The early November revelations about Ted Haggard's sexually immoral behavior provoked deep sorrow among those who knew, loved, and admired him. Though the extent and exact nature of his transgressions remain unclear as this issue goes to press, we are thankful that "Pastor Ted" (as he was affectionately known) took complete responsibility for his behavior. Haggard was pastor of the largest church in the Rocky Mountain region and president of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), so the ramifications of his behavior will reverberate for years to come. It is an important occasion for American evangelicals to ask serious questions about our movement.
Aside from the fact that we all need to be wary of temptation and that we are all sinners who must trust in God's mercy, there is a corporate dimension we could easily overlook. In particular, we need to consider the double-edged nature of our entrepreneurial and often celebrity-driven movement.
Some of the highest achievements of contemporary evangelicalism can be credited to our entrepreneurial energy. When evangelicals have seen a need, they have not simply wished for "somebody to do something about it." Often, they have formed new, ad hoc organizations, recruited help, and set out to fix a problem, cure an ill, meet a need, or evangelize a neglected population. This has resulted in the transformation of countless lives, and it has also provided leadership opportunities for many who would not otherwise have had them. The result has been flashes of brilliance and tremendous creativity.
This entrepreneurial spirit, however, has also has been the cause of organizational chaos, a characteristic of our movement. Even worse, it has repeatedly provided the occasion for abusive ...