Monday, November 6, 2006

"Ted Haggard and the Evangelical environment"

Jesus Creed reflects on:
"...what we can learn from yet another moral collapse of an evangelical leader.

What is perhaps saddest is that this has gone on for a long time in his life. I’m not sure making more or new accountability structures for leaders is the place to start, though I’m quite sure we will all begin to think about this more.

But, what I find here is what I want to call the evangelical environment. In evangelicalism, and the charismatic stream in which Ted Haggard swims, sin is bad and sin by leaders is real bad. This leads to a complex of features that creates a serious problem:

1. Christians, and not just pastors, do not feel free to disclose sins to anyone;
2. Christians, including pastors, sin and sin all the time;
3. Christians, including pastors, in evangelicalism do not have a mechanism of confession;
4. Christians and pastors, because of the environment of condemnation of sin and the absence of a mechanism of confession, bottle up their sins, hide their sins, and create around themselves an apparent purity and a reality of unconfessed/unadmitted sin.
5. When Christians do confess, and it is often only after getting caught, they are eaten alive by fellow evangelicals — thus leading some to deeper levels of secrecy and deceit.
What we saw with Haggard is not just about leaders; it is about all of us.

Thus, a proposal, and I can only suggest it and hope that some evangelical leaders will catch the same vision — some at the national and international leadership level: evangelicals need to work hard at creating an environment of honesty. It is dishonest to the human condition to pretend that Christians don’t sin; but as long as we are afraid to confess to one another we will continue to create an unrealistic and hypocritical environment." [the whole post]
Note: the post about "Confession" below.

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