Monday, January 09, 2006

Al Mohler Rips Ted Haggard

Maybe the verb "rips" is too strong, but he certainly made my sarcastic response to Ted Haggard's theological hedge on the Barbara Walters special seem pretty mild. Said Mohler on his radio program:
If that's the best evangelicals can do, we're in big trouble. If the best we can say is that the only way to heaven that is guaranteed is Jesus Christ, then I just have to wonder what in the world do we think the gospel is? . . . I would have to say, tremendously distressing the fact that he would say that Jesus is the only guaranteed way to go to heaven. And I think the worst thing he said was . . . "Then they will have to work that out. They have to work out their own eternal life, and there's no guarantee provided for them." I don't know what to say in response to that, other than if this is where evangelicalism now stands theologically, we are in big, big trouble. If all we can say is, "There's only one guaranteed way," as if Jesus in John 14:6 said, "I am the guaranteed way, the guaranteed truth, and the guaranteed life. I can't assure anyone of getting to the Father but by me," then that's where we'd be left, but that's not what Jesus said.


Chris said...

Thanks for posting and thanks to Mohler for his boldness. While I was watching the show, I was getting really disturbed by Haggard's wishy-washy comments. But I kind of expected it after reading about him in CT a few months ago.

Michael C. said...

I've thought for a long time that Mohler was getting his best stuff from This is just more evidence.

Keep up the good work!

Ben said...

Shhh. I don't want to hurt his street cred with the evangelicals. If he's connected to me they might start accusing him of being a fundamentalist. Or maybe Jimmy Carter already broke that news.

Got to run. He asked me to edit his address for Together for the Gospel.

Timmy said...

Glad to hear Dr. Mohler chiming in on the woefully disappointing representation of evangelicals in pop-culture. He is right. If this is the best evangelicals have to offer (which it is not), then we have every right to be ashamed.

Andrew Mondy said...

I work at the church Ted Haggard pastors in Colorado Springs. I agree that the representation on the Walters special was softer than I and most Evangelicals would like. You may find it interesting to know that 90 percent of the two-hour-plus-interviews' footage ended up on the cutting room floor. All the good, solid theology and scripture references were conveniently left out to give the impression that there is some other way to God than through Christ.
Ted was contrasting the guarantee of Salvation that Christ provides with the claims of other religions who make no guarantee of eternal life. He does not believe in any other means to God whatsoever.

Just thought it might be useful to clarify...

Ben said...


I'm glad to see your comments. I know that taped shows are notorious for distorting evangelicals, which is why some of them have resolved only to appear on live shows.

So, I can imagine that editors could have made some of the quotes appear worse than they are. On the other hand, network news programs rarely make evangelicals look more mainstream and pluralistic. It's much more common for the programs to paint them as right-wing wackos. If you are correct, then what happened on the Walters special is the exact opposite of what usually happens.

Perhaps you can clarify a few questions I have:

1. Does Haggard really believe that "heaven is a place where you can eat what you want and never get heavy" and that heaven is full of all kinds of pastries? What biblical evidence does he have for that opinion?

2. If Haggard was merely drawing lines between works based religions and the gospel, why did he say, "If you don’t know Jesus you have no assurance of going to heaven"? Why did he not just say, "If you don't know Jesus, you're not going to heaven"?

3. Why did Haggard respond, "I think so," to the question whether those who do not believe in Jesus Christ go to hell?

4. Has Haggard released a public statement on the program?

Andrew, my concerns with Haggard are connected almost as much to his implicit departure from the sole authority of Scripture as his fuzziness on the gospel. His statements about the eternal buffet and something less than certainty about the eternal destiny of the unbelieving seem to be strong evidence to that fact.

Again, thanks for posting. I'll appreciate any clarification you can provide.