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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.God will hold a metaphorical knife to your throat (as Schaap would illustrate by holding a steel blade against a twig the way an assailant might press on a jugular).
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.
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.
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.