Former Pastor Jack Schaap Gets 12 Years in Sex Case

Didn’t hear about this until a commenter at Boundless mentioned it.

According to letters released by federal prosecutors last week as part of the government’s sentencing memorandum, Schaap wrote to the teen that his sexual relationship with her was “exactly what Christ desires for us. He wants to marry us + become eternal lovers!”

12 thoughts on “Former Pastor Jack Schaap Gets 12 Years in Sex Case

  1. Honestly – honestly! How can one not give up on the institutional church – Protestant or Catholic – when there’s another story like this every month? How can one not silence one’s views on “marriage equality” when it’s simply a matter of time before the next “traditional Christian” leader is brought low by this sort of hypocritical scandal?

    I point the finger at the “godless secularists” as much as anyone; but the truth is that it’s the behavior of Christians that makes a hash of our principles in front of all the world. He couldn’t just have an affair with a young woman – no! She had to be a minor! He had to prey on the naive and foolish!

    • The other side of the coin is this: His demise should not be surprising, as his theology–and his controlling nature–were major red flags, or should have been.

      I do, however, commend his church for not covering this up. A deacon saw something very disturbing, and was not afraid to see what he saw. He acted on it, and the larger deacon board did not back down. They also were very fully cooperative with authorities.

      Yes, there are always going to be guys like Schaap out there. Whatever faults his church had, I do, however, commend them for doing the right thing. Lesser folks have been known to cover these things up.

  2. the only good thing, as Amir mentioned, is the quick and firm action of the deacon and leadership.

    i don’t know what it is about certain men in pastoral positions of leadership, but they seem to gain large followings despite unfounded theology. people choose not to see the truth. i never cease to be amazed at how much people justify their leader. i’ve seen it so many times.

    years ago i was in a church where the pastor wanted a new, larger building. at the banquet to kick-off the fund-raising, he practically wept in front of his flock saying that the night before he had come into that very place and lay prostrate on the platform before God and knew this building is what God wanted for these people. i was sickened. and people bought it. sheesh.

    • In Schaap’s case, you had the perfect storm: a leader who had (a) charisma, (b) narcissism, and (c) a very flaky theological grounding.

      A large part of the problem with us humans is that we are drawn to people who have charisma. They are usually the Alpha males. They are the kinds of folks who are “natural” leaders: no matter where they go, people will follow them. They could be on death row, and they’ll command the respect of people on death row. If they are classmates, they’ll be class president. If they are on the football team, they will be captains.

      A Biblical example of this was Saul. He was the tallest man in Israel, was apparently the best-looking. He came from a wealthy family. He looked the part. Israel was happy with him; he LOOKED like a king.

      And yet, God does not always choose leaders who have great charisma. He does not always pick the Alpha males.

      Contrast Saul with David. He was the lowliest of the sons of Jesse. He was from Bethlehem, which was analogous to the south side of Chicago; it was not known as a prime place for a king. Before his anointing as King, he was a shepherd, which carried less respect then than being a toilet cleaner does today. When David remarked about the challenge from Goliath, his own brothers effectively said, “You sure talk tough for someone who has never been to battle!” When he decided to answer the challenge, he couldn’t even fit into the king’s armor, and he was going against an enemy that was nine feet tall!

      Moses was also not a man of charisma. The first time he took the initiative and stood up for his own people–killing an Egyptian–he sure didn’t inspire respect or loyalty: the next day, an Israelite outed him and he ended up on the run for 40 years. When God called him, he tried to back out, and pointed to his difficulty as a speaker.

      The second time around, the Pharaoh was quite dismissive, and–because Pharaoh came down harder on the Israelites–his own people wanted to dismiss him.

      Even as the Israelites were free–en route to the Promised Land–Moses received no small number of challenges to his legitimacy, even from his own brother and sister.

      I guess my point in all of this is that we tend to put too much stock in speaking abilities and charisma. While those may be attractive, they are not necessarily reflective of godliness.

      Sadly, we have a system that rewards this. If you get a 4-year degree, you can go to seminary, get an MDiv, and–at age 25 and not much spiritual mileage–become a pastor. If you are a “dynamic speaker” and manage not to piss off the old ladies on the personnel and finance committees, you’ll go places. It’s a corporate ladder, only with a Christian veneer to it.

      Until we shake that paradigm, I don’t see the situation materially improving.

      • i distinctly remember coming face-to-face with my ex-fil’s humanity. he was a career missionary, but his humanity was raw and not pretty. once my eyes were opened to the humanity of ‘the cloth,’ they could not be closed. i lost much respect for the position. i’ve learned to discern the character of the man and look past the title.

        i imagine those alpha pastor males are fed by the affections of their adoring female congregations.

        • Again, you also have to consider the culture from which foreign missionaries are made in the SBC. I saw that firsthand at SBTS

          And don’t get me wrong: I met some fine missionaries who were humble, brilliant, and just fine quality people. Ditto for pastors.

          But here’s the thing. In the SBC, becoming a missionary is more of a political process than anything else.

          As with pastors, missionaries endure an arduous selection process that is more akin to a corporate meritocracy where “leadership skills” get rewarded over other qualities.

          Now I realize that there is no perfect way to do this–you have hundreds of applicants for every slot that is available, so you have to have SOME process to filter out the pretenders–but the problem is, a lot of would-be missionaries, having figured out the culture, have learned to say all the right things, get all the right papers in order, and get all the “ps” and “qs” minded, and impress the decisionmakers.

          That, however, does not substitute for character.

          • it seems character is so hard to determine; so much is easily hidden in darkness.

            what is most sad, as in every other area of life, these who make such debase choices taint the ones who truly honor God. while life ain’t fair, just, or equal, this is one area where it seems more profound.

          • That is true. At the same time, that is why the pastoral epistles are clear about the requirements for an “elder”/”overseer”/”bishop”/whatever you want to call the pastor.

            I take that to mean that such a one has some spiritual mileage. He has been around the block. He has had to work for a living. He knows what it means to fail and to be failed. He has experience dealing with his own sin, and has learned from observing the sins of others. He has experience getting things right, cleaning up messes, experiencing the grace of repentance, having to forgive people who have wronged him, dealing with hostile people and situations, knowing the important points of the faith and how to communicate them.

            Does he have to be a “dynamic speaker”? Not by a long shot. Does he have to be someone who has demonstrated some wisdom rather than giving canned, flippant answers to hard questions? You bet.

            Oh, and the part about “managing his house well”: that’s HUGE. The more I live life, the more stock I put in that.

            Are there 25-year-olds who could pass that test? Absolutely. But they are the exception to the rule.

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