Overnight, news that prominent US evangelical, Ted Haggard, has been forced to step down. He is accused of conducting a three year sexual relationship with a male prostitute and of taking the illegal drug methamphetamine.
Haggard has stepped aside from his position as pastor of the 14,000 member New Life Church in Colorado Springs. He has resigned his presidency of the 30 million member National Association of Evangelicals. He is close to the Bush White House.
The full story is yet to unfold. After denying the initial reports, Haggard has now admitted to some impropriety.
New Life Church has released this statement.
The National Association of Evangelicals has released their on statement which in part says:
Knowing Rev. Haggard, we found the initial reports of misconduct to be shocking and difficult to believe. As evangelicals we recognize, however, the stark reality of the power of sin in all our lives, and acknowledge that we are all capable of grievous moral failures. Moreover, we believe that the Bible holds Christian leaders to higher levels of accountability. Therefore, it is especially serious when a pastor and prominent Christian leader deliberately violates God’s standards of conduct.
The Addisons are packing today to go away for the weekend. I leave with a heavy heart. Hopefully the worst of the allegations are untrue.
I'm reminded of three maxims that have been drummed into me by older and wiser mentors:
1. Everything rises an falls on leadership. 2. Ultimately we minister out of who we are. 3. Few leaders finish well.