I just watched the TLC special on Ted Haggard and his founding of St. James Church in Colorado Springs. From my view it was a really warm redemption story that was quite well done and I wish all the best to the Haggards and their new congregation. Anyone who has read this blog realizes that I advocate a solely redemptive purpose for the scripture; that I believe church doctrine and dogma is off base and, that I see loving transformation as the goal of redemption.
Ted and the St James Church appear to be striving to prove the love of God with their ministry and I am all for that. In watching this special I was freshly reminded of one of the major problems that Christianity faces today. There was a segment that showed Ted and Gayle going to Denver… I believe to be on the Joy Behar show by satellite. Joy ask Ted the following question; “where do you get the moral authority to preach?” This single question shows the glaring problem with Christianity as a whole. No one…. Let me repeat NO ONE except Jesus, has the moral authority to preach. Interestingly, he chose to love unconditionally and only preached at the self-righteous religious leaders.
I want to emphasize here that preach has a connotation today that was not included in the original mandate to proclaim/preach the gospel. Today the word preach evokes a thought of confronting and berating. The idea is that how can someone preach, encourage personal moral reformation when they exhibit that they lack it themselves?
In reality, those who would proclaim/preach the gospel should really be telling people that God is not angry. They should emphasize that He chose them in Christ before the foundation of the world Ephesians 1:4-6. This was God’s sole purpose in creation. He created humanity knowing that he would redeem them in Christ. This speaks of the great love that God has for people. This is where the emphasis should be placed.
We have shown over and over again with the posts of this blog that current Christian doctrine and dogma is way off the mark. It is really the leaven of the Pharisees; it is the strong delusion of 2 Thessalonians 2. This is precisely the reason that those outside of the church are as loving or more loving and tolerant than church members. I would argue that one of the reasons that so many from outside the church have been critical of Ted is based upon their erroneous view that was articulated by Joy Behar. They have bought into the idea that one who is to proclaim the gospel of Christ must have moral authority. I say that this flies in the face of the gospel message.
The one thing that I am pretty sure of is that Ted and Gayle will remember the judgmental hatred that they experienced by the church and will think good and long before acting in the same way. They will truly be able to treat others as they wished that they would have been treated.