First Baptist Church of Hammond to vote on John Wilkerson on Sunday

Wow, that’s fast. Particularly for someone who was not currently on staff already.

On a side note (more about searching for a new pastor in general than about FBC Hammond in particular). Sad that he’s gonna preach one time on a Wed. night before the church vote on Sunday. Also sad that the newspaper only cites the growth of his present Sunday School as a mark of his ability and preparation for the pulpit. Story makes me wonder what kind of pastoral training he has had since his first dozen or so years of ministry were in education, not the pastorate. The story makes it appear his only training is his undergrad from Hyles. If so, truly frightening, whether it was in education or pastoral ministry.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Meet Pastoral Candidate John Wilkerson
Pastor John Wilkerson has been chosen as a candidate for the pastorate at First Baptist Church. He will be speaking in our service this morning, in the Spanish service this afternoon, and in our evening service. He will also be spending time at City Baptist Schools on Monday and at Hammond Baptist Schools on Tuesday. He will be speaking in chapel at Hyles-Anderson College on Wednesday.
About the Wilkersons
John and Linda Wilkerson have been married for 23 years, and God has blessed them with nine children: Tyler (now in Heaven), Derrick, Preston, Lydia, Drew, Coleman, Judson, Mason, and Lacey. John grew up in Tennessee and was saved as a child. Linda (Francis) grew up in Massachusetts and was also saved as a child. John and Linda met at Hyles-Anderson College.
John graduated from Hyles-Anderson College in 1989, and Linda graduated in 1990. They were married in the summer of 1989. After graduation, John taught at our City Baptist Schools for one year until moving to California to teach high school at First Baptist Church of Long Beach. In 1993 he assumed the position of principal of Calvary Christian School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
In August of 2008, the Wilkersons lost their 17-year-old son Tyler as the result of a car accident. The following Sunday, Pastor Wilkerson preached a sermon entitled “God Makes No Mistakes.” God has used their testimony to help many hurting families.

Chip, exactly how much training does one need to be a pastor? What training in particular are you even talking about?

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

My observations but first a caveat.

  • Caveat: I don’t really care. I wish FBC well but it is not a church I would attend
  • John Wilkerson spoke there recently (September 30th … FBC Youtube channel)
  • Makes sense to me that the next Pastor would be a H/A grad.
  • Existing church in Long Beach has all the elements that FBC Hammond has: Bus ministry, Day School, College.
  • Existing church uses the KJV (matches FBC Hammond in practice). Statement: “We use only the King James version of the Bible in English Services.”
  • He has more Pastoral experience than Schaap had when he assumed the Pastorate.
  • He’s an insider of sorts (H/A grad) but not a Eddie Lapina-level insider. Eddie Lapina should be preparing his resume!
  • I feel for the guy who goes into that mess.

[James K]… exactly how much training does one need to be a pastor? What training in particular … ?

Now those are some interesting questions.

Having been fairly recently disabused of the “pastors come from Bible colleges/seminaries” notion, I would still, all other things being equal, slightly prefer to have a pastor that had been to seminary just because of the potential of the breadth of enrichment available there that would/could benefit his ministry. (All other things being he meets the qualifications laid out in scripture [especially not being a novice] and his confession and mine not exceeding tolerable levels of disagreement.)

Obviously a preference and not a Biblical requirement.

[James K]

Chip, exactly how much training does one need to be a pastor? What training in particular are you even talking about?


I specifically left this open-ended. There are a lot of ways, both formal and informal, for someone to receive training in preparation for the pastorate. However, I think most people would agree that every believer is not prepared by virtue of salvation for pastoral ministry. training of some kind must take place, and I was wondering about the possible training this man had received. Knowing generally the “training” approach at Hyles for their pastoral students, I am especially leery of anyone receiving such.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

This church has a long history of spiritual abuse and sex abuse and cover-ups by Jack Hyles and his son-in-law Jack Schaap.

Check out the video of Schaap’s message at a conference addressed to teenagers. In the video, Jack Schaap uses his hands in a motion mimicking masturbation to this large group of teens and notice how the church leaders sit behind and do nothing as if this is normal.

There is a very sick culture - a culture in which acting out on stage sexually is normal. This extends to the college founded by Hyles, Hyles-Anderson.

This firing is just the latest in a series of outrageous tragedies. The church’s ministry is a breeding ground for sexual predators. Their ministry includes a youth center, a college, and a school. Joe Combs, former Bible professor at their Hyles-Anderson College, is currently serving prison time for the repeated rape and abuse of his adopted daughter. A.V. Ballenger, a church deacon and bus route driver of the church was convicted in 1993 for molesting a seven-year-old girl. Source

Here is another listing of sex crimes committed at the church/college. And here is a TED video interviewing Linda Murphrey, Jack Hyles’ daughter, who disclosed her father’s abuse and living in the church that she now calls a cult.

This church needs a complete sweep of deacons/elders. I do not believe that replacing the pastor from anyone in that culture is the right choice. They would be better off shutting the entire place down.

[Moderators determined to remove the link to the video.]

John Wilkerson took over First Baptist of Long Beach after Mark Chappell resigned due to marital infidelity some years ago. It also became known that the pastor before him, was his father Larry Chappell who also was guilty of the same thing. The church has recovered under Bro. Wilkerson and has even thrived, so I would guess that the folks of FBCH see the similarities with their FBC and the FBC in Long Beach and are willing to follow the lead of a man who has had a good tenure at a church that had also been greatly hurt by the same kinds of sins from the father/son pastors.

(*However, FBCH will never publicly admit that Jack Hyles was unfaithful to his wife even though all the evidence points to it)

Well, it looks like any hopes for real, Biblical reform and change at FBC Hammond can be written off now…so we’ll probably continue to see more stories like this in the future. Sad.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin 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

I hope change comes for them but what seems to be very absent is the understanding that this is a systemic problem. It may not repeat itself at this level or in this manner but as a representative of genuine fundamentalism, it seems that it will only be on a continued trajectory as an aberrant or corrupted form of fundamentalism which is no fundamentalism at all.

I watched a couple of his messages last evening. His style is a significant departure from those of the past. This I think could give hope that future leadership may be less dictatorial in style and practice. Or maybe I just watched the wrong messages. :-)

It must be noted that Wilkerson has been part of this system.

I recently received a private message from a moderator that the video link I posted was removed. Keep in mind this “pastor” performed the act in front of youth and moderators here decided to remove it because it is too explicit (my guess). That’s fine - it really did look like a sex act. Anyone can do a search to find it. I would like to point out that there were quite a few church leaders sitting behind him on the altar as he performed this “act” in front of a large teen audience. These men in white coats watched as if this was normal behavior. These men must go. Additionally, If the men who sat on that stage, and did not say a word to Schaap about his behavior, are still in their positions of authority, they need to be booted out. They have no business in any place of church leadership when they allow blatant inappropriate sexual behavior right before their eyes and the eyes of children.

These sycophants and nincompoops need to go (does anyone on S/I know who they are?)

Additionally, If the men who sat on that stage, and did not say a word to Schaap about his behavior, are still in their positions of authority, they need to be booted out.

If these men (who, in the video, appeared to me to be embarrassed, incredulous, even angry over what was being done in front of them) are still in their positions of deacon or assistant pastors, whichever, can the new pastor just “boot them out”? Shouldn’t that be a congregational action? I think so.

And if they ought to be removed but are still presently installed that means the congregation has done nothing and Alex is right: the problem is systemic.

Look at the way Schaap’s removal was handled. The deacons fired him without congregational assent. Is Schaap still a member? Has he been subject to discipline?