Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Jack Schaap Scandal and Heresy

Posted by Hannah at 2:16 PM

Nice Try JackI wrote an article a little while back called, Jack Schaap Fired and then Exposed.  Since that time loyal IFB’ers (Independent Fundamental Baptist) have followed their pattern of the 4 steps of denial that Bruce Gerencser described very well in his article,  The IFB River Called Denial.  They must learn to deal better with this Jack Schaap’s Scandal. 


Independent Fundamental Baptist’s Behavioral Steps after Jack Schaap Scandal

First, they deny.  When the Schaap scandal first became public, IFB commenters on blogs and news sites were quick to deny that Schaap had done anything wrong. The accusations were lies and they were certain that Schaap was completely innocent. (IFB pastors are often worshiped like a god)

Second, they marginalize. When they could no longer deny the reality of the Schaap scandal, they turned to letting everyone know that Schaap was a “sinner” just like everyone else and, while his “fall” was regrettable, people should not judge the IFB church movement or First Baptist Church negatively. One bad apple doesn’t spoil the whole bushel. (actually it can)

Third, attack the critics. Instead of owning the scandal, many IFB defenders decided to attack those who reported the scandal or wrote negative things about Schaap, Jack Hyles, First Baptist Church in Hammond, and the IFB.  You can read about one such attack here.

Across the blogosphere, in discussion forums, in blog comments, and emails, the defenders of the IFB have attempted to ameliorate  the scandal by attacking people like me. They can’t dismiss my impeccable IFB credentials so they attack me personally or they dismiss me out of hand because I am an atheist. Why should anyone listen to what I have say, they write. I am a God-hater. I am bitter, angry, have an axe to grind.

They try and discredit the messenger so they won’t have to deal with his/her message. The goal is direct attention away from the facts.

Fourth, if all else fails, attack the victim. Let’s not forget that there is a victim in the Jack Schaap scandal. Schaap’s “sin” was not a victimless one. He had sexual relations with a minor in the church. Some media sites are reporting that the girl was being counseled by Schaap. (in Ohio, such a relationship is illegal)

He isn’t kidding either.  I had over 8000 hits on that article in less than 24 hours, and I received some strange comments – good comments – comments from hurt.  At the time of the Jack Schaap scandal they made comments about how they were NOT going to cover things up like the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State.  Its to be expected that people were reeling over this, and at first WISH To be in denial because it HURTS!  How they handled things afterwards?  There truly is no comparison. 


One group (Penn State) seemed to own the sin with growing maturity, and the other reminds me of young teenagers. 


The type that is shocked they got caught, and deny everything.  Then they move on to how it is NOT that bad, and how others ‘made’ them do it.  They get mad and defensive at the circumstance, and everyone in connection with it.  I have seen this type of behavior time and time again in YOUNG teenagers, and then they come to a fork in the road for their life.  Do they continue such behavior when caught doing something, or do the own their actions. 

Yes, we are all sinners.  The way people handle themselves afterwards shows their maturity.  That maturity is shown in how they live their life.  Its also HOW you LIVE your FAITH!  Calling others bitter, angry and the rest?  Telling you to look at the victim’s life, and hinting how it could be a two way street?  Young teenagers do this when they have not matured yet, but not those that matured in their faith.  Owning sin isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do, but it is something that our faith calls for.  Humility and grace while dealing with our consequences is as well.  I know this is something they are taught, but the actions just do NOT follow it up when a leader is caught.


The way some IFB members seem to be programed to respond to issues like this?  Penn State you can at least see the effort made in so many ways, and they condemned the attackers.  The blaming of the victim, and calling others names that were standing up for the pedophile?  It happened in small numbers, because enough people had common sense to knock them off their pedestal.   Its inappropriate, rude, cruel – the list goes on.   There is no excuse for a grown man to choose to do what he did.  That is the bottom line that God will judge on.  The side issues that others wish to concentrate on?  Its their fear in my opinion.  They can don’t know what to do with the truth, and act like the young teenagers we see every day.

As Bruce said in his article:

Jack Schaap is a 54 year old man. He is my age. The victim is almost young enough to be his granddaughter. As a grown, mature man, he should be in control of his sexual desire. Surely he KNEW it was morally and ethically wrong (regardless of whether or not it was illegal) to have sex with this girl.

Schaap had the power to control the relationship he had with this girl. He was the grownup, he was the “man of God,” he was a married man with children, he was the one with everything to lose…

The bible says we are to own our sin 100%, and not go looking for the 2% or the 10% or the 50% WRONG with others so you can FEEL feel better about the crime/sin. 


Jack Schaap claims he didn’t know his actions were illegal


If Jack Schaap was such a huge HORN DOG maybe they need to own majority of that percent they are attempting to hand the victim.  They are grown adults, and they should have seen it.  Its NOT that hard to figure out the man was obsessed with sex.   There is plenty of evidence to show that.  Live by example, and stop the excuses!


Jack Schaap clearly needed help, and not one person had the backbone to do what God calls them to do in order to help him.   That is a leadership issue, and members of these churches need to step up and call them out. 


If all leadership will do is attack in return – like they do to everyone else?  They clearly don’t have their heads screwed on tight enough to handle their responsibility.  God would NEVER ask them to do this, and the fact they do?  It’s a red flag!


We ALL have to OWN our STUFF, and YEP that includes MEN of GOD!  According to scripture – they have the bigger burden in that arena No?


Jack Schaap is going to jail, and hardest part of his statement was the fact he didn’t realize what he did was illegal, but knew it was ‘sin’. 


After the Tina Anderson story, and the heat he took for his own words in the 20/20 story?  I find that VERY hard to believe.  He knew it was illegal.  Jack Schaap is a lot of things, but I don’t see him as stupid.


The fact is he must disagree with the law, and therefore his opinion wins.  The man is a lot of things, but na├»ve?  I just don’t buy it. 


They have David Gibbs and the Christian Law Association (handles IFB messes like this), and his organization write articles about such things.  He is the one that is called in to handle ‘crisis’ within the church.  After the uproar and attacks that Chuck Phelps took after his ‘handling badly’ of this type of circumstance? 


After Jack Schaap caught heat due to his own issues that aired during that time?  Schaap can’t be calling himself stupid – he is too arrogant for that – so I feel he must have lied because his family was in the courtroom.   His followers would be listening. He handed them an excuse to hang their hat on.  He can’t even own his stuff 100%.  His excuse was sin, and 100% HIS!

The former pastor of a northwestern Indiana megachurch told a federal judge he had three sexual encounters with a parish girl but didn't realize at the time his actions were illegal. – Wane.com

There were rumors that Jack Schaap’s victim was a ‘bus kid’ from the church, and then they said she was not. 

Our bus ministry has been reaching the people of the local Northwest Indiana region and the Chicagoland area for almost 40 years.

      – FBC website description

The term ‘bus kid’ refers to the church’s program of busing people in for services, and because the First Baptist Church of Hammond is close to bordering states?  They bussed some children in from other states and areas surrounding the church.  If you read enough about the bus ministry it was an important part of their church, and you can hear stories from others that took part in this.


Sadly, it turns out that this child is from their church and from the school at First Baptist Hammond.  The church made comments about how they didn’t feel he did anything illegal, because of this girl’s age.  That turned out to be wrong, because he took her across state lines which made it a federal matter.  WHY her age would make a hill of beans difference also shows their lack of competency for their jobs/roles in that church.  Did they NOT catch a clue after the Chuck Phelps and Tina Anderson story?  SERIOUSLY?!

What they felt they may have got them off due to one ‘state law’ does NOT apply once he crossed state lines.  Why?  It made it a federal crime.  WHY that seems to minimize things in God’s eyes?  Its called denial.

Eddie Wilson, director of public relations for the church, shared with the Chicago Sun-Times that the church does not believe Schaap is being investigated for anything criminal, but is still cooperating with the sheriff's department "for the sake of transparency and honesty."  - Christian Post

Eddie Wilson doesn’t seem to understand that under God’s law it is ‘criminal’.   What excuse do you have for God to make it look better Mr. Wilson?  Think God will buy it?


State and Federal laws are MAN’s law, and you are to adhere to GOD’s law.  He was in sin for more than just adultery under God’s law.  Spinning the truth doesn’t change that. 


Posted online was also notes about the days leading up to Jack Schaap’s arrest as well.  Its clear by Schaap’s arrogance (which he is known for) that he wouldn’t go down without a fight.  When the evidence was presented to Jack Schaap directly, and was overwhelming?  THEN he confessed, and I’m sure showed some superficial repentance.   They had enough evidence he couldn’t wiggle out of it, and lets face facts for a moment…he would have if they didn’t have the goods.  If his past heresies didn’t do it for them?  THIS crime should would NOT have!


Its not adultery – it’s a crime!


Independent FundamentalistWhat seems to bother most, and what seems to go RIGHT over the First Baptist Church of Hammond’s head is the fact they want so badly to call this adultery, and as a side note – with a minor child.  They are quick to tell you at this point that she is 17 presently, but actually was 16 at the time of the crime.  Her age doesn’t not it better in the eyes of the Lord.  Tina’s age didn’t matter in the court of public opinion, nor the community of faith either.  Can we say CLUE ONE that excuse doesn’t fly?


I guess they feel it makes it look better than it is.   They need to look more so at God’s law, and be honest about this.  Yes, it was adultery in regards to his wife, but that is NOT what he is going to jail for is it?  His blamed victim isn’t doing time either – only THEY are blaming HER.  Stop diverting the truth, and DEAL WITH IT!  These scandals will continue if you do not.   Why do they only deal in secondary issues, and refuse to deal with the primary one?  Which would God be concerned with?  You can’t claim and hold leadership and authority positions if you handle the responsibility that goes along with it.


Jack Schaap and First Baptist Church of Hammond does not look upon her as a minor, and when they had a church service to inform their members of Jack Schaap’s arrest?  They asked for prayers of restoration for the Schaap family, and made no mention of this child and her family.  I’m sure they would tell you they are included in the words, ‘all involved’ in other sentences throughout the program.   For most they would take that as an additional side note.  Again GOD’S LAW would have you mention her and her family in much the same way, if not more so.


If you look closely at how they treat young adults of her age – those without the stigma they placed upon this child?  Heck lets take it even BEYOND that, and look at how they treat their college students…the ‘legal’ adults?  They feel they must treat them as uneducated children, and they are to make sure they can have control over most of their life on campus.   For example, in certain dorms within the IFB colleges have what is called, ‘pajama checks’ to make sure it adheres to their views of proper modesty.  


You would think the powers that be had more trust in the parents in raising these children would send them in proper pajamas.  Nope.  They don’t even trust the amount of control their parents have over them. 


Yes, it seems like a silly example.  The point is they have so much control over every aspect of their life EVEN in college.  They treat them like ‘children’, and yet when their prized leader gets caught with his pants down (in this case literally)?  All of a sudden – they are a legal adult ready for their version of legal adult consequences, along with the IBF’s version on their consequences.


Strange how quickly they grew up huh?  Nothing like throwing your sheep to the wolves!


They control the children, because they need this instruction.  The message is clear they can’t do life properly yet without their oversight.  Yet, when sexual abuse happens with an authority figure?  Children 16 and younger seem to know ‘what they are doing’.  Okay then.  They need Pajama checks (At IFB College Dorms) to make sure they understand and comply to modesty, but completely UNDERSTAND what they are doing with a big name authority figure tells them to take their clothes off. 


Its sad that people are to afraid to use common sense – no doubt because the authority tells them NOT TOO – so leadership can have it both ways.  God’s law sees the children as victims of manipulation, etc.  Yet, they look to man’s law to cover their butts.  They wish to hold people accountable (remember there are consequences for NOT wearing the proper pajamas) , except for themselves.  Its heartbreaking to think they feel this is acceptable to teach, and model for others.  They seem not to grasp the irresponsibility, and how it shows they should not be in ‘leadership’ AT ALL due to this debit.


Personal Threats and Plea Deals


Christian bully thugA plea deal was offered to Jack Schaap.   He had to acknowledge that she was a minor, he took her across state lines in order to engage in sexual acts.  He gave them his electronic items and computers to show how he used this to have a relationship with this young girl.  He will be on the sexual offender list, given jail time, and fines will be paid.  He acknowledges that he was her pastor, counselor, and management within her school.  He claims he will take the plea so that his family, and his church don’t have to deal with a trial. 


The truth of the matter is they had more than enough to drag him through the mud, and he is looking at no less than 10 years in prison.   The good part is they have sealed the correspondence between the two (victim and Jack Schaap), because she is STILL a minor.


The truth of the matter is that it was NOT adultery, but a federal crime.  He is a sexual criminal. He took advantage of his position of authority.


There are a number of facebook pages that have the theme of DO RIGHT First Baptist Church of Hammond, or We Love You, those that are Victim(s) of Jack Schaap.


You can read heart breaking stories of children growing up in these Independent Fundamental Baptist circles.   What bothered me the most was the threats some of them were receiving after they posted of their struggles, or of their stories.  They either bring DOWN their facebook posts, or close their facebook account…OR ELSE!  It seems they took the Chicago style Al Capone approach to things.  (He was a famous Chicago gangster)  Now its okay to be ‘Christian’ thugs I guess.


One in particular that stands out in my mind is of a gentleman, and his struggles with First Baptist Church of Hammond after the Wednesday night service when Jack Schaap’s arrest happened.  He could finally admit in some ways that things were not right.  It seems he finally had one small shred of courage to finally say it out loud.  He mentioned that he had not gone back with his family since this church service.  He was struggling with guilt and shame, and the lost of an illusion of a proper Christian environment.   He also hinted of pressure he was feeling from the church members to come back, and pretend that all was well.


The fear that came across in his words - among others stories as well – were striking to me. 


It reminded me of a victim of domestic violence, and the fear and confusion over HOW to handle the danger in their lifes. 

They love him/her (domestic violence victim).  This gentlemen and his family loved the church. 

Just like an abuser that does not like his/her offenses aired the church reacts with threats, manipulation, and a sense of fear is all around. 


The gentleman disappeared after they threaten his family. He either bring down his facebook account, or they were going to call child protective services – take his children away – have them arrested, etc.  His wife wanted to flee the state.  The threats are not uncommon (others were receiving them as well), and after a while he did indeed delete his account.   I ask prayers for him, and others in this type of circumstance.


Just like the victims of the domestic violence this family seemed to feel the church had it within their power to take the kids, and have them arrested JUST BECAUSE of whom they were. I remember personally in the past how I ‘accepted’ the lies of how he will take everything away from me, and I would be left with nothing …and how I believed it.  They make it sound so easy, and yet most of the time its lies.  Lies used to control.


I think we also realize that some threats you need to take seriously.  The First Baptist church of Hammond?  It seems they use thugs as enforcers.  Its hard to believe that churches that claim they are NOT cults use enforcers like Al Capone did in the past.  They may not do something like the St. Valentine Massacre, and outright place people against the wall to murder them.  Nope.  They crush their souls, and their minds, and their hearts instead.  They fill them with fear and paranoia.


Just as domestic violence victims need to be educated to take their personal power back?  These church members need help as well.   I was listening to, Spiritual Abuse: Fundamental Seduction with Voyle Glover on blog talk radio.  Linda (Hyles) Murphrey was on starting at the 27:47 mark.  She is the child of Jack Hyles (the founder of this cult in Hammond).  Jack Hyles is the father in law to Jack Schaap (married to Cindy - Linda’s sister).  She stated, “That place created – and my dad created – an environment that says “God’s man” could get away with absolutely anything.  And anyone that followed “God’s man” was expected and pressured to lie for him. “  She escaped this environment years ago, and speaks of the toll it took on her life.


One positive?  She was going to a church, and she tried to keep to herself WHOM her father was.   The leadership within the church did find out, and approached her gently.  They knew that growing up in that environment of a cult was damaging to her personhood, and her overall outlook on life.  They wanted to help her, because they knew she needed this help.  They found a counselor to help her, and put her in touch with the counselor.  They also pay for the sessions out of love and concern for her wellbeing.  Talk about Christian Charity!


Her story was encouraging that there is light at the end of the tunnel.  If you listen to nothing else – go to the 27:47 mark in the audio to listen to her experiences.  It was very HARD for her step out, and find a life after what she had grown up with.  I was first introduced to her with a video of her speaking that came out PRIOR to the Jack Schaap scandal.   Linda Murphrey - From Cult to Courage


schaap divine intimacy heresy sexualYou have others like Linda that had left the church also, because they could see the perversion of faith prior to the Jack Schaap Scandal.    The picture I enclosed here is page out of Jack Schaap’s marriage book in which he seems to see ‘sex’ in everything.


Some spoke of parents and other family members that would NOT have much do with them after they left the church.  Now that their pastor is going to jail for a sexual crime?  No doubt shock, pride, and the cult way to covering for sins is still in place, because they still can’t speak with their family members.  Time will tell if they allow themselves to step out.  The truth hurts, but there are so many out there that want to help.


Jack Schaap railed in his church against the teenagers phones, and what is legally called ‘sexting’.   Today we can hear the projection of his own sin towards others in this audio recording of him.


FBC Hammond's Youth Conference 2010, Jack Schaap gave his signature sermon "A Polished Shaft." Then he proceeded to demonstrate exactly how to...polish a shaft.  Talk about irresponsibility.  People have to be brainwashed to think that this type of behavior is acceptable in the church.  How sad.  Think about this for a moment – this is his behavior at a YOUTH CONFERENCE!  Yikes!


What about the Victim and her family


My thoughts and prayers are with the victim.  I can’t even imagine the terror of the last couple of months.  The confusion, hurt, feelings of being lost.  Some victims feel this twisted sense of loyalty and responsibility towards their abuser.   It takes time to wrap your head and heart around what happened to them, and fully own that it is INDEED twisted.  I pray that she is allowed to do this journey on his own timeline, and that no pressure is given.  We all must do this in our own way.


I have read that her family will be suing the church.  I hope so.   At times so many refuse to see reality until such time the pain and consequences of their lack of action, responsibility, etc. is experienced on a VERY personal level.  The personal pain is what motivates in some cases, and it sad that is how it must work.  Will it take that before they show any proper response to this tragedy like Penn State was forced too?  So far Penn State is miles ahead of them, so maybe it will be that consequences that makes them wake up.  They could lose their church all together. 


I’m going to close with a video that aired years ago.  The youtube author uses this in their description.

This is the original Everything skit by Mission Baltimore. Please watch all the way through. It's an incredible performance that shows a teenager's struggle with everyday temptations.

Since many of you have asked what the different people in the skit represent, I thought I would define the influences. They are as follows:
First person (all black dress clothes): lust, false love, sexuality
Second person (yellow shirt, black jeans): obsession of money, greed
Third person (white shirt, blue jeans): partying, alcohol, drugs
Fourth person (pink dress): obsession of looks, vanity, bulimia
Fifth person (black body suit, black mask): suicidal thoughts, depression, desperation

I'd also like to add that the purpose of this skit is not to mock or ridicule anyone who suffers from any of these disorders or illnesses. It is simply to show that, no matter what happens in your life, no matter how far you've strayed from God, He is always there waiting to save you and protect you from any harm or negative influences that may be causing you to feel any kind of desperation. You just have to let Him in.



He Loves you!

The victim needs to know that God is on her side, and to picture herself at the time when Jesus is holding back all the evil people trying to do her harm. Its not the works we do for our church that brings us the sense of love that Jesus has for us. Our faith in him is what brings out our yearning to do what he would have us do for others. I picture Jesus giving her a big hug, and mourning with her and her family. Why? because HE LOVES YOU!


There is life past this Jack Schaap scandal, and you WILL rise ABOVE IT!


Other Resources:


The Christian Fundamentalist Roll Call of Shame: Child Abusers in Christian Fundamentalism


Lusting for Justice and Learning Mercy (The Challenge for All of Us Concerning the Case of Jack Schaap

Grace (organization of help): Five Characteristics of Child Sexual Offenders Within the Faith Community

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