Ted and Gayle Haggard announced yesterday that they would be starting a church fellowship, Sunday, June 6, 2010. The name of the new fellowship is St James focusing on the phrase from James’ epistle “faith without works is dead.” I personally would have chosen the phrase “mercy triumphs over judgment” but, that’s me. Ted had a very public fall three and one half years ago and he himself admits that many evangelicals would think him unqualified to be a pastor.
So on to the question; is there a way that this could be biblical? Well, if one adopts the normal grammatical historical hermeneutic and sees the entire bible as the word of God the answer is definitely not. However, if one adopts the hermeneutic that Jesus taught his followers... then, I think the answer would be yes indeed. It has been my contention in this blog that Jesus taught a solely redemptive purpose to scripture. He taught that the entire scripture pointed to him and his redemptive work and he redefined the phrase “word of God” to mean either himself/Jesus the living word or, the gospel. This reinforces the redemptive purpose.
One can legitimately see the bible as the story of redemption, a narrative about God’s mercy, love and, grace. As that, it should not be used as a rule book for faith and practice. You can find the proof of this through out the various articles on this blog. It is a very complex idea (especially with the current evangelical lens) but when it is explored thoughtfully as I have tried to do in this blog, the evidence becomes overwhelming. There is so much about current evangelical doctrine that is off the mark and this saddens me and yet, I rejoice in seeing Jesus as my savior and, as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Let’s face it, there are many people who have a relationship with Jesus and trust him as their Lord and Savior who do not square very well with the ideals of evangelical doctrine.
In fact, I am certain that Ted would testify that he is acutely aware of the Holy Spirit anointing that is on his life even now. He would admit that even when he was living a dual existence, that the Spirit of God was still, then, working mightily in and through him in his ministry.
My prayers are with Ted and Gayle. They have a celebrity status among many people in this country and, can bring a lot of influence on the thinking of evangelicals around the world. I would hope that they would look a little more deeply into this redemptive hermeneutic and, using it, become a force that will help to bring Christianity a little closer to the redemptive purpose of Jesus of Nazareth. This new fellowship could become a great voice in advancing the gospel of the kingdom of God and, the gospel of Christ. This is for all of those that see the hypocrisy and error of evangelicalism and yet still love and worship Jesus.