Tullian Tchividjian, 43, the high-profile pastor at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in South Florida, has resigned his position after admitting he had an affair. Tchividjian, the grandson of Billy Graham, had been taking several weeks off from the pulpit to work on his relationship with his wife. This weekend he made the following statement to The Washington Post:
“As many of you know, I returned from a trip a few months back and discovered that my wife was having an affair. … 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.”
Executive pastor of Coral Ridge Rob Pacienza provided this statement from the church:
“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.”
No successor has yet been named at the time of this writing.
Tchividjian is the son of Graham’s eldest daughter, Virginia, and succeeded founder, the late D. James Kennedy, in 2009 as senior pastor of Coral Ridge. Kennedy was, as described by NBC News, “a cornerstone of the religious right evangelical movement in the U.S.” Tchividjian himself has been less politically active than Kennedy or his uncle Franklin Graham, founder of Samaritan’s Purse. In fact, six months after taking the position at Coral Ridge, Kennedy’s daughter Jennifer led a movement to remove Tchividjian, citing his change in worship style and absence of political activism. Tchividjian insisted that evangelicalism “specifically their association with religious right and conservative politics” has damaged Christianity. In 2014, Tchividjian also was removed from the network of The Gospel Coalition.
This past weekend, Tchividjian tweeted the following after his resignation announcement: “Welcome to the valley of the shadow of death … thank God grace reigns here.” A prayer list from the church asked members to pray for Tchividjian and his family.