Ministry Today – Serving and empowering church leaders

Haggard Speaks Out

QUOTE: “The first thing I want you to know is I sinned. I really did sin. And I’m very sorry that I sinned. … There I was: 50 years old, a conservative Republican, loving the Word of God, an evangelical, born-again, Spirit-filled charismatic—all those things. But some of the things that were buried in the depths of the sea from when I was in the second grade started to rage in my heart and mind. … I’m very, very sorry that I sinned. My wife—all my sin and shame fell on her. People treated her as if she had fallen. And my children—they all went through carrying my shame.” —Ted Haggard, who formerly served as pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo., and senior editorial adviser of Ministry Today, preaching for the first time since his infamous sex-and-drug scandal rocked the Christian world two years ago. While addressing the congregants of Open Bible Fellowship in Morrison, Ill., led by a longtime friend of Haggard’s, the former president of the National Association of Evangelicals revealed that his struggle stemmed from a sexual incident with an employee of his father when he was 7 years old and followed him throughout his life. Though New Life officials announced in February that Haggard had prematurely ended a spiritual restoration process, Haggard said, “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 passionately questioned how Christian leaders respond when scandals such as his surface: “I believe that [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!” [abcnews.com, 11/12/08; AP, 11/13/08]

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