Friday, March 13, 2009

Ted Haggard vs True Repentance - A Tale of Two Sinners

Some of you will remember the "Ted Haggard scandal" of more than five years ago. He was the pastor of one of the largest mega churches in America and the leader of the powerful National Alliance of Evangelicals. He was a spokesman for conservative Christian America and even had the ear of George Bush. But the dreadful secret of his double life came to the surface when a male prostitute decided to blow the whistle on Haggard's secret homosexual life. Haggard disappeared off the radar after "resigning" from all of his positions. I was hopeful that he would find true repentance and live the rest of his days in obscurity.

Unfortunately that was not the case. Haggard recently emerged from obscurity and generated a media circus doing a lot of interviews and giving "his side of the story". Today I have posted two videos. The first one is of Ted Haggard being interviewed by Larry King. The second video is of another person who has struggled with the same area of sin as Haggard. The point here is not sin nor do I wish to focus on this. I have one hand wrapped around the giant redwood tree protruding from my eye as I write this post. The real issue here is true repentance. An extension of that is the issue about God being glorified through our brokenness. Watch these two videos and see if you can "spot the repentance" and decide for yourself which video is most God glorifying.

What makes the Gospel so glorious is the contrast between God's Holiness and our utter depravity. Rationalising behavior only serves to blur that gulf and deprives God of the glory He can get out of changing someone's life.

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules (Ezekiel 36:25-27).

And for the record, the guy in the second video is my hero! That is a big part of what being a real man is all about. Glorifying God in human weakness, taking the full blown blame for sinful actions rather than painting yourself as a victim, and renouncing sin as insidiously evil rather than taking the edges off it. Good on ya Jason - amen and amen!


Anonymous said...

Cameron, both videos say 'this video no longer available'. :(


Cameron Buettel said...

Marla, please try again. Both videos are now working :)

Roy said...

"I was hopeful that he would find true repentance and live the rest of his days in obscurity."

Maybe his returning is to teach you a lesson. Rather than write him off because his repentance doesn't look like how you would expect it (obscurity?), God likely has a message for you through it.

God loves Ted Haggard and is in the process of sanctifying him just like God is in the process of sanctifying you, a sinner like Cameron Buettel. Shocking isn't it?

Cameron Buettel said...

Roy, what I mean by obscurity is that when someone brings reproach on Christ through a high profile scandal it is best to find true repentance and live out of the public spotlight out of love for the wider body. The issue is not whether God loves Ted Haggard. The issue is not whther I am a sinner (and if you read the blog post I made it clear that I am a sinner and probably worse than you). The issue is that our sin is ultimately against God and He calls all men everywhere to repent and glorify Him for His transforming work. Can't you see the profound difference between the two videos?