A few comments from this article disturbed me:
Upon describing his removal from his old church,
… he spoke of his ouster from New Life, describing his self-loathing and doubts. “Am I full of the devil? Am I everything that the paper says I am?” he said. “I was scared to death I’d gone off the deep end.”
Charismatics – particularly the preachers – tend to describe all personal sin as “being under the influence of the devil.” Thus, if one falls into some gross immorality, or habitually acts in any dishonest, ungodly fashion, the real culprit is a diabolical spirit who has temporarily come upon the person. The “sinner” is never truly responsible for his actions, but is a victim, much like the people he hurt. In order to “fix” the problem, the devil needs to be cast out, or the person set free from the demonic bondage.
Sadly, I have known many Christians over the years who believe these false notions about their personal sin. Rather than pursuing the biblical means of personal sanctification by the daily renewal of one’s mind in the Word of God and putting off old sinful conduct and thinking about, and putting on new righteous conduct, they spend money to read “how-to” books on casting out demons of this sin or that sin or attend bondage breaking seminars or the like.
This mindset of placing the blame for personal sin onto some outside evil influence dismisses the seriousness of what God thinks of sin and the need of personal repentance, as well the significance of Christ’s lordship in one’s life by creating a dangerous, misinformed perspective of God’s holiness.
That leads me to a second disturbing element in this story. I don’t see any genuine repentance in Ted’s life. Note this comment [if reported accurately by the article] he makes during the service,
As the service began, he was jovial, even joking about his indiscretion. “If you’re not getting enough snuggling [from your spouse], don’t do it the way I did it,” he said.
If you are seriously grieved over your sin and the damage it did to you, your spouse and family, and most importantly, the dishonor it brought to Christ and His church, YOU DON’T JOKE AROUND LIKE THIS FROM THE PULPIT! A long, sexual affair with a homosexual prostitute is not a laughing matter! In fact, a truly repentant person wouldn’t joke around like this in normal, conversational discourse. This inappropriate remark does a lot to reveal the true nature of the man’s heart.
Haggard committed adultery with another man against his wife while as a pastor of a church. He broke his wife’s trust, his children’s trust, and the trust of all the people he supposedly shepherd. He turned God’s people into a cause for mockery. Then three years later he has the gall to start up a new church in the same area where his old church is and opens the service by making a wise crack about the very sin that brought him to his downfall? Where is his brokenness over what happened? All I see is bitter complaining against his old church for removing him from preaching and insisting he attend counseling.
And that leads me to one final disturbing element to this article. His loose attitude toward sin reflects itself off the folks who have come after him and are now attending his church. The only thing the “members” are concerned with is how he was treated by the old church, or ill-treated in this case, and whether or not everyone is being forgiving enough toward him. One guy is thankful he is not as arrogant as he once was (which I take as code word meaning “he doesn’t talk about sin as much anymore”) and he is like the regular guy who falls down everyday. No one is concerned whether or not Ted is biblically qualified to pastor a church or whether or not he is truly repentant of what had happened. This flippancy will only grow worse in respect to how they all view personal sin and holiness.
So far, from what I see, he’s a guy who is sorry he got caught and he is mad at how the church handled his discipline process. In his mind, he should had been restored to his previous position once the demon got cast out. Instead, they held him accountable to his deplorable actions. And to think the church gets painted as the anti-gay bigot bad guys in this whole mess where as he’s the sympathetic martyr.