Ted Haggard is back in the news for his reality show. Both Carl Trueman and Justin Taylor have blogged on the issue. And they have come in for some predicable, misguided criticism.
The way some folks have handled this situation reflects elementary theological confusion. In particular, there is more to restoration than forgiveness. There is also such a thing as sanctification.
Suppose I forgive someone who wrongs me. That, of itself, has no direct affect on him. It doesn’t change his character, or alter his predisposition.
A thief and a sodomite are both sinners. However, theft is more about what you do than what you are. A thief can cease to be a thief overnight.
However, a sodomite can’t cease to be a sodomite overnight. For that goes to who he is, not merely what he does. Even if he ceases to practice sodomy, that doesn’t change his impulses. He doesn’t suddenly feel the same way about his wife (if he has one) as a normal man does. It’s a deeply engrained feature of his personality. Hard to root out.
There is also the question of reconciliation. When he secured the services of a callboy, much was made about how sinful that was. But I don’t remember anyone pointing out that he wronged the callboy.
Imagine the effect on the callboy of a famous minister securing his services. A guy has to be pretty messed up to become a callboy in the first place. It’s hard to think of a more degraded occupation.
A callboy desperately needs the witness and friendship of normal Christian men to lead him out of his aggravated depravity.