The circus that is Haggard (Ted, not Merle) launched a new act this week —- he’s starting a new church at his home in Colorado. Just three years since the former megachurch pastor scandalized himself with a male prostitute, he is now ready to “to do something in [their] house to connect with friends.” Beginning next week, the Haggards will host “prayer meetings,” which in Haggard’s mind could also be called “a church.”
The trajectory of Haggard’s life is disturbing on many levels (even before the scandal), but perhaps this statement he made to the Colorado Springs Gazette is most telling:
“For this prayer meeting, I have no goals,” Haggard said. “I have no secret hope that more people will come. I am not driven as I was. Before I focused on the Great Commission. Now I focus on helping other people.”
Setting aside the claim that he “has no goals,” or the seemingly self-deprecating hopelessness of his group’s prospects, it’s Haggard’s supposed antithesis of the Great Commission and “helping people” that’s most troubling. How could an evangelical (former National Association of Evangelicals president, no less) see proclamation of the Gospel as being antithetical to “helping people?”
An evangelical who has lost the fact that the Gospel is our ultimate help should at the very least question his evangelical credentials. Better yet —- perhaps he should seek to listen more than lead, and let the Gospel question him.