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By now I'm sure many of you have heard that following news about Ted Haggard:
A Colorado Springs-based giant of the conservative Christian movement, with direct access to President Bush, stepped down Thursday as leader of the National Association of Evangelicals in the wake of allegations by a former male escort that the two had a three-year sexual relationship.The rest of the story is here.
The Rev. Ted Haggard also took leave as senior pastor of the 14,000-member New Life Church he founded in his living room in 1985.
Haggard said in a statement he could "not continue to minister under the cloud created by the accusations."
He said he would step down to allow the church to carry out an investigation and so that he could "seek both spiritual advice and guidance."
His three-paragraph statement contained no denial of the allegations by 49-year-old Mike Jones, of Denver.
Jones, a bodybuilder and personal trainer, went public with a general claim of a sexual affair with a prominent pastor on Peter Boyles' morning talk show on KHOW radio Wednesday, but neither he nor Haggard was identified. KUSA's 9News first reported Haggard's and Jones' names Wednesday night.
Haggard, 50, initially denied the allegations, telling 9News Wednesday night that "I've never had a gay relationship with anybody, and I'm steady with my wife. I'm faithful to my wife."
But KKTV in Colorado Springs reported that New Life Associate Senior Pastor Ross Parsley told a meeting of church elders Thursday night that Haggard had met with the church's overseers earlier in the day and "had admitted to some indiscretions."
Parsley told the elders that Haggard had said some of the allegations were true, but not all of them.
Jones said on Boyles' show Thursday he felt compelled to come forward because he believes Haggard, an opponent of gay marriage, is a hypocrite. Jones said he received money from Haggard for sexual liaisons in Denver and that he witnessed Haggard using methamphetamine.
This is a deeply sad story. Readers should know that I do not want to engage in gossip, and therefore avoided posting on the story yesterday before it hit the national news.
According to the story above, Rev. Haggard has admitted to "some indiscretions." The temptation here is to speculate and to gossip, which really serves no purpose other than to satisfy our own curiosity and desire for inside knowledge. From everything I have been able to tell, the elders of New Life Church are actively engaged in sorting through the issues (which will result in church discipline if necessary), and we should be thankful for that and allow that process to proceed.
How should we as Christians respond to such news?
The main thing I think we need to do is pray.
- Pray that the truth--no matter what it is--would be clearly revealed.
- Pray that if indeed some of these allegations are true (as New Life's senior pastor allegedly told the elders), that Rev. Haggard would be fully honest and submissive.
- Pray for Rev. Haggard.
- Pray for his family.
- Pray for New Life Church--both their elders and their members. Pray that biblical church discipline guidelines will be instituted and that this would not shake the church's confidence in the gospel.
- Pray for yourself and your pastor. "There but for the grace of God go I." Resolve to mortify all ungodly desires in your heart and to boast only in the cross of Jesus Christ.