Evangelicals in a Secular Society
Ted Haggard is senior pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs and president of the National Association of Evangelicals. The author of several books, Haggard's most recent isFoolish No More!: Seizing a Life Beyond Belief, in which he takes a new look at Paul's epistle to the Galatians.
Why did you decide Galatians is something you wanted published right now?
This book reflects the crisis that America is in right now. Right now it's trying to decide what to do about the law, and how to use the law to encourage people to be more moral or whether the law should ever be used to encourage people to be more moralor example, the Lawrence decision that outlawed anti-sodomy laws across the country.
That was the discussion of Galatians, whether or not the law can be used to help people be better people. I don't want to take a purely spiritual argument and try to impose it on civil law, but I do think Christians have to wrestle with it, because the easiest way for us to appease our own conscience is to pass a civil law. That is the argument of the Judaizers when they came from Jerusalem and said to the church at Galatia that they needed to have higher standards. The apostle Paul shot back, and he said, "No, these are Gentiles that have been saved; they don't live according to the same standards as the Jews that have been saved."
As a church pastor and the head of the NAE, where do you come down on it?
I think some issues should have rules within the church. For instance, we believe within the church that sexuality should be only between a married man and a woman. But in civil law, I would never want that inculcated.
There are many things that I teach in the church that I would never want integrated into civil law.