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Tullian Tchividjian Was Advised by Coral Ridge Elders to Be 'Mindful' in Revealing Undisclosed Affair To Wife Because of Children

( [email protected] ) Mar 21, 2016 04:12 PM EDT
Tullian Tchividjian, grandson to prominent evangelist Billy Graham, was reportedly advised by at least two elders at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Florida to refrain from telling his wife about his previously unconfessed relationship with another woman, a source has revealed.
Tullian Tchividjian, is the former senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and a former contributing editor to Christianity Today‍ '​s Leadership Journal. Photo Credit: Twitter

Tullian Tchividjian, the grandson of prominent evangelist Billy Graham, was reportedly advised by elders at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Florida to "mindful" of how he told his ex-wife, Kim, about his previously unconfessed relationship with another woman because of the children involved. 

As reported by The Gospel Herald, Tchividjian, 43, resigned from his position as pastor of Coral Ridge last year after admitting to an extramarital affair, which he argued was prompted by the initial infidelity of his now ex-wife.

Two months later, the pastor was hired by Willow Creek Presbyterian as director of ministry development. At the time, he claimed he was doing better "spiritually, emotionally, and mentally" than he had in years thanks to the help of a "great counselor, a great pastor, great elders, and a great church."

In a surprising turn of events, last week, Willow Creek's pastor Kevin Labby revealed that Tchividjian had been removed from ministry in light of "some recent disclosures of which we were previously unaware."

"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. He said the person, that's worth saying ... there were no specifics...it was the very first time I had heard of it from anybody," he told The Christian Post on Thursday.

However, according to a recent report published by The Christian Post, Tchividjian had, in fact, 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. One can only wonder whether the second situation could have been averted if the first situation had not been covered up," the source continued.

"This is not a situation that Tullian had kept quiet and suddenly disclosed to someone for the first time last week. It's been known by at least three others in addition to Tullian and the woman involved for over two years," the source added, stating the recent disclosure is actually part of a "systematic cover-up."

When asked to comment on the report, Hunter Frederick of Frederick & Associates, publicist/crisis comms advisor, clarified to The Gospel Herald that the elder board actually "advised Tullian to be mindful of how he told his ex-wife because of the children involved."

The CP report notes that the latest revelation "significantly disrupts that narrative and created a lot of problems for those who have been trying to help him but were kept in the dark."

Meanwhile, Labby also told blogger Warren Throckmorton that that he and four other board members (out of nine total) resigned from Tchividjian's Liberate Network, founded in 2011 after being blindsided by the latest revelation. A statement from the remaining board members said the organization had subsequently decided to dissolve and cancel its scheduled 2017 conference.

"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," reads the statement, in part.

In a statement to Christianity Today on Wednesday, Tchividjian confirmed he will continue to seek counsel over the upcoming months: "Although, this has been extremely difficult for me to do, I remain committed to that painful and progressive process," he said.

"Nothing grieves me more than the fact that people are suffering because of my sins, both in my past as well as in the present," he added. "I want to be perfectly clear that I take full responsibility for this. "Please pray for those who are most deeply affected and please respect their privacy," he said.

"God knows how sorry I am for all the damage I've caused and the people who have been hurt. Please pray that the good work God has begun will be carried out to completion."