"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

The Lost Shepherd: Lessons from Ted Haggard

Newsweek magazine has a revealing profile of Ted Haggard, the former pastor of New Life Church, Colorado Springs, who lost his pastorate and the presidency of The National Association of Evangelicals after confessing to a relationship with a homosexual prostitute. Included within the article is a set of four videos, creatively packaged by Newsweek to disclose the hypocrisy of Pastor Haggard. Newsweek also profiles twelve Christian leaders who have fallen morally. It is almost as if Newsweek believes the Christian faith is discredited by the lives of her pastors and leaders.

Newsweek is mistaken.

Anyone who actually reads the article will realize that Christianity offers the only hope for any individual, like Pastor Haggard (and every human being), who struggles with inner demons. Haggard, who lost his leadership positions but not his faith in Christ, said this about his struggles with sexual sins.

"I no longer struggle with homosexual compulsions. I still have thoughts from time to time, but they're not powerful thoughts. I still have temptations from time to time, but they're not powerful temptations. They're not compelling."

The honesty of Haggard is refreshing. He knows he is a sinner. He knows he struggles. He understands the damage of acting out on his temptations and he knows that Christ has died to forgive Him of his sins. In other words, Pastor Haggard is living out the gospel.

Let's compare his former life as a famous pastor and his current life as a life insurance salesman.

During Pastor Haggard's pastoral leadership at New Covenant, Pastor Haggard pretended to not struggle inwardly, and his people followed him. By all accounts, Pastor Haggard's ministry was successful. Many came to faith in Christ. Many joined the church. The Pastor had his picture taken with Presidents. Yet, it was while pastoring the church, Pastor Haggard was meeting regularly with a gay prostitute.

Now, Pastor Haggard is an insurance salesman. He is honest about his inner struggles. He still believes the gospel. He still believes homosexuality is a sin. He is honest and transparent, and he is no longer acting out on his personal temptations. He has no church to lead. He has no requests for pictures with Presidents. Yet, Ted Haggard is now probably at a better state personally, more capable of true discipleship, and arguably more able to lead now than he was when he was labeled a "succesful pastor."

We Christians should take an honest look at what it is we think qualifies a person to lead. I sometimes wonder if one of the problems of modern Christianity is that we have created such a false sense of super-spirituality that we succomb to a certain mode of pretending that we never struggle. Christians, especially we who lead, sometimes try to act as if we are perfect. We have pastors who bully those who question them, denominational leaders who call those who oppose their decisions "liberals" and other actions that lead me to believe we have a God-complex among some of our leaders. This false sense of moral invincibility has led to a climate where transparency, honesty, and personal integrity are no longer a part of our corporate faith. Image is more important than integrity. Public perception about our perfection is sought more than presenting the power of the gospel to transform sinners. While the Apostle Paul called himself the "Chief of Sinners," we Christian leaders act as if we don't even belong on the reservation set aside for sinners.

Ted Haggard had this to say about his time as pastor:

I hadn't lied about anything except to keep quiet about what was going on inside me." His lies, which were simply statements that caused his congregation to believe he had no inner demons, eventually led him to secretly act out on his temptations. Had people known of his struggles, they could have held him accountable. Had people had the sense that their leader was fallible, they might have never given him such unbridled freedom and authority.

The problem with organized Christianity is not the gospel. The probem with organized Christianity is that too many Christians have forgotten that leaders are fallible.

Haggard's wife has stood by him. Ironically but not surprisingly, she says their marriage is now better. "As you might imagine, with greater openness the intimacy is better," says Gayle, who says she stayed with Ted for two reasons. "No. 1, he's worth it, and our children are worth it."

Haggard still opposes gay marriage, telling filmaker Alexandra Pelosi that "God's best plan for human beings is for man and woman to unite together," and he believes that homosexuality is a learned behavior "like alcoholism." Pelosi is producing a movie for HBO which will profile Haggard, and one would expect that Pelosi, the daughter of liberal Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, will use the film to denigrate Christianity.

Yet, in my mind,the true gospel is only strengthened when Christian leaders lose their public sense of absolute authority and spiritual perfection. Anybody who presumes to talk on behalf of God should remember that the treasure we possess (the gospel) is carried in fragile, clay jars.

One of these days we Southern Baptist leaders and pastors will learn to stop pretending that we are above the inner struggles experienced by sinners. The lust for power and absolute authority, the lust for fleshly gratification and paralyzing materialism, and the lust for personal recognition and praise are all inner demons that every SBC pastor and leader faces. The only way to prevent leaders from acting out on such temptations is to realize that these sins are common to fallen man, to never bestow absolute authority or unbridled freedom on any man, and to resist the idea that any Christian leader is beyond being questioned.

The SBC church, institution or agency that believes the "leader" is beyond simple accountablity will find that leader has the capability to ruin the organization. When and if that happens, the fault will reside not only with the leader, but those laymen who were unable to see that a lack of transparency is the first indication that something is wrong.

In His Grace,


Wade

210 comments:

1 – 200 of 210   Newer›   Newest»
Alyce Faulkner said...

Confess your faults, one to another.
If this was the practice of both lay people and pastors, it would not only change our lives, but the life of the church.
AMEN to this post Wade, thanks

Chris said...

The accountability of church members to each other, of churches to the fellow church, and of all persons and churches to Christ and the Holy Spirit is all that allows the church to be One and Holy. There is no accountability where failings and weaknesses are covered up.

I find it ironic that God would manifest Himself in weakness, and we would respond by trying to appear so strong.

Alan Paul said...

Good post. God's redemption is awesome!

But...

I don't necessarily agree with you about Haggard - though I don't pretend anyone is above what they preach against (sin) - I do believe that we should withhold judgement about Haggard and where he's at. We are, after all, not God and we cannot make quick judgments about where a person is until we see enough evidence that he has truly submitted himself the Lordship of Christ over a long period of time. To do anything less would be foolish.

CJ said...

Amen, my brother. I am a former member of Immanuel Baptist Church, Rogers, Arkansas. My former church has gone from 1500 people attending in 1992 to 350 in attendance in 2008. The church is now over 6 million dollars in debt. I left last month after realizing that the bank will bring action against our church on January 20 for defaulting on the note. The BANK will take possession of the property. And just as you have written, those of us who questioned the leadership of the pastor over this past decade were accused of either being liberal, slanderous, and the like. I'm sure you know, but if you do not, the name of the pastor of Immanuel is Tom Hatley.

Remember him?

Anonymous said...

Its strange that we Baptists all hyperventilate over a gay pastor but just barely raise an eyebrow when the pastor is having a heterosexual affair? If I read the Bible correctly it seems that they are equally at fault.

Anonymous said...

Here you go, Charles! Your favorite subject!

Anon 5:04,

Amen! Or molesting children.

Bob Cleveland said...

"But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.(1 Corinthians 1:27-29,KJV)

I know we believe the Bible and all, but I don't often see much evidence in the church, today, that would lead me to think we really believe that.

Benji Ramsaur said...

Honestly Wade, I think simply understanding what the word translated "obey" means in the Greek--Hebrews 13:17--is needed when it comes to issues of leadership.

Drinking deeply 1 Peter 5:3 helps as well.

And one more thing--understanding that all in the New Covenant have the sensitivity to obey Christ should help leaders to not whip the sheep.

Bob Cleveland said...

And Anonymous 05:04,

Don't include me in your "we"; you don't speak for me.

Thy Peace said...

Amen. Thank you Lord Jesus for your saving power.

kehrsam said...

Alan Paul wrote: I don't necessarily agree with you about Haggard - though I don't pretend anyone is above what they preach against (sin) - I do believe that we should withhold judgement about Haggard and where he's at. We are, after all, not God and we cannot make quick judgments about where a person is until we see enough evidence that he has truly submitted himself the Lordship of Christ over a long period of time. To do anything less would be foolish.

Because that is just the way God treats us, right? He'd never forgive someone without a probationary period.

I guess I'm a fool.

Benji Ramsaur said...

Let me be honest about something else Wade.

If someone wanted to press me on the influence of "Christian" institutions, it might make me squirm.

Why?

Because I think it is so easy to adopt ideas from the corporate world [such as "your knees better knock when I talk to you as your president"] into Christian institutions.

And then that could ultimately influence the church.

Not saying that all corporations/Christian institutions are like this, but I think you know what I'm saying.

Christians should have the eyes of a dove and be spiritual family, but I think Christian institutions can make that hard to live out.

If we go beyond asking "what does the New Testament say?" to asking "what does the New Testament emphasize?" then we can find out that the words "brethren, brother or sister" are in the New Testament 250 times!

THAT, my brother, is called emphasis.

And all God's people said?

Anonymous said...

Two quotes:
"A church is a hospital for sinners, not a showcase for saints."
From Elizabeth O'Connor, I think

"The Christian army is the only one that shoots its wounded."
Source unknown and not completely true, but someone believed it.

None of us is perfect, but that's easy to forget when there are stones handy to throw.

Susie

davidbmclaughlin.com said...

I'm no better than Haggard and neither is anybody else.

We are all miserable sinners at the feet of Christ begging for mercy.

To think otherwise is to be a fool.

dm

davidbmclaughlin.com said...

One more thing...

I am all for being obedient to Christ, clearly we are told to do so.

But when we have been the slightest bit obedient and think that we therefore have done something good we are in grave danger of self-righteousness.

Follow Christ all the way. Be all that you can be. Receive your eternal reward. But we are still miserable sinners in desperate need of the grace of Christ because anything shy of perfection is just not good enough.

dm

Native Arkansan said...

Christians should have the eyes of a dove and be spiritual family, but I think Christian institutions can make that hard to live out.

Doves is funny creatures. They ain't as peaceful-like as folks think. Whilest it's true they purty much live in peace with tha other kindsa birds, tha little buggers are mean as can be ta tha other doves, always chasin' and peckin' at each other. Kinda like some Christchuns I've met.

Benji Ramsaur said...

Well native, I guess we learn something everyday.

Benji Ramsaur said...

:)

oc said...

Yep, they'll peck your eyes out.
Christians will, that is. I don't know much about doves...

Benji Ramsaur said...

davidbmclaughlin.com,

If you checked to see how many times believers [including brother Ted] are called "saints" vs. sinners in the N.T., you might be surprised.

I'm not saying I have thought all this out, but I do know that understanding our identity according to the N.T. is important.

Grace bro,

Benji

Benji Ramsaur said...

AAAWWWW...

Please take that [ed] off of "checked" above.

Anonymous said...

"A church is a hospital for sinners, not a showcase for saints."
From Elizabeth O'Connor, I think"

This quote always makes me a bit queasy. I have seen it used to dismiss and excuse willful blatant sin by church leaders. While we are all sinners, I think it is sad we expect each other to stay in the hospital bed never growing beyond an IV drip of milk in our church/hospitals.

What does scripture mean by growing in Holiness? Without Holiness, no one will see God?

Ironically, what has saved Haggard was getting caught.



Lydia

Anonymous said...

Wade,

Do you think Ted Haggard is still qualified for the ministry?

DAJ

Bob Cleveland said...

Also, with reference to the "hospital for sinners", how about 2 Corinthians 5:17 .... about our being new creations in Christ? About old things passing away, and all things becoming new?

Anonymous said...

Arkansas Baptist: sorry to hear about your church's soon-to-be-lost property. Folks here following this blog for a couple years remember your pastor and the "leadership" he gave to the IMB trustees. Those trustees apparently thought all was well--sort of like Haggard's congregation . . .

Lots of emotionally dysfunctional people serve in vocational ministry. I assume God calls us all--at least, that's our testimony. We need the Lord, and we need each other. We got the Lord; do we have each other? Sometimes. Only sometimes.

Here's to a much better New Year in regard to all of this!

NativeVermonter said...

I marvel at Grace and how it restores us regardless of the sin; I also marvel at Grace how it keeps us from stumbling into sin.

So while it's encouraging to see our Lord restore His people (although in my opinion Ted is truly disqualified as an elder) let us also take encourgement from Saints who have also fought the battle of sin...and yet still stand.

oc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
One Salient Oversight said...

It's important to consider the fact that Christian leaders are supposed to exhibit and model godliness to those under their care.

A sinner struggling with something like homosexuality but who has accepted Jesus as Lord is someone we can all love and accept into our church body. We should love them and counsel them in the firm knowledge that we are no better than they and that God accepts all who put their faith in Christ.

But if that sinner is actually functioning as a church leader, then problems begin. I'm not saying that Christian leaders should be perfect but we should certainly follow the precepts given to us by God through the Apostle Paul in places like 1 Timothy 3: that elders should be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money and so on.

By this standard Haggard, who spent many years living a two-faced life as pastor and practising homosexual, should never have entered ministry and should never be granted any form of spiritual leadership again.

But if Haggard stepped into my church and said "May I, a sinner, worship God with you and the others here?", I would not turn him down.

Anonymous said...

I am convinced that the Scripture places a more primary issue in the "practicing" of homosexuality than attraction. Research shows that attraction may be mere problems in relating and attachment with the same gender. I have heard way too many sermons on Romans 1 that does not deal with this issue properly. That passage is dealing more with temple prostitutes and not really the development issue that governs orientation.

Anonymous said...

This is one area I feel strict conservatives have ignored completely in understanding. Should we address factionalism as well as not being a sin?

Benji Ramsaur said...

I'll say one thing about factionalism.

If we, as Christians first, infuse loaded and extrabiblical theological terms into the fellowship of Christ that CANNOT be exegeted from Scripture so that believers are unecessarily divided, then we need to humble ourselves and reject those terms.

Even if that means not being able to accept every jot and tittle of a helpful uninspired confession and even if we can print out 4 billion godly names who believed it.

Error CAN be propagated a long, long time by folks who feel the pressure to conform to a tradition and confession.

Grace

Benji

P.S. Yes I know about the term "Trinity" [it's exegetical] and yes I know about the benefits of confessionalism. I hope all you confessional folks could at least uhh "entertain" the idea that there might, at least, I mean maybe grant that there might be O.OOOOOOOO1% chance that it could have problems as well.

Love ya in Christ.

Alan Paul said...

kehrsam- I refer you back to where I said "we are, after all, not God" in answer to your comment.

-Alan

Alan Paul said...

Benji said: Honestly Wade, I think simply understanding what the word translated "obey" means in the Greek--Hebrews 13:17--is needed when it comes to issues of leadership.

Drinking deeply 1 Peter 5:3 helps as well.

Good verses Benji. I also always try to remember and remind leaders - especially in the corporate mindset that has overrun our churches - that Jesus talk of servant-leadership. Want to be a leader, you'll find the qualifications not in seminary, not in the "leadership" line, but in the servants line.

davidbmclaughlin.com said...

Benji,
I think I understand what you are saying.

I understand my position in Christ. But most importantly I understand that any righteousness I have is foreign and imputed. It is not my own. It is Christ's.

What bothers me greatly is those who sit in church and think that because they do some good things and don't so some bad things that they have merited something.

They haven't and they are in spiritual danger of pharisaical self-righteousness if they think they have.

Don't get me wrong-our good works count for eternal reward out of God's goodness. But they count not one wit toward my righteousness.

Call me a saint if you like (not too many do), but I still know that it is a term with a limited meaning. My saintliness does not equal perfection which means I am still a sinner humbly begging for mercy at the feet of Christ.

To do otherwise (proclaim my sainthood) is arrogance.

Benji Ramsaur said...

davidbmclaughlin.com,

Meriting favor with God--yeah, that's a problem.

Concentrating on your own work so that you feel good about it--if we don't, then we can look at others we think are worse than us and that will produce a "God, I thank thee that I am not like..." attitude [see Gal 6:4 NLT translation].

Again, I have not thought all of this out, but we do need to realize that our identity is wrapped up in being a part of Christ's kingdom instead of being a slave to sin. Sure we will sin, but our identity is called out, crucified with Christ, saint, etc.

We have to stay away from thinking of ourselves as slaves to sin because then we can live out that identity.

Anyway, those are some of my thoughts.

Grace,

Benji

davidbmclaughlin.com said...

I think I get where you are coming from now Benji.

I am not endorsing sin or sinful behavior in my statements.

But I was raised among a group of people who believed that you had to keep all the churches "to-do" list and be sure you never did anything on the "don't-do" list. And then you would measure up to them and God.

Of course, they might not smoke, drink, cuss or wear their hair too long but it was perfectly fine to be judgmental, gluttonous gossips.

My point is-we pick some sins over others and then decide we are saints while the others are sinners.

But we are all sinners.

As you alluded to Luke 18:

The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: `God, I thank you that I am not like other men--robbers, evildoers, adulterers--or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'

"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, `God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'

"I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

Anonymous said...

For the church that was bullied into allowing the minister free rein over finances, rather than be called 'liberals':

there is a very simple children's poem by Maurice Ogden, called:

'The Hangman'

In this poem, the hangman says that his gallows are for the one who serves him best.

Here is an excerpt, as the last man living in the town is hung:

""You tricked me Hangman."
I shouted then,

"That your scaffold was built
for OTHER men,

and I'm no henchman of yours."
I cried.

"You lied to me Hangman,
foully lied."


Then a twinkle grew
in his buckshot eye,

"Lied to you...tricked you?"
He said "Not I...

for I answered straight
and told you true.

The scaffold was raised
for none but you."


"For who has served more faithfully?

With your coward's hope."
said He,

"And where are the others that might have stood

side by your side,
in the common good?"


"Dead!" I answered,
and amiably

"Murdered," the Hangman
corrected me.

"First the alien ...
then the Jew.

I did no more
than you let me do."


Beneath the beam
that blocked the sky

none before stood
so alone as I.

The Hangman then strapped me...with no voice there

to cry "Stay!" ...
for me in the empty square."


COMMENT: Ogden's words remind us of our own inability to stand up to evil because of our fears and cowardice. He reminds us that we allow the evil to happen to others and are then are strangely surprised when that evil comes for US.

Those words:
" I DID NO MORE
THAN YOU LET ME DO."

When good people do nothing in the face of evil done to those around them, they sow the seeds of their own destruction.

Benji Ramsaur said...

davidbmclaughlin.com,

I see what you're saying brother.

God Bless,

Benji

Anonymous said...

KEHRSAM wrote " I do believe that we should withhold judgement about Haggard and where he's at. We are, after all, not God and we cannot make quick judgments about where a person is until we see enough evidence that he has truly submitted himself the Lordship of Christ over a long period of time. To do anything less would be foolish."

OH GO AHEAD, BE FOOLISH.

THE MAN HAS ASKED GOD'S FORGIVENESS,
DOES HE HAVE TO BEG FOR YOURS, TOO?


COMMENT: haven't you already judged him enough, and now you want the reassurance that he is worthy of 'your' good opinion?

Please take a look in the mirror if you want to judge someone.

And then, put down your stones
and, without conditions, care for this brother where he is at.

So, we know and he knows that for a while he was lost. But that is NOT THE END OF THE STORY !!!!

If he wants to come home, let him.

Receive him home with rejoicing.

He needs to be welcomed back by the people who follow Christ,
as it is the Shepherd Himself
Who has brought this lost one
back to the fold.

And the people who follow Christ
NEED to welcome him back
among them;
as they too,
were once lost
and are now found. :) L's

oc said...
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oc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

wtreat here:

I would like to speak to the "leadership" issues in the church.

Just last week a dear friend left the ministry. He Had a DMIN and had over 35 years in the pulpit. He said "it ain't God's house anymore, it is being ran as a secular business. Just a business."

I have spent the last 8 years studying the trends of leadership in churches. I have read many of the "best" experts. I find that the Christian and Secular books are almost the exact same thing. The only difference was the one says Christian and the other doesn't.

In observation and interviews I have come to the conclusion that just about anyone can be successful in a church leadership position as long as he is a

(1) Master Manipulator

(2) Super Salesman

(3) Awesome Orator

(4) A great fundraiser

(5) Any combination of 3 of these

Depressing ain't it!

Just a sinner seeking Him

wtreat@centurytel.net

Anonymous said...

The SBC church, institution or agency that believes the "leader" is beyond simple accountablity will find that leader has the capability to ruin the organization.

IT HAS HAPPENED BEFORE
WHEN ANOTHER LEADER LED HIS
FOLLOWERS TO RUIN.

Anonymous said...

HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF,
WHEN LESSONS ARE NOT LEARNED.


1. When they took over , they took control of EVERY organization.

2. They eliminated the ones they chose for expulsion from their midst.

3. They took over education and indoctrination.

4. They silenced any opposition, intially by 'booing and heckling'; finally by elimination.

5. They demanded allegiance and issued identification documents for all under their authority.

6. They took over the wealth.

7. They allowed NO DISSENT.

8. They were the AUTHORITIES, even over the laws of God.

9. In the end, there was little left of existing infra-structure.

10. Claims to 'moral authority' had self-destructed.

12. They encouraged children to turn their parents in to the authorities.

13. And Germany rotted from within
before it was defeated, as the 'leadership' had within it the seeds of destruction.




What are the similarities between Nazi Germany and the SBC under the CR leadership? They are there, no doubt. "Better play ball, or else."
And the 'or else' is brutal.

What direction is the SBC going in?

Has EVIL been done?
Who was victimized?
How badly?
Why was it allowed to happen?

HISTORY IS DOOMED TO REPEAT ITSELF WHEN PEOPLE DO NOT LEARN FROM THE PAST.

ESPECIALLY, WHEN THE WORDS AND ACTIONS OF JESUS CHRIST IN THE BIBLE NO LONGER HAVE PRIME TEACHING AND GUIDING AUTHORITY IN AN ORGANIZATION.
The CR people took care of that first, didn't they.
Of course. Now it makes sense.

WatchingHISstory said...

anon 1:30

Your passionate words will fall on deaf ears if you continue in annonymity. You need to be heard and not ignored.

Bob Cleveland said...

The Prodigal Son's father was happy to receive his wayward son home, when he asked for forgiveness. The prodigal brother wasn't.

Hmm .. some of the comments here put a whole new slant on the baptist custom of calling folks "brother" and "sister".

WatchingHISstory said...

anon 5:15

Here goes Charles Haggard, the non SBCer, did the honorable Homosexual thing, he sought consentual sex with a prostitute.

He didn't sneak into his son's bedroom while his wife was sleeping. That is what a SBC associate did.

There is a BIG difference. The SBCer is a homosexual child-sexual predator.

So I'l refrain from commenting on this and wait till discussion of Paul Williams comes up. I ain't holding my breath!

ezekiel said...

Anon Sun Jan 11, 01:30:00 AM 2009,

True enough, the Germans are not the only ones to practice the methodology. However, the problem can be more accurately described in Judges 17-18. Simply repeats of Micah's sin and the sin of the whole tribe of Dan.

Jdg 17:6 In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.

Note especially in these chapters how God was acknowledged but was not honored or worshipped. Rather, an ephod and graven images or gods were worshipped and reveared. Even the Levite was a hireling.....

Let me know if you see anything familiar there.

WatchingHISstory said...

Ted Haggard not Charles! You all will have a field day with that. I am laughing with you.

word verification "undoi

Thy Peace said...

NYT: Who Would Jesus Smack Down? (subject: Mark Driscoll)

Anonymous said...

Right, Charles. You could have deleted that and corrected it, if it was a mistake, but nooooo... you wanted everyone to see it. Why is it ALWAYS all about YOU, Charles? Don't you realize people have been laughing at you all along? It's not because of your clever wit. It's because you're a nitwit! Get help, Charles, please! If you're not going to seek help, please go away. Once and for all go confront the object of your wrath. And don't forget your stepladder. Or go give Joyce Rogers a piece of your mind. You won't need your stepladder for that.

Word verification: dismst

DAJ

Anonymous said...

"Pelosi is producing a movie for HBO which will profile Haggard, and one would expect that Pelosi, the daughter of liberal Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, will use the film to denigrate Christianity."

And yet Nancy Pelosi is a huge supporter of Obama.

And many Christians voted for Obama.

I am so disconnected from that logic.

Thy Peace said...

Getting the Gospel Right

Bryan Riley said...

OC,

Here is my response to your question about Haggard being qualified for ministry:

3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 6If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

From 2 Corinthians 1

Thy Peace said...

The Lost Shepherd
Ted Haggard's sex scandal cost him his church, and some of his faith.


"On that day in late 2006 when he finally dropped the denials, Haggard felt exhausted and lost, and so he did what came naturally: he put his trust in the church. "I was disoriented, confused, depressed. I had thrown my life away, and I had to trust these men," he tells NEWSWEEK. "I would have signed anything." Under the terms of his severance package and "restoration" deal, Haggard agreed to never set foot in New Life again and to leave Colorado forever (although the banishment was lifted after just more than a year). He took his family and his severance package—a year's pay, around $140,000—and began what the Haggards refer to as their life in exile. They spent the next 18 months crisscrossing Arizona with their two teenage sons piled into a U-Haul, staying in a series of budget hotels and the homes of "kind strangers."

Cash and Christian mercy were in short supply, but at least one friend made sure to come calling: Alexandra Pelosi. The Emmy-winning director (and Speaker Nancy's daughter) met Haggard in 2005 while shooting "Friends of God," her tour of evangelical America. She says she initially traveled to Arizona to make sure he was OK, and ever the filmmaker, just started filming when she saw Ted carrying a rack of his church suits into a cheap motel. He wasn't compensated for Pelosi's roughly 10 hours of footage, spread over several visits. "This movie was stolen from Ted," she says. "I was there, I had a camera, that's it." Haggard says the film is "fair and even" and let her shoot it. "Here's the way I've worked in my lifetime: I tend to say yes," he says.

And yet, while he strives to turn the other cheek, full Christian forgiveness eludes him. He believes that New Life cast him away when he needed it the most. As he says in the movie: "The Church has said go to hell." Haggard now thinks that he lashed himself too hard. "I understand why when a criminal is caught they will sometimes admit to things they didn't do," he says. "I wanted to overrepent, and I think I did overrepent. In my [resignation] letter to the church I said I was a deceiver and a liar, but I hadn't lied about anything except to keep quiet about what was going on inside me."

The 42-minute film ends by noting that in January 2008 the Haggards were allowed to move back to Colorado, which they did last June. Shortly after Christmas, the church also opened the door for him to return to New Life—as a member of the congregation. He is cleared to start a new ministry, or preach as a guest, so long as it's more than 100 miles from his old church. But he has no plans to lead a congregation again, saying it's no longer his place to shape Christian policy. That said, he believes that "there is a place for everyone in the church."

Except, for the moment, the Haggard family. "We don't attend a church because it would create news, and we don't want to put our children or the church pastor through that," he says. "So we're just trying to lay low, do our business, be with our family and do the appropriate things without causing a stir.""

Anonymous said...

Bryan Riley,

So would that be a 'yes'?

DAJ

Anonymous said...

BOB CLEVELAND wrote:

"The Prodigal Son's father was happy to receive his wayward son home, when he asked for forgiveness. The prodigal brother wasn't.

Hmm .. some of the comments here put a whole new slant on the baptist custom of calling folks "brother" and "sister"."

Yes. IF the reference by anonymous was to the TEACHING by Christ in the story of the Prodigal Son.

So, if we assume that the anonymous writer JUST MIGHT have been influenced by the scripture teaching, THEN, there may be other scripture teachings that also influenced the writer:

'Honor Thy Father . . .

'Thou shalt love the LORD Thy God with all they heart and mind and strength; and thy neigbbor AS THYSELF'

'love one another, as I have loved you'

"God be merciful to me, a sinner."

"let he among you who is without sin cast the first stone . . . "

So many scriptures ask us to CARE for our neighbor, our brother, our sister, putting aside our 'self-righteous' judging, reaching out to them in unconditional love.

And the scriptures are STUDIED,
and the scriptures are MEMORIZED
then the scriptures are IGNORED.
and we fail HIM . . .

The scriptures were meant to be kept in our HEARTS to renew us in the ways that Christ can change us.
When Christ has changed our hearts, we are no longer WILLING to throw stones and reject another; but instead we seek to embrace them and care for them with compassion.

The stories and lessons and examples in scripture are not just to teach us: but to bear fruit in us as we encounter those inspired words, so should we be inspired by them, and we are forever changed by the Spirit of God.

Before He changes our hearts: no person is safe from our judging.

After our hearts are healed: there is no person for whom we cannot feel Christian compassion.

Anonymous on Purpose said...

WatchingHISstory said...
anon 1:30

Your passionate words will fall on deaf ears if you continue in annonymity. You need to be heard and not ignored.


Charles,
From what I've seen, it doesn't look like the fact that people know your name has granted your words any credibility. It could be that paying attention to what is being said and how it is being said is more important than knowing who is saying it.

oc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alan Paul said...

We are all called to judge at many levels as to what the truth is in any given situation - we make judgments all the time about everything - meaning what is the best decision to make... why can we not do this when it comes to those who have fallen?

Reserving judgement in this case could and probably would, be the best thing for Haggard - the most loving thing. I am not talking about casting him aside until he measures up - you can and are required to biblically, forgive without offering yourself in complete trust to a person. You can still treat them lovingly without trusting them. You can help them along the way without trusting them. You can do alot of God-ordained things along the way and still withhold final judgment regarding someone. (Those of us who have been put in situations, trusted people and then burned repeatedly know the wisdom of the above.)

I am simply talking about not giving someone who has demonstrated addictive disorders free reign in the church or really, anyone's lives, until he shows he has allowed God to completely heal him. People are the most important of God's possessions and to put those He loves at risk irresponsible at the very least.

Again, we are not God and therefore cannot peer into a person's true motivations - so we must be careful. To act as if we are God and can know that a person is being completely honest about where he is with past sinful addictive behavior, as I have said before and continue to stand by, is foolish.

The better course is for Haggard to re-submit himself to accountability and oversight (which if I am not mistaken, he at first accepted when this all began, and then for some reason, rejected the men that were overseeing his recovery before they were ready for him to go.) and to allow God to work through those that love him to completely heal him. But that's just my opinion - worth about 2¢.

Anonymous said...

That's an interesting profile you've got there, Anonymous on Purpose!

Anonymous said...

OC writes, "Everyone else here is so very holy."

Can't agree.
Some feel they are so very holy.
They are the 'stone-throwers'.
Christ taught the original stone-throwers a better way . . . "
The ones you read here that 'are so very holy' and are sitting in judgment: these people never even got close to Christ's message.
NOT EVEN CLOSE.

If 'holiness' is perceived in another person: we are seeing that person reflect the Holy Lord Christ in their lives.
All holiness in His.

Alan Paul said...

A question: I have a former brother-in-law in prison for repeatedly molesting 2 of his children over a 10 year period. He is sitting in prison for at least the next 20-22 years. He caused damage and pain to my nieces that will continue to reverberate throughout their lives - whether they want it or not. He, of course, like most in prison, has repented and has apologized over and over since he was busted in 2005.

Should we forgive and allow him back into our lives?

Alan Paul said...

BTW: He has also become a Christian - and I have seen enough evidence to verify that his faith is genuine.

Should we let him back in?

Anonymous said...

A BETTER WAY . . .

Can any of us get beyond our self-righteous, mean-spirited condemnation of the fallen who 'offend our sensibilities'?

Yes. The Amish have shown that Christian forgiveness is not only possible, but a way of life.
When their children were murdered in their school house at West Nickel Mines, the response of the Amish gained world attention.
They immediately forgave the murderer and maimer of their little ones. They reached out to the murderer's wife and children with great compassion.
There was no condemnation in them for what had happened, only forgiveness.

THE WORLD PAID ATTENTION,
because their behavior spoke of a way of live that is not 'of this world'.


the Amish lean towards looking at forgiveness as being:
'recognizing the co-humanity of the other person',
entering into the conversation and process to seek to build relationship
and RECONNECTING AS BROTHERS.

They would take Jesus' teaching in Matthew 18 quite seriously, where Jesus clearly says that the goal is to regain your brother."

Forgiving is not for the faint of heart.

But for Christians, nothing is more important.

For Jesus, forgiveness was vital.

And today's theologians spend a lot of time still talking about reconciliation, which is the idea of making things right again - either with yourself, your neighbor or with God.

What you do is fall back on the modeling of Jesus:
Jesus only invited.
He never forced.
And so he was a Presence,
and presence invites.
Goodness invites people to engage and to communicate and be connected with.
Presence invites people to look at situations in their lives. Presence poses the question."



Lots of reconciliation happens as a result of prayer,
You pray for people who persecute you.

It's that "love thy enemy" the Amish practice.
You pray for people who are very obviously alienated or disconnected.
And it's through that experience, too, that YOU experience connection."

It's tied to the Christian notion of community, which Jesus modeled in his understanding of relationships and covenant.

Reconciliation and forgiveness are simply the fruits of community. Because if people have an ongoing and close relationship, then it's a lot easier for them to ask for forgiveness when one is wronged.

The problem with the world today is that so many individuals and families live in isolation,
cut off from neighbors, never mind people in other countries and continents.
The more disconnected people become, the more they rely on technology to communicate,
then the less they realize their own humanity - and the more unforgiving they are.

Which brings us back to the Amish at West Nichol Mines.

The fruit of their community,
the fruit of their spirituality, just came through in their decision to forgive that man who murdered and maimed their children.
One of the things was immediately they showed no animosity to this man's family. In fact, they reached out to his wife and her grief.

For me what that says is about their deep understanding of community and the importance that relationships have in everything that we do.

No one should be isolated.

The Amish recognized that the murderer's wife also had a loss, and her children had a loss similar to theirs.

So there's this empathy,
and empathy, is a part of our understanding reconciliation and forgiveness.

Forgiveness is easier for the Amish. First, they forgive. And THEN, their own healing of their loss begins.

Many people practice forgiveness of others. The Amish just do it better than most.

The ability of the Amish to forgive with such compassion is a real model for all Christian.

Anonymous said...

ALAN PAUL wrote: 'Should we let him back in?'

Forgiveness is not for the faint-hearted.

We are commanded to forgive one another.

Pray for the strength to do God's Will, even if it is not in accordance with your human impulse to reject this brother for his terrible weakness and sins.

Maybe he needs you. Maybe, in helping him to come home, you yourself will come closer to the Lord.

Anonymous said...

"In my [resignation] letter to the church I said I was a deceiver and a liar, but I hadn't lied about anything except to keep quiet about what was going on inside me."

There have been many comments like this from Haggard that are quite confusing. To keep quiet about this and hide the behavior is a huge lie. Add to that being a pastor and known as outspoken about homosexual sin and you have a even bigger lie. I am curious about which part of his life during that time was NOT a lie? His marriage? His pastorate? He was in effect, lying to everyone all the time until he got caught and could not deny it.

Then a few months later he is sending out donor letters and refusing accountability.

One should not blame folks for being skeptical.

Alan wrote:

"Should we let him back in?"

Alan, I do not know what you mean about letting him back 'in' if he is in prison for 20 years. If you mean when he gets out then do you mean back in church? In the marriage, etc?

I do not believe the church can turn away a truly repentant person. I think we can be on guard that we do not allow them in tempting situations. I also think that we should be very understanding if the wife does not ever want him back even if he is truly repentant. I certainly would not ever accuse her of being unforgiving or bitter. However, many will do just that.

As far as letting him back 'in' as a brother in Christ while in prison, I say a hearty yes.

However, if he is truly repentant, he will understand the devastation he has caused and will not expect complete trust from his wife and daughters. He will have to live with that consequence.

Being forgiven does not mean he babysits the grandkids alone.

We are to be gentle but also wise.



Lydia

Anonymous said...

If we were all perfect, Christ would not have come.

But we weren't. And He did come.

Let's listen to HIM about forgiving each other and
reclaiming our 'brother'.

We CAN forgive, because we were forgiven. What else is there to know?

NativeVermonter said...

I think this serves as an apt quote:

"The Scriptures cleary teach that there is a definite connection between what men are in private and their public usefulness. That part of our lives which is least seen by others is the part which has the controlling influence upon what we are and what we do. In every Christian leader, therefore, the part of his life least known to the world will always be that which is most important."

So guard your life and doctrine.

Anonymous said...

Just a note to those who are teaching instant forgiveness. You are advocating something that is even a higher standard than God.

We are forgiven when we REPENT and believe in Christ. Repentance is necessary for salvation/forgiveness of sins.

It is one of those pesky facts that is left out quite a bit.

It is important to do a deep study on forgiveness in the NT and not make it out to be something it really isn't.

Lydia

Anonymous said...

HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF,
WHEN WHEN IT IS NOT LEARNED IN ITS PROPER CONTEXT

Germany fell because no one corrected Luther's rage against Jews for he did not understand the Bible under the light of Jewish contexts. He died one week after making the comment about burning Jewish synagogues. Should we diagnose everything under Scripture or with reason and grace that Luther had bouts of bi-polar.

Alan Paul said...

By letting him back in, I mean to have fellowship with him via letters, visitation, etc. while in prison. And when he gets out, to let him back into our lives freely and without reservation.

In the context of this post, I would be very careful about letting him back in (as I am). I conversed with him through about 50 letters, offering my forgiveness and help in his newfound walk with Christ. He was very apologetic and even admitted to some of what he had done. Yet, when it came to admitting the truth to the D.A. - that was another story. His faith didn't seem to make it into those discussions until the very end, when he finally, after dragging my sister and her kids through the horrible reliving of what had happened to them - which any victim will tell you is like reliving it all over again. If he had any compassion in him from Christ, we would have spared them this... and he knew that because we implored him to confess. I evcen pointed out that the God he had just found required him to do this.

He also tried to get one of his cousins to infilterate our family - all the while telling me about what God was doing in his life.

I could tell you more - but I think you get the picture: trust but verify. And let that process take as long as it needs. We can forgive, but we should be wary of letting anyone who has killed (spiritually speaking - his actions have killed off any interest my nieces might have had in a loving God) and destroys back in to our lives. Even with the command to forgive, this concept should be easy to understand. But alas, most don't. Inexplicably, people invite those that hurt them back into their lives without condition and then wonder why they got hurt again. Even I, at the beginning, when he was arrested, allowed him to manipulate me based on the forgiveness command in the bible. I learned, as I have already said, we must trust but verify. And that takes time.

And that's why I say it's foolishness to allow someone easily back into your life after they have hurt so many so deeply in the past. It's not pithy statement nor a platitude like so many commenters here are offering on this site (i.e. those that are judging me as judgmental, those offering up "forgiveness is not for the faint of heart", etc.). What I offer is sound wisdom that allows for forgiveness and for a safe restoration process that protects the victim and gives ample opportunity for the perp to be redeemed through the work of God in their lives. And if complete forgiveness and restoration never happens, this is much better than being victimized again.

As a side note: I only saw mentioned what his ex-wife could or could not do in respect to whether or not to let the perp back in to her life. Do you not know that he destroyed the lives of his kids more so than his wife? To have your father betray you is like having God betray you. He also ripped a huge hole in the fabric of our entire family with his actions. This deeply affected everyone in our family (not to mention his side of the family who is in complete denial). There is no one on the sidelines observing this from afar - even now, 3 years later. We have all been immeasurably hurt by his actions. So it's not just his wife that has the decision to make - it's our whole family.

I can tell you that decision has already been made by everyone in our family save for myself: he will not be allowed anywhere near anyone in our family for any reason. It's a decision I will honor - and that one I believe God will honor - even if I don't fully agree with it.

WatchingHISstory said...

Lydia

Isn't it regeneration, conviction, repentance, baptism, forgivness, and the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:37-38

Charles

Anonymous said...

"Here's the way I've worked in my lifetime: I tend to say yes," Haggard said."

Was that a Freudian slip by Haggard?

Anonymous said...

"I could tell you more - but I think you get the picture: trust but verify."

Alan, I totally agree with this. And with the extra information you shared, I totally agree with you on every point. If you noticed, I said 'repentant'. That takes time to verify. It has not been verified in this situation. And the nature of the crime keeps it from being one where there can be total reconciliation.

This cheap, easy forgiveness that so many teach not only sends folks to hell, it revictimizes the victims time and time again. I often wonder how much we really love and care about the victims when we teach easy forgiveness. Many times we end up making them out to be the problem.

My heart just breaks for your family in this. I also get outraged about these things...probably shouldn't but it is hard not to when kids are involved.

Lydia

gmommy said...

He caused damage and pain to my nieces that will continue to reverberate throughout their lives - whether they want it or not.

Should we forgive and allow him back into our lives?
Sun Jan 11, 01:32:00 PM 2009

If the "we" includes your nieces, I think they need time to process and grieve before they are pressured to forgive and let their abuser back in their life.
To place that responsibility on them before they are ready only adds to the injury of abuse.

They have too much to cope with just to try and function. So much has been stolen from them and demanded of them already.

IMO, if you, not the victims, feel you can minister to the abuser... then do!
Forgiving this man may look very different for you than it does for his victims.
Letting go of anger and bitterness for their own healing does not mean they have to allow him back in their lives.
Let the victims heal on their own time table and with lots of support?
To focus on the abuser and not the victims is a mistake made too often.
They were invisible and powerless for 10 years. As you said...they will suffer the consequences of the abuse done to them for many more years.
IF I were you, I would focus my love and support towards helping them heal. The abuser has been the focus for too long already.IMO

Alan Paul said...

gmommy- I cut communication with the abuser. I felt it was the right thing to do in light of his refusal to admit to the authorities what he had done. He was simply admitting to bits and pieces. I also did not want to give him any ammo to use against my nieces if that was his aim in communicating with me. In hindsight, I believe it was right of me to communicate with him and right of me to cut it off when I did. I felt God guiding me the whole time - even if my family did not see it. As far as I am concerned, at least for now, he is on his own. I will not help him unless God tells me to.

Our whole family has been involved in helping my nieces, but it is hard to break through teenagers anyways, let alone teenagers who grew up only knowing abuse from their father.

Lydia- I sensed you were on the same page as I and wasn't responding to you as much as I was to everyone in general that were accusing me of judgmentalism.

As an additional thought, once his repentance in verified, I would still counsel to keep him away from all involved. This is a sin of huge proportion - one that God can surely redeem - but that those involved could probably not. Not given the severity of the situation. The good thing about God is that He can use anyone and I am sure He is using many in my former bro-in-law's life to keep him on track... that is, if he is willing to submit and live a life of honesty and integrity.

gmommy said...

Alan,
I am a very slow typist. After I sent my post, I read your next post.

You were gracious to try and minister to the abuser and you have already seen his fruit.

I'm with Lydia on the cheap "forgive and forget" teaching of forgiveness.
There are consequences for the abuse this man committed.

This is not so much to you, Alan, but to Christians in general....particularly Baptists.
Why is it that Christian people are so quick to come to the rescue of sexual abusers but not to the support and restoration of the victims????

Anonymous said...

LYDIA wrote: Just a note to those who are teaching instant forgiveness. You are advocating something that is even a higher standard than God.

We are forgiven when we REPENT and believe in Christ. Repentance is necessary for salvation/forgiveness of sins. "


In the case of the Amish, the murderer committed suicide after killing and maiming the children.
He did a terrible thing.
Maybe he was mentally or emotionally sick.
We do not know.
We do not know if the taking of his own life was his way of 'repenting' in his own mind.
We don't know.

The Amish didn't know.
THEY, unlike people of faith who carefully study the NT on the subject, did not need to know.
They forgave him.

And they did it immediately and unconditionally.
To the surprise of the world.
And to the disgust of many Christians who didn't understand why.

Not only did the Amish forgive him. They came to see his widow and his children, bringing gifts of food.
They attended his funersl and stood by his widow's side to offer her support.

I have NO doubt that there are MANY Christians who would use the Bible to say that what the Amish did was wrong.

I have no doubt.

But then, if the Amish forgiven so easily and COMPLETELY, without reservation, the world would not have noticed.

I vote for the way that made the world take notice:

'who are these people that can embrace in their hearts the murderer, his widow, and his children, while their own children they prepare for buriel or visit in hospital?

Who are these people: the Amish?

WHY were they able to do this?

So, that is the MYSTERY.
It must be something beyond what most can understand. It must be something that
IS NOT OF THIS WORLD.

Forgiveness is not for the worldly or the faint-hearted.

WatchingHISstory said...

Alan Paul

The OT seems to deal harshly with certain sins, particularly high handed sins. Quick justice by witnesses and a stoning by the community. Jesus suggested that anyone who would harm a child should tie a mill stone around his neck and toss himself into the lake rather than do a child harm. It may not be a bad idea if you have already criminally harmed a child.

Forgiveness should not be confused with punishment. Forgiveness does not eliminate punishment.

You did the right thing and this may be a situation where you have to be careful not to try to help less you be taken in. He needs the help of disinterested counselors and does not need to be around any of the family. You should work toward convincing the families involved to shun him completely. Don't you try to help him.

Send him to objective counselors. He'll have to report to authorities after jail and they are his source for help. A disinterested clergy at another location would be good, if he is truly repentant. To be on the safe side I would assume that he is not repentant.

I am with Lydia on easy repantance in this case.

Alan Paul said...

gmommy-
I believe the answer to your question is because it is cheaper and easier to forgive the abuser, help him get back on his feet and move on. Helping the abused back on their feet and also helping them see to it that their abuser is held accountable (you wouldn't believe how easy it is for these guys to get off the hook) is much more time consuming, soul consuming and just a down right messy business to undertake.

I would, if I were those advocating cheap forgiveness, not speak too quickly without having at least considered not only my words here, but the words of countless abuse victims. You can read them all over the internet. If the words of the abused are taken to heart, this concept of cheap forgiveness will seem like the pure heresy it is.

Alan Paul said...

Anon: The amish offered cheap forgiveness. They are indoctrinated with legalism and that's how they responded - with the legalistic idea of if they don't forgive, the fires of hell await. Legalism cheapens everything.

But deep down, I will guarantee that they relive what happened every day of their lives and will continue to do so until they work through everything and come to the point where they can offer true forgiveness - the kind that may not let you forget, but will allow you to leave it behind.

Alan Paul said...

Charles-
I actually pointed that section of scripture out where Jesus defends children against the way they were treated in that day to him.

He is in prison where he will get the punishment he deserves for his crimes against children and also I genuinely hope,that he gets the help he needs - perhaps through a prison ministry working in the prison system.

Anonymous said...

ALAN PAUL,

People they prey on children are sick. They probably, even with much counseling, always be under the compulsion to repeat their predatory behaviors.

Your brother in law can be forgiven by the family and they can still 'own' their feelings towards him about what he did to his daughters. They can tell him how they feel ABOUT WHAT HE DID, and they can also forgive HIM. They can condemn the sin but forgive the sinner.
BIG DIFFERENCE.

The daughters will probably bear the scars of his betrayal their whole lives, and it will very likely impact their relationships with others as adults.
To allow him near them again might be cruel to them beyond belief.
Especially in light of the fact that he was unable to spare them a courtroom scene that must have been traumatic for them.

It is wise to listen to the children about their own feelings and respect their wishes. They should have a voice now, as before they had no power to control their situation.

What is best now must be to look after the children and to do what is right for them.
A forgiven father who says he is now a Christian would be the first to understand that his daughters might not benefit from his company at this time. Perhaps in the future, as adults, they may be able to reach out to their father, but it would be extremely difficult for them and it should be THEIR decision.

The main benefit of forgiveness is that the person doing the forgiving 'lets go' of his/her bitterness towards the other.
Maybe you have to be a Christian in order to do this.
Maybe you have to do this in order to be a Christian.

Take care of those girls as the priority.

Alan Paul said...

Anon: just to clarify, they did not have to go to court - they did have to relive their experiences multiple times to authorities and the D.A. to prepare for trial. That was pretty traumatic for them -though the oldest finally came to the conclusion that telling her story would help her and put him away and she found strength through that realization.

Thankfully, my bro-in-law admitted to what he had done after being confronted by my sister the day before trial and they did not have to testify in open court.

I have forgiven him from my perspective - I did quite awhile ago. But again, in the context of this post, I would not allow him into my life again - at least for now.

Anonymous said...

"I have NO doubt that there are MANY Christians who would use the Bible to say that what the Amish did was wrong.

I have no doubt."

Alan wrote:

Anon: The amish offered cheap forgiveness. They are indoctrinated with legalism and that's how they responded - with the legalistic idea of if they don't forgive, the fires of hell await. Legalism cheapens everything."

That is exactly right.

I remember reading about this and being stunned that one Amish man said that he should not even call the murderer evil because he did not know if he was evil. (huh?)

Lydia

Batchaps said...

Ah! Cheap Grace... Bonhoeffer wrote about this in The Cost of Discipleship..."Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our Church. We are fighting today for costly grace. Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like cheapjacks’ wares. The sacraments, the forgiveness of sin, and the consolations of religion are thrown away at cut prices. Grace is represented as the Church’s inexhaustible treasury, from which she showers blessings with generous hands, without asking questions or fixing limits. Grace without price; grace without cost! The essence of grace, we suppose, is that the account has been paid in advance; and, because it has been paid, everything can be had for nothing..." (p.45) and then there is Costly Grace..."Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man’ will gladly go and self all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble, it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him."

"Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: 'ye were bought at a price,' and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God."

"Costly grace is the sanctuary of God; it has to be protected from the world, and not thrown to the dogs. It is therefore the living word, the Word of God, which he speaks as it pleases him. Costly grace confronts us as a gracious call to follow Jesus. It comes as a word of forgiveness to the broken spirit and the contrite heart. Grace is costly because it compels a man to submit to the yoke of Christ and follow him; it is grace because Jesus says: 'My yoke is easy and my burden is light.'"

"On two separate occasions Peter received the call, 'Follow me.' It was the first and last word Jesus spoke to his disciple (Mark 1.17; John 21.22). A whole life lies between these two calls. The first occasion was by the lake of Gennesareth, when Peter left his nets and his craft and followed Jesus at his word. The second occasion is when the Risen Lord finds him back again at his old trade. Once again it is by the lake of Gennesareth, and once again the call is: 'Follow me.' Between the two calls lay a whole life of discipleship in the following of Christ. Half-way between them comes Peter's confession, when he acknowledged Jesus as the Christ of God...(p.48)

"This grace was certainly not self-bestowed. It was the grace of Christ himself, now prevailing upon the disciple to leave all and follow him, now working in him that confession which to the world must sound like the ultimate blasphemy, now inviting Peter to the supreme fellowship of martyrdom for the Lord he had denied, and thereby forgiving him all his sins. In the life of Peter grace and discipleship are inseparable. He had received the grace which costs."(p.49)

"As Christianity spread, and the Church became more secularized, this realization of the costliness of grace gradually faded. The world was Christianized, and grace became its common property. It was to be had at low cost..." (p.49)

Grace and forgiveness cost Jesus everything (pride, humility, sense of worthiness...) The cost is the same for us today.

Russ+

BTW You can read more excepts of Bonhoeffer at http://www.crossroad.to/Persecution/Bonhoffer.html or buy the book and read all of it :)

Lin said...

More Bonhoeffer on cheap grace:

The Christian need not follow Christ since the Christian is comforted by cheap grace! That is cheap grace as justification of sin but not justification of the contrite sinner who turns away from sin and repents. It is not forgiveness of sin which separates those who sinned from sin. Cheap grace is that grace which we bestow on ourselves.

Anonymous said...

ALAN PAUL said about the Amish, "They are indoctrinated with legalism and that's how they responded - with the legalistic idea of if they don't forgive, the fires of hell await. Legalism cheapens everything."

Coming from a Christian fundamentalist, criticism of 'legalism' is a cheap shot.

Is there any more 'legalistic' group on this earth than the 'holier than thou' fundamentalist?

Most people haven't got a clue about the Amish and their ways.
For sure, a 'christian' fundamentalist couldn't understand it anyway: too mean-spirited and judgmental.

Just saying that their forgiveness was 'legalistic' and not prompted by their Christian faith is a sign that you do not understand this group. I think they shame you and that's why you have to put them down.

Anonymous said...

Grace is not 'cheap'.
We don't earn it.
It is a free gift.
The Price was very high indeed.
We just didn't have to pay it.

Problem with us is this:
We are a 'throw-away society'
and that includes how we treat people, especially how 'Christians' treat people.

(includes Christian treatment of other Christians: merciless)

Anonymous said...

Immaculee Ilibagiza told in her book Left to Tell how she went to the prison where the man was who killed her family members in the Rwandan holocaust of 1994 and told him in person that she forgave him. She did not seek his release from the prison. She changed names in her book about her experiences and left the country for a time for her safety.

There is a difference between forgiveness (which may be as much for the forgiver's sake as for the forgiven's) and allowing the action to be repeated. I realize there is a delicate balance here and do not claim to know where it is, but those dealing with such issues need to realize this and seek the right balance.

Susie

Anonymous said...

LYDIA wrote: ' remember reading about this and being stunned that one Amish man said that he should not even call the murderer evil because he did not know if he was evil. (huh?)"

Well, imagine this: that simple Amish man with his eighth-grade education might have understood the basic Christian commandment:

judge not, lest YE be judged.

The simple farmer, a man not of YOUR faith and Biblical expertise, figured out that maybe the man was not in his right mind. And maybe, if he was, the evidence points to severe emotional depression.

So, what is different here?

Someone's faith gives them the strength to do the seemingly impossible, and YOU can't understand this.

So the Amish father must be wrong.

Oh well, the Amish man would not speak against you or try to defend himself.

Maybe, the reason the Amish are 'a people apart' is so that they will not be contaminated by a hating world. Maybe they have found a peaceful place in this world.
I wonder how they did it.
But of course, they are 'legalistic', cheap, un-Biblical, and whatever other labels the hating world wants to put onto them.

They will not defend themselves from the likes of you, Lydia.
They don't need to.

Anonymous said...

WHY DO THE AMISH FORGIVE
SO QUICKLY ?????

Members of the Amish community began offering words and hugs of forgiveness when the blood was barely dry on the schoolhouse floor. A grandmother laughed when I asked if the forgiveness was orchestrated. "You mean that some people actually thought we had a meeting to plan forgiveness?"

As the father of a slain daughter explained, "Our forgiveness was not our words, it was what we did." Members of the community visited the gunman's widow at her home with food and flowers and hugged members of his family. There were a few words, but it was primarily their hugs, gifts, and mere presence – acts of grace – that communicated Amish forgiveness. Of the 75 people at the killer's burial, about half were Amish, including parents who had buried their own children a day or so before. Amish people also contributed to a fund for the shooter's family.

For most people, a decision to forgive comes – if ever – at the end of a long emotional journey that may stretch over months if not years. The Amish invert the process. Their religious tradition predisposes them to forgive even before an injustice occurs.

Amish faith is grounded in the teachings of Jesus to love enemies, reject revenge, and leave vengeance in the hands of God. As a father who lost a daughter in the schoolhouse said, "Forgiveness means giving up the right to revenge."

Unlike those who hire lawyers at every turn to protect their rights, the Amish yield to divine providence in the case of an unspeakable tragedy such as the one at Nickel Mines – believing that God's long arm of justice removes that need for human retaliation.

In the Amish view, forgiveness is a religious duty. As a young Amish carpenter said, "It's just standard forgiveness," but he was wrong. Conventional Christian forgiveness posits a God who forgives sinners and urges them to forgive others – to pass the grace on to those who wrong them. The Amish refrain – "If we don't forgive, we won't be forgiven" – shows a different impetus. Their salvation hinges on their willingness to forgive, a powerful motivation to extend grace to others. They cite the Lord's Prayer, and Jesus' story about an unforgiving servant as their motivation. One bishop, pointing to verses following the Lord's Prayer, said emphatically, "Forgiveness is the only thing that Jesus underscored in the Lord's Prayer."

"Forgiveness was a decided issue," one bishop explained – decided, that is, by Amish history and practice over the centuries. When the religious ancestors of the Amish were torched at the stake for their faith in 16th-century Europe, many of them, echoing Jesus on the cross, prayed aloud that God would forgive their executioners.

Despite their front-loaded commitment, the Amish still find forgiveness to be a long emotional process. Though there were no expressions of outright rage or hopes that the gunman would burn in hell, the wanton slaughter of their children did bring deep pain, tears, and raw grief.

While forgiveness means not holding a grudge – "the acid of bitterness eats the container that holds it," one farmer explained – the Amish are clear that it does not free the offender from punishment. Had the gunman survived, they would have wanted him locked up, not for revenge but to protect other children.

In mainstream society, retribution is a taken-for-granted right. Around the world, names of deities are often invoked to fuel cycles of revenge generation after generation.

In refreshing contrast, rather than using religion to bless and legitimize revenge, the Amish believe that God smiles on acts of grace that open doors for reconciliation.

• Donald B. Kraybill, distinguished professor at Elizabethtown College, is coauthor of the book, "Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy."

Bob Cleveland said...

The bible tells us that if we don't forgive others, our heavenly Father won't forgive us. Matthew 6:14-15, anyone? That's not a command I care to play "close to the edge".

But we sometimes get caught up in the "forgive and forget" thing. God does not say HE forgets things, and I don't think He tells us to either. We're to forgive and remember as forgiven.

That does not mean a pedophile or philanderer or someone who did the things mentioned in this post can ever resume their ministry. Elders and such are to be above reproach, and I think God meant what He said.

In think one sign of such a violater's restoration would be the realization that they could never return to the ministry, or realization they could not be around family members they'd abused, etc.

Anonymous said...

'While forgiveness means not holding a grudge – "the acid of bitterness eats the container that holds it," one farmer explained – the Amish are clear that it does not free the offender from punishment. Had the gunman survived, they would have wanted him locked up, not for revenge but to protect other children.'

Anonymous said...

Hubmaier had balance on this issue. He did not believe in pacifism but rather moderate pacifism. Jesus mentioned to by a sword but that he who lives by the sword will die by it. This is an interesting contrast on two statements.

Anonymous said...

"judge not, lest YE be judged."

Anon, I am not surprised at your 'judgemental' response to me at 06:32:00 PM 2009 (wink)

Taken how you are using the proof texted quasi-verse above, then we could never approach anyone about their sin. I sin so I cannot confront a pedophile because that would be judgemental?

Perhaps pastors should stop preaching about sin because that is judgemental? Wait! Many are already doing just that. Sins are now simple mistakes in many churches.

I have not seen one person here talk about being unforgiving. I have not seen one person suggest vengance or retribution. Forgiveness is not meant to cover over sin. We can forgive someone who never repents and it will not bring them eternal life. Still we should forgive.

It is not always possible to be completely reconciled or restored to former positions or relationships. That is why I warned Alan that many would accuse his sister of being unforgiving because she does not reconcile with the sexual predator. It is simply amazing how prevalent this attitude is in Christendom. It is almost as if folks want to put innocents in harms way or abuse victims even more with their cheap grace. They simply do not understand biblical forgiveness.

The bottomline is that none of us receive forgiveness of sins unless we repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. That is the Gospel and we are remiss if we do not share that part with folks when we are forgiving them.

I think the Bonhoeffer quote above fits here: Cheap Grace is that which we bestow on ourselves.

But I forgive you for being so judgemental toward me. :o)


Lydia

Anonymous said...

There are lots of directions that one can go when commenting on a post like this. Here are the thoughts that come to my mind.

1. People who are put in places of leadership should lead exemplary lives. When they do not, they should not transferred to other place or have matters covered up. None of us is perfect. And while all sin is sin and we are all equally sinners, the public nature of some sins is such that the persons caught in them should not be put in places of leadership. They should be helped out of leadership and helped into transitioning into other careers.

2. The church has to react swiftly and decisively to things like this.

3. I am concerned for many pastors and other Christian leaders because the culture that is often promoted in those vocations and the career tracks leading to those vocations often does not promote the kind of close relationships that are so helpful to people.

In college in 1981, I took a class on "Pastoral Leadership." In that class we were actually taught not to disclose innermost feelings to church members or to get too close to people in the church. The reason was that the information could be used against you, and there would be charges of favoritism among the congregation.

So, that left the Pastor without friends in the real world who might keep him grounded. The Pastor's friends were other Pastors (where the first question is often - "So, what are you runnin' in Sunday School these days?" - a question that invites competition and insecurity, not openness) or people on staff, who are not only co-workers, but subordinates.

In my opinion, this leaves a lot of guys in the ministry very lonely.

Another good reason for a "plurality of leadership" - elders, such as we have at our church.

This helps the pastor rub shoulders and spend time with guys who are not all in the ministry as a vocation. We share very deeply with each other.

I think that this is helpful to me and our pastor.

4. I believe that the guys studying in seminary or college should be told something like this - "Guys, if you have a problem with sexual morality that you cannot get control over, it would be better for you to postpone going into the ministry. Let the Lord work in your life a few years, work in a secular job, get some maturity etc. and see if you might be better prepared psychologically and emotionally later in life. Do not go into the ministry if you have a significant problem in the sexual area (this would include not knowing how to deal with unwanted same-sex attractions).

Again, no one is perfect. But there are some sins that affect society and other people so deeply that we need to make sure that we are doing all that we can to get the most mature and grounded people in the ministry that do not have these flaws.

They can arise at any time. But my experience shows that guys like the pastor mentioned here have struggled with this stuff for years and never could tell anyone about it.

It is no shame to admit that one has a weakness. And it is only wisdom to admit that one has a weakness that for the time being is a constant struggle, and that it is a disqualifier for leading in a high-profile way.

But our churches need cultures where that kind of thinking and dialogue can occur.

Louis

WatchingHISstory said...

The focus of our discussion is on the victims turmoil. The forgiveness they need is that which brings them the healing peace of God so that they can continue living an unhindered life without the turmoil. NONE of this is their fault!

The forgiveness they need is not to turn time back as if nothing happened. that is something we can't possibly do. Only God can do that. In fact a memory of the crimes are a part of the vendictive justice of God. The victim will see the judgment of God on his behalf. This is a glorious truth! Liberal theology, easy believism don't teach this.

Forgiveness does not have anything to do with trust of the perpetrator. It is for the victim alone. The victim need not confront the criminal for forgiveness. Forgiveness is for the victims and loved-ones benefit alone. The sole benefit of forgiveness is for the good of the victim.

God forgives and forgets. He alone restores trust. Joseph wept deeply when he was brought face to face with his brothers. That weeping was good for his soul. The brothers stood there with no ideal what he was experiencing and the ones who threw him into the well never earned his trust, no, not AT ALL. When Jacob bestowed final blessings on his sons he demonstrated this lack of change in them. The victim should do the same for his/her perpetrator.

"Vengenance is mine thus saith the Lord!" He will repay. This is comfort for the victim. Receive it, precious one. What he meant for evil God meant it for good. You can take that check to the bank and cash it now!

Alan Paul said...

Anonymous: If you'll show your name and a blog link where I can read about you, I will converse with you on whether or not I am a fundamentalist. I usually don't respond to shadows - though I couldn't help myself with the Amish comments made and made an exception.

WatchingHISstory said...

"I usually don't respond to shadows"

Absolutely the quote of the night!!!!

Alan Paul said...

Better yet, visit me at my blog and I will dialogue with you. But you'll find I don't allow anonymous comments. You'll also find my email address on my blog if you prefer to go that route.

Bob Cleveland said...

Charles,

I've searched and asked but I cannot find where God forgives and forgets. What I have found is that He states He will forgive our sins and remember them no more. The original languages states He will not "call them to mind".

That doesn't equal forgetting, which we cannot do either. But we can remember what's forgiven AS forgiven.

WatchingHISstory said...

Bob

I certainly have no argument with that! You said it well.

Charles

Anonymous said...

Charles/WatchingHISstory,

How dare you! You have the gall to talk about the "victim's turmoil"? The "victim's turmoil," of which you know NOTHING, would be lessened considerably if you would cease splashing his name all over the internet and penning x-rated accounts of what your demented mind imagines happened to him! You know which victim I speak of.

Take your own advice, Charles. Butt out and let God exact HIS "vendictive (sic) justice" on the perpetrator... or man up and go do something about it yourself. You are no "oracle," Charles, not from God or anyone else.

DAJ

Alan Paul said...

Spewing doesn't usually accomplish much...

Anonymous said...

Alan Paul,

If you're referring to Charles Page (aka WatchingHISstory), you're correct. He's been spewing for a long time, and I'm not the only one who's sick of it. If you're referring to me, perhaps you need to do some reading. Start with the October and November archives, especially the November 3rd article.

David A. Johnson

WatchingHISstory said...

DAJ
You forget I was hit in the face with a pie and i know the trauma.

"That's often the effect of the injury -- that it leaves the victim's self-identity so profoundly enmeshed with the belief that they are worthless or worse that the victim does not usually speak of it."

I understood that for over 45 years! Like Christa's distractors you choose not to believe my pain and the deliverance God gave me.
I identify with her cause. You seem to have a problem with that!

I honestly can't say that my pain comes anywhere close to Chris' but it is a microcosm of what he endures.

You bring it up and I remind you over and over that Bellevue spent several thousand dollars to call Paul's crime a "Moral failure" and "egregious sexual activity". It doesn't take a demented mind to know that this was the homosexual act of a father on his son. Sadly I don't get paid a dime to tell this truth. It makes you hate lawyers. They are poor substitutes for the work of the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

It will take a long time to get that thru your thick skull. Thank goodness I am patient. Eventually you will understand this.

Anonymous said...

WatchingHISstory,

The only thing you've convinced me of is that you're self-absorbed and obsessed with perverted sexual acts. You're either mentally ill or evil. I haven't decided which. Anyone who could pretend to compare getting hit in the face with a pie to being raped is sick. Maybe if you had been raped you'd understand how ridiculous you sound. Your behavior is disgusting and shameful.

DAJ

Alan Paul said...

Spewing by anyone usually accomplishes nothing.

Anonymous said...

What would you suggest then?

DAJ

Anonymous said...

And you're more concerned about someone "spewing," as you put it, than about what Charles Page is doing to the victim in this case? Amazing. Absolutely amazing.

DAJ

WatchingHISstory said...

David Johnson, you are an idiot! I Corinthians 14:38

It is late for me and I just want to go to bed but I am sitting here laughing.

Wade you know that I am posting here because I want to get my radical message from coast to coast in america and your blog is a venue for that. Isn't that arrogant of me?

And David is the grease of a well oiled machine. I can't even stop long enough to go to bed. I believe he wants me to respond with some profanity! And when I do my hits go skyward! Thank-you-David! David is dumber that a sack of rocks.

He follows his master blindly. He runs back and forth in Satan's rut!
And I am having fun being a servant of God. I love my job! I don't need affirrmation from any man.

I just need sleep and David give it a rest. I'll get hits with or without you.

Wad, God bless you and if you feel the necessity to delete me. It will not bother me. I am full of the love of Jesus and just want to go to bed. Hezekiah 4:2

WatchingHISstory said...

Wad!!! Wade, Wade, Wade, Wade

gotta go to bed!

word verification

"horings"

gmommy said...

"...that it leaves the victim's self-identity so profoundly enmeshed with the belief that they are worthless or worse that the victim does not usually speak of it."

That quote came from a comment made by Christa Brown tonight.
I'm sure Charles meant to mention that since he did put it in quotation marks.

You are still putting a victim's name on public display without permission.
I appreciate that you refrained from including the details of the abuse... as imagined in your own mind.
Since you have talked openly today about honoring victims... it is respectful to any victim of sexual abuse not to make any part of their name public.

Anonymous said...

I rest my case.

Good night.

DAJ

Native Arkansan said...

Why is it when that watchin' fella drops in jus' about everone else heads for the exits? It's like he sucks all the oxigin out of tha room.

gmommy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
WatchingHISstory said...

Gmommy

I made the mistake of asking permission of a victim to publish the name of his perpetrator and I want do that again. You are not going to get permission. When I hear from Paul Williams' son I will as forgiveness but to ask permission is a mistake. I'm sure you can understand that.

We have to fight the perps without the permission of the victims. Neither do I have to have your sanction.

Otherwise I believe you attempted to be nice to me and i appreciate that. Perhaps you are a kind sweet person, in real life.

I think I may like you.

Charles

WatchingHISstory said...

NA
You too are an idiot. I Cor 14:38

Can't you see I am getting attention for my blog. I really don't care if you get enough oxygen.

"Miami BCS Bound: #1 Oklahoma vs. #2 Florida"
see my 12:27 comment on wade blog:

NOW I am going to bed

Native Arkansan said...

NA
You too are an idiot.


Considerin' some of tha thangs I've been called, that's purty good! Thank ya, watchin'.

Can't you see I am getting attention for my blog.

Yeah, but thar's still nobody commentin'.

You sleep tight, watchin'. Make shure tha nurse puts tha rails on yer bed up and cinches up them wristbands real good!

Anonymous said...

"If I forgive someone for a wrong done to me, I no longer allow that event to determine how I treat the other person. I may remember the wrong or I may forget it, but either way I have disarmed it. It no longer determines my actions, thoughts, or words."

Anonymous said...

"One forgives to the degree that one loves."
--Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Anonymous said...

"WatchingHISstory: I made the mistake of asking permission of a victim to publish the name of his perpetrator and I want do that again. You are not going to get permission. When I hear from Paul Williams' son I will as forgiveness but to ask permission is a mistake. I'm sure you can understand that.

We have to fight the perps without the permission of the victims. Neither do I have to have your sanction.


Reply: You know good and well gmommy was talking about not mentioning the victim's name without his permission, not the perpetrator's.

She said: You are still putting a victim's name on public display without permission.

and

Since you have talked openly today about honoring victims... it is respectful to any victim of sexual abuse not to make any part of their name public.

Stop putting words in people's mouths, Charles.

Question: What are you doing to fight the perpetrator? What is your point?

Alan Paul said...

DAJ-

You seem to be making assumptions about me. I know nothing of Charles and don't care to know as your battle with him is not mine nor do I want to make it mine. I was simply pointing to a fact that demonstrates itself time and time on this blog and many others: spewing gets you nowhere. Yet most still do it over and over again. You have heard one of the definitions of insanity is to repeat the same action over and over again expecting a different result, right? In keeping with that definition, to spew and rage against someone you know will not change is insanity. You are better served by ignoring Charles.

Just so you don't make anymore assumptions about me, visit me on my blog or drop me an email (find the address at my blog).

gmommy said...

A victim of sexual abuse should always have their privacy respected.
Not the abuser.

That's why newspaper publication never print the name of victims.

Making the name of an innocent victim public only adds to the damage done by the abuse.

Alan didn't print the names of his nieces because that is the respect given to victims.

When you show no respect for the victim's privacy.... you join the others who supported the predator but ignored the needs of the victim.

Alan Paul said...

You're right, I didn't include the names and only included about 1% of the details so as to protect them. There is no reason to use names of victims or perps really as revealing the perp's name often reveals the victim's names.

Anonymous said...

Do not disclose the names of the children.

They do not need an assault on their privacy.

They must be protected now at all costs.

Anonymous said...

Alan has told of his family's tragedy and has received a lot of grief here from some of us.

He needed to have us to listen to him. Some of us wrongly
misinterpreted whaat he said.

Anonymous said...

A CHILD'S WORDS:

"In spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart."
Anne Frank


after writing this in her diary, Anne was taken with her family to a concentration camp and later was exterminated by the Nazis, leaving behind a diary filled with a child's hopes and dreams and a final blessing on mankind:

'I still believe . . .
that people are really good at heart...


Perhaps the power to forgive is easier for a child . . .

'in spite of everything' . . . .


Anne of the forgiving heart,
Child of Light,
sleep in peace.

Alan Paul said...

The main thing I wanted everyone pushing cheap forgiveness to hear is that you CAN forgive (though until you're ready to do so, it's just going through the motions) - it is required Biblically and it is much healthier emotionally to do so. But since we are not God, we cannot know for sure what is in a person's heart and therefore it would be foolish to give them free reign again in our lives once they have hurt us. Would you freely hand out your bank account info to anyone who asked and then forgive them when they robbed you blind? If so, email me your bank information! :)

In the same way, to allow Ted Haggard to be restored to what he was before after only a short time compared to how long he has carried around his sickness (I promise you he has been acting out for years - this does not happen over night) is not the loving thing to do for him, his church and those that love him.

WatchingHISstory said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
WatchingHISstory said...

Gentlemen I slep good last night, just overslep a bit.

You say: "What are you doing to fight the perpetrator? What is your point?"

The uniqueness of my fight is that the perpetrator is theologically Adrian Rogers. His proximity was too close to Paul williams

Adrian Rogers preached the false message of forgiveness addressed on this forum. I believe that Paul Williams was allowed to be a part of the ministry of Bellevue to show God's judgement against this theology.

Adrian Rogers crossed a line of no return that resulted in God taking him for discipline in heaven. The timing was astonding. He died and the revelation made and the judgment so quickly began. Rogers sits in heaven watching. I am WatchingHisstory!

David, that is my point.

Anonymous said...

CHEAP FORGIVENESS: when you tell someone else to forgive, and you haven't been through their ordeal.

CHEAP SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS: when you cannot understand the grace given to the Amish to forgive their children's murderer,
and you call their forgiveness cheap.

CHEAP BLASPHEMY: to question Christ's commands to us to 'love our enemies' and 'forgive those who trespass against you'

Anonymous said...

Exodus 23:4-5
4 “If you meet your enemy’s ox or his donkey going astray, you shall surely bring it back to him again.
5 If you see the donkey of him who hates you fallen down under his burden, don’t leave him, you shall surely help him with it.

Psalms 103:12
12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Proverbs 24:17
17 Don’t rejoice when your enemy falls. Don’t let your heart be glad when he is overthrown;

Isaiah 43:25
25 I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake; and I will not remember your sins.

Isaiah 55:7
7 let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to Yahweh, and he will have mercy on him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Matthew 5:39-46
39 But I tell you, don’t resist him who is evil; but whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also.
40 If anyone sues you to take away your coat, let him have your cloak also.
41 Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.
42 Give to him who asks you, and don’t turn away him who desires to borrow from you.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.’
44 But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you,
45 that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.
46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same?

Matthew 6:12
12 Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.

Matthew 6:14-15
14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15 But if you don’t forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Matthew 18:21-22
21 Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Until seven times?”
22 Jesus said to him, "“I don’t tell you until seven times, but, until seventy times seven.

Mark 11:25
25 Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father, who is in heaven, may also forgive you your transgressions.

Luke 6:35-37
35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing back; and your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind toward the unthankful and evil.
36 Therefore be merciful, even as your Father is also merciful.
37 Don’t judge, and you won’t be judged. Don’t condemn, and you won’t be condemned. Set free, and you will be set free.

Luke 17:3-4
3 Be careful. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him. If he repents, forgive him.
4 If he sins against you seven times in the day, and seven times returns, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”"

Luke 23:34
34 Jesus said, "“Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”" Dividing his garments among them, they cast lots.

Romans 12:14
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless, and don’t curse.

Romans 12:19-21
19 Don’t seek revenge yourselves, beloved, but give place to God’s wrath. For it is written, “Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord.”
20 Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in doing so, you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
21 Don’t be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Ephesians 4:32
32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God also in Christ forgave you.

Colossians 2:13
13 You were dead through your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh. He made you alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,

Colossians 3:13
13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, if any man has a complaint against any; even as Christ forgave you, so you also do.

Hebrews 8:12
12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness. I will remember their sins and lawless deeds no more.”

I John 1:9
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness

Anonymous said...

A man's ability to forgive

depends on

that man's ability to love.

The ability to love and the ability to forgive are the same.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't this post originally about redemption and Ted Haggard?

Maybe I missed something.

Blog hijackers are only effective when everyone else chooses to follow them down their rabbit holes.

Anonymous said...

I would be interested to hear thoughts on what is required for an individual to re-assume positions of vocational ministry after a "fall" like Haggard's.

Can a fellow like Haggard "come back"?
Could he pastor again?
If yes, under what conditions?

WatchingHISstory said...

Wade, I know that I am pushing the envelope beyond your expectations but you last statement in your post says much to me about Dr Rogers.

" The SBC church, institution or agency that believes the "leader" is beyond simple accountablity will find that leader has the capability to ruin the organization. When and if that happens, the fault will reside not only with the leader, but those laymen who were unable to see that a lack of transparency is the first indication that something is wrong."

It could not have been said better. I wish I had you ability to write!

Is Bellevue the only SBC big church run this way? Rogers got by on this earth because of the self discipline of his personality. He just made you like him! That veiled something that God is revealing and Jesus said that wich is done in darkness will be revealed.

Perhaps Paul Williams and this recession are providentially arranged to make known the truth.

But don't take me serious I am insane and am stumbling about for truth!

WatchingHISstory said...

Luke 12:42-48 (King James Version)

And the the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.

But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; the lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

WatchingHISstory said...

Ted Haggard, Jimmy Swaggart, Jim and Tammy Faye Baker, Robert Tilton, Todd Bentely are men who are redeemable but Adrian Rogers was not!

If you have a ministry patterned after Dr Rogers then God help your soul. There is a good chance that you will be in a large crowd in heaven watching a large bon-fire of wood, hay and stuble burning.

WatchingHISstory said...

anon 10:04

No absolutely not. Haggard is better selling insurance and never ministering again.

Anonymous said...

WatchingHISstory:

I'd be interested to hear your biblical justification.

Matt (Anon 10:04)

WatchingHISstory said...

Matt

Haggard committed a high-handed sin that in the OT would restrict him from serving as a priest. Well, he would have been stoned to death.

The New Testament pattern for ministries carries the same strictures without the stoning.

He should not ever be reinstated. He can be restored in faith and we hope he has but not to ministry.

Anonymous said...

There seem to me to be two aspects to this question.

1. The fact of Haggard's sin and the (hopefully) work of God's restoration in his life.
2. The fact that it happened during his time as a vocational minister.

Hypothetical: would the potential for future service as a vocational minister be any different had Haggard not been a pastor at the time it happened? In other words, suppose Haggard had just been your average Southern Baptist layperson, a believer, married, family, all the rest, but privately involved in his sin. Now assume, just for the sake of discussion, that he repented, God healed and restored his life and marriage, Haggard faithfully put all the accountability and checks in place to walk in the light from here on out.

Would there be a biblical prohibition against this hypothetical Haggard for future vocational ministry?

In other words, does the existence of fact #2 above NECESSARILY and BIBLICALLY forever bar a repented and redeemed individual from future vocational ministry?

Matt

Anonymous said...

Can you tell us the scriptural references for Haggard's exclusion from future ministry?

Anonymous said...

Maybe forgiveness is letting go of our own bitterness towards another while still holding the person accountable for their actions with the need to protect others from harm?

That makes sense.

You are not bitter.
The person is no longer the focus of your self-righteous indignation, and yet, you protect others from future victimization.

Anonymous said...

In noting the dialogue on easy forgiveness, I am all but reminded of a liberal secular philosophy that started to go maintsream in the 1920's called legal positivism. It was based on the idea that the more strict the penalty the greater deterrance to criminal mischief. Much of the problem in the post-modern age is understanding when and where liberalism occurred. The reactionary conservativism that I seeing in the SBC fails to understand this. True Christian civil justice means that a greater lost of privileges exists for greater crimes. That does not mean salvation grace is denied in the process, it means that greater restrictions on the individual are necessary when they are at risk for harming themselves and others.

Anonymous said...

Is the NATURE of Haggard's sin what is so revolting to a religion where homosexuals are so castigated?

There have been other ministers who committed heterosexual indiscretions, confessed, sought forgiveness, and have returned to ministry.

Perhaps it is because there is NO TOLERANCE FOR HOMOSEXUALITY, that this particular sin brings out the maximum sense of outrage and vituperation and indignation from the 'faithful'?

Did God call Haggard to the ministry? YES or NO

If he was called by God, who knows all our secrets before we know them, does that impact Haggard's return?

What could Christians learn about HYPOCRISY from this man's tragedy?

Is it ironic that so many who appear to be 'homophobic' are secretly battleing a tendency towards homosexuality?

Strange REACTIONS to Haggard's sin from the 'elect': the spectacle is the REACTION.

Anonymous said...

"True Christian civil justice means that a greater lost of privileges exists for greater crimes. That does not mean salvation grace is denied in the process, it means that greater restrictions on the individual are necessary when they are at risk for harming themselves and others."

This mature comment shows some understanding of the need to PROTECT the perpetrator and others.
There is a Christian wisdom here that guards possible future victims and guards the perpetrator from his own predelection to act out. Merciful all around.
And done, with compassion for all involved.
There is a certain grace shown when the needs of all are considered with compassion.

Anonymous said...

"David, that is my point."

Congratulations, Charles. You've hijacked yet another blog. I wasn't the anon who asked your point. I sign my name or initials to my comments, and I'd already retired for the evening when the anon asked that. If the blog host would change the times on comments to Central or Eastern time instead of someplace in the Atlantic Ocean maybe that would have been obvious.

I already know your point. You're a delusional nutjob, and it's all about you. That's why most people are ignoring you and why I intend to do the same from now on.

Wade, wherever you are, you can't say you weren't warned. As someone said, you high-fived the devil, and now he's come back to bite you.

DAJ

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:34,

There have been other ministers who committed heterosexual indiscretions, confessed, sought forgiveness, and have returned to ministry.

That's right. And some (e.g. Darrell Gilyard) didn't even have to confess or seek forgiveness. They just moved on to another pastorate.

"Perhaps it is because there is NO TOLERANCE FOR HOMOSEXUALITY, that this particular sin brings out the maximum sense of outrage and vituperation and indignation from the 'faithful'?"

I think we've seen a very good example of that right here. This wouldn't be nearly as big a deal if Haggard had an affair with a woman.

"Is it ironic that so many who appear to be 'homophobic' are secretly battleing a tendency towards homosexuality?"

Exactly! Sometimes the particular sin a preacher obsesses over is the very sin he struggles with himself. I could give specific examples but will refrain.

DAJ

Anonymous said...

BIBLE INERRANCY AND FORGIVENESS

forgive, if you have anything against anyone so that your father in heaven will also forgive your transgressions. But if you do not forgive, neither will your father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions (Mark 11:25-26).

Jesus' statement above in the gospel of Mark seems to inflict mortal damage to the doctrine of some fundamentalist churches, which is that only by faith one is "saved" and that one cannot "lose one's salvation."

According to the gospel of Mark, even if someone is "born again," if that person does not forgive those who have committed transgressions against him or her, God will not forgive the born-again Christian.

Apparently, God somehow "revokes" the forgiveness guaranteed by salvation through Jesus. And actually, the statement in Mark 11:25-26 renders another contradiction because "speaking against the Holy Spirit" is supposed to be the only unforgivable sin:

Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven (Matthew 12:31).

Absolute Language:
Whenever a passage suggesting questionable theology surfaces, defenders of fundamentalism will reply that 'one cannot read the Bible verse by verse, and insist that one must read the whole Bible to "truly" understand it'.

Verses like Mark 11:25-26 cannot be understood by themselves because there are other passages in the Bible which may elaborate on it.

To them, when asking whether or not those who do not forgive will be forgiven, they must consider all Bible verses relating to the subject, and not just highlight one.

But there is one important element that is ignored in this interpretative philosophy: language. The fact of the matter is that the writer of Mark 11:26 made an absolute statement.

It is a statement that is point-blank, clear and cannot be compromised in any way.

The passage says, in words just as plain as John 3:16, that unforgiveness is an unforgivable sin.

There is no "how-it-could-have-been" scenario to insert that does not compromise the language of this Markan passage.

Regardless of how many passages are found that suggest otherwise, no matter how many times one repeats, "It is by grace, not works that you are saved," it cannot take away from the absolute nature of Mark 11:26.

While fundamentalists may claim that one cannot focus on a single passage and accuse the Bible of having a contradiction, the language in this case requires it. Mark 11:25-26 can and should be singled out because of the unequivocal language used in the passage.

WatchingHISstory said...

hetro/homo sexual the minister should ever be reinstated. Period
IMHO

WatchingHISstory said...

John 3:16 is clear. Whosoever is he who is believing. Anyone not believing is not of the whosoever and they are perishing. The whosoever have everlasting life. How clear is that.

This implies effectual atonement and secured grace for the believer.

God saves whom he intends to save. None of the whosoevers will die in hell.

WatchingHISstory said...

David and anon 11:34

Is it ironic that so many who are not 'homophobic' are secretly battleing a tendency towards homosexuality? And even end up homo.

That is following your line of logic.

Rick said...

Watching History,

Have you ever thought about NOT blogging on Wade's sight. If I were him, I would be furious with you. You have posted over 20 @#*( times on HIS post.

Get a life.

And get your own blog.

WatchingHISstory said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
WatchingHISstory said...

Moron

I thank you for commenting. Welcome and feel free to comment anytime.

I have another blog, my main one: http://watchinghidtory.blogspot.com/

Drop by and visit

Charles Page

Bob Cleveland said...

Something struck me this afternoon as I was lying on the table about to be invaded by 6 million volts of radiation.

All this stuff isn't about forgiveness, unless Ted Haggard wronged you. It's about having judged him guilty of sin, judicially so, condemned him, and wanting to see (in some instances, apparently) some nose-rubbing and vengeance.

The same might be said about Paul Williams, I guess.

Jesus said in that model prayer He spoke, in response to a request to be taught how to pray, that we ought to forgive those who trespass against us. So if Ted Haggard misused you, or if he was your pastor, and that caused you some damage ... even though that might be questionable ... then you need to forgive him.

Jesus said you do.

All the rest, I suppose, ideally comes under the heading of "Look at all the damage these guys did to Jesus name, the church" (which, remember, Jesus said He would build) or the "Kingdom". And I have to think Jesus is a Lion that doesn't need defending.

What does need to happen is to turn Him loose, and I happen to think the way to do that is to treat people the way Jesus did. Love, compassion, forgiveness. Check with the woman at the well or the one caught in adultery for details.

Also, "above reproach" .. a qualification for elder .. means just that. Above accusation. And if we don't think people can live such a life today, what on earth does that say about our opinion of the Holy Spirit's ability to "lead guide and direct" .. and protect .. of which we hear so much?

It speaks volumes for the state of the church .. the one we've built ... today, that this comment stream suggests a church in which a pastor wouldn't dare confess his shortcomings, fears, urges, or anything else very personal.

Which strikes me as the whole point of Rev. Burleson's post.

Or not. I'm just a college flunk-out from Alabama.

Anonymous said...

It has taken a while to realize that, for Southern Baptists, Jesus wasn't good enough.

'Only Jesus" or 'SOLA CHRISTUS'
doesn't work for them.

They need other 'substitutionary' means of salvation that can be manipulated to serve their 'doctrines'.

The proof: forgiveness
called by many a 'cheap' thing.

Give 'em the Bible to 'interpretate in context only' and their ridiculous man-made creed to sign 'or you're not a car-carrying fundamentalist'.
Jesus wasn't all that important after all. The SBC has gone way beyond Him. (Maybe they thought he was a 'liberal' or a 'heretic'.)

All they need for salvation is the Bible !

Anonymous said...

THE DIVINITY OF THE BIBLE

"In the Baptist Messenger, Alan Day, pastor of First Baptist Church of Edmond, made the idolatrous thrust of the 2000 Baptist Faith & Message explicit. He wrote that the Holy Spirit bears witness to “the divinity of the Scriptures.”

Alan Day writes a weekly column on Baptist doctrine for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma’s newspaper, the Baptist Messenger. Day serves as Oklahoma’s chief apologist for those who took over the SBC and revised the BF&M.

To call the scriptures “divine” — deifying them and equating them with God — is idolatry. The essence of idolatry is to deify something created and worship it, i.e. placing religious faith in it."

Anonymous said...

1. "You see, it is the word of God that saves sinners and turns them into saints"

2. "It is the word of God that takes a sinner and turns him into a saint!"

3. "Because this book ALONE is the word of God!"

James Merritt 2001

Creedalism is not Christianity.

Anonymous said...

So, 'forgiveness' is not high on the list of priorities for Baptists.

All things considered, this makes sense.



P.S. Someone forgot to tell God.

Anonymous said...

BOB CLEVELAND said,
"So if Ted Haggard misused you, or if he was your pastor, and that caused you some damage ... even though that might be questionable ... then you need to forgive him. "

Bob, I think you are on to something here.

What should 'church' be, since it doesn't work for people if they cannot confess openly and seek prayer and forgiveness without worrying about the 'consequences'.

It's what we keep hidden that we need help with.

Church: if we have to act like we are not sinners at Church, then we don't need to be there anyway.

Maybe the early Christians knew that better than we do, since they practiced repentence, confession, and reconciliation as a part of their faith. ?

Bob, how could things be different in our churches so that a sinner could seek forgiveness without being stoned to death in the sanctuary or kicked out for shaming "the good people of the Church?" Christ wouldn't have 'thrown' Haggard away. No, that wasn't how HE handled those who needed Him. It IS still Christ's church, isn't it? ?????


Funny. When Haggard kept his 'secret' from his congregation, they accepted his teaching.

Then, when the 'secret' was outed, Haggard's teaching was not for them anymore.

Did what he was teaching CHANGE?
Or was HE the embarassment?
Were they following the message or the messenger?

Any minister is fallible, personally. We are ALL sinners.
Ministers are probably targeted by Satan more anyway.
Congregations need to follow the 'message' and assume that the 'messenger' may be just another frail sinner like themselves.

Church should be a place where repentent sinners can come without fear of being stoned, or burned at the stake, or having to wear a 'scarlet letter'.

In our materialistic, worldly, 'quick fix' throw-away society, Haggard was 'thrown away'.

"Get rid of him. Get a new guy.
Then, we're back in business."

BACK IN BUSINESS . . . .
what business, the business of helping sinners to repent, be forgiven, and be reconciled to God and to their fellow men?
Guess not.

"We're back in business."
Until the NEXT scandal.
It doesn't work, somehow. Why?

WatchingHISstory said...

anon 6:28, 6:32, 6:40 and 6:43
(I think I agree with you - "think" gives me an out)

If what I think you meaan is what I am complaining about Rogers' theology. Is his treatment of the Bible an example of what you are talking about?

You say the SBC and I say Rogers.
You are city nice and I am country and earthy.

Are we on the same page.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Page, you focus on Rogers.
He is just a 'symptom' of something more: others may have contributed to the mess.
Step back, and take a look at what happened to the SBC starting with the persecution of Herschel Hobbs.

Rogers was a flunkie for someone else. There are lots of flunkies to worry about.
Don't obsess over Rogers.
Won't do any good, now.
Find a way to come into the present and work to make things better in 'real time'.

Anonymous said...

According to one author, the pastor once responded to a question about biblical references in support of slavery during biblical times by saying,

"I feel slavery is a much maligned institution. If we had slavery today we would not have such a welfare problem."

AND THIS GUY WAS AN SBC LEADER.
Well, that says a lot.

Alan Paul said...

Agree with you Bob in principle... but really, is a lifelong habitual sin really just a shortcoming? Ultimately we are all lifetime habitual offenders, but there are some that we need to protect the world from until they can demonstrate they have been set free. Again to do anything else, since we are not God and not tell a person's heart apart from their actions over a period of time, is foolish.

Haggard may not fit this category as far as being a physical danger (though it's my opinion that spiritual and emotional damage is more serious than most forms of physical damage) to anyone such as a pedophile or rapist or murderer or the like might be, but he certainly caused ruin on a church and probably at least hindered some folks' spiritual growth with his hypocrisy.

At any rate he should be genuinely forgiven. He should NOT be restored to his former position with out the process of restoration taking place. Just my opinion and like you said, he did nothing to me personally and I don't have a say in it.

Bob Cleveland said...

Anonymous 07:18

I have no earthly idea how to change it, but it might just start with preachers opening up with their congregations and risking it. Change like that can hardly star with the congregations saying "You can tell us now".

In my experience, there are probably more preachers who are unwilling to accept advice, correction, etc from their congregations, than there are congregations willing to understand and forgive.

And I have to say it again .. when a pastor .. born again and called and all that .. steps over the line and commits adultery or child abuse, etc, then I think it is very difficult to go back into the ministry. I think the principles of 1 Timothy 3 require that those in the ministry first be proven, and hasn't a man within the ministry who then strays thusly, indeed, done just that?

WatchingHISstory said...

"Church: if we have to act like we are not sinners at Church, then we don't need to be there anyway."

I agree fully with that!

It seems to me that Christ had a two-fold ministry. A powerfully direct one to the masses. Luke 4:18,19 and an equally powerful one to the false religious leaders Luke 12:1 and several John passages of confrontations with false religious leaders.

The message of forgiveness came loud and clear toward the masses.
His strict condemnation was directed toward the religious leaders. He adhered to the law in his condemnation to them. He expected adherance in both letter and spirit.

He was not a liberine but he did seem to teach the spirit of the law to the masses with compassion and patience.

That motivates me to say Ted Haggard and Paul williams should not be reinstated to any ministry role but that does not mean they are abandoned at all.

The harm they have done to victims is beyond repair as far as what men can do. Others need to be protected from them.

Anonymous said...

"All they need for salvation is the Bible !"

I couldn't disagree more.

Give someone a bible and an empty room and they could just as easily come out a Catholic, Mormon, Jehovah Witness, or maybe even Baptist.

WatchingHISstory said...

Bob

In addition to witnessing to strangers about Christ I stopped at Churches unannounced and ask to speak with a pastor or a staff member. I witnessed to preachers!

I was full of zeal and bold and was pleasantly surprised to end up having good conversations alwys ended by prayer. But there were several negative experiences. A large charismatic church and then a church of my previous denomination. In anger he said "you think you can just march in here and like a sponge I am going to soak up everything you say?"

Well, absolutely not. I never expected that at all. But I did think, "isn't that what you do every time you step into the pulpit. Don't you expect your people to soak up all you say without questions?"

Pastor are used to being heard but are weak listeners. This is a trap for many of them.

It is a simple saying but "you do as I say and as I do" A pastors actions have to match his words.

WatchingHISstory said...

anon 7:46

all they need for salvation is to be elect! The Holy Spirit will provide the ends toward that, absolutely.

The Bible is an important part of that process. The Spirit will furnish a person for them when He makes the sinner regenerate.

heaven help the person that someone tries to convert before they are regenerate. You will end up having an unregenerate church member! sort of a manmade "Christianstein", a church monster!

Bob Cleveland said...

"OOPS TIME"...

That sentence should say "In my experience, there are probably more preachers who are unwilling to accept advice, correction, etc from their congregations, than there are congregations unwilling to understand and forgive.

Bob Cleveland said...

Alan Paul,

We're of the same opinion there. See my follow-on comment, and also mine of yesterday, 06:49pm.

Anonymous said...

HUMILITY: A SHEPHERD'S STAFF

There is this to think about:

that it is Christ who can take a sinner who 'weeps bitterly' in repentence, who has betrayed Him, not once, but three times,
and this same Christ can change the heart of Simon Peter, now repentent and weeping bitterly, WHO HAS BEEN HUMBLED, and make from that sorrowing person a great 'fisher of men'.

Does Jesus tell us something here?

Was HE so offended by Peter's denials that He sent Peter away?
No.
He looked at Peter with love and that broke Peter's heart and changed it forever.

And the humility stayed with Peter the rest of his life as he proclaimed the Lord to all who would hear.

And, in the end, Simon Peter who had long ago three times denied the Lord Himself, had the courage to face his own crucifixion:
he asked his executioners
to crucify him upside down: because he said he was 'not worthy' to be crucified in the same manner of the Lord Christ.



"PETER'S REPENTANCE

"And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly" (Luke 22:61, 62).

That was the turning point in the life of Peter.

Christ had said to him: "Thou canst not follow me now" (John 13:36). Peter was not in a fit state to follow Christ, because he had not been brought to an end of his "self". He did not know himself, and he therefore could not follow Christ. But when he went out and wept bitterly, then came the great change.

Christ previously said to him: "When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren" (Luke 22:32). Here is the point Where Peter was converted from self to Christ.

I thank God for the story of Peter. I do not know a man in the Bible who gives us greater comfort. When we look at his character, so full of failures, and at what Christ made him by the power of the Holy Spirit, there is hope for every one of us. But remember, BEFORE Christ could fill Peter with the Holy Spirit and make a NEW MAN of him, he had to go out and weep bitterly; he had to be humbled."

And so it may be true for many who serve the Lord. Those who have fallen and been raised up in forgiveness by Christ have a story to tell us. Maybe they are now greater witnesses to Christ's love and merciful forgiveness, having experienced the wonder of this Grace, themselves. L's

Native Arkansan said...

Watchin' says, "I was full of zeal... "

Or somethin'.

Anonymous said...

It is said that the whole value of a act of forgiveness
lies in the love that inspired it.

God must have loved us
to untie the bindings of wickedness
and untie the cords of the yoke of our sinfulness
and let us go free.

Jesus Christ:
"forgiveness" in Person
God's Gift of Love

Maybe it is that we cannot easily or even ever forgive because we cannot love the other as we love ourselves. And yet we must try, as God commands it. L's

Alan Paul said...

Peter's repentance is a beautiful example of what God can do in the heart of one who has genuinely yielded himself to Him as Lord. Thanks for that L's.

Anonymous said...

SOME SINS ARE HARDER TO FORGIVE

In time perhaps the people, who needed to forgive Ted Haggard his indiscretion, will do so;

but it will be much harder for them to forgive him for having forced them to sin by sitting in judgment on him.

WatchingHISstory said...

anon 9:29

Is there forgiveness for the way people feel about me? ...for the cruel and awful things they say?

Will God forgive them? Well, I mean if they seek his forgiveness.
Or will they just insist I seek forgiveness.

If I get the beam out of my eye will they get the splinter out of theirs?

Will they follow my lead or will they deny they have a splinter in their eye?

WatchingHISstory said...

Everyone join in on the "show and tell" discussion about forgiveness. See if your understanding can surpass mine!

Everyone pull up a chair and join the competition! Let's make this fun. OK NA you are first.

Anonymous said...

Ah, Charles, perhaps 'they know not what they do'.
People say things but they cannot control what happens to the heart and mind and spirit of the person they have harmed with their words.
And yes, people can do great harm with their words.

Maybe, if they realized the extent of the pain their words have caused, they would seek forgiveness.

Charles, people reviled Christ.
He forgave them.
Be peaceful, pray for these people, and then let the Lord work His Grace on their spirits.

If you forgive them, maybe He will, too.

Remember that scripture about
'has anyone here condemned thee?
Neither do I. Go and sin no more.'

Don't worry about it.
Their need to say these things means they are in more trouble than we know. Pray for them, Charles, and then, be peaceful.

Anonymous said...

Anon: And yes, people can do great harm with their words.

Reply: Charles should know. He's been trying to do great harm with his words for a long time.

WatchingHISstory said...

"He's been trying to do great harm with his words for a long time."

..and all alone i thought that I was doing the work of the Lord. Trying to redirect toward a true gospel and anon had it all the time! (well all the anons, about a thousand)

word verification "bless" a true sign from God I am right!

WatchingHISstory said...

a story, with some adaptation, from John Duckworth in "Joan ’n’ the Whale" and other stories you never heard in Sunday School
**
Once upon a time way up in the mountains somewhere in Europe there was a peaceful little village. It was a quaint village with the unlikely name of St. Cold-as-ice-berg. Overshadowing this quiet village was the imposing grey edifice of the castle Van Gelical, the home of the maddest scientist of them all, the notorious, the infamous, Dr. Emil Van Gelical!

Deep in the eerily lit dungeon of this mighty castle there is a movement. A gaunt figure in a once-white lab coat, now stained with the evidence of his many notorious experiments, moves purposefully towards the operating table in the middle of the room. Yes, it is … Dr E. Van Gelical!

Under the dirty grey sheet lies a human form. Or is it human? As the doctor approaches the table he calls for his trusted assistant, "Igor, come quickly!"

Igor appears, shuffling across the floor, carrying a large cardboard box.

"It's time for my greatest experiment", pronounces the doctor

"Goody! I love experiments, master", wheezes Igor,

The doctor continues, "Tonight I will show the world who is a genius. Tonight will be my greatest triumph. I am going to achieve what no person has ever done before. I am going to create spiritual life!" All around lightning flashes and thunder roars.

"Tonight I will create CHRISTIANSTEIN! Christianstein, the greatest specimen of spiritual life the world has ever known. He will have everything. Everything! Let the operation begin."

As he speaks the doctor slowly pulls back the sheet, uncovering the inanimate form of a young man dressed in a white shirt, grey tie and blue polyester suit. Clean shaven, with short neat hair. A large black Bible by his side…

The operation begins. The equipping of his creation is at hand. "Igor give me the bottle marked, 'Voice of a great evangelist'." He draws the contents into a syringe and slowly injects the lifeless form on the table.

"Now the one marked, 'The courage of Stephen'," Igor hands him a dusty phial. "Also the ancient looking flask, the one containing the patience of Job." And so the operation continues for a long, long time… Eventually there are only a few small bottles with weirdly coloured fluids left. At Igor's inquiring glance Doc. Van Gelical explains, "Those are some special serums I have distilled. Now hand me a fresh syringe and we will continue."

"First a double dose of prayer and daily Bible reading", the liquid is injected into the limp arm.

Then - faithful Church attendance
- generous giving (can't have too much of that)
- temperance topped up with anti-extremism
- desire for volunteer work
- ability to resist temptation
- willingness to be on rosters
- cheerful obedience
- last, but not least, a triple dose of orthodoxy (Orthoxicol for churches). Very important that one.

Anonymous said...

from Isaiah 58

'6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?

7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?

8 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy reward.

9 Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;

10 And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day:

11 And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

12 And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.

REPAIRER OF THE BREACHR
RESTORER OF PATHS TO DWELL IN

. . ...an evil person will continue the evil on and on until someone stops him: by caring for him enough to forgive him

Forgiveness has great power to stop evil, because forgiveness is born from God's Love.
And there is no greater power on Earth than that.

Chris said...

I can't believe that someone would suggest we should expect people to take their precious time to forgive.

The time for forgiveness is always the present. We should not even fall asleep if we harbor animosity against another. We forgive what is unforgivable because we know what it means to be forgiven. Our forgiveness is cheap; it is scandalous because we charge nothing for it. We charge nothing because it cost nothing to receive.

But if righteousness isn't a good enough reason to forgive and forgive immediately, then perhaps self-interest will compel. Remember that when Jesus teaches us to pray, we are forgiven in the same way we forgive. If we cannot forgive, we should not expect it of others.

I say this as someone who suffered sexual abuse. The day I knew that it was what it was, I forgave. But for a few hours, I have never been angry. Always forgive, whether forgiveness is sought or not.

The reason we do not forgive is the belief that somehow we deserved grace and forgiveness more than someone else. We received forgiveness because we deserved it, this person does not deserve it. But the truth is that forgiveness is not forgiveness if it is earned. If it is earned, it is a wage. It is necessary to forgive the unforgivable because only the unforgivable can truly be forgiven.

It is sad that so often the church is the only place where you are expected to be perfect, and therefore the only place where forgiveness is so readily withheld.

ezekiel said...

"Bob, how could things be different in our churches so that a sinner could seek forgiveness without being stoned to death in the sanctuary or kicked out for shaming "the good people of the Church?" Christ wouldn't have 'thrown' Haggard away. No, that wasn't how HE handled those who needed Him. It IS still Christ's church, isn't it? ?????"

What we seem to have here is "forgive and forget" "don't judge" and a bunch of other teaching that seems to point to a lack of understanding or a lack of knowledge on the part of some. Let's look at it.

It is Christ's church. Prolly not lot unlike the one at Pergamum.

Rev 2:14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: you have some people there who are clinging to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to set a trap and a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, [to entice them] to eat food that had been sacrificed to idols and to practice lewdness [giving themselves up to sexual vice]. [Num. 25:1, 2; 31:16.]
Rev 2:15 You also have some who in a similar way are clinging to the teaching of the Nicolaitans [those corrupters of the people] which thing I hate.
Rev 2:16 Repent [then]! Or else I will come to you quickly and fight against them with the sword of My mouth.

Then 1 Tim has a good bit to say before and leading up to this wonderful statement. But then some folks would just say forgive him and let him preach....

Tit 1:16 They profess to know God [to recognize, perceive, and be acquainted with Him], but deny and disown and renounce Him by what they do; they are detestable and loathsome, unbelieving and disobedient and disloyal and rebellious, and [they are] unfit and worthless for good work (deed or enterprise) of any kind.

Or even this Gem. Does anyone else see Haggard, Gilyard or any other defamed good sounding preacher here?

2Pe 2:9 Now if [all these things are true, then be sure] the Lord knows how to rescue the godly out of temptations and trials, and how to keep the ungodly under chastisement until the day of judgment and doom,
2Pe 2:10 And particularly those who walk after the flesh and indulge in the lust of polluting passion and scorn and despise authority. Presumptuous [and] daring [self-willed and self-loving creatures]! They scoff at and revile dignitaries (glorious ones) without trembling,
2Pe 2:11 Whereas [even] angels, though superior in might and power, do not bring a defaming charge against them before the Lord.
2Pe 2:12 But these [people]! Like unreasoning beasts, mere creatures of instinct, born [only] to be captured and destroyed, railing at things of which they are ignorant, they shall utterly perish in their [own] corruption [in their destroying they shall surely be destroyed],
2Pe 2:13 Being destined to receive [punishment as] the reward of [their] unrighteousness [suffering wrong as the hire for their wrongdoing]. They count it a delight to revel in the daytime [living luxuriously and delicately]. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions and carousing together [even] as they feast with you.
2Pe 2:14 They have eyes full of harlotry, insatiable for sin. They beguile and bait and lure away unstable souls. Their hearts are trained in covetousness (lust, greed), [they are] children of a curse [exposed to cursing]!
2Pe 2:15 Forsaking the straight road they have gone astray; they have followed the way of Balaam [the son] of Beor, who loved the reward of wickedness. [Num. 22:5, 7.]


Now some will say that Christ would not have kicked Haggard out of His church but scripture does seem to tell another story. Do you really think that Paul got his instructions wrong?

1Co 5:11 But now I write to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of [Christian] brother if he is known to be guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater [whose soul is devoted to any object that usurps the place of God], or is a person with a foul tongue [railing, abusing, reviling, slandering], or is a drunkard or a swindler or a robber. [No] you must not so much as eat with such a person.
1Co 5:12 What [business] of mine is it and what right have I to judge outsiders? Is it not those inside [the church] upon whom you are to pass disciplinary judgment [passing censuring sentence on them as the facts require]?
1Co 5:13 God alone sits in judgment on those who are outside. Drive out that wicked one from among you [expel him from your church].

This is a long way from restoring him to preaching and even fellowship at the church, don't you think?

1Co 5:2 And you are proud and arrogant! And you ought rather to mourn (bow in sorrow and in shame) until the person who has done this [shameful] thing is removed from your fellowship and your midst!

1Co 5:5 You are to deliver this man over to Satan for physical discipline [to destroy carnal lusts which prompted him to incest], that [his] spirit may [yet] be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Anonymous said...

Ezekiel: bring out all the OTHER bible verses on forgiveness that don't line up with your doctrine.

Yes, those verses.

Alan Paul said...

Ezekial you would have made a good medieval Catholic priest! ;)

Seriously, I agree with scripture so I can't help but agree with you... yet I would not shoot the wounded - I would indeed remove the person, but would see to it that, if they so desire it through their purposeful and genuine repentance, he/she receives the mercy, grace, healing and forgiveness that God offers. After all if God is anything, he is first and foremost our redeemer.

If they do not seek repentance and forgiveness, and stubbornly continue in their rebellion and destructive behaviors, then as hard as it would be to do (on so many levels) I would have no choice but to remove them from the church -cut off completely.

Glad I do not have that responsibility...

ezekiel said...

Notice here that an important word that preceeds forgiveness is REPENT. I think that means "stop doing it". You seem to be preaching forgiveness without repentance and that falls along the lines of Balam's error. Just go ahead and do what you want, the blood of Jesus has it all covered anyway.

Act 2:38 And Peter answered them, Repent (change your views and purpose to accept the will of God in your inner selves instead of rejecting it) and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of and release from your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Would you call Haggard's sin or Gilyard's sin deliberate or willful? Are you saying they just can't help themselves? If so, don't you think that you are actually denying to power of the Holy Spirit to convict and deliver them (us) from the bondage to sin? 2 Tim 3:1-7 and Romans 8 come to mind.

Notice a pretty important distinction here in the following verses. In 10:30 it clearly says "His people". That is us.

Heb 10:26 For if we go on deliberately and willingly sinning after once acquiring the knowledge of the Truth, there is no longer any sacrifice left to atone for [our] sins [no further offering to which to look forward].
Heb 10:27 [There is nothing left for us then] but a kind of awful and fearful prospect and expectation of divine judgment and the fury of burning wrath and indignation which will consume those who put themselves in opposition [to God]. [Isa. 26:11.]
Heb 10:28 Any person who has violated and [thus] rejected and set at naught the Law of Moses is put to death without pity or mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. [Deut. 17:2-6.]
Heb 10:29 How much worse (sterner and heavier) punishment do you suppose he will be judged to deserve who has spurned and [thus] trampled underfoot the Son of God, and who has considered the covenant blood by which he was consecrated common and unhallowed, thus profaning it and insulting and outraging the [Holy] Spirit [Who imparts] grace (the unmerited favor and blessing of God)? [Exod. 24:8.]
Heb 10:30 For we know Him Who said, Vengeance is Mine [retribution and the meting out of full justice rest with Me]; I will repay [I will exact the compensation], says the Lord. And again, The Lord will judge and determine and solve and settle the cause and the cases of His people. [Deut. 32:35, 36.]

I think you need to take another look at forgiveness. Look at it from the perspective of what it does for you rather than the one that has wronged you. The ability to forgive is all geared toward keeping a soft, circumcised heart...your heart.

We are instructed to forgive in part for what it does for us and our hearts. WE are also instructed to not fellowship, eat or associate with those that do these abominable things.

So I can quote all your favorite fogiveness scriptures but they aren't any more true than the ones that I have quoted.

Act 20:22 And now, you see, I am going to Jerusalem, bound by the [Holy] Spirit and obligated and compelled by the [convictions of my own] spirit, not knowing what will befall me there--
Act 20:23 Except that the Holy Spirit clearly and emphatically affirms to me in city after city that imprisonment and suffering await me.
Act 20:24 But none of these things move me; neither do I esteem my life dear to myself, if only I may finish my course with joy and the ministry which I have obtained from [which was entrusted to me by] the Lord Jesus, faithfully to attest to the good news (Gospel) of God's grace (His unmerited favor, spiritual blessing, and mercy).
Act 20:25 And now, observe, I perceive that all of you, among whom I have gone in and out proclaiming the kingdom, will see my face no more.
Act 20:26 Therefore I testify and protest to you on this [our parting] day that I am clean and innocent and not responsible for the blood of any of you.
Act 20:27 For I never shrank or kept back or fell short from declaring to you the whole purpose and plan and counsel of God.
Act 20:28 Take care and be on guard for yourselves and the whole flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you bishops and guardians, to shepherd (tend and feed and guide) the church of the Lord or of God which He obtained for Himself [buying it and saving it for Himself] with His own blood.
Act 20:29 I know that after I am gone, ferocious wolves will get in among you, not sparing the flock;
Act 20:30 Even from among your own selves men will come to the front who, by saying perverse (distorted and corrupt) things, will endeavor to draw away the disciples after them [to their own party].

Anonymous said...

let he among you
who is WITHOUT SIN
cast the first stone . . .

Alan Paul said...

Ezekial-

Assuming you are talking to me, please go back and read my response to you. I did speak of repentance being necessary - in fact it is critical not to my forgiveness, but to restoration to fellowship with God and the church.

The rest of what you are saying... I don't see how it applies to me. Explain.

ezekiel said...

Alan Paul,

I think you and I are more or less in agreement, only I do think the responsibility does lie with you and I and all the rest of the body of the local church.

My posts were directed toward those that would restore Haggard to his preaching position and sweep all that abominaition under the rug. He is disqualified. Period. I would even argue that he wasn't even called to begin with. And that is where Balaam's error comes in. Was Haggard preaching for gain and because he was good at it or because God called him? Balaam blessed Israel because God wouldn't let him do anything else. Maybe Haggard was the same way?


My argument is based on the idea of when he was in those hotel rooms, soaking up drugs and committing his abomination, where was the Holy Spirit? Was He dwelling inside Haggard right then and yet unable to stop him from doing what he did? How does Haggard's sin, my sin, your sin or anyone elses reconcile with Romans 6? I don't really think it does. We are either delivered from the bongdage to sin by His sacrifice on the cross or we are not. It shouldn't be that hard to tell the difference.

1Jn 5:18 We know [absolutely] that anyone born of God does not [deliberately and knowingly] practice committing sin, but the One Who was begotten of God carefully watches over and protects him [Christ's divine presence within him preserves him against the evil], and the wicked one does not lay hold (get a grip) on him or touch [him].




What is really amazing is that we have some, maybe even many that suggest we should fogive and fellowship with those that God gave up to the very lusts that we are talking about. Does this make us a friend or an enemy of God?
(Romans 1:25-26) (James 4:4)

So to sum it all up, your reaction to the abuser in your family needs to be the same as the reaction the church should have toward Haggard or Gilyard or anyone else that engages in repetitive, intentional sin.

Anonymous said...

"all have fallen short . . . "

Anonymous said...

Alan,

forgive the man,
not the sin
forgive THE MAN

do it for YOUR SELF

The sin was terrible and the children will suffer until the Day of the Lord, when He wipes away all tears.

They should always be protected now by everyone, and helped in every way possible.

FORGIVENESS is a voluntary action that restores you to peace with this man, not with his sin.
Big difference.

ezekiel said...

"all have fallen short",

If you read Romans without verse or chapter headings, you won't find a break in the context between chapters 3 and 6. It is all building from chapters 1 up through about 11 if not all the way through. If you keep reading from the fallen short, you wind up in 6 all following the same argument and thought development.


Rom 6:1 WHAT SHALL we say [to all this]? Are we to remain in sin in order that God's grace (favor and mercy) may multiply and overflow?
Rom 6:2 Certainly not! How can we who died to sin live in it any longer?
Rom 6:3 Are you ignorant of the fact that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?

Rom 6:4 We were buried therefore with Him by the baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious [power] of the Father, so we too might [habitually] live and behave in newness of life.
Rom 6:5 For if we have become one with Him by sharing a death like His, we shall also be [one with Him in sharing] His resurrection [by a new life lived for God].
Rom 6:6 We know that our old (unrenewed) self was nailed to the cross with Him in order that [our] body [which is the instrument] of sin might be made ineffective and inactive for evil, that we might no longer be the slaves of sin.
Rom 6:7 For when a man dies, he is freed (loosed, delivered) from [the power of] sin [among men].
Rom 6:8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,
Rom 6:9 Because we know that Christ (the Anointed One), being once raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has power over Him.
Rom 6:10 For by the death He died, He died to sin [ending His relation to it] once for all; and the life that He lives, He is living to God [in unbroken fellowship with Him].
Rom 6:11 Even so consider yourselves also dead to sin and your relation to it broken, but alive to God [living in unbroken fellowship with Him] in Christ Jesus.
Rom 6:12 Let not sin therefore rule as king in your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies, to make you yield to its cravings and be subject to its lusts and evil passions.
Rom 6:13 Do not continue offering or yielding your bodily members [and faculties] to sin as instruments (tools) of wickedness.
But offer and yield yourselves to God as though you have been raised from the dead to [perpetual] life, and your bodily members [and faculties] to God, presenting them as implements of righteousness.
Rom 6:14 For sin shall not [any longer] exert dominion over you, since now you are not under Law [as slaves], but under grace [as subjects of God's favor and mercy].
Rom 6:15 What then [are we to conclude]? Shall we sin because we live not under Law but under God's favor and mercy? Certainly not!
Rom 6:16 Do you not know that if you continually surrender yourselves to anyone to do his will, you are the slaves of him whom you obey, whether that be to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience which leads to righteousness (right doing and right standing with God)?
Rom 6:17 But thank God, though you were once slaves of sin, you have become obedient with all your heart to the standard of teaching in which you were instructed and to which you were committed.
Rom 6:18 And having been set free from sin, you have become the servants of righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in thought, purpose, and action).
Rom 6:19 I am speaking in familiar human terms because of your natural limitations. For as you yielded your bodily members [and faculties] as servants to impurity and ever increasing lawlessness, so now yield your bodily members [and faculties] once for all as servants to righteousness (right being and doing) [which leads] to sanctification.
Rom 6:20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.
Rom 6:21 But then what benefit (return) did you get from the things of which you are now ashamed? [None] for the end of those things is death.
Rom 6:22 But now since you have been set free from sin and have become the slaves of God, you have your present reward in holiness and its end is eternal life.
Rom 6:23 For the wages which sin pays is death, but the [bountiful] free gift of God is eternal life through (in union with) Jesus Christ our Lord.


True enough, all have fallen short. The real question is are you going to be raised with Christ and walk in the newness of life or are you going to continue to waller in sin, dead to righteousness?

Really now, who are you going to serve? Sin that leads to death or righteousness? I don't really think he saved you in your sin but from it......

Chapter 8 is good as well...

Rom 8:1 THEREFORE, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit. [John 3:18.]
Rom 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death.
Rom 8:3 For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh [the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice], [Lev. 7:37.]
Rom 8:4 So that the righteous and just requirement of the Law might be fully met in us who live and move not in the ways of the flesh but in the ways of the Spirit [our lives governed not by the standards and according to the dictates of the flesh, but controlled by the Holy Spirit].
Rom 8:5 For those who are according to the flesh and are controlled by its unholy desires set their minds on and pursue those things which gratify the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit and are controlled by the desires of the Spirit set their minds on and seek those things which gratify the [Holy] Spirit.
Rom 8:6 Now the mind of the flesh [which is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit] is death [death that comprises all the miseries arising from sin, both here and hereafter]. But the mind of the [Holy] Spirit is life and [soul] peace [both now and forever].
Rom 8:7 [That is] because the mind of the flesh [with its carnal thoughts and purposes] is hostile to God, for it does not submit itself to God's Law; indeed it cannot.
Rom 8:8 So then those who are living the life of the flesh [catering to the appetites and impulses of their carnal nature] cannot please or satisfy God, or be acceptable to Him.
Rom 8:9 But you are not living the life of the flesh, you are living the life of the Spirit, if the [Holy] Spirit of God [really] dwells within you [directs and controls you]. But if anyone does not possess the [Holy] Spirit of Christ, he is none of His [he does not belong to Christ, is not truly a child of God]. [Rom. 8:14.]
Rom 8:10 But if Christ lives in you, [then although] your [natural] body is dead by reason of sin and guilt, the spirit is alive because of [the] righteousness [that He imputes to you].
Rom 8:11 And if the Spirit of Him Who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, [then] He Who raised up Christ Jesus from the dead will also restore to life your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies through His Spirit Who dwells in you.
Rom 8:12 So then, brethren, we are debtors, but not to the flesh [we are not obligated to our carnal nature], to live [a life ruled by the standards set up by the dictates] of the flesh.
Rom 8:13 For if you live according to [the dictates of] the flesh, you will surely die. But if through the power of the [Holy] Spirit you are [habitually] putting to death (making extinct, deadening) the [evil] deeds prompted by the body, you shall [really and genuinely] live forever.

Anonymous said...

We are in agreement ezekial
-Alan

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