Tchividjian Back in the Saddle?

The situation is a bit complicated. South Florida Presbytery has deposed Tullian from the ministry, and assigned him to Willow Creek Church (no relation to Bill Hybel’s megachurch). According to the church’s pastor, Tullian’s position is not one that requires a teaching elder status. This blog post is quite informative. The comments are also instructive.

Knowing a bit more about the situation as we now do, I have mixed feelings about this. It seems to me, on the one hand, that the South Florida Presbytery is doing its duty. They have deposed him and assigned him to a congregation. This is what they should do. It allows Tullian a chance to experience the fruits of repentance and healing. I pray this for him, as for a brother in Christ.

Tullian is on biblical grounds filing for a divorce, by the way. It seems clear that there is a biblical reason for it, even though divorce is not a necessity, even in cases where adultery has happened. I do not believe Tullian is sinning by getting a divorce. Where the blame lies in the marriage, however, is not for me to parse, nor for anyone else who is not in the know.

The question is whether he should have a position at a church so soon. Many are debating the wisdom of this, even given the fact that it is not a teaching elder position, or even a ruling elder position. The reason given in the letter is that it allows Tullian a way to provide for his family. It seems clear that Willow Creek Church and its pastor are being motivated by love and compassion for Tullian. This is a good thing. And it seems that they are discussing some of the important questions like the one raised in this paragraph. This is also good. The uneasiness that many people feel should drive us all to pray for the situation.

I agree with the blog linked above, though, that this position may not be a wise thing for Tullian to have. What is to prevent ministry situations from arising? Will Willow Creek Church guard Tullian from ministry situations? Tullian is not only in pain, but is going through the process of repentance. He will be very vulnerable to Satan’s attacks. He will be lonely, as well, being divorced. Some women will think to find a sympathetic ear in Tullian. Emotional attachment will be hard to prevent, and physical attraction will not be far behind. Does this mean that problems are inevitable? No, but the church must be very wise and discerning about the situation. Clear boundaries and communication with the congregation will be needed, and Tullian should definitely not do any counseling. I do not think it wise for Tullian to have a job like this at the moment. To me, it looks like putting oneself in the way of temptation, or, at the very least, it looks like a failure to deal with temptation as drastically as possible. If nothing bad comes from it because such warnings have been heeded, and clear boundaries set in place, then praise the Lord for that.

UPDATE: apparently some of the information in this post is not accurate. I have new information on the following points: South Florida Presbytery has not as of yet assigned Tullian to a church. They will be doing that at the November meeting. Ditto with their approving his position at Willow Church.

51 Comments

  1. September 3, 2015 at 11:08 am

    How in the world is a position called “Director of Ministry Development” a job that has nothing to do with ministry or leadership?

    And everyone seemingly splitting hairs over titles is not helpful at all, IMO.

    Could someone at the church not instead offer to help him find a regular/secular job position to help him provide for his family in the meantime?

    I commend his former church family at Willow Creek for wanting to rally around and support him, but the manner in which they are doing it is simply unwise to say the least.

    I would sincerely like to see a statement from the Presbytery on this (and not just a second-hand comment from one of its members).

  2. tominaz said,

    September 3, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    While we may applaud Willow Creek for being willing to help TT is his situation, was it wise? I think not. Here we have a confessed adulterer going through an assumed-to-be biblical divorce.
    Would you want your wife, sister, daughter, daughter-in-law placed in a situation of dealing with him? For me as a father, husband, pastor – NO WAY!
    I think Willow Creek stepped in it in a big way. Chalk up one for the antinomian grace only boys..

  3. paigebritton said,

    September 3, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    I appreciate the tone of your take, Lane, as well as the other blog post. Appropriately cautious, but also refreshingly kind.

  4. roberty bob said,

    September 3, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    TT files for a divorce, and greenbaggins tells us that . . .

    1. he has biblical grounds to do this
    2. he is not sinning in doing this
    3. but, it is not necessary for him to do this

    I would have thought that a preacher reputed to be a champion of God’s grace — what was his book now? Forgiveness Plus Nothing = Everything! — would have promptly offered his wife forgiveness for her adultery so as to preempt his own adulterous misadventure.

    I would like to have heard TT say,upon discovering his wife’s adultery, that he straightaway forgives her, and that he is now willing to do all that is necessary to restore her — and to bring forth whatever works of repentance Christ requires so that he may learn to become a loving and attentive husband to her.

  5. Grover Jones said,

    September 3, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    I would be very leery of making a statement such as “Tullian is on biblical grounds filing for a divorce, by the way.” Is that for us to say? If a church court has decided as much, let us reference that decision, but we needn’t assume it is the end of the matter. I can’t see how a husband can point to his wife’s adultery as appropriate grounds when he himself later committed the same sin. In doing so, he merely condemns himself.

  6. Andrew Barnes said,

    September 3, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    Lane, I emailed you, but I’ll state more here. Proverbs 18:17 says, “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.”

    You’ve produced the letter from Willow Creeks Pastor. I guarantee you the response of the Presbytery of South Florida’s clerk to this request/permission for TT to serve is not exactly in line with this Pastor’s ‘clarification letter’.

  7. Andrew Barnes said,

    September 3, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    Sorry, I meant to add: To then base one’s opinion of the matter on one man’s letter (one side of the story) is unwise in itself.

  8. pklabby1234 said,

    September 3, 2015 at 8:22 pm

    Thank you for this very thoughtful and pastoral post. I deeply appreciate your acknowledgement of our love-motivated desire to care for Tullian and, by extension, his family. We’re learning and correcting as we go, and have been blessed by many charitable dialogues, even with those expressing concern about our decision and approach. Please pray for us as we endeavor to care for Tullian and his family while also helping to promote the overall peace and purity of the Church. Even through our admittedly feeble efforts, we trust that our Lord will equip us toward those ends.

    Much love to you in Christ,

    Kevin Labby, Senior Pastor
    Willow Creek Church

  9. September 3, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    Yeah, well, TT may not be *officially* back in the saddle, but a website called “Chief of Sinners” has a page giving links to TT’s sermons, with TT’s approval: http://www.chiefsinner.org/tullian-tchividjian-sermons. And TT’s new home, Willow Creek Church, is promoting that sermons page on it’s Twitter account: @WillowCreekPC. Is a little cynicism in order?

  10. roberty bob said,

    September 3, 2015 at 11:26 pm

    Come on now, there is only one Chief of Sinners — the zealous Saul of Tarsus, who set out to destroy the Christian church as a service to God!

    Now every sinner wants to be Chief!

  11. Alan D. Strange said,

    September 4, 2015 at 9:12 am

    I appreciate your charitable and cautious approach to this, Lane. I am hard-pressed, with you, to see the wisdom in TT being given such a position.

    I only know this situation from the public vantage point, so I do not know what may have prompted you, in addition to expressing concerns over his new position, to say this:

    “Tullian is on biblical grounds filing for a divorce, by the way. It seems clear that there is a biblical reason for it, even though divorce is not a necessity, even in cases where adultery has happened. I do not believe Tullian is sinning by getting a divorce.”

    From what I know, I do not have sufficient information to affirm this. I do not deny it, but I can’t affirm it. As I understand the situation, she committed adultery and then he did. In such a case, his Presbytery would need to look carefully at the chronology and all the facts and make a determination as to whether he has proper grounds for divorce.

    Perhaps such has been done and that is your point of reference. I would happily yield to the judgment of his ecclesiastical court in the matter. I know that the court deposed him and took other steps pertaining to his care. I was not aware that there had been any ecclesiastical judgment rendered about the grounds of his divorce.

  12. Ron said,

    September 4, 2015 at 9:57 am

    As I understand the situation, she committed adultery and then he did. In such a case, his Presbytery would need to look carefully at the chronology and all the facts and make a determination as to whether he has proper grounds for divorce.

    Hi Alan,

    There are instances in which I might think divorce on the grounds of adultery is ill advised, but I’d be hard pressed to find an instance of adultery that wouldn’t constitute biblical grounds for divorce. Even if a man “drove his wife” to commit adultery, I believe adultery is always grounds for divorce, even shod the man be guilty of worse.

    Thoughts?

  13. Alan D. Strange said,

    September 4, 2015 at 10:19 am

    Ron:

    Yes, I agree that the innocent party is always free to sue out a divorce in the case of adultery, though, as you indicated, such may not be the wisest course in a given situation.

    That is not what I see at issue here. Rather, it’s the complicating factor of her committing adultery and then him doing so (if that’s the correct chronology, about which I am not certain). It does not seem to me that it is patent that he has biblical grounds for divorce without an ecclesiastical investigation and determination.

    I am uncertain as to whether or not he is an innocent party. I am not saying that he is not an innocent party; rather, I am saying that there are sufficient complicating factors that do not permit me to render a judgment on the matter without having all the relevant evidence before me.

    Lane may well have some more definite information and thus clear reason for saying that TT “is on biblical grounds.” Part of my reason for replying here was to inquire after such, and particularly to ascertain if the church court had made any such determination.

  14. greenbaggins said,

    September 4, 2015 at 10:27 am

    Everyone, please see the update I have included at the end of the post.

    Dr. Strange, it seems that there is plenty of blame to go around. I agree with Ron that adultery constitutes grounds for divorce. Even if they both committed adultery, that would not exculpate his wife, would it? As I see it, if they both committed adultery, then both would have biblical grounds for initiating a divorce. What would change is if either would have grounds for being the innocent party vis-a-vis getting married again. So, if both committed adultery, then neither could be called an innocent party, and both would need to be unmarried.

  15. Alan D. Strange said,

    September 4, 2015 at 11:53 am

    Thanks, Lane, for the update. Thanks also for answering my question about the grounds of divorce.

    As I understand your answer, you have no further information than do I and it does not appear that his Presbytery has made any ecclesiastical determination about whatever he may have adduced as grounds (I have no idea as to what he alleged in the actual divorce filing).

    I understand what you go on to say about “both would have biblical grounds for initiating a divorce.” This seems quite a knotty matter to me, because WCF 24.5 makes it clear that only the innocent party may sue out a divorce. It does not indicate the issue of “innocent party” to be in view only regarding the right of remarriage but also to the lawfulness of suing out of a divorce.

    I am not suggesting that TT does not have lawful grounds to do so. I am rather saying that, as for me, I do not sufficiently have the facts before me to make such a determination. Additionally, I believe that 25.6 makes it clear that either in the case of adultery or irremediable willful desertion “the persons concerned in it [are] not [to be] left to their own wills, and discretion in their own case.”

    It seems to me imperative that his court examine the evidence and make the determination as to whether he may lawfully, i.e., in accordance with ecclesiastical law, sue out a divorce. Again, perhaps this has been done and we are just all unaware of such. Until then, I am unwilling to make such a pronouncement and am content to wait for the church to speak.

  16. Ron said,

    September 4, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    Alan,

    I read the Confession rather simply on the matter. For what it’s worth, I think the “innocent party” pertains to the party who did not commit adultery in any isolated scenario. So, for example, the husband is the innocent party in his wife’s adultery, (regardless of his neglect or what have you). And, if there happens to be adultery on the husband’s part too, the wife in that scenario would be the innocent party. What’s key is I don’t think “innocent” can possibly mean “blameless” lest most valid divorces would be invalidated. It must pertain to the isolated adultery in question. So, if we keep the scenarios separate, then there can be an “innocent” party for both scenarios, which obviously doesn’t preclude censure or an ecclesiastical ban on remarriage, (at least for a time depending on other possible factors beyond the scope of this discussion).

    I think to tangle the two adulteries in an effort to determine who may divorce cannot be supported by the Confession and proof texts. At most, the Confession doesn’t address anything other than adultery committed by one person, but then we’d be left with an “innocent” spouse language, which I think comports best with what I’ve put forth. :)

  17. Michael said,

    September 4, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    The bigger issue here is ushering a man back into a ministry position quickly that has disqualified himself through his personal sin. We should be quick to forgive and offer fellowship to a man that shows biblical repentance. That should at least include shutting down the Twitter account and all social media platforms and demonstrating the humility to groan with patience and demonstrate the fruits of repentance as a parishioner. The wisdom of man believes that God needs a man such as Tullian in this position because of his perceived spiritual gifts and prior “success” in the church. However, the wisdom of God reveals that personal character is the sine qua non for ministry in the church. There are a plethora of opportunities for SFP or WCC to extend grace and enable TT to provide for his family; for all the reasons mentioned above, a staff position at the Church should be a non-starter.

  18. Ron said,

    September 4, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    This might help….Is it possible that a non-adulterous husband might not be “innocent” (in the confessional sense) in his wife’s adultery? I think the Confession implies “innocence” in all such cases, even if the man aggravated his wife’s adultery in notorious (non-adulterous) ways. Do you think that only adultery by the husband can possibly keep him from suing out divorce for his wife’s adultery, or might other sins of his keep him from putting away his adulterous spouse.

    More curious than anything else. Thx

  19. Michael said,

    September 4, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    We sound like Pharisses debating the adultery issue. The bigger issue on display is why a man that champions grace can’t give himself a personal timeout and make this ordeal very easy for the Presbytery. Get a job, provide for your family and kids, and do the hard work of showing the world that Christ’s kingdom is bigger than any cult of personality.

  20. Alan D. Strange said,

    September 4, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    Ron:

    With respect to your last (lacking a question mark) question: The former, and that only possibly. I think, as do you, that it has strictly to do with the adultery question and I think that his committing adultery potentially complicates things in some ways that I do not care to speculate about publicly.

    I am unconvinced that any of us, without knowing the chronology and the details, can pronounce his grounds biblical. Again, not saying they’re not, but I can imagine matters chronologically that could complicate the question of innocency. I can’t really fruitfully say more publicly than I have other than to say that I think it premature for us to say such and better to leave that to his court that has all the evidence before it.

  21. roberty bob said,

    September 4, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    to #19 Michael . . .

    Tullian Tchividjian wants to stay in the spotlight because this is the only way for people to see God’s grace at work in his life. This is what he says:

    “The gospel frees me to let you see me at my worst . . . . I knew that I was bad, but I never knew I was this bad. So if I refuse to give you a glimpse into my walk through the valley of the shadow of death, then you will never see the grace that meets me at my absolute nastiest.”

    “I am going to let you see me at the bottom because that’s where Jesus is.”
    ……..

    Who in the world talks and acts like this? Look! He is the star of his own passion play. Come and see Tullian Tchividian the Chief of Sinners Get Saved by the Amazing Grace of Jesus! [It’s OK to see Tullian looking so bad; how else will the world ever get to see Jesus looking so good?] Playing now on the Internet Nearest You.
    ………

    For those among us who believe that the reputation of the Church was tarnished by this scandal, well . . . I have news for you: the Rev Tullian Tchividjian is not among the believers.

  22. Ron said,

    September 4, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    Alan,

    I think I grasp your nuanced exception regarding *only* adultery prohibiting biblical divorce. Thank you.

    Of course, I also agree that there are chronological issues that are *ministerially* relevant. But, given I think going into a harlot breaks the marriage covenant most uniquely and severely, I cannot think of a biblical precept that can keep a session from accommodating one to put away his spouse under such circumstances. Again though, such an opinion could also be accompanied by the highest censure of the “innocent” party.

    Feel free to contact me off line if you like.

  23. Ron said,

    September 4, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    “We sound like Pharisses debating the adultery issue.”

    Michael,

    With all due respect, that sounds very pious but this sort of thing is not purely theoretical for sessions.

  24. Frank Aderholdt said,

    September 4, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    A more appropriate position for Tullian T. at this time would be as assistant custodian in the church for five years. During this time, he would agree not to speak in any teaching capacity, nor to write or blog. He would regularly attend upon the all of public means of grace. He would be shepherded by godly Teaching and Ruling Elders, who would counsel him, pray with him, and encourage him in his repentance and restoration. At the end of the five-year period, he could teach a Sunday School class or two. Then we could go on from there.

  25. Michael said,

    September 4, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    You nailed it Frank. After reading the columns by Rick Phillips and Sean Lucas, respectively, I am even more grieved how the church is responding in this situation. This celebrity pastor, cult of personality, in the church is a deck of cards waiting to crumble. How many times do we have to watch it unfold before we understand that judgment begins at the house of the Lord?

  26. Frank Aderholdt said,

    September 4, 2015 at 9:56 pm

    I just watched, for the fourth or fifth time, Derek Thomas’s address at the Gospel Reformation Network luncheon during the 2014 PCA General Assembly. Find it here: http://www.gospelreformation.net/grn-2014. In twenty-seven minutes, Dr. Thomas covers every major theme connected with the “Contemporary Grace Movement,” and gives the Biblical antidote. Brothers (and sisters too, I trust), I can scarcely express how important this message is. Not only is it foundational, it is indispensable.

  27. Alberto said,

    September 8, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    Generally speaking, should a pastor have another opportunity to serve again as a pastor if they committed adultery? I always thought no, but I guess the assumption, or thought out conclusion, of some is yes. I’m inclined to think that the bad reputation, based on true statements that can be verified, would make the answer a clear no.

    I thought someone elsewhere made an insightful remark. If a church decides to reinstate to ministry a man that has committed adultery, then the implied, if not direct, statement to the women involved would be to simply “get over it.” Perhaps a less harsh interpretation of such actions would be to implore the other parties involved to forgive and move on?

  28. Gretchen Kennedy said,

    September 8, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    Peter was accepted by Christ despite his having denied him three times. Having endured the personal struggle to which he was subject, and while still fragile, Jesus sought (and gave) Peter assurances of love. Moreover, Jesus himself directed Peter to teach and care for the “sheep and the lambs” (not to mention his desire that Peter draft central portions of the Bible). Oh, and let’s not forget that Peter–the man who betrayed Christ and was forgiven–was expressly chosen to be the rock on which Jesus would build his church!

    We need to remember that. Yes, while hurting from rejection, Tullian sinned. Does that mean that Jesus is not intending to use him? No, absolutely not!

    If this church felt called to employ him (obviously having a firm resolution that Tullian was prepared for this role and reconciled), we should pray for them and not hinder them.

  29. Andrew Duggan said,

    September 9, 2015 at 9:08 am

    As others have previously pointed careful analysis of the chronology is essential to the determination of whether or not TT has grounds for a divorce. However, in cases like this, what many consider to be the starting point the the chronology might not really be. The current publicly known facts might just be a tip of the iceberg with a good deal of history that is relevant pre-dating it. Mrs TT’s misdeeds might not really be the starting point.

  30. roberty bob said,

    September 9, 2015 at 11:41 am

    “Mrs TT’s misdeeds might not really be the starting point.” — #29 A D

    A satisfied woman with no grievances against her husband does not all of a sudden decide that she will have an affair just to find out what it feels like, would she?

    It came to pass that the celebrated author of Forgiveness + Nothing = Everything, upon discovering the affair — in a spirit of compassion and understanding — offered his wife the most precious gift of forgiveness because it was his bedrock belief that there was nothing more that he could do in order to make everything come out all right.

  31. Todd said,

    September 12, 2015 at 10:48 am

    If any are interested, I posted my thoughts on my blog on Tullian and the contemporary grace movement, focusing on the theology, not the recent scandal

    http://kingdomkompilations.com/musings/the-contemporary-grace-movement/

  32. Todd said,

    September 12, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    Sorry, got the name of Steve Brown’s book wrong – A Scandalous Freedom, not Scandalous Grace – correction made

  33. Ron said,

    September 14, 2015 at 7:01 am

    As others have previously pointed careful analysis of the chronology is essential to the determination of whether or not TT has grounds for a divorce.

    Paul, yes, others have pointed out that careful analyses of chronology is necessary. What I’ve been waiting for is careful analyses for why that is true. Why isn’t adultery a sufficient condition for grounds for divorce? What is the defense for the position that suggests chronology would make an adulterer no longer a candidate for severing the marriage covenant, the ontology of “one fresh” and being put away?

  34. Ron said,

    September 14, 2015 at 8:12 am

    Andrew,

    I confused you with someone else you might know! Also, it’s one flesh, not fresh. :)

  35. roberty bob said,

    September 14, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    To Todd at #31 . . .

    Thanks for the article in which you assess some aspects of the contemporary grace movement. I will comment on a couple of points on which you agree with them, but which are remain problematic in gospel preaching.

    1 You mention God’s unconditional love revealed through Christ’s work as “a love that knows we cannot keep his law, but loves us anyway.”

    It is unclear to me who the “we” in question is, but I read it as a reference to we who are loved by God and called to be saints. The saints are those who have received the grace of God revealed in Christ through faith, who have been washed — cleansed of sin by Christ’s atoning blood — and therefore sanctified by the Holy Spirit. I contend that such persons are able to keep God’s law, and that they henceforth obey the Lord’s commandments as they have been exhorted by Christ to do. Romans chapters 6 and 8 proclaims that the Law of the Spirit of Life sets us free from the the Law of Sin and Death resulting in the pleasing outcome of the righteous requirements of the law being fully met in us. The law, originally given by God to his redeemed people as a covenant of life [see Deuteronomy 4], now comes in Christ supplied with the Spirit’s power to work in us the righteous requirements. The law comes to fulfillment in Christ, and in the God-pleasing lives of those who are his, who walk according to his Spirit doing every good thing. Thus it is not “foolish” of the saints to make “attempts at being good.”

    2 You say that Justification is “realizing one is never good enough to please God.”

    Once again, this does not hold true for the saints who live by faith and who are being transformed by the renewing of their minds, as Romans 12 attests. Such persons are found to be acceptable and well pleasing to the Lord. A host of biblical reference can be readily cited, but these few will suffice: Ephesians 5:10; Colossians 3:20; Hebrews 11:6; 13:16. The fact that there are so many biblical encouragements given to us that we should actually do those good things which are pleasing to the Lord ought to rid us forever of the notion that one is never good enough to please God.

    Of course, we should attribute all of our God-pleasing works to Christ who dwells within us. “Not I, but Christ!” Even so, if the Apostle Paul is able to pray “that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way [Colossians 1:10],” then let us be assured that such a prayer may be answered in the affirmative.

    I think that a big part of the problem is the belief that God cannot possibly be pleased with us unless were are perfect — in the sense of being sinless — at all times and in every way. But God is pleased with us when we put our faith in His Son Jesus. This faith will be made manifest in a life of loving obedience — a walk that is worthy of the gospel and therefore God-pleasing. Along the way, we may sin and fall short; here the Lord calls us to repent [turn away from sin and return to the Lord], confess our sins, and seek his forgiveness. In this way, we stay on the path of life. And this is pleasing to the Lord.

    I’m preparing my adult church school course on Christ’s Sermon on the Mount. One of my resources, De Graaf’s Promise and Deliverance, covers Matthew 5-7 where Christ is expounding and applying the Law under the heading The Reign of Grace! Imagine that.

  36. Todd said,

    September 14, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    Rbob,

    Thanks,

    There may be some confusion on your part or lack of clarity on mine, but where you quote something as my view I was summarize what I read.

    “You mention God’s unconditional love revealed through Christ’s work as “a love that knows we cannot keep his law, but loves us anyway.”
    I contend that such persons are able to keep God’s law, and that they henceforth obey the Lord’s commandments as they have been exhorted by Christ to do.”

    There is too much theological baggage to that statement, it all depends on what you mean. I confess to not having read this blog lately so without knowing what theological perspective you are coming from I’m not sure how to respond

    “Thus it is not “foolish” of the saints to make “attempts at being good.”

    That was my point – not sure who you are arguing with

    “You say that Justification is “realizing one is never good enough to please God.”

    No, I said justification is more than this, it is God forgiving our sins and declaring us righteous, forgiving sins of both omission and commission, thus there is some recognition on our part that we deserve judgment for all our sins unless we trust in Christ for salvation.

    “Once again, this does not hold true for the saints who live by faith and who are being transformed by the renewing of their minds,”

    But the context was justification, which would not apply to those already saints

    “The fact that there are so many biblical encouragements given to us that we should actually do those good things which are pleasing to the Lord ought to rid us forever of the notion that one is never good enough to please God.”

    I’m not sure who you are arguing against, as per the rest of your comments. I argued we can and should strive to please the Lord. Read it again and let me know if it was that unclear.

  37. roberty bob said,

    September 14, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    I think that I was confused by some of your statements — thinking that you were expressing your own view when you may have only been summarizing the viewpoint of others. And now I have confused you. I am sorry.

  38. Todd said,

    September 14, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    RB,

    No problem, life is confusing

  39. Andrew Duggan said,

    September 15, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    Ron,

    Quite simply, because Mrs TT’s alleged adultery might be pre-dated by adultery that TT himself may have done prior. Just because he admitted one affair doesn’t mean that was the only one. Considering the huge mess that it is, that needs to be fully investigated. Secondly, even if Mrs TT’s was the first adultery, he had the right to divorce her, not to commit adultery with someone else as he did. He’s no longer just an innocent party. Regardless, since they were married when they both committed (hers only alleged – I’ve not read any direct confession of this on her part) adultery neither is innocent, and so neither is entitled to a “biblical” divorce. By which I mean that they would be free to marry another as if their first spouse were dead. WCF 24 only grants the innocent party that right. It might be argued they are entitled to a divorce, but neither is free to marry another. Was TT’s mistress married herself? If so her husband is an aggrieved party to TT’s adultery. TT is responsible for knowing what WCF 24 says, but then again I’ll bet that’s conveniently not part of the “system of doctrine”.

    And as a warning to any women stupid enough to engage in a relationship with TT, If he wasn’t true to the wife of his youth why would you think he would be true a second or subsequent wife. Like the pop-song goes “‘Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play”.

    Don’t give me anything about TT being repentant, because he didn’t take responsibility for himself in his own adultery, but blamed his wife. Repentant people don’t blame others for their sin.

  40. Ron said,

    September 15, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    Andrew,

    I don’t think you’ve begun to address my point.

  41. Ron said,

    September 15, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    “It might be argued they are entitled to a divorce, but neither is free to marry another.”

    Andrew,

    I’m not concerned with remarriage privilege. My concern pertains to this novel form of ecclesiastical censure that would require one lying cheat to remain married to another lying cheat (as just desserts) when Scripture suggests that adultery is sufficient grounds to obtain a divorce. That one is a bigger cheat than the other denies the sufficiency of adultery for suing out divorce. I’m just looking for revelation, not opinion, that overturns this sufficiency. It might exist. I just don’t know that it does.

  42. Andrew Duggan said,

    September 15, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    Ron, the guilty party of adultery does not have the right to sue out a divorce only the innocent party. TT ceased to be such when he himself committed adultery. WCF 24 doesn’t require divorce it only permits it, but does limit the legitimacy of the initiation of the divorce to the innocent party. Surely the guilty can in the courts sue out a divorce but that is to increase the heinousness of the sin of their adultery.

    Not being free to marry another is the key. There is no such thing as a legitimate “biblical” divorce if the innocent party is not free to marry another.

  43. Andrew Duggan said,

    September 15, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    To follow up, you might not be concerned with the right to remarry but it is indivisibly tied to the legitimacy of a divorce. In the TT case there is no innocent party. Divorce if they like, but neither is entitled to remarry as long as the other lives. Can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.

  44. Ron said,

    September 15, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    Andrew,

    No need to keep repeating yourself. I know your thesis.

    What you’ve not dealt with is the premise that there can be two separate cases of adultery. His adultery and her adultery, which are separate violations of the marriage covenant.

    I’ll leave you to Lane if he’s so inclined.

  45. Andrew Duggan said,

    September 15, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    And finally, adultery is only sufficient as grounds to divorce for an innocent (with respect to being adulterous) party to pursue. Since in the TT case neither are innocent, it is not sufficient for a complete legitimate divorce. I nowhere suggested they would have to remain cohabitating as husband and wife, just that even if divorced neither is legitimately so, and is not free to marry another. There are sometimes permanent consequences to sin. This is one of those cases.

  46. Andrew Duggan said,

    September 15, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    So you want to reward his revenge adultery with granting him the status of being free to marry another — nice.

  47. Ron said,

    September 15, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    What I find so terribly upside down by those who assert such things is that divorce is being treated as if it were some sort of prize and as such must be denied to both unfaithful parties lest we run the risk of rewarding them. It’s not a prize for the innocent and if you must think of divorce in such unbiblical terms, then consider it a penalty for the guilty. As such, both guilty parties may be sanctioned with the penalty of being put away. Think about it.

  48. Ron said,

    September 15, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    “So you want to reward his revenge adultery with granting him the status of being free to marry another — nice.”

    I posted before reading that. Regarding the “free to remarry” part, why can’t remarriage be denied based upon the guilt of adultery? Both can be put away due to their respective acts of adultery and both, also, denied remarriage on the same basis.

  49. roberty bob said,

    September 16, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    Had TT proclaimed forgiveness to his wife the moment he learned of her supposed infidelity, he might have discovered the greatest wonder of the world which he had famously written about: Jesus [the Grace of Forgiveness Incarnate] Plus Nothing Equals Everything!

    Who knows? Had he done this in secret, the world may never have come to know that he failed to even make the effort to live up to his own professed truth.

  50. Chris said,

    September 21, 2015 at 9:07 pm

    Reading through most of these comments is like getting covered in toxic waste. “Ah ha, ah ha!” is the chorus here. Ya’ll need to repent.

  51. Frank Aderholdt said,

    September 23, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    Maybe someone needs to repent of so glibly calling others to repentance.


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