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In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 2 Timothy 3:12-13
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Great Gain of Godliness" Banner of Truth Trust firstname.lastname@example.org
Thomas Watson's exposition of Mal. 3:16-18. In it he aims
"to encourage solid piety and confute the atheists of the world,
Who imagine there is no gain in godliness." C.H.S. Spurgeon
(PM:Solid Biblical Truth for Ted Haggard and us all-Walking in the fear of God)
1 Timothy 5:19-21 19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. 20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. 21 I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.
THE SINS the "OVERSEERS" are NOT telling you: By their own witness and public processes the "Overseers" of Rev Teg Haggard, Pastor of the New Life Church failed in their Biblical responsibility to know each other and Spiritually care for each other as demonstrated by Rev. Haggard's statement (statements are not confessions) of a life long sexual problem.
It appears the "Overseers" can spot public sexual sin and address it while stubbornly failing in fidelity to greater spiritual truths. see below
Former Pres. Clinton and now Rev. Ted Haggard have not confessed the spiritual, emotional harm done to those wronged (Monica Lewinsky & Mike Jones et.al.) by their sexual immorality and sexual acts by failing sexual purity as "professing Christians" .
Sins & non-Confessions by "Christian" leaders e.g.
Dr. James Dobson who falsely accused homosexuals and others. Dobson refusing Haggard's request for counsel/care in restoration, publicly confirming Dr. Dobson telling me he was NOT an Elder/Pastor.
"Overseers" Dr. Dobson: "The overseers also believed that Mr. Haggard needed more counseling, oversight and accountability than they could provide. They asked three of the country’s most renowned evangelical leaders — the Revs. Jack Hayford and Tommy Barnett and Dr. James Dobson — to serve as a “restoration team.” Dr. Dobson, the founder of the Focus on the Family ministry, soon excused himself, saying he could not devote adequate time and attention. He was replaced by the Rev. H. B. London Jr., a Focus on the Family vice president who runs a division that counsels clergy members and churches. "
Dobson refusing Haggard's request for counsel/care in restoration, publicly confirms Dr. Dobson telling me he was NOT an Elder/Pastor. In fact Dr. Dobson's refusal is NOT the act of a Christian brother. The overseers "pastors" being inadequate in oversight, accountability"...H.B. London Jr. replacing Dr. Dobson as a counselor to Haggard when Rev. London was involved in many ways with Haggard and did not "Pastor" him before.
PeaceMakers:: The larger story here is the absolute failure of "Christian Leaders" of small to mega churches not knowing, not shepherding God's sheep. Years ago the "church growth movement taught that "Pastors" should refer sheep needing intense Pastoral care to the "Christian psychololgy Professionals". This also led to importing secular groups like the AA into their body of Christ teaching psychology, emphasizing the power of the flesh with a few "verse" to make it "Christian".
Dobson: I Want To Cure Ted Haggard of Being Gay But Don’t Have
Time, It ‘Could Take Four or Five Years’
Feb 6 2007 Denver Post Haggard says he is "completely heterosexual"
By Eric Gorski
PeaceMakers: To the degree there is any accuracy to the Denver Post's & Daily Herald's report, (Haggard was declared 'completely heterosexual.') reflects the Spiritual blindness of Haggard and "restoration panel/team." Of the phenomenal amount of public and private sins by Haggard and these blind guides homosexuality is but one. Declaring Haggard now "completely heterosexual" denies the nature of sexual sin and the profound depravity of the flesh vs. God's Spirit. There is by far more heterosexual sin in the world and in what professes to be the church than homosexual sin. It's no wonder churches are awash with unconverted professors and cursed with many many self-deceived ministers-ridiculed and rebuked by mockers.
As for Haggard and wife earning master's degrees in psychology
I offer Dietrich Bonhoeffer:
"The most experienced psychologist or observer of human nature knows infinitely less of the human heart than the simplest Christian who lives beneath the Cross of Jesus. The greatest psychological insight, ability, and experience cannot grasp this one thing: what sin is. Worldly wisdom knows what distress and weakness and failure are, but it does not know the godlessness of men. And so it also does not know that man is destroyed only by his sin and can be healed only by forgiveness. Only the Christian knows this. In the presence of a psychiatrist I can only be a sick man; in the presence of a Christian brother I can dare to be a sinner. The psychiatrist must first search my heart and yet he never plumbs its ultimate depth. The Christian brother knows when I come to him: here is a sinner like myself, a godless man who wants to confess and yearns for God's forgiveness. The psychiatrist views me as if there were no God. The brother views me as I am before the judging and merciful God in the Cross of Jesus Christ. It is not lack of psychological knowledge but lack of love for the crucified Jesus Christ that makes us so poor and inefficient in brotherly confession.
"In daily, earnest living with the Cross of Christ the Christian loses the spirit of human censoriousness on the one hand and weak indulgence on the other, and he receives the spirit of divine severity and divine love. The death of the sinner before God and life that comes out of that death through grace become for him a daily reality. So he loves the brothers with the merciful love of God that leads through the death of the sinner to the life of the child of God. Who can hear our confession? He who himself lives beneath the Cross.
"Wherever the message concerning the Crucified is a vital, living thing,
there brotherly confession will also avail."
'I am a deceiver and a liar'
Minister Admits Buying Drug but Denies Tryst
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN and NEELA BANERJEE
Published: New York Times: November 4, 2006
After denying that he had ever met a gay escort who claimed to have had a three-year sexual relationship with him, the Rev. Ted Haggard admitted yesterday that he had summoned the escort to give him a massage in a Denver hotel room and bought methamphetamine from him.
But Mr. Haggard, one of the nation’s leading evangelical ministers, maintained that the two men never had sex and that he threw out the drugs without using them.
“I never kept it very long because it was wrong,” Mr. Haggard said, smiling grimly and submitting to questions from a television reporter as he pulled out of his driveway yesterday, his wife, Gayle, silent in the passenger seat. “I was tempted, I bought it, but I never used it.”
Mr. Haggard’s explanation came two days after the male escort, Michael Jones, stepped forward to claim that Mr. Haggard was a monthly client for the last three years. On Thursday, Mr. Haggard had resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals and stepped down as pastor of his 14,000-member Colorado Springs megachurch, pending an independent investigation of the accusations.
The escort failed a lie detector test on Friday that he had volunteered to take, but the man who administered the test said the results might have been skewed because Mr. Jones had slept little and was suffering from a migraine. Mr. Jones insisted he was telling the truth and said he would take another lie detector test.
Mr. Haggard’s difficulties are bound to echo beyond his own church, especially on the eve of the midterm elections. He is at the center of several intersecting evangelical power circles and has ties to the Bush administration.
He was an ambassador representing the interests of evangelicals to Washington, and vice versa — participating in the White House’s Monday conference calls with conservative Christian leaders. He was also politically active, championing the fight against same-sex marriage in Colorado and other states.
And Mr. Haggard, 50, was elected president of the National Association of Evangelicals, an umbrella group that represents 45,000 churches.
The association’s executive committee unanimously accepted Mr. Haggard’s resignation on Friday after learning that he had admitted that some of the accusations were true, said the Rev. L. Roy Taylor, chairman of the board of directors and the stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church in America.
It’s personally difficult to believe, knowing Ted, but theologically, we recognize that we all struggle with a dark side and that sinful behavior is possible for anyone,” Dr. Taylor said.
When Mr. Haggard was elected three years ago as the National Association of Evangelicals’ president, the magazine Christianity Today hailed him as a new kind of evangelical who could revive a flagging organization.
He was younger, less formal and more moderate than many of the bigger names in conservative Christianity. He was soon pushing to add issues like global warming, poverty and genocide in Darfur to the movement’s traditional agenda of opposition to homosexuality and abortion.
“Pastor Ted was a symbolically important figure and a very public figure, so I think the ramifications could be enormous,” said Randall Balmer, a professor of American religious history at Barnard College. “Among evangelicals, there is such a cult of personality that grows up around these various figures.”
In Colorado, Mr. Haggard was a leader in the campaign for Amendment 43, which would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Mr. Haggard’s accuser said this was his main motivation for going public with his account of having sex with Mr. Haggard.
In a telephone interview from Denver, Mr. Jones, 49, said, “When the federal marriage amendment came up before the Senate earlier this year, I wanted to see the stance of his church, and the more I read about it, the angrier I got.”
“He’s preaching against homosexuals and yet he’s having gay sex behind people’s backs,” Mr. Jones said.
In an interview with MSNBC, Mr. Jones denied selling methamphetamine to Mr. Haggard, saying he “met someone else that I had hooked him up with to buy it.”
Experts on evangelicals were uncertain how the revelations about Mr. Haggard would affect the midterm elections, and evangelicals’ involvement in politics in the long term. Some experts said accusations that such a politically involved pastor was a closet homosexual could further alienate evangelicals from political involvement, while others said it could motivate them.
Members of Mr. Haggard’s church were stunned by the accusations.
“This is inconsistent with everything that I know
of him,” said Patton Dodd, Christianity editor at the Web site Beliefnet,
who edited seven of Mr. Haggard’s books, attends his church and considers
him a close friend. He said Mr. Haggard had close family ties, taking a
Sabbath day at home every Saturday to be with his wife and five children.
“It’s like a death in the family, except it’s not that clear,” Ms. Miller said. “It’s more like having someone slowly dying from a painful illness.”
She said that she and the other church members believed in redemption and forgiveness and would stand by Mr. Haggard.
In the past, Mr. Haggard proved more accepting of gay men and lesbians than some of his evangelical colleagues. He did not publicly oppose another measure on the November ballot, Referendum 1, which would give same-sex couples some legal rights and benefits.
The Rev. Nori Rost, executive director of Just Spirit, a watchdog group that monitors the religious right, recalled that Mr. Haggard’s church once invited the choirs from other churches in town to perform at an ecumenical Easter service. At the time, she was the pastor of a predominantly gay Metropolitan Community Church. When some other evangelical churches learned that the gay church had also been invited, they refused to sing unless Mr. Haggard retracted the invitation to the gay church. Mr. Haggard refused, and the gay choir sang, she said. In the impromptu interview in his car, Mr. Haggard said that he stayed at hotels in Denver because he wrote books there, and that he met the male escort through a hotel referral for a massage.
Mr. Jones had a different version of the story. He said he began advertising on the Internet as a male escort, and was called by a man who identified himself as Art from Kansas City. He said they met about once a month for a relationship Mr. Jones said was purely physical.
“I had no impression of him, other than that he was a nice guy,” Mr. Jones said. “The only thing of a personal nature he ever volunteered was that he was married.”
Mr. Jones said he discovered Mr. Haggard’s true identity about six months ago when he saw him on television two days in a row, first, on a special about “The DaVinci Code” and then on a Christian station that a TV in his gym was tuned to.
“When I saw him, I didn’t say, ‘Oh, that looks like Art,’ ” Mr. Jones said. “I said, ‘Oh my God, that’s Art.’ ”
After Mr. Jones looked up his alleged client on the Internet and learned of his stature in the evangelical community, he said he was amazed. “I thought this guy is really taking a big chance,” he said.
Mr. Jones maintained that his decision to speak out about the relationship was not suggested by any gay rights groups. He also said the decision was not based on financial motives, though Mr. Jones did file for bankruptcy in April 2005. “If I’d wanted to make money, I could have blackmailed him,” he said.
Mr. Jones said he hoped that his assertions would convince the religious right to rethink their opposition to same-sex marriage.
Conservative Christian organizations reacted with both sympathy and dismay. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, said in a statement, “The situation has grave implications for the cause of Christ and we ask for the Lord’s guidance and blessings in the days ahead.”
Church ousts pastor for 'immoral' acts
After resigning as head of a national evangelical group, Ted Haggard is removed from his New Life leadership post.
By Stephanie Simon, L.A. Times Staff Writer
November 5, 2006
DENVER — An investigative committee of independent pastors concluded "without a doubt" on Saturday that the Rev. Ted Haggard had committed "sexually immoral conduct" and removed him from his duties as senior pastor at a mega-church in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The committee's decision took away Haggard's last position of church leadership — and cast doubt on his assertion that he had visited a male prostitute for a massage but never had sex with him.
ADVERTISEMENTLast week, Haggard resigned from the presidency of the 30-million member National Assn. of Evangelicals under allegations that he had a three-year sexual relationship with the man. Haggard also has said that he bought methamphetamine from the prostitute but did not use it.
The statement from New Life Church's investigative committee did not list the evidence the group considered. But the strong wording left little doubt that Haggard's conduct involved more than an illegal drug buy.
"It's not just about meth. It's not just about a massage. I guess that's what we are to infer," said the Rev. Richard Cizik, vice president of governmental affairs for the evangelical association.
"We all have to be humble and recognize that people — even our leaders — have feet of clay," Cizik said. "So we love. And we forgive."
A letter of explanation and apology from Haggard will be read at New Life services today. His wife of 28 years, Gayle Haggard, will also address the congregation. The couple have five children.
Haggard, 50, built the church after he said he experienced a vision during a three-day solitary fast on Pikes Peak, the majestic mountain that soars above Colorado Springs. Given to visions — he says he can see demons, and he sometimes speaks in tongues — Haggard preached his first sermon in his unfinished basement on a cold morning in January 1985. His pulpit was a stack of old buckets. His pews were lawn chairs.
From the start, the church — and its leader — broke the mold.
Haggard led ebullient worship services filled with song and dance; he prayed over names in the phone book; he sent his members out walking through Colorado Springs with instructions to pray for specific parcels of land. He wrote a tract about his goals with the title "Making It Hard for People to Go to Hell From Your City."
Haggard's exuberance and inveterate optimism began attracting crowds, and New Life outgrew one space after another.
Nearly 22 years after that first service, the church has a congregation of 14,000 and a huge complex on the edge of Colorado Springs. Each Easter, the sanctuary is transformed into a theater for an extravagant passion play with a cast of hundreds, live animals, Cirque du Soleil-style acrobats portraying angels — and special effects worthy of Broadway.
Telegenic and proud of his accomplishments, Haggard welcomed reporters to the church campus (though he did send out a memo cautioning congregants to refrain from dancing in the aisles and speaking in "glassy-eyed heavenly mode" when TV cameras were rolling). His openness with the media only raised his profile further.
"He is probably one of the top five most prominent evangelicals in America and therefore in the world," said Ted Olsen, news director for the evangelical magazine Christianity Today. "Hardly a day went by where we did not see Haggard quoted by someone. It was pretty rare for him not to have an opinion."
Through their sorrow and bewilderment this past week, church members have been quick to say that the scandal will not bring down New Life — or shake their faith.
"This is a pruning, in a sense," said Patty VanTassel, 50. "New Life Church is not about Ted Haggard. It's about God … and rescuing people from sin."
Many others have repeated a variation of that line: We don't worship Ted Haggard; we worship God.
But Charles Chandler, who runs a support program for ousted preachers, said mega-churches like New Life sometimes put their pastors on a pedestal. The ministers are more than spiritual leaders; they're almost rock stars — their images beamed on enormous television screens as they preach, their books sold front and center in the lobby, their photos plastered across church websites.
"People almost put you on a throne," Chandler said. "You're vulnerable when that happens. You can take yourself too seriously."
In his group, Ministering to Ministers, Chandler has seen some pastors behave immorally in a gesture of what he calls "professional suicide."
"They can't handle the pressure, but they can't bring themselves to step down, so they do something stupid," he said. Others struggle with sexual or chemical addictions for years — and preach mightily about that very subject to try to cover up, Chandler said.
"They don't want to recognize that it's part of their life," said Chandler, who is based in Richmond, Va.
When caught, Chandler said, a minister's instinct often is not to confess, but to deny, as Haggard did when he was confronted with questions about the prostitute, Mike Jones. The pastor said at first that he did not know Jones. Later, after Jones released voice mail messages he said were from Haggard, the pastor acknowledged that he had visited the prostitute for a massage and bought methamphetamine from him.
The church's board of overseers said Saturday that they would "continue to explore the depth of Pastor Haggard's offense so that a plan of healing and restoration can begin."
Haggard's friends and followers are praying for that restoration. "God alone is judge, and he has the power to heal, restore and bring some good out of this," Cizik said. "It's hard to believe that there could be good of this. But that's a biblical promise."
Church forces out Haggard for 'sexually immoral conduct'
Story Highlights• Haggard agrees to resign as
pastor of New Life Church
Adjust font size:
On Friday, Haggard admitted he had received a massage from a Denver man who claimed the prominent pastor had paid him for sex over three years. Haggard also admitted he had bought methamphetamine.
Haggard, in an interview with CNN affiliate KUSA, denied having sex with Mike Jones and said he did not use the drug and threw it away.
After the allegations were made public, Haggard resigned as president of the influential National Association of Evangelicals, an umbrella group representing more than 45,000 churches with 30 million members.
He also temporarily stepped aside as pastor of the 14,000-member New Life Church. (Parishioners stand by Haggard)
But on Saturday overseers of the church recommended he be permanently removed.
"We, the Overseer Board of New Life Church, have concluded our deliberations concerning the moral failings of Pastor Ted Haggard," a statement from the church said.
"Our investigation and Pastor Haggard's public statements have proven without a doubt that he has committed sexually immoral conduct."
Haggard, 50, and his wife were informed of the decision, the statement said, and "they have agreed as well that he should be dismissed and that a new pastor for New Life Church should be selected according to the rules of replacement in the bylaws."
The statement said "a letter of explanation and apology" from Haggard and "a word of encouragement" from his wife, Gayle, would be read at Sunday morning services.
The couple has five children.
The church's statement said the investigation would continue to determine the extent of Haggard's misconduct.
The Rev. Ross Parsley will lead the New Life Church until a permanent replacement for Haggard is chosen, something that should happen by the end of the year, the statement said.
"Please continue to pray for Pastor Ted and his family, and let's all continue to stand strong together for the kingdom of God," Parsley's note to church members said. "We will get through this together. Remember, New Life Church has never been a man, a building or anything else -- we are a family."
Although Haggard initially denied even knowing Jones, the pastor admitted on camera Friday to a Denver CNN affiliate that he sought a massage from him. Haggard also admitted buying methamphetamine but said he did not use it.
"I was buying it for me, but I never used it," said Haggard, sitting in the driver's seat of a car with his wife, Gayle, at his side during an impromptu interview with KUSA-TV.
"I never kept it very long because it was wrong. I was tempted. I bought it. But I never used it." Haggard also acknowledged contacting Jones but has denied Jones' accusation that the two men regularly had sex over three years. (Watch how the scandal has quickly unfolded -- 3:35 )
Haggard's admissions resonated among America's evangelicals and Christian leaders.
Haggard was one of a group of religious leaders who regularly participated in conference calls with White House aides, Time magazine reported.
On Friday, the White House sought to downplay Haggard's influence within the administration.
Spokesman Tony Fratto told reporters Friday that it was inaccurate to portray him as being close to the White House, insisting Haggard was only an occasional participant in weekly conference calls between West Wing staff and leading evangelicals.
"He has been on a couple of calls," Fratto said. "He's been to the White House one or two times."
Last year, Time -- citing Haggard's White House access -- put him on its list of the nation's 25 most influential evangelicals. (Time.com article)
Many religious leaders had rallied to the pastor's defense when the allegations broke earlier in the week.
Dobson: He's still my friend
"The possibility that an illicit relationship has occurred is alarming to us and to millions of others," Dobson said.
"He will continue to be my friend, even if the worst allegations prove accurate," he continued. "Nevertheless, sexual sin, whether homosexual or heterosexual, has serious consequences."
Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, a Washington-based conservative policy group, said he was "saddened to learn of these allegations of reprehensible behavior."
"In his position as a leader of the evangelical community, this personal tragedy has public ramifications, so we urge that a full accounting of the facts be swift and complete," he said in a statement.
In an interview Friday with CNN, Jones said he went public with his allegations because of Haggard's support for a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage that is on the ballot next week in Colorado.
"For someone who is up there preaching that marriage should only be between a man and a woman, and he's going behind his wife's back and seeing a gay man for sex -- I felt like I owed it to the gay community to expose the hypocrisy," Jones said.( Watch Jones describe how he and Haggard "hooked up" -- 7:26 )
Unclear polygraph test
The polygraph examiner concluded Jones showed some "deception."
However, the examiner said because Jones was exhausted at the time the test was administered it would need to be redone after he slept and ate to get more reliable results.
Jones told CNN that the part of the test he failed was on the question of whether he and Haggard had sex. "I don't understand why I did fail the part about when they asked me if I had sex with Ted Haggard," he said. "That's the reason he contacted me to begin with." (Watch Jones' take on Haggard's denial -- 1:20)
Haggard told KUSA that he was "grateful that [Jones] failed the polygraph test."
The Denver Police Department issued a statement saying it was "watching this situation unfold" and planned "on reaching out to the involved parties for information on crimes that may have been committed in Denver."
Haggard on Friday said a Denver hotel where he was staying referred him to Jones for a massage, and Jones "told him about" the methamphetamine. (Watch Haggard's response to whether he knows gay men in Denver -- 2:07 )
He did not identify the hotel. Jones told CNN he did not sell methamphetamine to Haggard, but he said he gave Haggard a contact to obtain the drug and saw him use it on multiple occasions. He also said he was "not listed with any concierge" at a Denver hotel.
Asked about Haggard's continued denials of a sexual relationship, Jones noted that Haggard had denied even knowing him until he released voice mails he said he had kept from Haggard.
"The more denial he gives, the messier he looks," Jones said.
An expert hired by KUSA concluded the voice on the messages was probably Haggard, and a more detailed analysis was under way. The pastor admitted Friday that he did call Jones "to buy some meth, but I threw it away." (Watch what Haggard said about the drugs he bought -- 1:59)
Jones has said he met Haggard three years ago when the pastor answered his escort ad, pretending to be a man from Kansas City named "Art." He said their sexual encounters continued monthly until August.
Haggard's middle name is Arthur.
Jones, who has said he no longer works as a prostitute, told CNN he only learned Art's identity several months ago, when he recognized Haggard on TV.
"You can't put yourself in the position he was in and want respect and people to follow your words when you're actually doing the opposite behind their backs," Jones said.
CNN's Delia Gallagher contributed to this report
Haggard: 'I am a deceiver and a liar' - Los Angeles Times
Haggard bares his soul in note to congregation
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. — In the hush of a Sunday morning, believers grieved, struggled and forgave as their pastor, the Rev. Ted Haggard, confessed his sins.
"I am a deceiver and a liar," Haggard told 9,000 of his followers in a letter read from the pulpit of New Life Church by one of his spiritual mentors. "There's a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I have been warring against it for all of my adult life."
ADVERTISEMENTMen wiped at their eyes. Women clung to one another. A grandfather hugged his baby grandson close, rubbing the boy's small back. Haggard had founded this church in his basement. He had grown it to a congregation of 14,000. He had guided them to God and helped them triumph over sin, and he had done it always with a smile, ever exuberant, ever strong.
They wept to hear what he'd been hiding.
"For extended periods of time, I would enjoy victory and rejoice in freedom," Haggard wrote. "Then, from time to time, the dirt that I thought was gone would resurface, and I would find myself thinking thoughts and experiencing desires that were contrary to everything I believe and teach."
A male prostitute in Denver came forward last week claiming that Haggard had visited his apartment almost monthly over the last three years for sex and drugs. Haggard at first denied it. Then he said he bought meth from the man, but threw it away. On Sunday, he said this: "The accusations that have been leveled against me are not all true, but enough of them are true that I have been appropriately and lovingly removed from ministry."
Having resigned the presidency of the National Assn. of Evangelicals and been dismissed as senior pastor of New Life, Haggard said he and his wife, Gayle, "need to be gone for a while." He pledged to put himself under the guidance of several pastors who will help him work toward restoration.
"Please forgive me," he wrote. "I am so embarrassed and ashamed…. I am a sinner. I have fallen."
Then the Rev. Larry Stockstill, a Louisiana pastor, read aloud a short letter from Gayle Haggard. She said her heart was broken, but she promised to stand by her husband.
"For those of you who have been concerned that my marriage was so perfect I could not possibly relate to the women who are facing great difficulties, know that this will never again be the case," she wrote, evoking a ripple of laughter. "My test has begun; watch me. I will try to prove myself faithful."
The congregation rose as one. For a long minute, they stood, applauding, sniffling. Interim senior pastor Ross Parsley bounded to the podium. "Listen," he said, "we all feel worse than we did a week ago. But we were worse off a week ago. Today, we all are more obedient, more repentant, more transparent than we've been in a long time."
Here and there in the vast sanctuary, members of Haggard's congregation called out: "Amen."
Afterward, in the lobby, many worshipers echoed Parsley's words. Some were angry at Ted Haggard; many were bewildered. But all said that their faith was not shaken; it was renewed. They would hold fast to all Haggard had taught them over the years, including his preaching that homosexual behavior is an affront to God.
"He believes that what he taught us is true," said Carol Groesbeck, 61.
"I don't think there's anything that needs to be reevaluated," said her husband, Jim, 61, an elder at New Life Church. "We know what we believe, but it's difficult to live that out. That's not just Ted's struggle. It's our struggle."
Michelle Gatson, 37, said she felt reinvigorated by the service after a week that left her so spent, all she wanted to do was "be lying on the floor at home, crying." A member of the choir, she said she found healing in the songs of praise — praise not for any man, but for God. "I love my pastor," she said. "But I'm glad I didn't put my faith in him. He's human."
Added Ian Kallenbach, 26: "I hope he can deal with his demons."
Stockstill — who has been the Haggards' personal pastor for years — said he saw only relief in Ted Haggard's face when he informed him on Saturday that he was being removed from his position at New Life.
Haggard had been struggling for three years to balance his duties as pastor with his high-profile role as head of the evangelical association — a job that raised his political profile and got him invited to the Oval Office and in on conference calls with the White House.
Haggard had tried to carve out time to reflect and to write his books by secluding himself now and then in a Denver hotel. That is apparently when he first contacted the prostitute, Mike Jones, who advertised as a masseur in gay magazines.
Haggard alluded to this period in his letter, saying that his pride had prevented him from seeking counseling; he hadn't wanted to disappoint those who loved him. "When I stopped communicating about my problems," he wrote, "the darkness increased and finally dominated me."
As thousands of New Life members poured into the church for the second morning service, an usher bustled through the lobby carrying fresh boxes of tissues into the sanctuary. Children, released from Sunday school, raced toward the church coffee shop for goopy cinnamon rolls and giant chocolate muffins. A few TV crews milled about, filming interviews.
In the church bookstore, a father leaned against a display of Haggard's books and read aloud to his children from "Letters from Home." Published in 2002, the book is framed as a letter to the two oldest of the Haggards' five children, who were preparing for college at that time.
In a section called "Live as if there are no secrets," Haggard listed powerful men brought down by lust or lies, including presidents Nixon and Clinton and the Rev. Jimmy Swaggart. "Major leaders have lost their positions of influence because of what they did alone in a room," he wrote.
"Please don't ever fall into the trap of believing
that you can do something in secret, even when you are far away from home,"
Haggard urged his children. "This is a lie, and it will always come back
to haunt you."
Minister’s Own Rules Sealed His Fate
by LAURIE GOODSTEIN
Skip to next paragraph
Adam Welch for The New York Times
Erik Stenbakken/New Life Church, via Associated
A male prostitute had accused Mr. Haggard, one of the nation’s most prominent evangelical ministers, of engaging in a three-year affair with him and of using drugs. Then, in a private emergency meeting, Mr. Haggard promptly confessed to the ministers — his handpicked board of overseers — that he had engaged in sexual immorality.
Now, the question was, what punishment did Mr. Haggard deserve? The board had two options: discipline him or dismiss him as senior pastor of New Life Church. Could he take a leave of absence, repent, receive spiritual counseling and return to ministry?
The answer became clear the next morning, the overseers said, when Mr. Haggard gave an interview to a television news crew as he pulled out of his driveway with his wife and three children in the car. He denied having sex with the male prostitute, and said he had bought methamphetamine but never used it. The overseers said they watched Mr. Haggard, affable as ever, smile grimly into the television camera and lie.
“We saw this other side of Ted that Friday morning,” said the Rev. Michael Ware, one of the overseers. “It helped us to know whether this would be a discipline or a dismissal.”
The Rev. Mark Cowart, another overseer, agreed. “It was a defining moment.”
In many ways, Mr. Haggard had sealed his fate long before the driveway interview by establishing a mechanism for accountability in his church that gave a committee of his peers ultimate authority to remove him. Years ago, Mr. Haggard had asked four of his closest friends, all senior pastors of their own churches, to serve as a board of overseers. They had only one function: if Mr. Haggard was ever accused of immoral conduct, they would act as judge and jury.
Until the scandal that drove him from the pulpit, Mr. Haggard appeared to be a responsible steward and chief executive of New Life Church and the adjoining World Prayer Center — an evangelical empire that he built from nothing on a bare plateau with sweeping views of the Air Force Academy and Pikes Peak. He was sovereign over a 14,000-member church that answered to no denomination and was in many ways built on his charisma.
Mr. Haggard spelled out his system of checks and balances in bylaws that independent churches in the United States and overseas have adopted as a model. “All of our bylaws are really set up to protect our churches from us,” said Mr. Ware, the senior pastor of Victory Church in Westminster, Colo. “The same bylaws Ted wrote were the same laws by which he was dismissed.”
Unlike the televangelists Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart, who became mired in sexual and financial scandals in the 1980s, Mr. Haggard’s case was decided by his board with a haste that stunned many church members and employees.
“To watch his whole world evaporate in less than 24 hours is one of the most humbling and God-fearing experiences I’ve ever encountered,” Mr. Ware said in an interview over a motel breakfast of little but coffee with two other overseers.
Mr. Haggard could not have picked overseers with more potential conflicts of interests. Mr. Haggard, Mr. Ware and the Rev. Larry Stockstill started in ministry together 28 years ago in Baker, La., at Bethany World Prayer Center, where Mr. Stockstill is now the senior pastor.
Another member of the board, the Rev. Tim Ralph, the senior pastor of New Covenant Fellowship in rural Larkspur, has known Mr. Haggard since he founded New Life Church in his basement 21 years ago. Mr. Ralph’s son was a sound technician at New Life for six years.
Three of the overseers have their own boards of overseers at the churches they pastor, and Mr. Haggard was on all of them.
In 20 years, Mr. Haggard’s overseers had been summoned only once, to investigate an accusation of sexual impropriety that turned out to be a misunderstanding, overseers and staff members said. A church member reported to the elders in 2001 that he had seen Mr. Haggard in the church offices embracing a woman who was not his wife. The elders immediately called in the overseers to investigate, and they found that the woman was Mr. Haggard’s sister.
But the accusations that surfaced on Nov. 1 proved much more serious.
Mr. Ralph said the accusations left the overseers “holding nitroglycerine” in one hand. In the other hand, he said, they held “some very valuable life to the body of Christ,” referring not only to Mr. Haggard, but also to his wife, Gayle, who directed women’s ministries at New Life Church, and their five children, ages 13 to 25. The Haggards’ eldest son, Marcus, pastors a satellite congregation of New Life in downtown Colorado Springs.
The overseers gathered the next afternoon in the offices of the church’s lawyer, a bit stunned to be called into action, said Mr. Ralph, who likened the assignment to his second job as a firefighter.
“You don’t want to take the trucks out,” he said, “you want to keep shining the trucks.”They reminded one another that despite their long ties to Mr. Haggard, the Bible says they are to judge accusations without partiality. On handheld computers, they pulled up another Scripture that says two or three witnesses are necessary when determining the guilt of an elder.
They considered the prostitute the first witness. When Mr. Haggard confessed that afternoon, he became the second. Within hours, he had resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals.
“He made it easy on us,” said another overseer, the Rev. Mark Cowart, the senior pastor of Church for All Nations in Colorado Springs. “We didn’t have to sort through everything.”
Mr. Ware said Mr. Haggard told them: “Ninety-eight percent of what you knew of me was the real me. Two percent of me would rise up, and I couldn’t overcome it.”
The harder decision was whether to dismiss him, but the overseers said Mr. Haggard’s lie in the television interview had deeply unsettled them. When they informed Mr. Haggard of their decision on Saturday, they said, he told them they had done the right thing.
The overseers also believed that Mr. Haggard needed more counseling, oversight and accountability than they could provide. They asked three of the country’s most renowned evangelical leaders — the Revs. Jack Hayford and Tommy Barnett and Dr. James Dobson — to serve as a “restoration team.” Dr. Dobson, the founder of the Focus on the Family ministry, soon excused himself, saying he could not devote adequate time and attention. He was replaced by the Rev. H. B. London Jr., a Focus on the Family vice president who runs a division that counsels clergy members and churches.
Mr. London said it could take at least three years before a fallen minister was “restored” to “spiritual, emotional and physical health,” with no assurance he could return to ministry.
He said Mr. Haggard’s former congregation had rallied around him, and church officials said they were negotiating a generous severance package.
There are mixed views on how well the overseer system Mr. Haggard put in place worked.
“From what I can tell, it was handled very well,” said Mark A. Noll, a historian at the University of Notre Dame who studies evangelicals. “If the accountability procedure is real, as this one seems to have been, it works well.”
But Eddie Gibbs, a professor of church growth at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calf., said Mr. Haggard’s accountability structure was a failure. The flaw, he said, was that it provided for intervention only when the pastor was about to crash and burn, rather than establishing a process to check on him routinely to prevent such an outcome.
“You’ve got to have the kind of people who will ask the awkward questions about every area of life,” Mr. Gibbs said, especially if for a high-profile pastor in a large church.
In the New Life executive suites, the Rev. Rob Brendle, Mr. Haggard’s young associate pastor, who said he had thought of himself as “Ted’s Karl Rove,” said he was so traumatized he could not yet ask himself if had seen signs of Mr. Haggard’s double life. But Mr. Brendle said he was comforted by the smooth handling of the crisis.
“I want everyone to see how evangelical Christians respond during adversity, and how we treat our wounded,” he said. “We aren’t interested in kicking someone to the curb when he shames our movement. We are committed to serving him.”
Last week, a young man working at the cafe of the World Prayer Center stripped Mr. Haggard’s books off a shelf. Mr. Brendle said he had approved the purge of books and of the sermon archives on the Web site because he did not want people “looking for clues.”
In his book “Foolish No More,” Mr. Haggard wrote that lying about a sexual affair produces “the stinking garbage of a rotting sin.”
“If a church leader sins,” he warned, “everyone within the church’s influence pays.”
Haggard says he is "completely heterosexual"
By Eric Gorski
Denver Post Staff Writer
Article Last Updated: 02/06/2007 08:36:52 PM MST
The Rev. Ted Haggard emerged from three weeks of intensive counseling convinced he is "completely heterosexual" and told an oversight board that his sexual contact with men was limited to his accuser.
That is according to one of the disgraced pastor's overseers, who on Monday revealed new details about where Haggard has been and where he is headed.
The Rev. Tim Ralph of Larkspur also said the four-man oversight board strongly urged Haggard to go into secular work instead of Christian ministry if Haggard and his wife follow through on plans to earn master's degrees in psychology.
Haggard broke a three-month silence in e-mails over the weekend to select members of his former church. New Life Church interim
Haggard mentioned Missouri and Iowa as possible destinations. Another oversight board member, the Rev. Mike Ware of Westminster, said the group recommended the move out of town, and the Haggards agreed.
"This is a good place for Ted," Ware said. "It's hard to heal in Colorado Springs right now. It's like an open wound. He needs to get somewhere he can get the wound healed."
Haggard, 50, resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals and was fired from the church he built from nothing into a 14,000-member congregation after a former male prostitute in Denver alleged a three-year cash-for-sex relationship.
Haggard admitted to "sexual immorality" and a long battle against feelings contrary to his beliefs. He admitted buying methamphetamine but said he never used it. Haggard did not respond to interview requests.
Among other things, the overseers urged Haggard to enter a 12-step
Ted Haggard was fired for "sexual immorality."
The church had no clear succession plan. program for sexual addiction,
"He is completely heterosexual," Ralph said. "That is something he discovered. It was the acting- out situations where things took place. It wasn't a constant thing."
Why Haggard chose to act out in that manner is something Haggard and his advisers are trying to discern, Ralph said.
In investigating Haggard's assertion that his extramarital sexual contact was limited to former male escort Mike Jones, the board talked to people close to Haggard and found no evidence contradicting him, Ralph said.
"If we're going to be proved wrong, somebody else is going to come forward, and that usually happens really quickly," he said. "We're into this thing over 90 days, and it hasn't happened."
Steering Haggard away from a return to ministry was based, in part, on Haggard's high profile, Ralph said. He cited biblical passages about holding influential figures to a higher standard.
"Nobody is saying he can't go back into ministry," Ralph said. "Somewhere down the road, that could very well happen, and that would be wonderful."
Haggard is being asked to join a church wherever the couple moves and continue the Christian counseling he receives twice a week, Ralph said.
The oversight board that includes Ralph is focusing on New Life Church's future but continues to counsel Haggard.
What has been termed Haggard's "restoration" is being overseen by another panel: H.B. London, who runs a Focus on the Family ministry to pastors, and megachurch pastors Tommy Barnett and Jack Hayford.
London said he was not surprised Haggard was considering the psychological field.
"Many of us that go into the healing, helping professions do so out of some sort of dysfunction or traumatic event in our lives, and we want to do what we can to help other people avoid what we've gone through," he said. "He is certainly gifted and intelligent and has an intuitive side to him. And he has life experience. Those are good credentials."
Staff writer Eric Gorski can be reached at 303-954-1698 or email@example.com.
Haggard offers lesson in Christian forgiveness
The Daily Herald Posted Saturday, February 17, 2007
“I think it’s more difficult for humans to forgive one another than
for God to forgive us.”
Those are just some of the things that comedians, bloggers and pundits have been calling the Rev. Ted Haggard.
The national evangelical leader and former pastor of the 14,000-member New Life Church in Colorado came under fire when male escort Mike Jones said he and Haggard shared a three-year relationship involving sex and drugs.
It’s nothing new that Christian leaders caught in scandals come under
intense reproach from their flock, strangers and late-night talk show hosts.
The Rev. Bruce Love, associate pastor at the Wheaton Evangelical Free
Church, says we need to stop the madness.
Rev. Ted Haggard, a Dr. James Dobson defender, of being unequally yoked with non-believers, leads others astray...
Christian leaders decry remarks against Islam
WASHINGTON - In an unusual public rebuke, leading evangelical Christians condemned derogatory statements about Islam by the Rev. Franklin Graham and others among their fellow religious conservatives.
The evangelicals meeting Wednesday said the derisive comments endangered Christian missionaries in the Muslim world, strained already tense interfaith relations and fed the perception in the Mideast and beyond that the war on terrorism is a Christian crusade against Islam.
"We must temper our speech," said the Rev. Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, which represents more than 43,000 congregations and helped organize the meeting. "There has to be a way to do good works without raising alarms."
Paul Marshall, senior fellow at the Center for
Religious Freedom, a human rights group, [multi-religious] said anti-Islam
comments serve only to antagonize people. "Exactly what is to be achieved
by that except boosting the ego of who said it?" he asked.
The Revs. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson also have criticized the religion.
Clive Calver, president of World Relief, the humanitarian
relief arm of the evangelical association, said all of the statements have
"placed lives and livelihoods at risk" overseas, where missionaries have
become targets of Muslim extremists.
To repair the damage to relations with Muslims,
the evangelical group and the Institute on Religion and Democracy, a conservative
[AP's reporting someones concept of conservatisn] Christian organization,
[pmi: from http://www.ird-renew.org/News/News.cfm?ID=631&c=4 "8.
Work together with some Muslims on certain public issues in which we and
they may have similar concerns (for instance, free exercise of religion
in the United States, opposition to abortion, and promotion of refugee
resettlement). We do so for the same reason that Christians are prepared
to work with Jews, Mormons, and even atheists where we share common convictions
about what justice requires.] are drafting guidelines to begin interfaith
dialogue with Islamic leaders. While Muslim leaders have been meeting regularly
with liberal Protestants, no such national dialogue has taken place with
"We've got to have an attitude of how can we serve, how can we help," said Calver. "Saying Islam is evil isn't going to help any of us."
"We [Rev. Ted Haggard] at New Life Church do have a dispute reconciliation process that has worked effectively with many in the Christian community here in Colorado Springs" participated in the failed step two of Matthew 18 of FOTF and Dr. Jim & Shirley Dobson with the coalition representing 40 pastors and church leaders from Cincinnati, Ohio.
Rev. Ted Haggard Backs Dr. Dobson's unequal yoking with Mormons, Muslims, Hindus, et.al.
"Dear Bill" (peacemakers.net)
"Thanks for writing. I've read the letter" (by Brian Cooper [member of Rev. Haggard's NewLifeChurch.org] who wrote the Letter to Dr. Dobson-about being unequally yoked with unbelievers like Mormons, Muslims against Gays) "and find myself in agreement with Focus on the Family."
[FOTF Termindated Brian Cooper on March 22, 2001 and peacemakers asked Rev. Haggard to exercise step three of Matthew 18 "Church Discipline" with Brian Cooper and Dr. Dobson.]
"In addition, I have a strong belief that employees of ministries need to support the vision of the leader. If they can't, they should work elsewhere. So I would not be supportive of Focus altering their position in this situation.
Rev. Ted Haggard's second letter side-steps Dr. Dobson's unequal yoking with Mormons, Muslims, Hindus, et.al. and refuses the Biblical protection of Matthew 18 for his own flock working in para-church organizations-where unrighteousness and ungodliness might prevail.
March 23,2002 Rev. Haggard writes...
To Whom It May Concern:
I just read your notes on my refusal to involve myself with Focus on the Family dismissing one of their employees. We at New Life Church do have a dispute reconciliation process that has worked effectively with many in the Christian community here in Colorado Springs. My refusal to have New Life Church involved had nothing to do with the Christian/Mormon discussion, but rather the reality that Focus on the Family had an employee that wasn't supportive of Dr. Dobson. I have been involved with dispute resolution issues with Dr. Dobson in the past, and wouldn't hesitate to do it again. But I will not place myself in the role of trying to negotiate employment positions with the para-church ministries of the city. I believe ministries have the full freedom to employ or not employ those whom they choose. Thus, the discussion that you reference is not accurately presented, which is a problem for your ministry.
I'm surprised you would put this on a web-page without letting me know. What about Matthew 18?
PeaceMakers believes that Biblical responsibilities within the visible Body of Christ by an individual believer, a church, or para-church organization, are not divided, diminished or void by organizational lines (i.e. Federal laws, State laws, local governments, geography, or church/para-church organizational ties).
Rev. Haggard in his first letter DID NOT openly-nor publicly rebuke Dr. Jim Dobson for being unequally yoked with non-believers, nor has he called Focus On The Family to repent. Rev. Haggard in his second letter is STILL NOT speaking against Dr. Dobson and FOTF for being unequally yoked, now-instead he's clarifying that those in his church who work for para-church "ministries" CAN NOT expect his or his church's help in a dispute at work.
If I remember correctly, Rev. Haggard was pictured along with Dr. & Mrs. Dobson as either a speaker or one who led in prayer at a national pray service in Washington D.C.(Mrs. Shirley Dobson as Chairperson) soon after receiving my first letter seeking his help as a Shepherd of Christ's flock.
To date Rev. Haggard (firstname.lastname@example.org) and New Life Church (http://www.newlifechurch.org) 1.719.594.6602 is not supporting a Biblical stance nor executing as Brian Cooper's home "church" Christ's Biblical reconciliation process.
Dr. Dobson's home "church" http://wwwEastborough.org 719-596-1929 pastored by Rev. Zell Woodworth (PastorZell@eastborough.org) continues their refusal to hear and exercise Biblical reconciliation-church Discipline with Dr. Dobson.
May God have mercy on their souls...
Rev. Ted Haggard info on PeaceMakers.net
Repentance the need of this hour