Billy Graham's grandson Tullian Tchividjian deposed from ministry
Billy Graham's grandson has been deposed from ministry by his Florida mega church after both he and his wife admitted to extra-marital affairs.
Tullian Tchividjian joined Coral Ridge Presbyterian church in 2009 and resigned in June this year after the affairs became public knowledge.
The church said he was deposed in order both to "protect the integrity of the Church from which his credentials were given while, at the same time, wrapping Tullian in the grace offered by Jesus Christ to all those who confess sin, pursue repentance and desire restoration."
The American Presbyterian Church defines deposition as "the degradation of an officer from his office."
Soon after the statement was issued, Tchividjian, pronounced "chav-idjin" posted on Twitter @PastorTullian: "There is no depth so low that Christ is not fully present for you."
The church said: "The South Florida Presbytery met for its regular stated meeting on August 11, 2015 and acted on a case concerning TE Tullian Tchvidjian. While Pastor Tullian Tchividjian was deposed of his pastoral credentials, the South Florida Presbytery is committed to continuing to offer him pastoral care.
"Our goal in doing this is to both protect the integrity of the Church from which his credentials were given while, at the same time, wrapping Tullian in the grace offered by Jesus Christ to all those who confess sin, pursue repentance and desire restoration."
In his original resignation statement, Tchividjian said: "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.
"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. 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."
All his sermons have been pulled from the church website. A statement there says: "In order to continue to protect Pastor Tullian and his family, as well as the integrity of the message he preached, we have decided to pull his sermons for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, we have already seen the misuse of his messages in the media and on the internet. We will be prayerfully considering how and when they can be available again at an appropriate time so that they can be used to declare and demonstrate the liberating power of the Gospel. We appreciate your patience and prayers during this time."
Tchividjian, 42, married Kim in 1994 and they have three children.
When the affairs first emerged, Rob Pacienza, executive pastor of Coral Ridge, said: "Several days ago, Pastor Tullian 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."
Tchividjian's mother Virginia is the oldest of the five children of Ruth and Billy Graham. When he was a rebellious teenager, his father told him to leave home, calling the police to escort him out. He said at the time: "I never doubted the existence of God. I never disbelieved in the authority of the Bible and the reality of Jesus and the cross, never. My problem was not intellectual, my problem was experiential. I just simply wanted to have fun and live my life the way I wanted to live it without anyone telling me what to do. My great fear was if I surrendered my life over to the Lord, He would strip me of all of the fun and excitement that this world has to offer."
He met Kim, a waitress, in a local restaurant during this period and they both gave their life to Jesus before being married by Billy Graham.