Table of Contents
The Adventures of Squirrelock Holmes (TM)
Planting and Building Healthy Churches
Off the Cuff!
Just For Ladies...
On the Home Front
Answers in Genesis
Bible Study Corner
Sumner's Incidents and Illustrations
Letters We Love
Points For Preachers to Ponder
Our Secular World
Son Bloc - A Column for Young Men
Articles of Interest
Apples of Gold in Pictures of Silver
Matters of Opinion
Email Link To A Friend
Chapter 3 - The Saddest Story We Ever Published!
One of the hardest things for me to learn – or,
should I say, "accept" – is the fact that Fundamentalist
preachers put on their britches one leg at a time. By that, I simply
mean that they have a fallen human nature and are capable of the same
kind of sins the rest of mankind practice on a regular basis. They do
not go to Heaven every night and come back every morning to be of service
to God and humanity.
In my naiveté, I somehow supposed that the children of Liberals
could grow up to be rebellious, ungodly and enemies of the faith –
but not the children of Fundamentalists. I had no problem understanding
that Liberal preachers could leave town with their secretaries or choir
leaders, but never, never a Fundamentalist minister. If a newspaper
headline revealed an account of ministerial financial shenanigans or
absconding with funds, I automatically considered such a man a Liberal
– because a Fundamentalist couldn't do anything like that, of
Later, as my eyes became accustomed to the reality of the world's light
– or, rather, darkness – I had to admit that Bible preachers
could commit the same identical sins as did some of the infidels in
the pulpit. Even then, in my mind, they were the "New Evangelicals."
Fundamentalists would never do anything like that.
Alas, the days of my "sweet innocence " long ago evaporated
like fog under the burning morning sun. There is nothing a Fundamentalist
– out of fellowship with his Master – cannot do. This covers
the range from stealing a postage stamp out of another's desk to adultery
Murder? Yes, I recall hearing the late Bob Jones tell of a minister
friend (a man for whom he had conducted evangelistic services) who was
charged with murdering a woman in his church; it seemed they had an
affair and when it was about to be exposed, he killed her. I recall
how shocked I was when Jones told the story – and how I thought
to myself, "No, he couldn't have been a saved man. He may have
professed, but he surely didn't possess. " Yet David was a saved
man when his sin was about to be exposed and he connived the killing
of his lover's husband, Uriah.
It was also Dr. Bob that I heard say repeatedly, "No man knows
what he would do if he were tempted in the right way, at the right time,
and under the right circumstances." While I admit to being skeptical
then, I am no longer under any such delusion. Paul, writing under the
full inspiration of the Holy Spirit, summed this truth up for the Corinthian
Christians: "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed
lest he fall" (I Corinthians 10:12). The potential is there for
all of us.
Which brings me down to the subject at hand. When I started my investigation
I had no idea what a can of worms I was uncovering. Quite frankly, this
is probably the most difficult article I have ever written for THE BIBLICAL
EVANGELIST – or during my quarter of a century in writing for
Dr. John R. Rice, either. I do not enjoy exposing a man with whom I
have had association of sorts for nearly 30 years, shared Bible conference
platforms, preached in his churches – a man who led his church
in giving our organization many thousands of dollars, and who was on
my personal daily prayer list for many, many years.
Then why do it? Why not just continue the cover-up that has apparently
been going on in Fundamentalist circles for many, many years? There
are two primary reasons, one biblical and the other practical.
The biblical one relates to the demand that pastors must be absolutely
blameless (I Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:7), the very first qualification listed
in both passages. A preacher who falls into sin is to be exposed, as
Paul told Timothy: "Them that sin rebuke before all, that others
also may fear" (I Timothy 5:20). To try and limit this command
to local church situations is a cop-out, in my judgment; it states a
principle that covers the whole body of Christ.
One of the major inconsistencies within Fundamentalism today is that
sin is so quietly and firmly swept under the rug and the guilty parties
go free. Many who argue a cover-up for a fallen Fundamentalist are the
first in line to condemn a Jim & Tammy Bakker or a Jimmy Swaggart.
Where is the consistency – or even honesty – in this? Do
we want to send a message to the world that if a man is "big"
enough and " fundamental" enough, he can get by with anything?
I think not. One thing is sure: with the massive cover-ups we've had
of late, not many preachers are "fearing"; if we can put some
holy fear back into men of God, the time and money spent researching
this article will have been worthwhile.
Some point to the cases of Korah (Numbers 16), Aaron and Miriam (Numbers
12), the destruction by the two she bears of the young men who mocked
Elisha (II Kings 2), but none of these cases relate to sin in a leader's
life. Another favorite Scripture often used for not facing a minister's
sin is I Samuel 24:6 and 26:9, where David refused to "stretch
forth mine hand against [Saul], seeing he is the anointed of the LORD,
and, "who can stretch forth his hand against the LORD's anointed,
and be guiltless?" But we are not talking about who should be king
(or even pastor of a particular church), nor are we talking about slaying
someone and usurping a throne.
Neither do New Testament passages about judging motives and casting
the first stone concern this question. This issue is strictly about
whether major sin should be covered up for men in the ministry. Regarding
the latter, God didn't say, "Leave it up to me; I'll take care
of it in my own time," He said, 'You openly take care of it immediately!'
The other reason for this article is practical. Because this man is
so important in Fundamentalist circles – he, himself, has boasted
on several occasions that if he were brought down, Fundamentalism would
fall with him ("Just think how much destruction would happen to
America and the churches if I quit", "America needs me!"
"First Baptist Church in _______ is the greatest church in the
New Testament age"; "We are the greatest"); to which
we respond, "If Fundamentalism has no better foundation than that,
let it fall!' – word has reached us that both secular and New
Evangelical presses have been working on exposés, including one
of America's most prestigious metropolitan newspapers. Some of us have
come to the conclusion that Fundamentalism ought to do its own housecleaning,
uncovering its own failings by facing the matter scripturally and honestly.
We concluded that less harm would come to Fundamentalism if exposure
came from within the movement than if the outside world blew the whistle
and then stood back to sneer. The scoffing and sneering will come anyway,
but hopefully it will not be as loud nor last as long. We want to do
what is right in helping Fundamentalism, but it will not be helped as
long as sin is covered. As Jehovah said to Joshua of old when he was
prostrate in prayer, "Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon
thy face? Israel hath sinned . . . " (Joshua 7:10,11). It was no
time for a prayer meeting: there was sin in the camp. The same is true
We have tried to approach the task in a biblical manner, although most
of the instruction in the Word of God has to do with local churches,
not with movements. While there is no record that Peter was ever approached
privately by Paul before the latter delivered his public rebuke (Galatians
2:1-14), some of us have tried to face this man with his sin. He refuses
to respond. Even more important, the injured party attempted to follow
the principles laid out in Matthew 18:15-17 for handling it within the
local church – but was not even permitted to present his statement
and accompanying evidence to his fellow deacons.
We have published a few articles in THE BIBLICAL EVANGELIST attempting
to warn him and others, but these entreaties have seemingly fallen on
deaf ears. We have sought to stir others to action, but the standard
answer has been, "That is none of our business. We don't want to
get involved." (I keep saying "we" because a number of
Christian leaders have been working on this exposé, although
I have taken the responsibility for the actual writing.)
Quite frankly, we don't want to get involved either. Our ministry may
be boycotted in such a way that it will drive us into insolvency. If
so, so be it! Many of the statements in this article will be given anonymously
because of the fear those individuals have of retaliation, but someone
must stick his neck on the chopping block and we are willing to do so
for the good of the Fundamentalist movement.
Some, no doubt, will object to the way we have done it. We reply, "How
would you handle something like this?" In the past couple of months
we have had a host of phone calls about it – pro and con –
but when I ask the cons if they have a better plan for handling something
like this, invariably there is a long, dead silence on the other end
of the line. Others will feel that a continued cover-up would have been
better, but no one prospers in the case of covered sin. Paul told the
Corinthians that the guilty sinner in their midst should be exposed
both for their sake ("a little leaven leaventh the whole lump")
and for the sake of the transgressor ("deliver such an one unto
Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved
in the day of the Lord Jesus"), trusting their action would bring
the erring brother to repentance (I Corinthian 5:1-13).
Even if there is no other benefit, this will get the facts of the story
out into the open. Over the past several months, from coast to coast,
rumors have been circulating about this minister. Often the stories
widely differ and some have little basis of fact. This will at least
pinpoint exactly what the problems are.
Perhaps our strongest motivation for writing is duty. It won't make
us popular, but we agree with what Charles Manly wrote long, long ago:
"Better than ringing plaudits of a throng,
Than voice of multitudes in shouts of praise,
Than smiles of beauty and of rarest grace,
Are silent whispers of a conscience free
From sense of duty left undone."
We want to be able to say with the steward of whom Christ spoke, "We
are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do"
(Luke 17: 10). Whether you agree or not, we have done what we felt was
READ THIS LETTER AND WEEP!
As an introduction to the problem, let me quote one of the most tragic
letters addressed to a gospel preacher I have ever read in nearly a
half century of following Christ. It should bring genuine tears to your
eyes, as it did mine. The writer is a fine Christian lady – she
and her husband grew up and went completely through "the system"
in this man's church; in fact, her husband's grandfather was chairman
of the board when he was called to the pulpit and the letter surely
speaks for itself. She wrote:
"As I am sure you are well aware, my husband and I are moving to
the Los Angeles area this month. The culmination of many events in our
lives brought us to the decision that we have made to move. By this
letter I wish to express my thoughts on the role you have played in
these events over the past fifteen-plus years.
"I remember hearing once that it is not wise to put anything in
writing that one would not want the entire world to see. (You know well
the horrifying effects doing so can cause, don't you?) That thought
prompted me to write you on my leaving, for it would be the pleasure
of my life to have the entire world see in print my feelings on you,
your establishment and your gross perversion of the sacred role of Pastor.
"For over fifteen years I have watched and learned much from the
circus that you have performed with the lives of those I love most in
the world. With your own insecurities and personal failures as your
driving force, you have quite simply played havoc with an entire church,
some of my dearest friends and worst of all, my family. The saddest
realization is that it has all been under the guise of Christianity.
How I emerged from such a pit of secret sin, manipulation, and hypocrisy
with the slightest interest in my professed religion at all, I do not
"Actually, I have become quite a person with these many lessons
of life under my belt and must admit that you were quite a teacher.
You exemplify everything in this life that I do not want for myself,
my marriage or my children. I thank God for giving me the sense to decide
not to become one of the neurotic puppets you employ. That decision
and my close friendship with your ex-daughter-in-law (you remember her,
don't you?) helped salvage what was left of my self-respect. In an incredibly
short amount of time I have healed much and think I would surprise even
you with the strength I have gained.
"Incidentally, Paula and I have volumes of stories to swap, and
it is interesting to see just how similar they are. What was it that
you used to say, 'Little leopards have spots because big leopards have
spots'? How true it is.
"Sadly, in your very heart of hearts you must be the most miserable,
lonely person alive. You are a self-proclaimed giant, sensationalist,
exhibitionist, and 'big-time spender' grasping for every expression
of love, admiration and loyalty that you can get your filthy little
hands on. Yet, you have failed with the most precious gifts God could
have ever given you – your wife, your children, and now, your
"I pity you, _____ ________, for you will be experiencing the consequences
of your actions for a very long time. You may have convinced your following
in the past twenty years that 'it did not happen if they did not see
it,' but God has seen every moment of those years, and my faith will
not let [me] believe that He will let you go unpunished.
"With these thoughts expressed, I bathe myself of you and any influence
you may have had on me in the past. With God's help, I will make my
life in California everything that He would have it be and, unlike you,
will not fall.
Quite frankly, if I ever received a letter like that – and it
contained even 10% truth – I'd walk out of the ministry
without ever looking back. I could not handle even the private knowledge
that such a letter were even remotely true.
This letter, which the writer told the recipient "it would be the
pleasure of my life to have the entire world to see in print,"
explaining that he exemplified "everything in this life that I
do not want for myself, my marriage or my children," was signed
by Judy Nischik Johnson. It was written on October 1, 1986, to "Mr.
Hyles." He is better known as Dr. Jack Hyles, pastor of the huge
First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana, and Chancellor of Hyles-Anderson
College. The Paula in the letter is Dr. Hyles' former daughter-in-law.
And we should probably note that Mrs. Johnson hand-delivered the letter
to his office to make certain he received it, rather than trusting the
United States postal service. She was that serious about it.
Others knew about this long before we did, since its roots go back at
least to 1971, but the philosophy and practice of Fundamentalism has
been to sweep things like this under the rug, to bury it in the back
recesses of Fundamentalism's closet . . . then lock the door and throw
away the key. But this, dear reader, is neither right nor biblical.
THE BACKGROUND OF THE LETTER
About 17 or 18 years ago, Judy's parents, Victor and Jennie Nischik
along with their two children, Judy and Jack, were members of the First
Baptist Church in Hammond, happy as a family and dedicated to serving
the Lord and the church. Vic was a deacon and a Sunday school teacher.
As a young man, he given up a lifetime job with General Motors to become
a part of Hyles' ministry, even though his preacher father warned him
against so doing – in fact, he said "my parents practically
disowned me for coming to Hammond." By his own testimony, Hyles
was "a man I worshipped for nearly two decades as being the nearest
thing to deity on earth." He says, "I was his most loyal follower;
in the Bus Ministry for nearly 25 years; Choir Director for nearly 5
years in the '60s; and Deacon for over 24 years. " He also sang
in the choir and served as song leader in the Sunday school.
One day Dr. Hyles came to Vic and said, "I need your wife in my
office. " Even though their children were small, both husband and
wife were delighted that she could be involved in such a worldwide ministry
and Vic readily gave his consent.
A little time went by and the Nischiks began experiencing marital problems.
She would not permit Vic to touch her. In 1971, Jennie told Vic she
wanted a divorce; in fact, she gave him 24 hours to get out of town
and never see his children again. He refused. When she called Hyles
to the home, the latter offered Vic financial help to relocate elsewhere,
suggesting Denver. Nischik totally rejected the offer, saying he wanted
to keep his home together for the children's sake and because he loved
his wife. Nothing was settled that night and the next day the three
met again. This time, as Vic testified under oath:
"At that meeting the substance of it was that I produced evidence
of an improper relationship between my wife and Hyles, and produced
evidence to that effect, which caused him to beg me to stay for the
sake of the church and the ministry, and after a number of days discussion,
I agreed to stay for the sake of the church and for the sake of my children."
He defined that improper relationship as personal involvement going
farther than mere friendship, adding that when he produced his evidence,
". . . Hyles backed off about me leaving and, in fact, begging
me to stay, and worked out the arrangement under which we have lived
ever since." So, when this evidence was produced, instead of "get
out of town within 24 hours and never see your children again,"
it became, in effect, "stay around and put on a front for the good
of 'the ministry'."
The bizarre solution Hyles worked out for the Nischiks was as follows:
continue to live in the same house, but not see, speak, eat together,
ride in the same automobile, or even contact one another in any way
except for an hour or so on Christmas, exchanging gifts with the children.
A schedule was even worked out about when each parent could be with
the children, one that was rigidly followed.
At first Vic merely had a rollaway cot in the unfinished basement, but
eventually a room was fixed up in one corner, for which he paid Jennie
rent, even though he was allowed no physical contact whatsoever with
her. This arrangement was "forced" on him and when, under
oath, he was asked by his wife's attorney, William H. Tobin of Saul
I Rubin & Associates, "Who forced that arrangement whereby
you lived in the basement on you?" he replied, "Hyles did."
After more than a decade, in 1983, the basement living quarters became
very damp and dangerous to Vic's health, so he went to Hyles and said
he was going to move back into the master bedroom with his wife. Hyles
told him, "I'd rather build a room for you," and he himself
contacted a building contractor and paid for the addition at a cost,
according to Hyles under oath (deposition taken on May 1, 1986), of
"approximately $11,000," and according to Vic under oath (deposition
taken on March 10, 1986), "$10,306." That room was over the
A few years later, when Vic again demanded that Hyles terminate the
affair with his wife, Hyles ordered Jennie to file for divorce. She
did, but when Hyles realized that Nischik planned to put him on the
witness stand in open court, the former met with the attorneys on both
sides and unilaterally negotiated the terms of the divorce settlement.
According to Vic's attorney, Robert Hess of the firm Sachs & Hess,
Vic did "everything in his power that is humanly possible"
to keep his marriage intact. On May 28, 1986, writing to the Moody Bible
Institute, Hess described it: "Initially, in 1971, at the sole
request of his wife, he moved into the basement of the parties' home
in order to keep the family together, his family being two young children
at that time. He has lived separate and apart from his wife during this
period, but in the same home, from 1971 until present, all for the purpose
of keeping the family together and also for the purpose of keeping the
marriage together even if it was in name only... To show you how strongly
he felt about keeping the marriage together, even when the basement
started getting water seepage, where it was impossible to live in the
basement any longer, he had a dormer added to the home in order to have
separate quarters so that his wife would not at that point in time either
file a petition for dissolution of marriage or have him evicted from
the home in a dissolution of marriage proceeding. This occurred in 1983.
Unfortunately, Vic had no control whatsoever over his wife ultimately
filing a petition for dissolution of the marriage and that was done
as stated above on or about November 4, 1985, at which time Victor retained
me to represent his interests in this dissolution of marriage proceeding.
Vic opposed the divorce to the very end, even refusing to file a cross-petition,
but under Indiana law the only requirement is for one party to state
under oath that he/she wants the dissolution. Jennie so stated before
Judge Kanz on May 23, 1986, and the divorce was granted. Attorney Hess
declared of the case, "I might add that in twenty years of practice
I do not recall any other case where an individual like Vic has taken
the steps that he did to preserve his marriage, such as living in a
basement for twelve years and then building a dormer at considerable
expense in order to appease his wife and allow him to stay in the marital
home." It is not merely interesting, but extremely significant
that Vic's employer, the Moody Bible Institute, overruled a century-old
policy written by Dwight L. Moody himself, which states, "Divorced,
separated, or individuals married to divorced persons will not be employed
as members of the Faculty, teaching and/or counseling staff of the Institute.
Neither will they be employed at the vice-president, manager or director
levels. At the time of the divorce, Vic was the MBI Director of Accounting.
Several times he offered his resignation and it was refused.
At the church, when she was hired, Jennie Nischik was fixed up with
an office adjoining Dr. Hyles' office, with a connecting door which,
incidentally, had a huge drape in front of it so that no one coming
into her office would know that a door was there. At least one of the
fine ministers long associated with Hyles left because he could no longer,
in good conscience, tolerate it. In response to my direct inquiry, a
dear brother whom I have long respected as a man of integrity, wrote
me on February 6, 1989:
"Thank you for your letter. You asked why my wife and I left Hyles-Anderson
College having taught there for fifteen years, whether or not it had
to do with any wrong doing on the part of Dr. Jack Hyles.
"Starting two years ago we were told by letter and personally by
individuals that Dr. Hyles has a mistress, and that she is an office
worker who has the office immediately next to his. About that same time
I learned that those two offices not only each have a front door off
the hallway but also have an inner door between their offices.
"After a while I was bothered by the rumors to the degree that
I went to talk to Brother Hyles after a Sunday morning church service
in his office. I began on a positive note. 'Brother Hyles, I love you
very much. I have told you so frequently in person and in notes. I have
served you faithfully these thirteen years. Now I am going to ask you
to do me a favor.' 'What is that,' he asked. 'There re rumors going
around that you and the lady in the next office are having an affair.
The favor I am asking is that you get this inner connecting door boarded
up, move this lady to a different office, and put male staff member
in your adjoining office. I really believe it would help eliminate the
rumors going around about you.' Dr. Hyles' reply to me was, 'No, I am
not going to do that. You are wasting your time.'
"Although his refusal to grant my request did not prove or disprove
anything, I felt in my heart that the Lord wanted my wife and me to
leave First Baptist Church and Hyles-Anderson College and serve Him
elsewhere. We left at the end of the 1988 school year."
In a follow-up letter, written 10 days after the first one, he said
he believed "it would be very helpful to insert that this lady
(Jennie Nischik) is not his secretary, but rather mails out his sermon
tapes. Dr. Hyles' secretary is Mrs. McKinney who has an office across
the hall from his office. " It is necessary for Hyles to leave
his own office and cross the hall to personally visit his secretary.
When Hyles told this brother he would not honor his request, the latter
reminded him that the Word of God enjoins us, "Abstain from all
appearance of evil." And Hyles' response was, "My people need
to trust me." The Bible support for abstaining from all appearance
of evil is found in I Thessalonians 5:22. Where is the Bible support
for "My people need to trust me" in times of appearance of
evil? There is none, of course.
As my friend noted in retrospect, "Someone said, 'While we can
always trust the Lord, we cannot always trust those who are trusting
the Lord.' Is Hyles a better Christian than David or a stronger man
than Samson? Yet both of these great men of God succumbed to adultery.
We should not place ourselves in a position where temptation will arise."
Is this preacher a disgruntled church or faculty member with an axe
to grind, trying to "get even" with Hyles? Quite the contrary,
Hyles has been his hero for 20 years or more, a man he describes as
having "the distinction of being the man I have loved more than
any man who ever lived." His own dad had been an alcoholic and
Hyles, as the father image he had never had, won his heart, got his
admiration, and became his number one hero. His goal was to eventually
become an associate pastor under Hyles.
Dozens of times when the church auditorium was empty, he would kneel
at the altar right next to the pulpit and pray for the man he loved
and respected. Scores of Sundays he would go to the alley behind the
church, place his hands on the bricks outside Hyles' office, and pray
for God's anointing on his pulpit ministry that day. He says, "For
many years I would have died for Dr. Hyles at the drop of a hat if there
had been a need to do so. " He still loves him, but he had to leave
and is willing now to speak out because he feels Hyles betrayed the
trust he placed in him.
The situation really came to a head in late 1985 when Vic had a showdown
with Hyles, demanding that he leave his wife alone. It resulted in Jennie
divorcing Vic on Hyles' orders, with Hyles picking up the tab, a matter
Nischik says his ex-wife admitted to him. Three depositions were taken,
one each from Hyles, Vic and Jennie. One responsible minister of unquestioned
integrity, who read each of them, noted this about Hyles:
"Here is what I observed from Dr. Hyles deposition taken on May
1, 1986: He said that . . .
"He buys Mrs. Nischik a new automobile every two years.
"He loaned Mrs. Nischik $35,000 in which to invest so that she
could derive interest from it.
"He gave her a gift of $ 10,000."
"He bought aluminum siding for the Nischik house
"He gave Vic Nischik approximately $11,000 in order for him to
have a room added to his house (pages 40-42)."He wrote about Jennie's:
"This is what I observed from Mrs. Nischik's deposition taken on
February 5, 1986:
"Over approximately the last eighteen years . . .
"[Hyles] purchased her a new automobile (usually Buick or Oldsmobile)
every other year for about the last eighteen years. . .
" Paid for the insurance on the automobiles . . .
" Paid for the driveway for the Nischik's house . . .
" Paid for the air conditioner for the Nischik's house . . .
" Gave $5,000 for her daughter Judy's education.
" Gave $11,000 to build a room onto the Nischik's house . . .
" Paid for a second telephone for the Nischik's house, a 'business'
phone in her bedroom"
Writing about Vic's he said:
"And then I observed some things from Vic Nischik's deposition
which was taken on March 10, 1986. He said ...
"When their house in Munster was bought in 1968, that you were
the one who negotiated the purchase. Vic said that he was never a party
to the contract. That was 7 years after they were married, having married
in 1961 . . . . "
This deal was certainly a strange one since Vic never paid a dime
on it, never even signed the contract, nor did he have any say in selecting
the floor plan. That house, by the way, was at 8219 on one street and
the Hyles residence was at 8232 on the street behind it. The two houses
could be viewed at the time-with lights flashed as signals-although
trees have since blocked it.
We are not quoting more from his evaluation because the matters omitted
are faced elsewhere in this paper. Since those depositions were made,
in the Fall following the divorce, Jennie moved into a brand new beautiful
condominium, paid for in cash to the tune of $150,000. While this may
not come under the classification of supporting a mistress, it certainly
is an excellent imitation! Hyles explains is as being due to his naturally
generous character - a matter we do not deny, although we have a right
to reserve our own opinion about why he is so generous.
The Nischiks had a 2,000-square foot house in an affluent section of
Munster, unofficially appraised in mid-1981 at $125,000. After the 1971
fiasco, Mrs. Nischik was totally responsible for all expenses pertaining
to the residence – house payments, taxes, insurance, utilities,
upkeep, weekly cleaning lady, food, clothes, school tuition and everything
else involved – all on her small secretarial salary. The daughter
said they were never "wanting" and "always had very nice
things," adding that she hated most of them because she knew why
she had them and where they came from. "Hush money," she called
Yet it is important to remember that Vic only paid "rent,"
set by Hyles, of $250 a month until the room over the garage was added,
then the " rent" went up to $268.34 to cover the extra expense
of the maid cleaning an additional room, Vic, whose take-home pay was
two or three times hers, said in a statement he was not permitted to
present to the deacons, "Under no circumstances could I have been
able to provide for her such a high life style." He also charged
at that time, "Jack Hyles insisted that the financial support for
Jennie be his responsibility," and noted that "annual vacations
were provided for her," as well as "indications that substantial
funds were being accumulated for future needs," concluding his
marriage was wrecked "by a constant inflow of unaccounted cash."
When we asked Judy Nischik Johnson if she knew anything about Hyles
her mother money, she replied, "Yes, I do. Everything that was
provided when I was growing up was money that somehow mysteriously appeared
to my mother." Without her seeing him put it in her mother's hand,
she said she "knew it came from him," adding that she sometimes
saw large amounts of cash lying round.
Perhaps a word would be in order about the large sums of unaccounted
cash Hyles dispenses – with no records of any kind. By his own
statement, he does not deposit his speaking honorariums in the bank,
cashing them instead and disbursing them as he chooses – doing
the same with gifts from "friends" across the country –
and there is no record kept of the monies or of their distribution.
When he was subpoenaed to give a deposition in the Nischik case, he
was ordered to "bring all his records. " He brought none.
When the attorney asked why, he responded that there were none, that
he never keeps any. Hyles says he has given hundreds of thousands of
dollars" this way. (Whether the IRS knows of this interesting system
of accounting or not, we cannot say.) We are not talking about petty
cash, but large sums that have, at least to one individual, totaled
tens of thousands of dollars.
Victor Nischik, as indicated earlier, tried his best to work within
a biblical framework at the First Baptist Church, rather than telling
his story to the outside word. He refused to resign from the deacon
board and on two separate occasions, during deacons' meetings at the
church, Nischik stood up and tried to tell his brethren what was going
on, calling Dr. Hyles, an adulterer and a home wrecker.
The first time, when he attempted to read a 3-page letter, Hyles shouted,
"You are trying to destroy Fundamentalism!" and the deacons
joined with him in shouting Vic down, denying him the right to present
his case. The statement he was not permitted to read said, in part,
". . . my home was tampered with and my marriage deliberately wrecked
by Jack Hyles. He stole my wife, her loyalty and affection, and when
the divorce hung in balance, unilaterally met with the two attorneys
and negotiated the divorce settlement." The latter meeting took
place only 8 days after Hyles' deposition was taken under oath, and
just 12 days before the case was to be heard in court. The divorce was
finalized two weeks to the day from Hyles' deposition!
Another deacon came to Vic's defense, but he was shouted down as well;
in a letter to Hyles later, that brother noted, "I tried to speak
to you about these areas and was put down by you." When still another
deacon suggested that the rumors ought to be faced and answered, Hyles
angrily responded, "There are rumors about me and any number of
women; I can't answer them all. There are even rumors about me and your
wife!" That silenced him and all the other deacons, too, since
none wanted rumors started about their wives. The second time Vic brought
it up the only response was stony silence. Since then, "about one
third of the Deacon Board has resigned over this issue."
Strangely, one deacon resigned in protest because Vic, now a divorced
man, remained on the board – and we are certainly not belittling
his convictions – but said not a word about the mess involving
the pastor! Why? One long-time member suggested it might be an ego problem
not just in his case, but with all the others – an unwillingness
to confess, "I've been an idiot, duped for the past 20 years, believing
this man." That would be hard to admit!
Nonetheless, it was about this time that Judy wrote her letter, quoted
earlier. The two Nischik children give their dad "unqualified support,"
freely acknowledge he is the one who has been wronged, disapprove of
their mother's actions, and charge that the instigator of the trouble
in the Nischik home was Hyles; they lay the totality of the fault at
the minister's feet! Vic said to me, "I would never have taken
on Jack Hyles unless my children had given me their full support."
It should be emphasized that Hyles and Jennie have never been caught
in the act, as far as I can discover, like the woman in John 8. He has
thoroughly indoctrinated his people with the idea, "If you didn't
see it, it didn't happen." Even if they it I walked in a pastor's
study and found him and some woman embracing and kissing on the floor,
I'd just think he was giving her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation."
While that quip always gets a laugh, it is at the same time subtle indoctrination
to ignore what is going on. Perhaps it should be remembered, as one
brother said to me, "Adultery never has been a spectator sport."
There are never many witnesses, if any.
Yet, as the daughter said to me, it really doesn't matter to her whether
he ever touched her mother or not, since what he did was wrong and destroyed
their home, totally orchestrating the four lives of its members, day
by day and minute by minute, right down to the last detail. As a child,
her life was filled with fear, thinking that the pastor, for whom she
has never had the slightest respect, might "snuff her out"
if she caused trouble. The home environment in which the children were
raised cannot be described as anything short of incredible. Remember,
the only time the parents were in the same room together was an hour
on Christmas morning when Vic and the children opened presents in the
family room and Jennie sat at the kitchen table drinking coffee.
Every night, while sitting at the table around dinner, Judy recalls
listening to her mother on the phone with Hyles, whether he was in town
or not. In the early days, she did not answer the phone when her mother
was at home. Later, when she did answer and Hyles was on the other end,
it was embarrassing for both and he would say something like, "I'm
in such-and-such a city and I'm running out of tapes. I need some more."
Of course, there would be no way to get tapes to him before he left
that city and it was an insult to Judy's intelligence for him to think
she didn't know what was going on. Still later, they developed a signal:
the phone would ring once and quit, then Jennie would go upstairs and
call him back. Eventually a private line – a "business phone"
– was installed in her bedroom and the privacy problem was solved.
Hyles paid for all of it, including the monthly bill. That was probably
the only "business" telephone in the greater Chicago area
with an "unlisted" number!
Since Hyles and Mrs. Nischik lived around the corner from each other,
one would follow the other home from church and when the one in the
lead turned into his or her drive, there would be a "lights on
and off" signal like two teenagers.
Again we emphasize that good men have tried to face Hyles with these
serious problems. Several prominent Fundamentalist ministers have independently
written Dr. Hyles about them and asked to meet with him. He does not
answer their communication. Dr. Ed Nelson, a prominent Colorado Fundamentalist,
told me he wrote him twice and received no response either time. Dr.
Walt Handford, a long-time friend of Dr. Hyles, wrote him a very kind
and earnest letter asking if they could discuss the problem. He received
no answer. Later, in a personal contact, he asked Dr. Hyles if he had
received his letter. After Hyles replied in the affirmative, Dr. Handford
asked, "When will you let me talk to you about it?" Hyles
answered, "Never. I am the husband of one wife, the mother of my
children." Sometimes he adds, I have been told, "and she's
the only woman I've ever been with." I offered Dr. Hyles an opportunity
to include an additional disclaimer in this article, but received no
response. No one has been able to do anything.
In fact, his standard answer is that his policy is not to answer critics
or respond to rumors. That is not entirely true. For example, the last
two years he sent out mailings prior to Pastors' School in an attempt
to shoot down rumors (or, some think, boost attendance). Earlier this
year he mailed a release for the '89 school that started:
"Dear Friend of Pastors' School:
"THE RUMORS ARE NOT TRUE!!!!!!!
"It has been called to my attention that rumors have been circulated
around the country that I am resigning the First Baptist Church, and
that there will be no Pastors' School this year, Another rumor has it
that I am terminally ill.
"NONE OF THE RUMORS THAT YOU HAVE HEARD IS TRUE, THEY'RE ABSOLUTELY
FALSE. I PLAN TO BE AT FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE.
THE CHURCH HAS NEVER BEEN IN BETTER SHAPE. WE HAVE NEVER HAD A BETTER
SPIRIT, AND, YES, WE WILL HAVE PASTORS' SCHOOL THIS YEAR."
So Jack Hyles does answer rumors – and the seven exclamation points
(count 'em) are exactly as he had them in his letter. It is just reports
– coming from sundry and divers sources – about his relationship
to Jennie Nischik that he will not answer. (In our judgment, it is false
to say "the church has never been in better shape," also!)
Since the rumors started circulating around First Baptist, one long-time
member estimates that "perhaps forty percent of his teaching and
preaching has been in defense of himself, seeking to squelch the scandal."
THE MESS PERMEATES ALL OF FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH & HYLES-ANDERSON
Since, as Dr. Lee Roberson has so aptly insisted, "Everything rises
and falls on leadership," let's start at the top with Dr. Hyles
and work down from there. According to some in the church and school,
the idea, "who can stretch forth his hand against the Lord's anointed,
and be guiltless?" (I Samuel 26:9), has been hammered home so hard
and so repeatedly that the church deacon board and school administration
have been paralyzed. As we already noted, however, this verse was never
intended to help anyone escape the consequences of his sin.
Before we start, perhaps we should say again that we are not charging
Jack Hyles with adultery at this time. We are charging him, however,
with very poor and unwise actions that have devastated the lives of
many, many people whom he has tried to control. As the young woman we
quoted earlier expressed it: so what if nothing ever happened between
him and her mother – if he never laid a hand on her – does
that make right everything else that went on? She added, "I'll
probably never know until I get to Heaven whether he did anything or
not, but I don't care whether he did or didn't." She observed that
if he had gone out and slept with a prostitute, but other people's lives
hadn't been devastated, it would have been sin, but not as bad as what
he has done in turning family members against each other, friends against
friends, and all the rest.
Let's take a look at some of the things in this sordid story that distress
1. Hyles adopted what could be considered a Mormon philosophy of celestial
marriage to justify his relationship with Jennie Nischik. When, under
oath, Vic was asked the nature of his evidence about the "improper
relationship" between Hyles and his wife, he responded, "I
produced some intimate letters. " Under oath, he described the
contents of those letters from Hyles to his wife as: "Expressions
of love, expressions of affection, expressions of gratitude for having
lunches together, expressions of meeting different places and whatever,
and expressions of loyalty and love forever." (This is what was
put "in writing" that the daughter, Judy, referred to in her
letter to Hyles, paragraph 2, quoted at the beginning of this article.)
Explaining it later to me, Vic said the letters described what the two
had as a heavenly marriage. One thing is sure, as another family member
explained to me, Jennie's loyalty to Jack Hyles was supreme, coming
before loyalty to husband, daughter or son.
2. In 1971, when Jennie first demanded that Vic leave, Hyles came to
him and asked if once a divorce had been granted, he had permission
to marry her. Obviously, there were no witnesses to this conversation
and its truthfulness or falseness should be evaluated in the light of
everything else this article reveals.
3. Bizarre as it seems' in 1985, when Vic demanded that he give him
his wife back, Hyles told Vic that he could have Beverly (Mrs. Hyles),
with the same relationship Hyles enjoyed with Jennie. The offer was
declined, of course. Once again, this was a private conversation with
no witnesses. Mrs. Hyles did leave her husband at one time, but she,
too, came back "for the good of the ministry." At any rate,
you may also evaluate this charge in the light of everything else.
Regarding these private conversations with no witnesses, one lady who
was long a leader in the Sunday school and held other important positions
in the church, told me of being in his office when he revealed some
"inside information," then warned her about ever revealing
what he had said. Peering at her over the coffee table, he threatened,
"If you say I said this, I will deny it – and it will be
your word against mine." Others have told me the same.
Doesn't Hyles love his wife? A man who taught in Hyles-Anderson College
for 15 years and had a member of First Baptist even k testifies that
after sitting through countless services he had only Hyles mention his
wife approximately 10 times – all, in his recollection within
the last 2 years when pressure of the problem seemed to dictate it –
and even then never in reference to affection, only such matters as,
"I helped Mrs. Hyles dress the children when they were little,"
"Mrs. Hyles is selling her book after the service in the lobby,"
and things of that nature.
He said, "There is no doubt about it that for years a person could
join First Baptist Church on Sunday morning, sit in every service for
a solid year hearing his every announcement, Sunday school lesson, Sunday
morning and evening messages, and not know he had a wife." He also
said that during the 16 years he had been a member, he had seen Jack
and Beverly together 3 times: when the chairman of the deacon board
asked both to come to the pulpit area to receive a gift from the church,
at a wedding rehearsal dinner for one of their daughters, and once when
he went to the Hyles home with a gift for Mrs. Hyles' mother.
One man, long on the faculty the college and who knew them well –
on a first name basis – told me, "In all the years I was
there I never once saw Jack and Beverly together. I never once heard
them say a word to each other. That not the way it was in the early
days when I first knew them." The Hyles marital difficulty probably
goes back at least to 1967. One of his associates went to Hyles over
20 years ago, at Mrs. Hyles request, to ask him to stop the affair.
His reward for interfering was to be verbally brutalized by Hyles and,
soon after, he was forced to leave.
As distasteful as it is to mention, perhaps we should refer to what
one First Baptist deacon called "common knowledge" around
the church, namely, that Jack and Beverly have separate bedrooms, the
latter confiding to one of her best friends in Hammond, who told me
herself, that Jack had not "touched" her in over 20 years.
Others have told me the same. This woman, by the way, quoted Beverly,
"Jennie Nischik is the one woman in my husband's life." Mrs.
Hyles did not get to attend Dr. John R. Rice's funeral because her husband
would not permit her to travel with him to Tennessee. When some of her
friends offered to take her with them, she declined, saying she would
not know how to explain it to the Rice sisters.
As far back as 1971, Hyles took four women, including Jennie, on an
all-expense trip to Hawaii. He went alone with these women, the only
male in the group, stayed at the same hotel with them, but his own wife
did not accompany the party!
We suggest to Dr. Hyles that he go back and read chapter 11 of his book,
Let's Build an Evangelistic Church, published in 1962, titled, "Let's
Include the Family. It could revolutionize his marital situation –
if he would take his own advice, written before Jennie Nischik came
into his life, and when his home was apparently what God intended it
4. Judy Nischik Johnson described her former pastor as a thief. She
charged him with robbing her of a normal childhood, never knowing what
it was like to have family discussions around a dinner table, never
going as a family on a picnic or to the zoo, never visiting as a family
with friends or relatives, never having family worship with a father
and mother, never even able to go to church together as a family unit,
and never able to invite friends into her home because of shame over
what was going on.
She said Hyles also robbed her of feelings of self-worth ("He literally
robbed me of my self-worth for 20 years! I thought I was a bad person
because of this"), strength ("I wonder now how I even lived"),
and even hope for the future since she believed a normal marriage and
home life with husband and children was unattainable in her circumstance.
The latter was the result of a sermon she heard Dave Hyles preach at
camp about kings' sons being like the king – and children like
their parents. She was filled with horror, thinking it was predetermined
that she must have a home like that of her parents.
5. While we are not breaking any new ground with Hyles' only son, we
add the story again now because it fits the total picture and helps
explain the overall problem. David (whom his father called "the
most brilliant, spiritual man he ever met"; but the feelings were
obviously mutual since Dave told a friend of mine, "My dad made
Dr. [John R.] Rice"), although married at the time, was involved
with numerous girls and women in Hammond. A student who served as a
security guard said the women were coming and going from Dave's office
in the Youth Center in a steady stream. Often Mrs. Hyles would call
and ask him, "What woman does my husband have in his office now?"
In fact, the matter so disturbed him that he decided "what's the
use" and dropped out of school. Fortunately, he later finished
his training and is now serving the Lord as a pastor.
On occasion, Dave used a friend's apartment for his "counseling
sessions" with the ladies. One of the saddest cases involved a
college administrator's daughter while she was still in high school.It
seems clear to me that he took advantage of a teen's innocence and seduced
her, which makes this "conquest" even more nefarious than
some of the others. In a telephone conversation with this writer, the
father said he completely repudiated the entire story as "totally
erroneous," "an absolute I lie," and we assured him we
would print his disclaimer to that effect. However, the abundant evidence
we have in hand of its truthfulness is, in our judgment, unimpeachable.
One minister who gave me this information was formerly associated with
Hyles in Hammond, but left when one of the leaders – one of the
more prominent men associated with Hyles over the years – came
to him privately as a friend and said that if he, like this man, had
teen-age daughters, he would not want them in such an environment. On
reflection, he decided he didn't either, took the brother's warning,
and left. It makes you wonder about the full-page college ads Hyles
runs in the Sword of the Lord, "WE PROTECT YOUR DAUGHTERS,"
While this is what got Dave away from Hammond, the problem had been
going on for a long, long time. One minister, who both went to school
and worked with Dave, said it was common knowledge at the church that
he had moral problems. People quit the church over it. Pastor Hyles
refused to even discuss it. Parents went to him with letters Dave had
written their daughters containing obscene and immoral content. He would
reach for the letters and say, "I'll take care of it," but
the only thing taken care of was the evidence, which the parents no
longer had in their possession.
After these shenanigans in Hammond, Hyles let his former church –
Miller Road Baptist Church in Garland – call Dave without the
slightest warning to the leadership in Texas of any problem. When the
deacons called Dr. Hyles and asked what he thought about their calling
his son, he only said, "Well, Dave is his own man."
In a short time Dave became involved with a number of women at Miller
Road and the whole thing blew sky high. Young Hyles had foolishly put
a large number of pictures of women and himself, sans clothing –
some members, some not – in a suitcase, then put the valise in
the dumpster behind the church. It was a nice looking fairly new suitcase
and the janitor's son spotted it while he was playing around the trash.
He helped himself, as kids are prone to do, but, since it was locked,
he took it to his father, who managed to get it open.
What a shock! The janitor, in turn, took the pictures to a couple of
the deacons, who met privately with Dave before taking it to anyone
else. The chairman of the board called a meeting to discuss it with
all the deacons and eventually the board unanimously asked for Hyles'
resignation. There was not even one dissenting vote.
Hyles then abandoned his wife and children, going to Illinois with another
man's wife – one of the women he had been involved with –
living together without the benefit of clergy. A child was conceived
and eventually the couple married. At one time, with reference to Miller
Road, Dave had made arrangements to come back to the church and apologize,
confessing all of his sin, but on the scheduled night, just a few minutes
before he was to leave for the church, he received a call telling him
not to confess.
In the meantime, while still a Miller Road, Dave and another youth minister
started a magazine for teens. We do not think more than an issue or
so had been distributed before the story of the adulterous relations
ships blew up and numerous Christians around the country were out the
money they had invested. No did any who had subscribed receive refunds.
In addition, the Miller Road Baptist Church was threatened with a lawsuit
by the printer who had been doing the work. Although the church was
not tied into the magazine in any way – it had not authorized
it or assumed any kind of responsibility – for the testimony of
Christ, Miller Road Baptist paid the printer's bill of well over $10,000.
Dave, in the meantime, had taken a good job with an insurance sales
organization headquartered in Atlanta, boasting to friends that he was
making as much as $17,000 a month, well over $100,000 a year, and he
assured some of the men in the church he would repay the money.
To date, he hasn't paid back a dime!
As one close to the Hyles family explained to me, "David Hyles
had an incredible teacher. Dave is the way he is because his dad is
the way he is, although their problems may not be exactly parallel.
After seeing your father get away with things for so many years, why
wouldn't you be convinced that you could go out and do the same, or
worse, and get away with it?"
We are not sure whether Hyles' book, How To Rear Children, is still
6. Hyles' second daughter, Becky, is married to Tim Smith, one of the
famous Smith brothers, friends of Dave Hyles and products of the First
Baptist ministry from their youth up – Terry, Tim and Tom –
a trio often used in the past to illustrate the tremendous work First
Baptist is doing. When Tim, whom Dr. Hyles always called "the tow-headed
fool," was with the Sheridan Road Baptist Church & School at
Saginaw, Michigan, he "conducted an extended relationship with
a seventeen-year-old student, whom he took to Florida for several months,
leaving his wife and children behind and devastating the church,"
according to a major exposé cover story article ("A Jim
and Tammy Tale in Dallas; Power, sex, greed – and a wealthy Baptist
church ripped apart") in D Magazine of Dallas, dealing with the
large Canyon Creek Baptist Church in suburban Richardson where all three
brothers are located (Terry is pastor; Tim is School Administrator;
Tom, apparently, merely a member). In addition to claiming Terry had
made sexual advances or had affairs with "seven other women,"
whose names members of the church uncovered, the magazine implied numerous
financial shenanigans by both Terry and Tim.
Since then, David Frost, on NBC-TV's new "Inside Edition"
– in fact, the premier program – featured Kristina Becker
and her allegation that Terry Smith had emotionally and sexually abused
her when she turned to him for counseling. She and her husband, Gregory,
are now suing Smith and the church for "sexual assaults by deception
and fraud," seeking damages in six figures. The Smiths deny all
the allegations. One man, who was a deacon at the time of the "explosion,"
told me if he hadn't been involved in the work of the Lord for 35 years,
such a revelation "would have put me under."
At this writing, in addition to Mrs. Becker, at least four women have
given depositions in the case and the trial is tentatively scheduled
for April 3, too late for us to report the outcome in this article.
We think the situations involving lack and David Hyles have lowered
standards at the church and college to such an extent that normal qualifications
for workers and leaders held by other Fundamentalists no longer exist
in Hammond. We will list some cases as examples, strictly among the
leadership, for the purpose of showing a pattern.
7. Marriage is treated so lightly in Hammond that some think divorce
is the rule rather than the exception. Karen Plopper, on the church
staff, divorced her husband. When the latter, Ray, sought pastoral help
to save the marriage, Hyles refused to intervene. Roy Moffitt is one
of the associate pastors and his wife, JoJo, is a women's conference
speaker. Their daughter divorced her husband after only a few weeks
of marriage – a matter for which we would not normally fault the
parents – but she did so while blaming her father for pushing
her into a marriage she did not want. (Roy was recently given an honorary
degree from Hyles-Anderson College and JoJo, was one of the featured
speakers at the "Digging for Gold 14th Annual Christian Womanhood
Spectacular" at First Baptist last October.) Mrs. Earlyne Stephens,
the college bursar and Jack Hyles' sister, is divorced. So is her daughter,
Mrs. Margaret Oats.
8. Mrs. Fay Dodson heads the highly touted Phoster Clubs at the church
and college, credited also with starting 900 similar clubs throughout
the country. She divorced her first husband and shortly thereafter was
given the job of starting and directing the Phoster Clubs. Her second
husband was Louis Dodson. At last Fall's Women's Spectacular at the
church, Mrs. Dodson was honored at a special tea reception and cited
as being the greatest miracle in First Baptist. According to an alumnus
with two degrees from Hyles-Anderson, she "owes thousands of dollars
to a businessman I know personally, and counseled another friend of
mine's wife to divorce him."
9. Dr. Dennis Streeter is the college physician. His wife, Jean, is
a part-time faculty member who was asked to establish the Marriage &
Christian Womanhood curriculum at Hyles-Anderson College and head up
that department. He got a nurse associated with his medical practice
pregnant and the Streeters are now divorcing; we consider Jean an innocent
victim. He still retains his position with the college. Strangely, back
in 1987, Dr. Cal Streeter, Dennis' brother, wrote Nischik a very pious
letter, quoting Scripture and preaching to him about his attitude and
actions relating to Jack Hyles.
At any rate, we think the First Baptist deacon was right when he said
divorce at the church and schools have reached "epidemic proportions."
There are numerous other cases we could describe, but time and space
10. The head of one of the church's ministries was caught by a pastor
in Michigan, where he was holding meetings, with a woman in his motel
room. This man had an affair with a student's wife, and that home broke
up. Hyles knew this, but still helped the guilty get out of town and
into a pastorate. The more we learn, the less we think of that slogan,
less we think of that slogan, "WE PROTECT YOUR DAUGHTERS!"
11. Sex problems, as noted above in Dave's cases, are treated lightly
' One teacher discovered that a student was a homosexual, reported it
to the school authorities, was told "we'll take care of it,"
but nothing was done and the homosexual is now a graduate of Hyles-Anderson.
(That teacher, no longer at the college. related the incident in his
classroom, to the shock of all the class.)
Some years back, two deacons discovered a secret room in the basement
of the Rescue Mission – mirrors on walls and ceiling – that
served as a place for homosexual encounters; Hyles was told, but did
nothing. He was also told several times that his mission director, now
deceased, was a womanizer and viewer of X-rated videos, especially ones
dealing with incest. He refused to do anything about it, no doubt because
"if he didn't see it, it didn't happen." The same man was
also overheard numerous times using profanity while dealing with converts
at the altar of the church during invitations; Hyles refused to intervene.
A high school faculty member was caught by another faculty member having
sex with a teenager on school property; Hyles was informed, but refused
to deal with it. We are aware of two other college faculty members guilty
12. Hyles "married with much pomp and circumstance" a young
Korean Hyles-Anderson coed, Yuck (also called Yuoak, Yulee, and various
other names") Chong, to Dr. John Stancil, circulation manager of
The Sword of the Lord and a frequent Sword Conference speaker, less
than 5 months after the latter's divorce from his wife Brenda was finalized
on April 6, 1988! As someone said to me, "That was a mighty short
time for a man to court, fall in love, become engaged, and marry another
woman." Actually, much of the romance was carried on while Stancil
was still married to his first wife. Brenda said she later learned that
"he had been seeing Miss Chong in Indiana for quite a while before
his divorce became final and that he had spent Christmas of 1987 with
her and her family after telling our children he would be home alone.
She was in Murfreesboro on at least four occasions . . . ." All
this was while the Stancils were still married.
One of those visits calls attention to an even more unfortunate and
unsavory matter. Since college regulations called for Miss Chong to
stay with someone else while at Murfreesboro, arrangements were made
for her to visit in the home of Mrs. Doris Roberts, a Sword employee
of long standing and Stancil's secretary, business manager and close
confidant. Conveniently, the latter was given a plane ticket to visit
her son in Florida at that time, leaving Miss Chong without proper chaperone.
A lady who went to the house to meet her and get acquainted relates,
"When I got to the door, I found she and John there alone making
love on the sofa." (She defined "making love" as "lying
fully prostrate, clothing in disarray, with movement, stroking, kissing,
and bodies touching"; she said she could not "say for certain
if sexual intercourse was occurring or had occurred," a matter
that seems immaterial when considering the fact Stancil was still married
to another woman.) The lady watched for awhile, then left and went to
a friend's house nearby and asked her to return as a witness, finding
"the two were still on the sofa." The lady placed her business
card on the window of Stancil's Mercedes-Benz and left.
Stancil's position with The Sword did not change throughout all of this
and his pulpit ministry is still being promoted in its pages!
13. One of the men on the staff at the college spoke in the high school
chapel earlier this year, supposedly warning young men about how girls
entice boys, but he used such suggestive, obscene language in describing
what the girls did that one of the lady faculty members raised a ruckus.
No one else seemed to object.
14. Regarding the slogan "We Protect Your Daughters," when
my editorial appeared last October a brother called to ask if it were
about Hyles. After answering in the affirmative, he said that he had
been so distressed about things in Hammond that he called his students
at Hyles-Anderson home (he had as many as 7 at one time). The straw
that broke the camel's back was when the bus came to pick up the girls
at the dorm and take them to the services. The bus driver, a college
staff member, stood on the steps as the girls boarded, forcing them
to squeeze by. The daughter of this preacher, who later called to tell
me her story personally, said that when she got on he put his hand on
her derriere and rubbed her. It startled and frightened her, she commenced
crying, and went to the back of the bus to sit down.
Later, when her roommate asked the problem, the latter told her she
must report it. When she said she'd rather just forget it, the roommate
insisted, saying the same man had been making passes at a friend of
hers who worked on scholarship in his department. This girl had reported
him and he, in turn, said the problem was that she wasn't doing her
work and he had been forced to reprimand her. It resulted in the girl,
on a work scholarship for 3 years, being transferred and told she had
"a bad attitude."
At the insistence of her friend and a friendly faculty member, the girl
who talked to me eventually went to the school president with her story.
What happened? She was told the staff member would not be permitted
to be on the girls' buses again – and that's all that was done.
A month or so later he was back on the bus! There had been some other
problems which went begging for solutions – for example, one of
the girls in the room was stealing from the others and when the pastor's
daughter reported it, she was told she ought to "share" things;
eventually the thief was just switched to another room – so the
pastor finally decided he wanted "better protection" for his
daughter, called all his students home, and started his own Bible institute.
15. One person who was on the college staff for well over a decade wrote
me about Hyles: "He has a fun and games meeting once a month with
the college girls in the chapel. He showers thousands of dollars on
these girls every month. The girls swoon over him like the young people
do for movie celebrities as they crowd all around him on the pulpit
throughout the entire meeting." The same person sent me a copy
of a song he taught them to sing at these sessions – I already
had it since he "sang" it on his "Eternal Humanity of
Jesus" tape – which goes like this:
"Look at all that hair, Look at all that hair,
'Tis the answer to a college woman's prayer;
It's no joke that I'm provoked,
'Cause I'm not allowed to stroke
Those bushy locks of
"Blessed locks, precious locks,
On those dear old hair-sprayed
threads I love to look;
As I sit in chapel chair
And adore his gorgeous hair,
I can hardly keep my mind upon the Book. "
"Boopsie-Woopsie," incredibly, is the coeds' pet name for
Hyles. And he taught them to sing this inane ditty, which he says he
wrote himself, to the tune of the sweet gospel song, "My Mother's
Bible." If that is not sacrilege, it will do until someone can
think up some!
He also wrote this one, sung to the tune of another precious gospel
song, "Come and Dine":
"'Where's the beef,' the women calleth,
'Where's the beef?'
As they gaze at bulging biceps of the chief.
There they drool with envy green,
While with jealousy they dream,
Wishing they could find a guy with equal beef."
When he appeared on the platform at Pastors' School in the past, his
associates, primed in advance no doubt, started chanting "Where's
the beef?" Here's a friendly eyewitness account from a preacher
who attends annually: "Most all services conducted at pastor's
school begin with such foolishness as him flexing his muscles. People
shout out "where the beef?" and Hyles takes off his jacket
and shows them his arms. For about 10 minutes or so it is plain foolishness.
It doesn't offend me, but it doesn't edify me either."
Here is an eyewitness account of what happens when Boopsie-Woopsie gets
together with his coeds:
"The meeting with the girls is once a month, usually on a Thursday
evening starting around 8 p.m. The girls are in the chapel waiting with
all kinds of gifts and letters for him. When he finally arrives, fifty
or more girls run up and crowd around him and sit down on the platform.
He takes off his jacket and flexes his muscles and poses this way and
that while they scream, ooh and aah and carry on. He jokes with them
and carries on conversation with those who call out to him. He sits
down on the platform with the girls all around him. They joke and he
jokes with the girls in the audience. He brings with him a stack of
love letters and gifts that the boys give to him for the girls or he
picks them up off the pulpit where they have been left by the boys to
give to the girls. He opens each note and reads it to the girl after
he has her stand up. She then comes up to get her note and gift from
her boyfriend via the preacher. Then they all sing choruses, love songs,
old songs and songs he writes.
"On occasions he has given out round trip airline tickets to several
girls, honeymoons, telephone call to each girl, money to spend at Peddlers
Way on campus, tuition for a month or tuition for a semester, a dress
or outfit for several girls, or any other need he wanted to fill. He
also has given a $ 10 bill to each lady who walks across the platform
and shakes his hand. About 800 ladies creates a whopping bill, along
with all the other gifts handed out in one night – plus pizza,
pop, ice cream and candy bars for a 10 p.m. treat in the dining hall
that he joins. One of the evenings was figured to be around $17,000."
One of the financial officers said he knew for a fact that this money
sometimes came out of the surplus fund. What a potential for ill is
this coed meeting – a loaded powder keg with a short fuse! –
although, in this case, we are willing to give him the benefit of the
doubt and credit him with trying to keep the coeds from getting homesick.
If he has such a service for the boys, we are not aware of it.
16. Before we leave the moral issues, we must say how distressed we
have been for several years with what we consider must surely be untruthfulness
in his preaching. His stories are so colorful, so fantastic, so numerous,
so uncharacteristic of normal reality, we could not help but wonder
if he did not take smatterings of fact and build them into delightful
tales. One thing is sure: Jack Hyles is always the hero in each and
every one of them, and the listener cannot help saying to himself, "Boy,
what a spiritual giant, a hero of the faith!" As our youngest son,
in his review of The C S. Lewis Hoax, wrote recently: "Beware the
man who is the hero of all his own stories!" We think that advice
is very fitting with reference to Hyles, too. Later we will mention
his attendance, baptism, and other statistics.
Does all of this have an effect on the church and student body? How
could it not? Here is an illustration. An evangelist associated with
the school spoke at a church in Southern Indiana. A short time later
the pastor confided to him this sad but true story. His son had been
a student at Hyles-Anderson. In his junior year he quit because of the
rumors about Hyles and his mistress. The brokenhearted dad said, "Upon
coming home, my boy shortly afterward took up with a divorced woman
and now has a son by her out of wedlock. Usually, he won't come to church
now. My boy was going to be a preacher."
There are other charges we think are true but were taken out of this
paper as we prepared to go to press because we couldn't document them.
Those who knew the facts were afraid to speak out – or chose to
remain silent for personal reasons. Undeniably, however, we have presented
sufficient to substantiate our case.
Someone is going to answer to God for these matters, you may be certain!
Dr. John R. Rice used to say "Mark this down: false doctrine leads
to false living, and false living leads to false doctrine." When
a man goes wrong in one, don't be surprised when he goes astray in the
In our October 1, 1988, issue,' in my "Off the Cuff!" feature,
I wrote an editorial, "One of the Blights of Bigness." I called
attention to some heresy a prominent pastor and leading Fundamentalist
had been preaching. Although I did not name him then, I was speaking
Most of our readers, knowledgeable of the Fundamentalist movement, correctly
surmised the man I had in mind. A number of them wrote or called to
give additional information. One brother, who earned two degrees at
Hyles-Anderson over an 8-year period, wrote: "It took a great deal
of courage to write the article on Dr. Hyles recently, but it needed
to be said. I, too, am greatly alarmed by some of the statements coming
from him, and have been for years. I am a graduate of Hyles-Anderson,
and a long-time reader of your paper. After sitting under his ministry
for eight years and obtaining two degrees from the school, I can assure
you that you are right on target, and the half has not been told! I
heard more 'new' truth there than you or God could ever dream of!"
Some who have been in the church for years refer to this new truth as
Note the following...
1. In Hyles' sermon, "Don't Cut the Grass," he taught that
all of us have wheat and tares in us, but we should let both grow side-by-side
and not cut anything, lest we cut out the wheat (good) in us by mistake.
This is a horrible misunderstanding, a completely unscriptural misapplication
of that parable.
2. On numerous occasions, Hyles has taught that there are two gifts
of life in salvation, one is eternal life and the other is everlasting
life. The distinction being, he says, is that one is qualitative and
the other quantitative. One member wrote me, "This heresy has wrought
havoc among the church membership," people concluding they are
only half saved.
Here is how he explained it in a sermon, "The Gifts of God Are
Everlasting Life & Eternal Life," on April 28, 1985. He started
by misquoting Romans 6:23 as "the gifts of God" (plural) instead
of "the gift of God" (singular). He said, "When a person
receives Christ as his Savior ... God gives him immediately –
and he is an immediate possessor of – everlasting life. Though
he has a gift of everlasting life, he does not necessarily possess eternal
life. For everlasting life is a quantity of life and eternal is a quality
of life." That is mere mumbo-jumbo, of course.
He went on, "At that same time of salvation, God makes available
to that person who is a recipient of everlasting life, the gift of eternal
life. The gift of everlasting life is taken once and for all when you
receive Christ as Savior, and the gift of eternal life is made available."
"Eternal life is a gift, but it is only made available at the acceptance
of everlasting life."
Eternal life, he said, "is a life that must be received every day,"
adding, "Every time you get out of bed at the sunrise in the morning,
God looks at you and says, 'I have another gift for you today. I have
the gift of eternal life. You can accept that gift and live in eternity,
or you can refuse that gift and live like the base animals of the world
live'." He said there were hundreds of members of First Baptist
Church of Hammond who "have everlasting life, but you are not a
possessor this morning of eternal life. You are living like the animals
of the field live."
To them, Hyles said, "God comes to everyone this morning who by
faith has received the gift of everlasting life and, God says, 'Now,
let me give you, while you're on your way to Heaven, let me give you
eternal life, full life, rich life, spiritual life.'. . . How I long
for our people to have eternal life." He said the problem with
Fundamentalism is that "we're preaching the gospel of everlasting
life, but not preaching the gospel of eternal life," calling the
latter "another life," "something else," "a
gift besides everlasting life."
When he got ready to close his message, he said, "[God] comes this
morning to you who have never received Him, 'Believe on Me as your Savior
and take my gift of everlasting life.' He comes to those of you this
morning who have done that already and says, 'Now, receive My free gift
of eternal life'." Such a distinction between everlasting life
and eternal life is totally unwarranted from the Word of God, of course.
It is pure fantasy.
3. Hyles goes once a week to the mausoleum where his mother's remains
are interred and prays to her. In his prayer meeting talk on December
3, 1987, he noted that his mother is not dead, just moved beyond his
senses. "Hence, I go to the cemetery and visit with her and speak
to her. She can hear me, but I cannot hear her." (Why go to the
cemetery? His mother is not there; she is in Heaven. According to this
philosophy, she could hear him if he talked to her from a bar.) Let
the Catholics pray to Mary, Hyles prays to his mother. As one of his
members wrote, complaining about "the deification and adoration"
of Mother Hyles: "We have heard on many occasions how God used
her to bring the latest savior into the world. His attachment to his
late mother borders on the bizarre. We in Hammond have our own Holy
Mother of Hyles."
On the Saturday before the "big" Sunday (November 22, 1986),
according to what he told his congregation, Hyles went to the mausoleum
and pleaded with his mother to pull for him to reach the goal he had
set (have more people in Sunday school than the population of Hammond).
Hyles later claimed victory: 139,000 in Sunday school and 29,000 conversions!
Both figures, I have been assured, were highly padded. (One of his workers,
in a case with which I am familiar, quit over the lies and exaggerations
dealing with attendance and conversions.)
As one deacon at First Baptist put it, "attendance and conversion
statistics have been padded for years." Another deacon's wife assured
me the same and explained how she knew. Although we had forgotten all
about it until we were working on this article, there is indication
he falsified, intentionally or unintentionally, the figures at Miller
Road too. Since it was being advertised that he had "baptized over
700" his last year or two there, at my request the pastor who succeeded
him had his secretary run a tape check on the baptisms. The figures
for the last three years were 296 (1956-57), 324 (1957-58), 275 (1958-59).
Baptisms for the church's out-of-town missions were, in the same order,
195, 147 and 32. Even with these added, the figures were only 491, 471
and 307, showing a steady decline. Please do not misunderstand: 307
baptisms his last year in Garland was great! But it is not even half
of "over 700."
Getting back to praying to the dead, Hyles has pictures in his study
of John R. Rice, Lester Roloff, his mother, and Lee Roberson. Before
he leaves town on a speaking engagement, he says he follows this ritual:
he stops before the pictures of Rice and Roloff, promising them he will
do his best; then he stops before the picture of his mother and asks
her to intercede for him to do a good job while he is preaching.
4. Not only does Hyles pray to the dead, he apparently prays for the
dead. In a sermon on February 7, 1988, "Full Reward," he said
one of the reasons he was so driven in his ministry was that he hoped
his efforts would lessen his father's suffering in Hell. He told about
his father first cursing him when he told him he had been called to
preach, then telling him to go out and build the biggest church in the
world. Later, he said, on the day Elmer Towns presented him with a plaque
for pastoring the church with the world's largest Sunday school, he
went to his office, got on his face, and cried, "Daddy, I did what
you said the best I could." Then he said, "I'd like to think
maybe that one little statement he gave me gave me some motivation and
I'd like to think that maybe my life will help a little bit his eternity."
That is full-blown Roman Catholicism, on two counts. First, in the matter
of praying to the dead; and, second, thinking something he could do
would ease his lost father's suffering in Hell.
5. He totally reversed his posture on Bible translations and now endorses
the Peter Ruckman position. An alumnus of Hyles-Anderson wrote me: "I
believe that the death of Dr. Rice was a downhill step in Dr. Hyles'
life. In 1979 I heard him take our position on the KJV, the historic
position, and vowed to expel students who advocated Ruckman's position.
Shortly after Dr. Rice's death he jumped on the Ruckman bandwagon, and
now acts as if he believed it all along. I was there! I heard the message,
and it disturbs me that he changed. One friend of mine was nearly expelled
because of asking several about the change. [Hyles] now plies the 'new
posture' consistently. "
We were interested that an excerpt of his sermon printed in the Evangelical
Methodist quoted him, "I don't like the Statement of Faith that
says we believe the Bible is the Word of God in the original manuscripts."
The Sword of the Lord Foundation statement of faith, which Hyles is
required to sign every year, says he believes "in the verbal inspiration
of the Sacred Scriptures and their absolute reliability and authority,
without error, in the original manuscripts." And, in so signing,
he "solemnly affirms" that he believes so "from my heart,
without mental reservations or evasion." He also annually promises
to resign that post when he can no longer so sign the statement.
A note of humor here: on the opening Sunday night of Pastors' School
a few weeks ago, Hyles called John Stancil to the platform and told
the people he wanted everyone to subscribe to The Sword. Ushers were
ready with hundreds of sample copies – and it turned out the issue
was for March 17, 1989, containing a prominent front-page article written
by Gary R. Hudson, "Ruckman's Unscriptural Claims for the K.J.V."
We got a chuckle!
6. In light of the previous item, not only does Hyles now say the KJV
is the only "inspired translation," he claims that if your
personal worker used any other English translation you are not saved:
the genes we flawed.
7. For those who missed my October 1, 1988, editorial, Hyles teaches
that one should store up merits (works) to offset times of demerits
(sins). If you have enough in reserve God will forgive your sin and
put you back in business. It is "second cousin" teaching to
the old Roman Catholic doctrine of indulgences, a tenet totally repudiated
by the Word of God. For example, Ezekiel 33:12,13, say, "The righteousness
of the righteous shall not deliver him the day of his transgression.
. . neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness
in the day that he sinneth. When I shall say to the righteous, that
he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit
iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his
iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it." Note especially
for the one who falls: "all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered!"
There certainly is no building up merits for use against demerits here,
8. As noted in the same editorial, his message on the eternal humanity
of Christ was blasphemy and heresy. It had been preached on February
16, 1986, and we frankly hoped was some idea that hit him on the spur
of the moment. No, it is some thing he has preached again and again
over several years and we have since heard it on a number of his tapes.
On March 13, 1988, he was high lighting it in his Sunday evening sermon,
"Human Nature Is Not Really Human Nature," saying again that
"Jesus did not become human in Bethlehem." He told his people
that God had decided to "make some 'more' human beings," a
"whole race of little Jesuses," so He created Adam and Eve.
According to Hyles, God made man body, soul and spirit, but when man
fell, he lost his spirit and became only body and soul – on the
same level as an animal. He said that when man fails he is no longer
human, but becomes an animal, arguing, "Man in his unregenerate
state is not human." He called to the "animals" in his
congregation to illustrate his point, saying to the dogs ("Come
on, puppy dog"), the cats ("Come on, Kitty, Kitty, Kitty,
Come on" and the hogs ("Souee, Souee, Souee"). "It
is not human to sin," he said, "it is human not to sin."
One of the most truthful thing in the sermon was when, after he said,
"Man fell, and failed, and was no longer human," he declared,
"You don't need the Bible to believe this." No, you don't;
that is something strictly extra-biblical! In fact, it is anti-biblical
since Numbers 16:22 and 27:16 clearly say that all flesh have spirits
("the spirits of all flesh." Dogs, cats and hogs may not have
a spirit, but all humans do. Putting man on the animal level is what
evolutionists do, not Bible-believing Fundamentalists.
"All of redemption," Hyles said, "was to make man human
again." And he concluded, "You either walk in the Spirit or
you are not human." It is interesting that several times he said
he was not denying Jesus' deity or trying to pull Him down, but "I
am trying to elevate humanity to deity." That was what Adam Eve
tried to do when they listened to Satan's lie, "ye shall be as
gods," and partook of the forbidden fruit.
As early as December 26, 1982 he was preaching this idea that Son of
God was always human. In fact, at that time he declared, "I not
preaching heresy. I am preaching the truth that Fundamentalists h believed
through these years." I challenge Dr. Hyles to name one Fundamentalist
who ever preached the eternal humanity of Christ!
To prove his point, he uses verses like Hebrews 13:8, John 1:2, other
passages saying Jesus is the "same" – past, present
and future. But these statements do not prove He was human in eternity
past any more than they prove that He had a physical body of flesh and
blood in eternity past.
One of the problems with saying Jesus was always human lies in clear
description of Adam as the first man (I Corinthians 15:45-47) and Jesus
as the second man. And it might be wise to note that the word "human"
is not a KJV word; the English dictionary equates it with the word man.
As a theological word, in his Concise Dictionary of Christian Theology,
Millard J. Erickson notes that "human nature is made up of both
material and immaterial components." Christ had no material components
in eternity past, of course, so had no human nature.
9. Hyles says sin does not need to be repented, only forgotten; we don't
even have a right to remember our sins. He used Hebrews 10:17 as his
proof text. My concerned friend said, "I am afraid to repeat what
Hyles called God in this context. 'Suffice it to say that he used the
10. A former faculty member made a thorough study on subliminal, sexual
messages in Hyles' preaching. One discovery related to the street language
of prostitutes used in many of his sermons.Some of the students now
make a game of trying to find these subliminal messages in his sermons.
One female faculty member got up and walked out of a chapel service
in disgust when Hyles was graphically going through every part of a
woman's anatomy, it was so base.
11. In his sermon, "The Good Man Versus the Spiritual Man,"
preached on Sunday night, December 20, 1987, he said David was a spiritual
man even when he committed the sin of adultery with Bathsheba and followed
with the murder of Uriah. He went onto say that the difference between
someone who has committed adultery and one who has not is that the latter
has the sin of adultery "in remission."
12. Regarding the New Year's Eve Watch Night service on December n 31,
1987, Hyles told his people in it advance that the meeting would be
sacrilegious, warning them not to come if they wanted a spiritual time.
13. Hyles says that adultery is not a sin, just a "mistake."
One of the evangelists who counts First Baptist as his home church called
me all upset following that remark, wondering if it was laying the groundwork
for his son Dave to rejoin the ministry there. Whatever it was or wasn't,
the idea is inane.
14. Hyles preached on Sunday night, January 17, 1988, saying no sin
disqualifies a man from preaching. He said, "You are qualified
to preach no matter what you did. If one confesses and forsakes his
sin, he is free to preach or evangelize. He has a right to preach!"
His text was Psalm 130:3, "If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquity,
0 Lord, who shall stand?" But that Scripture has to do with an
individual's standing before God, not his qualifications for service.
15. In a Wednesday night sermon on the text in II Corinthians 12:13-15,
Hyles made the strange statement, "All men are mental homosexuals."
We do not know what he meant, but if he meant what it sounds like, he
is totally mistaken. Perhaps he is a "mental homosexual,"
but we aren't.
16. In a sermon early in 1988, Hyles told of a teen-age girl in the
church who birthed a baby out of wedlock and he expressed his hope she
would one day be a Sunday school teacher there. Anticipating the objection,
he said, "What, Brother Hyles, use a fallen woman to teach Sunday
school?" And he responded, "Isn't that all we have here?"
An evangelist in the congregation said he wanted to jump up and cry,
"No, preacher, my wife is not a fallen woman. My dear wife was
a virgin when she married me. In these wonderful 25 years of happy marriage,
[she] has been nothing but a virtuous woman. I believe she is perfectly
described in Proverbs 31. And there are hundreds and hundreds of other
ladies in our church who are just as pure."
Perhaps this would be a good place to mention a deacon who left First
Baptist after being active for years. When a friend of ours asked him
why, his exact words were: "Hyles is against the family."
Another longtime member noted that in all the years he had been an active
member and worker, the pulpit had been strangely silent about marriage,
the permanence of the wedding vows, the home, the family, and divorce.
The only exception was once, about 1978, when he invited parents to
attend a 2-hour session at the church on how to rear teen-agers. Hyles
has said repeatedly that he has a list of about 20 topics he preaches
about; the sanctity of the home is apparently not on the list. If the
charges in this paper are true – and we wouldn't be publishing
them if we were not convinced they are – we understand why his
tongue is bridled in this regard. Ours would be, too!
The truth of the matter is that there are no standards in this area
at First Baptist or at Hyles-Anderson. One former faculty member, who
holds to biblical convictions, said there were a number of students
who had divorced their wives – or had been divorced by them because
of what they had done – who came to Hyles-Anderson and, after
being there awhile, went to Dr. Hyles and asked if they could remarry.
He always said yes. And the brother sadly noted, "Many of those
who remarried have since divorced the wives they married there. "
17. Among the letters we received after our "Blight of Bigness"
editorial was this one, which we will quote only in part: "After
reading the October I issue, I started to write to you, but I was too
upset. 'One of the blights of bigness' struck very close to home. Although
you did not mention any names, I feel I know who you were talking about
– Jack Hyles. My husband and I were on the staff of the college
and schools for 11 years. About 4 years ago we began to suspect that
error was being preached . . . . I will not go into detail, but we are
extremely thankful to be out of that place . . . . There are so many
problems in Hammond. We pray almost daily for the people there. Many
of our 'friends' will have little to do with us since we left. We don't
feel sorry for ourselves, but for them and how they have been brainwashed.
My husband and I are still healing from the spiritual and emotional
wounds. That is why we are so thankful for your paper. We are rethinking
so much of what we were 'taught' while in Indiana . . . . Thank you
for taking your stand in love.
18. On Sunday night, February 7, 1988 Hyles preached on "How to
Decide What to Do?" from II Chronicles 10:1-12. He repeated the
order for seeking the will of God several times: first, the Bible (he
only spent a few moments on that, saying it was only one-fiftieth of
his notes!); second, Jack Hyles (actually, he said older, more experienced
people, but those listening got the message because of the repeated
references to himself); third, the Holy Spirit. While it is incredible
that he would put himself ahead of the Holy Spirit, nevertheless, only
after checking the Bible and checking with the pastor could his people
have "freedom of choice" and be at liberty to ask the Holy
Spirit for direction. He especially emphasized that the pastor should
have "veto" power and that young people should come to him
for advice about marriage partners.
We hardly think telling young people the will of God in marriage is
his strong suit! We know of one young man, recommended to the college
by his pastor, who was advised by Hyles to marry the daughter of a very
prominent family in the church. His parents opposed it (they even refused
to attend the wedding), his pastor opposed it, but the young man went
ahead anyway because Hyles had assured him it was the will of God. In
6 months they were divorced (she took everything he had, a real tragedy,
even his car) and the young man turned his back on the things of the
Lord, although, we understand, he later repented of his folly and is
now in fellowship with Christ again. Incidentally, where was Hyles'
consistency here? Why did he perform the ceremony for this young man
when both his parents and his pastor had "vetoed" it?
Perhaps this is a good place to note the exalted opinion Hyles has of
himself and of his ministry. Again and again he brags that if he fails,
Fundamentalism will fail. We noted earlier how he told Vic Nischik,
when he brought up Hyles' affair with his wife during a deacons' meeting,
that he was trying to bring down Fundamentalism.
A typical claim about his importance can be seen in his sermon, "Led
by the Holy Spirit to be Tempted of the Devil. "After telling how
his military training was "hell, I mean that, all but the fire,"
he asked the people why God made him endure such torture. The answer:
"God knew back yonder years ago that Dr. Jack Hyles was going to
pastor this church and God knew that probably 10,000 preachers across
this nation would call me their pastor, and God knew that somebody needed
to grab the old steering wheel of Fundamentalism – at least to
help to do it – to try to steer it so it won't get back in some
of this little penny-ante, second-rate, new evangelicalism where the
Bible is not real, and a Hell hasn't fire, and a Heaven that has no
golden streets, and sin is not black. God knew that somebody in this
age would have to grab the steering wheel and hold it firm while others
are turning, and others are changing, and others are pussy-footing,
and God said, 'I've got to make him strong enough to take care of it
some day. I'll put him through the fire and make him strong,' but the
victory was never in doubt." Actually, this estimate of his worth
is one of his milder descriptions.
Sometimes he carries on a shouting match with his congregation, a la
Jesse Jackson visiting an inner city grammar school. He shouts, "Which
is the greatest soul-winning church?" and the crowd screams, "First
Baptist Church." He comes back, "Who is the best-known preacher
that stands for soul winning?" and a loud chorus responds, "Brother
Hyles!" He questions, "What church stands for separation?"
and the answer is, "First Baptist Church in Hammond." Then
he shouts, "What preacher stands for standards?" and the people
scream back, "Brother Hyles." He ended this particular exchange,
"WE ARE THE GREATEST!"
On one occasion, early in 1988, two Sundays in succession his Sunday
school lesson offered 10 things he had done to help others and, on one
of the same Sundays, his morning sermon listed various ways he had lifted
up the fallen (how the Lord lifts the fallen would be more appropriate,
in our judgment). One deacon put it this way, "The hymn is being
rewritten, 'O Mighty Hyles, How Great Thou Art'."
19. On Sunday morning March 20, 1988, the unofficial opening of Pastors'
School, Hyles preached on the theme, "What to do With Your Problem,"
saying he had counseled with 152 people that week, even though all the
arrangements for the School were going on. (At a mere 10 minutes each,
which certainly wouldn't be much, that would be well over 24 hours –
one of the 7 days – just for counseling!) While the message had
no Scripture, it did have considerable sick humor. Discussing remedies
for baldness, he told one funny story after another. One cure was dabbing
vodka on his scalp, noting, when it didn't work, he "drank the
vodka," which brought a good laugh. He also made one of his many,
many light remarks about marriage, telling the wives never to leave
their husbands in a moment of anger. He told them to wait until "he
grabs you in his arms some night. And kisses you with a passionate kiss,
then you look at him and say, 'I'm leaving!' That's the way you do it.
(While not in this message. one of his favorite jokes is to say, when
making wedding announcements, the couple will be committing marriage
By the way, Hyles had four points in this message about your problem:
see it, study it, state it, solve it. The starting point is to admit
you have a problem, he told his congregation. If what we have printed
in this article is true, Dr. Hyles has a problem. Would to God he would
see it, face it, state it, and solve it!
20. One former student, married with children, called me and said that
when he had to drop out of Hyles-Anderson because of finances, he wanted
to go to the college night school. Alas, the only courses being offered
were things like wood carving, crocheting, and such; no Bible courses
of any kind were being offered. There was, as I understood him, a Leadership
Class on Wednesday night, but that course simply taught blind loyalty
to the pastor. He and his family finally dropped out of First Baptist,
disillusioned over what was going on.
Hyles does expect absolute loyalty from all who are associated with
him. One former co-worker told of one of the college workers who stood
in chapel and assured the president he "gave himself" to him
totally, calling off point by point such features as his hands, his
eyes, his feet, etc., pledging to him the kind of dedication reserved
for followers of Christ in Romans 12:1,2. The man who described it to
me, expressing shock, discussed it with one of the top men on the church
staff at the time, who replied, "You know where he got it, don't
you?" And he proceeded to relate how Hyles had said to him, "If
you will give me total loyalty, I will make you another J. R. Faulkner."
The price was too high and that man left Hammond.
21. In light of the previous item about blind loyalty, one man who called
me said he heard one of First Baptist's ministers, Ray Young, the bus
director (who was given an honorary doctorate at Hyles-Anderson last
year), say that if Jack Hyles told him to burn down the First Baptist
Church he would do it because he'd know it was the will of God. That
is inane, of course, the kind of allegiance the followers of Jim Jones
had which caused them to drink the poisonous Kool-Aid. Even more recently,
a deacon's wife related how he told the church his staff was so loyal
to him he believed if he told them to commit suicide, all of them would.
Jim Jones had that kind of loyalty too.
As recently as Sunday night, March 5, 1989, Hyles told his congregation
that if he were to call back from Michigan that week and tell each one
of the men sitting on the platform to go jump off a bridge and commit
suicide for him, he had no doubt but what each one would do it, they
were so submitted to him. Not a word did he say to the children (or
impressionable college students present who idolize him) that suicide
is wrong, or that such loyalty/submission is totally unbiblical. It
is never, never right to do wrong, no matter who says to do it. It would
have been as logical/scriptural for him to have said, "If I call
back from Michigan and tell each man to murder his wife, all would do
it because they are that 'submitted' to me."
Actually, rather than "loyalty" – and this is the frightening
part – it should more aptly be defined as "cultic."
Such blind obedience is the kind of mind control cults have over their
followers. While we do not have the space to go into it again now, we
suggest interested readers obtain the book by Steven Hassan, Combating
Cult Mind Control, reviewed and advertised in our February 1, 1989,
One lady, long close to the Hammond situation, called Hyles' repeated
claims about such loyalty "sick" and compared it to a Jim
Jones movie she viewed on television – one of the scariest she
ever saw in her life – adding that the similarities were incredibly
frightening, even if the results are not exactly the same. Some of the
things Jones said were verbatim to what she had heard Jack Hyles say.
Both men control the wills of those around them. Both are "mind
benders," probably the most easily recognized trait of a cult leader
– they take away their followers' logical, rational thinking,
causing black to become white and white black. Both claim they are accountable
to no one. (Once, when a question of misappropriation of funds arose,
Hyles told his people, "Even if I did, I don't have to give an
account to you." That is not the talk of a biblical shepherd speaking
to his sheep.) And both put others down in order to exalt themselves.
Even Hyles' most ardent supporter must acknowledge that he needs a whipping
boy to ridicule every time he gets in the pulpit. In his own church,
it is Johnny Colsten almost every service (although the exact opposite
is for Mrs. Colsten) – and folks have remarked to me that they
have no idea why he has put up with it for 20 years (loyalty, obviously).
In outside services, it is whoever happens to be handy. In one preachers'
meeting it was my son, who had asked an honest question in an open forum,
and the rest of the hour Hyles kept referring to him as "stupid"
– a matter that amused my son far more than irritating him.
One former member of First Baptist sadly said to me, "If Jack Hyles,
tomorrow, were put in handcuffs and hauled off to jail, charged and
found guilty of the most heinous criminal act, there would be those
who would show up in church on Sunday morning, hoping he'd be there,
believing in him, trusting him." And that person used David Hyles
as an illustration, noting that after a suitcase full of pictures was
found of him with many of the women in the Garland church, there were
those who wanted to forgive him and keep him as pastor.
This matter of mind control cannot be overemphasized and it is one of
the most serious and dangerous things about Hyles and his ministry.
Again and again in doing research on this article I have faced unreasonable
fear of retaliation on the part of my contacts. Just as those entrapped
in the cults – we think of those in the Moonies, Way International,
Armstrongism, Jehovah's Witnesses, and all the others – have an
unnatural fear of what will happen if they leave their movement, so
with many now associated and formerly associated with Hyles.
Those in cults remain long after they want out because of this, and
often they have nowhere else to turn. The only thing they know is their
group – they have already severed all connections with family
and outside friends – and the cult is "family" to them.
This latter item is highlighted again and again by Hyles: his staff
is "family" and loyalty to him and the church/school is greater
than anything and everything else. It is amazing how many of his ex-workers/followers
have said this to me.
It is interesting that a banquet speaker for workers, very prominent
in evangelical circles, leaned over and asked Hyles how he obtained
such loyalty. While it really didn't answer the question, he responded,
"I'll show you." He called to a friend of mine, who was on
the staff at the time, and said, "Stand up." He did. "Sit
down." He obeyed. Hyles repeated the silly commands at least three
times, merely humiliating the worker by having him pop up and down like
a jack-in-the-box, then turned to the guest and said, "That's how."
22. In his sermon, "I Am Only Human," preached on Sunday morning,
December 26, 1982, Hyles argued that "God can be maneuvered,"
saying, "The Old Testament saints knew God so well they maneuvered
with God. They all started off, 'Thou, the great God of Jacob, Thou,
the God of the creation, Thou, the God that made the stars,' and the
Lord God in Heaven, I think He said, 'That's me. Ha, Ha, Ha! That's
me!' Well, you say, 'How do you know God's that way?' Cause if I made
stars, that are the way I'd be." We hardly think it wise to determine
the character or nature of God on the basis of Hyles. Nor do we think
flattery works with Deity, no matter how thick it is sliced! He cannot
be manipulated or maneuvered. In an unsolicited letter just received,
one brother told of hearing Hyles preach on the subject, "How To
Make God Your Slave!" His idea of God is apparently that of a genie.
23. On May 26, 1985, he preached on "Thank you, Adam," actually
thanking Adam and Eve for disobeying God and bringing sin into the world.
He said such things as, "Thank God for the chains of sin,"
and, "If nobody ever got drunk I wouldn't enjoy preaching."
Perhaps that is one reason why sin is treated so lightly at First Baptist;
no one is ever faced openly with his sin. In fact, one deacon, in his
letter or resignation, pointed out that the board has no system of checks
and balances in operation. Then he lamented, "For example, I know
(he has confessed to me) a deacon that is involved in preached-against
'deep' sin. This has been going on for years that I know of. There is
no doubt in my mind that this man will be on the board until he dies.
Now, if I know of this situation, how many others exist or will exist,
with no hope of correction? I propose that this one is too many. Again,
we have separated ourselves from and placed ourselves above other fundamentalist
churches and other organizations who have the basic common sense to
have a system of checks and balances" (emphasis in original).
24. On July 19, 1987, Hyles had a message, "Backsliding, A Necessary
Part to Spiritual Growth," which he called "one of the great
truths of the Christian life." He mistakenly claimed God says that
everyone has the same temptations (He doesn't), that backsliding is
a part of spiritual growth, and that going backward is as much a part
of a Christian's growth as going forward. He said someone who cursed
before getting saved would never rise completely above it, and made
this strange statement about spiritual condition, "If you are not
as high as you used to be, jump up and down and say 'Hallelujah'!"
25. "Just what is sin anyway?" was preached on February 22,
1987, and he said each sin is as bad in the sight of God as any other.
He said if you drank milk and did not do it in faith, it was sin –
hence not drinking milk in faith would be as bad as committing murder
or adultery! In the Old Testament, adultery was a sin deserving capital
punishment. Should death be the penalty for drinking milk without faith?
Referring to the "works of the flesh" in Galatians 5, Hyles
said it wasn't "totally true" that they were sins –
and that God didn't call them sin, adding that these works of the flesh
were never called sin in the Bible. This is untrue, of course, and David's
adultery with Bathsheba is a case in point. When Nathan faced him with
what he had done, David cried, "I have sinned!" (He didn't
say, "I have made a mistake!") And the Prophet Nathan agreed
with him, calling what he had done "thy sin" (II Samuel 12:13).
Murder is called sin in Deuteronomy 22:26. Fornication is called sin
in I Corinthians 6:18. His entire argument is an inane play on words.
Perhaps this would be a good place to respond to the idea that sins
of the flesh are no worse than sins of the spirit – and if one
who judges his brother can remain in the ministry, so can one who has
committed adultery. We like what David Neff, an associate editor of
the neo-evangelical publication, Christianity Today, wrote in a 1987
article, "Are All Sins Created Equal?" Without giving all
of it here, Neff pointed out that "at least three realities set
sexual immorality apart from other sin and moves us to treat it far
more seriously when we discover it in the life of a leader."
The three things, each of which he enlarged upon, were: "First,
like no other sin, dalliance destroys trust . . . . But not only does
adultery break a leader, it brands a leader . . . . Finally, sexual
sin destroys a leader's image." And Neff rightly concluded, "In
short, whether or not all sins are created equal, different sins have
different social consequences," and he noted that Paul classed
"sexual sins, apart from sundry other trespasses" in I Corinthians
Hyles has actually preached that one who talks about a person committing
adultery is worse than the one who is actually guilty of it. In another
sermon he said, "You false accusers are not the ones who are Satanic
inspired as much as you true accusers, folks that tell true garbage."
He forgot to give Bible references for either of those gems!
We think we have made it clear that while Hyles overlooks nearly every
sin known to man-including divorce, adultery, cursing, pornography,
etc. – the one thing he will not tolerate is lack of loyalty in
any shape, form or manner. Whatever it is in theory, in practice the
final authority is not the Word of God, but what Jack Hyles or others
in leadership positions say.
Let's take a case in point. One young man, a senior nearing graduation,
was expelled from Hyles-Anderson right in the middle of finals week
– and they were not even going to let him take the rest of his
exams until he demanded a $2,000 refund for the semester; then they
permitted him to take the tests at a public library – and a faculty
member who knew him well, admiring his strong testimony for Christ,
called the Dean of Men and asked if the report of his dismissal were
true. On receiving an affirmative response, she inquired why and was
told, "He was preaching heresy!" What heresy? The dean replied,
"Women ought to be keepers at home!" When she asked if the
Bible didn't have more to say about that than anything else for women,
he said he didn't have time to discuss it and hung up.
In fairness, we should say that the young man had experienced at least
one previous run-in with the dean. Being in the latter's pastoral counseling
class, he objected to nearly everything the man taught – for example,
once he recommended a long list of authors, mostly New Evangelical,
saying they were some of the best books he had ever read and they should
read them, too – and he especially objected to his hammering home
repeatedly "the key to success is attitude." While that is
undeniably the world's standard and fits beautifully with Hyles-ology
philosophy, it is a far cry from the biblical pattern of meditating
on the Word of God, prayer, and obedience to Christ as outlined in such
passages as Psalm 1, Joshua 1, and Psalm 119. The teacher and pupil
had a "strong" discussion about it one day and the youth was
warned at that time he'd better change his attitude or he would be dismissed.
So the "heresy" charge was merely the straw that broke the
camel's back. The homosexual mentioned earlier was permitted to stay
and graduate with an earned Hyles-Anderson degree. The man who stood
up for what Paul said about women was booted.
The biblical issue of "keepers at home " is a very sensitive
one in Hammond since so many women are in places of leadership. One
former deacon, now a pastor, said that when he attended staff meetings
approximately two-thirds were women and the women were making major
26. In another sermon minimizing sin, "No One Practices What He
Preaches," delivered on April 22, 1984, Hyles emphasized a favorite
theme: no one has a right to judge another about anything! As always,
he referred to the statement that all judgment has been given by the
Father to the Son – ignoring the many other statements demanding
that Christians "judge righteous judgment," judge sin in a
believer's life, etc., etc. – such as the man committing fornication
with his father's wife (I Corinthians 5). If Hyles had been the pastor
at Corinth when the Apostle Paul wrote that epistle, he would have fired
a letter back and rebuked Paul, telling him all judgment belonged to
the Son and that his sin of criticizing the dear brother who had his
father's wife was every bit as bad as the man's fornication –
especially since Paul was writing on hearsay ("commonly reported")
without first going to the man involved!
Hyles, attempting to show how God will use someone after terrible sin,
said David wrote the "Hallelujah" psalms (Psalm 146,147) after
his sin with Bathsheba. However, we know of no one else who thinks these
are Davidic psalms. In fact, the Septuagint, which goes back 2,200 years
or so closer to the time they were written than does Hyles, credits
them (along with Psalms 148 and 149) to Haggai and Zechariah; obviously,
they are much nearer the time of Christ than was David. Incidentally,
in this sermon Hyles offered his hearers this gem: "The way to
success is to keep on failing!"
Hyles, if we may be permitted a note of humor in this sad story, is
an excellent illustration of someone not practicing what he preaches.
Again and again he has decried preachers being called "Reverend"
or having "Reverend" before their names. Yet in his court
deposition, when the attorney asked him to state his name, he responded,
"Jack Hyles." When the lawyer persisted, asking which he preferred,
"Reverend Hyles" or "Mr. Hyles," the reply was:
"I have no preference at all."
Another illustration relates to his oft-repeated pulpit declaration
that he is not putting anything away for a rainy day ("Nope! It's
raining on people now. I must help them. God will take care of me.")
Yet he admitted to an attorney under oath that he had put thousands
of dollars in an IRA and thousands more in a Keough program. As one
of his former assistants said, "He preaches the hardest against
the things he is doing himself."
27. In his sermon, "I Am Human," Hyles came close to a teaching
akin to the Roman Catholic mass. He said, "The vicarious death
of Christ is still reality. Jesus didn't die just at one [time] –
though He did die at Calvary – that was only a picture of the
giving of His life.... Somebody said, 'Brother Hyles, don't you think
it was awfully hard for God the Father to see His Son on the cross,
bearing our sins?' Yes, it was, but not any harder than it is today
because the great heart of God the Father still possesses the God the
Son and the Triune God, and that God the Son is still the God that gives
28. In the same sermon, speaking of forgiveness, he said, "The
Man Christ Jesus forgave. It wasn't God the Father that forgave; the
Man, the human Christ Jesus, forgave." Such a distinction between
the roles of the Godhead in redemptive forgiveness is totally unwarranted,
29. Hyles preached a sermon he called "To Be Known of Him,"
based on the parable of the 10 virgins in Matthew 25:1-12. Saying preachers
all across the country misunderstand it by thinking the virgins represent
both saved and lost, he assured his hearers that all the virgins were
saved ("wise" and "foolish" in another parable in
the same Gospel – Matthew 7:24-27 – are unquestionably saved
and lost, as our Lord clearly said), but these saved virgins couldn't
go into the wedding because they "didn't do what they were supposed
to do" (a partial rapture?). He applied the parable to Christians
having "extra oil" of the Holy Spirit for meeting emergencies.
But the parable is not talking about oil for "an emergency,"
but not having oil for the very thing they were there to do: Meet the
bridegroom! To Hyles the "shut door" is merely a missed opportunity
in life, having nothing to do with salvation – even though the
bridegroom told them, "I know you not," and the Lord Jesus
Himself made the application relate to not being ready for His second
30. In a sermon, "You Believe Because You Love," preached
on the Sunday night three weeks before the church's centennial, he boasted
that Hyles-Anderson College did not have courses on hermeneutics or
apologetics for its preacher boys. He said, "The reason we don't
is this: those courses have to do with the proving of the Bible."
He is 50% right (or 50 % wrong, depending on your viewpoint), since
apologetics is defined as "the branch of theology concerned with
the defense or proof of Christianity," while hermeneutics is "the
branch of theology which treats of the principles of biblical exegesis."
Although the former has to do with proving the Bible, the latter is
simply teaching men how to preach.
But is apologetics wrong or even unnecessary? Of course not! Paul was
giving the Thessalonian Jews a lesson in apologetics in Acts 17:1-4,
and enough of them "believed" as a direct result that he was
able to establish a church in Thessalonica and our Bibles now contain
I & II Thessalonians. We are frank to say that young men not trained
in apologetics and hermeneutics are not adequately prepared for the
ministry. To illustrate, one of the ministers I talked to was instructing
some of the college young men, all juniors and seniors, regarding a
phase of the work. He asked them to turn to the pastoral epistles –
and they didn't know where or what they were!
Hyles also stated in that message, about Christ, "No one said His
life corresponds with verses in the prophets. No one said, 'I believe
He's the Messiah because I've studied the Old Testament prophets and
His life coincides with that'." If Hyles had been around in the
days of the early church, he could have saved Matthew a lot of trouble.
That is what his Gospel is all about: proving from the Old Testament
Scriptures that Jesus is s the Messiah, the King of the Jews!
31. On Sunday morning, February 5 1989, Hyles preached on, "How
About Those Who Never Saw the Promised Land?" He quoted I Corinthians
10:4, "And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank
of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ."
According to him, from the time Moses smote the rock in Horeb, that
rock followed the Israelites in the wilderness everywhere they went.
"Every time that God would lead them," Hyles said, "He
would lead them with a pillar of cloud in the front and a piece of rock
While there is a rabbinical legend that a 15-foot fragment of that rock
spewing out water, followed the Israelites for 40 years – although
the older, more complete legends called it a "well," not a
rock – we do no think that is what Paul was saying, We understand
his reference as simply saying that the True Rock, Christ Jesus, was
with them all the way.
In this message, too, he seemed to minimize sin. Talking about using
men and women with an unsavory past, he said, "Who better can tell
boys and girls not to drink than those who've drunk? Who better can
warn boys and girls to be pure and clean than those who've not been
pure and clean? Who better?" It is the old argument that one must
go into sin in order to effectively reach those who have fallen. Such
a philosophy is absurd, of course.
Sometimes, as in this message, he says dumb things – we trust,
on the spur of the moment, not really meaning them. Reminding his people
of when he lost his memory for three hours the previous July, he observed,
"I was more like God then that I ever was in my life, 'cause God
has no memory at all. 'Their sins will I remember no more'." While
it is true that God doesn't remember sins under the blood, it doesn't
mean He "has no memory at all," of course.
The worst thing about this message was the light way he referred to
the "spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ,"
saying that for 40 years there was "a pillar of cloud by day and
a pillar of fire by night and behind you comes a little rock saying,
'Wait for me! Wait for me!' And take that rod out and smite it again
and the rock says, 'Don't hit me! That hurts! Just ask me; speak to
me.' And you look at the rock and say, 'Rocky, want some water.' Whooosh."
We have no objection to humor in the pulpit: blasphemy offends us deeply,
One brother took notes on Hyles sermons for some time. At the bottom
of the page, after the sermons, this item appeared repeatedly: "Observation:
After the initial Scripture reading by Johnny Colsten, the Bible was
not referenced at all." In on sermon, preached on Sunday night
February 14, 1988, Hyles started by saying, "This is not going
to be a sermon, it will be a Bible study." The note taker wrote,
"The only problem: not one Scripture verse referenced after opening
Scripture read by John Colsten." Some Bible study!
Another member of First Baptist, who with her husband has serve as leaders
in the church for about 20 years, told me Hyles very frequently says,
"Close your Bibles; just listen to me." A former deacon, now
a preacher, explained that this was because of Hyles' habit of taking
verses out of context – if people read on, they'd see it is teaching
something beside what he is saying. Perhaps so, but for some reason
the Bible is not a very popular book in Hammond. The same man said he
showed up at a deacon's meeting with his Bible and the others laughed
at him, one of them saying, "What are you going to do, preach to
us?" And he went on to relate at least one instance where they
were ready to pass a motion and another deacon objected, "This
is contrary to Scripture," but they passed it anyway with an "end
justifies the means" attitude.
Other illustrations could be given, but suffice it to say that
the matter of Hyles' sermons is getting worse, not better. One prominent
pastor in the Hammond area, who has been monitoring his messages for
some time, wrote me, ". . . we noticed that these 'unbiblical'
type sermons have become much more frequent of late. Where they seemed
to be one in fifty a while back, they are now about one in four."
And a deacon who felt compelled, because of convictions, to resign from
the board, said, "Our condition here is a state of apostasy."
While not all will agree it has gone quite that far, there certainly
are major problems.
Pray for Jack Hyles. We certainly have not enjoyed exposing him as we
have in this article, and it is only because of our love for the cause
of Christ that we have done so. Pray for his restoration to the Body
of Christ. Pray for his home. Pray for the First Baptist Church of Hammond.
Pray for Hyles-Anderson College. We hold no personal animosity toward
him or anyone involved with him in any way. Our concern is strictly
for Christ and His Word.
Do you ask which is worse, Hyles' moral problems or his theological
problems? Either group, in our judgment, forfeits respect for him from
the ranks of Fundamentalism. If we were in his shoes, as we noted at
the start of this article, the moral problem alone would force us out
of the ministry forever. We do not think that his "merits,"
whatever they may be, outweigh his "demerits." He has not
been "running fast enough" to continue. Our conclusion, sadly,
is: Jack Hyles does not meet the "blameless " requirement
for the gospel ministry! Do you protest that this is judging? Perhaps
so, but it is in an area where the Word of God itself tells us to judge.
If any doubt remains in your mind, go back to the beginning and reread
Judy Nischik Johnson's letter, especially her charge, "You exemplify
everything in this life that I do not want for myself, my marriage or
my children . . . . You have failed with the most precious gifts God
could have ever given you – your wife, your children and now,
One brother, whose ministry Hyles virtually destroyed over a quarter
of a century ago, at that time wrote us lines that now seem prophetic:
"All personalities and personal involvement set aside, I have a
growing concern that a man who can convince himself that black is white
and white is black should have the position of leadership and esteem
that he has, in the country." To our shame, we filed the letter
and forgot all about until it resurfaced while doing search on this
What can Fundamentalism and Fundamentalists do? For one thing, we can
start standing up for what right and opposing what is wrong, even –
or especially – in our own movement. Perhaps we should forget
the liberal Presbyterians and the compromising Convention Baptists for
a season and concentrate on setting our own house in order.
We desperately need men of God who are willing to take a stand, no matter
what it costs. Beloved brethren, we do not have one man in our midst
– Jack Hyles, or anyone else – so valuable to our Fundamentalist
movement that his sin should be covered. As one of the preachers I interviewed
said to me, "This is directly the problem. We have not had men
who have been willing to stand on an issue." Sadly, he spoke the
truth. Myriad are the men who face every issue on the basis, "How
will it affect me?" rather than, "What is right?"
Dear friend, will you stand? (Ephesians 6:10-18).