**Recently it was brought to my attention that Pastor Schaap made some statements in an April 23rd sermon about people who critique and scrutinize his books and/or sermons. He went on to say that he was basically just wingin' it with his sermons and not concerned with who agreed or disagreed with him. He wrapped it all up by advising the critics to write their own cotton-pickin' books so that he could analyze and dissect them.
I personally believe that if you are going to write a book or preach a sermon that you need to be able to back up what you state or write Biblically and in the proper context--to have the attitude that it does not matter or that you do not owe anyone a clarification is nothing but the heighth of arrogance. I am sure that there are many areas where Pastor Schaap and I would agree and find some common ground. We are not attempting to pick on every little mistake or misstatement he makes--we simply want to look at some of the revisionist history that has been going on in Hammond for years and continues to this day.
To listen to a current sermon or to read a recent book by Pastor Jack Schaap is to inevitably hear him chatter about his version of the legacy of the late Pastor Jack Hyles. At this point let me interject that I do cut him some slack since Hyles was his father-in-law, but even with that in mind his adoration of all things Hyles is nothing short of nauseating. As a loyal Hylesite some years ago, this particular proclivity of Pastor Schaap would not have even caused me to "bat an eye". As I now listen to his sermons at Baptist City and read his books from Hyles Publications, I am struck by the similarities between he and Jack Hyles.
Since the LORD removed the cobwebs of cultural fundamentalism from my mind and heart, it has been interesting to notice some of these things for the very first time. When you are entangled in the politics and emotional rhetoric of IFBxdom, it is nearly impossible to see the exaggerations, fabrications, and all out tall tales that are synonymous with HAC/FBCH. Hyles was a master at these home spun stories and anecdotal illustrations, but I do believe that Pastor Schaap has surpassed his teacher and dethroned him as IFBX's newest "Uncle Arthur".
I want to begin looking at a particular chapter in Pastor Schaap's book entitled, "Principles of Church Growth". The title of this particular chapter is "Balancing the Past With the Present" in which he is attempting to motivate his flock to greater goals and higher attendance aspirations! This chapter is chock full of interesting teachings and it will probably take a few posts to look at all of the revisionist history contained in just this chapter. This entire book is based on the book of Acts, but has a good bit of John's Revelation sprinkled throughout. On pages 145 and 146 Pastor Schaap begins to build his case for rejecting the idea that we are living in the "Laodicean Age" by stating:
"When I was a freshman in college, I was enraptured with the teaching of theologians regarding the seven different church ages, and I thought it was very intriguing. However, as I studied the Bible, I found this teaching was a bunch of baloney.
I was relieved when I found out Brother Hyles thought this teaching was a bunch of baloney, too! I felt vindicated. Every theologian I have ever read states that he felt he was living in the Laodicean Age, whether that theologian lived 1,000 years ago or is presently living.
One reason I believe theologians teach this is because the Laodicean Age was a compromised age, and it appears that Jesus is just about ready to return. It appears that not much church building can go on. My personal opinion is that theologians write that because they are too cotton-pickin' lazy to go out and knock on doors and build bus routes. Or maybe these theologians tried building a church and failed, so now they would rather tell everyone that building a church can't be done. They write books instead!
This business of church ages is not in the Scriptures. The reason I do not like or believe this theory is because my heart is set on church growth, not on church excuse. I'm not looking for an excuse as to why First Baptist Church of Hammond cannot go to the next stage of growth. During the fall of 2003, First Baptist Church started 17 new adult Sunday School classes...If I believed that we are living in the "Laodicean Age", starting new Sunday school classes would be the stupidest thing I could ever do. If I believed we are living in the Laodicean Age, I would just get comfortable in my pulpit and tend the flock God has given me and let the law of attrition peel off church members as they die or move away until eventually the church could meet in the two center sections of the auditorium and talk about the glory days of the past and the good old days when Brother Hyles used to be here."
Later on page 148, Pastor Schaap describes this conversation:
"I was talking to a man about our church recently. He said, 'Name your top men.' I gave him the names of my men who are great producers and loyal helpers in our ministry. He then asked, 'What kind of man do you have in your bus ministry?' I said, 'I could pick up the phone and make one phone call and have 5,000 more people next Sunday.' "Initially, I would ask readers to take notice of the mysterious absence of any mention of the glory of God. This is nothing new to anyone even marginally familiar with this ministry, however. I will stop now and open this one up for some discussion. Later on we will look at the rest of the chapter as Pastor Schaap waxes eloquent on the demise of churches once pastored by Charles Spurgeon, D.L. Moody, and Charles Finney. You will see the predictable ploy of attempting to compare these men to Jack Hyles--Finney is actually a great comparison, but the attempt to link C.H. Spurgeon and D.L. Moody to Hyles is a quantum leap!
I could not help but chuckle as I read Pastor Schaap correcting theologians for their teaching that was obviously tainted by their laziness and lack of evangelistic zeal! He goes on to assume that many of them probably had never built a church or tried and failed miserably so they teach and write books now! The irony here is that Pastor Schaap never pastored a day in his life until he was given his father-in-law's church! The person at FBCH considered an "expert" on church building is none other than a man, Bob Marshall, who has not pastored a second in his life!
I also noticed that Pastor Schaap assumes that anyone who believes we are living in the Laodicean Age is obviously not concerned about souls or seeing their church grow. Why do these folks always have to cast others in this light? In their eyes it seems anyone who disagrees with their methodology or theology is obviously a lazy rascal who cannot or will not be a witness for the LORD Jesus Christ.
Any other takes on what you have read? I started the ball rolling now someone else needs to take over...