I picked up Jim Bakker's book called "Prosperity and the Coming Apocalypse" because I thought it might have some insight on what happened to Ted Haggard. It did. I didn't want to read the book because I thought how ironic that Bakker was writing about the dangers of materialism, but making some more money on his books. Regardless, he has some great insights gained through his mistakes.
He reminds me again of how comfortable we are in the West, and what danger we are in. We suffer from the dangers of prosperity as a whole in America just because most of us are so comfortable. Christians have gotten sidetracked from the basic principles in the Word of God regarding denial of self and taking up one's cross to follow Christ. We like "church Light" where we don't have to deal with issues of sin or deal with any serious problems that other folks are having.
Ted Haggard certainly fell prey to the deceitfulness of riches. He fell into self pleasuring and indulgence..and pride.
I just want to say, after hearing responses to what happened in Colorado at New Life church, that we seriously err if we dismiss it by saying, "it could happen to any of us, and we're no better," or, "what about the men of the Old Testament and all their sins?" If I had been at New Life church and had put a lot of trust in Haggard, and then learned about his double life, I would have been cast into a state of shock and probably an involuntary fast for days.
I read that the church leaders declared that they were treating this as no worse than having an affair with another woman, and not making anything of the fact that it was about gay sex. Talk about submitting to the politically correct agenda that the gay community has taught them. They were afraid to make a stand! The men of the Old Testament had some racey affairs with women, but what would THEY have to say about gay sex? What did Paul say? He said these things are not even to be named.
Instead of not taking a stand, the response should be like in the Old Testament where they tore their clothes and put ashes on their heads. It should cause such an overwhelming response that there is no way any one in that church will ever be the same. What has happened is serious. It should cause us to finally come face to face with how far many of us are from living the truth. New Life was living a lie, as some other churches have, and it should cause thunder to ripple through the body of Christ worldwide.
If we dismiss it under the guise of not being "judgmental," we will miss the opportunity for true change, for true repentance and reconciliation for those who have erred.
Like Jim Bakker I am afraid for us who are unprepared for reality. I am afraid for those of us who have strayed from the pure gospel because we are going to "pay the piper" down the road and it will hit hard.
I have to admit that I was infected by the prosperity message too, and out of embarrassment, I have deleted an earlier post telling how God has promised to give me a large sum of money. I simply have never been able to make much money and didn't see how I could reach higher and fulfill my dreams of being able to go to other countries, etc. unless God gave me the money.
But let's face it, having large sums of money is dangerous for our souls, proven time and time again. I was just listening to U2 on a CD, thinking of how they are billionaires and I'm listening to their stuff, and what effect does that have on me? Does it put me in an imaginary world where I am unprepared for future troubles? U2 members were Christians who got disillusioned. They are decent people who try to help the world, but I never heard that they resolved their doubts about Christianity (I still haven't found what I'm looking for) They have made billions off that! They seem like good people but what has prosperity really done to them?
It's something to think about.