The Fall of Ted Haggard – Lessons to be Learned
by Sherry Neese
Most people may think that all that needs to be said has been said about the Haggard debacle.
Is there not valuable insight to be gained through hindsight?
This is the first installment of a 3 part report on the fall of Ted Haggard. I hope it is helpful and edifying.
It is not intended to kick Mr. Haggard while he is down, but to give insight into the events that led to his demise and what the future holds for New Life Church and how this affects the Church at large. This has been a church teetering on the brink of disaster under Haggard’s leadership for quite some time. There were warning signs and red flags all along the way. Sadly, it took the actions of an unregenerate man to air the dirty linen, dethrone the megachurch leader and national religious leader which led to the resultant repentance. Through clever timing the accuser was able to make political gains for the gay cause and the Church was brought up to ridicule.
Links are provided throughout the report to document information given and provide further information.
Credit Given Where Credit Deserved
To be fair, one must give credit where credit is due. Kudos go to New Life Church for the system they had in place to handle a failure in leadership. The transition went smoothly because of this and other churches would do well to follow their example.
To his credit, the humble and contrite statement by Haggard to his former congregation was certainly appropriate. He appears to be accepting total responsibility and much pain as he faces the consequences of his actions. He calls himself a deceiver and a liar. One cannot expect more. Rather, he has been seduced and deceived by the master of deceit and lies.
His wife is to be admired for her statement as well and presents
herself as a picture of extreme grace. She has had to endure much. In watching his “interview” when a reporter came up to his vehicle as he and his wife were leaving their home, Haggard seemed to have no regard for his beleaguered wife as he stopped the vehicle and proceeded to visit with the reporter, calmly discussing the situation. Pain and sadness were etched on her face as she sat patiently waiting for the exchange to come to an end. Why did he not protect her from further humiliation and embarrassment?
Is the Fox Guarding the Henhouse?
It is unsettling to consider the men chosen to oversee his healing and restoration. They include Jack Hayford, Tommy Barnett, and James Dobson.
Jack Hayford is a TBN supporter, and pastor of Church on the Way. ‚ He believes that the unsaved should be invited to partake of the Lord’s Supper, and that is the practice in his church. Much more could be said about his extreme ecumenism, etc.
Tommy Barnett, Senior pastor of Phoenix First Assembly. Pastor Barnett is well known for his compassion for those in need, and he is obviously a man who cares about others. But he seems to be comfortable with every wind of doctrine and he is an advocate of the apostolic/prophetic movement. He, along with his son Matthew, pastor the Dream Center in L.A. They are TBN regulars. The Dream Center is linked to Dr. Israel Shinn’s Shekinah Church International in Los Angeles along with Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Benny Hinn, Jesse Duplantis, Creflo Dollar, TBN, Oral Roberts University and Kenneth Hagin Ministries. According to the Shekinah Church ’s doctrinal statement they believe in baptismal regeneration. “We believe in New Birth through Baptism of water and the Holy Spirit.”
Tommy Barnett wrote a forward for Tommy Tenney’s book The God Chasers and Joyce Meyer teaches in his pastor’s school. The online bookstore at Phoenix First Assembly is full of false teaching including T.D. Jakes, Rick Warren, Richard Foster, Creflo Dollar and Juanita Bynum.
The third overseer is James Dobson about whom much could be said. Although Dr. Dobson is a champion of conservative causes, and defender of moral values, the fact remains that if morality is the common denominator and Biblical doctrine is compromised, it is nothing more than being under law. Dobson has met with the Pope,
works closely with other ecumenical leaders and cannot be described as a defender of doctrinal truth. He may help Haggard clean up his life, but he will be no help in steering him away from error.
It seems that Haggard is not new to half-truths.
Down a Path of Destruction
Involvement with False Teaching of Dominionist Reconstructionist Apostolic Movement and Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare
To look at their website, one could easily be led to believe that New Life, Ted Haggard’s former church, is rock solid. But on closer examination, there are signs of cracks in the foundation.
For those who have followed Haggard, his fall should come as no surprise. His participation in the apostolic movement with C. Peter Wagner, Tommy Tenney, Mike Bickle, Dutch Sheets, the Latter Day Rain Movement, etc. is well-documented. ‚ These movements are dominionist, re-constructionist, experience-oriented and fraught with error. The sources of this letter of concern to the NAE (see link), watchmen Sandy Simpson and Mike Oppenheimer have earned the trust of the Church. It contains quotes from Haggard that are disturbing. ‚ Please note: Since this article was written there has been a doctrinal statement posted on the New Life website. More on that later.
In 1999 a National School of the Prophets was held at New Life. It was a Who’s Who of Apostolic false teachers. Among the speakers was Paul Cain. ‚ In 2004 Cain was finally outed as an alcoholic and a homosexual.
Promoters of Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare (apostolic) see it as a necessary prelude to the work of evangelism. Once the battle in the heavenlies has been won, all Christians have to do is move in and engage in a spiritual mopping-up operation, reaping vast numbers of converts in specific geographical zones. Michael Reid ably exposes this thinking as being entirely fallacious and as having no biblical moorings, regarding it as founded upon a biased evaluation of experience and anecdotal data. However, his main point is that SLSW has provided a sidetrack, drawing people away from the proclamation of the gospel message and from the eternal truths of Scripture.