"I still have to shake my head slowly at some of the slower minds who keep spouting the tired old line 'Show me the proof!'"

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Jay's picture

I missed this filing, but there's some really powerful comments here in regards to 'witnesses' and 'testimony' of any kind.  The really sad part is that we see this over and over and over again, with different circumstances:

Linda has come along and simply verified what was said by Robert Sumner in his several investigative pieces, beginning with The Saddest Story, by myself, and by Vic Nischik in his book, Wizard of God. She is one more in a string of witnesses. The big difference is that she is what is known in the law as an “eyewitness.”  She has what is known at law as “direct evidence...”

...But, like any trial attorney, I know the tactics of the other side. I know the mind-set. They will attack my witness, try to make her look bad, try to parse her words, and try to pounce on every statement that has any “wiggle” room. Any statement that is not precise, they will attack. Any statement that is capable of a different interpretation, they will exploit. Any statement that is less than precise, or is incorrect, will be held up higher than a fisherman who caught a trophy bass on a hot summer day. Such witnesses become targets for the defense teams.

I’ve seen the viciousness of my profession up close and seen witnesses who were essentially good people, torn to shreds and humiliated, and made to look terrible by lawyers who were not interested in the truth. They only wanted to get their client off. They only wanted to win…at any cost. I’ve known good people who came in and told the truth, but who were attacked by unscrupulous lawyers who tried to dredge up every bad thing the witness did since birth. Indeed, but for timely objections and scrupulous judges who are sensitive to those tactics, I’ve had some witnesses who would have been absolutely mauled by the other side. Some lawyers will push the envelope and if the judge lets them, and if the opposing counsel does not object, then they will go to any length to destroy a witness, irrespective of whether the witness is telling the truth or not. Truth is, to them, irrelevant.

The same can be said of far too many so-called Christians. They are “created” Christians, manufactured by the IFBx (Independent Fundamental Baptist Extreme) sect. I’ll not call them a cult, though I know Linda does, and she’s got a right to do so.

...Linda Murphrey has done the Independent Fundamental Baptists who still espouse Hyles and Hylesology (and some who reject Hyles but still carry his handbag of philosophy to the pulpit regularly) a huge favor. They may not know it, but she has.  God has said, “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.” (1Co 11:31). She has given a witness to truth. Will they hear? Or will they stone the witness?

Time will tell.

...I am a great believer in making a record. (Wonder where that came from?) Seriously, I advise clients all the time to do that. I tell them, when they are communicating with an employer, for example, to memorialize conversations in a letter to them, i.e., “Dear Mr. Jones, We met on such and such a date and there you informed me of X and I said Y and blah, blah, blah.” I explain to the client that if the matter ever goes to court, they now have two pieces of evidence, not just one...

...You will reject this witness by Linda Murphrey, this eyewitness who lived in the home and saw it all up close and personal. And, you’ll discount all the other evidence. Some of you will loudly proclaim her words as a bunch of lies, denounce her as untrustworthy, and ignore all her testimony, just as you have all the other corroborative evidence.

When you do, keep this in mind, those of you who declare yourselves to be “believers” of the Word of God. “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” (Mat 12:36).

Pssst! Maybe if you don’t speak too loudly, but instead, whisper that she’s a liar, God will overlook it.

"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

KR's picture

My siblings and I were saved as teenagers out of a mainline denomination. The man under whose ministry we sat in the years following was so absolutely orthodox in his preaching, and keen in his spiritual insights that he put MANY Christian fundamentalists to shame. He received his ministerial training at a Christian school that remains highly reputable to this day, and creed-wise he would have appeared to be without flaw. From his pulpit we learned about justification by faith, sanctification by grace, abundant Christian living and the errors of the apostasy—the whole package. But he also skillfully laid the ground work for a personality cult that ultimately climaxed in terrible abuse. He established himself on a pedestal in our young minds by testifying to a mysterious experience from the Lord in his call to the ministry. It was scant on detail, but we got the message intended—that he was unique. He distanced us from other credible sources of spiritual guidance by continually pointing out their flaws, while at the same time establishing himself as beyond questioning, If we ever appeared to exert any kind of independence, he was quick to put a question mark over our “salvation.” (He was too “orthodox” to suggest we could lose our salvation, but had no qualms about convincing us we may never have been “truly” saved in the first place.) He met any and all threats to his autonomy in our thinking by frequently invoking the phrase “Touch not the Lord’s anointed.” Yes—we were entrenched in a bona fide cult.

 By the time I arrived as a freshman at the same school from which my minister had graduated, I had no understanding of a contented, peaceful, Christian life. The emotional see saw of being saved one day and declared unsaved the next had taken its toll. But it was my brother who fared the worst. Because my parents remained in the mainline church, it was not hard for our pastor to convince my brother that moving in with him would be a declaration of his separation from the apostasy. It was also better than attending the “flawed ”Christian college. Once he was under the same roof, the pastor took it upon himself to “teach” my “sheltered” brother what he declared he should know of the ways of the world. This instruction included beating my brother with a two-by-four, constant verbal abuse, bankrupting my brother’s bank account, throwing him down and kicking him, forcing sickening quantities of liquor down his throat, and numerous attempts at forced homosexual acts. I am sorry to say that our “pastor” was never prosecuted for any of this abuse, but has since gone to his reward. Like some in the Hyles household, my brother’s ability to come forward with all that happened came too late.

There are no police reports, no handcuffs or incarceration, no news headlines. But there are the deep and lasting scars forged into lives when faith was new and tender. There are the social scars--hard to be overcome. There are the emotional scars that manifest themselves in myriad ways. There is the battle to trust any minister and doubt first. And those ministers come face to face with it in their office counseling sessions everyday as they try to help mend gouged lives.

 I am thankful that my siblings and I were blessed to be brought under the ministry of healing mentors--I in college, and my brother under the ministry of a loving fundamental church. One of us has not married, and three of us are married to solid, supportive, and spiritually strong spouses.

Proof? The evidences of the many dangers, toils, and snares through which we have come keep us aware of what can hide in the church. And our own personal and vigilant resolve to protect our own  offspring from those dangers is testimony to the truth of our accounts .

 

jimfrank's picture

I've followed this story from the day Schaap's firing was announced.  It was a lead story here in Northern Indiana, considering that First Baptist of Hammond claims to be the biggest church in the state.  After all I've read, I doubt any claim they make, especially if it involves monetary amounts or attendance figures.

Linda Murphrey's story is sad beyond belief.  It took quite a bit of courage for her to stand in front of a camera and tell this story.  But after reading this article and an interview with the author, it is clear that First Baptist of Hammond is about as toxic as a church can get.  Is it a cult?  I would say "Yes." 

From this distance it seems to me that First Baptist of Hammond should cease operations immediately.  But it won't.  Instead, the church will die a slow death.  Surely some of the more sensitive people there have already left.  There will be a steady stream of members out the door.  Though published figures will not reveal it, there will also be steadily diminishing giving revenues.  In the near future staff will be reduced by handfuls, and then by whole departments within a year or two.  Some deacons will probably resign, but enough of the "old guard" will hold onto their little kingdoms within First Baptist of Hammond.

First Baptist of Hammond indeed needs someone "worthy" to lead them.  I have a particular man in mind whom I won't name.  Sad to say, a church that numbered in the tens of thousands (whether you believe the figures or not, and I don't) will number in the hundreds within two years.  They will be stuck with a "white elephant" of a building, which will stand in mute testimony to Jack Hyles' fundamentalist empire.

 

Jay's picture

From this distance it seems to me that First Baptist of Hammond should cease operations immediately.  But it won't.  Instead, the church will die a slow death.  Surely some of the more sensitive people there have already left.  There will be a steady stream of members out the door.  Though published figures will not reveal it, there will also be steadily diminishing giving revenues.  In the near future staff will be reduced by handfuls, and then by whole departments within a year or two.  Some deacons will probably resign, but enough of the "old guard" will hold onto their little kingdoms within First Baptist of Hammond.

First Baptist of Hammond indeed needs someone "worthy" to lead them.  I have a particular man in mind whom I won't name.  Sad to say, a church that numbered in the tens of thousands (whether you believe the figures or not, and I don't) will number in the hundreds within two years.  They will be stuck with a "white elephant" of a building, which will stand in mute testimony to Jack Hyles' fundamentalist empire.

I don't think anyone here wants FBC Hammond to 'cease operations immediately' - I think we want things there do be done in a manner that is pleasing to the Lord.  That means that the hero worship of Hyles/Schaap must end, the obsession with bigger and better attendance numbers is replaced with real discipleship and training, and that the true, saving Gospel of Jesus Christ goes forth with clarity and power.  

The goal here, as we're discussing on another thread, is to glorify God, not to destroy churches.  God will be more glorified (in my mind) if FBC repents and turns to doing the work that God calls us to do (I Cor. 10:31, Matt. 28:18-20, II Tim. 4:1-5) than if they just plug the next Hyles clone into the pulpit and start the show up all over again.

I don't know who could lead them and don't have any suggestions even if they did ask me, but it is a massive, massive cleanup job there.  I'm hoping that they'll do that, but I can't say that I really expect that to happen.  I hope I'm pleasantly surprised.

"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