Friday, November 03, 2006

Church Scandals Cause Immense Harm

Hello friends,

I'm sure that many Christians were shocked and quite saddened to hear of the allegations leveled at an evangelical pastor who has allegedly been caught and revealed for having visited a gay male prostitute for sex over the past three years. I pray that these accusations aren't true! My plan is to write a more detailed blogpost about this later today.

For now, I will share a timely email that I received from Turning Point ministries:



Power of the Book

So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void.
Isaiah 55:11a

Recommended Reading
Psalm 19:7-11

The first state constitution written in America was the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut (1639). It was based on the Bible, and it became a model for other state constitutions as well as the Constitution of the United States. Since the American Revolution (1776), America's biblically based constitution has remained in place. France, by comparison, has had seven constitutions since the French Revolution (1789) that were based on Voltaire's anti-biblical, humanist philosophy.

The influence of the Bible is seen throughout America's government. The founding fathers devised a three branch system of checks and balances because of their acknowledgement of the depravity of man's inability to govern himself. It is hard not to connect America's declining moral state with the removal of the Bible from its original central place in our nation's government and schools. Christians understand that the Bible is alive and powerful; remove it, and its life changing power is negated (Hebrews 4:12).

Moral and spiritual decline happens to individuals before it happens to nations. Commit to keeping God's Word at the core of your life. (bold mine)

Apply yourself wholly to the text; apply the text wholly to yourself.
John A. Bengel

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Acts 21:17 - 23:35


*******
Briefly, in another comment thread I had shared this about the scandal:

There is a section within this Ray Stedman commentary that could be applied (not exactly, of course) when considering the huge amount of damage that, if this pastor is found guilty of the drug and sex allegations, then such a scandal causes immense harm to his individual church as well as the Christian church in general (all believers) everywhere.

Since the commentary is detailed about Ephesians chapter 5, (it's really good...I highly recommend reading it all!), I have copied and posted the paragraph section that could apply to the scandal here as a convenience:



Here is another similarity to the church today. It is almost frightening to see how certain leaders of the church are now openly advocating sexual immoralities, and certain of the pastors and leaders of youth groups in the church are openly encouraging young people to sleep together, and to live together. Now, at the time this letter was written, the atmosphere was such that sexual immorality was widely accepted within the city as the normal way of life. Within the church, however, it is absolutely set aside as being totally incongruous with the Christian profession, because it was a violation of the humanity of the individuals involved. The love of God burned in zealous judgment against this because it was destroying and would destroy those involved in it. That is why the apostle speaks in such scathing words concerning this matter. Chapters five and six both deal with this matter of immorality, and the apostle points out that the defense of the Christian must not be derived from any moral standards outside himself---it is not "thou shalt" and "thou shalt not" that keeps young people or older people free from sexual problems and pressures, but rather it is the recognition that their bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit. The Son of God himself dwells in us, and we are never out of his presence. Everywhere we go, he goes with us, and is in us, and in that sense, everything we are doing is done in the presence of the Son of God himself. That is what keeps the young person free from the pressures that come.


Lastly, the saving grace through it all is that confession and repentance brings forth God's mercy and grace towards any sinner who is willing to come to Jesus Christ for forgiveness, salvation and continued sanctification.

*******
Update - 8:35 a.m. PT

I was over at Drudge to get the links to several articles about this scandal and read that the pastor's accuser failed a lie detector test this morning!

Hat Tip to Drudge for all the links.

Some comments to read over at the Denver Post bloghouse.

*******
Update 11/4/06
Some links to other blogposts on the Haggard scandal:

Ted Haggard - Some of the Accusations are True

Jollyblogger TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/t/trackback/6688300

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Ted Haggard

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La Shawn Barber's Corner

Stacy Harp who has been covering this since it broke! Thanks for pointing that out Stacy!

25 comments:

Diego said...

I'm amazed of your faith. Thnaks the Lord

Jaded&Opinionated said...

In the article you posted, the man who administered the test said:

"The test administrator, John Kresnik, said Jones' score indicated "deceptions" in his answers. However, Kresnik said he doubted the accuracy of the test he administered because of the recent stress on Jones and his inability to eat or sleep, according to KHOW producer Greg Hollenback."

If the polygraph expert doubts the accuracy, I will wait to see what a second test shows. There was a nationally recognized voice analysis person on the news earlier. He said that the voice on the phone messages is an exact match to a video interview of the pastor.

This very thing has been part of my "point" all along. We are ALL human and we ALL sin. Period. When we stand in a position of power, as this pastor did, we should use that power to educate, heal, embrace and welcome people, not condemn them. Once the stone has been cast, the glass will eventually shatter.

I can't imagine for a second that Jesus ever wanted anyone to have that sort of power, especially in His name. I don't believe that He ever wanted anyone to turn a healthy profit by using His name, either. Jesus was humble and poor. He embraced everyone and taught through kindness.

The thing that strikes me as the most ironic is that the leader of the National Association of Evangelicals has admitted at least some guilt in this scandal, and yet I have been called a heretic. How is that even possible?

It's rhetorical, because I already know what the responses will be. I will say this to you, Christine... I have been very encouraged by the fact that you have been more willing to listen to other points of view without lashing out and condemning right off the bat. I can't say the same for everyone who posts here, but I thank you for your willingness to at least listen.

Stephen said...

The compassionate part of me hopes that (for his sake) these allegations are completely unfounded. I would not wish the shame and hurt of such a violent “outing” on anyone. However, if there is truth in them, then that part of me that seeks truth and justice feels a great deal of hurt.

Let’s try to ignore this particular case and speak in general terms.

I don’t have a problem with people who disagree with me about sexual orientation. Freedom of thought is very important to me and though I get really sad whenever someone claims that I and my gay brothers and sisters are a sign the Rapture is imminent, I would not want to silence them, just reason with them.

I (obviously) don’t have a problem with gay sex. I (personally) think that gays should wait till marriage (or the closest thing to it). That said, I am willing to concede that many people don’t see sex before marriage as “fornication” so I leave that up to the individuals to decide what is right for them at the time.

I think prostitution is exploitation and so I disagree with it on those grounds. However, I know some countries have legalized prostitution and so perhaps in those cases the “exploitation” argument goes away. In that case, I also leave this up to the individual to decide what is right for them. I have a great deal of sympathy for prostitutes who feel this is their only recourse and a great deal of anger for those who put them in this situation.

What I don’t agree with at all, though, is adultery. If these allegations are true, then this man has damaged his conscience so much that he denies homosexuality (a non-sin in my book) but replaces it with adultery (a real sin in my book).

I wish that (if these allegations are true) he had been able to talk to a sympathetic ear about it. I would have talked to him about it. He could have come to me to discuss his feelings rather than damaging himself with a prostitute.

“This is the message which we have heard from him and announce to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in the darkness, we lie, and don't tell the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.”

The light of truth is better than walking in darkness. Assuming that these allegations are true, this light shining in his life is a blessing. I hope he can begin to heal now.

GMpilot said...

[irony]
Oh, my...

That one of the moral arbiters of our nation should possibly be guilty of such things...I'm shocked! Shocked, I tell you!!
[/irony]

Maybe as a result of all this, Christians will get back to the business of saving souls by living lives of virtue and showing love to others, rather by hijacking the civil power into making everyone do God's bidding (read: their bidding)...but I wouldn't hold my breath.

limpy99 said...

While this Jones character sounds like quite the scumbag, you're kidding yourself if you think the story isn't true. No one resigns a positon like that if they're innocent, it just doesn't happen. Jones also says he has taped phone calls from Haggard. That's not a claim you make if you can't back it up. Sort of like claiming you have a stained dress: you'd better be able to produce it when your bluff is called. Also, Haggard's admitted contacting Jones for a "massage" and admitted buying crystal meth from him. He claims that despite the massage he never had sex with Jones and that he threw the meth away, and that he's never done drugs in his life, "not even high school". Well, that just blows the whole story for me. If you're tempted to check out drugs because you're having some sort of mid-life crisis, (maybe because, oh, I don't know, you're tired of living a lie and burying your homosexuality behind a sham marriage?), you're probably not going to start with meth. That's the big leagues. If he said he threw away some pot or ecstasy, that might make some more sense. I doubt I'd believe him then either, but I'd concede the possibility. But if you admit contacting a gay escort for a massage and to buy meth and then say "nothing sexual happened and I threw the meth away", well, don't insult my intelligence anymore. Just shut up and walk quietly away.

And perhaps reconsider the hypocrisy you've been practicing so far.

Christinewjc said...

Whew!! What a morning...

It seems that people have been absolutely reeling all day over the alleged accusations of "sex for money" being hurled against Pastor Haggard from a male prostitute.

I was a bit worried about what I might find posted here in the comment section of my blog. Let's just say that I'm relieved that it didn't turn into an ugly bashing session. My email inbox was filled with emails about this!!!

Hi and welcome Diego! Thanks for your brief words of encouragement regarding this post.

Hi Jaded,

Wow! You said a lot of important points, especially the fact that we should constantly remind ourselves that we all are human and we all sin.

However, people who have chosen to place themselves in highly visible leadership positions (e.g. Mark Foley and Pastor Haggard) need to be even more careful of not succumbing to any of the temptations that might be out there...regardless of what said temptations are.

I also appreciated your kind words regarding that you have noticed that I am willing to listen to other viewpoints.

Stephen,

I'm glad that you have compassion on Pastor Haggard as he endures this time of scandal in his life. It must be so difficult for all involved.

I still have to disagree that adultery is a greater sin than being involved with homosexual sex. Also, prostitution may be legal in some countries, but it is still condemned and viewed as a sin in God's eyes (according to Scripture). As you know, the Bible states condemnation for all three. IMHO, we aren't allowed (and therefore shouldn't) just "pick and choose" which sins are no longer valid in the year, 2006.

GMpilot had his typical response, and Limpy99 had...well...his typical response!

So Limpy99, where do you find me practicing hypocrisy?

You said, "And perhaps reconsider the hypocrisy you've been practicing so far."

Just wondering how you came to such a conclusion based on my initial post.

While driving home from my last appointment, I listened to Michael Medved's radio show. While not excusing the pastor if he is found guilty of these accusations Michael also had pointed out several things about the timing of it all. He brought this up, especially because the gay male prostitute (GMP), admitted his disclosure of the pastor's behavior was politically motivated. The GMP is an advocate for the same-sex marriage initiative in his state and apparently wanted to use this scandal to encourage others to vote for gay marriage. Since Ted Haggard was a traditional marriage advocate, the GMP wanted to show how hypocritical Ted was because he was (allegedly) having gay sex with a man while believing, and politically supporting, the worldview that marriage should remain between one man and one woman.

My question is, what about active gays and lesbians (like Tammy Bruce)who are also against legalized gay marriage? Why are they not accused of hypocrisy? What does one necessarily have to do with the other?

And Limpy, the man has 5 children with his wife! If these accusations prove to be true, if anything, he might have to be considered bi-sexual, or perhaps someone who fits the description of "living on the down low."

The whole thing is a real mess. And as I stated in the title of my post church scandals cause immense harm for many, many people!

But the thing to remember is that Christians are not perfect, just forgiven by a God who is.

For anyone interested:

My friend Stephen Bennett is scheduled to appear on CNN Headline News (Friday, November 3, 2006, 6:00 p.m. EST - CNN) to discuss the homosexual and drug allegations against Rev. Ted Haggard, now resigned President of the National Association of Evangelicals, representing 30 million Christians and New Life Church (14,000 members.)

Via email, he has asked me to do the following:

PLEASE pray for me that I share the truth in love, the hope, grace and redemption that is through Jesus Christ without judging. Remember, this story is unfolding and Rev. Haggard is innocent until proven guilty. I also pray for Pastor Haggard, his wife, children and congregation during this time.

I am passing this prayer request along to my fellow Christian bloggers here.

Thank you, in advance, for your willingness to pray for all involved in this very sad and disheartening situation.

In Christ,
Christine

Christinewjc said...

Oops. Got through several dozen emails to find a time change for Stephen Bennett's appearance on CNN:

6:30 or so on CNN Headline News.

Stephen said...

I am not suggesting homosexuality is a lesser sin. I am suggesting homosexuality is not a sin.

Don't get me wrong, it's possible to have a sinful homosexual relationship, just as it is possible to have a sinful heterosexual relationship.

I have "fundamentalist" Christian friends who disagree that sex before marriage is a sin, I guess it depends on how badly you want it (most Christians who make chastity pledges appear to break them).

As far as I know, it all hinges on your understanding of the word "pornia" or "fornication" which has been used in the past to refer to oral sex as well.

Christinewjc said...

Stephen Bennett!

If you visit this blog, I just wanted to say that your words shared on the CNN broadcast interview were awesome and Holy Spirit led!!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! for representing all evangelical Christian believers so well and pointing out that we know who the enemy really is in this individual situation, as well as all attacks against the Christian faith and community, in general.

God Bless you my brother in Christ!!

Christine

GMpilot said...

"GMpilot had his typical response..."

You also had your typical response:
"I pray that these accusations aren't true!"

Bit late for that, isn't it?

I'm not going to gloat. There'll be enough time for that if the allegations are true. I was showing restraint: you'll be hearing enough gloating from the MSM later. Oh, but you despise them anyway...

Ah, how the evangelicals must now be yearning for the good old days of 1988, when Jimmy Swaggart and his heterosexual activities with prostitutes were all they had to worry about. You're absolutely right, Christine:

"...people who have chosen to place themselves in highly visible leadership positions (e.g. Mark Foley and Pastor Haggard) need to be even more careful of not succumbing to any of the temptations that might be out there...regardless of what said temptations are."

Of course, if they do succumb, they fully deserve to be mocked and scorned, especially if their actions and words don't jibe. As Emerson put it, "What you do speaks so loud I cannot hear what you say."

After all, Foley supported the Defense of Marriage Act to protect marriage from...well...people like himself. Maybe Haggard did too.

Hmmm...even if he didn’t have sex with Jones, he at least bought crystal meth from him. (Anyone else hear "I didn't inhale"?) How—why—would a man in Haggard’s position continue to associate with someone who could provide him with “ice”, let alone patronizing him?

Unlike Foley, he can't even use the "drinking" excuse and drop out for a few weeks.

Excuse me while i go get some popcorn. Hearing the spin on all this should prove enlightening.

Anna said...

Whether or not the allegations are true remains to be seen. My concern is why such things happen and what can be done to prevent them. Please note my comments below are not geared toward this specific situation, but the overall problem.

One reason, of course, is that people succumb to temptation. Yet this can become a convenient excuse.

Below are just a few thoughts on the subject:

1) The Bible clearly warns about
putting a novice in a place
of authority. I've seen too
many baby Christians given
responsibility only to take
a very big fall.

2) Speaking of baby Christians,
where are the spiritually
mature these days to raise
them up in the Word and by
example?

3) Biblical knowledge is
woefully inadequate even in
the Body of Christ.

4) Our society is inundated with
sexually explicit material.
It's time we Christians make
a covenant with our eyes that
we will not allow such garbage
entrance into our minds.

I'm thankful for excellent Christian counselors and books, which help many believers with the practical issues of life. So many come into the Body of Christ today with horrible brokenness. These core problems must be dealt with before encouraging individuals to participate in ministry.

Blessings,
Anna

Stephen said...

"And Limpy, the man has 5 children with his wife! If these accusations prove to be true, if anything, he might have to be considered bi-sexual, or perhaps someone who fits the description of living on the down low."

Most people now consider the "down low" to be another manifestation of "the closet". I would recommend a book on the subject, but I know you wouldn't be interested.

It's also quite possible that (if these allegations are true) he really is gay and that the hatred he feels for himself, the hatred that he feels he must have for himself, is what caused him to act out in this self-destructive manner.

I know many gay people who are married with kids and it breaks my heart that their families have to go through this. Many gay men marry and have kids because they think it will "make them straight". Often, they just end up "regressing:" at around 70.

I am also tired of hearing about ex-gays who lived a hedonistic promiscuous, dangerous sex-crazed lifestyle, then recover from their sexual addictions and turn around to monogamous gay couples and call them "evil". Not all gay people have 100 sexual partners in their lifetime.

Christinewjc said...

Stephen W.,

Are you saying that you don't believe that sexuality can be fluid and is not, therefore, fixed?

Are you saying that there is no such thing as a bi-sexual?

Are you saying (according to your last paragraph in your comment) that you don't believe in the transforming power of the Holy Spirit for a formerly gay man or formerly lesbian woman to completely change to what God originally made them as...heterosexual males or females?

I'm disappointed.

The day that the subject of ex-gay people came up, I guess I kinda expected you to be more empathetic. You showed that kind of nicer attitude towards this accused pastor, who allegedly had a three year trist with a gay prostitute, and has admitted to buying (while claiming he didn't use it)and possibly using a dangerous and powerful drug like meth.

So, I'm confused. Why would you attack an ex-gay person's past here on this blog and not show any Christian-style empathy? Why no cheering for God's mercy, forgiveness and grace for an ex-gay's release from what they called their former bondage to homosexual behavior? Why can't you be happy for their genuine transformation through the power of Jesus Christ? Why all the animosity towards their former sinful ways and no celebration for their recovery from such bondage?

1Cr 6:11 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.



I expect this type of attitude from non-Christian homosexuals because they don't believe in the Lord's transformation power anyway. But why is it that in my experiences in blogging (Ex-gay watch is a perfect example...those people are ex-gay haters)I have found mostly contempt from so-called "gay" Christians who apparently hate the fact that formerly gay people exist and are now better off and happier because of the transformation power given them by Jesus Christ?

Have you ever really thought about, or examined, just who (or what) is possibly behind such an arrogant and nasty attitude towards ex-gay people?

Tts 3:3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, [and] hating one another.


Tts 3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,


Tts 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;


Tts 3:6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;


Tts 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

2Cr 5:17 Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.


2Cr 5:18 And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;


2Cr 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.


2Cr 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you] in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.


2Cr 5:21 For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Stacy L. Harp said...

I've been covering this even before it broke:)

www.stacylharp.com

Stephen said...

Sexuality, like all aspects of ourselves, is constantly developing. I don't know what it's like to be bisexual, but I do know that simply having sex with a woman (and children) does not make you bisexual.

In Haggard's case. I don't know if he's bisexual or homosexual or straight with control problems. I do, however, object to you using the term "down low".

No, Christine, I have a lot of sympathy for ex-gays. I know many "failed" ex-gays (no many successful ones, but I don't know that many people). I am not saying that I think their transformation is invalid at all, I think it is valid.

I am saying, however, that Stephen B's homosexual "lifestyle" was so different to mine that when he says "I know what it's like to be gay". He's not actually talking about my experience.

It's like a straight man who suffered from a sex addiction and dangerously indulged in multiple sexual partners, then turns around to you and accuses you of sexual immorality, simply because you are straight.

It just doesn't make sense. How do monogamous, christ-centered gay relationships relate in any way to the dangerous lifestyle God freed Stephen B from?

Stephen said...

by "(and children)" I mean "(and having children with her)" obviously. :)

I know many gay men with children from when they desperately wanted to be straight. It makes me sad.

Stephen said...

Just in case it is not painfully clear from my above comments, let me be as explicit as possible:

I do not judge Stephen B for his previous life of sin. That is behind him and I brought it up not to condemn him but to illustrate a point. The point which I explain below.

What aggrieves me is when Stephen B tells others that all homsoexuals are like he once was. We are not all like that. We are not all like Haggard either. No more than all evangelists are like Haggard.

Most gay people are quiet and too afraid to speak up and be seen. There are old gay couples who have lived long, happy, monogamous lives together in silence. You will never see them because you are too busy looking at those gay people who are living dangerously promiscuous lives, feeding your skewed perception of us.

There's also a distinct generation gap here. My generation is far far more sexually conservative than the previous one.

It's like looking at the 60's and saying "well, all that free love and drugs means all heterosexuals are drug-crazed sex addicts" which, obviously is not the case because you are not a drug-crazed sex addict.

What I am trying to point out, as plainly and clearly as possible is: neither am I.

Stephen said...

Finally, here's an example of gay republicans. These are normal people, just doing their job. They are conservative, they believe in Republican values. Yet they remain silent when it comes to gay issues because they know they need your vote.

We are between 2-10% of the population. We are doctors, lawyers, teachers, programmers, politicians, unemployed, preachers, musicians, ministers... the list goes on.

Lewis said...

Are you saying (according to your last paragraph in your comment) that you don't believe in the transforming power of the Holy Spirit for a formerly gay man or formerly lesbian woman to completely change to what God originally made them as...heterosexual males or females?

I think the issue is more that the "Holy Spirit" made people to be homosexuals to start off with, rather than god being able to "change them" to straights.

How can god change someone to be something else when he made them that way to begin with?
(I'm sure you'll manage to find an explanation for that one)

Christinewjc said...

Stephen W. said:

"I am not suggesting homosexuality is a lesser sin. I am suggesting homosexuality is not a sin."

But God's Word disagrees with your premise. Homosexual behavior is described as sin in both the Old and New Testaments. No amount of spin can get around that fact, Stephen. You can claim it's not a sin till you're blue in the face, but your liberal view will never pass muster when examined by the Biblical text test.

You said, "I have "fundamentalist" Christian friends who disagree that sex before marriage is a sin,"

They are wrong, too. Fornication is listed among the various sexual sins in both the Old and New Testaments. Just because "everybody is doing it" doesn't change God's law on the issue. BTW, people are paying a huge price for sexual fornication. The STD rate is now 1 in every 2 sexually active teens will get an STD. Back in the 70's, it was 1 in every 50 sexually active teens.

Christinewjc said...

GMpilot said, "I'm not going to gloat."

You not gloat? Oh my...that's hilarious.

GM: "Excuse me while i go get some popcorn. Hearing the spin on all this should prove enlightening."

I don't see anyone "spinning" anything about what the man did. What I do see is differing reactions to the scandal. You will probably most likely cringe at the author of this article [Note: scroll down to pastors and morality], but I found it quite good regarding this terribly unfortunate situation.

I especially took note of this:

"Any time a well-known evangelical figure experiences a moral nose-dive, the entire church of Jesus Christ is negatively affected. It gives ammo to those who love to portray all conservative Christians as hypocrites and frauds."

That is exactly what Limpy attempted to do within this thread and he's not alone. The Christian haters are having a field day with this. Their hypocrisy was shown to all the world a while back when Gov. McGreevey came out as cheating on his wife, grieving his children and betraying the trust the people of N.J. gave him as governor by hiring a gay lover to be involved in the state homeland security dept. Then, he wrote a book about the scandal, appeared on Oprah, and tried to get people to praise him for his "honesty." I guess his book is selling to the gay community and liberal lefties, but most people I know would never buy it.

I know what most will say. You can't compare this to the Haggard scandal. Why not? Both men were in a position of power. Both men sinned through adultery, sexual acts called abomination in Scripture, promiscuity (McGreevey, especially with his admitted dozens of anonymous trysts), drug use (not sure about McGreevey on that cause I didn't read his book!), lying about it etc. Both were guilty of a whole list of sins. Both were in position of trust by the people they served. Both sinned against God. Both sinned against their families. Both sinned against the people they were supposed to be representing. Both either resigned or were fired in shame.

We have yet to see what the fall-out will be with Haggard. We shall see whether or not he is repentant. We all know that McGreevey wasn't, BTW, otherwise he wouldn't have written that book to make himself richer through the sale of it and wouldn't have subjected his family to even more pain.

Maybe Haggard will join a gay-behavior affirming church? Maybe he will repent and seek out NARTH and/or Love Won Out for help in overcoming his homosexual tendencies. That all remains to be seen. I hope and pray for his family's sake that he chooses the latter.

*******

Hi Stacy,

I included a link to your blog in my update in my original blogpost. Good work on your coverage!

*******
Stephen W.,

I'll admit. I don't have a whole lot of information about what it means for heterosexual men who live on the "down low." I never even heard of it until I saw a segment about it on Oprah a while back. My daughter's college class on "women's studies" covered it the first day! Seems like the professor wanted to shock the students. Anyway, from the Oprah show and from what my daughter shared, "living on the down low" men do not consider themselves to be homosexual, and in some cases, don't even consider themselves to be bi-sexual (which certainly surprised me...I thought they would at least be labeled bi-sexual).

According to my daughter's professor (liberal college btw), most married men living on the "down low" are black or hispanic men [don't yell at me for saying this...I'm not being prejudice...this is what the professor told the students] whose religious affiliation (Catholic, Christian denominations)find it shameful to be involved in homosexual sex. So, they see themselves as "sinning" in this way and keep it secret. They don't want to leave their wives, but, like alcohol, are addicted to having addition sexual trysts with anonymous men.

Like I said. I don't know a lot about it and anyone is free to come along and correct any misconceptions. This is what I have learned about it.

Next subject.

Stephen W.,

I do not think that I have ever heard Stephen Bennett claim that every gay man went through the same experiences that he did. He shares his own testimony but clearly states that it's his and his alone. I know about three more ex-gay people (one male, two female) whose testimonies are completely different. In fact, no two Christian testimonies are ever alike. So, I don't know where you got your information from, but if it was from a gay activist, they absolutely hate Stephen (as well as any ex-gay person) so they tend to smear his name and ministry in any way possible.

Stephen W. said, "I know many gay men with children from when they desperately wanted to be straight. It makes me sad."

Consider this fact. There are many formerly gay men who are now living heterosexual lives, are married with children. They are happier now than they ever were living the homosexual lifestyle. Most of the ones that I know about have shared testimonies of how Jesus Christ released them from the bondage of homosexual behavior (their words, not mine, btw)
Others, I have read about from NARTH periodicals (link above) and were successful at reparative therapy. The bottom line is this. There are people who are unhappy with homosexual behavior in their lives and want help to change! To deny this reality is being disingenuous. In fact, just recently the APA has finally recognized human autonomy in this area (see NARTH site) whereas, in the past, they always called reparative therapy "harmful."

Next subject.

Stephen W.,
I read that article link to the gay republican site. Don't think that Christian evangelicals are that naive to believe that homosexuals don't work in Congress or as assistents in government. The difference is, many of the "log cabin" republicans aren't in the noticable habit of pushing the gay agenda (specifically regarding in public schools and the marriage battle) down the throats of unwilling constituents. I think that is admirable.

For the record, I think that gay people can live as they want, as long as they don't trample upon my rights of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of association and destroying the tradition definition of marriage. But since "gay" marriage was legalized in Massachusetts, this is exactly what is happening there. Therefore, it is imperative for evangelical Christians to stand their ground on these volatile disagreements and issues, or they will unhappily find their Constitutional rights whittled away, one by one.

*******
Lewis said, "I think the issue is more that the "Holy Spirit" made people to be homosexuals to start off with, rather than god being able to "change them" to straights.

How can god change someone to be something else when he made them that way to begin with?
(I'm sure you'll manage to find an explanation for that one)"


I disagree.

First, no one is born homosexual. Read the plethora of scientific evidence to that fact at the NARTH website (link above).

Second, the Holy Spirit of God would not lead someone into behavior that counters God's Word.

Ephesians 1 discusses this in detail. There are many more Scriptures that speak of this fact and I can point them out if you want me to.

One verse that answers your second question is:

2Cr 5:17 Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

*******

Lastly, I thought that the two most popular answers to this poll question were both applicable as to why he needed to be dismissed from his prominent position at the church:

Was Ted Haggard's church right to dismiss him?

Yes, his perversity and duplicity have made him unfit to declare the truth that sets people free from sin 38.23% (349)


Yes, the Scriptures are clear that someone who engages in that kind of behavior is committing an offense against God 30.23% (276)



Yes 25.08% (229)


Yes, with Tuesday's critical election, it had to be done 1.64% (15)


No 1.53% (14)


No, it sends a message to other less-than-perfect Christians that God doesn't love them 1.10% (10)


No, he may have done wrong but it doesn't outweigh all the good he's accomplished 0.88% (8)


No, it was only sex .. and drugs 0.66% (6)


No, Jesus said not to judge 0.55% (5)


No, Haggard founded the church – he should be able to stay as pastor 0.11% (1)



TOTAL VOTES: 913

Christinewjc said...

According to this article Haggard has admitted in a letter to his former congregation that some "sexually immoral behavior" occurred, but claims that not all of Jones' allegations are true. So, what does that mean? He did some sex acts but not others?

I'm trying to recall what his accuser had said in one of the T.V. interviews he did. It was something like "they didn't do anything kinky, just white [something...boy?]typical stuff." Is that some sort of "gayspeak" that possibly someone else can decipher for me?

If I were to take a wild guess, could it be similar to the Clinton claim, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman"?

Ah! Never mind. I don't even want to know. The whole sordid thing makes me ill. His family must be suffering immensely today. Church pastor scandals cause immense harm!

GMpilot said...

Christine:
I don't see anyone "spinning" anything about what the man did. What I do see is differing reactions to the scandal. You will probably most likely cringe at the author of this article [Note: scroll down to pastors and morality], but I found it quite good regarding this terribly unfortunate situation.”


Then you might want to take a look at THIS ARTICLE. It reeks of spin.
http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_4605997

Note these passages:

Some of Haggard's closest advisers, while incredulous at his admissions, have speculated that his heavy workload caused him to succumb to weakness.

In fact, Haggard told The Denver Post last week before the scandal broke that he had offered his resignation as president of the 30 million-member National Association of Evangelicals in October. He said he felt he could no longer commit the time necessary to do the job but was rebuffed by the NAE executive committee.

Some evangelical heavyweights are downplaying Haggard's stature. Speaking on CNN, the Rev. Jerry Falwell said Haggard "doesn't really lead the movement. He's president of an association that's very loose-knit ... and no one has looked to them for leadership."


Thirty million evangelicals, however ‘loose-knit’ they may be, is a significant number. Haggard may not have led “the movement”, but he sure moved those people!

An even better example is THIS ONE, from a fellow (but much smaller) leader.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-goldstein/whos-to-blame-for-pastor_b_33279.html

You mentioned former Gov. Jim McGreevey. Most of his bad judgment came later, writing his own “tell-all” book and hawking it on Oprah (I wouldn’t watch that show, let alone appear on it). But he wasn’t forced out of the closet; he came out on his own. More importantly, he never said (AFAIK) anything about how the people of New Jersey MUST live in order to please God. Your comparisons are true (although if you’re not sure about McGreevey using drugs, why’d you bring it up? Don’t you know how to do research?)
I just think you’re pissed because he was the governor of your home state. If so, then you have an idea how I feel about Sen. Rick Santorum.

I like how you assumed McGreevey wrote his book ‘to make himself richer through the sale of it’. He’d been a state Governor, and now he’s out of a job. Probably no pension; certainly no income. What was he supposed to do—honorably starve himself and his family? Would that have caused less pain? Jim Bakker wrote a book about his scandal when he was released from prison, and no one seems to have thought ill of him for doing so. If Haggard writes one someday, will you put the smackdown on him too, or regard it as “more evidence of the redeeming power of God’s love”? Tell us, Church Lady!

” Maybe Haggard will join a gay-behavior affirming church? Maybe he will repent and seek out NARTH and/or Love Won Out for help in overcoming his homosexual tendencies. That all remains to be seen.”

Maybe he should do something about flirting with crystal meth, too. That stuff makes you psychotic.
No, Christine, there’s no need for me to gloat. I’ve noticed the sharks circling Ted Haggard were (and are) not all secular. But I must admit: schadenfreude is sweet!

”Church pastor scandals cause immense harm!”

You got that right! Just think of it as a test.

Have a good day.

Stephen said...

Indeed, Christine, it depends on your interpretation of the word translated into "fornication".

And my reading of Paul's words on homosexuality is no more bizzare than your reading of Paul's words on women :)

ebsfwan said...

Christian leaders say the darndest things. This is one of the conclusions Mark Driscoll draws from the Haggard affair. You can see it at the link above. Mark is the founder of Mars Hill Church (1996), the Paradox Theater, the Acts 29 Network, and the Resurgence Missional Theology Cooperative.

"Most pastors I know do not have satisfying, free, sexual conversations and liberties with their wives. At the risk of being even more widely despised than I currently am, I will lean over the plate and take one for the team on this. It is not uncommon to meet pastors’ wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness. A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband’s sin, but she may not be helping him either."

Is he blaming Haggard's wife? I think this is really silly. The man was a hypocrite but then so are most of us so give him a break. I personally find his use of fairly hard core drugs more problematic than his homosexual behaviour. He could argue that he is homosexual but there is no need to take drugs.