Why I am Concerned about the Direction of Paul Chappell

scpBaptist, Church, Heritage6 Comments

There is a very simple principle most people too often ignore. The principle is this: Direction determines destination.

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.

6 Comments on “Why I am Concerned about the Direction of Paul Chappell”

  1. I am so sorry to hear this. We cannot afford to lose anyone in the fight against the devil. I will be praying for our brother.

  2. Let me just say that I am a dyed in the wool Independent Baptist, but I am weary of all the fighting going on inside of our ranks. We are Independent for a reason. I don’t ask other preachers what I should or shouldn’t preach or where I should or shouldn’t preach. God has placed us as the pastors of our individual flocks and we have no business giving unsolicited advice publicly to the pastor of another congregation for several reasons.

    1. It is Paul Chappell’s church and not anyone else’s. God has placed him there and right or wrong it is up to the Lord and the People of Lancaster Baptist to address any situation.

    2. I was always taught that criticism is directed up and not down. If I have to address what I see as a wrong “direction” by another pastor in his ministry then I am putting my nose where it doesn’t belong.

    3. If I do feel like I need to address it because his ministry has an outreach into the ministry of others then I do it privately one on one. If they do not respond then I move on and keep my advice to myself.

    My mind is drawn to Luke 9:49-50…

    Lu 9:49 And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us.
    50 And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.

    I know that I will be attacked and called a “liberal” for this position, but you can’t argue with scripture. I am not saying we have to fellowship or run in the same circles they do, but we need to keep our opinions about them and their methods to ourselves. Most of us have more than we can say grace over in our own ministries.

    Mt 7:3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

    We all have our own problems and hurdles to overcome in our own ministries. Let’s keep the focus there. I am sure that I don’t do everything the way that most Independent Baptists do and others don’t do it the way that I would, but isn’t that why we are Independent. I lead my flock the way that I believe that Christ commands me to and others should be allowed to do the same.

    If we don’t like the direction another pastor is heading, then we simply go start or take a church and lead it the way we believe that God is leading us and stay out of the affairs of others. We are not a convention and do not answer to one or to each other.

    The answer is simple…

    1. If you don’t like his ministry, don’t support it.

    2. If you don’t like his college, don’t send people there. (I haven’t)

    3. If you don’t like his church, don’t attend there.

    4. If you still feel compelled to attack him, then find something else to keep you busy. You have too much time on your hands.

    I am tired of seeing the fights, the garbage, and the scandal that is constantly coming up on the internet when someone googles “Independent Baptist”. We have some major house cleaning to do. Let’s stick to our own ministries and areas where God has placed us and take care of our own “beams” and leave the “motes” to God.

    Tony Keeton

    1. Well the problem here is that Chappell does not exist in a vacuum. In fact, he is a public figure within fundamentalism. He is a leader because his church is large and he has a college to draw young people to him.

      He is in fact a trendsetter, which is why this form of concern is necessary. This is not a matter of one pastor simply disagreeing with another. If Chappell is misguided, he is potentially bringing others with him. This is the concern. It cannot be ignored.

      Were it Joe Blo at Trinity Baptist down the street, you would be right. But this is not the same issue. Many are watching Chappell and taking note of what he does, and many are influenced by him. This form of warning is how we deal with that.

  3. Thank you for being willing to sound this warning, my friend. Having been an independent Baptist pastor since 1975, I’ve seen this happen TOO MANY times.

    Michael D. O’Neal, Pastor
    Glenwood Baptist Church, Jacksonville, FL

  4. Good warning from Dr. Gray. We shouldn’t fortify ourselves and refuse outside sound counsel because “I’m independent.” Dr. Gray is not usurping anyone’s authority by sounding a general alarm. I hope his warning will be heeded by those with good discernment.

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