(Photo: AP Images / Ed Andrieski)
One would expect that the title of a new documentary, "Ted Haggard: Scandalous," is enough to make the former head of the National Association of Evangelicals cringe.
But after watching it Thursday night with his family, Haggard not only describes the program as a "resurrection story" but recommends that church groups gather to watch the one-hour special when it premieres Jan. 16 on the TLC cable network.
"I think it's a wonderful story of redemption and resurrection. Although it's embarrassing for me, it's shows why we are believers. I think it's great for people to watch it," Haggard told The Christian Post.
"My story proves that Jesus is Lord, the Word of God works and the blood of Jesus works," he added. "I am the living proof that Jesus is alive."
The documentary recounts the controversy surrounding Haggard's fall from grace following a sex and drug scandal and his struggle in planting his new church, St. James Church, last year.
In 2006, Haggard admitted to receiving a massage from a former male prostitute, Mike Jones, but denied having sex with him. He did, however, confess to "sexual immorality."
He said he also bought methamphetamine but never used it.
The scandal led the prominent evangelical leader to resign as pastor of the 14,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs and his post as president of NAE, which serves 45,000 churches nationwide.
After the scandal, Haggard received intensive counseling and moved his family out of Colorado Springs. They returned in 2008 and in June of last year, Haggard announced his plans to start St. James, which currently meets in the cafeteria of a middle school.
"Scandalous" is the second documentary to document Haggard's trials. In January 2009, HBO released "The Trials of Ted Haggard,” which followed the preacher during a rough time in 2007.
Earlier last year, his wife, Gayle, also wrote a book, Why I stayed: The Choices I Made in My Darkest Hour, on why she decided to stay in their marriage.
Haggard said the new documentary did an "honest" job and was "neither a puff nor hatchet piece." That doesn't mean that he didn't feel uncomfortable while watching the documentary alongside his family, some of whom were interviewed for the documentary.
"I felt very sad that I went through that difficult time and felt embarrassed that I caused pain to others," he said.
Haggard said the special also shows the "behind-the-scenes drama" of the beginnings of St. James. Many questioned whether Haggard was still qualified to minister after the events that happened.
"There are those who think I shouldn't be allowed to serve anybody and others that think that I'm more qualified than ever to serve people because of the process I've been through," Haggard said of the struggle in the church. "I felt as though I needed to fight to be able to serve people who were going through difficulties."
Although the 300-strong congregation he leads now is nowhere near the megachurch he led in his heyday, Haggard said he is thankful to minister to "a group of earnest believers who love God deeply" and cherishes the blessings in his life.
"My family is together, my marriage is strong, we have a gorgeous, beautiful church, and we have warm fellowship with the saints and with the community," he said.
"I am so grateful for God's faithfulness to me and for the power of His Word that has worked so deeply in my life."
"Ted Haggard: Scandalous" is scheduled to appear on TLC on Jan. 16 at 10 p.m. ET and Jan. 17 at midnight. The show is rated TV-14.