An Expastor’s Ego

**Content Editor: Lauren R.E. Larkin**

On September 27, 2016, Tullian Tchividjian published a post on the Expastors website on September 27, 2016.  Two days later, he gave an interview to Jonathan Merritt of Religious News Services.  In both the post and the interview, Tchividjian chose to present a narrative of depression in the wake of the so-called “accusations, attacks, and assumptions” that have been leveled at him.  He peppered these posts with vague references to his own deceptions, lies, and betrayals of trust.

In the end, the image of Tullian that emerges from these two articles is a man who has come to grips with his own “darkness” and is ready to pursue a more wholesome life of honesty as he finds new ways to spread the message of God’s radical grace.

Unfortunately, details have emerged which expose this as little more than a carefully crafted facade intended to expedite his return to the public arena.

An Impending Book?

Warren Throckmorton was the first to report that a document has surfaced which appears to be an introductory book chapter written by Tchividjian himself.  Throckmorton noted that, while there are significant differences between the two documents, enough similarity exists to suggest that the Expastors post is a heavily edited version of this document.

I have since been able to confirm through multiple sources, who received a copy of the document from Tchividjian personally, that this document is, in fact, an intended chapter for a book Tchividjian was working on in the winter of 2015.  According to these sources, this chapter was distributed to friends and family members for review in December, 2015, and January, 2016.

Let’s look at these two texts side by side.

Juxtapositiion

When these two texts are compared to each other, what is shocking is how much of the Expastors post is recycled verbatim from the intended chapter—a document which was written before news of a second sex scandal involving Tchividjian emerged in March, 2016.  This is an incredibly significant development when one considers that some of the key claims of the Expastors post indicate that Tchividjian’s view of himself between December 2015 and September 2016 has not changed.

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There are two statements which reveal just how blatantly Tchividjian is attempting to shift the narrative here:

  1. “Both came crumbling down during the spring and early summer of 2015.”

For those unfamiliar, it was revealed in March, 2016, that Tchividjian had been involved in an “affair”[1] sometime in 2014.  This was significant, because Tchividjian had previously claimed that he only had an affair after discovering that his ex-wife, Kim, had been cheating on him.  However, as noted above, Tullian did not discover Kim’s affair until Spring/Summer 2015.

In the wake of these revelations, it became apparent that in the months after he lost his job at Coral Ridge (in the Spring/Summer of 2015), Tchividjian constructed a false narrative intended to be a smear campaign with the purpose to gaslight his ex-wife while preserving his own privileged status.  He then used this false narrative to secure for himself a position on staff at Willow Creek Presbyterian Church, where he intended to relaunch his Liberate conferences.

However, after the second scandal became public knowledge in March 2016, Tchividjian was promptly fired from Willow Creek.  He then issued a public statement–using the public relations firm: Fredericks and Associates—in which he attempted (again) to minimize the lies and abuse he perpetrated by painting himself as the “repentant” and “confessing” sinner.

And just as this narrative was paper thin in March, 2016, it remains paper thin now.  I am forced to wonder why Tullian has chosen to focus so specifically on Spring/Summer 2015 in this newest post.  He certainly edited the original chapter, adding some material, and deleting other.  Why, then – if he is truly the repentant and fallen “expastor” attempting to own the lies and abuse he has perpetrated against his former congregants, his friends, and his family – did he not bother mentioning any of the details which have come to light since 2015?

As Tullian himself said in his public statement in March, 2016, the process of repentance “involves ongoing confession…[of]…what has happened in my life in the past.”  If this is Tullian’s definition of repentance, it would seem important – in a post specifically about finding grace after his world came “crumbling down” – to also mention how he lost his Willow Creek job and his ministry Liberate was forced to shutter.

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This omission is particularly glaring because the original book chapter contains a very brief, and very vague, reference to “personal struggles” which occurred in the year 2014.  That is, just this past winter, before his 2014 sexual misconduct was revealed, Tchividjian was willing to paint his actions as “personal struggles.”  However, on the other side, now that that exact nature of these “struggles” is a matter of public record, he has chosen to delete any mention to the year 2014 altogether.

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  1. “I was well known for talking about my own messed-upness, talking openly about my sin and selfishness, my faults and fears, my pride and pains. I never pretended to have it all together. In fact, one of the reasons people listened to my sermons and read my books and came out to hear me speak when I was traveling is because I was honest about my brokenness and the amazing grace of God that covers us at our worst.”

Let’s be clear, Tullian Tchividjian attracted an audience because he used the guise of “honesty” to cultivate a carefully calculated persona which appealed to hurting people and gave them the impression that he was “just like them.”  What he did not do, however, was honestly talk about his “brokenness” or “talk openly about his sins and selfishness.”

Never once in a sermon, or during a conference, did Tullian Tchividjian confess to the fact that he was caught abusing his pastoral privileges in order get women to sleep with him in 2014.  Instead, he, his board of elders, and his mentor Steve Brown worked to cover-up any wrongdoing and keep Tullian in ministry.

Further, when he lost his job at Coral Ridge, he did not publicly confess to the fact that these actions occurred in 2014, well before he learned of Kim’s affair.  Instead, he crafted a narrative by which Kim was scapegoated, while he made himself appear to be the hurt and wounded victim who acted out in weakness because of the pain he was suffering.

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Given that Tchividjian was willing to sacrifice the reputation of his wife in order to garner sympathy and maintain his place of privilege and influence in the Christian public eye, it is highly unlikely this was the first time he has treated his wife in this fashion.  Instead, this sort of behavior is often indicative of predatory abusers, persons so self-absorbed that they fight to save face and maintain power regardless of the collateral damage to others, even those closest to them.  These are not the actions of an honest man confessing his sins in order to turn over a new leaf and begin the process of seeking therapy and healing from his own abusive tendencies.

RNS Interview

In total, the Expastors post is comprised of just over 1300 words.  Of these words, nearly 590 of them are copied word for word from the aforementioned book chapter.  That is, in this new post intended to portray a wiser, kinder, humbler Tullian who has learned the error of his ways, nearly 45% of the content was originally crafted to promote a narrative in which his ex-wife was scapegoated while Tullian relaunched his public ministry through Liberate and, apparently, a new book.

Even more telling, Tullian did not even bother to edit the material in order to include the most recent scandals that occurred.  Instead, he intentionally redacted the only possible mention – however vague it may have been – to acts of pastoral sexual abuse in 2014 while using specific words which have been carefully crafted to continue a narrative in which he is still, in the end, the “good guy.”

This narrative tendency can be seen most clearly seen when the ExpastorsExpastors piece is juxtaposed with the Religious News Services interview.  Specifically, it is telling to consider how Tullian answered the second question posed to him by Merritt. Three things struck me about his words.

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First, I was amazed at the ways in which Tullian is working to gaslight his readers.  When talking about his critics, he portrays them as persons focusing on his sins in order to hide their own.  If only they would focus on their own sins, they would realize that they are no better than he is, and thus have no business critiquing his own sins.  He is attempting to discredit and silence his critics by shifting the reader’s focus onto a series of hypothetical sins.  Because these critics are supposedly as sinful as he is, listening to those calling out his abuses is “unhealthy.”  With this rationale, he can easily justify ignoring their words; after all “only God knows his heart.”

I was also struck by the arrogance required for Tullian to engage in such a blatant tu quo que fallacy.  He is looking to shift attention away from legitimate critiques of his deeply abusive actions by selling a “they do it too” narrative.  The issue is, even if every one of his critics was actually an abusive pastor using their position of privilege and trust to manipulate and use other persons for personal satisfaction, this does not excuse Tullian’s behavior in any way.

This allows Tullian to execute a disturbingly subtle narrative shift.  Tullian begins by “confessing” his own sins.  But by the end of the answer, it is not he who has a sin problem, but his critics.  After going on about how he is no longer justifying his own actions by focusing on the sins of others, he spends the entire answer attempting to convince the audience that his sins really aren’t that bad, because everyone else is a sinner too.

Tullian is once again trying to build his audience, by selling them his patented “gospel” narrative.  The reader is manipulated into feel conviction for their own sins, and thus a compassion for a “fellow sinner.  In the end, he is “just like you” and we all know you wouldn’t want to be “judged” like he has for your own “personal struggles.”

This is called sin-leveling.  Rather than deny the abuses took place, Tullian is working to normalize and minimize them.  It leaves the reader with the rather condescending notion that Tullian is actually better off than his critics.  After all, at least he is “focusing on his own sins” instead of getting caught up in the “sins” of others.

And in case you were wondering what Tullian actually thinks his critics sins are, he makes it explicit in the final sentence of the answer:

If I allow myself to be bothered more by other people’s sin than I am my own sin, it proves my unbelief.

Tullian doesn’t want his readers thinking about his abuses, he wants them to remember that these critics are “ungracious” people.  Thus resorting to passive aggressively labeling all his critics unbelievers.

In the end, what Tullian has done is subtly painted himself as the “good guy.”  He may have done some “bad stuff” but in the end, he figured it all out.  Rather than noting that he has yet to take responsibility for the ways in which he lied to the leadership of Willow Creek or publicly gas-lighted his ex-wife while orchestrating a conspiracy to cover up his other abuses, Tullian Tchividjian wants you to know that only someone who doesn’t believe in God’s radical grace would dare to question his narrative.

In fact, as Tullian sees it, his duty as a Christian requires that he continue to preach his “god-given” message in whatever arena made available to him.  Thus, while he supposedly has no specific plans for a return in the works, he can none the less signal to his audience that he fully intends to return.

Smoke Screen

In reality, the Expastor’s post and the interview with RNS  represent a carefully crafted distraction, designed to condition his audience to both anticipate and celebrate his clearly impending return.  Unfortunately for Tullian, he has attempted to cover his tracks by resorting to classic abuser rhetoric.

Tullian goes to great lengths to highlight all the “disgusting things” he had resorted to in the wake of his failed marriage and firing from Coral Ridge.  He notes that this “violent tragedy” sent him into a tail spin, a time marked by:

[T]he rage, the blame-shifting, the thirst for revenge, the bitter arrogance, the self-justified resentment, the dark self-righteousness, the control-hungry manipulation, the deluded rationalization, the deep selfishness, the perverted sense of entitlement.

However, in doing so he also provides a classic profile of a serial abuser.  And even my brief analysis of his words above shows that he is still practicing many of these exact same tactics.

For instance, in portraying his critics as unbelievers, he is taking revenge on them, shifting the blame from his own abuses to their supposed “sins.”   He attempts to control his audience, manipulating them into accepting a false narrative which minimize his abuses, and using tactics like gas lighting and sin-leveling to rationalize his own actions.

Tullian is painting himself as the guy who has (finally) managed to get his act together.  Everyone who questions him needs to stop doing so, and start trying to be more like him.  In the end, God is on his side, and thus if you want to be on “God’s side” you need to stop asking questions.

Tullian has gone to great lengths to appear to be humble and repentant, while painting himself as the true victim in his narrative.  But his words show just how self-righteous and entitled he truly is.

Conclusion

We ought never to rejoice in the fall of another person, a fellow human being who bears the same image of God that we do.  For when a brother or sister falls, the impact and the burden of the fall is felt by the rest of the body of Christ.  Thus, there is no pleasure to be taken in revealing the depths of the abuses perpetrated by another human being.  In fact, the revelation of such abuses ought to grieve the heart and trouble the mind.

I have no personal vendetta against Tullian Tchividjian.  However, I cannot stand by and watch as he is treated as a privileged white male, whose message is more important than the suffering of those persons he has abused.

When a pastor or leader uses their position of power to abuse those in their care, it is not gracious to merely turn a blind eye to this abuse.  Such an act is neither loving nor does it qualify as forgiveness. Instead, we must recognize that the justice that is mete out and redefined by the event of the Cross is justice that gives freedom to the captives, power to the disenfranchised, voice to the silenced, and comfort to the abused. It is not justice that keeps an oppressor and abuser in power.

Thus, justice demands that Tullian Tchividjian be removed from positions of leadership, power, and influence, that he remove himself from a place of privilege and allow the voices of his victims to be heard.  In as much as Tullian Tchividjian refuses to center the voices of his victims, to lay aside his own ego and allow the truth to prevail, his message is not radical grace but rampant injustice.

*Cover image from https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/76/Tullian_Tchividjian_cropped.jpg*

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41 thoughts on “An Expastor’s Ego

  1. Speaking from a woman’s point of view – sometimes its not that black and white – if a woman was propositioned and/or sexually preyed upon sometimes its not that easy to call the police. There are reason that some of these women didn’t report the incident. Fear of retribution, not being believed, they have husbands and children to consider. I think one of the most important aspect of this whole situation is did Tertullian ask his wife for forgiveness?

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    1. Asking for forgiveness is important, but it should not be given without restitution. We know that hasn’t occurred because it would include (though not be limited to) a public admission of exactly what untruths he told about his wife- not a vague ‘I have sinned’ but specifics. As long as anyone still believe his slander her public humiliation continues.

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  2. To the author:
    Compare this to Jimmy Swaggart in the 80’s and early 90’s. As I recall, he got caught with a hooker, a book came out (possibly to help him return to prominence) and before the ink was dry, a supplement had to be prepared to explain another incident that happened since the book went to press.

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  3. I’d also encourage you to go back and listen to the narrative he spun around being hired at Willow Creek.

    He is selling the same bill of good now as he did then. So if it was a bold-faced lie then, it is probably one now too.

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  4. I find your narrative interesting, but it’s built more upon assumptions about Tullian’s motives (blame-shifting, manipulating his hearers, etc.) than what appears to be facts. In fact, it reads more like a conspiracy theory than journalistic narrative. I’m not sure what more Tullian needs to do to satisfy the requirements of repentance some feel are necessary, other than to acknowledge specific details about his sin. But then you must ask, why am I so eager for him to pin himself to the wall? How much do I need him to suffer for his sins for me to be satisfied? For me this also begs a few theological questions: how are we required to format our repentance to satisfy fellow believers? When does a brother or sister in Christ finally deserve the benefit of the doubt? How does one avoid being labeled a gas-lighter when trying to acknowledge one’s own sin? When can we say with certainty that a fellow believer has confessed their sins, rather than “confessed”? This is all very sticky, and I’m not sure why this man’s odyssey deserves this particular treatment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Doug. I have talked to his victims.

      And if the fact that his lies have been openly exposed doesn’t persuade you, I doubt anything will.

      Also, you may be interesting in this.

      I know of multiple women he has sexually propositioned under the guise of pastoral care. Here is one of their stories. There are many more.

      Do Unto Others…

      Editor: Lauren R.E. Larkin

      “On one occasion, (Tullian Tchividjian) was a bit bolder. In a text message, he explicitly told her that he had been dreaming about her, and he told her it had been a “good” dream. As the conversation continued, it became increasingly clear he wanted her to know the dream had been sexual.”

      https://natesparks130.com/2016/11/21/do-unto-others/

      Abusers aren’t “sinners like us” and Tullian’s message is built on shame and guilt to protect himself from scrutiny.

      I have also talked to men he used and manipulated. Those stories may be told some day too.

      But trust me, I am only scraping the surface here. There is a lot more to this story, and Tullian is most certainly not the good guy of this narrative.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. When you state, “pastoral care”, what, may I ask, is your definition of that? IF this was really sexual assault, why was the cops not called? Leave it for the bloggers instead? Accusations without the opportunity of law? Does not the accused get to excersize his constitutional rights to face his accusers in a court of law, or is this just a smear campaign to get natesparks popularity? Do women who profess to be Christians know the Ten Commandments, specifically the one that states, “Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery”, no matter who may tempt them with words of seduction, pastor or not? Isn’t that Bible 101 stuff? Flee fornication? Don’t we already know those verses as Christians, or is that advanced teachings that can only be taught if you are a paying customer in a seminary?

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        1. You demonstrate your ignorance of sexual assault. Studies show a majority of victims do not report assaults because they assume no one will believe them.

          Ironically, people like you consistently prove them right and reveal precisely the type of abusive theology that makes these incidents so prevalent in the church.

          Whether or not he ever saw a court of law, he has faced his accusers. And he has smeared their names and called them liars – and now his own lies have been repeatedly and demonstrably exposed.

          This entire argument is a red herring, with absolutely no bearing on the truth of my article.

          Your attack on me is a classic as hominem. Personal attacks are a sign of weak and insecure arguments. You destroy your credibility by eschewing sound logic for baseless accusation.

          Unlike my article, which is well documented and carefully argued, you chose to throw a slipshod insult which, again, has no bearing on the truth of the article.

          Please refrain from logical fallacies and empty rhetoric. If you can disprove my claims do so. Otherwise, your comments will henceforth be denied, as they demonstrate a lack of civility and an unwillingness to engage in reasoned conversation.

          The Bible clearly states that leaders are held to higher standards by the nature of their office. Persons of power and privilege who exploit those beneath them are held to much higher standards than the average person.

          Think of Jesus’ conversation about harming “little ones” or Paul’s discussion of exploitation at the Eucharist table in 1 Corinthians.

          Further, since you appealed to law, a person in a place of privilege and authority is morally obligated to avoid all sexual contact with those under their care. This includes doctors, lawyers, teachers, therapists/counselors, and clergy.

          Legally speaking, what Tullian did is illegal in several states.

          Also, by the nature of the power dynamics of such relationships, the person in power who used their position to secure sexual favors or benefits from a person in their care is legally guilty of sex assault. Consent requires and equality of power, and legally when a pastor abuses his privileges in this manner, no consent exists.

          Again, it is interesting to question the faith of the women, but to make no reference whatsoever to the man. Patriarchal systems heavily favor men in situations of abuse and assault.

          It is no surprise then, that in a church environment predicated on a kyriarchal system which lets men dominate, and tells women to submit, that you would feel the need to quote law at the victimized women, while offering indiscriminate grace apart from the presence of any truth for Tullian.

          If the Gospel of the cross of Christ uplifts the victim and brings low their oppressors, per 1 Corinthians 1, then your application of Law here goes entirely counter to the Law/Gospel hermeneutic Tullian claims to practice.

          Law can only condemn and enslave, yet the Gospel declares liberation and healing for those who are oppressed, those who are least and enslaved. And here you seek to shackle these women with the guilt of a predatory pastor whose abuses are well documented as a matter of public record.

          You should do your research before trying to take cheap shots. Your anti-intellectualism dig about “Bible 101” and being a “paying customer at a seminary” show how little you do your homework.

          I do not now, nor have I ever, attended or claimed to have attended seminary.

          So your attempt at snark entirely misses wide, but again reveals that you are more interested in dealing out empty insults than trading in truth.

          And, I leave you with this thought. The Gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ – the embodiment of deity that is, was, and will always be the Way, the Truth, and the Life. This Gospel is a message of Love, for God is Love.

          Where the truth is eschewed, men choose to trade in insult, where ignore the blatant lies of abusers to protect kyriarchs, there can be no Gospel because there is not Truth. And where the Truth of Gospel is absent, the can be no Love. And where there is not Love, according to Paul in 1 Corinthians, there is nothing left but empty words.

          I bid you peace.

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          1. You had stated:
            “You demonstrate your ignorance of sexual assault. Studies show a majority of victims do not report assaults because they assume no one will believe them.”

            Not at all. Sexual assault is a crime, a felony crime. You can waive all the studies in the world at my face, but the accused has a constitutional right to face his accusers. Call the cops. File a police report. Do not give excuses. Cops investigate, and collect evidence. If you are going to blog, then preach to victims to not be afraid of the police department. I’m sick and tired of accusations that cannot be verified by law enforcement.

            Thou Shalt Not Commit adultery is pretty clear.

            Oh, and uh, by the way, the NT discusses sexual sins a bunch. All this lovey dovey stuff about the gospel is distorted, especially when the NT discusses sexual sins, and that we are to flee fornication, and not commit adultery, even in the NT.

            I’m being real, whether you wish to take it serious or not, that is up to you.

            Call the cops if this is classified as a sexual crime.

            Ed Chapman

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          2. Ed, you’re criteria are absurd. But you know that.

            You do not honestly believe that Law Enforcement are the final deciding factor of all that is true in terms of right and wrong.

            If you did, then you would hold that Nazi Germany was completely moral. Nothing that happened there was illegal by German law at the times the injustices were perpetrated.

            Law is not the Christian morality, and the failures of our criminal justice system are well documented.

            Also, in cases of sexual assault, the accused often does not face their accuser. There are many cases where, because of the emotional trauma involved, the persons are psychologically traumatized by facing their abusers. In these cases, written statements or video testimony is used.

            Also, sexual assault is a broad term which spans everything from aggravated rape to fondling a person in the line at the grocery store. Not everything labeled sexual assault is a felony offense.

            Also, studies show that the average sex offender serves less than a month of jail time. Many take plea deals that do not require them to even register as sex offenders. These people nearly always offend again.

            And, studies also show that for every rapist convicted, there are almost always multiple victims that go unprosecuted.

            So maybe before lecturing on how the justice system works, you should study it.

            You keep making demonstrably false statements Ed. It doesn’t exactly lens credibility to your argument.

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          3. You had said:
            “Further, since you appealed to law, a person in a place of privilege and authority is morally obligated to avoid all sexual contact with those under their care. This includes doctors, lawyers, teachers, therapists/counselors, and clergy.”

            My response:
            Not unless that “counseling” hat was on. The word, “clergy” alone is not enough to satisfy the law. That clergy must be wearing that “counseling” hat. That is the caveat. Without that caveat, there is no place of privilege and authority.

            But, all Christians are indeed to avoid adultery and fornication. That goes for pastors and congregation alike.

            Ed Chapman

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          4. Actually, Ed, again you are wrong.

            Here you will find a law from Arkansas to make my point.

            http://www.adultsabusedbyclergy.org/statelaws.html#minister sexual misconduct

            There is no requirement of formal “counseling.” A clergy member who serves in a pastoral capacity over another person is prohibited from engaging in sex with them.

            Also, note that “consent” (AKA your appeal to fornication) is not a legal defense.

            BTW, clergy is not just a word, it is an officially recognized title of both invested ecclesial authority and in many cases state privileges to perform services (marriages for instance).

            So, you demonstrate you do not understand the legal system you keep appealing to. Also a questionable understanding of how ordination works.

            And since you have yet to prove that Tullian in no way served as a pastor over these women, and since the significantly available public evidence says that he did, your appeal for fornication is a non sequitur.

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          5. You had also included:
            “Also, by the nature of the power dynamics of such relationships, the person in power who used their position to secure sexual favors or benefits from a person in their care is legally guilty of sex assault. Consent requires and equality of power, and legally when a pastor abuses his privileges in this manner, no consent exists.”

            That is incorrect. See my last comment regarding that “counseling” hat. Without that hat, there is no power that the pastor has over any congregant, as there is no position of authority without that counseling hat. And, there are rules pertaining to that hat. Former Pastor T had no legal power over anyone but himself, unless he was in a counseling mode as a member of clergy. Again, the word “clergy” alone means nothing without that hat.

            Ed Chapman

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          6. Again, Ed, the word clergy means that person has been vested authority by their individual church, their regional church, and often the larger national and/or international church.

            It is an office that requires the person receive and maintain credentials from their governing ecclesial body.

            Also, because they hold an actual ecclesial office, their position as pastoral authority is recognized by the state and federal government as a privileged position by law.

            And privilege positions automatically qualify for the laws in question.

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          7. You had said:
            “You do not honestly believe that Law Enforcement are the final deciding factor of all that is true in terms of right and wrong.”

            Are you an anarchist?

            Again, the accused has a constitutional right to face his accusers in a court of law.

            I don’t care how much you wish to spin your side of things.

            IF Former Pastor T committed a crime, call the cops. Respect the law. Obey the law.

            Ed Chapman

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          8. Ed, would you respect the Law if the Law told you to violate your Christian conscience?

            If it told you that you must turn in your Muslim neighbor so they could be moved to an internment camp, would you just do as you are told.

            Recognizing injustice and bias in systems of government and law enforcement isn’t anarchy.

            Even Jesus declared the temple – the governing religious body of Israel, to be corrupt and injustice. He said they steal widows houses and even cleared the Temple.

            The latter broke both Jewish and Roman law.

            Maybe read Paul. The Law condemns, which is why Jesus became the curse of the law. The fulfilment of Law for those who have faith in Christ is to love God and love neighbor.

            Jesus connects Love of neighbor to pursuing justice for them, and says those who follow him will stand with those opressed by the powerful.

            So remind me how I am to fulfill my Christian duty to Christ by protecting Tullian’s false narrative.

            Also, he is not “pastor” T as his presbytery has since defrocked him of his status as clergy because of his many abuses.

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          9. You don’t know how to read the law very well, do you?

            You are making assumptions that you know nothing about. I looked at every law regarding 13 states, and there is indeed a caveat of that counseling hat.

            Example:
            From that same page that you referenced, it states:

            Quote:
            Only thirteen states and the District of Columbia have penal statutes that, in at least some circumstances, support the criminal prosecution of clergypersons engaged in sexual misconduct with congregants or parishioners.

                These statutes, enacted by Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Dakota, Texas, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia turn on various linguistic formulations, including, most commonly, the specification that the misconduct occur within the confines of the counseling relationship.
            

            Unquote:

            NOTE THE WORDS “within the confines of the counseling relationship”

            Furthermore, when you dissect the individual laws, or statutes, you will see the rules pertaining to the counseling.

            Christians are to flee fornication and not commit adultery, as a Christian. Both Pastor and Congregant are not to do either.

            Your spin is out of control, dude.

            Do you really want me to quote each of the 13 statutes for you to show you that “counseling” caveat of the clergy?

            Your word cannot be trusted.

            Ed Chapman

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          10. I specifically cited the Law from Arkansas for a reason. Arkansas does not have that caveat.

            I did not say “No state requires a counseling relationship” but that not every state does.

            My point was, and still stands, there is recognized privilege in the pastoral practice – as recognized by law, ecclesial governance, and Scripture.

            The fact that some laws have the caveat – something I did not deny – doesn’t change that the Law I specifically referenced does not have that requirement.

            It is a fallacy of composition to assume that something said of one situation applies to all situations.

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          11. You had said:
            “Ed, would you respect the Law if the Law told you to violate your Christian conscience?

            If it told you that you must turn in your Muslim neighbor so they could be moved to an internment camp, would you just do as you are told.

            Recognizing injustice and bias in systems of government and law enforcement isn’t anarchy.”

            My response:

            Now you are just being ridiculous. Reporting a sexual crime to law enforcement has nothing to do with your political narrative of violating your religious convictions. Please stop with that kind of nonsense.

            You are going off on a tangent.

            Ed Chapman

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          12. Ed, you just told me my convictions don’t matter, that my ability to demonstrate Tullian abused these women will only be true according to the Law. I need to obey the law.

            Now you are telling me that is only true where sex crimes are involved.

            So which is it? Is the Law the standard by which we decide what is and isn’t right, what does or does not qualify as abuse?

            Or do you recognize a conviction outside and above the Law to which Christians are held morally accountable regardless of what the Law states?

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          13. Also, to help you see that Churches also have their own definitions of clergy sex abuse apart from legal definitions, and that clergy is an office in the Church, here is an excerpt from the rules of the ELCA.

            Safe Connections: What Parishioners Can Do to Understand and Prevent Clergy Sexual Abuse.

            What is clergy sexual abuse? Clergy sexual abuse is a boundary violation. Sexual activity in the context of a relationship between parishioner and pastor is an improper and harmful use of that relationship. Clergy sexual abuse violates the sacred purpose of the pastoral relationship . . .

            But what about . . . ? Is it ever okay? Sexual relationships between pastors and parishioners fail the parishioner 99.5% of the time. Perhaps one relationship in 1000 results in marriage

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          14. Also, since Tullian was a PCA pastor, here is the Presbyterian church’s statute.

            It holds that clergy is inherently a position of authority, trust, and power. Thus all clergy sex with a parishioner would be abuse of that power, and inherently abuse of power at the expense of another person is also abuse of that person.

            While sexual misconduct is not limited to clergy, research indicates that between 10 and 23 percent of clergy (of all faiths) have engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior with church members, clients or employees with whom they have a professional relationship.

            Because a fiduciary relationship is based on authority, trust and power, it renders sexual misconduct inappropriate and wrong.

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          15. Which brings me full circle.

            There are laws which dictate that what Tullian did was illegal. Not every state, but the laws exist. So which law should I use.
            You only appeal to law when it fits your agenda. When it does not – when it requires you to violate your conscience for instance – you have no issue breaking it.
            Church governance deems Tullian’s acts an abuse of his power and privilege of his clergy position, and an abuse of the person involved as well.

            You have self-defeated.

            You have made contradictory statements about the Law, you have demonstrate zero knowledge of ecclesial governance, and you have repeatedly argued from fallacy while resorting to insult.

            Tullian keeps lying, he keeps getting caught. Why keep defending him?

            Please do not comment further, I have you a chance to argue in good faith. You have not engaged as such.

            Peace.

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    2. Doug, when someone keeps lying and making up more stories every time one thing is found out? It’s a clue that he’s not sorry and he’s going to do it again.

      As far as when he deserve the benefit of the doubt? As far as I’m concerned never. He’s proven himself a liar. He’s proven he will spin spin spin. He hasn’t harmed me, I have nothing to forgive him for, but I certainly hope people are smart enough to at the very least not give him another job in ministry because he can’t be trusted.

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  5. The interesting thing is that my husband was sharing last night about a radio program he had recently listened to, which suggested that we live in a “post-truth” world. In other words, we’ve moved away from the truth and embraced the narrative. So whoever has the most convincing narrative – whether or not it is actually true – is the one who gains the upper hand in any particular situation. That’s a really sad reality, especially for those who claim to follow the Truth 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  6. There’s good money in fleecing the flock. And ego maniacs can’t stay out of the spotlight. What’s disturbing is that Christians fall for this baloney.

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Thanks for taking the time to read and engage. I look forward to your feedback, I welcome any criticism. However, as my goal here is mutualy respectful, beneficial conversation, I only ask that we keep civility in mind with our words. Grace and Peace.

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