Nine of the offenders, from top left: (first row) A. Ballenger, Christopher Settlemoir, Chester Mulligan; (second row) William Beith, Jack Schaap, Tedd Butler; (third row) Joseph Combs, Craig Sisson, Russell Overla he sermon was called “The Polished Shaft,” and in the many times that Jack Schaap, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Hammond, had delivered it, it was the kind of showstopper that made him a rock star to his flock.(Or would have, had Schaap not habitually railed against the evils of rock music.) As with most of his sermons at the northwest Indiana megachurch—the 14th largest in the country and the biggest Independent Baptist house of worship in the nation—the message struck as bluntly as a pounded nail: Submit to God’s plan for your life or be snapped like a twig and flung away (as Schaap would demonstrate by cracking a stick over his head, tossing it aside, and barking, “Next! When you do submit, be prepared to endure excruciating pain.He lifted a stick in his left hand and a silver cloth in his right. A row of white-coated high-ranking churchmen seated behind Schaap watched in silence.He moved the bottom of the stick near his groin and angled it away from himself. At the end, as usual, young men streamed up to the stage.At this point, the sermon’s climax, Schaap would heave up a high-powered crossbow and fire an arrow into a red painted on a fake rock a few feet from his pulpit.The effect was powerful, and it inevitably produced the desired result: swarms of male teenagers trance-walking their way to Schaap (pronounced “Skop”), ready to commit their lives to becoming pastors. Then, his voice dropping to a guttural whisper, he said, “Oh, oh, God.
Only then, he would growl, will you become a “polished shaft”: one suitable for God’s bow.
The true believers of the ultrafundamentalist Independent Baptist movement were accustomed to Schaap’s style.
If he wasn’t scolding his flock for not living up to God’s demands (tithing, volunteering, “soul winning”), he was delivering R-rated sermons that, for example, likened the Lord’s Supper to having sex with Jesus Christ. in graphic detail,” recalls Tom Brennan, who attended the church for six years and is now an Independent Baptist pastor at Maplewood Bible Baptist Church in Chicago. Last September, Schaap, 54, a married father of two, pleaded guilty to taking a 16-year-old girl he was counseling at First Baptist across state lines to have sex.
“He would just repeatedly talk about sex and repeatedly talk about women, how they were dressed and body parts . Denied bond, he awaits sentencing in the Porter County Jail; the minimum term is ten years.
Head thrown back, eyes squeezed shut, mouth gaping, he began rubbing the shaft rapidly with the cloth, up and down, up and down. To the hundreds of people who posted comments under a You Tube video of the event, the lack of reaction is as shocking as Schaap’s sermon itself.
But to the congregation of First Baptist, it was all in a day’s preaching.