Thursday, November 29, 2007

To Change or Not To Change?

Sorry we have been so irregular in our posting lately--things have been extremely busy for us the past few months. With children in baseball practice, baseball games, football practice, and football games time is still very limited to invest in our blog.

All that being said, I wanted to revisit a comment from one of our previous posts concerning "change" and make sure that it did not get lost in the comments section. I meant to post this back in August, but things got very busy at work and home so I never got around to it. I want to clarify what I have observed at FBCH/HAC concerning their view of "change".

A young man who calls himself Jeremy has some venting to do over our criticisms of HAC/FBCH. You can find his comments under the "Old-Timer Religion" thread. He begins by quoting a portion of my last post taken from the Reformers by way of Mark Dever in his book, The Nine Marks of a Healthy Church. Here is the comment in its entirety and I will respond to it at the end.

**Disclaimer: I am not attacking Jeremy nor do I wish to lash out at him in any way, shape, or form. I just could not allow his comments to go unchallenged as I see them flawed on many levels. If you feel compelled to comment here please be sure to do so in a Christ-like spirit. I believe that Jeremy is probably a sincere follower of Christ just like I am--I simply wanted to set the record straight concerning his accusation that we are "making things up".

“We need God’s Word to be saved, but we also need it to continually challenge and shape us. His Word not only gives us life; it also gives us direction as it keeps molding and shaping us in the image of the God who is speaking to us." "For someone that sat under the ministry of FBCH for multiple decades (and apparently can't get through one blog about anything other than FBCH)you'd think that you'd understand the difference between Mark Dever's explanation of "changing" and Jack Hyles/Jack Schaap's explantion. The former is a continual shaping by God to be in his image. The latter is the determination to never change from the "doctrines" that DO NOT change. Of course, a perpetual desire to degrade, attack, and diminish the work of FBCH needs more fuel. Sometimes, you just make it up if it's not there, right? In your epic quest to portray IFB as man-centered and far from the humility and meekness of Christ, not once do I read a humble experience of learning that you've received from God. Nor do you admit your short comings. Your persistent criticism makes clear the mental "ivory tower" upon which you've placed your philosophies and doctrines over those of people with whom you disagree. Jack Schaap's actions may translate as pride and gaudy number exaltation to you, but what do your constant criticisms translate about you to others? I can't wait until FBCH falls, or changes to your thinking ... whichever you desire. Apparently, thanks to the learning I received on this site, it's the whole point of Christianity. Godspeed. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Please understand that my comment is in no way an attempt to sway you, change you, or get back at you. I'm no better than you are. Consider it a friendly "venting". The best to you."

First of all I would like to address the assertion that the Reformers were talking about something entirely different than Schaap concerning "change". In all of my years at FBCH/HAC the great majority of the time that "change" was brought up it was in the context of changing from the "old paths". We heard places like Bob Jones University railed upon because of their "liberal" ways--can you imagine anyone thinking that a place like BJU is liberal? A casual survey of their website will prove otherwise to any reasonable investigator.

Nevertheless, to this day Pastor Schaap is throwing tantrums about Tennessee Temple University and how liberal they have gone--i.e. contemporary worship music, different Bible versions, and abandonment of certain dress standards. What many of the culturalists cannot grasp is that it is entirely possible for someone to be a sold out Christ-follower and not agree with them on music, Bible versions, the "old sawdust trail", dress standards, or a personality within larger Fundamentalism. Standards, associations, and preferences are NOT fundamentals of the faith--the fact that you don't change on silly cultural issues is not the same as not changing on the cardinal doctrines of our faith.

When FBCH puts up a billboard trumpeting themselves as an "unchanging church" they are referring to differences in worship style mostly and not to anything about doctrines that DO NOT change. If you think that this is not accurate you need only to listen to a few Sunday night sermons where Jack Schaap screeches about other colleges or ministries that are not still stuck in the 1950's like FBCH/HAC.

Pastors Hyles and Schaap usually reference "change" as a negative thing--rarely if ever are they talking about the core doctrines of our faith--usually they are referring to gray issues that although they may illicit bronx cheers from the rowdy Sunday evening college crowd they do not threaten the faith or Gospel that has been handed down to us.

I am saddened that this young man feels that we desire to see FBCH/HAC fall--I truly do not want them to fall but to reform. I desire to see them cease from their man-centered ways. I desire that Pastor Schaap begins to feed his flock by the expository preaching/teaching of the Word. I desire that those who attend FBCH would not need to get fed by radio preachers because of the spiritual malnutrition they experience from the pulpit ministry of FBCH. I desire that FBCH forsake the heresy of King James Onlyism in all of its forms and that they would go back to an orthodox position on the inspiration of Scripture that the original fundamentalists espoused. I do not have time to go on here--that is another post for another day.

The object of Christianity is not to see FBCH fall or change to my desires--the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Our lives are about so much more than this blog--if you haven't noticed we can go months without posting anything new. This blog was established for those who are "on the fence" in Hammond--it is certainly not for everyone and we have attempted to make that point clear.

It is simply smoke and mirrors to pretend that since we operate a blog that takes issue with the hysteric portion of fundamentalism it must be all that we do in our spare time. It is more of the same IFBx defense mechanism that rears its ugly head when one encounters this blog and others like it. What so often happens is the offended reader then jumps to a non sequitur, e.g., since the blog is primarily dealing with the constructive criticism of IFBx it must be all that the blog operators invest their time in...? We are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination--just ask our wives and friends who know us well. I do not take lightly when someone accuses us of "making things up".

We do hope that those who object to this blog will continue to visit and comment as they feel led. We know that they have few places where they can voice their dissent--we want this to be a place where people are free to disagree with a gracious spirit. I hope that "Jeremy" will come back again and vent here at Bread and Circuses in the near future.

To the praise of His glorious grace,

PT Barnum

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi guys,
I think that this post makes a great distinction about churches and change: doctrines versus culture.

The difference between the two is this: If doctrines don't change, then I don't think that change with respect to culture is all that significant. I probably should explain this a little more. There are some doctrines that if changed, one ceases to be a Christian, such as rejecting the Nicene Creed or the Chalcedonian Creed, we can name several cults in the U.S. that have done both. However there are other doctrines that should not change, such as sanctification, justification, ecclesiology. I haven't named everything but my main point is this: if we get our biblical doctrine right, we don't have to worry about the culture changing us because in whatever we do, we will be followers of Jesus Christ.

God bless.

BTW -- Nicea affirmed the Bible in that The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit were all God and co-eternal, yet the Father was not the Son nor the Holy Spirit, the Son was not the Father nor the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit was not the Father nor the Son. Chalcedon affirmed the Bible's claim that Jesus was one person with two natures; a divine nature and a human nature.

William D said...

I do believe that doctrine forms methodology...and TTU's new methodology of now being "seeker sensitive" is a tell tail sign of weak doctrine. They are no different than FBCH...they use pragmatism to attract a crowd. One uses the old Revivalistic methods, and TTU now uses the new Seeker Sensitive methods...all man centered, all of it! They are both after numbers, just which one is your style?

PT Barnum said...

Anonymous,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts--I think we definitely agree on this issue of "change". I feel like so many well-intentioned believers simply refuse to change on anything because they have been programmed to think that change is bad. I hope you will come back and see us.

William,

I appreciate your addition to this discussion. Do you have any links you can refer us to in regards to TTU and their being "seeker sensitive"? I tried searching their website and did not find what I was looking for. I agree that there are many forms of pragmatism in all corners of Christendom. Whether it is Hyles or Hybles it is still all man-centered for sure. I wasn't endorsing TTU by my post--certainly Schaap has more than his share to worry about with HAC. Understand that Schaap is just using TTU as a lightning rod to stir up and ignite his rabid followers. If in fact TTU has gone down the "seeker sensitive" road she was being criticized in Hammond long before this shift took place--I remember Hyles throwing tantrums over them.

PT Barnum

William D said...

Right, I understand...they were getting nailed by the Hyles crowd because they didn't have large crowds like they did in the Roberson days...therefore, God must have written Ichabod on Highland park...that's what I remember hearing at least.

I don't have any links, but I had seen some stuff in the past..they had Michael W Smith and a few other Christian rockers perform on the campus. I'm sure if you google for it, it'll show up somewhere.

Bob Hayton said...

Good post Barnum.

Good to see the big tent's still operating. I totally understand how easy it is to be sidetracked by real life concerns, from updating your blog regularly.

I do think your blog can be a big help to those wondering about FBCH.

Keep up the good work,

Blessings from Jesus,

Bob Hayton

PT Barnum said...

William,

I knew they had Michael W. Smith--I actually enjoy much of his music. I don't know that listening to Michael W. Smith makes anyone "seeker sensitive" any more than an old crusty IFBxer listening to his favorite Southern Gospel CCM. There are certainly some man-centered performers in every subsection of contemporary Christian music.

I don't want to get sidetracked away from the original post too much--we can certainly post about music down the road. Thanks for checking in again.

Bob,

Great to hear from you as well--I know you can relate to our struggles in keeping up with our blog. Keep checking back as we will be more regular in our updates.

To the praise of His glorious grace,

PT Barnum

Anonymous said...

JEREMY HAD YOU GUYS PEGGED FOR SURE! YOUR HATE FOR ALL THINGS IN HAMMOND HAS CAUSED YOU TO NOT BE ABLE TO SEE IT. CHANGE IS NEGATIVE AS IT RELATES TO CHRISTIANITY AND YOU KNOW IT. NO DOUBT YOU HAVE CHANGED ON YOUR FAVORITE BIBLE VERSION. I WOULD BE WILLING TO BET THAT YOU GUYS HAVE CHANGED ON MANY MORE THINGS LIKE YOUR MUSIC STANDARDS AND SEPARATION STANDARDS. HAVE YOU GUYS FOLLOWED ALONG WITH THE OTHER "REFORMERS" AND CHANGED ON YOUR VIEWS OF PERSONAL HOLINESS? WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT DRINKING ALCOHOL OR SMOKING CIGARS/CIGARETTES? I WILL NOT RUSH TO JUDGEMENT YET AND I WILL WAIT FOR YOU BOTH TO ANSWER BEFORE I MAKE MY FINAL REBUKES.

I CAN SAY THIS THOUGH...I KNOW THAT YOU BOTH HAVE BENEFITED GREATLY FROM THE MINISTRIES OF THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF HAMMOND AND REFUSE TO POST OF ALL THE GOOD THAT GOES ON THERE. IN MY OPINION NOTHING BUT GOOD HAS COME FROM FBC. I AM SURE MY OPINION MEANS NOTHING HERE SINCE I AM A "KOOL AIDE DRINKER" TO YOU. THANK GOD FOR THE MINISTRIES OF THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF HAMMOND.

JLB

Wizzle said...

JLB,
My first question is, why is it that all of you "defenders of the faith" are the same? You guys have this massive "courage" to come on this site and post your thoughts but when it comes to telling us your name, you back down, isn't that kinda important? I think ole' schaapy' boy would be ashamed of you. "Be proud and stand up for what you believe" I'm sure it goes something like that anyways. I honestly can't picture old senial hyles ripping people up and down and then just leaving some fake initials, I think the crazy fool is turning in his grave over you guys AND if you have the same lame excuse as Lapina did (going postal on your family) please concoct one that would be somewhat believable.
Let's think about this for a couple of seconds. "Hate" for FBC? I can tell you this, I have hate for FBC, these guys don't. It's really pretty simple. These guys were in the trenches of this lame church since childhood, they graduated from the high school, these guys attended the college, they were all about it. THEN one day, they stopped and questioned what was really going on. "Is this how it really is supposed to be?" "Why is alot of this about jack schaap and hyles opinions" "Is it ok for a preacher to tell his members one thing and then sleep with his secretary" etc, etc, etc... and slowly they began to see the truth that was being disguised behind the facade that had been built years ago by old jackie boy.
They quit agreeing with what was being taught and had the guts to stand up and speak out about it. What's really funny about you and all your defender cronies is that you are blinded by the lie that schaap and hyles tell/told you. Don't speak bad about the man of god because if you do, you could be punished, maybe cursed HELLO! that's called a fairy tale. schaap is no more a man of god than keith mckinney is, he's nothing more than a mission man, a bum who fills your head with mumbo jumbo. This is why you come on here and put these guys down. "I'm gonna save the day and put these guys in their place" How dare they speak out against a man of god. "God will be proud of me" Please, spare me the garbage. Your blinded by decades of lies. For your own good, stop for a second and REALLY take a look at what's going down at the old church downtown, ITS NOT HOW CHURCH IS SUPPOSED TO BE!! Schaap will rip the Vatican but won't rip himself for his cult-like practices. Schaap is a manipulator, brainwasher and illusionist. Quit wasting your time on a harmless sight and use it on saving your family from a dangerous organization.
Your comment about the good that they have benefited from is pretty hilarious. Do you ever hear the Holocaust survivors talk about the food that was given to them while they were there? Uhh...No. Am I comparing the Holocaust to FBC? Yes.(ok, sorta :) Because FBC picks up poor black kids and gives them a cookie or two, does that really count for good? Is cornering people into saying a prayer so that they can have high numbers really a good thing? Is beating your children in the name of god (schaap), really that upstanding? Is letting an old man like Mike Sisson beat the crap out of little kids all that great? Is riling people, by filling their heads with fairy tales and false stories, to the point of a sick frenzy all that great? Is making up crazy stories about what you should do with your money so that jack ass schaap can have his big mega-church all that wonderful? Is crazy sexual stories about the lords supper really counting for the good of mankind? Is letting a crazy idiot like Bob Gray Jr accost and humiliate young people at school camp really that upstanding I THINK NOT. Not much good comes from the big church downtown.
and by the way, quit putting yourself down, your opinion matters to the brainwashed massess of kool-aid drinkers at your old cult downtown.
WHEELER E. KING

PT Barnum said...

Wheeler,

Thank you for keeping your post profanity free. I appreciate your raw honesty and you have hit more than one nail squarely on the head. Don't be a stranger. Merry Christmas!

PT Barnum

Joshua R said...

To whom it may concern:
:::There is currently a troll alert in effect on this post's comment section:::

Do not feed the anonymous trolls including "JLB".

Anonymous said...

JOSH,

IF YOU WERE HALF AS SMART AS YOU THINK YOU ARE YOU MIGHT BE ON TO SOMETHING. FEEL FREE TO CALL ME A TROLL OR WHATEVER ELSE MAKES YOU FEEL BETTER. I AM APPALLED BY THE KIND OF THINGS I READ HERE ON YOUR BLOG AND HONESTLY COULD CARE LESS HOW YOU LABEL ME. ALL I DO KNOW IS THAT A GREAT INVESTMENT HAS BEEN MADE IN YOU AND YOUR BROTHER'S LIFE (PTBARNUM?) AND YOU BOTH HAVE TURNED YOUR BACK ON THOSE WHO LOVE YOU.

I REFUSE TO RESPOND TO WHEELER KING. HE CAN KEEP CALLING US A CULT AND BRAINWASHED AND KOOL AIDE DRINKERS UNTIL HE IS BLUE IN THE FACE. NONE OF THAT CHANGES THE FACT THAT FBCH IS GROWING AND MORE FRUITFUL TODAY THAN SHE HAS EVER BEEN. WHAT BOB GRAY DID OR DOES HAS NO EFFECT ON ME OR THE CHURCH. I BELEIVE HE HAS DIED RECENTLY SO I AM NOT SURE WHAT HE HAS TO DO WITH THE CURRENT DEBATE ABOUT CHANGE.

I AM PROUD TO BE A FBCH SUPPORTER AND HYLES ANDERSON COLLEGE FRIEND.

JERRY

PT Barnum said...

Jerry,

Glad to have you on board. You are certainly entitled to your own opinion on FBC. We have come to some different conclusions, but we can still be Christian brothers. I am a Jesus supporter and a friend of Christians wherever they are found. I hope you come back and see us soon--you are welcome here.

PT Barnum

Wizzle said...

I normally don't pick at mis-statements, spellings, etc...b/c I have my own share of them but I really have to point one out. "IF YOU WERE HALF AS SMART AS YOU THINK YOU ARE YOU MIGHT BE ON TO SOMETHING" I have to say, this is probably the most idiotic "response" statement I have heard since "ed" started running his pie-hole. What EXACTLY does this mean? Have you taken any logic courses or writing classes? It makes zero sense! ANYWAYS!!
Let's see....ummm.....I am appalled by the words that come from crap (I mean jack) schaap's mouth, so b/c this is the case I DONT BUY HIS SERMONS OR READ HIS BOOKS!!!!!!!!!! Yay!! Clap for yourself jerry's kid, you just learned a very important lesson. QUIT READING THAT WHICH APPALS YOU!!!! Get off the site and go read christian womanhood!!! Maybe that will set you straight!
HELLO!!!! PT BARNUM--Do u understand anything? Let's see, circuses.....barnum.....circuses.....barnum.....I don't know, I don't see any connections here,hmmmm.....
Let's all just sit here and think about something for a sec. Let's go back a few years. OK we'll make it around 10. Jerry, I know this is going to be hard for your understanding to pick up but TRY to work with me here. Picture yourself strolling down the halls of HAC. You look behind you and guess who it is? Matt Richards. OMG!!! Anyways, he tells you that he needs to talk to you about something in private. b/c you two are on the same team (all about HAC, FBC, Hyles, etc....), you tell him that you will do your best to listen and help in any way you can. You guys go off somewhere private and Matt goes on to tell you that he needs you to help him. He tells you that he has become addicted to pornography (jerry, this story is just an example, its not real or never has been real, ok, just checking) He needs help. Being the great friend that you are, you console him, you pray with him right there, you tell him that you two will start praying together everyday, you find some literature to help him, in short, you do everything in your power to help your buddy Matt overcome his addiction. Also, at the same time, you tell no one, why? because it's a private matter and b/c it's all about the team. You don't go on the internet and tell everyone about his wrongdoing's or say things about him, etc.... Now let's fast forward to the NOW. Do your comments really make any-sense? Have Matt's words even come close to pornography? Has he actually done ONE THING WRONG? Please, tell me one thing that he has done or said that is not "godly", "christ-like", etc.....That's right, You can't! Because he is no longer on your team (but done nothing wrong) you spew hatred and anger at him like he's a killer of children, all because he no longer agrees with you, WOW!! You make no sense Jerry, admit it to yourself, you'll feel much better.
HELLO! why would i want u to respond? Duh!!!
Growing? please tell me something, is Scientology a good thing because its much, much bigger than it was 20 years ago? AGAIN, Jerry, ur not making sense!! u might want to check the stats on growth and good, probably the worst example u could have used, just a little heads up for next time!!

Matt, what are we thinking? They love us!!! Shut the site down, pack it up and lets go back to Hammond, gosh, thanks jerry, we only started talking about the old cult downtown b/c we thought no one loved us, gosh darn it!!!!!!!!!
later,
-Da'Wizzle
AND
for the sake of us all, PLEASE STOPPING USING CAPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi guys,

(I didn't mean to post anonymously the first time.)

I think the commentator above illustrated the very point that the fellas at the big top were attempting to convey in this post. That is, cultural change is not significant if biblical doctrines remain the same.

Now I don't know how seriously to take the web site nonstopschaap, but there is a (http://nonstopschaap.com/SchaapClips/JesusSpanked.mp3) audio clip where Schaap claims that Jesus was spanked and that Christ was not aware that he was God. It sure sounds like Jack Schaap is speaking in this clip. I think his claim is that Jesus comes into the understanding of who he is. That is, when Jesus is born he doesn't know that he is God. When Jesus is 12 he understands that he is God's son.

Clearly there is a denial of the two natures of Christ, that is Jesus is fully human and fully divine. As fully divine this means that Jesus has the mind of God. So if Christ has the mind of God how could he not be aware that he was the Son of God? Schaap seems to be espousing some kind of adoptionism here.

This is a HUGE problem because Schaap has changed what the Bible claims. Biblical doctrine asserts that Jesus Christ is one person with a fully human nature and a fully divine nature. So I don't care if he doesn't change his mind about women wearing pants and the KJV when he has changed his Christology from the Christology of the Bible. However, we shouldn't be angry with him, rather we should pray for him that the Holy Spirit would reveal to him what Scripture teaches.

Now if I haven't been charitable to Schaap then I apologize.

God bless,
--Justin

PT Barnum said...

Wheels,

You definitely bring up some good points--I agree that the scenario you offered certainly could take place. I would also emphasize that there are MANY in Hammond who would not approach your hypothetical situation in this way. I don't want to throw everyone into the same lump--stereotyping and prejudice is wrong no matter who is doing it.

The typical HACer would certainly fit into your scenario perfectly--MANY at FBCH with no attachment to the college would not be this backward.

I have many good friends at FBCH who DO NOT buy into all that is being sold from the pulpit or at Burr Street. Everyone has their own list of reasons to unite with a church--no one has the same list with the same criteria or the same "non-negotiables".

I would definitely not label them as a cult--there are MANY very involved members there who do not follow Schaap and/or the memory of Hyles like a starry-eyed groupie.

Bottom line is that I could not be a member of FBCH, but there are some awesome Christian brothers and sisters who have chosen to do so. My prayer is that these level-headed members would be an agent of change in Hammond to bring FBC back to the pre-Hyles days--stranger things have happened.

Anonymous,

Thanks for offering your comments. I don't have any problems with anonymous posters at all. You made you points very well and with a Christlike spirit. It does seem like with the internet and the ability to share information so quickly that preachers looking to tickle ears with new teachings won't get away with it. I thank the LORD for the technology that can keep the topical preacher honest. Wouldn't it be nice if every preacher would just preach the Word instead of finding some supposedly new spin or new teaching? This is the kind of thing that makes life interesting here under the big top! Some of the members in Hammond need to express their concerns when this type of sermon is preached--they can motivate change by holding "preacher" accountable. See you again soon!

PT Barnum

Wizzle said...

Matt,
Maybe i'm confused about your comments (stereotyping/prejudice) but i think you're confused as to what I'm saying. My example wasn't to say that the story would really happen. The "real" scenario would probably be more along the lines of distancing himself and
telling some faculty member (worst case scenario) so you could get help or expelled etc...but thats not the point. Even as bad as porn is, he still wouldn't start a smear campaign for the entire world to see.(like he is now) I'm sure he would pray for you, check up once in a while and wish u the best. The point that I'm trying to make is that b/c you and josh are not on his team anymore (and that is what it really comes down to) he will lash out at you guys in a hateful way. This is my point. He is so blinded by the garbage that Schaap has put into his head (we are the "main" church of christianity, this is the real deal, etc....) that he goes on the offensive b/c you point out some questionable things that happen at FBC. Porn will get u a prayer and a good luck pat-on-the-back, not being on his team will get you a hateful comment and a kick in the teeth, it sure as heck doesn't make much sense to the ole' wizzle!!!!

PT Barnum said...

Wheels,

I agree with your observation. What I wanted to make clear was that there are many at FBCH who would not approve of Jerry's attitude or actions. I know exactly what you are saying. I was expelled from Hyles High as a junior and I received much more favorable treatment than those who left "disgruntled" with Hyles.

Glover, Nischik, Godfrey, or anyone else who left and disagreed with Hyles was given a "scarlet letter" and others with far greater problems were given the "red carpet treatment" instead!

I just want to be sure that people reading this stuff realize that Jerry is not a good representation of everyone in Hammond. Sorry if it seemed like I was jumping on your case. I know you are making a concerted effort to keep things above par and I appreciate it greatly.

By golly you are smarter than your average wizzle!

PT Barnum