Dear Chicago Magazine
December 16, 2012
David Cloud, Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061
Also see “Chicago Magazine and First Baptist Hammond” article (above) as posted this same day - 12/16/2012

Chicago Magazine, you were well within your legal and moral rights to publish an expose about First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana (“Let Us Prey: Big Trouble at First Baptist Church,” January 2013). We would agree with you that the church is cultic and spiritually unhealthy. We said it before you did (in articles and books going more than two decades).

But you are dealing with spiritual issues without the equipment to make proper judgments. Spiritual issues must be just judged by spiritual rules, and you don’t know the rules. In fact, you have rejected the Spiritual Rule Book.

A church is not a cult because it preaches that Jesus Christ is the only Lord and Saviour and there is no salvation apart from the Cross, or because it preaches God’s Word without apology, or because it preaches separated, holy living of those who name the name of Christ, or because it teaches the biblical pattern for marriage. If that is a cult, then massive numbers of America’s churches have been cultic since its inception.

We judge First Baptist Church cultic, not because Jack Hyles was a “Bible thumper,” as you labeled him, but because he didn’t obey the Bible he thumped, not because he preached fire-and-brimstone, as you mentioned, but because he didn’t walk in the fear of God in his own life and ministry.

Had he been a true Bible believer, he would have walked humbly and been a gracious shepherd of his people rather than a pompous abuser of them (1 Peter 5:1-6). He would have urged them to test him by God’s Word rather than to have boasted of how they would jump off a bridge and drink poison at his command (Acts 17:11; 1 Corinthians 14:29; 1 Thessalonians 5:12). He would have urged them to be more loyal to Christ than to man, to the Bible than human tradition. He would have disciplined them for sin rather than helped them cover it up (1 Corinthians 5).

That was Jack Hyles, and he will give account to God.

As for the
Chicago Magazine, it, too, displays no fear of God. Had it feared God, it would have admitted that all men have hypocrisies, including its own writers and editors, and it would have balanced its report by proclaiming loudly the fact that there are hundreds of Bible-believing independent Baptist preachers who are humble, godly men who hate the hypocrisy and sin that has been rampant at First Baptist, and there are hundreds of Bible-believing independent Baptist churches that are spiritually healthy, where an individual can find Christ as eternal Saviour and can grow in Christ and find God’s perfect will and that have no element of true cultism.

Chicago Magazine would do well to remember that its writers and editors will give account to the same Almighty God as Jack Hyles, Jack Schaap, and any other present or past officer of First Baptist Church of Hammond.

Are they ready for this accounting?

I suspect the day will come when every individual associated with
Chicago Magazine will wish that he had sought out the spiritual help of a sound Bible-believing Baptist church instead of having puffed at someone else’s hypocrisy.

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