Twenty years ago I was a part of a church where our pastor was exposed in adulterous affairs (yes, plural). The church went through an incredible fallout. The rancor was something else. The degree of anger and hatred toward the pastor was intense. You see, he was so revered in the church - really put on a pedastal - that it shook people's faith.
Just this year this man came back into ministry to start a new church. Get this, twenty years later people still are mad...still don't want him in ministry. Who are the sinners now?
I'm confident that Ted Haggard will be restored. Hey folks, that's what church is all about! I think his deception was terrible. He let a lot of people down. His hypocrisy was off the charts. But that's what happens when we don't deal with our sin. We hide it and hide it until it takes us down. If we have any concept of God, we deal with it, find God's forgiveness, set things straight, win back peoples trust, ask forgiveness, prove ourselves and get back in the saddle. That's called restoration. That's called mercy and grace. I think the Bible talks about that some place.
Sure, there are insincere, evil people. There are people who have no intention of changing. My sense is that Ted Haggard isn't one of these guys. I think he has a heart for God.
Haggard needs to be held accountable for what he's done...not excused. But he shouldn't be pushed aside. From what I've heard, his family and church are handling this with a lot of maturity. We can all be better people as a result of this if we follow the Spirit's leading.
God's no dummy. This won't mar his image. People will see things about God they would have never seen if this hadn't happened. These are the moments the church can shine and reveal God's power and grace. God specializes in turn around projects. (i.e. resurrection!)
I'm not worried about Haggard. I'm more worried about how people respond to Haggard.