On restoring the fallen

Many may recognize the name Ted Haggard. He served as the preaching pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, CO, as well as the president of the 30 million-member National Association of Evangelicals until, in 2006, an alleged homosexual relationship with a male prostitute and alleged methamphetamine use was made public by the alleged gay lover.

Well, after opening my newspaper today I was forced to remember the scandal by the printing on page 7B of an Associated Press article entitled “Disgraced pastor returns as Christian Businessman”. Assuming that you all are able to read the article yourselves, I will not recap.

How this angers me! Submission is a theme that runs through the entirety of the bible. In fact, Titus 3 calls for believers to be “submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work”. Why are some people, especially pastors (current and formally alike), deacons, etc. so arrogant to think this doesn’t apply to them? Galatians 6 tells those who are “spiritual” (from within the church) should restore him (the one who has fallen) in a spirit of gentleness. His church had a duty to see him (Haggard) restored and he (Haggard) had a duty to be submissive to authorities.

Bravo to those who set guidelines and met with Haggard for his healing (James 5:16).

Woe to Haggard (and to all others) who resist God’s leading, His authority, and His call to repentance. We are made for community and we need each other. We who are spiritual need to seek to restore those caught in transgression and those of us who have been caught in sin need to submit to authorities for our own healing and for the glory of God.

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2 Comments

Filed under Randomness

2 responses to “On restoring the fallen

  1. Jennifer

    These things are very hard to understand but it seems that an extended period of healing and a proved track record of faithfulness would be wise. I definitely agree that all members of a church congregation (including pastors) should submit to elders/deacons charged with being overseers in the church. We are to be submissive to one another.

    I’m curious about your interpretation of Hebrews 6. To me it reads like it is not possible. I would welcome more thoughts on this. This passage has troubled me for years.

  2. Brian

    Thank you for your reply, Jennifer. I agree that it is a confusing passage. There are simply too many words and phrases here that are in need of clear definition and thus left to various interpretations. The study bible I have close to the computer lists 4 different common interpretations.

    Especially with the language used by the writer in verses 7 and 8 makes me think of the parable of the sower told by Jesus as recorded in the gospel of Matthew, chapter 13. I’m likening this person to one who “hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of the riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful”.

    The key phrase for me in Hebrews 6 is “restore them again to repentance”. The phrase is NOT “restore them again to relationship with God” or “restore them again to salvation”, etc. If a person “hears the word” but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of the riches choke the word and proves unfruitful, it would then be “impossible” for a brother, albeit a loving and caring one, to restore them to repentance since the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches are a more powerful voice in their life than the voice of truth. They are not in submission to God, but rather in submission to the flesh. The Holy Spirit must restore them again to repentance.

    Perhaps this argument is weak as well. Thank you for your thoughtful comment.

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