Chapter 7 - The Hyles Reply II

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Because of our promise not to print any more exchanges between Dr. Hyles and myself in The Biblical Evangelist – but to respond privately to any who wanted answers – I did not print a reply to the last Hyles letter, which really didn't say much anyway. I did prepare a brief response and sent it to those who asked for it, but apparently we gave them all out, exhausting our supply. At any rate, I cannot find one. (If any one reading this CD has a copy, send it to me and I will include it in all those we send out after receiving it.)

I will give a brief reply now to each of his 16 points, following his numbering:

1. This is typical Hyles spin. See what we have said about his "reports" and use your own judgment about these figures.

2. Note the scores of people I quoted and see if this is merely a sounding board for Victor Nischik. This is a cop-out.

3. They are ALL true! The kind of accusations I was willing to go to court on, if necessary.

4. He didn't need to. The evidence was there for the world to see and make its own conclusions. That was not the place, on public television, to make the charges.

5. If that doesn't explain the frustration Mr. Nischik felt, what would?

6. This is simply "spin." Mr. Nischik would not have run off with anyone, no matter how Mr. Hyles said it "sounds."

7. Doctrinally sound? Go back and count the ways of his theological aberrations.

8. Again, go back and read the story.

9. More spin.

10. Still again, go back and read the story of his massive cover-up of sin in his camp.

11. Totally untrue. Go back and read the evidence.

12. Same as #11, "Totally untrue. Go back and read the evidence."

13. A noble goal, perhaps, but a total failure. His actions were worse after Hyles wrote those lines than they had ever been before.

14. As true a statement as he has made in any of this. We have never leveled charges against Mrs. Hyles, the poor victim in all of this. Our only fault for her was joining in the "cover-up."

15. See below.

16. George Godfrey's only "sin" in the eyes of Hyles is that he finally came to the place where he couldn't stomach what was going on any more and stood up the tell the truth. And he paid a heavy price from those in the Hyles cult, I might add.

The only real charge of any substance was #15, so I moved it to the end. It was what he claimed Dr. Myron Guiler, an Ohio pastor, said about me. I will reproduce below what I explained in a letter to Dr. George Godfrey about that incident. It is, I think, typical of most of Hyles' attempts to answer my charges by smearing my reputation.

October 5, 1989

Evangelist George Godfrey
629 North Oakwood
Griffith, IN 146319

Dear George:

Since you asked for any additional word I could give you, and since Jack Hyles has just started circulating a 2-page response to my lengthy August article (his letter is dated August 3, but as far as I have been able to determine, no one received a copy before some time in mid-September), I thought I’d drop you a note.

In the first place, his letter is inane, basically saying nothing new and answering nothing new. What he does attempt to answer consists of a repeat of things we have previously shown to be untrue. Probably the most damaging item is his statement:

“Recently I was with Dr. Myron Guiler in Marietta, Ohio. He told me that 25 years ago he had Dr. Sumner for a revival meeting. He said it was absolutely the worst week of his life, and that even then Dr. Sumner spent much of his time criticizing me.”

That is typical Hylesism. The facts are: (1) Twenty-five years ago, I was one of Jack Hyles strongest supporters, answering every criticism made against him. (2) Twenty- five years ago, Myron Guiler, according to his own testimony, knew almost nothing about Jack Hyles, having heard little about him. (3) The implication that Myron Guiler told Hyles this story when the latter was with the former in a meeting is untrue. (4) Myron Guiler is not sympathetic to the Hyles type of ministry and would never invite him to his church. The men in his area, in the past, have wanted Hyles and since Guiler’s auditorium is the only one in the area able to handle that type of conference, it is held in his church. They barely speak when Hyles is there, although Guiler is friendly to Hyles. (5) The story Hyles quoted was not received in conversation with Guiler. Two of Hyles’ men – students, Guiler thought – called and pleaded with him to bring his young people to the Youth Conference in Hammond last summer, saying “Sumner was trying to destroy Hyles’ ministry” and they needed a big crowd to make it appear everyone supported Hyles. Guiler refused. However, the young men kept him on the phone so long, pleading with him, that Guiler eventually discussed our meeting, although what he said was completely taken out of context. Here is what he told them: I had been with him for a two-day conference and he had asked me to return for a longer meeting. Since I was booked up and could not give him a date, he requested that I keep his church in mind should a cancellation come up. Later I contacted him and told him I had just had a cancellation in February, saying he could have it if he wanted it. He accepted, but said he feared the attendance would be bad if the weather wasn’t good, noting that his people didn’t support special meetings well anyway. The weather was terrible, the attendance was horrible, and Guiler was just recovering from pneumonia. That, and that alone, was what he meant by it being the worst week of his life! Hyles totally misrepresented Guiler’s comments. (6) Guiler did not say even back then, nearly 25 years ago, I spent much of my time criticizing Hyles. His comment referred to a question he asked, namely, did I think I would be the next editor of the Sword (this was in 1965). When I said no, he asked who I thought would. I said, “Jack Hyles.” Apparently I also laughed and added by way of explanation that Hyles was a real “apple polisher” (something apparent even back then; for a more modern picture, reread the story of his gift giving). At any rate, from that innocent remark on my part, Guiler assumed I didn’t care for Hyles. (He was wrong; I supported Hyles back in those days, defended him, and praised him – both publicly and in my books. He was John R. Rice’s “fair-haired boy” and I respected Dr. Rice’s judgment – more so, apparently, than my own Mother’s, who heard him one time, back when he was pastoring at Miller Road in Garland, and said she would never listen to him again in her life! She didn’t, either, even though she didn’t go to be with the Lord until last year.)

When the “August 3” letter of Hyles was received at our office, I was on vacation. My son contacted Guiler and the above is what he said to Dick on the telephone. Dr. Guiler is willing to verify that account if anyone contacts him about it. He was very upset that Hyles quoted him that way and said he would be writing Hyles to ask some very pertinent questions and, if Hyles failed to answer – or did not answer to his satisfaction – he would break off all fellowship with him.

Even so, there are other evidences that Hyles has misrepresented Guiler’s position about me and my ministry. For one thing, in the past Dr. Guiler has sent sermons to me for printing in THE BIBLICAL EVANGELIST, something he would hardly do if he had no confidence in our ministry or did not want to be identified with it. We have printed two of those sermons over the years. Second, he has promoted THE BIBLICAL EVANGELIST in his church. Under date of September 11, 1975, he wrote me, “I certainly thank the Lord for the paper. I feel that it is meeting a need and saying some things that no other Christian Periodical is saying. Some things that desperately need to be said.” A little over two weeks later, on September 29, 1975, he wrote back to say, “I am planning on having a ‘Biblical Evangelist’ Day in October at which time I hope to get all of our families to subscribe for it.” Does that sound, to any intelligent person, that it would even be remotely honest to evaluate the “worst week” of his life with an attack on either me or my ministry?

Please remember that Jack Hyles is a desperate man, fighting to stay alive in Fundamentalism, and willing to do anything or say anything that will help him do so.

Keep up the good work, my brother!

Additional word: I mentioned, in the letter above, Hyles as being admired in the '70s by Dr. John R. Rice. It is apparent to me that Dr. Rice had begun to question his own judgment in the year or so before his death. Businessman Jack Cornelius, who traveled with him everywhere during those final years in order to be of help to him in his advancing feebleness of age, told me Dr. Rice said to him, regarding Hyles, "I've created a monster and I don't know what to do about it." It would have been a real dilemma for a man in his 80s who had invested so much in another.

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