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Tullian Tchividjian Expresses Sorrow Over Previously Unconfessed Affair: 'I Will Forever Regret How My Sin Has Hurt My Family'

( [email protected] ) Mar 21, 2016 07:42 PM EDT
Tullian Tchividjian, a grandson of prominent evangelist Billy Graham and former senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, has released a statement expressing his deep regret over several extramarital affairs he engaged in while married to his ex-wife, Kim.
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: RNS

Tullian Tchividjian, a grandson of prominent evangelist Billy Graham and former senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, has released a statement expressing his deep regret over two separate extramarital affairs he engaged in while married to his ex-wife, Kim.

Tchividjian, 43, resigned from his position as pastor of Coral Ridge last year after admitting to an "inappropriate relationship" with another woman, 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. However, last week, Willow Creek's pastor Kevin Labby revealed that Tchividjian had been removed from ministry after it was revealed he had a "previously unconfessed inappropriate relationship with another woman," which occurred in 2014.

While it was initially reported that at least two elders at Coral Ridge knew Tchividjian had engaged in an adulterous affair and advised him to keep it secret from his wife, Hunter Frederick of Frederick & Associates, publicist/crisis comms advisor, told The Gospel Herald that the elder board at Coral Ridge did not advise the pastor to keep this matter away from his wife, but advised him to be "cautious in how he told his wife considering there were children involved."

In a statement emailed to TGH on Monday evening, Tchividjian concurred that he did, in fact, recently confess his "previous failure" to the Willow Creek pastor and elders.

"I deeply regret my actions and putting myself in the compromising position that lead me to sin the way I did," he said. "My heart grieves for all of those that have been hurt by my selfishness and foolishness. I am extremely sorry for the pain I've caused my ex ­wife and my kids. I will forever regret how much my sin has hurt them. The process of repentance is progressive and painful. It involves ongoing confession, not just of what's going on in my life now but, what happened in my life."

Tchividjian, who reportedly still attends Willow Creek Church despite the recent disclosure and firing, went on to express his gratitude toward the elders of the church who have "been nothing but gracious and firm with me since I have arrived and they continue to do so today."

"Even though this previous sin happened before I came to Willow Creek, it pains me deeply to know that something from my past could in any way hurt these gracious people today," he said.

The Jesus + Nothing = Everything author went on to issue a warning to those who find themselves in similar compromising situations: "I hope and pray that the events in my own life over the past couple years serve as a warning to all who, like I did, believe they are standing firm," he concluded. "Sin is deep. It is real. It destroys. It deceives. May this be an opportunity for all of us to examine our own hearts and beg God for the mercy and forgiveness we all need."

In light of the fresh revelations, Tchividjian's Liberate Network, which re-launched last month, has also dissolved. A statement from the remaining board members said the organization had also decided to cancel its scheduled 2017 conference, and those who have registered for the conference will receive full refunds.

The statement said: "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."

Meanwhile, Frederick told The Gospel Herald Tchividjian will no longer speak regarding this latest controversy. He added that the pastor has "sought out sound Biblical counsel in finding the best resolution to this conflict without hurting the people involved anymore than he already has" and will continue to "seek out Biblical counsel for his sin."