Evangelical Aftershock

Last week evangelicals across our nation faced a disaster of heart-wrenching proportions when a loved and respected ministry leader Rev. Ted Haggard resigned his position as President of the National Association of Evangelicals and then subsequently was dismissed as Senior Pastor of New Life Church in the wake of shocking revelations about his secret personal life. It was an emotional earthquake which rocked the Christian community and continues in aftershocks being felt far and wide not only by his ministry colleagues, by his church, or by the evangelical community at large, but sadly by non-believers who continue to be left confused, disillusioned and discouraged by the evangelical profession' of faith.

A Biblical Response to a Fallen Christian Leader and Ministry

Last week evangelicals across our nation faced a disaster of heart-wrenching proportions when a loved and respected ministry leader Rev. Ted Haggard resigned his position as President of the National Association of Evangelicals and then subsequently was dismissed as Senior Pastor of New Life Church in the wake of shocking revelations about his secret personal life. It was an emotional earthquake which rocked the Christian community and continues in aftershocks being felt far and wide not only by his ministry colleagues, by his church, or by the evangelical community at large, but sadly by non-believers who continue to be left confused, disillusioned and discouraged by the evangelical"profession" of faith.

Whether Christian or not, these scandals shock our faith and cause doubt. "I did not think this could happen to me!" "How could this happen in our church?" "We did not think this would affect us." "How can someone who says he loves God, do something like that?" "How can a 'loving' God allow such pain?"

As Christians we are called to shed light in the midst of any disaster; emotional or physical, local or national. For the healthy Christian it is how we handle the disaster and the aftershocks that make all the difference to God and others. Doubt is inevitable. It must be dealt with directly; lovingly and compassionately.

For Christians, the disaster itself should not be the focus of our attention, rather the faithful act of praying, caring and appropriately sharing about the love and restoration that can only be found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. The question is not, "Why do we all keep sinning and letting each other down?" The question is, "Why does it take such an awful situation to remind us of our need for daily repentance and forgiveness?"

Disasters whether personal, like the one faced last week by Rev. Ted Haggard, his family, and New Life Church, or those which are man-made like 911, or natural ones like Katrina are compounded when we try to shrug them off or deny the challenge they present to our beliefs. But when we face them head on, without denying the shock, we have a unique opportunity to let the light of Christ shine into a dark place.

Where is God in this? Where is He is in the face of this or any disaster? He is waiting ready to respond to his children when they call out to Him. "Call upon me and I will deliver you," says the Lord. As Christians we need to call out to Him in fervent prayer:

So what is the Christian response? We need to pray for Ted Haggard and his family for: truth to be separated from falsehood personally and publicly, for complete restoration, for strength to stand against what is false, and for strength to deal with what is true. We need to thank God that He has already sent caring brothers in Drs. Dobson, Hayford and Barnett to walk with them through this process. And we each need to prayerfully consider sending a caring note, sharing words of the Lord which we have found to be a blessing when we ourselves have gone through a crisis.

We also need to pray for the ministry of the National Association of Evangelicals that the leadership would be given strength and wisdom, that God would protect the members from harm, and that the fruit of the NAE ministry would be sustained according to God's perfect will.

It is not important how we feel as Christians, as depicted in a recent World Net Daily poll, but how we are to respond in a prayerful, care-full and Scripture-based way when disasters strike that is most important. It is about being ready for disasters emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually- ready to dispel doubt and minimize the aftershock by answering the question head-on."Where is God in this?" Right here, waiting for you to call out and receive His love and forgiveness.