You may ask yourself why a person that has embraced the idea of home church and is quite anti institutional would be so interested in Ted Haggard’s ministry. Ok, that is a fair question that needs an honest answer. First off, I have come to the conclusion that whether one has a home church or, one that meets more formally in a building designated for that purpose, the crucial ingredient is their doctrinal focus. What are they teaching about the kingdom of God? How do they view the kingdom of God? Is their focus legal/biblical or is it redemptive? Therefore, I am interested in St. James Church for its redemptive focus. After all, Ted’s story can be and, thus far appears to be, a story of redemption. It is the redemption of a man, the redemption of a family and marriage and, it is the redemption of a fellowship of believers. Especially when one considers that many of the prospective members are quite likely associated with the old ministry before the fall. Since I believe that the bible teaches that Jesus ministry and focus was solely redemptive in nature, it seems only natural to me that I would be interested in this particular ministry.
With that in mind, I would like to conduct a brief SWOT analysis of the new ministry and for any that may not be familiar with the acronym, SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The threats are obvious. There are many evangelicals that are dead set against it and, vocally demonstrative of their disdain and scorn. However, I would like to focus on the opportunities.
1. They can teach the redemptive focus that Jesus taught his followers and can begin to treat the bible as the story of redemption and not a rulebook whereby God exacts penalties for non-compliance. The can be inclusive and truly present the gospel as it is simply stated over and over in the bible. The gospel is the story of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus and how that event brought about the forgiveness of sin and redemption.
2. They can begin to teach the focus of scripture that identifies three aspects of transformation of the Christian. These three aspects are in order Need à Rest à and reasonable service. Paul teaches that this is the only way and only order that believers can be spiritually transformed.. They must recognize their need... they must rest completely in the finished work of Jesus and then, without fear but, with loving accountability they can get on with reasonable service. In the process... they will experience transformation. There is a big difference between loving accountability and judgment based accountability and I seriously doubt that there is a fellowship today that even understands loving accountability but this one would have the chance to develop it.
3. They can model the full message of the Jesus. They can show that loving one another, their neighbors, the poor and disadvantaged, and the difficult to love. They can bring their best selves to Romans 7 and, realize, that all of us do not do the good we wished... but instead often times... we end up doing the very thing we don’t want to do, whether it is loosing patience or offending someone.... you fill in the blanks for yourself.
I will continue to follow, and blog and, offer any insight that the Lord may have given me.