Tag Archives: Pastor Jason Cooley

Testimonies to the Glory of God

This page was discontinued in the process of reworking the website. Many of the testimonies that were on this page were lost. Due to moving from Texas to Minnesota and all related matters, testimonies were not added to the page from January 2016, until February 12, 2017. The testimonies that were lost are in the media library of this website. Going through that library to find particular posts is very time consuming. I just retrieved many of the testimonies and posted them below. This is just a small sampling of many. Some of the are too small to read, etc. When time permits, I will see if I can edit those and repost them below.

Due to modern technology, in the face of all the false preaching by wolves in sheep’s clothing, God’s word is being preached and listened to all over the world! Pastor Jason Cooley’s sermons are published on Youtube and sermon audio. Many are listening, including untold thousands of believers who have studied the Bible and are hungry for relevant, accurate Bible preaching which addresses the issues of the day.

Pastors who preach the word of God and make proper application in this age of heresy and apostasy (to include 99+ % of fundamental “Baptist” preachers) are few and far between. I cannot possibly keep up with all the testimonials regarding Pastor Cooley’s preaching, but this page gives a good sampling.

Note. Pastor Jason Cooley preaches and teaches for the Glory of God, not to glorify himself or any other man. However, God uses men to do his work and it is important to direct people to teachings which faithfully proclaim and apply God’s truths. Pointing out the effectiveness of these sermons accomplishes God’s purposes. Pastor Cooley did not ask this author to post these testimonies. This was done to glorify God by publishing His truths to a truth starved world.

Testimonies and Hymns (083114)(Old Paths Baptist Church service – Pastor Jason reads some testimonies)

The above report includes testimonials as well as information on downloads, etc. The testimonies below are just a small sampling of the total testimonies.  I missed posting a lot of testimonies because moving from TX to MN starting in January, 2016 (and all related matters of getting settled). I am just now, February 12, 2017, beginning to post testimonies. 

April 12, 2017
April 12, 2017 Testimony
July 9, 2015

Sports Sermon Testimonial
Sports 3
Sports 2
Sports

July 7, 2016
May 3, 2015

February 19, 2016
February 10, 2017
January 23, 2016
January 11, 2016

Sermon Audio Testimony
Dinkeytown
Street Preaching Visitors
Michael Landon
Michael Landon – Property Manager
Landon Family
Michael Landon – K. Robertson
Michael Landon – Jessie Heure 2
Michael Landon – Jessie Heuer 1
Michael Landon -Contacting Lawyer
Michael Landon – Contacting Lawyer

February 3, 2014
September 2, 2013

021017_testimony


Jason Cooley To me
Jan 9 at 3:05 PM
Sent from my iPhone
Begin forwarded message:

From: “Dave B.” <davjan4@gmail.com>
Date: January 9, 2015 at 2:41:21 PM CST
To: jason cooley <salvationpreacher@gmail.com>
Subject: Sports sermon

Thanks you for your sermon on sports and idolatry. What you talked about I have thought for many years.

I try to tell others this, but they don’t listen.  “oh come on Dave, lighten up…”  I live in Texas where football really is nearly a religion.

Your sermon gave me more information to use when I try to educate fellow believers.

And you know what? Christians are the worst at this.

Dave

There were many testimonies which were posted but lost in redoing the website.

Pastor Jason’s Sermon is 2d most listened to on sermonaudio.com:


jason cooley To [14 persons]

Oct 14 at 8:46 PM

A YOUNG MAN SENT ME A FRIEND REQUEST ON FACEBOOK BUT WE HAD NO MUTUAL FRIENDS AND HAD NO IDEA WHY HE WAS FRIENDING ME THIS WAS HIS RESPONSE- IT BROUGHT TEARS TO MY EYESNo sir you don’t. My name is wade , I live in a small town outside of Dallas. After going to churches around my area I got the feeling I wasn’t hearing the true words of Jesus Christ and he wasn’t reaching me through those preachers. I prayed to the lord asking him to show me the truth in his word and to show me someone who wanted to save my soul, I believe that is the job of all men who follow Christ. It wasn’t long after praying that I realized I wasn’t even reading the true words of Christ. That day I went and bought a king James version Bible. Soon after I came across your sermons on YouTube. You sir have changed much of my life, I feel as if many of your sermons speak directly to me. Almost scary at times to see how lost I really was and in some ways still am. The lord has worked in my life in countless ways since I started listening to you, i listen to your YouTube channel almost daily while working. Your sermons have stripped me down and revealed a man living in this world deserving to go to hell.. That scared me straight! I now try my hardest to make the lord a part of every decision i make although i still stumble. Your boldness in street preaching has given me confidence to talk to friends and family and I thank you very much for giving me an example to follow. I thank the lord for giving you the passion which you have, and thank you for not staying a child of this world. You helped me see that I was a child of this world and was not walking in the spirit, and for that I can’t thank you enoughI THEN ASKED HIM:Praise the Lord Jesus Christ ! That is a wonderful testimony . Tell me friend when do you believe you repented of your sons and trusted CHRIST a lone to save your soul?HE RESPONDEDI had thought since may of last year, after reading the Bible and listening to sermons I realized I was lying to myself and I wasn’t trusting in the lord.I was thinking that since I was a good person not harming or screwing anyone over, and believed that Jesus Christ is the son of God who was sent here to save me from my sin, I believed that knowing that saved my soul. Now the past 3 or 4 months I have realized that I needed to repent of my sins, I realized that I can believe what I feel is true, but if I’m doing acts against the word of God I’m in the same boat as a lost soul. This same thinking lead me to think of many of my past mistakes and bad decisions I’ve made through my whole life. That pretty much broke me down and made me realize I was still lost, I couldn’t be made new if I was still holding on to past sins. I began to pray to the lord and ask for forgiveness. Craziest thing started happening, I kept being put in positions to be able to tell the people I had wronged that I was sorry and asked for forgiveness.
I’m not sure if that answered your question so to make it easy maybe only a month or two agoPRAISE THE LORD HE IS USING OUR ONLINE MINISTRY TO SEE SINNERS SAVED AND HIS PEOPLE GET RIGHT WITH HIM

A family listened to Pastor Jason’s message “Hollywood’s Satanic Roots” and one child drafted this and sent it to Pastor Jason. This testimony was one which was lost.


From: “Teri” <dennybecker@msn.com>
Date: September 16, 2014 at 1:55:27 PM CDT
To: <salvationpreacher@gmail.com>
Subject: Hello!

Dear Pastor Cooley,

We wanted to thank you for posting your sermons and encouraging folks who have no current church home. We had contacted you at one time asking if you knew of anyone in Southern California who had integrated, non 501c3 , Biblical assemblies. We still haven’t found any, so we are so blessed to be able to tune in on Sundays and Wednesdays. Your radio programs with Pastor Teague are also a real blessing. We live in El Centro, a tiny little town in Southern California, on the border with Arizona and Mexico. We are a homeschooling family, Denny & Teri with three teen girls, Jael, Tirzah and Hannah. We help Teri’s parents with their horse ranch, so it is not possible to move at this point in time. It can be very lonely, as we don’t fit in at the local churches, which are all emerging and the one IFB is riddled with masonry. In fact, masonry is rife in every church. The three “mega” churches here all have youth ministers that have been trained through Calvary Chapel, even though they are different denominations! We have learned so much from you and Brother Russ, we thank God for you and wanted to let you know we praise God for you and the work that you do.

In Christ,

The Beckers


Facebook To Me September 14, 2013 at 6:42 PM [Comment about the sermon Why I Preach On Politics – It’s Spiritual,” on sermonaudio.com (091414)(Click here for Youtube of this sermon.)

facebook
Louise Dreves commented on a link that you’re tagged in.
Louise wrote: “Tremendous sermon! The bible is full of examples of preachers speaking against the wickedness of the rulers…Elijah to Ahab, Nathan to David, John to Herod. So thankful for Pastor Cooley’s bold stand in exposing this wickedness. Would like to see the other “pastors” listen to this sermon, take notes, find their voice and backbone and start doing some real preaching.”
Reply to this email to comment on this link.

Title: The Naked Truth – BIblical Definition of Naked
Speaker: Jason Cooley
Date Preached: 7/30/2014
http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=730142339354Comment Name: Angela
Comment Email:
Comment Title: Great Sermon!
Comment Location: NC
Comment Text: Thank you for this sermon.  I’ve always tried to dress modestly but this teaching made me take a closer look at my wardrobe, to see if it is pleasing to the Lord.  Also, thank you for teaching the “why” we should cover ourselves. I jotted down  the scriptures you gave in the message and feel confident that I can explain to others why I like to dress as I do.  I love the phrase “intellectual faith” that you used when describing how we should be able to understand and articulate our beliefs. Again, thanks for a great sermon!


From: John Reed <johntforkik@gmail.com>
Date: June 28, 2014 at 6:01:41 AM CDT
To: salvationpreacher@gmail.com
Subject: Hi Pastor Cooley!

I’ve been listening to your sermons on television and think you’re right on.  I started working in TV when I was young and didn’t know Jesus.  It’s only the last few years I’ve come to know Christ and realized what spiritual poison TV and film really are.

Anyway, just thought I’d let you know I listen to you on the studio lot and agree with everything I’ve heard so far.  I’ve just caught you talking about Osiris and the origin of plays being religious, and it clicked with the various initiation rites and rituals of freemasons, etc.  Wow.  I thought I knew a few things, but there’s always more to learn!

I’m eagerly catching the rest of what you have on sermon audio.  Thank you for your work!


From: …
Date: June 17, 2014 at 6:32:12 PM CDT
To: salvationpreacher@gmail.com
Subject: Hello Brother

My name is _______________________.  I’ve been listening to you for a little while I really enjoy what the Lord is doing through you.

I go to an independent fundamental baptist church and find myself dissatisfied with the mundane way we do things. The preaching isn’t expository nor is it very convicting but I choose to stay because I want my family to be in a local church setting and we want to be in position to serve the body of Christ.

Your sermons are strong meat brother and if I were in position I would sit under your preaching and leadership today.

Thank you for your ministry brother..


Facebook

To Me

Today [061314] at 7:09 PM

facebook
Jennifer Coleman (friends with Jason Cooley) commented on a linkthat you’re tagged in.
Jennifer wrote: “Wonderful sermon, thank you so much for tagging us. GREAT lesson!!!”
Reply to this email to comment on this link.

________________________________________________________________________________

From: Jason

To Jessica Sullivantreadingserpents@hotmail.comPaul Pearson and 8 More…

May 9

Wonderful testimony from this young man today

Please take time to read it . His is the fruit of our online ministry and it brought me to tears

Begin forwarded message:
From: Tyler Stoner <tylerstoner67@yahoo.com>

Date: May 9, 2014 at 2:29:08 PM CDT
To: “salvationpreacher@gmail.com” <salvationpreacher@gmail.com>
Subject: Salvation
Reply-To: Tyler Stoner <tylerstoner67@yahoo.com>
Pastor Cooley,

I would like to share a seemingly normal but miracle to me. It is a miracle that I have been saved by the gracious Lord Jesus Christ. It is a miracle that any of us are. None deserve it but he is that graciuos.

I am from State College Pennsylvania and work in Harrisburg PA College towns are the devil’s playground it seems. I was raised going to church as a child and as I approached my 20s I still believed and knew a bit about the Lord but very slowly worked towards his ways however I did terrible things like kids do and God continued to bring me down for these things and teach me. I didnt really realize what was going on yet at that point though however. Approaching my late 20s about 27 I began really studying the bible hard and understanding quite a bit however about six months ago I said a prayer asking him to reveal these things in his word to me if that is what he wants and if I am ready to be able to handle it. I said “God I am yours no matter what do what you will with me”. Within a few weeks most of the things I read in the bible became much clearer and I continued to study myself with great interest in seeking wisdom from the lord. I began also listening to sermons on sermon audio at work sometimes at lunch and some sermons made sence and some didnt however after little searching I found one of your sermons and the lord spoke very clear through you. You are an awsome mouthpiece for the lord. Alot of the things in your sermons I have previously been showed by God too however you really helped to put it all together for me so that I can see the message of God pretty clearly. I have listened to all of your sermons on sermon audio some a few times over. I hope that you can continue this wonderfull work of the lord untill the end of time. You are very accurate and true to the word. I believe you preach in the way that preaching should be done and that is in truth. Nobody every told me these thing that I know them I believe the Lord led me. I thank God for this knowledge and understanding every day. Please never let anyone or anything change how you preach or any of your beliefs because you are one of the very few that is on the right track. Believe me if I didnt live a thousand miles away I would be at your church services every single Sunday. I just wanted to let you know this to testify to the truth. I have had many of the same life experiences that you have and the lord has broke me down many many times and built me back up with many lessons along the way. I still fail the Lord at times and his rod strikes me harder than ever but at least now I know what he is trying to tell me and he seems to perge out my sinning nature one hard lesson at a time. I am totally different than I used to be and still the lord keeps on working on me. It is a great feeling to know that I am his and I never want him to forsake me ever no matter how bad chastisement hurts or how frustrated I am because he is always there when I repent and he always forgives even though I deserve none of it. He is everything. He is all we all have and this world is one big scam to turn us against our true creator. Its ugly out there.  There is no other way than God’s way and no other truth than God’s truth and every single minute we must thank him for revealing himself to us. The saved must really be greatfull to him eternally because it is so easy to slip into the ways of the world. He shepards the saved though he keeps us and he is soooo gracious. Anyhow just wanted to let you know this and please let me know anytime you have any sermons out if they are not on sermon audio or if there are any other links to access your sermons or messages. Email me anytime if you have a list of people that you send any messages out to I would appreciate being on it. I am still looking for a community church around my area to get involved in. My pastor left the church I was at because he had to move to another area so I really have to look around because I dont want to be anywhere that could mislead me. I only want to know what the bible says and what God wants me to know because even though we dont want to believe it sometimes he always knows best. Also I  like how you do your homework and understand things before you preach and how you say KJV is the only true word. I have came to the same conclusion about the KJV too. Anyhow thank you for giving people the truth. The Allmighty who never siezes to suprise me with his grace and I am sure he works the same way with others too. Take care,

Tyler Stoner


From:
Date: May 16, 2014 at 8:57:14 AM CDT
To: “salvationpreacher@gmail.com” <salvationpreacher@gmail.com>
Subject: Hollywood.

Dear pastor Jason Cooley

Thought might like you know I enjoyed your message on Hollywood. On YouTube
I’m giving you a thumbs up, honesty speaking I like it.
And I agree with you..Six years ago I stop watching tv, I’m thinking about
Throwing out my DVD movies next !
Now I have more time to read the bible,
Thank you so much,         Ronald

Is It Wrong For A Believer To Sue For Violation Of His Constitutional Rights? A Real Life Study/How Old Paths Baptist Church Street Preachers Won the Support of Law Enforcement by Spiritual, Not Legal, Action

Jerald Finney © July 9, 2014

1 Thessalonians 5:21: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”

Contents:

Preface
Introduction
Putting on the Armour of Light
The Rubber Meets the Road

Preface

7The principles proclaimed in this article have now been tested and will continue to be tested and honored by the men of OPBC, a church who seeks to obey God in all matters. See the latest test at: OPBC Street Preachers Actions against University of Minnesota Peace Officer who acted unlawfully; for more, see also, Articles Dealing with Street Preaching and Attacks on Street Preaching. God is pleased when believers do things as he has instructed them in the Bible; whereas, using methods contrary to God’s word will, sooner or later, result in negative consequences. As a result of doing things God’s way, no OPBC street preacher has ever been arrested, the police in cities who have been educated by communications with the Chiefs of Police, City Attorneys, Mayors, and city council members of various Minnesota towns and cities. OPBC street preachers stood their ground on the field while gaining the respect of police and  city officials. As a result, the police in cities dealt with now protect the street preachers and put those who would assault them or apply the “hecklers veto” in their place.

Introduction

One’s heart, flesh, emotions, and reasoning tell him, when his civil rights are violated, to sue for damages, including vindictive damages; and as a lawyer, I am taught, in civil cases, to go for everything I can get. Are man’s heart, flesh, emotions and reasoning consistent with God’s Word – the believer’s God-ordained sole source of faith, belief, and practice? What does the Bible teach about this important issue as related to illegal official interference with street preaching? That is the subject of this article.

Both the goal and the method matter to God. An active believer with good intentions but the wrong methodology can do great harm to the cause of Christ. Of course, street preaching done correctly according to Bible principles is immediately beneficial. However, legal action which does not comply with Bible principles is not wise and harms the cause of Christ. When a ministry takes proper preemptive action when trouble from authorities is anticipated or encountered, God is glorified, His Bible methods are honored, government officials including peace officers, city counsel, and mayors are educated in the law; a good working relationship is established with those officials, especially the police; and the effort and considerable time needed to pursue the issue in court can be used instead for doing the works God has commanded His churches to do – it is a lot easier to take proper action before, not after, encounters.

A good example of taking the wrong course of action is Miller v. City of St. Paul, 823 F. 3d 503, from the federal 8th Circuit Court of Appeals (click to go directly to case). First, the actions of the David Miller as described in the facts of the case is commendable. David Miller is a great man of God who tirelessly works for our Lord. I admire him.

However, the case illustrates (1) the considerable time, effort and resources involved in litigating such a case; (2) that during litigation, even good lawyers can make costly mistakes, errors in procedure, evidence, and so forth; (3) that simple preemptive action would have allowed David to do what the Lord led him to do on the street and avoided any need for such consuming after-encounter legal action. Notice, if you read the case, that the police officer bluffed him-the actual city policies did not comport with her orders and actions. Because of the officers deceptions, David left and filed suit after the fact. The city, which was included in the suit, had a policy which favored David and was not liable. Only the individual lone-wolf officer was in the wrong.

Hopefully, the concerned believer will read and study the Bible reasoning and conclusions in this article in an effort to examine not only himself, his motives, and his methods but also the assertions herein. If he can show this author and OPBC where they are wrong according to the Bible, he can greatly help the cause of Christ by honest Holy Spirit led communications. All our desire should be to please our Lord by doing things His way.

Putting on the Armour of Light

“The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light” Romans 13:12 .

Several years ago I became concerned that pastors and other believers were hurting the cause of Christ by suing cities, mayors, individual police officers and others who disobeyed the law and cited and/or arrested them falsely for exercising their First Amendment right to freedom of religion and speech in the public forum. As this article will show, I modified my position (repented as to that part of my belief which was  not correct: see the conclusion beginning with the paragraph in red at the end of the article before the Endnotes) later as I discussed the matter with my pastor after the church I am a member of met the police head on as a result of their preaching of the Gospel in the public forum. I announced my belief and the reasons for it, and read a few relevant Scriptures at a meeting attended by quite a number of Fundamental Baptist pastors. I also stated my belief that filing for injunction as opposed to suing for punitive damages when one’s rights are threatened and/or violated does not violate Biblical precepts. Some of the verses which led me to this conclusion are:

Mt. 5.10-12, 38-48; 6.8-15; 18.21-35; Lk. 6.27-46; 9.51-56; Ro. 8.28; 12.9-21; 13.8-14; 14.19; Ga. 6.10; 1 Thes. 5.15; 1 Ti. 3.1-7; 2 Ti.1,8; 2.8-12; 3.12;  3.12; Ja. 3.17; 1 Pe. 2.9-25 (esp. 15-16 and 20-25); 3.14-17; 4; Ge. 50.16-20; Le. 19.18; De. 32.35 and other verses.

[Most of the above verses from the Bible are reproduced in EN 1. This is done for the convenience of the reader and also because many people either do not have a Bible, or they have an interpretation of the Bible such as the NIV, the ASB, the Living Bible, etc. Reading an interpretation can only confuse one when he wants to get into the truth about doctrine. Please read those verses so that you will understand what the Bible says about taking vengeance, the believer’s reaction to evil against him, one’s actions against his enemies, about the believer’s attitude in time of persecution, etc. Consider this article in light of Biblical teaching, not in light of your traditions. In response to a mailing publicizing this article, one pastor who has been a longtime beloved friend has already e-mailed me to “unsubscribe” him from my e-mail list. He merely states that he is making this request because I obviously do not “understand the clear statutes of Scripture.” He gives no reasoning in his request because he cannot. I still love him and his church, but I cannot let anything, including family and friendship stand between me and my Lord. I believe that Scripture clearly supports my position. I always leave open the challenge, “Show me where I am wrong.” If you can show me, I will publish my repentance. By the way, I have received communications from other pastors who are supportive of this article. Really, the only thing that matters is the truth of the matter according to the word of God.]

My beliefs about this matter of suing for damages were challenged the way that most, if not all, Fundamental Baptist preachers address issues – in a sermon at a future meeting. Instead of in-depth, studied communication in a search for truth, their chosen method is preaching since the pastor is the boss. If he has a concern or if he needs to be uplifted, he goes to other pastors in his chosen circle, the “clergy,” the chosen ones and perhaps a “layman” or “laymen” in his church who are fully persuaded that the “man of God,” the pastor, as boss, is the only one accountable to God and that whatever he deems to be the truth is the truth. Many lost people understand that counsel as to their worldly concerns is profitable. “… For the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light” (Lk.16.8b).

I was anxious to hear the pre-announced sermon since I had hopes that the preacher, a man for whom I had and have a great deal of respect, would take out his Bible and “show me” where I was wrong. He did not. He explained that after he filed suit in a case where the law enforcement violated his First Amendment rights, the police whom he included in the suits suddenly started treating him with the greatest of respect, that he won quite a sum in damages, etc. He relied on one verse which I do not remember but which did not support his position and a portion of another verse: “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (the last part of Jude 1.3; Jude deals with apostates and apostasy in a church). To understand “how” God wishes a believer to react to a violation of his constitutional rights exercised in the public forum (the method) one has to do some serious Bible study. Verses taken out of context are often used to support heresy. We talked briefly after his message, but he never offered any explanation of why I was wrong. He did give me some unneeded advice on how to proceed with an injunction. His sermon and our brief conversation were cordial but unfruitful. I still love him; I only mention this to point out the cavalier manner by which some very important matters are sometimes handled.

The Rubber Meets the Road

3Due to an incident in Faribault, Minnesota in which police officers violated the rights of men from the church I am a member of, Old Paths Baptist Church (“OPBC”) of Northfield, Minnesota, OPBC had to deal with God and His principles and earthly authorities head on.

I found that my position, which at that time was no suing for damages whatsoever, was partially right and partially wrong. I learned this through talks with my pastor, Pastor Jason Cooley, and more Bible study as the incident in Faribault played out. Instead of preaching to me, he got out his Bible and examined Scripture and talked to me about it. It was important that we do so because it appeared that, in spite of all our sincere efforts to avoid litigation (getting federal court intervention), the City of Faribault, their Chief of Police, and the police department were going to allow a city code to trump the First Amendment speech protections for our men who were preaching in the public forum. All this is reflected in the correspondence in the Endnotes. Thankfully, the city through the Chief of Police, after I got the city attorney and city council involved in the correspondence, seems to have acknowledged that the First Amendment trumps a city ordinance. The law is given in the many cases I cited and quote from in my e-mail correspondence which is in the Endnotes below.

2Many police departments and police officers, including Chiefs of Police, like many Americans, make up the law concerning First Amendment rights. Those in larger towns and cities usually know the law of free speech in the public forum since they regularly deal with all kinds of activists. This is not true in smaller towns and cities where the issue has never arisen. Shame on believers and churches who have not followed biblical guidelines and done their duty to go into all the world and preach the Gospel in this nation where, unlike many nations, they can do so under the protection of man’s law.

After the Faribault police violated the speech rights of the OPBC street preachers, I posted the following report online (no longer online):

  • “On June 21, 2014, Brother Paul Pearson, Pastor Jason Cooley, Brother Cooley (Pastor Jason’s dad) and some other younger men from Old Paths Baptist Church went to Faribault MN for street preaching, displaying signs, and handing out tracts. Two recordings of the encounter were made by Pastor Cooley may be viewed by left clicking the following links:
    Faribault MN Police Order Preachers To Stop Preaching
    Faribault Police Tell Preachers To Leave Or Be Arrested
  • “Faribault police officers approached them. One of the officers arguably assaulted (petty misdemeanor assault) Brother Pearson as he was preaching by poking his with his finger as he stood on a stand street preaching. As the officer poked Brother Pearson with his finger he told him, “Get down from there. I said get down from there.” Brother Pearson kept preaching. The officer said that if they did not leave, they would be going to jail. One female officer told them that if they did not leave, they would be cited and arrested. She threatened them by saying they would cite them for violating Section 17-42(a) of the Faribault City Ordinances entitled “Nuisance noise” (See EN 2 for the whole ordinance).
  • “She had to go get a copy of the above section of the code before she could tell them what they were allegedly doing wrong. Brother Pearson kept preaching and Pastor Cooley explained to the officers that they were engaged in speech protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution (which is above a city ordinance and nullifies any ordinance which is in violation of that amendment). The female officer told them that it was illegal for them to preach there and that ‘telling people they’re going to hell is alarming and scaring them.’”

The preachers stayed on for a time, probably a little longer than they would have stayed had the police not interrupted their efforts, then they left. However, the tone of the police was such that they believed that they would be cited, and possibly arrested, the next time they went back to preach in Faribault.

Chief BohlenIn an attempt to resolve the matter, I called city attorney on June 23, 2014. He suggested that I call the Chief of Police. I have had many dealings with police as a lawyer over the years, including examining them on the witness stand. I knew the “peace officer” mindset. But I decided to honor the request of the city attorney. I left a voicemail for the Chief. Then I sent him an e-mail (See EN 3 for the e-mail). In that e-mail, I told him what had happened and gave him links to the videos above, briefly explained the law, gave him links to materials which explained the law, told him that we were proceeding like this in hopes of settling the matter peaceably with the hope that “this whole matter will glorify God, uplift all involved and bring us closer together in love, strengthen and enforce principles which have made America great, and increase all our knowledge, wisdom and understanding of a vital matter. “etc.

On June 26, the Chief replied by e-mail, since we were playing phone tag. In his e-mail, he explained that the officer who “tapped the preacher on the arm” was a community service officer – not an officer in the Faribault Police Department – that it was not an assault, that a person “has the right to free speech and can preach loudly and exclaim their beliefs in public;” but he went on to explain that “in the City of Faribault we do have an ordinance and a state statute that defines some behavior as public nuisance or disorderly conduct” and that “a citation can be issued.” He expressed his confident belief that “our State Statute” would “comply with the Hierarchy of Law and win challenges.” He went on to explain that correct his officers used correct protocol, were polite and professional, were responding to complaints, etc. It was clear, that citations would be issued for street preaching if citizens complained. He then explained the court process. In other words, he was saying that we could take it up with the trial court judge after the citations were issued. He still did not get it. He ended with, “The City of Faribault will continue to enforce the law and protect all citizen rights, as well as  free speech.” Note. I have his e-mail on file, but am not publishing any of his e-mails. I will only do so if someone accuses me of falsely representing what was in the e-mail. Of course, I will not cover everything he said in his e-mails.

Again, while this was going on, my pastor and I were not only discussing what was going on but also what we should do, according to the Bible, should one or more of the men be arrested in violation of the First Amendment. I will explain our conclusions at the end of this article.

I sent Chief Bohlen a rather lengthy e-mail reply to his June 26 e-mail which is reproduced in EN 4. In that e-mail I 1) apologized; (2) gave him a link to a Youtube video of a Minneapolis policeman interacting with the men of OPBC on June 28, 2013 as they preached at a “gay” pride event, a link to a website page which shows what happened in Northfield MN when people complained about the street preaching in downtown Northfield and my credentials to speak on these matters; (3) presented requests for clarification of his position and some other matters; (4) spoke to the assault issue showing him why I thought that the officer actually did assault Brother Paul Pearson; (5) gave him specific law which clearly proves that it is unlawful for a police officer to arrest someone under color of certain types of statutes (disorderly conduct, nuisance, littering, etc.) laws when they are speaking in the public forum; (6) Concluded.

Mayor John Jasinski
Mayor John Jasinski
Council Member Kevin Vorasek
Council Member Kevin Vorasek

In spite of all this, Chief Bohlen maintained his position which was that our men had a right to speak in the public forum; but that if someone complained the police could still issue a citation for violation of certain statutes. Of course, he would have understood he was wrong had he read and understood the law as laid out in my e-mails. It appeared that the men of OPBC would have to go to court for resolution. However, I knew that I needed to notify the appropriate city officials of what was going on and make sure that they shared his position, as he had asserted. To do so, I sent an e-mail reply to the Mayor of Faribault, the Chief, the City Attorney, and all the Faribault City Council members. The entire e-mail is included in EN 5.

Finally, before I heard from Chief Bohlen again, I sent another e-mail in to all the above mentioned Faribault city officials in which I quoted from and linked to MCCULLEN ET AL. v. COAKLEY, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF MASSACHUSETTS, ET AL. a United States Supreme Court case which was handed down June 26, 2014, and also linked to a recent and relevant Texas case. I ended, in part, “I know that you are all busy, but I would ask you to please let the men of OPBC know as soon as you can as to what your city policy is going to be regarding their First Amendment right to speak in the public forum.” The Chief had indicated that he spoke for the City of Faribault, but I wanted to pin all the above persons and the City of Faribault down in case further legal action were required. See En 6 for the entirety of that e-mail.

Council Member Joan VanDyke
Council Member Joan VanDyke
Council Member John Rowan
Council Member John Rowan

The Chief relented.  He left a voice mail and we talked over the phone later. I think that he finally understood the law on the matter and the role of the police. I have retained his voice mail. Our conversation was not recorded, but he said the same thing, for the most part in our conversation as he said in his voice mail. Among other things, he said that he saw the videos, stressed that no one was taken into custody or arrested, that he understood our frustration, that they would respect our First Amendment rights, that the police have an obligation to take calls of complaint, that he wants to make sure that they handled appropriately, and that he has issued the appropriate directives to his officers as to how to take these complaints. He said that they “have an obligation to go out and take these calls” and that he “wants to make sure they are handled appropriately.” He also said something which causes me concern as to whether he truly understands the law, but I will leave that out of this article. He, the Faribault police department, and the city of Faribault through her officials now cannot say that they did not know the law should they violate it. In talking with Chief Bohlen, I believe that he is a good man, a man of his word, and that he truly wants to run his police force according to the law of the land. The men of OPBC know that many smaller towns, unlike larger cities like Minneapolis/St. Paul and Austin TX, have never had to deal with the controversy caused by activism in the public forum. Therefore, they usually do not respond appropriately when citizens complain. This is an indictment against many, and especially against believers and pastors of churches who were instructed by our Lord: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Had they only done their job, everyone in the land would not only see the power of God and hear the Gospel, but also know the law of the land concerning First Amendment freedoms; then, they might even study the history of how Americans got those freedoms. That study would enlighten them on many matters such as religion (Catholicism, Protestantism, the history of true Baptist believers and churches, the blood of the martyrs which led to the First Amendment) the history of America, etc.

Council Member Kay Duchene
Council Member Kay Duchene
Council Member Steve Underdahl
Council Member Steve Underdahl

Now, as to the results of the studies and discussions between myself and Pastor Jason. My belief is now, as before, that a believer who wishes to speak in the public forum should do all he can, aside from abandoning his calling and duty, to avoid litigation. I know that this is not always possible. Even in this instance, one or more of the men could have been arrested. Since that did not happen, the men of OPBC did all they could to honor God, Chief Bohlen, the Faribault City Officials, and the City of Faribault and avoid litigation. However, had Faribault not relented, we had decided that the next step was to file for federal injunction. Of course, we felt that, through all the correspondence, we had enough to implicate Chief Bohlen, the City Officials, and the City of Faribault. Had we been forced to take that route, we do not believe that a federal judge would have looked kindly on the city’s actions since they had been thoroughly educated as to the law; in one sense, that would not have mattered since there are no damages to be awarded in a successful action for injunction.

Council Member David Albers
Council Member David Albers

On the other hand, had the city not relented and had the city violated or should the city in violate the constitutional rights of one or more of our men while speaking in the public forum, I now believe, as do the men of OPBC, that a civil rights lawsuit would be in order. We believe that it would be appropriate, according to the conscience of the person wronged, for the suit to ask for actual damages to any man who lost income or money as a result of being arrested, having to go to court, going to jail, etc. We believe that this is biblically acceptable for several reasons.

3First, God laid out the jurisdiction of civil government. Much of the Old Testament deals with this matter, as do parts of the New Testament. Romans 13.3-4 which gives civil government jurisdiction in a nutshell says:

“For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.”

Ro. 13.8-14 then gives the individual believer’s duty to our fellow citizens. Inherent within that duty is to do God’s bidding and show our love to our neighbors by preaching to them.

When a peace officer seeks to terrorize good, not evil, works, he is misusing his God-ordained power – he is executing wrath on the wrong person(s). He is becoming a lawbreaker.

1 Ti. 1.8-11 says:

“But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.”

6Second, the verses I cited at the beginning of this article to support my belief that believers should never sue because of violation of their civil rights did not take into consideration justice. The above verses, and many others inherently include the notion of justice. One can do a word search of “justice” to find out that the Bible specifically speaks much of justice. Psalms 82:3 says, “Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.” Micah 6.8 says, “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” If a man’s family suffers because a government has unlawfully terriorzed and/or persecuted him, justice demands that that family receive restitution (actual damages).

Another consideration for the believer who sues for violation of his constitutional rights is his motive – is his primary desire to glorify God by making sure he is not led in any way by covetousness. In Genesis 14, we read that the King of Sodom wished to reward Abraham for saving the good and the people who had been taken forcefully by certain kings and their armies. “And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich: Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion” (Ge. 14:22-24). “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (He. 13.5-6).

The Bible also teaches that a believer is to walk in the spirit, not in the flesh. All actions and battles for a believer and the church he is a member of are spiritual, not material or temporal (See, e.g., Ro. 7.15-25, 8.1-13; 1 Co. 12-13; Ga. 5; Ep. 2.1-10 and the whole book of Ep.; etc.). A church’s and a believer’s methods and motives in all matters are always to be spiritual and eternal as opposed to fleshly or worldly.

The Bible limits what a child of God should seek in restitution. Never should one seek exemplary damages, damages for mental anguish, damages for emotional distress, or any kind of damages which can be characterized as seeking vengeance. One can study out the meaning of the various types of legal damages to determine which can be characterized as “vengeance” damages. A true believer is to rejoice and be exceeding glad when persecuted for the cause of Christ. He is instructed never to seek vengeance since God makes clear that vengeance is His and that he will repay the offender for his unlawful actions. I refer the reader to the verses at the beginning of this article, most of which are reproduced in EN 1 below, for a study of this matter of vengeance and loving one’s neighbor. A complete serious study of the whole word of God would be even more enlightening.One simply cannot get around the fact that those Scriptures which I rely on to say that Christians are not to seek or take vengeance by making the argument that those Scriptures do not apply to the scenario I am considering. My human emotions, flesh, and reasoning tells me to sue for damages, including vindictive damages but the Bible instructs me not to do so. See how LLDF vindicated Rev. Walter Hoye.

In short, I believe that the course one who wishes to preach the Gospel in the public forum should be as follows:

(1) Do everything possible to avoid having to go to civil (as opposed to criminal) court. If one plans to speak in the public forum within a jurisdiction in which he is unsure if the authorities there are educated as to the law, notify the appropriate official(s) of when and where you will be speaking. If they do not know the law, educate them. Be sure to keep all evidence possible of your communications in case needed in future litigation.

(2) If the jurisdiction threatens citation and/or arrest after having been informed of the law, file for injunction in federal court.

(3) If you are arrested at any time for violation of your Biblical mandate to preach the Gospel in the public forum and in violation of your Constitutional rights, file a civil rights lawsuit. The only acceptable damages, according to God’s word, is actual damages which keeps one from properly keeping his duty to provide for himself and his family, and even those damages may not always be called for – a believer who is suing must honestly determine if such damages are appropriate. Suing for any  type of damages which takes vengeance violates God’s principles. Suing for financial loss which compromises your ability to support your family is Biblically acceptable. I can help get an attorney licensed in your state to practice law to help you. If you are in Austin, Texas or in a nearby county in Texas, I may be able to help you depending upon my schedule.

I salute Chief Bohlen for giving his attention to this matter. He is a busy man. He and the officials and citizens of Faribault as well as the men of OPBC are better off for this educational experience. May the education extend to those citizens who have not, to this point, been privy to what has gone on in resolving this matter. May justice prevail now and in the future.

This same procedure has had the same results in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Northfield, and Anoka Minnesota. All glory to God!

Endnotes

EN 1

Mt. 5.10-12, 38-48; 6.8-15; 18.21-35: “5:10-12 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. 5:38-48 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. 6.8-15 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. 18.21-35 [Not reproduced here.]

Lk. 6.27-46; 9.51-56: “6:27-46 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also.  Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.  Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.  And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye. For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.  A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? 9.51-56 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.”

Ro. 8.28; 12.9-21; 13.8-14; 14.19: “8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 12:9-21 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;  Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.  Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. 13.8-14 [God’s command to the believer concerning his acts toward his neighbor in the context of civil government jurisdiction and the believer’s role as a citizen of that civil government. Notice that these verses say nothing about the believer’s relationship to God in that context.]. 14:19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.”

Ga. 6.10: “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”

1 Thes. 5.15 “See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.”

1 Ti. 3.1-7: “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;  Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;  One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.  Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.” [Since pastors should be going into the world preaching the Gospel, and since they may encounter violations of their civil rights, they should be aware that they are held to an even higher standard than other believers. Verses 10-13 then deals with qualifications for deacons.]

2 Ti.1,8; 2.8-12; 3.12: “1:8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;” 2:8-12 Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”

Note. Contextually, in 2.Ti. 3.12 and other verses, when Paul speaks of believers suffering persecution, he means that they will suffer, not fight, persecution. Of course Paul argued within the legal system when falsely accused of crime. He appealed to Rome as a Roman citizen and argued that the facts showed that he was not guilty. He did not have the civil rights given Americans in the Constitution, so one must go deeper into relevant Biblical doctrine to see God’s limits on one’s methods as he enters the civil (as opposed to criminal) law. That is what this article is about.

Ja. 3.17: “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.”

1 Pe. 2.9-25 (esp. 15-16 and 20-25); 3.14-17; 4: “2:15-16 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. 2:20-25 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.  For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:  Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:  Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.  For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls. 3:14-17 But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:  Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.” [Read chapter 4 in your Bible. If you only have an interpretation – a non-KJB – buy a Bible!]

Ge. 50.16-20; Le. 19.18; De. 32.35: [Not reproduced here]

EN 2 “Sec. 17-42. Nuisance noise.

“(a) No person in the city shall make or assist in or permit the making of any noise tending to unreasonably disturb the peace and quiet of persons in the vicinity thereof, unless the making and continuing of the same cannot be prevented and is necessary for the protection or preservation of property or of the health, safety, life or limb of some person. “… “(d) Permitted noise. Customary sounds from any of the following activities shall not be deemed to violate this section. “(1) Marching and/or playing of music by bands, orchestras, or other musical aggregations in conjunction with an authorized city celebration, festival, or other neighborhood or community event, including band shell concerts; or the practice for or presentation of an event sponsored by a local public or private school; “(2) Church bells, chimes and carillons; “(3) Authorized parades; “(4) Construction work conducted between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.; “(5) School bells; “(6) Emergency vehicles; “(7) Permitted street dances; or “(8) Collection and transportation of garbage or refuse in the city between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, the collection and transportation of garbage or refuse for commercial, industrial or institutional properties may be conducted between the hours of 5:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.”

Note. I included subsection (d) above because I believe it is significant that the exceptions do not include the most important and constitutionally mandated exception – free speech in the public forum – while it does include garbage collection and other similarly types of sound causing activities including some Biblically offensive types of “noise.”

EN 3 [First e-mail to the Faribault Chief of Police]

My name is Jerald Finney. I am writing this letter as a member of Old Paths Baptist Church (“OPBC”) in Northfield, Minnesota. I am contacting you regarding a matter which happened on June 21, 2013 in your city. Some of your police officers broke the law by assaulting one member and threatening more than one member of OPBC with arrest and citation for violating Section 17.42(a) of your city ordinances. I have already put the whole story online. You can read it at:

https://opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com/sermons/street-preaching/december-25-2013-an-unfolding-street-preaching-battle-in-northfield-minnesota/ You may click the link above and scroll down to “June 21, 2014 Update” to read the story. To verify the story, there are links there to 2 videos which show exactly what happened.

I am a lawyer who specializes in “separation of church and state law” and am licensed in Texas, but not in Minnesota. However, as a member of OPBC and as a representative of that church, I – and the church – wish to attempt to resolve a matter involving your police officers in the most reasonable manner, and in a way which does not waste the money of the taxpayers. This is the best way to handle the matter, in my opinion, since the legal issues have already been decided by the United States Supreme Court. Many lawsuits against municipalities, police departments, and individual police officers have already laid out the parameters of the law and shown that the litigation process ends up with taxpayers spending untold thousands of dollars for not understanding and correctly applying the law. The costs to the city and officers involved have included lawyers fees, court costs, time involved for officers and others who become involved, monetary judgments in favor of those whose legal rights have been violated, etc. OPBC wishes to act in a manner consistent with what the Bible teaches in resolving this matter and avoid further action. We wish to show you our love for you and your city by peaceful resolution. The church has already contacted the Alliance Defense Fund (“ADF”) and an ADF lawyer has told us to call if needed and they will get a lawyer who practices in your jurisdiction on it quickly.

What we would ask from the city is (1) a writing from a city official (Chief Bohlen, City Attorney, Fischer, or the mayor) stating that the Faribault police have been informed of the law regarding free speech in the public forum that can be presented in the future to officers who might attempt to abuse the preachers again and also stating that Faribault police officers have been educated in the law concerning speech in the public forum in America, (2) a written apology from the officer who assaulted the preacher, and (3) an apology from the lady officer who did almost all the talking.

I have thoroughly addressed the law on this matter online. I specifically deal with the issue on the “Old Paths Baptist Church ‘No Small Stir’ (Street Preaching) Ministry” page which you may assess by clicking the following link:

https://opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com/sermons/street-preaching/ There you may find links that will take you to court briefs and other information which spell out the law. I have a 12 page tract which succinctly lays out the law. That tract, “Tract – Street Preaching In America: Is It Legal?” is online at: https://opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com/god-betrayed/books/street-preaching-in-america-is-it-legal-tract/

As you can see from the information on that tract and on the website pages, this matter has already been resolved in Northfield, Minnesota without court action in favor of the street preachers from OPBC.

To understand the importance of protected speech and the bloody history of how it came to be in America, I would suggest reading “The History of the First Amendment,” which is Section IV of the book “God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application and which is free in online form at

https://opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com/contents/online-version-of-the-book-god-betrayed/the-history-of-the-first-amendment/ The free PDF of the book is at: https://opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com/contents/books/god-betrayedseparation-of-church-and-state-the-biblical-principles-and-the-american-application/3812-2/ One may find order information (available in both Kindle and softback) at: https://opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com/book-reviews/order-information/ “An Abridged History of the First Amendment” is available free at: https://opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com/contents/books/an-abridged-history-of-the-first-amendment/ That booklet is only published online.

Please contact me as soon as possible concerning this matter. I talked with Attorney Fischer on the phone a little while ago and he suggested calling Chief Bohlen. I called Chief Bohlen and left a voice mail. Our hope is that this whole matter will glorify God, uplift all involved and bring us closer together in love, strengthen and enforce principles which have made America great, and increase all our knowledge, wisdom and understanding of a vital matter. “And now abideth faith, hope, charity [God’s type of love], these three; but the greatest of these is charity” (1 Corinthians 13.13).

Very truly yours and for His Glory, Jerald Finney Member of Old Paths Baptist Church 512-785-8445 512-385-0761 E-mail: jerald.finney@sbcglobal.net

P.S. Should you call and get a voice mail, please leave a message and I will return your call as soon as possible.

EN 4 My reply to Chief Bohlen’s e-mail:

Dear Chief Bohlen,

Thank you for your e-mail reply on June 26, 2014. I have been working on this reply for several days. I believe we are getting closer, although still a long way from, a resolution to this problem. It appears to me that I will not be able to resolve this by communicating with you, but I am making an attempt to do so at the request of your city attorney. Again, let me say that I am acting on behalf of the men who were there street preaching, not as an attorney. We are all members of OPBC, a non-legal entity, a First Amendment church (I will not explain what that means other than to say individual men are involved, and no legal entity). The street preachers of OPBC are doing everything possible to get this matter resolved without taxing the city, the church, and the court system. They are ordered by the Bible to love all men and so they are showing their love to you, your city attorney, your city elected officials, your police force, all your city peace officers, and the citizens of your city by proceeding according to the directives of the word of God. They wish to give all their energy to obedience to the Lord which includes preaching the Gospel in public. They have no desire to bring in an attorney who may ultimately ask for certain damages and attorney’s fees which may burden you all in the form of tax dollars used to pay court ordered judgments. They will do that only as a final resort if all efforts to get this resolved according to the law of the land fail.

Let me say that I contacted you because your city attorney, Kurt Fischer, asked me to do so. I wished to take the matter up with him, but out of courtesy, I decided to comply with his request. I am cc’ing this to the mayor, the city council members, and the city attorney. Since in your last e-mail you stated that your position is that of the police department and the city of Faribault, I am sending this letter with a note (included above this letter the mayor to you, the city council members, and the city attorney. it is included, as  you know, in your letter since you saw it before getting to this part of the correspondence.).

In this letter, I will (1) apologize; (2) give you a link to a Youtube video of a policeman interacting with the men of OPBC on June 28, 2013 as they preached at a “gay” pride event, a link to a website page which shows what happened in Northfield MN when people complained about the street preaching in downtown Northfield and my credentials to speak on these matters; (3) present requests for clarification of your position and some other matters; (4) speak to the assault issue; (5) give you specific law which clearly proves that it is unlawful for a police officer to arrest someone under color of certain types of statutes (disorderly conduct, nuisance, littering, etc.) laws when they are speaking in the public forum; (6) Conclude.

(1) My apologies

I wish to apologize to you for what I feel I been wrong in my prior correspondence. I sent you a ton of educational material. I ask you to forgive me for that. The material I sent contained the law concerning the issue we are confronting. I should have specifically given you the important law. Below, I will present what it says and will attach the United States Supreme Court Cases which have laid down the law. You see, I am not the law, the city attorney is not the law, and the police are not the law; nor does any of our opinions have legal effect. The Supreme Court is the law of the American legal system and their opinions are the standard. If their opinion violates the highest law, then they will ultimately pay the price, but that is not our problem. Please forgive me for not being specific.

Let me also apologize for not checking Minnesota law and referring to that when I mentioned what I still feel was an assault by the “officer” in the video. As a citizen of America, I feel the same way the men approached by the Faribault “officials” (I will refer to them all that way, with the understanding that some of them were not “your” officers.). I will clarify below what I meant. I am offended when someone comes up to me and puts their hands, fingers, feet or anything else on me in a negative way, especially if I am doing nothing illegal. I consider that type of action against me to be an assault. I am even more offended when a “peace officer” does so; especially if he says that I can’t do something that is legal, as declared by the U.S. Supreme Court (for example, tells me that a city ordinance trumps the First Amendment which is directly the opposite of the truth – see below for the law), and tells me I am going to jail.

(2) Examples of peace officers who know the law and my credentials to speak on these matters

The men of OPBC have preached in Minneapolis/St. Paul without problem, even in the face of complaints. The police there know the law. They preached at a “gay” pride parade there on June 28, 2014. Go to the video below to see what a police officer who knows and enforces the law (The First Amendment to the United States Constitution) does:

To see what happened in Northfield, Minnesota when citizens vehemently complained to the police of that city in their efforts to try to get the police to cite the preachers from OPBC with violation of city ordinance(s) because of their refusal to quit their protected speech click the following link:

https://opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com/sermons/street-preaching/december-25-2013-an-unfolding-street-preaching-battle-in-northfield-minnesota/

Finally, let me briefly explain that I both led and participated in the street preaching ministry of an Austin TX church for about 20 years. Over that time, many complaints were made to the police – “I am offended,” “I am alarmed,” “You can’t do that,” “The place for this is in the ‘church’ building, not on the street,” “You are making people mad,” “You are in front of my business (where we were closer to the door of the business in busy pedestrian and vehicle traffic than in the incident you mentioned there in Faribault, etc. We were careful not to be so close to his business door that we impeded the progress of pedestrians in any way.). What did the police do to us – they explained the law to the people and protected us. I was assaulted more than once and spit on during those times. One man assaulted me and left to get in a taxi, but some policemen detained him and talked to him. Then the policeman came up to me and said that the man stated that I assaulted him, but that he saw the whole thing and said I could complain and he would arrest the man for assault. I told him that I came to help, not hurt, people and thanked him for protecting us and for all his good work as a peace officer.

Furthermore, I am a constitutional lawyer and have studied free speech. I know the law concerning speech in the public forum (on government sidewalks, parks, etc.) I have successfully represented people who were speaking in the public forum at trial and had to appeal one case which was reversed and acquittal ordered on appeal. Links to my brief and other information on that appeal are linked to at:

https://opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com/sermons/street-preaching/december-25-2013-an-unfolding-street-preaching-battle-in-northfield-minnesota/.

(3) Requests

My first request involves your position.According to your letter, your position is the position of both the city of Fairbault and also the Fairbault police department. I will try to contact the city officials and the city attorney to verify that. If we need to go further, we wish to include everyone involved in any civil actions that may follow. We do not wish to go that route, but just in case. I will be attempting to discuss this with the city attorney and officials so they will not be surprised; and also to allow them to verify or deny whether they share your position and whether your position is also the policy of the city, the city officials, and the city attorney.

My second request is for your clarification of your position – what will happen if the preachers preach in your town? I will give my interpretation of your e-mail and ask if it is correct. If it is not, may I ask that you clearly state your position? Again, may I ask if your position is the express or understood position of the city of Fairbault? If so, how and where may I verify their position? I will be asking your city attorney and city officials (those who I and get an e-mail address for) their position and policy and the position and/or policy of the city in the next few days.

Let me give you my interpretation of your position. You said that a citation can and will be issued for disorderly conduct just for street preaching. You then want a judge to decide the issue. As I read it, you believe that police can cite and/or arrest a street preacher because people are offended and alarmed in violation of Noribault City Ordinance Section 17-42. I agree with you that police can do so. I disagree that they can do so lawfully because Supreme Court case law (quoted below) makes crystal clear that the First Amendment forbids it – the First Amendment trumps Section 17.42 and all the disorderly conduct and nuisance statutes in America. By explicit law (see below) the Supreme Court has already decided this issue and lower federal courts have already, on many occasions, awarded damages to American citizens who filed civil rights (42 U.S.C.S. § 1983) lawsuits against officials who unlawfully arrested them under various statutes (including disorderly conduct statutes) for speech activity in the public forum. Of course, a street preacher can be cited and arrested for some crimes such as assault or criminal trespass even if he is street preaching (as long as the alleged crime is not just a pretext for arrest). Police have unlawfully (in violation of the First Amendment) arrested and/or cited street preachers and others who were speaking in the public forum and charged them with disorderly conduct, littering (when in fact, as proven in court, others were littering by throwing Gospel tracts given them by street preachers in the street), and other crimes. Ultimately, the results were acquittal, many cases being dismissed without trial, some going to trial and acquitted, some being convicted, but exonerated on appeal. Those processes have resulted in clear definition of what the law is for those who know how to research it.

The law regarding freedom of speech in the public forum has also been developed in other ways. In some cases, those whose constitutional rights have sued police officers (I will not, at this time, explain the law of qualified immunity of government officials) and cities and city officials successfully under the Civil Rights Act (42 U.S.C.S. § 1983). All that because the police and maybe the city and city officials did not know the law and, instead of doing their jobs and protecting the law-abiding preachers or other citizens who were involved in protected speech in the public forum, became a law unto themselves and abused their duty to uphold the law. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. The street preachers of OPBC truly wish to avoid all that. They have no desire to get anything from anyone unless your unlawful actions continue, their freedom of speech rights are violated, and/or you deprive them of their livelihood needed to take care of their families. Just being forced unlawfully to go to court by summons and/or arrest will interfere with these men’s ability to do their secular jobs and provide for their families. They will not seek vengeance, but they will seek justice. Hopefully, justice will be served without court action. They will love you, as ordered by God in his word which means they will do everything in their power to resolve this in the most expeditious manner possible without lawsuit or other court action. In addition, your citizens deserve better than that. What they need to know is the truth. According to the United States Supreme Court, here is no right not to be offended or alarmed in the public forum in America. I will give you some Supreme Court quotes below. Most thinking people, myself included, are offended or alarmed by something they see or hear every time they venture out in public. These men could have been offended by the unlawful actions of your officers and by the unlawful responses of the members of your community who called the police in hopes of arresting their protected speech.

On top of all that, your proposal that the men come preach, get a summons, go to court, and let the court decide leaves some very important questions. The men probably left later than they would have had the officers not interrupted them by violating their civil rights. What would happen if we followed your proposal and after the summons issued, kept preaching another hour? Two more hours? More complaints and more summons? Or would the preacher(s) be arrested? What if they came back to preach on the streets of Noribault before the judge decided the case or before the appeal, if needed, were finished? More citations, summons, possible arrests? Another important question is why should anyone go through this ridiculous exercise for a matter that has already been decided by the United States Supreme Court? Again, I will offer specific law below. I will attempt to get your city attorney to look at this. It is his job. I will also point it out to any city officials for whom I can obtain an e-mail address. In Northfield, the exact same thing happened, a police officer took it on himself to go to the city attorney, and the city attorney explained that the police could do nothing about street preaching under disorderly conduct, nuisance or other similar laws. I do not know exactly how much detail the city attorney gave, but the police in Northfield now abide by and understand their role. No civil suit of any kind with the collateral consequences to the city, to individual officers, to city officials, to the city attorney, and to the citizens of Northfield (of course, the consequences against the citizens would be indirect since it would all be paid for by their tax dollars). Again, the St. Paul/Minneapolis officers also know and act upon the law as shown in the video linked to above.

By the way, as to the incident at the liquor store, you officers were in the wrong there as well, as far as the video indicates. Paul, I do not believe, did not impede or intimidate customers.  He may have offended them or scared them by telling them that the Bible teaches that “except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish,” of by some other constitutionally protected speech. I will have to talk to him more about that. No need to get into great detail about that here. The main thing is that these two incidents (both of which I have on DVD) are establishing a pattern.

My third request is to ask you if you will send me the names, badge numbers (if any), and service or citation addresses of all the personnel who were involved in the incident and the liquor store incident. If similar incidents occur, I will remind the street preachers to get the names and badge numbers of all officers involved, and the names, addresses and phone numbers of any non-peace officers involved. Please instruct your officers to give that information if requested or not in the event of future incidents of the same nature. We would especially like to know the name and contact info. for the person who “tapped the preacher on the arm” ordered him to get down and said “he can’t do that, he’s going to jail,” etc. From whom did he get his authority? I will get the names and e-mail addresses s of the city officials, if possible, off the city website. As you know, I already have all the contact info. for the city attorney. Having all that information will speed up whatever court action(s), if any, takes place regarding this matter. If such action is necessary, OPBC will turn all the info over to the attorney who handles the case(s), thus lowering his billable hours. He will ask for attorney’s fees as well as for certain types of damages should a 1983 action be initiated. If I were licensed in Minnesota, I would handle it all myself pro bono without asking for anything more than out of pocket expenses be awarded by the court. My work on these type matters has always been pro bono. I regret that I cannot save you money in that way.

(4) The assault issue

Although the assault point is moot and although neither Mr. Pearson nor any of the other men will try to proceed on an assault charge, I must give it some attention in answer to your comments. These people are true Christians. If our Lord could suffer as he did at the hands of the religious and political crowds (because they were alarmed and offended because of what he said. We know the real reason for his crucifixion – my sin, your sin and the sins of the whole world put him on the cross), surely we can suffer such a minute affront from the same crowd. In fact, we are told to suffer such tribulation with joy.

One 2012 Webster’s Dictionary definition of “Assault” is “a :  a threat or attempt to inflict offensive physical contact or bodily harm on a person (as by lifting a fist in a threatening manner) that puts the person in immediate danger of or in apprehension of such harm or contact.” One 2012 Webster’s Student definition of assault is: “2 : an unlawful attempt or threat to do harm to another.”

As to Minnesota law, I offer the following sections from the 2013 Minnesota Statutes: 609.02 DEFINITIONS. “Subdivision 1.Crime.“Crime” means conduct which is prohibited by statute and for which the actor may be sentenced to imprisonment, with or without a fine…. … “Subd. 4a.Petty misdemeanor.“Petty misdemeanor” means a petty offense which is prohibited by statute, which does not constitute a crime and for which a sentence of a fine of not more than $300 may be imposed…. “Subd. 10.Assault. “Assault” is: “(1) an act done with intent to cause fear in another of immediate bodily harm or death; or “(2) the intentional infliction of or attempt to inflict bodily harm upon another.” 609.2231 ASSAULT IN THE FOURTH DEGREE. “Subdivision 1.Peace officers. “Whoever physically assaults a peace officer licensed under section 626.845, subdivision 1, when that officer is effecting a lawful arrest or executing any other duty imposed by law is guilty of a gross misdemeanor and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than one year or to payment of a fine of not more than $3,000, or both. If the assault inflicts demonstrable bodily harm or the person intentionally throws or otherwise transfers bodily fluids or feces at or onto the officer, the person is guilty of a felony and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than three years or to payment of a fine of not more than $6,000, or both.” [This states that an assault can occur when there is no demonstrable bodily harm.] Given all the officer said and did, I consider it to be an assault. If I had been the preacher, I would have feared that something more physical (additional unlawful physical force against my person and possible unlawful arrest which usually involves at least some force such as handcuffing) was going to occur. That is the way Paul Pearson felt after the assault. He expressed that sentiment to others who were with him. That can be inferred from what the officer did and said and the way he did and said it. Since it was an officer, I would have had more fear of further unlawful action than if a non-peace officer had inflicted the assault. He, unlike a non-officer, was acting under color of law. Actions against a peace officer, even in self-defense against unlawful action, have resulted in harsh retaliation followed by lies about what happened. Most informed Americans now understand that police can become brutal at the drop of a hat and will lie about it if they think they can get away with it. Cameras help the citizen. One case in point involved Rodney King. Should not law-abiding Americans expect their peace officers to treat them with dignity and know the law? Again, since these street preachers are believers who follow the Lord Jesus Christ, and even though they are physically strong, they are very unlikely to exercise force against and physically hurt anyone unless protecting their families against harm.

(5) The law

The cases below are from the United States Supreme Court. These cases, and many others, clearly lay out the law which a peace officer is entrusted to enforce as regarding those who speak in the public forum (this includes those who preach in the public forum).

1.  The freedom of speech and press are among the fundamental personal rights and liberties which are secured to all persons by the Fourteenth Amendment against abridgment by the state. Thornhill v. Alabama, 310 U.S. 88, 95, 60 S.Ct. 736, 740, 84 L.ED. 1093 (1940).

2. Freedom of speech includes not only the spoken word, but also speech-related conduct, such as picketing, the wearing of arm bands and, in some recent highly publicized cases, flag burning as a type of political protest. Virginia State Board of Pharmacy v. Virginia Citizens Consumer Council, Inc., 425 U.S. 748, 756.

3. “Whenever the title of streets and parks may rest, they have immemorially been held in trust for the use of the public and, time out of mind, have been used for purposes of assembly, communicating thoughts between citizens, and discussing public questions. Such use of the streets and public places has, from ancient times, been a part of the privileges, immunities, rights, and liberties of citizens. The privilege of a citizen of the United States to use the streets and parks for communication of views on national questions may be regulated in the interest of all; it is not absolute, but relative, and must be exercised in subordination to the general comfort and convenience, and in consonance with peace and good order; but it must not, in the guise of regulation, be abridged or denied.’ Hague v. C.I.O., 307 U.S. 496, 515-516, 59 S.Ct. 954, 964, 83 L.Ed. 1423 (opinion of Mr. Justice Roberts, joined by Mr. Justice Black). Shuttlesworth v. City of Birmingham, Ala., 394 U.S. 147, 152, 89 S.Ct. 935, 22 L.Ed.2d 162 (1969).”

4. [Government control of access to its property, public forums, littering] The extent to which the government can control access to its property for expressive purposes depends on the nature of the forums. Reed v. State, 762 S.W.2d 640, 643 (Tex. App.—Texarkana 1988, pet. Ref’d) citing Cornelius v. NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, 473 U.S. 788, 105 S.Ct. 3489, 87 L.Ed. 567 (1985); Olvera v. State, 806 S.W.2d 546 (Tex. Crim. App. 1991). Public forums are those areas which traditionally have been devoted to assembly and public debate, such as public streets, sidewalks, and parks. Id. “[The] Streets are natural and proper places for the dissemination of information and opinion; and one is not to have the exercise of his liberty of expression in appropriate places abridged on the plea that it may be exercised in some other place.” Thornhill v. Alabama, 310 U.S. 88, 97-98, 102, 105-106, 60 S.Ct. 736, 741-742, 744, 746, 84 L.Ed. 1093 (1940).

Although a municipality may enact regulations in the interest of the public safety, health, welfare, or convenience, these may not abridge the individual liberties secured by the constitution to those who wish to speak, write, print, or circulate information or opinion. Schneider v. State, 308 U.S. 147, 60 S.Ct. 146, 84 L.Ed. 155 (1939). In Schneider, one appellant was charged with violating a law criminalizing the circulation and distribution of handbills designed, the city said, to prevent littering of the streets even though he did not litter himself—those to whom he handed the literature threw it down. The court said that the city could achieve the same thing without violating appellant’s freedom of speech by punishing those who threw the literature into the streets. Thornton v. Alabama, 310 U.S. 88, 97-98, 102, 105-106, 60 S.Ct. 736, 741-742, 744, 746, 84 L.Ed. 1093 (1940):

  • “A threat … is inherent in a penal statute … which does not aim specifically at evils within the allowable area of State control but, on the contrary, sweeps within its ambit other activities that in ordinary circumstances constitute an exercise of freedom of speech or of the press. The existence of such a statute, which readily lends itself to harsh and discriminatory enforcement by local prosecuting officials, against particular groups deemed to merit their displeasure, results in a continuous and pervasive restraining on all freedom of discussion that might reasonably be regarded as within its purview….
  • “Freedom of discussion, if it would fulfill its historic function in this nation, must embrace all issues about which information is needed or appropriate to enable the members of society to cope with the exigencies of their period….
  • “[The] streets are natural and proper places for the dissemination of information and opinion; and one is not to have the exercise of his liberty of expression in appropriate places abridged on the plea that it may be exercised in some other place.”

5. [Evils within allowable are of state control] Terminiello v. Chicago, 337 U.S. 1; 69 S. Ct. 894; 93 L. Ed. 1131; 1949 U.S. LEXIS 2400 (1949):

“Freedom of speech, though not absolute, is protected against censorship or punishment, unless shown likely to produce a clear and present danger of a serious substantive evil that rises far above public inconvenience, annoyance, or unrest. “The vitality of civil and political institutions in our society depends on free discussion. As Chief Justice Hughes wrote in De Jonge v. Oregon, 299 U.S. 353, 365, it is only through free debate and free exchange of ideas that government remains responsive to the will of the people and peaceful change is effected. The right to speak freely and to promote diversity of ideas and programs is therefore one of the chief distinctions that sets us apart from totalitarian regimes. “Accordingly a function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger. Speech is often provocative and challenging. It may strike at prejudices and preconceptions and have profound unsettling effects as it presses for acceptance of an idea. That is why freedom of speech, though not absolute, Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, supra, pp. 571-572, is nevertheless protected against censorship or punishment, unless shown likely to produce a clear and present danger of a serious substantive evil that rises far above public inconvenience, annoyance, or unrest. See Bridges v. California, 314 U.S. 252, 262; Craig v. Harney, 331 U.S. 367, 373. There is no room under our Constitution for a more restrictive view. For the alternative would lead to standardization of ideas either by legislatures, courts, or dominant political or community groups. “The ordinance as construed by the trial court seriously invaded this province. It permitted conviction of petitioner if his speech stirred people to anger, invited public dispute, or brought about a condition of unrest. A conviction resting on any of those grounds may not stand.”

Substantive evils within the allowable are of state control are obstructing or unreasonable interfering with ingress to and egress for enumerated public places, blocking sidewalks, obstructing traffic, littering streets, committing assaults, and engaging in countless other forms of anti-social conduct. Olvera v. State, 806 S.W.2d 546, 548-549 (Tex. Crim. App. 1991) citing Coates v. Cincinnati, 402 U.S. 611, 91, S.Ct. 1686, 29 L.Ed.2d 214 (1971) and Cameron v. Johnson, 390 U.S. 611, 88 S.Ct. 1335, 20 L.Ed.2d 182 (1968). Evil within allowable areas of state control include molestation or interference with person and vehicles, obstruction of pedestrians and automobiles, threatening or intimidating or coercing anyone, making loud noises, unpeaceful and disorderly conduct, acts of violence, and breaches of the peace.See, e.g.Carlson v. California, 310 U.S. 106, 60 S.Ct. 746, 84 L.Ed. 1104 (1940), Thornhill v. State of Alabama, 310 U.S. 88, 60 S.Ct. 736 (1940), Olvera v. State, 806 S.W. 2d 546 (Tex. Crim. App. 1991).

Municipal legislation meant to keep community streets open and available for movement of people and property is constitutional so long as the legislation does not abridge constitutional liberty of one to impart information through speech and distribution of literature. Schneider v. State, 308 U.S. 147, 160, 60 S.Ct. 146, 150, 84 L.Ed. 155 (1939). Crimes may be punished by law, but the freedom of speech and the press may not be abridged in the guise of regulations by the governing entity to prevent littering, fraud, or to promote the public health, welfare, or convenience. Id. While declaring laws unconstitutional which infringe upon first amendment rights, the Court has made clear what a city may do to punish evils within the allowable areas of state control: “[A] city is free to prevent people from blocking sidewalks,obstructing traffic, littering streets, committing assaults, or engaging in countless other forms of anti-social conduct. It can do so through the enactment and enforcement of ordinances directed with reasonable specificity toward the conduct to be prohibited.” Coates v. Cincinnati, 402 U.S. 611, 91, S.Ct. 1686, 29 L.Ed.2d 214 (1971).

7. [Disorderly conduct] In Gooding v. Wilson, 405 U.S. 518, 92 S. Ct. 1103, 31 L. Ed. 2d 408, a defendant was found guilty of using opprobrious words and abusive language in violation of a Georgia statute. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals declared the statute unconstitutionally vague and broad and set aside defendant’s conviction. “The constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech forbid the States to punish the use of words or language not within “narrowly limited classes of speech.” Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, 315 U.S. 568, 571 (1942). Even as to such a class, however, because “the line between speech unconditionally guaranteed and speech which may legitimately be regulated, suppressed, or punished is finely drawn,” Speiser v. Randall, 357 U.S. 513, 525 (1958), “in every case the power to regulate must be so exercised as not, in attaining a permissible end, unduly to infringe the protected freedom,” Cantwell v. Connecticut, 310 U.S. 296, 304 (1940).” Government may pass laws which punish “fighting words.” In Chaplinsky, we sustained a conviction under Chapter 378, § 2, of the Public Laws of New Hampshire, which provided: “No person shall address any offensive, derisive or annoying word to any other person who is lawfully in any street or other public place, nor call him by any offensive or derisive name . . . . ‘Chaplinsky was convicted for addressing to another on a public sidewalk the words, ‘You are a _ _ _ damned racketeer,’ and ‘a damned Fascist and the whole government of Rochester are Fascists or agents of Fascists.’ Chaplinsky challenged the constitutionality of the statute as inhibiting freedom of expression because it was vague and indefinite. The Supreme Court of New Hampshire, however, ‘long before [*523] the words for which Chaplinsky was convicted,’ sharply limited the statutory language ‘offensive, derisive or annoying word’ to ‘fighting” words’: “No words were forbidden except such as have a direct tendency to cause acts of violence by the person to whom, individually, the remark is addressed. . . .

  • “The test is what men of common intelligence would understand would be words likely to cause an average addressee to fight. . . . Derisive and annoying words can be taken as coming within the purview of the statute . . . only when they have this characteristic of plainly tending to excite the addressee to a breach of the peace….
  • “The dictionary definitions of ‘opprobrious’ and ‘abusive’ give them greater reach than “fighting” words. Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (1961) defined ‘opprobrious’ as ‘conveying or intended to convey disgrace,’ and ‘abusive’ as including ‘harsh insulting language.’ Georgia appellate decisions have construed § 26-6303 to apply to utterances that, although within these definitions, are not ‘fighting’ words as Chaplinsky defines them.”

8. The state of Louisiana both directly [see Cox v. State of Louisiana, 379 U.S. 559, 574, 85 S.Ct. 476, 486 (1965)] and indirectly [see Cox] attempted unsuccessfully to deny freedom of speech to picketers. The United States Supreme Court ruled against the state in both cases. Louisiana indirectly tried to abridge appellant’s freedom of speech and assembly by charging him with violation of “disturbing the peach” and “obstructing a public passage” penal statutes. 379 U.S. 536, 85 S.Ct. 453 (1965).

As to the “breach of the peace” charge, the Court stated that its independent examination of the record, which it is required to make, shows no conduct which the state had a right to prohibit as a breach of the peace. Id. At 545, 85 S.Ct. at 459. In addressing the “obstructing a public passage” conviction, the Court addressed the issue of the “right of a State or municipality to regulate the use of city streets and other facilities to assure the safety and convenience of the people in their use and concomitant right of the people of free speech and assembly.” Id. At 554, 85 S.Ct. at 464. There was no doubt that the sidewalk was obstructed by the picketers. Id. At 553, 85 S.Ct. at 464. The Court said that the statute, as applied, violated the appellant’s Constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech andassembly. Id. At 558, 85 S.Ct. at 466.

9. [As to when a governmental entity seeks to take away one’s freedom to display signs and banners in conjunction with his protected speech.] A municipality in Carlson v. People of State of California, 310 U.S. 106, 60 S.Ct. 746, 84 L.Ed. 1104 (1940) sought to enforce an ordinance which directly infringed on appellant’s freedom of speech. Carlson declared unconstitutional a municipal ordinance which declared it unlawful for any person, in or upon any public street, highway, sidewalk, alley or other public place … to carry or display any sign or banner in the vicinity of any place of business for the purpose of inducing or attempting to induce an person to refrain from purchasing merchandise or performing services or labor. Id. (emphasis mine).

Spence v. Washington, 418 U.S. 405, 94 S.Ct. 2727, 41 L.Ed. 2d. 842 (1974):

[Appellant had displayed an American flag upside down out of his apartment window with a peace symbol attached. at 405-406. The Court noted, and the state conceded, that appellant engaged in a form of communication. at 409, 94 S.Ct. at 2729-2730.

  • To apply an ordinance to prevent the display of banners or signs in conjunction with protected speech activity violates the speaker’s right to freedom of speech and the rights of the people to whom the speech was directed.
  • “An assertion that ‘Jesus Saves,’ that ‘Abortion is Murder,’ that every woman has the ‘right to Choose,’ or that ‘Alcohol Kills,’ may have a claim to constitutional exemption from the ordinance [which prohibited certain political campaign signs] that is just as strong as ‘Roland Vincent—City Council.’ To create an exception for … political speech and not these other types of speech might create a risk of engaging in constitutionally forbidden content discrimination.” Members of City Council v. Taxpayers for Vincent, 466 U.S. 789, 104 S.Ct. 2118, 80 L.Ed. 772. Under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, not to mention the First Amendment itself, government may not grant the use of a forum to people whose views it finds acceptable, but deny use to those wishing to express less favored or more controversial views. Police Department of City of Chicago v. Mosley, 408 U.S. 92, 96, 92 S.Ct. 2286, 2290, 33 L.Ed. 212 (1972)(Holding a Chicago ordinance unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment in a case where the equal protection claim was closely intertwined with First Amendment interests)(p 27 of brief). Once a forum is opened up to assembly or speaking by some groups, government may not prohibit others from assembling or speaking on the basis of what they intend to say. Id. Selective exclusions from a public forum may not be based on content alone, and may not be justified by reference to content alone. Id. Mr. Justice Black called an attempt by a government to pick and choose among the views it is willing to have discussed in picketing activities “censorship in its most odious form, unconstitutional under both the First and Fourteenth Amendments.” Cox v. Louisiana, 379 U.S. 536, 85 S. Ct. 453, 13 L.Ed. 2d 471 (1965) cited in 408 U.S. 92, 98-99, 92 S.Ct. 2291; Carey v. Brown, 477 U.S. 455, 100 S.Ct. 2286, 65 L.Ed. 263 (1980) reaffirmed Mosley.
  • Even if the purpose of an ordinance does not specifically aim at protected speech, it may indicectly attempt to deny freedom of speech (See p. 34 of brief in the Steve Drake case which is in PDF form on the website.). Even if the purpose of [an ordinance] is to keep community streets open and available for movement of people and property or to prevent littering, fraud, to promote the public health, welfare, or convenience, to prevent breaches of the peace or other crimes, it is constitutional only so long as it does not abridge constitutional liberty or one to impart information through speech and the distribution of literature. See Schneider v. State, 308 U.S. 147, 60 S.Ct. 146, 84 L.Ed. 155 (1939); Coates v. Cincinnati, 402 U.S. 611, 91 S.Ct. 1686, 29 L.Ed. 2d 214 (1971); Cox v. State of Louisiana, 379 U.S. 536, 85 S.Ct. 453 (1965).

 (6) Conclusion

 Again, the men of OPBC salute you. They are endeavoring to do everything possible to resolve this matter quickly in accordance with man’s law and with the law of God. The First Amendment which provides for separation of church and state and freedom to practice one’s religion, freedom of assembly, press, speech, and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances says that cities, city officers, city attorney’s, and city elected officials are to protect the First Amendment freedoms of all citizens, including those who choose to speak in the public forum. In love, the men of OPBC are trying to treat all the people of Noribault with godly love. Accordingly, we are seeking to avoid further action in the legal arena, an action which will result in expense to your city and also detract our people from their primary duties to their Lord

EN 5 I sent the e-mail below to the Faribault Mayor, City Attorney, City Council members, and Chief Bohlen. In the e-mail was the note. Attached to the e-mail was a link to the online article which described what happened and linked to the Youtube videos which showed what happened [I am omitting that here since one can go directly to the link to see it], some other information, my letter to Chief Bohlen which had replied to his June 26 letter, and a final letter to all the above mentioned Faribault officials.

Note to City Attorney Fischer, Mayor Jasinske, and Faribault City Council members: The letter to Chief Bohlen is below this rather lengthy note. The city attorney asked me to call Chief Bohlen rather than seeking resolution through him. Out of courtesy, I complied with his request even though I did not personally feel that a police officer would have the necessary expertise to delve into the legal issues. I do not mean that as an insult. I can tell from his e-mail, which is copied and pasted at the end and which was very courteous, that Chief Bohlen has the best interests of everyone at heart; but I could also tell that he does not understand the law regarding these matters. He discussed the proper protocols in his letter; I have no quarrel with that when applied to lawbreakers. However, when that protocol is used against law-abiding citizens, it makes the officer who applies it a lawbreaker subject to civil, if not criminal, litigation. I would not know how to do the job of law enforcement because I have no law enforcement training. That is his expertise. Examining, understanding, and litigating the law is mine. That is why the other members of Old Paths Baptist Church (“OPBC”) asked me, a lawyer, to try to resolve this matter as a member of OPBC without bringing in a lawyer. Should legal action come about, an attorney who is licensed in Minnesota (or a pro hoc vice attorney) will represent the men.

Although the Chief understands police protocol, he reveals in his letter that he understands neither (1) the law of free speech in the public forum and the freedom of those who exercise their First Amendment speech rights in that forum nor (2) the role of the police officer when such speech is complained about. Chief Bohlen stated in the letter: “The City of Faribault will continue to enforce the law and protect all citizen rights, as well as free speech.” In that statement, he indicates that he speaks for the City of Faribault. I want to make sure that is so because he also stated, “I am confident that our State Statute would comply with the Hierarchy of Law and win challenges.” That is the first time he mentioned “our state statute.” I do not know which statute he is talking about since the officers who approached the men cited a city statute. He then gave his legal opinion concerning the relationship between the law of free speech in America and the guidelines he follows concerning enforcement of certain state and local ordinances when such ordinances come into conflict with Constitutionally protected speech in the public forum. I take great issue with his legal position; I believe that he is totally off base.

I want to make sure that the Chief speaks for you all before proceeding. I would ask that you all review these matters. I need to know for sure that Chief Bohlen is, in fact, stating the official position of you all so that in the event future action is called for, our attorney will know who to include in any legal litigation.  Should an attorney be called in to take legal action on behalf of the street preachers, he will be informed of your actions and responses – common sense would dictate that no response on your part will indicate that your position and the city’s position is that you support Chief Bohlen’s position and actions and that he speaks for you. You speak for your city. Whatever position you take will also implicate the entire city.

To give you relevant facts, I have copied and pasted facts about the matter directly below. I have also posted the story on the page which is available by clicking following link (left click and scroll down to “June 21, 2013 Update” once you access the link):

https://opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com/sermons/street-preaching/december-25-2013-an-unfolding-street-preaching-battle-in-northfield-minnesota/

Notice that on the above entry and in the copied and pasted page below are links to 2 Youtube videos which you may view which record the whole encounter with the Faribault officials.

___________________________________________________________________________

I copied and pasted the page mentioned in the last paragraph here One can go to the link to see it. It is essentially the same now as then.:

___________________________________________________________________________

I am e-mailing this to: Chief of police: Chief Andy Bohlen <abohlen@ci.faribault.mn.us> City Attorney: Kurt Fischer <kurt@kurtfischerlaw.com> Mayor: John Jasinske <jjasinske@faribault.mn.us>

City Council members: David Albers (or Ablers – its 2 ways on website) David Albers <dalbers@ci.faribault.mn.us >; David Ablers <dablers@ci.faribault.mn.us>; Kay Duchene <kduchene@faribault.mn.us>; John Rowan <jrowan@ci.faribault.mn.us>; Steve Underdahl <sunderdahl@ci.faribault.mn.us >; Joan VanDyke <jvandyke@@ci.faribault.mn.us >; Kevin Voracek <kvoracek@ci.faribault.mn.us >:

I got the e-mail addresses of the mayor and council members off the city website. Council member Albers or Ablers his 2 spellings which differ – one in the spelling of his name and one in the e-mail listing. If the addresses and names are no longer the same, please let me know.

You may read the cases I cite for yourselves to verify that I am not trying to deceive you. If you would like to have a case or cases which is cited below e-mailed to you, let me know. I have most of the cases I quote from below available  in Word documents.

Letter To Chief Bohlen:

The letter was included in the e-mail. I am not reproducing it here since it is in EN 3 Above.

EN 6 My June 30, 2014 e-mail to the Faribault Mayor, Chief of Police, City Attorney, and City Council Members:

Dear Chief Bohlen, Honorable Mayor Jasinske, and Faribault City Council members:

The Supreme Court, on June 26, 2014, handed down another First Amendment speech case dealing with speech in the public forum. In a 9-0 decision, the Court struck down a Mass. law which violated long established principles regarding speech in the public forum. The case is linked to below (just click the name to go directly to it). I have included some quotes from the case. I also link to a Texas case which just came down in which police arrested a street preacher and the Texas Court ruled in his favor. Please take note of these cases.

MCCULLEN ET AL. v. COAKLEY, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF MASSACHUSETTS, ET AL. struck down a state law creating 35 foot buffer zones around abortion clinics. Some excerpts from the case follow (be sure to read the entire case – click to the above link to go directly to the case):

Held: The Massachusetts Act violates the First Amendment. Pp. 8–30. (a) By its very terms, the Act restricts access to “public way[s]” and  “sidewalk[s],” places that have traditionally been open for speech activities and that the Court has accordingly labeled “traditional public fora,” Pleasant Grove City v. Summum, 555 U. S. 460, 469. The government’s ability to regulate speech in such locations is “very limited.” United States v. Grace, 461 U. S. 171, 177. “[E]ven in a public forum,” however, “the government may impose reasonable restrictions on the time, place, or manner of protected speech, provided the restrictions ‘are justified without reference to the content of the regulated speech, that they are narrowly tailored to serve a significant governmental interest, and that they leave open ample alternative channels for communication of the information,’ ” Ward, supra, at 791. Pp. 8–10….

(1) The buffer zones serve the Commonwealth’s legitimate interests in maintaining public safety on streets and sidewalks and in preserving access to adjacent reproductive healthcare facilities. See Schenck v. Pro-Choice Network of Western N. Y., 519 U. S. 357, 376. At the same time, however, they impose serious burdens on petitioners’ speech, depriving them of their two primary methods of communicating with arriving patients: close, personal conversations and distribution of literature. Those forms of expression have historically been closely associated with the transmission of ideas. While the Act may allow petitioners to “protest” outside the buffer zones, petitioners are not protestors; they seek not merely to express their opposition to abortion, but to engage in personal, caring, consensual conversations with women about various alternatives. It is thus no answer to say that petitioners can still be seen and heard by women within the buffer zones. If all that the women can see and hear are vociferous opponents of abortion, then the buffer zones have effectively stifled petitioners’ message. Pp. 19–23.

(2) The buffer zones burden substantially more speech than necessary to achieve the Commonwealth’s asserted interests. Subsection (e) of the Act already prohibits deliberate obstruction of clinic entrances. Massachusetts could also enact legislation similar to the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act of 1994, 18 U. S. C. §248(a)(1), which imposes criminal and civil sanctions for obstructing, intimidating, or interfering with persons obtaining or providing reproductive health services. Obstruction of clinic driveways can readily be addressed through existing local traffic ordinances. While the Commonwealth contends that individuals can inadvertently obstruct access to clinics simply by gathering in large numbers, that problem could be addressed through a law requiring crowds blocking a clinic entrance to disperse for a limited period when ordered to do so by the police. In any event, crowding appears to be a problem onlyat the Boston clinic, and even there, only on Saturday mornings.

It is no accident that public streets and sidewalks have developed as venues for the exchange of ideas. Even today, they remain one of the few places where a speaker can be confident that he is not simply preaching to the choir. With respect to other means of communication, an individual confronted with an uncomfortable message can always turn the page, change the channel, or leave the Web site. Not so on public streets and sidewalks. There, a listener often encounters speech he might otherwise tune out. In light of the First Amendment’s purpose “to preserve an uninhibited marketplace of ideas in which truth will ultimately prevail,” FCC v. League of Women Voters of Cal., 468 U. S. 364, 377 (1984) (internal quotation marks omitted), this aspect of traditional public fora is a virtue, not a vice. In short, traditional public fora are areas that have historically been open to the public for speech activities. Thus, even though the Act says nothing about speech on its face, there is no doubt—and respondents do not dispute—that it restricts access to traditional public fora and is therefore subject to First Amendment scrutiny. See Brief for Respondents 26 (although “[b]y its terms, the Act regulates only conduct,” it “incidentally regulates the place and time of protected speech”).

In short, traditional public fora are areas that have historically been open to the public for speech activities. Thus, even though the Act says nothing about speech on its face, there is no doubt—and respondents do not dispute—that it restricts access to traditional public fora and is therefore subject to First Amendment scrutiny. See Brief for Respondents 26 (although “[b]y its terms, the Act regulates only conduct,” it “incidentally regulates the place and time of protected speech”). Consistent with the traditionally open character of public streets and sidewalks, we have held that the government’s ability to restrict speech in such locations is “very limited.” Grace, supra, at 177. In particular, the guiding First Amendment principle that the “government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content” applies with full force in a traditional public forum. Police Dept. of Chicago v. Mosley, 408 U. S. 92, 95 (1972). As a general rule, in such a forum the government may not “selectively . . . shield the public from some kinds of speech on the ground that they are more offensive than others.” Erznoznik v. Jacksonville, 422 U. S. 205, 209 (1975).

Links to a couple of articles dealing with the McCullen v. Oakley

Supreme Court strikes down abortion clinic buffer zone, June 26, 2014, Richard Wolf, USA Today

Supreme Court, 9-0, nixes 35 foot ‘buffer zone’ at abortion clinic, June 26, 2014, Warren Richey, The Christian Science Monitor

Click the following to go to article from June 13, 2014: “VICTORY: Texas Court Affirms First Amendment Rights of Street Preachers Arrested for Engaging in Sidewalk Protest and Crossing a Police Line.” Click the following to go to the Texas Court of Appeals opinion: Faust v. Texas.

I know that you are all busy, but I would ask you to please let the men of OPBC know as soon as you can as to what your city policy is going to be regarding their First Amendment right to speak in the public forum.

Thank you for your courtesies in this matter and for your quick attention to the Constitutional issue.

Very Truly Yours, Jerald Finney

EN 7. Followup discussion of this article.

I received 2 Facebook e-mails on August 8, 2014:

(1) We are not to sue a “Brother”, I do not see anything in GOD’S WORD about suing the Government.
(2) Paul invoked his rights as a Roman citizen several times, including an appeal to Caesar.

My reply (as written with a couple of obvious typos) was:

Dear Brother _____________ and Brother _______________, Thank you both for not labeling me an heretic and cutting off fellowship because of the article. One brother, a longtime friend, did this. I let him know that I still love him and see no reason for breaking fellowship over this matter, to no avail. He has been the only negative response. Others agree with me. Still other, I am guessing, may not agree but have not seen it as an issue to get crossways and break fellowship over. Nor do I. Are we not to sharpen one another as we fight this spiritual warfare we are called to engage in? No one has shown me where I am wrongly interpreting the scriptures I gave in the article, many of the quoted word for word in endnote 1. Those scriptures lay out the principles upon which I rely for my position. Let me address Paul and what he did. Paul invoked his rights as a Roman citizen while he was under arrest, at times incarcerated during that arrest (sometimes, as I understand history, he was under house arrest – the point is, he was being detained.). In other words, Paul was charged with criminal activity. He was falsely accused of a crime for which the religious leaders sought death. He defended himself. I have done the same thing for others on many occasions. I have defended people falsely accused of crime and gone all the way to trial for some. A few of those I have defended at no charge and gone to trial for were falsely accused of criminal activity and arrested in violation of their Constitutional rights. There is nothing in Scripture which would be offended by such action. In fact, seeking justice in such a situation is the right thing to do. However, my article was not concerned with seeking justice in the criminal system. My article addressed seeking vengeance in the civil system. I pointed out that I could not argue against seeking justice and restitution in a suit against the government. The Bible speaks to the issue of restitution, and I believe allows for such in the law. It also speaks of justice and upholds justice. But the Bible is very clear that the believer is not to seek vengeance. Paul did not seek vengeance while incarcerated. Paul did not sue those who falsely accused him. Had he had the opportunity, I do not believe he would have violated principles he knew from the Old Testament and which God inspired him to write on in his epistles. I am convinced that he would never have sued for even restitution, much less for damages for pain and suffering and other exemplary damages, the purpose of which is to exact vengeance.I do not believe that he would have even sued for restitution, a stressful and time consuming process. I believe that he would have used the time and resources in carrying out the Great Commission, a thing which he did even while under arrest. A man who has a family to support in today’s world might find it necessary to seek restitution for lost wages and other costs of being falsely arrested. I would have no problem with that and might even help in the legal arena, if possible. I would certainly help that person find a lawyer in his locality to help if I were unable to do so because of distance and lack of monetary resources. That is my answer. Can either of you show me where I am wrong?

I sent a second reply: Dear Brother _____________, I did not address your concern in the last reply. When one sued government for vengeance, who pays for the judgment – one’s fellow man. Government gets its money from the citizens. The citizens are the ones who pay the vengeance damages.

The Baptists in Rhode Island


Jerald Finney
Copyright © December 31, 2012


Click here to go to the entire history of religious liberty in America.


Note. This is a modified version of Section IV, Chapter 6 of God Betrayed: Separation of Church and State/The Biblical Principles and the American Application. Audio Teachings on the History of the First Amendment has links to the audio teaching of Jerald Finney on the history of the First Amendment.


The Baptists in Rhode Island

Contents

I. Introduction
II.
Treatment of Roger Williams by Covenant Theologians
III.
Roger Williams: His arrival in Massachusetts; beliefs and differences with the Puritans; banishment; founding of Rhode Island, the first government in history with complete religious freedom
IV.
Rhode Island: Settlement, hated by Massachusetts, Dr. John Clarke, the Portsmouth and Providence Compacts, the question of the first Baptist church in America, the 1644 and 1663 Rhode Island charters
V.
More on Puritan persecutions including the beating of Obadiah Holmes and Puritan rationale for persecution
VI.
Dr. John Clarke’s beliefs concerning separation of church and state and his successful efforts to secure 1663 Charter of Rhode Island which granted “unprecedented liberties in religious matters”
VII.
Conclusion: The effect of the Rhode Island government thus established


I. Introduction

As pointed out by John Callender in 1838:

“Bishop Sanderson says [] that ‘the Rev. Archbishop Whitgift, and learned Hooker, men of great judgment, and famous in their times, did long since foresee and declare their fear, that if ever Puritanism should prevail among us, it would soon draw in Anabaptism after it.—This Cartwright and the Disciplinarians denied, and were offended at.—But these good men judged right; they considered, only as prudent men, that Anabaptism had its rise from the same principles the Puritans held, and its growth from the same course they took; together with the natural tendency of their principles and practices toward it especially that ONE PRINCIPLE, as it was then by them misunderstood that the scripture was adequate agendorum regula, so as nothing might be lawfully done, without express warrant, either from some command or example therein contained…” (John Callender, The Civil and Religious Affairs of the Colony of Rhode-Island (Providence: Knowles, Vose & Company, 1838), pp. 113-114).

History certainly proves that to have been the case in the English colonies, as shown by the establishment of Rhode Island. Biblical disagreement with Puritan theology was the force behind the creation of the first government in history with religious freedom, the government of the colony of Rhode Island.

“Mr. R[oger] Williams and Mr. J[ohn] Clark[e], two fathers of [Rhode Island], appear among the first who publicly avowed that Jesus Christ is king in his own kingdom, and that no others had authority over his subjects, in the affairs of conscience and eternal salvation” (Ibid., p. 70). “Roger Williams was the first person in modern Christendom to maintain the doctrine of religious liberty and unlimited toleration” (Ibid., Appendix IV, p. 190).  Although America owes its present form of government to Roger Williams, along with Dr. John Clarke, as much or more than to any men, Mr. Williams is vilified and Dr. Clarke is generally ignored by Peter Marshall and David Manuel, who assert, against the facts, that the “Puritans were the people who, more than any other, made possible America’s foundation as a Christian nation” (Peter Marshall and David Manuel, The Light and the Glory, (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1977), p. 146).


II. Treatment of Roger Williams by Covenant Theologians

Because Roger Williams disagreed with those in the established church in Massachusetts, Marshall and Manuel condemn him as a hopeless heretic. For example, Marshall and Manuel, in condemning and lying about Williams, reveal that the Christian nationalist or revisionist condemns, in a way that praises their own views, anyone who disagrees with their contorted interpretation of Scripture and justifies the intervention of the civil government, at the behest of the established church, into spiritual matters. Marshall and Manuel sharply criticize Williams for his views and for refusing to change his views because those views were contrary to those of the established church in Massachusetts:

  • “Williams insistence upon absolute purity in the church, beyond all normal extremes, grew out of his own personal obsession with having to be right—in doctrine, in conduct, in church associations—in short, in every area of life. This need to be right colored everything he did or thought; indeed, it drove him into one untenable position after another. For the alternative—facing up to one’s self-righteousness and repenting of it on a continuing basis—was more than he could bring himself to accept.
  • “For Williams, then, Christianity became so super-spiritualized that it was removed from all contact with the sinful realities of daily living. In his view, the saints of New England belonged to a spiritual Israel, in the same way as did all Christians everywhere. But there should be no talk of any attempt on God’s part to build His Kingdom on earth through imperfect human beings. For Winthrop and the others to even suggest that God might be creating a new Israel in this Promised Land of America was to ‘… pull God and Christ and Spirit out of Heaven, and subject them unto natural, sinful, inconstant men…’ (Ibid., p. 193).”

Never do they glorify Roger Williams, as they glorified the Puritans for disagreeing with the established Church in England. Never do they condemn the Puritans for persecuting dissenters as they condemn the Church of England for persecuting the Puritans and Pilgrims.

Their account of Williams not only is given from their incorrect theological point of view which believes that the church, working with the civil government, is going to bring in the millennium before the return of Christ but also is a downright distortion of facts. Williams did not super-spiritualize Christianity. He just pointed out that the church operates under different rules than did Judaism. He did not remove Christianity from all contact with the sinful realities of daily living. He just correctly argued that the church and a Gentile nation is directed by the Word of God to deal with those realities in a manner differing from that of Judaism and the nation Israel in the theocracy. He did believe that Christians everywhere belonged to a “spiritual Israel” called the church. He did not believe that there should be no talk of any attempt on God’s part to build His kingdom on earth through imperfect human beings. Rather, he believed that man should have freedom of conscience in all things spiritual, a concept diametrically opposed to the theology of the established church of Massachusetts. He believed that the state should punish those who violate penal laws which should deal only with man’s relationship with his fellow man. He also believed, contrary to Puritan theology, that the church should not merge with the state for any reason, and that the church should not use the arm of the state to enforce the first four of the Ten Commandments which deal with man’s relationship to God and that the state was to punish only matters involving man’s relationship to man.

Marshall and Manuel continue their distortions and inaccuracies. They define liberty of conscience as meaning, “Nobody is going to tell me what I should do or believe” (Ibid.). As to the issue of “liberty of conscience” they state:

“Liberty of conscience is indeed a vital part of Christianity—as long as it is in balance with all the other parts. But taken out of balance and pursued to its extremes (which is where Williams, ever the purist, invariably pursued everything), it becomes a license to disregard all authority with which we do not happen to agree at the time.  This was the boat which Williams was rowing when he landed at Boston. Since, at its extreme, liberty of conscience stressed freedom from any commitment to corporate unity, Williams was not about to hear God through Winthrop or anyone else. (And tragically, he never did.)” (Ibid., p. 194).

Williams did not believe that liberty of conscience becomes a license to disregard all authority with which we do not happen to agree. Rather he believed, contrary to the beliefs of John Winthrop and the other leaders of the establishment in Massachusetts, that the church and state were separate—that is, that God ordained both church and state, each with its sphere of authority, the church over spiritual matters and the state over earthly matters, and both with totally different God-given guidelines.

Williams believed that both church and state were to be under God. He wrote and taught this extensively. Here is one example:

“I acknowledge [the civil magistrate] ought to cherish, as a foster-father, the Lord Jesus, in his truth, in his saints, to cleave unto them himself, and to countenance them even to the death, yea, also, to break the teeth of the lions, who offer civil violence and injury to them.
“But to see all his subjects Christians, to keep such church or Christians in the purity of worship, and see them do their duty, this belongs to the head of the body, Christ Jesus, and [to] such spiritual officers as he hath to this purpose deputed, whose right it is, according to the true pattern. Abimelech, Saul, Adonijah, Athalia, were but usurpers: David, Solomon, Joash, &c., they were the true heirs and types of Christ Jesus, in his true power and authority in his kingdom” (Roger Williams and Edward Bean Underhill, The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution for Cause of Conscience Discussed and Mr. Cotton’s Letter Examined and Answered (London: Printed for the Society, by J. Haddon, Castle Street, Finsbury, 1848), pp. 100-101. In this book, The Bloudy Tenent …, Williams addresses the arguments presented by Covenant Theology.).

Marshall and Manuel attribute the qualities of the leaders of the established church in Massachusetts to Roger Williams instead. They assert that he “desperately needed to come into reality and see his sin—how arrogant and judgmental and self-righteous he was” (Marshall and Manuel, The Light and the Glory, p.194).  They assert that he could have been “a great general in Christ’s army” since “he was tremendously gifted: in intellect, preaching, personality, and leadership ability” (Ibid., pp. 194-195). But he had one tragic flaw: he believed in freedom of conscience and held other views contrary to that of the established church and could not be persuaded otherwise, or, as Marshall and Manuel put it:

“[H]e would not see his wrongness, and he was so bound up in his intellect that no one could get close to the man, because he was forever hammering home points on ‘the truth.’ Trying to relate to him on a personal level was like trying to relate to cold steel—highly polished and refined” (Ibid., p. 195).

As to the Puritans on the other hand, Marshall and Manuel have nothing but praise. Every page of The Light and the Glory dealing with the Puritans and their leaders are filled with praise and notations as to how the providence of God was opening the door for the right people, at the right time, in the right place to correct all the errors of Christendom. For example, they write:

  • “Since God’s will was made known to them [the Puritans] through His inspired Word in the Bible, they naturally wanted to get as close to a Scriptural order of worship as possible. Indeed, what they ultimately wanted was to bring the Church back to something approximating New Testament Christianity.
  • “The Puritan dilemma was similar to that of many newly regenerate Christians of our time. They faced a difficult choice: should they leave their seemingly lifeless churches to join or start a live one, or should they stay where they were, to be used as that one small candle to which William Bradford referred?
  • “God was bringing the Puritans into compassion and humility.
  • “As historian Perry Miller would say, ‘Winthrop and his colleagues believed … that their errand was not a mere scouting expedition: it was an essential maneuver in the drama of Christendom. The [Massachusetts] Bay Company was not a battered remnant of suffering Separatists thrown up on a rocky shore; it was an organized task force of Christians, executing a flank attack on the corruptions of Christendom. These Puritans did not flee to America; they went in order to work out that complete reformation which was not yet accomplished in England and Europe’” (Ibid., pp. 150, 151, 152, 159).

The Puritans grew into such compassion and humility that they were able to horribly persecute Christians and others who did not agree with their unbiblical doctrines which the Puritans proudly believed to be inerrant.

Williams, in his relationship to the religious leaders of Massachusetts, was a lot like the Lord Jesus and the apostles in their relationship to the religious Jews. The religious leaders of Massachusetts made a mistake—they did not call upon the civil government (which was at their disposal) to kill Williams as they did with some other dissenters. Had they done so, we might not have our present form of civil government. They only banished him, a tragic error of highest proportions from their point of view.

As to the issue of persecution by the established church, Marshall and Manuel are hypocrites. They condemn the persecution of the Separatists (later called Pilgrims) and the Puritans in England, but then glorify the Puritans when they were persecuted and when they became the persecutors and persecuted those dissenters such as the Baptists and Quakers who did not conform to their theology in the New World. They complain that the Separatists:

  • “were hounded, bullied, forced to pay assessments to the Church of England, clapped into prison on trumped-up charges, and driven underground. They met in private homes, to which they came at staggered intervals and by different routes, because they were constantly being spied upon. In the little Midlands town of Scrooby, persecution finally reached the point where the congregation to which Bradford belonged elected to follow those other Separatists who had already sought religious asylum in Holland”(Ibid., pp. 108-109).
  • As to the Puritans … they write, “[The Puritans accepted the pressure of the mounting persecution] with grace and, as persecution often does, it served to rapidly deepen and mature the movement, bonding them together in common cause and making them more determined than ever to live as God had called them…. For a number of Puritans, [the marking of the Puritans for suppression by Charles I] was a watershed. It appeared no longer possible to reform the Church of England from within” (Ibid., p. 152).

Marshall and Manuel condemn the Church of England for persecuting Puritans and Pilgrims, but glorify the Puritans for persecuting Baptists.

Under the theology of Marshall and Manuel, and those of like mind, the government of Rhode Island—the first civil government in history which guaranteed religious liberty and freedom of conscience and which provided much more a model for the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America than did the government of the Puritans or that of any other established church—would not have existed nor would the United States exist in its present form. America would have no First Amendment to the United States Constitution, the amendment which was written to guarantee freedom of conscience. Men would still be forced to accept infant baptism, pay taxes to support the established church, attend the established church, proclaim allegiance to the established church, etc. Dissenters would still be persecuted. The church would still be working with the state to “bring in the kingdom,” something that the Word of God teaches is never going to happen.


III. Roger Williams: His arrival in Massachusetts; beliefs and differences with the Puritans; banishment; founding of Rhode Island, the first government in history with complete religious freedom

Roger Williams, like the Puritans, fled tyranny over thought and conscience and sought refuge for conscience amid the wilds of America. He arrived in Boston on February 5, 1631. He was highly educated and well acquainted with the classics and original languages of the Scriptures, and had been in charge of a parish in England. Immediately upon arrival, Mr. Williams, not being a man who could hide his views and principles, declared that “the magistrate might not punish a breach of the Sabbath, nor any other offence, as it was a breach of the first table” (Isaac Backus, A History of New England With Particular Reference to the Denomination of Christians called Baptists, Volume 1 (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock Publishers, Previously published by Backus Historical Society, 1871), p. 41; Williams and Underhill, p. ix, noting in fn. 1 that “Such is Governor Winthrop’s testimony. Knowles, p. 46.”).  He also, contrary to the practice of the church at Boston, hesitated to hold communion with any church who held communion with the Church of England. “He could not regard the cruelties and severities, and oppression, exercised by the Church of England, with any feelings but those of indignation” (Williams and Underhill, p. x).

Mr. Williams remained at odds with the established church and government ministers in Massachusetts. He was accepted by the church at Salem, but that was blocked by the General Court of the Colony. Plymouth warmly received him into the ministry where he labored two years. Exercising their right under congregational governance, the church at Salem called him, over the objections of the magistrates and ministers, to be their settled teacher. At Salem he filled the place with principles of rigid separation tending to Anabaptism (Backus, A History of New England, Volume 1, p. 44).  In spite of the fact that “Mr. Williams appears, by the whole course and tenor of his life and conduct [], to have been one of the most disinterested men that ever lived, a most pious and heavenly minded soul” (Callender, p. 72), the Court soon summoned him “for teaching publicly ‘against the king’s patent, and our great sin in claiming right thereby to this country’” by taking the land of the natives without payment (Backus, A History of New England, Volume 1, pp. 44-46. Williams and Underhill, p. xiii). The colonies held their land under the royal patent. Under the royal right of patent, Christian kings (so called) were given the right to take and give away the lands and countries of other men (Thomas Armitage, The History of the Baptists, Volumes 2 (Springfield, Mo.: Baptist Bible College, 1977 Reprint),pp. 638-639)); “and for terming the churches of England antichristian” (Williams and Underhill, pp. xiii-xiv).  Charges were brought. “He was accused of maintaining:

“(1) That the magistrate ought not to punish the breach of the first table of the law, otherwise in such cases as did disturb the civil peace.
“(2) That he ought not to tender an oath to an unregenerate man.
“(3) That a man ought not to pray with the unregenerate, though wife or child.
“(4) That a man ought not to give thanks after the sacrament nor after meat” (Ibid, p. xiv; Callender, p. 72; Backus, A History of New England…, Volume I, p. 53 (Backus adds item 2, as, according to footnote 1, p. 53, his is from Governor Winthrop’s Journal, Vol. 1, pp. [162, 163])).

The ministers of the Court, when Mr. Williams appeared before them, “had already decided ‘that any one was worthy of banishment who should obstinately assert, that the civil magistrate might not intermeddle even to stop a church from apostasy and heresy’” (Williams and Underhill, pp. xv, 387-389). The “grand difficulty they had with Mr. Williams was, his denying the civil magistrate’s right to govern in ecclesiastical affairs” (Backus, A History of New England…, Volume 1, p. 53; Armitage, The History of the Baptists, Volume 2, pp. 627-640).

He was banished from the colony and ordered to board ship for England. Instead, he went, in the dead of winter, to what was to become Rhode Island where he was supported by the Indians whom he, throughout his long life, unceasingly tried to benefit and befriend (Williams and Underhill., p. xxiii).  He bought land from the Indians and founded the town of Providence where persecution has never “sullied its annals” (Ibid.).  “[T]he harsh treatment and cruel exile of Mr. Williams seem designed by his brethren for the same evil end [as that of the brethren of Joseph when they sold him into slavery], but was, by the goodness of the same overruling hand [of divine providence] turned to the most beneficent purposes” (Backus, A History of New England…, Volume 1, p. 59).

“[W]hat human heart can be unaffected with the thought that a people who had been sorely persecuted in their own country, so as to flee three thousand miles into a wilderness for religious liberty, yet should have that imposing temper cleaving so fast to them, as not to be willing to let a godly minister, who testified against it, stay even in any neighboring part of this wilderness, but it moved them to attempt to take him by force, to send him back into the land of their persecutors” (Ibid., p. 56)!

Thirty-five years later Mr. Williams wrote, “Here, all over this colony, a great number of weak and distressed souls, scattered, are flying hither from Old and New England, the Most High and Only Wise hath, in his infinite wisdom, provided this country and this corner as a shelter for the poor and persecuted, according to their several persuasions” (Williams and Underhill, p. xxv, citing in fn. 5: Letter to Mason. Knowles, p. 398).  By 1838 in Rhode Island there were no less than thirty-two distinct societies or worshipping assemblies of Christians of varying denominations, including eight of the Quaker persuasion, eight Baptist churches, four Episcopal, and three Presbyterian or Congregationalist (Callender, pp. 121-122).

Roger Williams has been praised for his contributions in the quest for religious freedom. For example:

  • Isaac Backus wrote that Rhode Island “was laid upon such principles as no other civil government had ever been, as we know of, since antichrist’s first appearance; “and ROGER WILLIAMS justly claims the honor of having been the first legislator in the world, in its latter ages, that fully and effectually provided for and established a free, full and absolute LIBERTY OF CONSCIENCE” (Backus, A History of New England…, Volume 1, pp. 75-76).
  • “We cannot forbear to add the oft-quoted tribute paid to Roger Williams by the historian Bancroft:—‘He was the first person in modern Christendom to assert in its plentitude the doctrine of liberty of conscience, the equality of opinions before the law; and in its defence he was the harbinger of Milton, the precursor and the superior of Jeremy Taylor. For Taylor limited his toleration to a few Christian sects; the philanthropy of Williams compassed the earth. Taylor favored partial reform, commended lenity, argued for forbearance, and entered a special plea in behalf of each tolerable sect; Williams would permit persecution of no opinion, of no religion, leaving heresy unharmed by law, and orthodoxy unprotected by the terrors of penal statutes…. If Copernicus is held in perpetual reverence, because, on his deathbed, he published to the world that the sun is the centre of our system; if the name of Kepler is preserved in the annals of human excellence for his sagacity in detecting the laws of the planetary motion; if the genius of Newton has been almost adored for dissecting a ray of light, and weighing heavenly bodies in a balance,—let there be for the name of Roger Williams, at least some humble place among those who have advanced moral science and made themselves the benefactors of mankind’” (Ibid., p. 76, fn. 1; Armitage, The History of the Baptists, Volume 2, p. 644).

IV. Rhode Island: Settlement, hated by Massachusetts, Dr. John Clarke, the Portsmouth and Providence Compacts, the question of the first Baptist church in America, the 1644 and 1663 Rhode Island charters

Rhode Island was settled in 1638 by others who were driven from Massachusetts by the ruling clerical power. Massachusetts had such great hate for Rhode Island that it passed a law prohibiting the inhabitants of Providence from coming within its bounds.

Another leader instrumental in the formation of the government of the Rhode Island colony was Dr. John Clarke, a physician. Dr. John Clarke of England moved to Boston in November of 1637. He proposed to some friends “for peace sake, and to enjoy the freedom of their consciences, to remove out of that jurisdiction” (Ibid., p. 71. See also, John Clarke, Ill News from New-England or A Narative of New-Englands Persecution (Paris, Ark.: The Baptist Standard Bearer, Inc., Reprint: 1st printed in 1652), pp. 22-25).  Their motion was granted & Dr. Clarke and eighteen families went to New Hampshire which proved too cold for their liking. They left and stopped in Rhode Island, intending to go to Long Island or Delaware Bay. There Dr. Clarke met Roger Williams. The two “immediately became fast friends and associates, working together in a most harmonious manner, both socially and politically, throughout the remainder of Clarke’s life” (Louis Franklin Asher, John Clarke (1609-1676): Pioneer in American Medicine, Democratic Ideals, and Champion of Religious Liberty (Paris, Arkansas: The Baptist Standard Bearer, Inc.), p. 27; Clarke).  With the help of Mr. Williams they settled in that colony at Aquidneck. “The first settlement on the Island was called Pocasset; after the founding of Newport, it was renamed Portsmouth” (Asher, p. 29; Clarke).

Perhaps Marshall and Manuel had good reason, from their point of view, for making not a single mention of Dr. Clarke in The Light and the Glory. Isaac Backus found it to be very extraordinary that he could find from any author or record no reflection cast upon Dr. Clarke by any one (Backus, A History of New England…, Volume 1, p. 349).  Dr. Clarke left as spotless a character as any man [Isaac Backus] knew of, that ever acted in any public station in this country (Ibid., p. 348).  “The Massachusetts writers have been so watchful and careful, to publish whatever they could find, which might seem to countenance the severities, they used towards dissenters from their way, that [Mr. Backus] expected to find something of that nature against Mr. Clarke”(Ibid., p. 349)

The first government in history that was to have complete freedom of conscience and religious liberty also declared that the government was to be under the Lord Jesus Christ. Signed on March 7, 1638, the Portsmouth Compact read:

  • “We whose names are underwritten do swear solemnly, in the presence of Jehovah, to incorporate ourselves into a body politic, and as he shall help us, will submit our persons, lives and estates, unto our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of kings, and Lord of lords, and to all those most perfect and absolute laws of his, given us in his holy word of truth, to be guided and judged thereby” (Ibid., pp. 77, 427.  On p. 427 is the exact copy from Rhode Island records.  In the margin are citations to Exodus 34.3, 4; II Chronicles 11.3, and II Kings 11, 17). [19 signatures followed: Thomas Savage, William Dyre, William Freeborne, Philip Sherman, John Walker, Richard Carder, William Baulstone, Edward Hutchinson, Sen., Henry Bull, Randal Holden, William Coddington, John Clarke, William Hutchinson, John Coggshall, William Aspinwall, Samuel Wilbore, John Porter, Edward Hutchinson, Jun., and John Sanford.].
    Three passages were marked in support of the compact: Exodus 24.3, 4; II Chronicles 11.3; and II Kings 11.17.

The chief architect of this concise and powerful piece of political history was either William Aspinwall or Dr. John Clarke, probably Dr. Clarke (Asher, p. 23; James R. Beller, America in Crimson Red (Arnold, Missouri: Prairie Fire Press, 2004), p. 24. Mr. Beller states that the author was John Clarke. Mr. Asher asserts that Clarke was probably the writer since the passages referenced in support of the agreement were marked in Dr. Clarke’s Bible).  This compact placed Rhode Island under the one true God, the Lord Jesus Christ and His principles and laws given in the Bible. That Dr. Clarke “sought to help establish a government free of all religious restriction, one which in no way infringed upon the freedom of any religious conscience” is “evident from his remarks to the leaders of the established colonies upon his first arrival in Boston and by his subsequent activities throughout New England” (Asher, p. 27). A civil government under Jesus Christ with freedom of religion is consistent with biblical principles.

Isaac Backus commented on this compact:

This was doubtless in their view a better plan than any of the others had laid, as they were to be governed by the perfect laws of Christ. But the question is, how a civil polity could be so governed, when he never erected any such state under the gospel” (Backus, A History of New England…, Volume 1, p. 78)?

Mr. Backus asked a good question. Too bad our founding fathers did not find and apply the answer.

On the same day the Portsmouth Compact was signed, “[n]ineteen men incorporated into a body politic, and chose Mr. Coddington to be their judge or chief magistrate” (Ibid., p. 72; Asher, p. 27).  The first General Meeting of the Portsmouth government convened on May 13, 1638. “The apportionment of land, a mutual defense of territory, and provision for a ‘Meeting House’ were ordered” (Asher, p. 29).

Soon, a civil government was formed which invested power in the freemen, none of whom were to be “accounted delinquents for doctrine,” “provided it be not directly repugnant to or laws established” (Williams and Underhill, pp. xxvii-xxviii).  In August of 1638, the people of Providence approved the first public document establishing government without interference in religious matters, the Providence Compact:

“We whose names are here underwritten being desirous to inhabit in the town of Providence, do promise to submit ourselves in active or passive obedience to all such orders or agreement as shall be made for public good to the body in an orderly way, by the major consent of the present inhabitants, masters of families, incorporated together into a township, and such others whom they shall admit into the same, only in civil things” (Backus, A History of New England…, Volume 1, p. 74; cited in Beller, America in Crimson Red, p. 13; Armitage, A History of the Baptists,  Volume 2, p. 643). [Signed by Stukely Westcoat, William Arnold, Thomas James, Robert Cole, John Greene, John Throckmorton, William Harris, William Carpenter, Thomas Olney, Francis Weston, Richard Watearman, and Ezekiel Holliman.]

As James R. Beller proclaims, the document was “the first of a series of American political documents promulgating government by the consent of the governed and liberty of conscience” (Beller, America in Crimson Red, p. 13).  Thus, liberty of conscience was the basis for legislation in Rhode Island, and its annals have remained to this day [when Underhill wrote this] unsullied by the blot of persecution (Williams and Underhill, p. xxviii).

Rhode Island was ruled according to the original covenant, “til on January 2, 1639, an assembly of the freemen said:

“By the consent of the body it is agreed that such who shall be chosen to the place of Eldership, they are to assist the Judge in the execution of the justice and judgment, for the regulating and ordering of all offences and offenders, and for the drawing up and determining of all such rules and laws as shall be according to God, which may conduce to the good and welfare of the commonweal; and to them is committed by the body the whole care and charge of all the affairs thereof; and that the Judge together with the Elders, shall rule and govern according to the general rules [rule] of the word of God, when they have no particular rule from God’s word, by the body prescribed as a direction unto them in the case. And further, it is agreed and consented unto, that the Judge and [with the] Elders shall be accountable unto the body once every quarter of the year, (when as the body shall be assembled) of all such cases, actions or [and] rules which have passed through their hands, by they to be scanned and weighed by the word of Christ; and if by the body or any of them, the Lord shall be pleased to dispense light to the contrary of what by the Judge or [and] Elders hath been determined formerly, that then and there  it shall be repealed as the act of the body; and if it be otherwise, that then it shall stand, (till further light concerning it) for the present, to be according to God, and the tender care of indulging [indulgent] fathers” (Backus, A History of New England…, Volume 1, pp. 427-428).

In March 1639 Mr. Williams became a Baptist, together with several more of his companions in exile (Williams and Underhill, p. xxvi; Isaac Backus, A History of New England…, Volume 1, pp. 86-89).  Mr. Williams, who was baptized by one Holliman, in turn baptized ten others. Thus, according to some accounts,was founded the first Baptist church in America.

“Others suspect “that Mr. Williams did not form a Church of the Anabaptists, and that he never joined with the Baptist Church there. Only, that he allowed them to be nearest the scripture rule, and true primitive practice, as to the mode and subject of baptism.  [Some who] were acquainted with the original settlers never heard that Mr. Williams formed the Baptist Church there, but always understood that [certain others] were the first founders of that church….  [Some asserted that this church hereupon crumbled to pieces.] But [John Callender] believe[d] this to be a mistake, in fact, for it certainly appears, there was a flourishing church of the Baptists there, a few years after the time of the supposed breaking to pieces; and it is known by the names of the members, as well as by tradition, they were some of the first settlers at Providence[.]” (Callender, p. 110-111). Since writing God Betrayed, the author has done more study on the matter of the First Baptist church in America was founded by Roger Williams (See Did Roger Williams Start The First Baptist Church In America? Is the “Baptist Church the Bride of Christ? What About Landmarkism or the Baptist Church Succession Theory By Jim Fellure and Baptist History IN AMERICA Vindicated: The First Baptist Church in America/A Resurfaced Issue of Controversy/The Facts and Importance By Pastor Joshua S. Davenport for more on these matters.).

Mr. Williams stepped down as pastor of the church after only a few months because his baptism was not administered by an apostle, but the church continued (Williams and Underhill, p. xxvii; Isaac Backus, A History of New England…, Volume 1, p. 89). Isaac Backus commented on the requirement of apostolic succession for baptism at length, stating, “And if we review the text (II Tim. ii. 2-Ed.) that is now so much harped upon, we shall find that the apostolic succession is in the line of ‘faithful men;’ and no others are truly in it, though false brethren have sometimes crept in unawares” (Backus, A History of New England…, Volume 1, p. 91).

Mr. Williams “turned seeker, i.e. to wait for the new apostles to restore Christianity.  He believed the Christian religion to have been so corrupted and disfigured in what he called the ‘apostasy, as that there was no ministry of an ordinary vocation left in the church, but prophecy,’ and that there was need of a special commission, to restore the modes of positive worship, according to the original institution. It does not appear to [Mr. Callender], that he had any doubt of the true mode, and proper subjects of baptism, but that no man had any authority to revive the practice of the sacred ordinances, without a new and immediate commission” (Callender, pp. 110-111).

Mr. Williams set sail for England in June 1643, to attempt to secure a charter for Rhode Island. With help from his friend, Sir Henry Vane, he quickly obtained a charter, dated March 14, 1644 which empowered the Providence Plantations “to rule themselves, and such as should inhabit within their bounds, by such a form of civil government as by the voluntary agreement of all, or the greater part, shall be found most serviceable, in their estate and condition; and to make suitable laws, agreeable to the laws of England, so far as the nature and constitution of the place shall admit, &c” (Ibid., p. 98).

The knowledge which was being disseminated through the power of the press was affecting the religious leaders as well as the general population in America. People were now able to read the Bible and other works and thereby make decisions as to the accuracy of what others were asserting. “Many books [were] coming out of England in the year 1645, some in defence of anabaptism and other errors, and for liberty of conscience, as a shelter for a general toleration of all opinions, &c…” (Backus, A History of New England…, Volume 1, p. 145, quoting Hubbard, [413-415.]).  Mr. Williams wrote The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution for Cause of Conscience which was published in London in 1644. “In this work he maintains the absolute right of every man, to a ‘full liberty in religious concernments,’ supported by the most luminous and powerful reasoning … [w]hich have excited admiration in the writings of Jeremy Taylor, Milton, Locke and Furneau” (Callender, Appendix IV, p. 191).  John Cotton’s reply, The Bloody Tenent washed, and made white in the Blood of the Lamb, was printed in London in 1649. Mr. Williams reply entitled The Bloody Tenent yet more Bloody, was published in 1652 (For an excellent summary of some of the more important arguments presented by both sides see Backus, A History of New England…, Volume 1, pp. 134-145).  “The same clear, enlarged and consistent views of religious freedom are maintained in this last work, as in his preceding, with additional arguments, evincing an acute, vigorous, and fearless mind, imbued with various erudition and undissembled piety” (Callender, pp. 191-192).

“To the point we have arrived, the history of Roger Williams and the state he founded were indissolubly allied together. Others imbued with his principles henceforth took part in working out the great and then unsolved problem—how liberty, civil and religious, could exist in harmony with dutiful obedience to rightful laws” (Williams and Underhill, p. xxx).

The first Baptist church in Newport was formed under the ministry of Dr. John Clarke. According to some who suppose that the church was founded by Clarke and his company upon their arrival in Rhode Island, it could have been established as early as 1638 (Backus, A History of New England…, Volume 1, pp. 125-26 and fn. 1, p. 125; see also, Beller, America in Crimson Red, pp. 31-33 (Mr. Beller argues that the Baptist church in Newport, meeting in the wilderness in 1637 with Dr. John Clarke as pastor, was the first Baptist church to meet in America.  Mr. Beller considers the writings of Isaac Backus, John Callender, and John Winthrop on this subject.)).


V. More on Puritan persecutions including the beating of Obadiah Holmes and Puritan rationale for persecution

Under the leadership of Dr. Clarke, Rhode Island became a government of religious liberty. Dr. Clarke added law and politics to his already crowded professions of medicine and religious ministry when he was elected General Treasurer and General Assistant for Newport in 1650. “As a servant of the people, Dr. Clarke would steer the colony toward a government of unprecedented civil and religious liberty—convinced that any other move would be in the direction of a self-centered autocratic theocracy” (Asher, p. 35).  Under his leadership, the people followed him as he steered a course between democracy with its “attending threat of anarchy and all of its evils of disorder, violence, and ultimate chaos,” and aristocracy and its restrictions on all forms of liberty (Ibid., pp. 35-36).

When Dr. Clarke and two friends went to Massachusetts they were persecuted. In 1651, he, Obadiah Holmes, and John Crandal went to visit a friend in Boston. (Obadiah Holmes moved from England to Massachusetts. He and several others decided the Baptist way was right and were baptized. He and others were excommunicated in 1650. They moved to Rhode Island where Mr. Holmes became a member of the church pastored by Dr. John Clarke.) They were on “an errand of mercy and had traveled all the way from their church in Newport to visit one of their aging and blind members, William Witter” (Asher, p. 57; See Clarke, pp. 27-65 for a full account of the event).  They stayed over, and held a service on Sunday. During that service, they were arrested and jailed. Before they were brought to trial, they were forced to attend a Congregational Puritan religious meeting. There, they refused to remove their hats, and Dr. Clarke stood and explained why they declared their dissent from them. They were charged with denying infant baptism, holding a public worship, administering the Lord’s Supper to an excommunicated person, to another under admonition, proselytizing the Baptist way and rebaptizing such converts, and failing to post security or bail and other ecclesiastical infractions. He asked for a public debate on his religious views, which the Puritans avoided. “Clarke said they were examined in the morning of July 31 and sentenced that afternoon without producing any accuser or witness against them,” and that “Governor John Endicott even insulted the accused and denounced them as ‘trash’” (Ibid., p. 59, citing John Clarke, Ill News from New England: or a Narative of New-Englands Persecution…Also four conclusions touching the faith and order of the Gospel of Christ out of his last Will and Testament, confirmed and justified (London: Printed by Henry Hills, 1652), pp. 30-31, 33).  Dr. Clarke was “fined twenty pounds or to be well whipped;” Mr. Crandal was fined five pounds, only for being with the others; and Mr. Holmes was held in prison, where sentence of a fine of thirty pounds or to be well whipped was entered (Backus, A History of New England…, Volume 1, pp. 180, 187; Asher, p. 60).  A friend paid Mr. Clarke’s fine. Mr. Clarke and Mr. Crandal were released.

Mr. Holmes was beaten mercilessly. His infractions were denying infant baptism, proclaiming that the church was not according to the gospel of Jesus Christ, receiving the sacrament while excommunicated by the church, and other spiritual infractions (Ibid., fn. 1, p. 189).  Mr. Holmes refused to pay his fine, prepared for the whipping by “communicat[ing] with [his] God, commit[ting] himself to him, and beg[ging] strength from him” (Ibid., p. 190).  Holmes was confined over two months before his whipping. He related the experience of being whipped for the Lord as follows, in part:

“And as the man began to lay the strokes upon my back, I said to the people, though my flesh should fail, and my spirit should fail, yet my God would not fail. So it please the Lord to come in, and so to fill my heart and tongue as a vessel full, and with an audible voice I broke forth praying unto the Lord not to lay this sin to their charge; and telling the people, that now I found he did not fail me, and therefore now I should trust him forever who failed me not; for in truth, as the strokes fell upon me, I had such a spiritual manifestation of God’s presence as the like thereof I never had nor felt, nor can with fleshly tongue express; and the outward pain was so removed from me, that indeed I am not able to declare it to you, it was so easy to me, that I could well bear it, yea, and in a manner felt it not although it was grievous as the spectators said, the man striking with all his strength (yea spitting in [on] his hand three times as many affirmed) with a three-corded whip, giving me therewith thirty strokes. When he had loosed me from the post, having joyfulness in my heart, and cheerfulness in my countenance, as the spectators observed, I told the magistrates, You have struck me as with roses; and said moreover, Although the Lord hath made it easy to me, yet I pray God it may not be laid to your charge” (Ibid., p. 192; Clarke, pp. 50-51).

Mr. Holmes “could take no rest but as he lay upon his knees and elbows, not being able to suffer any part of his body to touch the bed whereupon he lay” (Ibid., fn. 1, p. 193. (This from a manuscript of Governor Joseph Jencks)).

Beating of Obadiah Holmes

Pastor Jason Cooley, “Sermon Commentary on Dr. John Clarke, Obadiah Holmes, the Articles of Faith of the First Baptist Church in America (the Newport, R.I. Baptist Church),” December 26, 2012

Two men who shook Mr. Holmes’ hand after the beating were, without trial and without being informed of any written law they had broken, sentenced to a fine of forty shillings or to be whipped. Although they refused to pay the fines, others paid their fines and they were released (See Clarke, pp. 55-62 for the personal accounts of John Spur and John Hazell).

Of course, the Puritans were fully persuaded of the righteousness of persecution. Here are two examples of their reasoning. Sir Richard Saltonstall wrote to Messrs. Cotton and Wilson of Boston condemning them for this tyranny in Boston, for “compelling any in matters of worship to do that whereof they are not fully persuaded” thus making “them sin, for so the apostle (Rom. 14 and 23) tells us, and many are made hypocrites thereby,” etc. (Backus, A History of New England…, Volume 1,pp. 198-199).  Mr. Cotton replied in part:

“If it do make men hypocrites, yet better be hypocrites than profane persons.  Hypocrites give God part of his due, the outward man, but the profane person giveth God neither outward nor inward man.  We believe there is a vast difference between men’s inventions and God’s institutions; we fled from men’s inventions, to which we else should have been compelled; we compel none to men’s inventions.  If our ways (rigid ways as you call them) have laid us low in the hearts of God’s people, yea, and of the saints (as you style them) we do not believe it is any part of their saintship” (Ibid., p. 200).

A second example occurred when some protested being taxed to support the state-church with which they did not agree. The main point of the answer received was as follows:

“What we demand of you is equal and right; what you demand of us is evil and sinful; and hence we have the golden rule upon our side, while you are receding and departing from it; for if we were in an error, and out of the right way, as we see and know that you are in several respects, and you see and know it is of us, as we do of you, we think the golden rule would oblige you to tell us of our error, and not let us alone to go on peaceably in it, that is without proper means to recover and reclaim us; whether by the laws of God, or the good and wholesome laws of the land, as we now treat you” (Ibid., p. 201).


VI. Dr. John Clarke’s beliefs concerning separation of church and state and his successful efforts to secure 1663 Charter of Rhode Island which granted “unprecedented liberties in religious matters”

In November 1651, Dr. Clarke went to England with Roger Williams to promote the interests of Rhode Island. The objects of their commissions were different, but they mutually aided each other in removing a dangerous threat to their experiment of democracy—a Parliamentary Commission granted Governor Coddington, whose autocratic rule threatened the future of Rhode Island, on April 3, 1751, which installed him as governor of Aquidneck for life. “Mr. Clark[e] was the sole agent of the island towns, to procure a repeal of Mr. Coddington’s commission” and “Mr. Williams was the sole agent of Providence and Warwick, to procure a new charter for these two towns” (Asher, p. 72).

Dr. Clarke published his book Ill News from New-England: or a Narative of New-Englands Persecution…Also four conclusions touching the faith and order of the Gospel of Christ out of his last Will and Testament, confirmed and justified shortly after he arrived in London.

The work clearly demonstrated “Clarke’s subjection to an orderly state” showing that, to “him the secular rule is ordained of God, but it should not interfere with one’s religious convictions” (Ibid.).  “Both the church and the status of mankind, he argue[d], are ‘a two fold administration of power suitable to the two fold state of being of man.’ Love and conscience are emphasized by Clarke as inducements toward state honor and subjection rather than as engagements by force and fear. He implore[d] rulers to distinguish between these two ‘administrations of Christ’s power here on earth’ and to leave the spiritual realm to the control of God’s Spirit” (Ibid.).

“The book combines a spirited defense on liberty of individual conscience toward God in religious matters, with pleas directed to England’s consideration in such matters” (Ibid., p. 66). “While the letter appears as an apology for the Baptist faith, it seems that Clarke probably intends it as a timely and effective instrument, aimed at drawing British sympathy” (Ibid., p. 67).  Of Dr. Clarke’s book, Louis Franklin Asher commented, in part:

“Clearly and forcefully, Clarke calls attention to what he conceives as the necessary separation between the two real administrations of Christ’s power as exercised in the world—that is, the sword of steel, ‘whose Sword-bearers you are,’ as he styles the magistrates. The other administration he calls Scripture, the ‘sword that proceeds out of the mouth of his servants, the word of truth.’ Thus Clarke views ‘this spiritual administration as far as it concerns the outward man…[as] managed not by a sword of Steel,’ he argues, but by the Scripture of truth.
“In a bold but subservient manner, Clarke sets forth four simple but imploring proposals to the British Counsel of State. He begs the magistracy not to forcibly inhibit spiritual ministers but allow time to minister according to each one’s own conscience toward God. In so doing, he advises—even if they are heretics—they merely represent the tares among the wheat, to which Christ referred in his prohibition of their harvest or persecution by the secular arm of government. Clarke then asks that the secular power or ‘sword’ be withheld from use against the spiritual ‘tares’ rather than heaping abuse on them. In the fourth proposal, Clarke compares his majesty to that of a prophetic nursing Father in the Old Testament; thus he pleads for encouragement by spiritual ministers….
“[Included in the book is a letter to the Puritan clergy at Massachusetts.] [That] letter served as a fitting climax to Clarke’s encounter with the Bay officials and, it seems, he made use of it to maneuver the Rhode Island Colony into an advantageous posture with the English government. [He pointed out his persecution, contrasting it with] “the much kinder treatment and other ‘curtesies with far greater liberties in point of conscience,’ which previously the Puritan messengers had enjoyed on their tour through Rhode Island….
“[He also] denounces the Puritan church order …, and [t]he firm allegiance of the Puritans to the magistrates in matters of religion…. Clarke’s entire letter appears as a scorching public censure against the Massachusetts Puritanical system and its integrated form of civil power over ecclesiastical liberties.
“Never, under any circumstances, Clarke preached, should Christians force their persuasion on others nor should they resort to obeying magistrates in matters of religious concerns” (Ibid., pp. 67-68).

Through Mr. Clarke’s mediation and statesmanship, Coddington’s commission was revoked in 1652. Mr. Clarke was then further commissioned to stay in England to obtain a better and more substantial safeguard against “any further encroachments on their new [] way of life” (Ibid., p. 73). Mr. Williams returned to New England in the early summer of 1654.

Mr. Clarke remained in England until, on July 8, 1663, he secured a new charter from Charles II. “By this Charter all the powers of government were conferred on the Colony, the King not having reserved to himself the right of revising its proceedings” (Callender, Appendix XXI, pp. 261-262).  This charter was in effect until the constitution, which was adopted in November, 1842, became operative the first Tuesday of May, 1843. In addition to other matters, the charter cleared up land disputes with Massachusetts and some of the other colonies, provided for the organization of the government, and provided for freedom of conscience (Backus, A History of New England…, Volume 1, pp. 277-280). That charter stated, in part:

Inhabitants of Rhode Island “pursuing, with peaceable and loyal minds, their sober, serious, and religious intentions, of godly edifying themselves, and one another, in the holy Christian faith and worship, as they were persuaded … did … transport themselves out of this kingdom of England into America,” and did then “leave their desirable stations and habitations, and with excessive labor and travel, hazard and charge did transport themselves into the midst of Indian natives” … “whereby, as is hoped, there may, in time, by the blessing of God upon their endeavors be laid a sure foundation of happiness to all America: And whereas, in their humble address, they have freely declared, that it is much on their hearts (if they may be permitted) to hold forth a lively experiment, that a most flourishing civil state may stand and best be maintained, and that among our English subjects, with a full liberty in religious concernments; and that true piety rightly grounded upon gospel principles, will give the best and greatest security to sovereignty, and will lay in the hearts of men the strongest obligations to true loyalty:… and to secure them in the free exercise and enjoyment of all their civil and religious rights, appertaining to them, as our loving subjects; and to preserve unto them that liberty in true Christian faith and worship of God, … that no person within the said colony, at any time hereafter shall be any wise molested, punished, disquieted, or called in question, for any differences in opinion in matters of religion, and do not actually disturb the civil peace of our said colony” (See Callender, Appendix No. XXI, pp. 241-262 for the complete charter; see also, Beller, America in Crimson Red, Appendix D, pp. 505-506). [Emphasis mine.]

The charter granted:

“unprecedented liberties in religious concerns. Moreover representation for the people and the limit of power to public officials provided a basic check and balance to popular sovereignty. The Royal Charter of 1663 proved to be distinctive, installing safeguards in the election process through the governing body of the State Assembly, made up of a governor, deputy-governor, assistants, and representatives from each of the towns” (Asher, pp. 78-79), each elected by the people.

The most important biblical principle of the government they founded was incorporated into the supreme law of the United States of America by the First Amendment to United States Constitution. Sadly, America’s founding documents, although the best governing documents ever conceived, as a whole fell short of the ideal. For example, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution blended some enlightenment with many biblical principles. The Founding Fathers hoped for virtue, not piety. The Founding Fathers desire was to secure the “happiness of man,” whereas, under the Portsmouth Compact and the Rhode Island Charter, the goal was the Glory of God; that is, they desired that the colony be under God and His principles contained in the Bible.

VII. Conclusion: The effect of the Rhode Island government thus established

As to the effect of the Rhode Island government thus established, John Callender wrote in 1838:

  • “The civil State has flourished, as well as if secured by ever so many penal laws, and in inquisition to put them to execution. Our civil officers have been chosen out of every religious society, and the public peace has been as well preserved, and the public counsels as well conducted, as we could have expected, had we been assisted by ever so many religious tests.
  • “All profaneness and immorality are punished by the laws made to suppress them; and while these laws are well executed, speculative opinions or modes of worship can never disturb or injure the peace of a State that allows all its subjects an equal liberty of conscience. Indeed, it is not variety of opinions, or separation in worship, that makes disorders and confusions in government. It is the unjust, unnatural, and absurd attempt to force all to be of one opinion, or to feign and dissemble that they are; or the cruel and impious punishing those, who cannot change their opinions without light or reason, and will not dissemble against all reason and conscience. It is the wicked attempt to force men to worship God in a way they believe He hath neither commanded nor will accept; and the restraining them from worshipping Him in a method they think He has instituted and made necessary for them, and in which alone they can be sincere worshippers, and accepted of God; in which alone, they can find comfort and peace of conscience, and approve themselves before God; in which alone, they can be honest men and good Christians.  Persecution will ever occasion confusion and disorder, or if every tongue is forced to confess, and every knee to bow to the power of the sword: this itself is the greatest of all disorders, and the worst of confusions in the Kingdom of Christ Jesus.
  • “[T]his Colony with some since formed on the same model, have proved that the terrible fears that barbarity would break in, where no particular forms of worship or discipline are established by the civil power, are really vain and groundless; and that Christianity can subsist without a national Church, or visible Head, and without being incorporated into the State. It subsisted for the first three hundred years; yea, in opposition and defiance to all the powers of hell and earth. And it is amazing to hear those who plead for penal laws, and the magistrate’s right and duty to govern the Church of Christ, to hear such persons call those early times the golden age of Christianity” (Callender, pp. 163-164).

Mr. Clarke, on his return to Rhode Island, was elected Deputy-Governor three successive years. “He continued the esteemed pastor of the first Baptist Church of Newport, till his death” on April 20, 1676 (Ibid., Appendix IX, p. 211).  Of Mr. Clarke, Isaac Backus wrote: He “left as spotless a character as any man I know of” (Backus, A History of New England…, Volume 1, p. 348).  “The testimony which Backus proceeds to give of the purity of [Mr. Clarke’s] character and to his good name, even among his enemies, has been fully corroborated by later writers” (Ibid., fn. 1, pp. 348-349).  “To no man, except Roger Williams, is Rhode Island more indebted than to him” (Callender, p. 212).

“An eminent American historian justly observed:

“The annals of Rhode-Island, if written in the spirit of philosophy, would exhibit the forms of society under a peculiar aspect.  Had the territory of the State corresponded to the importance and singularity of the principles of its early existence, the world would have been filled with wonder at the phenomena of its early history” (Ibid., Appendix XVI, p. 230, citing Bancroft’s History of the United States, vol. 1, p. 380).

An example of the manner in which Rhode Island honored the doctrine of freedom of conscience is the way they upheld the standard in regards to the Quakers. Other colonies persecuted the Quakers from 1656 until 1661. Massachusetts hanged four Quakers who returned to the colony after being banished. The Commissioners of the United Colonies threatened Rhode Island with cutting off all commerce or trade with them if Rhode Island did not likewise persecute the Quakers by enacting penal legislation against them. Rhode Island “refused, and pointed out that it had no law for punishing people because of their utterances ‘concerning the things and ways of God, as to salvation and to eternal condition’” (Leo Pfeffer, Church, State, and Freedom (Boston: The Beacon Press, 1953), p. 75, citing Evarts B. Greene, Religion and the State :(New York: New York University Press, 1941), pp. 24-25). The Commissioners of Rhode Island notified John Clarke. As a result, King Charles II ordered that “neither capital nor corporal punishment should be inflicted on Quakers, but that offenders should be sent to England” (Callender, Appendix XIX, pp. 234-236).  This decree of the King probably saved the lives of other dissenters.

All that was happening was not for naught. Isaac Backus wrote, “It is readily granted that the sentiments of Mr. Williams and Mr. Clarke, about religious liberty, have had a great spread since that day, so that men of a contrary mind cannot carry their oppressive schemes so far now as they did then” (Backus, A History of New England…, Volume 1, pp. 202-203), but they still had a ways to go to achieve religious liberty.  It was not until 1838 that John Callender declared “[t]he principles of religious freedom, which they [of Rhode Island] clearly and consistently maintained, are now the rule of action adopted by all Christian sects” (Callender, Appendix XIX, p. 238).

 

Jack Schaap, First Baptist of Hammond, Heresy and Apostasy


Jerald Finney
Copyright © August, 2010
Updated in 2012, 2013


To hear companion sermon, “Ten Shekels and a Shirt” click following link
and scroll down to the sermon link: “Sermons


See also,  On Jack Hyles’ Sermon, “The Treasure Is in the Field”

This article is an example of the results of church heresy and apostasy. Subjection of a church to the civil government through church incorporation (aggregate or sole), charitable or business trust status, IRC Code Section 501(c)(3) or Section 508 status, etc. is one step along that road to heresy and apostasy, and may even be the first step. First Baptist of Hammond is a very large corporate, 501(c)(3) religious organization, not a New Testament or Historic Baptist Church, contrary to the claims of the leaders of that religious organization.  To understand these issues in more detail see The Biblical Doctrine of the Church or the much more succinct teachings at Lessons on Bible Doctrines (including Bible doctrine of the church).


LETTERS FROM PASTORS REGARDING HYLES/SCHAAP … ARTICLES


Jack Hyles Cult Exposed
(Facts one cannot deny about Hyles and his followers are presented and verified in videos, many made by First Baptist of Hammond itself.)
The Truth About Jack Hyles Part 1
The Truth About Jack Hyles Part 2
The Truth About Jack Hyles Part 3
The Truth About Jack Hyles Part 4

(These videos give a lot of undeniable facts that are caught by the camera. One is the story of one of Hyles’ daughters who tells it all. Her story and the culmination of the heresy and apostasy by Hyles is given to the world and do tremendous damage to the cause of Christ and true historic New Testament churches. The more an independent Baptist pastor follows the pattern of Hyles, the more he and the church(es) he pastors will eventually damage the cause of Christ. Hyles’ system was, in fact, Satanic. People like Hyles do great harm to the cause of Christ as did Hyles. The chief error is their failure to preach and teach true saving faith. Another great error in their teaching is to divide the church into clergy and laity, as do Protestant churches and as does the Catholic church-this may be one cause of the sexual abuse and appetites of many fundamental Baptist pastors and Catholic clergy. Another chief error is to run a church like a business, according to business methods developed by the god of this world.)

Fundamental Baptist churches who follow Hyles/Schaap principles and methods do great damage to the family through their preaching on husband/wife/family. As the above presentations prove, Hyles’ family was a disaster as is the case with many Fundamental Baptist families who ignore Bible principles. The following two sermons exemplify, in tone and substance, how a pastor should preach to the husband/wife/family in order to glorify God and edify husband/wife/family. Notice that babies are crying in the service. That is the application of Bible principles. Families are to be in church together, not separated so that children are instructed and cared for by others. The parents are responsible for their children in all matters. Youth ministries, Sunday school classes, etc. cannot be justified by accurate Bible study or interpretation:

Husband’s Ministry To His Wife
Wife’s Ministry To Her Husband

WivesMinistryToHusband


Jack Schaap, First Baptist of Hammond, Heresy and Apostasy

Contents:

I. Introduction
II. 2012 and 2013 updates

III. Heresy and apostasy
IV. Conclusion

Endnote (Information on books by Jerald Finney)

Note. Left-click blue underlined links to go directly to sites.


All the biblical principles for the relationship between Christ and his churches and between church and state are meticulously covered on this website and in the books by this author. Churches who violate those principles are building upon the same foundation as did First Baptist of Hammond, Indiana, even if they have not fallen to the degree of that church. One who is a member of a Scripturally compromised church should not criticize Schaap too harshly. The author personally knows of situations in churches similar to that of First Baptist and Jack Schaap as well as variations thereof. The tentacles of First Baptist and its heresies and resulting sins have been spread to untold numbers of “Fundamental” Baptist churches (as well as other types of churches) all over this nation” (Quote from article below).

After I had written the above quote someone emailed me the link to the following article: Let Us Prey: Big Trouble At First Baptist Church. (Notice that this article is 7 pages long, with links at bottom of pages to go to next page.)

  “For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun. And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die” (2 Sa. 12:12-14). King David repented, neither Schaap nor First Baptist of Hammond have done so.

  “Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,  In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;  By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things” (2 Co. 6:3-10)(Bold emphasis mine).

Sermon by Jack Schaap: Polishing the Shaft

Click the following link to go to an excellent article dealing with the unbiblical responses of big-name pastors to giving their unqualified blessing to the church and the ministry of the new pastor, John Wilkerson:

Ignoring the Sin of First Baptist of Hammond

‘My Pastor Is On The Ashley Madison List’ (082715)(What about your pastor? My pastor is not on that list. Jack Schaap and many of the other “Hyles” preachers were found out even though they may not have been on that list; by extrapolation, one (especially a believer who loves God and has been exposed to Hyles type ministries) can conclude that many have not. This article is also reproduced below.)

To understand more about the unchecked heresies of Jack Hyles, Jack Schaap, the progression of those heresies and the inevitable consequences click here to read the entire article, “Open Letter to First Baptist Church – Hammond Indiana” by Linda Murphrey, daughter of Jack Hyles.


I. Introduction 

Being called by the Lord to deal with this matter brings no joy to the author. Seeing First Baptist of Hammond and many other churches continue down the road of heresy despite the lessons to be learned from Hyles, Schaap, and First Baptist of Hammond brings grief, not joy, to the author and to the Lord. Pastor Hyles honored the Lord in some of what he preached and practiced, but flaws were obvious and First Baptist did not deal with them. The main flaw, among many, of Hyles was his incorrect plan of salvation. Pastor Schaap took Hyles’ incorrect practices to new depths and introduced new heresies which any serious student of the Word of God can quickly discern. Yet First Baptist did nothing until the corporate board of directors, in order to protect the corporation and in conformity to the corporate bylaws, dismissed him. Seeing the untold numbers of believers who ignorantly continue to follow the leaders of those churches brings sorrow to the author as well as to the Lord. Understanding that far fewer persons are being saved and that many of those who are live immoral lives as the result of the heresies and practices of so-called Bible believing churches in America is vexing, to say the least.

Publishing these matters is done in love. What has been going on at the First Baptist Church of Hammond is illustrative of the natural progression of unchecked heresy. The heresy there, among other things, promoted even inappropriate sexual behavior (See Section II below). The church as well as all those who looked the other way and continued to idolize both Pastor Hyles and Pastor Schaap without checking their inappropriate behaviors are to blame. The church members sat and listened to dangerous heresy and took no action to take the prescribed biblical action. The church, to this point, is proceeding in their misguided direction.

The foundation for this article, which will summarize biblical teaching on heresy and apostasy in Part III below, was laid in the article On Jack Hyles’ Sermon, “The Treasure is in a Field” (The author suggests that the reader study that article and avail himself of the resources linked thereon. If you have already read it, it was revised on August 20, 2010.). In that article, the author pointed out that Dr. Hyles missed a preeminent principle in the Word of God as to the organization of God’s churches in his sermon, The Treasure is in a Field. As a result of his error, the chickens may already be coming home to roost at the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana (referred to hereinafter as “First Baptist”). Spiritual treasure is being lost and abandoned and no one seems to know why.

Although the author will link to a few controversial resources below, he will spend little time and space getting into all the controversies over Jack Hyles, Jack Schaap, and First Baptist church. The purpose of this “Separation of Church and State” site is to teach biblical principles concerning the issue of and sub-issues around separation of church and state, historically an important Baptist distinctive. Unless our Christians and churches fall in love with the Savior, the Head, Bridegroom, and Husband of His churches; spiritually educate themselves in the Word of God; repent; and reorganize their churches according to biblical principles, the decline in the number of true born again believers and Bible believing churches in America will continue.

After Dr. Jack Hyles died in 2001, Jack Schaap was voted in as pastor of First Baptist. From a short study, it is for sure that Schaap in now leading in the promotion of at least one dangerous heresy and possibly others. The first is his teaching on the King James Version. Another which this article will consider may be his teaching on the prosperity gospel.

One can view what he says about the KJV by clicking the following links: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jMP1S7xvdg; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYGzQkaNBiY&feature=related; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=–Nq-vhjPGc&NR=1; Please inform the author if you believe that these are not the teaching of Jack Schaap. If he did not teach what is on the video, the author will certainly recant.

Thanks be to God that the author has had pastors who have understood the importance of and come down on the right side of the KJV issue. They have brought in preachers and scholars who have spent tens of thousands of hours studying these matters (as opposed to the 1000 to 1500 hours Schaap has allegedly spent studying the issue, and obviously not studying all points of view on the matter.). His pastors have also taught on the issue themselves. He has several books that explain why the KJV is the only inerrant, infallible, verbally inspired English translation of God’s Word. No Holy Spirit led, knowledgeable, born-again believer can deny this; every such person easily sees the lies in the above videos and is able to counter them with sound facts and reasoning. All English versions of the Bible, other than the KJV, are nothing more than perverted interpretations. Yet Bible colleges and churches all over the nation are lying about this matter. Those who discount the KJV should be glad that most Christians neither read well nor can they think and analyze. Otherwise, believers would not be so easily deceived. Yes, fewer and fewer in America are being saved, and one big reason for this is that Christians are more and more going to interpretations and not to the one true translation. This nation was built by Christians who relied upon the mighty spiritual sword—the KJV. With the pejoritive statements about and abandonment of the KJV has come the demise of Christianity in America. As goes the KJV so goes Christianity in the U.S.A.

Some important points for the reader to consider: There was never one substantive change in the original KJV, only changes in spelling and punctuation as spelling and grammar developed and changed in the English language. Would not a studied person know this and point this out when referring to those “errors” or “mistakes” which were “corrected?” Also, in case the reader does not know it, there are no originals, only copies of copies of copies…. The originals are long gone and no one will ever see them. So all that is available for anyone, in any language, are copies of copies of copies, etc.… Yet, God will preserve His Word for those of every language who earnestly seek Him (Read Psalms 12.6-7, Isaiah 59.21, Matthew 24.35, Proverbs 30.5-6, Isaiah 31.1-2, Matthew 12.36-37, John 12.47-48 (How can one be judged by a non-existent Word of God and only by originals which do not exist?), Revelation 22.18-19, John 12.47-48. Be sure to read these verses in the KJV because the interpretations pervert many of them. It would be good to compare.). Jesus believed, verified, and read from the Scriptures (even though the originals had long-since decomposed and all he had was a translation from copies of copies of copies (See, e.g., John 5.45-47, John 5.9-11, Mark 2.2, Matthew 24.35, Mark 8.28, John 10.31-36, etc.). Our Lord constantly referred to the historical Scriptures (translation of copies of copies of copies), and not once did he ever cast doubt on the authority of the Bible.). The same analysis applies to the apostles. The true teachers on this matter go on and on and completely destroy every lie of the modernist, such as all the arguments put forth to belittle the KJV.

A tremendous book on the KJV conflict is The Word: God Will Keep It/The 400 Year History of the King James Bible Only Movement. See Review of The Word: God Will Keep It/The 400 Year History of the King James Bible Only Movement for more information on that book plus a radio interview of the author of the book.

To listen to a radio interview of scholar John Hinton concerning the KJV conflict click: May 18, 2013 radio interview of John Hinton.

Schaap may twist Scripture in his preaching on the “prosperity dotrine: http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/exposes/schaap/fbcprosd.htm; but see, http://www.jojomoffitt.com/DrSchaap3.shtml. The author has not done an in depth invvestigation of this matter.

Another video which raises concerns is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjVZGUWRJgA. In this video Schaap praises preachers who are pointed out in the video as being heretical, at the least. The author offers no explanation or critique of the video, but it concerns him. The alleged religious practices of the pastors praised by Schaap, if the information given on them is accurate, clearly violate the biblical principles of holiness and separation; principles which, as the author understands it, Dr. Hyles upheld (Note. Of course, everything presented in the videos about those preachers does not violate biblical principles). Again, let Jerald Finney know if this video has been created, altered, or if the allegations are inaccurate. The author includes this video because, on several occasions when he has been out of town, he has visited a church that purports to be a “Bible believing” church (once a Baptist church which renamed herself and started indulging in many modernistic practices) and that reflects some of the practices of the churches pastored by men praised in the video.

Heresies are rampant in many churches which were once fundamental and Bible believing. As pointed out in the article On Jack Hyles’ Sermon, ‘The Treasure is in a Field:

“untold numbers of fundamental Baptist churches are betraying our Lord; abandoning the fundamental doctrines and teachings of the Word of God as well as the Word of God itself; turning to corrupted interpretations of the Bible instead of the tried and true translation; resorting to psychology and other humanistic and business devices in order to increase attendance; feeding milk instead of meat to envying, striving, divided church bodies who are not able to bear the deeper things of God; teaching and/or practicing heresy; and some are falling into apostasy. Every year, droves of fundamental Baptist preachers are abandoning or betraying the faith and scores or hundreds of fundamental, Bible-believing Baptist churches are ceasing to exist. In other words, spiritual treasure is being abandoned and lost and, sadly, very few understand why.”

Based upon his own study and observations as well as conversations with a considerable number of pastors and other Christians, many of whom are far more knowledgeable about these matters than the is he, the author believes that Jack Schaap, First Baptist, and all the other “fundamental Bible-believing” Baptist churches in America who operate as state churches (incorporated, 501(c)(3) religious organizations) prove the author’s theses as stated in On Jack Hyles’ Sermon, “The Treasure is in a Field” (left click to go directly to article). Many or most of those churches are no longer led by a good pastor, the churches themselves have been corrupted, heresy is rampant, and some are in the apostasy stage. The author suggests that one who truly loves the Lord should studiously reread that last article with prayer and under the power of the Holy Spirit: study the author’s theses and arguments in that article and in his other works which cover the totality of the issues involved and begin to examine them in the light of the Word of God.

Unless believers and church bodies first of all become knowledgeable and wise in their understanding of spiritual matters, American churches and believers will suffer the fate of European churches and believers—that is, only a minute remnant (even a much smaller remnant than now exists in America) will remain. “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Revelation 2.7, 17, 29; 3.6, 13, 22).

Had First Baptist and other “Bible believing” churches in America honored their love relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and done things God’s way as to the organization of operation of churches, Christ would have continued to build his churches upon solid foundations; churches would have thrived spiritually; the lost would have seen the power of God instead of the monstrous corporations, businesses, and social clubs that make a mockery of the Word of God; untold people would have continued to be saved; and America would have been a light for Christ in this world.

The remainder of this article is a summation of biblical teaching on heresy and apostasy, an important topic in the study of the doctrines of the church and separation of church and state. The material is taken from Section II, Chapter 4 of God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application: Link to preview of God Betrayed. God Betrayed may be ordered from Amazon and other sources by left clicking the following link: Books.[See Endnote] (Note the study guide for God Betrayed in the last article). The article which follows this one within a few weeks will chronicle the recent accelerated apostasy in the United States, and will shed light on how American churches have reached their present state. One can also go to the Apostasy page of the Church and State Law”\ website for links to articles on the alarming heresies and apostasies of churches in general.


II. 2012, 2013 Update

Click the following link to go to an excellent article dealing with the unbiblical responses of big-name pastors to giving their unqualified blessing to the church and the ministry of the new pastor, John Wilkerson:

Ignoring the Sin of First Baptist of Hammond

Very good biblically based and biblically appropriate teachings on the First Baptist of Hammond situation are at the following cites: Schaap and the sins of First Baptist; Jack Schaap and First Baptist Church Road to Reconciliation; Avoiding Schaap’s Fall. These teachings are obviously given by pastors with a spirit directed by not only the love of God, but also by the love of their fellow man, including Jack Schaap, the members of First Baptist of Hammond, and the untold numbers of believers and churches who have followed Schaap and First Baptist down the road of heresy and immorality.

The Lord inspired the author to write and publish two articles on Dr. Jack Hiles (On Jack Hyles’ Sermon, ‘The Treasure is in a Field,” August 7, 2010), Dr. Jack Schaap (this article, August 21, 2010), and First Baptist of Hammond, Indiana in 2010. Those articles were meant to serve as a warning against continued heresy at First Baptist and other churches and to proclaim biblical teaching church heresy an apostasy (See part IV below, which was Part III in the original article). After he published those articles, he received numerous letters from pastor, and he published those letters with his responses (Letters from Pastors Regarding Hyles/Schaap and Other Articles, September 2010). Those articles dealt with the marriage of Christ and His church, and the marriage of a man and woman. Those articles alerted readers to certain heresies of Hyles, Schaap, and First Baptist of Hammond and warned Schaap, First Baptist of Hammond, and any others of the ultimate consequences of unchecked and unrepented of heresies within a church body. Since First Baptist, Hyles, and Schaap published their heresies, not only to their church but also to the world in many ways including the internet, sales of books, CDs, DVDs, seminars attended by pastors and believers from all over the nation, this author, as a part of that world to which their heresies were offered, published biblical principles and teachings which exposed some of the main heresies practiced and preached by Hyles and Schaap.

Schaap published an alarming book of heresies, not mentioned in this author’s 2010 articles on heresies coming from that church, back in 2010. Click the following link for information on that heresy: Marriage: The Divine Intimacy by Jack Schaap. In that book, Schaap revealed the extent of his heresies regarding marriage and matters inherently involved with marriage.

The following is from Pastor Jack Schaap’s Perverted Mind was Already Manifested in Sermons and Books:

“Jack Schaap authored, Marriage: The Divine Intimacy. On page 50, his perverted mind is plainly manifested. He sees ‘the marriage bed’ almost everywhere he looks in the Bible.

“On July 8th, he preached a sermon titled, ‘What Mom And Dad Don’t Know Will Hurt Him.’ Many things he preached cannot even be quoted here. One example will suffice:

“‘You know, the most common question I ask our teenagers: are you safe in how you act? Mom and dad, you understand the language?…when your children reach that age, and they start going through that 13, 14, 15 year stage, send them to me, I’ll talk to them. Please don’t look at me like I’m stupid, why are you talking this way?’

“In other words, he obviously thought that the most important subject to discuss with teenagers is how to be ‘safe’ in their lewdness. Many pastors around the country are jumping on the new ‘openness’ band-wagon, as they try to attract attention by shocking the world and their congregations with their frank (profane) language concerning the marriage bed, etc.

“Many ‘Christians’ are using the examples of this pastor to attack what they call ‘fundamentalism.’ Yet, look at what is happening in the Catholic church, in charismatic churches, and in mega-churches with a non-fundamental agenda! It is not what is often called “fundamentalism” that is the problem. It is the lack of fundamentalism in so-called fundamental churches! Hollywood has invaded these churches, and it can be seen in the language used by the preachers. Evil communication corrupts good manners!”

Videos exposing Pastor Jack Schaaps heretical worldly views include:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMk2F-KLYkQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rC-SfQ100uE&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jMP1S7xvdg&feature=related

First Baptist of Hammond, despite the warnings of this author and others, has proudly and arrogantly continued down the road of heresy. Much damage was being done to individuals, families, churches, and the nation because of those heresies. A climactic, but not final, event resulting from the proud anti-biblical march forward of First Baptist of Hammond is now international news.

The Bible is clear. One heresy leads to another to another. Biblical teaching on church heresy and apostasy is clear. It is also clear on the importance the believer’s and church’s God-given goal of glorifying Him in both belief and method. From all appearances, First Baptist has not learned their lesson. Even in addressing the sin of Schaap, the methods and rationale used by First Baptist dishonor our Lord. One man they immediately called in to preach will make sure that they continue down the same heretical, unrepentant road. In addition to insights to be gleaned from the writings and audio teachings of this author, an article authored by Dr. Bob Gray, in Sincere Questions, published August 4, 2012, offers important questions and insights on the situation at First Baptist of Hammond.

All the biblical principles for the relationship between Christ and his churches and between church and state are meticulously covered on this website and in the books by this author. Churches who violate those principles are building upon the same foundation as did First Baptist of Hammond, Indiana, even if they have not fallen to the degree of that church. One who is a member of a Scripturally compromised church should not criticize Schaap too harshly. The author personally knows of situations in churches similar to that of First Baptist and Jack Schaap as well as variations thereof. The tentacles of First Baptist and its heresies and resulting sins have been spread to untold numbers of “Fundamental” Baptist churches (as well as other types of churches) all over this nation.

After I had written the quote in the above paragraph, someone emailed me the link to the following article: Let Us Prey: Big Trouble At First Baptist Church (Notice that this article is 7 pages long, with links at bottom of pages to go to next page.):

For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun. And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die” (2 Sa. 12:12-14). King David repented, neither Schaap nor First Baptist of Hammond have done so.  “Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,  In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;  By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things” (2 Co. 6:3-10).

Click this link to see the Government’s Sentencing memorandum in the Jack Schaap case.

Click this link to see an appraisal of the Jack Schaap/First Baptist of Hammond situation by a man who loved First Baptist, Graduated from the college there, knew Jack Schaap, etc.  (Also reproduced in En 2 below).

To understand more about the unchecked heresies of Jack Hyles, Jack Schaap, the progression of those heresies and the inevitable consequences click here to read the entire article, “Open Letter to First Baptist Church – Hammond Indiana” by Linda Murphrey, daughter of Jack Hyles.


III. Heresy and apostasy

Prior to the return of the Lord, the local, visible churches will go into apostasy. “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition: who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (2 Th. 2.3-4).

“Apostasy, ‘falling away,’ is the act of professed Christians who deliberately reject revealed truth (1) as to the deity of Jesus Christ, and (2) redemption through His atoning and redeeming sacrifice (1 Jn. 4.1-3 [‘Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.’]; Phil. 3.18 [‘For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:”]; 2 Pet. 2.1 [“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.’]). Apostasy differs therefore from error concerning truth, which may be the result of ignorance (Ac. 19.1-6 [‘And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.’]), or heresy, which may be due to the snare of Satan (2 Ti. 2.25, 26 [‘In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.’]), both of which may consist with true faith. The apostate is perfectly described in 2 Ti. 4.3, 4 [‘For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned into fables.’]. Apostates depart from the faith, but not from the outward profession of Christianity (2 Ti. 3.5 [‘Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof, from such turn away.’]). Apostate teachers are described in 2 Ti. 4.3 [“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.]; 2 Pe. 2.1-19 [quoted here in part: ‘But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.  And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: … But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; …  Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; ….These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.  While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.’]; Jude 4, 8, 11-13, 16 [‘For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ…. Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities…. Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.’].  Apostasy in the church, as in Israel (Is. 1.5, 6; 5.5-7), is irremediable, and awaits judgment (2 Th. 2.10-12 [‘And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness’]; 2 Pe. 2.17, 21 [‘These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever…. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.’]; Jude 11-15; Re. 3.14-16)” (1917 Scofield Reference Edition, n. 1 to II Timothy 3.1, p. 1280). [Bold emphasis mine].

Inevitably, there is no remedy for apostasy but judgment (Is. 1.2-7, 24, 25; He. 6.4-8; 10.26-31). For example, Noah preached for 120 years, won no converts, and the judgment predicted by his great-grandfather fell (Jude 14, 15, Genesis 7.11.).

“Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth” (Luke 18.8b)?  The reference is not to personal faith, but to belief in the whole body of revealed truth. “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils”( 1 Ti. 4.1).

In the New Testament, the apostasy was treated as having already set in. In fact, the Asian churches had not disbanded, nor ceased to call themselves Christian; but they had turned away from the doctrines of grace distinctively revealed through the Apostle Paul. Thus, even in the beginning of the church, the apostle Paul and Jude were concerned with the tendency to depart from the faith due to the influence of false teachers:

“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:  Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you; and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Ga. 1.6-8).

“For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 4).

Many of our churches today, even many of our independent Bible believing churches, have perverted the gospel of Christ and turned the grace of our God into lasciviousness (“Looseness; irregular indulgence of animal desires; wantonness; lustfulness; Tendency to excite lust, and promote irregular indulgences.” AMERICAN DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, NOAH WEBSTER (1828) definition of “LASCIVIOUSNESS.”) even though perhaps they have not verbally denied our Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Gentile world apostasy comes in seven stages:

“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things” (Ro. 1.21-23).

As a result of this worldwide Gentile apostasy, mankind sinks to the depths of depravity:

“Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents. Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them” (Ro. 1.24-32).

The apostasy is usually introduced by ungodly men who will “wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Ti. 3.13). Our Lord warned against false teachers:

     “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Mt. 7.15).
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Mt. 7.21-23).
“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Mt. 24.4-5).
“And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many” (Mt. 24.11).
“For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect” (Mk. 13.22).
“Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 5.19).
“But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Mt. 15.9).

The Lord is obviously warning that many of His children will be deceived by the many false prophets which shall arise. With heresy and apostasy, the God-given doctrines and goal for churches and for Christians are left in the dust. The goal or purpose of most churches and “Christians” is the happiness of man and not the glory of God. They ask “What can God do for me,” not “What can I do for God?” Their purpose for giving, for doing, and for going to church is to get something back from God. Many believers today, many in independent Bible believing churches, are being deceived about many biblical doctrines, including the doctrine of separation of church and state. As a result, they are, among other things, incorporating, operating as unincorporated associations, and becoming 501(c)(3) tax exempt organizations. Section VI of God Betrayed discusses incorporation and tax exempt status of churches in some detail, and explains ways that a church can hold property and also please God.

As a result, God is not glorified at all. Everything in the ultimate modern American church is for self—the headship, the “Bibles,” the doctrines taught, the preaching, the music, the dress, the goal, everything.

Peter, Paul, and Jude traced the origin of apostasy to false teachers, explained their methods of operation, and warned the church to beware of the apostasy:

“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing he flock: Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears” (Ac. 20.28-31).
“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Ga. 1.8-9).
“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you” (Ga. 3.1)?
“For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you” (1 Co. 11.19).
“For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him” (2 Co. 11.4).
“For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision; Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake” (Tit. 1.10-11).
“Now the spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Ti. 4.1-2).
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned to fables. Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (2 Ti. 4.3-5).
“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not….  Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved wages of unrighteousness; But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet. These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought into bondage” (2 Pe. 2.1-3, 15-19. All of 2 Pe. 2 deals with false teachers.).
“Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (2 Jn. 9-11).
“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Pe. 3.3-4).
“For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 4. Jude predicts the apostasy of the professing church and describes the cause and course of the apostasy. As in II Timothy and II Peter, the apostasy is treated as having already set in.).

Only a little leaven (false teaching) can completely change and pervert the truth of the Gospel: “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?  This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (Ga. 5.7-9).

False teachers deny redemption truth: “[False teachers] shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them and bring upon themselves swift destruction” (2 Pe. 2.1). Others deny the truth concerning Christ’s person as Son of God, God himself: “BELOVED, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them” (1 Jn. 4.1-5; see also, 1 Jn. 2.18-28).

In Jude all phases of apostasy are seen. Jude mentions those who “ran after the error of Balaam for reward.” Many pastors and other Christians today, like Balaam, revert to human reasoning and, among other unbiblical practices, put God’s church under the state for reward—that is, for money, for popularity, or power. They may not have gone completely into apostasy, but heresy is the first step toward apostasy.

Both Peter and Paul foresee the apostasy in which the history of the professing church will end. Paul finds that apostasy in its last stage when the so-called laity have become infected:

“1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Ti 3:1-7) “3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Ti. 4:3-4).

Peter traces the origin of the apostasy to false teachers (2 Pe 2.1-3,15-19, quoted above). In Peter the false teachers deny redemption truth (2 Pe 2.1); In First John one finds a deeper depth–denial of the truth concerning Christ’s person (1 Jo. 4.1-5).

In this time of heresy and apostasy in modern America, as Jack Schaap points out in the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjVZGUWRJgA, which is also linked above, the population is going up while fewer and fewer are being saved. What do you do? Too bad most modernistic teachers, so fully indoctrinated by secularlism, turn  to the god of this world and his techniques—business and sales techniques, psychological techniques, anything but the Word of God, to answer that question. 2 John tells the believer what to do when “many deceivers are entered into the world” (v. 7). John says we are to go forward with “the truth” (the Scriptures). “The Bible, as the alone authority for doctrine and life, is the believer’s resource in a time of declension and apostasy” (1917 Scofield Reference Edition, Headnote to 2 Jn.). Paul instructed Timothy, a preacher whom Paul called his “dearly beloved son” (2 Ti. 1.2) and his “own son in the faith” (1 Ti. 1.2), what to do in a time of apostasy: “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Ti. 4.1-2).

The believer’s resources in a day of general declension and apostasy are faith (2 Ti. 1.5), the spirit (2 Ti. 1.6-7), the Word of God (2 Ti. 1.13; 3.1-17; 4.3-4), the grace of Christ (2 Ti. 2.1), separation from vessels unto dishonor (2 Ti. 2.4, 20-21), the Lord’s sure reward (2 Ti. 4.7-8), and the Lord’s faithfulness and power (2 Ti. 2.13, 19).

The tone of the New Testament writers when dealing with heresy and apostasy is never one of dejection or pessimism. God & His promises are still the resource of the believer. Although Paul as recorded in II Timothy and Peter as recorded in II Peter are aware that martyrdom is near (See 2 Ti. 4.6-8, 2 Pe. 1.14, and Jn. 21.18-19), both are apparently sustained and joyful:

“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Ti. 4.7-8).

The whole book of II Timothy reflects Paul’s joyful attitude as II Peter shows Peter to be likewise joyful and sustained.

II Timothy, II Peter, Jude, and II & III John deal the personal walk and testimony of a true servant of Christ in a day of apostasy and declension. For example, Paul instructs the “good soldier” in the face of apostasy:

“[B]e strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou has heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life: that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier….  Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: …  It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: If we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself….  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: …  Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (2 Ti. 2.1-4, 8, 11-13, 15-17a, 22-25).


IV. Conclusion

The Lord enlisted believers to be soldiers in His army (2 Ti. 2). We are to fight this spiritual warfare on all fronts using spiritual, not carnal, weapons (2 Co. 10.3-5; Ep. 6.10-18). Our God-given goal is to please our Lord and glorify Him. The main thrust in this warfare is the salvation of souls. This warfare requires not only that a preacher preach truth inside a building on Sunday morning and maybe also on Sunday and Wednesday evenings. This warfare must go on in the streets; from door to door; in prisons; in the city halls and capital buildings of our state and nation; in our courtrooms; in our Bible institutes, colleges, and seminaries; in internet articles and videos; in every nook and cranny. The evils occurring everywhere, including and most importantly in our churches, must be confronted if we are to be the good soldiers that God called us to be. What higher places of spiritual wickedness than in many churches where heresy has crept in or apostasy has overcome can be found? In order to fight this warfare, every believer must seek to disentangle himself from the affairs of this world and “endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ,” “that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (2 Ti. 2.3-4).

Let us joyfully march forward with knowledge, understanding, wisdom gained through Holy Spirit led study of the God’s Word, the KJV in English, as we face the inevitable persecutions that follow those who sell out to the service of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us disentangle ourselves from the affairs of this life (for example, church incorporation and 501(c)(3), psychology, business and sales techniques, etc.) that we may please our Lord. “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (He. 12.1-2).


Endnotes

En1 Order page and free online versions and online PDFs of books by Jerald Finney

En2 

A Hyles-Anderson Graduate Speaks Out on Jack SchaapPosted: 19 Mar 2013 06:12 PM PDT

cheshirecatschaap

FBI – Schaap looked like a Cheshire Cat kissing the Teenager

ARTICLE WRITTEN FROM FBI AND PROSECUTION EVIDENCE – LINK BELOW

This past year has seen the complete destruction of all that we hold dear in Hammond, Indiana.  The crimes and sins of Jack Schaap which he has never confessed as sin have soured people around the world including me.  I even created a YouTube video defending First Baptist Church and Hyles-Anderson College.  I especially defended Dr. Jack Hyles and even made a video from his sermon FRESH OIL recorded in the 1980′s.  I was there when Jack Schaap was still a student and then began to teach in the college.  I was there when he proposed to Cindy Hyles who was in some of my classes.  In order to fully understand how shocked some of us are as graduates and alumni of Hyles-Anderson one needs to have been there and known the rules of the college.

One rule was that if a guy or girl had entered any room or classroom of the church or school, a member of the opposite sex was to stay out until there were at least one other guy or girl present so that there would always be an uneven number in the room at the same time.  This was also a rule on the busses and even the night bus did not allow the young women to be on the evening routes because of the late arrival time of those returning from dropping off the night riders.

Another fact was that we were taught in Church Ed class and in Dr. Hyles’ special sessions for young preachers that when counseling a woman, there should never be a one-on-one session.  It would always be preferred to have a woman counsel with women and a man counsel with men.  If for any reason a pastor needed to speak to a woman or young girl, it was to be with a woman present or with a secretary sitting outside a door that was open so that there could be no mistake about what was going on during the counseling session.

What about the story that Dr. Hyles told about two teens that came to his office and they were coming to confess about how that they had “fallen into sin?”  He asked them what they did.  They said that they “held hands,” and he then told them that they still had hope and that God would forgive them. He privately jumped with glee after they left because he had kept them so far away from the edge that they had only “stumbled” into “holding hands” instead of something far worse.  You see, the rules at the college, the grade school, junior high, and high school were totally against even holding hands, much less kissing.  That was the surest way to keep one pure until marriage and it was always a great joy to see a couple kissing for the first time the day they were married.  One of my friends in college, Brad Lake, did not kiss his wife (they met at Hyles-Anderson) until his wedding day.  We all had to grin as they could not stop kissing even during the reception.  That was quite common at First Baptist most of the time with couples who kept themselves until marriage.

Another thing that comes to mind is the philosophy that Dr. Hyles preached in a sermon entitled HOW NOT TO DIE was the principle taught in James.  “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”  (James 1:13-15)  Let me explain:

The principle about staying away from death is to stay away from sin.  So then we ask ourselves, how does one stay away from sin.   The scripture explains that the thing that brings sin is lust.  Well then, if it is lust that causes sinand it is sin that brings death, then it seems only logical that in order to avoid death, avoid sin and lust.  That seems fairly simple.  If you don’t want to die, avoid sin and if you don’t want to sin then avoid lust.  But what does James teach us?  It says that a man is drawn away to lust when he is enticed.  This means that if there is no enticement, then there would be no lust.  It means that without lust, there would be no sin and thus no death.  But here is where we get to the whole root of the principle taught by Dr. Hyles and by Hyles-Anderson and First Baptist Church.  There are two statements that the Bible makes that completely obliterates JACK SCHAAP and his excuses which, by the way, seem to be backed by over 100 people who wrote the court in his defense.  First, the Bible says, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.”  We have seen in Jack Schaap’s book on DIVINE INTIMACY that he makes God the one who tempts with evil.  DO YOU HEAR WHAT I AM SAYING?  If Jack Schaap’s “god” was at the root of his temptations THEN HIS GOD WAS SATAN.  The second point I would like to make is that the Bible also says “drawn away.”

When Dr. Hyles taught this in First Baptist he told the story about how he learned this lesson.  It seems that he was with some friends on the way home from school.  They always went the same way home and never turned down a different path but went straight to their houses.  One day a friend asked the others to go just one block over to walk home that day.  Wouldn’t you know that because they went a different way (drawn away) they saw an orange tree on the other side of the fence of a home owner.  It enticed them.  Someone said that there were some oranges leaning over the fence and they could lift up one of them to reach the orange.  They all thought about the good taste of the orange (lust).  So, someone challenged the others and Jack Hyles was elected to be the one lifted up at the edge of the fence.  He and his friends decided to steal an orange from a yard when it did not belong to them (sin).  Then the most horrible thing happened, because it was so hard to reach and it was farther away than he thought, he fell over the fence into the other yard.  Someone must have called the police because before he could escape with his stolen fruit, they showed up (death).  What is the moral of the story?  If he had not gotten diverted from the normal way home he would never been enticed, which means he would never have lusted, and it would not have lead to sin anddeath.

Now here is my problem as we read what is reported CHICAGOMAG.COM.  I am going to take the points that have caused a worldly court system and a public prosecutor to condemn the actions of someone who certainly should have known exactly what is written above.  This is quoted from the online site:

1) Schaap kissing the victim during counseling. “When I asked you if it was wrong, you said, ‘No,’” the girl said in a statement. “You told me that I was sent to you from God; I was his gift to you.”

2) Schaap’s claim that Christ wanted the two to be together. The two spoke on the phone or texted each other more than 600 times, according to prosecutors. In one transcript, a text from Schaap reads: “Yesterday was ‘off-the-charts!’ :) ))”. Another read, in part, “[this] is exactly what Christ desires for us. He wants us to marry + become eternal lovers!”

3) Schaap’s cover stories for his numerous rendezvous with the teen. One, for his trips to an Illinois forest preserve, was that he needed to “spend time with God walking and praying.” To explain his taking the girl alone to his Michigan cabin, he told his assistant that he needed to spend extended periods of time alone with the girl to “save” her—both literally and spirtually. Investigators later recovered photos taken inside the cabin showing a grinning Schaap “on a couch in an intimate pose” with the girl and also “french-kissing [her] while touching her in a sexual manner.”

4) Schaap having sex with the teen in his office. During a church youth conference.

5) Schaap dishonoring the teen’s father and mother. “I will never forget how [he] looked me in the eyes…and told me how great my daughter was doing,” the father wrote in a victim’s impact statement. “It is sickening to me that a man who claims to be a messenger of God, with a daughter of his own, would take advantage of a young girl in such an evil and immoral manner.”

Let me take them one at a time and show why there is a very deep problem in the thinking and the fact that ANYONE would defend him for ANY REASON.

1) Schaap kissing the victim during counseling.   I need to cry out WAIT A MINUTE! WHAT ABOUT HOW TEENS WERE TAUGHT THAT EVEN HOLDING HANDS WAS WRONG?  So it is wrong for a teen to hold hands but the pastor can not only hold hands but kiss during counseling?  The FBI said Schaap was grinning like a Cheshire Cat!  Do you mean that he was counseling a woman (teen) in his office alone?  Do you mean that no secretary was sitting right outside the door?  Do you mean that when the school asked him to counsel a troubled teen he did not ask his wife who is the author of many books to take the case so he could be above reproach?  And, may I ask you, why would one of the directors of the school ask the pastor to do something that was clearly against all that they were taught and against every principle of decency and morals in the whole church, Christian schools, and college?  Why did not someone say, “…that is not how we do things here…” but instead they had blinders on their eyes and no one was bold enough to speak up based upon their own rules or on the principles of the Bible that Dr. Hyles had taught and everyone knew.  Lastly, I might ask, what did God think about this.  The scripture is plain when it says  “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.”  Any man of God who is walking in the presence of God every day WOULD NEVER AGREE TO SUCH AN IMMORAL ENTICEMENT.  Dr. Lee Roberson was known by many as a man who would not even pick up his own daughter if she were walking down the road with her car broken down because he did not want anyone to get the wrong impression that the MAN OF GOD had just picked up a WOMAN in his car alone.  I mean, we are not just talking about a girl being in the office but he was kissing her during counseling.  Has anyone ever read that Jack Schaap made a statement saying, “I HAVE SINNED?”  No, because he is so filled with his own selfish ways that he cares not about the intrinsic value of his wife, his church, his schools, his college, his call to the ministry, his salvation (if he is saved) or the intrinsic value of his WALK WITH GOD.  Wasn’t he afraid that God would write ICKABOD on his ministry?  Oh, I almost forgot, he got drawn away.  He was drawn away from everything the institution he pastored believed and taught on a daily basis.  Bob Jones Sr. said that EVERY TRAGEDY IN HUMAN CHARACTER IS BROUGHT ABOUT BY A PROCESS OF WICKED THINKING.  One only needs to look back over the ministry of Jack Schaap and at the book he wrote about DIVINE INTIMACY which is straight out of the PIT OF HELL and was dictated to him by SATAN himself just like an angel spoke to Muhammad when he wrote the Quran.

2) Schaap’s claim that Christ wanted the two to be together.   The article says that Schaap and the girl spoke on the phone or texted one another 600 times.  I have one question:  WHERE WAS HIS WIFE CINDY?  It is obvious that in his mind he was drawn away from his own wife.  Do you mean that she never noticed?  Did he have no conscience about telling the girl he loved her and that he had never felt like this about anyone else in his whole life? Does it mean he never really loved his own wife?  Does that sound like a man that loves God?  Does that sound like a man that loves his church?  Does that sound like a man who loves souls and the ministries around the world?  Does that sound like a man that loves the bus ministry?  Does that sound like a man that loves teens?  Does that sound like a man that walks with God?  Does that sound like a man that reads the Bible?  Is he actually saying that GOD TEMPTED HIM?  How can someone with that mindset even be saved?  It sounds like he was drawn away from his wife, drawn away from his Bible, drawn away from his prayer life, drawn away from his walk with God,drawn away from his position, drawn away from his reputation, drawn away from his teaching in his home, church, and college, drawn away from sound counsel, drawn away from the rules that attended the church and all the schools of that institution, drawn away from good wisdom as Solomon wrote about in Proverbs talking about the fool that got caught by the whore, drawn away from the promise he made to the parents of the girl, drawn away from caring about the fact that this girl was to be someone else’s wife one day, drawn away from the desire to be a good Christian testimony, drawn away from being moral which means loving God and others more than self-gratification, drawn away from even the most base thoughts of conscience even among the unsaved like the FBI and prosecutors who have levied this sentence against him, drawn away from the mind of Christ, drawn awayfrom the writings of Paul who said he feared that after he had preached to others he would be a castaway.  THERE IS NO WAY IN ALL THE THINKING OF THE WORLD OR IN HEAVEN THAT GOD WANTED THEM TO BE TOGETHER.

3) Schaap’s cover stories for his numerous rendezvous with the teen.   I don’t know how I can get through this one without splitting a blood vessel.  JACK SCHAAP LIED IN SAYING HE WAS GOING OFF TO WALK WITH GOD AND PRAY!  This is almost blasphemy of the Holy Spirit!  The truth is that he was being drawn away to spending time with an UNDERAGED TEEN at the complete disregard of any relationship he had with his wife or with God.  When Dr. Hyles had difficulties in his ministry he went out into the woods to GET FRESH OIL not to cavort with an underage teen so he could engage in fornication and commit statutory rape.  Charles Finneywent out into the woods one day and after being there all day he was saved and filled with the Holy Spirit in such a powerful way that he preached some of the greatest revivals this country has ever known.  Oh by the way, Jack Schaap told his assistant he wanted to “save her.”  Well, he SAVED HER all right.  Now the family has been asked to leave the church.  WHY? THEY ARE THE VICTIMS!  He saved her all right.  He saved her from morality, from being in the church she had grown up in, from being in a Christian school (she goes to public school now), from decency, from self esteem, from being able to meet a good Christian young man, from thinking that God loves her, from thinking that she could ever have a name that is not associated with tragedy and immorality, from the love and affection that all her school teachers gave her and her Sunday School teachers taught her,  from any good memories that most teens have at that age, from any desire to serve God or become a minister’s wife or missionary, from any desire to raise her children in a Christian environment, from a desire to pray and walk with God, from a desire to make the Bible the foundation of her life, from a life not entangled with all the vices of the world because with no Christian support group, WHAT HOPE DOES SHE HAVE unless she decides to make God her greatest friend and live in HIS PRESENCE?  Don’t tell me that this liar, Jack Schaap, even had one hint of a bad conscience while he was doing all of this because of his PROSTRATE PAIN.  Maybe we need to get back to the Old Testament where God never gave any excuse for adultery or fornication and in a situation like this the man would be stoned to death.  WHERE IS THE PUBLIC STATEMENT FROM FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH DISTANCING THEMSELVE FROM THESE EGREGIOUS STATEMENTS?  We are waiting for their News Release defining how they believe and showing that they are in total disagreement with these disarming statements.

4) Schaap having sex with the teen in his office. During a church youth conference.   Let me see now!  Was it not during a conference that had as its goal getting teens to live a pure life?  Was it not when they had a theme about the cross of Christ?  Was it not during a time when they were being taught that they should DIE WITH CHRIST so they will not fulfill the lust of the flesh?  Was it not during a time when teens were going forward surrendering themselves to live chaste and keep themselves pure until marriage?  Was it not during a time when they were all making a vow that they would not even hold hands but that their first kiss would be with the one that they marry on their wedding day?  Were the teens all praying in groups for the lost in their home towns?  Were they bonding together in their vows to walk with God and be an example when they got back home?  Were they promising to burn their rock-n-roll records and separate themselves from that crowd because of their immoral ways?  My book FOUNDATIONS OF MORALITY has this to say:

Obedience cannot be partial.  A moral being cannot partly obey and partly disobey all at the same time.

When one speaks of consecration or obedience to moral law, they mean that to be real it must be entire and universal.  There is a simplicity of moral action, namely, it is all or nothing.  We mean wholly conformed or wholly not conformed to moral law.  As we explore this further we will look at two distinct areas:

  1. Can the will make opposite choices at the same      time?  Can it choose the highest good of being as an ultimate end and      at the same time choose the opposite?  Can it make any choices that      are inconsistent with the ultimate choice of highest good?

Can the will make opposite choices at the same time?  Can a person choose something inconsistent with the ultimate end in view?  Let’s make some observations:

  1. When one talks of the ultimate end they are talking      about what must be the supreme preference of the mind.   Sin is      a supreme desire for self-gratification while holiness is a supreme desire      for the good of being.  Can these two opposite ultimate preferences      co-exist in the mind at the same time?  No, it is impossible to make      opposite choices at the same time, to choose conflicting ends.
  2. We have previously shown that all intelligent choice is      for the purpose of some ultimate end or means.  The choice is equal      to the intention.  A choice means that something has been intended or      chosen.  The thing chosen is also chosen for its own sake as an end     in and of itself or for the sake of something else that is related to this      end or means.  If this not so the choice is not intelligent, yet we      are talking about the intelligent choice of a moral agent.
  3. Our conclusion from these truths is that no choice can      ever be made that is inconsistent with the current choice of an ultimate      end.  The mind could never choose two opposite ultimate ends at the      same time.  It is either one or the other.  This means that one      can never choose one ultimate end and then while in the course of acting      with that end in view, make another choice of the opposite or use the      means to secure the opposite.  When we speak of choice being means or      ends and that a person can make one ultimate choice at a time, then it      follows that while in the course of one ultimate end the mind cannot      choose anything inconsistent with that choice.  The reason is that      the mind, while in pursuit of a certain end, is using whatever means it      can to accomplish that end.  That would mean that before the mind can      will the means to secure another ultimate end, it would have to change its      choice to another ultimate end itself.   From these statements it      would follow that if the soul of man chooses the highest well-being of God      and of the universe as the ultimate end, it cannot at the same time that      this choice is in operation choose any other means to another end.       That means that while choosing the highest well-being of God and the      universe, the mind could never choose self-gratification or any other end      at the same time.  It couldn’t be inconsistent with the end that it      has chosen.  The only way a change can be made is to change the      ultimate end and when that is done, new means may be used to secure that      new ultimate end.  That means that only when a new ultimate end has      been chosen, only then can new means to that end be used or chosen and not      before.  From this it should be plainly seen that obedience to the      moral law cannot be partial or less than complete for the same reason that      the mind can not go in two opposite directions at the same time.       This is what makes the Bible so true when it says, “Ye cannot serve God      and mammon….”  One could never will the good of being as the ultimate      end and then at the same time want self-gratification as the ultimate      end.  You cannot be selfish and loving at the same time.  Until      self-gratification is the ultimate end, the means to arrive at      self-gratification will never be used.  No one can choose the highest      good of being and self-gratification at the same time as opposite ultimate      ends.

This calls into deep doubt everything about this man, his call, education, service, marriage, teachings, walk with God and more.  NO MAN THAT WALKS WITH GOD COULD EVER DO SUCH HARM TO HIS LORD JESUS CHRIST.  In my mind, 10 years is not enough in prison, he needs to spend life behind bars.  Has he ever repented?  No!  The officers of the church said that they wished he would but he has not.

5) Schaap dishonoring the teen’s father and mother.  I can say that I don’t know how this man restrains himself.  What would you do if you sent your daughter to the pastor for help and found out that he was having sex with her?  The worst thing is that he actually told the father “how great his daughter is doing.”  What did he mean?  Did he mean how great she was at kissing?  How about writing love notes?  Or, maybe she was great at building his ego and satisfying his lust for self-gratification.  Was she doing great in sending 600 texts and phone calls?  How about doing great in keeping the news private so no one could find out (until a member of the church saw the picture of them French kissing on the pastor’s cell phone?)  How about keeping the trip to Illinois to the beautiful farm that Cindy and Jack had bought for $628,700 (this was a discount by the previous owner who had it on the market at $800,000 to $900,000 but gave them a deal because he was a pastor and school chancellor.)  Maybe she did good not mentioning that Jack and her went to his cabin in Michigan on the “girls night out” and the staff member that drove her there with her own daughter almost made an amber alert when he took the girl to Schaap and they did not show up at their motel for 36 hours.  Perhaps we could fault the parents when she was writing the pastor for not knowing that the text messages were not about improving her life but about having sex and how great it was the last time because it was “off the charts” (Schaap’s own quote to her).  I have to admit that I would have a real problem.  I don’t know if I could be restrained from going to Schaap and beating the living breath out of him and putting him in the hospital with every bone in his body broken so no one could recognize who he was after what Schaap had done to my daughter.

So here is what I am saying to anyone that reads this.  We need to flood First Baptist Church and the new Pastor Wilkerson.  We need to see if they have the morals and the intestinal fortitude to distance themselves from this PERVERT once and for all.  Just calling a new pastor is not enough.  Just reporting this to the authorities is not enough.  I think that there needs to be some serious questions asked about what the position of the church is toward this kind of activity that is strictly taught against by all their institutions and by their former pastor Dr. Jack Hyles.  I have watched their services and it appears that the people are getting back to the old schedule.  I have some questions:

  1. Is the church going to welcome this family back as the victims and not the perpetrators of Schaap’s crimes rather than  tell them that they better not come back for their own safety?
  2. Is the new pastor going to clearly issue a  press release showing how his doctrine and principles are thousands of  miles away from all that Schaap believed, preached and taught?
  3. Is the church going to also issue a clear statement that from now on there will not be any man staff member counseling a young  woman or teen and make it stick so that the world will know they have  cleaned house? 
  4. Is this institution, church, schools, and  college, going to examine all staff members and find out who has been a party to such activities (like the lady staff member who drove the girl across the state lines and should have called the police but didn’t) and make sure that they are removed from their positions?
  5. Is Jack Schaap going to be removed from the membership by church discipline for sins and crimes not becoming a Christian, much less as a pastor?

When we see these things coming out in public as a news release, then we will begin to think that the healing can commence and we can again trust the place that has meant so much to thousands of people around the world.

Alum of Hyles-Anderson College – David Williams


‘My Pastor Is on the Ashley Madison List.’

Too many Christians have been caught using Ashley Madison, many of them pastors and church leaders. What now? |

This week, I’ve already written a couple of posts on the Ashley Madison hack and information leak because pastors, Christian leaders, and families are facing devastating revelation and the after-effects of public sin.

Based on my conversations with leaders from several denominations in the U.S. and Canada, I estimate that at least 400 church leaders (pastors, elders, staff, deacons, etc.) will be resigning Sunday. This is a significant moment of embarrassment for the church—and it should be. To be honest, the number of pastors and church leaders on Ashley Madison is much lower than the number of those looking to have an affair. Yet, there is still much that we must consider in the midst of the embarrassment.

Also, to be clear, in situations like these, we must confirm all things. Not everyone on the list signed themselves up. Among those who did, the sin and circumstances will be different. Many likely signed themselves up and didn’t actually go through with adultery. Regardless, though, trust has been shattered and hearts have been broken. But before we assume a name on a list means adultery has taken place, we must confirm all things and seek the full truth.

On Tuesday I wrote “Life Is Eternal. Don’t Have an Affair,” reflecting on the issue. Yesterday, I wrote, “I’m on the Ashley Madison List. Now What?” to help people caught on the list deal with the consequences.

Today, I want to focus specifically on pastors and staff members.

What happens to the sheep when the shepherd is disqualified from pastoral ministry?

Pastors have been caught on the Ashley Madison list, and it’s devastating to hear the stories. Yet, rarely do people consider a larger group affected by a pastor’s failure, a group larger than even the pastor’s own family, who is facing the primary brunt of the agonizing pain.

For a moment, I want to address what many churches will be addressing this weekend.

What happens to the sheep when the shepherd is disqualified from pastoral ministry?

This is not the only issue, and perhaps not the first to be addressed—spouses have been betrayed, children’s hearts crushed, and more. As I wrote yesterday, some are considering suicide and more at the discovery of their sin.

Churches Matter

Yet, this really isn’t something we can ignore—churches matter here as well.

When the shepherd has violated a sacred trust, it harms the whole flock. This is not the time to act as if everything is fine, rush together a pastor search team, while ignoring the hurt and bleeding flock.

First aid takes a while, and the wounds of the flock must be considered before the shepherd is hurriedly replaced.

Even when members of a church don’t idolize their pastor, there is a great deal of implicit trust in the relationship. The members believe the one teaching them week after week is the same in the park as in the pulpit, the same in private as in public. When a revelation like the Ashley Madison hack occurs, the breach of trust is severe, and often lasting far beyond his moment.

If Your Pastor or a Staff Member Is Resigning

If you are a member of a church whose pastor is outed, what should you do for your own spiritual health and that of your church? Here are a few thoughts.

Focus on God who does not fail. This is the time to remember no one is without blame. Remember—not to alleviate your pastor’s guilt—but to refuse to focus on it. God remains on His throne; He, not your pastor, will never fail. The Apostle Peter failed three times in the same night, but Jesus did not fail. Keep your eyes on Him.

Support those who struggle more than others. Some in your church will struggle more than others with an admission like this. Some will be tempted to “quit church” altogether because “the pastor was a hypocrite.” For some, this is a weight they are spiritually unable to bear alone. Put Galatians 6:2 into practice: come alongside them, bear their burden, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

When the shepherd has violated a sacred trust, it harms the whole flock.

Care for your pastor/staff family. Yes, your church has been betrayed, but not in the same way the spouse has. I sent this to my church staff earlier this week:

If any of you guys have used the service, I need you to let me know now. You will be loved and brought through a process of repentance, counseling, and care. Your wives will be ministered to and loved. But, you need to come clean now. The names are coming out.

Honestly, I am much more inclined to care for those betrayed than the betrayer, but we must care for all.

Love your pastor publicly and privately, with grace and truth. Be consistent in your love for your pastor, who has self-destructed before you and whose world has just crashed. No doubt it is a self-inflicted wound, but even those need care. Speak honestly, but lovingly. I know you are angry—I’m angry—and that’s appropriate, but be angry with grace and with truth.

Love your pastor for the ministry you previously received, and love your pastor and church leaders through the ministry they need now. Remember the grace you have been given in Christ, and do not forget your broken pastor has been afforded that same grace. The same holds true if it’s a pastor, elder, deacon, or other church leader.

If Your Pastor Is on the List

If it comes to it, and no one else, to your knowledge, has done so, confront your pastor or report the information to church leadership.

Thankfully, despite millions of names released in the database breach, it will be a small number who are pastors. The majority are continuing faithfully, obediently in the ministries where God has placed them. The few will be found out sooner or later. Even when they are, it will not be the end of the Kingdom. God reigns and His authority is not threatened when His children fail. Nor is He in danger of overthrow when some are exposed as goats rather than sheep.

God reigns and His authority is not threatened when His children fail.
Recognize That with the Office Comes the Responsibility

I know this is hard, but quiet resignations and hushed conversations are not the answer. Pastoral repentance is different—the Bible says it is.

I know of pastors right now who are negotiating a quiet resignation after an Ashley Madison related affair—but you don’t get to do that if you have taken on the office of pastor.

As I wrote earlier, full and public repentance matters. And, in regard to pastors, the same Bible you preached includes a clear teaching for this moment. First Timothy 5:19 should be a warning to us all: “Publicly rebuke those who sin, so that the rest will also be afraid.”

As I wrote in a post on the need for full, public repentance:

Yes, repentance should be evident when any believer is caught in sin, but something more is required when a pastor is involved, and this matters just as much as the cautions against accusations.

With this higher standard in mind, I want to offer three principles of repentance for pastors and Christian leaders.

1. Repentance must be public.

Yes, pastors have a higher standard to receive criticism, but when that standard is met, a new standard kicks in– as far as the sin is known the repentance should be known.

Pastors have a responsibility to what has been entrusted to them. If you are a small church pastor, your church should know. If you have been entrusted with a global ministry, however, your repentance should be known on a global scale.

Yes, that’s hard. But you cannot use the higher standard of receiving criticism to your advantage when it is beneficial, but ignore the higher standard of repentance when things are difficult.

The details don’t need to be known, but the sin does. Adultery, lying, theft should be named, not hinted. When you became a pastor, you forfeited the right for your sin not to be known when the accusations prove to be true. It does not have to be prurient, but it must be clear.

2. Repentance must be thorough.

…As Lanny Davis wrote about political scandals, Tell it all, tell it early, tell it yourself.” Or, to quote a paraphrase of Proverbs 28:13, “What we cover, God uncovers and what we uncover, God covers.

There is great freedom in confessing it all, early, and moving on toward restoration. The alternative is to be trapped in a cycle of waiting until more evidence comes forward and then trying to spin it to salvage our reputation.

Repentance is freeing.

3. Repentance should lead to restoration.

…When it comes to pastoral repentance, fear leads to forever hiding where faith leads to confession and restoration.

I’m not saying that every pastor can be restored to every role—that’s a discussion for another day. But, a pastor who commits adultery, for example, needs to be under a discipline process with the church that lasts a considerable length of time (at least two years in my opinion).

God’s Grace

For reasons I cannot share (as it is not my story to share), I have much more concern for the victims, but if we care about the church (and the fallen pastor), we need to have a church conversation.

God’s grace is sufficient for the shepherd who falls, and the flock left vulnerable.

God’s grace is sufficient for the shepherd who falls, and the flock left vulnerable. We have a Great Shepherd, a Chief Shepherd, who is for us what earthly shepherds can never be: perfect, absolutely trustworthy, and never failing. It is He who leads us beside still waters in and into green pastures. Let us place our faith in Him, and we will find rest for our weary souls.

Pray for your pastors and church leaders today, even if they weren’t found to be in sin. Pray for them to resist temptation and cling to the cross when presented with sin.

Chris Martin and Marty Duren contributed to this post.