• He called himself "a knight that fell off his horse..."
  • “I wanted to be this family’s savior. In trying to be a good pastor, I became a fool. I failed you. I betrayed you, though not in my heart.”
  • “I have brought great shame and reproach on my church and family” …
  • “Shame and humiliation are my constant companions.” …
  • I became a fool. I failed you. I betrayed you, …
  • “To Cindy, I apologize for sinning against your love.” …
  • To his parents: several statements, but these were the most poignant
  •  “I abhor myself for bringing you shame and reproach in your senior years.” …
  • To the public: “I have shamed my profession” 
  • To the girl: “I was trying to rescue you, and I took great risks in trying to save you.”

Jerry Kaifetz August 5, 2012 at 8:30 am

Knew Schaap very well back in the day: close friend, business partner.

First marriage he performed was my wife & me in 1985. I have seen this coming for 23 years. Go to Youtube & type in my name & you can watch my videos on Schaap & the IFB movement.

I am in a position to know and to know well: this is the tip of the iceberg. I have counseled some of his victims, yet when I shared the accounts of adultery they revealed to me, Eddie Wilson & Co. refused to investigate.

ALL of the men on that platform knew of the horrific, violent, pathologically vulgar and disgusting abuses on display in weekly staff meetings.

These men have been bought and paid for for 30 years. I am fervently hoping and praying that short of full repentance and confession (WHICH WILL N-E-V-E-R HAPPEN!), that church needs to be turned into a shopping mall.

Jerry Kaifetz

This is an excellent post, with no exaggeration or ad hominem attacks. I left the IFB 25 years ago (though I have not given up on Christ or the Bible).

I just recently found out that one of the guys that was in my house dorm at Tennessee Temple in the late 70s (lived in the room right above mine) killed one of his parishioners after carrying on a 10 year affair with the man’s wife (the pastor/murderer/adulterer is David K Love).

As soon as I saw his mug shot I knew it was him. However, at Temple it was the same as at HAC – numbers are the only thing.

The pastor in Chattanooga actually defended a fellow preacher as a Christian even though he knew this guy was committing adultery, simply because he “brought in souls” through his preaching.

Bear in mind, before they went to the police, the administration of the church had already started floating the cover story that Schaap was taking an indefinite leave of absence “for medical reasons.”

A bunch of FBCH people were online after Darrell Dow of Stuff Fundies Like warned of an impending change at the church, and they insisted that Schaap was taking medical leave or had resigned due to medical problems.

Later that day, when the deacons changed their story and said they had fired him, the first story died out.

There is no doubt that they intended another cover up. Somebody warned them it was no good this time. My guess is that the Sandusky case has shown somebody that the good ol’ days are over. Whatever scared the deacons, they then went to the police.

And they are STILL trying to control the story by insisting no charges will be filed.

ILCS = Illinois Compiled Statutes

(720 ILCS 5/11-1.20) (was 720 ILCS 5/12-13)
    Sec. 11-1.20. Criminal Sexual Assault.
    (a) A person commits criminal sexual assault if that person commits an act of sexual penetration and:

 (4) is 17 years of age or over and holds a position
of trust, authority, or supervision in relation to the victim, and the victim is at least 13 years of age but under 18 years of age.

    (b) Sentence.
        (1) Criminal sexual assault is a Class 1 felony,

The Federal Mann Act violation wouldn’t apply if his actions weren’t something for which he could be prosecuted. States often let the Feds run with the ball to save costs and Illinois is nearly bankrupt.

Former IFB Pastor Bruce Gerescner comments on

Rise and Fall of Tennessee Temple

The 1970’s were the heyday of the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church movement. I was a teenager, Bible college student, and young pastor during this time.

There were men, churches, and colleges that dominated the IFB scene and none were bigger than Lee Roberson, Highland Park Baptist Church, and Tennessee Temple. I heard Lee Roberson preach once at a Sword of the Lord Conference in the late 1970’s.

Roberson was most famous for the line, everything rises or falls on leadership.(a line that promoted strong, authoritarian pastors leading a church)  He was a smartly dressed man and a great orator. The church he pastored,

Highland Park Baptist Church, was one of the largest churches in the United States. Roberson was Chancellor of Tennessee Temple, one of the largest IFB colleges in the United States. Fast-forward to 2012.

Lee Roberson is long gone. Highland Park Baptist Church has 300 people in attendance on Sunday and recently changed its name to Church of the Highlands.

According to the Times Free Press the church, at one time, had a membership of 57,000. Actual attendance was substantially less than this. (Baptist churches are notorious for bloated membership numbers) Tennessee Temple, once a flagship college in the IFB with 5,000 students, is now a Southern Baptist college with an enrollment of 300.

A graphic on the Times Free Press website aptly shows the precipitous decline in student enrollment at Tennessee Temple:

Joan Garrett, a writer for the Times Free Press had this to say about Lee Roberson, Highland Park Baptist Church and Tennessee Temple: For nearly 35 years, this university tucked inside the struggling Highland Park neighborhood knew exactly what it was.

Tennessee Temple — first a Bible school, then a swelling college and seminary — was the child of the largest Baptist church in the country and the flagship of the staunchly conservative Independent Baptist movement.

At Temple’s peak in the 1970s, more than 5,000 young men and women intent on winning souls crowded the 55-acre campus. Outsiders saw the campus as a strange place, where people still were buttoned up and strict rules set them apart from a growing youth culture of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. But it was that separatism that drew the believers.

Lee Roberson, the founder of the school and renowned evangelist, called Temple “distinctively Christian,” an idea given to him in a vision. While the world was changing, while even Southern Baptist seminaries were softening, the school would be a place where God’s rules didn’t waver.

So Temple kept watch over its students. Professors and dorm mothers made sure the men wore their ties and the girls wore their skirts. They checked for heads in chapel, prayer meetings and evangelism outings.

They told students to stay away from the movies, to keep their ears from rock music — the devil drums — and to keep their hands and lips to themselves. “We called it ‘living the list,’” said Dell Hamilton, who was a Temple student in the 1970s and later was a trustee for 13 years.

But those deeply rooted in the school’s past know that Tennessee Temple is only that in name now. In the 27 years since Roberson retired from running the school — some say he left, others say he was pushed out — the line between Temple and the outside world has thinned.

Today, there are only 300 students on campus, and fewer of them are drawn by the school’s conservative heritage. Some don’t even know who Roberson was.

“I’ve seen people kiss, right in front of the lobby,” said Kiara Govan, an 18-year-old freshman recruited from Houston to play volleyball at Temple. There are still rules. No guys in girls dorms.

No alcohol. No tobacco. No lip rings. No cursing. No basketball shorts in class. No tight clothing. But the school doesn’t emphasize perfection. As Govan waited for lunch, her denim shirt was tied up to show a little of her stomach, her black leggings skin tight.

“We are rebels,” said Shatoya Medford, a 20-year-old volleyball player who wore a lip stud and sweat pants. All they know about Temple is that they like the athletics. They received scholarship money to come, they said.

They find less to like elsewhere. Some of the buildings are unusable. The dorms don’t have elevators, and the pair live on the fourth floor. At times, the campus feels empty. They are Christians, they said, but the residential assistants and the professors talk a lot about God.

“Everything is … I mean … It’s good to be all about God, but some things are forced down your throat,” Medford said. “It scares some people.” Some say the school’s numbers collapsed because of softening rules.

Newspaper reports of the day documented when a baby was found dead in a freshman girl’s dorm room, when the school started sponsoring Christian rock concerts, when pastors with more liberal theology were invited to speak, when the dress code relaxed.

Donors weren’t forgiving. Large Independent Baptist congregations stopped sending their children. And the alumni, the missionaries and pastors molded at the school didn’t have the money to send back to support it. Others blame the school’s tumbling enrollment on poor leadership.

A number of presidents have come and gone, some with controversial and short tenures. Others blame the school’s stature on the decline of the Independent Baptist movement, which in 2008 numbered just 2.5 percent of U.S. adults, according to the Pew U.S. Religion Landscape Survey. Highland Park Baptist Church, the Independent Baptist one-time mega-church associated with Temple, has been folded back into the Southern Baptist Convention.

Southern Baptists represent 6.7 percent of U.S. adults, the Pew survey showed. Highland Park Baptist-selected trustees, who still hire and fire the Temple president, recently hired a Southern Baptist educator and pastor, Steve Echols, to lead the school and strengthen its ties with the denomination.

They hope the link will influence large Southern Baptist churches to steer their students — and money — to Temple.

“I’m a Southern Baptist from my toenail to the little bit of hair on my head,” Echols said.

When 122-year-old Highland Park Baptist announced recently that it will move away from Temple in January and change its name to Church of the Highlands, some people wondered if that would be the death of Temple.

The church, too, has fallen hard — from 57,000 members when Roberson left to just an average of 300 attending weekly. Echols said he answered dozen of calls from people worried about Temple’s future.

Temple isn’t done, he said. Online enrollment is growing and the student body is diversifying — total numbers are up 17 percent from last year and 29 percent of students are minorities, said Echols. Plans call for tearing down the old dilapidated dorms and creating green-space.

The school’s academic accreditation is current. Echols wants to bring students to Temple who wouldn’t excel elsewhere. He said he is more focused on developing students’ character than keeping score of their rule-following.

Today, “we have different views about how to manifest Christ,” he said. “But we are here.”

When Roberson gave his final sermon at Highland Park Baptist in 1983 — he was 73 at the time — the church gave him a car and a double-breasted suit. The crowd hung on every word. “Fight for your fundamentals,” he said.

“Never change.” He had been the most serious and literal kind of Christian.

A mirror hung in his office so his secretary could always see what he was doing, his biographer, James H. Wigton, wrote.

Roberson didn’t answer the critics who called him a legalistic tyrant. There are still churches and schools where Roberson’s principles live on, places where Christians can be in the world but not of it. But other hearts did change. Christian schools all over the country allow piercing, pants and kissing.

“I can remember the day that my wife and my daughter said, ‘We are the only [women] in the church that won’t wear pants,” said Hamilton, who was a member at Highland Park and a trustee at Temple. “I said ‘OK, let’s change.’”

He went on to encourage the school to allow women to wear pants on campus. “We were riding a fence that we couldn’t ride,” he said. “The overall image was changing.” Roberson died five years ago, and his children have nothing to do with the school that started in 1946.

His son, John Roberson, said he was removed from the Temple board years ago when he resisted changes. He said he’ll never understand why his father left Temple when he did. “If my father saw Temple now, it would disturb him,” said Roberson, who lives in Kentucky and runs his father’s memorial foundation. “But I am not going to dig up the dead. I am going to let it go.”

Maybe, he said, only his father could have saved what he started. In the mid-1980’s I was the pastor of an IFB church in Southeast Ohio, and it was during this time I first began to hear rumblings about changes at Highland Park Baptist Church and Tennessee Temple.

The first thing I remember is that the pastor that followed Lee Roberson use the New King James Bible (NKJV )to preach from.  There were also charges that this pastor was a Calvinist and believed in friendship evangelism. (as opposed to one on one confrontational evangelism).

In the IFB not using the King James version of the Bible and being a Calvinist were sure signs that Highland Park and Tennessee Temple were moving away from historic fundamentalist Baptist beliefs. They were becoming l-i-b-e-r-a-l. (liberal being any belief or practice to the different from yours)

As Joan Garrett aptly details in her article, Tennessee Temple began to soften the rules that were used to control the behavior of students. These rules could be found in every IFB college, including the one I attended, Midwestern Baptist College in Pontiac Michigan.

Tennessee Temple changed with the times and if there is one thing IFB pastors and churches hate it is change. Change is considered compromise and change implies that what you believed and practiced in the past was wrong. IFB churches and pastors show their support for a particular college by sending students to the college.

The demise of Tennessee Temple is not hard to figure out. Pastors and churches simply stopped sending students to the college. I have watched this game played out time and time again in various IFB churches I am familiar with.

One church I am intimately knowledgeable of started sending their students to Midwestern Baptist College, Hyles Anderson College, Massillon Baptist College, and Tennessee Temple in the 1970’s.

In the 1980’s the church stopped sending students to these colleges and began sending students to Bob Jones University. In the 1990s, the favorite college became Pensacola Christian College at Crown College. Why the changes over the years? Again, the answer is quite straightforward.

The IFB church movement is built upon a foundation of supposed purity of doctrine and practice. When a college changed its beliefs or even gave the perception that it had changed its beliefs this was enough for pastors and churches to send their students elsewhere.

Students are often used as leverage. It is very difficult for people outside of the IFB church movement to understand how this works. There is a “you support me and I will support you” mentality.

Pastors send students to a particular college and that particular college rewards the pastor by giving him an honorary doctorate (and almost ALL doctorates in the IFB church movement are honorary) or by having the bigwigs of the college, men like Bob Jones, Tom Malone, Lee Roberson, Jack Hyles,etc., come speak at special events held at the pastor’s church.

A breakdown in this support network can cripple and bankrupt a college overnight. Staunch IFB pastors will say that the decline of Highland Park Baptist Church and Tennessee Temple is a direct result of their compromise of the teachings of the Bible.

These men, in a delusion often found among users of LSD, believe that if Highland Park Baptist Church and Tennessee Temple had only held to their founding beliefs and practices that they would still be flourishing. (not unlike delusional political right-wingers clamoring for a return to the “founding documents.”)

The Church and College committed the unpardonable sin when they joined the Southern Baptist Convention.

IFB pastors and churches are convinced that the Southern Baptist Convention is a den of liberalism and carnality. For older IFB pastors, who heard countless sermons about the evil of Southern Baptists, any thought of becoming a Southern Baptist is a sin worthy of death. ( in my own personal experience, pastoring both Southern Baptist and IFB churches, I found little difference between the two) There are several things that brought about the demise of Highland Park Baptist Church and Tennessee Temple and the ongoing demise of the IFB church movement:

An unwillingness to adapt and change with the timesBible literalism An unwillingness to reevaluate  beliefs and practices An unwillingness to accept the findings of modern science Confusing personal cultural values with what the Bible teaches Autocratic, authoritarian church leadership Complementarian view of women and marriageUnwillingness to allow women a voice within the church Racism and homophobia Celebrity pastors and evangelists Focus on quantity rather than quality, a focus on evangelism rather than teaching and maturing the church Promoting Republican and /or Tea Party politics and excoriating all those who think differently Being known for what and who you are against rather than what you are for (perception)

The big IFB churches, pastored by colorful, dynamic pulpiteers are, for the most part, gone. The demise of Highland Park Baptist Church and Tennessee Temple is the rule rather than the exception.

Thanks to my friend Larry Condra for pointing me to the Times Press article. Larry attended Tennessee Temple and I hope he will share some of his observations in the comment section.