Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Tuesday morning evangelistic smack-down, xiii

Haggard letters:

To my New Life Church family:

I am so sorry. I am sorry for the disappointment, the betrayal, and the hurt. I am sorry for the horrible example I have set for you.

I have an overwhelming, all-consuming sadness in my heart for the pain that you and I and my family have experienced over the past few days. I am so sorry for the circumstances that have caused shame and embarrassment to all of you.

I asked that this note be read to you this morning so I could clarify

my heart's condition to you. The last four days have been so difficult for me, my family and all of you, and I have further confused the situation with some of the things I've said during interviews with reporters who would catch me coming or going from my home. But I alone am responsible for the confusion caused by my inconsistent statements. The fact is, I am guilty of sexual immorality, and I take responsibility for the entire problem.

I am a deceiver and a liar. There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I've been warring against it all of my adult life.

For extended periods of time, I would enjoy victory and rejoice in freedom. Then, from time to time, the dirt that I thought was gone would resurface, and I would find myself thinking thoughts and experiencing desires that were contrary to everything I believe and teach.

Through the years, I've sought assistance in a variety of ways, with none of them proving to be effective in me. Then, because of pride, I began deceiving those I love the most because I didn't want to hurt or disappoint them.

The public person I was wasn't a lie; it was just incomplete. When I stopped communicating about my problems, the darkness increased and finally dominated me. As a result, I did things that were contrary to everything I believe.

The accusations that have been leveled against me are not all true, but enough of them are true that I have been appropriately and lovingly removed from ministry. Our church's overseers have required me to submit to the oversight of Dr. James Dobson, Pastor Jack Hayford, and Pastor Tommy Barnett. Those men will perform a thorough analysis of my mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical life. They will guide me through a program with the goal of healing and restoration for my life, my marriage, and my family.

I created this entire situation. The things that I did opened the door for additional allegations . But I am responsible; I alone need to be disciplined and corrected. An example must be set.

It is important that you know how much I love and appreciate my wife, Gayle. What I did should never reflect in a negative way on her relationship with me. She has been and continues to be incredible. The problem is not with her, my children or any of you. It was created 100 percent by me.

I have been permanently removed from the office of Senior Pastor of New Life Church. Until a new senior pastor is chosen, our Associate Senior Pastor Ross Parsley will assume all of the the responsibilities of the office. On the day he accepted this new role, he and his wife, Aimee, had a new baby boy. A new life in the midst of this circumstance - I consider the confluence of events to be prophetic. Please commit to join with Pastor Ross and the others in church leadership to make their service to you easy and without burden. They are fine leaders. You are blessed.

I appreciate your loving and forgiving nature, and I humbly ask you to do a few things.

1.) Please stay faithful to God through service and giving.

2.) Please forgive me. I am so embarrassed and ashamed. I caused this and I have no excuse. I am a sinner. I have fallen. I desperately need to be forgiven and healed.

3.) Please forgive my accuser. He is revealing the deception and sensuality that was in my life. Those sins, and others, need to be dealt with harshly. So, forgive him and, actually, thank God for him. I am trusting that his action will make me, my wife and family, and ultimately all of you, stronger. He didn't violate you; I did.

4.) Please stay faithful to each other. Perform your functions well. Encourage each other and rejoice in God's faithfulness. Our church body is a beautiful body, and like every family, our strength is tested and proven in the midst of adversity. Because of the negative publicity I've created with my foolishness, we can now demonstrate to the world how our sick and wounded can be healed, and how even disappointed and betrayed church bodies can prosper and rejoice.

Gayle and I need to be gone for a while. We will never return to a leadership role at New Life Church. In our hearts, we will always be members of this body. We love you as our family. I know this situation will put you to the test. I'm sorry I've created the test, but please rise to this challenge and demonstate the incredible grace that is available to all of us.

Ted Haggard

Here is the letter from his wife, Gayle:

Dear Woman of New Life Church,

I am so sorry for the circumstances that have led me to write this letter to you today. I know your hearts are broken; mine is as well. Yet my hope rests steadfastly in the Lord who is forever faithful.

What I want you to know is that I love my husband, Ted Haggard, with all my heart. I am committed to him until death "do us part". We started this journey together and with the grace of God, we will finish together.

If I were standing before you today, I would not change one iota of what I have been teaching the women of our church. For those of you who have been concerned that my marriage was so perfect I could not possibly relate to the women who are facing great difficulties, know that this will never again be the case. My test has begun; watch me. I will try to prove myself faithful.

I love you all so much, especially you young women -- you were my delight.

To all the church family of New Life Church -- Ted and I are so proud of you. You are all we hoped you would be. In our minds, there is no greater church.

As you try to make sense of these past few days, know that Ted believes with all his heart and soul everything he has ever taught you, those things you are putting into practice. He is now the visible and public evidence that every man (woman and child) needs a Savior.

We are grateful for your prayers for our family.

I hold you forever in my heart.

Gayle Haggard

They need more books?
“When there is nothing on my calendar, when I can do what I want to do, I readpray, studypray, workpray, thinkpray, because there is nothing I ore want to do. Then occasionally my old, pragmatic activist friends say to me, but why are you not out there on the street working to change the world? I answer, I am out there on the street in the most serious way be being here with my books, and if you see no connection there then you have not understood my vocation. I do not love the suffering poor less by offering them what they need more. (Thomas C. Oden, Evangelical Theological Society, Nov. 16, 1990)

Matt: I doubt this perspective will suffice on the day of Matthew 25:31-46.

Juxtapose the last quote with this one: Wesley required all Methodists to regularly visit the sick. To the rich, who wanted to send a physician with their money instead Wesley writes:

…this would not excuse you: his going would not fulfil your duty. Neither would it excuse you, unless you saw them with your own eyes. If you do not, you lose a means of grace; you lose an excellent means of increasing your thankfulness to God, who saves you from this pain and sickness, and continues your health and strength; as well as of increasing your sympathy with the afflicted… (“On Visiting the Sick”, Sermon)

Or this one:

All therefore who desire to escape the everlasting fire and to inherit the everlasting kingdom are equally concerned…to practice this important duty. It is equally incumbent on young and old, rich and poor, men and women, according to their ability. None are so young, if they desire to save their own souls, as to be excused from assisting their neighbours. None are so poor (unless they want the necessaries of life) but they are called to do something…for the relief and comfort of their afflicted. (Ibid)

The triumphant Paul:
“Paul had been imprisoned in Philippi, chased out of Thessalonica, smuggled out of Beroea, laughed at in Athens and in Corinth his message was foolishness to the Greeks and s stumbling-block to the Jews. Out of that background he declared that he was proud of the gospel. There was something in the gospel which made Paul triumphantly victorious over all that men could to him.” (William Barclay, Daily Study Bible Series, Romans)

Couple of articles
worth checking into this week:

Five Moral Fences: protecting yourself from yourself

Succeeding Failure: pastoring after others' failures



At 5:01 AM, Blogger Joe said...

Yep. Once again we see that those who squawk the loudest usually have the most to hide. I wonder how many other "heros of family values" are still hiding in the closet?

At 10:21 AM, Anonymous jim said...

Thanks, but after 45 yrs. of watching the same game of pretended conservatism by the GOP,
and being betrayed by every republican president I've seen come and go in the last 45 yrs., I'm switching my alligience to the constitution party. I'll stay there until I find a better party, but it will never be the GOP again.

At 11:33 PM, Anonymous Holly said...

On Haggard...


Yet another. I can't stand it.

At 9:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hopefully evangelicals will begin to pray for and love those who must deal with the demons of these days
instead of raging against those who so badly need their
love and understanding. I am furious with the way
Christians are attacking rather than bringing these
sinners....and aren't we all in that category....to the Cross
for God's grace. God is Love, folks, not attack and

Dhloe Smith

At 10:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What I find most odd about this whole situation is that the church he belongs to isn't going to be the place where his healing takes place.

How come when we fail as believers we end up having to 'fix ourselves' outside of the church and only when we are good enough we can come back?

What ever happened the the healing and accountability between believers in a congregation?


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