Philip, what I found of greatest interest is what Haggard ‘fessed up to, and his tone in doing so:
“I am so embarrassed and ashamed,” he wrote in a two-page letter read at each service. “I would find myself thinking thoughts and experiencing desires that were contrary to everything I believe and teach.
“I am a deceiver and a liar,” he wrote.
This, to me, is much harsher upon himself than any admission of specific immoral sexual behavior or drug use could be. And unlike many others who are caught in hypocrisy or worse, he did not invoke any mitigating circumstances or blame others. In fact, he asked others to forgive and “thank God” for his accuser.
I was also impressed with the church’s management of the issue, and the structure they had in place to address possible sin issues with New Life’s leadership. It all reminds me of what the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 7:13-25, which says in part:
For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God — through Jesus Christ our Lord!
You talked about preachers who don’t “practice what they preach,” making it more difficult to convince the unconverted. You are absolutely correct, but when they do fail, it will have helped if they have preached a strong dose of grace through faith in Jesus Christ for all who sin.