Monday, May 01, 2006

Red-Hot Preaching???

As I was cerebrating over Matt's post regarding the HAC website, I was reminded of my years there, and of the exorbitant emphasis that was placed on what was and apparently still is referred to as "red-hot preaching". The letter to prospective students from Jack Schaap on the HAC site seems to insinuate that this "red-hot preaching" is part of what has stayed judgment from falling upon our nation. I believe that "narcissistic" was the word that Matt used to describe the theme of the letter, and I do not believe that a more befitting word could have been chosen.

I would not want to communicate to the B & C audience that I never heard an encouraging word from the chapel pulpit there, but systematic sermons that stay true to the text were essentially nonexistent, hence I still would like to probe this IFBx concept of "red-hot preaching". What does "red-hot preaching" mean to you? What does it mean to the average Christian young person? I think I know exactly what HAC means by it, and I shudder at the very thought of it.

Since officially leaving Hammond two years ago, I am pleased to state that I have not heard any sermon that would fall into the category of "red-hot preaching". I have heard many sound Biblically expository sermons since then. I have heard many sermons inspiring me to a more passionate devotion to Christ and His Word since then. Consequently, I have heard far less stories about these sermons' pulpiteers' personal lives, feats, and exploits!

During my tenure at Hyles-Anderson College, I heard very few if any sermons that were Biblically systematic. I have stated this before but what characterizes the typical HAC chapel time they would like to describe as zeal, but can be identified as nothing short of unbridled, manic frenzy. Any kind of schismatic remark from the chapel speaker can elicit a chorus of hearty "AMEN"s regardless of how unscriptural it may be. All in the name of "old-fashioned fundamentalism." To take it further, I would speculate that most of them were largely man-centered and thus not glorifying the Lord. A brief listen to the average chapel sermon at the HAC website would certainly verify that it continues to this day. In my own homiletics class there, my prepared sermon was referred to as a "lecture" by the instructor, something clearly meant as a derogatory description of a sermon at HAC. I reckon that I didn't yell, spit, and foment enough during my discourse.

The attitude taken at HAC was always that the other "liberal" Christian colleges (Maranatha, BJU, Northland, Clearwater, Moody, Cedarville, Master's College, etc.) did not believe in this breed of "red-hot preaching" like we do. In retrospect, I realize what was meant by that was that these other schools aim for a Biblicist approach to homiletics and the ministry of the Word. They were often described as the schools that had "gone liberal" and "changed". The plain truth is that the aforementioned schools have stayed much closer to historic Christian orthodoxy than HAC has.

Again, what is "red-hot preaching"? What does it mean to you, and what do you think that it means to the HAC brass when they mention it? Is there a Biblical mandate for what they refer to as "red-hot preaching"? Furthermore, do the pragmatic results of this "red-hot preaching" at HAC make it acceptable fare?

May we all pray that God would free our brethren from man-centered preaching.

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maranatha man said...

Red-Hot preaching is a religious performance by ego-manics on who can tell the best story about momma. All you have to do is find single Bible verse (or a phrase). Take it out of context, scream loud and tell about five stories. Skyscraper sermons are built on illustrations and stories. "I'll take the Bus Kids!" Remember that one? How about when Hyles met his drunken daddy across the street from Dallas Seminary? Who needs the Bible when you can tell tear jerking stories?

Mike Hess said...

Here are a few more than may ring a bell:

Hyles telling the story of actually being the one responsible for the collapse of the Soviet Union because of his soul-winning efforts.

Winning someone to Christ while they were in a bathtub.

Him saying that he went soul-winning ten hours a week but no one in the church being able to verify that or being able to say that they ever went with Hyles out soul-winning personally.

Saying that he got out of the car any time someone tried to gossip in his presence.

All of the fancy gifts that he bought for others while only making $18,000 a year (sigh).

Saying he preached on average 3 times a day and over 50,000 times. More like story telling over and over again.

Counseling hours on end and repatching together everyone's lives and marriages.

Hmmmmm.....after everything is said and done.....that only left about 1 hour a night of sleep being available. But then again, when you are superhuman like Hyles was, that was all possible due to the fact that he prayed for power and received the "second blessing" (a charasmatic teaching that Hyles derived from his Finneyesque theology).

Chelle Y. said...
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Momo said...

Hyles was a master speaker. I honestly think that Bill Clinton, somewhere down the line, got ahold of his book Teaching on Preaching and incorporated Hyles' strategies into his own speech-making. They were both masters of audience manipulation. Having said all that, Hyles wouldn't know true biblical preaching if it bit him in the butt.

HacerMan said...
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HacerMan said...

Hot Preeching, where are sins are spelled out by name is essenshul in keeping us from acting on our sinfull impulses. You guys that critcize Hot Preechin', like that of Docter Jeff Owen's in his fine sermon on 'Crankin' it, shuld be ashaming of your selves because it is one of the ones that gets a lot of Amens, and Glory Hallelujahs. I relly also like Doctor More who used to be at HAC, but Doctor Scapp brought his goode Experteece to the church for mission stuff. Amen

I'me pretty sure that Bill Clinton din't get aholt of Doctor Hyles book on Preechin', because Hilary woud not ley him get away with carring the Good Seed around to all his campaign stoppers, when he was a running for presidant. There is NO WAY now that I have had a chance to wrap my brane arounfd that thought. Plus Doctor Hyles illustrashuns were very riveting to cause folks to listen to his biblcal point that he was trying to get across. He was purty sofist-icated in getting that one point and hiting it from every directshun so at the end of the sermont you knew the point he was drivin home backwards and forwards. If your daddy was a drunk and went to Dallas Cemetary, you would probably not bee that happy and finally you folks are surely friendly to dissenting opinyons in this here BLOG. I feel as welcome as a piece of peach pie. You'all don't insult people and are so loving in your misdemeanors, that I want to stay and comment all the time instead of just a few times where my English is soo bad i have to deleete my posties. I know that one guy is howling at me, but I cant tell if it's with me or at me so thank you for leting me get this offa my chest?

BeckyJoie said...

Oh, yeah, we all know how much Elvis changed after his salvation prayer with Hyles' "red hot preaching" alone in the elevator.
I remember one phrase that Dr. Evans used to say, I think it was a quote from one of those chancellors of one of those taboo colleges (BJU and TTU were once on that bad list, by the way, in spite of some of the leadership graduating from there. This might have made Hyles sermons straighten out. "Your walk talks and your talk talks. Your walk talks louder than your talk talks."

HacerMan said...

That brings up another fine point of gettin rid of all those outsiders likr Helton and JakeRose and Doctor Fair eckCetra and using yer own graduetes to bee teechers. Some say nasti things like "That'is Inbreeding" but some uthers like to say now we are all on the same page. Thotes???

freethinker said...

You can find J. Arnold Fair pastoring Faith Baptist Church in Angola, Indiana. He has been there over 20 years and is doing fine.

Joshua R said...

Folks, don't get me wrong---for those in Northwest Indiana who are looking for cheap weekly entertainment, HAC chapel or FBC Sunday pm is a sure thing. I think that only makes it harder for those who have attended there for years but consider leaving---how can any other church regardless of how balanced and Biblical compete with the entertaining preaching of IFBx???

For hacerman: I strongly dislike what you so eloquently referred to as 'inbreeding' concerning the HAC faculty. HAC has been solidly committed to this practice for many years now, unfortunately.

BeckyJoie said...

Hacerman, I would like to agree with you on one point. It is a rarity that sins are spelled out by name from a pulpit and it is good to find it when you do. That being said, I have to say that it should come about as a part of the expository teaching or preaching of a passage, not as a mere mention in a sermon, as if a checklist for someone to see if they are in sin. True preaching about sin, comes in the process of studying a topic and the entirity of the topic from multiple passages or in the context of a biblical example, including the biblical solution used in the passage. That must mean that the Bible itelf will be opened and preached from and not just referenced or quoted in bits and pieces taken out of context. The best interpretation of the Bible often comes from the Bible itself and not from a man's opinion or list of standards. I'm really glad you commented on this, though because many churches do not call sin, sin. On the converse, many call things sin which are not sin and are not even mentioned in the Bible as such. HAC'er, I hope that you keep posting here. I would like to interact with you. I like peach pie, LOL.

reglerjoe said...

There are two basic ingredients to "red-hot preaching":

1. An Exciting Delivery, consisting of:
a. Periods of incredible volume
b. Exaggerated and amusing body movement (including, but not limited to, running, jumping, waving the arms, and Billy Sunday-esque sliding across platforms, or standing on the Lord's Supper table).

2. Controversial Content, including:
a. Addressing IFB pet issues
b. Using language that is a second cousin to profanity
c. Using the rawest terms available when referring to sodomites, adulterers, drunkards, etc.
d. Using degrading terms for disobedient women (heifers, hags, etc.)
e. Flaming, by name, any preacher who disagrees with you, even slightly, on theological matters. (if he's in the crowd, even better!)

NOTE: for a truly "red-hot" sermon be sure to use the phrase "split hell wide open" several times, and don't forget to ream someone out from the pulpit who is sleeping, smirking, or reading their Bible while you're preaching.

HacerMan said...

Thanky for the welcome, BekyJ: what is your opinyun on those fellers that always hoops and hollers when the preecher gets on a rabit trale? Say fer instance one of the many Doctors has a subpointe about liberales like Orel Rogers in T%usla, OK seeing tall copies of Jesus when hee had too much Pizza Pie the night before. And then these guys that likes to wave their bibles and shout aloud the saying that the Amen Corner has down pat (Yuo know them all, like "Park There Preecher", and "Say That") That hurts my ears a little bite and I fele ashamed to say it does not relly sat well with my backsliden heart. And I know that Jelly dude don't relly like it neither and hee don't like peach pie, I guess.

Mike Y said...

All I know about the red hot preaching is the damage I've seen it do. I can remember being criticized in my homiletics class because I didn't use better illustrations. Then there were all the times on our SWAT bus where exegesis was made fun of.

I think there is an important distinction and that is emphasis is definitely placed on homiletics whereas sound hermeneutics is shunned.

Concerning Hyle's red hot preaching, I remember one of the last times he came to preach at North Valley. The reason I remember it is my dad made that his last visit to church. To this date, he can not get over the arrogance of the man who could preach a whole message on "blackies". My dad was so put off by the open display of racism and the onslaught of amens that he had a very convenient excuse for wanting nothing to do with such religion.

Fortunately, my mother has been saved inspite of such preaching. My dad and I are very close and I can only hope and pray that God will one day open his eyes too.

I also recall a time when Schaap came and preached at one of our youth conferences. He got on the subject of homosexuals and made the comment, "I wish they would all die". Wow, I'd love to have this guy make supplication for me.

As you may note, I'm not and have never been a fan of this style of preaching. My pastor in Jacksonville Fl was nicknamed Hollerin' Harold. Yet this leather lunged preacher always preached expository messages and let the text and context do the condemning. Now, that was red-hot preaching I enjoyed and found edifying.


BeckyJoie said...

Mike, now that is what I'm talking about! Not accusatory or condemning rhetoric but biblical admonition.

BeckyJoie said...

HAC'er man, I find that type of behavior both sad and humorous. We should get excited about the Word of God being preached but what is more important is that we apply God's Word to our lives. That is true excitement... When the Word changes your life. The hooping and hollering often happens because many unregenerate hearts like controversy;(remember the men in teh woman at the well story?) they like to feel the excitement of making people mad or watching others get "caught in the act". Watching others get cremated verbally leaves one feeling quite holy (unless you are the one being cremated.) It is an appeal to self-righteousness. It is sad to see people hoop and holler when an unChristian behavior or an unChristian message is preached. The type of preaching that ridicules or defames the sinner is not Christ-like. When there is a need to address sin or false doctrine it should be in a gracious, "go and sin no more" mode not a "park it there preacher" mode. In my view, there is no room for making a mock of sin.(Prov. 14:9) Sin is too serious a matter. And the restoration of the sinner is also too serious of a matter. And some of this type of preaching and crowd bantering is possibly classified under the brand of "course jesting" warned about in Ephesians 5:4. Just my opinion.

Don Fields said...

I have appreciated your blog for a while now, but never felt informed enough to comment seeing how I don't come from a hyper-fundamentalist background. I did take your challenge and went to the HAC website and listened to 2 chapel messages from Pastor Doug Jackson of Three Rivers Baptist Church in Fort Wayne, IN. It was very enlightening to hear the man-worhiping, numbers exalting, story-filled preaching that you have been talking about straight from the horse's mouth. So many things were shocking and upsetting that I can't comment on all of them here. I will comment on the fact that Three Rivers Baptist Church has won 42,000 souls to Jesus (conservatively speaking) in the last 12 years alone! That is 1/3 of the population of Fort Wayne. Bro. Jackson seemed to think that 3,800 baptisms were a great evidence of all of these life-changing decisions! When I tried to find Three Rivers Baptist Church online, I was sadly dissappointed. After making such an impact in that community I expected to find a website that demonstrated their popularity and success. How large is Three Rivers Baptist? If anyone knows I would appreciate an answer. Somehow I am afraid it is probably not more than 500-1000 people if that big and most of these people "won to Jesus" are still dead in sins. What a tragedy!

I now appreciate your ministry in a greater way! Thanks guys for all your hard work.

Joshua R said...


Thanks for visiting our blog! I am glad that you took the challenge to listen to a sermon or two at the HAC website. Although I wouldn't necessarily recommend it, you would unfortunately hear more of the same in 9 out of 10 sermons if you were to listen to more. It is indeed a tragic state that we find IFBx in currently. Their battle cry is "NUMBERS!"

Thanks for visiting---we enjoy the dialogue.

Anonymous said...

I join you in the prayer from deliverance from man-centered preaching. Indeed, I find myself continuing to need to pray that for my family and myself.

I have a friend who is currently enrolled in a small, Hyles-styled Bible college, who preaches at his church, which is pastored by his own father-in-law. He told me that once when he approached the pulpit, he saw a note on it with the letters, "T.A.F." When he asked his "pastor-in-law" the meaning, he was told, "Throw A Fit!" In other words, take what he's prepared and throw a fit about it! That sums up the essence of what these types call "Red Hot Preaching." How pitiful. Why can't the power and authority inherent in the Word be the source of any "heat" along with its own inherent light? Oh, I forget, this is the bunch who dispense with the Word with a quick reading to set up their own opinions, while claiming to be "preaching the Word." There's no power there, because they so infrequently get back to what the Word says about it, so they stray from the source of power, so they must generate their own "power."

Pray, indeed.

Momo said...

The sad thing about that, Capt, is that that same preacher who throws fits in the pulpit would probably tell you from that same pulpit that if your 3-year-old throws a fit you should beat him into submission and then that same preacher would probably "throw a fit" about the importance of doing that.

jellyfish said...
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Bob Hayton said...

I recently ruminated a little about the damaging effects of "red-hot preaching" in a post entitled, "Stomping Toes and Stomping Souls: The Moralistic Bent in Fundamentalist Preaching".

I think it has been alluded to here in the comments, but one of the results of red-hot preaching is the heaping of guilt upon the hearers. It is hot because it hurts. But is this the Biblical goal of preaching? Are people walking out from a sermon with heads bowed down low thinking, "I sure need to do better." Or, are they leaving from a sermon with a glad hearted dependence/faith in Christ to do for them that which they cannot do? Has the sermon exalted the performance of some and berated the performance of others, or has it purposely pointed all the hearers to Christ as our only and sure hope of continued acceptance with God?

Bob Hayton said...


You said, "You guys that critcize Hot Preechin', like that of Docter Jeff Owen's in his fine sermon on 'Crankin' it, shuld be ashaming of your selves because it is one of the ones that gets a lot of Amens, and Glory Hallelujahs."

Now, the number of "Amen"s and "Glory Hallelujah"s, is not a safe method of judging a sermon. Faithfulness to God's Word is. Not long ago, I came across a critique of this sermon (actually entitled, "Crank it Up", I believe) which blew me away. I had not heard the sermon, but the critique showed how amazingy unScriptural it was. If you are interested the critique is available here.

God bless.

Bob Hayton
Rom. 15:5-7

HacerMan said...

Now, the number of "Amen"s and "Glory Hallelujah"s, is not a safe method of judging a sermon. Faithfulness to God's Word is. Not long ago, I came across a critique of this sermon (actually entitled, "Crank it Up", I believe) which blew me away. I had not heard the sermon, but the critique showed how amazingy unScriptural it was. If you are interested the critique is available here.

T%hank You fore ading to my defishunt nowlege of that tytle of Doctor Owings good Serman. I have known of a inartickulate thang caled Sarchasm witch can bee using to degust mye tru feelngs about Docter Jeffry Owings ;Crank it Up" mesaging fer stiring up the teeniebopers and youth peopl. I ame know Blinde for stering me to BASSONCO's BLAG, Thanky very litle bit, but not thet much, shee cold not bee elcted to thee posishun off nuetrality personificashun bye eny meens. Whin shee startes from posishun off beeing aginst Doctor Owen frum thee verry beginnig, than it has to bee a pregudishul reportig of not jest thee "facts", butt paneing withe what the intelijent fowlks call thee wide brushe andalso not giveing her oponents the berift off the dobut.

No Friend in PA said...

Thank you all for some insight into red hot preaching. I don't mind antics as long as content is soul searching, and Biblical. What I despise is antics w/ no content or plainness of speech w/ no content. Basically I despise a run of the mill un-called preacher.
I have heard many men preach and after hearing people praise their message I have questioned their spiritual temperature because of the lack of Biblical content and / or discernment. I actually heard a pastors son (alledgedly called) preach on the Wizard of Oz, while at the same time it is no different then someone preaching current events or Tolkien.
Ok, enough rambling. I have a very good friend who has graduated HAC and is still entangled in their web. I have heard him blow out the people at the Rehab Hospital Service, and when 3 people asked the nurse to wheel them out, he actually verbally assaulted them as they left. WOW!!! When I questioned his antics, the only response he could muster was the typical "Touch not mine annointed". As if people leaving your service were "enduring hardness" or "shall suffer persecution".
I have recently started a blog and as God leads I am trying to formulate a book on "Fundamental Papists". Please pray for me and keep preaching it hot, heavy and in the Word (which is too hot and too heavy for most preachers :-) ).