Friday, November 03, 2006

Ted Haggard: The Symptom

First of all, TeamPyro has an excellent article on this here.

But I'd like to contribute my 2 cents.

I'm sick and tired of being associated with a "Christianity" that does not seem to care one whit about holiness or obedience to God's Word. Let me say this as perfectly clear as I can: I believe that "Christianity" in America is nearly totally apostate. Why? We have abandoned the vision of the Holiness and Fear of God.

We've built a false god that will cater to our flesh and meet our "felt needs". Our real need? Repentance. But we don't want to go there. We live in Laodicea. No apologies. Cut and dried. Stuff like this can only happen because contemporary Christianity is rotten to the core.

Don't believe me? How about churches that ignore God's standards for leadership in Titus and 1 Timothy:

From Titus...

"5The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint[a] elders in every town, as I directed you. 6An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. 7Since an overseer[b] is entrusted with God's work, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. 8Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. 9He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

10For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group. 11They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain. 12Even one of their own prophets has said, "Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons." 13This testimony is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith 14and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the commands of those who reject the truth. 15To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. 16They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good."


And 1 Timothy 3...

"Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer,[a] he desires a noble task. 2Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. 5(If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?) 6He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap.

8Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 9They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons."

Long ago, in effect, we cut those pages out of our Bibles and threw them out. You can even be head of the NAE and apparently have no accountability and live any way you wish (as long as you get results!).

Interpersonal accountabilty? Descipling one another? Nah. That's intrusive. Might touch my bubble! So we cut out Galatians 6, where Paul told his readers to "bear one another's burdens" which, in context, means accountability for our areas of failure. Nah. We need to just keep those "happy masks" on.

Forget that God says "Without holiness no one will see the Lord". You and I know that Scofield has said that's merely referring to postional truth, not practical. Live any way you want and call yourself a Christian. That nasty little passage in Matthew 7:21? We can't know who that is -- must be Mormons, or some other cult, huh?

Well I'd agree with it being some other cult. That would be the new cult of contemporary politically correct Christianity. The "I'm ok, you're ok and ain't God good all the time" nonsene that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob has nothing to do with. Nor the God who took on human flesh and said "If any man wants to be my disciple, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me".

It's not just Ted Haggard. It's contemporary Christian philosophy that promotes this by turning the head at sin while hypocritically being concerned about "seekers". Beloved, we have nothing to offer an unsaved world (notice I didn't say "unchurched"...it's not about going to church, remember?) if we can't even keep holiness in the Body of Christ.

The cult of American "Chrstianity" is nothing more or less than an insult and a blasphemy to God. We worship a God of our own making. And behind any false "god" is a demonic entity.

We flaunt God's standards through the week in our daily lives, ignore God's standards as revealed in His Word, then hypocritically gather on Sunday morning to tell God we are there to "worship". How dare us try to separate obedience from worship like that! Beloved, let me say this as clearly and succinctly as I can: There Is No Worship Apart From Obedience!

At least once in the past, I've been compelled to tell a person who professes Christ to make a choice. "Either live like a pagan and shut up about Jesus, or repent and start living like a Christian." And I'm saying it all over again.

And why not? Joshua said the same thing long ago:

24:14 "Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."

Let us summarily cut the theological manure about the "fear of the Lord" meaning something smarmy like "respect". Let us do as Paul said in Philippians and "...work out our salvation with fear and trembling". And yes, that is the how to relate to the "New Testament God". Or was Paul a liar?

If you love the Lord, you will obey His commandments. If you believe this isn't true at face value, then come out of the closet and admit you believe Jesus to be a liar, because that's precisely what He said. No more games. If you want to fill your church with tares, go ahead. But please leave the God of the Bible out of it. And don't count on me to help you.

God's Word is clear. It is sufficient. God didn't mumble, stutter or stammer but spoke with clarity. And it's not inherently prideful to be a steward of God's Word and present it as He gave it.

It is time to renew our commitment to words like "Sin", "Obedience", "Repentance" and "Accountabilty" -- and quit calling sin an "indiscretion".

Don't think that's loving? I don't give a rip. You tell me how "loving" it is to allow a soul to "...miss the grace of God." (Hebrews 12:14). In context that is salvation. If you disagree, Prove it! Give me your exegesis! We are bound by God's Word to hold each other accountable so that those who merely profess come to truly possess. And when we fail here, souls end up in hell. Do they lose their salvation? No. I'm saying that many don't have it to begin with. We call them "backsliders". But they most likely never slid forward to begin with.

This is no game, people. This is for God's Glory. And beloved, if we don't repent, we will continue to dishonor God and cause those who don't know Him to blaspheme His holy name.

16 comments:

Ken Silva said...

"Let me say this as perfectly clear as I can: I believe that 'Christianity' in America is nearly totally apostate. Why? We have abandoned the vision of the Holiness and Fear of God."

In my opinion Tim this is very well stated. We are in serious, very serious times and I agree that Haggard is but a symptom.

Lee said...

Yes, brother. You are right on the money! The alleged followers of Yeshua in this country are apostate. That makes the rest of us look like fanatics. May all the rotten core be exposed! Blessings, my friend.

Renee said...

AMEN Tim. Very well put. You said what I have been thinking for some time now... and the more the Holy Spirit reveals God truths from His word, the more the stink of the false Cult of Christianity in America smells.

The Lord is seperating and making His truth clear. The question we are being asked is...Choose this day whom you will serve?

Dallas said...

Tim, you are correct in your analysis that the Evangelical Church is in trouble. I would add that a major part of it is that she has committed adultery with the politicians.

nate said...

Well said brother. Well said. THANK YOU for this. I will be referring people to this post. Thank you for your boldness to stand up for Christ.

Brad said...

Thank you for demonstrating boldness and truth. I too am sick of this sinful artificial cultural Christianity that deceives and confuses those who need to hear the true gospel. Those playing a game of faking faith make a joke of Christ. They are blind unregenerate opportunists using Christian culture to serve self and Satan.

David & Marian Sloss said...

As I have the opportunity to teach and serve the Lord in many countries of the world, I find that those same Christian churches look to American Evangelicalism as the epitome of what Scripture calls the church to be. Often I strongly caution them to be careful of what they import and now it is becoming more and more clear that the rot which is called the church is not only infecting American, but the millions around the world who read those books which perpetrate such sin. May God call us all back to the Word as TRUTH in a way which will transform the cultures in which we live. Forgive us Lord!

Phil Perkins said...

You're right. I was not suprised by the news at all. I knew Haggard was apostate. He said that he would emphasize the positive and not "negatives" like sin and judgment and that "Evangelicalism" was broad enough to reach from John McArthur to Benny Hinn. Why did not these two statements alone cause him to be rejected from the beginning?

Phil Perkins.

RAB said...

Thank you, Sir, for your bold and forthright comments concerning the condition of the Church in America.

My soul weeps for what is happening here, and I agree that the only remedy is the "First Word of the Gospel"....repentance.

May God have mercy upon His church by returning us to the fundamentals of the faith: "Faith not proceeded by repentance and followed by obedience is not New Testament faith."

Everyday Mommy said...

Spot on, Brother Tim! And, thank you for raising the bar rather than tossing out the bar altogether.

I've also done a post about this situation on my blog and am disturbed by the comments which say things like,

"They are human and humans are not without sin. It's unfortunate that theirs have to be so public."

"God's grace is amazing. I'm praying that He uses this to do something wonderful and awesome for His kingdom."

But you captured the truth of the matter when you said, "We have abandoned the vision of the Holiness and Fear of God."

There is sin in the camp. Like Achan, modern day evangelicalism has buried it under the tent.

Capistrano Joe said...

And we thought Chuck Smith Jr. was the problem.

The Christian right drove him from his flock and at the time Haggard and the rest of the "perfect preachers of Calvery" were sure they they had the bad ones all picked out.

Capistrano Joe

Henry (Rick) Frueh said...

A Brother's Sins

http://judahslion.blogspot.com/2006/11/brothers-sins-gal.html

Stuart L. Brogden said...

I would say we are more likely in Sardis.

Gerl said...

The problem is no men--no elders in the church.

Anyone notice that an 'outside' 'independent' group of 4 men from other mega-churches did Haggard's discipline? Where was the accountability in New Life regarding Haggard? New Life has 14,000 members!!! Where were those elders all along? Haggard himself was credited with setting up bylaws that gives oversight to an 'outside board' in such matters. Where is New Life's elders????

This 'symptom' of Haggard's homosexual escapades is a direct result of lack of biblical FUNCTIONING elders in the modern day church. Where are the men?

And Haggard's 'recovery' has been placed in the hands of James Dobson, Jack Hayford, and Tommy Barnett--all mega-stars in their own realm.

Again...where are the elders at New Life in the 'treatment' and 'recovery' of Haggard.

What a sham...can't wait for Haggards's next sure to come book (anyone hear of a homosexual former governor of N. Jersey...

Tim Brown said...

Just so everyone knows what's up; I deleted 6 or so comments from anonymous readers.

This was done to keep confusion to a miniumum and conform to the new rule at this blog which simply states that anonymous comments will no longer be accepted.

Most of the comments deleted were positive. One was negative. So, be assured that it has nothign to do with content.

So, if your comment (good or bad) was one that was among those removed, feel free to repost it. Just be sure to put your name on it.

Thanks!

Tim Brown said...

gerl:

Precisely!

This isn't about a man and his sin. It's about a lack of willingness to expect holiness in the church.

The underground churches in China, N. Korea, etc., don't experience this. Anyone who would disagree with this need only listen to missionaries from these countries where the church is persecuted.

We don't care for the mesage of holiness! We want to talk about love. We want to talk about forgiveness. There is room for both of those. But we are leaving out the message that refers back to the "gem" in God's Royal Crown of attributes -- and that is holiness.

We refuse to discpline sin in the church; after all (we reason) we're all sinners, who's to do that? So, the church remains impure.

The solution:
1. Examine yourself.
2. Repent.
3. Deal with the sin issue at hand.

No, we are not claiming to be perfect. We are all imperfect. But that doesn't relieve us of the responsibility to hold one another accountable and give one another a "good shaking" once in a while.

We are AWOL when it comes to accountability in the Body of Christ. We don't really believe in obeying Christ when it comes to discipling others.

Take my church for example. We want to talk about making people "Faithful followers of Christ" but we don't want to mention the things God mentions to get us there, such as descipleship, discipline and accountability. Lots of talk, nothing behind it.

Nice billowy sentiments. But that will get us nowhere.