In my book The Anointing I refer to King Saul as a type of "yesterday's man." I choose to believe that Ted Haggard is not yesterday's man. What determines whether one is yesterday's man or woman is whether he or she is renewed to genuine repentance.
In Hebrews 6:4-6 there is a description of those who fell away and could not be so renewed. Indeed, it was "impossible" for them to be renewed. The reason for this is very simple: They could not hear God speak anymore.
In Hebrews 5:11 the writer warns his readers that they were already "dull of hearing" (KJV), literally "hard of hearing" (nothroi [Greek]). The worst scenario would be to become what we today would call "stone deaf"—which explains why one could not be renewed to repentance: they could no longer hear God's voice. At the natural level, deafness normally comes in stages. So too at the spiritual level. These Hebrew Christians were already in a precarious position—"they were hard of hearing"—as they were being addressed.
What further determines whether one is renewed to repentance is whether he or she is truly accountable to God. The problem is, too many leaders will say, "I am accountable only to God—not man" and consequently feel exempt from submitting to any human leadership on Earth. The higher one's profile, the lower the probability is that such a person will be accountable to any human being.
If you really are accountable to God, you will prove it by being accountable to honest, frank, responsible, objective, fearless and caring people. You and I are not so spiritual that we can bypass those people who will lovingly tell us, "You cannot do this." Neither are we so spiritual that we do not need to become exceedingly vulnerable to those who will be unafraid to warn us.
The problem is, many of us have such people that we trust and claim to be accountable to. But if we do not tell them our weaknesses and temptations, we all are likely to get caught out sooner or later. God will not bend the rules for any of us. The honor of His name and the reputation of His church do not override His hatred of sin and hypocrisy, wherever it is. For all, things will come out at the judgment seat of Christ (see 2 Cor. 5:10); but for some, God steps in in advance of the judgment.
Haggard has publicly said that he thanks God he was exposed. I believe him. Strange as it may seem, his getting caught was a kindness of God. I believe that Haggard has been chosen as an example of what will happen to all of us if we do not get our private lives in line with the way we are viewed publicly. God has rolled up His sleeves in these last days and said, "Enough is enough." Secret sins—whether they be pornography addiction, carrying on an affair mentally or physically, improper use of money, not being Christ-like with one's family—have a way of becoming known. I personally believe that God has decided to step in in order to get Christ's bride ready in these last days.
What surely matters most of all for us in the ministry is, in a word, the anointing—the ability given by the Holy Spirit to make the supernatural seem as if it were natural. Whereas the gifts and calling of God are without repentance—irrevocable (see Rom. 11:29), the anointing of God's abiding approval is in direct proportion to our repentance and walk with the Lord.In the same way the gift of preaching, writing, administration, evangelism and all the gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12 may function regardless of one's secret sins. They prove nothing insofar as being an indicator whether one is walking in the Spirit.
Those people who became yesterday's men after getting caught were those who did not take recommendations regarding discipline. For example, they could not bear the idea of being out of ministry for a couple years or more. They have paid heavily as a result. But many of those who have fallen and were exposed who did humbly submit to such discipline—and were granted unfeigned repentance in the meantime—were honored, came back and were mightily used.
God is merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment! God knows our frame and remembers that we are dust (see Ps. 103:14). "Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline," Jesus said (Rev. 3:19, NKJV). Those who choose to be accountable to God and trustworthy people will never become yesterday's men or women.
This is why I believe Ted Haggard will come back one day. We should pray for this and welcome the day it happens.
R.T. Kendall was the pastor of Westminster Chapel in London for 25 years. He is the author of numerous books, including Total Forgiveness, The Anointing and The Word and the Spirit. His Web site is www.rtkendallministries.com.