By Dr. Greg J. Dixon
Following is the official Media Release from the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana concerning the tragic incident that resulted in the dismissal of their pastor of approximately eleven years, Dr. Jack Schaap. As most know by now, Schaap admitted to the Deacons Wednesday night, August 1, that he had an adulterous affair with a sixteen or seventeen year old young lady who was either a member or attended the church. How sad to think that this abuse apparently involved a female employee of the church also being dismissed by being complicit in taking this young lady across state lines. To add insult to injury it has made every major news outlet in America, religious and secular including the front page of USA Today and CBS evening TV news.
The link to the Wednesday night service led by Attorney David Gibbs will show that this is not the action of a New Testament Church but rather a corporation that has called their attorney in for the purpose of “damage control” of the stockholders. You will also notice by their own admission in the release, their public statements notwithstanding, that the deacons did not fire their pastor, they dismissed an “employee” who was the CEO of the corporation. And they did not do it according to the scriptures, by their own admission, but according to their constitution (corporate instrument). Because if they had not followed their corporate instrument, they could have been liable for a lawsuit.
Now let’s compare this to how Paul instructed the Lord’s church to conduct itself in a similar situation. We find the incident at 1 Cor. 6:1-13.
1Co 5:1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. 2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. 3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, 4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? 7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: 10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?
13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.
The scripture says, Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. Ecclesiastes 8:11 – Att. Gibbs said to the First Baptist Congregation that their prayer was that Jack Schaap would confess his sin and come to a place of repentance for which I am sure all can say a hearty amen. But there is a vast difference between an admission because you are caught, and a heart felt confession that comes from Godly sorrow that worketh repentance. 2 Cor. 7:10. Public sins committed against the Body of Christ, the Lord’s church, needs to be confessed publically and the longer a person waits to make that public confession the more difficult it is to make it. Also the less sincere it seems when it is made because the impact of the sin is diminished as time wears on.
Why was Schaap not brought before the congregation that first Wednesday night and asked for a public confession? And if he was not willing he should have been immediately excised from the body and turned over to Satan, “for the destruction of the flesh that the spirit might be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” Even though the young lady is only 16 or 17 years old, the same thing should be her lot. Even though he has the greater sin, she is certainly old enough to be responsible before God. I would be greatly surprised if the young lady will ever be held accountable for her actions in this matter. As these things usually go, she will fade into oblivion, change churches and go on with her life and be a victim of some other wicked predator at some point in the future.
The last problem that First Baptist has is the same problem that Corinth had based on the video of the Aug. 1 service. Both churches were “puffed up when they “should have rather mourned.” Yes there was anguish in Chairman Duff’s voice and certainly solemnity in what Att. Gibbs said. And much of what he said was appropriate but if you listened carefully it was playing to the grandstand. It was for media consumption, public relations, damage control, attendance and offering preservation and covering the board’s behinds legally. Everyone knows that a huge lawsuit could loom in the background somewhere based on that girl’s age and they are all holding their collective breath.
The pride of First Baptist and preserving their reputation was written all over that service. Paul said, “Ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned.” There was clapping, much clapping, in fact it was degrading to the ears. The service was more like a pep rally than a church service. It was an information meeting from their corporate attorney. Where was the weeping over sin, over their pastor who had fallen, over his wife who is crushed, over his children and their families who are humiliated, over a young lady who is ruined for life, over a great church that has been made the laughing stock of the world, not for their faith, but because of the buffoon that they had in the pulpit. And what they have done to the cause of Baptist Fundamentalism and the Independent Baptist movement and their school system and their Bible College, and we haven’t even mentioned their Lord who they have done great damage to His name and cause.
I have no vendetta against First Baptist Church. They will come out of this, churches always do. But I write this for myself and all of us that we might use this opportunity to take inventory of ourselves and our churches and begin to tighten the ship in light of the soon coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
First Baptist Church Pastor Dismissed
July 31, 2012
Hammond, IN–At this time, we deeply regret the need to announce that First Baptist Church has dismissed our pastor, Dr. Jack Schaap, due to a sin that has caused him to forfeit his right to be our pastor. First Baptist Church is in full cooperation with our local authorities in their investigation of this matter. Our church grieves over the need to take this action and the impact it will have on our people.
We ask that everyone pray for the families involved and pray that the situation will be handled in a Christ honoring manner. We look forward to the days ahead as we continue to service the needs of our surrounding community and the Chicago area.
For any media-related questions, please contact First Baptist Church spokesman, Eddie Wilson at (219) 945-6475.