Chicago Magazine and First Baptist Hammond

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Also see “Dear Chicago Magazine” article (below) as posted this same day - 12/16/2012

A report in the Chicago Magazine for January 2013, which was published on December 15, 2012, is entitled “Let Us Prey: Big Trouble at First Baptist Church,” and it features ten cases of sexual crimes and fornications committed by pastors associated with the church.

These are Ted Butler, Christopher Settlemoir, Dave Hyles, Charles Shifflett, Joseph Combs, Chester Mulligan, William Beith, Craig Sission, Kerry Martin, and Jack Schaap, who was the pastor of the church until he was caught having a sexual relationship with a teenage girl.

Had they dug up just two more, which would not have been difficult, they could have labeled them “First Baptist’s Dirty Dozen.” In fact, it could have been “First Baptist’s Dozens and Dozens and Dozens” had the paper reported on the plague of adulterous Hyles Anderson graduates and First Baptist associates, but adultery doesn’t happen to be illegal in America today. It does disqualify a man from the pastorate, as the bishop must be blameless in such things (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6), though First Baptist associates have typically ignored this divine qualification.

Chicago Magazine report documents the fact that the church’s late pastor, Jack Hyles, created a cultic climate in which church members were not allowed to test anything by God’s Word and horrible immoralities were routinely covered up.

For example, during a Sunday sermon, Hyles held up a cup bearing the image of the skull and bones, which is a warning that the contents are poisonous. He said to Johnny Colsten, one of the men sitting behind him on the platform, “I’d like for you, if you don’t mind, to drink this,” and Colsten did not hesitate to drink the potential cool-aid (“Let Us Prey: Big Trouble at First Baptist,”
Chicago Magazine, January 2013).

The Lord knows
Chicago Magazine’s motives and they will give account to him for their business, but it is pretty close to being right about First Baptist of Hammond. It is wrong, though, in implying that all independent Baptists are cultic.

Many fundamental Baptists have rejected Hyles and his cultic philosophy. I certainly have and I have been publicly exposing and separating myself from it for decades, at considerable personal cost. A pastor should be given honor and he should be followed as long as he follows the Bible, but he is not an authority unto himself. He is to be tested by God’s Word and is to be disciplined if he sins, just like anyone else in the congregation.

A genuine biblical pastor’s job is not to keep the people in bondage to his own will, but it is to build them up on Christ and to present them to Christ as the servants of Christ, not of man.

First Baptist has laid off 25% of its staff and has a massive $16 million dollar debt.

You see, the church is operated more like a circus and must be kept “pumped up” with promotionalism and carnal enthusiasm, and for that they need a new P.T. Barnum--and fast! We will see if they can find one. (See “Jack Schaap’s Three-Ring Circus,” Friday Church News Notes, August 6, 2010.

“Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. I charge
thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality” (1 Tim. 5:19-21).

(See "The Hyles Effect," a free eBook available from

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