My husband and I bought a house today. It’s a green house on a little hill, built in 1927, and owned since 1966 by the local fire chief and his wife, now recently widowed. “Oh, the Flaherty house!” people around town said to us, “What a great family! What a great house!”
And so we bought it—the well-loved kitchen and bedrooms and front porch—the settings of half-a-century’s worth of lazy Saturdays and Sunday dinners and hectic Monday mornings. And lugging our cardboard boxes through the door, we found a note on the kitchen counter: “We hope,” she had written in the fragile penmanship of the elderly, “you have many happy years as we did in this home.” My house tells the story of a happy marriage.
The church, too, is a kind of house (1 Pet. 2:5, Heb. 3:6). Yet, tragically, the marriage stories of its well-known members and leaders are not always the happy kind.
Tullian Tchividjian, a pastor in my own denomination, recently resigned over an affair. He joins what seems like a long list of pastors whose reputation for sin now precedes them. Turning in disgust from our unrelenting newsfeeds, we might shake our heads and sadly accept the pronouncement of a Christian Post op-ed: “Moral failings among [Christian] leaders are becoming an epidemic.”
We are right to lament moral failure. Forgiveness and reconciliation are central to our Christian faith, but Tchividjian’s sin (and the sin of every pastor who is unfaithful) will still have grave consequences for himself and for the lives of his wife, his children, and the woman with whom he committed adultery. The effects will extend to the members of his church and to those who have read his books or ...1
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