Thursday, September 06, 2007

Go Away

Recently, the disgraced Ted Haggard made an appeal for money, presumably to help him on his quest for an education so that he could counsel people.

Here's my first question: How in the world was Ted Haggard a pastor without knowing how to counsel people?

Counseling people is not primarily psychological; it is primarily theological. The best counselor is a well-trained theologian. For Ted Haggard to have been a pastor for so long without the knowledge and ability to counsel is shameful. It probably reveals how much the modern pastoral role is viewed as a manager/CEO model rather than a shepherd model.

Here's my second question: Where were Haggard's "advisors/accountability team/whatever they were called" when he declared his intention to go to counseling school and get back in the ministry? The face that he thought it was okay to get back in ministry seems to indicate that he did not fully grasp the seriousness of his sin and the high bar of ministry. A couple of years in counseling school was not going to regain his blamelessness. In fact, at this stage in his life, and given the nature of the sin and his public standing, his blamelessness was likely never to be regained.

But why weren't these men, from day one, telling him that? They should have told him, "Get a job, support your family, and get under the discipline and instruction of a local church. Forget ever being in public ministry again."

This all reminds me of an interesting article I read (and still have in my files) from years ago about the situation with Truman Dollar at Temple Baptist Church in Detroit. Ed Dobson, and Dollar wrote articles for Leadership Magazine about how the situation was handled. I thought they were good articles. Worth reading if you are interested in this topic.

Here's my advice to Haggard: Go away. Disappear from public life. Get a job, support your family, rebuild your marriage, and be faithful in a Bible-preaching church who practices accountability and church discipline. Never issue another press release. Do not ask for public help. Do not dream of the day when you can preach again. Focus on your heart first, and seek true repentance and grow in the solitude of private life away from the spotlight.


Jim Peet said...


Perhaps the wrong place to ask this and so delete if you wish.

Was I incorrect in my understanding that you were to have (or are to have) back surgery?

Anyway ... I prayed for your surgery. If you didn't have surgery I trust the Holy Spirit took my feeble prayer and blessed you in another way!

But if you did have surgery? How are you doing!?

God bless

Jim Peet

Jason said...


Your first question ("How in the world was Ted Haggard a pastor without knowing how to counsel people?") is a fallacy. It is quite possible to be proficient as a counselor and yet still seek additional growth and knowledge.

I'm not defending Haggard by any stretch, but it is always appropriate to be fair and accurate in representing those we disagree with.

Grace to you.

Larry said...

Thanks for reading Jason,

I agree with you on both counts (being fair and accurate and being proficient and seeking additional knowledge). That is why I am in a doctoral program.

As I read the stories of Haggard, it appeared to me differently than merely seeking something additional. Haggard was a CEO model of pastor it seemed to me, from what I could tell, which is a far cry from the shepherd model of pastor.

Obviously, as a church gets bigger more administration is needed and shepherding gets spread out.

But that was really intended to make a larger point, namely, that counseling is about theology, not psychology.

Perhaps it should have or could have been said in a clearer way. The recent news sightings of Haggard brought it to my mind again so it was in line with my title ... Stuff Out Loud.