Haggard is a hypocrite, and what, the rest of us are not?

This is it. This will be the last post where I talk about Ted Haggard, I don’t have to explain who he is, the media has made sure to let everyone know who he is and what he has done.

It is official, Mr. Haggard has been given the boot by his church. He has admitted to ‘sexual immorality’ in this letter (Thanks, Joel) read to his former congregation. This is a pretty all-encompassing term in Scripture but I believe it specifically refers to fornication (sex outside of the covenant of marriage to the uninitiated.)

As tempted as the rest of us are to throw Haggard under the bus and tell the world that he’s not really Christian, let’s not. He is a brother in Christ and as Coops points out here, and Greg Stier writes about here, we should be immersed in prayer for him and his family. Not for him only though, how about for those in positions of leadership?

Hypocrisy is a sin, so why is it OK to bash on those who are caught in that sin? Why isn’t John 8:7 (“He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”) ever used when people point out the sin of hypocrisy?

It’s used by unbelievers and believers alike when a sin they commit is pointed out but why isn’t it applied to hypocrisy? Aren’t we all hypocrites? Do we always practice what we preach? Those among us who preach tolerance as the ultimate virtue, are you always tolerant?

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8 Responses to Haggard is a hypocrite, and what, the rest of us are not?

  1. jasonk says:

    I have made the same point for years, but Christians don’t want to hear it. We are hypocrites. All of us. We all say one thing, but sometimes (often?) end up doing something different. Everyone sins. Your sin may be pride, and my sin may be adultery, but it still represents an inconsistency that is tough to reconcile. Haggard messed up. Big. But that does not write him off.
    Here are the lyrics to an often overlooked song that has great relevence right now:

    IT COULD’VE BEEN ME
    “I heard the news today
    That another soldier tumbled,
    A fragile warrior slipped and fell from grace.
    The vultures swooped to tear his heart
    And pin him to the ground,
    And from the shadows someone took his place.
    Today we talk amongst ourselves,
    We never bought his words.
    We say we’ve seen the madness in his eyes.
    Tomorrow he’s forgotten as
    We’ve scrubbed him from our hearts,
    And as he bleeds we slowly turn our eyes.

    But it could’ve been me,
    I could’ve been the one to lose my grip and fall.
    It could’ve been me,
    The one who’s always standing tall.
    For unless you hold me tightly, Lord,
    And I can hold on too,
    Then tomorrow in the news
    It could be me, it could be me.

    And in our hearts we fear the ones
    Whose lives are like our own,
    Whose shadows dance like
    Demons in our minds.
    We think to push them far away,
    We exercise our souls,
    We make them play the tune for all mankind.

    Today we talk amongst ourselves,
    We never bought their words.
    We say we’ve seen the madness in their eyes.
    Tomorrow they’re forgotten as
    We’ve scrubbed them from our hearts,
    And as they bleed we slowly turn our eyes.”

  2. Coops says:

    Even if people believed him to be an apostate, that still means we should pray for his real salvation. But who can come back into fellowship with Christians when they criticize so badly? Being the #1 spot on Technorati, he sure attracted a lot of firey feelings, I can only hope if he looks, he can notice a post like yours here. God bless

  3. albert says:

    As tempted as the rest of us are to throw Haggard under the bus and tell the world that he’s not really Christian, let’s not. He is a brother in Christ…

    The thing that stymies about this situation is the fact that Jesus himself will say to some people, “I never knew you”, despite their work in miracles and prophesy. So, the test of soteriology (salvation) must be far more rigorous than simply saying “let’s not”.

    People like Haggard who seek to be involved in politics are, in my understanding, heretics at best (this includes Dobson) and false prophets at worst. Nowhere will you find in Scripture does it say to seek after power; these megachurches have become another means of exerting that.

    …and as Coops points out here, and Greg Stier writes about here, we should be immersed in prayer for him and his family.

    Yes. I agree – but the only way such a man could concievably recover is by being humbled again – as he was when he first started.

    Not for him only though, how about for those in positions in leadership?

    Depends on what you would term “leadership”. Every church must, at its heart, be driven by the Holy Spirit in love for the savior. Ecclesiologically, this essentially means that workers are grown within the church itself, not without it (in school) – which avoids from the practice of the Nicolaitans.

    Hypocrisy is a sin, so why is it OK to bash on those who are caught in that sin?

    Paul did it for two reasons: 1. he showed no further evidence of giving into temptation, thereby sinning and 2. for the purification of the church.

    Why isn’t John 8:7 (“He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”) ever used when people point out the sin of hypocrisy?

    It’s used by unbelievers and believers alike when a sin they commit is pointed out but why isn’t it applied to hypocrisy?

    The people pointing out hypocrisy are justified insofar that they don’t preach their mores to other people (i.e., have privatized their beliefs, rendering them meaningless). In John 8:7, Jesus is challenging the moral elite.

    Moreover, unbelievers revel in the fact that they don’t have any moral authority in which to own up for wrongdoings. They are moral for the sake of convenience.

    Aren’t we all hypocrites?

    Watch out when you say that – hypocrites != sinners. Two commands after receiving salvation are to 1. “go and sin no more” and 2. “[t]herefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”.

    Going back to the context of soteriology, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

    Does one who’s nailed himself on the cross sin any longer? Or has he chosen to get off of it as well?

    Do we always practice what we preach?

    No, and this is one of the major shortcomings of the church today (and probably was, in places, for first century Christians as well). The preachers do the preaching and we do the “trying to practice”. We (those in Western churches) need to move out of this mentality and preach openly ourselves, rising out of our own spiritual stupor.

    Third world churches have fewer of these problems; guess why.

    Those among us who preach tolerance as the ultimate virtue, are you always tolerant?

    Great challenge. I urge you to use these words of prophecy to edify your church.

  4. Lazaro says:

    Well I can’t really be sure if Mr. Haggard is a believer. He says he is so I’ll take him at his word, and yes Jesus will ultimately decide won’t He? (I did not know what soteriology meant, you learn something new every day, thanks)

    Albert, you and Henry should get together. In case you’re wondering who I refer to, he commented on here some time ago and said “Leave the politics to Satan.” Jesus did say His Kingdom is not of this world didn’t He? I was thinking about his today at work (it being election day and all).

    I feel for Mr. Haggard, he’s got a tough road to recovery made tougher by being in the public eye.

    By leadership I meant the pastors of local churces, I think somewhere in Scripture we are encouraged (told?) to pray for them. From within huh? that is a very interesting idea which together with some other ‘crazy’ ideas in Acts 2:43-47, if implemented today, would drive away more than half in the membership rolls… That might be a good thing…

    Preaching ourselves, there is another novel idea? When I was in college, there was this guy who was an open-air preacher and he was sort of the comic relief. I was an unbeliever then and I’m curious to see how I would view him if I went back during one of his sermons now…

    Thank you for your comments

  5. Lazaro says:

    Albert,
    I just read 1 Corinthians 5:9-13, is that the hypocrisy text you referred to? Here Paul tells the Corinthians not to associate with immoral “believers.” Would Haggard fall under this though he seems to have repented?

    Paul didn’t give in to temptation? Isn’t Romans 7 a description of his struggles?

    when I said we are all hypocrites I meant the actual meaning of the word, that is “actor.” We wear different masks no? We don’t always practice what we preach right?

  6. albert says:

     
    Well I can’t really be sure if Mr. Haggard is a believer. He says he is so I’ll take him at his word, and yes Jesus will ultimately decide won’t He?

    I agree, Jesus will ultimately decide, but the crux of the issue is whether or not to dissociate with him and, if not, what role in the church he will serve if we did choose to associate. (There are similar issues w/ Jim Bakker).

    A key issue of resolution I found was in Galatians 6:1:

    Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.

    In a general sense, we – the local church – should be taking responsibility for his sin, and raising him back up. But in a specific sense, I think Haggard moved into “false prophet” territory some time ago – even if some of what he might have preached was doctrinally sound.

    (BTW, “soteriology” isn’t such an old word with me, either, but glad to be of help.)

    Albert, you and Henry should get together. In case you’re wondering who I refer to, he commented on here some time ago and said “Leave the politics to Satan.” Jesus did say His Kingdom is not of this world didn’t He? I was thinking about his today at work (it being election day and all).

    “Leave the politics to Satan” is a good way to sum it up. Christians shouldn’t get directly involved in politics, period. Our issue – and in a wider context, Jesus’ – is resolution of the problems created by sin, not human organization.

    I think this takes on the form of personal witness in word and action, not politically-expedient demagoguery. But this doesn’t mean to lack political consciousness altogether (Colossians 4:2, also see Revelations):

    Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

    Instead, the adult Christian is instead free from being swayed by the promises of politicians because he/she has a greater consciousness of the issues.

    I feel for Mr. Haggard, he’s got a tough road to recovery made tougher by being in the public eye.

    Exactly – which was the problem in the first place. Witness 1 Thess. 4:11-12:

    Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

    Again, Haggard is waist-deep in apostate territory on this one.

    By leadership I meant the pastors of local churces, I think somewhere in Scripture we are encouraged (told?) to pray for them.

    Yes, 1 Tim 2:1-2

    I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

    – but this doesn’t mean “so that they can run things well”. Rather, the idea is so that they become saved themselves, which in and of itself should have a magnifying effect on the grassroots efforts of the Holy Spirit:

    This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim 2:3-4)

    Continued:

    From within huh? that is a very interesting idea which together with some other ‘crazy’ ideas in Acts 2:43-47, if implemented today, would drive away more than half in the membership rolls… That might be a good thing…

    Preaching ourselves, there is another novel idea? When I was in college, there was this guy who was an open-air preacher and he was sort of the comic relief. I was an unbeliever then and I’m curious to see how I would view him if I went back during one of his sermons now…

    Yes, absolutely. These two are part and parcel to a living body of believers, as opposed to a group of sheep looking to be comfortably herded. A living church will take responsibility for the actions of its members, not be driven by money or power, will be responsible for the continual production of its own Spirit-driven missionaries, will discuss and act upon Jesus’ commands, et. al.

    It’s an ideal – far from what is/has been the case in reality, but achieved in some instances (see Under the Acacias).

    Thank you for your comments

    No need to thank me – I’m just glad to serve my Savior.

    **********
    I just read 1 Corinthians 5:9-13, is that the hypocrisy text you referred to? Here Paul tells the Corinthians not to associate with immoral “believers.” Would Haggard fall under this though he seems to have repented?

     

    First question – yes, that’s the text. I don’t think Haggard would fall under this, as he is a teacher/leader. It’s conceivable that he might have repented – but, again, he needs to be raised back up by the local church, not by his own power.
    Humility during this process would be key to his re-association.

    Paul didn’t give in to temptation? Isn’t Romans 7 a description of his struggles?

    Good question – one I don’t know right now. What I do know are a few things:

    Jesus commanded the prostitute to “go and leave your life of sin
    This is a broad commandment that applies to us
    It is possible if we live by the Spirit (Romans 7:5; Romans 8:1-17, Galatians 5:16-26)
    Temptation still exists, but God always provides a way out (1 Cor 10:13)

    when I said we are all hypocrites I meant the actual meaning of the word, that is “actor.” We wear different masks no? We don’t always practice what we preach right?

    Yes, I agree. This is why I believe we all need to “desire the greater gifts”. The extent to which we hide behind the facade of morality, I think, has a direct correlation with the extent to which we take risks in our relationships for Christ.

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  8. Jallan says:

    The “we are all hypocrites” doesn’t play well.

    If everyone is a hypocrite and Ted Haggard is just another hypocrite, and therefore no worse than anyone else, why isn’t he still doing the job he was doing before he was outed? Because he sinned?

    But apparently he’s been sinning for years in a way that did not obviously harm his church or fellow believers. If Mike Jones hadn’t outed him, Ted Haggard could have continued merrily on his way in his double life. Who would have cared? It seems the sins didn’t really matter.

    A lot of Christians appear only to be sorry that Ted Haggard was caught breaking the rules of his faith, rules he himself preached, embarrassing them and the Republican and Evangelical cause.

    But couldn’t Ted still keep preaching those rules and keep his position, if indeed hypocrisy really doesn’t matter because everyone is a hypocrite. If so, then what matter how Ted Haggard lives his life as long as he preaches according to the proper line, preaching that if you are gay and you trust in God, God will give you the strength to resist temptations of that kind. Why should it matter that Ted knows that isn’t true?

    After all, we’re all hypocrites, according to some Christians here, and the words of a well-speaking minister who himself might speak against the evil of hypocrisy should therefore be evaluated on their own merits, should they not, without any care about the actual behavior of the man or woman who speaks them or writes them? Why shouldn’t a known hypocrite preach against hypocrisy, or a well known and contnual sinner speak against sin, since we are all hypocrites and all sinners?

    That Jesus so greatly blamed the Pharisees for hypocrisy is unimportant to modern Evangelicals I guess, packing and choosing as they do which parts of Jesus’ message and which parts of the supposed inerrant Bible they wish to accept.

    So believe Ted Haggard’s message as he preached it and live according to the example his life provided and you also may be wealthy and sucessful in the God business … just as long as you don’t sin the sin of getting caught at it.

    But even then, if you can play it long enough, you’ll have taken in enough money for yourself that you will never have to work a day in your life again. You really can worship God and mammon, or at least hypocritically feign to do so.

    And some of the people you preach to may actually live according to what you preach and if you can “save” enoug of their souls, well, Jesus will probably forgive you because you believe in Jesus, or feign to, and you maybe won’t burn in Hell forever along those who don’t believe properly, regardly of how unhypocrtical or honestly they may have lived their lives.

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