The Latest Evangelical Scandal

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Some readers may be aware that the President of the National Association of Evangelicals resigned yesterday over accusations of secret liaisons with a homosexual prostitute.  Sadly, since Ted Haggard of New Life Church in Colorado Springs has been an outspoken critic of gay marriage, this scandal can only serve to confirm the popular perception (I would call it a stereotype, but is it?) that evangelical Christians are just a bunch of hypocrites. 

I visited New Life Church when it was in its popular ascendancy about a decade ago.  The strongest impression I had on that particular Sunday was a palpable absence of the gospel -- lots of feel-good worship and moralistic exhortation to lead a good life, but little in the way of a biblical message of repentance for sin and grace in Christ.  Yet this is the only gospel that can save any of us who are guilty of scandalous sins.

The following news report from KKTV in Colorado Springs would seem to confirm that there is substance to the allegations:

"A sudden about-face in the scandal facing New Life Church's pastor.  After Pastor Ted Haggard went public Wednesday night denying allegations of a homosexual affair, senior church officials told KKTV 11News Thursday evening, Pastor Ted Haggard has admitted to some of the claims made by a former male escort. The church's Acting Senior Pastor, Ross Parsley, tells KKTV 11 News that Pastor Haggard has admitted to some of the indiscretions claimed by Mike Jones, but not all of them.

"Thursday morning, Jones went on a Denver radio talk show and said Pastor Haggard paid him for sex over the past 3 years. Jones also claims Haggard used drugs with him.  Right now, the situation is under investigation by an independent panel of leaders from four outside churches. The leaders are from Colorado Springs, Larkspur, Westminster and Louisiana. The panel's role is to decide if Haggard will be exonerated, released from his duties or restored to his pastorship.

"Earlier Thursday, Haggard resigned as President of the National Association of Evangelicals, and placed himself on administrative leave as head of New Life Church. New Life Church has an estimated 14,000 members, while the NAE claims roughly 30 million members."

Posted November 3, 2006 @ 10:30 AM by Phil Ryken
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