(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.