Jack Schaap Used Jack Hyles’ Approach to Church, Could be Communism

There are plenty of blogs out there where you can find an array of angry articles and hostile comment sections due to the recent devastation involving Jack Schaap and the Independent Fundamental Baptist Church movement. Plenty of folks are coming out of the woodwork, telling their stories on Facebook and on their own blogs. Most of the stories I have seen focus on First Baptist Church of Hammond specifically, but let’s not forget that there are many IFB churches where these same things are happening. There are wounded people all over the world, because of the abusive system that has been taught in IFB colleges for years!

How does something like this happen in so many churches in the same movement? Do not think you are alone in this kind of chaos, many church denominations suffer from abuse. There is a lot to take into consideration in diagnosing the root of the problem, but you can start with investigating the type of church governance that Hyles taught for so many years, of which Jack Schaap carried the torch for. I have Jack Hyle’s book, ‘Hyles Church Manual’ and I have to say that this book is full of reasons why this toxicity has continued for so long. The pattern of church governance throughout this book is accompanied by narcissistic mind control techniques. In my opinion, Jack Hyles suffered from mental illness yet was intelligent enough to create a religious saga that closely resembles a high profile soap opera.

Many will cry out, “Don’t use a broad brush to paint all IFB churches as cults“, but if they learned their form of ‘church’ from the Jack Hyles’ inheritance of theology and church governance, then it is highly likely that abuse will happen in their churches and they will use the same methods Jack Hyles used when abuse happened in his church. If you speak to as many former IFB members as I have you will see that hundreds of IFB pastors have dealt with abuse in the exact same way. If there are any IFB churches that sincerely haven’t had ANY abuse happen and they’ve been around for a long time, then kudos to the pastors who found a different way to run a church.

People can disagree with doctrine, but when it comes to a system that has a faulty infrastructure to begin with, then they are destined to topple at some point. This doesn’t necessarily mean they will close their doors, but it does mean that leaders will fall and victimize someone (or many). The only way an IFB church will ever close it’s doors is if the people stop going and the community around them is made aware of how toxic it is. I’m not so sure this is likely to happen, as cults have been around for ages and are still operating today.

In the following image we see the mentality that Hyles had about hiring staff members:

“One hundred percent UNQUESTIONED loyalty… NEVER a reflection or a doubt….just a little criticism and he would have been ERASED from consideration.

In this image we see how he felt about staff salaries (er um, or rather how he felt about his own needs):

“If the pastor is more concerned with the staff member’s salaries than his own, they will be more concerned about HIS NEEDS than their own.”

Also, notice just above where he advises that you make it sound like his staff is highly qualified. In the page before this he instructed that all his secretaries were to be paid LESS than a business secretary. In my world we pay secretaries based on their level of intelligence, hard work, and experience. We do NOT pay them based on how high a level we can put them on a pedestal in the eyes of the people.

 

This book is so eerie as it is the same cookie cutter approach many IFB pastors still use today. This book is full of manipulation and SCARCELY a bible verse to back any of it up. The section on how to select deacons is laughable as it is exactly how deacons are chosen in many churches today. If even ONE deacon on the board does not vote a man in, then they are NOT considered. The deacon board is chosen before it ever goes to the church and the church thinks their vote actually counts, but it doesn’t. The pastor in Hyles’ approach has a system of how to find out if a member is loyal enough to join based on the doubt his current deacons have about those nominated. Remember he said, “Unquestionable loyalty, not a hint of critcism or doubt”.

Sadly, it sounds like Hyles could have gotten his method of running a church from a communist. Afterall, he did serve in World War II and maybe he experienced some PTSD or other kind of trauma that spawned this legacy of church abuse. Who knows? Many former IFB members testify that their churches felt communistic. Have you seen “Boy in the Striped Pajamas“? You may need to get it from Netflix and see it right away.

This book is riddled with scenarios that made me gasp from one page to the next and reminded me that not only do many IFB churches create clones, but the pastors themselves are clones of what is described in this book.

If a church is built on this unstable infrastructure then you will have many wide open doors for wolves to sneak in unaware. There are healthier ways of organizing a church, but do NOT use this Hyles method! The unquestioned loyalty methodology gives far too much room for the flesh to kick in and begin controlling every aspect of a congregation and very little, if not NO, accountability to protect yourselves. The traditional church governance and teaching methods of the IFB, as passed down from Jack Hyles, is toxic to the core. Any church leader or bible college that trains up new leaders to run a church like this man did is doing an incredible disservice to the Body of Christ.

Christ has made us FREE from the religious bondage that many are being suckered into. Even Hyles knew this when he dissociated from the Southern Baptist Convention. You too, are free to dissociate from toxic church environments and choose a congregation where you can heal and grow in faith without being placed into bondage.

Galatians 5:1 “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

Sisterlisa

Law or Grace for Jack Schaap?

It’s been a few days since the initial news of Jack Schaap’s termination as pastor was announced. I’ve watched the Internet each day as more media picked up the story and as thousands of Cyber folks have hit their Facebook pages, Twitter (#JackSchaap), and blogs with the story. The comments I see run from totally passive to highly hostile. This entire situation is so deeply devastating and the shock waves are being felt worldwide.

I’ve tried to be objective and remain as balanced as possible between my motherly emotions and my logical perspective on this matter. I have considered that my own feelings as a former IFB cult member might make me a bit bias, but I honestly have tried hard to be objective. As a mom, I would want to embrace my child in the midst of her torment and yet sound the battle cry to send the troops to war against any and all who had part in this happening due to their complacency in confronting Jack Schaap long before this could have happened. My heart truly goes out to the girl and her family. When we left the IFB movement, we didn’t have this kind of scandal directly affecting anyone in our family and yet we suffered from the shunning, criticism, and lack of support in our decision to leave. I can’t imagine how much worse it is for this family.

Why I sympathize with Cindy Schaap:

As a wife, I also think about the Schaap family in particularly, Cindy Schaap. Many years ago, my husband and I faced some of our own personally tragedy as he chose to take the path of drug abuse. Many unwise decisions followed. It was horrible to be judged as a woman for the difficulties my husband faced. Many tried to get me to divorce my husband, but deep down I just couldn’t. I truly love him and couldn’t face the idea of divorcing. We did, however go through a separation. Everything we faced was incredibly difficult, but one of the most difficult was facing church folk each week.

There were a few select women who never judged me nor my husband. I owe a debt of gratitude to them for their patient and gentle love. While they loved us, they did not put their heads in the sand. They gave practical advice so we could face the reality of our situation. Walking by faith does not mean to ignore a problem in hopes that it works itself out. When we face tragedy we need to approach it sternly and take the necessary steps to work through the issue with practical solutions.

We weren’t church leaders at the time, but nonetheless the trial we stumbled through was extremely taxing and the judgement we did get from many, made the healing more difficult. Having people, I loved and admired, judging my husband lowered my admiration for them as spiritual leaders. We didn’t need judgement, we needed practical steps and spiritual partners who would be willing to walk through those steps with us.

Thankfully, we were able to do what was needed to get our lives back on track. We’ve been married for twenty years now and were able to find individuals who were supportive of us through all of our journey to healing. Having people love us and support us in changing our chaos into stability was key in the process of our repentance from a destructive lifestyle. This didn’t mean they condoned our past decisions, but rather they supported the new decisions. I had to do some things on my own such as going to court, talking to lawyers, updating the family on what was going on, etc. It was extremely hard to do those things alone, but it helped me to grow.

Looking back on everything helps me see Cindy’s situation in a different light. My heart groans for her tragedy. What she is facing is far worse than what we went through. Even typing this out, I have a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes for her. Leaving a legalistic community, when a fall like this is the reason for it, must be such a lonely departure. Jack was a pastor of a well known mega church in their community. Cindy won’t be able to go anywhere without people knowing who she is. I pray the media leaves her alone.

While I am compassionate towards Cindy, I can say without hesitation that Jack has to answer for his foolishness. When my husband and I went through our difficulties, I never asked for God to let things go. I knew that having my husband be held accountable and to face his own foolishness head on was the best thing for him..the best thing for both of us. Jack needs to face the laws of the land and face whatever justice comes from this.

One thing that many people are saying is that God will hold Jack accountable. Part of this human world is that God ordained government to punish criminals and as such as we need to let the system do what they were ordained to do. The authorities are doing their job and we need to let them do that.

My perspective as a spiritual counselor:

As a spiritual counselor, I have to work between my motherly emotions and my spiritual calling. This is not easy to do, yet I do feel it’s an important spiritual exercise for any spiritual leader to take seriously. This is where victims usually get angry, because the blood of Jesus “shouldn’t let this go”. All of a sudden the “Once saved always saved” doctrine is doubted and flat out rejected. Angry people want Jack Schaap to either go to hell or be punished by the fullest extent of the law. Even at that, their anger won’t be satisfied.

What does that say about us if the thought of him going to hell doesn’t satisfy our anger? Do we easily forget about our own short comings? Do we forget to be thankful that our own condition of sin has been paid for through the death of Christ our Lord? Have we forsaken a grateful heart for the fact that we have received life through the conquering of the grave and the resurrected life of Christ?

May we take heed, lest we also fall.

If Jack Schaap, a premiere Independent Fundamental Baptist preacher, can fall then anyone can. Jack was raised in a strict fundamental religion that defined everything as black and white. Many rules were in place to insure that he would always live a ‘godly’ life. Yet, in the midst of all that Christian ‘perfection’, he still fell. You see, the Christian bubble of sterilization doesn’t work. Oh we can avoid drinking, drugs, and porn quite easily if that was all we had to avoid. However, this was not all those in the IFB movement have to avoid. They also have to avoid most television, contemporary Christian music, Christian stores outside of their own church bookstore, family members who don’t attend an IFB church, bathing suits, the ballet, the beach, movie theaters, magazines in the checkout stand aisle, girls who wear pants, and on and on the list goes. They have so much to worry about avoiding that all their mental and spiritual energy is being used up trying to avoid things that really don’t need that much attention. It’s not going to upset God if a woman fails to wear nylons to church or misses church on Sunday to go to a family reunion. It’s not going to upset God if a man hates wearing a suit and isn’t fond of door knocking. All the legalistic requirements to be acceptable in an IFB church is counterproductive to living the Kingdom life that Christ ushered into this New Covenant.

Christ came to shower us and cleanse us with his grace. If Jack had ever listened to what real grace is, then perhaps he would not have ended up where he is now. Nevertheless, there’s always a purpose for the fall of what people used to call ‘a great man’. Pharaoh was said to be a great leader too, but Moses came in and brought the message of deliverance. In order for people to be delivered, the leader who keeps them in bondage must fall. The Holy Spirit sends people to such leaders and demands freedom, but when the leaders keep refusing, when they keep insisting they are right in their own eyes, then eventually they will face the reality that God has intended for them. Sometimes a great fall is the beginning of an experience in humility and down to earth grace.

When Jack Schaap came to our former church:

It’s ironic that just a few short years ago, Schaap came to my former church and preached a message on this very topic. He preached on pride and humility and ironic as it sounds, his two messages confirmed for us that we needed to leave. Not that his messages were bad, in fact they were good. The messages he preached revealed to us that humility was not within the church we were at and in order to save our own family from destruction, we needed to leave. We actually sent word to Jack to ask for assistance, but he didn’t return our calls. It’s a good thing he didn’t. We were able to leave and get our girls out of the youth group before the second violation of a teen girl took place.

We left shortly after Jack’s visit to our former church and now that same church is in a second lawsuit due to two former staff men who violated teen girls. I’m eternally grateful that we got our teen girls out of there! I don’t feel that I owe Jack anything for that visit, I give all thanks to God alone. So the next thing I want to say is not from a heart of gratitude for Jack, but rather a heart of gratitude for the grace of God.

Get off the milk, because there’s meat to bite into:

This is a hard topic for many, especially someone new in their walk. Paul said that there was so much more he wanted to say, but the people weren’t ready to hear it. This intense topic and concept I’m about to share is not milk for a babe, it’s meat. If you’re not ready for this meat, it will choke you. If you’re not ready for meat, you will reject it. If you’re a victim of the IFB movement it will be difficult, but there is hope for justice and for grace. You see, justice and grace are not two opposing sides. Justice and grace work together to bring mercy. Justice is a balanced way to bring discipline to a person who needs it. It is meant to bring them to repentance as well as to genuine grace.

Humans are not required to give grace the way God gives it. If it were up to us, especially victims, we may not ever give mercy or grace. It’s not our obligation or responsibility to be as gracious as God is. I don’t want to place a burden on you that would be impossible to bear. We could never give grace the way Christ can, if it were possible he would not have needed to die.

When Christ came to die and resurrect, he brought reconciliation to God. Every man, woman, and child can boldly go to God without being afraid and know for certain they could receive grace. This is for the purpose of establishing a two way relationship with God. All of us have equal access to God, because of Christ. He is our mediator. So we preach the Gospel of reconciliation as Paul did. Both the perpetrator and the victim have equal access to God and equal grace in their relationships with Him. This does not mean that abusive people will not be held accountable in this lifetime. This does not mean the victims of this world won’t be affirmed. This spiritual reconciliation is a personal endeavor for individual relationships with God.

In this lifetime, we live in this human world with literal laws that we must honor. Christ said to obey the laws of the land and so we must. God ordained the government and so we must allow the authorities to do their work. Each Christian is called to stand for victims any time they are victimized. Jesus spoke of compassion for the Samaritan man, the women taken in adultery, and he prodigal son who was welcomed home. Many will ask where the grace is in our human relationships in regards to Jack and others who have violated people. To stand by a perpetrator as they face their music is not for everyone! A person of faith that is strong in both the spiritual realm and the physical realm can firmly walk alongside a man like Jack to be of support in them facing their consequences, but it does NOT mean such a person of faith is condoning what he did.

It takes a strong person who can hold them accountable while guiding them to understand what went wrong and how to find penance. It’s important to hold them firmly accountable, facing the reality of what they’ve done in order for them to grow and mature. If we, as Christians, can not give Jack Schaap room to be repentant then we have to face the idea that maybe we don’t really understand the Gospel. People who have been infected by the perverted ‘gospel’ that Jack preached are less likely to give him the room he needs. He taught for years that there is no room for sin. He boxed everyone in and now he has boxed himself into the same limited space with everyone else. Close quarters like that can be quite cramped. This is what happens when we try to live by the Law. The apostle Paul said that once the law came, sin revived. If we want a true revival of the power of Christ that brings repentance, grace, and humility then we need to be willing to live it out.

The government is involved and the FBI is very well aware of what mind control is and how it affects a congregation. Let them do their investigation. If you have any information, experiences, or otherwise that could be of assistance then call them directly. God will not punish you for doing so. I know that First Baptist Church has Atty. Gibbs and his son working on this case, but they are there to protection the institution of FBC. It is very different than a lawyer being there to protect individual victims. In order for them to protect the institution, they need to control information from leaving the congregation. Therefore, victims are not safe to give their information to them. This is a time when people need to decide if they want to protect a building licensed by a 501c3 or if they want help for victims. Victims need an outside advocate that can be purely in favor of assisting the victims and not be tainted by needing to protect the institution. In a high profile case like this, there is no doubt in my mind that people knew and didn’t do a darned thing. Penn State anyone? Tell your information directly to the police.

It’s a delicate matter to be concerned for both sides of this situation. As a minister, our utmost desire is to reconcile mankind to God in Christ. This means all mankind, even those who have been abusive. However, we also have a responsibility to victims and to make sure they are safe and protected. The apostle Paul had an issue with two men at one time and he said that he ‘gave them over to satan for their punishment’. There are times when we need to hand abusive people over to their own devices, allow them to suffer their consequences, so they can learn true remorse and repentance. A victim is not required to be a part of the perpetrator’s journey through his own personal self inflicted hell. Victims are free to walk away and have no contact. They are not required to let it go, to drop the charges, or to face their abuser with offers of forgiveness. Once the victim finds healing, they have the option to make those decisions, but they are not obligated to.

For people who feel torn between the two parties, I admonish them to side with the victim totally. For those who feel the strongest desire to support the perpetrator, then do so WISELY without condemning the victim and her supporters for what befalls the man now. There’s a lot of anger and hurt going on in the world due to this travesty. Some might say that if you weren’t a member of FBC then you shouldn’t worry about it. I strongly disagree. Jack Schaap has influenced IFB pastors and teens all over the world to further the anti-women dogma that infects congregations. Their methods of church governance morphed by the twisted scriptures creates a toxic environment where this kind of abuse thrives. The Christian community does not end at the doors of FBC. The Christian community is global and when one suffers, we all suffer.

We need to collectively put our feet down with how the IFB movement (and many other churches) create their institutions with toxic teachings where accountability is sorely lacking. Those who are leaders need to stand firm and proclaim from the rooftops that wolves have entered in, how they entered in, and how to get out! So while the government deals with this matter, we’ll continue to preach the true Gospel of reconciliation, protect victims, and teach others how to protect themselves.

Take the time needed to heal from the abuse you and your loved ones have suffered, don’t rush your grief. It doesn’t happen over night.

 Sisterlisa

*For encouragement in healing from fundamentalist abuse of girls and women, get Quivering Daughters by Hillary McFarland.

Mega Church IFB Pastor Fired

As much as I dislike a lot of what happens in the IFB movement, it is never joyful to hear of a pastor’s indiscretions. This is not something to be joyful over. There are people who are traumatically affected by this grave indecency. Mega Church Pastor Jack Schaap was fire due to a pending investigation regarding an alleged inappropriate relationship he had with a young lady of his church. I have written before about my experiences in the IFB movement and many have left comments on this blog about their experiences as well. Pastor Jack Schaap is the Son-in-law of church founder Jack Hyles of First Baptist Church of Hammond and Hyle-Anderson Bible College. His sexist views have long been criticized and rejected by the greater community.

I hesitated in blogging about this just yet, but given the fact that we came out of the IFB movement and have blogged about IFB issues, I felt it necessary to address it for my readers. I know many will rejoice that he was dismissed in hopes that he will be arrested. However, the story is still under investigation by the sheriff’s department, which leads me to assume it was a lady under age. While there are conversations going on in fundamental forums, may I remind us all that the whole story has not yet been released.

I ask for prayer for his wife and the family directly affected by this and as traumatic as this news is, I applaud the church leadership for releasing him from his position. In a spirit of grace, I pray he and his wife can work through this situation and whatever the justice system decides about the matter will be true justice for all involved. Sadly, he just may reap the many years of condemnation he has sown into the lives of others. May this tragic event nurture some real authentic grace in his soul.

Sisterlisa

Related Articles:

Law or Grace, for Jack Schaap?

Jack Schaap used Jack Hyles’ Approach to Church, could be communism

IFB Cult Survivors

Is the IFB a Cult?

Grace for the Heretics

There’s a group of us on Facebook who use the term “heretic” as a term of endearment for those who think outside the box and who have openly questioned or refuted popular Christian myths. Even calling something a myth in Christianity can get you anointed as a heretic these days. I studied what a real heretic actually is and the term is widely misused in Christianity today, but why should that surprise us with all the other words that are misused in Christianity today? But there are two sides to the heretic coin, and yes it’s the same coin.

Sticky-feet by lacybekah, on Pix-O-Sphere
{photo credit Lacy}

In the last few years, it has been my experience, that it’s usually someone on the Orthodox side of the coin that spouts insults of heresy at the others. And the ones on the receiving end of such an accusation are usually too kind to spout it back to those unkind and often ignorant Christians who like to wield it like some flaming sword.

Many bloggers, authors, and public speakers are quick to mock, scorn, and down right bash anyone they disagree with. Are we forgetting that we’re all a part of this infallible race called humanity? Now before you think I’m some super grace believer who is kind to everyone, I’ll just lay my cards out on the table plainly. I’m not. I lack gracious words from time to time as well. I’m not fond of the teachings of a variety of preachers today, but I have to keep in mind that my disagreement is with the teaching and that the person is still a person and part of this same humanity that I’m a part of.

After all the years of twisted teaching, I have a very difficult time listening to teaching by Mark Driscoll, John Piper, and Jack Schaap. But they’re still people with feelings and as one who knows what it’s like to be accused of being a heretic and bashed by people who I have openly disagreed with…I would imagine they struggle with the same things.

I recall a story when someone at my former church was ready to leave. This couple had formally resigned from all their positions and even asked to be removed from their church roster. The pastor broke down and cried. I know this man so I can say without hesitation that I firmly believe his tears were of absolute heartbreak, and not some whimpering school boy with feelings on his sleeve. At least he loved this family enough to be broken about their desire to leave.

When we left that church, there was someone who I didn’t see until about two weeks afterwards. We attended a graduation for one of the fellows at that church. This woman was sitting there at a table by herself and I was so happy to see her. I began walking toward her table and as soon as she looked up and saw me, she broke down in sobs. I hugged her and asked what was troubling her to which she responded, “I can’t believe you left the church.” She continued to sob uncontrollably. How can you experience this without getting choked up? I cried with her. I had no idea I meant that much to her.

Aside from all the squabbling that people have over ‘doctrines’, people have feelings. They develop strong love for one another and when one hurts we all hurt together. And even though we have incredibly strong feelings about why we had to leave that place, we love the man who betrayed us. We love him and his family deeply. But we couldn’t continue to enable what we were seeing and in good conscience we chose to leave.

That ministry continues to this day. Do I like their doctrines? Do I support what they’re doing? Not all of it, but they do some things for the people there that is missing in a lot of churches. I dislike that they do their best to convince small children of hell. But I like that they teach healthy boundaries for every day living. I just don’t like how they teach it. I have been to several different kinds of churches and there’s always going to be something we dislike. The buildings are full of infallible humans who struggle with their humanity.

We all have the freedom to go where we want to go. The Royal Priesthood of Believers has this freedom to choose where they will worship. They can choose what they will read, what teacher they want, and what friends to surround themselves with. Christians are not required to “join a church” or pledge loyalty to the person who is leading it. Our loyalty is to Christ in our own conscience. So there may be times that we decide enough is enough and we depart.

We have the freedom to disagree and as we mature we can learn how to extend grace to the heretics, because they all have a role to play in this life. We can’t extinguish all darkness from this world. If we tried to live in utter pure light we would go blind. Life is full of shadows and beams of light appear where they are needed. We have various teachers in the world and while some are helpful and others are abusive, it gives us this wonderful opportunity to make choices and think for ourselves.

So the next time we want to call someone a heretic, maybe we can be gracious and thankful that their role in this world exists to show a contrast so we can exercise our own free will. It could be that some overbearing dominating type preachers have the role of keeping the immature and flesh driven people in check. I can be glad for that.

So grace to the heretics, whoever they may be.

Hiding the Pain of the Victims

For two years I have prayed that the movement I departed from would have their eyes opened to the freedom we have in Christ and begin to really love the least, the last, and the lost. Last week when 20/20 aired their segment on the abuses that have happened in the IFB movement, the responses from many in the IFB has confirmed yet again, that I will never go back.

They had an opportunity to rise up and offer words of healing to victims of abuse, and yet they chose to defend their name instead. They could have openly rebuked those arrogant abusive ‘pastors’ and they could be teaching the people how to vote them out. They could be reiterating the fact that they cooperate with the law enforcement agencies in the prosecution of sex offenders from their groups.

They did not.

There are some matters that can be handled ‘in-house’ such as stealing food from the food locker, when a staff member’s child gets in a battle on the playground with another child, or even when a deacon has trouble with drinking. But when men in the church molest and rape young girls, it’s time to go outside the church for help. When the pastor tries to convince parents not to call the police, not push for a trial, and keep the child silent, it’s time to go to the local law enforcement for help.

Many independent churches don’t have accountability above the pastor. Many churches have submitted for so long that any amount of questioning about how the pastors are dealing with these matters is met with control, hostility, and banishment from their churches.

This is not a biblical church.

The elders, bishops, and deacons in the churches in the bible do not lord over the people.

Jesus said “It shall NOT BE SO AMONG YOU.”

We are all equal.

Yes, even the women.

Just prior to the 20/20 episode there was a blog post by a prominent youth pastor among the IFB who shared a letter he got from a female student from an IFB college. There were many comments on the article. Some were quite harsh, most were outpouring of love and understanding, and several who stood in agreement with the girl. There were some comments that flat out said that the legalism in their movement is a major hindrance in the lives of the people. But my comment was deleted.

Here are some of the other comments he allowed to remain on his blog:

Private
Posted February 22, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Permalink
The young lady in the letter is sincerely asking Bro. Schmidt to help youth workers and parents, but what she may not realize is that, over the years, dozens of kids in his own youth group have turned their backs on God and have pointed their fingers at him saying the same thing, “Our parents and youth workers were not there for us.” Is it Bro. Schmidt’s fault? Did he not have the discernment or wisdom to help them with their struggles?
Maybe the heart issue that needs to be addressed is this propensity of young people to carry bitterness and point fingers. Young people watch dirty sitcoms because they enjoy them. They idolize pop culture heroes because they want to be like them. They listen to wild music because it feels good, and then they say, “If our parents and youth workers had done a better job, we would not be dealing with these issues.” Maybe as youth workers and parents we need to teach our young people to take responsibility for the bitterness and lack of forgiveness in their hearts. Maybe these are the vile, dirty sins of the heart that we are allowing to slip by unnoticed.
God is interested in the condition of our hearts, but every man is responsible for his own heart. I do not see in the Bible where teens and young adults are exempt from this responsibility.

Elsen
Posted February 23, 2011 at 4:32 am
I believe this letter goes very much to the heart of the problem in our fundamental movement. I would add, though, that although we parents have used this supposed “pursuit of excellence” from an external perspective as we raised our children and often had to face serious negative results, if the policy of our churches do not change the emphasis likewise I see 2 things that will be perpetuated: the children will remain in a conflict situation where they hear a church leadership rhetoric emphasizing what the Lord did not; and the PARENTS will continue to be ‘raised’ to promote the externals and not the internal relationship with the Lord Jesus.

Anonymous
Posted February 23, 2011 at 6:59 am
I agree that “Rules without Relationship breeds rebellion”. It is sad when parents miss the mark and think that their rules and consequences of breaking those rules are the end all. You have to have rules, but you have to have the right Relationship (with Christ)! Parents, we’re not being all we can if we don’t get this point!
But I’d like to say that too many teenagers are looking for excuses and too many people parents and youth workers are catoring to that! Teenagers, do you really think that you’re going to stand before God and blame your parents? If you’ve been taught the Bible, than you know right from wrong, the consequences of disobedience and the blessings of obedience! Great lessons all of us can learn from this!

Stephen Nissley
Posted February 23, 2011 at 8:39 am
I guess by the looks of things I pretty much stand alone here. I think this is a joke! Dad gets the blame for the girls rebellion. I have seen this happen many times in my 35 years of preaching but when it does there is something wrong at home. The home is NOT a “good” fundamental godly christian home. The home is a mess! The family is one way at church and another at home, in other words they are phonies! This kind of stuff sells books but all it really needs is strong preaching. My wife and I raised 8 kids in church. We have two full time preachers and one missionary. The rest are serving the Lord in Ind. Fund. KJV Baptist churches. There are many many many just like our family.

Chris
Posted February 23, 2011 at 10:13 am
I wanted to say thank you to the young girl who wrote this to Bro. Schmidt. It must have taken a lot of courage to share that not knowing the response that it would bring. Thank you for allowing God to use you to remind all of us what is important as parents. I’ve been married over 11 years with two young children at home, one with the Lord and one on the way. Every day I try to do what the Bible says I should do as a father, and every day I feel like I fall short. My earnest desire is that no matter who they become or what they do in life, that they will have a heart for God. When I mess up everything else, I always try to share my heart with my kids. I want them to see how much I depend on God and how much I need him in everything that I do. I hope that even though they may not know every Bible story and and may not be able to quote much scripture, that they will have a heart for God. If God has our children’s hearts; He can help with all the areas where we fall short. Thank you again for sharing; it has made a difference in my life and that of others. God bless!

Amanda Rene’e
Posted February 23, 2011 at 12:39 pm
I definitely understand where this younglady is coming from… My dad is an independent fundamental baptist preacher… And I attended Bible College. But I can remember my parents not having time for us because they were so busy as were we with ministry that I think we all lost sight of God’s first institution- FAMILY. I can actually recall setting up a “pastoral” appointment to tell my dad somthing… I was having trouble and needed his guidance and I set up an appointment. When he asked why I did that I replied that it was the only way I knew he would definitely talk to me… If it was on the church books. Needless to say none of my parents 6 children attend church regularly. I know of 4 at least that have very lil if anything to do with God. My brother said that my parents “religion” left a bad taste in his mouth. I guess I wish someone would have emphasized that christian teens have struggles and that sending a kid to camp is not a cure all for lacking parental guidance and love. I am not bitter I would like my testimony to inspire other parents out there to take the extra time…. My dad helped other families with their relationships while all of them in our family fell apart.

And here was my response, that was deleted:

“Dear Brother Schmidt,
I echo the writers words loud and clear. I am UTTERLY thankful that you have HEARD her soul in this and have shared this publicly.

I was in the IFB movement for almost 15 years and the rigid rules almost destroyed my family. We did everything the preacher said we should do to turn out good kids. He promised that his teachings would work every time. But time and time again we saw kids from good homes fly straight into the face of drugs, alcohol, jail, and various other torments. But it’s not just the rigid rules, it’s the hypocrisy of the leaders. (not all of them) but a good number of them who insist their way is the only right way. And when those leaders put their own families on the pedestal, and even their own daughters are highlighted as THE example and the other teens KNOW BETTER.

They see those kids with the pastors and deacons aren’t looking. So I wanted to share with you that it’s not just the rules. It’s the lies. The sweeping under the rug. The constant suspicions of “sin” in others. It’s all these things that take place in many churches, not just those of the IFB movement. It would really really help if pastors would say very clearly, they do NOT have all the answers, that’s why we walk by FAITH. I can’t tell you how many nights we spent crying, sobbing, with our teen daughters when we left the IFB churches. Our family was so crushed by everything, it piles up year after year. The weight of the Law crushes people. We can’t live up to the Law and we aren’t supposed to. Not the OT Law and certainly not the church’s made up laws. We need GRACE. Good old fashioned

RADICAL lavishing GRACE. We need to know that we will all fall at some time or another and that doing all these church activities and scripture memorization is NOT our foundation, our foundation and only Savior is Christ. Preaching at people about sin doesn’t free them from it. Christ does that. Preach grace, please preach grace. Guidelines and boundaries in life is great, it’s part of discipleship..but lets make sure not to allow those guidelines and rules deceive us into thinking we won’t fall.

And lets not be so blind to think that life is all roses and lolly pops. Building our lives around the church isn’t what gets us through life, it’s building our lives on the foundation that does that. Because as hard as we try to build our homes on the rock, the storm still comes and it’s the foundation that stands the firmest. All our brick and mortar, wood, hay and stubble crashes hard. Just like we see in Japan..the foundations of the homes are still there, but the homes aren’t. We are One with our Foundation, One with Christ our Lord. And one last thought..the ones who just may have it the hardest, are your Pastor’s Wives and daughters.”

My plea for help was deleted. He did not email me. I was hidden and swept under the rug. I am not surprised, but I am disappointed. I had tried reaching out to other IFB pastors for help before. This is the third time I got this kind of brush off.

When Jack Schaap first aired his public opinion from his pulpit on the episode of 20/20 he made sure everyone knew how he felt…he stated that his words were ‘the word of God’ and defended  his opinions as ‘standing where God stands’. He was quite sure of himself that what 20/20 showed about him was something to be proud of. But a couple days later the video clips of him stating these things were removed from YouTube as a complaint of a ‘copyright violation’. A copyright violation? For a 2 minute video clip of something he said from a pulpit with a 501c3 PUBLIC ministry? Why delete the video if it’s something he’s so proud of? Then a new series of videos were posted on YouTube with the very misleading title “Jack Schaap’s response to 20/20″ which is a 5 part series on “how great Jack’s ministry is”

Deleting and covering up.

Isn’t this exactly what 20/20 revealed was happening in the IFB movement?

Their responses prove that what 20/20 revealed is true.

“Be sure, your sin will find you out”

A real minister, when shown to be wrong, unkind, lacking compassion, would openly admit it, in humility and love, and seek public forgiveness.

A real minister of the Gospel of peace would offer condolences to the victims and their families.

You see, when tragedy strikes and children are abused, the answer isn’t the church. The answer isn’t the church program of getting donned in a suit and tie, or getting a floor length dress and nylons. The answer is not found in arrogantly shouting about how your low opinion of women is somehow God’s opinion of women. The answer is not found in degrading women with weight issues and making fun of their weaknesses.

The answer is Christ. The response of Christ’s people is love and humility.

Usually the reason someone deletes messages, videos, and comments is due to pride. It’s easier for them to delete, than it is to apologize and admit they are wrong. They think that by hiding what they did and trying to move on as if it never happened will work.

But the victims know better.

It’s easier for them to not address your pain, than it is to examine what the problem is and offer compassion.

It’s easier for them to delete videos, hide their own sin, and keep pointing out everyone else’s sins, than it is for them to humble themselves so Christ can lift them up.

Standing higher on their platforms and shouting louder about how they think their opinions are right is not the way of Christ.

Christ is humble. He came to serve, to love, to embrace the oppressed abused and worn. He came to wash feet. He came to lower himself to the lowest possible place.

I think it’s obvious what a real leader is.

Be wise before you submit yourself to abusive, arrogant, lofty, bull horn shouting bullies.

Find a place of grace where being transparent is welcomed and where the wounded are lifted up and the leaders are humbling themselves to ‘wash your feet’ and tend to your wounds.

I had hoped that someone with a high profile among the IFB, like Jack Schaap, might take this as an opportunity to address the many abuses happening in the IFB and BE A LEADER and stand up WITH these victims and proclaim that all IFB preachers (at least the ones who came from his college) would humble themselves and address this growing epidemic and make the necessary changes to be sure matters like these are dealt with swiftly by local law enforcement.

I have yet to see this happen. And I am free to never step foot in an IFB church ever again.

My salvation has nothing to do with which church I go to. It has everything to do with Christ my Lord. The Savior of all.

Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Related Article:

Help When Leaving a Cult

IFB Cult Survivors

I watched the 20/20 episode about the Independent Fundamental Baptist Cult with as open of a mind as I could get. After being within their movement for 15 years, I wanted to attempt to watch this segment without bias or anger from what I had been through. I watched with a careful and discerning eye and heart to see if there would be any hint of agenda to demonize the IFB unnecessarily. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t ‘seeing’ only what a revengeful spirit would want to see.

church by sisterlisa, on Pix-O-Sphere
free photo source Pix-O-Sphere

They mentioned the case of Lydia Schatz death, which I thought was interesting, because to my knowledge they didn’t belong to an IFB Church, although they did follow the same doctrines as the IFB. I live in the county the Schatz live in and have watched their story closely. I know of many IFB churches in California and have not found an IFB church in the city they were from. So the idea that they were involved in the IFB is a bit misguided and unfounded as any kind of fact. Our local media did break an update on the Schatz story just last night, which I thought was interesting timing given the 20/20 episode airing the same night.

Although I do not believe they were connected to any legitimate IFB church, the child ‘training’ book they used by Michael and Debbie Pearl is sold in the ‘church bookstore’ of many IFB churches, including the one I came out of. I can not comment on whether or not they still provide the book at the cult I came out of, but when I left 2 years ago, it was still being sold in their church book store, along with other books by the No Greater Joy Ministries.

Another part of the 20/20 segment that some might claim to have an agenda with is the portion about women being in a subordinate role in the family and church. They showed a clip of Jack Schaap from First Baptist Church of Hammond, preaching about overweight women in what I perceive as a derogatory manner and he arrogantly stated that it would be a “cold day in hell before I ever let a woman teach me theology”. Fabulous! Didn’t he know that hell froze over?

I have met Jack Schaap. As a matter of fact, my husband and I had lunch with him just over 2 years ago, prior to us leaving the cult. He came to Northern California to preach a “revival meeting’” our church had scheduled. At one time this revival schedule lasted 6 days long and over the years was reduced to a 2 day meeting. During his time here they scheduled for all the local Northern California pastors and other wives to come have lunch with him. They chose the ministry restaurant of a mission my husband and I were on staff with, as the location of the meeting. Due to our position in that mission and our deep involvement with the IFB church, we were invited to attend. What I am about to reveal to you is a short summary of what took place that day.

The room filled with several couples, all of which I knew personally. Their husbands had been taught by my former pastors for many years either in the same church or through the ‘Bible college’ my former pastor teaches at. My former pastor was involved with assisting other churches in Northern California with arranging for these men to become pastors in their locales.  For 15 years I saw and heard these men and their wives teach and preach at various conferences, camps, and meetings all over California. A pastor seated at his table saw Jack Schaap walk in and he said to him, “I feel like I’m in the presence of royalty”, as he shook Jack’s hand.

Red Flag

The assistant pastor of the church, who is the oldest son of the pastor, seated my husband and I at the head table with Jack Schaap and his preacher boys who came with him. I had heard of the skiing accident that took the life of a young lady in his youth group and I asked him how that event affected his church’s youth group. It was an interesting discussion, perhaps I’ll share about that another time. At the close of the lunch there was a question and answer time. Each pastor (and only the men) were allowed to write out anonymous questions for Jack Schaap to answer. My husband and I were seated just to Jack’s left with a full view of the looks on all their faces as he read each card aloud and answered them.

It was amazing to us to hear that all the questions had to do with specific tactics that my former pastor had taught them. Concerns such as, “I struggle with the idea of ‘full time ministry’ and making young people to go Bible College” and “What is the controversy about the KJV about on your church’s website?” There were many more and his answers were what hit us hard. Every answer he gave was an outright disagreement and rebuke of such teachings. Every thing my former pastor had taught these men, that they asked about anonymously, were refuted in this room before our very eyes. The look on the face of my (former) pastor was rather incredible. Flushed red skin, tight jaw, frozen still.

His covers had been stripped.

One of the things Jack Schaap stressed was that the KJV is NOT the “infallible word of God”. He made it clear that day, as well as on his church website back then, that what we have is an English TRANSLATION. He went on to prove this by asking everyone to open their KJV Bibles to a specific passage and to read aloud. Several of them had different words in the same verses.  (Yes, everyone had a Bible at this luncheon. You don’t go to lunch with the ‘royal pastor’ without a KJV Bible)

Jack Schaap preached two nights. One night he preached on pride, the other night he preached on humility. His messages shook me to the core. As much as I dislike a lot of what Jack preaches, God used him that week to open our eyes. I have no evidence of what I’m about to tell you, but by discernment I believe this whole week was planned to do exactly what I saw, as a rebuke to my pastor. It seemed like a set up sting, an intervention. My husband and I have assisted many families suffering from addictions with interventions.

This is exactly what we were seeing.

The very next church serivce after Jack left, my pastor preached about the KJV. He said emphatically with red fired face and shouting at the top of his lungs, “I don’t care what ANYONE says, the KJV *is* THE infallible Word of God!”

Jaw drop.

Is his pride that bad, that the evidence shown to him at the luncheon that day, had no affect on him whatsoever?

There was another situation that happened before we finally left, but I’ll save that for another post.

Many prominent couples left my church over the years.

Some of the left rather quietly, without a word to anyone.

After we left, I searched them out. I’ll share about that soon.

I felt the 20/20 episode was done rather well. After everything I experienced in my 15 years in the IFB, I testify that their stories are not rare at all. My experience should help shed some light on that. There is currently a civil suit filed against a former youth pastor from my old church, against the pastor, as well as against the church. I was a member of that church during the time that this Jane Doe was violated. It wasn’t until after we left that we began connecting the dots. I applaud this Jane Doe for getting a lawyer, now that she’s an adult and can be her own advocate now. Her pastor should have been her advocate.

Pastor Fail.

The man in question served only 3 days in jail and it never went to trial.

The pastor told the church “The police are handling it”.

Everyone believed the pastor. Surely the pastor would do the “right” thing.

Apparently not.

I grieve for Jane Doe.

I applaud Jane Doe.

I stand with Jane Doe.

Jocelyn Zichterman is correct when she stated on 20/20, “Victims are afraid to come forward.”

If you attend an IFB church and you are afraid for your pastor to even know that you are reading all the blog posts about this and watching 20/20 that is a red flag that you are in a cult. no one should be afraid of what their pastor thinks about these things.

A truthful person doesn’t hide such things.

A truthful pastor will openly condemn the abuse happening in the IFB movement.

A false pastor will duck, hide, and avoid questions. A false pastor will make all the victims seem like liars, like they’re exaggerating.

If you are a member of the church I left and want help leaving, I’m here for you. I know how scary this all is. There is support in leaving. If you don’t believe me and think you need to print out my article to show your pastor? It’s ok, it wouldn’t be the first time someone has done that. He’ll probably pat you on the back and tell you, “Thank you. I’ll handle it.” And the moment I get threats again or hate mail I’ll publish every single bit of it. I’m tired of being harassed for telling the truth.

I’m not alone.

I have a lawyer.

Don’t be deceived by the testimony of the “nice” IFB pastor who spoke on 20/20. There are not that many IFB colleges out there, but they are massive and they do teach the same tactics. I have sat in on many “teaching conferences’ and ‘meetings’ where the tactics were taught. I was ‘trained’ up by an IFB pastor to teach and run a ministry ‘just-like-he-does’. Exactly the same way he teaches it at Golden State Baptist College.

The IFB is not a part of a hierarchical structure of over seers. They are truly independent, yet inter-woven in fellowship. There are pockets of IFB cliques that oppose one another, and at the same time will not speak openly about one another either.

Silence is a plague among the IFB.

There are survivors. Some suffered from sexual, physical, and spiritual abuse. Some have suffered from threats, shunning, and bribery to keep the exodus as quiet as possible.

These are my personal experiences and knowledge received through 15 years within their movement. Growing up in Christian Fundamentalism can be a nightmare. Get your families out of there and find a grace filled assembly where you can walk by faith and have healing.

SisterLisa

Related Articles:

Finding Help When Leaving a Cult

When it’s your former church that hits the headlines

A Former IFB pastor interviews me

Jack Hyles’ Approach to Church, could be Communism

Hiding the Pain of the Victims, sometimes you need to get your help from outside the church.