Evangelical pastor confesses to 'some' accusations

world | Nov 03, 2006 | By Spero News

Rev. Ted Haggard, Evangelical Senior Pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, has confessed to some of the accusations against him according to Rev. Ross Parsley, who is serving as Acting Senior Pastor of the 14,000-member Protestant church.

Rev. Ted Haggard, a key Evangelical in the religious right and president of the National Association of Evangelicals, said in a statement that he placed himself on administrative leave "pending investigation, spiritual counsel, and a decision by the church's board of overseers" after he was accused of using drugs and participating in a three-year homosexual relationship. 

After he resigned, the board of overseers met with Haggard.  "It is important for you to know that he confessed to the overseers that some of the accusations against him are true," said Parsley in an e-mail to the congregation.

Ted Haggard is married and has five children and has vociferously opposed gay marriage. 

Time Magazine included Pastor Haggard in their list of the 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America. The Wall Street Journal noted his advisory role with the Bush White House, calling him one "of the nation's most politically influential" clergy, and Harper's Magazine wrote, "No pastor in America holds more sway over the political direction of evangelicalism than does Pastor Ted."

Before he met with the church board and confessed to some of the accusations, Haggard stated that he could "not continue to minister under the cloud created by the accusations" made on a Denver radio station that morning when his accuser, 49-year-old Mike Jones of Denver, said Haggard paid him to have sex nearly every month for the past three years, most recently in August.

Jones said he had advertised himself as an escort on the internet and that a man who called himself Art contacted him. Arthur is Haggard's middle name. Jones said he later saw the man on television identified as Haggard.

Jones also said Haggard used methamphetamines during their encounters.

Pastor Haggard said, "I am voluntarily stepping aside from leadership so that the overseer process can be allowed to proceed with integrity. I hope to be able to discuss this matter in more detail at a later date. In the interim, I will seek both spiritual advice and guidance."

Focus on the Family founder and Chairman James Dobson, said in a statement addressing the allegation by a male prostitute in Denver that Ted Haggard was one of his clients.  "It is unconscionable that the legitimate news media would report a rumor like this based on nothing but one man's accusation. Ted Haggard is a friend of mine and it appears someone is trying to damage his reputation as a way of influencing the outcome of Tuesday's election -- especially the vote on Colorado's marriage-protection amendment -- which Ted strongly supports.

"He has shown a great deal of grace under these unfortunate circumstances, quickly turning this matter over to his church for an independent investigation," Dobson said, "That is a testament to the character I have seen him exhibit over and over again through the years."

Under the governing structure of New Life Church, there is a board of overseers consisting of four senior pastors of other congregations. Those overseers have authority to conduct an inquiry, to discipline the senior pastor, to remove him from his position, or to restore him to ministry. The overseers of New Life Church are: Rev. Larry Stockstill, Senior Pastor of Bethany World Prayer Center, in Baker, Louisiana; Rev. Mark Cowart, Senior Pastor of Church For All Nations in Colorado Springs; Rev. Tim Ralph, Senior Pastor of New Covenant Fellowship in Larkspur, Colorado; and Rev. Michael Ware, Senior Pastor of Victory Church in Westminster, Colorado.

Rev. Parsley requested the community's compassion an



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