There has been much discussion and blether around the internet regarding the sexual skandalon of former president of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) Ted Haggard. Lots and lots of opinions and precious little of what the Bible actually says about how we should handle the issue of this man’s sin being publicly exposed by God Himself before the world. Haggard has without question been a very prominent member of the Body of Christ in the United States and this plays a major factor in how the American Christian Church should now handle this sad situation.

But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (1 Corinthians 6:17-19, KJV)

Sin Is Not Just Sin

In the entry for November 8 in his classic My Utmost For His Highest Oswald Chambers wrote:

Have we recognized that our body is the temple of the Holy Ghost? If so, we must be careful to keep it undefiled for Him. We have to remember that our conscious life, though it is only a tiny bit of our personality, is to be regarded by us as a shrine of the Holy Ghost. He will look after the unconscious part that we know nothing of; but we must see that we guard the conscious part for which we are responsible (233)

I allude to some of this in A Wake-up Call From Ted Haggard but what I have seen in this situation is an example of just how far the effects of liberal theology have slithered into the evangelical church. Much talk about how we must be careful not to be “harsh” in front of the unbelieving world or they will be turned off to Christianity. Then hear the Word of the Lord:

19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses. 20 Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning. 21 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias, doing nothing in a spirit of partiality. (1 Timothy 5:19-21, NASB)

In the case of Ted Haggard verse 19 has been met. At the very least his accuser is one and his own partial admission is the other witness. He had continued in sin until he was exposed, and only afterward has he now semi-admitted to it, “the accusations made against me are not all true but enough of them are.” And Ingrid Schlueter is reporting at Slice of Laodicea here that apparently “homosexuality wasn’t the issue.”

Even so Haggard is to be rebuked publicly, and all the more so because he was accepted as a leading evangelical spokesman, that the unbelieving world may take notice that God will not permit a professed believer in Christ to continue in willful sin against Him and to shower this kind of abuse on his wife and his children without severe punishment. Or are we so weak now that we’re going to say the Lord was wrong to literally and publicly strike the ill-fated real estate team of Ananias and Sapphira dead for lying to Him (see–Acts 5).

And what was the reaction of the unbelieving world then according to Luke the very able historian of the ancient Church – But none of the rest dared to associate with them; however, the people held them in high esteem (Acts 5:13). Men and women, we are to love God above all else and to faithfully do what He says whether it makes sense to others or not. But this we have forgotten amidst the encroaching liberalism of an evangelicalism which never renounced its own humanism. Today the inspired words of the Apostles have been turned backward: “We must obey men rather than God” (see–Acts 5:29).

Godly Sorrow Leads To True Repentance

No, in a tragic case like that of Ted Haggard the Bible still says – He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion (Proverbs 28:13) Brother Haggard has not done this. He has not made a full confession and public renunciation of his gross misconduct as a leading member in the Body of Christ. And as a former bishop (president of NAE) and pastor-teacher James 3:1 applies to him – Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. You tell me, does the Bible say those of us who are pastors and teachers are going to be held to a higher standard by God? I think the answer is obvious.

And it is only after these things have been done that we can then apply what all of us who truly love Christ and His Church should be praying for – restoration to fellowship. As it says in Galatians 6:1 – Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. You must understand that the false philosophy of postmodernism–relativism in trendy clothes–has convinced people that to stand for the absolute Truth of God’s Word and to tell someone its truth is not loving.

This is a sincere appeal for Ted Haggard to stop trying to hide any of what God already knows, to show his heart for Christ, and to completely and publicly renounce all of his sin which was revealed by the Lord before this entire nation for everyone to see. Because C.H. Spurgeon is right when he says:

Many make a mistake about salvation; they mistake the meaning of the term, and to them salvation means being delivered from going down to the pit of hell. Now, the right meaning of salvation is purification from evil…

When a man is tied up to be flogged for a deed of brutal violence, and his back is bared for the lash, depend upon it–he repents of what he did; that is to say, he repents that he has to suffer for it, but that is all, and a sorry all too. He has no sorrow for the agony he has inflicted on the innocent victim, no regret for maiming him for life. What is the value of such repentance? (At the Master’s Feet, November 8)

And the Bible still says – For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death (2 Corinthians 7:10). It is not until we see such a godly sorrow that we will be able to find ourselves in Galatians 6:1. And only then can the Body of Christ fully begin the process that every genuine Christian would wish to see…restoration…

“The fear of the LORD is to hate evil;…and the evil way,… I hate.” (Proverbs 8:13)