Disgraced Pastor of World’s Largest Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Church Released From Prison Early

Former megachurch head pastor Jack Schaap has been released from prison nearly a year earlier than expected, with the registered sex offender becoming a relatively free man after nearly a decade in prison

Schapp was the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, the largest church in the state. Marked by IFB theology- KJV Only, women can’t wear pants, and frequent bouts of crushing legalism, the church was led by Jack Hyles from 1959-2001, (himself no stranger to some nasty and likely true allegations, along with wretched theology) and then and then by his son-in-law Schapp until his arrest in 2012.

In its heyday, First Baptist had the highest Sunday school attendance of any church in the world and was running nearly 20,000 people in the early 2000’s. Though most of Schapp’s reign, they had around 15,000 members. Their theology began to mellow out in recent years, with men like Steven Anderson and his NEW IFB taking the reigns as the kings of “hard preaching”.

In 2012 Schapp (53 at the time) was fired and forced from the pastorate after it was revealed he’d been having ongoing sexual contact with a 16-year-old girl who was a member of the church. The epitome of clergy-sexual abuse, after she started seeing him for counseling, he began plotting against her and grooming her, kissing her during one of the sessions, and eventually having sex, including taking her across state lines to his cabin, where they would spend the weekend engaging in what he used to call “revelries of the flesh.”

He would later write her love letters, including these ones, mixing theology with adultery and sexual abuse

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 lovers!

Another letter said this:

This week, [Jane Doe], I tried to climb into your heart and write the graffiti of the Gospel on the walls. I wanted to spray paint in Neon colors that you are Priceless + Precious + are “off the charts” important – yes – to me personally – but especially to OUR Savior Jesus Christ. I’m reading my Bible now to draw a little closer to God – even if it’s a millimeter closer – because if we both get a little closer to Him, we also get closer + stronger + deeper w/ each other. Every relationship not built around that truth eventually must die – that’s what happened w/ you + J. And that’s why afterwards you pursued “dead” things + “dead” relationships. My passion this week was to show you a living relationship + how to keep it alive!

Sentenced to 12 years in prison and 10 years of probation, he was not a model prisoner, admitting at one point “putting [his] hand under jacket and in crotch area of female visitor” for which he was disciplined over and lost visitation privileges for 9 months.

Now that he is out, it would not be surprising to see him start a new church, given that Schapp has had plenty of support and “fans” over the years, with nearly 140 friends, pastors, and community members writing letters to the judge at the time pleading for a lighter sentence and for leniency.

Nope, not a surprise at all

h/t to The Friendly Atheist.

3 thoughts on “Disgraced Pastor of World’s Largest Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Church Released From Prison Early

  1. Its one thing to be a mentally sick pedophile but quite another to use Christ to justify your wicked pervertedness. I dont know if pedophiles are ever truly “cured” of sexual perversions. I pray that this man is not able to start up another ministry or “play house” with any more victims!

  2. Jack Hyles and those that protected him for so many years bear a huge responsibility for the damage they’ve done to so many women (Hyles son David) and the blight they are on Independent Fundamental Baptists.

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