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  1. #1
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    Thought this was interesting. Thoughts?

    I’ve been reading news articles and commentaries on the Ted Haggard episode and have been surprised to find that the majority of stories haven’t been all that condemning. Although no one is denying Haggard’s homosexual lifestyle or his drug use, almost without exception the articles contain phrases such as “We are all subject to falling to temptation” or “Satan attacks successful Christians” or “Ministers are just people too” and “We should remember David and Bathsheba” or “We must seek for his restoration and forgiveness” or similar banal rhetoric. And these trite phrases have been weaved into columns written by secular and Christian writers alike!

    In fact, the general timbre seems to be that although Haggard initially denied the allegations and only later admitted he’d been disingenuous, his fall from grace is supposedly only evidence of human frailty or Original Sin or something.

    Perhaps I’m just jaded, but the man is 50 years old, and has admitted to having an affair with a gay, drug-dealing prostitute for three years.

    Three years!

    I wonder, is it possible for a True Christian™ to live a sordid secret life for three years? Does a three-year-long gay tryst held by a respected Christian leader prove that Christianity definitely has problems?

    Regardless of the real answer to those simplistic questions, I can’t help but wonder a few things from all of this.

    Let me explain my thinking:

    During these past three years Haggard has preached dozens and dozens of genuine sounding sermons in a church that claims to practice the gifts of the Spirit. People in the congregation still readily claim to possess spiritual gifts — gifts ladled out by the Almighty — for the benefit of HIS church. One of these divine gifts is known as the gift of discernment. Yet, apparently, not a single one of these purportedly gifted believers had the slightest idea that Haggard was lying. Or screwing around. Or getting high.

    Not one!

    This is intriguing to me. Does this prove that Spiritual gifts are bogus? Doesn’t it at least raise some doubt as to the reliability of supposedly God-given powers?

    Another thing that mystifies me is the assumption that a 50-year-old man would suddenly begin having homosexual tendencies at the age of 47.

    Is that how homosexuality works? Does a man wake up one day at 47 and realize he’s just got to have sex with a hot guy? Perhaps I’m naïve, but it seems much more likely that Haggard has been gay a lot longer than three years. It seems likely that he would have acted on these impulses once or twice prior to reaching 47 years old.

    Am I way off base on this?

    Of course I have no evidence that Haggard’s been having dalliances with anyone other than Mr. Kiss&Tell, but I still wonder. When President Clinton’s cigar was found where it shouldn’t have been, no one doubted he’d been wetting that thing as often as opportunity knocked. Most writers weren't all that forgiving of Clinton. Yet Haggard, who unless he’d been fingered would likely still be out on the prowl, gets the soft touch, so to speak.

    Another observation I’d like to make is in regards to the relative ease with which this man wore an impenetrable mask before thousands of onlookers. His deception was flawless. To reiterate, had he not been turned in by his lover, no one would be the wiser today.

    I’ve known people who could lie as well as Haggard, and frankly, those people scare me. If Haggard could be the revered minister of thousands, and the leader of some 30 million as the head of the National Association of Evangelicals, without a single person ever suspecting his duplicity, how many other Christian leaders, past or present, possess(ed) similar talents?

    No True Christian™ doubts that Joseph Smith was lying when he said he was visited by an angel who gave him golden plates — the Book of Mormon. No True Christian™ doubts that the spiritual experiences of Mohammad are fantastical fabrications. And no True Christian™ doubts that the stories written in the Bible are completely true. The early disciples of Jesus could never have fabricated the stories in the New Testament and Paul’s honesty is unquestionable, say True Christians™

    And again, no True Christian™ suspected that Ted Haggard was anything but an honest, holy, anointed man of God.

    This website posts various stories of Christian leaders being caught with their pants down, their hands in the till, with blood on their hands, ect., and without exception the people in their “flock” are shocked by the information. In every one of these kinds of cases that I’m aware of, True Christians™ never had a clue.

    What do you think?


    Article from exchristian.net

  2. #2
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    Re: Thought this was interesting. Thoughts?

    Just another good christian doing gods will.

  3. #3
    blaze33 Guest

    Re: Thought this was interesting. Thoughts?

    I think it could be simple. Like shepherd so go the sheep. The guy remember knew the way's of the sheep way into his early 20's and even teens. He was a christian and knew how they moved and danced. He may have been the real deal at one time.

    That's how I can see the flock being deceived simply because at one time he was one of them and how better to know how to sway one if you also were one of them.

    Plus he told them what they wanted to hear is my thought which is the greatest seducing method known to man and a fast pitch car salesman alike! Get the confidence of the people is all it takes after that, No one would have the audacity to even think you could be the wolf even with the gift of discernment as you say. Or who know's maybe god is judging them all.

    blaze

  4. #4
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    Re: Thought this was interesting. Thoughts?

    Well, I'm certainly out of touch, I didn't know Haggard was an evangelist, much less gay. I thought he was a country western singer. I guess I got the name mixed up with Jimmy Swaggert.

    Here is what I think though;

    He preached to thousands. No one really KNEW him personally, but he was charismatic and gained a following. I think it's a lot easier to hide your sins in a crowd of people than it is in a small group so people not knowing really doesn't surprise me.

    Today's Christians for the most part, that follow these kinds of leaders really don't have a clue what's going on. They say they have gifts because they are supposed to have gifts. Are they trying to convince themselves or others?

    In Old Testament days he would have been stoned.

    I think he probably caused a lot of Christians to stumble in their faith. Which is why we are admonished to keep our eyes on God, not man.

    The mighty will fall. Their sins always catch up to them and expose them for what they are. What amazes me by your post is that the "Wolf" was forgiven and restored and the bible specifically warns against people like Haggard leading the flock astray. But let some lowly sinner or athiest or person of another belief be in their midst and those poor folks (whom by the way we are to demonstrate the love of God to in our actions and words) are rebuked and condemned to an everlasting hell.

    How far from the Living God the Christian faith has fallen.

    I don't know exactly what you mean by "True" Christian, but I do consider myself a Real Christian. ;)

    Namaste' Bibleman,


    Lady Mod

  5. #5
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    Re: Thought this was interesting. Thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by bogie
    Just another good christian doing gods will.

    There are plenty of folks in this world who "Do God's will" without hypocricy.

  6. #6
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    sojustask is offline The Late, Great Lady Mod - Retired User Rank
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    Re: Thought this was interesting. Thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by bibleman
    There are plenty of folks in this world who "Do God's will" without hypocricy.

    Ya, and some of them aren't even "Christians". :)

    Namaste'

    Lady Mod

  7. #7
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    Re: Thought this was interesting. Thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by blaze33
    I think it could be simple. Like shepherd so go the sheep. The guy remember knew the way's of the sheep way into his early 20's and even teens. He was a christian and knew how they moved and danced. He may have been the real deal at one time.

    That's how I can see the flock being deceived simply because at one time he was one of them and how better to know how to sway one if you also were one of them.

    Plus he told them what they wanted to hear is my thought which is the greatest seducing method known to man and a fast pitch car salesman alike! Get the confidence of the people is all it takes after that, No one would have the audacity to even think you could be the wolf even with the gift of discernment as you say. Or who know's maybe god is judging them all.

    blaze
    You kind of hit on the point.
    My major question in regards to this article is the idea of discernment as a gift from God.
    Regardless of how well a person is able to hide their faults from others, God is supposedly all knowing.
    Now...who are we to question God, right? Maybe He, in His divine judgement reserved this man's disgrace for a few years...maybe He gave Ted the opportunity to repent and set himself straight in the eyes of God, but Ted didn't take it...kept on sinning and finally God had to step in and teach him a lesson through public humiliation and disgrace...maybe Ted simply prayed to God that He teach Ted humility and had the prayer answered in an unexpected way...?

    Hmmm. What about this spiritual gift of discernment, though...
    If one truly has this gift, they should be able to see as the spirit guides them in judgement, right?
    Being participants in this church, they would by the very nature of their gift, be able to tell and could have set things right long ago or at least given a warning...set up the red flag...

    Who has this "gift?" What is the evidence of this "gift?"
    How is one without the "gift" to judge whether or not someone actually has it, since they obviously lack this knowledge? Does it "take one to know one?"

    TJ claims he has the gift of discernment and since it is impossible from a standpoint of logical debate to prove a negative (Tony does NOT have the gift), it is up to the claimant to prove their assertion...

    On that note, the very words of the bible are riddles and rubbish to the uninitiated, because the things written within are spiritually discerned. Does this mean that all born again believers are GIVEN the spirit of discernment? But this raises even more problems...What are we to make of TB and TJ going at each other...which is really just a reflection of differing viewpoints on a wider scale?
    Why the divisions within the church world as a whole when they are all supposedly led by the same spirit of God. Good bible believing christians all reading the word of God, having been given the ability to understand the word of God through their new found faith yet they can't agree on what truth is THE truth though they all possess the spirit of discernment...

    Hope I'm not going too far off on tangeants, but this is a problem for those who, given the discerning spirit cannot tell a true prophet or teacher of God from a false one....and cannot agree on doctrinal issues of seemingly vital import.

  8. #8
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    Re: Thought this was interesting. Thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by sojustask
    He preached to thousands. No one really KNEW him personally, but he was charismatic and gained a following. I think it's a lot easier to hide your sins in a crowd of people than it is in a small group so people not knowing really doesn't surprise me.
    I agree with you. I grew up in a town of 120 people. If I blew my nose, an hour later the little old lady across town would come by asking if I had a cold...



    Quote Originally Posted by sojustask
    Today's Christians for the most part, that follow these kinds of leaders really don't have a clue what's going on. They say they have gifts because they are supposed to have gifts. Are they trying to convince themselves or others?
    Right again. Its not a nice term, but I've heard them referred to as "Sheeple."
    The people of God, however; the congregants who "covet the best gifts" who believe or at least tell themselves again and again until they start to, that they have these supposed "gifts" are trying to convince both themselves and others...when in reality they don't have a clue what it truly means to "discern" rightly spiritualy or otherwise. Too many christians out there are only looking for a Jesus fix and a cool title.


    Quote Originally Posted by sojustask
    In Old Testament days he would have been stoned.

    I think he probably caused a lot of Christians to stumble in their faith. Which is why we are admonished to keep our eyes on God, not man.
    He can thank God for good christian American moderacy that the nation is not run by the Phelps family. :)


    Quote Originally Posted by sojustask
    The mighty will fall. Their sins always catch up to them and expose them for what they are. What amazes me by your post is that the "Wolf" was forgiven and restored and the bible specifically warns against people like Haggard leading the flock astray. But let some lowly sinner or athiest or person of another belief be in their midst and those poor folks (whom by the way we are to demonstrate the love of God to in our actions and words) are rebuked and condemned to an everlasting hell.
    That's an easy one. Ted and folks like him have already been "saved." They only need to repent and get back in line with God.
    Heathens and atheists haven't accepted Jesus yet so are in greater danger of Hell than Ted.

    Quote Originally Posted by sojustask
    I don't know exactly what you mean by "True" Christian, but I do consider myself a Real Christian. ;)
    Ah, who knows the writer's meaning on that one. :confused:
    Christians come in all flavors.

  9. #9
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    Re: Thought this was interesting. Thoughts?

    Sorry for the redundancy of this post...just wondered if anyone had any thoughts concerning the response below. All opinions welcome.



    My major question in regards to this article is the idea of discernment as a gift from God.
    Regardless of how well a person is able to hide their faults from others, God is supposedly all knowing.
    Now...who are we to question God, right? Maybe He, in His divine judgement reserved this man's disgrace for a few years...maybe He gave Ted the opportunity to repent and set himself straight in the eyes of God, but Ted didn't take it...kept on sinning and finally God had to step in and teach him a lesson through public humiliation and disgrace...maybe Ted simply prayed to God that He teach Ted humility and had the prayer answered in an unexpected way...?

    Hmmm. What about this spiritual gift of discernment, though...
    If one truly has this gift, they should be able to see as the spirit guides them in judgement, right?
    Being participants in this church, they would by the very nature of their gift, be able to tell and could have set things right long ago or at least given a warning...set up the red flag...

    Who has this "gift?" What is the evidence of this "gift?"
    How is one without the "gift" to judge whether or not someone actually has it, since they obviously lack this knowledge? Does it "take one to know one?"

    TJ claims he has the gift of discernment and since it is impossible from a standpoint of logical debate to prove a negative (Tony does NOT have the gift), it is up to the claimant to prove their assertion...

    On that note, the very words of the bible are riddles and rubbish to the uninitiated, because the things written within are spiritually discerned. Does this mean that all born again believers are GIVEN the spirit of discernment? But this raises even more problems...What are we to make of TB and TJ going at each other...which is really just a reflection of differing viewpoints on a wider scale?
    Why the divisions within the church world as a whole when they are all supposedly led by the same spirit of God. Good bible believing christians all reading the word of God, having been given the ability to understand the word of God through their new found faith yet they can't agree on what truth is THE truth though they all possess the spirit of discernment...

    Hope I'm not going too far off on tangeants, but this is a problem for those who, given the discerning spirit cannot tell a true prophet or teacher of God from a false one....and cannot agree on doctrinal issues of seemingly vital import.

  10. #10
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    Re: Thought this was interesting. Thoughts?

    Hey there bibleman... BTW, have a happy thanksgiving holiday (if you're in the US that is :) )

    Ok... From what I know about your question regarding discernment. It involves being able to "discern" the difference between spiritual truth or lies... not to 'psychically" tell whether or not a person is a hypocrite, thief, junkie or whatever. In other words... One who professes the "gift" should be able to tell if what they are hearing is true or false... not learn secrets about a person's behaviors or activities. They don't have to necessarily be able to support it with scripture quotes either.

  11. #11
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    Re: Thought this was interesting. Thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by bibleman
    I’ve been reading news articles and commentaries on the Ted Haggard episode and have been surprised to find that the majority of stories haven’t been all that condemning. Although no one is denying Haggard’s homosexual lifestyle or his drug use, almost without exception the articles contain phrases such as “We are all subject to falling to temptation” or “Satan attacks successful Christians” or “Ministers are just people too” and “We should remember David and Bathsheba” or “We must seek for his restoration and forgiveness” or similar banal rhetoric. And these trite phrases have been weaved into columns written by secular and Christian writers alike!

    In fact, the general timbre seems to be that although Haggard initially denied the allegations and only later admitted he’d been disingenuous, his fall from grace is supposedly only evidence of human frailty or Original Sin or something.

    Perhaps I’m just jaded, but the man is 50 years old, and has admitted to having an affair with a gay, drug-dealing prostitute for three years.

    Three years!

    I wonder, is it possible for a True Christian™ to live a sordid secret life for three years? Does a three-year-long gay tryst held by a respected Christian leader prove that Christianity definitely has problems?

    Regardless of the real answer to those simplistic questions, I can’t help but wonder a few things from all of this.

    Let me explain my thinking:

    During these past three years Haggard has preached dozens and dozens of genuine sounding sermons in a church that claims to practice the gifts of the Spirit. People in the congregation still readily claim to possess spiritual gifts — gifts ladled out by the Almighty — for the benefit of HIS church. One of these divine gifts is known as the gift of discernment. Yet, apparently, not a single one of these purportedly gifted believers had the slightest idea that Haggard was lying. Or screwing around. Or getting high.

    Not one!

    This is intriguing to me. Does this prove that Spiritual gifts are bogus? Doesn’t it at least raise some doubt as to the reliability of supposedly God-given powers?

    Another thing that mystifies me is the assumption that a 50-year-old man would suddenly begin having homosexual tendencies at the age of 47.

    Is that how homosexuality works? Does a man wake up one day at 47 and realize he’s just got to have sex with a hot guy? Perhaps I’m naïve, but it seems much more likely that Haggard has been gay a lot longer than three years. It seems likely that he would have acted on these impulses once or twice prior to reaching 47 years old.

    Am I way off base on this?

    Of course I have no evidence that Haggard’s been having dalliances with anyone other than Mr. Kiss&Tell, but I still wonder. When President Clinton’s cigar was found where it shouldn’t have been, no one doubted he’d been wetting that thing as often as opportunity knocked. Most writers weren't all that forgiving of Clinton. Yet Haggard, who unless he’d been fingered would likely still be out on the prowl, gets the soft touch, so to speak.

    Another observation I’d like to make is in regards to the relative ease with which this man wore an impenetrable mask before thousands of onlookers. His deception was flawless. To reiterate, had he not been turned in by his lover, no one would be the wiser today.

    I’ve known people who could lie as well as Haggard, and frankly, those people scare me. If Haggard could be the revered minister of thousands, and the leader of some 30 million as the head of the National Association of Evangelicals, without a single person ever suspecting his duplicity, how many other Christian leaders, past or present, possess(ed) similar talents?

    No True Christian™ doubts that Joseph Smith was lying when he said he was visited by an angel who gave him golden plates — the Book of Mormon. No True Christian™ doubts that the spiritual experiences of Mohammad are fantastical fabrications. And no True Christian™ doubts that the stories written in the Bible are completely true. The early disciples of Jesus could never have fabricated the stories in the New Testament and Paul’s honesty is unquestionable, say True Christians™

    And again, no True Christian™ suspected that Ted Haggard was anything but an honest, holy, anointed man of God.

    This website posts various stories of Christian leaders being caught with their pants down, their hands in the till, with blood on their hands, ect., and without exception the people in their “flock” are shocked by the information. In every one of these kinds of cases that I’m aware of, True Christians™ never had a clue.

    What do you think?


    Article from exchristian.net
    The man is a product/victim of a religious system that forces him to deny who he is.

    Simple as that

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    Re: Thought this was interesting. Thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anti_thesisofreason
    The man is a product/victim of a religious system that forces him to deny who he is.

    Simple as that
    He was possibly earning too good of a living & didn't want to loose that as well.

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    Re: Thought this was interesting. Thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulM
    Hey there bibleman... BTW, have a happy thanksgiving holiday (if you're in the US that is :) )

    Ok... From what I know about your question regarding discernment. It involves being able to "discern" the difference between spiritual truth or lies... not to 'psychically" tell whether or not a person is a hypocrite, thief, junkie or whatever. In other words... One who professes the "gift" should be able to tell if what they are hearing is true or false... not learn secrets about a person's behaviors or activities. They don't have to necessarily be able to support it with scripture quotes either.

    Hey, thanks! My thanksgiving is almost over, but hope you have a happy one wherever you are.
    Here in Iraq, our thanksgiving meal was the same stuff we eat everyday, but at least we got to have turkey-day placemats and drink some eggnog and near-beer. :) Me thinks the latter leaves much to be desired. :)


    For the rest, I say fair enough, but what about the question regarding rightly discerning the word of God? Why the riffs within any church organization and on a wider scale between all the other churches?

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    Re: Thought this was interesting. Thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anti_thesisofreason
    The man is a product/victim of a religious system that forces him to deny who he is.

    Simple as that

    You and I are in complete agreement.

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    Re: Thought this was interesting. Thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by bibleman
    Hey, thanks! My thanksgiving is almost over, but hope you have a happy one wherever you are.
    Here in Iraq, our thanksgiving meal was the same stuff we eat everyday, but at least we got to have turkey-day placemats and drink some eggnog and near-beer. :) Me thinks the latter leaves much to be desired. :)


    For the rest, I say fair enough, but what about the question regarding rightly discerning the word of God? Why the riffs within any church organization and on a wider scale between all the other churches?
    Glad you had as good as you could have. I didn't know you were in Iraq... be careful & don't become a stastic. I had a friend go over as a contractor a couple of years ago, but he decided it was better for him to come back home. We were all glad to see him back safely... the same for you... get home safely.


    On to other things :) You raise a more than fair question and rightfully so. After all, it can look as if God is either playing favorites or telling one person one thing and someone else another before sitting back with a beer to watch the fireworks *lol* Seriously though I believe it can all be boiled down to a couple of factors.. failure to listen and human characteristics. What I mean by that is that believers who follow the "gifts of the spirit" school of thought accept the fact that God speaks to them, through the spirit. The trick is to be able to tell the difference between what their "head" is telling them and what their "heart" (God) is saying. It's tough to explain, but I think you get my drift. Add to the mix charismatic leaders and speakers, mis-interpretations... throw into the mix a generous helping of gullibility and/or a need to have something to believe in and you've got a very good recipe for disaster (The Crusades, Inquisition + all other religious wars)

  16. #16
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    Re: Thought this was interesting. Thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulM
    Glad you had as good as you could have. I didn't know you were in Iraq... be careful & don't become a stastic. I had a friend go over as a contractor a couple of years ago, but he decided it was better for him to come back home. We were all glad to see him back safely... the same for you... get home safely.


    On to other things :) You raise a more than fair question and rightfully so. After all, it can look as if God is either playing favorites or telling one person one thing and someone else another before sitting back with a beer to watch the fireworks *lol* Seriously though I believe it can all be boiled down to a couple of factors.. failure to listen and human characteristics. What I mean by that is that believers who follow the "gifts of the spirit" school of thought accept the fact that God speaks to them, through the spirit. The trick is to be able to tell the difference between what their "head" is telling them and what their "heart" (God) is saying. It's tough to explain, but I think you get my drift. Add to the mix charismatic leaders and speakers, mis-interpretations... throw into the mix a generous helping of gullibility and/or a need to have something to believe in and you've got a very good recipe for disaster (The Crusades, Inquisition + all other religious wars)
    Man oh man, thought I was done for the day and ended up having to work a "bit" longer. Since I'm still up at 1:30am, figured I'd answer this before getting some shut-eye.

    What you've said is a major problem...if the spirit of God is infallible, His direct work with man(fallible or not) should produce God's desired effect...and since nothing on earth happens outside of God's perfect will, it could be said that the crusades, inquisition and all religious wars are in accordance with the will of God...along with all the problems that arise when you get a hand full of christians in the same room together(forum)...
    Your example of a recipe for disaster is happening all around us...not just where I'm at, but in our own hometowns, within our churches, within our homes...

    Well, I'm about worn out. Too tired to think clearly, so I think I'll turn in and hope this made sense. :rolleyes:

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