“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit.34 You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.35 The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil." -- Matthew 12:33-35 Before you read this, you should read Matt's earlier post for some excellent commentary on this sad story.
As Dallas Willard points out in his introduction to Renovation of the Heart, our Christian leaders today often fall. The Haggard case is not unique, sadly. Willard observes that the tragedy, however, is not a lapse of judgment, but a lack of character. Yes, judging by his actions, Ted Haggard did not have a good character formed in Christ. He was running on his own strength; his life did not bear good fruit. As Jesus states with all forthrightness, bad men bring bad things out of a bad heart; the opposite is true of the good man.
Haggard's problem was not the power and influence he acquired, but his lack of positive spiritual formation in Christ. Accountability is a good and necessary thing, but that will happen naturally to the man who delights (in his inmost being) in the law of the Lord. The problem is deep and hard: laws will not fix it.
As I saw at Godblogcon, Christians do have leaders who are spiritually formed and will bring forth good out of a good heart. It is to these men and women I look to for the future of the kingdom. Also, may the day soon come when the "first will be made last, and the last first" according to the wisdom of our King Jesus Christ:
Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death
Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.