Pastor Ted Haggart’s “Fall from Grace”?

The news broke terribly a week or so ago about the very popular pastor of a church in Colorado (with 14,000 members!) who (after accusations were made) admitted to sexual sins and resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals and was relieved of his duties at the church he started in his basement many years ago.

This man was, of course, a very popular Bible teacher and preacher who espoused biblical positions against homosexuality, gay marriage, abortion, etc., etc. A while ago I listened to an interview of him on KFUO, the LCMS radio station out of St. Louis. In that interview he made clear the general thrust of the “Evangelical” churches in the doctrine of works. He stressed how important it was for Christians to be focused and blessed in their holy lives. If you listen to his sermons in general, they are all about the blessed and holy life of the Christian and how to cultivate it. There is nothing unimportant about a sanctified Christian life. However, what is missing from Ted Haggart’s preaching is the clear Gospel of Jesus Christ for the Forgiveness of sins and the trusting of Jesus’ righteousness instead of our own. In the interview he claimed that he himself had not sinned that day as of the time of the interview, and that it was possible to keep oneself generally free from sin. I guess he proved himself wrong.

But what I gasp at are the headlines which are characterized by the line “fall from grace”. Somehow Ted Haggart has fallen from grace! Perhaps that is true if it referred to his relationship with men who only know of works righteousness. But unfortunately the inference is made in all too many minds that somehow Ted Haggart has fallen from the grace of God because of his sin. Perhaps his own teaching encouraged that kind of thinking. That is why I love being a Lutheran. I truly believe the passages like this in scripture:

Rom. 11:5 So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. 6 And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

Grace is NOT DESERVED! The Grace of God is by definition an undeserved GIFT! Be GLAD you are a Lutheran: A sinner and yet a saint! A life of continual repentance and forgiveness steeped in the life of Jesus Christ our Savior!


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