"But the church is actually more unified today than it ever has been…"
Eddie Wilson, FBC Hammond Public Relations Director
Two weeks ago First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana was rocked to its core when Pastor Jack Schaap admitted to having a sexual relationship with a young teenage girl. We covered this breaking story with a post entitled: IFB Megapastor Jack Schaap Fired for 'Inappropriate Relationship' with a Teen. We followed up that post with Ousted Pastor Jack Shaap's Misogynistic Flap, which generated much discussion.
The Christian Post just conducted an interview with FBC Hammond's spokesman, Eddie Wilson, who indicated that the church is more united than ever in the wake of Schaap's dismissal. Wilson indicated that investigations are continuing, but that the decisive action the church took in firing Schaap has allowed the church to unite in an effort to move forward. Here is an excerpt from that article:
"People are very pleased at how fast our deacon board acted in the dismissal of our former pastor. Seems like that has helped them, the fact that they made the right choice and they are very open," said Eddie Wilson, spokesperson and public relations director, to CP in a phone interview on Monday.
Last week, the church's board of deacons revealed that Schaap, 54, had admitted to having an inappropriate relationship with a school girl who is currently 17. The girl, however, would have been just 16 years old when the inappropriate relationship began. Schaap had led the 15,000-member congregation for the past 11 years, and has not yet made a public comment since the FBI launched an investigation into his relationship."
Wilson further stated:
"The investigation is still open, and they are saying that he could be charged at any time, but there are no new findings. We speak to the local authorities just about every day, just to find out what's being done," Wilson added, revealing that the church has little information on Schaap's current whereabouts, though they believe he is out of state."
Members of this megachurch, which is 125 years old, are not 'doom and gloom'. Instead, there is unity, commitment, and hope among the parishioners at FBC Hammond.
What have we learned from this horrible situation?
– In 21st century Christendom, congregations face world-wide scrutiny via the internet. If a pastor commits a sexual sin (or other kinds), it will in all likelihood go viral. There is no where to hide…
– Dealing with pastoral sin swiftly is crucial for the stability of the church.
– Hyper-authoritarian pastors are looking more and more foolish, especially when their diatribes are uploaded on YouTube. Take a look…
This video is rather explicit. Keep in mind it was delivered at a youth conference.
What other lessons have we learned from the First Baptist Church of Hammond debacle? We would love for you to weigh in.
Lydia's Corner: Genesis 26:17-27:46 Matthew 9:1-17 Psalm 10:16-18 Proverbs 3:9-10