Jack Hyles and Fundamentalist Seduction

Fundamental Seduction: The Jack Hyles Case
By Voyle A. Glover
Brevia Publishing Company, 1990, 486 pp.

4 Stars

Shortly after my wife and I accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior in 1983, we began attending an independent fundamental Baptist (IFB) church not far from our home. The IFB movement was quite prominent back in those days. Remember Jerry Falwell? Falwell was an IFB pastor, although not a “shouter” or “brow beater” as was the IFB norm. One of the other IFB “superstar” pastors of that period was Jack Hyles, who pastored one of the largest churches, IFB or otherwise, in the country at the time, First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana (FBCH) , 23 miles south of Chicago, with over 15,000 in attendance on any given Sunday. Hyles trained young men to be pastors according to his strict formula at his Hyles-Anderson College and IFB pastors from all over the country flocked to the annual week-long Pastors’ School at FBCH to learn the secrets of Hyles’ successful “methods.”

Jack Hyles

In the 1980s, rumors of adulterous relationships began circulating at FBCH and within IFB circles, rumors involving Hyles’ son, David, and Jack Hyles himself. Evangelist Robert Sumner knocked over a hornets’ nest when he published a somewhat detailed exposé of Hyles in his The Biblical Evangelist newspaper in 1989. Hyles had been in a long-term, adulterous relationship with the wife of one of his deacons, Vic Nischik. Several men of the church went to Hyles regarding the allegations involving him and his son, but Hyles denied everything. A “100% for Hyles” campaign was started at the church with Hyles’ approval.

Attorney and FBCH member, Voyle Glover became convinced of the accusations against Hyles and wrote this book in 1990. In addition to presenting FBCH “insider” evidence of Hyles’ guilt, Glover informs the reader how Hyles had achieved cult-leader status and control at FBCH. Members were systematically indoctrinated to follow Hyles wherever he might lead and submit to him completely. Hyles’ sermons glorified himself rather than God. Brow-beater? Yup, Brother Hyles could brow-beat and bully his membership, individually and collectively, as well as any “loud and proud” IFB pastor. It’s difficult for non-IFBers to understand, but there was a cultish, Jim Jones/David Koresh-ish dimension to IFB pastors’ sway over their congregations.

Most FBCH members would not even consider the abundant evidence of Hyles’ marital infidelity presented by Sumner and Glover. Vic Nischik also wrote a book in 1990, “The Wizard of God: My Life With Jack Hyles,” describing some of the details of his wife’s affair with Hyles. The final nail in the coffin came many years later, in 2013, when Hyles’ own daughter, Linda, also confirmed the allegations.

Hyles survived the scandal, thanks to his loyal (aka brainwashed) congregation, although he was battered and bruised. Many fellow IFB pastors distanced themselves from Hyles and withdrew standing invitations for the “celebrity pastor” to speak at their churches. Jack Hyles died in 2001. His son-in-law, Jack Schaap, succeeded him as pastor at FBCH until he was arrested in 2012 for having sexual relations with a 16-year-old female church member. Pulpit bully, Schaap, no doubt had felt the same type of privileged impunity as his father-in-law predecessor.

This book brought back so many cringeworthy memories of my IFB days. Pastor idolatry was the norm in the IFB. Pastors were put on pedestals. IFB pastors controlled their people through manipulation and fear. The IFB movement has since declined significantly. It has nowhere near the influence it had back in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. The takeaway from this book (and this post) is not to idolize any man. We follow God and His Word and don’t put men on pedestals.

I had read and reviewed two books on Jack Hyles previously (see here and here) and desired to read Glover’s book, but it’s been out of print and used copies were über expensive. However, Glover recently made the book available via Kindle. The transcription to ebook gets a B+ although a drawback to “Fundamental Seduction” is the large amount of redundant material. Glover could have used a good editor. I would hazard that about one-third of the text could have been excised with no effect on Glover’s fundamental message.

Above is a disturbing 3-minute video of Jack Hyles manipulating and browbeating his congregation at First Baptist Church, Hammond. To Hyles’ right, in one “seat of honor,” is his wife, Beverly. To the left of Hyles, in the other seat of honor, is his secretary and mistress, Mrs. Nischik. Despite the close proximity, the two women did not fraternize and were not on speaking terms.

20 thoughts on “Jack Hyles and Fundamentalist Seduction

  1. I went to Liberty University shortly after the death of Jerry Sr. I can tell you that university is not the same as when he was alive but still bears the stains of legalism mixed with hypocrisy. Case in point his own son.
    Jack Hyles I’m not as familiar with but this is unsurprising to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Katherine. The pastor at our IFB church emulated Falwell Sr. and Thomas Road Baptist Church. Young people at our church seeking a Christian college were encouraged to attend Liberty. Yup, lots of legalism and hypocrisy within the IFB, even to an extreme degree. Thirty-one years after leaving the IFB, I’m still reading and writing about it, an experience fraught with many good things and many bad.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. When I was at Liberty we were encouraged to either attend Campus Church or Thomas Road. To this day I cannot stomach listening to Thomas Road, which plays on our local Christian radio station each Sunday morning. I went to church off campus. I got a good quality education but looking back I’m not sure I’d encourage my girls to go there in the future.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I couldn’t worship at an IFB church. As I understand it, Liberty was able to thrive because of its more moderate approach, while such colleges as Hyles-Anderson and Bob Jones University have declined because of their stricter fundamentalist stance. I’m guessing that Liberty does not refer to “fundamentalism” at all these days.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Seriously… “Take the baby out!” (And that’s not the worst of it.) I couldn’t sit there for 2 seconds listening to that man. We have “missionaries” coming from USA over here with such attitudes and to be honest they’re not what people need. Terrible.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, we can’t imagine the Lord Jesus Christ chastising a mother with her crying baby. Hyles used the pulpit to browbeat his congregants into fearful submission.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow what a mess and sadness with sin reading this; and listening to that clip is crazy! So much cringe…it seems that’s a signature of IFB extreme excess. I’ve only heard of Jack Hyles from books but first time I seen a video or heard his sound. I think I’m spared not finding IFB in my early Christian days…knowing my younger militant tendencies when I was a young Christian

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Hyles scandal was heavy blow to Baptist fundamentalism.
      Glad you were able to listen to the video. Hyles typified IFB arrogance. Yup, that “in your face” style of “preaching” appeals to a young man full of vim and vigor. The graduates of Hyles-Anderson were Hyles clones. New-IFB cult leader, Steven Anderson, spent 26 months at Hyles-Anderson and FBCH under Hyles’ son-in-law in Hyles clone, Jack Schaap.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I am not familiar with Jack Hyles of IFB churches, but after reading your post and listening to the disturbing video, all I can say is that these people have no fear of God.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Steven Anderson… that name rang a bell and then I remembered when I used to travel to Greek language lessons on the train some years ago. I knew nothing about him but listened to his online Greek lessons while sitting on the train. Later, on investigation I discovered his church activities and some of the crazy stuff he believes.

    Liked by 1 person

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