Skip to comments.Ted Haggard: Tiger Woods Got Restored, Why Can't Christian Leaders?
Posted on 03/13/2011 8:33:53 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
In his third featured interview this year, former megachurch pastor Ted Haggard asks why it is so hard for the Church to live out its teachings on forgiveness and restoration, noting that the secular world is doing a better job at this than Christians.
"The differentiation between the Church and everybody else is that we should respond with restoration, healing, hope to people's sin condition, our sin condition. We're losing that right now," he argues in a new video interview with Lifetree Café, a Christian-based network of local discussion groups.
He expresses frustration over his observation that many celebrities including Martha Stewart, Michael Vick, Tiger Woods, David Letterman were restored by their secular organizations compared to Christian leaders, including himself, who do not receive restoration by the church.
Ted Haggard resigned as lead pastor of the 14,000 New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo., following a drug and sex scandal with a gay prostitute in 2006. His self-admitted "sexual immorality" also forced him to leave the presidential post of the National Association of Evangelicals.
Now, a pastor of St. James Church in Colorado Springs a new church he founded last year Haggard griped about the hypocrisy of the Christian church in his conversation with Lifetree.
"I saw Jimmy Swaggert, who's been living fine for 25 years now since his scandal, and the Church still hates him," highlights Haggard in the interview. "The Church only believes in forgiveness and restoration for insignificant people because we can market it."
"The NFL's doing a better job at it. CBS is doing a better job at it. KMART is doing a better job at it, he continues in his tirade. "Virtually every institution on earth is demonstrating that they are doing a better job at restoring people than the Church. And we're the only ones who market that we know how to do it. We are idiots. We are hypocrites."
What Haggard omits in his interview is that following the revelation of his scandal, the pastor did have a chance for recovery through a restoration program led by four ministers. Despite the overseers' indication that the recovery process could take years, Haggard reportedly quit 14 months into the program.
In a Feb. 2008 statement, New Life officials said "the process of restoring Ted Haggard is incomplete" and expressed their disapproval of his return to vocational ministry.
Following the publication of this article, St. James Church executive pastor Phil Chamberlin contacted The Christian Post to dispute the restorative nature of the program..
"It wasn't a restoration agreement. It was a 'get out of town' process," said Chamberlin, a former New Life Church member.
According to the "Restoration Agreement" obtained by The Christian Post on Wednesday, Haggard and his entire family were to "permanently relocate outside Colorado;" he was not to engage in ministry; and he was to sign documents in front of church leaders to request churches that ordained or licensed him to revoke his ordination, licensure or certification.
Haggard was also to submit plans for a new career, sell his house, and to not step foot into New Life until he was allowed to by the Restoration Team and Overseers, the contract stipulated.
Out of the 12 requirements mentioned in the contract, only one line mentioned anything about Haggard receiving counseling or help. Line 5 said Haggard was to "participate in mental health therapy and related testing, twelve step programs, and spiritual direction" under the direction of the restoration team.
If they had helped restore Haggard, Chamberlin said "it would have been one of the most amazing events for the Gospel ever. Instead it became not that at all. It became, 'we got to get the sin out of the church.'"
In the Lifetree interview, Haggard also stresses that Christian leaders just like everyone else commit sin and are in need of grace.
"For some reason, we in the Christian movement have somehow gotten the idea that if they become a bishop, a cardinal, a pope, a megachurch pastor, a deacon, or an elder that they no longer sin. It's just not true," says Haggard.
"Everybody sins, everybody needs grace, everybody needs encouragement someday or another," he says.
Haggard's interview is part of Lifetree Café's forum topic next week, "Temptation: Why good men go bad." In the interview, Haggard talks about being sexually abused as a child and how that contributed to his temptation. He also addresses the characteristics of temptation and shares what has helped him since the scandal.
"Nobody knows what their temptations are going to be 10 years from now," the former evangelical leader contends. "When I was 40, I never dreamed I would have the temptations I had when I was 50 that led to the scandal."
Next week, participants of local Lifetree discussion groups will watch the interview and share their thoughts on temptation, forgiveness and the role of the church.
The Lifetree interview follows two recent appearances, his January appearance in a reality-style documentary, "Ted Haggard: Scandalous" on the TLC network and his shocking interview in the February issue of GQ magazine.
Lifetree Café was founded by Group Publishing founder Thom Schultz. The network is designed to bring people together to talk about how thought-provoking issues relate to life and faith, serve the community, and experience God through Jesus Christ.
For the week of Feb. 27, the topic of Lifetree Cafés will be on whether medical marijuana should be legalized.
I don’t know about Tiger Woods being restored. His Golf game sure hasn’t.
Well, for one thing, Woods is a golfer, and Christian leaders are generally held to a higher moral standard, since morals are their “business”.
If he were to turn to God, repent of his depravities and demonstrate trustworthiness, I suppose “being restored” might be a consideration at some point. We are to forgive.
But, his recent statements do not indicate that he really even understands the religion he purported to preach. He thinks he’s “marketing” the Bible, but doesn’t think he needs to believe it or follow it. He’ll be caught in some flagrant activity again, if his own words are any indication.
So, no, Mr. Haggard. Sorry. We’ll forgive you but you’ve given no reason for anyone to trust you in such a position of moral authority.
Go away Ted .. go seek group counseling Marv Albert and Eddie Murphy.
I once heard the reason for that described as:
“the Repentance must be as large as the Trespass”
It has been 5yrs since Haggard’s action became public, I can recall him complaining about this very thing in yr #2, is that notable Repentance?
IDK, that is not for me to judge, I would think he should go back to working in whatever manner he feels called to and to be honest about his past mistakes and let his deeds speak for him so to speak.
I can’t tell: is he steeped to the core in sin, or is he just plain hawg-stupid? It’s very telling that he mentions Tiger Woods, who appears not to have the slightest idea that he really did anything wrong, only that bad consequences for him (finally) occurred, and “people were hurt.”
Mr. Haggard’s talk of “everyone’s sin condition” implies that personal repentence of actual sins for which he is personally responsible isn’t really on the agenda. He didn’t do anything wrong ... it’s just that there are all these judgmental people making him feel bad about being himself.
By the standards of Christianity, Tiger Woods is not restored. But because nobody really cares much about morality in sports, unless you cheat to affect the outcome, normal activity has resumed.
...because Tiger wasn’t admirer because of his faith.
Ted just wants another mega-church.
That is the “atonement” this guy wants or needs.
He’s right. Jesus came to the corrupt money changers in the Temple and scolded the people who objected to their corruption - saying ‘we must forgive the corrupt and let them continue with their ways”...
Tiger was admired because of his golf game. If his game comes back he will again be admired for his golf game.
Haggard, and others like him, were admired by some, and successful because of their supposed principles and living a faithful life, and so on.
He is welcomed back into the Christian community as a person, but what he is really upset about is that he can’t be a big time bible hustler again.
Forgiveness is is different from restoration. I Haggard repents, I have no trouble forgiving and restoring fellowship to such a person. However, the scriptures requires a church leader to be blameless and to have a good reputation. He no longer meets these qualifications. He needs to find other work.
RE: He no longer meets these qualifications. He needs to find other work.
I’m not sure about this... this issue isn’t a new one. It came up during the Donatist controversy.
Augustine of old had a major disagreement with the Donatists, who believed that the personal character of the clergyman gave validity to the celebration of the sacraments.
Augustine’s view, which was also the majority view within the Church then, was that it was the OFFICE, not the personal character of the incumbent, that gave validity to the celebration of the sacraments.
The names "Tiger Woods" and "Charlie Sheen" still fit in the same sentence quite nicely.
Nobody’s expecting Tiger Woods to counsel married couples, but a pastor is expected to. Pastors are in a position of trust. If this ex-pastor were truly repentant, he wouldn’t mind a few years of pushing brooms or selling cars. People may either trust him again, eventually, or he may lead a quiet life of humble obedience to God. Either way is good for his soul and would be a nice example for the faithful.
Humility is the lost virtue of our time.
Bless you Ted, I'm familiar with the Biblical call to forgiveness and I don't know that there are any Christians who haven't or wouldn't forgive you. Seven times seventy. But I'm not so familiar with this "restoration" thing you speak of. Whatever it is apparently you think it means you should be instantly whisked back to your Multi-million dollar Mega Church pastorate and set as an example for millions of Christians. All without demonstrating any real fruit of repentance. Let it go. Return to Jesus as a suffering servant and forgiven sinner, rejoicing in the precious gift you have received and content to accept whatever God's will is for your mission during the rest of your visit here in the world.
I understand Jim Bakker is living quietly and working humbly in the back ground at some inner city mission his kid is involved with...at least when I last read of him some years ago...what he’s doing now i don’t know.
Jeez, just don't try to become a Christian leader again. Do something else and it will be easier to receive restoration by the church.