Ted Haggard, who was banished from his church in 2006 after a gay sex scandal, is back in his home town today announcing the start of a new church. Haggard made the announcement Wednesday during a news conference at his home with his wife and three sons standing with him three weeks after filing incorporation papers for a new church named St. James Church.
During the news conference, Haggard didn’t directly address the 2006 scandal, but said he had been broken and his church would be a place for broken people. He said his church would espouse that marriage should be between a man and a woman, but that he would stay out of public policy discussions. Haggard said that experience has made him more sympathetic to others and said he now feels better qualified to counsel people. Some may disagree, but I’m ok with the idea of Ted Haggard beginning a new ministry.
Some may disagree, but I’m ok with the idea of Ted Haggard beginning a new ministry.
Restoration was the end goal, wasn’t it? Haggard seemed to fail the restoration process he was to submit to under the leadership of pastors Tommy Barnett and others. He seemed to go off into a world of obscurity where no one really knew what he was doing. Yet, although ‘plan A’ of the restoration process seemed to be unsuccessful, it seems Ted Haggard did not run from the gospel but to it.
He has not renounced his Christian faith. He has not ignored the magnitude of his sin. He has not to my knowledge claimed that what he was involved in was not sin. My impression, though just an impression, is that Ted Haggard has run to the truth rather than away from truth in the wake of this scandal. He and Gayle were also able to salvage their marriage when others would have probably caved in. In my eyes that is what should be commended.
Will people trust him again? Maybe. He probably won’t experience the kind of popularity he did while pastoring New Life, but I think people will give him a second chance at their trust. His past may even give him a more keen edge to minister to people who are struggling with their sexuality.
As to whether or not he has the moral authority to preach, I believe he does, as long as he has applied the truth of the gospel afresh to his own heart and once again places himself under some kind of accountability to others.
The whole message of the gospel embraces the restoration of those who have sinned, fallen, and been broken to pieces. The gospels give us several accounts of Jesus forgiving people and then setting them on their way with a testimony. The body of Christ should be able to accept the restoration of those who have fallen, been broken, repented, and have now been restored.