Robert Bakss, pastor of Lighthouse Baptist Church in Rockhampton, Australia, illustrates what is happening with a lot of churches that are associated with and have been influenced by Lancaster Baptist.
Lighthouse is one of the largest and most influential independent Baptist churches in Australia, with a Bible College, Christian School, magazine, and prominent presence on the web.
Bakss has looked up to and learned from Paul Chappell for years, and Chappell has spoken at conferences hosted at Bakss’s church. This year, Paul’s brother Steve is scheduled to preach at Bakss’s “Australasia Pastor’s Refresher School.” (Paul and his brother preached together in Singapore recently.) In 2013, Paul Chappell promoted Bakss on his Ministry 127 web site. In February 2015, Bakss preached at Steve Chappell’s Heart and Soul Conference, as well as at Doug Fisher’s Leadership Conference in San Diego. On February 4, 2015, Bakss preached at Lancaster Baptist Church and tweeted, “Thankful for the ministry of Paul Chappell.” In January 2015, Blake Huebner, graduate of West Coast Baptist College in Lancaster, was with Bakss at Lighthouse for a week. Most of this can be found at twitter.com/robertbakss and paulchappell.com.
A missionary recently sent me links showing that Bakss and his youth are rocking out, no holds barred, with a drum kit and bass guitar and a full-blown contemporary praise band. We hope to add those links to this report soon.
Some men have told me in recent days that Pastor Paul Chappell has been talking with more conservative men on the issue of music, but even if he did decide to pull back from the use of contemporary worship music in his own church, he will not be able to take back the influence or repair the great damage that has already been done to churches that have been influenced by him and to whom, by his example, he has given a green light to use contemporary music.
In fact, he wouldn’t be able to repair the damage he has done to his own congregation and his own young people by giving them a taste for addictive beat anticipation and sensual vocal techniques that have long been reproved by Dr. Frank Garlock.
If Paul Chappell were to stop using every contemporary worship song today, he could not repair the damage he has done to the lives of those who have already crossed the bridge he built to the dangerous world represented by the contemporary worship musicians he has promoted by using their music.
Any “walking back” on the music issue on the part of Paul Chappell should start with a public apology. That would be the biblical and godly thing to do. If he had done this years ago, a lot of damage could have been avoided.
This is not a private matter.
And it is the next generation that is going to be most dramatically influenced by men like Chappell who are messing around with contemporary worship. One of the members of Bakss’s praise band is his son Ben, who recently attended a Hillsong Conference with his father and Pastor Eric Capaci, Gospel Light Baptist Church, Hot Springs, Arkansas. We recently documented how that young people at Lancaster Baptist Church and West Coast Baptist College are rocking out in their online videos, including the children of Mark Rasmussen, Sr., vice president of West Coast and the most conservative face at the institution. (See “Next Generation Rocking at Lancaster Baptist Church”.)
The deep compromise at Lighthouse Baptist Church in Rockhampton is not a new thing. In the report “An Open Letter to Pastor Robert Bakss” in Heads Up! October 2014, Pastor Buddy Smith of Malanda, Queensland, said:
“Bro. Bakss, our teens attended your youth conference about five years ago and came back with disturbing reports regarding the music at Lighthouse Baptist Church. About three years ago, a member at LBC commented that your song leader spoke approvingly of Hillsong’s music and said ‘that is where we are going,’ much to the hearer’s chagrin. He also said he spoke to you about it. At least a dozen missionaries and pastors who have attended conferences at Lighthouse have commented to me that they were offended by the music being sung and played there. Four of them told me that they have spoken or written to you personally on the subject. The use of ‘You Raise Me Up’ as a worship hymn a couple of years ago was a surprise, since it is secular pop music and has nothing to do with God. For many centuries we who know God have held to the core belief that God uses and blesses that which is holy and pure, not the strange fire of men without Christ. I received a letter this week from a veteran missionary expressing his concern at the harm being done in Papua New Guinea by the music that is coming from America and Australia. Some of that music is coming to them from Lighthouse Baptist Church via the Internet.”
Independent Baptist preachers who want to keep their churches from the slippery slide of compromise must stop following the crowd and supporting the “good old boys” network. So many talk a good talk in private, and it even sounds like they agree with us on important issues, but they are fearful that we might quote them publicly. They write and express their concerns about what is happening, but they make sure to say, “Please don’t use my name, Bro. Cloud.”
I disagree with Martin Luther in a great many areas, but, bless his heart, at least he was bold warrior for what he believed. He makes the average independent Baptist preacher look like a pantywaist.
Any independent Baptist preacher today who says that he loves the truth and is opposed to such things as contemporary worship music but who does not significantly narrow his associations is deceiving himself if he thinks that his people will not be influenced to compromise by men that he should be distancing himself from and taking a public stand against. We have stated this in “Good Churches Ruined by Wrong Associations,” which is a chapter in the book Why Most Independent Baptist Churches Will Be Emerging in 20 Years.
Private reproof and correction has its place with private issues, but public issues need to be dealt with publicly for the sake of those who are being influenced by the compromisers, and who need good information to help them make proper decisions, and who need help in discerning truth from error.
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