have to obey all things He has commanded and it’s a daily 24/7 life and has to be a balanced life meaning I can’t do anything I please but my desire is to please the Lord the best I can with the His help, for what is impossible for man is possible with God and the good work He began in us the moment we believed, He will complete.
    James 2:17-20 vs17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
    There has to be balance and no excuse to continue to sin against God’s commands. And a minister, pastor, deacon must be very responsible to live right or else he brings shame and in this case Biblical error to excuse his sin, this is apostasy an it’s spreading from the pulpit.

    Romans 6:1-7 vs1What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
    2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
    6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.

  • Gary Metzger

    That church in general needs to do some soul-searching. You of course forgive a repentant sinner, but when a man with the high-profile position that Mr. Tchividjian occupied commits such grievous sin, it’s simply irresponsible on every level to hire him so soon to ANY church position. Affairs strip a man of his inner core, and he needs spiritual reconstruction by the Holy Spirit which may take a very long time. The same elders who fired him because he didn’t tell them initially about the other affair are in a sense equally guilty in hiring him so quickly, in effect giving Tchividjian sanctuary from having to face his sin squarely in the face. Who knows, but that with pastoral counseling after what happened at Coral Ridge, he may very well have ended up confessing to the other affair, and perhaps any others he may have sadly engaged in? Regardless, we must as believers love this man back into the fold, but like the Prodigal Son, he must WANT to come back first. I’ll be in much prayer over this situation, because it’s now reached another level entirely.

    • WorldGoneCrazy

      Fantastic wisdom. Thank you for putting those thoughts together.

  • Brian

    Willow Creek Presbyterian Church leadership showed very poor judgement. The congregation should be looking for answers and holding those responsible accountable.

  • acontraryview

    Hard to figure out which “Christians” you can trust.

    • Josey

      Christians are human beings and not perfect that is why God’s word says, Blessed is the man who puts his trust in the Lord for He is perfect in all of His ways. But I know you could care less about the truth and just take every opportunity to mock or bad mouth Christianity. You are a coward and troll who waits for every chance to spout arrogant remarks to trip up others.

      • acontraryview

        “Christians are human beings and not perfect ”

        Agreed. Yet, despite that, there are many Christians who put themselves forward as being a reliable source of casting the first stone, while at the same time being hypocritical in their own actions.

        “But I know you could care less about the truth”

        You are certainly free to choose to believe that something is “the truth”, but your choice to believe it is does not make it so. That’s why it’s called “faith” and not “fact”.

        “just take every opportunity to mock or bad mouth Christianity.”

        Please cite where I have ever mocked or bad mouthed Christianity.

        “You are a coward and troll”

        How so?

        “who waits for every chance to spout arrogant remarks to trip up others.”

        What remarks have I made that are arrogant? Oh, and speaking of arrogant, how about putting forth that because you have chosen to believe something, it therefore is the only truth? Pretty arrogant, wouldn’t you agree?

        In what way have I tripped up others?

    • JeffreyRo55

      None who identify as “progressive.”

      • acontraryview

        Well that’s helpful.

  • Willow Creek is a spiritually sick congregation……and this dude of course is into cheap grace…. because he knows what he was doing…..of course he wants to downplay the seriousness of sin…..

    • sandrajune

      I would caution against judgment regarding his preaching. In his messages he was absolute on the seriousness of sin. He merely tried to get ppl to understand the greatness of grace, of what Jesus did for us, and who we are in Christ. Sadly, he didn’t listen to his own words or he wouldn’t have needed validation from women outside his marriage.

  • Well we all are sorry to hearwhat has gone on he clearly demonstrates that no man is able to stand without proper Authority and proper mentoring. If you do not have someone who can call you into question to what you’re doing who can speak to you plainly without fear of reprisal from you, or someone who doesn’t care if you try to exact their revenge against you for speaking the truth to you, then you’re in a very dangerous position and you will fall eventually.

  • Debbie

    So, not only did he have 2 affairs…he chose to lie. He needs to grow up…