(Friday Church News Notes, June 11, 2010, www.wayoflife.org 

 Ted Haggard, who in 2006 was forced to resign as pastor of the New Life megachurch in Colorado Springs and as head of the National Association of Evangelicals, is starting a new church called St. James. Haggard was caught having a homosexual relationship with a male prostitute. Now, Haggard says his new church, which is located not far from New Life Church, is a place for broken people, for sinners, for those who have hit rock bottom, and will be open to “gays, straights, tall, short, addicts and recovering addicts” (“Church Will Open Arms,” Denver Post, June 2, 2010).

Haggard claims that because of his own moral downfall and the “judgmental” way he was treated by some, he is able to understand and help others, but he is failing to distinguish properly between sympathy for sinners and acceptance of sin. Every sound, Christ-centered church is sympathetic toward sinners. On any given week at the main service of our church, for example, we have adulterers, fornicators, liars, idolators, and probably homosexuals in attendance. We always have three or four dozen Hindus. They receive a warm welcome and often come back. But there is a major difference between welcoming every type of sinner to attend church and allowing unrepentant, unconverted sinners to be members of the church.

In 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 the apostle Paul described the members of the church at Corinth. They had been fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, and drunkards, but Paul described those traits in the past tense, because they had been converted and changed. “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

We thank God for the His mercy in Jesus Christ, and apart from that mercy we know that we are nothing. But Ted Haggard has brought terrible, irreparable reproach upon the name and cause of Jesus Christ, and in my opinion he should shut his mouth and stop having press conferences and prove his repentance by quiet humility. For his own soul’s sake, he should also renounce the psychobabble of his restoration process. (Does every person that goes through psycho-counseling today discover that he was molested as a child?)