The church Ted Haggard founded may not be commenting on his choice to start a new church from his home only a mile away, but that's not stopping a former overseer from the fallen leader's restoration process from speaking out.
H.B. London, vice president of Pastoral Ministries at Focus on the Family, blogged last week about Haggard's "exploratory meeting" that quickly expanded into a weekly home gathering of 150 people, many of whom attend New Life Church, where Haggard served for 22 years. As one of the four pastors originally charged with overseeing Haggard's restoration, London has been the most outspoken regarding what he believes was an aborted process.
"From the very beginning, Mr. Haggard had been counseled to go to another city, complete his restoration program, experience healing in his family and with his addiction, and only then begin again," London wrote. "But, he has made a choice not to do that. We, who were members of his restoration team and those who served New Life Church as overseers, wish he would not do this. We feel it to be insensitive to a church that provided generously for him and his family for over a year after his misadventure. But, more than that, he violates his own words that he would not begin a new church."
Haggard, however, has a drastically different account of his healing process, as posted on tedhaggard.com. Describing the original restoration team as more "corporate" than "relational," Haggard says he has never asked to be relieved from his restoration process and that he continues to receive oversight from a team of five pastors. The weekly meetings, he says, are simply Bible studies and an opportunity for prayer and healing.
"These meetings provide an opportunity for me to personally apologize, answer questions, and discuss the events of the last three years," he says. "The responses we are receiving confirm that Jesus is able to take the darkest mistakes of our lives and use them to demonstrate his resurrecting and restorative power." [hblondon.typepad.com, 11/16/09; tedhaggard.com, 11/23/09; christianpost.com, 11/23/09; thepulpit.freedomblogging.com, 11/13/09]
Click here for an exclusive interview with Ted Haggard and his wife, Gayle, about their restoration process.