by Bill Forman
Yes, former New Life pastor Ted Haggard has chosen a name for his new church — but it remains a mystery when, where, or even if a physical manifestation will actually come to pass.
“A legal license does not a local church make,” Haggard told the Independent today in regard to St. James Church, a new 501(c)3 corporation headed by Haggard and his wife Gayle. “It’s just ministry financial accounting. We filed corporate papers, because we’ve been traveling and speaking for a year and a half now.”
So while incorporating as a nonprofit could be an early step toward a Newer-Than-New Life Church, for the moment it serves as a means of conferring tax-exempt status upon the Haggards’ extensive speaking schedule.
Of course, compared to New Life, St. James does sound awfully specific.
So we had to ask: Why St. James? And which St. James: James the Just? James the Deacon? James the Great? James the Less? (Humility scores major points when it comes to eligibility for sainthood.) Surely not James Dobson?
Haggard laughs politely. “It’s named after the author of the Book of James,’ he says, “because the anchor verse is, ‘Faith without works is dead.’ In other words, do our faith.”
Haggard, who founded New Life in 1984, first talked about his prospects for creating a new Colorado Springs ministry last fall in an Indy cover story (“The Resurrection of Pastor Ted,” Oct. 1, 2009). It was his first extensive interview in the secular press since the 2006 scandal that cost him his ministry.