January '13 Chicago Mag article "Let Us Prey" reports on First Baptist Church of Hammond

Chicago Magazine: “Let Us Prey” (starts on page 78)

Updated with article in text format:

Let Us Prey: Big Trouble at First Baptist Church

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Jay's picture

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

-Matthew 7:15-20

I know it may seem like I'm just hating on Hammond again, but if Matthew 7:15-20 holds true (and we know that it does), then I re-double down on any and all criticisms that I've aired against the institution of FBC, Hyles-Anderson and any other affiliated ministries there.  For too long, that organization exports troublemakers and criminals as 'pastors', with a very thin slicing of sugar on top to make it look like they're doing the right things spiritually, and organized IFBdom seems to want to turn a blind eye to the excesses and abuses that a toxic culture creates, fosters, and then exports to unsuspecting churches; that, or they are so utterly lacking in discernment that they buy into the 'few bad apples' argument.  

I am shocked, appalled, and disgusted that any sane 'fundamentalist' or 'evangelical' of any Biblical grounding can have any idea that cooperating or promoting anything from that poisoned tree is noteworthy or praiseworthy.  I have said it before and will say it again - come out from them, and be ye separate. Do not have anything to do with this church until they are serious about gutting the church and rebuilding it on Christ instead of a pragmatic, man-centered, numbers oriented 'church'.

Are there some that have escaped and are doing good work - that are dead serious about hard hitting exposition and discipleship - absolutely, and I rejoice in them and the work that they do.  But stories like this - and there are probably a dozen at this point that I'm aware of without looking hard - point to serious, structural deficiencies that have now been in existence for 40+ years.  That's not a one off incident.  That's a pattern of wickedness that is being (at best) protected, and at worst willingly nurtured.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Bob Hayton's picture

I thought this excerpt from pg. 144 was insightful. I added the numbers to demarcate out the 4 characteristics of a cult that were mentioned.

What makes a church a cult? I asked Rick Ross, whose nonprofit institute maintains an online archive of data on cults and controversial movements. (He says he is not familiar with the details of First Baptist.) Ross points to a landmark 1981 Harvard study on cult formation, which suggests that all cults, destructive or not, share three elements: [1] an absolute authoritarian leader who defines the group; [2] a "thought program" that includes "control of the environment, control of information, and people subordinating themselves and their feelings to the demands of the leader"; and [3] a lack of accountability for the head of the group. Another common characteristic of cults, Ross says, is that [4] they use shame and some sort of exploitation--financial, spiritual, or sexual--to exercise control. Members of a Bible-based group for example are made to believe that "it's a sin of pride for you to think for yourself," he says. "It's your ego or a demon or Satan's influence that causes you to doubt the edicts of the leadership."

That would apply to FBC Hammond, in my opinion. Not necessarily is it a doctrinal cult (as in heterodox theologically), but culturally or organizationally it functions as a cult.

Striving for the unity of the faith, for the glory of God ~ Eph. 4:3, 13; Rom. 15:5-7 I blog at Fundamentally Reformed. Follow me on Twitter.

jimfrank's picture

Surely there are some godly people in this church.  They should remove themselves and gather at some other place to worship The Lord.  Good night, how far does this stench extend?  I weep for the abused men, women and students.
 

Steve Newman's picture

I will say that I am not a supporter of FBC Hammond, HAC, or any related institutions. Obviously, the covert (Hyles and others) or overt (Schaap) sexualization and sexual predation needs to stop. Not only that, but the apologists for them need to cease and desist. Schaap himself says that he would be judged by the Lord. Nor do I endorse the "legalistic sanctification" approach that is taken by them. (Note: I separated out sanctification from salvation when discussing legalism, because they are two different subjects)

The environment there was indeed cultish, even if you don't want to say it was a cult. I would say it was clearly a personality cult. The absolute power that is given is so often corrupting. That is why the checks and balances of a good system need to be carried out appropriately. 

The question is more whether the teaching and cultish leadership led to the devastation. I would say the teaching and the leadership helped create an environment where this behavior could flourish. It also is a question of whether others who should know better followed such teaching out of pride or from being browbeaten to do so. 

I was starting this article to try and remember the high percentage of people in this sphere of influence who have not fallen into these errors and sins. And that is true. However, let's be gracious and help those who have seen the light and want to get out gracefully.

Pastor Joe Roof's picture

For the past 30 something years, the Country has heard about these horrors from Hammond.  The sad part is that most of what the Country has heard is true.  There is no such thing as a perfect ministry but when is enough ever going to be enough?

Rob Fall's picture

are finally getting connected with solid, dark, black lines.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Jim's picture

NWITimes article

A former East Chicago pastor was sentenced Wednesday to a year of probation for stalking an underage girl. The Rev. Chester Mulligan, 44, pleaded guilty to felony stalking in return for Lake County prosecutors dropping two counts of felony sexual misconduct that were pending against him, Lake Criminal Court records state. Details of the plea agreement were not immediately available. Mulligan originally was accused of having sex multiple times with a then 14-year-old girl, court records state. The alleged incidents occurred from 1997 and continued to 2001, court documents stated. He ministered during that time at the Central Baptist Church in East Chicago. Mulligan resigned from Central Baptist in December 2001. Court records allege Mulligan first tried to have intercourse with the girl in his house in East Chicago. He stopped when she said it hurt, prosecutors said. But throughout the next two years, according to court records, he had sex with her several times at his house, the church office and baptistry, prosecutors alleged. When the girl wanted to end the relationship, Mulligan threatened to "start using her sister," prosecutors said. The girl's sister told investigators she was fondled by Mulligan when she was the front-seat passenger in a car he drove from a Kentucky wedding in August 2000, prosecutors said.

Grace Baptist Church, Miami Florida

After many trials and chastisements, Pastor Mulligan succumbed to God’s calling and surrendered his will to preach, March 22, 1994, at Pastor School in Indiana. Pastor Mulligan was ordained by Dr. Jack Hyles, at First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, and received a General Studies diploma. Pastor Mulligan now holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Landmark Baptist College, a Master of Divinity from Great Plains Baptist Divinity School, and a Doctor of Divinity from Bethany Theological Seminary. He currently is the pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Miami, Fl. This is his third pastorate. Pastor Mulligan pastored Central Baptist Church in East Chicago, Indiana, Victory Baptist Church in Ft. Myers, Florida and served as a chaplain for the Army at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. God has greatly used Pastor Mulligan in all areas of his ministries and many souls have been led to Christ, baptized and lives changed forever.

Andrew K.'s picture

"The Polished Shaft"? Are they serious? And nobody thought... a bit odd?

If even one person can tell me that the opening anecdote on Schaap's sermon is wrong or exaggerated, he/she would bring me much comfort.

神是爱

jcoleman's picture

@Andrew-K: Unfortunately the description of Schaap's sermon isn't exaggerated in the least. You can easily find the video Youtube, and there is no way on earth that the pastors behind him (not to mention that vast majority of those in attendance at the teen conference) knew quite well that he was practically engaging in public masturbation.

Jonathan Charles's picture

According to the Miami church web site, Mulligan was called to their church in October, 2003.  He was out of the ministry for only 22 months.

Dan Burrell's picture

Bob Hayton wrote:

I thought this excerpt from pg. 144 was insightful. I added the numbers to demarcate out the 4 characteristics of a cult that were mentioned.

What makes a church a cult? I asked Rick Ross, whose nonprofit institute maintains an online archive of data on cults and controversial movements. (He says he is not familiar with the details of First Baptist.) Ross points to a landmark 1981 Harvard study on cult formation, which suggests that all cults, destructive or not, share three elements: [1] an absolute authoritarian leader who defines the group; [2] a "thought program" that includes "control of the environment, control of information, and people subordinating themselves and their feelings to the demands of the leader"; and [3] a lack of accountability for the head of the group. Another common characteristic of cults, Ross says, is that [4] they use shame and some sort of exploitation--financial, spiritual, or sexual--to exercise control. Members of a Bible-based group for example are made to believe that "it's a sin of pride for you to think for yourself," he says. "It's your ego or a demon or Satan's influence that causes you to doubt the edicts of the leadership."

That would apply to FBC Hammond, in my opinion. Not necessarily is it a doctrinal cult (as in heterodox theologically), but culturally or organizationally it functions as a cult.

 

Bob....I would agree fully.  If not fully a cult, it was and is "cultic."  I'm quite comfortable with the term cult from my unique perspective.  Now to stir the pot further....

By that definition, I can also name no fewer than a dozen additional similar fundamentalist ministries that would also be thus categorized.

Just saying.

Dan Burrell Cornelius, NC Visit my Blog "Whirled Views" @ www.danburrell.com

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Ellerslie anyone? LOL

I certainly agree that the formula for ministry used cult principles thus it was cultic but fell short of a cult though within FBCH one might find minor cult.. But then I have seen certain Neo-Reformed and Neo-Calvinist Teachers whose ministries engage with very similar principles. This is something to which no sect of Christianity is immune starting with those who said they followed Apollos.

Jay's picture

Jim wrote:
The ministers looking on in awe at the Polishing the Shaft sermon

At some point you'd think someone with some sense would have stood up and did something to protest - pushed Schaap out of the pulpit or something.  Something to indicate that maybe, just maybe, imitating that kind of behavior in a pulpit in front of kids and teenagers isn't acceptable behavior for a 'gospel preacher'.

But then again, this is FBC Hammond we're talking about.  People like that probably don't stick around too long if they even want to stay.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Wayne Wilson's picture

What do you suppose is the link between spiritually abusive authoritarianism and sexual perversion?  Here's a nationally known "Fundamentalist" acting out publicly in a way that any Bible believing Christian would utterly condemn as a sign of a decadent culture gone wild had it been done, say, at a gay pride parade or on television. 

They just sat there.  It is a darkness that staggers the mind. 

Bob Hayton's picture

Dan, I was thinking as much too, I just didn't state it.

The church-based college I graduated from was run in much the same way. Our doctrine was better (we preached repentance), but still the school functioned like a cult.

Not sure why it is that every fundamentalist church worth its salt has to start its own Bible college... It seems to be king-man-on-totem-pole syndrome or something. Everyone has to be THE guy for his little circle.  There is far too much politics in fundamentalism, of any and every stripe, from my vantage point.

Striving for the unity of the faith, for the glory of God ~ Eph. 4:3, 13; Rom. 15:5-7 I blog at Fundamentally Reformed. Follow me on Twitter.

Don Johnson's picture

Dan Burrell wrote:

By that definition, I can also name no fewer than a dozen additional similar fundamentalist ministries that would also be thus categorized.

Just saying.

 

Aren't you just perpetuating the problem? Enabling the cultists? After all if it was the shocking silence of fundamentalists that allowed the Hammond situation to develop, what is your silence, if not shocking as well?

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Dan Burrell's picture

Yeah, Don....that's what I want to do.  Name a few names to give you ammunition to flame me.

No thanks.

I'm not interested in the bait.  I'm fairly sure most everyone else on this board at least knows a few worthy nominees. 

Merry Christmas.

Dan Burrell Cornelius, NC Visit my Blog "Whirled Views" @ www.danburrell.com

Jay's picture

Wayne Wilson wrote:

What do you suppose is the link between spiritually abusive authoritarianism and sexual perversion?  Here's a nationally known "Fundamentalist" acting out publicly in a way that any Bible believing Christian would utterly condemn as a sign of a decadent culture gone wild had it been done, say, at a gay pride parade or on television. 

They just sat there.  It is a darkness that staggers the mind. 

Well said, Wayne.  VERY Well said.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Don Johnson's picture

Dan Burrell wrote:

Yeah, Don....that's what I want to do.  Name a few names to give you ammunition to flame me.

No thanks.

I'm not interested in the bait.  I'm fairly sure most everyone else on this board at least knows a few worthy nominees. 

Merry Christmas.

Dan, you are the one that brought it up. You make a sweeping, broad-brush claim, tut-tutting about the corruption of fundamentalism, yet have nothing more to say. It's really just a smear.

The situation in Hammond is tragic. Surely people needed to speak up. Oh, wait, they did. It's not that the problems were that hard to spot or weren't known or condemned. But those in the Hammond crowd chose for reasons of their own to overlook or ignore the reports that were made. What else should have been done that wasn't being done?

Should Schaap's infamous sermon have been condemned more? Should it have been brought to the attention of the authorities? What else could have been done?

Your comment was just a cheap shot.

 

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Matthew Richards's picture

I find it interesting that those within more historic IFB camps did not take a more public stand when some of their own, Jim Binney, Ron Hamilton, and Frank Garlock jumped into the yoke with Jack, Jr.  I never could really understand the lack of outrage.  It was almost as if nobody really believed how bad things had progressively gotten in Hammond since Hyles blew into town back in 1959.  People kept wanting to see a pattern before speaking out and after 3 or 4 years in a row they forgot what they originally had stated about a pattern.  

I remember seeing a little curfuffle here over their cooperation with FBCH's Pastor's School, but nothing with any teeth.  Binney said Schaap was turning a big ship around and it would take time.  If you take away the fact that Schaap is now a registered sex offender and destroyed a young girl's life, the church in Hammond is still a disgrace.  FBCH is nothing short of a circus-- abhorrent theology, KJVOnlyism, and decades of sexual cover-ups just to name a few.  

Schaap was a teacher of mine in college and I worked on his bus route during my time at HAC.  He did not seem nearly as full of himself then from what I can remember.  I believe he began to change drastically once he was ruling from the FBC throne.  He built a building they did not need and could never afford to satisfy his own ego.  The philosophy of ministry there that is 100% man-centered is no doubt a huge part of this equation, IMHO.  My heart breaks for my family members who are among the sheeple still holding on in Hammond.

Matthew

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Matthew Richards wrote:

It was almost as if nobody really believed how bad things had progressively gotten in Hammond since Hyles blew into town back in 1959.

Or knew.  Those of us not in Hammond orbits heard a few things here or there, but since we had so little contact with that church, school, people from there, etc., it was pretty easy to "wonder" why someone like Hamilton would go there without being outraged about it.  We heard about what had happened to Jack Hyles, of course, but not much about the people or ministry there since that time.

Unless you were a "follower" of their ministry(ies) (or hooked into the various fundamental "rumor mills"), Hammond was simply not on the radar.

Honestly, when I first joined SI in early 2005, I had no idea what I would find out from everyone in the various camps of fundamentalism, but I don't think any of us anticipated what was going on in Hammond until some former insiders gave out some information.

Clearly that has changed now.

Dave Barnhart

Don Johnson's picture

dcbii wrote:

Unless you were a "follower" of their ministry(ies) (or hooked into the various fundamental "rumor mills"), Hammond was simply not on the radar.

Hi Dave

You are right about this. And the same condition continues to be true. Most pastors I know are not information junkies like me. The internet makes a lot of information available, but it is amazing how many of my pastor friends have no idea about some fundie argument/issue/scandal that has been fully discussed on SI months ago.

Those who cry for fundamentalists to "do something" should remember that beyond talking about it, 1) what can we do? and 2) aren't we supposed to be moving past the fundamentalist scandal sheets anyway?

 

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Andrew K.'s picture

Unless you were a "follower" of their ministry(ies) (or hooked into the various fundamental "rumor mills"), Hammond was simply not on the radar.

That may be true, but isn't that kind of an odd omission, given the fact that Hammond claims to run 15,000 on weekends (and supposedly, in the '90s, 20,000)?

Piper has gotten far more attention from fundies, and Bethlehem only averages over 4,000. MacArthur? 8,000. Yet I've heard messages preached against them.

I didn't know about all these scandals either, but I knew about the man-worship. Everyone knew about the man-worship, but nobody seemed very eager to call it out for the idolatry that it was.
 

神是爱

Don Johnson's picture

Andrew K. wrote:

Piper has gotten far more attention from fundies, and Bethlehem only averages over 4,000. MacArthur? 8,000. Yet I've heard messages preached against them.

I didn't know about all these scandals either, but I knew about the man-worship. Everyone knew about the man-worship, but nobody seemed very eager to call it out for the idolatry that it was.
 

In what context have  you heard messages against Piper/MacArthur? Would you say that every pastor is aware of issues with respect to them? I just wonder if you have talked to the average pastor in most churches. Go to a few fellowship meetings and see if the average knows more about Piper, say, than "I've heard their is some kind of problem with him." I doubt the average guy would know about his relationships with Driscoll/Warren, etc. that make some of us strongly opposed.

As far as Hammond, "everyone knew" about it, so what more was to be said?

And, if you were in a fundie circle outside of the Hammond orbit, how many of your people would be tempted to head that direction? Not many. Piper/MacArthur are more noticeable, hence more problematic. I don't preach about them per se (though I write about them), but I do get questions from my church people about them (especially MacArthur).

Because of questions I get, it behooves me to know something about Piper/MacArthur et al and have a reason for my reservations.

In 27 years of ministry, I have NEVER had anyone ask me about Hyles, Hammond, Schaap, etc. It just has no impact on my ministry. If I were in Indiana, it would probably be different.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Barry L.'s picture

We complain about Hammond being soo man-centered, but if we're honest, isn't there a little bit of ego or at least a small amount of arrogance in the leadership of a lot large churches? The fact that some large ministries only start other churches unless they are tied or lead by the "mother" church, is a feeling by some that people can only be lead by ME. 

Recently, I've read two articles on pastors that surprised me. I think they were both linked here. I know most pastors you see on TV outwardly  display their egos, but I never thought Charles Stanley to be that way until I read the article about the battle between him and his son. His program was always modest and he seemed very genuine. The other was an interview about Rick Warren. I've never agreed with the Seeker movement, but I always thought Rick Warren's main focus was to reach the world for Christ even though I questioned his methods. Although it wasn't the point of the article, the article showed a traveling rock star lifestyle and some arrogance in a few of his answers. Those two articles kind of threw me back a little bit. It makes me think that it is more the norm in large churches than the exception.

We all have seeds of pride in our lives and even though the pastorate can be quite humbling, I'm sure there are times being the pastor also has moments that feed fleshly pride.

 

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Good question, what are "we" suppose to do about it? If one wishes all they need to do these days is search the internet to read criticisms of Hyles' leadership and theology from days gone by up until even now looking back as well as the model itself transferred and practiced by Schaap. But they are gone.

The loudest cries I often here come from disaffected former groupies who have simply traded one guru and/or theology for another and display the very sycophantic traits they did when they were what I might call Deformed IFBers (I say Deformed because I do not believe Hyles represented a true form of IFB). They, once crusading for the KJVO Hyles form, and immaturely and ignorantly against other forms, while being enlightened to their former error are so enlightened only partly, not understanding the arrogant and self-righteous nature of their opposition, now, though some of their protests may contain points of validity.

The second group I see are those overly identifying with real or imagined victims of the sins of these Pastors. They again, have a point but are seduced by the temptation to engage in crusader-mentality hysterics which really do not wish to remedy what can be remedied but wish to reach beyond into private lives and add to the crushing of failed men over and over. It is a vengeance based reaction. A lust for their pound of flesh.

There are sober minds that have hearty objections, and have for decades. They were not always listened to and part of the non-listening crowd are those former Deformed IBFers to which I referred and they ought to remember their part in hoisting their man-idols so high, as I see them doing with new ones. One of the best illustrations of why hindsight should be tempered with humility is the Ellerslie thread. Here we have a budding ministry with all the early warning signs and not only were just a few able to hear the warnings but some aggressively argued against the observation. People often forget they are looking back as if they received full enlightenment the whole time.

A full study and robust discussion of the practical and theological errors of Jack Hyles would serve many, if done appropriately. But beyond that no one can change history or rightly demand FBCH and Hyles/Anderson College adopt their views and practices. If they continue with dangerous views and practices then it needs to be warned against as well as those who would recommend such an errant ministry. Ultimately, however, it is not the fault of "other IFB" ministries but the congregation itself which voted for and supported what they did over the years. The past cannot be changed and repeated hysterical astonishment at the bad actions and theology only encourage people to be drunk with arrogant emotionalism (and I am not saying one cannot have emotions or express exasperation but as a marked style or continued form of investigation and discovery, it only leads to self-serving conclusions).

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