Source of Article: Out Of Ur

"What are Christian leaders to make of the spectacularly painful experience of watching Ted Haggard this past week? The president of the National Association of Evangelicals and pastor of giga-church New Life Community in Colorado Springs, Colorado, gradually admitted to purchasing methamphetamines and the services of a male prostitute.

We asked Leadership editor-at-large Gordon MacDonald to reflect on what we should learn from this episode.

It is difficult beyond description to watch Ted Haggard’s name and face dragged across the TV screen every hour on the news shows. But as my friend, Tony Campolo said in an interview last week, when we spend our lives seizing the microphone to speak to the world of our opinions and judgments, we should not surprised when the system redirects its spotlight to us, justly or unjustly, in our bad moments.

We are still in the process of learning what has actually transpired over the past many months on the secret side of Ted’s life. In just the last few hours the leadership of New Life Church has announced that he has been asked to resign. His ministry at New Life Church and as leader of the NAE is over.

I’ve spent more than a little time trying to understand how and why some men/women in all kinds of leadership get themselves into trouble whether the issues be moral, financial, or the abuse of power and ego. I am no stranger to failure and public humiliation. From those terrible moments of twenty years ago in my own life I have come to believe that there is a deeper person in many of us who is not unlike an assassin.

This deeper person (like a contentious board member) can be the source of attitudes and behaviors we normally stand against in our conscious being. But it seeks to destroy us and masses energies that—unrestrained—tempt us to do the very things we “believe against.” If you have been burned as deeply as I (and my loved ones) have, you never live a day without remembering that there is something within that, left unguarded, will go on the rampage. Wallace Hamilton once wrote, “Within each of us there is a herd of wild horses all wanting to run loose.”

It seems to me that when people become leaders of outsized organizations and movements, when they become famous and their opinions are constantly sought by the media, we ought to begin to become cautious. The very drive that propels some leaders toward extraordinary levels of achievement is a drive that often keeps expanding even after reasonable goals and objectives have been achieved. Like a river that breaks its levy, that drive often strays into areas of excitement and risk that can be dangerous and destructive. Sometimes the drive appears to be unstoppable. This seems to have been the experience of the Older Testament David and his wandering eyes, Uzziah in his boredom, and Solomon with his insatiable hunger for wealth, wives and horses. They seem to have been questing—addictively?—for more thrills or trying to meet deeper personal needs, and the normal ways that satisfy most people became inadequate for them.

When I see a leader who becomes stubborn and rigid, who becomes increasingly less compassionate toward his adversaries, increasingly tyrannical in his own organization, who rouses anger and arrogance in others, I wonder if he is not generating all of this heat because he is trying so hard to say “no” to something surging deep within his own soul. Are his words and deeds not so much directed against an enemy “out there” as they are against a much more cunning enemy within his own soul. More than once I have visited with pastors who have spent hours immersed in pornography and then gone on to preach their most “spirit-filled” sermons against immorality a day or two later. It’s a disconnect that boggles the rational mind.

No amount of accountability seems to be adequate to contain a person living with such inner conflict. Neither can it contain a person who needs continuous adrenalin highs to trump the highs of yesterday. Maybe this is one of the geniuses of Jesus: he knew when to stop, how to refuse the cocktail of privilege, fame and applause that distorts one’s ability to think wisely and to master self.

More than once we’ve seen the truth of a person’s life come out, not all at once, but in a series of disclosures, each an admission of further culpability which had been denied just a day or two before. Perhaps inability to tell the full truth is a sign that one is actually lying to himself and cannot face the full truth of the behavior in his own soul.

But then all sin begins with lies told to oneself. The cardinal lies of a failed leader? I give and give and give in this position; I deserve special privileges—perhaps even the privilege of living above the rules. Or, I have enough charm and enough smooth words that I can talk anything (even my innocence) into reality. Or, so much of my life is lived above the line of holiness that I can be excused this one little faux pas. Or, I have done so much for these people; now it’s their time to do something for me—like forgiving me and giving a second chance.

I am heart-broken for Ted Haggard and his wife and family. I cannot imagine the torture they are living through at this very moment. Toppled from national esteem and regard in a matter of hours, they must adjust to wondering who their real friends are now. They have to be asking how these events—known by the world—will affect their children. Mrs. Haggard will not be able to go the local WalMart without wondering who she may bump into when she turns into Aisle 3 (A reporter? A church member? A critic?). Both Haggards will face cameras every time they emerge from their home in the next few days until the media finds another person with whom to have its sport.

The travel, the connections, the interviews, the applause of the congregation, the organizational power, the perks and privileges, the honor: gone! The introit to people of position/power: gone! The opportunity to say an influential word each day into the lives of teachable younger people: gone! The certainty that God has anointed one for such a time as this: gone? And what will grow each day is the numbing realization of regret and loss. In time they will be approached by people who will say in one way or another, “I used to trust you, but what you’ve done has made me very angry….you’ve turned my son away from the gospel….I thought I knew you, but I guess I didn’t.” It will be a long time before either of the Haggards feel safe again. Suffering over this will last most of a lifetime even after some sort of restoration is rendered. How I wish this could all be lifted from them.

Perhaps there will come a day down the pathway when there will be some kind of return to influence. But right now it is—or should be—a long way in the distance.

Among my prayers is that the leadership of New Life Church will not assume that “restoration” means getting Ted back into the pulpit as soon as possible. The worst thing in the world would be to raise his hopes that just because he models a contrite spirit he can return to public life in the near future. He, for his own sake, must take a long time to work through the causative factors in this situation. He will not resolve whatever is wrong in his own soul by going back to work. He and his wife must set aside a long, long time to allow their personal relationship to heal. Forgiveness is a long healing, not a momentary one. And there are those five children. Thinking of them makes me want to weep. And then there are countless people in and beyond their church who must take a long time to figure out what all of this means. No, the worst things Ted’s friends and overseers can do is to try and bring him back from this prematurely. The best thing they can do is ask him to retreat into silence with those he loves the most and listen—to God, to trusted elders.

The statement issued by the NAE Executive Committee late Friday afternoon seems flat to me. It appears to have been written by savvy PR people who wanted to say all the nice and appropriate things which might mollify the media and cause no heartburn for the lawyers. The burden of the statement seems to be that the NAE is already on to the question of who the next leader will be. The fact is that, all too often, we have seen the President of NAE on the news and talk shows speaking as the leader of so-called 33 million evangelicals. I’m not sure that most of us were polled as to whether or not we wanted Ted Haggard (or anyone) speaking for us. I know that last time I felt safe about anyone speaking for evangelicals as a whole was when Billy Graham talked on our behalf. But, as of late, an illusion was permitted to grow: that the NAE was a well-organized, highly networked movement of American evangelicals headed by Ted Haggard who, when he spoke, spoke for all of us. Now, unfortunately, that voice has misspoken, and our movement has to live with the consequences.

I have a fairly poor batting average when it comes to predicting the future. But my own sense is that the NAE (as we know it) will probably not recover from this awful moment. Should it? Leaders of various NAE constituencies are likely to believe that their fortunes are better served by new and fresher alliances.

Ever since the beginning of the Bush administration, I have worried over the tendency of certain Evangelical personalities to go public every time they visited the White House or had a phone conference with an administration official. I know it has wonderful fund-raising capabilities. And I know the temptation to ego-expansion when one feels that he has the ear of the President. But the result is that we are now part of an evangelical movement that is greatly compromised….identified in the eyes of the public as deep in the hip pockets of the Republican party and administration. My own belief? Our movement has been used. There are hints that the movement—once cobbled together by Billy Graham and Harold Ockenga—is beginning to fragment because it is more identified by a political agenda that seems to be failing and less identified by a commitment to Jesus and his kingdom.

Like it or not, we are pictured as those who support war, torture, and a go-it-alone (bullying) posture in international relationships. Any of us who travel internationally have tasted the global hostility toward our government and the suspicion that our President’s policies reflect the real tenants of Evangelical faith. And I might add that there is considerable disillusionment on the part of many of our Christian brothers/sisters in other countries who are mystified as to where American evangelicals are in all of this. Our movement may have its Supreme Court appointments, but it may also have compromised its historic center of Biblical faith. Is it time to let the larger public know that some larger-than-life evangelical personalities with radio and TV shows do not speak for all of us?

And so I pray: Lord and Father, how sad you must be when you see the most powerful and the weakest of your children fall prey to the energy of sin and evil. There is nothing any one has ever done that we –each of us—is not capable of doing. So when we pray for our brother, Ted Haggard, we pray not out of pity or self-righteousness but with a humble spirit because we stand with him on level ground before the cross. Father, give this man and his wife the gift of your grace. Protect them from the constant accusations of the evil one who will seek to deny them sleep, tempt them to talk too much to the public, arouse conflict between them as a couple and with their children. Send the right people into their lives who can provide the correct mixture of hope and healing love. Deliver them from people who will curry their favor by telling them things they should not hear. Restrain them from making poor judgments in their most fearful moments.

Lord, be present to the leaders and people of the New Life Church. And to the NAE leadership which has to live with the side-effects of this tragedy. And to people in the evangelical tradition who are wondering today who they can trust. What more can we pray for? You know all things. We so very little. Amen."

Source of Article and Posts:
Out of Ur : http://blog.christianitytoday.com/outofur
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Posted by: Scott at November 5, 2006

Frankly, as a rank-and-file Christian, this episode just makes me think I’m trying waaaaay too hard. If this guy can be elevated to the pinnacle of the evangelical community while buying drugs and consorting with prostitutes, why should I make such a huge effort to control my “thought life”? Why should I feel so bad about an occasional lustful thought or angry outburst? Why should I painfully confess every little transgression to my accountability group? I’m 40 and I’ve never even MET a prostitute. I wouldn’t know how to buy drugs if you asked me to. But nooooo, that’s not enough. I have to keep coming up with more little failings to worry about.

I’m sure this guy will be 100% forgiven because he has a big white smile, neat pastor hair, and an outgoing, black-slapping demeanor. In other words, the perfect evangelical man. The church doesn’t value character, it values personality, just like the rest of society. Disgusting.


Posted by: John M. at November 5, 2006

Very sad times we live in. The devil is on the prowl to discredit Christianity. Temptations are so prevalent --this is why detachment from the world is so important in order to gow in holiness. ...whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. James 4:3-5

Posted by: genevieve at November 5, 2006

Everything in this post I agree with except why did you have to drag politics into it? This isn't about politics, it's about sin. Whether Ted Haggard visited with President Bush or Tony Campolo visited with Bill Clinton is irrelevant. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord, search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings." Jeremiah 17:9-10

We should always be shocked, grieved and repentant. "Let him who thinks he stands take heed, lest he should fall." 1 Cor. 10:12

Posted by: Melody at November 5, 2006

Ted Haggard and his family are, like it or not, more entertainment than anything else at this point to much of our society of voyeurs.

Tragedy? I really cannot see it that way, not compared to much more tangible tragedies that so many of our fellow human beings bear daily, tragedies that exist, because we want to be entertained/diverted with stories as Ted Haggard's.

We each have, at end of day, an audience of one. We each were created to be creation-caring creatures and were redeemed, in part, to improve how we do in doing so. That seems so lost/omitted in our theology.

I'm coming from the flip side of a Ted Haggard story. I did my duty, I suffered for it, the organizational church "looks the other way" at the institutional wrongdoing, making me nothing more than a "speeding ticket" to the wrongdoers.

Where is the organizational church in my and similar situations? Staying out of it, denying our basic purpose to be creation-caring creatures who were designed to live in community.

To me, that's a tragedy. Ted Haggard is mostly enterntainment to most of us. He'll do extremely well by any objective measure, if he can keep his demons under control, For many of us, even if we do keep our demons under control, we cannot dream to have what he has and still has.

Posted by: Joe Carson at November 5, 2006

John M.,

I left the modern evangelical church and eventually joined an "orthodox" confessional Lutheran church body for exactly the reasons you mentioned in your post. And I'm a cookie baking grandma, with no salacious secrets in my closet. The quest for moral perfection is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The church should be about delivering the means of grace to repentant sinners. The focus of the Christian life is the forgiveness found in the death, burial and ressurection of Jesus. The "work" of the Christian life should be sevice to our neighbor in our given vocation. I encourage you to look into the theology of the orginial evangelicals of the Reformation. A good place to start is Gene Veith's book The Spirituality of the Cross. http://www.amazon.com/Spirituality-Cross-Way-First-Evangelicals/dp/0570053218
Mr. MacDonald's piece rings true. Ted Haggard reminds me of the character Blanche DeBois in Tennessee William's "Streetcar Named Desire." A good schooling in the classics shows the truth about human nature, power, and self-destruction. "Nothing is new under the sun," as Solomon would say.

Mary

Posted by: Mary at November 5, 2006

John, I echo your discerning critique that our churches in America have been co-opted into the values of "this world" and thus we create Christian rock-stars who grab hold of power and end up leading their following towards them and not Christ.

Perhaps, this episode like the many that ravaged the "revivalist-healing" movements are an awakening from God that, like Saul, he is willing to run the "sage on the stage" through with his or her own sword. This it seems is one of they many ways God is exposing the fallacy and deception of the church grabbing for hierarchical power modeled after a world and society that does not submit to the Lordship and "power from under" of Jesus and the Kingdom of God.

Maybe we need to stop being so sentimental and start calling our church communities and leadership to task. Perhaps then we can reimagine what it means to be God's people with a new message from the real Emperor to be lived out in the subversive community called church.

Posted by: Sam at November 5, 2006

Thanks Marshall for your thoughts. John, your questions are easily answered. Why make the effort? Because you want to honor God and influence those who know Him and to the millions more who don't. You know Ted is 100% forgiven by God so we (the church) should certainly reflect that in all we say, do...and type! The Consequences of his sin will be great in this life, rest assured. God will always need warriors that have not lost His perspective. Your implied criticism of the Church due to Ted's appearance seems a bit unwarranted.

Posted by: Steve H at November 5, 2006

Gordon,

Thank you for the thoughtful, prayerful note. I've been wrestling with how to feel about this Haggard story. I'm angry with Ted Haggard, but pity him. I'm angry with his church, and the NAE - what kind of pressure were they putting on him to perform, to do better, to be somebody they needed.

I don't know Ted or much of his life or ministry other then occasional articles in CT. I'm not going to judge him. And I don't want to blame large organizations for his sins, pastors in little churches can sin just as big. But all evangelicals need is another scandal. It seems there is no perfect version of Christianity yet.

Your prayer will be my prayer for the Haggard family, New Life, and the NAE.

Thanks for the pastoring.

Posted by: Tim Hallman at November 5, 2006

Gordon, this post was thoughtful and rings true, as many of your observations.

Coincidentily, I am hosting a church leader this month from South America. He has worked with North Americans for about twenty years and has visited the USA before. Before this story broke, he was not necessarily impressed with us or our version of Christianity. "You all have a lot to learn, but by God's grace, someday you'll get it."

This is not the image that we like to have of ourselves. It is important that we allow the Lord to corporately humble us so that, in time, he may lift us up.

Politics? The gospel has inherent political implications, which our government regularly violates. What else should we expect from Ceasar? "My Lord and my God," was a first-century political and religious slogan. Jesus (via Thomas) co-opted it for the Kingdom.

Judgment, Peter promises us, begins with the house of God. In these days, I've been searching my own heart, probing my own motives and surrendering my position and congregation to the Lordship of Christ. God brokes no other alternative.

Posted by: Stephen Weaver at November 6, 2006

Non-Christians certainly love to hear things like this. They love it because they believe it confirms that those questions they cannot get out of their head about God must certainly not be true.

I do not doubt the sincerity of his apology and I wish him God's blessings and his congregations forgiveness.

Posted by: Matt Dabbs at November 6, 2006

Rev. MacDonald,

I'm struck by two lines in your article, "Our movement may have its Supreme Court appointments, but it may also have compromised its historic center of Biblical faith." Is your Supreme Court victory worth the compromise or is it a matter of idolatry and love of power?

And second, in your prayer, "Lord and Father, how sad you must be when you see the most powerful and the weakest of your children fall prey to the energy of sin and evil." Is it the evil of now exposed sexual sin that saddens God? Or is it possible God has, for a long time, been saddened that the model for evangelism in our culture is centered around egotistical leadership. Look to any major pulpit (or plexi-glass lectern) and you are likely to find, not a servant, but a celebrity....books, dvds, and Christmas ornaments for sale! It really seems to be about the virility of the leader. Isn't this the worship of Baal?

Such is the poisoned world that evangelicals have created in the name of the Lord.

JA

Posted by: Jeff at November 6, 2006

I just want to look at Haggard, the male prostitute, and this entire scandal the way Jesus would want me to. Going off the deep end about the frailties of sinners like us won't help if we don't take a look in the mirror and ask God to search us individually so that we don't have to endure this kind of pain, even on a private level.

We can get so freakin smug about others when they fall (like some Christian leaders in the last several days whose names I won't mention) that we fail to see how close we too are to falling.

May Christ's correction, compassion, and forgiveness be poured out on all involved in both the Haggard situation as well as those unspoken ones that some of us may even find ourselves in right now. Peace.

Posted by: reGen at November 6, 2006

The whole thing makes me want to rethink how we as evangelicals address moral and social issues in our societies. The world views us (perhaps rightfully so) as single minded hypocrites who practice one thing and preach another. More than one study has shown that our own moral practices do not differ all that much from the rest of society. Should we not get our own house in order, strengthen families and marriages within the church instead of trying to scare people into believing that marriage or civil unions for homosexuals will be the downfall of our society ?I feel badly for Ted Haggard, his family and his church but I guess this was the last straw for me. When we put the sins of society in the spotlight instead of the life-giving message of Christ should we not expect the spotlight to turn on the sins and hypocrisy of evangelicals when they fall ? I really am tired of being primarily identified (as an evangelical) by what I am against rather than as a follower of Christ. I agree with David Kuo -- it may be time for Christians to "fast" from politics. We have met the enemy and it is us.

Posted by: melville at November 6, 2006

The attacks that are happening on so-called evangelical leaders are no different than those we face everyday. A minister once said "the higher the level, the bigger the devil". The more you try to advance the kingdon of God, the more fiery darts you receive. 1Cor. 10:13 says, "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." We have to realize that no matter how high or low we are in the public eye when you are working for God we are high on the radar of the enemy. We don't need to try and face these battle on our on strength because we are only strong in the Lord. He is faithful and He provides strength to stand against temptation.

I hurt for Mr. Haggard because he is a man with flesh on and he needs to feel the faithfulness of God and the prayer support of real Christian brothers an sisters. When the woman caught in an adulturous act was presented to Jesus, He didn't throw stones at her nor did the religious who sought to do that at first; why because we all have sin in our lives. We do not condemn but we charge them to sin no more.

There's a scripture in Rev. 12:11 that states, "They (the brethren) overcame him (the accuser-Satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony..." If you are saved truly born again Satan knows he can not have your soul...but he will always try to wreck the Children of God's testimony so we can be ineffective for the kingdom. This really puts me on guard of those things inside of me that calls out for more and causes unfulfillment within, that's a warning sign that I am unguarded and ready for ambush.

Thanks for your article and prayer for the Haggard family. I agree with you in prayer for them.

Sonja
Hot Springs, AR

Posted by: McKinney at November 6, 2006

I am sure God has been saddened by all of our sins; I also think that "to whom much has been given, much will be required," and in this case it does seem that Pastor Ted had been given much. But none of us should be looking to a human being as our role model--we always will be disappointed. Keep those eyes on Jesus, he never disappoints.

What has impressed me most in the past few days was reading Gayle's letter where she told the women in her church, to whom she has ministered, "Watch me." Bravery, courage and, at least for now, unshaken faith in her Heavenly Father's ability to bring her through this terrible time. Not someone to idolize, but an example to follow in the middle of our own (self-imposed) trials.

I too pray that they and their family will weather this storm and come out of the fire tested and pure, ready to continue to serve in the Master's Kingdom.

Not-very-perfect-myself,
Anne

Posted by: Anne Edwards at November 6, 2006

I am writing from Singapore.

I have trouble trying to figure this out, especially in light of what so many of you have written.

The fact is that some of you are proposing a standard lower than my high-school scout troops. How can it be that children of light can keep behaving like sons of darkness? It is all very odd to me, an Asian.

In Asia, there is a saying that those in the west place great emphasis on public morals, but not too much on private morals. This is why a Bill Clinton can still go around like a celebrity today. In the east, he would have gone into seclusion over his scandal. I note that people like Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, and even Peter Popoff still have thriving ministries despite of their horrendous scandals. I half-suspect that many Christian leaders play around with fire because they have seen that all they need to do is to weep in repentance (at least publicly), go through some sort of 'spiritual guidance', lay low for a couple of years, and then re-emerge when people have gone on to another scandal.

Is it really impossible to find leaders who would lead holy lives? Should we always cry out to the LORD, 'boo-hoo, we are all sinners, so none of us can keep our zips up long enough..."? Is it true that there are no longer any virgins in the modern world because it is now impossible to stay pure (how can we be so judgemental and demand that people refrain from pre-marital sex?). If that were the case, then much of the Bible should be discarded for teaching an impossibility. The apostle John wrote that His commands are NOT difficult to keep; so lets call a spade a spade. The man, in his own words, is a liar and deceiver; plain and simple.

What people seem to fail to realise is that the impact of such scandals will drive the work of our LORD Jesus Christ backwards by many, many steps; worldwide. Even in Singapore, the local media is covering this widely, certainly in a negative manner.

This is why James wrote that we should not all aspire to be teachers, for we will be judged more harshly. While it is true that we must always remember that with true repentence, God will forgive this person, as must we. But at the same time, there is a place for righteous anger, and the continual demand that our leaders lead holy lives, or get out of leadership.

Until such time that we acknowledge that holy living is not an option but a pre-requisite for all servants of God, we will always have moral practices and standards lower than the secular world, to the disgrace of our LORD. From Asia, we are already observing that the LORD's favour may be moving east, with even African Christian leaders displaying more moral courage than their western counterparts, upholding biblical standards against misguided voices calling for the lowering of moral expectations.

Posted by: Yong TM at November 6, 2006

Gordon, you needn't worry that Ted will be brought back to the pulpit prematurely; the statement by New Life's board of overseers says he will never be placed in a leadership position at New Life Church again.

Posted by: Julie Daube at November 6, 2006

Some of the posts sound as if people are jealous "I - we cannot have what he has" "HE'LL Be forgiven" etc. How sad. Jealousy, and any sin,is as filthy to God as anything Mr. Haggard has done. Why should he be forgiven? Because he ASKED for forgiveness and Jesus SAID we must. No conditions. It IS a COMMANDMENT. If Jesus forgives ONE HUNDRED PERCENT, how can anyone say we should not? No Christian should be happy for the consequences of Mr. Haggard's sin(s) - we should pray that he will be strong to be able to live with them. No one shoots a Christian as good as another Christian.

Posted by: Pam at November 6, 2006

I am tired of the evangelical community being attracted to personality instead of Jesus. Seems like we are in a long period of the evangelical personality being exposed for the grossest of sin: hypocrisy. From Jim Bakker to Jimmy Swaggard; from Stan Telchin to Ted Haggard...it can be overwhelming a times. Perhaps we need to all stop, get off tv, quit writing books and get back to the basic of our faith: Jesus.

Posted by: Roger Flemming at November 6, 2006

I was at a Theophostic Prayer Ministry Convention in Orlando when the president of the American Association of Christian Counselors, Tim Clinton, told us of this sad news as he began his address to us. Now as I read the newspaper and what Gordon McDonald has to say, I am convinced that Mr. Haggard's moral failures have deep roots. "Deep within his own soul" you will find wounds and lies that he believes that he has acted upon contrary to the cognitive knowledge ingrained in seminary and as pastor and leader. In Psalm 51 David talks about the truth that God desires in the "inner most place". We must encourage the church to allow God to search our hearts to expose that in us which needs to be dealt with and to be honest enough with one another about our weaknesses and love one another enought to want to help and not judge. The truth is we need to know truth experientially as well as cognitively. We act upon what we truly believe, not what we say we believe. God is determined to present to the bridegroom a spotless and without-blemish bride.

Posted by: Shirley Miranda at November 6, 2006

Thank you, Gordon, for your insight and compassion...

In my own life, I have seen the faithful work of God's forgiveness and grace when I neither deserved it--as no one does--nor had the courage to ask for it. I doubt that any of us would want the dirty laundry of our sins aired before the world. Pastor Haggard is a man...flawed, yet gifted; typical, yet unique by design...He is in deep need of restoration. None of us--except those who have experienced it first-hand--can imagine what their family and church must be going through.

I told my wife, last night, that I could not imagine causing her that kind of pain...to see that in her eyes and in the eyes of our children would be unbearable. I thank God for her constant prayers...and so I lift up the Haggards and NLC in prayer, in hopes that their lives and hearts can be healed.

Posted by: Ronnie at November 6, 2006

Gordon,

A compassionate and insightful review of the personal failurews and the public consequences of the Haggard issue.

One concern: Nowhere do I see addressed the damage that Haggard and like evangelicals are inflicting with their judgmentalism and political crusades on the children of God who are also homosexual.

Another concern: The dark angels of our nature, forced to be hidden, often erupt into self and other destroying behavior. Perhaps Evangelicals need to address the issue of "forcing people to be in the closet" by the continued condemnation of gays,opposition to same-sex marriage, the refusal to recognize the possiblity of "fidelity in relationships" among committed gays, and the like, may be hindering the discovery of ways to a more just and Christ like community, and at the same time creating conditions for the self-destruction of many talented leaders such as Haggard.

Dan Turner


Posted by: Daniel A Turnr at November 6, 2006

I agree with Gordon. I recently read "In the Name of Jesus" (author can't remember now)... and his point was that in ministry we have to be reliquish "power" and "popularity" and seek to be "irrelevant." I agree. I think that in ministry today we are seeking to be powerful, popular, and "relevant" so much so that we do not follow in the footsteps of Jesus. The world does not see our humility and love, so they do not see Him. The best thing that could happen to promote the Gospel is for these politically motivated, Israel=America "pastors" to stop showing up on the political news shows and let the humble, graceful and theologically astute pastors speak for once! Let us reliquish power, popularity, and relevance!

Posted by: Mark S at November 6, 2006

The old saying rings true again - power corrupts. The weakness of the cross is where we need to reside. But it's a hard address to keep, with our human nature's default mode of wanting to gain the spotlight and the glory. The downfall of another ministry leader reminds me that I, too, am a deceiver and in need of all that Jesus accomplished for me at the cross. Every day.

Posted by: Claude at November 6, 2006

While there might be differing perspectives on the issues of Haggard's leadership, his sin, and the political maneuverings involved in its exposure, it was the photograph that hit me hardest.

It was a picture taken - not only of him, but of his wife and two sons. He had a cordial, strained smile on his face as he was being interviewed in his car, but all I could see was the anguish in his wife's eyes ... and the looks on the faces of those boys in the back seat ... anger, hurt, the horror of humiliation.

Issues of integrity are issues of the heart. "Out of the heart the mouth speaks," said Jesus (Matthew 12:34). Usually, the actions that ultimately follow speak even louder than those words.

Nurture your heart by walking through life very closely with Jesus Christ. Be real with Him and He will take care of your heart. Because sooner or later, the real intents and agendas will come spilling out, and without the miraculous transformation He brings, it will not be a pretty picture.

Job wrote, " ... Till I die, I will not deny my integrity. I will maintain my righteousness and never let go of it: my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live"
(Job 27:5-6).

We do not accomplish this on our own, by our own willpower or decision. "So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!"
(1 Corinthians 10:12).

May we all grow in integrity and depth of spiritual wisdom, and so live lives that truly honor Christ. In doing so, we will prevent the anguish of the effects of sin.

Posted by: Linda at November 6, 2006

Gordon
thank you for your wise,gracious ,sober and probing words.I share your sorrow over Pastor Ted's failure.It is a heart breaking tragedy.
I also say a hearty "amen" to your concerns about the political hijacking of evangelicalism in this country.You are bang on target when you say that evangelicals have been politically exploited. The problem is most evos are either blissfully ignorant of the fallout from or blissfully content with this ill conceived marriage of convenience.One of the salutory lessons from this dark tale is the fact that evangelicals in this country keep falling over themselves for political power and cultural influence despite the spiritual consequences. Nowhere in Scripture is the church called to wield political power or to impose a moral agenda on the land.My reading of 1 Corinthians tells me that the church was a redemptive agent of the kingdom from the margins not atop the dizzying pinnacle of political power base.

Posted by: Bill Hogg at November 6, 2006

The Bible say's he/she that is without Sin cast the first stone. No matter what our opinion's my be Jesus! forgive her. We must pray for our brother while he is being restored. And when he is restored do the the next thing SIN NO MORE!!.

Posted by: Cynthia at November 6, 2006

As a man born into an evangelical church, but now a non-believer, I have a different view than most others here. The tragedy here is that Haggard believed the bigotry he was taught, which forced him into a life of deception and denial that has left his family betrayed and his career ruined.

It disturbs me that consensual sex is being portrayed as the sin; the real sin is the psychological damage that mindless homophobia does to its many victims.

Posted by: Scott H at November 6, 2006

I appreciate this article -- thanks for writing.

I am reminded of a short comment made by Rebecca St. James during a concert a few years ago. She was exhorting the audience, and one line leaped ut at me: “Deal ruthlessly with sin in your life.” It has come to mind so often over the years when I feel too lazy, tired or selfish to resist whatever temptation is at hand. Too often I deal half-heartedly with sin, and Haggard’s downfall reminds me of the death-producing end of sin, and of the life-producing end of righteousness. We need to be ruthless and unflinching in putting our old, selfish natures to death.

St Paul said he died daily… In contrast, I think I perform triage daily, providing life support to my innate pride and selfishness. Not too much, since I take pride in my maturity… just a little bit of life support for these old friends. These events remind me to pull the plug on sin, to live a daily surrender.

And how I ache for Gayle Haggard; God bless her journey across this stormy sea.


Posted by: Tim Willson at November 6, 2006

Haggard's sin wasn't that he bought meth, or that he consorted with a male prostitute. His sin was not that he is a closeted homosexual.

Haggard's sin was his pride and his deceit. He believed that he was above being caught, and he stood on his pulpit and wagged his finger, calling others sinners for doing exactly what he himself was doing.

In fact, he called people sinners who were hurting no one. They only wanted to be permitted to marry legally in this country. His own desires have hurt his wife and his children, as well as countless members of his congregation.

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, and judge not, lest ye be judged. Perhaps Tim Haggard should have remembered these verses.

Posted by: Linda T at November 6, 2006

I don't know if this means much to anyone, other than me, but I have longed to hear a real confession from a failed leader rather than a mealy mouthed half apology. Though I have never been a fan of Ted Haggard, I understand that his statement included the words, "I am a liar and a deceiver...". Sounds like a real confession to me. This is much different from the celebrity/ politician saying "I am sorry if anyone was (stupid enough to be)offended by what I said/did."

Maybe there is a difference between believers and the world, even in abject failure.

Posted by: Mike at November 6, 2006

I didn't even know that Ted Haggard was considered my representative...just because I am an evangelical. I don't like to mix politics and religion, but these day with our President cloaking himself in religion; it's hard to avoid. I have been saddened by the way Christians have been so easily led astray by leaders whose words & deeds are accepted so easily without examination of the fruits they produce. I would caution some of the others who posted comments to watch out that their hearts don't show them as the "faithful" brother in the story of the Prodigal Son. There is no joy & peace in that stance. I am thankful for your prayers for Ted Haggard, his family & church. I too echo these prayers. I also pray that we will start building the Kingdom based on The Sermon on the Mount and not the words of the Pharisees that Jesus so obviously rejected.

Posted by: Tracy Morrison at November 6, 2006

Haggard's sin is no greater than any of our sins. He,by doing what he did has relinquished his right to to be a spokesman for our movement.
We have a situation locally where it appears a pastor has abused his position and power to run his church according to his wishes and not the board or congregation or common courtesy. Intimidation is not the way we should run a church.Hopefully it will be resolved without his complete ruin. So far there has been no admission of error or remorse or even an acknowledgement that something is wrong. Many believe repentence is needed and stepping down from power as trust has been lost.

Posted by: steve at November 6, 2006

"I’ve spent more than a little time trying to understand how and why some men/women in all kinds of leadership get themselves into trouble whether the issues be moral, financial, or the abuse of power and ego."

What is there to understand without summing it up in one word, Human?
Ah yes, human, the very word that defines a species, a person, a thought. To say, "I am human" is to accept all the dignity, depravity, and potential that lies within that word.
Who is shocked here?
Me? No, and why would that be, that I, a lowly voice in a vast crowd of somebodies is unimpressed by Mr. Haggard's secret?
We all have secrets!
Secrets that would lay us low, burn us in our own imaginations as we tremble at their revelation to the world.
Damned before the truth is outted in our own minds we scour the reasonable rationals for keeping our damnably corruptble acts dark, and draw the curtains ever tighter around our sordid secrets.
His were laid bare for all to see, but many of ours, the viewers, are buried deep within our minds.
We all have secrets, because we're all human, and we all strive earnestly to hide them rather than face the shame of having them exposed to the worlds judgement.
Why would you want to be part of that?

"We are still in the process of learning what has actually transpired over the past many months on the secret side of Ted’s life."

Why do "we" want to learn more?
Isn't it enough to know that a brother has fallen?
There is nothing there to learn more of but forgiveness, and to watch the process of reconciliation.

To be human is our excuse and our condemnation, this we know, and it is to our benefit that G-d has overlooked our...acts and thoughts...and rather focused on what he envisions us to be.
That is the call of Y'shua, to follow him, and to help one another when they or us stumble on that narrow path. And in the process of following, become forgiving of one anothers secrets before they're revealed.


Posted by: Sheerahkahn at November 6, 2006

Mr. MacDonald,

Thank you for your thoughts. I agree with them whole heartedly, and thought of your own journey, as I watched the Haggard revelations grow over the past few days. Thank you for the lovely prayer, too. Peace to you and yours.

...

Scott H.,

Regardless of your personal sexual standards, can you not see the sin in this story: married person betrayed vows made to spouse, and tells lies when discovered. A United States citizen, while in the United States, purchased sexual favors and illegal drugs, and lied about that.

Regardless of which sexual interactions you personally believe to be moral, don't breaking vows, lying, and breaking various laws fall in your 'wrong' category?

Posted by: Cindy W at November 6, 2006

I have just read all the excellent and insightful responses to Gordon McDonald's article. It seems to me there is a lot of self-flagellation going on here among "Evangelicals." One brother has fallen, and it reflects the actual morality and spirituality of 33 million believers in Christ?
When Swaggart imploded, every evangelist in the country was judged and trashed. To hear the whole evangelical family blamed for everything wrong in America is pretty close to the Stockholm Syndrome. Penitence and repentance are certainly required of us all. But the not-so-friendly friendly fire (even from McDonald) is
handing a godless secular culture confirmation
that Christians are all phony little devils who need to be marginalized and even prosecuted for
their 33 million sins against America and the whole world.

Posted by: Russ at November 6, 2006


WHO IS NEXT?

Posted by: scripturesearcher at November 6, 2006

While this is a time of grace, it is also a time of disgrace for God. Let's not water down its significance:

Why isn't the presence of the Holy Spirit in Christians' hearts (especially spiritual leaders called by God like Ted) make a difference in holiness demonstrated over non-Christians who can demonstrate a more moral living in the absence of the indwelling of Holy Spirit?

Why we only take the "grace" part of Christ's death on the cross and live in the convenience that Christians are sinners saved by grace, but not take the hard part of "Lordship" and live it out?

Is this a consequence of chosing leaders who are charistmatic instead of Holy Spirit filled?

Any public incidence like this brings public humiliation to the world wide Christian community and shame to God's name, because we are telling the world by our action that Christ death is not significant for me to live differently, that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is not enough to make a difference in my journey of holiness. That's the damage any spiritual leader can bring to our faith community.

Quite a large number of non-Christians that I know personally do not know where to buy the drugs or how to contact a male protitute. So how can a famous Christian spiritual leader be so far off?


Posted by: we-need-more-soldiers-for-Christ at November 6, 2006

Gordon's comments are clear and sensitive. He has given some real thought to this whole Haggard affair.

I believe the Lord is shaking up His kingdom. We've become arrogant about our capabilities - as evangelists and missionaries. Many of us have come to think we're invincible - and this is especially true within the Southern Baptist Convention. We're quick to pounce on sin, but slow to admit that our power and ambitions are equally corrupting. The Book of Malachi really speaks to our generation - myself included - about how spiritually corrupted we've become and how we've allowed materialism to taint the church. We glory in mega churches, great preaching and great music, but we've overlooked the primary message which is Jesus. We should be weeping and broken over the power of sin in our own lives and the lives of others. Before we point all our finger at Ted, let's remember three are pointing at us!

I minister among the Deaf and it is shocking to find the number of Deaf ministers who have fallen prey to sexual temptation and sin. We covet your prayers because all of us are vulnerable to sexual temptation and pornography. Deaf pastors are, in most cases, isolated and have little peer support. Communication and culture are real barriers to providing accountability. If the Deaf pastors have a huge problem, then the problem is even bigger among our hearing brothers!

Again, thanks to Gordon. We all need to be reminded of our weaknesses and sensitive to the Spirit's probing in our lives.

Posted by: Daniel at November 6, 2006

In view of so many debacles caused by the sexual behavior of well intended people in so many different religions (Foley, Haggard, Catholic priest’s scandals, to name a few), I believe there's a deeper lesson to be learned by Christians and members of all organized religions: perhaps it’s better if sexuality is dealt by psychologists and sexologists and not by priests or pastors. I believe it’s time for all organized religions to review what they have learned about sex so far and rethink it all under the light of all these failures. Perhaps sexual orientation should not be tampered with, as Mr. Haggard or Mr. Foley tried to do for so long. Sexual orientation should not be hidden behind sermons and verses but admitted and accepted openly. By trying to control such a powerful –and not necessarily sinful—energy, what we get is social schizophrenia, lies and deception. It’s good for Mr. Haggard to admit its sins and failures, but it will be better whenever he comes out and says what we should all expect him to say: “I failed because I tried to be someone I am not”. All Christians struggling with sexual orientation should come out of the closet and fight for their rights to be who they really are.

Posted by: Juan at November 6, 2006

Thank you for your comments and prayers for Ted Haggard. My wife and I are keeping him in our minds and hearts encouraging others to pray for him too.


Long before my wife and I met each other, we had both heard and met Ted Haggard. I heard him speak in our country (New Zealand) and my wife visited the New Life Church in Colorado Springs when she was training with YWAM there.


We both feel that it is not our role to judge Ted: it is but by God's grace that we go about our lives, and, as you say, we all stand on even ground with Ted before the cross.


We join with you and pray for Ted and his family and for our Lord's Church in the USA. We ask in the Name of Jesus Christ that this will somehow turn into an exercise of God's grace and a revelation of His divine action in your country.

 


Posted by: Matt at November 6, 2006

A few months or maybe a few years ago I would have been screaming about another Christian leader going astray.
I will say now it is so easy to stray when we take our eyes off Jesus and try to fulfill our own desires. The easiest thing to do is to get caught up in pornography. It is so subtle that we sometimes don't even realize it.
Please remember that even though we are in high positions it does not mean we need to not just be saved but we need to "repent" and turn from wicked ways.
I realized one day that Satan is the perfect evil and will temp us. However we are responsible for our own actions.

Thanks

Edward

Posted by: Edward at November 6, 2006

"But the result is that we are now part of an evangelical movement that is greatly compromised….identified in the eyes of the public as deep in the hip pockets of the Republican party and administration. My own belief? Our movement has been used. There are hints that the movement—once cobbled together by Billy Graham and Harold Ockenga—is beginning to fragment because it is more identified by a political agenda that seems to be failing and less identified by a commitment to Jesus and his kingdom. Like it or not, we are pictured as those who support war, torture, and a go-it-alone (bullying) posture in international relationships."

Nicely observation, that!

Posted by: Riley at November 6, 2006

I cannot tell you how heartsick I was when I heard the story break early on Friday morning. I was near tears because I knew how devastating this was to his ministry of over 25 years, his marriage and family, and the Kingdom of God as a whole.

As Christians, we should all realize that we have sinful natures. Yes, even Pastors! We need to die to self daily...and ask God for forgiveness for our sins that we commit. Why do we feel like we need to rank sin? Why are these sins that Pastor Ted committed put on a pedestal? As if the sins that we commit in our own lives aren't seen by God in the same fashion? Someone's post a few below really repulsed me. "I'm a 40 year old man who has never seen a prostitute....I wouldn't even know how to go about getting drugs." What about the lies that you tell? What about the "angry outbursts" and "lustful thoughts" that you admit to having? Those are seen just as disgracefully as Pastor Ted's acts.

Honestly, it is NOT your place to judge him. God will judge him. The consequences that he is facing now and will continue to face are greater than anything you could say to demean him. He has lost more than I could imagine. I can't imagine being in ministry for over 25 years just to have it gone in an instant. He has lost the credibility of his flock and beyond. More importantly, the face of Jesus Christ and the Kindgom of God is being smeared. This grieves me.

Pastor Ted - I am praying for you and your family. I pray restoration in your life, both personally and ministarily. May the peace of Jesus blanket you and your family.

Posted by: Jen - age 26 at November 6, 2006

One more quick comment: I am of the opinion that the Church today is not preaching Holiness and how to achieve it.
The only answer to sin and it consequences is the power of the Holy Spirit consuming us.

A sinner saved by grace and trying to achieve Christ likeness. It may be unattainable in this body of flesh but it doesn't mean we can't keep trying every day.

Pray for those who fall and let The Lord sort out the other stuff.

Edward

Posted by: Edward at November 6, 2006

Things haven't changed much; power still corrupts. I agree that perhaps the evangelical empire is crumbling. That's okay; I don't think Jesus was ever into that kind of empire-building, anyway. His upside-down "kingdom" is about serving, loving outcasts, including Ted Haggard.

Posted by: Rebecca at November 6, 2006

[quote]The church doesn’t value character, it values personality, just like the rest of society. Disgusting.[/quote]

A part of me wants to disagree with this statement wholeheartedly. But another part of me realizes that this statement identifies a major crisis in the American Church as a whole. The American Church needs to understand that character matters more now than ever before. Character must be more than a clever T-shirt or a shiny 3-part-teaching series... it MUST be a continual commitment to what we are called to be - The Bride of Christ.

Posted by: Michael McLaughlin at November 6, 2006

"But then all sin begins with lies told to oneself. The cardinal lies of a failed leader? I give and give and give in this position; I deserve special privileges—perhaps even the privilege of living above the rules. Or, I have enough charm and enough smooth words that I can talk anything (even my innocence) into reality. Or, so much of my life is lived above the line of holiness that I can be excused this one little faux pas. Or, I have done so much for these people; now it’s their time to do something for me—like forgiving me and giving a second chance."

That's exactly the point. I loved your article. While it was long when trying to read quickly, it really points out a lot of the issues....the quoted paragraph being one of the main things we sex-addicts do to justify why it's OK.

Thanks,

W

Posted by: West at November 6, 2006

Yong TM-

It isn't impossible to find real leaders of integrity--but you probably won't see them on television.

Haggard is a representative of evangelicals because so many evangelicals watched him, gave to the ministries he led, went to his church. If you're disappointed with Ted Haggard, the first thing you can do is stop watching religious television, going to megachurches, and voting with the "religious right" bloc.

And it's absurd to say the "REAL" sin of Haggard's was this or that--I'm sure there were many sins, of deception, drug use, infidelity, pride, judgmentalism, sexual immorality. (Even if you think homosexuality is okay, cheating on your wife with a prostitute, male or female, can't be anyone's definition of morality.)

Posted by: Nathan Woodward at November 6, 2006

When Jesus was speaking to the woman adulterer, he told her to go and sin no more. He told us to be perfect as he is. Yes we are sinners when he first finds us, but then we are to be the light and salt and overcomers of satan and the flesh. We are to strive to take every thought captive and with the help of the Holy Spirit we can overcome our old nature. I think this is a tremendous tragedy for Jesus Christ and I am sorry for Him. His Power is great and can transform us into his likeness. I believe that. These leaders look no different than the world, and I think that is sad.

Posted by: Esther at November 6, 2006

It looks to me like the only true Christians among us are the Amish. I was deeply touched by the dignity and grace with which they handled their horrific moment in the spotlight.

Mr. MacDonald's comments were well taken.

Posted by: Lee Johnson at November 6, 2006

Dear Gordon: Having read and enjoyed some time ago your two books "Ordering..." and "Restoring..." I believe you advice in this sad situation is very valuable and should be heeded. But your profound and ruthless analysis of the many errors of the American Evangelical church surrounding this period of mad infatuation with GWB is greatly appreciated by your brothers and sisters all over the world who have been trying to tell you this for some time with no response. One of the great virtues of the American people is reappearing - to criticize yourself, even if it hurts. Help us find again American Christians to admire in their unswerving commitment to truth and the Kingdom after being disillusioned with so many who have followed the crowd, popularity, and money identifying Caesar with God.

Posted by: Alejandro Field at November 6, 2006

As a devout liberal and a gay male in a long-term committed relationship, it was so easy for me to gloat for a while,and say "And it's people like me they love to call depraved and a sinner... hah hah!".
But if I am to be true to my own spiritual beliefs, then I must remember Jesus's teaching in "A Course In Miracles" that all attack is merely a cry for help. So for me to laugh at this poor man's misfortune is to attack him and that would merely be a cry for help on my own part.
But this man did happen to make quite a living out of attacking people like me.
So perhaps it is time for me to start asking the evangelical community to please try to understand
that there are people in our society with whom you do not agree. Our views may be antithetical to yours, but that does not mean that we are necessarily the "wicked and the damned" just because we think differently. Do you think that it is possible that we are also God's beloved kids, trying to do our best, and live our own lives according to our own consciences.
I also must have compassion for Ted Haggard: he also is one of God's kids, trying to do the best he can do on a daily basis.
Perhaps this might be a good time for, say, Evangelicals and say, gays, or Liberals, to stop this war of hatred against each other in God's name and maybe try a little mutual understanding.
Isn't there enough hatred and cruelty in the world already?

God Bless,
jimmy

Posted by: Jimmy at November 6, 2006

In the words of a wise woman, "I do not concern myself with things that are too wonderful for me to understand."

Posted by: Art at November 6, 2006

We are, above all, sinners in the hands of an angry God, are we not? Hands that are pierced and bleeding. If forgiveness is asked and repentance is forthcoming, we have no choice but to forgive.

Had I made the rules, it would not be so. So, I thank God that He made the decisions and not I, for I would have no hope.

Ted Haggard has fallen; he can get back up and back on the path of Christ, if he chooses. This is just as all Christians have a choice to do whenever they sin, or find themselves in a life of sin. Though we know better most certainly, sometimes we succumb to the temptations of Satan. Thankfully, God has made it so that we are not forever condemned if we do. If we repent and return to Him, He is faithful to forgive us.

I pray that is the case with Ted Haggard. I pray for his family. I cannot imagine putting my family through such an ordeal, but there, but for the grace of God, go I, I'm sure.

Posted by: Dee at November 6, 2006

A few months ago my 19 year old son said that the thing that bothers him about Christianity in America today is the amount of emphasis that is put on what a handful of media savvy evangelists have to say. He went on to reflect that he would not listen to anybody preach to him who he did not have a relationship with because it is not what the person says, but does, that is important. What a concept.
Also, I agree with the writer who stated that many people are struggling with tragedies daily. Some of their own doing. Some through the doing of others. Ted Haggard is not the only one who may not be able to sleep well tonight.
It is good for us all to remember what power can do to warp the mind of any man or woman. As Pogo said, " We have met the enemy, and he is us ".


Posted by: marianne Miller at November 6, 2006

Thank you Gordon for a very moving and thoughtful essay and prayer. I consider myself a disciple of Jesus, but not a Christian because I don't accept parts of orthodox Christian theology and particularly parts of the Gospel of John which I think misrepresent Jesus' teachings. I also feel little kinship with the political and entertainment church refered to herein by others.
I wonder if Gordon's thoughts and most of your other posts really represent evangelical mainstream? If so, I need to open my mind and heart to what I have usually considered a judgemental and mean-spirited religious movement that ignores the spirit of Jesus' teaching to love one's neighbor as himself (especially the poor and the despised) and instead emphasizes very selfish things- personal salvation, personal purity, personal riches and power in this life. I do not think I am alone in viewing envangelicals in this light. Gordon's writing and your replies have made me reconsider.
Like all of us, Ted Haggard was a flawed creature whom we can forgive, and love for his many positive contributions. I am from Colorado Springs and only wish that he (and other prominent evangelicals) exbited more of the compassion and heterodox wisdom of Jesus.
Doug

Posted by: Doug at November 6, 2006

Amen! Well said.

Posted by: Micah Girl at November 6, 2006

Gordon

Thanks for your words. You captured well the feeling of dread that one feels when out in public. The fear of recognition and the shame that accompanies it. I agree that the last thing Ted and Gayle need to be thinking about is getting back into public ministry. It is a time for healing, reflection, restoration and a time for self care. You have a credibility in sharing of such matters that few have. I add my thanks for your gift of pastoring.

Posted by: Dave at November 6, 2006

Speaking as a Canadian evangelical, living near Toronto, (tho a former Scot, born quite young in Detroit)this was deeply touching-and realistic-comment on both the tragedy that is present in the North American evangelical movement, and the pressures that are placed on mega-church leaders. And let's remember it was a Sinless one, faced with the opportunity to judge sexual sin, who refused to throw the first stone.
The comments regarding, the ownership of the Envangelical movement by the Republicans were timely and quite brilliant. Sadly, in the face of wide-spread spiritual hunger,we have now largely lost the right to speak for the Kingdom or the Prince of Peace. For real insight on this subject I recommend your readers get a copy of Greg. Boyd's latest book "The Myth of a Christian Nation." It says it all.
God Bless America.
Dave Todd, Oakville, Ontario, Canada.

Posted by: DAVID TODD at November 6, 2006

Politics and religion are great bed fellows. The two together make promises they neither intend to or can keep by their own power. This country and it's people are infatuated with the "stars" and their great swelling words and the phony images they want to portray. In reality we are like the animals driven by our passions and emotions.The only thing that sets us apart is that we have the ability to cover up the animal with the cloaks of righteousness further deceiving ourselves and others, for it is our own righteousness that we want to show forth and when the cloak is pulled down the truth is revealed.I am sickened by "christianity","democrates","republicans", and yes the"stars" however they may be. "There is none righteous no NOT one!" least of all me.

Posted by: gary at November 6, 2006

I am amazed at how many different ways people view the same event. I agree that at least one lesson in this is that the worst that is done by any of us is capable by all of us.
This family needs our prayers and compassion. Galatians 6:1 is key here. We need to pray for restoration and that as God determines, and we must do so gently and humbly lest we also be tempted and have our own day in the spotlight.


Posted by: Gary Johnson at November 6, 2006

To Yong TM,

I think you are correct when you say that the Lord's favor is moving to the east from the west. I am afraid that we in the US are living in the "Laodician" church. We are rich in worldly things; but poor, naked, and blind in spiritual matters.

God help us.


Posted by: Pat at November 6, 2006

I am so sorry for the Haggard Families, both bilogical and christian families. We are all only human and make mistakes and sin against God. He will come back and be a much stronger man for the Lord. We must continue to remember all of them in prayer. God will forgive and so should we. I am praying, Claudia Bailey

Posted by: Claudia Bailey at November 6, 2006

I believe we Christians have been to busy
lately, trying to tell the "world" how to
live perhaps we should look to our own house
and leave God to judge those outside the
church as it says in 1 Cor 5:9-12.

Posted by: M J Spaulding at November 6, 2006

Incredible damage is done to the church when leaders like Ted Haggard say one thing and do another. Being married to a Jehovah's Witness, I know that each and every time this kind of behaviour surfaces, thousands give up on traditional Christianity and move toward religions like the Watchtower.

He has done incredible damage not only to his, but to others hopes of bringing cult members to Christ.

Posted by: Jim at November 6, 2006

Personal responsibility aside, there is a much deeper root to what ultimately led to Haggard's fall that can be found in the way we western evangelicals are doing church. "For him who has ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the church." Much more than mere coincidental irony that led to this happening to the leader of the NAE, to my way of thinking.

Posted by: J.W. at November 6, 2006

Psalm 46:1
God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.


Posted by: George E Gilmore at November 6, 2006

I have to point the finger at myself. Not for Ted Haggards shortcomings, but my own. The Bible instructs me to work out my own Salvation with fear and trembling, and in doing so, take on Christ's nature as I die to my own desires. Humility in my humanity is a most difficult place to be, a most lonely, even seemingly helpless condition. But in humility (seeing myself as I really am, and getting to the end of "me"), only then will I be acceptable to The Lord. He will raise me up, and I will live IF I accept His forgiveness. Sin, on the other hand, is a guranteed death sentence. If there were no sin, Jesus would have never had to die. A reminder to me...of where the center of Christianity is and always has been. Christ and Him Crucified. Maybe my own self-serving mega American mentallity needs to take a back seat for a while..or better yet, maybe it needs to die.

Posted by: Frank S at November 6, 2006

Thankyou for your article. God dealt with David's sin. Did God remove King David from leadership?

Posted by: AP Allen at November 6, 2006

I worry that fundamentalist, conservative Christians will look at this scenario and see the homosexuality aspect as being the sin. The "temptation" caused by the devil. But this man betrayed his family and went outside his marriage to seek sex from a prostitute and to take illegal drugs. Meanwhile, many homosexual couples only seek to sanctify their commitment to each other through marriage. Many gay couples have children and want their children to grow up in a loving, protective, legal family unit. How does denying them this right help heterosexual marriages and how does allowing them to marry hurt us? My hope is that this tragedy will lead to more tolerance and understanding of the many homosexual people amongst us who are loving, honest, raising their families and contributing to their communities. It would not make any sense to demonize the gay community for what Ted Haggard did.

Posted by: Jill at November 6, 2006

Preacher, you sure seem to have alot of compassion for Haggard but where was that compassion back in 98 for Clinton? You're still a tin-eared hypocrite.

Posted by: Ô¿Ô at November 6, 2006

I am saddened by this tragic event, but I am also humbled. I am humbled, because I too am sinner saved by grace. My sins are not exposed for the whole world to see, but God see's.
Have we forgotten that he sees, and hears us. That he knows our very thoughts, yet I still seem to want to do the opposite of what God states in his word. Paul mentions this, I do what I don't want to do, I don't do what I am suppose to do.
Holiness, sin, moral courage, the cost of discipleship are no longer preached on Sundays because they will not keep the Sunday services full, this is a shame because this is not what God has called pastors or the church to do.
Yet Billy Graham has preached the same message for 60 years, and many have come to know Christ. It had nothing to do with this personality, looks or eloquent speech. I am just as disappointed with my self. I have allowed myself over the years to compromise what the Bible says about sin and holiness in my own life. We go to church on Sunday, pray for the lost, and Sunday night we are watching desperate housewives? Is this the Christianity that Paul and Peter wrote about? The American church has lost its purpose, we want to be entertained with quick sermons in Powerpoint and video, Latte in the church lobby, and exercise classes during the week. What ever happened to commitment, sacrifice, discipleship, holiness, prayer without ceasing, love God with all your heart and mind. Love and prayer for others. The Fruit of Spirit. I need to slow down and priortize my time, the importance of spending time alone with God. All these things listed above I am guilty of. With the help of God's Holyspirt, I too must repent along with Ted Haggard.


Posted by: GS at November 6, 2006

Gordon,

I think this is the best thing I've read about Ted.

Thank you.

Posted by: Steve at November 7, 2006

I disagree with Yong TM's comments when he said " From Asia, we are already observing that the Lord's favour maybe moving east........"

I am a Christian from Malaysia and the majority of people here will say that the moral standard of Christian leaders in Malaysia or Singapore is not higher than that found in the West. I am sure we also have our own scandals but it is just that it is easier not to get caught here.

 

 

Posted by: charles ng at November 7, 2006

It is disgusting in some ways: to see Haggard still desperate in the days after the story broke, lying about his sin, deciding to hold an impromptu press conference in front of his wife and kids.

It is heartbreaking to think what his family will go through as he deals with inner demons.

And at the same time I will be thrilled if this is the event that starts to crack the evangelical fascination with political power. The finger-wagging judgmentalism that we continue to practice in elections and marches is leaving the entire evangelical community looking like hypocritical, narrow-minded bores.

Wouldn't it have been nice if evangelicals had spent the last five years pushing for a minimum wage increase to help millions of working poor, instead of being offended by the handful of people who sought a gay marriage? Especially when some opponents of gay marriage (Foley, Haggard) were doing the same things they wanted others to stop.

Haggard was a man whose pride can be seen on tape and in print. He once told a reporter that "we can sway any election from now on." God has allowed that pride to take him down. I can forgive Haggard but also wish that he never return to ministry, and instead hope that humble men return to the pulpit -- men who are less political and charismatic but whose hearts are pure.

Rick

Posted by: Rick at November 7, 2006

Once again, we would all do well to remember that even the most articulate and elevated among us, is afterall a mere mortal.
What God brings of all this confusion remains to be seen. We, ourselves are called to forgive those who stumble and keep our hearts humbled.

Posted by: Vince at November 7, 2006

Wait a minute...! Everyone is "so sad.."about Rev. Haggard failings. Try googling "Haggard +
Hogan". His failings began long before the knowledge of his sex and drug capers, which were simply manifestations; and probably did more harm to his followers. Do you really believe the Holy Spirit told him to allow the things that came out of his pulpit to be preached there? Yes, he is a liar and deceiver and, then there is the problem of drugs and sexuality. There is nothing wrong with forgiving, we are commanded to do that, but don't we even know a true Christian when we see one? Or, do we believe every spirit that comes along professing to be one? It one thing for someone to profess to be a struggling Christian, it is altogether a different story for that person to profess to be a leader in/of Christian community.

The problem is that so many so-called Christians and Christian leaders do not want to do what the Lord has called them to do, before acknowledging Christ as Lord. It is not "thy will be done", but my will be done with Your help Lord.

Feed the hungry, clothed the naked, care for the poor and preach the gospel. Strive to overcome the world, the flesh and the devil while doing these things and give thanks to God always. Rely on Him alone and let all see your light and be drawn to it. Why are these people appealing to and courted earthly and material powers? Is there no wisdom in the Lord's church?

Posted by: Frederic Thompson at November 7, 2006

Evangelism makes little sense to begin with. They rail on and on about sin's everybody commits, or wants too. There I said it.

The current evengelical church is more concerned with gay marriage, than they are drug use, rape or murder. Make no mistake, if Ted Haggard had shared his meth with his wife he'd still be pastor today.

I don't really feel sorry for Haggard, I mean he helped mold his judgmental congregation. They have done unto him as he has showed them. I think he will be fine now. I think he and his family will, as a result of this turn the corner onto a more HONEST and realistic life.

It's his congregation and "supporters" I worry about. As a gay person myself, I feel like the whole gay/christian situation has drastically changed.

See, gay people used to be angry about their sexual desires and lie about them because we were ashamed. We were big phonies, pretending to be someone we were not.. Now, the majority of gay people can be gay openly and it's not such a big deal. It's not so "vile and disgusting" anymore, primarily because were no longer charging against it constantly. In a nutshell, were cool now. The judgment and the condemnation we placed on ourselves is gone and a breath of fresh air replaces it. It's amazing.

Then I see some of these evengelicals here in America. They teach you to deny your humanity. Your sexuality? It's vile and disgusting. Avoiding immorality is the sole purpose in life.

So, ole Haggard comes along and shocks the hell out of them. He says to them - what? What did you really expect? Perfection.

I guess it is his fault, for did he ever teach understanding? If my post makes you mad, or you think i'm an evil wicked sinner, then great. At least I'm being real.

Posted by: Robert Timsah at November 7, 2006

Until Christians acknowledge that human behavior is an interaction between spiritual, biological, environmental, and psychological forces,we will not be taken seriously by many individuals. I am a health care professional and work in a practice with 8 other professionals. I can honestly say that they are not even close to accepting evangelical Christianity, and are disgusted with the link between politics and religion in America and the narrow view of many Christians as to the cause of human behavior.

My father was a missionary and pastor for all of his life in a very conservative denomination. He was seen by his peers as the epitome of humility and Christ likeness, but inside had anxiety and obsessive compulsive features that almost destroyed my mother emotionally. He was very resistant to seeking "non-spiritual" help because he thought his problem was a result of sin. It wasn't until he was in his 60s that he finally agreed to be placed on medication with significant improvement in his ability to function as a father and leader. Biology plays at least a partial role in most of our behaviors, and not to acknowledge this will continue to result in our trying to find spiritual explanations for behaviors that are predicated on natural laws. We will also come up with elaborate but incomplete explanations as to the cause of Ted Haggard's behavior.

Posted by: Allan at November 7, 2006

He talks of evil urges. Sounds like self hatred to me. You must be a peace with who you naturally are.

Posted by: robert McGrath at November 7, 2006

Thanks for the well stated article GM, I remember 20 yrs. ago praying for you. Now I will pray for TH and his family. I am no stranger to sin either, so this is what I have to say after reading some of the disheartening comments (though there were some great ones too): 1) But for the grace of God, there go I. 2) He who is without sin, cast the first stone - stated by Jesus. 3) If it were not for the Grace of God, all hope of forgiveness and restoration would be lost forever to all.

Posted by: Desiree Carreiro at November 7, 2006

We evengelicals it seems are incorrigeably "pedestal-oriented". We need to erect our "plaster saints", place them in the limelight and bow and scrape before them. We are Baal-worshippers rather than worshippers of God and disciples of Jesus Christ. I valuie the comments of the poster who said that God allows the church to parade its "sages on stages" for a time, later to bring them down (either to utter ruin as in the case of Saul, or to a saving awareness of their own bankruptcy) and to plunge his people into a mood of salutory self-examination.

Maybe this moment of un-deception in the life of Ted Haggard has been the most poignant, most truthful, most truly God-centred moment in his entire life and ministry, if he remains within this spirit of undeception.

Maye the days of a certain kind of evangelicalism are numbered, and events like these are hastening their end: the mega-church paradigm, the hand-swaying, music-induced but often mindless euphoria in which there is so much that is frankly pagan. If you are into "high-octane" Christianity, rather than the "long obedience in the same direction", it is propbably because you want the "octane" more than the Christianity. And when the latter ceases to "deliver", you find your octane elsewhere.

This could turn out to be a healing moment, not only for Ted Haggard through the painful confrontation with the truth about his human frailty, but for the evangelical movement as a whole. If each of us is frank and honest about ourselves, rather than reaching for the nearest stone to hurl, then we will find ourselves, maybe for the first time, coming face to face with the One who refused to condemn but offered forgiveness, grace, healing. When he told those who were without sin to throw the first stone he was actually offering forgiveness to them to, but they left because they didn't want it. Let us, angry and indignant though we might feel, not make the same mistake.

Posted by: Roger at November 7, 2006

Ted Haggard's story is a genuine proof that evangelical as it stands in these days and age is untenable and irrelevant for a dying world. What are the doctrines or the "propositional truths" he and the rest of 'evangelical' 'born again' hypocrites leaders stand for? These we must understand and reflect on how they lead to such moral tragedies and conclude with reason that we must calmly fight against those so called 'evangelical doctrines.'

Posted by: Gnemt at November 7, 2006

I pray for this man and his family, may the Lord use this to heal, deliver and truly bring him into His glory - God is able. Before you judge MARK 9:49-50 "...everybody will be salted with fire..." Yes, He is cleaning us up, all of us! Let His fire, His rod be in our midst. The church needs to wake up politically. It is not what we do, but who we are? We have to return to Jesus alone, the way we organise church and ministries are not reflecting Jesus. Get back to Jesus, even if you have to separate yourself till you know you are in rightstanding before Him, get alone with the King and face yourself. Love

Posted by: Anne at November 7, 2006

Dear Gordon,

Thanks for the insights. I heard Ted in 2004 when we attended the Global Pastors Network in Orlando. He's a powerful preacher! But after knowing the news, I cried. Yes i agree with your observations but where are the godly people around him? Did anyone noticed or discern his problem? Accountability!

Posted by: ojie at November 7, 2006

Dear Gordon,
I was very happy to read this article. I haven't heard from you for years, but from your article I saw a thoughtful, humble and sincere reflection on what it means to fall from the limelight and the dangers of arrogance and quick fixes. God bless you.
Your old seminary friend,
Barbara Burns

Posted by: Barbara Burns at November 7, 2006

Thank you for this thoughtfull and sensible article Gordon. Yes, as a swiss evangelical christian I can only confirm what you are saying here: "And I might add that there is considerable disillusionment on the part of many of our Christian brothers/sisters in other countries who are mystified as to where American evangelicals are in all of this". It's encouraging however to see that not everyone is blinded by the constantinist shift among so many US evangelicals.

Posted by: Thomas Gyger at November 7, 2006

Ted isn't a hypocrite. Ted lived in a prison of guilt - I know. Been there, done that. And guilt becomes a vicious cycle that feeds on itself. And the bible is quite clear that God's measure is perfection - "be ye perfect, as I am perfect" - which God, of all, uh, "people", knows is unattainable. Sadly, our churches have adopted that same standard of perfection when, of all places, churches should be places where we can be imperfect. The "higher" we raise someone, the more we're expecting them to achieve that perfection - which is ridiculous.

I believe God's compassion and mercy is based on our imperfection just as we as fathers know that our kids will mess up. This doesn't mean we stop loving them, or exclude them from our family. If anything, God knows our and other's shortcomings even better than we do.

From comments I've read here, everyone sees this as a call back to "holiness". I think it's rather a call to stop putting unrealistic expectations on people. And when those expectations start to be more tolerant and grace-giving, then people like Ted will no longer feel the need to have a closet existence.

Posted by: mike rucker at November 7, 2006

So what is the surprise here? Why is anyone agonizing? Haggard knew what he was doing. And, his wife knew something--let's not be so myopic. This is not a crisis for the church, only a crisis for those who think that by "Evangelical" they somehow rose above other churches in stature and biblical innerrancy. There is no news in the realizations on this blog that we are evil. Welcome home to reality. Now Redemption begins.

Posted by: Chaplain Bill McCoy at November 7, 2006

Gordon,
I always appreciate your writing. This is a perspective that we all need to read. Jesus is our faithful friend; He is always there for us. Yet we can never underestimate the damage that we do to the body of Christ and our ability to minister by falling into a sin like this. While we all have that "herd of wild horses" racing within us, we must humbly and decisively say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passion by the power of the spirit on a daily basis if we are to live resilient lives.
Thanks.

Posted by: Pat Sieler at November 7, 2006

This was a refreshing article of truth, said in love, full of grace, wisdom and mercy - just like Our Father.

Thank you. You have put into words what's been in my own heart this week. I am agreeing with your prayers for the Haggards, their church, and the body of Christ in America, and at large.


Posted by: Karla Neese at November 7, 2006

As I read this article, I couldn't help but also weep for the Haggard family. How the mighty have fallen is certainly true enough, but the compassion for the consequences of sin manifested (which happens to all of us) is hard to watch. I will continue to pray for the Haggard family and be humbled by the secret sins I fight in my own life. Yes, I'm angry, too. What evangelical wouldn't be as this, unfortunately and unfairly, will serve to characterize us all. For that, I also agree with comments made regarding leadership of the NAE. Perhaps this will pose change in how Christian leaders are chosen. Again, I agree that there is doubt the NAE will ever truly recover for this. What a wake for the next one to come along, but I still believe the Word: With God all things are possible.
Carol
Florida

Posted by: Carol at November 7, 2006

Sobering indeed. Thank you for your thoughts. I am refreshed to look to the "higher road" beyond this. Jesus is coming again soon - and His adversary is agressively on the attack. I must be vigilant and pray. As humans, we are so vulnerable to seduction of many kinds. Sobering indeed... Guarding my heart, Sherri

Posted by: Sherri Buckel at November 7, 2006

I have read the article and the kind comments tow ard this sad event of Ted Haggard gay christian life.I to think his hardest days ahead will come when the christian community starts to deal with him and family. when the media has gone away.
I have noticed ovwer the years that the christian community does the christian thing when the event is only a week or so old and the media is present. We speak of love and forgiveness but when it comes down to reality- Mr Haggard's roughest days are when the christian leaders and friends walk away for good. Starting with internal fights on his restortation - when some don't get the way they think it should be - they walk away speaking negative and the pain goes deeper in Mr. Haggard and his family members.
He may want to walk away now and get professional help outside his christian peer group. Make sure the ones he goes to are under legal policy of "no talk"
The Haggard family needs more prayer now that the media is going away- the christian killers are on their way to them. Please pray for God to protect them from the only army that killers their wound.

Posted by: Ryan at November 7, 2006

The gifts of God are never a substitute for a holy life. When our life is out of balance in terms of family, relationships, family, character etc we should be removed or limited in terms of public ministry. Our Culture rules public "Christianity"
in America. Power, Pride, Money and Popular opinion are dictating our theology and our lifestyles. As someone ministering to people from all over the world I stick with the Bible and try to avoid references to politics or public media ministries. I counsel all new believers to avoid media ministries although there are a few good ministries, the majority preach an AMERICAN gospel far removed from the word of God.

Posted by: Jim Mather at November 7, 2006

One of the biggest problems we face in our world is that we expect our Christian leaders not only to act like Jesus...but to be Jesus-PERFECT. Anyone who has posted anything that judges this man(who is not God,only HIS child)will too be judged by the same measure. I have read that Mr. Haggard was a closet homosexual, that he had too much pressure on him, that he's "screwed up" what people think of christians and churches. PLEASE stop! God allowed him to be in the position he was in and God ultimately knew he would choose sin. Our prayer should be that God would be honored even in this, and that people would come to know His Son Jesus even in this!
PERIOD! Let go of bashing Mr Haggard, our government, politics, and even homomsexuals! They are ALL SINFUL, just like us, and need our prayers! To God Be The Glory!

Posted by: Molly at November 7, 2006

I grieve the negative influence that we all have when it comes to our committment to the Lord Jesus Christ. I really appreciate the candid words of Gordon and I too pray for Ted and his family be able to truly trust the Lord in their broken lives. All of us need to seriously look at those areas in our lives where Satan slyly moves in to destroy our intimacy w/Jesus and how that affects everyone around us.

Posted by: Pam MacArthur at November 7, 2006

Great article. Sad events. I have never been a fan of the religious right although I am a committed Christ follower and pastor. My first reaction to the Haggard issue was one of pride. Then I thought about my life. What if everything I have thought, looked at and even engaged in was brought to light. Who would I embarrass? Yes, I strive for holiness and purity but as the Psalmist and others before me I sometimes trip and have to fall back on the throne of grace. I'm praying for the Haggard family. As U2 once said, grace is the thought that moves the world.

Posted by: John Liotti at November 7, 2006

The Assassin Within. Powerful cautionary reference. He/She/It lurks within us all. A designer conspiracy tailored around our weakest strands of character. Conspirators, lead by the enemy of our souls, waits patiently. Best set in an evironment of power, especially if undiscerning sheep are numerous and fawning. First power, very acceptable. Then greed, more subtle, but every leader "deserves" this and that,having earned it by skills; oh, and the "graciousness of (a discerning) God". Then the sexual lust...POW! Fame and fortune is an aphrodisiac not limited to political scene or Hollywood set. The assassin waits in the bushes, still and silent with the remote…until the I.E.D. goes off—emphasis on the very loud “E”—blinding, deafening, hurting those closest to the target.
Dear Jesus who knew no sin, keep me pure in my private life, give me only so much power, money, and sexual temptation as I can withstand—and I know you know what I am talking about—by relying on your enabling godliness.


Posted by: Gary at November 7, 2006

I am a pastor who has a dark side that would humiliate me if it got out. What am I to do? Resign... I do not want to bring disgrace to God and do damage to his kingdom. I do not accept my dark side. I confess it. I try to live a pure life. And yet that dark side shows its ugly head periodically. It is unfortunate that I cannot be honest about my dark side. The congregation would not allow it. Sure, I can confess "petty" sins but wouldn't dare reveal the truth of my struggles.

There is a larger issue here. Perhaps the way we 'do' church prevents any of us from being honest. I fear that Satan holds all of us captive because, though we worship a God of grace and truth, we hide from one another. We sew fig leaves and live in the bushes, only exposing that part of us that is presentable.

Yes, I am looking for a close friend who I can be in a 'grace and truth' relationship with. Not easy to find.

Posted by: Alan at November 7, 2006

The problem is no men--no elders in the church.

Anyone notice that an 'outside' 'independent' group of 4 men from other mega-churches did Haggard's discipline? Where was the accountability in New Life regarding Haggard? New Life has 14,000 members!!! Where were those elders all along? Haggard himself was credited with setting up bylaws that gives oversight to an 'outside board' in such matters. Where were/are the New Life's elders???? The 'independent' discipliners are Haggard's 'life-long' mega-cronies from other churches...no doubt, chosen by himself--to oversee himself?

This 'symptom' of Haggard's homosexual escapades is a direct result of lack of biblical FUNCTIONING elders in the modern day church. Where are the men?

And Haggard's 'recovery' has been placed in the 'independent' hands of James Dobson, Jack Hayford, and Tommy Barnett--all mega-stars in their own realm.

Again...where are the elders at New Life in the 'treatment' and 'recovery' of Haggard.

What a sham...can't wait for Haggard's next sure to come book (anyone hear of a homosexual former governor of N. Jersey...)

Posted by: Gerl at November 9, 2006

Susan Howatch's series of books about Anglican clergy (beginning with Glittering Images) explores the inner lives of those in professional ministry, and how they struggle to love others and obey God, while they continue in their roles. Has anyone read this series, and relate to these characters? They're pretty multi-dimensional.

Posted by: michelle at November 9, 2006

This whole thing is really ... ehm ... scary. I think its about time the church really started praying for her leaders, and everyone who stands to minister in one way or the other.

'Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour' 1st Pet 5:8.

For the first time, i now see the reality of this verse.

My heart bleeds for Ted, and his family. I pray that he can forgive himself, even after God has forgiven him.

Posted by: Oma at November 9, 2006

In a recent article in the Minneapolis StarTribune (you can view it online at www.startribune.com), we read the following regarding the Ted Haggard scandal:

Richard Cizik (NAE executive): "This is not an institutional tragedy; it's a personal tragedy...I just don't see it having a long-term impact, and that's the reaction I've gotten in hundreds of phone calls."

Leith Anderson (NAE interim president): "I think we're going to be OK...Understand, we have 45,000 member churches and 44,999 of those have stable, faithful leaders."

Based on reasons that Gordon has addressed in his article, I disagree with Cizik's statement. However, I can at least acknowledge the possibility (ever so slight in my opinion) that Cizik may be right and there will be no long-term implications for the NAE. However, Anderson's statement is another matter.

Anderson would have us believe that every other leader in the NAE (all 44,999 of them) is stable and faithful. That's absurd! Who in their right mind would believe that there are not other leaders who are currently fighting a dark side in their lives that threatens to take them down? If Anderson really believes this, than the NAE is really in trouble. Let's hope his statement is simply a failed attempt at some savvy PR.

Posted by: Dan at November 10, 2006

Thanks Jimmy for your kind post. It's the first one I've seen like that in many of the articles I've been reading. Jesus loves you as much as any of us. I'll pray for you and for a more compassionate body of Christ. This article was excellent in so many ways. I'm a member at New Life and have known Ted for years. This was a hard week, but God is good and exposed the deception taking place. He has shown me so many things this week, but especially to be compassionate and not to judge. We are all praying for the Haggard family and I am especially praying for unity in our country. We can't help anyone if we judge without listening -we should speak the truth in love. If we just go around condemning people when we ourselves are sinners, why should anyone listen to us? With God's help, we as a country have to figure out how to be the United States of America, not the red and blue states. God bless you all.

Posted by: Angel at November 10, 2006

It saddened both my wife and I to see the fall of another great man of God. But for the grace of God go we. It is time for holiness and righteousness to be restored to His church. Unless we live and breathe II Chronicles 7:14 there is no hope for the church. His Bride is muddied and is in need of a fresh cleansing. Oh that we may become the Bride He is so longing to come back for: one without spot or blemish. Hallelujah! Let Revival Fires burn!

Posted by: James & Karen Kingma at November 10, 2006

There but for the grace of God go the rest of us! We need to be on the alert, for the devil would like to steal, kill and destroy every last Christian so that God will lose face and satan will win his battle against God. Let's not allow him to be the victor, he has nothing to offer us, but God offers us love and eternal life.

Posted by: Claire at November 10, 2006

Source of Article and Posts:
Out of Ur : http://blog.christianitytoday.com/outofur