Ministers involved in restoring the former pastor questioned whether he was ready to return to the pulpit.
Leaders Concerned by Haggard Church Visit

Nov. 21, 2008 -- Prominent Christian leaders expressed concern in November over Ted Haggard’s appearance at an Illinois church, where he repeatedly apologized for the scandal that led to his dismissal from the Colorado megachurch he founded.


The leaders were involved in restoring Haggard after he left New Life Church in 2006 amid accusations that he solicited a male prostitute and purchased methamphetamines. Noting that Haggard had distanced himself from the restoration process, the leaders questioned whether his speaking at Open Bible Fellowship in Morrison, Ill., on Nov. 2 was premature.

One leader close to the situation said Haggard should be affirmed by a recognized leadership board before returning to the pulpit. "Ted has said he’s sorry, but sorry is something someone says when they’re caught," said the leader, who asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitive nature of his position. "We haven’t really seen repentance as far as submission to leadership."

H.B. London, a leader at Focus on the Family who also was involved in Haggard’s restoration process, said it is likely difficult for someone of Haggard’s stature to resist the public eye. "To sit on the sidelines for a person with that kind of personality and gifting is probably like being paralyzed," London told the Associated Press. "If Mr. Haggard and others like him feel like they have a call from God, they rationalize that their behavior does not change that call."

Haggard, the former president of the 30 million-member National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), agreed to leave Colorado Springs after the scandal broke in November 2006. He then entered a restoration process facilitated by New Life Church, which agreed to pay his $138,000 salary through December 2007. He moved his family to Phoenix in May 2007 to attend Phoenix First Assembly of God, where he was to be counseled by its pastor, Tommy Barnett.

In early 2008, Haggard cut his ties with New Life Church, whose leaders later released a statement saying Haggard’s restoration process was "incomplete." They said an "accountability relationship" would continue between Haggard and Barnett. Haggard has since returned to Colorado Springs.

Foursquare President Jack Hayford, who was part of Haggard’s original restoration team, said it is unfortunate that Haggard is apparently going his own way. "Having joined with the many leaders who earnestly and patiently sought to graciously serve Ted amid the crisis born of his own admitted struggle and failure," he said, "it is both incredible and regrettable to hear ... of his choice for such a self-distancing pathway."

Haggard did not respond to Charisma’s requests for comment.

During his two sermons on Nov. 2, Haggard never described a restorative process or accountability structure he might be undergoing, but instead spoke of a Christian’s need for "internal transformation."

He repeatedly apologized to members of New Life Church, the NAE and "the body of Christ at large," and expressed regret over the harm he caused his family. "All my shame and sin was placed on [my wife]," he lamented. "People treated her as if she had fallen."

Haggard, who appeared at the Illinois church with his wife, Gayle, said his temptation to engage in homosexual activity might have resulted from a sexual experience he had as a 7-year-old with a male worker employed by his father. "I tell you that simply as an explanation, and certainly not as an excuse," he said.

"When I [turned] 50 years old ... for some reason, what happened to me as a child started to produce fruit."

Haggard said he was at one time suicidal. Then two months before the scandal broke, he said he drove to New Life Church in the middle of the night and begged God to deliver him. "When the scandal happened it was bittersweet for me because I knew this was Jesus completing His work inside of me," he said. "I knew that this was the door to healing for my life."

Haggard said he was getting back on his feet financially by selling life insurance.
New Life leaders expressed gratitude for Haggard’s "many years of dedicated leadership" and wished him well in his business endeavors. Although it was not clear whether his appearance at Open Bible Fellowship marked a return to vocational ministry, the leaders said they could not, at this time, endorse such a move. —Paul Steven Ghiringhelli


Best Magazine Deal. Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Charisma, SpiritLed Woman and Ministry Today, all for $24. YES - I want this deal!

3 Reasons Why you should read Life in the Spirit. 1) Get to know the Holy Spirit. 2) Learn to enter God's presence 3) Hear God's voice clearly! Click Here to draw closer to God!

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
  • Donald Trump certainly needs your prayers.

    Why You Must Pray for Donald Trump

    Here are eight ways I plan to intercede for President Trump regularly.

  • Pastor Jim Garlow in a file photo shown praying.

    Conservative Christian Leaders Gather in DC, Calling Trump's Election an Answer to Prayer

    "Although the news media is predicting protests, what I'm seeing is that everyone is abuzz ...

  • Inner Healing Is the Fruit of the Spirit

    Inner Healing Is the Fruit of the Spirit

    I have been puzzled about the subject of inner healing for some time.

  • Here's a prophetic word for Washington, D.C.

    Prophecy: The Lord Is Raising Up Daniels in DC

    I believe we're on the precipice of a Third Great Awakening the Lord spoke to my heart about in ...

  • 2017 is the year that swords will clash.

    Prophetic Word: 2017 Will Bring a Clashing of Heaven and Hell

    "This is a time to cross over and not pull back."

  • Bishop Eddie Long died at 63.

    Bishop Eddie Long Dead at 63

    "Although his transition leaves a void for those of us who loved him dearly, we can celebrate ...

  • Roadblock

    6 Roadblocks That Will Stop Your Spiritual Growth

    God wants you to grow in your faith, but many of us get stuck along the way.

  • The devil will try to silence you in any way he can. Don't give him the satisfaction.

    Satan's 2 Most Potent Lies to Render You Ineffective

    There's something in you so powerful that Satan doesn't want it out. Kyle Winkler reveals ...

  • Watch for these danger signals for choosing poorly.

    4 Signs You're Making a Bad Decision

    Avoid distraction and disappointment by testing your choices with these 4 principles.

  • Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Follow God on the most fulfilling journey of your life with Encounter the Holy Spirit! Break away from past hurts and press into the One who wants a personal encounter with you.

  • Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Reach your full potential and be led by His Spirit. In His Presence takes you to a deeper understanding of who God is and how he communicates with us.

  • Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Receive the power and gifts that come through the Holy Spirit Baptism. Don’t go empty-handed; accept all that He has for you! His power is available to those who ask.

  • Put on the Full Armor of God

    Put on the Full Armor of God

    Break every stronghold with the power of the Holy Spirit. Use the power of your tongue to declare and decree the Word of God. Witness heaven move on your behalf.

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit