Genuine Restoration (Part 1)

#5 in Q & A Series

Question: How do you believe New Life Church could have handled your situation better?

Throughout the years, I’ve made it a point not to be an expert on the shortcomings of others. Instead, I tried to focus on the big ideas of the topic at hand.

Throughout my 35 years of pastoral ministry, I have enjoyed the privilege of trying to fulfill the New Testament exhortation to restore fellow believers who have stumbled or who have been trapped by sin. After learning from years of varying degrees of success, and also, after personally being in need of restoration ministry in 2006 & 2007, I am not only qualified to comment on this subject, I believe I am uniquely qualified. Add to my experiences the Roundtables Gayle and I are hosting with Christian leaders around the nation. These always include insightful and impassioned discussion on this subject, and as a result, Gayle and I have become keen on what is biblical and what is not, as well as what works and what does not. These ideas are more than theory; they are essential to authentic New Testament life.

Interestingly, just last week a pastor in Minneapolis pointed out to me that the 1998 edition of my book, The Life-Giving Church, had enough guidance on page 112 and in the bylaws section that, if heeded in my situation in 2006 and 2007, would have been healing to all involved much sooner than the plan that was implemented.

Let’s get started.

Galatians 6:1-3 says, “Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.” (New Living Translation)

This process is described for the sinner who is repentant. In this case, the process is straightforward and can move along much more quickly than some who prescribe random timelines think, according to biblical instruction.

Different guidelines are involved, however, if the person is unrepentant. In this case, the instruction Paul gives the Corinthian church in I Corinthians 5 to remove the person from the fellowship may need to be applied. In doing so, however, we must keep II Corinthians 2:5-11 in mind, since most Bible scholars believe it is Paul’s follow-up comment about the situation addressed in I Corinthians 5. Of interest is the fact that most Bible scholars believe these two letters to the Corinthian church were written within a year of one another. The implications of the timeline between letters informs our dealing with the worst case scenario, the unrepentant.

Here Paul writes, “I am not overstating it when I say that the man who caused all the trouble hurt all of you more than he hurt me. Most of you opposed him, and that was punishment enough. Now, however, it is time to forgive and comfort him. Otherwise he may be overcome by discouragement. So I urge you now to reaffirm your love for him. I wrote to you as I did to test you and see if you would fully comply with my instruction. When you forgive this man, I forgive him, too. And when I forgive whatever needs to be forgiven, I do so with Christ’s authority for your benefit, so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes” II Corinthians 2:5-11.

This instruction is concluded by Paul writing, “. . . so that Satan will not outsmart us” and underscores that Paul was familiar with Satan’s schemes. What could the Apostle Paul be referring to?

Restoring another requires the ultimate belief in, application of, and demonstration of the Gospel. In fact, only the genuinely spiritual and the authentically godly, according to New Testament standards, have the character qualities necessary to restore someone who has been overcome by some sin.

Why? Because another’s moral inferiority gives our old sin nature every opportunity to reveal arrogance, self-righteousness, harshness, self-promotion, greed, and love of worldly power while masquerading as godly.

When responding to another person’s sin, our own core values and beliefs are exposed. In other words, our response to another person’s sin displays whether or not we are opportunists, manipulators for our own benefit, or humble because of our confidence in Christ’s righteousness in us. Restoring another also unveils if we actually believe in resurrection or not, are persuaded that the New Testament solution to our sin problems is authentic, or if we actually still believe that Old Testament punishment, humiliation, and suffering are the keys to integrity. Our actions in restoring another reveals whether or not we actually believe in the body of Christ, the family of God, and that the church is the building of the Lord. Actions imposed on and pronouncements made about the fallen reveal whether or not those doing the restoring are working for healing, as Christ would. Or are they acting in conjunction with the accuser of the brethren who subtly promotes separation in the body and comforts the brooding wounded into victimization. These typically present themselves as morally superior. Restoring another is one of the most fearful things any of us can do because it always unmasks our motivations as leaders as well as our understanding of the New Testament.

Thus, my recommendation in restoring a repentant brother or sister who has been trapped by sin is: Step #1. Recognize the importance of our task and settle on following the biblical model of genuine restoration.

“And we know that God causes everything to work out for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them” (Romans 8:28).

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42 thoughts on “Genuine Restoration (Part 1)

  1. “When responding to another person’s sin, our own core values and beliefs are exposed. In other words, our response to another person’s sin displays whether or not we are opportunists, manipulators for our own benefit, or humble because of our confidence in Christ’s righteousness in us.”

    Love this statement Ted. Great post!

    • Andy says:

      A Peter principle says “in a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.” What qualifies a man to rise to leadership level in a church? The church bylaws will define these; sadly, to maintain “order” church bylaws usually becomes the main authority in deciding moral questions – by leaders who may not be spiritually AND SCRIPTURALLY qualified to decide matters of that nature.

    • It was a great post, true and thought provoking.

  2. James Roads says:

    Pastor Ted, Hmm I never thought I would address you as that maybe we all do change. I wanted to let you know that when I think back upon your situation while there were some things that caused me to be disappointed in you I was never angry with you directly. I was infact more angry with not only how the church treated you but how it treated all of the congregation in the wake of the scandal. I have realized something though and that is as parishners our response to the failure of a person is leadership to wish that person or persons would go away, for this I apologize for that is not the correct to have towards anyone in crisis. I am glad to see you are doing well and I pray that you continue to grow in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Who knows maybe I will make it out to St. James church one day. Be Blessed in all you do sir.

    James Roads

    • Good insight James. One of the point I will make in future blogs on this subject is the importance of maintaining respect. My family and I were disrespected, no doubt. But the way the congregation was disrespected generates a totally different set of insights we can all use to do things more biblically and responsibly in the future. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Laura says:

    Fantastic post, Pastor Ted. I love how our Lord has used your tragedy to open the door of restoration to other Christians who sin (or, that could say, all of us). Your pain has paved the way for others not to hurt quite so much. Beauty from ashes, indeed. Lord bless you and Gayle as you continue to spread the good news of the Gospel!

  4. Almost 20 years ago I wrote a workbook entitled, “Restoration Manual: A Workbook for Fallen Ministers and Religious Leaders.” Unfortunately, it has done quite well over these two decades – meaning, a large number of pastors have morally bitten the bullet and needed godly, biblical advocacy. This book was the accumulated experiences of four “religious leaders” and myself who worked on my “total” restoration. My team was composed of men from a Nazarene, Charismatic, Baptist, and Non-denominational background. While my rejection and ejection from my former church where I morally failed is similar to Pastor Ted’s, my restoration was different in that God blessed me with men who actually BELIEVED IN TOTAL RESTORATION. There is still not too much material available for the restoration of a “fallen/repentant” christian minister or leader – and the way the Church deals with the “fallen” is still so Old Testament and unscripturally moralistic. I only wish more churches would believe in restoration (especially for church leaders) and apply biblical principles as Pastor Ted has set forth. Pastor Ted, his wife and family, have been through the fire and the shadow of death but have come out on the victory side with spiritual and vocational resurrections as their testimony. It’s my honor and privilege to sit under his ministry and continue my restoration pilgrimage. Great article, Pastor T…look forward to more Blog follow-ups!!

    • Ken Purvis says:

      A very thoughtful and insightful perspective.

    • I agree there is little to read on this subject. When I felt rejected by a comment a Pastor’s wife made to me, when younger, I drove home and Isaiah 53 kept blinking in my mind. I said, “I know, I know that text.” Finally as it persisted, I looked it up and found great comfort as “He was rejected of man” shouted at me. I was shocked. YOU? I’d heard it in my mind but never my heart. YOU were rejected? So I don’t have to feel the effects of it. Whew! I went from low and wormy to high and flying in a second. Would love to read books on the subject. Thankful for my Bible, too.

  5. Gourete Rothenbury says:

    I remember what I thought when back in 2006,your activity was revealed.I thought,I wonder if Pastor Ted is sick of running a huge church,and no longer feels passionate for bringing people to Christ,maybe,he’s disappointed on how believers,may be coming here,to be entertained,he is disappointed,in how we can be luke warm..Maybe,he subconsciously is disconnecting himself from the New Life Culture..Maybe,he wants to start from scratch,and later create something genuine,merciful,unconditional loving ministry.God will use this,and Ted will be ok.I think it needed,to happen.Any,weaknesses,you had ,were revealed.I had no say,on how you were treated,and how things were handled.I prayed for you,Gayle,and your kids.I left the growing and healing up to God,Jesus and the Holy Spirit.Sinners,who by the way is all of us,need to be treated with Grace.

    • Thank you, Gourete, for your sentiments. However, I didn’t have any of the negative thoughts you were speculating about. We loved the ministry team there that did excellent work, and loved the church. That’s why, when the scandal broke, I resigned only from leadership positions, but not from the church. We mistakenly thought that New Life was our family, a body of believers among whom we belonged. Others thought differently and we were excommunicated. However, we do still believe we are part of the body of Christ in Colorado Springs and are doing our best to be faithful to the the eternal truth that we are a body, a family, a building of the Lord, and that God hates divorce (not only in marriage, but in all human relationships . . . especially His family, the Church).

      Though Christian tradition is to hire leaders and they stay when adequately paid, I have never done that. I do what I do in ministry because of His grace, His calling, His Spirit and His Word. I have always felt as though it was an honor to serve, and the fact that He uses frail people is still a point of awe to me.

      • Gourete Rothenbury says:

        Thanks for letting me know,I do believe in you,but most importantly,what God is allowing to be done through you.I’m also very glad that what I visualized,like the healing, and growing came to be.Much love,for you and your family..Sorry they did that,and you had to experience the pain that comes from rejection.

      • When i visited New Life church, during a Conference, Ted, a man stood and spoke a “Prophetic pronouncement” and sat down. You graciously had the congregation stand, put their hand over their heart and repeat ” i forgive, brother so and so, for speaking a false word from God” (something like that but smarter and nicer) and then all were told to have a seat. I was awed. I’d never seen such a situation handled with more kindness and love. I had missed the book signing so I waited outside in the foyer when I knew you were hurrying out. I stopped and timidly asked if you’d sign the two books- one for my pastor and one for me. You huffed obviously tired of the previous tedious signing an hour earlier. Looked at me a second, then took the books and signed them hurriedly. They were blue with a tree on it- Loved it. Gave the other to my pastor. It bugged me a bit but having seen the previous situation, I forgave you as I was disgusted at my pettiness. Learned later as you shared during the Conference that while all were having a great time relaxing, listening to speakers, this is what a Pastor is dealing with during the Conference-thus and so, you shared problems, fires being dealt with in lives in your congregation. Your transparency was amazing to me. Same with Gayle and her book.

        I saw you on NBC with Brokaw (before the November disclosure) I watched it with my married daughter (who had never heard of you and would never have except for that interview) as I watched i felt a foreboding of things to come; something is wrong. Brokaw and NBC knew something, something bad I felt. I saw on your face during the interview what I’d seen before on my teens face on meth. (maybe I didn’t really see it but did in a spiritual sense) I dismissed it. Thought well maybe they were accepting you as Billy Graham was. That would be nice.

        I was shocked at you lying on running interviews with a mike stuck into your truck, yet “liberated” as i myself had been caught in a lie and a secret addiction “at church” by my pastors once and wondered if I would ever get over it.

        Again and again I’ve felt ‘Liberated’ by your messages and demeanor, because you don’t judge and you share your weaknesses while many pastors do not. Thank you.

  6. Tom Sebren says:

    Ted, this is well written and thought out. Is it an excerpt from your book?

    Every believer can benefit from your personal and biblical insights; however, your unique ability and responsibility is to address leadership failure. Will you deal with it in Part 2 or 3?

    Since the beginning of your public struggle, I have always been impressed with your wife. Great leaders most often blossom with great wives. She practices what you preach. God bless us, Tom

    • I know God had this…
      what happened turned out to be to God’s glory. Always does. A lot of people were changed by everything that happened for the Glory of God! The “Religious Community” needs to learn about God’s love and I pray they are on the road. When it all boils down…God is good, all the time!

    • laurakwthompson says:

      You know who else practices what Ted preaches? Ted! :-)

  7. Alan Hawkins says:

    Thanks Ted,

    The question that always interests me concerns the extent of restoration. How much trust is returned to the one who broke trust? I see in scripture that God always restores his fallen children into his love but he does not always restore them to their fullest potential. Adam is restored to God but expelled from the Garden. Moses maintains his lofty authority and name but does not enter the Promised Land. David maintains his throne but is not allowed to build a house for the Throne of God. He does not lose the Holy Spirit over his tryst with Bathsheba but he loses the child. (a matter which I tread on with care to interpret) New Testament restoration of course seems to bear another voice, that of a better covenant built on better promises. Peter is restored to his former apostolic call and becomes the rock. But still I see these limitations attested to and wonder how we might view them.

    In our world we see many restored to ministry after a fall but seldom do we see them return to a place of having a voice that carries as much weight or engenders as much following. There seems to be a limitation involved in restorations and I am wondering if this is normative and to be expected. I am wondering if God’s restoration means receiving more than was lost by sin’s work or if the restored bear a limp and a new ceiling over their labors? These are matters I hope you might comment upon.

    For any who might wonder; I applaud, and herald the restoration of Ted Haggard to Gospel ministry and I pray for his voice to have a boundless impact and reach. I am neither a critic nor a cynic of his work in calling for restoration. I am an advocate and a fellow-servant in the task of seeing that we get home with everyone at their post. God will get us home and we must go together.

    • In my library is every book I could ever buy or secure that dealt with the restoration of “fallen” ministers/pastors. Some of the older authors like Tim LaHaye, John MacArthur and John H. Armstrong (whom I debated) believed that a “restored” minister would “never be restored to his full potential in ministry.” I find this view as experiential conjecture and the Bible is relatively silent on this except for some Old Testament examples. You will not find a “limitation of potential” in the New Testament but full restoration with renewed blessings (the Prodigal Son’s welcome home party with re-instituted position, privilege and powers). While Jacob “had a limp” he went forward blessed by God – all of us who are restored should embrace our limp because it shows we’ve been wounded but are still walking and moving forward. Modern day example?…Jim Bakker (former televangelist of PTL Club) lost everything, was in prison for five years (was cleared of the charges) and while he did morally sin, has been restored and his Morningside Ministry is growing and is as big (if not bigger) than his former ministry. Yes, trust needs to be rebuilt – however, this is more of a limitation that people put on the restored, not God. As a “restored” minister, while I don’t pastor a church anymore, I run three Christian ministries that have far surpassed my former pastoral ministry and outreach. Pastor Ted, while starting a new church, is now reaching out with the “Love Reformation” and the “Religious Roundtables” and touching the lives of other religious leaders and impacting our nation and the Church more than he did at New Life as their former pastor. “Lord God, may people see You are a God of Second Chances and Grace and will restore all prodigals to their fellowshipping place with renewed privilege and position. Amen.”

      • Randall says:

        So should a pedophile be allowed to own a Daycare, assuming he is rehabilitated? Or should he move on to some other kind of work?

      • No, pedophiles should not be allowed to own a daycare, but responsible adults choosing which church they want to attend, and those churches establishing their own polity, is a far cry from defenseless children being protected from abusive adults. You might want to consider more personal responsibility yourself by signing your name when you want to make foolish comparisons so those around you can protect themselves.

      • Randall, you presented the proverbial red herring when it comes to “restoring” a brother or sister in Christ (and especially a religious leader). Acted out pedophilia is a prosecutable crime with stiff and long jail time when convicted. I’m curious as to whether your question deals with “trust” (of the perceived or purported restored individual) or if that person can truly and fully be redeemed from a particular sin – or maybe both. Personally, I believe in total inner healing, complete behavior modification, and a renewal of the mind that can transform a repentant and restored individual. Should a person formerly sexually tempted by children ever be allowed to be around children again? The legal answer is different from a procedural answer. Let me propose some other questions about repentant and restored ministers who had entered into sin. Should a minister given to homosexuality be allowed to lead a men’s group or go camping with other men? Should a religious leader ever caught looking at pornography be allowed to own a computer or an Iphone? Should a pastor convicted of thievery or monetary stealing ever be allowed to take an offering or have a check book? If he was found to be an alcoholic, should he ever go into a restaurant or home that served liquor? If the minister was found abusing drugs, should he ever be allowed to go into a pharmacy or receive a prescription from a doctor? Or, maybe as Jesus said in hopeful hyperbole, if a minister’s eye, tongue, hands or anything else causes him or others to sin, should he just cut it off? The questions to me are: Can a person really change that’s truly repentant? Can God redeem and transform a person’s mind and behavior? Of course, broken trust needs to be rebuilt but will we give the repentant person another chance to rebuild his life and reclaim integrity? The common mindset seems to be, “If you’ve dishonored yourself by sin or wrong behavior, you are relegated to a second class citizen and will never rise above a certain level again nor can you be trusted.” After everything King David went through (adultery, murder, cover-up, denial), he had this assurance: “You (oh God) will restore me to even greater honor and comfort me once again.” (Psalm 71:21 – Living) Restoration – as with the Prodigal son – is receiving back privilege, position, prestige and even power – that is the “greater honor” we need to believe in and strive toward.

    • Wendy Selvig says:

      I feel that in the church today many ministers are not restored because the Church has not learned how to restore well. Sure, not everyone who has fallen has repented and those people shouldn’t be restored, but if the church in general were better at this, we’d be a better example to the world that when you came to Christ and the Church you weren’t signing up for a “perfect” club…that if you fell, you were protected and helped back up. IF we helped and restored our leaders, the people would see that as an example of how they would be helped and restored too.

      As for all your examples, they were Old Testament examples. In the New Testament Jesus prayed for and even warned Peter he would fall and betray Him but then forgave him, restored him and even “built this church” on him.

  8. carla says:

    I love you Pastor Ted for moving forth in the Lord

  9. Steven Terry says:

    I wonder how many Christians secretly struggle with sin but see how the church responds to others who have “fallen” in such a negative and humiliating way that they just continue to struggle because they have observed that the so called “cure” is worse than the illness? Didn’t Jesus say something to the effect of “it’s not those who are well who need a doctor, it’s those who are sick” ?

  10. Lloyd says:

    I was the second to youngest licensed minister in the history of the State of Louisiana. Was full time in the ministry at age 16. I was 29 or 30 years old, Pastor of a church of which I founded, when I found myself in a literal state of spiritual and physical burn out. My fall was the result and it seemed as though everyone who enjoyed the fruits of our ministry were also the ones who were putting the knife into my back. It seemed as though all of the ministries we worked with through out my 14 years of ministry suddenly had a hands off policy when it came to me. No assistance in restoration could be found. I am now 45 years old with the call of God still burning deep in core of my being and have yet to find my way home.

    • You weren’t asking me, but sounds like you could write about your experience and put it in a book, even a fictionalized version where you have more latitude. Michelle Mower had the movie “Preacher’s Daughter” on Lifetime Movie Channel and Hallmark Channel (it’s on DVD) and has a new one called “Pastor’s Mistress” (or “preacher’s mistress”) soon to be on the same channels. Parables are powerful. She’s a screenwriter, producer, etc and down to earth, and on fb. She teaches screenwriting in Houston. Someone has contracted her for 2 more movies.

    • Dan Morrissette says:

      Sometimes restoration assistance does not come because we aren’t ready to recognize the reason for the fall, to repent, seek restoration, and embrace it.

      Psalm 119:71 says “It is good for me that I was humbled [that I stumbled], so that I might learn your statutes.” This, in the midst of a passage (vs 65-72) about God gently leading toward restoration.

      When there is a fall, we have to recognize that it IS a fall, and that we have been allowed to fall for a reason, and to learn how to return to the path. Peter allowed himself to deny Christ three times because he had thought too highly of his own righteousness until in the face of fear and uncertainty, a new test of his faith and a lesson about restoration…. his own. We have to come to recognize the true nature of the fall and what we are to learn from it so we can come to full repentance.

      It would seem you have found your way here in your search, perhaps your understanding and repentance is not complete for the embrace and restoration.

  11. Rob Kennedy says:

    Pastor Ted, as a fellow Pastor, I ask you to forgive me. I judged you when you fell and I too wanted you to go away, thinking that there go’s another one down for the count, bringing shame and contempt for the name that I so love and champion every week. Till as a single Pastor, I fell myself in 2010 by becoming involved in a horrible relationship. One in which I married too quickly and almost lost my ministry and life in the process. Thank God for restoration! Our Lord specializes in redemption. So should we. With what measure you judge you will be judged. Love you brother, keep the faith, endure till the end!

  12. Rob says:

    Ted

    I often wonder if God’s plan for you and NLC was in fact, fulfilled by the decisions. It is not for me to know, so I merely offer this perspective for your consideration.

    I believe that God’s plans are often difficult to see until years later when we are able to see events without emotion or bias.

    Would full restoration to your position have prevented you, or NLC from moving on and effectively reaching new communities of the lost and changing hearts of believers?

    Decisions are merely events. One can choose to dwell on the consequences and stand in judgment, or one can embrace the opportunities. Who among us is qualified to say whether the overseers decisions were part of His plan? To live focussed on judging the hearts of those involved at the expense of fully embracing new opportunities may well be a modern day example of Mathew 25:14-30.

    I wonder if the interpretation of the decisions has become an obsession, clouding our thinking as to the reasons why God allowed these events and decisions? Perhaps holding regret or animosity rather than accepting and embracing His plan might prevent you from achieving even greater influence for the kingdom of Christ? Perhaps, His plan was to remove you from those positions in order to use you in new, more effective ways?

    NLC has gone in new directions, reaching new communities of the lost. You too have been effective in reaching new souls. Perhaps neither of these would have been possible by simply returning to the old situation?

    We may never know the answers. Certainly, dwelling on the past will not help us move forward. As you often said – Windshields are larger than rear view mirrors for a reason!

  13. Hi Pastor; I wanted to take this opportunity to say how proud I am that my church is associated with you and your ministry. When you came and led a leadership training meeting for us, one of the overwhelming themes that I shared with my fellow church brothers after was that your former church’s failure to fully restore you may have been one of the biggest missed opportunities to show Christ to the world that the church has had in a long time. All I could think of was what it would have looked like to have New Life bring you back in a big fashion (after your time season away) and say this is PASTOR Ted and he’s back to lead us! That would have held a lot of weight for all other churches when met with the criticism on how church people like to eat their own. To be able to say, “this is how it’s supposed to be done” and show what real grace looks like lived out. But that didn’t happen and in my opinion, their lack of leadership and creating such a huge missed opportunity may have done more damage to the church than your failure could ever do. It’s also my belief that in the future, they’ll be known more for being the church who got rid of their Pastor than what you ever did. I pray for your new church and your family and wish you all the best!

  14. rkpurvis48 says:

    A very thoughtful and insightful perspective

  15. Wendy Selvig says:

    This is going to sound like I’m bashing New Life and I’m not. I went to that church for ten years and love it so much. I’m so sad about where it (to me) has fallen to and have been praying for God to move among the leadership.
    What makes me really sad about the situation with New Life is that I believe they were and still are positioned to be the hero in this story but I don’t think the current leadership can see it. There are some who were in leadership during that time who were so hurt that they reacted wrongly…and that is understandable and forgivable, but some there still carry around big offended chips on their shoulders today. I feel like when we are offended, we often can tell half truths that make the other person look bad but cover our own rear ends. I’ve heard a few of these half truths told. I know one person on staff there recently preached on 1 Corinthians 13 about how love holds no records of wrongs and I know that person personally won’t speak to the Haggards and they quite honestly spew poison when they speak of them. Does anyone else see the hypocrisy here?
    This story is God’s and I really think He is doing something on purpose in Colorado Springs with this story. I want more than ever to see the staff at New Life see that God is doing something in the Church here and realize that what happens here is going to set the stage for the rest of the world. This is the prodigal son’s story. This story is really hard for those who are holding on to their anger because doggone it, God LOVES Ted and He is throwing the robe of authority back around his son and is about to throw a banquet. And if you are on the wrong side of the redemptive work in Ted’s life, it’s not Ted you are opposing. Is it a wonder why the church is in decline? You cannot blame it on a man. It is God’s church.
    The prodigal son returns after spending his inheritance and the Father welcomes him home and restores the cloak of authority to him and throws a banquet. The older brother who never sinned, never stained his Father’s name, never spent his inheritance is jealous and can’t believe that the son is welcomed home. I personally think the jealous son wishes the prodigal would slip in the back door unnoticed and take up a servant’s robe and start serving him…the great and awesome son who never sinned.
    I hope and pray that New Life can see that in the long run, when the story is told, they have the choice what role they are going to play. This story is not over and it is just the beginning. Will they be the hero and be the Father who welcomes the son and wishes to restore him, or they will be seen as the jealous older brother. I’m not saying they need to restore Ted as the pastor, but the demeanor and attitude and the chips on the shoulders need to go. Well wishing would be nice. I think there is a river of poison being spewed by a few key people that out of self-preservation (from feeling hurt and betrayed – which is kind of understandable, but really not OK with God in the long run – they need to fix this) have created a subculture that is so anti-God and anti-Ted that new leadership that has come in since Ted hasn’t had a chance to know the whole story because they are surrounded by the poison spewing from hurt people who who never took a redemptive role in the first place.

  16. I’m interested to see where this series goes. I’m not very familiar with the details of what happened at New LIfe or how the church responded. I’m a little concerned about one aspect of the tone of this article. It should be clearly stated that the gospel applies to all believers and ALL of our sins are totally forgiven when we believe in Jesus. At the same time, leaders are called to a higher standard.

    I’m a pastor myself; If I ever needed restoration, I would hope to be shown grace and mercy. The concern I have for a leader who’s committed a serious sin (financial or sexual) is this: one does not easily fall into such a serious sin. Falling into such a sin is the result of a pattern of straying from relationship with Christ. Because of this, restoration has to be carefully carried out. Again, the issue of restoring a repentant believer is different than restoring a repentant pastor.

    • Dan Morrissette says:

      Ryan, you’re right, the issue of restoring a believer is different than restoring a repentant pastor… or Priest … or Prophet … or King … or Elder, or Deacon… because they have accepted a higher responsibility as leaders and teachers of the Church.

      But it is primarily an issue of the ‘Repentant’ and God. It is not to difficult for Him, and if we follow the lead of Galatians 6:1-3, and gently guide rather than get in the way with condemnation, it will likely be accomplished with a minimum of pain to all concerned. Such judgement is God’s purview.

  17. Precious Pastor Ted and family. We all are broken in some way and the evil one takes his best shot when we are struggling in that area! All of us fall short. I was so sad to hear of your stumbling and was sorry/angry at the NLC leadership that fail you and all of us. I have forgiven the leadership and continue to love and pray for you! Remember that God loves you very much and so do many people including me. Praise be to God alone!

  18. Tammy Jo says:

    I was saved in 1966. When the events somewhere around Nov of 2006 unfolded I was attending the Saturday night services with Rob Brendel. I was so sad the way the church handled everything. You see my bible says “Judge not lest ye be judged. By thge same words you judge others you shall also be judged.” “There is none rightous, no not one.” “He who is without sin cast the first stone.” And what did God say about King David? “There’s a man after my own heart.” King David commited adultry and was a murderer. He repented and went on to continue to be used by God. In Gods eyes sin is sin. Who am I to say that my sin is more acceptable to God than Pastor Teds. Instead of the comapassion and forgivness that God shows us and lets not forget how he has restored all of us in one way or another I was shocked at the way we as a church reacted. We had an opportunity to show the world the love of God and instead we created what seemed like to me a lynch mob. I quit going to church for almost 5 years. I believe that all things work together for good for those that are called according to his purpose. I do not believe that God is finished with Pastor Ted and I am so happy that he and Gayle are back doing what the Lord has called them to do.

  19. Barb says:

    I think it all boils down to the church seeing same sex attraction and/or homosexuality as being the worst of worst sins. Judgement. That is why the Haggard family was treated the way they were.

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