Local Spiritual Leaders React To Allegations Against Reverend Ted Haggard - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/3/06-Tyler

Local Spiritual Leaders React To Allegations Against Reverend Ted Haggard

The Reverend Ted Haggard, a widely known church leader from Colorado admitted, that he bought methamphetamine from a gay prostitute, and that he got a massage from him.

The admission comes after Mike Jones accused Haggard of paying for sexual encounters with him over three years. As a result of the charges, Haggard resigned as president of the National Association of Evangelicals, which has 30 million members. He has also stepped down as leader of his 14,000 member New Life Church while the church investigates the charges.   As the news of the allegations spread, we wanted to know what local spiritual leaders had to say about it.

"When I first heard about it, I was hoping that none of it was true," says Mark Edge, Preaching Minister of Shiloh Road Church of Christ.

"I felt devastated in a way and yet in the same way that the Christian faith is to be strong," says Art Miller, Associate Pastor, Our Savior's Lutheran Church.

Pastor Art Miller has been preaching for 53 years. He says everyone is vulnerable to temptations. However, he was surprised Haggard would be on the forefront against same sex marriages if he was involved in that type of relationship.  

"It amazes me that he would speak out against it and then be involved in it," says Pastor Miller.

Mark Edge says he understands peoples' frustrations.

"Anytime somebody is proclaiming one thing and living a life completely opposite clearly people become angry and understandably so," says Edge.

Pastor Brian Brandt, from Grace Community Church, says it goes back to accountability.  

"Sin is nothing new but our reaction. Our reaction and forgiveness for those in that, how are we handling it and how are we becoming more Christ like," says Brian Brandt, Executive Pastor of Ministries, Grace Community Church.

Pastor Miller says churches will be affected.

"People have real trusting relationships with their pastor.  They look up to them and respect them, then when this happens they lose all of that respect," says Pastor Miller.

Haggard continues to deny ever having a gay relationship. The accuser did take a lie detector test, which showed some deception but were told that does not necessarily mean he is lying.

Karolyn Davis, reporting.  kdavis@kltv.com

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