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Friday, January 18, 2013

A TEACHABLE MOMENT FOR INDEPENDENT BAPTISTS

Pastor John Wilkerson
I was preaching for my good friend Pastor Greg Clark, who pastors the NORTHERN LIGHTS BAPTIST CHURCH in Anchorage, AK, when a text came to him telling him of the FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH of Hammond, IN, calling Pastor John Wilkerson as their new pastor.  He shared it with me.

When I arrived home I emailed Pastor Wilkerson to ask if this were true and he emailed me confirming it.   I met Pastor Wilkerson the first time in the DFW airport in 1995 as he was going to perform a funeral for his grandfather, he stopped me and asked me to pray for the funeral service, which I did.  When I would preach in California he would travel many miles to hear me preach and has always been very kind to me.  He is known as a personal soul winner and very courteous man.

Since arriving home I have been inundated with calls, emails, and texts asking me what does this mean.  Many of the emails used a little phrase which has bothered me some what.  One email for example said, "...I love FBC, can we take some comfort in this decision?"  One text wondered why I had not said anything on my BLOG.  90% of the communication centered around whether there was any hope and comfort in this decision by FBC.  

May I take just a moment and use this as a teachable moment for independent Baptist churches.

1889 First Baptist Church of Hammond
  • I have no opinion of this decision because only time is the real test of a decision.
  • I use the same principles I used with Jack Schaap being inducted as the pastor of FBC.  
  • Being the pastor of FBC does not make him or any other man of God the leader of independent Baptist churches.
  • I will pray for Brother Wilkerson and I encourage others to do so.
  • I am anxiously awaiting a public statement of not just Brother Wilkerson, but FBC's position on the preserved inspiration of the KING JAMES BIBLE.
  • He has rightfully stated that FBC is not a national church, however there continues to be a national influence because of Hyles-Anderson College and clarification is necessary because of this.
  • I trust they will return to the principles espoused by the founders and namesakes of the college, Dr. Hyles and Dr. Anderson.  
  • I do not NEED to take "comfort" in their decision.  I take comfort in the Bible principles I believe.  
  • I am not dependent upon the direction or strength of FBC and HAC.
  • I was comfortable when FBC called Jack Schaap believing in the indigenousness of the local church, even though I personally was opposed to his past directions.
  • I was very comfortable in my separating myself from Jack Schaap when he violated Bible principles.
  • We must pray for our movement and that God would raise up many good leaders all across the nation and not just depend on ONE leader.
  • We lived vicariously off of the greatness of FBC under Dr. Hyles.  If we visited them once a year and they were ok then we with our 50 back home were ok.  
  • It seemed we were more interested in a big name than a big work ourselves.
  • My deep concerns have always been towards those who were ignorantly or purposefully following FBC, because they in their insecurity needed a headquarters.
  • FBC needed a pastor and I am glad they have one.  It has been a tough road for them and it will be a long time before the healing is complete.
  • I commend Eddie Lapina and the other leaders for attempting to keep the church rolling in light of the mess created by Jack Schaap.
  • Let Brother Wilkerson and FBC prove themselves FIRST before you jump on a bandwagon, while pulling for them at the same time.

Pastor John Wilkerson is a good man and has done a good job with his previous church.  Let him alone in these early days and do not put any more pressure on him than what he is inheriting.  If he clears the air of FBC's bad doctrinal statements via Jack Schaap that will be a good start.  However, after that only time and  testing will reveal what will happen.  Pray for them and give them room!

First Baptist Church of 2012

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