“Doing justice is inseparably connected to preaching grace.”
~ Timothy Keller, Generous Justice
There was no joy in the headlines I read this morning. After a wonderful Father’s Day weekend with family and friends, I awoke, scanned my phone, and read these words on Tim Challies’s blog:
“Tullian Tchividjian Resigns – Here is very sad news from Florida: ‘Popular pastor and author Tullian Tchividjian has resigned as senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church,’ citing ‘ongoing marital issues’ and ‘an inappropriate relationship.’”
I scanned the linked article, then went to Twitter where I read several tweets and followed more links. There was no joy, only heaviness as one article noted:
“Pastor Tullian Tchividjian becomes the fourth Florida megachurch pastor in recent years to resign after admitting to having an affair.”
My grief was not for the ministry of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. God will sustain His people, Christ alone builds His church. I commend the elders of this great body of believers for taking appropriate action to preserve and protect the testimony of Christ within this church body.
My grief was not for the testimony of Tullian Tchivdjian. God will preserve the one who has a heart committed to Him. Through the failures, troubles and triumphs of life, God’s grace will sustain the one who trusts in Him. In the middle of darkness, even by our own extinguishing of the light, God will shine forth His brightness.
My grief was for the man Tullian, for his wife Kim, for their children. I grieve for the very real struggle that lies ahead. As Tullian has well recognized; he is embarking on a journey through the valley of the shadow of death. The enemy of our souls, the enemy of the Church will try to do everything in his power to destroy this man, to demolish his family, to shatter his testimony, to proclaim Tullian’s many errors as he fought to proclaim God’s grace (and who of us hasn’t erred in our struggle to live holy and to live in liberty).
I grieve because this valley is not a beautiful place. Yet, I rejoice, because this is the place where the psalmist can cry out, “I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4, ESV)! Tullian, in this place of despair, you are going to discover the depth of God’s grace! In this valley of desolation, you are going to discover God’s 911 (Psalm 91:1)! As I readily shared, this is my prayer for you:
Though you may never see my tweet, the God I serve will hear my prayer on your behalf. He will give you a place of rest in the darkness of the valley. He will shelter you in the middle of desolation. He will comfort you, as you ponder the immensity of personal sin. He will satisfy you as you drink from the depth of His grace!
One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World
Jesus + Nothing = Everything
Charis: God’s Scandalous Grace for Us
I was once a pastor. I hope you can find some wisdom in my journey. This is the first of a four-part series, where I envision sharing with you: