Many, many people have contacted me with a concern regarding places where Paul Chappell is scheduled to preach and men with whom he is preaching. In particular he is scheduled in May of this year to speak at a Southern Baptist Convention church on the program with many non-fundamental preachers. I, along with others, am concerned about his decision to preach with these men. Remember, direction determines destination.
Perhaps the men with whom he is preaching are, for the most part, good men. They love America and have a burden for the direction this country is taking. I understand that. I am not arguing that these are evil men. My concern is that they are not fundamental men. Most of them do not use the King James Bible nor would they agree with many of our important positions. Many are members of the Southern Baptist Convention. I do not hate the Southern Baptist Convention. I am concerned with its continued movement towards Calvinism and corrupt Bible versions. Remember, direction determines destination.
Many years ago Jerry Falwell changed direction. Today Thomas Road Baptist Church and Liberty University are in no way fundamental in their positions. They have moved away from what we believe. At the time many of us were concerned with the direction Dr. Falwell was moving.
Once when I was preaching with Dr. Jack Hyles, I preached hard against Dr. Falwell’s move away from fundamentalism. After the service we were driving back to the hotel and I noticed Dr. Hyles was weeping. I asked him why. His response is one I will never forget. He said, “Dr. Gray I agree with everything you said regarding the direction Jerry is taking. I know it needs to be said. But I still love Jerry.” Dr. Hyles loved Jerry Falwell, but he understood that direction determines destination.
To attack a direction a man is moving is not to attack everything about the man. I am certain that Paul Chappell is doing some good with his ministry. My concern is that just as men followed Jerry Falwell out of fundamentalism, others today will follow Paul Chappell, if he continues to move away from the traditional fundamentalists positions. For me not to warn others of this danger would be cowardly. It is my responsibility to speak out, not to hurt a man, but to warn others of the direction the man is taking.
Paul Chappell is moving in the wrong direction. Because of his success many are following him. I warn you brethren, direction determines destination.
I have no ax to grind with Paul Chappell. If he decided to return to the old fashion fundamentalism, which we’ve been fighting for decades, I would embrace him and applaud him. I can think of nothing that would please me more than to be able to define Paul Chappell as an old-fashioned, rock-ribbed, independent, fundamental, Baptist preacher. Unfortunately I don’t see that as a possibility at this point. I will pray for Paul Chappell as I hope many of you will also do. I will pray that he will change his direction and return to his roots. If not, I can do nothing less than to warn those who follow him that direction determines destination.