I was a student at Moody Bible Institute during the 1976-1977 school year. Frequently on Friday evening young men from Pastor Jack Hyles’ First Baptist Church of Hammond, IN would be bussed up to Chicago to stand on the street corners around Moody Bible Institute and hand out tracts to the wayward students from Moody. I don’t recall the subject of all the tracts, but I remember one was about Billy Graham being a false prophet, another was about the King James Version of the Bible was the only version an individual should read. We Moody students were also told we would be going to Hell if we didn’t repent of our worldly ways. Presumably, my worldly ways were evident because I was wearing Levi jeans. Women were going to Hell because they were wearing slacks! You get the idea.
Photo source: Chicago Magazine, “Let us Pray: Big Trouble at First Baptist Church”
I wrote these people off as crazed kooks that belonged to some fringe cultic-fundamentalist Baptist church. I never thought about them once I left Moody Bible Institute, but it turns out I was right. Seemingly everyone involved in the leadership of First Baptist Church of Hammond, IN was involved in a sexual scandal at one time or another. Read this article by blogger and former evangelical pastor, Bruce Gerencser titled “The Scandalous Life of Jack Hyles and Why it Still Matters.”
Yesterday I came across the video below on the Twitter feed of someone I follow.
Jack Schaap was the Senior Pastor, or “man of gawd” at First Baptist Church. (Touch not the Lord’s anointed!) He was married to Jack Hyles daughter and after the death of Jack Hyles, he seized the reins of power. He ruled over his subjects with a heavy hand until he was arrested and sentenced to 12 years in prison for having sex with an underage girl he was counseling. Schaap also transported the girl across state lines on at least three occasions. This got the federal government involved in the case.
I wanted to post this video as a warning to my readers. I am unsure how you would classify Jack Schaap – undoubtedly he is a misogynist and a heavy-handed authoritarian, but is he an example of an extreme Complementarian? Extreme Patriarchism? Whatever you classify him as he obviously had no business being a pastor, and yet there are probably hundreds of similar men preaching in churches every week. If you attend a church with a pastor such as the man depicted below I advise you to leave. You may not believe me now, but once you have escaped the clutches of a man like this you will thank me a year or two later.
“Schaap’s conduct was egregious,” Lozano says. “Under the rouse of conducting religious counseling to the minor victim, he arranged for her to be transported from Indiana to Illinois twice, and from Indiana to Michigan once (for several days) so he could engage in sexual acts with her which are prohibited by law in those states.
Source: 2 CBS Chicago
I have included the Government Sentencing Memorandum below. My hope is that you will read the entire document. The document points out how the girl and her family were easily victimized by Jack Schaap because of their unhealthy respect for the office of pastor. This may serve as an encouragement to those who have been victimized by a member of the clergy. You are not alone. Many people place their trust in a man, not because he has earned it, but because of his job title.
It is unfortunate, but there are many wolves who are attracted to the ministry because they know the job title makes it easy for them to victimize church members. Be cautious, the best pastor is a mere man, and many of them are among the worst class of men. Don’t you be victimized, and don’t let your precious children be easily victimized because of your misplaced trust.
Jack Schaap Sentencing Memo… by Todd Wilhelm on Scribd