Tuesday, April 25, 2006

More Visions of Grandeur in Hammond

For those who would like to think that things have changed in Hammond I have some more evidence to the contrary. I was recently perusing the official website for Hyles-Anderson College and found this little gem. This is a letter from the chancellor, Jack Schaap, to the wide-eyed prospective college student:

Dear Friend,

Hyles-Anderson College was started 30 years ago as the fulfillment of the vision of Dr. Jack Hyles. His heart burned with a love and a deep concern for the direction his beloved nation was taking. The United States Supreme Court was permitting the genocide of the unborn infants of this land; the illegal drug culture was at its peak in our public schools; and the rock-and-roll culture of rebellion and promiscuity was having a profound influence upon the teenagers of our land. Brother Hyles feared our country was quickly slipping from the old-fashioned ways upon which She had been founded. He wanted to do what he could to save this nation from the sin and destruction She was bringing upon Herself.

Walking along a highway in Southern California late one night into the early morning hours of the next day, Bro. Hyles felt God speak to his heart about founding an old-fashioned, sin- hating, Devil-fighting, Christ-honoring Bible college where the students would dress modestly and act courteously; a college where all the students went soul winning and were trained by soul winners; a college where the chapel pulpit was ablaze with - preaching; a college where authority was respected and sin was abhorred; a college where young men would be trained to preach with zeal and knowledge; a college where young ladies were taught to be submissive wives and dedicated servants of God. Thus was the birthright of Hyles-Anderson College when the doors opened in 1972.

Thirty-two years later, our founder is in Heaven. He gave us a legacy that burns brighter and with more intensity today than it has ever before. The soul-winning zeal, the fervent love for the lost, the evangelistic fervor, the - preaching, the old-fashioned standards of decency and propriety are alive and well here at Hyles-Anderson College.

I believe the chief reason for this is that this college is owned and operated by the great First Baptist Church of Hammond. Our church has led the nation in soul winning, baptisms, standards, and the training of missionaries and pastors for decades. First Baptist Church is host to the giant annual Pastors' School and Youth Conference.

As pastor and chancellor, I am totally dedicated to keeping this church and this college on the same path as when Brother Hyles was pastor and chancellor. I am committed to the legacy we have been given. If your heart burns and yearns to make a difference in your nation, Hyles- Anderson College may be just the place for you. Come join us and let's save America together!

Enthusiastically yours,

Jack Schaap

Did any of the rest of you find this modern day epistle slightly entertaining? This letter could have been written by Bro. Hyles himself--it is so reminiscent of the kind of "visions of grandeur" that FBCH and HAC are famous for. They are legends only in their own minds and the minds of those who have ed their ministries after them. When I was a part of IFBx this kind of letter would have stirred completely different kinds of emotions--now I read this narcissistic twaddle and I have to wonder how they can keep a straight face while producing and propagating this. Let's take a closer look and see if you notice any false doctrine or aberrant heresy in this letter. I am going to take to the sidelines on this one for a little while--who wants to be first to add their observation? I suppose someone may think this letter is right on the money--that is OK--tell us why you think it is scriptural and accurate.

Not everybody at once now...


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Time Out!

I want to make a brief interjection here and point out a few things that I have been thinking about lately. I know from personal experience that it is easy to blame others when we feel like we have been hoodwinked or misled for any length of time. I have struggled with these very feelings in the past and understand that they are real and it is by God's grace alone that I am no longer in bondage to them. Many of us bought into the IFBx movement and the man-centered ministries that promote it in years past--God is gracious to have shown many of us the errors and directed us to Christ-centered ministries--Praise the LORD!

I have seen many individuals and families move from distant states to Hammond in order to be under "the greatest church since First Baptist of Jerusalem" and the ministry of Jack Hyles. Far too often these same people become disenchanted with many things at FBCH and in the end leave church and following Christ altogether--Northwest Indiana is littered with many of these spiritual corpses. I find this heartbreaking and no doubt the LORD desires to see them come to a saving faith in Him for His glory! We must not throw out Christ when men disappoint us and fall away--if I have learned anything from my time in Hammond it is to ALWAYS keep my eyes on Christ and not on men.

As believers we are responsible for our own actions and/or inactions. We cannot adopt the worldly philosophy of playing the blame game whenever we feel like we have been "burned". I want to make it clear that I hold no bitterness or feelings of hatred towards FBCH, Jack Hyles, or anyone else in their related ministries. We all remember well the story of Joseph and his words to his brothers upon revealing himself to them in Genesis 50 verse 20: "But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive." I would not change the fact that I was raised in FBCH for anything--I serve a Sovereign God who had me there for a purpose and I don't need to be able to wrap my 8 ounces of grey matter around all of the reasons right now. I came in contact with some fine and sincere Christian folks at FBCH and HAC--I learned things that I would not have learned anywhere else.

Psalm 145:17 says: "The LORD is righteous in all His ways, Gracious in all His works."

Does God know what He is doing with my life? Does God want us to dwell on past mistakes? Does God want us to blame our decisions on others? Does God want us to seek revenge and waste our days grinding axes? I believe the answers to these questions are obvious in light of the Scriptures. I want to focus the rest of my life on seeking God's glory alone with or without man's approval--every day is full of His grace towards us who are His children.

I believe it was Becky who commented the other day that we need to echo what the Apostle Paul said in Philippians 3:13-14: "Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." I agree wholeheartedly with her and think that this is a great challenge for B&C! The future is bright and full of possibilities when our focus is right--on the LORD Jesus Christ and His glory alone!

Play on...


Monday, April 17, 2006

Another Question:

I would add another question to Matt's list pertaining to King James Onlyism: is it wise or profitable for a pastor who is basically King James Preferred to leave the issue unaddressed so as to avoid the controversy entirely? This would be the situation that some hopefuls would attribute to post-Hyles FBCH, yet I find it to be misleading. The absence of fringe-KJVO-rhetoric does not necessarily place a church in the balanced category. In other words, the absence of Al Lacey on the Pastors' School agenda does not negate the influence that he has had on Hammond in the past. If my memory serves me correctly, Gail Riplinger was granted an honorary doctorate by Jack Hyles at a past Pastors' School. If FBCH is currently KJVP, should not these things be addressed publicly?

More thoughts to consider: does HAC promote Biblical thinking on this subject or just opt to throw fuel on the flames of ignorance? Do they encourage or enjoy fellowship with any churches or institutions who take the historic position of Biblical inerrancy in the original writings? I would be utterly shocked if I discovered that their campus bookstore offered any volumes to provoke thought regarding this current controversy. I would think it wise to offer the book From the Mind of God to the Mind of Man if for nothing else to provoke independent thinking on the part of the impressionable preacher boy.

Just some thoughts...


Saturday, April 15, 2006

King James Only?

SCRIPTURES - We believe in the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Bible. The Old and New Testament are definitely inspired word for word. We accept the Textus Receptus manuscripts from which came the King James Bible. The Scripture is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice...We stand for the King James Bible as the only Bible.

The above statement was pulled from the official website for Hyles-Anderson College. During a recent discussion with some members of First Baptist Church of Hammond, I was informed that apparently the position of FBCH had changed regarding the translation issue. The reasoning goes something like this, since Pastor Schaap does not teach the aberrant type of KJVO that views the KJ as the "incorruptible seed", he must not be KJVO. I have even been told that perhaps Pastor Schaap is King James Preferred and not coming out and declaring it because he is "handcuffed". These statements started me thinking that perhaps a little more investigation was in order.

I have written a letter to Pastor Schaap asking for some clarification on his stance and the official stance of FBCH/HAC regarding the Holy Scriptures. In the meanwhile I went ahead and pulled the statement above from the HAC website--this did NOT come from the warped site that Ken Christensen runs by the name of Baptist-City.

We will LORD-willing be addressing the blight of King James Onlyism again as we continue blogging at Bread and Circuses, but for now we will only declare the facts. First Baptist Church of Hammond and Hyles-Anderson College are unapologetically KJVO and have never publicly recanted or eschewed this divisive and dangerous teaching. I believe that those who would have us to believe that FBCH is not KJVO are just enjoying a little wishful thinking and desperately want to believe that things have changed and this is a new and fresh era at FBCH. I hate to be the one to put a wet blanket on their fire by informing them that until a public statement is made by Pastor Schaap and books by Hyles propagating this error are revised, they will forever wear the label of KJVO.

Here are a few questions for discussion--what do you think?

1. Is KJVOnlyism a heretical teaching?
2. Is KJVOnlyism a new doctrine or has it always been a part of historic fundamentalism?
3. Is it possible for a ministry to make a major change on doctrine and not announce it publicly?
4. Is KJVOnlyism just a crazy isolated teaching that good people can disagree on with no change in fellowship?
5. Could you disagree with your church on the translation issue and still be a member in good standing?


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

More Thoughts On Worship

This was originally a comment by Jim Clement under the Worship thread from last week--I thought it could stimulate some more discussion so I asked Jim if he would mind if I posted it as a new thread to address these questions. Clement spent many of his early years growing up at FBCH--he has been gone for many years but has never left historic fundamentalism. Whether or not Hyles realized it, within this "study" he was not only giving his philosophy of ministry but also his answer to the centuries old confessional question, "What is the chief end of man?"~~Phineas Taylor Barnum

"Misunderstood Worship" by Jim Clement

Bro. Hyles said: "When formal worship is substituted for the real purpose of the assembly, Christians do not get strengthened, encouraged, exhorted or motivated to do the main task of the church, and that is to carry out the Great Commission, which is soul winning. To that end, formal worship becomes an enemy of soul winning!"

It is clear from this statement that Bro. Hyles dogmatically believed and taught that the "real purpose" and "main task" of the church is soulwinning. Thus, the thrust of his ministry was to motivate the people of FBC to go soul winning.

Besides the fact that I may disagree with that emphasis, the statement raises several questions that must be answered from a Biblical perspective.

1. What is "formal" worship?

2. What is the "real purpose" of the assembly or the "main task" of the church?

3. Does an assembly either engage in formal worship or its real purpose? Or is it possible for an assembly to engage in formal worship without being distracted from its real purpose and main task as those terms are understood by Bro. Hyles?

4. Is the "main task" of the church to carry out the Great Commission?

5. Is the Great Commission properly defined as "soul winning"?

6. Is it the role of the pastor to motivate the assembly to go soul winning?

7. Is Biblical worship always private and never public?

Biblical answers to these questions will likely determine our philosophy of the local church as well as the style of church we will attend. Is worship really an enemy of soul winning? Or is motivational preaching that emphasizes soul winning an enemy of worship and an enemy of the Great Commission?

Just my random thoughts.

Jim Clement

Saturday, April 08, 2006

"Phooey On The Theologians!"

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.

Josh Richards

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Sunday Worship Revelation!

The Church Assembled for Things Other Than Worship--by Jack Hyles
Though worship was a private matter and not a public matter, we nevertheless are commanded to assemble ourselves together as God's people. Hebrews 10:25, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."

According to the New Testament, the public meetings were for strength for God's people, for fellowship, for the taking of the Lord's Supper, for praying, for studying the Bible, for praise, etc. The soul winning was to be done publicly and from house to house. The worshipping was to be done alone, and the church assembled for the aforementioned reasons.

When formal worship is substituted for the real purpose of the assembly, Christians do not get strengthened, encouraged, exhorted or motivated to do the main task of the church, and that is to carry out the Great Commission, which is soul winning (emphasis mine). To that end, formal worship becomes an enemy of soul winning!
It has been so long since I have heard or read this statement by Jack Hyles that I could hardly believe it when I saw it again. During the early 90's Hyles gave some Wednesday evening talks on the so called "Enemies of Soulwinning". Later these "gems" were compiled into a book entitled "The Enemies of Soulwinning" and it is chock full of Biblical eisegesis of the worst kind. I can still remember that Hyles and the teachers at HAC taught us preacher boys that we should NEVER refer to any of our church services as "worship services"! This was a cardinal rule the breaking of which was tantamount to having the forbidden phrase "Accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior" in your plan of salvation! I suppose that is another post for another day--for now let's just look at this matter of worship.

1. Hyles taught that the public assembly was only for strength for God's people, for fellowship, for taking the LORD's Supper, for praying, for studying the Word, for praise, etc...

2. Hyles taught that worshipping was only to be done alone--never in the assembly.

3. Hyles taught that "formal worship" will not strengthen, encourage, exhort, or motivate Christians to do the main task of the church which is the Great Commission or "Soulwinning". Therefore worship in church is an "enemy of soulwinning".

Where shall we begin? I remember vividly the attitude of arrogance that accompanied this hobby horse that Hyles loved to ride. The mental gymnastics and circular reasoning that he practiced were brilliant! Shame on me for not being a Berean at that point in my life--it would have saved me a lot of heartache, but we serve a gracious and perfect God who meant all of it for my good.

First of all, Hyles' teaching that church was for fellowship, for taking the LORD's Supper, for praying, for studying the Word, for praise, etc... is not wrong in and of itself. My issue here is that his church did not study the Word and he did not encourage Bible study--he may have made mention of reading your Bibles, but never encouraged true Bible study. I am amazed how he could harp on such things and not see how unbalanced his ministry really was. When I consider the type of preaching that Hyles loved to perform it is no wonder that he could not understand corporate worship. I am reminded of what John Stott said in "
Between Two Worlds":
"Word and worship belong indissolubly to each other. All worship is an intelligent and loving response to the revelation of God, because it is the adoration of His name. Therefore acceptable worship is impossible without preaching. For preaching is making known the Name of the LORD, and worship is praising the Name of the LORD made known...when the Word of God is expounded in its fullness, and the congregation begins to glimpse the glory of the living God, they bow down in solemn awe and joyful wonder before His throne."(emphasis mine)
When you look at the three weekly pep rallies that Hyles held at FBCH is it any wonder that he had such a low view of corporate worship? There was only room for one object of worship on the platform at FBCH--I believe this is the root of the problem he had with worship as part of the church assembly. John Stott hits the nail on the head--Biblical exegesis by the regular exposition of scripture in its context is the foundation for meaningful and heart-felt worship. We ought to stand in awe and wonder of a holy God high and lifted up after a sermon is preached--when the Word is explained and preached in a systematic way God's Word has free course and will change lives and produce fruit in a powerful way! Hyles believed that power in preaching was found in the style of delivery and the response at the altar during the invitation--this is purely pragmatic and nothing short of rank decisionism.

Secondly, Hyles' teaching on worship being something only done in private is pure foolishness! Certainly we cannot honor God in our corporate worship unless our private worship is sincere and regular. To state that our gathering together is simply for fellowship, the LORD's Supper, prayer and Bible study, but not for worship is misguided at best. Worship is our ultimate priority and everything we do ought to be to that end. The Apostle Paul gives this command in
1 Corinthians 10:31, "Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."

Last of all, Hyles taught that "formal worship" will not strengthen, encourage, exhort, or motivate Christians to do the main task of the church which is the Great Commission, or "Soulwinning". This statement is so rife with error that it baffles me how anyone took him seriously. Let me begin by stating that Hyles' complete philosophy of ministry is summarized in this statement--
he had a job to motivate the good folks of FBCH so that they would go out and "win" some more converts for his kingdom. Conversely, how better to strengthen, encourage, exhort, and motivate holy living than the heart-felt worship of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ? Hyles believed it was a preacher's job to motivate--the Bible teaches that the Word of God is the motivator not to simply "go soulwinning" but to glorify God.

More to follow...

Phineas Taylor Barnum