There’s been a lot of news lately about the affair of former Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church pastor Tullian Tchividjian. Recently, it has been reported that the couple, and more specifically, Tullian himself, has filed for divorce. This breaks my heart. It breaks my heart not only because I have looked up to Tullian as a spiritual hero and gospel-centered herald of the faith, but also because I so long to see the gospel-centered message he proclaims to shine brightly in the world.
I so desperately want to see Tullian and his wife be healed and for the gospel-parable of marriage succeed in his life. I don’t even know if he will read this or if it will even reach him, but I pray it does. So here it goes:
I am writing this letter to you in light of the recent news about your filing for divorce from your wife. Before I go any further, I want to tell you a little bit about myself and why I even want to write to you. I am a college student about to finish my Bachelor of Theology degree from Bethlehem College and Seminary in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I feel called to the ministry and am hoping to pursue seminary. My parents divorced when I was very young and it has had a very profound effect on my life even until now. It has caused so much pain and so much hurt not only to my siblings and I, but to our entire extended family.
I’m writing to you to plead with you to not get divorced: for the sake of future ministers of the gospel like me, for the sake of your family, and for the sake of the message of God’s “One-Way Love” you have heralded for years.
Tullian, I so desperately want to see your marriage restored and your ministry regained. As a future minister, I want to believe that it can be done, to successfully be a good father, a good husband, and a good minister. I know I can speak for myself and for thousands upon thousands of others that have so looked up to you when I say that we want to know that it can work. For the sake of future ministers, and for the sake of the church, please do not get a divorce.
I know you love your family, your children and your grandson. It’s obvious from your books, messages, and countless social media posts in which you express your deep love for them. Luther Seminary professor Andrew Root writes in his book, The Children of Divorce, that because a child’s identity is formed and rooted in the union of his father and mother, when that union breaks, something deep inside of the children of divorce breaks as well. I can speak from experience that this is true. Because you love your children and grandson, please don’t allow their very being to become shattered. For the sake of your family, for the sake of your children, for the sake of your grandson, please do not get a divorce.
Pastor Tullian, for years I have read and listened to you passionately herald the good news of God’s One-Way love to us in Jesus. You have been a God-given witness to the church and world for God’s amazing, unconditional, radical grace in Jesus. I, along with millions of others, have been profoundly shaped and changed by the fact that the Gospel frees us to admit that we aren’t okay and leads us to the one that makes us new. I have admired and have been amazed by your transparency in this season of scandal.
God’s grace has been remarkably evident in your life and the Christ and His glorious gospel has shone brightly because of your brokenness. You wrote in One-Way Love, “For the marriage grounded in one-way love, there is always hope, always a way forward.” But if you go through with this divorce, do you really believe that? Because marriage is a picture of Christ’s love for the Church (Eph. 5:25-28), God has given the Gospel the power to save your marriage. Believe that, trust that, I beg you. Remember the covenant you made with your wife, to love her unconditionally, forever, ’til death do you part. God hates all divorce (Malachi 2:16), and He loves to heal broken people and broken marriages. The Gospel is powerful enough to save your marriage. For the sake of the Gospel, for the sake of the One-Way Love you have so boldly proclaimed, please do not get a divorce.
Pastor Tullian, pursue your wife, in spite of her’s and your sin. Just as Hosea pursued his wayward wife, pursue your’s. Let this wonderful picture of God’s pursuit of us adulterous people cause you to pursue your wife:
“Therefore I am now going to allure her;
I will lead her into the wilderness
and speak tenderly to her.
There I will give her back her vineyards,
and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
There she will respond as in the days of her youth,
as in the day she came up out of Egypt.
“In that day,” declares the Lord,
“you will call me ‘my husband’;
you will no longer call me ‘my master.’
I will remove the names of the Baals from her lips;
no longer will their names be invoked” (Hosea 2:14-17).
For the sake of God’s radical, One-Way Love,
Your younger brother.