The full story was posted on MSNBC 16 minutes ago. And it is a shocker. Ted Haggard has resigned in disgrace. The Church's Board of Overseers report is as follows:
“We, the Overseer Board of New Life Church, have concluded our deliberations concerning the moral failings of Pastor Ted Haggard,” a statement from the church said. “Our investigation and Pastor Haggard’s public statements have proven without a doubt that he has committed sexually immoral conduct.”
You can now read the entire story at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15536263/.
You will notice that the Board does not merely say he was guilty of drug use or the like. And frankly we do not need to know more. There was apparently enough clear and compelling evidence and this Board took action to resolve the crisis. I am sure this will not end the news cycle of this story, but there are some more points that need to be made at this juncture.
Firstly, we all need to have healthy relationships with both men and women. Not just with men and women we are related to, but with men and women in general. I do not in any way agree with the advocacy of gynophobia any more than I do with homophobia in the Church. The idea that 'men are weak and women are temptresses' is frankly at a minimum a caricature of both men and women. Some men are like that, and some are not. Some women are like that, and some are not. And furthermore, some become like that in moments of weakness in their lives when they are not normally that way at all. I quite agree that pastors need to know themselves and their own weaknesses, but frankly the good question-- where is the grace of God in your life? Where is your belief that greater is he who is in you, than any of the temptations you face?" If you are really saying that nature regularly trumps grace in your life, then its time to get out of the ministry.
If the Body of Christ wants its ministers to be whole, then they need to help them to nurture normal friendships with both brothers and sisters in Christ. We are supposed to be a family, not simply support physical nuclear family units. Indeed, according to Jesus the primary family unit is the family of faith-- go back and read what Jesus says in Mk. 3.31-35, or what Paul suggests in 1 Cor. 7 at various places. We must learn to be healed and whole persons together, not privately and separately, since we must together work out our salvation with fear and trembling. This is a deeply personal matter, no doubt, but it is not a private one-- at all.
In a context of normal Christian relationships and friendships, then a minister has a ring of protection around him or her, that will help them to be real in all their relationships and accountable. More on this anon.
For now pray for Ted Haggard, his family, and his church. This is only the beginning of a difficult time for them all.