Billy Graham's Grandson Tullian Tchividjian Resigns from Coral Ridge Church After Admitting to an Affair

( [email protected] ) Jun 22, 2015 10:31 AM EDT
Tullian Tchividjian, popular pastor and grandson of evangelist Billy Graham, has resigned as senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church after admitting to an affair.
In 2009, Tchividjian succeeded the late James Kennedy as senior pastor of Coral Ridge. YouTube

Tullian Tchividjian, popular pastor and grandson of evangelist Billy Graham, has resigned as senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church after admitting he had an affair.

Tchividjian, who had pastored the PCA congregation in Fort Lauderdale, Florida since 2009, released a statement confirming his resignation to the Washington Post on Sunday.

In his statement, the forty-two-year-old "Surprised by Grace" author revealed that his wife Kim first had an affair, and in response, he sought comfort in a friend and their relationship turned "inappropriate."

He 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. 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. 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."

On Monday morning, Kim Tchividjian also released a statement to the Washington Post, asserting that her husband's words reflected his opinions and not her own: "Please respect the privacy of my family at this time, thank you," she wrote. "I do thank everyone for the outpouring of love for my family as well during this difficult time and we appreciate all the prayers and support we are receiving."

Tchividjian and his wife were married in 1994 and have three children together. He had been absent from the Coral Ridge pulpit for several weeks prior to his resignation, during which time he and his wife reportedly received marital counseling from fellow pastor Paul Tripp.  

Christianity Today notes that Tchividjian's time at Coral Ridge, which was founded by the late D. James Kennedy, was not without controversy.  

Within six months of Tchividjian's ordination in 2009, a group of church members led by Kennedy's daughter, Jennifer, called for his resignation. The dissidents, who were subsequently banned by the church, reportedly took issue with Tchividjian's rejection of culture war politics.

In 2014, Tchividjian once again came under fire after he used his final blog post at The Gospel Coalition (TGC) to reveal he had been ordered off the Reformed network.

At the time, he was working to transition his material to the site of his Liberate ministry, which seeks to reidentify Christianity with its "core message: the forgiveness of sins."

In response, TGC founders Tim Keller and Don Carson suggested that sanctification theology was at the heart of Tchividjian's departure, and that "the dispute was becoming increasingly sharp and divisive rather than moving toward greater unity."

In a statement posted on its website, Coral Ridge acknowledged that Tchividjian "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.

"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," stated church leaders. "The Leadership of Coral Ridge remain committed to promoting the transforming power of the Gospel. While we do not yet know whom God will direct to lead our congregation in the near future, we trust the Lord's guidance during this transition period, knowing He is our hope."

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