I usually ignore scandals in the church and don’t write about them mainly for two reasons.
- Sin in the church is not news.
- Unless it occurs within my own local church or denomination, I am not qualified to pronounce a public judgment — only the elders of that particular church should do that.
However, I wanted to use this scandal as an illustration of why I left the so-called “evangelical” movement a few years ago. I joined an Reformed church that I consider to be truly evangelical. A truly evangelical church literally preaches the whole Gospel. The Ted Haggard scandal and the response by “evangelicals” shows the major problem with evangelicalism. The Law of God is not considered to be part of the Gospel — and is even considered to be an enemy of the Gospel.
The following linked article (”What Ted Haggard’s fall could teach Christians“) is typical of the reason why the evangelical church in America is in such a bad state. It totally ignores the fact that Ted Haggard was a pastor and leader of an international Christian ministry. It treats him as if he was “Joe Public” pew sitter in need of moral guidance from his peers. It ignores the biblical law regarding qualifications for elders and deacons.
Invariably I hear such pietistic drivel whenever a major Christian leader commits a sin that the Apostle Paul said “deserves death” and was punishable by stoning in the Old Testament. I have to laugh at evangelicals who say that swift steps must be taken to ensure his restoration to ministry. And woe to us that we could not have fostered an atmosphere in which he could have been more open about his sin and received help!
We are also told by Haggard that all he did was buy some illegal drugs (that he never used) and receive a back rub. Here’s the infamous “I didn’t inhale” excuse once again. Yet most assume he was removed by his elders for hiding something that is more egregious than this. Otherwise, he would have simply denied that he did anything seriously wrong and voluntarily submitted to rehabilitation or counseling to deal with some personal problems.
We are obviously not hearing the whole story and he is still covering something. Now we are told by some pietists that God is judging him for his “judgment and anger” because he opposed “same-sex marriage.” This wrongly assumes that we should forgive Haggard for a crime he has yet to confess and that he was “intolerant” of homosexuals in his own church.
The simple fact of the matter is that the interim pastor at Haggard’s church admits that they allow openly homosexual members of their church to receive communion. These people are not subject to church sanctions and Haggard himself fostered an “open” and “loving” attitude toward sodomites.
Ted Haggard’s situation is similar to a pastor I knew in Melbourne, Florida who was never supportive of the pro-life activists in his church because he didn’t want people to think of him as intolerant toward the “pro-choice community.” It might hinder his ministry toward them. Later during the height of a so-called “revival” in his church in the 1990s that was chronicled by major Christian media, he was exposed in the sin of adultery with the daughter of his church’s founder. The simple fact is that if you are an adulterous pastor, you need abortion to cover your sin. If you are a homosexual pastor, you need male prostitutes in your church to service your sin.
And so on.
But this is nothing new. The kings and patriarchs of Israel allowed temple prostitution to go on and rarely enforced the sanctions of God’s Law. The kings of Israel multiplied their wives and committed open adultery. What is new is the pervasive pietism among conservative Christians that ignores the Law of God in favor of something they think is “more compassionate” than what God himself requires. It’s not enough for us to ignore and violate God’s Law, but we also must portray God’s Law as harsh and judgmental and beneath our modern sensibility.
Can Haggard be forgiven?
Yes of course, that is the heart of the Gospel. Ted Haggard can even be used of God again in some sort of service role in the church or in public life. And if he repents, he can be used soon. But there are temporal judgments for those who commit crimes against the Law of God. He should never again be allowed in an ordained ministry position. In a nation that loved God’s law, he would receive some type of civil penalty as well. We are in such a bad state not because sin is rampant in the church, but because we have forsaken the only valid measure of righteousness and judgment that can bind our conscience — and sadly I need I define that — the Law of God.
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“Give me liberty or give me death!”
Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.
The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).
Welcome to the Second American Revolution!
This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.
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Download the Free Study Guide!
Just what is Calvinism?
Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?
This is the first video documentary that answers these and other related questions. Hosted by Eric Holmberg, this fascinating three-part, four-hour presentation is detailed enough so as to not gloss over the controversy. At the same time, it is broken up into ten “Sunday-school-sized” sections to make the rich content manageable and accessible for the average viewer.
Running Time: 257 minutes
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Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?
Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!
Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.
Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)
Running Time: 145 minutes
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Who is the Real Jesus?
Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.
Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.
The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.
Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.
Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!
Running Time: 130 minutes
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Special Two-Disc Set!
After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.
Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.
$49.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)