Haggard bares his soul in note to congregation
Thousands listen as the former evangelical leader shares his moral failings in a letter read from the pulpit.
By Stephanie Simon, Times Staff Writer
November 6, 2006
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.”
Dear Gospel Revolutionaries,
To paraphrase former Vice Presidential Candidate Lloyd Benson, “I knew Ted Haggard. Ted Haggard was a friend of mine. Ted Haggard is no Jimmy Swaggart”. Yet, still, Ted has fallen into the same old trap that ensnared Swaggart and countless others.
Ted Haggard spoke at a Men’s Camp I hosted many years ago while I was still steeped in Evangelical religion. He and his family stayed at my house in Wisconsin, and I stayed with him and his family and attended his church while visiting Colorado Springs. Ted is a decent guy, who yearned for unity amongst all believers. Eventually he became the first Charismatic pastor to head the National Evangelical Association which led him to meetings with the “who’s who” in the church and to the White House and a meeting with President Bush in the Oval Office.
Ted always strove to be gracious, giving, and upbeat, never stooping to the type of condemnation preaching of the likes of Jimmy Swaggart that preceded his “outing”.
But, still, Ted hung on to the hope that being a believer in Christ could purge one from practices he termed “repulsive and dark.” In other words, not be a human being like the rest of the world. And then in his book “Letters from Home.” published in 2002, a book written as a letter to the two oldest of the Haggards’ five children, who were preparing for college at that time, he wrote 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.”
Yes, my brother and friend Ted, living a lie will always come back to haunt you, as will judging other people for being guilty of the same thing you’re guilty of. This is what Jesus accused the religious leaders of during His day when He labeled them “hypocrites”. Plus, to have a goal of having NO secrets, is akin to having a goal of, well, being perfect. Sound familiar?
Thinking and teaching that God is somehow displeased with certain actions is the big lie. It totally demeans the work of the Cross of Christ and ironically is more likely to lead to the type of behavior patterns that they think God disapproves of.
This is what Paul meant when he wrote that “the law adds power to the temptation.”
But my friend Ted, and Jimmy Swaggart, and my former pastor in Wisconsin who got caught with the church secretary on their way to Europe with $40,000 of the church’s offerings, and Jim Bakker, and Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, and Mark Foley, and multiple millions of others will continue on with this “dung” (Paul’s word not mine) because this is all they know.
However, WE KNOW THE TRUTH!
HIS NAME IS SALVATION (YESHUA IN HEBREW. JESUS IN GREEK). AND THE TRUTH HAS SET US FREE FROM THE DICTATES OF HYPOCRITICAL MAN-MADE RELIGION.
It is our joy to continue spreading the good news of God’s continual and forever forgiveness without need of confession or repentance. Jesus has taken care of the whole deal for Ted, Jimmy, Bill, Mike Williams, and even Glenn Klein. And for all of you and yours, too!
Please help the effort of getting this most important message out today by ordering, donating, or inviting Mike to your area to speak @ www.gospelrevolution.com
In His Perfection,