An Open Letter to the South Florida Presbytery

To the Ruling Elders of the South Florida Presbytery,

In July, Tullian Tchividjian resigned from his appointment as the Senior Pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. On August 17th, it was reported that you as a presbytery took the appropriate action of strongly rebuking him, and revoking his credentials as a minister of the Gospel.

It appears as though Tullian has not only joined another PCA church in the area, but is now listed as a staff member at Willow Creek Church.

I cannot fathom a circumstance where the Presbytery that was “committed to continuing to offer him pastoral care” has advised or sanctioned him being on staff in a church two weeks to the day of having deposed him.

I would like to urge you to consider two courses of action.

  1. An immediate vote to suspend Tullian from participation in the Lord’s Supper. It is clear that Tullian has not properly discerned the body of Christ in that he has clearly misunderstood or is intentionally disregarding the discipline of the South Florida Presbytery, and for his own protection he should no longer be allowed to participate in the Lord’s Supper.  (1 Corinthians 11:30) After this vote, should Tullian not recognize this error and immediately seek to rectify it by resigning from his position at Willow Creek Church, a second vote should be taken to excommunicate him. It has clearly reached the point of Matthew 18:17, and the best thing that can be done for him at this point is to show him the inevitable conclusion of his rebelliousness and stiff neck, exclusion from God’s people and covenant blessings.
  2. The Sr. Pastor at Willow Creek Church should be investigated and examined for censure. He has disregarded his responsibility to abide by the decision of the Presbytery in this matter, and has also disregarded his responsibility to shepherd and discipline those under his care. By allowing Tullian to obtain a ministry position, he has placed him in grave spiritual danger, and has set a precedent for a disregard for the God ordained discipline processes laid out in scripture. Should the Sr. Pastor be found to have ignored the process and does not rectify it, a vote should be held to remove his credentials as well.

I urge you not to delay in this, every minute that Tullian is allowed to continue on staff at Willow Creek Church is a moment that he is placed in spiritual danger. Every Sunday that he drinks the cup and eats the bread is a Sunday that he drinks and eats condemnation. If you are, as you say, “committed to continuing to offer him pastoral care,” then this is the only course of action that is open to you.

Note: After posting this, it has come to my attention that Willow Creek Church may be part of the Central Florida Presbytery. My sentiment and call to action remains the same, even if the necessary audience of the letter is different (If it be a different Presbytery, or the General Assembly).

Please see my update at https://reformedarsenal.com/2015/09/02/the-taste-of-crow/

Plese also see my update at https://reformedarsenal.com/2016/12/02/another-open-letter-to-the-south-florida-presbytery/


For a thorough timeline of events regarding Tullian Tchividjian’s history, please see Resource Bibliography on System Issues Related to the Tullian Tchividjian SituationBy linking to this site I am not endorsing the site as a whole, nor testifying to the veracity of the information present. However, the timeline presented does appear to be accurate to the best of my knowledge and research.

35 thoughts on “An Open Letter to the South Florida Presbytery

  1. My thoughts exactly. I had also seen an ‘officer’ in the PCA comment on twitter that Tullian refused to submit to the disciplinary process. I cannot figure out how Kevin Labby is justifying this unless he’s decided the ‘grace’ message somehow trumps PCA church order.

    1. I’d like to see a link to that twitter comment. You should talk to Kevin or the session of Willow Creek if this is bothering you so much that you feel called to throw him under the bus in a public forum.

      1. Huck Finn, did you share the same concern when Tullian threw his wife under the bus while shielding his mistress?

      2. If he did that, then he should be held accountable for his actions as well. My comment was based on the above comment. Quoting an un-named twitter source with a serious accusation and then saying that a pastor is disobeying PCA church order is reckless at best. I’m also wondering who you are and why it has become your business to speculate on matters that you clearly are not involved in and have very limited knowledge of.

  2. Willow Creek is in Central Fl Presbytery. But Coral Ridge is in South Fl. Since this is not an ordained position, he was likely hired w/out the knowledge of the Central Fl. But they should start having conversations with the elders of Willow Creek.

  3. Would you please produce the documentation that demonstrates that Tullian and Willow Creek “disregarded the decision” of the South Florida Presbytery. Refusing to submit to the disciplinary process of the South Florida Presbytery is a serious charge, but serious charges like that actually need to be backed with evidence, which you have not yet produced.

    I’d like to see the documentation from the South Florida Presbytery’s disciplinary decision that forbids Tullian from 1) moving to a different Presbytery 2) forbids him from membership in a different church within a different Presbytery 3) forbids him from taking a paid ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT position in a church.

    Last time I read the decision of the South Florida Presbytery they deposed Tullian of his pastoral credentials. Since Tullian’s administrative support job at Willow Creek does not involve nor imply any pastoral duties I fail to see how hiring Tullian represents a disregard for the decision of South Florida Presbytery.

    1. The BCO of the PCA indicates that a deposed pastor will be assigned to a church by the Presbytery, if approved by the session. This should be pretty easy to demonstrate if Tullian was assigned to Willow Creek. He dodged the discipline of his presbytery by moving on, it is the same thing Driscoll did by leaving Mars Hill.

      Chris, you are better than this. If this were Driscoll or Furtick, you would be writing your newest parody. Your inconsistency in this is deeply troubling.

      However, if he was assigned here by the South Florida Presbytery, I will be happy to publicly apologize on your show for all the world to hear.

      1. Here is what the BCO states:

        46-6. When a Presbytery shall dismiss a minister, licentiate or candidate,
        the name of the Presbytery to which he is dismissed shall be given in the certificate, and he shall remain under the jurisdiction of the Presbytery dismissing him until received by the other.

        Please produce the documentation that indicates the name of the Presbytery to which Tullian was dismissed to.

      2. In an oversight, the South Florida Presbytery neglected to name a church for Tullian to be assigned to. That is being worked out with the Presbytery right now. There is no violation of the BOCO.

      3. You are going to have to apologize, because frankly, yours is the worst treatment of this subject I’ve yet to see. You are conflating the issues of censure with excommunication, and in the PCA, a pastor who has had his privileges suspended is not prevented from taking up employment in which ordination is not required – including employment in a PCA church.

        Your “suggestion” that Tchvidjian be barred from the Communion Table is simply preposterous, as he has done nothing in defiance of Coral Ridge PCA or the South Florida Presbytery. And an “investigation” of Rev. Labby would only reveal that he knows a whole lot more about PCA church polity than you do.

    2. Also, “Director of Ministry Development” sure sounds like an administrative position that won’t have any influence on the pastoral functions of the church… Come on man. I know he is your friend, but that is all the more reason that you should be taking him to talk. He is a Christian brother, and that is why this needs to stop, for his own good and spiritual well being.

      Matthew 18 doesn’t say, and if he announced his inappropriate relationship… Give him a job.

      1. Unlike you, I actually know some of the details of Tullians new administrative support job and I know for a fact his job has nothing to do with teaching or preaching or dispensing the duties of the pastoral office. I also know for a fact that Tullian is permitted to hold any position in a PCA church not requiring ordination.

        So, those who are accusing him of nefarious conduct and rebellion against his church discipline had better start 1) producing the evidence that demonstrates Tullian’s sin or 2) repent of their slander.

      2. One more thing, Matthew 18 lays out the process of discipline for a church member who REFUSES to repent. I don’t see ANYTHING in Matthew 18 that condones kicking and beating a penitent sinner. What I am seeing here on this site is slanderous and sinful and contrary to how scripture tells us to treat a penitent brother.

      3. Chris, I’ve said what I have to say, and I think you’er being influenced by your closeness to Tullian. You are acting inconsistently, and have been since Tullian was dismissed from TGC. You’re not being a good friend or counselor to him by not discouraging him from this new position.

        As I said, if there is documentation that the South Florida Presbytery dismissed him to a different presbytery (which seems strange since they said that their intention was to continue to offer him pastoral support) then I will be happy to apologize publicly on your show.

      4. The only ones in the church who ought to be responsible for “ministry development” are its officers, specifically the ruling and teaching elders.

    3. Yep, that is probably exactly correct. Since he is technically not in a teaching/ruling elder position, his lack of credentials is not an impediment.

    4. hes the Director of Ministry development–you don’t think there are pastoral duties involved in that???

  4. T.L. – I’m not acting inconsistently at all. Biblically there is a huge difference between a penitent and impenitent sinner and how the church is to treat them. What you think is inconsistency on my part is consistency with how scripture instructs us to deal with two different types of sinners.

    Furthermore, my friendship with Tullian does not handicap me with regards to the announcement of his new administrative support position at Willow Creek it helps me better understand the situation. If there were ANY sinful rebellion on the part of Tullian in his accepting his current job then I’d be the first person calling him and getting in his face telling him he needs to repent.

    Since you’ve brought a public charge against Tullian claiming defiance against Presbyterian church order, the burden of proof is on you to substantiate your charges with evidence rather than speculate and assume.

    1. Chris, what is inconsistent is that you accepted the statement by Tullian that he had an “inappropriate relationship”, where if it had been ANYONE else who “confessed” in such a way publicly… you would have turned it into an entire episode of your show.

      If there were ANY sinful rebellion on the part of Tullian in his accepting his current job then I’d be the first person calling him and getting in his face telling him he needs to repent.

      I think the fact that you have not called him out on anything in the last year or so demonstrates this to be false. You didn’t call him out when he threw his wife under the bus by implying that his adultery was a response to hers rather than taking ownership over it. You didn’t call him out when he softened his sin by calling it an inappropriate relationship rather than sin. You didn’t call him out when he announced his divorce (which was absolutely unnecessary to announce), and you didn’t call him out when he fled the church discipline of his presbytery for the shelter of another.

      You are welcome to continue to comment here, but I have said what I have to say. As I said, if documentation is provided that the South Florida Presbytery acted in conjunction with the Central Florida Presbytery to dismiss him under their care, I will be happy to come on your show for a public apology. You can even have Tullian and the pastor of his new church come on with me so I can apologize directly.

      1. Go back through my archives. I’ve never publicly criticized any pastor who has committed adultery and publicly confessed his sin, no matter how feeble the confession.

        Just ask yourself, does anyone think that “inappropriate relationship” means that he didn’t commit adultery?

  5. From an outsider’s perspective, at the least TT is moving back into public ministry too fast. Having followed this everything he has done has sounded like someone going through the motions and not actually dealing with his sin. Chris, you may be technically right, though I think director is a made up title as his position of leadership qualifies as elder but I too am surprised at your response. Remember, the world is watching this and what is it seeing?
    No hard feelings either.

  6. Just as an outsider looking in, why would would anyone (Christian brother) who recently confessed to adultery and just filed for divorce be so quick to take a administrative “Ministry Development” position in a new church? Also Chris, would your church allow that? I understand he needs to work and provide for his family and self, but is this wise and most glorifying to Jesus?

  7. Chris, this does look like special pleading. The public facts are that a pastor has confessed to adultery, has been defrocked, has filed for divorce, and has been offered the important-sounding job of “Director of Ministry Development” at another church. Those facts are prima facie reasons to condemn this PCA Willow Creek Church. “Prima facie” means “on their face”— that is, maybe there are other facts not publicly known that would reverse the conclusion. But that means the burden of proof is currently on Willow Creek. It is also significant that their proud public announcement does not provide any extenuating facts, and while mentioning the positives about Mr. T. does not warn the congregation about the negatives.
    I must say, this sounds like having a pastor confess to child abuse, get fired, and then immediately get hired as director of children’s ministry— an administrative position.

  8. This who want to defend Labby should listen to his sermon last January about submission to elders even when they are wrong, and talking about upcoming changes that might make parishioners uncomfortable.
    Sounds like he and Tullian have been sipping the same tainted Purpose Driven Koolaid.

  9. As mentioned earlier, South Florida Presbytery and Central Florida Presbytery are two different Presbyteries. As also mentioned by Christ, neither Tullian nor South Fl Presbytery are in violation of the BCO. He was dismissed and received by another Presbytery.

    Tullian has confessed, repented, and submitted himself to his Presbytery. How is he Biblically doing anything wrong? How is he living in sin? Why should he be suspended from taking the Lord’s Supper?
    I guess Peter jumped too quickly into ministry after denying Jesus. In just a matter of weeks after repenting from that, he was back in ministry leading thousands of people to Christ! Go read about David, Gomer the prostitute, Samson, Rahab, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the list goes on and on. Most of them are mentioned in Hebrews 11. Messed up, jacked up people who confessed, repented, and got back up. Point is: Tullian repented and is not living in sin. WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT FROM THE MAN? Perhaps you should write an open letter to the author of Hebrews 11?

    1. Josh, the BCO indicates that deposed pastors will be assigned membership to a congregation. My understanding is that a presbytery has has no authority to assign membership to a church in another presbytery, so the congregation he would have been (or was) assigned to was in the SoFlo Presbytery, not the Central.

      If anyone should be weary of comparing people to Peter or other Biblical figures, it is fans of Fighting for the Faith…

      1. I apologize for the typo, I meant to say “Chris,” not “Christ.”

        Regardless of our different opinions in this matter, you are still a brother in Christ and I desire to be kind respectful. Take care T.L.
        -Josh

      2. Thanks for the info. That’s a pretty big oversight, though! Since church discipline is trying to restore the erring person, I don’t see how deciding what church will take care of them could be overlooked. It sounds like the Presbytery just thought about the punishment side, not the restoration side.

  10. I am saddened that Tullian’s continual message of grace to sinners is being brought to the forefront here and not truly understood. Isn’t that the very reason Jesus came to us to convey?? My continued prayers to Tullian and his family #lloveCRPC # savedbygrace #savedbyCRPC

  11. This just sickening and revolting. Truly it was you, Arsenal, who Jesus had in mind when he uttered, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”.

Comments are closed.