January 30, 2007

A Welcoming of Grace


I wanted to draw attention to this article about Ted Haggard's accuser visiting New Life church. (I have seen it several places. Todd at Monday Morning Insight's has it too.)

This whole thing has been a black eye for the church, but then something redeeming like this takes place. New Life Church's pastor thanked Mike Jones for helping them expose the hidden sin. They greeted him warmly, and treated him with respect. While the issue is still painful for them, they were able to extend grace to the man who many might feel caused the pain.

The church was also very gracious in their treatment of Haggard and his family.

In spite of all that has happened in this situation, God is still able to demonstrate the love and forgiveness He desires. This church has truly stepped up and demonstrated love for an "enemy," how to hold someone accountable for their actions, and offer grace even in the midst of their pain and betrayal.

3 comments:

  1. It is about time. I feel so badly for people who put pastors up on pedestals and then turn their backs on them when they fall.

    If any of my pastors ever had an issue, of any sort, they will have my love, my prayers, and what support I can offer them and their family.

    As the body of Christ, we are responsible to reach out and be the hands and feet of Christ and that means being there and loving them in all their stuff.

    PERIOD.

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  2. For me, I would hold that PERIOD.

    Here is what I mean. I believe the church body should always be loving, forgiving, and caring when they deal with a situation like this.

    However, there are some other issues:
    1. I ask, Is the Pastor repentant or rebellious? If the pastor is repentant and willing to subject himself to discipline, then I believe there is a chance. If the pastor is rebellious, the church has to honor the separation this causes.

    2. I believe there are consequences to every action. I am personally a firm believer that a Pastor, if they confess and seek counsel can eventually be restored. But, and this is my opinion, if it comes out in another arena and the pastor denies and then confesses...I think they are disqualified from the ministry.

    3. There is a difference between forgiveness and restoration. Just because a pastor is forgiven does not mean they should be restored to their role as pastor. That is the mistake that many people make. They think that if the church doesn't restore the pastor to their role of authority then they have been truly forgiving. But often the most forgiving thing that can be done is to allow the person to experience the full force of the consequences. God forgives us, but we also suffer the earthly consequences of our actions.

    That's my 2 cents.

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  3. I was so glad to see the way the church treated him. When the story first came on the news, I was wondering what happened. I was very glad to hear about the grace and love they extended to him. I was also impressed that he went to the church.

    I agree with you on the repentant/restoration angle. Although the evangelical church needs to do a much better job of provided a safe place for their pastors to be held accountable and get the support pastors need.

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