We first published this post on December 8, 2009, hence the Santa reference. However, we could now call it, Tullian’s Bringing a Secret Easter Basket to CRPC. TT has close ties to Sovereign Grace Ministries, and we provide proof for our statement. We wonder if TT planned to use SGM’s hyper-authoritarian strategies from the beginning. This would certainly explain some of the tactics he has used since “taking over” Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church.
Sorry guys!!! During the rush of the Christmas season, your humble blog queens have fallen down on the job BIG TIME!!! Conducting exhaustive research is one of our hallmarks, and we have failed you in our investigation of Tullian Tchividjian. We were about to move on to another topic until Dee providentially discovered some extremely interesting information on the internet late last night.
We assumed that what happened at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church was just a misunderstanding between a new pastor and his congregation. After all, the Sun-Sentinel stated on January 19, 2009, that “Tchividjian was cautious about discussing any changes he might make at the helm of Coral Ridge.”
Therefore, it’s highly unlikely that anyone knew what types of changes Tchividjian might make as senior pastor of Coral Ridge. We even “assumed” that Tullian Tchividjian was just a young pastor in need of some maturity.
Boy, were we wrong!!!
Here’s the “rest of the story”.
BIRDS OF A FEATHER FLOCK TOGETHER…
We believe you can learn a lot about someone by the company they keep. In fact, it’s been said that your future will be determined by (1) the books you read and (2) the people you associate with.
We begin by introducing you to Tchividjian’s “flock of friends”.
Here’s a blog post by one of Tullian’s friends who announced that he (Tullian) had been selected as pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. This blogger wasted no time in announcing the joyous news. Please pay special attention to the date of the blog post. Remember: Tchividjian was the guest preacher at Coral Ridge on March 15, 2009, and the congregation voted following the service on whether he should become their new pastor:
TULLIAN TCHIVIDJIAN REPLACES D. JAMES KENNEDY (Posted on March 15, 2009)
“Congratulations to my friend Tullian Tchividjian who will become the new Senior Pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. Today the members of Coral Ridge gathered for a congregational meeting and voted (91%) to accept their Pulpit Nominating Committee’s invitation for Tullian to serve as their Senior Pastor. The result will be a merger between Coral Ridge and New City, the church that Tullian has led since 2003.”
Here’s the link to the above post:
Yes, Joshua Harris is the first of Tullian’s friends we would like to mention. You remember Josh, don’t you? He lived with the Mahaney family for a year in his early 20s and was groomed by C.J. Mahaney to succeed him as pastor of Covenant Life Church, the flagship church of Sovereign Grace Ministries.
Why is this so important? The Wartburg Watch has often focused on numerous cases of reported abuses within Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM). During the 1970s, the Shepherding movement, also charismatic like SGM, was widely reviled for its abuses of the unsuspecting who became members of such groups. We believe a young impressionable C.J. Mahaney learned the shepherding technique from the “Fort Lauderdale Five” and/or their disciples. When the movement came under criticism and scrutiny, Mahaney and his colleague Larry Tomczak started a group known as People of Destiny (PDI). Similar stories arose regarding this group. So, as Mahaney became Reformed in his theology, he once again changed the name of the group to Sovereign Grace Ministries which combines aspects of the charismatic movement with Reformed theology. Mahaney, ever the humble leader, then named himself as the “Head Apostle”. Sovereign Grace Ministries has spawned an impressive number of “survivor” blogs that recount hair raising stories of abusive and controlling leadership. There are so many of these websites that their concerns must be taken seriously.
Please refer to the Wikipedia article for an overview.
If you’re just a wee bit curious about whether we are exaggerating our claims about SGM, please visit at least one of the survivor blogs such as www.sgmsurvivors.com
We have republished one of the articles we wrote last year about C.J. Mahaney and SGM called “The Mahaney Money Machine”, and you can access it here: http://thewartburgwatch.com/2010/02/05/the-mahaney-money-machine/
If this were a mystery movie, the drums would begin to beat in the background as the plot is beginning to come to light…
Here’s another interesting post on Josh Harris’ blog:
TULLIAN TCHIVIDJIAN: UNFASHIONABLE (posted on April 18, 2009)
“Time for a friendly plug for my buddy Tullian Tchividjian’s book Unfashionable: Making a Difference in the World by Being Different. The book was just released.”
Go to this link to read the rest of the post and to see how Josh provides a link to Amazon so the reader can quickly purchase Tchividjian’s book:
It’s important to emphasize that Tullian Tchividjian’s first “official” day as pastor of Coral Ridge was April 12, 2009, just six days BEFORE Josh Harris’ plug for Tchividjian’s new release. That is NO COINCIDENCE!!!
And here is Tullian Tchividjian writing about his friend Josh on his own blog:
http://www.crpc.org/blog/?p=474 (posted on August 28, 2008)
“My friend Josh Harris has been posting sermon notes from different preachers (Mark Dever, Mike Bullmore, C.J. Mahaney, and Ray Ortlund Jr.), showing us all how they prepare and what they use in the pulpit. It’s a fascinating series (even for non-preachers).”
Now allow us to introduce you to another of Tchividjian’s friends. Here’s a blog post written by Tullian on July 18, 2009, just a few weeks before the six Coral Ridge dissenters sprung into action with their petition and were subsequently ousted from the church.
“Well, I’ve had some great help along the way as I’ve wrestled with this “new idea.” There have been some books (beneath the Bible) which have helped me better understand that God intends the reality of the gospel to mold and shape us at every point and in every way–that it should define the way we think, feel, and live. The following list of books is not exhaustive, but if you read them they will get you moving in the right direction toward a better, more Biblical understanding of the Christian’s need for the gospel. If this idea is as “new” to you as it once was to me, these reliable teachers will serve you well (these books are in no particular order):
And here’s a comment by Tullian related to the above post:
“Greg, instead of taking much space here to answer your excellent questions, I would strongly suggest that you begin with C.J. Mahaney’s little book “Living the Cross-Centered Life.” Also, I wrote a little book entitled “Do I Know God?” which answers your questions as well. You can find both on www.amazon.com.”
Now what does this mean for the unsuspecting congregation at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church? A real problem may be unfolding right before our very eyes! C.J. Mahaney has developed a way of controlling congregants of SGM churches. You see, SGM church members are so filled with sin, so utterly depraved, that they obsess about how awful they are. So, when a church member has a suggestion or a criticism, he (SGM polity declares that women are to remain silent and defer to their husbands) is brushed off and told that his pride is getting in the way; therefore, he cannot perceive the situation correctly.
But, never fear, Mahaney and all of his adoring pastors get a pass on this sin issue. Although they are sinners (in fact, they all seem to vie for the title of “the worst sinner” since it seems soooo humble), God somehow gives them a special dispensation so that they are able to know exactly what is right and wrong in their church. We can guarantee that if you, as a member of SGM, have a suggestion, then you are wrong and your pastors are right. And you will be duly chastised for your overwhelming pride that you might actually perceive something different than your specially blessed pastor. In other words, your input is not only not wanted, but it is flawed by your sin, and your pastor will make sure that you don’t make the same mistake again!
Let’s take a look at a recent blog post by Tullian:
November 14th, 2009 by Tullian Tchividjian
“In Bob Kauflin’s book Worship Matters, he has a section on how to handle criticism. He’s writing specifically with church leaders in mind (pastors, preachers, music directors, etc.) but his insight proves to be super beneficial for all Christians.”
Who is Bob Kauflin, you might ask and why is Tchividjian promoting him? Kauflin is the worship leader extraordinaire at Sovereign Grace Ministries and a very close friend of C.J. Mahaney. We understand that Tchividjian’s previous church sang quite a few songs produced by Sovereign Grace.
And finally, check out Tullian Tchividjian’s blog post from just last week:
Posted December 3rd, 2009 by Tullian Tchividjian
Ambition has developed a reputation synonymous with the love of earthly honor and fame hunting. As a result, the organ of ambition—the God-implanted drive to improve, produce, develop, and create—is neglected and well on its way to paralysis. For some Christians, dreams are numbed. For others, there are no dreams; life just happens. One thing is certain: ambition needs help.
Dave Harvey is calling for a rescue. He wants to snatch ambition from the heap of failed motivations and put it to work for the glory of God. To understand our ambition, we must understand that we are on a quest for glory. Where we find glory determines the success of our quest. With his transparent humor and conversational tone, Harvey expounds on insights from Scripture and everyday life as he calls readers to reach further and dream bigger for the glory of God.
I can’t wait to read this!”
Who is Dave Harvey? Here’s his bio along with the link:
“Dave Harvey is responsible for church care, church planting, and international expansion for Sovereign Grace Ministries. He has served as a member of the Sovereign Grace Ministries leadership team since 1995.”
Now, what does this mean for Coral Ridge? Keep your eyes open and your by-laws safe. Grab the babies and the old ladies and head for the hills! Mr. Harvey is a church planter and expansion planner for SGM.
How does a church become a member of the SGM “family of churches”? The first way is to start a brand spanking new church. The second way is to “adopt” an existing church into their “family of churches”. This means that a church like Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church can vote to become a member of SGM.
Now, some Coral Ridge members may think this possibility is ridiculous since the church has by-laws to prevent such a thing. Think again… Our guess is that Tully is already in the process of changing the church by-laws in order to consolidate power. Then, slowly but surely, the church will move toward an agreement with this group. If you think Tully was a tough go, wait until this crowd moves in! Pastors are replaced, by-laws are rescinded, leaders are removed, and before you know it, men are shaving their heads to look like the Head Apostle himself. (We are referring to an observation made by ex-members of SGM on the number of pastors and leaders who shave their heads to look like the Great Bald One, also know as the Head Apostle, Mahaney).
Here is the bottom line… Tully kept his mouth shut and played his cards close to the vest. We believe the vast majority of CRPC’s members have no idea of Tullian Tchividjian’s close connection to the powerful leaders in Sovereign Grace Ministries.
WATCH OUT, cause it ain’t only Santa who may be coming to town!!!
Addendum to this article: We have spent well over a year investigating Sovereign Grace Ministries, and we are becoming extremely familiar with Christian leaders who are aligning themselves with SGM. Such leaders include Paul Tripp and his brother Tedd Tripp. According to the CRPC website, Paul Tripp will be conducting a conference at Coral Ridge a week from tomorrow, March 19. (http://www.crpc.org/calendar/event/45/your-walk-with-god—dr–paul-tripp/2010-03-19)
Here is further proof that Paul Tripp is establishing a cozy relationship with high-profile leaders in SGM. Take a look at Josh Harris’ blog post from just two days ago, March 9.
Paul Tripp has Cool Shoes and Writes Good Books
And here’s how Josh’s blog post begins: