Comments regarding Ted Haggard’s return to pulpit


Recently came across an articleabout Ted Haggard returning to the pulpit at Open Bible Fellowship in Morrison, Illinois led by his friend, Reverend Chris Boyd.  Ted used the time to admit to being captivated by sin, yet at the same time pointing to how he had been sexually molested as a child. According to another article, Ted Haggard did go into detail about the cost of sin, that it leads to destruction.

    It is sad to see anyone fall and we all need to pray for God to work to heal his wounds.  God can certainly use a man truly broken to touch others.  However, there are comments by some referenced in the articles that are concerning.

    First of all, it is concerning that the impetus for sin seems laid on the fact that he was sexually molested as a child. Now, any way we are hurt is devastating, but we should never point to our wounds as the reason we surrender to certain temptations. Now, granted certain wounds can lead towards certain sins.  There are in fact common ways people often sin in response to assorted wounds.  Yet, the sin is still the sin, and the responsibility falls not with those who created the wounds, but for ourselves. 

     In my own life, it would be real easy to point to various wounds as a reason as to why certain sins are appealing. However, the reasons why are really irrelevant and most often in reality an attempt to justify the sin or minimize my own responsibility. It is the attitude, of yes I sinned, but maybe I wouldn’t have if not for this past wounding. Such an attitude is not a true brokenness that leads to true repentance. 

     Another area of concern was related to quotes from Leo Godzich, who has been meeting Mr. Haggard weekly as part of the restoration process. 

 “If all men are honest, all men are liars and deceivers,” Godzich said. “Once someone is gifted and called, that is something they generally cannot escape. They will be used in that regard again.”

“True redemption occurs when someone is fulfilling a destiny and purpose in their life.”

Now, yes all men are liars and deceivers. We all falter in many ways, but the emphasis seems to be placed on the gifting and charisma that Mr. Haggard possesses.  The second statement really highlights the emphasis.  “True redemption” is “fulfilling and destiny and purpose?”  Where is that found in scripture.  Redemption is not about filling destiny or purpose.  Redemption is about surrender to the King of Kings.  Redemption is about the debt being paid for our failures.  It has nothing to do with filling any destiny or purpose, it is not about any action on our part whatsoever.

    The tying of redemption to good actions and filling a purpose, is more in line with the way and mindset of the world.  Such a line of thinking fits readily in to the story of the recent two hour episode of  the television show 24, titled Redemption. The world views doing good and using skills to serve some greater good for humanity as redemptive.  The reality is nothing is redeemed. All our good actions, all our serving others, all our engaging in any form of loving behavior does not redeem for our evil and selfish behaviors.  This is why we need true Redemption which only comes through Jesus paying for our sins and taking our place. 

     True redemption is not  Jesus taking on the identity of the unlovable, broken,  and outcasts of society. It is Jesus taking on the sins, the wrong, the evil, and selfishness.  At any point, each of us need to be aware of our own sinfulness.  In reading what is reported about Mr. Haggard, some how the depth of the need of dependence and surrender to God may be missed.  The reality of that situation is not for us to know, but given the quotes from a key player in his restoration and the pointing to past wounds gives reason to be concerned that true brokenness and repentance are being missed, let us pray this is not the case. Let us pray that those Mr. Haggard surround himself with are not so caught up in his talents and gifts that the miss the deeper issues and that Mr. Haggard misses true healing and restoration as a result.  

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