The news is that Rev. Ted Haggard has been accused of having paid for gay sex numerous times in the last three years. Apparently a man has made this accusation on Denver radio. Rev. Haggard is the pastor of New Life Church, a very large charismatic church in Colorado Springs, and he is also the president of the National Association of Evangelicals. He has resigned from the NAE and has temporarily stepped aside as the pastor of New Life pending an investigation.
I think it’s important to note that stepping aside as the pastor is completely routine in such a situation. It should not be interpreted as any kind of admission of guilt. The church needs to investigate, and in such a case the pastor should take an absence. I’m not sure how to interpret resigning from the NAE, however. That seems a little unnecessary unless there’s some substance here, something that he has denied.
But there is of course ample motive for this kind of dirty trick by the liberals, especially right before an election, and I sure wouldn’t put it past them to just make something up. It doesn’t even require any kind of conspiracy- just one guy. The man who is making the application states himself that there is a political motive, that he was angered that Haggard’s church opposes gay marriage. He didn’t know who Haggard was at first, he says, but saw him on TV and recognized him. He says he has proof in the form of an envelope mailed to him from Haggard and voicemails from him, but he has refused to provide these so far.
That being said, immorality in any church shouldn’t surprise any of us. I have very serious issues with the theology of the charismatic movement, and I believe their theological errors in particular lead them to be poorly equipped to deal with moral failure. Haggard in particular seems far too focused on this life and this world. He says for example that God wants all of us to be healthy, happy and successful in every area of life. But that sure doesn’t seem to work well with passages like Acts 14:22 or Luke 9:23-25.
So we’ll just have to wait to see what happens. Really, no particular outcome of this would surprise me all that much.
Further thoughts here