Monday, January 17, 2011

What I learned from Ted

Last night I watched the "Ted Haggard: Scandalous" on TLC (The Learning Channel). The show briefly touches on the scandal that occurred in 2006 which got him fired and placed under a restorative path. It concentrates on events which occur after that with this summers starting of St. James Church. I realize it is quite heavily edited but here is what I learned watching the show.

A lot of people "know" the Bible. That doesn't mean, however, that they really know what is in the Bible. They know enough of the Bible to support a position or belief they may have. This was evident as you saw people quoting scripture to support their belief that he should never pastor again.

As a population, Christianity doesn't seem to believe in redemption. Simply put, redemption is the process that occurred on the cross and afterward. Think of it like a gift card. It is just a card until you use it.

As a population Christianity doesn't seem t0 believe in justification. Through the New Testament, the word for justified and righteous and their derivatives are the same word. The translators make the decision to which one is used where. An overly simplified meaning of justification is "Just as if I had never sinned". As I watched the show, I saw a world that seemed to treat Haggard as if he had changed but "the Church" which has a lot of mistrust of him.

As a population, Christianity doesn't seem to believe in sanctification. Sanctification is the process of becoming like Christ. It's that whole "If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation". The calls and comments he received from Christians that were shown portray a people who do not believe that Haggard is a "new creation".

As a population, Christianity doesn't seem to believe in a God who is love. As you list the characteristics of God, there are a lot of them. The Bible makes it clear, however, that God is LOVE. If you need a refresher of what that means, look up 1 Corinthians 13. I'll admit that I wasn't always very loving when the scandal occurred. Hopefully, I've changed.

Being called a "Christian" identifies us with a lot of groups. There are the "liberals", "conservatives", "moderates" and "crazies". Unfortunately, the crazies get the press. As I write this I am reminded of the law passed in Arizona so that Westboro Baptist Church can not protest the funerals of those killed a week ago.

It is pretty sad when the world around us appears more loving to people like Haggard than those that are supposed to love.
My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn't know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can't know him if you don't love. - 1 John 4:7-8 (The Message)