Monday, November 06, 2006

The Ted Haggard Tragedy

The following quote was sent to me by Tami Solak, a compassionate and thoughtful leader in our church. The quote is from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, from his book Life Together (a book I treasure and highly recommend).

Bonheoffer states,

"He that is alone in his sins is utterly alone. It may be that Christians, not withstanding corporate worship, common prayer, and in their fellowship in service, may still be left to their loneliness.

The final breakthrough to fellowship does not occur because, though they have fellowship with one another as believers and as devout people, they do not have fellowship as the undevout people, as sinners.

The pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner. So everyone must conceal his sin from himself and from their fellowship.

We dare not be sinners. Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous.

So we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy.

That fact is that we are sinners."

Ted Haggard's sins found him out. As they do for all people, in this life or the next. What he did was wrong, yet the community of believers that he was part of failed him.

Bonhoeffer makes a very unevangelical point: we are not just saints justified by the atonement of Christ, we are also sinners always in need of forgiveness. The issue is: when we gather together are we saints unallowed to sin? or are we sinners gathered together hoping and striving to become saints like Christ?

Pray that Haggard's family is restored, reconciled and redeemed. Pray for his church. And then pray for your pastor. And your church. And then for yourself.

"Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For God's glory and kingdom, and our joy on earth."

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