Fallen Pastor Art Azurdia is Restored and Back on the Preaching Circuit

Disgraced pastor and teacher Dr. Arturo G. Azurdia III (Art Azurdia) is back on the preaching circuit and making the conference rounds 20 months after his fall from grace. He was scheduled to speak at the 2020 Word conference in May, along with The Gospel Coalition member H. B. Charles Jr., but due to COVID lockdown that conference has been postponed until June 1-3, 2021.

Dr. Arturo G. Azurdia III, you’ll remember, was the brilliant expositor and homiletics master at Trinity Church in Portland. Many thousands were blessed by the preaching of Art Azurdia, especially in circles that are considered to be more theologically sound. He even preached at John MacArthur’s 2018 Shepherd’s conference, a pulpit not easily attained.

Then a few months after that conference, it was revealed that he jumped into a bed of sexual immorality and was consequently released from his position as pastor.

In a confession statement on his website, he would write:

Several years ago, prior to the inception of Trinity Church, I strayed from my wedding vows, breaking the covenantal bond I made to my dear wife thirty-six years ago. More recently, I again violated my marriage commitment. In both instances I engaged in adulterous relationships that were nothing less than acts of defiance to the will of my God and Father, as well as expressions of profound ingratitude for the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ that I prize so dearly.

I confess this sin and take full responsibility for it. There are no justifications, excuses, or rationalizations for my behavior. I, in acts of idolatry, chose sin over God. I am profoundly ashamed at the enormity of my rebellion, as well as the hypocrisy of exercising ministry while cloaking my sin in the shadows.

Azurdia returning to teaching and preaching is an interesting one, in light of further comments he made where he acknowledges the consequences of his actions would have on his public ministry and the pursuance thereof:

Because of my sin I have disqualified myself from the office of elder. Furthermore, I have no desire to pursue ministry of any kind. My focus is entirely directed at making right the very thing I have ignored for too long: the well-being of our marriage.

Along with his role of pastor at the church he planted, Trinity Church, Azurdia also served as a professor of theology at Western Seminary and taught homiletics.


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18 thoughts on “Fallen Pastor Art Azurdia is Restored and Back on the Preaching Circuit

  1. I am torn about this as I have benefited greatly from his preaching and teaching over the years before his fall and would like to do so once again, assuming his “spirit empowered preaching“ website is still up.

    The only thing is: it seems like these guys who fall come back awful quick. It’d be interesting to know what the state of his marriage is and if he really did relocate to California as I had heard.

    Is it safe to assume he doesn’t plan to pastor a church again? The thing that really concerned me a couple of years ago when the news broke about his adultery was that he had to be confronted about it and did not come forth to his fellow elders at his church at the time to confess. One has to wonder how long the latest affair he was engaged in might have continued if he weren’t confronted.

    Let us all pray that his repentance is sincere and restoration is appropriate at this time, because if it all is, many will again benefit.

  2. But where are the consequences for the sin? I certainly think he can be rightly restored to a member of the church, however he is disqualified as an elder. These men are to be held to a very high standard for a reason. And if he is restored to the same calling, how can that be? The qualifications are for men who will sacrifice their earthly desires in order to lead the sheep in the ways of their Lord. Pretty simple. But it sounds like his arrogance is leading him to believe that we believers cannot live without his teaching. We can all fall away from the Lord at times, but there is a promise of consequences for those times in order to get us to turn back to Christ.

    1. Exactly.
      In addition, he has never addressed how he threatened Trinity with litigation and ruination after he bailed, so he could still go on to make money. This guy is scum.

  3. I’m sick. I use to listen to Mr. Azurdia and greatly benefited from his teachings. When I learned of his adultery, I was greatly grieved. Condemn him I did not do as I know Christ’s forgiveness covers all sin (and I know my sin too!). But I never figured he would go back to the speaking circuit. Why is it that these men, after being in such a situation, cannot humbly sit in the “pew” and be content listening and learning? Why is it that they feel the need to go on “tour” running around the country as if the people could not live without their words during their hiatus? Why can’t they get a job and work with their hands instead of their lips and devote their free time to their family and be content with that? I don’t get it.

    In closing, I’m not casting stones at Mr. Azurdia, but I won’t be throwing any dollars his way either.

  4. Any wonder why church’s suffer from congregational disillusionment and lack attendance? Lack of male leadership (from the congregation)? When women get used abused then their abusers welcomed back into places of prominence where they can easily reoffend? No wonder abusers hide openly in the arms of church’s.

  5. I was a member of his church and he never repented and asked US for forgiveness. He rejected the church discipline that he himself set up for all members. He is not qualified to preach. He left us with terrible pain that many are still grieving. Not from the sexual sin but the way he dealt with it. We had our arms open wide for him to repent and restore. He crushed us.
    But in it all Jesus showed us great compassion. He showed us our own sin in this situation. And that He is the Great Shepherd. He is our great High Priest. Jesus is our Pastor. And we follow Him.

  6. Does anyone know why Art isn’t listed as a speaker on the conference website? Or is there any other evidence that he is in fact preaching again? I believe he is in sin until he reconciles with his church (which I attended while he was the pastor), but I don’t want to spread rumors about him sinning in an additional way without ample evidence. Thanks!

  7. This is grievous and so very wrong. Art not only didn’t repent, but he feigned repentance in a statement online which immediately proved to be insincere and phony.

    I was graduate aid to Art my second year at Western Seminary in Portland, OR back in 2009. We shared lots of commonality theologically and Art was a big influence in my life, not only in homiletics and Pastoral Theology but as a friend and an encouragement in my own eventual pursuit of the Christian ministry. I had a season of life almost 20 years ago marked by disheartened infidelity and for many years believed that I should not be in the Christian ministry. My pastor at the time as well as Art and other professors at Western Seminary helped me think through that biblically. With repentance as notorious as my sin and the passing of necessary time to regain trust and respect with a pattern of life that honored God, the Lord in His mercy opened doors for me labor as a pastor, first as an Associate Pastor and then in a church plant as a Lead Pastor.

    The news of Art’s affairs for me, like so many was initially incredulous and heartbreaking. When his “Open Letter of Confession” was published on July 27, 2018, I was initially grateful and posted a note on Facebook hoping that that was the first step in Art seeking humbly and openly to getting right with God, his family, his church and his many friends. The public posture of repentance was immediately belied when “he lawyered up” and threatened legal action against Trinity Church in Portland if they did not cease and desist from making public comments or slander about Art. Many of you may also remember that he ended his Open Letter with this PS:

    “If you would like to contact Lori or me, you can reach us at art.lori.azurdia@gmail.com. While it is certainly not our desire to be isolated, aloof, or cut off from the body of Christ, we realize our sudden relocation could feel like that. We’d love to hear from any of you, so please feel free to correspond with us as you’d like. While I can not promise a prompt response, as our primary energies are focused almost exclusively on our marriage, family, and caring for extended family, we will read it as time allows. Blessings.”

    I know of NO ONE since that day that has heard a reply from a letter sent to that email. This includes me, ministerial friends and, a good mutual pastor-friend that has known Art since 1994, and another that has known him even longer. Likely some people heard from him – I imagine he selected some to interact with. But his professed transparency was a sham, his contrition was fake, and like far too many in our day (Mark Driscoll, Tullian Tchividjian, James MacDonald, etc.) he fled the accountability and process of his own local church and eventually went out to some cheap-grace circles and sought restoration on his own terms. Many will remember as well Art’s words in the middle of his spurious confession, “Because of my sin I have disqualified myself from the office of elder. Furthermore, I have no desire to pursue ministry of any kind.” You can see how sincere that was as well.

    It is outrageous that with this longstanding pattern of adultery while in the ministry, and at Art’s current age (60’s), that it should be even thought conceivable that he should re-enter the ministry. How much more egregious that he is returning to ministry so quickly and apart from any reconciliation with the people whose trust he so grievously betrayed.

    Furthermore, it has been a great disappointment to me that the Lead Pastor of the church that was involved in Art’s sham-restoration-process, a personal friend and classmate throughout our Homiletic training under Art, has refused to return my messages (email’s directly to his church; FB messages; and recently a cell-phone text message; his voice mailbox was full) to discuss their involvement in Art’s return to public ministry. Grace City Church in Wenatchee, WA has brought great shame upon the gospel and their ministry and have furthered the influence of a wolf in Christ’s Church – for which they will certainly be held accountable.

    No one should be supporting Art Azurdia’s return to public preaching. I would hope that The Gospel Coalition would also make a public comment in light of the fact that one of their Council Members, H.B. Charles, Jr. has chosen to share a conference platform with a disgraced, unfit, and unqualified pulpiteer.

    Grace is greater than all our sin, but even thoroughgoing repentance does not mean restoration of all privileges and positions of trust. I would to God that Art would meditate on 2 Corinthians 7:10-11 and forsake his folly and be rightly restored to genuine Christian fellowship – not to the ministry.

  8. It’s so much more than what he did at Trinity, I was a member of his church in Fairfield, CA—Christ Community Church. His narcissism was on full display there, until most of his congregation caught on and and left and he “humbly” resigned so as not to be “a lightening rod.” He ran the church into the ground and moved on to another church and a professorship. Of course, a narcissist rarely changes and he did what he does best in his new positions up North.

    Proof now of his unchanged heart is that he’s back making money “preaching.” Let’s look at his own words from his “open letter of confession,” dated July, 2018: “Because of my sin I have disqualified myself from the office of elder. Furthermore, I have no desire to pursue ministry of any kind.”

    Well, my, my, my. This letter, in it’s entirety, can be found on his personal page. It’s at least as eloquent as his best, most passionate sermon, and dripping with the insincerity he is so could at veiling from the vulnerable.

    My biggest fear has been that he should ever darken the doors of a church as any kind of leader and now my worst fears have come true. Shame on the Christian community that allows this to happen. But, to be honest, I’m not really surprised.

  9. Christians are too forgiving. That is we are to forgive as Jesus did and does, yes. But we keep lowering the bar for leaders. We should always forgive, but God’s word is clear about the qualification for leaders. Leaders are part of the body, not above the body, and the body is responsible for the healing of the fallen…even when that means not allowing them to go back to a place of “authority”. To restore a fallen person back to ministry so quickly endangers the flock and opens the door for sin to creep back in. Like a kid who isn’t punished, the person will just think they got away with it and go back to it…just being more careful not to be caught again.
    There is a big difference between being unrighteously judgmental, and practicing wise discipline.

  10. Todd Friel used to play a bunch of Art Azurdia sermon clips on his radio program. Has Mr. Friel had any public reaction recently or specifically mentioning Azurdia’s name regarding his apparent return to preaching? I wonder how Dr. Azurdia will handle texts such as Titus 1: 6-8, 1 Peter 5:3 and 1 Timothy 3:2. Is there some kind of special exclusion clause for him/others?

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