Former pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond, Jack Schaap, will be sentenced on March 20, 2013 in federal court for having sex with a 17 year old girl having crossed three state lines in the process of the commission of his crime.
Our website has received hundreds of comments and e-mails with different tails of these events both in support of Schaap and adamantly opposed to him. Some stories that we read which showed apparent inconsistencies led us to believe there was a possibility that this “rebellious” girl had a connection with a popular so-called victim’s rights advocate and may have targeted Schaap.
After reading the sentencing memorandum, nothing could be more further from the truth. The documentation provided in the sentencing memorandum paints a picture of the events of Schaap’s crime that neither those in support of Schaap nor those who have attributed Schaap’s acts as representative of all of fundamentalist churches seemed to be privy to.
As we explicate certain facts within this memorandum below, we urge not only followers of certain “Do Right” groups to reevaluate the trust they have put into the leaders of these groups who have apparently made bogus claims about their involvement with this case, but also to members of First Baptist Church who appear to support Schaap without having known the entirety of Schaap’s depravity in this matter.
As Christians, we need to extend forgiveness to all, and that includes Jack Schaap. However, extending forgiveness does not mean minimizing the natural consequences of his actions or upholding him as a man of integrity and or a representative of the gospel of Christ nor any fundamental Baptist church. Jack Schaap should be allowed to live with the stigma that he has created for himself, and if he is restored, in my opinion that would only occur after he has capitulated on his false doctrines, and demonstrated a genuine display of repentance. Nevertheless, he should NEVER pastor another church.
Claims That Do Right Hyles Anderson Made Taking Credit For Schaap’s Arrest.
Those who followed this case, and read the numerous media articles are well aware that Trisha Lacroix of Do Right Hyles Anderson, and Jocelyn Zichterman, have taken credit for Schaap’s arrest and touted such as their crowning achievement in exposing abuse within the IFB. Not only did they claim credit for this, but accused all of the staff of First Baptist Church of covering up the incident and refusing to “do right”.
The documented court evidence proves otherwise.
Not one single mention is made of the FBI being tipped off by an outside source in 23 pages of documentation.
What the report does state is that FBC staff became increasingly concerned about Schaap’s behavior but did not yet have evidence of a crime. The report shows they repeatedly warned Schaap about how much time he was spending with the girl. Page 6, Sentencing Memorandum. Jack Schaap called a meeting to chastise his staff for their assumptions (which demonstrates that they were trying to find out what was going on) and then within a few days, a staff member found evidence of Schaap’s crime in which the sentencing report states led to Schaap’s “firing and law enforcement investigation”.
The report does show that a secretary was complicit in Schaap’s actions, but does not state whether she knew what Schaap’s intentions were, or that other FBC staff knew that the secretary was assisting Schaap. Although one would have to wonder why a secretary transporting a pastor with a 16-17 year old would not raise red flags. This is one example where trusting your pastor does not mean checking your brains at the door.
The report clearly shows that FBC staff did not let up on Schaap, and eventually found evidence and not only fired him but contacted law enforcement.
Now we do not deny that perhaps Jocelyn Zichterman called the FBI, but the report makes it clear that it was FBC staff that initiated the contact with the police, not Jocelyn Zichterman, nor Trisha Lacroix. One could argue “well maybe they are trying to protect their informants”. Not likely considering that they went to national media outlets taking credit for this.
Whatever FBC staff could have done better which is highly speculative, the actions that they DID take are certainly not the same picture that was portrayed to everyone from the anti-fundamentalist groups according the court record.
Jack Schaap’s Manipulation and Heresy
Never in my life have I seen a person use such manipulative grooming tactics as Schaap did with this 17-year-old girl.
The record shows that this girl had been traumatized and emotionally damaged prior to talking to Schaap, and this fact was known to Schaap because it was e-mailed to him, printed out and handed to him by his secretary in April of 2012. Page 8, Sentencing Memorandum.
Schaap begin with an initial counseling session which led to him spending personal time with her outside of the church and office.
Within 2 months of Schaap’s relationship with the girl, he wrote her the following in a birthday card:
I can’t get you out of my mind. I keep thinking about how much I enjoy talking
with you, how great you look when you smile, and how much I like your laugh. I
daydream about you off an on all day, replaying pieces of our conversation . . .
laughing again about funny things you said or did. I’ve memorized your face and
the way you look at me . . . it melts my heart every time I think about it. And I
catch myself smiling when I imagine what will happen the next time we’re
together. You must be something really special, because I can’t remember the last
time I felt so strongly about someone. Even though neither of us knows what the
future holds, I know one thing for sure – you’re one of the very best things that’s
happened to me in a long time.
Page 9, Sentencing Memorandum
Not only was Schaap a married man, but this was a 17-year-old girl whom he demonstrated “romantic” feelings for after only 2 months.
The religious rhetoric that Schaap used to groom and bait this girl are beyond appalling and blasphemous. In another handwritten letter to the girl, Schaap writes:
I’ve been doing much thinking about you – our brief journey together has
been like a spiritual allegory (a story that illustrates a truth 🙂 . . . Your life began
to deteriorate w/ actions + activities that were self-destructive + that would have
brought great tragedy eventually. Then, as your Pastor, I began to counsel you +
you to God, the truth, and to a better path of living – that’s what we
You gave me your trust, your
heart, your love, + your affection. [Unintelligible] must feel when a sinner makes
Him more than a Savior – he/she makes Him a beloved lover + friend.
In our “fantasy talk,” you have affectionately spoken of being “my wife.”
That is exactly what Christ desires for us. He wants to marry us + become eternal
Page 9-10, Sentencing Memorandum (emphasis added)
The repetition of “spiritual allegories” and seductive language couched with Biblical overtones is so reprehensible I am surprised he was not struck down by God Himself as when God killed Herod for blasphemy in Acts 12:23.
And as if that wasn’t bad enough, Schaap writes the following blasphemous heresy:
When we get scared, Jesus sends His spirit to live within us. But He does
not personally live with us. He waits until we have fully matured before he takes
us to Heaven to live with Him.
I must follow the example of Christ. I have espoused you to Him as a
chaste virgin. You are pure + lovely + perfect in His eyes. Now you must mature
in His grace until the time he brings you to Himself.
Jesus sends His spirit when we get scared? He does not “personally live with us”? ARE YOU SERIOUS?? If Jesus waits until we all “fully mature” before taking us to live with Him, then NOBODY is getting into heaven. Furthermore, the Bible is clear that believers are sealed by the Holy Spirit the moment we are saved. Eph 4:30, Eph 1:13. Moreover Jesus said of the Holy Spirit in John 14:17,
Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
How this man ever snookered his way through an ordination inquest baffles me.
Schaap Knew He Was Wrong
I have seen letters where some argued that Schaap had medical problems, suffered stress or other abnormalities. However, that would only serve to alter his state of mind where it could be claimed that he was delusional IF any medical evidence could substantiate that such health factors could be a proximate cause of such behavior.
Yet Schaap downloaded an “I-Phone” app that was designed to erase evidence. Page 3, footnote, Sentencing Memorandum. This clearly shows that Schaap was aware of his actions the entire time. Not only that they were sinful but that they were criminal. Schaap also arranged meetings with the girl on a “forest reserve”. If Schaap truly believed his actions were just, why the secrecy?
A Plea To Pastor John Wilkerson and FBC Staff
Probably the biggest complaint I have heard against FBC is that they have been alleged to show a lack of remorse for the victim and her family, and according to the court report, even banned them from FBC. This is not a case where refusing to discuss the matter in public or to the church is best for the “cause of Christ”. I believe that the public who look up to members of First Baptist Church need to hear how FBC feels about the victim and her family, not just about how this event has brought shame to the church.
First Baptist Church is now pastored by John Wilkerson. I have listened to several of his sermons, and he appears to have a very gentle and meek character. If he hasn’t done so already, I would plead with Pastor Wilkerson to reach out to this family and offer condolences, sympathy, and your regrets for what occurred at the hands of the leader of the church.
Churches across the world should mark actions and teachings such as what was propagated by Schaap, and learn from it. Now I am no expert in sexual abuse prevention in the church. If a person is set to do evil, he/she will do so regardless of what preventative measures are in place. But I do not believe it is appropriate for a male to ever counsel a female, and I am confident that I am familiar enough with the Bible to recognize false doctrine when I hear it, and a married man who falls in lust with a 16-year-old girl within a 2 month time period is someone who demonstrates he has long held to erroneous doctrines that either could or should have been recognized by others.
Even we at Do Right Christians were quick to judge when this story first came out, but the evidence has shown that we were hasty and our sincere apologies to the victim and her family if we have written anything that contributed to their suffering.
We hope that all Bible believing Christians will remain in prayer for First Baptist Church of Hammond, for the victim and her family, and be humbled by this experience and let it move us to seek the Lord and His righteousness to teach the truth in love, to respond to crisis according to God’s prescriptions, to hold our leaders accountable, and get back to the business of reaching a lost world for Jesus Christ.