William Graham Tullian Tchividjian

Grandson of Billy Graham, guest blogger on Justin Taylor’s Between Two Worlds, pastor of New City Church (EPC), William Graham Tullian Tchividjian has been issued a call to be the next senior minister at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. The call is dependent on the two churches becoming one, according to the official statement released by New City Church.

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30 Comments

  1. Joann Longton said,

    January 19, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    Why do we do that? Why can’t he simply be announce for his name William
    Tchividjian? Why do we–who aren’t supposed to put any confidence in the flesh –need to mention who the man’s grandfather is? How is it even relevant? Do you do that when you announce other new pastors–tell us who their grandfather is/was? It is a kind of hero worship that is not appropriate for Christians. Billy Graham was Billy Graham–a sinner saved and used by Grace for God’s ends. All the glory belongs to Jesus, not Billy Graham, and he would be the first to tell you so. William Tchividjian is just one more man who needs to daily work out his salvation with fear and trembling. Any glory he may get from that, also belongs solely to Jesus. Brothers and sisters, let us keep ourselves from idols….(1 John 5:21)

  2. January 19, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    I know nothing about this man. Is he Reformed? Is he a Presbyterian? After all, Coral Ridge is in the PCA, is it not? Or has all that gone out the window?

  3. Stephen Welch said,

    January 19, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    Richard, Tullian is a pastor in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) and Coral Ridge is a member of the PCA. This move would have to be approved by the Presbytery of Southern Florida of the PCA before it could happen. New City Presbyterian Church is willing to come into the PCA. I have heard Tullian preach and am impressed with him. He is Reformed and a Presbyterian, although there are some distinctives in the EPC that I find very problematic. The call of Tullian to Coral Ridge has not been formally approved, because there are many issues to discuss before he can assume the Pastorate. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out in the next few months. Tullian has written for Banner of Truth magazine and has taught at one of the campuses of Reformed Theological Seminary. He is a young man and will certainly have many challenges at Coral Ridge if he does assume the office of teaching elder.

  4. Ben said,

    January 19, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    Joann, I can understand your point, and it is a good one! However, there are countless times in Scripture where people are identified, at least in part, by their family. (i.e. Joshua Son of Nun, etc….)
    So it’s not categorically wrong, it really depends on the motive.

  5. David Gray said,

    January 19, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    >there are some distinctives in the EPC that I find very problematic

    Rebellion and heresy are problematic.

  6. Larry said,

    January 20, 2009 at 7:39 am

    Face it, none of us have “arrived” this side of glory. We live in a time of deformation. The PCA, the OPC, the URC, etc. are all remnant groups, as is the EPC. Don’t you think the question should not so much be is there error in the EPC, but what is the trajectory? If there is movement in the right direction, be it ever so small, like a bruised reed or a smoking flax, ought we not to rejoice and pray that King Jesus will continue to form and reform his Bride?

  7. Todd said,

    January 20, 2009 at 8:44 am

    Joann,

    Just because a moderator mentioned the well-known lineage of a man doesn’t mean we are idol worshiping. It is an interesting fact, considering Billy Graham was raised in a Presbyterian denomination. I guess the circle will not be unbroken after all…

    Todd

  8. D G Hart said,

    January 20, 2009 at 9:11 am

    Isn’t this like the local Walmart and Home Depot merging?

  9. Zrim said,

    January 20, 2009 at 9:11 am

    Just because a moderator mentioned the well-known lineage of a man doesn’t mean we are idol worshiping.

    You’re probably right. It likely has more to do with celebrity. Even so, it seems a shady line between the “cult of personality” and idolatry, especially when religion is the immediate backdrop. And, given the pillars of personality Tchividjian seems to be moving to and fro, I am not clear on what stake Presbyterians have in these “interesting facts.”

  10. Ken Pierce said,

    January 20, 2009 at 9:49 am

    Historically, a lot of interest.

    First, the Graham family, despite Billy’s SBC ordination and avowed Arminianism, is historically Presbyterian (ARP). Billy has had at least two cousins involved in PCA ministry, and possibly a third.

    Ruth’s father was one of the founding influences of the PCA, even though he himself didn’t live to join (or, Dr. Hart may correct me, decided not to join, and died shortly thereafter).

    Ruth’s brother Clayton was a prominent evangelical PCUS minister, and a large part of his congregation (Highland Park, Dallas) left over his refusal to join the PCA, and began Park Cities PCA, Dallas.

    Ruth herself stayed Presbyterian, and raised the children in the Montreat Presbyterian Church (now EPC).

    Tullian does appear to have Reformed commitments and a fruitful ministry. We need to pray for him. This will be a very difficult assignment. I sincerely doubt that Tchividjian would adopt the mantle of Kennedy vis a vis “America is the new Israel” theology. That will be a difficult change for Coral Ridge to make, especially given the prominent role afforded DJK’s widow and daughter.

    All of this is very interesting to Presbyterians, or ought to be. Like it or not, Coral Ridge is still our most visible church, and Kennedy was by far our most visible minister since Schaeffer.

  11. Reed Here said,

    January 20, 2009 at 10:22 am

    Walmart & Home DePot; hah, lol.

  12. Zrim said,

    January 20, 2009 at 10:23 am

    The striving after visibility, or at least uncritically maintaining a hard-fought or misguided visibility, is less a Protestant ideal than a Catholic one.

  13. Todd said,

    January 20, 2009 at 10:33 am

    Zrim,

    Lighten up. Kennedy preached some of the most grimace inducing sermons I have ever heard, especially from a conversation Presbyterian. Tullian’s possible appointment is good news. Yes, let’s not make too big a deal about it just because of visibility, but good news is still good news.

    Todd

  14. Zrim said,

    January 20, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Todd,

    Um, OK. But first tell me what a “conversation Presbyterian” is. Is it one who teaches “covenantal regeneration”? (That was a joke.)

  15. Todd said,

    January 20, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    Zrim,

    Took me a while to see my error, and thus get the joke. Freudian slip maybe?

    Todd

  16. Zrim said,

    January 20, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    Todd,

    Maybe. Or just a relatively diminished visibility. How Protestant of you, to say nothing of your turn-around time in seeing your own errors.

    Light enough?

  17. Todd said,

    January 20, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    Zrim,

    well, I am slow on the jump. My 9 year old recently told me this one – A man walks into a bar and says “ow” What happened? He had to say it three times before I got it.

  18. Reed Here said,

    January 20, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    No. 17, Todd, uhhh, I don’t get it.

  19. G.C. Berkley said,

    January 20, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Reed,

    The man walked *into* the bar, as in hit the building while walking forward, and said “Ouch” or “Ow”.

    I have a 9 year old too :-)

  20. Reed Here said,

    January 20, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    LOL – thanks GC. I was wondering who might “fall” for my lameness. ;-)

  21. Zrim said,

    January 20, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    My wife is 38. When she tells me she “ran into” a friend I always ask her if she apologized. I get here every time.

  22. Reed Here said,

    January 20, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    Zrim – good one. I’m gonna steal that without crediting you (just my small attempt to protect your good name).

  23. Ron Henzel said,

    January 20, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    In New York’s garment district a little old man was hit by a car. While waiting for an ambulance the policeman tucked a blanket under the guy’s chin and asked, “Are you comfortable?” The man said, “I make a nice living.”

    [Henny Youngman]

  24. steve hoffmeister said,

    January 20, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    I have read the EPC web site area of what they hold to in their system of belief, all I can say is BLAH…If this man has a bone of good Reformed Theology it comes from somewhere else thank GOD.

    s.e.hoffmeister

  25. Stephen Welch said,

    January 20, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    This merger between New City and Coral Ridge has been in the discussion stage since last spring, so there must be a strong desire on the part of Coral Ridge session to see this merger happen. I find it ironic that Tullian started out as an assistant minister in the PCA. He was on staff at a PCA church in Knoxville, TN that created an uproar when it had a woman preach in the evening service. Later the congregation left the PCA and joined the EPC.

  26. Tom Albrecht said,

    January 21, 2009 at 8:31 am

    #17

    That’s like the one about the man who was walking down the street and turned into a coffee shop.

  27. Thomas Riley said,

    January 24, 2009 at 11:03 am

    Regardless of “Presbyterian heritage”, remember it is still the same group of men in charge who were involved with the ousting of men like Fowler White, Cal Beisner, Rick Phillips and RC Sproul over the “Gage Hermeneutics .” If you followed that whole process both procedurally and theologically, it was unconscionable. These were Presbyterians who acted unPresbyterian but more importantly unbiblical. With those men still in charge both at the church and at Knox, this situation has little hope. What is necessary is serious calling for repentance not simply discussing – “Are they Presbyterian enough?”

  28. Steve said,

    January 29, 2009 at 12:03 am

    I think it will be very interesting two see how the two churches work this out together.

  29. Stephen Welch said,

    January 31, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    Tullian has made it very clear in his blog that this is not a done deal as many think. They are still in the negotiation stage discussing issues of vision, philosophy, etc. He has said that they could still walk away from this, so there is still a possibility that the merge may not take place and he will not become the pastor of Coral Ridge. I appreciate his transparency and willingness to update his congregation on what is happening.

  30. J Huss said,

    February 21, 2009 at 11:28 am

    I noticed where you had requested an interview with Tullian for your site. As a concerned CRPC member, I have been waiting for it. Did he respond? He seems like a guy who usually likes the spotlight, so is he afraid of a more thoughtful audience?

    Looks like a congregational vote will be pushed for very soon with very little real information being passed on to the membership so far and everyone involved in the process is sworn to secrecy. It is a most uncomfortable spot. How can folks make an informed vote?

    Any comments you received from him would be most appreciated.


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