November 12, 2008
Ted Haggard: Back in the Pulpit
Two years later, the evangelical leader says "I'm very, very sorry."
It has been two years since Ted Haggard resigned as the senior pastor of New Life Church in Colorado and the president of the National Association of Evangelicals. The scandal reverberated through the media just before the pivotal 2006 elections, and made Haggard a favorite target for many outside, and inside, the church.
After two years of silence Ted Haggard has stepped back into the pulpit. Last Sunday he spoke at a church in Illinois where a close friend is the senior pastor. Audio of the entire sermon was uploaded at TedHaggard.com, but has since been removed. ABC News reports that Haggard apologized for his sin without ever identifying the nature of his transgression. He also acknowledged the pain he'd caused his family and his church.
[When the story first broke in 2006, Gordon MacDonald wrote a blog post for Out of Ur that became one of the most read articles ever for this website. You can find the post here.]
While acknowledging that "I'm very, very sorry that I sinned," Haggard also says, "I'm a stronger Christian than I've ever been in my life. I have a stronger marriage than I've ever had in my life."
He also criticized church leaders for not using the controversy two years ago as an opportunity to present the gospel to a wider audience. With great emotion, Haggard said:
I believe that he [God] gives us opportunities every couple of years to communicate the gospel worldwide through secular media and we consistently blow it. A congressman in trouble, that's the time! A family member gets himself in horrible trouble, that's the time! A preacher gets himself in awful trouble, that's the time!
What do you think? Is Haggard right? Did church leaders miss an opportunity two years ago to present the gospel more widely through the media while the focus was on his scandal?