I’m very sorry to have to report this. Art Azurdia, elder at Trinity Church of Portland (OR) and frequent speaker at high-profile conferences such as The Shepherds’ Conference, has fallen.
He admitted to a sexually inappropriate relationship with a woman outside their church, and in fact admitted to a previous inappropriate sexual relationship also. The elders of Trinity Church, as biblically commanded, removed Art from leadership. Short statement below.
A Statement regarding Art Azurdia from the elders of Trinity Church of Portland
July 2, 2018 by Thomas Terry
Category: Trinity Church Announcement
On Sunday, June 24, the elders of Trinity Church of Portland received an accusation that Art Azurdia has been in a sexually immoral relationship with a woman from outside of Trinity Church. The elders of Trinity Church, after an initial investigation, confronted Art with the accusation. Art admitted to the immorality. He also admitted to a previous sexually immoral relationship. Based on these facts and the biblical qualifications required of an elder (1 Timothy 3, Titus 1), the elders have removed Art Azurdia as Senior Minister of Word and Worship at Trinity Church, as an elder, and from all pastoral ministry at Trinity Church. We grieve the shame this brings to the Gospel and the sorrow it brings to God’s people.
Sometimes when I get up in the morning and turn on Facebook and Twitter, I sigh because I know that it’s like putting your face into a buzz saw. Seeing posts like the one from Trinity hurts. I hurt for Art and for the woman and for their church and for all of us. The last sentence mentioning the shame to the Gospel and the grief it brings to God’s people is apt.
But as tempting as it is to turn turtle and ignore all that is going on, it’s important not to. Sin lurks. Sin crouches, waiting to have you, and me. We have to be vigilant, and unfortunate incidents like this remind us that it can and DOES happen every day to anyone.
We can’t ignore these things because it’s a call to action. Pray for YOUR pastor and elders and teachers. Often I am so fervent in praying for the right doctrine to enter my elders’ minds and come out in their teaching that I forget to pray for them morally too.
Paul warned Timothy,
Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. (1 Timothy 4:16).
This sentence from the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary restating Calvin sums it up:
The two requisites of a good pastor: His teaching will be of no avail unless his own life accord with it; and his own purity of life is not enough unless he be diligent in teaching [Calvin]
We need Jesus every hour. All of us.