This is a WARNING for Christians in Northwest Indiana that you may know that not all of God’s people are welcome at Bible Baptist Church in Highland, Indiana pastored by Michael Poole. In fact, Pastor Poole has recently made it known to a woman seeking a new church home that she was “not welcome” in this church. This is a Christian mother and wife who recently left First Baptist Church of Hammond, and therein lies the rub.

This woman’s young son was assaulted on a FBC Hammond bus in April of 2015. The bus driver is a deacon and “turned a blind eye” to all of this. The pastor, John Wilkerson, was clearly more interested in safeguarding the reputation of the church (as if they actually had one worth safeguarding) than doing the right thing and going to local authorities. The boy’s father went to Pastor Wilkerson and what ensued was an unfortunate series of lies, excuses, and manipulation by the church. This was when the mother began to speak of the incident on social media something that did not sit well with Wilkerson and led to her being told she was “not right with God.”

Not long after this lady visited Bible Baptist Church of Highland, Indiana. The problem was that Wilkerson has gotten there first. Wilkerson obviously related the events that had transpired to Pastor Michael Poole and added that she should not be considered for membership in his church because she was either “under church disciple” or had unresolved issues at First Baptist Church of Hammond. Anyone who understands how the Independent Fundamental Baptist pastoral, “Good Ol’ Boy” network operates full well comprehends that somewhere in these conversations could be found the term, “troublemaker” or “disloyal.” This has been standard fare with this crowd and their modus operandi of choice for the 33 years that I have had my front row seat. I was trained by the best of them, including Jack Hyles and Jack Schaap , the later now serving a twelve year sentence in a federal prison for the sexual assault of a sixteen year old girl in the Hammond church.

The woman in this bus assault story has been paid visits by Pastor Wilkerson, Linda Wilkerson his wife, and most recently, Pastor Michael Poole on November 14th, 2015. In the woman’s own words, this is what happened: “Pastor Poole and his wife came by and told me that I was no longer welcome at Bible Baptist Church because I should listen to … Pastor Wilkerson and keep on attending First Baptist Church of Hammond.”

Here is what is wrong with Bible Baptist Church and the actions of pastor Michael Poole in all of this:

As a New Testament, Bible believing church, Bible Baptist Church is an autonomous and independent church. John Wilkerson had NO BUSINESS sticking his nose into their affairs or trying to influence how they treated a Christian seeking membership. Poole should have had the courage to explain that to Wilkerson.
As a believer-priest, a Christian has the right to disagree with any pastor at any time, especially when there is at play the responsibility to protect and advocate for one’s small children in the face of physical harm.
Christian fellowship is based on JESUS CHRIST. No Christian who claims that name and gives evidence of living that life should ever be told they are unwelcome in ANY church, especially over the expression of a dissenting view in another body of believers.
No pastor should ever feel or express fear in engaging or fellowshipping with a Christian woman solely because she has had the courage and the conviction to hold her child’s abusers accountable. Michael Poole, you sir are a weak and cowardly pastor. You deserve no respect in the Christian community.
The authority in all New Nestament churches is IN THE ASSEMBLY, not in the pulpit.

For the record, I have contacted Pastor Poole, Pastor Wilkerson, and Linda Wilkerson and asked them for any comment or defense that they may want to offer. That was greeted by silence.

Choose your church wisely, my Christian friends. Bible Baptist Church under Pastor Michael Poole and First Baptist Church of Hammond under pastor John Wilkerson are churches where you will be absolutely required to check your critical thinking propensities at the front door. These are churches where your loyalties to institutions, offices and individuals will be expected to rise above your loyalties to biblical principles every time. These are churches where the Systematic Theology undergirding the Christian message consists of little more than a stack of bumper stickers. If this is what you seek in a church, then you will be right at home in these two churches under these two men.

On a side note . . . . if you have any suggestions concerning how this mother can console her young child who had grown to love Sunday School in the short time he attended Bible Baptist Church and began to cry when he was told his family was no longer welcome there . . . feel free to pass them along.

About Jerry Kaifetz

Christian author, c.e.o. Omega Chemical Corp.
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8 Responses to

  1. Allan says:

    You pontificate about justice, yet your article tells one side of a story and you expect your reader to take it all as fact. You are one that soweth discord. You make assumptions to these Pastors’ motives and actions. Do I think pastors are infallible? NO. I am surprised that God would use a sinner like me to proclaim the Gospel ( I have never pastored btw – but realize I am to herald the Gospel). You have great potential Brother Jerry. ( You do come off rather caustic in much of your writings- my opinion) I am not for shunning. If it propels you to do more for Christ in other avenues of ministry, to God be the glory. May God bless you and your family.

    • Allan, do you know what “pontificate” means? here it is: “To express one’s opinions in a way considered annoyingly pompous and dogmatic.” My opinions have been expressed on a biblical foundation on the basis of a sound and well studied Systematic Theology. You are free to express your opinion, but it would be far better to present my errors using the methodology in which they have been expressed. I am sorry to hear that you apparently feel that this is “annoyingly pompous and dogmatic.” The reason for a forum such as my blog is for others to be able present their side of any matter upon which I blog. They rarely do so, and people are free to judge the reasons why. Then you slyly inset by implication the sneaky old premise that since pastors are not perfect, we should withhold our judgment concerning their actions. In fact, the Bible proclaims the opposite. God dedicated 20% of His Word to men who do just as I do, the Prophets who assailed the same institutions and types of people: ORGANIZED RELIGION. As for “caustic,” my answer is, YOU BET! I write what I believe is the truth about scoundrels and abusers. They deserve far more than something caustic. And yes, I do much for Christ in ministry that you probably know nothing of. Last month I reached over 19,000 people FOR Christ and preached regularly in jails and nursing homes and in corporate devotionals. Thank you for your desire to see God bless an “annoyingly pompous and dogmatic, caustic” old plodder like me. 🙂

      • Allan says:

        Good morning Brother Jerry, if your calling is to point out the things you do in these various Ministries don’t be surprised if eventually people run when they see you coming and don’t want to fellowship with you. I guess that comes with the territory. A lot of the prophets of old lived quite solitairy lifestyles. It is good to hear you are working hard for God and spreading the gospel. God bless you today. “Only one life twill soon be past only What’s Done For Christ will last”

        • Allan, I don’t care one whit who runs and who shakes my hand. God’s work never brings blessing through consensus. Cowards run, Allan. Courageous people confront (2 Timothy 4:2), and strong Christians do that with Bible in hand. (Doesn’t exactly describe you, does it, brother?)

          I do not live a solitary life. In fact, that is an amusing thought. I have been blessed beyond what I care to describe to you, and probably beyond what you would be likely to believe. God outdoes Himself in that regard almost daily in my life.

          Also, let me address the “sowing discord” comment. You Fundamentalist in your superficial “study” of the Bible have gotten that one quite wrong (along with a few hundred other verses and doctrines.) Sowing is planting and involves the CONSCIOUS DECISION AND WILL to produce a specific crop or harvest. Thus when “sowing discord” is warned against in Proverbs 6:19, it is a command to not CONSCIOUSLY create discord among Christians. This is VERY, VERY DIFFERENT, from the creation of discord that follows taking a stand for principle and righteousness, which it always does. The Systematic Theology of our faith showcases that type of action in a laudatory and noble context, the fact that churches like yours run folks off and shun them when they do it notwithstanding.

  2. Ray Edge says:

    Dr. Kaifetz,

    Let me apologize for the length of my response.

    Assuming these events occurred as described in your post are accurate, this is an example fundamentalist preachers’ need to control others. I grew up in a fundamentalist Baptist church and saw first hand the exercise of power without regard to its harmful affect on Christians who just want to serve Christ. For example, my mother took a break from her service as volunteer organist during the last month of her pregnancy and the first two months after my little brother was born in January 1977. When she was ready to play again, she went to the church to practice. One day the pastor asked her what she was doing. When she told him she was ready to play again, and was practicing, he told her she was not going to play because she had not asked his permission to come back. Mama was badly hurt by this. One Sunday my sister played a piano offertory after which there were many “amens” from the people, including the preacher. However, during the following week a teenage girl told the pastor that my sister’s offertory was a song from the radio. Without any fact checking the preacher denounced my sixteen year old sister from the pulpit by name. You can imagine how this affected our family. (After my father paid a visit to him in his study that preacher never made that mistake again.)

    I have said all this to make two points: The first is that we as church leaders will leave a legacy –good or bad– based upon how we treat others. We choose to be remembered either for the people we have left along the road spiritually wounded or dead, or we can be remembered by not only telling them about Jesus and his great work on the cross, but by also living out the gospel in front of and with them. Secondly, the definition of fundamentalism, from my experience, is clear–it is nothing more than legalism masquerading as grace.

  3. Dan says:

    I cannot (or can I?) believe that abuse of children is still taking place here and being covered up as late as 2015. I once had a glimmer of hope that Wilkerson would be different from his predecessors, but maybe it was just a facade or the First Baptist lifers have worn him down and conformed him to the image of Hyles. Thank you for your website, Jerry! It has been a blessing.

    • Really for anyone to remain in the dark and in denial about the abuses for as long as Wilkerson did signals to me that was either a morally corrupt man himself, or didn’t have two brain cells to rub together. Thank you for your insight and support!

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