Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the fall of Reverend Ted Haggard!

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We have all by now heard of the unfortunate events surrounding Rev. Ted Haggard’s “fall” last week. By his own admission he is guilty therefore has to step down from the pulpit. However, it’s all too easy to pass swift judgment and eternal damnation on this brother who got caught up in his own sin without first being a little introspective ourselves.

 

In order to understand what Rev. Haggard was “thinking” we need only to read the following insight from Christian theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

 

He who is alone with his sins is utterly alone. It may be that Christians, not withstanding corporate worship, common prayer and all their fellowship in service, may still be left to their loneliness. The final breakthrough to fellowship does not occur because, though they have fellowship with one another as believers and are devout people, they do not have fellowship as the un-devout, as sinners. Their pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner. So everyone must conceal his sin from himself and from their fellowship. Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. So we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy. The fact is we are sinners. 

 

We’ve all been here at one time or another. Generally speaking, God wired us all the same and we all struggle with sin. Unfortunately, we also wear the appropriate mask at the appropriate time to hide it.

Check out what Rev. Haggard was quoted as saying in recent days:

“For extended periods of time, I would enjoy victory and rejoice in freedom,” Haggard wrote. “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.” 

Rev. Haggard should remind us all to not underestimate the power of our thought life. In our Sunday school this weekend we studied this very propensity. We were reminded that: The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Cor. 10:4,5

Therein lies the rub: Taking every thought and making it obedient to Christ! We, as believers are given divine power to do this. It is a mind renewing process: Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. Rom. 12:2

Rev. Haggard has resigned the presidency of the National Assn. of Evangelicals and has been dismissed as senior pastor of New Life. According to his own testimony, he has also pledged to put himself under the guidance of several pastors who will help him work toward restoration.

“Please don’t ever fall into the trap of believing that you can do something in secret, even when you are far away from home,” Haggard urged his children. “This is a lie, and it will always come back to haunt you.” “Please forgive me,” he wrote. “I am so embarrassed and ashamed…. I am a sinner. I have fallen.” 

Jim Richardson

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2 Responses

  1. I wish him God’s grace. May he find healing and relief from his torment! But his campaign against gay marriage, while he was secretly indulging his own predilections, makes it a little difficult to feel sympathy for him.

    Contrition is a convenient response, after one has been found out.

  2. Stephen,

    I agree with you but also find it fascinating how he was able to continue to preach in front of thousands without extremely deep conviction concerning the lie he was living. Yes, the Lord uses sinners every day to preach His Word, but Reverend Haggard’s thoughts MUST have been enormously distracted and plagued with contradiction.

    Oy!

    Blessings,
    Jim

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