Another pending elevation to the throne...

(Tim, w/thanks to Dave M.) One of the higher-visibility churches in the Presbyterian Church in America is Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church of Senior Organist, Diane Bish, and the late Rev. Dr. D. James Kennedy. Yesterday, the church's pulpit nominating committee announced it had chosen Billy Graham's grandson, William Graham Tullian Tchividjian, to present to the congregation and Presbytery of South Florida for their approval as Coral Ridge's next Senior Pastor.

Denominational accountability is never rigorous, and rarely even present, when large churches appear on presbytery's docket. But being one of the last ecclesiastical communities confessing submission to the biblical commands concerning sexuality and authority, let's pray the men of the Presbytery of South Florida do due diligence on Pastor Tchividjian's commitment to Scripture...

precisely at that place where Satan is focussing his attack, today: that women are not to teach or exercise authority over men, but to be silent, because God made Adam first, and then Eve; and because Satan deceived Eve, not Adam.

Beyond the obvious--that this issue is not just a breach in the wall in our culture, but also in churches across the PCA--there are a couple other reasons to question Tchividjian closely.

First, as pastor of Margate's New City Fellowship, Tchividjian holds his credentials in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. The EPC is a Presbyterian denomination who's raison d'etre is to allow reformed men who subscribe to the Westminster Standards to refuse to subscribe to the Biblical prohibition against women pastors and elders. Does he agree with his denomination in this matter?

Second, Tchividjian is an alumnus of Columbia International University which, like most Christian colleges today, could not claim to be any friend of Scripture's doctrine of sexuality. Was he malformed by CIU?

And third, Tchividjian's aunt is Anne Graham Lotz, one of the most prominent self-affirming woman preachers in the evangelical world today. Had my presbtery inquired of my convictions concering gender-neutered Bible translations given my father-in-law's production and publication of of the New Living Translation, I would have respected the man who put the question to me.

So, fellow presbyters, have at it. Denominational accountability exists for such a time as this.

And for the record, I'm guessing Pastor Tchividjian does, in fact, submit to the Biblical doctrine of sexuality and that he's a fine choice to succeed Pastor Kennedy. The real issue, here, is whether men of the PCA know where the good deposit is under attack and are willing to guard it when a lot of their infuence and money is at stake.

Comments

With the world in dire need of strong church leadership - and particularly in the case of a rudderless church like Coral Ridge Presbyterian - it seems really sad that you would make women in leadership the litmus test as to whether Tchividjian was fit to lead the church. Very legalistic IMHO.

>it seems really sad that you would make women in leadership the litmus test as to whether Tchividjian was fit to lead the church

How is fidelity to God and His word an inappropriate "litmus test"?

Interesting that they're talking about the possibility of merging Coral Ridge (PCA) and New City (EPC).

But Stunned, did you not notice that I didn't try to argue that he should adhere to Scripture's commands concerning murder or adultery or drunkenness? How can you call me "legalistic?"

In fact, I didn't mention child sacrifice or greed, either. And what about his position on male circumcision? The Apostle Paul would have come down hard on that one out but I didn't even mention it.

Legalistic?

Come on...

Formal Statement from New City's board of elders to Coral Ridge's invitation to Senior Pastor Tullian Tchividjian:

As was announced January 18, 2009, at both New City Church and Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Coral Ridge has issued a call to our senior pastor Tullian Tchividjian to become senior pastor at Coral Ridge. But because of Pastor Tullian's unwavering commitment to remain as Pastor here at New City, both churches have agreed to consider a merger. In response to Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church's call of Tullian, the elder board of New City Church at a called meeting on January 13, 2009, carried a motion to begin the process of evaluating the possibility of making the two church's one. The elder board of New City Church unanimously agrees that the intricacies of putting this merger together are going to require a time of due diligence where representatives from both sides will sit down and work out the terms of a merger for approval by both sessions. Legal matters, financial matters, ministerial matters, structural matters, and philosophical matters, will be among the list of things needing to be discussed and hammered out. Only if agreeable terms on all of these fronts can be reached and those terms approved by both church sessions would Tullian formally accept the call and the two become one.

I just find it strange that a man who has not one female deacon in his church - and will not allow one (it is permissible for EPC churches to make that determination for themselves BTW) - is being criticized for practically being the mayor of Ladytown.

Tchividjian has sound reformed doctrine, loves the Lord, is a dynamic speaker, and has the ability to grow a church (or revitalize one as the case may be). I think those items merit some discussion - not the fact that a random aunt and some EPC churches up in the Niagara Falls area support females in church leadership. Really now. Eyes on the prize, please?

>Tchividjian has sound reformed doctrine, loves the Lord

Then being asked questions like that should please him...

"Legal matters, financial matters, ministerial matters, structural matters, and philosophical matters."

And what of doctrinal matters?

Kamilla

Stunned -- "is being criticized for practically being the mayor of Ladytown."

Tim Bayly -- "And for the record, I'm guessing Pastor Tchividjian does, in fact, submit to the Biblical doctrine of sexuality and that he's a fine choice to succeed Pastor Kennedy."

Stunned,

Your response begs the reader to ask what axe you have to grind since it's very clear that no one here is criticising Pastor Tchividjian.

No ax to gring here - just interesting that the blog writers jump directly into negative waters. I'm not a theologian, I don't pretend to be as educated in reformed theology as the esteemed readers of this blog - it's just interesting to me that people are quick to criticize a guy (the last sentence notwithstnading) that you know nothing about. To make assumptions about him because of where he went to school and who he is related to - without asking him. Or without checking out the website of his church (which would have answered some of your concerns).

It's shock blogging. And from Christians, it's stunning. Peace out.

Stunned,

Tim is giving Tchividjian the benefit of the doubt...in fact, he said: And for the record, I'm guessing Pastor Tchividjian does, in fact, submit to the Biblical doctrine of sexuality and that he's a fine choice to succeed Pastor Kennedy.

So really, the issue is not Tchividjian, the issue is oversight and the apparennt autonomy large, affluent congregations in the PCA wield. A scrupulous man would look at Tchividjian's associations and ask him what his views were. That's part of pastoring, and pastors are not exempt from being evaluated...even if their hand-picked by an affluent PCA church.

This is a question of whether the denomination will be looking to guard to the flock or guard the coffers.

>No ax to grind here...

Stunned, it's clear you're not aware of PCA polity. Every candidate is questioned about such matters prior to being accepted for the pulpit of one of our churches. And if that candidate is coming in from a denomination that refuses to discipline those who reject the Biblical doctrine of sexuality, that precise doctrine is where questioning of him on the floor of presbytery should start. This is just basic PCA polity.

So, for instance, when I came into the PCA from a woman-ordaining denomination, I didn't protest that the men of presbytery were shock examining me when they questioned me concerning my position on the ordination of women. I simply answered their question, respectfully.

That's precisely what I proposed the men of Presbytery of South Florida do, also.

Now, since twice hasn't done the job, for the third time, here's what I actually wrote about my expectations of the results of the examination:

**"And for the record, I'm guessing Pastor Tchividjian does, in fact, submit to the Biblical doctrine of sexuality and that he's a fine choice to succeed Pastor Kennedy."**

That's not shock journalism. It's more like "puff Graham" journalism.

Sad, today, how men think questioning a man is "shock blogging." Can you imagine any other time in history when men are so hypersensitive as to resent a presbytery examination on the most basic doctrinal matters recorded by the Holy Spirit in the Word of God?

"Legalism?"

"Sad, today, how men think questionning a man is "shock blogging." Can you imagine any other time in history when men are so hypersensitive as to resent a presbytery examination"

I'm not a man. :-)

And you're right - I'm no scholar - but I don't think a snarky blog post (see your title) is the same thing as being questioned by the PCA powers that be. I'm sure if there is any questioning to be done, they'll handle it. Looking for problems when you a) don't know the man b) aren't in charge of testing his doctrine and c) are snarky doesn't seem like you're genuinely concerned.

>you're right - I'm no scholar...

Who said anything about your not being a scholar?

>(It) doesn't seem like you're genuinely concerned.

No, Stunned; you're right. I'm not genuinely concerned. Just legalistic and snarky. And deep down where maybe even you can't see it, quite envious.

What I Like About Rick Warren
by Tullian Tchividjian
http://www.newcitypres.com/blog/?p=35

Rick Warren is an unrepentant Scripture twister deceiving millions of people all around the globe with his Purpose Driven program. Mr. Tchivdjian should be warning as many as he can as often as he can. Will he promote Rick Warren and Purpose Drivenism to the people at Coral Ridge?

Purpose Driven & Rick Warren
http://www.monergism.com/directory/link_category/Seeker-Sensitive-Churches/Purpose-Driven--Rick-Warren/

Miss Stunned,

It is quite an ironic last name that God gave you, whether by birth or by marriage, in that you are clearly not stunned, or even capable of being stunned, in that you are committed to seeing what you want to see.

I do not see what the offense is here in this situation. The pastor is coming from a body which allows women to be ordained to elder/deacon. It is only right that a presbytery which is part of a larger body which is doctrinally committed to male only ordination ask the candidate about his views on this matter since he currently holds his credentials in a body whose practice is opposite of the one he is seeking to join.

Pastor Bayly,

Is there a concern that the session and/or Presbytery itself is weak on this issue?

As far as the problem of denominational accountability goes, is it merely a matter of the GA having courage or does the GA need to be given more teeth?

>Is there a concern that the session and/or Presbytery itself is weak on this issue?

Dear Brett,

I've said above that large wealthy churches are rarely held accountable in the PCA. I've noted an inverse correlation between the authority of the presbytery exercised in one of her churches and the size and wealth of that church.

So add to the size and wealth of Coral Ridge the evangelical royalty of the Graham clan and the perfect storm of pressures for fellow presbyters not to do due diligence becomes clear.

Warmly,

"So add to the size and wealth of Coral Ridge the evangelical royalty of the Graham clan and the perfect storm of pressures for fellow presbyters not to do due diligence becomes clear."

Maybe clear to you - but I think it's being very presumptive to assume without knowing anything about the vetting process that is taking place (and has already taken place) - that a failure to perform due diligence is *likely*.

Blessings

Dear Stunned,

At no point have you understood the nature of my post. Each time you restate what I have written, you get it entirely wrong. And now...

You're persistence has grown to pertinacity, and it's immodest for your sex. Please be quiet.

Affectionately,

>Maybe clear to you - but I think it's being very presumptive to assume without knowing anything about the vetting process that is taking place (and has already taken place) - that a failure to perform due diligence is *likely*.

Perhaps you were stunned prior to reading the article?! What else could account for your apparent inability to understand what ought to be perfectly clear? He did not say that a failure to perform due diligence was *likely*. What was noted is the pressure to overlook certain specific issues given the present climate. Issues that have been overlooked with painful regularity of late and that have been repeatedly called to the attention of those that read this blog.

Pastors are commanded to be on guard for the flock. Preparation is not synonymous with expectation. Strong men don't break into well prepared houses and virgins aren't surprised when they carry fuel for their lamps. Bridge may be icy. Hidden drive ahead.

Am I wrong in thinking that it's entirely possible that Coral Ridge could leave the PCA for the EPC in such a merger? The assumption seems to be that New City would leave the EPC.

********************

Dear Stunned,

At no point have you understood the nature of my post. Each time you restate what I have written, you get it entirely wrong. And now...

You're persistence has grown to pertinacity, and it's immodest for your sex. Please be quiet.

Affectionately,

********************

You are a jackass.

Yes Coral Ridge could leave the PCA and join the EPC.

By the way, the title of this post was not intended to be read as snarky or cynical, but serious objection to the change in two offices at the center of our lives, today: the office of Minister of the Word and Sacrament and the office of President of these United States. Both offices and those holding them have abrogated to themselves status, perquisites, and power contrary to the constitutions that constituted those offices in the first place.

Add to this the size and wealth of Coral Ridge as well as Mr. Tchividjian's blue blood, and those with eyes to see will understand how serious I was. Add to this the hoopla surrounding Obama's elevation to Our Imperial Presidency, and those with eyes to see will understand how serious I am.

I'm sorry if my shorthand was so easily misunderstood as my simply being snarky. I didn't intend to be a cynical nag, but rather to teach and warn against these evils.

Tim,

You weren't snarky, and only the willful could misunderstand.

Bret

p.s. -- I don't think you're a jackass either.

Rae Whitlock, do you live in Columbus, Ohio?

That I do. Do we know eachother?

No, but I went to Grace Central for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and you spoke. I live in Columbus.

Hoo boy . . . hope my rookie homiletics haven't driven you away! :-)

Jackass? Doesn't Bob K. buy you a calendar to that effect every year? But of course he means it kindly :-)

You were fine Rae. I enjoyed the message. I obviously don't know you well enough to make a judgment on your character, but I felt that you presented it humbly, which of course is always a plus.

I haven't gone back to Grace Central yet because I'm moving away from Columbus in a few months, and there's a possibility that I could be attending the Pastor's College, which is run by the churches that the Bayly brothers lead.

I talked to your pastor briefly after the service, and he told me about how a lot of people from your church go away to seminary... primarily Covenant from what I gathered. I think that your church should look in to the heart behind the Pastor's College. It is really neat, and I'm looking into it over going to a place like Covenant, for a couple of reasons. First, I know that under the care, leadership, and discipline of a godly church, and its members, I wouldn't be able to get all A's if my walk with God isn't going well. Second, I have heard that seminary makes you less manly... or something to that extent. No thank you.

But anyway, yeah, I wish I had known about your church sooner. My wife and I would have probably joined instead of the church we currently are members of (Xenos).

Stunned said:

..."snarky"...>>>>

Stunned is now silent, but I have always wondered how one is supposed to define "snarky." What does that word mean, anyway?

Is calling blog comments "snarky" itself "snarky"?

Just wondering...

Now I'll go back into lurk mode ...

Is there such a thing as a Jillass? Do I look "snarky" in this comment?

There I go bein' negative again. I just can't help myself.

"You're persistence has grown to pertinacity, and it's immodest for your sex. Please be quiet."

Is it immodest for men, or just women?

YOU SEEM TO ASSUME THAT HE AND NEW CITY ARE GOING TO BECOME PCA AND THEREFORE, PCA PRESBYTERS WILL NEED TO APPROVE HIM. YOU MAY BE SURPRISED WHEN THE NEGOTIATIONS ARE FINISHED TO FIND CORAL RIDGE JOINING WITH THE EPC.

>YOU MAY BE SURPRISED WHEN THE NEGOTIATIONS ARE FINISHED TO FIND CORAL RIDGE JOINING WITH THE EPC.

True.

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