The following are excerpts from the video “Congratulations From Our Friends” that was shown at First Baptist Church, Hammond, Sunday morning, February 17, 2013:
Jack Trieber, North Valley Baptist Church, Santa Clara, California
“[Pastor and Mrs. Wilkerson] are incredible people ... GREAT MAN of God ... To the members, I want to thank you for walking with God ... We love First Baptist Hammond. ... We believe the greatest days could yet be ahead.”
Clarence Sexton, Temple Baptist Church, Powell, Tennessee
“We are excited about First Baptist Church of Hammond ... I didn’t think [Wilkerson] would leave that GREAT CHURCH that he pastored. ... I’m excited for you and praying for you. I want you to know that you have friends in Knoxville, Tennessee. ... Keep working together for the glory of God. ... May the greatest days for First Baptist Church of Hammond be the days that lie ahead.”
Pastor Warren Johnson, Grace Baptist Church, Flower Mound, Texas
“My how excited we are to watch and see what the Lord is going to do in the months and years that lie ahead. ... Congratulations on this historic Sunday.
Paul Chappell, Lancaster Baptist Church, Lancaster, California
“I want to take this opportunity to congratulate Mr. and Mrs. Wilkerson and your family as you begin ministry at the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, and I want to congratulate the church, as well. ... I want to encourage you to stand together with your pastor and to strive together for the faith of the gospel. Congratulations.”
Pastor Doug Fisher, Lighthouse Baptist Church, San Diego, California
“I want to congratulate Pastor and Mrs. Wilkerson and First Baptist Church of Hammond for their recent decisions. Many, many people in our country are excited about what God is doing there at First Baptist. ... Congratulations. We look forward to what God is going to do in the future. ... I’m excited. Our church is very excited.”
Pastor Ezequiel Salazar, Montecito Baptist Church, Montecito, California
“I’m thrilled for the First Baptist Church of Hammond. ... I really believe the best days for First Baptist are ahead.”
R.B. Ouellette, First Baptist Church of Bridgeport, Bridgeport, Michigan
“Congratulations Brother Wilkerson. When I heard that God had called you to First Baptist Church of Hammond, I was thrilled. Every day I pray at the same time I used to pray for Dr. Hyles ... and since I heard you were going there I began to pray for you as well. I’m so glad that you have been entrusted with the leadership of a place that has had so much happen, so many things of historic importance for independent fundamental Baptists.”
Pastor Johnny Pope, Christ Church Baptist Fellowship, Houston, Texas
“We believe that First Baptist Church of Hammond is still one of the GREATEST CHURCHES in the whole wide world and now you have one of the GREATEST PASTORS in the whole wide world. ... First Baptist is blessed to have you [John], but it is win, win. I believe that you are blessed to have First Baptist. .... Have a great Lord’s Day on this welcoming day for Pastor Wilkerson. Yes!!!”
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The original title of this book, which was first published in March 2012, was The Two Jacks, referring to the ministry and influence of Jack Hyles and his son-in-law Jack Schaap, who took the pastorate of First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, upon Hyles’ death.
We have changed the name to The Hyles Effect: A Spreading Blight, because the book is still relevant, in spite of the fact that Jack Hyles is dead and Jack Schaap is heading to prison. This is for the simple reason that Hyles’ vast influence continues unabated and we see it as a spiritual blight. One pastor made the following comment about the new title:
“Having farmed, one of the things we had to fight against was blight. Blight will soon ruin a vegetable crop like tomatoes, melons or cucumbers. Blight was our deadly enemy.”
This book has never been just about First Baptist of Hammond. It’s about a large number of IFB churches that have been influenced by the cultic pattern modeled at First Baptist and it’s about large numbers of IFB preachers who have not spoken out against it but rather have chosen to bask in the glory of “bigness” rather than take a stand for truth.
A preacher friend made the following comment when I asked him for suggestions for the new title of the book:
“I wonder if you could title it along the lines of a disease, a contagion, or an epidemic. That may be overstatement, but I don't think so. Hyles' philosophy has permeated even the best of the IB churches. I threw out his books in the 80's when I started seeing what he was preaching and read his son's book on youth ministry, BUT what I heard him preach in the 60's and 70's STILL messes with my mind.”
Another preacher who offered suggestions for the new title said:
“Years ago, my wife was given a tape of a Hyles sermon by the wife of our former pastor. When asked who Jack Hyles was, she replied something along the lines of ‘a good man that went a bit wonky towards the end.’ I have found that even many preachers who distance themselves from Hyles have plenty of nice things to say about him. He seems to have won the hearts of many of the older generation of IB preachers in the same way that Paul Chappell seems to be winning over the younger ones.”
Hyles’ philosophy has spread far among IFBaptists. Take unquestioning loyalty, for example. Try writing something “negative” of a current IFB leader like Paul Chappell, Clarence Sexton, or Shelton Smith, or try offering a critique anything less than worshipful of IFB leaders of the past such as John Rice or Lee Roberson, no matter how true and Biblical the “criticism” might be, and observe the response by their fans.
Jack Hyles is dead, but his influence lives on.
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Also see “Dear Chicago Magazine” article (below) as posted this same day - 12/16/2012
These are Ted Butler, Christopher Settlemoir, Dave Hyles, Charles Shifflett, Joseph Combs, Chester Mulligan, William Beith, Craig Sission, Kerry Martin, and Jack Schaap, who was the pastor of the church until he was caught having a sexual relationship with a teenage girl.
Had they dug up just two more, which would not have been difficult, they could have labeled them “First Baptist’s Dirty Dozen.” In fact, it could have been “First Baptist’s Dozens and Dozens and Dozens” had the paper reported on the plague of adulterous Hyles Anderson graduates and First Baptist associates, but adultery doesn’t happen to be illegal in America today. It does disqualify a man from the pastorate, as the bishop must be blameless in such things (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6), though First Baptist associates have typically ignored this divine qualification.
The Chicago Magazine report documents the fact that the church’s late pastor, Jack Hyles, created a cultic climate in which church members were not allowed to test anything by God’s Word and horrible immoralities were routinely covered up.
For example, during a Sunday sermon, Hyles held up a cup bearing the image of the skull and bones, which is a warning that the contents are poisonous. He said to Johnny Colsten, one of the men sitting behind him on the platform, “I’d like for you, if you don’t mind, to drink this,” and Colsten did not hesitate to drink the potential cool-aid (“Let Us Prey: Big Trouble at First Baptist,” Chicago Magazine, January 2013).
The Lord knows Chicago Magazine’s motives and they will give account to him for their business, but it is pretty close to being right about First Baptist of Hammond. It is wrong, though, in implying that all independent Baptists are cultic.
Many fundamental Baptists have rejected Hyles and his cultic philosophy. I certainly have and I have been publicly exposing and separating myself from it for decades, at considerable personal cost. A pastor should be given honor and he should be followed as long as he follows the Bible, but he is not an authority unto himself. He is to be tested by God’s Word and is to be disciplined if he sins, just like anyone else in the congregation.
A genuine biblical pastor’s job is not to keep the people in bondage to his own will, but it is to build them up on Christ and to present them to Christ as the servants of Christ, not of man.
First Baptist has laid off 25% of its staff and has a massive $16 million dollar debt.
You see, the church is operated more like a circus and must be kept “pumped up” with promotionalism and carnal enthusiasm, and for that they need a new P.T. Barnum--and fast! We will see if they can find one. (See “Jack Schaap’s Three-Ring Circus,” Friday Church News Notes, August 6, 2010.
“Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality” (1 Tim. 5:19-21).
(See "The Hyles Effect," a free eBook available from www.wayoflife.org.)
Way of Life Literature, www.wayoflife.org
Fundamental Baptist Information Service
copyright 2012 - Way of Life Literature
Also see “Chicago Magazine and First Baptist Hammond” article (above) as posted this same day - 12/16/2012
But you are dealing with spiritual issues without the equipment to make proper judgments. Spiritual issues must be just judged by spiritual rules, and you don’t know the rules. In fact, you have rejected the Spiritual Rule Book.
A church is not a cult because it preaches that Jesus Christ is the only Lord and Saviour and there is no salvation apart from the Cross, or because it preaches God’s Word without apology, or because it preaches separated, holy living of those who name the name of Christ, or because it teaches the biblical pattern for marriage. If that is a cult, then massive numbers of America’s churches have been cultic since its inception.
We judge First Baptist Church cultic, not because Jack Hyles was a “Bible thumper,” as you labeled him, but because he didn’t obey the Bible he thumped, not because he preached fire-and-brimstone, as you mentioned, but because he didn’t walk in the fear of God in his own life and ministry.
Had he been a true Bible believer, he would have walked humbly and been a gracious shepherd of his people rather than a pompous abuser of them (1 Peter 5:1-6). He would have urged them to test him by God’s Word rather than to have boasted of how they would jump off a bridge and drink poison at his command (Acts 17:11; 1 Corinthians 14:29; 1 Thessalonians 5:12). He would have urged them to be more loyal to Christ than to man, to the Bible than human tradition. He would have disciplined them for sin rather than helped them cover it up (1 Corinthians 5).
That was Jack Hyles, and he will give account to God.
As for the Chicago Magazine, it, too, displays no fear of God. Had it feared God, it would have admitted that all men have hypocrisies, including its own writers and editors, and it would have balanced its report by proclaiming loudly the fact that there are hundreds of Bible-believing independent Baptist preachers who are humble, godly men who hate the hypocrisy and sin that has been rampant at First Baptist, and there are hundreds of Bible-believing independent Baptist churches that are spiritually healthy, where an individual can find Christ as eternal Saviour and can grow in Christ and find God’s perfect will and that have no element of true cultism.
The Chicago Magazine would do well to remember that its writers and editors will give account to the same Almighty God as Jack Hyles, Jack Schaap, and any other present or past officer of First Baptist Church of Hammond.
Are they ready for this accounting?
I suspect the day will come when every individual associated with Chicago Magazine will wish that he had sought out the spiritual help of a sound Bible-believing Baptist church instead of having puffed at someone else’s hypocrisy.
Way of Life Literature, www.wayoflife.org
Fundamental Baptist Information Service
copyright 2012 - Way of Life Literature
I am continually amazed at the pastors who defend Jack Hyles, denying that he was a moral reprobate as well as a dictatorial cult leader.
One pastor wrote to me recently to say,
“Jack Hyles was a personal friend. I knew the man. I have listened to over 1,000 sermons on tape which he preached in his own pulpit in the 70s and early 80s. I attended at least 12 Pastors’ Schools. I sent students there and hired graduates from HAC. I have sat in his office and he in mine. In fact, he has sat at my table in my home. It is easy to sit decades later and call that ministry a cult. Were there problems, particularly in the latter years? YES. But a cult, no. Hyles certainly had enemies -- back then, more so. Many rumors and much slander developed, some of which continues to rattle around to this day. You call him a liar. That is a strong statement. I knew the man first hand. You only know about him from a distance and years later. You call him an adulterer. However, the same deacons who investigated and fired Jack Schapp also investigated the charges of adultery against Jack Hyles and exonerated him.”
The pastor continued in this vein at some length, proving himself adept at building straw men, creating smoke screens, and straining at gnats.
In light of the firsthand testimonies that have been published, this pastor is simply closing his eyes to the truth, for whatever reason. There is a gross lack of spiritual discernment at play here.
It is a frightful fact that man’s will drives his discernment. If a man doesn’t want to believe something, he simply will not believe it. This is why the atheist doesn’t believe in God and why the devoted Roman Catholic doesn’t believe his church is apostate. But even a saved man can deceive himself. If it were not so, the Bible would not thrice warn in the New Testament Epistles, “Be not deceived.”
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The following is republished by permission of Pastor Bobby Mitchell, Jr., Mid-coast Baptist Church, Brunswick, Maine, firstname.lastname@example.org
TROUBLING TO THIS PREACHER
August 6, 2012
I want to go on record with preacher friends and acquaintances concerning what I find most troubling about the wickedness of Jack Schaap. First, it is troubling that many are writing about his "fall" as if he were a man of God that sinned. Matt Olson and Paul Chappell are two that have weighed in on this and referred to this as a "fall.”
The truth is that Schaap didn't fall from anything. A cursory glance at his doctrine and deeds over the last eleven years would have revealed to any discerning Christian that he was a false prophet, a wolf, a viper, a dog, and an evil worker. Those are Biblical words. It is sad that he used the name Baptist but he was no more a Baptist than was Balaam. It is sad that he hurt many people and has misrepresented Christianity, but his preaching and practice plainly evinced that he was never what he claimed to be.
Second, it is troubling that so many refuse to acknowledge the obvious fact that Schaap was the product of the belief and behavior of his father in law. If Scripture is our authority then we must agree with it in its condemnation of the preaching and practice of Jack Hyles. If you don't know what I'm writing of, then it is time to do your research for Hyles has been a major influence in leavening Baptist churches. You have no excuse for remaining in ignorance if you have read Matthew 7, Acts 20, Philippians 3, I and II Timothy, Titus, 2 Peter 2, I, II, III John, and Jude.
August 8, 2012 (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, email@example.com; for instructions about subscribing and unsubscribing or changing addresses, see the information paragraph at the end of the article)
Recently I watched a very sad testimony by the daughter of the late Jack Hyles. Today her name is Linda Murphrey and it appears from this testimony that she has rejected biblical Christianity because of the hypocrisy she witnessed growing up in the home of the man who said God had given him “the steering wheel of fundamentalism” and who boasted that his church “was the greatest church in the history of Christianity.”
In her life story Linda mentions God only once and entirely leaves out Jesus Christ, the Bible, the new birth, and salvation through the cross.
Rejection of the truth of the Bible is oftentimes the fruit of a “Christian” cult, but it doesn’t have to be. Everyone growing up in a Christian home sees some type of hypocrisy and witnesses some level of less-than-perfect Christian living, because at his or her best the Bible-believing Christian is only a sinner saved by God’s grace. That’s not an excuse, but it is a fact. The apostle John said, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves” (1 John 1:8). The apostle Paul, who in my estimation was the greatest Christian who ever lived, called himself the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15) and said, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing” (Romans 7:18).
It is doubtful that any man has had a greater influence on the Independent Baptist “movement” than the late Jack Hyles. His influence lies particularly in his pastoral philosophy and in his evangelistic philosophy and techniques, as we document in the book The Two Jacks.
Recently I was given a copy of the book Jack Hyles on Justice (Hyles-Anderson Publishers, 1992), which helped me better understand the man’s philosophy.
Hyles’ put himself above being tested by Scripture or reproved for sin and heresy, and he terribly abused the Scripture toward this end. The title of the book should be “Why Jack Hyles Cannot Be Judged by Any Man.”
The book contains sermons Hyles preached on Wednesday evenings. He emphasized six points that would make it impossible for a church to effectively discipline a pastor and that grant preachers the liberty to live and teach above human accountability. While “private” exhortation of the preacher might be allowed in certain cases, public reproof is never allowed. These unscriptural principles, to various degrees and in various incarnations, have spread widely.
One of the many tactics that some Independent Baptist preachers have used to remain above reproof and discipline is the misapplication of Scripture.
One of these is Matthew 18:15-20. We have dealt with this several times in recent articles. The context has nothing to do with warning about a public preaching and teaching ministry. It has to do with personal offense. If Paul Chappell had committed some offense against me personally, that passage would come into play. But even then, it could not be pursued beyond a long-distance private discussion, because I am not a member of Chappell’s church and he lives on the other side of the world and I have no way to take someone with me to discuss things with him or to present the issue before his church (or my church, for that matter).
Another Scripture that I have heard misapplied repeatedly over the past four decades is 1 Samuel 24:10, upon which is based the doctrine of “touch not God’s anointed.” David said, “Behold, this day thine eyes have seen how that the LORD had delivered thee to day into mine hand in the cave: and some bade me kill thee: but mine eye spared thee; and I said, I will not put forth mine hand against my lord; for he is the LORD’S anointed.”
The following is excerpted from the new book The Two Jacks: Hyles and Schaap, which is available as a free eBook from the Way of Life web site -- www.wayoflife.org.
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The fruit of the Hyles model and methodology has often consisted of moral and spiritual shipwreck.
Multitudes of former members of Hyles-type churches, having witnessed so much error and hypocrisy, have abandoned church altogether. Or they have explored the contemporary emerging philosophy, having allegedly found more spiritual reality in those circles than they witnessed in “fundamentalism.”
Being the products of shallow evangelism, many of these have never been biblically converted. They have prayed a sinner’s prayer but haven’t been converted. Having never had a real and dynamic relationship with Christ, they are man-followers, and when the man fails, they are offended and quit, sometimes blaming Christ and the church for something that is man’s fault alone.
Even if they were truly saved, they were not properly discipled and grounded in the Scriptures and in solid truth. All too typically they have been used or neglected and sometimes abused, but not shepherded.
The solution to this problem is not to abandon church or to capitulate to a contemporary style of Christianity that is conformed to the world. The “newest” part of the true Christian faith is 2,000 years old; it isn’t going to be contemporary cool!
When I was saved in 1973 out of a “hippie” background, I was perfectly cool by the world’s standards. I was a real “dude.” I had my long hair; had my self-centered attitude and my New Age philosophy; had my sensual party music; had my drug-using, hitchhiking background. But after my conversion I didn’t search for a cool type of Christianity. I had truly repented of my foolish ways and my rebellion against God. I had drunk deeply of “this world” and I was fed up with it. I wanted something different: something eternal rather than temporal, solid rather than shallow, unbending rather than plastic.
On Wednesday night, May 20, 2009, Jack Schaap, pastor of First Baptist Church, Hammond, Indiana, preached on the need for fundamental Baptists to broaden their base and stop being so narrow and to not criticize anyone at all. He preached this as counsel for the Hyles Anderson College students who were departing for summer break.
“We refuse to acknowledge that there are other saved people that are O.K. Brother Hyles had a great philosophy. As he got older he preached a sermon called ‘I Copy the Young Jack Hyles.’ I have been going through his books and I have been going through sermon notes and I’ve been going through sermons of when he was a young preacher, and I’ve gone back and copied in so many ways the young Jack Hyles. The young Jack Hyles who came here when the church had over a thousand members and and that church grew from 1959 to 11 years later it was declared the largest Sunday School in the world. And I looked at the people he ran with and the people he talked about and the friends he had and the archives.
We recently received the following feedback after publishing a warning (“An Imaginative Christmas,” Friday News, Dec. 24, 2010) about how that Jack Schaap, pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, twists and adds to the Word of God:
“Why are you such haters on jack schaap? why not stop focusing stupid details. get out and lead someone to the lord. ... Do something better like soulwinning or preaching from the Bible and not having a book review for a church service. Does this guy have nothing better to do than trash on Schaap? This guy needs to get a life. Stop focusing on what other people are doing, and focus on winning those lost souls to Christ!”
Reply from Brother Cloud:
We don’t hate Jack Schaap, but we are disgusted with his pomposity and we’re not going to ignore his heresies.
The man who wrote this e-mail is spouting standard Hyles theology (Hyles is dead but his influence continues): ignore sin and error in the pew and pulpit and just do “soul-winning.” This supposedly covers a multitude of sins.