Kevin Labby, senior pastor at Willow Creek Church in Florida this week proclaimed disgraced pastor and grandson of evangelist Billy Graham, Tullian Tchivijian, should not be in ministry. Tchivijian used to minister at Willow Creek with Labby, who released a statement on Thursday stating Tchivijian needs to "pursue healing and renewal" before any return to ministry. Tchividjian's sordid sexual sins wrecked his marriage and ministry after they were publicly exposed in the summer of 2015.
One of the women with whom Tchivijian reportedly had an affair alleged he "groomed" her, reports Christian Today. Labby wrote that Willow Creek's leaders were "deeply grieved" by the allegation, and have "profound gratitude" for the people who have come forward.
Tchividjian on Friday said he and his family are now "fighting to breathe" after multiple women who claim they were his lovers recently spoke out against his efforts at an apparent comeback, reports Christian Post.
"I read their accounts multiple times through tears," wrote Labby in the Willow Creek's statement. "My prayer is that they will receive the necessary care to move forward, and toward that end, we continue to offer earnest prayers and full support."
Labby also stated that "in the clearest possible terms, we do not believe that Mr. Tchividjian should be in any form of public or vocational ministry. Rather, inasmuch as he is truly repentant and in accordance with his membership vows, we would urge him to immediately return to his church of membership, submit to its leadership, and pursue healing and renewal through repentance in the context of his local church to the glory of God and for the good of the broader Church and her witness to the world."
Some people perceive Tchivijian continues speaking behind the pulpits of Twitter and Facebook, even though he was stripped of his pastor credentials.
Tchividjian, amid controversy, joined Willow Creek Church in September 2015; he was fired from there on March 16, 2016, after an affair with another woman became public. He previously was deposed from ministry Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church after he and his wife both admitted extra-marital affairs.
Tchividjian, who recently remarried, has a new book contract with David C. Cook Publishing. The publisher's manager remain committed to Tchividjian and his family to still publish, according to Patheos blogger and psychology professor Warren Throckmorton.
In June, Tchividjian released the following statement: "I resigned from my position at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church today due to ongoing marital issues. 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. 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."