Saturday, November 04, 2006

First Reactions to the Ted Haggard Moral Failing

I am contemplating writing extensively about Ted Haggard's moral fall, but I am leaning against it. I have come to realize that my initial reactions are too emotion-laden to have much objective value. My initial response is pure fury and anger. I feel betrayed. Here at 21st Century Reformation, I seek to counter the superficiality of popular evangelicalism with a message grounded in the ethics of the cross and self-sacrificial love. My initial, albeit emotion-laden, reaction sees Haggard as responsible for mainstreaming prosperity and financial provision teachings which are diametrically opposed to my understanding of the person of Jesus Christ and the moral beauty of God that has captured my affections.

I have personally experienced the desire of a church for a charismatic leader with a popular message, and I have seen this desire for a "pastor-as-celebrity" church undermine what I see as the message of the Holy Spirit to the church in our generation. Haggard is the poster child for such celebrity and feel-good preaching that I passionately see as the source of all that ails us. Needless to say, Haggard and his lack of confession, while being a pastor, surfaces many emotions in me.

For me, all I can say is that it will take time for me to discern what is my anger and what is God's word to the church. One thing I know for certain is that we evangelical Christians need to soberly seek wisdom from God. Today, I stand more than ever in opposition to any preaching which claims that Godliness is a means of financial gain as it is in opposition to the moral beauty of the cross.

May God have mercy on us and may we respond to His discipline with humility and repentance.


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