Saturday, November 04, 2006

Thoughts on the Ted Haggard Scandal

Many blogging pastors have piped in on the Ted Haggard scandal. We don't yet know what the truth is. We do know the fallout that is taking place from the accusations and we know that by his own admission some of the accusations are true.

I hate it. I really, really hate it. I don't hate it because Ted Haggard has somehow let me down or that there will undoubtedly be tremendous fallout against ministry leaders and evangelicals. What I hate is that another man of God is struggling with the main thing. I don't know Ted Haggard. I have read about him and I have read one of his books. I do know this though. Most ministers don't choose the road to ministry and church planting because they want a good, fun, or easy life. They choose it because they love God and want to serve Him. I believe that all effective ministry begins with a deep passion for God and Ted Haggard is no excpetion.

This morning in my devotion I was reading about King Asa in Jim Cymbala's book Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire. If you read through the account in 2 Chronicles 14-16 you will see a man who mysteriously had a deep faith in God after 2 generations of idolatrous predecessors. He destroyed all of the idols and high places and had deep faith in God to defeat powerful enemies. He even deposed his own grandmother from her throne as the Queen Mother and cut down her asherah pole.

In Cymbala's words

"Twenty-five years went by. Somewhere along the way - as has happened to many churches, pastors, choir directors and whole denominations - Asa stopped feeling his need to seek the Lord. We don't know why. We don't know whether the cares of life somehow made him spiritually soft. Maybe he thought he had reached a spiritual pinnacle and could relax. But the Bible teaches that we are always either drawing near to God or falling away. There is no holding pattern."

Asa never returned to the Lord that he once served wholheartedly. The Bible says "though his disease was severe, even in his illness he did not seek help from the Lord . . . in the forty-first year of his reign Asa died. (2 Chron 16:12-13).

I am not saying that Haggard is like King Asa. I have no idea. I just think that this scandal should make pastors take a deep look at themselves. What ever the extent of Haggard's sin, we are never far away. If we are seeking to fulfill the Great Commission we will at times be attacked, scrutinized, criticized, over-worked, rewarded, blessed and revered. We will feel tired, discouraged, defeated, energized, anointed, and sometimes even unstoppable. Many will struggle at times with depression or pride and maybe swing back and forth like a pendulum ticking on a time bomb ready to explode.

We must find our comfort, encouragement and security in Christ. The Bible is full of verses that tell us to "SEEK" the Lord. If we seek Him with all of our heart He will be found (Jer 29:13) and He rewards those who earnestly seek Him (Heb 11:6).

Check out Mark Driscoll's blog for thoughts on ways to guard ourselves. This scandal should be a wake-up call for every ministry leader to do some self evaluation. We can address the sins or dangers in our lives like David or we can or we can ignore them like Asa did. Asa was told you have done a foolish thing and from now on you will be at war (2 Chron 16:9).

This has got me thinking. I don't want to be at war for the rest of my life.

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