Hyles-Anderson College is known for several things; the scholarship of its faculty not being one of those. Let me make it clear that I admire to some degree the zeal that my alma mater promotes. The issue I have is that it is most often a zeal that is apart from knowledge. In Romans 10:2 Paul describes his countrymen in Israel who had a zeal for God, but demonstrated it by legalistic conformity to the law and hatred for anyone who opposed their teachings: "For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge." I was speaking with an uncle recently and communicated to him what I believed to be "marks of a rebellious young person" at HAC/HBS: listening to current secular music of any kind, untraditional haircut/hairstyle, not spending large amounts of time on a bus route. This mentality immediately reminds me of the passage in Romans 10, but I digress.
Any casual observer of the typical chapel service at HAC could not deny that there is a type of zeal present. Some would rightly opt to define it as a form of mania, no doubt. Nevertheless, it is a characteristic that they claim is virtually non-existent in all other corners of Christendom besides at HAC and it’s clone institutions (Texas Baptist College, Oklahoma BC, etc.). This claim is partially true, yet partially unfounded at the same time. While I hope it is true that unbridled, manic frenzy is absent in the more balanced and Bible-centered colleges and seminaries, it would be foolish to assume that these other schools have no zeal for Christ, His Word, or to promote His glory.
The vast majority of staffers and faculty at HAC have little more than a bachelor’s degree from HAC. I understand that there is a very small handful that studied elsewhere, and may possibly be qualified in the class that they teach, but it is a small handful. The Bible faculty at HAC is woefully lacking. I would dare estimate that 95 to 98 percent of the teachers merely studied at HAC under the Jack Hyles regime. There is the slight possibility that I am unaware of some theological heavy-hitters that they have hired in the last two years, but that is highly unlikely. Let’s pretend that the college leadership and Pastor Schaap were interested in a widely-known Bible teacher to hire. Would this man be willing to compromise sound theology by adhering to the new “doctrine” of King James Onlyism? I suspect not. Would he be willing to help the church “scorch the turf” throughout greater Chicagoland? He would have to be willing to do so.
Let me underline the fact that we are not criticizing any particular staffer or faculty member at HAC; however, these are the stated facts regarding their credentials. I also understand that credentials are not everything; many fine Christian leaders in the past lacked the formal training that is widely available today. A.W. Tozer, for example, the mighty preacher and pastor of Southside Alliance Church in Chicago, possessed no formal ministerial training to my knowledge. The difference here is when an institution revels in the concept that they don't have or need validation from any institution of higher learning. This mentality can only lend itself to isolationism, which would more than adequately define First Baptist Church of Hammond and Hyles-Anderson College.