Sunday, November 05, 2006

Thoughts on the Ted Haggard Situation

With Ted Haggard's confession being officially read at this mornings New Life services, we have now entered into the "wake," as it were, of this scandal. Before we continue to my comments, please be directed to the actual confession and press releases made publicly available:

  • Ted Haggard's Statement

  • Gayle Haggard's Letter

  • New Life Press Release

  • Latest CNN Article

  • Naturally, this incident is being likened back to the Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart scandals of the late 80's. It seems, at least so far, that this is less huge, for several reasons, but mainly because Haggard is not near as popular as either Bakker or Swaggart were. Here is a BBC news brief of the Swaggart situation to put it into perspective. No, this is a smaller thing.

    However, there certainly are some repercussions. I have met Haggard personally on one occasion. I have heard him speak on several occasions. I have read all of his early books. If you remember, I put his The Life Giving Church as 3rd on the most influential books in my life. I was accepted into the 24/7 discipleship program coming out of high school (I didn't end up going). Churches I am and have been a part of have done his "Loving Your City Into the Kingdom" projects and are members of the "Life Giving Network." Needless to say, there are not too many prominent ministry figures that could have fallen that I would have been more connected with (Perhaps Erwin McManus or Bill Hybels). Having said that, allow me to make a few statements about this incident.

    1. May We Maintain an Appropriate Response

    I think the 2 most common responses to this issue are to either say "Everyone sins; it is not a big deal," or "Crucify, crucify!" I think that both are unhealthy and inappropriate, and that the proper response is somewhere in the middle. This is very much a big deal, but we must hope and pray for forgiveness and restoration, rather than lifelong estrangement.

    2. Be Thankful for the New Life Accountability Board

    Not every church has the oversight that New Life does. That is one of the things Haggard stresses in his writings and that caught on more after he wrote about it. They have a very good accountability board that has and will continue to handle the situation well. One of the reasons Swaggart fell so hard is because he rejected the decision of the oversight committee. Haggard's best ally for his restoration and spiritual growth from this incident is the oversight team. It appears that they have done their job.

    3. He Seems Repentant

    Until I read his confession earlier, I was very concerned. Up to that point, Haggard had not seemed contrite and repentant. After reading his letter, however, it seems that he has become broken before God and has repented.

    4. May We, As Young Leaders, Get Our Lives in Order

    If there is one thing to take away from this, it is that we as young leaders must get our lives in order NOW. Do not put problems off, for they will catch up to you. "Your sin will find you out." These are not scare tactics. Rather, the battle is too important to lose anymore casualties like we have been. The Enemy will show no mercy. May we, as young men, draw a line in the sand and say that pornography and sexual addiction will stop with us. May we raise up a standard of purity that may be emulated. May we be the kinds of leaders that can and will change the world because our character is strong enough to handle the weight of our successes.


    Lori said...

    Good response Nick - seems like a very balanced approach. I experienced denial and great sadness as a result of these events. I went on the Colorado Springs Gazette page daily within the last two weeks and read the blogs attached to the articles regarding Ted Haggard. The hateful response to Ted Haggard angered me just as much as his sin did (how this will affect us as Christians and our witness).

    But, like you said, may we use this as a reason to pray for purity in our own hearts and lives. And lately, I've been praying against cynicism because it seems that many Christians are too cynical. Maybe this is reflection of the hypocrisy that we see within the church. But, our response should be action (in my opinion) and not griping about all the evils of the church.

    Bless you. Hope you had a great trip!

    Nick said...

    Good points, Lori. I think that critical thinking, when taken to an unhealthy place, can become cynicism. We need to guard against that, and check our own attitudes.

    Thanks for the comment.