My Thoughts On: “Going To Hell with Ted Haggard”

Ted Haggard

Ted Haggard

Going To Hell With Ted Haggard  by Michael Cheshire is a terrific article that I think every Christian should read because it really exposes a problem we have as Christians… that being we are all petty humans who don’t want to forgive like Jesus commanded us to. Forgiveness is hard especially if it’s a sin that we have never struggled with. Perhaps you have never struggled with homosexuality, alcohol addiction, drug dependency, post-abortion depression, self-hatred, suicidal thoughts, clinical depression, gambling addiction, sex addiction, pornography or a myriad of other things those around you may be struggling with. It’s true for me, and probably for you, that it’s a lot easier to be passive or even look down upon others who are struggling or have fallen into a sin that is not something we regularly deal with.

We are especially critical of our Christian brothers and sisters that we hold to a much higher standard than the average joe. If that brother or sister is a minister or clergy there’s a good chance they will be tossed out and rejected for the rest of their days if they are caught committing one of the “big” sins. We so quickly abandon our “big” sinners, sometimes even scoffing at the notion that justice has been served by their public shaming and fall from grace. Never does it cross our mind that by doing this we are in complete opposition to the teachings of Christ.

I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.  Luke 5:32

I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.  Luke 15:10

I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.  Luke 15:7

The fact that no one is talking about when it comes to Ted Haggard, a fact that I was previously unaware of, was that the man repented and is still trying his best to continue his life of service to God. I had no idea. I just assumed, as I’m sure a lot of people did, that he disappeared into a shadowed and disgraced existence. The man knows he was in the wrong and he has reconciled this with the Lord. So why is it that we cannot forgive him? Do we think we are better?

For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses neither will your father forgive your trespasses.  Matthew 6:14-15

If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him; and if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times saying ‘I repent’, forgive him. Luke 17:3-4

So also my heavenly Father will do to you if you do not forgive your brother from your heart. Matthew 18:35

The cold truth of the matter is that we don’t have the right not to forgive Ted Haggard. We are all sinners saved only by the grace of God. We have nothing we can bring to the table and we all share in the same sin as Pastor Ted even if our sin manifests in a different form. Perhaps our sin is anger, jealousy, pride, gluttony, or a hard heart unwilling to love a man who has said he is sorry. Christianity is not about casting out the evil ones and keeping the good ones, there are no “good ones.” We are all messed up and broken in one way or the other, but God still loves us. If a perfect and Holy God can love a broken people, why can we not forgive and love each other?

Let’s look at the parable of the Prodigal’s Son in Luke 15:11-32. In that passage it is clear that the runaway son was in the wrong. He was disrespectful to the father, he was wasteful, he was selfish, he went on a pure hedonistic spree and then had the audacity to come back to the father and beg for forgiveness. Notice the Father does not wait for his son to come to him and punish him out of spite, but rather he runs to his son and embraces him. He forgets the past and makes all things new. It is only the arrogant son who stayed home that has any qualms.

Let us not be the arrogant son. When our brothers and sisters fall and try to get back up let’s be like the father who was quick to embrace them. That is, after all, what Jesus commanded of us. If we are going to call ourselves Christians  and love the lost, we might want to learn how to love our own brothers and sisters first. Does Ted Haggard deserve a second chance? No. But neither do you or I, and this isn’t about what’s fair. This is about grace, mercy, and love. This is about reconciliation and following Christ, not because it’s fair, but because it is the right thing to do.


6 thoughts on “My Thoughts On: “Going To Hell with Ted Haggard”

  1. The problem with Mr. Haggard – is that he is unrepentant. True repentance involves acknowledging your sin, and making a turn away from it. Instead of that – he is now embracing it, and urging us to as well – for the sake of “human dignity.” ???

    “Colorado evangelical pastor Ted Haggard, who was involved in a sex and drug scandal six years ago, appears to have changed his earlier position against same-sex marriage. In an online debate, he said while biblical law is against homosexual marriage, the state should allow it.”

    Besetting sin is not a an excuse to give in to it.

    “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus….” – Hebrews 12:1-2

    • Very valid points. I’m not so hard lined on the gay marriage issue as I used to be and I’m currently in a bit of an undecided stance when it comes down to it. In order to save time and space I’ll just say I’ve looked into the issue and while the Bible does at no point (to my knowledge) even hint at advocating homosexual monogamous relationships in a married context, it also does not (to my knowledge) condemn them. There are instances of homosexual acts condemned in scripture, but it is worth questioning whether these were to be seen as a universal condemnation of all homosexual acts, even in a marriage context. As I said before, I don’t know. There are many opinions on the issue and for the moment mine I’m still developing mine. The sin that I think we can both agree on is that Haggard had an affair with someone other than his wife. In this regard he did repent. Now I’m not someone who has followed this story in any great detail. The last time I heard the Haggard’s name (prior to the article which sparked this post) was midst the controversy, but from what I have read and seen it seems like we should at least be open to forgiving Haggard. Whether or not his repentance is genuine and whether or not he has repented of all he needs to, in my understanding, is a matter between him and God. As for my solo opinion, I am going to forgive Haggard. As far as his homosexuality goes I am not at a point where I’d personally make a judgement

      Thanks for commenting, I appreciate the constructive criticism.

      -Hardin (Benevolent Baptist)

      • Well, the problem with this particular sin, and all other sexual sins, is that they fly in the face of what God means Christian marriage to represent – the Marriage between Jesus Christ and His church. As a long time ladies’ Bible teacher – I can not find a single instance where Israel or the Church was instructed to let sin fester and ferment. As we forgive, we must also never cease to pull and push the sinner into the Light, rather than allow the unrepentant sinners to drag us down with them, and corrupt the Church in the process. Forgiveness is often confused with acceptance on the part of the sinner.

        As Haggard is now promoting the legalization of these “marriages,” that is not an indicator of repentance. Rather, it is classic moral relativism, which is the root cause of the downfall of our country, and the calling card of the Laodicean Church Age.

        2 Timothy 4:1-3

        King James Version (KJV)

        4 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, Who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom;

        2 Preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.

        3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

        Jude 1:22-25

        King James Version (KJV)

        22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:

        23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

        24 Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,

        25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

        Thank you, Hardin, for your speedy response.

      • I’m definitely in agreement that any sexual act committed outside the bond of marriage is a sin. I’m also in agreement with you that in forgiving we should push the sinner on towards abandoning old sins and seeking righteousness. The only potential problem I have is in defining exactly what Ted Haggard’s sins were. I assume you and I can both get behind the idea that the man messed up and cheated on his wife, which is a horrible sin to commit. As far as I know he’s been very repentant on that point and has since reconciled. I feel, as far as this sin is concerned, the man has done all he can to repent and we should forgive him.

        Now as far as his advocating gay marriage… I just don’t know yet. I throw up my hands and admit I’m not overly convinced by either side of the debate at the moment. His flip-flopping on the issue from strong opposition to strong advocating does cause me to raise my eyebrow, but I can’t crawl in the man’s brain and see what his motivations are and so I really have no way (as of the moment) to know if his motives are pure or not. If his advocating of gay marriage is in fact sinful then I agree with you in all regards, I’m just not sure if at this point I would be so willing to say that. I hope this isn’t coming off as a copout because that’s not my intention. I honestly do respect your conviction, I just havent found anything as of yet to convict me as to where I side on this issue. Rather than picking a side based on my personal feelings and potentially misleading people, I’ve decided (for the moment) to hold my tongue until I actually have something of worth to add to the debate.

        -Hardin (Benevolent Baptist)

  2. I happened to come across your blog. Nearly every person who acknowledges an aversion to homosexuality does so on the basis of what he or she believes the Bible has to say. In their mind, there is no doubt whatsoever about what the Bible says and what the Bible means. Their general argument goes something like this: Homosexuality is an abomination and the homosexual is a sinner. Homosexuality is condemned in both the Old and New Testaments. Therefore, if we are to be faithful to the clear teachings of Scripture we too must condemn homosexuality. Needless to say, this premise is being widely debated among evangelicals today and seriously challenged by biblical scholars, theologians and religious leaders everywhere.

    It rarely occurs to any of us that our reading of Scripture is profoundly colored by our own cultural context and worldview. In light of the post above and since I happen to speak and write on this topic, I thought you might find some of these posts of particular interest and relevance. I would particularly recommend the following:

    “Genesis 19: What Were the Real Sins of Sodom?”
    “Leviticus 18: What Was the Abomination?”
    “Romans 1: What Was Paul Ranting About?”
    “Romans 2: Paul’s Bait and Switch”
    “Genesis 1: Turning the Creation Story into an Anti-Gay Treatise”
    “Why No One in the Biblical World Had a Word for Homosexuality”
    “Exegesis: Not For the Faint in Heart”

    Links to these and more posts may be found by simply clicking the link below and then selecting the “Archives” page.

    -Alex Haiken

    • I actually have a post coming up (I’ll probably save it for after Advent Season) that deals specifically with the “Sins of Sodom” which are in no way limited to homosexuality. I’m personally a bit of a fence sitter on homosexual issue. Currently I’m of the opinion that the Bible does not really address homosexuality (at least not in the context we know of today) and monogamous homosexual couples were simply not a part of the cultures that wrote most of the Bible. Things like “male honor code”, temple prostitution, and the young sexual servants of Paul’s day make it hard to pull a definitive opinion out of the Bible for the modern gay marriage issue. If I were to point to the sins of Haggard I’d be more willing to point to the fact that he was having extramarital relations more so than that the man was gay.

      Thanks for the comment, I appreciate any constructive criticism and I’ll definitely read up on your suggested articles over the next few days.

      – Hardin (Benevolent Baptist)

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