What the church can Learn from Ted Haggard

I watched the Ted Haggard interview on Opera yesterday. I was very conflicted in my emotions. I feel very bad for those in his church whose faith he had a hand in damaging. I also felt very bad for him and his family.

For YouTube Friday I usually show a funny video but I wanted to take this opportunity to challenge the church to learn from Ted.

One of the biggest things the American church can and needs to learn from Ted and this whole situation is the importance of true Biblical community. True community is something that Ted never experienced to be facing something so serious and wanting to talk about it and instead he got the push back. How sad.

How is it that in the church we have levels of sin. What Ted did was wrong make no mistake. But, why did he get pushed back when he reached out. Psudo-Community, Psudo-Transformation. We prefer the sterility of Psudo-relationship to genuine gut level dirty relationship. We have become so good at casting stones and not so good at kneeling in the dirt with adulterers.

If we can learn anything from Ted it is that we need to get real and get accountable to someone. If you are not being real or accountable do it and do it now.

7 comments On What the church can Learn from Ted Haggard

  • Samuel, i understand what you are saying…and yes, i agree. “If we can learn anything from Ted and Gail it is that we need to get real and get accountable to someone. If you are not being real or accountable do it and do it now.” I agree 100% – being accountable i VERY important necessary part of life. Without it we could find ourselves in places we never imagined – much like Ted and Gail. We as spouses, fathers, mothers, friends, and pastors, must make it a priority in our emotional, physical and spiritual lives. I would be the first to say, without those around me….there by the grace of God ( and the accountability of other), go i.

  • First of all let me give you context to the video above. When Ted says that he was in the prayer center two weeks before “BLACK Thursday” – do not be mistaken he was I am sure asking God to help him. However this was spurred on by an unsettling accusation that took place weeks before from Haas. Ted claims to have been asking God to change him. I do believe this was true. However, just as we should not take the Bible out of context. This too requires context — Ted had an opportunity weeks/months before Jones to get help, tell the truth, rather he covered up the situation and prayed the Lord would help him. What he did not see was that Grant Haas, was his help he cried for.

  • Ok – as you can see, this hits close to home for me. Now if a may shed a little insight on the subject. (Keep in mind I love and feel so sad for Ted, Gail, and the kids. After all I pastured the kids in church and worked with Gail in the women’s Department – I know them and love them.)

    The duplicity of Ted and Gail that is unsettling, at best. If I could (legally) give you all the examples of it, I would. However, I would like to give you a bigger picture.
    Sam you said, “True community is something that Ted never experienced to be facing something so serious and wanting to talk about it and instead he got the push back. How sad.” — I would agree completely IF, IF, if this were totally true. Though I cannot judge Ted’s heart. (Only the Lord truly knows our hearts) I can judge his fruit and actions. Being a member, and part of the leadership of New Life for years before this broke out I can tell you one thing…what he is saying is not the entire truth. I believe there is truth to what he is says…but it is not the ENTIRE truth. The one thing we all loved about Ted was his uncanny honesty, or at least what we thought was honesty. Though I am not angry I am confused. There where many things he says NOW that are not what he said before or even a week ago. So do keep in mind in all you hear, i believe he and his wife are so deep in deception that they do not even remember truth themselves.

    Please do not quote me…. This is a general example of how what Ted is saying does not hold as completely true. Years ago a group of loving pastors and prophets sat Ted down and gave him a “loving rebuke” – (Cindy Jacobs being one, you can ask her yourself) He did not receive what they had to say. That small group of ministers were not received by him to the point that they did not visit our church again and their photos where taken down from the prayer center. Why would someone so desperate for “community” reject a loving plea to get help. That is what it was. That IS Sad. Then when Gail was asked concerning anything personally would say to me and anyone else, “Why do others feel there is anything other than what we are here in front of you, this is who we are, at home and in church nothing changes.” I have tapes of Gail saying over and over and over again. “We are being real – why do others insist we are not?” No one said they where not, not in that moment, and it was literally the constant plea she would give???? Together Ted and Gail are not telling the entire truth. This I know first hand and continue to experience first hand. Soooo many tried to reach in with love and they refused to receive the community that loved and surrounded them. I am sure when Ted shared his heart it was not always received, that is sad. However those that reached out with love and accountability where rejected by both Ted and Gail time and time again. i know, i was one of them.

    I have yet to hear Ted or Gail, in person or publicly take responsibly for the situation they are in. On Opra, HBO, on Larry King, or in the grocery store…. in ever situation they claim the fault to be with the church. I DO believe the church has made errors, BIG ones. Do not be mistaken, sin has consequences, this is the part that Ted and Gail do not like.

  • Sis. I in no want to minimize the pain and wrongfulness of choices that Ted made that affected so many. He was dead wrong. I attend New Life it was and is a great church. I was just trying to say “we as the church” tend to put thoughts and struggles on the same level as actions.

    What would the church have done if he confessed that he was struggling with homosexual thoughts. Most churches would have gotten rid of him. I know some of the background that Ted came from, VERY hostile to homosexuals.

    I think true community happens not because we have a small group department but when we can be gut level honest and love each other though difficult issues while speaking truth to the situation before it become a life altering behavior.

  • I understand Samuel, and i agree. “True community happens when we can be gut level honest and love each other though difficult issues while speaking truth to the situation before it become a life altering behavior.” Very well said, no can agree more than i. I have worked with many wives whose husbands struggle with pornography and that struggle has lead them into all kinds of deep, dark sin. If they had been real from the beginning most likely they not be in the sad place they find themselves. You must know this DID happened time and time again with Ted and Gail both in Colorado and in previous places they have lived. In all their struggles they refused to be truthful concerning the sin. Please be clear to understand that this was MORE than just a Pastor afraid to share his struggle with homosexual thoughts. This was a Pastor struggling with the ACTS of homosexuality for more years than even I care to know. Big difference. It is one thing to struggle with thoughts and quite another to cover up acts of immorality time and time again.

    I know what you mean when you say the background that Ted came from, VERY hostile to homosexuals. He did share his struggles with those close to him. Those that knew of it, kept him in prayer and did not wish to judge. They loved him. However when approached in love concerning his acts of sin, he choose to not tell the truth. Though New Life is not perfect or correct in the way they handled everything, no community in the world can fix deception of this degree. We must be real and open concerning our struggles and SINS. We must love the sinner and only hate the sin. We Love Ted, Gail, and the kids is easy, they have been like family. The Bible says we must live a life of truth. IT is sad to say, I know that there is more than meets the eye and I can only pray that the Lord reveals truth to Ted and Gail before anything more happens. I agree we can learn a lot from Ted and Gail, that being, “Do not be deceived, our sins will find us out.” May the Lord have mercy on us all.

  • Though I could not speak into Ted’s situation specifically, I do believe the church has a history of handling situations of similar nature poorly. If Ted was lovingly rebuked for his actions in a biblical manner, that’s great. If Ted had a safe place to share his struggle that provided accountability and actionable steps to keep his marriage pure… even better. If Ted opted not to submit to that… well, that’s the heartbreak.

    But before debating the right or wrong actions of the church, I think we need to address the root. Sexual sin (of any nature) is the most dangerous sin. In fact, it’s the only sin in the Bible that God tells us to do more than simply ‘repent’ from (turn away). Instead He tells us to run. Flee. Why? B/c the depth of impact is more than just physical.

    Knowing this can shape the way we respond to someone that expresses struggle. By the time they’re raising a flag… the issue is deeper than they will readily admit. With the problem already deeply rooted (or well on it’s way), the person needs a safe place to ask hard questions, be completely transparent and wrestle with God. How can we (as a church) get better at offering actionable steps to keep the person protected for this season?

    Don’t get me wrong, sis. If that is what Ted and Gail were offered yet they were not willing to submit… not much you can do.

    Sam, thanks for bringing such a great conversation to the table.

  • Gina,

    Thanks for your comments, excellent thoughts.

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