Yikes, when things move, they move. According to a press release sent by New Life Church, Rev. Ted Haggard has been removed from his position:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New Life Church
Colorado Springs, Colorado
We, the Overseer Board of New Life Church, have concluded our deliberations concerning the moral failings of Pastor Ted Haggard. Our investigation and Pastor Haggard’s public statements have proven without a doubt that he has committed sexually immoral conduct.
The language of our church bylaws state that as Overseers we must decide in cases where the Senior Pastor has “demonstrated immoral conduct” whether we must “remove the pastor from his position or to discipline him in any way they deem necessary.”
In consultation with leading evangelicals and experts familiar with the type of behavior Pastor Haggard has demonstrated, we have decided that the most positive and productive direction for our church is his dismissal and removal.
In addition, the Overseers will continue to explore the depth of Pastor Haggard’s offense so that a plan of healing and restoration can begin.
Pastor Haggard and his wife have been informed of this decision. They have agreed as well that he should be dismissed and that a new pastor for New Life Church should be selected according to the rules of replacement in the bylaws.
That process will begin immediately in hopes that a new pastor can be confirmed by the end of the year 2006. In the interim, Ross Parsley will function as the leader of the church with full support of the Overseers.
A letter of explanation and apology by Pastor Haggard as well as a word of encouragement from Gayle Haggard will be read in the 9:00 and 11:00 service of New Life Church.
My heart goes out to Rev. Haggard and his family. Their lives have been completely blown apart. I hope that they’ll be able to stand together in this very dark time. Nevertheless, I stand by my conviction and my sadness that Haggard would conduct a secret life to that extent. Alas, it’s not uncommon.
My sincere hope is that the “healing” that the press release talks about is genuine. I’ve seen churches abuse that kind of talk, and I’ve seen them follow through. Rev. Haggard deserves nothing less than complete love, hope, and restoration as Scripture calls for. It would a tragedy if he were driven through some kind of ex-gay “ministry” to try to “cure” his sexuality. That’s the last thing he or his family needs.
They do indeed need counseling, and encouragement. For God’s sake, don’t put them through the rigor of failed “ministries” that do nothing more than cause more heartache and mental illness. Haggard deserves nothing less than understanding in this critical time.
On the flip side, those of us who are gay and Christian have a call to minister to people like Haggard, even though they’ve spoken out against us. I probably should have said this a little more clearly this morning, but I’ll say it now. We simply must not allow our own bitterness to be spewed at the expense of another human being, no matter how much we want to rejoice.
Yes, he was publicly exposed and humiliated. Jesus encountered someone who had been exposed like this too… and what was his response?
“Neither do I condemn you. Now go and sin no more.”