Many men have had an influence on my life, but two in particular had the greatest impact. One was my mentor, Dr. Jack Hyles. The other was a man who helped draw me into the ranks of being an independent Baptist pastor from my denominational background. That man was the late Dr. John R. Rice.
Dr. Rice was an amazing man in so many ways, but one of those incredible things about him was this. He loved truth so much that when he felt you were in error he could hit you so hard, so rough, and so powerfully that you thought he hated you and that he would never speak to you, for you, or with you again. And he thought you ought to thank him for it! Amazing!
Then, surprisingly just when you thought he was your worst enemy he would show his depth of love and grace towards you. You could not draw near or close to him without at one time or another sensing that fatherly spiritual whipping followed by a spiritual hug of forgiveness and acceptance.
I miss so many things about him, but this is something I especially miss and so does our movement today. It seems that in this day most of God's people wear their feelings on their sleeves. We need men who can speak with clarity about truth without everyone being too sensitive and missing the point of truth.
I have spoken in direct terms about First Baptist Church, not because I do not love the church, or those who work and serve there. I love them dearly or I would not waste my time and life in hopes of helping. I have a deep aiding love for the place, but more importantly for the people. I admire many fine Christians who attend and serve there. While I may feel that awful mistakes were made in the past it does not negate my respect for many aspects of the ministry and many wonderful qualities of the people.
I am 66 years of age and I have nothing to gain from this. I simply want to leave to my children and grandchildren truth that will help them win their generations to Christ.
The 100-member deacon board of FBC is filled with good and godly men. However, in a rush to name a new pastor after Dr. Hyles' death I felt that a terrible mistake was made. I believed it then and I obviously still believe it. Seeing the ministry now turned into merely a shell of its former self breaks my heart.
That said, Terry Duff, Chairman of the board, is a good and godly man who has been thrust into a very difficult position. I can only imagine what he has had to deal with in these recent days. I commend you sir and I commend all of those 100 men who have served with you on the board of Deacons in the scriptural handling of a horrible situation in the best possible way
I commend FBC for doing the right thing knowing it was the most difficult decision to make. You did the right thing! THANK YOU for doing so!
FBC has been a great church because God raised up a unique man of God in Jack Hyles to lead a great people to do great things for God. In all of it the praise belongs to God, but I cannot help but commend the members of First Baptist Church for your lives and the way you are handling this situation. Mrs. Gray and I prayed for you this morning and will on a daily basis. We wish nothing but the best for you and the church in the days to come.
My voice, and that is all it is...a voice, cries out for you to do the right things not only from a legal and public relations standpoint, but also from a spiritual standpoint. I love and admire you enough to warn you not to be careless in these coming days and not to allow the church to continue in the direction your former pastor Jack Schaap has led you.
Go back to the principles that made the great people of FBC a great church. Good people can be a part of a good church that is astray and not know it until it is too late.
God's church deserves a man of God who will put God and His inspired Word first and the people in the church second. You do not need a man who has a national agenda or ambition.
FBC was made relevant by God and has lost its relevance because God removed His approval from the direction your leader was moving. I do not fault you for his leadership, but I plead with you to reveal your Christian character by making the right decision this time.
THE EXAMPLE OF OUR NATION
Four years ago this great country elected a man who in my opinion is the worst president in the history of our great nation. I still believe that America has greatness with her. I also believe that the greatest people in the world are the citizens of this country. That said it scares me to see how far we have strayed in these four years. Do I still love America? You bet I do! Do I still love our citizens? I have been cheering for every American athlete to win at the Olympics. I bleed red, white, and blue.
Would I be faithful to my country if I was silent and did not cry out a warning to all of us? We elected the wrong man. He has done much damage. We must take responsibility even if we did not vote for him. Did we do ALL we could to prevent him from being elected? We must not let it happen again. Our forefathers would cringe if they could see what we have allowed to happen to their Constitution.
The work of God is NO LESS important. Eleven years ago you allowed something to happen that has not only brought you to this point of crisis, but has also diminished your influence to the cause of Christ. Return to your roots FBC. Do not allow the powers that be to railroad you into another poor decision. DO NOT BE HASTY! Be prayerful! Be aware!
Brother Duff, be the man of God I know you are. Lead the people of FBC to find God's will, (NOT THE CURRENT ADMINISTRATION'S WILL, FOR THEY ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM) for the future. These men were too close to Jack Schaap to see what was happening. They may be still TOO close!
I love you. We are counting on you. The cause of Christ and the independent Baptist world is pulling for you! GOTTA LOVE THE OLD TIME RELIGION!