I believe it’s time for children of our King to make a stand against the ‘not-to-blame’ mentality that plagues most of our churches and the body as a whole. Society has decided over the past three decades or so that when people make mistakes or sin that they are not to blame. No, the blame falls on culture, family, hardship and the like but the person can’t help themselves.
This trend is killing the moral standard of our culture, not to mention the dilution of the Gospel. The recent issue surrounding Pastor Ted Haggard of New Life Church is exactly what I am talking about. Not even counting the fact that men, especially spiritual leaders, need high accountability and strict boundaries within relationships; but that so many of them are willing to lay the blame outside of their free choice in the matter.
Mark Driscoll had some interesting ‘advice’ to pastors to help them stay out of the sexual demise wagon. I agree with almost all of his points except two. One in particular gives way to the old, “It’s not my fault.” I know this isn’t what Driscoll means by this, but it serves us to consider the implications.
“Most pastors I know do not have satisfying, free, sexual conversations and liberties with their wives. At the risk of being even more widely despised than I currently am, I will lean over the plate and take one for the team on this. It is not uncommon to meet pastors’ wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness. A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband’s sin, but she may not be helping him either.” Mark Driscoll
The bottom line for Pastor Haggard is that he chose to step out of the safeguards of God’s ordained protection that is found inside the marriage. Even IF Mark’s comment above had any validity, the lack of sexual intimacy with one’s wife normally doesn’t result in homosexual prostitution. There is NO excuse for sin except that we choose it. Yes, there may be stronger temptations and situations that cause us to be more susceptible to sin. However, that susceptibility doesn’t warrant sinful behavior.
Resist the devil and he will flee from you… this was not a sudden impulse but a long standing draw to cross the line – temptation gives birth to sin if we don’t deal with it quickly. When it comes to sexual temptation, we need to FLEE.
For his church and the NAE, there is going to be some long-term repercussions; for the body of Christ there will be eternal problems. Unfortunately, there are always casualties in situations like this and mostly it is the lost that pay.
My personal response to this issue is to offer grace and forgiveness to Pastor Haggard and to pray for him and his family as well as his ministry. As a warning to all of us, let’s stay connected to the Vine and accountable to each other so that we don’t slip and fall. As a point of protection for our pastors and leaders we have instituted a ’10 commandments’ for our staff that if followed, will greatly reduce the potential of falling into sexual sin. I’ll post these in a few days.
Let us be in prayer for our nation’s spiritual and political leaders and may we all Seek the face of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ so that we won’t fall into sin ourselves.