The Church is reeling from the recent admission of moral failure by Rev. Ted Haggard, a pastor and prominent Church
leader. We are all saddened to see this happen, and it goes without saying that he and his family are in our prayers as they
navigate this difficult time.
My heart was saddened as I listened to news commentators discuss this tragedy. We see the world sneer at our brother
who has fallen; they now judge the Church by his indiscretion as hypocritical and phony. Their judgment must not give us
cause to doubt the veracity of the Church ourselves. She is alive and well, despite what some might think. One fallen
leader does not undermine her, for indeed she stands because of the grace of God not because of the perfection of her
So what are we Christians supposed to think about all of this? First of all, I feel it is absolutely necessary for us to refrain
from judging Pastor Haggard. He did sin, but his sin does not ostracize him from God’s family. The grace of God remains
firmly in place and His mercy is certainly strong enough to extend forgiveness to him. Anytime something like this happens
my thoughts go to King David’s sins, his subsequent forgiveness by God, and then his full restoration. If God can restore a
leader who is guilty of conspiracy, murder, horrible abuse of authority, and adultery, I doubt if this present challenge is too
great from Him.
Several times I have heard believers ask the question: “How could a man of God like Ted Haggard do such a thing?” If we
will just pause for a moment and think, the answer is not really all that elusive. Things like this happen because we are
dealing with human beings who are imperfect – even Church leaders. Anytime a propensity for a particular sin has not been
totally dealt with, that sin can and will emerge at some time even though for a season it has been dormant or somewhat
controlled by the individual. Sin is not something that can be managed. Sin must be dealt with through the blood of Jesus
Christ, and even then our carnal nature must be kept under on a daily basis. Sins surface when we fail to walk close to God,
for indeed when we walk by the Spirit we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Show me a man whose life is given to God in a
true covenant relationship and I will show you a man who can truly declare that “Jesus is Lord!” over every area of his life.
No one but another pastor can fully appreciate the pressures Ted Haggard lived under and, I am confident, which
contributed to his sins. The pastorate is perhaps the most difficult job on the face of the earth for a myriad of reasons. The
demands placed on shepherds are weights too heavy for some, and it is those who seek out other “releases” some of
which are evil. One of my prayers out of this tragedy is that a better understanding will emerge within the Church of the
world in which pastors and their wives and children exist. Divorce, bankruptcy, depression, and even suicide are rampant
in the ministry, and these tragedies point to a problem that needs our attention. The pressures in Rev. Haggard’s life do
not justify his sins, but recognizing that they were there helps us love him through this.
You will see good come from this unfortunate situation; you will see the Church act like the Church. Out of this we will
learn forgiveness and what unconditional love really means. And ultimately, we will see the full restoration of a man of God
that has been properly counseled and shepherded by fellow Elders in the Body of Christ. As these things happen, the
world will know that we are the disciples of Jesus Christ because of the love we have one for the other. Amen.