Skip to comments.Disgraced Ex-Preacher Says There’s a Major Culture Problem in Evangelical Christianity
Posted on 01/15/2014 5:30:34 PM PST by Gamecock
Ted Haggard, a preacher who stepped down in 2006 from his position as president of the National Association of Evangelicals and pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo., following a sex and drug scandal, recently spoke out about Isaac Hunters suicide, an event that took the evangelical world by storm last week.
Focusing specifically on the scandals and charges of wrongdoing that have surrounded many famed preachers himself included Haggard said that evangelical Christians sometimes fail to properly apply the gospel when dealing with faith leaders who fall from grace.
Hunter, the former pastor of Summit Church in Orlando, Fla., had been facing personal issues since stepping down from his position late last year. His death, following the suicide of Pastor Rick Warrens son, Matthew, earlier this year, has brought additional attention to mental health in evangelical circles.
The news about Pastor Isaac Hunter breaks my heart. Great speaker, lover of God, and my guess is he loved the church. But he, like all of us, fell short, Haggard wrote. In the midst of divorce with accusations swirling, he resigned from the church he founded. He gave it his best shot, and his heart was broken.
He continued, This makes me sick to my stomach. Dont get me wrong, Im not sick that he fell short, thats a given for everyone except Christ Himself, Im sick that our message did not do what we all hoped it did not fix the problem.
Haggard said that, in the past, evangelical leaders who have been immersed in scandal were often seen as not true believers, however he said this simply isnt the case. In fact, he argued that most people who are in ministry are sincere followers of Christ.
While many Christians assume that a conversion to the faith heals all past problems, Haggard said this wasnt the case in his own experience. While he said that becoming a believer made him a new creation spiritually, Haggard noted that there was some simple care that would have helped him avoid the scandal and pain he caused his family.
I was so ashamed in 2006 when my scandal broke. The therapeutic team that dug in on me insisted that I did not have a spiritual problem or a problem with cognitive ability, and that I tested in normal ranges on all of my mental health tests (MMPI, etc.). he wrote. Instead, I had a physiological problem rooted in a childhood trauma, and as a result, needed trauma resolution therapy. I had been traumatized when I was 7 years old, but when Bill Bright led me to the Lord when I was 16, I learned that I had become a new creature, a new person, and that I did not need to be concerned about anything in my past, that it was all covered by the blood.
But Haggard said that his past was still impacting his life.
In the end, the former megapastor claimed that his Christian training was delivered by people who didnt respect the mental health and neural science professions. This translated, he wrote, into a counterproductive situation, as he was taught to view all issues as being entirely spiritual in nature.
If I prayed and fasted, I was more tempted. If I just worked in ministry, I experienced relief and was not tempted, Haggard continued. I thought it was spiritual warfare. It was not. My struggle was easily explained by a competent therapeutic team.
Haggard said that he believes wholeheartedly in the Bible, but that Christianity has abandoned the application of the gospel and that, as a result, too much time is spent on image management and damage control.
Every one of us have had sin horribly intrude in our lives after being saved and filled with the Holy Spirit, and God is faithfully healing us or has healed us, he continued. Why dont we tell that? He has never left us or forsaken us when weve said and done the wrong thing. Why dont we tell that?
Let me fix that: following a homosexual prostitute and drug scandal
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Just a few months before Haggard’s fall I heard an interview given by him where he insisted that he led a sin free life and that he resists all sin.
As a Reformed guy I was troubled by that statement because we hold to the belief that we are still sinners, and will remain such until death.
What I sense here is a bit of arrogance instead of repentance.
What I sense here is a bit of arrogance instead of repentance.
What I sense here is a bit of arrogance instead of repentance.
As a Catholic guy, I would, on the surface of it, agree with your assessment.
Whether or not you agree with the effectuality of the Sacrament of Penance, I would certainly hope that anybody would see the value of a periodic examination of conscience. Properly done, it shows us the great grace that God continues to extend to each of us.
Funny, I thought the problem was that evangelical faith leaders fail to properly preach the Gospel.
I would suggest Mark that for most of us there is a continual self assessment process going on in light of the gospel - where we fall short, where we can improve, why we do the things we do. I do think though that a conscious, intentioned self assessment from time to time is a good thing and will most often lead to a humble and contrite heart!
Not knowing if there are Roman Catholic nuances tied to that statement, on the surface, I agree.
They hone their oratory skills and know how to rivet the listener's attention through voice inflection, emotional projection and other acting techniques. They are very good at what they do.
However, I am convinced that the ones who capture the imaginations of their listeners are often charlatans who do not believe a word of what they preach. A good salesman can sell anything and even an insincere religion is a powerful convincer.
These people will bear higher scrutiny when they stand before God Almighty. They are either complete nonbelievers or utterly self-deluded. Either way, they are false to the core and more concerned about mammon than God.
Evangelicals would be better served to find a small church with a devoutly sincere pastor who will shepherd them according to Biblical principles. He (it should be a man - beware of woman pastors) should speak to congregation in a steady and genuine manner without shouting, hectoring and storming about the stage. Jesus only seems to have yelled when he was angry such as when he cleared the temple with a whip of cords or upbraided the falsely pious Pharisees.
More discipleship and Christian growth is achieved in one small group Bible study than ten Sunday services.
If the pastor doesn't know your name, you don't have a pastor.
Yes, we all deal with sin even after we're saved. But many people are not enslaved to addiction and those who are should not be Christian leaders.
This guy continued on as a leader although he knew he was enslaved to a perverted lifestyle. He should never have allowed himself to go that far.
I wish the best for him and hope he experiences total freedom...but I don't really think he's saying much of value here.
I really do not get his point, these “leaders” should step down down and start repenting. They cannot continue to be “leaders”, duh.
I totally agree
From a Reformed perspective, one should do so as part of preparation for partaking in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper.
Amen to that. It can be life-changing; provided you get with some people truly grounded in the Bible, who do not view this as a social gathering around snacks, and who will vow not to gossip or divulge what they hear in prayer by others in the group. The group should be small, I would say 7 people max; but with some way of tapping new members if someone has to move away.
To be sure.
We Reformed folk will say that sin so permeates our existence that we don't even know the depth of it. God id merciful and doesn't expose it to us at once, otherwise we would crumble under the weight of all of out sin. We certainly should examine ourselves, especially before the sacrament of communion
There's not any particularly nefarious papist nuances.
For me, I evaluate my thoughts and conduct (acts of commission and omission) in light of the 10 commandments, the 7 precepts of the Church (which I fully recognize that non-Catholics would not recognize), the four cardinal virtues (prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude) and the three theological virtues (faith, hope, charity).
I briefly (informally) run through the above list nightly before my prayers and generally will do so in a more disciplined fashion on a weekly basis.
Other people may have other "templates" (for lack of a better word).
Actually, Scripture outlines quite clearly how to deal with immorality within the church.
And I have yet to find somewhere in Scripture where the office of *faith leader* is listed.
Good Lord, he’s wrong on so many levels it’s hard to tell where to begin.
What happened in his past to traumatize him was not his fault, as in the case for ALL Of us who have issues and trauma, but his responsibility was to deal with it appropriately as a Christian.
There are two resources I've stumbled on recently that are wonderful for doing that.
One is a book entitled *Forgiveness* by Rodney Hogue, and the other is a CD set entitled *How to Have an Emotionally Healthy Marriage* by Jimmy Evans.
The book is a very concise, short read about forgiveness and the DC is almost misleading in its title because it's really about becoming an emotionally healthy person, the side benefit is having an emotionally healthy marriage.
The gist of that is to take responsibility for our actions and reactions, and to forgive.
From person experience, I KNOW how powerful forgiveness can be in taking care of issues and sin.
The Act of Contrition prayer:
O MY GOD, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell; but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who art all-good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.
 “to sin no more, and to avoid the near occasions of sin” — this phrase was in the version I learned as a child.
You may enjoy this documentary....
Derren Brown - Miracles for Sale
Preach it, brother.
That's not repentance.
And conviction by the Holy Spirit that leads one to Christ for forgiveness is no light thing.
For sure. Only part I read that I can wholeheartedly agree with is that Christ Himself was the only pure non-sinner. After that, the rest seemed like a cop-out. We all sin - we’re not Christ. But he knew he was doing things Christ would not condone or support him for in judgement before His Father. The ol’ I couldn’t help myself routine just gets old.
It’s not his fault that he engaged in homosexual adultery and drug use.
It’s the church’s fault because they didn’t believe him when he said he didn’t do it and when it was obvious the charges were true, then they didn’t pretend it didn’t happen.
Blame shifting just doesn’t cut it with God.
The first thing in the *Emotionally Healthy Marriage CD was to take responsibility for your own actions. Quit the blame shifting and quit being a victim. You can’t control what others do to you, but you can control how you react to them.
What makes you is how you deal with it, not the events themselves.
Perhaps this is relevant:
2 Corinthians 13:4-5 KJV
For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you. Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
2 Peter 1:4-12 KJV
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.
This wouldn’t happen if Protestants would let their clergy marry.
That is an excellent prayer.
Thank you for sharing that.
Haggard said that evangelical Christians sometimes fail to properly apply the gospel when dealing with faith leaders who fall from grace... Haggard said that, in the past, evangelical leaders who have been immersed in scandal were often seen as not true believers, however he said this simply isnt the case. In fact, he argued that most people who are in ministry are sincere followers of Christ. While many Christians assume that a conversion to the faith heals all past problems, Haggard said this wasnt the case in his own experience...Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven ping. Thanks Gamecock.
I think not.
But until there is real contrition, anything this "Disgraced Ex-Preacher Says" is moot. To blame evangelical Christianity as having a problem, is obviously his opinion, but that doesn't make what he says as having any merit.
They are forgiven IF they seek it.
If they feel they have not sinned, what’s the point in forgiveness?
“If the pastor doesn’t know your name, you don’t have a pastor.”
Great gif!!!! Sure that wasn’t Democrats voting for Obamacare?
He, like all of us is a sinner. Pray for him
If they just love the attention, and the high regard accorded them by the congregation, and they don’t get caught, what’s the point in contrition, contrived or not?
I can forgive anyone just about anything, and I know that God can and will forgive it all. I could be a friend of someone like this, and I could worship together with him as co-heirs of God. However, what I can’t accept is someone who has had such a disgraceful and public comeuppance return to the pulpit and resume the responsibility of leading a new congregation. New Life was right to send him packing. It is disgraceful that he has started a new church (saintjameschurch.com) and just as disgraceful that many of the New Life congregants, many of them the big donor types, left with him.
Self examination and temptations occur forever - even to the next life. We are never perfect. Repentance/Reformation/Regeneration is a process.
If your Church is scamming you with 'instant' Salvation, run! Find a real Church that tells the truth!
There will be no temptation in heaven, there will be no sin.
But I must add that one is saved and it is a continual action.
Do you have Scripture saying that spiritual beings do not have temptation? Only the Lord is perfect. The Ten Commandments have an internal/spiritual meaning, like Jesus saying adultery including lusting in the heart...
Jesus said to them again, Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.
1 Corinthians 15:42
So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption
1 John 3:2
1 Cor 15:52
Do you have verses that support temptation in heaven? Can a Holy God allow this?