Monday, November 13, 2006

The Fiction of 'Restoration'...and the need for the real the Haggard Case

John Schroeder comments on the process of "restoration" that Ted Haggard is undergoing right now. He points out that all Christians have ministries all the time--even when they've been broken by sin--and that the process being referred to as "restoration" may be less about helping Haggard experience wholeness as a child of God than it is about sprucing up the image of one outlet of organized religion.
WE ARE ALL MINSTERS - sometimes we are better ones than others. The whole conversation [about "restoration"] places way too much importance on the role of institutional and organizational leader, at the expense of [the] gospel being spread from person-to-person, life-to-life. Haggard was a minister, he is a minister[,] and he will always be a minister.

RIGHT NOW, RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE, TED HAGGARD HAS A MINISTRY! There is nothing for him to be restored to. Haggard's ministry now is to be the best example possible of a person in the process of redemption - of confession - of humility - of being broken and rebuilt by God Himself. [emphasis mine]...My prayer for Ted Haggard is not that he would be restored to ministry, but that he would do this ministry, right now, better than it has ever been done before.

You see, people so anxious to "restore" Ted Haggard aren't so much interested in Haggard as they are in restoring public credibility to that church or to the National Association of Evangelicals. [again, emphasis mine]
John 14:27 - Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.
Why are we concerned about public credibility, especially at the cost of a broken man still discovering precisely how contrite he is? That is seeking peace, seeking restoration[,] "as the world gives." We should be seeking Christ's peace, Christ's restoration! [again]
Read the whole thing.


John Schroeder said...

Thanks Mark!

Anonymous said...

To suggest one answer to your question, how about "fear of man"? I'm reluctant to toss around the label "Pharisee," but Jesus said one of their defining characteristics was doing everything for men to see (see Mt. 23:5).

One manifestation of that is keeping one eye on public opinion polls, focus groups, etc. and yielding to that pressure rather than remaining faithful to God. It's admittedly a tough row to hoe, but I think John's correct.

Mark Daniels said...

The question was John's and I think it was rhetorical. But clearly, the answer you give is the correct one...or, at least, one of the correct ones.

Thanks for dropping by.


jan@theviewfromher said...

At the risk of judging motivation (which I most certainly can not do), I sometimes suspect "being restored to ministry" is kind of like taking a time out and doing extra chores as punishment. It sometimes appears to reflect a focus on being restored to the SAME position in that ministry: the one with the prestige, and power, and money. As though they'll impatiently endure the time out and extra chores in order to get back to the position they feel entitled to.

I obviously don't know if that's the case in this instance, but it has been occasionally in my experience. One can only trust that God will work to change a heart and mind, and bring restoration of a true focus on Christ.

Mark Daniels said...

Interesting comments.