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Beliefnet News

Disgraced Evangelist Ted Haggard and Wife to Start New Church

(RNS) Former Colorado megachurch pastor Ted Haggard, who fell from grace in 2006 after a gay sex-and-drug scandal, has announced plans to start a new church with his wife Gayle.
The couple, who incorporated St. James Church in late April, said Wednesday (June 2) that they would hold a “launch party” for the new congregation in their barn on Sunday in Colorado Springs.
Haggard, 53, will serve as senior pastor and his wife, Gayle, also 53, will be co-pastor of the independent evangelical church.
“There was so much enthusiasm over the reports of our incorporation,” Ted Haggard said. “Gayle and I went for a walk and we thought, let’s just go ahead and get this done.”
The couple plans to refine plans the following Sunday and find a location in or near Colorado Springs for their first official service on June 20.
The decision comes almost four years after Haggard resigned from New Life Church in Colorado Springs and as president of the National Association of Evangelicals in the wake of a scandal involving a Denver male escort. Haggard later admitted he bought methamphetamine and paid the escort for massages. He went through a “spiritual restoration”
process, but ended it through a mutual agreement with advisers.
Haggard said he already has an answer for critics who will say it is inappropriate for him to start a new church. “For the people that believe I’m not qualified, I believe they’re probably right,” he said.
But people have been calling, thinking he had a church, and others have come to their door seeking help, he said.
His wife, who authored a book called “Why I Stayed” about her decision to stay married after the scandal, called the first gathering “kind of a resurrection celebration that we’re back and that we’re ready to go to work.”
She said they named their church after the verse in the New Testament book of James that proclaims “faith without works is dead.”
The Haggards also are considering being in a documentary, and filmmakers captured the footage of their church announcement. They previously were featured in a 2009 HBO documentary, “The Trials of Ted Haggard.”
Haggard had earlier denied the incorporation meant the couple was about to start a church, explaining it was created to handle their traveling and speaking expenses. “A corporation does not a church make,” he said in an interview on May 18.
On Tuesday, Ted Haggard said they had been unsettled about when to start the church and his wife said they now had the “courage” to reveal their plans.
“I went through the shame,” he said. “She has been a pillar of strength.”
Their former megachurch, which the Haggards also started in their home, issued a statement Wednesday saying: “New Life Church will always be grateful for the many years of dedicated leadership from Ted and Gayle Haggard and we wish their family only the best.”
Some of his counselors said Haggard promised them he would not start a new church in Colorado Springs. When the couple held prayer meetings in their home last fall, the Rev. H.B. London, who chaired Haggard’s restoration committee, expressed disappointment.
“When you think of the ethics of that, it, to me, just defies explanation,” said London, a vice president at Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, at the time.
Copyright 2010 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.

  • pagansister

    No surprise. I’m sure he loves the “power” he preceives he has as a Preacherman.

  • nnmns

    Where there are fools and money there’s a guy like ol’ Ted to part them.

  • Glenn

    I don’t know much about Ted Haggard but I do know that even murderers can be forgiven if they repent. That even goes for the two self righteous posters above that you will find commenting all over this site, passing judgement on everyone except themselves on a whole lot they don’t understand, not that that stops them from making any statements. I imagine it is much easier to point out other folks problems than it would be to fix our own.

  • nnmns

    Do you think, Glenn, his hypocrisy has been cured? Should that be forgiven in a leader? And anyone can, in theory, forgive anything but what does that have to do with the hunger some people have to find a charismatic person and throw money at him or her?

  • PresetInChrist

    nnms…clearly you do not get the idea of fogiveness from a gracious and loving God. While I think it is unwise for the Haggard’s to do this right now, I do believe that God is a restorer and that the LKord can use them to reach people who battle all kinds fo sin and are in need of forgiveness an grace from God.
    This is not about someone wanting power and money, but is much more about someone who has been and continues to be resored by God showing others how He can do the same for them.

  • cmaglaughlin

    The only way a sin is forgiven is if a penalty has been paid for the sin. Ted has a personal Savior in Jesus Christ. Christ died and paid the penalty for Ted’s sin. Just like the woman caught in adultery, Jesus says, “Sin no more.” Since the only way we know if Ted is lying is if his lips are moving, it’s obvious Ted did not obey Jesus’ command. Good grief, Lord,forgive me, but please beam this guy SOMEWHERE, f..a..r away!

  • nnmns

    Ted’s first sin was being unfaithful to his wife and exposing her to whatever diseases he might catch outside his marriage.
    His second sin was hypocrisy; preaching against something he was doing, especially if he did it in a way so as to harm others doing it in an honest way.
    Since your god and his god are imaginary their forgiveness is imaginary and irrelevant except perhaps psychologically. And since he probably thinks his biggest sin was something that’s in fact natural for some people, apparently including him, he’s unlikely to have benefited from that counseling and all.
    As for it not being about power and money, well you and I are looking at two different people.

  • PresentInChrist

    cmaglaughlin…I am not sure where you find the idea that He is lying. He repented, asked for forgiveness from the Lord and is moving on with his life. You seem to be judging his heart, which only God can do.
    nnms…Your “belief” that God is imaginary is a reflections of your world view and lack of faith. Based upon that, we come from completely different perspectives. As for me, I am thankful that God forgives, offers mercy and grace, and restores our lives. Whether homosexuality is “natural” or not is somethign else we disagree on. Having feelings/temptations/lusts, call it what you wish, does not make something natural. But I guess that is something else we will have to disagree on as well.

  • pagansister

    Glenn: Have a great day…I enjoy your posts also.:o)
    No one, G. is perfect….but those who stand in front of a crowd of people and tell them they shouldn’t do this and that because God will be ticked off…then sneaks about doing what he claims will tick off that god….sorry, no respect here. Not trying to please anyone with my opinions.

  • Henrietta22

    Another poster elsewhere said that he thought Ted is a preacher and can’t or doesn’t want to do anything else, reason for him starting a new church. IMO this is part of his decision, but not all of it. He believes he did wrong and thinks he knows why and he would like to share how he is forgiven, and how others can be forgiven and start over. His wife is a pastors wife, and she wants this as much as he does. They have a goal together. It will definitely be the slant of fundamentalist interpretation that will run this church. Time will tell.

  • cknuck

    Very good unbiased post H22 I probably would not have risen to that level of grace.

  • Heretic_for_Christ

    To me, the elephant in the room that no one wants to acknowledge is how it is even possible for a sincere Christian to go so wrong?
    Stock answer #1–“We Christians are not perfect, only God is perfect, but we are forgiven.”
    But how can that be? If the Holy Spirit, a manifestation of God’s perfection, dwells within and guides Christians, how can they do anything that is less that perfect?
    Stock answer #2–“The spirit guides us but does not compel us, and we are still imperfect and subject to weakness and error.”
    Certainly no argument with an acknowledgment of human imperfection. But then what is the difference between a Christian trying, however imperfectly, to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit and a non-Christian trying, however imperfectly, to follow the dictates of his values and conscience?
    Stock answer #3–“The Holy Spirit’s guidance is perfect, whereas the non-Christian’s human values and conscience are imperfect.”
    So what? If the conduct of Christians is no better than the conduct of non-Christians, why should it matter that Christians fail to live up to their perfect standard whereas non-Christians fail to live up to a human standard?
    Stock answer #4–“But Christianity is not about achieving perfection. It is about God’s grace and mercy and forgiveness for our imperfection.”
    That’s fine–but then what need is there for the Holy Spirit at all? Non-Christians are just as likely (or unlikely) as Christians to try to act with integrity, honesty, compassion, and courage? No one succeeds totally, but all can strive in that direction.
    Disclosure: These are the types of questions I asked a couple of decades ago, in the years I went to churches. I was trying hard to believe the doctrines they taught, but the stock answers I received seemed inane then and still do now.

  • cmaglaughlin

    @Present in Christ…He already lied about whether he was forming this church. Thus, the church is being built upon a lie. He is a spiritual wimp, at best. His latest interview on Joy Behar’s show proved he can tip toe around the tulips(hard questions) with the best of them. He is still in denial(lying) about the facts of his tryst with his male lover. Then to have the gall to blame everything on an incident of abuse when he was two years old. Good grief, man, this leopard not only can’t change his spots, he says, “What spots”? No wonder “the Body” is so out of shape with appeasers like you. At least the Puritans would have shunned him. Why don’t you ask his former congregation what they think of the jerk?

  • PresentInChrist

    @cmaglaughlin… I am not being an appeaser at all. However, as a former homosexual, I understand the struggle Ted Haggard has gone through. The difficulty of the shame and guilt that a Christian goes through of trying to reconcile these feelings vs what we know to be true is difficult.
    To say he is just blaming the incident from when he is two is not a full picture of the whole story. I have no doubt that the incident from his youth has had a devastating effect on him.
    I understand that based upon my issues from the past as well.
    He needs grace from the church, not judgement and condemnation. Jesus gave us that and we should ofer no less than that.

  • pagansister

    “Former homosexual?” PresentinChrist? How does that work?

  • PresetnInCHrist asked me what I mean/how “former homosexual” works.
    The answer could be a complicated one, but starts with a premise that homosexuality is a sin and that God did not create me as a homosexual.
    Let me be clear that I do not believe that I was born a homosexual, but I also do not believe that I chose it either. It has become apparent to me that the sexual temptations I have had have been my way of filling a legitimate need in an illegitimate way. My need for male bonding, which I did not get as a child became sexualized and twisted.
    Now that I am connecting with men in appropriate ways and having that need filled, God is restoring me to His intended design.
    This is not my way of just “conforming” nor is it just my suppressing of my real identity or sexuality. If I have temptations that are homosexual in nature do I deny myself the right to act on them, ABSOLUTELY. However, that is exactly what God has called me to do. Deny myself and follow Him.
    Those with a different view of sin and a different world view will not agree with me, but this is just a small perspective of what I am referring to.

  • cheap mbt

    good share, great article, very usefull for us…thanks!

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