Jack Schaap Released from Prison

Jack Schaap (pronounced skop), former pastor of First Baptist Church, Hammond, Indiana, was released from prison on May 4 after serving nine years (of a 12-year sentence) for a sexual relationship with a teenage church member (“Former pastor released,” The Times of Northwest Indiana, Munster, May 14, 2022). Schaap, the son-in-law of Jack Hyles, took the pastorate after Hyles’ death in 2001. (Schaap’s wife, Cindy, divorced him in 2014.) Schaap’s sad and frightful case is only a drop in the bucket. Many other women, teenage girls, and even children have been the target of sexual predators at First Baptist, including those polluted by Hyles’ son, Dave, when he was a youth leader at First Baptist, beginning in 1969 when he was 16 years old. That year, Dave organized the Teenage Soul Winning program. In six years, the teens reported 100,000 salvation decisions, though the youth Sunday School averaged only 2,500. Dave’s sister, Cindy, said, “I won thousands of souls before I finished my teen years” (The Fundamental Man, p. 271). In 1976, Dave’s book Successful Church Youth Work was published by the Sword of the Lord. The book was described as “the successful formula of Dave Hyles” and was advertised by the Sword as “double success!” (on the back cover of Let’s Baptize More Converts). It turns out that the charismatic youth leader had more than evangelism on his mind. Dave’s first wife, Paula, testified of his serial philandering, as did many others. In 2020, two lawsuits were filed against Dave Hyles by women who claim that he sexually abused them in the 1970s. One is Joy Ryder and the other is Nanette Miles. Miles’ class action lawsuit alleges that she was sexually assaulted beginning at age 13, that at least 10 others “have credibly accused D. Hyles of using his position of power to sexually prey on them,” and that “First Baptist and the College staff members were aware of his reprehensible conduct for years and remained silent” (“Class Action Sex Abuse Case,” Ministry Watch, Dec. 7, 2020). In January 2013, Chicago Magazine ran a front-page report entitled “Let Us Prey: Big Trouble at First Baptist Church,” documenting ten cases of sexual crimes and fornications committed by pastors associated with First Baptist. That is just a drop in the bucket, as has been documented in many reports. This is not a “local church” matter. First Baptist has influenced thousands of churches. First Baptist was ground zero for the promotion of the damnable practices of Quick Prayerism and Big-Manism and Big-Numberism and Diotrephesism (blind, unquestioning loyalty to a pastor).

(Friday Church News Notes, August 26, 2022, www.wayoflife.org, fbns@wayoflife.org, 866-295-4143)