Saturday, June 11, 2005

Ted Haggard on the True Meaning of Christianity

Ted Haggard, pastor of New Life megachurch in Colorado Springs and president of the National Association of Evangelicals, has an interview with Harper's Magazine. In it, he has some things to say about the Ukraine:

Kiev is, in fact, home to Europe’s largest evangelical church, and over the last dozen years the Ukrainian evangelical population has grown more than tenfold, from 250,000 to 3 million. According to Ted, it was this army of Christian capitalists that took to the streets. “They’re pro-free markets, they’re pro-private property,” he said. “That’s what evangelical stands for.” (italics mine)
Well silly me, I thought evangelical stood for sharing the good news of Christ. But I guess what it really means is being a proponent of capitalism. More reading:

In Pastor Ted’s book Dog Training, Fly Fishing, & Sharing Christ in the 21st Century, he describes the church he thinks good Christians want. “I want my finances in order, my kids trained, and my wife to love life. I want good friends who are a delight and who provide protection for my family and me should life become difficult someday . . . I don’t want surprises, scandals, or secrets . . . I want stability and, at the same time, steady, forward movement. I want the church to help me live life well, not exhaust me with endless ‘worthwhile’ projects.” By “worthwhile projects” Ted means building funds and soup kitchens alike. It’s not that he opposes these; it’s just that he is sick of hearing about them and believes that other Christians are, too. He knows that for Christianity to prosper in the free market, it needs more than “moral values”—it needs customer value.


For Pastor Ted, being a Christian is about 'customer value.' It needs to 'prosper in the free market.' It's all about 'stability.' And let's not forget that many Christians are sick of soup kitchens. Dammit, those hungry homeless people are getting in the way of my building a stock portfolio. Jesus would be appalled at their dragging me down the way they do. Discipleship isn't supposed to be difficult, after all.

I'm glad that's cleared up.

5 comments:

Julie said...

He knows that for Christianity to prosper in the free market, it needs more than “moral values”—it needs customer value.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also...

That was one of the most discouraging articles I've read in a long time. I wish I knew some back story, explaining how Haggard pulled political strings to get his position as head of the NEA, but it's more likely that the churches just voted him in because he's running a mega-successful mega-church, isn't it?

Songbird said...

It's a very depressing article.

Ben said...

::looking at your quotes of him::
This guy has so completely missed the point of the gospel that I find it amazing that people listen to him at all.

New Life Church was built far north of town in part so it would be visible from the Air Force Academy.
As if the cadets didn't have enough to worry about.
Pastor Ted believes to this day that New Life helped chase the bad out of town. He thinks like that, a piston: less bad means more good.
Good and bad are relative. What if everything just went to shades of gray? Or heaven forbid, FULL COLOR!

This mega-church thing is really worrisome/frightening to me. I've commented on Greg's blog also. Not sure whether to turn to the Lord, or Yoda (Fear leads to Anger leads to Hate leads to Suffering, the path to the Dark Side, it is).

Is this the future of Christianity?

Ben said...

One more thought (Lyrics by Lost and Found):
NOTE: THIS SONG IS MEANT TO BE SARCASTIC.

I AIN'T GOT NO STRONG FEELINGS. I DON'T SEE WHAT YOU'RE SEEING. I AIN'T GOT NO STRONG FEELINGS ABOUT THIS, ABOUT YOU OR ABOUT ME.

YOU TELL ME I'M A SINNER AND THAT WE ALL ARE. NOW, I DON'T THINK I REALLY WANT TO TAKE IT THAT FAR. I DO PRETTY GOOD (SIC) I'M OK, YOU'RE OK . AS LONG AS WE ARE TRYING GOD WILL TAKE US ANYWAY AND THAT'S WHY I AIN'T GOT NO STRONG FEELINGS.

I' M HAPPY FOR YOU NOW THAT YOU HAVE FOUND YOUR WAY. SEEMS LIKE EVERYBODY'S GOT RELIGION THESE DAYS. THIS GUY NAMED JESUS SOUNDS OK TO ME. HE WAS A GOOD MAN BUT CAN'T YOU SEE I AIN'T GOT NO STRONG FEELINGS?

NOW DON'T YOU GET PROVINCIAL THERE'S MORE THAN ONE FAITH. AND DON'T YOU ACT SO CHILDISH SAYING YOURS IS THE TRUE WAY. EVERYONE HAS HIS OWN GOD I'M GLAD YOU FOUND YOURS. MY NEXT-DOOR NEIGHBOR FOUND HIS TOO; HE DRIVES A ROLLS ROYCE AND THAT'S WHY THAT I AIN'T GOT NO STRONG FEELINGS.

NOW DON'T YOU GET UPSET YOU KNOW WE STILL CAN BE FRIENDS. EVERY NEW RELIGION'S JUST A MEANS TO AN END. BUDDHISM, CHRISTIANITY THEY'RE ALL THE SAME. ALL OF THEM ARE TRUE THEY JUST CALL GOD A DIFFERENT NAME. AND THAT'S WHY I AIN'T GOT NO STRONG FEELINGS.

I've a feeling New Life would have a collective aneurysm if they heard these lyrics.

Jeff said...

Ben, you asked if this was the future of Christianity. I say no. This is the future of consumerism masked as Christianity, which is no different than what it's been for the past however long. And it's the future of gospel perversion, but no, it's not the future of Christianity.