Lancaster Baptist Church
See the report “Lancaster’s Contemporary Fruit” and the video “Lancaster’s Roll in the Downgrade.”
Cary Schmidt took the pastorate of Emmanuel Baptist Church, Newington CT, in 2012, after serving 22 years with Paul Chappell at Lancaster. He left on good terms and his material remains on Pastor Chappell’s web site.
Schmidt has transitioned Emmanuel Baptist from a fundamentalist stance to a contemporary evangelical one. A former member of the church informed me in 2017 of the changes, including $85 thousand spent on a “slick platform renovation.” In typical contemporary fashion, the auditorium is darkened and the spotlight is on the speaker.
In April 2017, the new Emmanuel hosted a Steve Green concert. While Green is on the “conservative” side of Contemporary Christian Music, he is a rocker and an ecumenist and is therefore a bridge to the world and to the “broader church.”
In 1996, Green appeared at the Promise Keepers Atlanta Clergy Conference and sang “Let the Walls Come Down,” referring to tearing down walls between all denominations. Ralph Colas, who attended the conference with media credentials, wrote, “The big beat, contemporary music brought the ministers to their feet. ... Steve Green belted out repeatedly ‘Let the Walls Come Down.’ The 40,000 clergy shouted, whistled, clapped, and cheered as they worked to a higher and higher pitch of emotion” (Calvary Contender, April 15, 1996).
Promise Keepers’ ecumenism is cutting edge. At the 1997 Stand in the Gap conference in Washington, D.C., Promise Keepers’ founder Bill McCartney declared, “We have a plan ... Baptists, Lutherans, Roman Catholics, we’ve been divided, but now we’re being reunited.” He said that full Catholic participation was his intention from the start (Our Sunday Visitor, July 20, 1997). Catholic priest John Salazar spoke at a Promise Keepers rally in Plainview, Texas, in December 1995. A Promise Keepers leadership conference was held at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, in July 1995, and priest Michael Scanlan, who heads up the school, conducted a Catholic mass. In an article in New Covenant magazine for June 1997, Scanlan called Mary “the Spouse of the Holy Spirit.” He believes Mary is the Queen of Heaven and that she hears and answers prayer. Promise Keepers participated in follow-up conferences at the Franciscan University in 1996 and 1997. Catholic lawyer Mike Timmis was a member of the Promise Keepers board of directors. In an interview with attorney Michael Thomas in October 1997, Timmis said he attends mass daily and is dedicated to bringing Catholics and evangelicals together.
Green’s The Faithful album featured songs that promote Pentecostal-ecumenical heresies. “The River” preaches the dangerous charismatic practice of opening oneself non-critically to “the Spirit” and being led wherever the Spirit goes (nonsensical tongues, uncontrollable laughter, shaking, roaring like a lion, spirit slaying, etc.). “The river calls, we can't deny/ A step of faith is our reply/ We feel the Spirit draw us in/ The water's swift, we're forced to swim/ We’re out of control/ And we go where He flows.” “The Great Revival” promotes the false doctrine of an end-time miracle revival: “Oh, glory hallelujah/ For the Lord is pouring a holy fire/ The great revival started...”
Why would a fundamental Baptist pastor bring Steve Green to his church to build bridges to the very dangerous ecumenical and charismatic movements?
In 2023, Cary Schmidt joined Bryan Samms at the Church Advanced conference. Samms is at the forefront of teaching pastors how to transition away from the King James Bible.
Samms transitioned the River City Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida, from a conservative fundamental Baptist Church to a contemporary evangelical church. He and Schmidt are two peas in a pod.
Not all West Coast graduates are planting contemporary churches, but that is the overall direction, and the seeds are being sown at Lancaster itself. I don’t know any graduates who have spoken out against what is happening. As far as I know, Paul Chappell has never denounced the aforementioned churches publicly and plainly.
A discerning pastor commented, “Pastor Chappell has produced this legacy. This is the fruit of his labor to embrace pragmatism and soften the lines of Independent Baptists. I would guess that 75% of WCBC grads end up this way within 10 years of graduating.”
It is very sad to me that these young men (the Matt Chappells, the Mark Rasmussen Jrs, the John Guys, etc.) are on a wrong path, a path that will lead to anywhere within the “broader church.” Only time will tell where they and their followers will end up.
They are young, talented, studious, zealous, visionary. They could be starting strong Bible churches that would stand and bear fruit and be a bright light in an evil day. They could be starting churches that are biblically stronger and wiser than any that have existed in my lifetime. They could be testing everything by God’s Word alone and rejecting every tradition that is unscriptural. But this entails going back to the New Testament church described in Scripture, which is a pilgrim separatist church, rather than following the “after their own lusts” pattern of end-time apostasy (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
Sadly, that is not what we are seeing as the fruit of Lancaster Baptist Church and West Coast Baptist College.
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