Tullian Tchividjian, a grandson of prominent evangelical preacher Billy Graham, who resigned as lead pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Florida after confessing to an "inappropriate" relationship with a friend after he discovered his wife was having an affair, appears to be finding solace in electronic dance music.
"I resigned from my position at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church today due to ongoing marital issues. As many of you know, I returned from a trip a few months back and discovered that my wife was having an affair. Heartbroken and devastated, I informed our church leadership and requested a sabbatical to focus exclusively on my marriage and family," Tchividjian, 42, explained in a statement to The Washington Post Sunday.
"As her affair continued, we separated. Sadly and embarrassingly, I subsequently sought comfort in a friend and developed an inappropriate relationship myself. Last week I was approached by our church leaders and they asked me about my own affair. I admitted to it and it was decided that the best course of action would be for me to resign," the statement continued.
As that week of turmoil and transition wore on for Tchividjian, who was married by his grandfather, he tweeted several electronic dance music videos, including an EDM version of "Say Something" by musical duo A Great Big World and popular singer Christina Aguilera prior to the announcement of his resignation.
"Say Something" was written at a time when both members of A Great Big World were experiencing individual heartbreak, according to Billboard, and writing the song was part of the healing process.
Not everyone approved of his promotion of electronic dance music, however, and it appeared to have struck a nerve with the former Coral Ridge pastor who retweeted a reaction from blogger Collin Coats.
"Some guys at Grace To You ministries wrote this medium size blog critiquing Tullian, Elyse and David. I think they put too much effort into it. If I want to say Tullian, or anyone else, is an antinomian, I would find a quote like this: 'My name is Tullian Tchividjian. I am into EDM but don't hate me for it [this claim is optional and not necessary to make your case]. I am against the law. I am against the law having any role in the Christian life. It does not guide me. It is not helpful in any way. God no longer cares about right and wrong, good and evil, righteousness and sin, all because of the Gospel," wrote Coats in a June 17 blog in which he said his words were "sarcastic," as "Tchividjian is not antinomian."
As word of Tchividjian's resignation and confession continues to spread, many of his supporters have been flocking to his Facebook page to leave words of encouragement.
"Hey brother, praying for you and your family today. I have been where you are and the journey is long, bitter and sweet. Long and bitter are probably easily understood. Sweet because God will speak to you in a way that He couldn't have prior to this experience. I'll pray that those around you will restore you gently. (Galatians 6:2)," wrote writer, Rod Arters.
Tchividjian could be applying some of his own advice which he shares in his 2012 book Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free.
In a "Fox & Friends" interview in 2012 he said he wrote the book to help people take a honest look at pain and suffering.
"Typically, when we deal with pain, when we deal with suffering, and all of us do — suffering is not just death and disease and depression and divorce, it's tension, it's relational stress, it's anxiety, it's all those things. And typically when we do it we have to figure out ways to cope with it. And a lot of people minimize it. It's not as bad as it looks; we figure out ways to shrink it, we figure out ways to digest it, and we don't look at the dark reality of brokenness as it really is.And so, one of the ways we cope with it is we minimize it," he said.
In the book he warns people to avoid minimizing their pain and suffering and avoid moralizing it as well.
"Moralizing is exactly what Job's friends in the biblical book of Job did. They basically said, 'good people get good stuff. Bad people get bad stuff. Job, you're clearly getting bad stuff. What did you do wrong?' Which is a very simplistic way of looking at suffering," he said. "The fact of the matter is suffering is incredibly complex. I'm a pastor, so I'm used to people inside the church offering simplistic pat answers to suffering."
In a message earlier this year about what church should be like, Tchividjian declared that he and his church saw themselves as "21st century sinners."
"Let me state at the outset that there is nothing unique about Coral Ridge. We're not trying to be innovative, we're not trying to be novel and trendy, we're not into that stuff. We're not identifying or even trying to identify what the latest popular trends are and then adapting ourselves to those trends. We simply see ourselves as a pack of 21st century sinners called to Fort Lauderdale to broker the Good News of the past into the present," he said.
Tchividjian, according to a CBN report, met his wife, Kim, who was a waitress, during a rebellious period of his youth when his parents had kicked him out of his home because he refused to follow their rules.
Kim revealed in the interview that although she was attracted to Tullian, she knew he needed to grow up.
"As much as I liked his personality and him, there was an element where I thought he was a project for me — like this guy needs my help," she said.
Despite not living a Christian life at the time, Tullian said he took Kim home to his parents because she helped to ground him.
"At that point, to be honest with you, even though my heart was far from the Lord, I actually started to become a lot more responsible. I was holding jobs, keeping apartments, learning how to pay bills, and for the most part, earning an honest living," he said. "At the ripe young age of 21, I came to the sobering realization that there has to be more to life than what this world offers, and there has to be more to who I am than what I am experiencing."
In the statement to The Washington Post, which he said was prepared by him and his wife, he asked people to pray that they find the grace to repair their relationship.
"Both my wife and I are heartbroken over our actions and we ask you to pray for us and our family that God would give us the grace we need to weather this heart wrenching storm," he said.