- Dr. Jack Hyles (born 9/25/26) pastored the First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana (FBCH) from 1959 until his death on February 6, 2001, overseeing its growth from 700 to over 20,000 (attendance), and membership at over 100,000.
The "Dr." is for a well-earned honorary degree from the Pontiac, Michigan, Midwestern Bible College, a Hyles'-"protégé" school.)
Jack Hyles was also founder and chancellor of Hyles-Anderson College (HAC -- founded in 1972 with 302 students).
Hyles was succeeded at FBCH by Dr. Jack Schaap, his son-in-law -- see note at end of this report.
Hyles authored 49 self-published treatises/books on theology and church practice, which have sold in excess of 14 million copies.
He claimed to have traveled over 200,000 miles a year preaching in various conferences, and to have preached over 50,000 sermons throughout his ministry.
[Let's run the numbers on this last point: assuming Hyles started preaching at age twenty-four, 50,000 sermons would be approximately 1,000 sermons a year, or about three sermons a day, every day, for 50 years!
Why is it that people into self-aggrandizement always fail to do the math before advertising their "accomplishments"?
And it doesn't appear that the exaggerations will diminish any under Jack Schaap.
As of the time of Hyles death, Schaap claimed to have been a member of FBCH for 24 years and on the staff of HAC for the last 20 years, yet had found the time to preach more than 26,000 sermons, another phenomenal three sermons a day!
Before coming to Hammond, Jack Hyles was pastor of Miller Road Baptist Church in Garland, Texas, where he boasted that membership grew from 44 to 4,100 in seven years.
Hyles was perhaps best known for engineering the massive growth in Sunday school and church attendance at FBCH through the development of a bus ministry.
FBCH claims to be the home of America's largest Sunday school, with church membership of over 100,000, and thus, "is America's largest church," with total ministry property value of over $100 million, and every year leads the nation in "conversions" and baptisms.
As of September of 2000, Hyles claimed to have fostered 23,000 conversions and to have baptized 8,000 each year over the previous six years.
Hyles once claimed to be personally responsible for leading over 750,000 souls to Christ!
Yet, one must ask, where are the Bible-believing churches spawned in the Chicago-land area from the massive number of conversions claimed by Hyles over the last 40-plus years?
Hyles also claimed that Hyles-Anderson College has "over 600 graduates now pastoring churches all over the world, and more than 1,000 graduates serving God full-time."
[SOURCE: Ministry statistics source: FBCH "Unofficial" Internet web site (baptist-city.com), 8/01 & 1/03.].
Furthermore, Hyles conducted an annual ministers conference called "Pastor's School" (37 in all over his tenure at FBCH) - which was the largest in the nation with over 5,000 pastors per year.
Due to the poor turnout for Hyles' 1991 Pastor's School, stronger "bait" was used for 1992 (3/16/92-3/20/92).
In the early years of Hyles' "ministry," Pastor's School was attended by over 8,000 delegates. Attendance in the late 1990s was regularly less than a quarter of that.
Things such as automobiles, diamond rings, church buses, a Holy Land trip for two, cash, and Bibles Jack Hyles had used, etc., were advertised to be given away. The following excerpts are from a 1992 Pastor's School advertisement:
Dr. John R. Rice's Car: 1976 Buick Electra, with actual mileage of 32,774.
Dr. Rice's one-carat diamond ring, valued at over $5,000.00.
("When Dr. Rice went to heaven, Mrs. Rice placed it in a woman's setting. What a treasured possession for some church or pastor or pastor's wife!")
Man's Diamond Ring, worn by Hyles.
A $7,000 church bus.
1,100 tapes of Dr. Hyles' Preaching (last twenty years).
Cash prizes totaling $26,000.
The ad also said, "The pastor whose church earns first place will have the first of the above awards. The award will be given based on three things:
"We would hope that the good Dr. Rice would not approve of such crass religious commercialism based on his name and possessions. ... Why stop with the car and rings of Hyles and Rice?
Why not give away their shoes, ties, handkerchiefs, shirts, and suits as awards. Can you not imagine the power that a preacher would have, if he rode to his church in John R. Rice's car, stood in Rice's shoes, wearing Jack Hyles' ring, and preaching out of a Bible that Hyles had preached out of.
If that wouldn't bring down the power, what would?" [In truth, John Rice had well sown the seed which gave sprout to men like Jack Hyles who came preaching "decision salvation" and "easy-believism" spiced with prizes, gimmicks, and Hollywood celebrities.
Rice was an antinomian pioneer and may well have been the granddaddy of easy-believism.
His heresy was that repentance was not necessary, for it was included in faith (much like Dave Hunt teaches). He also taught that no change was necessary in the life after one believes.
[SOURCE: 11/96, The Perilous Times.)]
"Why would anyone show up at a religious meeting where such crude gimmickry is used?
For hundreds of years the Roman Catholic Church has trafficked in relics of the dead. I remember an Arab Christian(?) who proudly carried a piece of the cross of Christ in his billfold.
The bones of St. Peter, Mary's milk, the cup that Jesus drank from, and the Robe of Turin ... have all been sold or exhibited by the Catholic Church. Will fundamentalists start their own list of relics?
Since Hyles has [evidently] won more souls than Paul, built a larger Church than Spurgeon, traveled farther than Wesley, and preached to more people than Whitfield, should they be saving everything he has ever owned? ...
Think what a blessing it would be for the young fundamentalist preacher to be able to see the unwashed hankie of Dr. Hyles with his sweat and nose drippings on it. (Don't forget the toenail clippings.)
What a blessing to see the 'mail car' that he was allowed to drive home at night, all glass enclosed of course.
(We wouldn't want all the paint rubbed off by young men trying to get the power.)"
- An FBCH ad published in Revival Fires advertised a Hyles' 1992 "Youth Conference" -- the picture in the ad consisted of a "gangland" style car from the Al Capone days! In front was Jack Hyles, called "Big Mac Hyles" and his staff: "Wendell Da Weasel" Evans, "Dead Eye Don" Boyd, "Eddie Da Lip" Lupina, "Machine Gun" McSpadden, "Baby Face" Owens, and "Chop Shop" Schaap.
All are dressed in clothing identified with the "gang-styled" clothing of the men from whom they took their nicknames. They are armed with pistols, machine guns, etc. (Using props, clothing, facial expressions, nick-names, and weapons typical of gangsters, represent the most ungodly, wicked, merciless group of thieves and murderers that the United States has ever known!)
Speaking of FBCH, the ad says, "Da Joint opens at 7:00 p.m." It further states, "Dees big services will be wit da Big Boss, himself [speaking of Hyles]."
- There should be no personality cults among the Lord's churches. The chief of personality cults among independent Baptists is that surrounding the late Jack Hyles.
Though he died six years ago, the cult continues. There is a magazine that is published in his honor, an annual Jack Hyles Memorial Conference, Jack Hyles memorial web pages, and even a Jack Hyles Press.
The magazine is The Independent Baptist Contender, published by Pastor Tom Neal, Berean Baptist Church, Orange Park, Florida.
The magazine's subtitle is "Perpetuating and Protecting the Principles and Philosophies of Dr. Jack Hyles." In the November-December 2002 issue (volume 6, issue 3), Jack Hyles is mentioned at least 95 times, not counting the hundreds of pronouns that also refer to him.
There is an advertisement on page 10 that says: "Are you a GENUINE INDEPENDENT BAPTIST? Do you IDENTIFY YOURSELF with the brand of fundamentalism taught by Dr. Jack Hyles? Are you interested in perpetuating REAL independent Baptist fundamentalism?
Then maybe you should advertise your church in The Independent Baptist Contender" (emphasis in the original). On page 12 there is an ad for "The Other Shore," a "collection of 15 songs in honor of Dr. Jack Hyles."
(Can you image Peter putting out a CD collection honoring Paul! Can you imagine him saying, "Oh, our great Paul is gone; let us establish memorials to his great name.")
On page 41 is an ad for The Other Shore: The Passing Over of Dr. Jack Hyles, a book by his adulterous son David Hyles. Page 45 contains a full-page ad for the 2nd annual Jack Hyles Memorial Conference, where attendees can "Hear Dr. Jack Hyles Speak through the voices of over a dozen men whose lives he greatly influenced."
The article on page 3 is titled "The Mind of Dr. Jack Hyles." Most of the "call outs" are quotes from Hyles. There are 31 of these altogether in one issue.
[SOURCE: "I Am of Jack," 4/21/03, FBIS].
- Dr. Wayne Wall writes in the 7/1/92 Biblical Evangelist ("On Tootin' One's Own Horn!"):
"A cursory sampling of his [Jack Hyles] sermonic output betrays his hopeless propensity to make himself the hero of every story and illustration . . .
. . . and depict himself in his sermons in the legendary proportions of his carefully crafted person around which he has built a personality cult rivaling that of Jim Jones.
... Hyles has no room for glorifying the Savior or the Apostles in his sermons. He is too preoccupied with glorifying Jack Hyles!
Hyles is all in all in his sermons -- the subject, the object, the beginning and end, the first and last! ...
Hyles sees God as a Genie in the lamp. He is our Servant, ready to do our bidding any time we call, rather than the other way around.
In fact, it may have even been God's plan that man sin originally, Hyles contends, just so that He might have the pleasure of redeeming and serving us!
Oh Great Hylesology!
God need us?
Needless to say, these inflated views of man and distorted views of God are sick and heretical."
Inflated Ego requires continual inflation.
It is easily punctured. Self-inflating statements as these were common at FBCH under Jack Hyles:
>> "Before you stands the source of all human knowledge";
>> "... God knew that probably 10,000 preachers across this nation would call me their pastor."
>> He 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";
>> "This is the greatest church in the history of Christianity. We must protect it at all costs. Without us, America is gone.";
>> "Leadership is always right";
>> "We are the greatest."
>> According to one former Hyles-disciple, Hyles was jokingly referred to by some as the fourth member of the Godhead. (Hyles once also claimed that "should he tell people on his staff to commit suicide, they would obey him!"
>> He has also said if he told his deacons to bow down and kiss his feet, they would do it.)
>> A month before Hyles death, a HAC fundraiser was initiated for the purpose of building a statue of Jack Hyles. They had hoped to complete it by Hyles' September 26th birthday.
The projected cost was $300,000, and they were selling bricks at $50 apiece to raise the money.]
>> Hyles' "Bus Manual" includes an oft-repeated story about a little boy who got his shoe tied by Jack Hyles. "God tied my shoe," was the lad's remark. Hyles seemed to enjoy repeating this story, and even seemed to enjoy being mistaken for God.
Also, Hyles' long-time organist, Elaine Colsten, wrote a book on the subject of church music (As I See Church Music) which contains a very revealing sentiment (the 120-page book does not quote a single verse of Scripture):
>> "As an organist I cannot separate the two -- God and my pastor. My pastor represents my Lord. My Lord has put my pastor in my church as my leader. I shall and I want to follow him. I have no right to do anything at the organ which would be in direct opposition to that which would please the pastor, for certainly in so doing I would also be displeasing my Lord."
>> Hyles, the last 20 years - was a staunch member of the KJV-Onlyism cult. (See next item.) At Hyles' Pastor's Conference in 3/96, Mrs. Gail Riplinger (author of New Age Bible Versions) was awarded a "Sword" and an "Honorary Doctorate" from Hyles-Anderson College.
Hyles, clowning around as was his custom, said he was ready to "ordain" Riplinger to preach. He referred to Riplinger's book as a "masterpiece," but shortly thereafter said he had read the book but "did not understand it."
This might explain how he could endorse a book when its author denies the doctrine of the Eternal Sonship of Christ, the same doctrine believed by the KJV translators.
[SOURCE: Reported in the 7/29/96, Christian News, p. 21].
- Jack Hyles was a constant source of "confusion" about the King James Bible and the New Birth.
In an article posted to Hyles' website (7/97) entitled "False Bibles--An Enemy of Soul Winning," taken from Hyles' book, Enemies of Soul Winning, Hyles tied the New Birth (for English-speaking people) to the King James Bible, making the use of the KJB a condition of being born again:
"The words of God are the genes of regeneration. Titus 3:5, 'Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.'
Actually the word 'regeneration' means 'to be re-gened.'
Just as the genes of my parents brought my old nature into existence, even so the genes of God brought my new nature into existence. Your old nature is sinful because there was sin in the genes, but the genes of the Word of God are incorruptible, meaning that which is born of God; that is, the new nature, cannot sin.
Now if the very words of God must be pure, and if in fact the King James Bible contains the preserved words of God, then any other words are not the words of God. ... we must have the incorruptible seed in order to be re-gened, or regenerated, or born again.
Suppose corruptible seed is used. Can a person then be born again from it? You answer that question. According to I Peter 1:23 we read, 'Being born again, not of corruptible seed ...' Then , if corruptible seed is used, one cannot be born again.
I have a conviction as deep as my soul that every English-speaking person who has ever been born again was born of incorruptible seed; that is, the King James Bible. Does that mean that if someone goes soul winning and takes a false Bible that the person who receives Christ is not saved?
I believe with all of my soul that the incorruptible seed must have been used somewhere in that person's life.
If all a person has ever read is the Revised Standard Version, he cannot be born again, because corruptible seed is used, and I Peter 1:23 is very plain to tell us that a person cannot be born again of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible seed, and it explains that that incorruptible seed is the Word of God, and it explains that it liveth and abideth forever. ..." (Emphasis added.)
The "confusion" about this matter was created by other materials from Hyles which "seemed" to contradict the foregoing.
For example, an article by Hyles in the February 1997 issue of Revival Fires (p. 11) claimed that he could win souls with an RSV and a Catholic Bible.
In doing this, he claimed there would be "King James words" in the RSV and Catholic Bible, so in effect, he attributed the soul-winning to the KJB.
The "bottom line" is that one must have the "words" as they are in KJB, regardless of what other English version one might have in his hands when soul-winning, and thus, he still made the KJB "words," in one form or another, essential to salvation.
Bob Ross has also written an article on the erroneous view which Hyles espoused on 1 Peter 1:23, where Hyles mistakenly makes the word "incorruptible" modify the "word of God," when in fact the word "incorruptible" is referring to God Himself.
Peter has our "progeny" in view, as being of the incorruptible God, contrasted to "corruptible" progeny ("seed"). Those born again are always said to be "born OF God" as the source; "BY" the Word refers to the instrumentality.
Thus, we are "born again" of "incorruptible" progeny (God), "by the Word of God." ["Some wrongly regard 'the Word of God' as the incorruptible seed.
But they were begotten of God, 'of' indicating the source of their new life; but were begotten by (by means of) the Word of God (James 1:18), the truths of the Bible, the Gospel (1 Cor. 4:15)." [An American Commentary on the New Testament; First Peter, by N. Williams, Vol. VI, page 22 in the section on First Peter].
The truth, which is presented in the KJB in its specific format and sentence structure, predated the "format" of the KJB, and was in prior English Bibles, but was not necessarily given in the same English words and structure as the KJB; otherwise, we would have to conclude there was no "truth" until the words and structure of the KJB came on the scene.
Furthermore, if all post-1611 English Bibles are "perversions" (as Hyles said), then would not the same be the case with pre-1611 English Bibles?
Was there no "Word of God" in English before 1611? According to what Hyles called "logic," apparently there was no "pure" Bible in English before 1611. There was no "pure seed" until then; and if not, how could anyone have been born again?
The idea that Biblical truth cannot be presented except in the precise and unaltered terminology and structure of the King James Bible or any other version is tantamount to superstition.
It is reminiscent of the one-and-only "baptismal formula" taught by the "Oneness Pentecostals" who think the validity of baptism depends on the "right words." Such "logic" is the "confusion" sown by Jack Hyles and those who hold to the Hyles "brand" of "King James Onlyism." (Source: Bob Ross, Pilgrim Publications, 7/25/97 e-mail article: "The 'Confusion' of Jack Hyles and His 'King James Onlyism Salvation.'")
- Hyles' error begins at salvation, teaching soul-winners elaborate procedures whereby to secure an outward profession of faith and decision for Christ (The Hyles Visitation Manual, pp. 165-208), with the utter disregard for the powerful internal operation of God -
- Hyles' "procedural evangelism" is foreign to Scripture.
Hyles and his disciples also tend to invent and implement dress and behavior codes that have absolutely nothing to do with the Scriptures, apparently in order that they may effectively avoid what the Scriptures actually prohibit: lack of love and a servant attitude (1 Cor. 13; Mk. 10:42-45), lust (Matt. 5:27, 28), immorality (Gal. 5:16-21), etc.
Why did Hyles do such things? For one thing, he was famous for dreaming up far out unscriptural schemes. He led a whole generation of young preachers down the road to easy-believism and cheap gimmickry.
Hyles spent much time ridiculing and attacking those he called the "deeper life" people. According to him, these are the people who spend all their time studying the Scriptures and are not out soul-winning. This is all detailed and thoroughly documented in the following sources:
(a) A former teacher at Hyles' school (George Godfrey, 629 North Oakwood, Griffith, IN 46319) has written a paper exposing the practices and morals of Hyles.
(b) A former deacon of FBCH (Victor P. Nischik, 7647 Hohlman Ave. - #10, Munster, IN 46321) has written a book charging Hyles with serious offenses involving the affection of the deacon's wife, among other things (The Wizard of God: My Life With Jack Hyles).
(c) An attorney (Voyle A. Glover, 101 West 75th Place, Merrillville, IN 46410), a former member of FBCH and long-time associate of Jack Hyles, has written a 485-page book exposing Hyles' methods and morals. Glover claims that FBCH has degenerated into a "Christian cult" (Fundamental Seduction: The Jack Hyles Case).
(d) Bible For Today Newsreport (D.A. Waite, 900 Park Ave., Collingswood, NJ 08108) has a multitude of materials available on Hyles' escapades. Of particular interest are two tapes:
(1) a 2-hour telephone interview, conducted in 6/93, with Victor Nischik ("Jack Hyles--Pastoral Promulgator of Pornographic Pollution" -- tape #2353), and
(2) a Detroit television station's exposé on the financial improprieties and immorality of Jack Hyles and his protégés ("Preying from the Pulpit--The Evil Immoral Influences of Jack Hyles" -- VHS or audio tape #2354).
(e) A former Christian newspaper publisher (Pastor Dick Sumner, P.O. Drawer 940, Ingleside, TX 78362), wrote a lengthy cover story (5/1/89, The Biblical Evangelist) detailing Hyles' many doctrinal errors.
[In a 10-page booklet published by First Baptist Church Hammond, titled: "Dr. Jack Hyles Answers Robert Sumner's Accusations in The Biblical Evangelist,"
Hyles alleges 52 "untruths" in Sumner's article. But for Hyles to be correct, George Godfrey, Victor Nischik, Voyle Glover, D.A. Waite, and the entire investigative news department at station WJBK-TV in Detroit have to all be liars,
and moreover, would have to have been engaged in one of the most massive and most successful conspiracies in the history of the world! (See The Biblical Evangelist's response to Hyles's "Answers.")]
(f) A group of 25 independent Baptist pastors met in Indianapolis on 1/27/92 to discuss Hyles' teachings and actions. They published a report, which we have summarized. [This pastors' group gave Dr. Hyles ample opportunity to come and defend the charges made against him, but Hyles never replied.]
Note -- FBCH Ministry Update: "The charismatic former pastor of First Baptist Church in Hammond is constantly looking down upon his surging flock.
… from a towering mural of his likeness painted on a church building overlooking the parking lot.
… his name is still used almost as often as God's name by church followers. Gone, but not forgotten, the saying goes.
Hyles' 47-year-old son-in-law successor, Jack Schaap (pronounced Skop), doesn't mind one bit.
He's parlayed his mentor's … handiwork to make the church larger, more influential and prosperous than ever before. …
Last Sunday, the church's staff of a few hundred used the three-city-block complex of buildings to preach the Gospel to more than 17,000 adult believers (in 2004 over 20,000 in 2012)
The church leases and operates more buses on any given weekend than some cities, up to 250 in all …
Last year the church attracted 2.5 million tourists to the region through conferences and events.
In October alone, the church took in more than a half a million dollars … giving from the congregation is up 37 percent since Hyles died.
Enrollment at the church's schools, including Hyles-Anderson College in Schererville, is at a 25-year high.
Sunday school classes top 800 most every week. … church officials broke ground for a new multimillion dollar, three-story auditorium just across the street, with seating for 10,000.
[NOW COMPLETE and BEAUTIFUL TO BEHOLD!]
After Hyles died, Schaap and other church officials got together and bought a 2002 Jaguar for Hyles' widow Beverly … The church makes monthly payments on it. 'She was awfully down. We thought it would cheer her up,' Schaap said."
[SOURCE: The Times, 12/9/02, pp. A1, A12.]
Perhaps this has all been made possible by Schaap's heavy emphasis on the charismatic (prosperity message) view of tithing (see the 4/28/03, FBIS.)]
January 2006 Update: The new building was completed in 2005. The $37 million, 167,000 square-foot church was financed by the ministry itself and finished on budget.
The auditorium seats 7,500 people, with two overflow rooms that accommodate 2700 more; two heated, 1,200 gallon baptismal pools with private changing rooms;
more than 100 wall-mounted, flat-screen video displays; and 10 studio cameras connected by more than 100 miles of cable to two 72-channel recording consoles.
The platform is constructed of Brazilian cherry wood and accommodates a 140-member choir, three baby grand pianos, an organ, and a full orchestra.
[SOURCE: "Megachurch opens doors to faithful," 3/21/05, The Post-Tribune.]
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