Why I Stayed by Gayle Haggard – Book Review

I’ve just finished reading the book, Why I Stayed – The Choices I Made in My Darkest Hour by Gayle Haggard. I’ve followed the Haggard’s ministry for many years. I’ve had lots of friends attend as well as serve on staff and volunteer positions at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, CO. When the scandal broke in November 2006, I was living in Orlando, FL. My heart broke for the Haggard family and the New Life Church community during that crisis. But, most of all, my heart broke on how the church (The Body of Christ at Large) reacted to that situation. The fact is we simply reacted, we didn’t respond with the love & grace of God. At the moment the church had the media spotlight from around the world covering the story, and we reacted in a defensive way only to protect the reputation of an organization. I understand why to a point. However, what if we responded in a way that introduced the world to a concept of love and grace towards individuals who fall — whether they are laymen or even mega church pastors? What if the church thought as chess players and saw the Haggard scandal as a opportunity and decided to leverage the crisis to impact and reach more hurting people that struggled with drug addictions, immorality and other issues of life that are in need of the love and grace of God? I believe Gayle & Ted Haggard are using their platform today to do just that. We are excited that God is using their story by restoring their voice to the Body of Christ.

People have asked me, why do you support the Haggard’s and don’t you think it’s risky for Renue International to support them publicly? My answer to both of these questions is this — Because their story represents a true message of grace and forgiveness. It’s the greatest comeback story I think my generation has ever seen. You really don’t need to hear a sermon to understand the depth of grace and forgiveness, just watch and listen to Gayle’s story and you’ll see the Gospel at work. Plus, I hate church politics and I’ve accepted the fact that I will never fit into the mega ministry church world and all the religious politics that come with it.  We want to see peoples lives changed and transformed for the Glory of God, what people think about us is irrelevant when it comes to the cause of our mission! Because ministry is not about us, it’s not about public relations, it’s about reaching the hearts of people!

Renue International will always support the Haggard family, because we know that God’s grace and forgiveness is for anyone, even for mega church pastors. To follow what’s happening with the Haggard’s, visit www.tedhaggard.com . Make sure you get Gayle’s book!

12 replies
  1. Lisa Pegler
    Lisa Pegler says:

    Could not agree more with your article. Wow. I attended NEW LIFE in C Springs for a few years before and after ( not so much after ) this fall from grace…not sure why I haven’t been back much. Could be I was turned off by how the church/leaders responded to Ted and his family. You’re right, where is the grace and love and forgiveness our Jesus has preached about so often?

    How, as Christians, do we show the compassion of Christ to people in the spotlight and out of it? It’s all about the relationships we form…not the politics and religious zealots…out there waving their banners and flags with all the rhetoric.

    Who are we to cast stones? NEW LIFE as a whole body had an opportunity to be JESUS for the world, to show grace & love under fire and in the spot light. What a story THAT would have been.

    So many people are turned off by all this jazz. When God’s love should be music to the ears….in action and in truth. When everything fades away…all that is left is Love. God has been showing me this these last few years, as I prayed for a more compassionate heart…I’ve been a thinker my whole life…my heart was on a shelf.

    Thank you for your plain speaking, your truth, your light of the situation…you couldn’t be more on target with this article.

    May God keep showing us His grace, His light, His truth, His love. May we be open to it to receive it and share it.

    Lisa Pegler
    CO Springs, CO

  2. Charles luther brumm
    Charles luther brumm says:

    In the book of Revelation Jesus commended the church of Ephesus for “testing those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.” Jesus also said “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them”
    So examining Teds fruit I have some concern about ted. 1 Ted did not submit to church authority by not completing his restoration. For years Ted preached on chain of command, submitting to those in authority above you and when it came to be ted’s time to do so he did not.
    2 I Timothy 3:1-7 gives us the qualifications for a pastor lets look at these requirements and see if Ted meet’s the standards, Above reproach ? NO! Faithful to his wife? NO! Self controlled? NO! Good reputation? NO! World speaks well of him? NO! Ted also drug the name of Jesus and the Church threw the mud and by his actions continue to do so.
    Ted’s long time friend C Peter Wagner said this about ted leading a church again “He said in his letter to his congregation after he was fired that he is a liar and deceiver,” Wagner said, adding that because Haggard didn’t finish the restoration program, he’s not fit to preach.- C Peter Wagner

    Another one of Ted’s good friends and what some people have called his ghost writer Patton Dodd had this to say about Ted. “I was hoping — against hope — that The Trials of Ted Haggard would document his walking into the light. It doesn’t. It captures his attempt to reenter the limelight…..Anyone who cares about Haggard, as I do, must see this comeback as a continuation of his tragedy.”
    Lets not forget that ted pryed upon a young man named Grant haas. Ted could have been a blessing to this young man but instead ted destroyed Grants faith and Grant has been having a tough time.
    I want to make it very clear that I love ted and his family and I do pray for them, but Ted taught me as a verey young Christain “read your Bible for your self, do not depend on some preacher to read it for you. Pray and fast and learn to hear GOD’s voice for your self. If eny man tells you the bible says this but it reallymeans this always trust the bible.” I took your advice to hart Ted.

    • Jacob Israel
      Jacob Israel says:


      How much of a carnal meathead are you? Ted never needed to submit to any man made “church”… we are the CHURCH (CALLED OUT ONES). Yet, Ted instead of telling them to shove it, because NO ONE IS WITHOUT FALLING SHORT, he submitting to those prejudice, biased, hateful, condemning, FALSE PROPHETS as you say. Ted was once lost, as were we all, but God blinds those he blinds and give sight to those he gives sight too. Why don’t you rip out every page written by Paul. A murderer, a liar, a cheat, a FALSE PROPHET, who was killing God’s chosen left right and sideways, and LIKE YOU was on a mission of self importance to do it. You fool, if you knew God, you would know God is waiting with open arms in the field, the one I believe Ted has run to, thanks be to God for his TRIBULATION, thanks be to God, for Gayle’s amazing book. A quote from which I will never forget, “Ted never fell from grace, he fell into Grace.” Charles, your a bigot nothing more, but even you, God will draw once Christ is Raised again in your heart. I used to have soft words for people like you, but when your shortcomings are shouted from the rooftops, AND THEY WILL BE, as will ALL OF OURS, Ted and Gayle will not condemn you, because TED AND GAYLE knows how hurtful it is to be condemned. Jacob

      • Charles luther brumm
        Charles luther brumm says:

        My reply to Jacob Israel
        I choose to forgive you and bless you. I pray that our precious Lord Jesus will send his Holy Spirit into your room when you sleep at night and climb into bed and hold you and minister his word to you as you sleep. Jesus bless Jacob and his wife may you also place the heart of The Father inside Jacob and may he be a great Father like you are to us. Bless Jacob amen.

    • Ed Barker
      Ed Barker says:

      It matters how you read your Bible.

      Do you think it is a book of laws? In that case, we have to debate whether or not there is a “statute of limitations” on 1 Tim 3.

      But the Bible is not a book of laws, it is a love letter from God. See for example John 3:16. And Paul says that without love nothing else matters, see 1 Cor 13.

      If we really LOVE Ted, we will look past his sin just as God does. We will accept him as a brother in Christ who has sinned, like all of the rest of us. Otherwise you might be disqualified from ministry just because you looked at a woman lustfully for less that 5 seconds, 15 years ago.

      Lets all learn how to LOVE each other. James says that love covers a multitude of sins.

  3. Gayle Haggard
    Gayle Haggard says:

    Thank you David for your insight, your courage, and your kind comments about my book, Why I Stayed. I would like to respond here to the comments made by Charles Luther Brumm.
    Dear Charles,
    Most of what you have outlined here in your comments is based on misinformation that has been spread about Ted over the course of the past 4 years. Please allow me to clear up some of this misinformation for those who are interested in hearing from a primary source.
    You say you have examined Ted’s fruit over the course of 30 years of ministry, yet you point only to the sin which he confessed to having contended with and repented of four years ago. Since that time he has diligently walked out his repentance both privately and publicly. You have neglected to point out that his “fruit” consisted of 22 years of yearly double digit growth in the forming of New Life Church, without split or scandal, a church which was described as being healthy and strong and vibrant and people came from all over the world to observe what was happening there. You are also unaware of the thousands of letters and emails we have received from people locally and all over the globe since the scandal thanking him for the role he played in the development of their faith.
    You say that Ted did not submit to church authority by not completing his restoration, but I ask you to challenge those who have made that claim to point out what details of the contracts he was given did he not obey completely (aside from the things that were talked about privately among leaders,but never communicated to him). You might also ask what the goals of his “restoration process” were, what was the involvement of the “restoration team” in implementing those goals, and on what points did Ted fail to comply. (Please read my book for more about this.)
    You point out 1 Timothy 3:1-7, and I have to ask, “Is there a statute of limitations on this passage according to your interpretation of it.” If not, then who is above reproach? You say Ted drug the name of Jesus and the Church through the mud by his actions and continues to do so–by whose judgment? Never before have we had such a widespread opportunity to share the gospel as we have now. You forget that the point of the gospel is that it’s never been about our own righteousness.
    You say C. Peter Wagner has quoted Ted’s letter in which he stated he “is a liar and a deceiver”. That statement was made in Ted’s confession to the church and in relationship to his private battle with sin, not in relationship to his entire life of ministry.
    In regard to Patton Dodd. Patton was a writer on staff who did editing for Ted. He did not ghost write Ted’s books except for one on marriage in which he wrote out and developed Ted’s wedding sermon. It doesn’t matter what he hoped Alexandra Pelosi’s documentary, The Trials of Ted Haggard, would be about, we had no power over what was in the documentary. We have, however, received tens of thousands of responses from people from all walks of life whose faith has been inspired by that documentary.
    You have also misrepresented the Grant Haas story and haven’t been privy to his admissions of misrepresenting his relationship with Ted in order to get money from the church to help with his therapy and school expenses. Ted did try to help Grant, but succumbed to some of his own weaknesses during that brief season of his life. All of this he confessed and tried to correct shortly after the scandal broke.
    You say you “love Ted and his family”. Please explain what those words mean to you and how you go about doing that. Also, please explain in what ways Ted has not measured up to your requirements for repentance. He has walked out his repentance over the past 4 years and has not deviated from his faith. He has thanked God everyday for his freedom from sin and for God’s mercy and kindness in his life. Our marriage is intact and not a day has passed since our crisis that I haven’t felt more deeply connected to my husband’s heart than I ever did before our crisis–so I too am thanking God for what He has done.
    We are responding obediently to God’s calling on our lives which is being validated by those who attend St. James Church as well as leaders and other believers from around the world.
    I encourage you to keep reading the Bible and not neglect the portions on true repentance, forgiveness and love. And be careful not to fall into the trap of aligning with the accuser of the brethren. Remember, “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.”


    Gayle Haggard

    • David Lawrence
      David Lawrence says:


      Thank you for your comments! We love and believe in you and your family! I look forward to meeting you and your family in person some day! If you guys are ever in Austin, TX or if I’m ever in Colorado Springs.. would love to meet you and Ted! Keep going, be bold and finish this race strong! God Bless!

      FYI… Tanya Glass, our associate editor for ImpelMinistry.com will be at Catalyst 2010 in Atlanta in October covering the conference. Unfortunately, I will be unable to make it this year. But, it would be awesome if you and Tanya could connect at Catalyst and we would love to interview you at Catalyst if it works out with your schedule. We noticed that your speaking during the labs on Wednesday, but Tanya will be there Thursday & Friday. You can connect with her on Twitter @TanyaGlass or email at tanya@impelministry.com. Let us know if that works out… 🙂

    • Jordan standridge
      Jordan standridge says:

      Thank you Gayle for your response to Charles, it was nice to hear it from your side! I guess Charles doesn’t think that your husband is qualified to be a pastor/ elder anymore. But under no circumstance should he stop sharing the gospel!

      Thank you for your example of forgiveness! If you can forgive him so should we, but again it doesn’t necessarily mean he should be a pastor again! Only God knows!
      Love in the truth, Jordan

    • Charles luther brumm
      Charles luther brumm says:

      I believe that when they put the nails in Jesus hands He did it for every sin I would ever commit with my hands, when they drove the nail into His feet that was done for every time I would stray from God, when they put the crown of thorns on the head of Jesus, Jesus did that for every impure and wicked thought I would ever have. When they flogged Jesus that happened for my physical and emotional healing. Every sin that I will ever commit was placed upon Jesus while He was on the cross. Jesus has redeemed me and set me free. I want to make it very clear that I believe that Jesus did this for Ted as well, and in no way am I judging Ted’s salvation or eternal destination.
      Ted taught me as a very young Christian “read your Bible for yourself, do not depend on some preacher to read it for you. Pray and fast and learn to hear GOD’s voice for yourself. If any man tells you the Bible says this, but it really means this, always trust the Bible.” Mrs. Gayle I took your husband’s advice to heart and it has served me well in my walk with Jesus. Mrs. Gayle you asked me “You say you “love Ted and his family”. Please explain what those words mean to you and how you go about doing that”.
      I saw Ted not long after his fall and when I saw Ted my heart was broken at the sight of him looking so beat down. I stopped him thanked him for all the positive influence he had in my life and told Ted how much I loved him and I still do love Ted. I pray for Ted and his family. The day the news broke about Ted’s sin I was faced with a decision do I forgive this man or not. I chose forgiveness.

      Mrs. Gayle you said “Ted did try to help Grant, but succumbed to some of his own weaknesses during that brief season of his life. All of this he confessed and tried to correct shortly after the scandal broke.” This by using the word “confessed” this implies that Ted “confessed” to doing something wrong with Grant it does not matter what was done as much as it matters that Grant was hurt by Ted, at the very least “emotionally.” Thereby showing that Ted misused his position of authority and leadership. And violated the position of trust that he was in. He was in a position to help Grant but he hurt him instead. If you say that Ted no longer has weaknesses then you deny that he is human and equate him to Christ himself. How can anyone trust that he will not “succumb” to his weaknesses again and hurt someone else, if he is again in this elevated position of authority and trust?
      I believe a person can be restored to God and to their family after they sin but this does not automatically mean that they are restored to ministry and a position of trust and authority. I believe a person can be forgiven but we all have to live with the consequences of our actions we cannot undo our sin no matter how much we want to. You say Ted has struggled with this “weakness” for decades how is it that this time we know for sure that he has overcome it for good?
      Love Charles Luther Brumm

    • Lisa
      Lisa says:

      Dear Miss Gayle,

      I was a member of New Life for many years. We went through the upheaval at the church and chose not to return. It was a very sad time in our lives and honestly we grieved for you and your family. It was like a death had occurred when you were all of the sudden gone from our lives. We truly cared about all of you. We felt a huge betrayal from Ted that finally does feel healed from time and through God’s grace. What really shocked me after your book was released is that you knew about Ted’s “weaknesses.” It seemed you knew of the possibilities of what could happen and chose to turn a blind eye. By doing this, you could have endangered others in the congregation. That really upset me when I found out about that. Ted seemed to be out of control and no one noticed? His last few sermons were honestly weird – I remember seeing him in the parking lot after one of them and he was down right creepy and said some slightly inappropriate things to me and my husband. This was a week (or so) before “the scandal.” I don’t understand how no one saw the signs when we with one encounter noticed something very weird was going on. Reading what you said about Grant Haas absolutely shocked me. Grant was a really young man when he was taken advantage of by his pastor! In a business setting, Ted could be charged with a sex crime or at the minimum sexual harassment. Of course we forgive him in Christ, but as a good parent, I could never trust him around my teens. I believe that would be negligent. It makes me very sad that you seem to discount people like me whose trust in people like you has been forever changed. I know you feel enough repenting has taken place, but that to me is not the point. It seems you all just care about getting new sheep into the flock and throwing away all that were hurt or think that Ted is no longer qualified to be a pastor. That may not be your intention, but that is how I feel. I wish you the best and after writing this, maybe I’m not as healed as I thought I was.

  4. Ilda Barker
    Ilda Barker says:

    Answer to Charles Brumm. You say you have read the Bible, I wonder where your concentration was while reading it. Ever gone to children’s Sunday school when you were little? Do you remember Rom.3:23? All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. No one is perfect, not even one, by judging Pastor Ted with your index, your thumb points at you. Have you ever read about king David? How he never deared to come against Saul? How many times has God said “Do not touch my chosen ones, do them no harm..” … Do not judge or you will be judged ever more severely by God on judgement day?.. forgot this?? I have been trying to convince people at New Life Church pastors and congregation, for the last four years “Do not come against Pastor Ted, he may be a fallen pastor, but he is STILL GOD’S ANOYNTED. Many who deared have lost jobs, ministries… If Pastor Ted Haggard was not anoynted still, if God had turned His face away from Ted, would Ted be blessed as he is being blessed today?? We see with our own eyes how God is blessing him over and over again. One of God’s many promises is “I will never leave you, NEVER FORSAKE YOU” God has an even bigger mission for Ted, bigger task, bigger messages, his teaching is better and better. You express yourself as if you are without sin, as if you booted God off His judgment throne, and are sitting there. I pray that God would really open your eyes and ears, and give you His Wisdom, and you would get on your knees and ask God to forgive you. Where is the mercy? Where is the grace. God has immence mercy and grace, and has showered Pastor Ted, Gayle and their children with it and Niagra and Angel falls of blessings on them. Be warned. I ask God to bless you.

  5. Mallika Singh
    Mallika Singh says:

    Anyone can fall anytime if they are not careful. This is not matter that one can laugh about or make a joke of it. God is not a respector of persons be careful when you judge someone. Paul after preaching the Christ and Him crusified and doing all that he did and wrote, says that he may be a cast away. It is nothing but the mercy of our savior that each day we find favor in His eyes. Prayers for Ted and a salute to Gayle to be a wife, after God’s own heart. Thankyou for showing what is called Agape towrds your husband. Christ did it when we least deserved….


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