Monday, August 06, 2012

Deconstructing Jack Schaap

Under the leadership of Jack Hyles, beginning in 1959 in Hammond, IN, First Baptist Church became the largest attended church in the world.  Before he died, he made sure his successor would be his son-in-law, husband of his daughter Cindy, Jack Schaap.  For that reason among others, it was world-wide news, especially religious, when Schaap got caught at having done the despicable.  Hyles and Schaap took a twisted brand of fake Christianity to new lows with a perversion of the gospel, several other doctrines, preaching, leadership, and church methods.  They were copied all over the United States and other countries because of their numeric success.

The exposure of Schaap's abhorrence has brought a stream of analysis and posturing on the internet, attempting to work his situation for a perceived advantage, so motivating me to comment now.  Take your pick on the cliche that describes how hard it is to figure out what occurred in Hammond---low hanging fruit, a high lob for an easy overhead slam, a slow pitch right in your wheelhouse.  It isn't complicated, so there is no need to make it so.

I think that the best description of what went on at First Baptist Church in Hammond (FBC) comes from the mouth of one of Hyles' daughters, who appears on a youtube video speaking about her childhood, in which she says that the institution operated "under the guise of an independent, fundamental, Baptist church."  Key word:  guise.  For anyone who wished to probe the least bit below the surface there, he would find it not to function as a church.  It was the "guise of a church."   I never visited FBC, but from the very first times I heard Hyles, I knew he was wrong.  The only thing that kept me from completely repudiating him then was that the leadership I was under did not.  Those men at Maranatha were in a position to understand and warn, but they did not.  It was not until after the most major and outlandish abuses that places like Maranatha tentatively drew away from Hyles and Hammond.  It was never while I was there.

The church, the true one, the only one, started in the earliest New Testament times over 2000 years ago.  Since then there have been good churches.  We have the Bible to judge whether a church is and has been regulated by Scripture.  We can judge whether something is biblical or not; we're not shut off from history to know that.

There is nothing wrong with independent and Baptist.   The idea of independent is obvious.   Baptist is a historical position.  There have always been churches that believed and practiced the Bible---separatist, congregational form of church government, soul liberty, believers baptism by immersion, no state church---and they were finally called Baptist.  Where the Hyles and Schaap movement goes awry is with the "fundamental" part of the description.  "Fundamental" represents its own movement, which has been tribal, political, and hierarchical.

Fundamentalists are not the only ones of what I'm describing.  Now you've got all sorts of movements that control people in their own and different ways.  They use various worldly and secular methods, not operating by faith, knowing how these means will sway their constituents. They make major decisions that relate to how to manipulate, even doing research into this like poll testing.  It is not all what people would describe as "right wing," but most of it is "left wing" today.  Much of it has turned church into a farce in the United States.  Some of the most guilty are those lining up to criticize Schaap, some of whom have their own giant skeletons in their closets, and yet are constantly pointing out in great detail those of others.  We should especially watch out for these who are quick to shine a bright light especially on the sexual activity---this is exactly what Schaap himself was doing in his speeches to his group before he got caught.  I've noticed a reveling in it that smacks of Pharisaical, self-righteousness.  It is well documented now that Schaap did this for a long time.  Others are doing to Schaap like he was doing to others.  There are strong similarities here between him and them.  You see a lot of what Schaap did all over evangelicalism today, including those who are well accepted by some of his harshest critics.

The major issue with Schaap and Hyles was that they preached a false gospel.  They preached a gospel that purposefully excluded biblical, true repentance and the Lordship of Christ.  This perversion is all over evangelicalism, not just among Baptists.  When people are unconverted, not born again, they can't live the Christian life. They can't stop from sinning.  They can't change their hearts.  All they can do then is paint on an impersonation of some skewed version of Christianity.  That's what they did at Hyles.  They were a false front city, attempting to appear like something legitimate, when they were a fraud.

The Hyles and Schaap preaching was characteristically unbiblical.  They used the Bible, but they were the actual authority with crazy interpretations and predominant story-telling.  Their sermons were propaganda, crowd control.

Hand-in-hand with Hyles and Schaap false gospel and this preaching that justified it or validated was their skewed understanding and presentation of sanctification.  You were judged as to whether you were a good Christian by extra-scriptural expectations.  It was a form of Keswick sanctification that was all part of the overall strategy to build the institution.  Actual church discipline didn't occur.  It was all about creating events and crisis to produce experiences that replaced the actual every day struggle that sanctification is.  But how would you expect so many unbelievers actually to be sanctified?  When they were not positionally sanctified, they couldn't be practically sanctified.

The root theological errors are the basis for the bad behavior.  This is the message you will see all over the New Testament from all the authors, especially from the Apostle Paul.  You have wrong doctrine and you will have wrong practice.  Hyles and Schaap started with a presupposition.  They wanted to get glory, to be great, to be successful, and be big, and then they developed a theology and practice that would fit into that.  It tore up biblical Christianity.  You still have this happening today all over evangelicalism and fundamentalism.  This is to what we need to point and separate from more than any other thing.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Amen!

Jim Peet said...

Thanks Kent for your article.

Mark Buhr said...

Well put, Kent.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thanks Anonymous, Jim, and Mark.

d4v34x said...

Bro. B.,

Good catch on the phrase "the guise of a church". But why was the guise left intact? Its something I truly don't get, looking back now.

I was present for (not involved) in conversations between leaders in Wttn regarding Hyles, and the second pastor (talking to the bus minister) at the time came across 100% for Hyles. Was everyone there and at the college so deceived? (I didn't see the difference, but I was uncoverted at the time.) Were they afraid to speak up? Do you have any insight into this?

walter adley said...

Obviously a biased opinion, based upon about 5% fact.

Bobby Mitchell said...

I
The following is a copy of an email I sent to several preachers. If it is too long as a comment here then I have no problem with Pastor Brandenburg deleting it.

I want to go on record with preacher friends and acquaintances concerning what I find most troubling about the wickedness of Jack Schaap.  First, it is troubling that  many are writing about his "fall" as if he were a man of God that sinned.   Matt Olson and Paul Chappell are two that have weighed in on this and referred to this as a "fall".

The truth is that Schaap didn't fall from anything.  A cursory glance at his doctrine and deeds over the last eleven years would have revealed to any discerning Christian that he was a false prophet, a wolf, a viper, a dog, and  an evil worker.  Those are Biblical words.  It is sad that he used the name Baptist but he was no more a Baptist than was Balaam.  It is sad that he hurt many people and has misrepresented Christianity, but his preaching and practice plainly evinced that he was never what he claimed to be.  

Second, it is troubling that so many refuse to acknowledge the obvious fact that Schaap was the product of the belief and behavior of his father in law.  If Scripture is our authority then we must agree with it in its condemnation of the preaching and practice of Jack Hyles.  If you don't know what I'm writing of, then it is time to do your research for Hyles has been a major influence in leavening Baptist churches.  You have  no excuse for remaining in ignorance if you have read Matthew 7, Acts 20, Philippians 3,  I and II Timothy, Titus, 2 Peter 2, I, II, III John, and Jude.  It is time to apply those passages where they need to be applied: the NT churches of the Lord.  Those warnings concerned men who would operate among NT churches.  

The men who have continued to promote the influence of Jack Hyles need to repent.  These include Jack Trieber, Tony Hutson, David Gibbs, Paul Chappell, Clarence Sexton, Jeff Fugate, Doug Fisher, and Keith Gomez. Some of them have roundly condemned Schaap in recent years but they still have promoted the root of the fruit that is Schaap.  Didn't Someone tell us to either make the tree corrupt or make it good?  Some of them have broken from Schaap but have not sounded a clear warning as to why they ceased fellowship with him.  Their silence has been deafening for the last several years.  It has contributed to him having the influence that he did have until his recent exposure.  

Clarence Sexton was implored by many brethren to not promote Jack Schaap.  He ironically criticized the criticism but pressed on with his newfound "friend" until last week.  Now one can search all of his websites in for his friend and it is as if Schaap never existed.  The filthy doctrines were excused, but at least there was a standard somewhere concerning when to not be friends.  

With the light of Scripture shining on the "ministry" of Hyles, with that torch revealing the depravity of his writings, sermons, and conduct, how can any discerning Christian continue to follow his footsteps or walk with those that do?  It is time to get to the root of the mess that is Hammond.  Be separate from all that smacks of the least influence of Hyles.  Let us cling to true New Testament preaching and practice.  Abandon the man made movements and machinery.  Pursue purity as individuals and as churches.  

I thank the Lord that, by his grace, I was never in the Hyles movement, but I grieve that so many are to one degree or another.  This is what most troubles me about the Schaap debacle.  It is truly the Hyles mess and so many are still involved in hylesism who may not be if it were not for the political preachers who refuse to confront it Biblically.  

I am thankful for grace and true Biblical  fellowship.  I thank the Lord that there are still some who are separated unto the Lord.  May God help us to stand with grace and truth.  

Bobby Mitchell
Mid-Coast Baptist Church
Brunswick, Maine
www.midcoastbaptistchurch.com

Anonymous said...

Kent. I agree with your opinion and the spirit in which you brought it. My only concern is there is a church down the road with the same initials that you have defended. The difference is the place down the road has the right doctrine but wrong practice. Just because it is more subtle than Hammond doesn't mean it is less dangerous. Quite the contrary. At least we always knew who Schaap was. Sorry about the rabbit trail. Your post was spot on. Thanks JT (I have no Google account etc. That's why anonymous.

KJB1611 said...

Fairhaven is light-years from man-worshipping, sin-covering-up, 1-2-3 pray after me, anti-repentance, etc. heresy. Sorry, JT.

-Thomas Ross

Kent Brandenburg said...

Walter, first you,

I'm 100% on, and I defy you to show where I'm wrong at all. That would be a better way to deal with what I wrote.

Anonymous (JT) [I don't know who JT is],

Fairhaven has a lot of differences from Hyles and Hammond. Very much different. Fairhaven is different than West Coast or Crown too.

Show one place where I defended Fairhaven (see, I even named a name) for doing something that Hyles does. I haven't. As a matter of fact, I've hit here many things that they do. I've talked to the leadership in person. I know for a fact that they do have people who are there who work in those areas to see it changed, and I like to hope that it will. For a recent example, read my "Lure Them In" series.

D4,

Maranatha got caught up in the statistics and the numbers. There was erosion in fundamentalism across the board in doing what one was to do because it was scriptural. Pragmatism was rife all over evangelicalism and fundamentalism by the time I was in college. And then because of the politics, people were afraid to say something.

Steve Rogers said...

Kent,

Great article. This is an important time for us to be honest and start truly teaching our people about separation from disobedient brethren, although I'm not even sure many of the Hyles crowd are even saved. That's up to the Lord, but what they've been preaching and practicing has been unBiblical for a LOOOONNNNNNGGGGG time. With the big push now for a "ecumenical" atmosphere among independent Baptists, it is necessary for us to clarify that we separate from more than just evangelicals and Southern Baptists. Separation is for ANY disobedient brother and ANY false teacher! I agree with Bobby's email, a MOG did not fall, a cultic false teacher got caught in an immoral sin, but sin was present long before last week!

Steve Rogers said...

Bobby,

I'd like to pass your email on to some friends of mine. Could you email it to me. Thanks

Anonymous said...

thomas, clearly you have not spent much time there because your first 2 points are not light years away. they are alive and well there. sorry thomas. JT

KJB1611 said...

Dear JT,

Fairhaven is not at all man-worshipping. Pastor Voegtlin is a humble man. He would never do something like the "100 % for Hyles" nonsense. If you are saying that they are covering up sin, you had better be able to prove what you are saying, meeting the Biblical criteria:

Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. (1Ti 5:19)

Perhaps the affirmation that "I have not spent much time there" might also be worth re-considering in light of my background there.

Thomas Ross, M. A. (Fairhaven Baptist College, 2001)

Thomas Ross said...


What I see as one of the most dangerous things about the Hyles-type practices can be set forth as follows.

1.) 99%+ of those who are led to repeat the sinner’s prayer through Hyles-type techniques are unconverted, as the supernaturalness of a sinner looking outside of himself to the crucified Christ is changed to a merely natural ability to repeat words. (That such a percentage is unconverted is evident by a simple comparison of the records of those who are said to be "saved" and those who show evidence of regeneration.)

2.) The vast majority of those people do not come to church, so they don’t cause the church that much damage, although they devastate and harden a community to the gospel.

3.) The “soulwinners” who practice such salesmanship think that these 99%+ are really getting saved—at least many of them think so—otherwise they could not live with themselves and their consciences would pound them into fine dust.

4.) Since these “soulwinners” think that these 99%+ outside the church are really getting saved, they will employ the same sort of salesmanship/“1-2-3 pray after me, 4-5-6, hope it sticks” techniques with their own children.

5.) Consequently, a very high percentage of their own children will make professions but still be unconverted.

6.) These unconverted children of “soulwinners” will continue to come to church, unlike the 99%+ of the unconverted who repeat the prayer in the community, because their parents make them come.

7.) These unconverted people will grow up, fit into the church, and, because they are unrenewed at heart, will easily commit the sort of immorality engaged in by Hyles, Schapp, etc. While such sexual predators in church leadership have the greater sin, teenagers and others who they defile are also very likely unconverted persons who have grown up in the church.

8.) These facts explain why there is an abundance of sexual immorality in the Hyles movement.

9.) This also explains why it is important to be separated from those in the Hyles movement. One does not want to fill his church, have church members marry, etc. unconverted persons.

Bill Hardecker said...

adding to Bro. Tom's thoughts: We need to be careful when we deal with people as we go door to door not to pronounce someone as "saved" just because they do pray a prayer. No.1 - We really don't know that. No. 2- It is between them and God. No. 3 - They will claim that profession as a security blanket when perhaps they aren't eternally secured.
I remember Tom and I talking about this kind of thing, and I recall Tom saying something like, it wouldn't be bad at all to go back to a person who was lead to pray and actually tell them, I don't think you are saved because you aren't demonstrating spiritual fruit. I think challenging "professors" is something we can see in Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:2; Gal. 4:11,20; 1 John 4:1).

Anonymous said...

As Of This Comment Writing, No Formal Criminal &-Or Legal Charges Have Been Filed Against Dr. Jack Schaap (Pronounced SKOP, As In "Hop On Pop") Or Against The "Young Woman"; As,

NO FEDERAL, STATE &-OR LOCAL Laws Have Been Violated In IN, IL & Etc., Etc., Etc.

I Personally Have Visited & Known Of The First Baptist Church, Hammond, IN, Since 1966.

I Personally Attended The Youth Conference Of FBCHI In 1977.

I Attended Bob Jones University, Greenville, SC, In 1988.

I Can Unequivocally Say, As A Present Member Of The FBCHI, That FBCHI's INTERNAL "CHURCH" DISCIPLINE OF IT'S FORMER PASTOR, DR. JACK SCHAAP, VIA DISMISSAL--Preceeded Any Present &-Or Forthcoming "STATE" PROSECUTION (IF LEGAL PROSECUTION IS MERITED) IF ANY FEDERAL, STATE OR LOCAL LAWS HAVE BEEN VIOLATED !

Therefore, This Whole "Dr. Jack Schaap" MATTER Is AN INTERNAL (FBCHI) CHURCH MATTER; Which,

If Anyone Has A Complaint (Or Grievance) With "Dr. Schaap" &-Or THE FBCHI: They Should Seek Redress Of Said Grievance With "Dr. Jack Schaap" Himself Personally &-Or THE FBCHI COLLECTIVELY !

Truthfully, Honestly & Respectfully Yours,


Tony Cisneros
2011 Candidate For City Treasurer,
City Of Chicago,
State Of Illinois,
United States Of America.

P.S. DISCIPLINE OF "SIN" WITHIN ANY CHURCH IS NOT NECESSARILY FOLLOWED OR CONCLUDED WITH "PROSECUTION FOR SAID 'SIN' " BY THE STATE (GOVERNMENT) Via LOCAL, STATE &-OR FEDERAL LAW.

Anonymous said...

As Of This Comment Writing, No Formal Criminal &-Or Legal Charges Have Been Filed Against Dr. Jack Schaap (Pronounced SKOP, As In "Hop On Pop") Or Against The "Young Woman"; As,

NO FEDERAL, STATE &-OR LOCAL Laws Have Been Violated In IN, IL & Etc., Etc., Etc.

I Personally Have Visited & Known Of The First Baptist Church, Hammond, IN, Since 1966.

I Personally Attended The Youth Conference Of FBCHI In 1977.

I Attended Bob Jones University, Greenville, SC, In 1988.

I Can Unequivocally Say, As A Present Member Of The FBCHI, That FBCHI's INTERNAL "CHURCH" DISCIPLINE OF IT'S FORMER PASTOR, DR. JACK SCHAAP, VIA DISMISSAL--Preceeded Any Present &-Or Forthcoming "STATE" PROSECUTION (IF LEGAL PROSECUTION IS MERITED) IF ANY FEDERAL, STATE OR LOCAL LAWS HAVE BEEN VIOLATED !

Therefore, This Whole "Dr. Jack Schaap" MATTER Is AN INTERNAL (FBCHI) CHURCH MATTER; Which,

If Anyone Has A Complaint (Or Grievance) With "Dr. Schaap" &-Or THE FBCHI: They Should Seek Redress Of Said Grievance With "Dr. Jack Schaap" Himself Personally &-Or THE FBCHI COLLECTIVELY !

Truthfully, Honestly & Respectfully Yours,


2011 Candidate For City Treasurer,
City Of Chicago,
State Of Illinois,
United States Of America.

P.S. DISCIPLINE OF "SIN" WITHIN ANY CHURCH IS NOT NECESSARILY FOLLOWED OR CONCLUDED WITH "PROSECUTION FOR SAID 'SIN' " BY THE STATE (GOVERNMENT) Via LOCAL, STATE &-OR FEDERAL LAW.

Thomas Ross said...

The idea that, since a prosecution has not yet been completed and Mr. Schaap is not in jail, one is simply supposed to talk personally to Schaap or only to First Baptist, and otherwise say nothing at all to anyone else, is clearly false and unbiblical. Schaap and Hyles have influenced millions of people with their philosophies and teachings, and Scripture plainly countenances public rebuke of public error. I highly doubt that the Lord Jesus personally spoke to every single Pharisee before He publicly denounced them in Matthew 23. There are scores of passages in the OT and NT that demonstrate this.

Furthermore, if one truly believes that the sins of individuals and churches are only internal in this manner, before commenting on this blog, one needs to first go personally to Pastor Kent Brandenburg and talk to him, and then talk to Bethel Baptist Church of El Sobrante, CA personally, and never post a comment on Pastor Brandenburg's blog affirming that his reproof of Schaap is inappropriate.

Anonymous said...

Not anonymous, just don't have a google account. My name is Laura Ellis. A friend texted me about Jack Schaap so I was looking through Google and found this site. We attended FBC in the late 80's-early 90's when my husbands job moved him to the area. We came from a Conservative Baptist Convention background. The preaching style was different but we didn't see any doctrinal issues. I saw people getting saved and staying in church (not everyone, just like any church). I don't understand what you mean about 1-2-3 pray after me. I got born again at age 7 in a Brethren church with a Wordless book. I know I'm saved.
Thomas Ross, I'm curious when you say that 99%+ of people that are evangelized at their door aren't saved? How does one become born again if they can't get saved from someone telling them about salvation? That's how I heard it except it was in a Sunday School room rather than at a front door.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Laura,

I worked for a few years at a church relatively near First Baptist. We would pick up kids and take them to church. On "big days" at First Baptist of Hammond, they would take our kids away, baptize large numbers of them, and then send them back to us. We had kids that had been baptized double-digit numbers of times--they would have them say the sinner's prayer and baptize them, over and over again. They didn't understand the gospel, but were "converts" of FBC. The overwhelming majority of "converts" at FBC did not stick.

How does one become born again? By, through the grace of God, repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

I would encourage you to examine the works:

Romans 10:9-14: Sinner's Prayers for Salvation? at http://sites.google.com/site/thross7, and also

"The Biblical Mandate for House to House Evangelism" in the Ecclesiology section on the same webpage.

GTLeonard said...

Linda is a pack of lies straight out of HELL! If you were bible students you would know that there were many godly men in the bible who had evil children who turned against them. Where is she now as a Christian? Can you honestly say she has credibility?