Jack Hyles: The Fundamental Man

Jack Frasure Hyles: The Fundamental Man
By Cindy Hyles Schaap
Hyles Publications, 1998, 528 pp.

Having started out at an independent fundamental Baptist (IFB) church as a new Christian back in the early-1980s, I have a continuing interest in the movement and its history.

Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001) was one of the biggest names in the IFB back when I was a new believer, with his First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana (23 miles from Chicago) being one of the largest churches in the nation at the time (15,000 weekly attendance). Hyles became a widely sought-after speaker and IFB pastors across the nation studied and emulated his methods. Hyles was the face of the IFB in the 1980s and 90s.

Cindy Hyles Schaap (photo left) wrote this adulatory tribute to her father three years before his death with Hyles’ full cooperation. God’s Word certainly exhorts us to honor our pastors, but this very handsomely-bound, 538-page, coffee-table book exemplifies the kind of leadership idolatry that’s prevalent within the IFB. Jack Hyles gets 95% of the glory in this book and Jesus Christ gets the scraps. I can imagine the apostle Paul’s reaction if someone tried to memorialize him in a similar fashion.

This lengthy biography presents an incredible amount of the detail from Hyles’ life, from his birth in Italy, Texas, to pastoring several small churches, to his break with the Southern Baptist Convention and his affiliation with John R. Rice and the IFB camp, to moving to Hammond and growing the largest church in America. As one might expect from a biography written by his daughter, this book is unabashedly hagiographical. Hyles most assuredly accomplished much good for the Lord as pastor of FBCH for 42 years, but there were also serious problems:

  • Hyles perpetuated and further popularized a preaching and pastoral style that was marked by arrogance, authoritarianism, intimidation, and bullying. Hyles was an absolute dictator at FBCH. There were very cultish aspects to Hyles’ pastorate at FBCH.
  • Hyles’ crusade to have the largest church in America turned conversions and baptisms into a numbers contest. Disingenuity and numbers-padding abounded.
  • Hyles promoted the popular and misguided notion of America as a Christian nation. His self-professed focus toward the end of his life was to “save America.”
  • Hyles’ arrogance and authoritarianism engendered an attitude of recklessness and entitlement. Scandal caught up with Jack Hyles in 1989, which Cindy Schaap refers to only briefly and without detail. She also circumspectly alludes to the scandal that brought down her brother, David Hyles, who had held a leadership position at FBCH. Cindy Schaap’s husband, Jack Schaap, succeeded Jack Hyles as pastor of FBCH in 2001 and emulated his predecessor’s arrogance and authoritarianism, but he was brought down by scandal in 2012, after which Cindy divorced him.

I enjoyed portions of this book despite its “rose colored glasses” perspective. I especially enjoyed the accounts of Hyles’ associations with John R. Rice, G.B. Vick, Lester Roloff, Bob Jones, Sr., and other prominent figures in the history of the IFB movement. Hyles’ history is a history of the IFB.

See my review of a book that took a much more critical view of Hyles here. One of Hyles’ other daughters, Linda Hyles Murphrey, presented a totally different view of Jack Hyles in this video.

I would recommend this idealized biography only for its revelations with regards to IFB history.


By Dr. Jeff Farnham
Sword of the Lord Publishers, 2019, 139 pp.

2 Stars

I saw this short book advertised in “The Sword of the Lord” recently and thought it might be interesting to read independent fundamental Baptist (IFB) pastor, Dr.* Jeff Farnham’s (formerly of LaGrange Baptist Church, LaGrange, Indiana) views on IFB churches that he contends have compromised their status from being fundamentalist to “fundamental-ish,” i.e., still teaching the fundamentals of the faith, but compromising on important secondaries.

In his opening section, Farnham rebuts the appeal to “Christian liberty” as an excuse to compromise fundamentalist principles. He argues that wise and mature fundamentalists must continue to uphold their convictions even more strongly so as not to be stumbling blocks to the weaker, less mature brethren.

Farnham then gets into the meat of the book; the specific areas where he believes compromising fundamentalists have become fundamental-ish:

Worship Music – Farnham is distressed that some compromising IFB pastors are incorporating Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) and drums into their worship music. Farnham notes that CCM music employs “a syncopated thumping that accents the off-beat and diminishes the downbeat and creates agitation.” He judges all such music to be “spiritually oppressing and sensually provocative” (p.61). Farnham notes that IFB pastors in the past commonly referred to such music as “jungle music,” and while he acknowledges that many would find that term to be “racially insensitive,” he believes it is accurate.

Attire – Farnham judges that compromising IFB churches are allowing and encouraging people to wear inappropriate clothing. Amidst some other, superfluous examples, the PRIMARY issue for Farnham boils down to whether women should be able to wear pants. Farnham doesn’t believe so, citing Deuteronomy 22:5. He attempts to rebut all opposing rationale.

Education, Entertainment, Employment – Farnham contends that fundamental-ish compromisers allow their children to be educated at godless public schools and that they prioritize worldly entertainment and employment (working on Sundays) over God, church, and an obedient Christian lifestyle.

Church Names – Farnham bemoans the fact that some IFB churches have removed “Baptist” and/or “Church” from their names, opting instead for such compromised, culture-pleasing titles as “The Potter’s House” or “Messiah Fellowship.”

As Christians, we all have beliefs and opinions regarding these secondary issues. The IFB movement no doubt represents the most conservative of viewpoints. I attended an IFB church from 1983 to 1991 and the focus and constant brow-beating over the “dos and don’ts” is a bitter memory. The IFB is no doubt in steep decline compared to those days and this book testifies to the increasing squabbling and infighting as the movement struggles to survive and an ever-growing number of IFB pastors fail to “hold the line.” Some readers of this review may be surprised that pants and short hair on women are still issues. Yup, they are in the IFB. Farnham doesn’t mention it in this book, but another disturbing characteristic of IFB churches is their idolatrous propagation of American Christian nationalism. Whether IFB pastors like it or not, the term, “fundamentalist,” is resoundingly understood as a pejorative by the general public these days. The movement’s prideful loyalty to that other-era term is a stumbling block to the Gospel it professes to desire to sow.

Farnham has a few good points. As Christians we can rationalize and become too chummy with the world. But the IFB’s extremism and “majoring on the minors” breeds a “bunker mentality” that pits the Christian against the world rather than fostering an emissarial approach to the world.

Recommended only for those curious about the current state of the IFB movement.

*IFB pastors stereotypically love to append their honorary doctorate titles to their names.

The Rise and Decline of Neo-Evangelicalism

Promise Unfulfilled: The Failed Strategy of Modern Evangelicalism
By Rolland D. McCune
Ambassador International,  2004, 398 pp.

5 Stars

At the onset of the 20th-century, the old, mainline Protestant denominations were drifting into Bible-denying, theological liberalism. In reaction to the growing apostasy, Bible-believing theologians and pastors produced “The Fundamentals: A Testimony To The Truth,” a series of ninety essays, published between 1910 and 1915, that affirmed the five fundamentals of the Christian faith that were being attacked by theological liberals and modernists, those being:

  • The inerrancy of the Bible.
  • The literal nature of the biblical accounts, especially regarding Jesus Christ’s miracles and the creation account in Genesis.
  • The virgin birth of Christ.
  • The bodily resurrection and physical return of Christ.
  • The substitutionary atonement of Christ on the cross.

Understood to be included along with the five fundamentals was the Biblical mandate of ecclesiastical separation from churches and denominations that denied the basics of the Christian faith. Theologically-orthodox Christians* rallied around “The Fundamentals” and the movement gained momentum and advanced the genuine Gospel message throughout the United States and the world.

However, in the late-1940s, some fundamentalist theologians and pastors began to bridle against the separation principle. Their thinking was that fundamentalism had become fanatically insular and partisan and that they needed to be more accommodating with the unbelieving world. The founders of this self-dubbed Neo (or New) Evangelicalism, Carl Henry and Harold Ockenga, enlisted evangelist, Billy Graham,** as the public face of the movement and also established Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California as its intellectual/academic base. Edward John Carnell oversaw the early years of Fuller. In contrast to fundamentalists, who had openly disparaged academia and intellectualism, the Neo-Evangelicals craved academic respectability.

Neo-Evangelicals and fundamentalists were initially uneasy allies, but Graham famously broke with fundamentalism completely when he cooperated with Bible-denying, liberal clergymen in the organization of his four-month-long, 1957 New York City crusade. Graham defended himself saying, “I intend to go anywhere, sponsored by anybody, to preach the gospel of Christ.” However, fraternity and dialogue with apostasy is a two-way street and Neo-Evangelicalism gradually strayed from foundational Biblical principles and found itself enmeshed in debates over Scriptural inerrancy and the other basic tenets of Christian orthodoxy. Former restraints were gone, leading to the following:

  • Billy Graham blazed ecumenical trails with Roman Catholicism. Ernest Pickering accurately wrote in 1994, “Much of the current theological confusion with regard to the Roman Catholic Church can be laid at the feet of one man; Billy Graham.”
  • Pentecostal/charismatic beliefs and practices rapidly spread throughout evangelicalism. Pentecostalism got its start in 1901 at Bethel Bible School in Topeka, Kansas.
  • The divine inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible have been increasingly contested. These days, Bible-believing students at apostate Fuller Theological Seminary must constantly parry attacks against their faith by the faculty.
  • Secular marketing methods have replaced traditional church.
  • Most evangelical Protestant churches have cut ties with the church history, avoiding any mention of the Reformation or the Five Solas.

Baptist fundamentalist scholar, Rolland McCune (1934-2019), does an excellent job of tracing the rise and decline of Neo-Evangelicalism. The first half of the book is devoted to the history of the movement, which I found most interesting. The second half focuses on the theological disintegration of Neo-Evangelicalism, which was challenging reading for this layperson, but not impossible. I’d been hoping to find an American counterpart to Iain Murray’s excellent “Evangelicalism Divided” (see my review here), and this book comes close.

*The Fundamentalist movement was comprised largely of Arminian-leaning conservative Baptists and Wesleyans. Mainline Presbyterianism had also begun drifting into liberalism in the 1910s and 1920s, just like the Arminian mainline denominations. In response, J. Gresham Machen and others founded the breakaway Orthodox Presbyterian Church and Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. Firebrand pastor, Carl McIntire, was also a leader of the fundamentalist movement within Reformed churches. It’s interesting that both Baptist and Presbyterian fundamentalists revered the previous interdenominational leadership of D.L. Moody (1837-1899). As Neo-Evangelicalism has generally devolved into varying degrees of heterodoxy, the Baptist fundamentalism represented by McCune has declined steeply in numbers and influence.

**Billy Graham began his evangelistic career as a Baptist fundamentalist under the mentorship of John R. Rice and William Bell Riley.

Postscript: My wife and I attended an independent fundamental Baptist church from 1983 until 1991 after we were first saved. I enjoyed several aspects of the experience, but the pastor exemplified some of the stereotypical negative characteristics of IFB preachers including arrogance, pridefulness, leadership via coercion, majoring on the minors, conflating faith and nationalism, and an emphasis on guilt rather than on God’s grace. McCune understandably does not mention any of the problems within Baptist fundamentalism.

p.s. If you don’t think “evangelicalism” is in major trouble these days, just sit down on your couch and watch a day’s worth of TBN.


Part 1: Historical Antecedents

  • The Rise of Theological Liberalism
  • The Great Controversy

Part 2: The Formation of the New Evangelicalism

  • Four Crucial Issues
  • Other Contributions

Part 3: Ecumenism

  • Ecumenical Evangelism
  • Ecumenical Church Councils
  • Ecumenical Accolades and Ecumenical Journalism
  • The Charismatic Movement
  • Roman Catholicism

Part 4: Ecclesiastical Separation

  • The Rationale of Evangelical Non-Separatism
  • The Biblical Idea of Ecclesiastical Separation

Part 5: The Bible and Authority

  • Biblical Revelation
  • Biblical Inspiration and Inerrancy
  • Further Issues, Events, and Publications Related to Inerrancy
  • The Aftermath of “The Battle For the Bible”

Part 6: Apologetics

  • The Development of New Evangelical Apologetics
  • An Analysis of New Evangelical Apologetics

Part 7: Social Involvement

  • New Evangelical Social Activism
  • The Biblical Idea of Social Action

Part 8: Doctrinal Storms

  • The Status of the Unevangelized
  • The Destiny of the Finally Impenitent
  • The Open View of God

Part 9: Conclusion

  • Evaluation and Prospects
  • Addendum 1: Review: The Younger Evangelicals: Facing the Challenges of the New World
  • Addendum 2: Major Events in the New Evangelical Movement: 1942-2003

Jack Schaap is largely missing in “The Jack Schaap Story”

Profaned Pulpit: The Jack Schaap Story
By Jerry P. Kaifetz, Ph.D.
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2012, 192 pp.

1 Star

Argh! How many times do I need to buy a self-published book before I wise up?

Recently, I’ve been delving into some of the history of the independent fundamental Baptist (IFB) movement and have posted some critical articles on former IFB leaders, John R. Rice (see here) and Jack Hyles (see here).

I stumbled upon the Kindle edition of this book about another IFB celebrity pastor, Jack Schaap (pronounced “skop,” rhymes with “pop”), a few years ago and finally got around to reading it.

Jack Schaap was a student at Hyles-Anderson College and after graduation became a teacher there of sermon homiletics. Schaap caught the eye of Cindy Hyles, Jack Hyles’ daughter, and the two married, an important career move for Schaap. Jack Hyles was both pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana (FBCH) and founder and chancellor of Hyles-Anderson. After Hyles died in 2001, Schaap succeeded him as pastor of FBCH, which boasted of a weekly attendance of 15,000 and a membership of 50,000, making it the largest IFB church in the country.

Capture56Schaap took homiletics into new territory, even by IFB standards, with his screaming and bullying from the pulpit. The arrogance was palpable. Members of FBCH cowered in fear of their pastor. How stunned they all must have been when the 55-year-old Schaap was arrested in 2012 for transporting a 16-year-old girl he was “counseling” across state lines for the purpose of having sexual relations. In March 2013, Schaap was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison. In hindsight, Schaap had time and time again interwoven God-dishonoring, perverted sexual themes into his sermons (see here) and into his books (see here), but nobody spoke up. The FBCH deacon board had been cowed into submission by autocratic Jack Hyles decades prior and were nothing more than ceremonial “yes men” and bobble heads.

FBCH continues on under the pastoral leadership of John Wilkerson. Were lessons learned after the Hyles and Schaap scandals? I imagine many members and attendees of FBCH dropped away. What became of them? Did they look for a solid church or did they allow pastoral malfeasance and scandal to draw them away from the Lord and shipwreck their faith? Been there, done that.

Author Kaifetz was a student at Hyles-Anderson in the early and mid-1980s and had associations with both Jack Hyles and Jack Schaap. When evidence of Hyles’ extramarital affair began surfacing in the late-1980s, Kaifetz initially defended the pastor (he began the “100% for Hyles” counter-scandal campaign), but he left FBCH in 1989 when the proof had become undeniable.

Kaifetz boasts that after learning about Schaap’s arrest in 2012, he sat down at his PC and banged out this book in only five days. I’m surprised it took him that long. Structurally, it’s one of the worst books I’ve ever read. Kaifetz does share a few memories of his personal encounters with Hyles and Schaap, but most of the information that’s presented can be gleaned off of the internet. This book is deceptively mis-titled. There’s actually very little information about Jack Schaap. Mostly, it’s just Kaifetz’s meandering criticisms of the IFB in general. IFB pastors are arrogant. Yup. There’s very little humbleness in IFB preaching. Yup, I get it. Save yourself the money, time, and effort and avoid “Profaned Pulpit.”

The bottom line of this post is to pray for your pastor and encourage him in his ministry.

Oxymoron: The Christian Hall of Fame: Inductees 82-108

Today, we complete our series on the inaptly-named “Christian Hall of Fame” located at Canton Baptist Temple in Canton, Ohio as we review the final set of inductees, #s 82 through 108. See the links far below for the first four posts in the series.

The names below are hyperlinked to their respective Wiki articles (in cases where a Wiki article was not available, a substitute is presented).

Lee Rutland Scarborough (1870-1945) – US – Southern Baptist pastor, evangelist, and professor at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

C.I. Scofield (1843-1921) – US – Congregationalist pastor, theologian, and writer whose best-selling annotated Bible popularized Dispensationalism among fundamentalist Christians.

W. Graham Scroggie (1877-1958) – UK – Baptist pastor and author.

Thomas Todhunter Shields (1873-1955) – Canada – Baptist minister and a leader of the Fundamentalist movement in Canada.

Robert Shuler (1880-1965) – US – Methodist pastor and radio broadcaster, known as “Fighting Bob” for his outspoken political views.

Menno Simons (1496-1561) – Netherlands/Germany – Anabaptist leader. Followers became known as Mennonites.

A.B. Simpson (1843-1919) – Canada – Preacher, theologian, author, and founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance.

Rodney “Gipsy” Smith (1860-1947) – UK – Evangelist, began under the auspices of the Salvation Army.

Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) – UK – Particular Baptist pastor whose writings are still highly popular among conservative evangelicals. Often cited as the most influential preacher of the 19th century.

C.T. Studd (1860-1931) – UK – Missionary to China, India, and Africa.

Billy Sunday (1862-1935) – US – Presbyterian/non-denominational evangelist. As per the Wiki article, Sunday avoided criticizing the Roman Catholic Church and even met with cardinal Gibbons during his 1916 Baltimore campaign. Cards filled out by the “trail hitters”/converts who came forward at his campaigns were delivered to their respective churches for follow-up, including the apostate Catholic and Unitarian churches.

Thomas De Witt Talmage (1832-1902) – US – Reformed/Presbyterian pastor and writer said to have been the most prominent evangelical Protestant religious leader in the United States during the mid- to late-19th century,

James Hudson Taylor (1832-1905) – UK – Missionary to China and founder of the China Inland Mission.

Tertullian (155-220) – Carthage, Tunisia – Theologian. Although including ancient church fathers such as Tertullian on lists such as this is tempting for evangelicals, it belies the fact that these men were already drifting into sacramentalism.

R.A. Torrey (1856-1928) – US – Congregationalist evangelist, pastor, educator, and writer. Led both Moody Bible Institute and Moody Church for periods. Co-editor of the influential pamphlet series, The Fundamentals.

Mel Trotter (1870-1940) – US – Presbyterian rescue mission superintendent and evangelist.

George W. Truett (1867-1944) – US – Prominent Southern Baptist Convention pastor.

William Tyndale (1494-1536) – UK – Scholar who became a leading figure in the Protestant Reformation in England.

George Beauchamp Vick (1901-1975) – US – Pastor and founder of the Baptist Bible Fellowship International and Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri.

Charles Frederick Weigle (1871-1966) – US – Baptist evangelist and noted hymn writer.

John Wesley (1703-1791) – UK – English cleric, theologian and evangelist who was a leader of a revival movement within the Church of England known as Methodism.

George Whitefield (1714-1770) – UK-American Colonies – Anglican cleric and evangelist who was one of the founders of Methodism and a leader in the First Great Awakening.

Roger Williams (1603-1683) – UK-American Colonies – Puritan minister, theologian, and author who founded Providence Plantations, which became the Colony of Rhode Island. He was a staunch advocate for religious freedom and separation of church and state. Founder of the first Baptist church in the American colonies.

Walter L. Wilson (1881-1969) – US – Pastor, writer, and expert on Old Testament types.

John Wycliffe (1330-1384) – UK – Philosopher, theologian, biblical translator, reformer, and a seminary professor at the University of Oxford. He became an influential dissident within the Roman Catholic church during the 14th century and an important predecessor to Protestantism.

Roger Youderian (1924-1956) – US – Missionary to Ecuador and martyr.

Huldrych Zwingli (1484-1531) – Zürich, Switzerland – Pastor, theologian, and one of the seminal leaders of the Protestant Reformation.

That completes the list of the inductees to the regrettably-named, Christian Hall of Fame. I hope you enjoyed this series. There was an unmistakable 20th-century, American, independent-fundamental-Baptist bias involved in the selections. Can you think of any glaring omissions?


This entire series can be accessed via the links below:

Oxymoron: The Christian Hall of Fame: An Introduction

Oxymoron: The Christian Hall of Fame: Inductees 1-27

Oxymoron: The Christian Hall of Fame: Inductees 28-54

Oxymoron: The Christian Hall of Fame: Inductees 55-81

Oxymoron: The Christian Hall of Fame: Inductees 82-108

Oxymoron: The Christian Hall of Fame: Inductees 55-81

Today, we continue our series on the (very) inaptly named “Christian Hall of Fame” located at Canton Baptist Temple in Canton, Ohio, as we review inductees 55 through 81. See the links far below for the first three posts in the series.

The names below are hyperlinked to their respective Wiki articles (in cases where a Wiki article was not available, a substitute is presented).

Jeremiah McAuley (1839-1884) – Ireland-US – Founder of America’s first rescue mission, Water Street Mission in Lower Manhattan.

Robert Murray M’Cheyne (1813-1843) – Scotland/UK – Presbyterian missionary to Palestine.

Alva McClain (1888-1968) – US – Brethren theologian and founder of Grace Theological Seminary.

F.B. Meyer (1847-1929) – UK – Baptist pastor and evangelist.

Robert Moffat (1795-1883) – UK – Congregationalist missionary to Africa.

D.L. Moody (1837-1899) – US – Brethren evangelist and founder of Moody Bible Institute and Moody Publishers.

G. Campbell Morgan (1863-1945) – UK – Congregationalist pastor, preceded D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones as pastor of Westminster Chapel.

Henry Clay Morrison (1857-1942) – US – Methodist evangelist, editor, and founder of Asbury Theological Seminary.

George Müller (1805-1898) – Germany-UK – Evangelist, director of the Ashley Down orphanage in Bristol, England, and one of the founders of the Plymouth Brethren.

William R. Newell (1868-1956) – US – Congregationalist pastor, theologian, and Assistant Superintendent of Moody Bible Institute under R. A. Torrey.

John Newton (1725-1807) – UK – English Anglican clergyman and abolitionist, best known for writing “Amazing Grace.”

J. Frank Norris (1877-1952) – US – Baptist firebrand preacher and a leader of the independent fundamental Baptist movement.

John Gibson Paton (1824-1907) – Scotland/UK – Presbyterian missionary to the New Hebrides islands.

Patrick (389-461) – Britannia-Ireland – Missionary to Ireland. Including semi-mythical Patrick as an evangelical Christian is probably more wishful thinking than reality. Just sayin’.

Stephen Paxson (1808-1881) – US – Sunday school missionary.

William Pettingill (1886-1950) – US – Pastor and dean of the Philadelphia School of the Bible.

Polycarp (69-155) – Smyrna, Turkey – Disciple of John the apostle and bishop of Smyrna.

Ford Porter (1893-1976) – US – Pastor and founder of Berean Gospel Ministry.

Paul Rader (1878-1938) – US – Evangelist, pastor of Moody Church from 1915 to 1921, America’s first nationwide radio preacher, and second president of the Christian and Missionary Alliance.

Robert Raikes (1735-1811) – UK – Anglican layman noted for his promotion of Sunday schools.

Ernest Ira Reveal (1880-1959) – US – Presbyterian minister and rescue mission superintendent.

John R. Rice (1895-1980) – US – Baptist pastor, evangelist, publisher of “Sword of the Lord” newspaper, and a leader of the independent fundamental Baptist movement.

William Bell Riley (1861-1947) – US – Baptist pastor and a leader in the anti-evolution movement, dubbed “The Grand Old Man of Fundamentalism.”

Lee Roberson (1909-2007) – US – Baptist pastor, evangelist, and founder of Tennessee Temple University.

Evan Roberts (1878-1951) – Wales/UK – Evangelist and leading figure of the 1904–1905 Welsh Revival.

Reuben Robinson (1860-1942) – US – Evangelist.

Girolamo Savonarola (1452-1498) – Florence, Italy – Dominican Friar famous for opposing the corruption of the papacy of Alexander VI aka Rodrigo de Borja. Some evangelicals cite Savonarola as a “pre-reformer,” but the friar was a defender of Catholic sacramentalism and certainly did not preach the Gospel of grace.

Tomorrow, we’ll complete this series with a review of inductees 82 through 108.


This entire series can be accessed via the links below:

Oxymoron: The Christian Hall of Fame: An Introduction

Oxymoron: The Christian Hall of Fame: Inductees 1-27

Oxymoron: The Christian Hall of Fame: Inductees 28-54

Oxymoron: The Christian Hall of Fame: Inductees 55-81

Oxymoron: The Christian Hall of Fame: Inductees 82-108

Oxymoron: The Christian Hall of Fame: Inductees 28-54

Today, we continue our series on the (very) inaptly named “Christian Hall of Fame” located at Canton Baptist Temple in Canton, Ohio, as we review inductees 28-54. See the links far below for the first two posts in the series.

The names below are hyperlinked to their respective Wiki articles (in cases where a Wiki article was not available, a substitute is presented).

Jerry Falwell (1933-2007) – US – Baptist pastor and co-founder of the Moral Majority. Falwell sidetracked many Baptist fundamentalist and evangelical churches into political involvement and ecumenism.

Charles Finney (1792-1875) – US – Presbyterian-turned-Wesleyan revivalist and evangelist and a prominent leader in the Second Great Awakening. Finney is widely admired by Baptists although he problematically taught that man did not have a sinful nature, that Christians could attain “sinless holiness,” and that genuine Christians could lose their salvation.

George Fox (1624-1691) – UK – Founder of Religious Society of Friends/Quakers

Charles Fuller (1887-1968) – US – Baptist pastor, revivalist, radio broadcaster, and founder of Fuller Theological Seminary.

Jonathan Goforth (1859-1936) – Canada – Presbyterian missionary to China. Was there ever another missionary with a more appropriate surname?

Adoniram Gordon (1836-1895) – US – Baptist preacher, writer, composer, and founder of Gordon–Conwell Theological Seminary.

James Gray (1851-1935) – US – Reformed Episcopal pastor and president of Moody Bible Institute, 1904-34.

Oliver Greene (1915-1976) – US – Baptist pastor, evangelist and founder of The Gospel Hour radio ministry.

Mordecai Ham (1877-1961) – US – Baptist evangelist.

Harold Henniger (1924-2004) – US – Baptist pastor and founder of the Christian Hall of Fame. No doubt the congregation of the Canton Baptist Temple felt obligated to induct their former pastor into the hall of fame he had created.

Balthasar Hubmaier (1480-1528) – Germany/Austria – Anabaptist leader. Baptists admire the German-Swiss Anabaptist movement because of the doctrine of believer’s baptism, but the Anabaptists also held to some unorthodox beliefs.

Robert Earl Hughes (1932-1976) – US – Baptist missionary to the Philippines.

Jan Huss (1372-1415) – Bohemia/Czech Republic – Theologian, reformer, and important predecessor to Protestantism.

John Hyde (1865-1912) – US – Presbyterian missionary to India and Pakistan.

Ignatius of Antioch (50-108) – Syria/Turkey – Said to have been a disciple of John the apostle and later, bishop of Antioch.

Harry Ironside (1876-1951) – Canada-US – Theologian and pastor of Moody Church in Chicago from 1929 to 1948.

John Jasper (1812-1901) – US – Ex-slave and Baptist minister.

Bob Jones, Sr. (1883-1968) – US – Evangelist, pioneer religious broadcaster, founder of Bob Jones University, and a prominent leader of the independent fundamental Baptist movement.

Samuel Porter Jones (1847-1906) – US – Methodist revivalist and preacher.

Adoniram Judson (1788-1850) – US – Baptist missionary to Burma.

John Knox (1514-1572) – UK – Prominent early-Reformer and founder of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland.

B.R. Lakin (1901-1984) – US – Baptist preacher and evangelist. Mentor of Jerry Falwell.

R.G. Lee (1886-1978) – US – Prominent Southern Baptist Convention pastor.

David Livingstone (1813-1873) – UK – Congregationalist missionary to Africa.

Martin Luther (1483-1546) – Germany – Theologian, pastor, and one of the seminal leaders of the Protestant Reformation.

Alexander Mack (1679-1735) – Germany-Colonial America – Founder of German Baptists/Brethren.

T.T. Martin (1862-1939) – US – Baptist evangelist and a leader in the anti-evolution movement in the 1920s.

On Wednesday, we’ll review inductees 55 through 81.


This entire series can be accessed via the links below:

Oxymoron: The Christian Hall of Fame: An Introduction

Oxymoron: The Christian Hall of Fame: Inductees 1-27

Oxymoron: The Christian Hall of Fame: Inductees 28-54

Oxymoron: The Christian Hall of Fame: Inductees 55-81

Oxymoron: The Christian Hall of Fame: Inductees 82-108

Oxymoron: The Christian Hall of Fame: Inductees 1-27

Last Thursday, I introduced the Christian Hall of Fame located at Canton Baptist Temple in Canton, Ohio and discussed some of the problems with having a Christian “hall of fame” (see link at bottom). Fame is definitely NOT the goal of a Christian, but the list of inductees does have some informational value.

Today, we’re going to take a look at the first 27 of the 108 inductees. In reviewing this initial partial list as well as the entire list of the 108 inductees, you’ll notice an unmistakable parochial bias for people who were alive during at least part the 20th century (65 or 60%), who were from the U.S. (61 or 56%), and who were Baptist-affiliated (34 or 31%).

The names below are hyperlinked to their respective Wiki articles (in cases where a Wiki article was not available, a substitute is presented).

Francis Asbury (1745-1816) – UK-US – One of the first two bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States. Connected to the Second Great Awakening.

Louis Bauman (1875-1950) – US – Brethren Church pastor, writer, and Bible conference speaker.

Richard Baxter (1615-1691) – UK – Puritan church leader, poet, hymnodist, and theologian.

W. E. Biederwolf (1867–1939) – US – Presbyterian evangelist. Apprenticed under John Wilbur Chapman.

Dallas Franklin Billington (1903-1972) – US – Baptist pastor and evangelist.

William Booth (1829-1912) – UK – Methodist preacher and co-founder of The Salvation Army.

David Brainerd (1718-1747) – Colonial America – Presbyterian missionary to the Native Americans.

John Edward Brown (1879-1957) – US – Evangelist and educator.

John Bunyan (1628-1688) – UK – Puritan preacher and writer, best remembered as the author of the Christian allegory “The Pilgrim’s Progress.”

John Calvin (1509-1564) – France/Switzerland – Theologian, pastor, and one of the seminal leaders of the Protestant Reformation.

William Carey (1761-1834) – UK – Baptist missionary to India.

B.H. Carroll (1843-1914) – US – Baptist pastor, theologian, teacher, author, and founder of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Peter Cartwright (1785-1872) – US – Methodist revivalist and preacher, influential in the Second Great Awakening.

Lewis Sperry Chafer (1871-1952) – US – Theologian and founder of Dallas Theological Seminary. Prominent leader in the Fundamentalist movement and influential propagator of Dispensationalism

John Wilbur Chapman (1859-1918) – US – Presbyterian pastor and evangelist, mentored Billy Sunday and W.E. Biederwolf.

Chrysostom – John of Antioch (347-407) – Byzantium/Turkey – Archbishop of Constantinople. The inclusion of a sacramentalist and liturgicalist like Chrysostom in a list like this is problematic for evangelicals.

Columba (521-597) – Ireland/Scotland, UK – Missionary to Scotland. The inclusion of a sacramentalist and liturgicalist like Columba in a list like this is problematic for evangelicals.

Fanny Crosby (1820-1915) – US – Mission worker, poet, lyricist, and composer.

William Culbertson III (1905-1971) – US – Pastor, bishop of the Reformed Episcopal Church, and fifth president of the Moody Bible Institute.

M.R. DeHann (1891-1965) – US – Pastor, founder of Radio Bible Class, and co-editor of Our Daily Bread.

A.C. Dixon (1854-1925) – US – Baptist pastor, evangelist and co-editor of the influential pamphlet series, The Fundamentals.

Fred Donnelson (1897-1974) – US – Baptist missionary to China and director of missions for the Baptist Bible Fellowship.

A.B. Earle (1812-1895) – US – Baptist pastor and evangelist.

Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) – Colonial America – Congregationalist theologian and preacher and a leader in the First Great Awakening.

Louis Entzminger (1876-1958) – US – Founder of Norris Bible Baptist Seminary, Ft. Worth, TX.

Theodore Epp (1907-1985) – US – Baptist pastor and founder of Back to the Bible radio ministry.

Christmas Evans (1766-1838) – UK – Baptist preacher.

Tomorrow, we’ll review inductees 28-54.


This entire series can be accessed via the links below:

Oxymoron: The Christian Hall of Fame: An Introduction

Oxymoron: The Christian Hall of Fame: Inductees 1-27

Oxymoron: The Christian Hall of Fame: Inductees 28-54

Oxymoron: The Christian Hall of Fame: Inductees 55-81

Oxymoron: The Christian Hall of Fame: Inductees 82-108

Oxymoron: The Christian Hall of Fame: An Introduction

Note: We’re preempting our usual “Throwback Thursday” installments this week and next for this five-part special.


The unbelieving world loves to idolize “successful” people. Those who were the “best” at their profession or who were the most influential in a particular cause or movement are put on pedestals to be admired and venerated. There are a multitude of “halls of fame” throughout the world that have been established to recognize successful or exemplary people in various categories. Inductees are said to be “enshrined” and are honored with a painting, photograph, or sculpted bust with some words about their accomplishments. Many of us are familiar with the various sports halls of fame and the rock ‘n’ roll hall of fame, they’re a big business, but there are many, many other such institutions.

Believe it or not, there’s even a Christian Hall of Fame! Yes, there is! I learned about this institution while recently reading the biography of John R. Rice. In 1964, Pastor Harold Henniger (1924-2004) of the Canton Baptist Temple (Independent Fundamental Baptist) in Canton, Ohio was lying in a hospital bed recovering from a heart attack and reading Hebrews 11, which some refer to as the “faith hall of fame,” with its many references to notable Old Testament saints. Henniger was familiar with the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which had opened the previous year in Canton, and got the idea to establish a Christian Hall of Fame within the facilities at Canton Baptist Temple. The church inaugurated the Christian Hall of Fame two years later in 1966 with a special room and an original oil painting* for each inductee. To date, 108** persons have been inducted into the Christian Hall of Fame at Canton, Ohio.

One of the things I love about the Bible is God shows us therein that we are all unworthy sinners. While people like Noah, Abraham, Moses, Gideon, and David were greatly used by God, they were also revealed to be weak and sinful. Their “greatness” was only in their ultimate faith and dependence on God. I’m so glad that God reveals in His Word that those Old Testament “heroes” were “mess-ups” just like me. We are not to put Christian leaders, men or women, on pedestals. We know this, yet we do it anyway. In that regard, we still have much of the world in us.

Independent Fundamental Baptists had/have a proclivity for leadership idolatry and Henniger no doubt believed this Christian Hall of Fame concept was a grand idea, but it leaves a bit of a sour taste in my mouth.

“So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’” – Luke 17:10

The Lord dispenses His gifts to the body of believers as He sees fit, however, those who are in leadership roles can be especially tempted by pride. The rest of us don’t help by placing them on pedestals and creating halls of fame for them. But there’s no need to take a radically iconoclastic stand on this. The lives of faithful servants of God CAN BE inspiring examples for us.

Although I’m not in agreement with the concept of a “Christian Hall of Fame,” I thought it might be interesting to review who Henniger and his associates selected for inclusion. To that end, I will be “clearing the deck” and devoting most of next week’s posts (Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday) to the hall’s “enshrinees” in four installments of twenty-seven individuals each, with a few bio-facts and links to their respective Wiki articles. I’ll also surely have some comments regarding some questionable selections.

Postscript: I imagine all inductions into the Christian Hall of Fame are done posthumously because accepting such an honor while still alive would appear as shameless self-aggrandizement. It’s my contention that many/most of the 108 enshrinees in the Christian Hall of Fame would have objected to being venerated in such a manner.

*Eight of the portraits hanging in the Christian Hall of Fame were painted by the controversial independent fundamental Baptist pastor and firebrand, Peter Ruckman.

**A 2009 article (see here) states that 124 persons have been inducted into the Christian Hall of Fame, but the list on the Canton Baptist Temple’s web site includes only 108 individuals. Either the article is wrong or CBT is no longer prioritizing its Christian Hall of Fame web page. 🧐

This entire series can be accessed via the links below:

Oxymoron: The Christian Hall of Fame: An Introduction

Oxymoron: The Christian Hall of Fame: Inductees 1-27

Oxymoron: The Christian Hall of Fame: Inductees 28-54

Oxymoron: The Christian Hall of Fame: Inductees 55-81

Oxymoron: The Christian Hall of Fame: Inductees 82-108

Jack Hyles and Megalomania at FBC Hammond

The Hyles Effect: A Spreading Blight
By David Cloud
Way of Life Literature, 2012, 157 pp.

3 Stars

Caution: Sensitive readers may be offended by some of the information below.

I attended an independent fundamental Baptist (IFB) church for eight years (1983-1991) after I was saved. While IFB churches were independent in principle, there were loose alliances based upon leadership and secondary beliefs. Our church loosely identified with the “Sword of the Lord” and Baptist Bible Fellowship networks. On the information table of our IFB church was always a stack of the latest issue of the “Sword of the Lord” newspaper, which was founded by evangelist, John R. Rice, and edited by his successor, Curtis Hutson, by the time I subscribed to it. A large percentage of the IFB churches followed the leadership of “The Sword.” In the pages of the bi-weekly newspaper one could find sermons and articles from notable pastors such as Lester Roloff, Lee Roberson, Bob Gray, Hyman Appelman, Tom Malone, Truman Dollar, and Hugh Pyle. These were all influential pastors with big churches, but perhaps the biggest star* of the “Sword” IFB camp was Jack Hyles, who pastored First Baptist Church (FBC) of Hammond, Indiana (24 miles from Chicago city center).

Jack Hyles (1926-2001) took over the pastorate of FBC Hammond in 1959 and built it up into the largest church in America with weekly attendance averaging around 15,000.** Yup, 15,000! Hyles was widely admired, but also had his critics. In this book, IFB gadfly, David Cloud, examines the controversial 42-year tenure of Hyles at FBC Hammond.

Hyles built his attendance through his revolutionary bus ministry. 1000 workers in 230 buses ferried thousands from Greater Chicago to services in Hammond every Sunday. Numbers predictably became king. Contests were held with prizes for members who brought the most visitors. Reported conversion numbers, based upon responses to the invitation/”sinners prayer,” were spectacular if mostly only short-lived. Cloud blames Hyles for popularizing shallow, “quick prayerism” conversions as the standard throughout the IFB. It became all about numbers, numbers, numbers. In 1972, Hyles founded Hyles-Anderson College to train future pastors in his methods. Every young IFB pastor’s dream was to become the next Jack Hyles.

As potentate of a large and growing church empire, Hyles became increasingly authoritarian. Absolute loyalty was demanded of his deacon board and his membership. When visiting pastors came to FBC Hammond, Hyles would occasionally entertain them by selecting a deacon and having the person sit and stand at his command to demonstrate their unhesitating fealty. Hyles once ordered associate pastor, Johnny Colsten, to drink from a bottle labeled as poisonous after the deadly contents had been replaced with a harmless substitute. Hyles began many of his sermons by quoting a few Bible verses and then instructing the congregation to “close your Bibles and listen to me.” The membership loved Jack Hyles, but also greatly feared him. Hyles attacked noncompliant members from the pulpit.

In this climate of authoritarian control, Hyles succumbed to temptation. Hyles became romantically involved with one of the church’s secretaries; the wife of his best friend and FBC Hammond deacon, Vic Nischik. The deacon knew of the relationship, but reluctantly acquiesced to it for over a decade because of Hyle’s absolute control. Incredulous? Remember, David Koresh and Jim Jones also took control of their followers’ wives. When the relationship became public in the late 1980s, Hyles, of course, denied it. A “100% For Screenshot 2020-05-11 at 4.27.11 AMHyles” counter-scandal campaign was launched within the church. However, a decade after Hyles’ death, one of his daughters, Linda Hyles Murphrey, publicly corroborated the allegations. During Hyles’ tenure, his son, David, had been promoted to head of FBC Hammond’s youth ministry, but after several adulterous relationships were exposed, he was whisked away to Hyles’ former church in Texas where he continued his behaviors until his expulsion. Hyles’ son-in-law, Jack Schaap, became pastor of FBC Hammond after Hyles’ death in 2001. Schaap mimicked Hyles’ authoritarian style, directing his wrath from the pulpit at anyone in the congregation who was not giving him their 100% undivided loyalty. Schaap’s tenure came to an end in 2012 after the fifty-five-year-old was arrested, convicted, and imprisoned for having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old female member of the congregation. There are a few extant videos on YouTube of Schaap’s absolutely unacceptable behavior behind the pulpit prior to his arrest (e.g., see here), but the members of FBC Hammond had been conditioned decades ago by Hyles to NEVER question anything about their pastor’s conduct.

This book is not a breezy read at the beach. Some would criticize author Cloud for throwing stones at “God’s anointed,” but all churches should be above-board and transparent, which FBC Hammond definitely wasn’t. Secrecy is the enemy of godly ministry. Many IFB churches, like FBC Hammond, were cultish because of leadership idolatry and unquestioned fealty to the pastor. The pastor of the IFB church we attended back in the 1980s was also a megalomaniac who controlled the congregation through intimidation and fear.*** His son succeeded him as pastor in 2011 and brought the church down two years ago when he was charged with sexually abusing four young women and was subsequently convicted on one count as part of a plea deal.

The IFB movement has definitely declined since its heyday back in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. IFB missionary, David Cloud, who wrote this stinging examination, has carved out a following with his hard-hitting, controversial literature, but I would be hard pressed to name another IFB pastor besides him and extremist, Steven Anderson. I wouldn’t recommend Anderson and his hateful venom to anybody. It comes as no surprise that Anderson attended Hyles-Anderson College for several years.

*Jerry Falwell would eventually eclipse Hyles as the most famous of the “Sword”-affiliated IFB pastors.

**FBC Hammond claimed a membership of 50,000, although “only” 15,000 people attended each week.

***After my 8-year experience in an IFB church, I walked away from the Lord for 23-years. I have heard and read the testimonies of other believers who had attended IFB churches in the past who similarly felt that they had been steamrolled.

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Above: A statue of Jack Hyles and his wife located on the grounds of Hyles-Anderson College. In addition to the statue, Hyles’ 384 sq. ft. boyhood home was relocated from Italy, Texas to the grounds of Hyles-Anderson as another shrine to Jack Hyles.

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