Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Fall of Evangelical Leader Ted Haggard

Ted Haggard, the president of a huge evangelical association and the pastor of a 14,000 member church, resigned last week amid allegations of sexual misconduct. This has led to the already rising chorus of thsoe who reject Chrisitians as hypocrites. On a side note, it turns out that Haggard also had written a diet book, and some interesting "reviews" have shown up on amazon. You have to check these "reviews" out. See http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/customer-reviews/1400072204/ref=cm_cr_dp_2_1/002-5363646-6420856?ie=UTF8&customer-reviews.sort%5Fby=-SubmissionDate&n=283155

Dr. Archibald Hart at Fuller has some insights into why so many high profile figures, both religious leaders and CEO types, are involved in radical acts of immorality. The adrenaline high and stress that is caused from these positions is numbing and addictive, causing normal pleasure to have no effect. It takes more and more stimulus for the brain to feel any pleasure, and only this risky behavior qualifies. This is not an excuse, but an explanation. I’m sure that these are good men and women who did not go into ministry intending to be duplicitous.

For me, this is yet another reason to move away from the idolization of megachurches. These churches do great good, but the pressure is simply too high for most of us mortal leaders to handle. The more we are lauded, the greater the pressure, and the more likely we will act out. Satan is at work too, and loves scandals like these. We should pray for Ted Haggard and his family.

4 comments:

MattSmith said...

It's sad seeing people that do Gods work, or attempt to, fall into what Ted and many others have fallen into. Preaching one way, and living another way is extremely hypocritical. And since people like to group folks together, makes religion look bad. More ammo for Satan to influence the people with.

I'll pray for his family, fortunately for him Jesus is forgiving.

James said...

Yes, Matt, Satan uses things like this to discredit Christians. We should be praying for each other and especially for Christian leaders, as Satan attacks us all.

And yes, Jesus forgives us all, no matter what we do, so long as we have a repentant heart.

Julie said...

Don't we all "preach one way and live another" to some extent? Of course most of don't mean to, but we are all imperfect. That's why Jesus came. Few of us have our mistakes cast into the public eye for all to see and criticize, but what if they were? We are all hypocrites for blasting this guy that sinned as if none of us ever have. Too often we compare ourselves to someone that has blown it to make ourselves feel better about our own lives. I seem to recall this same situation in the Bible and Jesus walked up to the stoning crowd and said that whomever hadn't sinned, they should throw the first stone in. Everyone walked away. I'm not condoning Haggard's sin, or mine, or anyone else's. Nor do I buy into the explanation given in the blog. We are all responsible for our actions and choices. Too many excuses are given today for sin, stress being the number one reason. Baloney. He chose to make the phone calls, he chose to buy the drugs, he chose to do any number of things, just as we all choose to sin. There is always a way out of the temptation, we choose to ignore it. Let's pray for Haggard and his family and the pain this sin has caused their family to go through. Let's pray for ourselves to only compare our lives to Christ, and no one else. Let's pray for each other as we are all imperfect and in need of a Savior.

James said...

Julie,

Good thoughts. Yes, if someone were to follow us around with a camera, who of us would escape "scandal"? We are all flawed.

www.dictionary.com defines a hypocrite as "a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, esp. a person whose actions belie stated beliefs." Hypocrisy is pretense, disengenuousness. It is condemning something while secretly engaging in that very activity with no intent to change whatsoever. It is not having sins in one's own life--otherwise, none of us could ever speak out against anything.

Was Ted Haggard a hypocrite? I don't know his heart. He may have genuinely struggling with something. Or he may have been play-acting all along. Who knows?

Yes, Haggard made his choice. We are all responsible for our actions. I am not trying to excuse his mistakes. I am simply pointing out the risks that celebrity and high-profile jobs bring. Why is it that there are so many "scandlas" among polititicans, religious leaders, and CEOs? Did they all start out corrupt?

The cynic would say yes, but I don't think so. Even King David--a man after God's own heart--failed miserably, far worse than Haggard. If we wish for power and celebrity and notoreity, watch out, because with these things come perils.