Every day, a hundred or more web searchers come to this blog looking for information about Jack Hyles, David Hyles, and Jack Schaap. Both Jacks pastored First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana. Hyles died in 2001 and Schaap is currently serving a 12-year prison sentence as a result of sexual misconduct with a minor church member (a young woman he was counseling). David Hyles was First Baptist’s youth pastor during his father’s reign. He later became the pastor of Miller Road Baptist Church in Garland, Texas — a church previously pastored by his father.
Jack Hyles, his son-in-law Jack Schaap, and Davis Hyles all have one thing in common. Each of them was accused of sexual misconduct (along with sundry other scandals). Schaap, as mentioned above, is now in prison. Both Hyleses escaped punishment for their debauchery and perverse behavior. This has led many people to assume that Jack Hyles is as innocent as a child, pure as the driven snow. Few people are willing to defend David Hyles’ life of debauchery and licentiousness, but these defenders of All Things Hyles do suggest that he has turned over a new leaf and has been forgiven of his sins (crimes?) by God.
Most of the Hyles-related scandals are ancient history. Why then, are people still searching for information on these men? Good question. One reason is that there are a number of Fundamentalists who still consider Jack Hyles to be one of the greatest preachers since the Apostle Paul. Just today, Jack Wellman, pastor of Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane, Kansas wrote a post for his PATHOS blog titled, Who Was Jack Hyles?
Wellman’s post contained more factual errors than I care to count. If Wellman had bothered to read the Wikipedia page for Jack Hyles he would have avoided writing such an errant post. Wellman’s factual errors don’t concern me as much as his opinion of Jack Hyles. Wellman wrote:
Jack Hyles is worthy of our admiration because of the model for the church that he left and upon which he had found in Matthew 25. He saw Jesus as saying to him and to the church, “For I was need hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me” (Matt 25:35-36) and the final outcome of these good works for Christ (Eph 2:10) would end with Jesus’ words, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matt 25:40).
Worthy of our admiration? Really? Has Wellman not read The Biblical Evangelist’s provocative exposé, The Jack Hyles Story? If Wellman had read this exposé he would have learned about Jack Hyles illicit affair with his secretary, Jennie Nischik. The story is so bizarre that if were made public today HBO would turn it into a feature film. Had Wellman read the exposé, he would have found out how Hyles financially took care of his mistress — houses, cars, and large sums of money. The Biblical Evangelist article stated:
The situation really came to a head in late 1985 when Vic [Nischik] had a showdown with Hyles, demanding that he leave his wife alone. It resulted in Jennie divorcing Vic on Hyles’ orders, with Hyles picking up the tab, a matter Nischik says his ex-wife admitted to him. Three depositions were taken, one each from Hyles, Vic and Jennie. One responsible minister of unquestioned integrity, who read each of them, noted this about Hyles:
Here is what I observed from Dr. Hyles deposition taken on May 1, 1986: He said that . . .
He buys Mrs. Nischik a new automobile every two years.
He loaned Mrs. Nischik $35,000 in which to invest so that she could derive interest from it.
He gave her a gift of $ 10,000.
He bought aluminum siding for the Nischik house
He gave Vic Nischik approximately $11,000 in order for him to have a room added to his house (pages 40-42).
He wrote about Jennie’s:
This is what I observed from Mrs. Nischik’s deposition taken on February 5, 1986:
Over approximately the last eighteen years . . .
[Hyles] purchased her a new automobile (usually Buick or Oldsmobile) every other year for about the last eighteen years. . .
Paid for the insurance on the automobiles . . .
Paid for the driveway for the Nischik’s house . . .
Paid for the air conditioner for the Nischik’s house . . .
Gave $5,000 for her daughter Judy’s education.
Gave $11,000 to build a room onto the Nischik’s house . . .
Paid for a second telephone for the Nischik’s house, a ‘business’ phone in her bedroom”
Any fair-minded person reading the quote above would surely conclude that Jennie Nischik was a kept woman.
If Wellman had bothered to read The Jack Hyles Story he would have also learned about David Hyles’ nefarious behavior and his father’s repeated cover-ups of his son’s behavior.
But here’s the thing, Wellman has likely read The Biblical Evangelist’s exposé, and despite a mountain of incriminating evidence, Wellman chose to embrace the Hyles myth. In doing so he passes on a lie to his readers. Jack Hyles is an example of everything that is wrong with the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church movement. To this day, men such as Bob Gray, Sr. continue to promote the name and ministry of Jack Hyles, ignoring, as Wellman did, reams of evidence that clearly show that Jack Hyles was not who and what he claimed to be. To this day, the First Baptist Church of Hammond congregation reveres Jack Hyles. Past scandals are ignored, and First Baptist pastors and congregants continue to do the work of the ministry as Jack Hyles did it for forty-two years.
Nothing I can say or do will change the cult-like worship by the followers of Jack Hyles. Having bought into Hyles’ mantra, if you didn’t see it, it didn’t happen, these Fundamentalist Christians will go to their graves believing that Jack Hyles was some sort of demigod — a man of God, head and shoulders above all other preachers.
Articles on this site about Jack Hyles, David Hyles, Jack Schaap, and the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church movement
What One IFB Apologist Thinks of People Who Claim They Were Abuse (features letters and texts Jack Schaap sent to a minor girl in his church)
Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
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