Ted Haggard just won't go away
Posted 22 September 2011 - 09:52 AM
Posted 22 September 2011 - 10:36 AM
Posted 22 September 2011 - 02:57 PM
Posted 23 September 2011 - 07:28 AM
But...Robertson never went away...the more we ignored him, the closer he got. So that doesn't work.
Posted 06 November 2011 - 08:40 PM
On Having Fun with the Fundamentalists, March 27, 1987 -
Implicit in the handling of the story is the notion that those who do not practice what they preach invalidate that which they preach. To suggest such a thing is to betray a most awful misunderstanding of Christian teaching. The man whom Christ designated as the rock on which he would found his church sinned three times before the cock crowed. It is testimony to the profoundest understanding of Christian teaching that such generalities as "Physician, heal thyself" are utterly empty of moral and empirical meaning. If a doctor himself smokes cigarettes or drinks alcohol to excess, his failings do not invalidate his medical advice to others not to yield to weaknesses he cannot dominate. (After receiving a scolding from his physician for drinking too much, a character in Rabelais responds, "Forsooth, I do believe I know more old drunkards than I do old doctors.")
It has not been noticed in any account I have seen that we are dealing with a communion of people among whom an act of adultery is a Watergate-gravity offense. There is a certain irony in beholding the mirth among people for whom an act of adultery is no more offensive than, say, serving white wine with red meat, over the distress caused by a single act of adultery by a preacher who preaches against adultery ...
Whatever virtues Mr. Bakker does regularly practice, asceticism is certainly not one of them. That paradox is as old as the first effort by the first pilgrim in the first catacomb to make a sacrifice in order to adorn an altar. That habit, in 1,100 years, produced the Cathedral of Chartres, whose incomparable beauty gladdened not only the heart of Henry Adams, but also the millennium of peasants who made sacrifices to create it. The adornment of the altar grew, almost inevitably, to the adornment of the house of the ministers of the altars, and the bejeweled palaces in which the popes and the cardinals and the archbishops lived. In some, the paradox (despite the things of this world) is never jarring: Pope Pius XII could be wearing the Hope diamond and still, beholding him, one saw a man wearing the simplest cassock, pursuing the vision of Christ.
Nothing Christ taught requires despising beautiful surroundings. But he did teach that priorities must inform the Christian, and it is not easy for anyone to judge whether the apparent vulgarity of the physical surroundings of the Reverend Jim Bakker reflects disorder in his spiritual discipline. That he did not, at a crucial point, succeed in resisting temptation merely confirms that he was a sinner. That he expressed contrition invokes the extrasecular promise of forgiveness, seventy times seven times. But even granted divine forgiveness, there is the penance to be paid, and he is paying it by losing his exalted position in the public ministry.
There is great sport in catching up the hypocrite, bu the cliche - "Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue" - must never get lost in the exercise ...
The point is that Christianity not only survives such enormities, it takes strength from them because the abiding lessons of Christianity are reaffirmed: Man is a sinner. Man can repent. God will forgive. That is so very different from the fashionable secular complement, which is: What is sin?