Tullian Tchividjian is back in pulpit after his extramarital relationships with former congregants went public in 2015. He will be launching his unaffiliated church, The Sanctuary, in Palm Beach Gardens this Fall.
The 47-year-old pastor admitted that the 2015 infidelity was “completely wrong, morally and ethically”. However, he insisted that those encounters were consensual and therefore cannot be imputed as abuse of power.
According to Christian Post, he further defined it by saying, “I don’t care what role a person has, a consensual relationship between two adults is not abuse. And some of these people will try to make the case that, ‘Well because you’re in a position of authority, it is abuse.’”
While Tchividjian insists on this, Rachel Steele, one of his former congregants stated otherwise. She said that their relationship was not consensual at all due to the element of surrendering to what the pastor “wanted.” Although she admitted that she wanted to have sex with him, she also insisted that Tchividjian abused his authority as her pastor.
The present return of Tchividjian to the pulpit was met with a lot of oppositions. GRACE, an organization that exists to empower the Christian community through education and training to recognize, prevent, and respond to child abuse, condemned Tchividjian’s actions, as a “gross misuse of power.”
Journalists like Julie Roys likewise expressed misgivings, but was eventually blocked by the pastor on social media. The same happened to other media practitioners.
As for Tchividjian, he is bent on establishing his church and starting another ministry in South Florida.
“I’ve been very open, upfront and honest, painfully and uncomfortably transparent about my life completely coming off the rails in 2015 as a result of choices that I made. And I still deal, and I don’t think it will ever fully go away. It’s probably a gift to me honestly, because it keeps me dependent on God and makes me realize afresh that His grace is undeserved,” said Tchividjian.