He over-repented

Ted Haggard tells The Wall Street Journal that he “over-repented” from the public sin that ended his ministry in 2006. Even though his former church has said he does not belong in pastoral ministry, he has started a new church just a few miles from the one he fell from. Haggard’s new ministry is out of step with the New Testament in a number of ways (1 Timothy 3:2-7; Titus 1:6-9). Nevertheless, Haggard provides this justification:

“Tiger Woods needs to golf. Michael Vick needs to be playing football. Ted Haggard needs to be leading a church.”

I agree with Carl Trueman on this one. Haggard’s words sound more like “personal therapy” than penitence. Read the rest of the story in WSJ here.

12 Responses to He over-repented

  1. caroline July 25, 2010 at 4:19 pm #

    Interesting comment:
    “I cuss now,” he said proudly.

    Wow. No words.

  2. Donald Johnson July 25, 2010 at 4:50 pm #

    There are examples of churches shooting the wounded and I think this might be what he meant by “over-repented”.

    A church leader is to be an example, but that can result in appearance versus reality issues.

  3. Scott July 25, 2010 at 6:47 pm #

    It just wouldn’t be a Trueman article without a needless, snarky comment at the end. Can we send him back to Britian?

  4. Greg July 26, 2010 at 1:53 pm #

    Isn’t repentance supposed to be without regret (2 Cor 7:10)? And, there is a sense in which it is on-going, as it continues to bear its fruits (Luke 3:8; Acts 26:20). It is also extremely worrisome that he has not listened to the church (and decided instead to form a new one).

  5. Brandon July 26, 2010 at 2:24 pm #

    “It’s amazing. People tell me everything,” Mr. Haggard said. “That never happened when we were respectable.”

    Sad – I guess Paul was wrong when he said overseers are supposed to be respectable?

  6. Derek Taylor July 26, 2010 at 6:21 pm #

    Maybe Haggard mistakes repentance with penance. They aren’t the same thing.

  7. Ryan K. July 26, 2010 at 10:23 pm #

    I am saddened by this story, not because I believe myself to be better than Haggard, but rather because I see much of myself in him.

    Haggard shows how many of us can begin loving ministry more than our God. May ministry not become an idol, and we would need it the way Vick needs football…

  8. Nathan July 27, 2010 at 11:21 am #

    Without giving specific infractions, I think it is unfair to say, “Haggard’s new ministry is out of step with the New Testament in a number of ways (1 Timothy 3:2-7; Titus 1:6-9).”

    Denny, please tell us what you mean. I could infer from your statement that Haggard is a drunk with multiple wives.

  9. Matthew Staton July 27, 2010 at 9:45 pm #

    “the overseer must be above reproach” 1 Tim 3:2


    I can’t speak for Denny, but my understanding of these passages is that the heart of the instruction is for the leaders to be above reproach. It isn’t a checklist, as in, “Well, sir, 3 of your 4 kids are Godly but the 4th is a rebel. Sorry, you don’t pass the test.” The list is given as an example but the main issue is that the leader be above reproach.

    If someone feels that Haggard is above reproach, then they would not feel he violates these passages. If someone thinks he is not above reproach then they will also think he violates this teaching.

  10. Derek July 28, 2010 at 10:12 am #

    If the people who know you and who also happen to be the people who were taking great care to restore you (Biblically speaking) are saying “this man is not fit for ministry”, then I think it is safe to say that he is operating outside of the model provided in the NT. He has basically thumbed his nose at those who were entrusted to his spiritual care and is now seeking to be a shepherd himself? That makes him a rogue actor. Sheep, do not follow this shepherd. Something is not right here.

  11. Nathan July 28, 2010 at 3:09 pm #

    Matthew — I get that, I was wondering why Denny thought Ted Haggard is not above reproach currently.

    Derek — You assume those entrusted with Haggard’s spiritual care are altruistic. I’m not implying that they aren’t, just that I can’t vouch for either side.

  12. Derek July 28, 2010 at 3:53 pm #

    Nathan, I don’t know how closely you followed the Haggard scandal, but New Life Church has really demonstrated a great deal of maturity and respect in dealing with this. I think the benefit of the doubt has to go to their church leadership and eldership here, not to a lone individual who has demonstrated a track record of manipulation, lying and control. Especially not when you consider the things that are currently coming out of his mouth.

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