G.R.A.C.E., which stands for Godly Response to Abuse in a Christian Environment, has been hired by Bob Jones University to investigate abuses that have occurred on or off campus throughout the years. While G.R.A.C.E. does have a respectable reputation in addressing abuse issues, it’s difficult for me to treat this as historic. If anything, it’s typical. Typical of BJU to wait over a year in silence only to spring this upon the public at a convention concerning sex abuse and the church being held on their campus.
Fans of fundamental history might also take into account that G.R.A.C.E. is founded by Basyl ‘Boz’ Tchividjian, the grandson of Billy Graham. Although Boz, a graduate of Stetson University, the Southern Baptist college which also graduated Bob Gray, has a wealth of experience dealing with child abuse cases, I have to wonder how long a relationship between an inquisitive organization with SBC leanings and ‘currently’ fundamental BJU will continue? Students have been expelled for having the mildest associations with Graham’s organization. So, we’re going to have to assume that in wake of abuse scandals BJU has ‘grown up’? They’ve realized the error of their past bigoted ways and are ready to bury the hatchet with those related to Graham in the best interest of the children?
Financial crises does make for strange bedfellows. It would not be unheard of. BJU once had a table at Oral Roberts University, so anything’s possible.
Anybody remember that other historical moment when BJ3 announced they removed the restriction against inter-racial dating? Actually, the rule was simply modified to require students to get written parental permission for inter-racial dating. That never made Larry King!
I expect some two steps and compromise. The question is, who will be compromised the most? Bob Jones University? Or the mission of G.R.A.C.E.? Will the public receive their reports? Or, since BJU commissioned the investigation (as I’m to assume), will the reports be hidden from public view?
The local news source for Hammond, Indiana reports that Jack Schaap, the pastor of First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana, was removed from his post because of
“a sin that has caused him to forfeit his right to be our pastor.”
No details from the mainstream media about the ‘sin’. Not to worry! As always, Facebook goes where the MSM fears to tread. A Facebook group, DoRightHylesAnderson has just been formed: https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/210248275769396/
Someone from the church allegedly found a cell phone with a picture of Pastor Jack in a compromising position with a minor. Hence, the police involvement spoken of in this article:
First Baptist of Hammond, Indiana once had the reputation as the World’s Largest Baptist Church. This would eventually be eclipsed by Willow Creek and a number of other megachurches across the country.
Jack Hyles was a pioneer in fundamentalist sin and salvation, having built the ‘world’s largest church’ and creating the strategy for fundamentalist cover ups. Hyles story has been recounted in books ranging from The Wizard of God by Victor Nischick and Fundamental Seduction by Voyle Glover.
Dave Hyles, his son, developed a reputation for seducing girls in his Christian school and was fingered for the death of infant, Brent Stevens. Jack was accused of having an improper relationship with his secretary. The fundamentalist world didn’t seem to have a problem throwing Dave under the proverbial bus, as it were.
Bob Gray, the late pastor of my former church, Trinity Baptist of Jacksonville, Florida, was a good friend of Hyles. A number of Trinity members I spoke with didn’t hesitate to condemn Dave Hyles. Possibly to show they didn’t have their heads in the sand. (“I don’t know about the accusations against Brother Hyles, but David definitely did it!”)
Many of those who defended Bob Gray after Gray’s arrest for child molestation didn’t bat an eye when it came to trashing Dave. However, once the accusations moved up the fundamental food chain to Hyles and Gray, they started to get nervous.
Schaap took over after the death of Hyles. He became known for preaching wild sermons that sounded like Al Bundy had traded in his booze for a bible. He preached women were sinning by ‘letting themselves go’ and basically preached against abuse victims seeking accountability. Now, we know why!
David Gibbs, official lawyer for scandal ridden fundamentalist churches, is flying in for damage control.