He's baaack! Like a bad penny, Ted Haggard just won't go away. And he's back with a vengeance. He's here in Colorado Springs to preach love and forgiveness to those that $upport him ("tithe into God's kingdom") and hell-fire and brimstone to those he dislikes: anyone who points out that he is not qualified for the office of pastor (he calls them "Pharisees").
He's even started a new self-promoting ad campaign in the local Gazette Newspaper regarding his newest endeavor, St. James Church. Periodically the Gazette is plastered with ten to twelve business card sized ads supposedly written by his parishioners extolling the virtues of their church and pastor. They are usually on the mushy side, but some are downright scary: "I'm steel and Pastor Ted is my magnet." What kind of Pastor would pay to run ads in the newspaper saying what a wonderful person he is? Some of the ads just say things like, "St. James Church...It's not for Cowards!" On this past Easter Sunday (4-5-15) he ran a full page ad bragging of his "resurrection."
I've attended a service at St. James and it was exactly what you would expect, New Life, Part II. A long worship service (to get people "in the mood"), Ted up there cracking jokes and quoting Bible verses about tithing and what it means to be a "genuine man of God." It's all rather sad and unsettling. There were several references to his "crisis." His words are chosen carefully to portray him as "victim" rather than perpetrator.
To hear him speak about sincerity, honesty and transparency just made me feel like I was at some sort of Obama press conference. Haggard must know that everyone in the audience cringes when he speaks about Biblical morals. As hard as I tried, I couldn't shake the images of him with one of his gay buddies shouting, "Do as I say, not as I do!"
From what I could see, the congregation of 200 was mostly old New Lifers who can't let go of the past, with a few transgenders thrown in to bring in a little color.
But, before we get going too far, let me answer one question:
Do we forgive Ted Haggard?
Do we trust Ted Haggard?
Of course not.
When we asked him why he started St. James Church, knowing that he did not meet the Biblical standards for a pastor (quoted below in red), he retorted, "Well, no one else is qualified either, so someone has to be the pastor." Haggard told the Wall Street Journal, "Tiger Woods needs to golf. Michael Vick needs to be playing football, Ted Haggard needs to be leading a church."
Ted, please put yourself in our shoes. You promised that you would not start a new church because you said you were not qualified. You said your main character issue was deception. If you put the two together, we have no choice but to be suspicious of your motives. And why come back to Colorado Springs? If you truly just want to serve, why not New York or San Francisco or maybe Haiti? There are plenty of places that you could go that really need help. But it looks like you came back here because you already had a financial base here, and you wanted to rub everyone's nose in your "resurrection."
It's rather ironic that Haggard would name his church after St. James, for it was James who said, "Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly."
Ted knows the Scriptures...and seems to quote them mostly for his own protection and benefit. Most of his message now is about forgiveness and restoration...but from a rather judgmental perspective. If you forgive and agree to restore him to the office of Pastor you are a "true" Christian, if not, you are a Pharisee.
Part of the problem is that Haggard refuses to come clean. He insinuates that he messed up a couple times but, that's all in the past. His wife Gayle contradicts that version and says there were several homosexual "incidents." But she now says, in her mind, he is 100% "straight," even though he has confessed that he considers himself to be "bisexual."
Because of all the misinformation, we even contacted Haggard to get his input on this web site. We told him we did not want to bear false witness against him and asked him to fact-check the site. He initially refused, saying his story is "old news," but later threatened legal action by saying, "You are making up or repeating discounted or discredited ideas. I've learned that to guys like you and maybe your readers, actual facts don't matter. So, I am telling you that you are wrong and that I might choose to hold you accountable. Difference would be I would not use a gossip column that mascarades as a Christian site, but established methods. Either get good facts from original and current primary sources, or you might be demonstrating malicious intent." We tried, Ted, but you won't cooperate. But he still insists that we all forgive him, even though he refuses to confess. How can we forgive and restore if we don't know the facts?
He knows that Christians are bound to forgive him. It is a requirement. So not surprisingly, Haggard has adopted the tact of the Homosexual Agenda and holds this over their head and calls them "hateful" if they don't embrace HIS definition of forgiveness. His definition is to forgive and forget and "let's act like this never happened."
We should always forgive, but we are not required to forget. To forget just leaves the door open for further abuse. Haggard's deceptive homosexual "crisis" (as he likes to call it) lasted 40 years and involved untold victims. He admits that he attempted to sexually abuse a member of his own church's youth group, but refuses to discuss other victims. He then insists that we forgive him. So we forgive you, Ted, but we are not fools...we will keep our eyes on you forever. We can forgive you, but you will have to earn our trust.
Fallen leaders like Jimmy Swaggart, Ted Haggard, Benny Hinn, Paula White, Marcus Lamb and the like, tend to play on your emotions and "guilt" you into getting their way. If they can't convince you to drop your guard, they will lay a guilt trip on you and try to make you feel un-Christ-like. They say things like, "A TRUE Christian would not judge me. A TRUE Christian forgives. A TRUE Christian turns the other cheek. A TRUE Christian always seeks mercy over justice."
So we say to you, Ted...we forgive you.
But ethically, and Biblically, we simply cannot endorse you as a pastor.
In I Timothy 3:1, the Lord gives us 14 different qualifications for anyone who feels called to be a pastor. I don't know that Haggard meets any of the qualifications, but we know that he does not meet several. Just take the final qualification: "He must also have a good reputation with unbelievers," What is Haggard's reputation with unbelievers? Anyone that knows anything about Haggard will say, "Hypocrite." Does a hypocrite have a "good reputation?" Obviously not. Plus, the verse says "MUST" have...not "CAN" have. So if the person has a reputation of being a hypocrite, then that's a deal breaker.
But Haggard implies that he doesn't have to conform to Biblical standards because he's "special." He is an exception. Therefore, since he is not straight or gay he is not bound by the normal rules, standards or qualifications. But that's a red herring argument. That's just another rabbit trail that Haggard wants to take you down. The subject isn't whether Haggard is "special," or "gifted," the question is, are there Biblical standards for the office of pastor? Yes. Does Haggard meet those standards? Not even close.
So, Ted, when Paul told Timothy what those standards were, did you think it was some sort of joke? If no pastor has to abide by those standards, then there are NO standards for ANYTHING. If those in charge don't have to obey the Word, then there will be nothing but anarchy. Are we to have Grace and Mercy? Of course! Are we to throw away all moral standards to PROVE how "loving" we are? Only a con man would suggest setting the bar that low. Remember, James who said, "Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly." Haggard wants to rewrite that to say teachers/pastors should be judged more leniently.
He now has gone on the offensive and never seems to miss an opportunity to publicly demonize those that fired him as pastor of New Life Church.
"New Life Church is the old Soviet Union,” and was “excessively harsh” in its treatment of him after the scandal broke.
Haggard also said: “I used to think the church was the light of the world. But I've completely lost my faith in it. … People are, at their cores, hateful.”
Haggard never really defines what "hate" is, but to the best that we can decipher his doublespeak, it refers mainly to the Overseers. Some of his anger seems to be directed at some of his former congregation, but the bulk of it is focused on the Overseers. Haggard started New Life Church and he is the one who structured its government. The day-to-day operations were run by him. Finances were run by the Trustees and all pastoral discipline was dealt with by a group of pre-selected outside pastors (because they would be more unbiased) called the Overseers. Ultimately, the Overseers were the officials that removed Haggard from the office of Pastor at New Life Church.
Haggard even served as an Overseer for other churches, and on occasion was called in to deal with other pastors who had been caught in scandalous behavior. By his own admission, Haggard would usually suggest that the pastor immediately step down from his position as a pastor, as his "foolish behavior disqualified him" from that role.
Indy:I understand that you've served as an overseer for other churches in the past?
Haggard: "I served as an overseer with several guys and I'm great friends with all of them — it's because I didn't force any of them to leave their state. I didn't force their kids to leave their school. But what I did do wrong was, I asked them to leave the church that they had been serving as a leader. I would no longer do that, because I think if you're a family, you need to stay together.
Now their roles may change — if they're a senior pastor they can't be senior pastor anymore — but the whole issue is service, whether you're teaching Sunday school or teaching the Bible or cleaning a toilet. And just because you disqualify yourself with your own foolishness from being a Bible teacher, that doesn't mean you can't clean toilets."
Haggard admits that he forced pastors out of office for immoral behavior, but once the shoe is on the other foot, Haggard defines that policy as "hatred." Just another example of Haggard's bizarre hypocritical sense of justice. The leaders at New Life were just doing their job. That's not hate, it's called "reaping what you sow."
Let's not forget that Haggard did NOT have to leave town EVER. No one ever forced him to leave town. They PAID him to leave town. He could have stayed here the whole time. But they offered him $300,000 to leave, and like a hireling, he took the money and ran. He left of his own free will. This is America, no one can force you out of town, but you can just add that lie to the long list of lies that Haggard has told for the last 50 years.
Ted, you demand that we forgive you...so we ask, "Will you please do the same and stop condemning those whom you forced to remove you from your office of Pastor?"
Ted Haggard plays the victim card!
Haggard has the audacity to tweet that he was crucified and resurrected, just like Jesus!
NEWSFLASH, TED: You crucified yourself. We are the victims, not you.
But that's his tact now, playing the "victim."
(1) He was a victim of sexual abuse as a child.
(2) He was a victim of harsh treatment from New Life when they asked him to step down as pastor.
Just like Jimmy Swaggart was "cured" of his perversions by Oral Roberts "casting out his demons," Haggard was cured of his demons by a bizzare form of voodoo hypnosis called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy). What is EMDR and how does it work? On their web site they claim: "The client is instructed to focus on the negative thought while simultaneously moving their eyes back and forth following the therapist's fingers as they move across their field of vision for 20-30 seconds or more, depending upon the need of the client," and SHAZAAM! You're cured! 100% heterosexual...for a while.
The reality is that no one even knows if Haggard actually was sexually abused. There is no way to verify his story. Like all his other lies, that could be a complete and total fabrication to garner sympathy. "Yes, I had meth infused gay sex for who knows how long, but that's because I was molested as an innocent child. But after the secular therapist waved her fingers in front of my eyes for 20-30 seconds, I was cured!" I know plenty of people that were sexually abused, who never took meth or used church funds for gay prostitutes.
But Haggard claims he is a double victim (in case you don't buy the EMDR angle). He says things like, "Sure, what I did was wrong, but look how New Life treated me. Where's the Grace?" And yet all they did was the same thing you did when you were in their shoes. If giving you $300,000 and asking you to go away and get counseling is so horribly wrong, why was it OK for you to do it to others?
And that doesn't just apply to other fallen pastors. Haggard did the very same thing to one of his victims. Grant Haas was a young man that went to Haggard for counseling because Grant was struggling with same sex attraction. What does Haggard do? Hired him as a personal assistant! The gall of Haggard to imply that he was taking him under his wing for protection, when it appears he was grooming him for blindsided homosexual predatory abuse.
You are probably familiar with the sordid details, but Haggard admitted that he exposed Haas to several forms of abuse including gay porn and masturbation while up in Cripple Creek of all places. But Haas also claimed that Haggard showed him naked pictures of other young men from the church, as well as teaching him to be a Peeping Tom by watching some of the young boys at the church while they showered. Whether those accusation are true or not we do not have any evidence. But Haggard has neither confirmed or denied the allegations, insinuating that it's water under the bridge.
But when Haggard abruptly ended his so-called "restoration process" and came back to Colorado Springs to start St. James Church, Haas had had enough of Haggard playing the victim. So Haas calls Haggard, and secretly tapes the call (you can listen to the call on the page labeled "Briber"). In this conversation Haas is weeping, telling Haggard how much Haggard had wounded him. Haggard apologizes for his predatory behavior and offers to get Haas some money and get him out of town where he can "get a fresh start."
Really? Isn't that what you did to other fallen pastors, and now you label that as "hatred." The very thing that you did to other fallen pastors and even did to one of your victims you have the audacity to call that HATRED? That is the very epitome of duplicity.
But...after all that...we are offering to forgive you. Forgive? Yes. Forget? No. There should be no more victims. We embrace you, Ted. We forgive you, Ted. We offer you Grace, instead of Justice. But, we will not rewrite the Scriptures like you rewrite history.
Haggard's wife, Gale, when confronted with Ted's first homosexual incident (there have been many) said, "I felt as though, you know, we all struggle, you know, in different areas of our lives, and certainly in our sexuality, so I was willing to forgive him." And she expects us to do the same. But was that Jesus' reaction to the woman caught in the act of adultery? Yes and no. Did He forgive her? Yes, but there were qualifications. He said, "Go, and sin no more." Haggard wants us to forgive AND forget, with no qualifications of any kind. If we caught up with that harlot that Jesus pardoned 40 years later, and she was still turning tricks...was she genuinely repentent? Haggard says he has been playing both sides of the gender fence for 40 years all the while pretending to be straight, but is now admitting that he is not gay, but he is bisexual. But after 40 years of deception (meth, gay sex, sexual abuse), should we believe ANYTHING he says?
Even though Haggard has now confessed that he is bisexual, he won't perform a gay wedding because homosexuality is a sin. Where does he get his info that homosexuality is a sin? The Bible. But Ted, it's that same Bible that says you don't meet the qualifications of the office of pastor. So just like he always has, Haggard picks and chooses which verses he wants to adhere to.
Ted, you do not meet the qualifications of a Pastor, and you know it, but you created St. James because you don't care about “legalistic” Scriptural standards. That is why this web site exists. To remind people that your disregard for Scriptural standards has never wavered. You thumbed your nose at God while having meth infused gay sex and you are thumbing your nose at Him now as you attempt to usurp Biblical standards to benefit your own lust for money, power and influence by commandeering the office of Pastor.
Ted, we are begging you to reconsider. We want to help you start over, but you won't stop the abuse. You show no signs of repentance whatsoever, and now claim that you "over repented." How can we do our part if you lock the door, and shout "HATERS" from the other side? You lock the door by remaining in a state of rebellion. You deny our fellowship because you have strings attached to EVERYTHING. You claim that you have the right to redefine "forgiveness" and "grace" and "truth" in order to make us look like the offenders, all the while it is you that is walking in prideful disregard for Scriptural standards.
We are offering you the right hand of fellowship. We have but one request: Walk in the Spirit and embrace God's Word and God's Standards. Only then will you find true restoration. You could be a counselor, writer, a talk show host or a myriad of other callings that don't come with clearly delineated Biblical standards. But until you step down from your role of self-appointed pastor, it is you who is rejecting us, not the other way around.
We do not hate you, Ted. But we simple cannot trust someone who exclaims, "I love the Scriptures," but never seems to live by them. You know the damage that you have already caused by rejecting Biblical standards, so why continue that pattern? If you have truly repented, give us a glimpse of evidence by stepping down from your self-appointed role of pastor. Let someone who is qualified lead St. James and you be the church counselor or whatever. Then the healing can begin...for you, for us, and for the Church as a whole.
First Timothy 3 (NKJV)
Qualifications to be a Pastor (Bishop)
1 This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work.
2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach.
3 Not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous.
4 One who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence.
5 For if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?
6 Not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.
7 Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
In the above video, Haggard tells several lies, but he made one true statement: "The role of pastor is based on trust." Unfortunately, his "trust" account is bankrupt.