Saturday, November 04, 2006
Ted Haggard & Dealing With Sin
Ted Haggard is the senior pastor of the 14,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado and he is the president of the National Association of Evangelicals, which claims membership by dozens of denominations and millions of Christians. Haggard has had regular meetings with President Bush and was named by TIME magazine as one of the 25 most influential religious leaders in America.
November 2, Mike Jones, a male escort in Denver, claims that Haggard had been paying for sex with him for the past three years. Jones also says that that Haggard snorted methamphetamine before their sexual encounters to heighten the experience.
Ted Haggard is on suspension from New Life Church pending investigation and he has resigned his position with the NAE. Haggard’s initial response to the allegations was a complete denial of gay sex and drug use. At this writing Haggard has now admitted that he received a massage from Jones and bought meth but never used it and threw it away.
More of the story and the truth will come out. I will not draw final conclusions about Haggard until the investigation is over.
Because Haggard was such a man of influence and had taken strong public stands against a number of moral issues including gay marriage which is on the Colorado ballot for November 7, many are jumping on the story for whatever political gains can be had as well as to take shots at the hypocrisy that is found in religion, especially Christianity.
I concede that Christianity and the church have much hypocrisy and sin. For a variety of reasons there have been a percentage of believers through the years that have felt it important to portray themselves as “having it together” and not living “in bondage to sin”. Therefore, when it becomes known that said life that is “together” and free of “bondage” is in fact broken and sinful, watching skeptics take it as one more reason not to come close to God and faith.
To my skeptic friend, Christianity does work in the lives of believers to bring integration and to free from destructive behaviors. It works in my life. But, I’m still a broken and sinful person and so is every other Christian. I’m more healed, more whole and more free from destructive ways than I’ve ever been. But, I’m not above ever failing and falling again. That’s why we must live with humility about our state and extend much grace to others.
To my believing friend, take Haggard’s story as an occasion to re-examine your own frailty. Refresh your relationship with Christ and continue receiving His grace to become all that God has designed your life to be.