Update July 2009: It seems that Ted Haggard has repented of his sin. Please visit
this insightful interview by Lee Grady. One person I really admire in this is Ted’s wife Gayle who has stood by him and behaved like a real Christian woman.
Original Article from 2006 follows:
I was really saddened in my spirit with all the recent revelations of deception and immoral behavior of one of America’s leading pastors, Ted Haggard. We cannot blame the news media for this, nor the former male prostitute who revealed it. Had it not been that man, it would have been someone else. No, the “blame” for such a situation in one sense lies with all of us – not only with Ted. I remember reading one of Ted’s books about 9 years ago and I was struck with his sincere love for souls and generous attitude towards the body of Christ. Obviously a very gifted and charismatic leader, he gained a large following in his years of ministry and helped a lot of people to find Christ.
What disturbs me most is that he is closely associated with the so-called “new apostolic revolution”, which is supposed to be somewhat of a restoration towards biblical, apostolic New Testament Christianity. Whilst I believe in the ministry of apostles and prophets today, I question to what extent we are truly walking in the “intimacy” with Christ we profess when many of our leaders, some of which would have perhaps known Ted on a personal basis, either could not or would not see the nature of his struggles and help him before these kinds of things could happen. With all the emphasis on the restoration of gifts, where is the operation of discernment of spirits?
If some of Ted’s friends in the ministry were Prophets, would this thing not have been preventable? Or does God often leave us in the dark about whether our leaders are morally qualified to lead the flock of God? There are very strict guidelines for eldership/leadership in the New Testament, laid down in 1 Timothy 3 and the book of Titus chapter 1 verse 7, for example. SURLEY it is God’s will for us to know each other well enough that we know when a person among us is morally ready for the challenges of Christian leadership? Even deacons are supposed to be proven and tested before they serve.
1Ti 3:8 Likewise the deacons are to be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of ill gain,
1Ti 3:9 having the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.
1Ti 3:10 And let these also first be tested, then let them minister without reproach.
There cannot be a true “apostolic revolution” unless and until we first really know who is even qualified to be a deacons in the church, by New Testament standards. Let us then confess that when we anoint one another as “apostles” we have presumed to grasp at more than we were actually ready to receive. If God has truly anointed someone as an apostle, the fruit will be there in a short time, we don’t need to go trumpeting around how much we believe in the so-called “apostolic” ministry of this one or that one.
Elders also, according to Titus 1:9, must be “holding fast the faithful Word according to the doctrine, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and to convict the gainsayers” as well as a host of character qualifications.
There are a lot of doctrinal controversies still going on amongst Christian leaders, even within the pentecostal/charismatic movement, which shows that as yet, taken as a whole, we still don’t really know what we are talking about in many things in which we differ. God may have brought us a long way in the last 40 years, but we, taken as a movement, cannot presume to have come yet into that which is truly “apostolic”. There are people operating in what might be called an “apostolic ministry” but from what I have seen, and I’ve been in most continents of the world, such gaping holes still exist in either character, or capacity to bless, or both, that we would be wiser to cover our faces than pretend to be in some sense gurus of apostleship and ecclesiastical restoration.
The correct response for the Body of Christ therefore is this: we must HUMBLE ourselves. If we fail to live lives of purity, if we cannot agree on what is and what is not of the Holy Spirit, and if selfish ambition and the love of titles and influence rather than brotherly love marks many of our relationships, then it is time for a deep searching of God. It is time to recognise our need for change.
Perhaps Pastor Ted’s “fall from grace” will actually prove to be a “coming into grace” for when confession and repentance truly come, then God’s true grace comes. I have prayed for Ted as I am sure many others have, I have prayed that he will not despair, and that he will end up in a better place and a more useful place for God than ever before.
Let us not be content with building a visible and influential ministry, if that is what God has called us to do, but let us take note that before all else we need to remade by God into his likeness and image. Many of us, myself included, want God through us to bring the knowledge of salvation to the world. Let us pray that God work in us greater and greater depths of his saving and sanctifying power. For it is God who works these things in us. Let us cling to the cross, so that what is corrupt may be put to death and the resurrection life of Christ can truly be manifest in us.