Feb 7, 2007

Ted Haggard: Psychologist

The elders of New Life Christian Church in Colorado Springs have recommended that Ted Haggard take up secular work. Although the NY Times put this in their very last sentence in their latest article about Ted, I found this to be the most important aspect of this whole story so far. How many churches are so quick to take back a pastor who had engaged in very serious sin, often without ever repenting in the first place? How serious are we taking God's Word as He clearly lays out the requirements for being an elder? It sounds so simple: if you don't meet the requirements for being an elder, find another line of work.

I can't help but think of the four Reformed elders that were defrocked barely a year ago, but then were voted back in as elders almost immediately, although there was no true repentance forthcoming and although they clearly no longer meet the biblical requirements for being elders. I can understand how emotionally attached Christians can be to their elders, but that is why God gave us clear requirements in His Word, for the times when we are too fervently involved to think straight.

The elders at New Life Christian Church must have been extremely emotionally attached to Ted Haggard as well, but they sought the Lord instead, and did the right thing, the hard thing. And in the end, that church will be blessed and will grow spiritually.

It still floors me that a charismatic mega-church is doing all the right things in this scandal with Ted Haggard, and not only that, but Ted Haggard seems to be responding in an attitude of repentance so far as well.

Having just finished three weeks of intensive counseling, Ted Haggard said, “I have spent so much time in repentance, brokenness, hurt and sorrow for the things I’ve done and the negative impact my actions have had on others ... Jesus is starting to put me back together.” Oh, that all sinners expressed this kind of attitude!

Ted and his wife are taking online courses together to get master's degrees in psychology. Since Ted no longer meets the biblical requirements for being an elder, the other elders at New Life have encouraged him to seek employment outside the church. I'm not a big fan of pop psychology, but I will say that I see that this would only be a natural area of interest for a former pastor, and I pray that the Lord brings healing to both him and his wife as they study this subject together.

What a great example for the rest of the Christian world. Christians, let each of us have such hearts that are quick to repent when we sin and be willing to bear the consequences for our own actions. To God be the glory.


Prairie Momma said...

This is why I think it's so crucial for us as parents to quit making our kids say, "I'm sorry" just to appease the situation or the individual offended. Often, we are teaching our children to apologize without true repentance, then they become adults and do the same thing, and we are shocked. I have only been recently made aware that I have been doing that with my children and not really taking the time to discuss how and why we first and foremost offended God because they yelled at their brother or sister or whatever the offense. It has taken much time to work my children through the process of recognizing their behavior as sin and realizing that true repentance is part of the forgiving process. God doesn't tell us in 1JOhn 1:9 to just say you're sorry and all is well. I pray that by teaching my children now to be praying for God's help and mercy in repentance that they will not find themselves in the sitations of these other leaders.

I am also surprised and humbled by the actions of the CO church. They could have so easily stepped in the same path as so many churches these days and just ignored the commands laid out in God's Word. What a refreshing breath they are to the Body of Believers by going to God's Word and obeying His commands rather than doing the pc thing. Now, it's up to the rest of the Body to continue to lift them in prayer. Thank you for keeping us updated on the needs of the Body.

Lin said...

Yeah! Prairie Momma! Boy are you right. It is NOT about teaching manners it is about shepherding their hearts in dealing with sin. I want my child to be broken over her sin but she can't unless I teach her what sin is and how God views sin. And how Jesus took on the Wrath for our sin. Not something to take lightly.

You know all kids lie. (I am told this all the time by 'Christians') Yes, and I want my child to know what happens to liars. (Rev 21) Lying is serious. She can stump me, though. Just the other day (at 6 mind,you) she asked me what if someone comes to the door and wants to hurt you is it ok to lie and tell them you are not here? :0)

We read about Rahab in the OT and I told her about Corrie Ten Boom.

As to Ted Haggard, I have been amazed all along at how swiftly they have handled this situation. I was distressed to see the official response they gave parents on how to explain this to their children. They explained it as if it was a 'mistake'.

I am a bit suspicious on how they can both afford to go to grad school. I have to wonder if the church is paying for it? Wouldn't most people have to work?

Jen said...

Lin, I am going to give Ted Haggard the benefit of the doubt and assume that he made a good deal of money both at New Life Church and in his other ministries (I forget the name). I am assuming that he has plenty of money to pay for school right now. Of course, it is always possible that he took out a student loan as well.

Seeing the actions of the elders so far, I would highly doubt that the church is paying for his education. I certainly hope not.