First, I want to thank you for your influence over the years. My first exposure to Fighting for the Faith was when you hosted the debate between James White and one of his KJV Only interlocutors. I was impressed by your willingness to allow a Reformed Baptist on the show, even though you were a Lutheran. Over the course of the next several months I continued to listen and was impressed by your penetrating critique and biblical prowess. Fighting for the Faith was the first real discernment “ministry” that I had listened to.
Over time, I began to see the wisdom in your response to people like Mark Driscoll (who I was very much a fan of at the time) and Steven Furtick (who I had no major qualms with, because I had not listened to much of what he had to say). I learned to be demanding of those who consider themselves to be leaders in God’s church, and to hold them to a higher standard than I held other Christians to. That is why I’m writing this letter to you. You are a leader in God’s church, and you are held to a higher standard. You taught me that.
When Tullian was dismissed from the Gospel Coalition, I eagerly awaited your interview with him. I expected you to hold him accountable to what he was teaching, and to force him to support his conclusions from Scripture. I was disappointed as your interview missed the point of Tullian’s critics completely. I stared at my phone in disbelief when you allowed Tullian to get away with a preemptive “haters” defense… almost immediately after playing a parody of Furtick doing just that. Tullian did exactly what you critiqued other people doing, but rather than rebuke him… you joined in.
Fast forward to July of this year. Tullian announces that he is resigning from his role as Sr Pastor of CRPC due to an “inappropriate relationship” and an “affair” he had in the aftermath of his wife’s own marital unfaithfulness. Having listened to you for so long, and heard you latch on like a pit-bull (rightfully so) to people whose public “confessions” included phrases like “mistakes were made” or “I have regrets”… rather than “I have sinned” and “please forgive me”, I immediately wondered if you were going to call out your friend Tullian for not calling his adultery what it was. I was disappointed, although not surprised, that rather than confront it… you responded with a statement that sounds reminiscent of Robert Morris’s claim that “Mark is receiving counsel from me and others,” and made no mention of his public pseudo-confession. You are on the inside of Tullian’s team of counselors, and thus are privy to statements that others are not. However, you in the past have been very apt to draw conclusions based on what is publicly available, and call people to task for those things. This is appropriate and necessary for those in the Church to do. You taught me that.
Then yesterday happened. The news broke that Tullian has come on staff at another church in his area. Not a year after his adultery and confession, not 6 months after having been deposed of his credentials as a minister of the Gospel, not 3 months after having filed for divorce… less than 2 months after confessing his adultery, 2 weeks after having been deposed, and less than a week after filing for divorce.
I don’t consider myself a discernment blogger… I do consider myself a theologian who cares deeply about the Church and the purity of Christ’s bride. As people began to talk, I wrote my letter to the South Florida Presbytery. You read it. I am honored that you would take the time to read something written by little old me (I hope you give this letter the same attention). I was again disappointed by your response, although not at all surprised. You came at me. I expected as much, and it doesn’t bother me. When you speak truth that is uncomfortable, people are going to get mad. You taught me that.
So, I guess that brings me to the conclusion of my letter. I have a few questions for you. Over the past year since Mark Driscoll has resigned, he has made various indications that he is planning a return to ministry. You have been very critical of that. If Mark Driscoll were to show up as the “Director of Ministry Development” at a congregation in Phoenix… would you be telling everyone to calm down because it is just an “administrative position”? I think we all know that you wouldn’t. If a pastor in your district committed adultery, was deposed, and then within two months was hired as a “Director of Ministry Development” in a neighboring district… would you be okay with that? I think we all know that you wouldn’t. You are acting inconsistently because of your relationship with Tullian, and inconsistency is a sign of a failed argument. You taught me that… or maybe that was James White.
Chris, you are not doing Tullian any favors by ignoring this behavior. You are only undercutting the good work that you are doing for the Kingdom with Fighting for the Faith. You know better than this. I beg you to step back from this and listen to reason. God doesn’t need your good works… but Tullian does, he needs good biblical counsel and you are in a position to be able to give it. Tell him to step down from this position. Tell him to go back to the presbytery where he can be disciplined properly. Your defense of him in this new position is indefensible, and you really are better than this.
Your brother and co-laborer in the Gospel,
Please see my update at https://reformedarsenal.com/2015/09/02/the-taste-of-crow/
Please also see my update at https://reformedarsenal.com/2016/12/02/another-open-letter-to-the-south-florida-presbytery/
Please see Chris’s update at http://www.piratechristian.com/fightingforthefaith/2016/12/tullian-resources-removed
For a thorough timeline of events regarding Tullian Tchividjian’s history, please see Resource Bibliography on System Issues Related to the Tullian Tchividjian Situation. By 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.