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The Scandalous Life of Jack Hyles and Why it Still Matters

jack hyles
Jack Hyles, First Baptist Church, Hammond, Indiana

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.

Shrine built after Jack Hyles died, as always bigger than life.
Shrine built after Jack Hyles died, as always bigger than life.

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

The Legacy of Jack Hyles

The Mesmerizing Appeal of Jack Hyles

Jack Hyles Gives Advice on How to Raise a Girl

Jack Hyles Teaches Parents How to Indoctrinate Their Baby

Jack Hyles Tells Unsubmissive Woman to Kill Herself

Jack Hyles Tells Christian Women it is All Up to Them

UPDATED: Serial Adulterer David Hyles Has Been Restored

Serial Adulterer David Hyles Receives a Warm Longview Baptist Temple Welcome

Cindy Schaap, Daughter of Jack Hyles, Divorces Convicted Felon Jack Schaap

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)

The Independent Baptist War Against Long Hair on Men

An Independent Baptist Hate List

Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Lingo, A Guide to IFB Speak

Let’s Go Camping: Understanding Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Camps

Tony Soprano Would Make a Good Independent Baptist Preacher

The IFB Church: Visiting Preachers and Evangelists Treated Like Demigods

What is an IFB Church?

IFB Doctorates: Doctor, Doctor, Doctor, Everyone’s a Doctor

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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  1. Avatar
    Dee Ann Miller

    As a teenager, listening to my aunt speak of Jack, she had stars in her eyes. I am all but certain (and was then) that this woman, who is also an incest survivor, was a victim of Jack’s. People reading this blog need to understand that “men of God,” especially those this powerful, often prey on women, finding those with serious neurosis to be among the most appealing. Also the ones most likely to stay silent when they awaken to what’s going on–if they ever do.

    Now, as a specialist, having written for thirty years on the intersection of faith with abuse–collusion, that is, which is the norm in the faith community–I’ve never put into words my concerns about Jack Hyles until this moment. My aunt still speaks his name as if he sits on the right hand of God, same as thousands of others, no doubt.

    Please see my website

  2. Avatar
    Brother Phil

    Not sure why the Lord allowed me to get involved with the Independent Baptist Cult shortly after I was born of the Holy Spirit. But I am not totally free of religion and self-righteousness that those Pharisees inflicted on me.
    They would compass land and sea to make one non-Spirit born convert and prepare them for the hell into which they were headed. They denied all the works and ministries of the Holy Spirit, not uncommon for religious Pharisees who had a form of godliness but denied the Power.
    Independent Baptists are a Cult, more deadly than those THEY label as ‘cults’. They are about performing and not fully surrendered to Grace of the Holy Spirit for Right-ness with God. They speak about the Way, teach on the Truth but have NO LIFE. Only by the Love and Mercy of God’s Holy Spirit did I see Light and run from that devil-game.
    I am favored not because I am good but because HE IS!!!!!!!!

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      Thank you for commenting. I have no sympathies for Fundamentalism wherever it is found. The level of devotion doesn’t change the fact that Fundamentalist Baptist doctrine and practice is anti-human, anti-progress, and psychologically harmful. I know a lot of “nice” Baptists, but their beliefs, practices, and politics are awful — to put it bluntly. There are kinder, gentler, more thoughtful expressions of Christianity than Evangelicalism. I encourage people to seek out these sects/churches and leave Evangelicalism to die the death it so richly deserves.

  3. Avatar
    Eddie dearmond

    I was a kid going to that church for a man everyday to preach about being a virgin something was eating him up inside

  4. Avatar
    Todd Wilhelm

    I attended Moody Bible Institute in Chicago during the 1976-77 school year. Many Friday evenings young men from Jack Hyles’ church were bussed up to Chicago to stand on the street corners around Moody and distribute tracts to the Moody students, and rail at us for our errant views. They would tell us we were all going to hell. I guess the hair touching my ears, along with my Levi Jeans were a dead give-away that I was a minion of Satan!

  5. Avatar

    The saddest testimony is the carnage left behind such men as Hyles and those he had trained.
    Men like yourself who have been shattered to a place that now denies the Christ who loves you enough to pay for your sin and you have renounced Him? I do believe that all of those who proclaim atheism do really know that God is real (He places eternity on every person’s heart and His invisible attributes are clear and known).
    I also believe that you will one day re-embrace the God who loves you, even if only on your deathbed.
    Blessings to you.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      First, I wasn’t trained by Hyles.

      Second, try actually reading my story before coming to any conclusions about why I deconverted.

      Third, I know YOUR God is not real.

      Fourth, I assure you I will never re-embrace your peculiar version of God. Ain’t gonna happen, and neither you or your mythical God can make it happen.

      Fifth, quoting Bible verses doesn’t make something true.

      • Avatar

        NO, “YOU’RE” not worshipping ANY God, with this cult. Who are you to judge another’s God/Higher Power, etc??!!!

        ALL RELIGIONS ARE BASED ON THE SAME FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES! ALL OF THEM!! Pick up different religious writing….. they ALL say the same thing!!

    • Avatar

      Richard, at least you did us the courtesy of saying “I believe…” when spouting nonsense about what atheists allegedly know. Most believers state it as an established fact, which always ends very poorly by destroying the credibility of any believer who misspeaks in that fashion.

      I assure you that the god you worship has never been real for me. Not even for an instant. I do not expect this situation to change in the remaining years of my life, either.

      (I also would not describe Bruce and other ex-believers as “shattered,” either; quite the contrary.)

  6. Avatar
    Phil Faris

    The issue of abuse in the church, especially sexual abuse, seems to blur everyone’s vision for just
    “what” each church was. If the core attributes of the church are off track, then why be surprised if the fruit is rotten. Evangelical churches place Christ’s ministry of salvation and reconciliation (the Gospel) at the core and in my 50 years being active in dozens of such churches (I’m retired military and moved a lot) I’ve never been in one that ever behaved in these evil ways. But that’s partly because I selected each church carefully and never because of who the preacher was . Yet I totally believe virtually all of the recent accusers. And ii I had heard how they described their churches and their leaders (before the abuse occurred) I would immediately have tried to get them to leave.

    The Old Testament is the accurate history of how the congregation of Israel constantly became just what these malignant churches were. And Church History (not inspired, but accurately recorded) is the story of how Christian churches constantly became evil institutions. Paul specifically described and predicted what would take place immediately after he was gone! Leaders are described as animals preying on the members.

    The thing is, the people all know this and still remain members! I don’t feel as much compassion for the adults, they are free to be stupide and stay in abusive situations. But their children are the victims that need to be protected. Whistleblowing blogs today “try” to protect people. But Hyles’ story and the scores of other scandals reveal the people’s inability to wake up.

    Today there are organizations with programs that train individuals (both volunteers and their youthful participants) how to make such abuse either impossible or easy to identify. Safe Sport as well as the Scouts’ Youth Protection Training are excellent examples.

    So I urge believers to do two things: First, don’t go to a megachurch or any church that has cult-like leaders. Second, don’t go to a church that doesn’t have both the leaders and all the members get training in policies and procedures related to abuse.

    And third, listen to young people when they cry out for help.

    On the other hand, don’t believe that you comprehend what “really” went on despite how compelling the stories and investigations are. Get rid of the abusers, sure; but don’t see the situation in black and shite terms. I was an intelligence analyst for the military and I have two things to report: First, literally everyone lies. Second, even terrorists are sometimes motivated by the same things you are.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      DO you really want to imply that people get abused by pastors and other church leaders because they, unlike you, didn’t choose their churches carefully? You might want to check out the Black Collar Crime Series — almost 700 stories, with hundreds more in the waiting. And then also consider the pastors who routinely have affairs with congregants. Is Clergy Sexual Infidelity Rare? Often legal, but disgusting and harmful. The Evangelical barrel is filled with rotten apples. No, not all pastors are abusers, but Evangelicalism is inherently Fundamentalist and causes psychological, and at times physical, harm. I would NEVER recommend someone attend an Evangelical church.

      Your answer seems to be this: find a better church. Perhaps a better answer is to leave Evangelical Christianity altogether. Ask yourself, is any sect/church “good” if it threatens unbelievers with judgment and Hell? Forget the sexual abuse. The very notion of eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire is repugnant. There are kinder, gentler expressions of faith out there for people who need/want religion.

  7. Avatar

    The problem with it ,it’s you guys think Christians are perfect that’s far away from the truth. Difference between a Christian and a none Christian : the difference Jesus Christ our Lord. We still battling our old self.I attended the church for over 7 years went to college at the Spanish department for 3years. I get to know all of those things. But my faith is not base on what jack,Víctor Hernández preach at the time . My faith is in God. See we’re all going to pay one way or another. Either you believe there’s a God or not does not make any difference to Him. He still is God. You thoughts are not His thoughts. So don’t worry about it. You don’t believe in God go on.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser


      I am an atheist, so I don’t believe in the existence of your peculiar version of God. Please check out

      Let me see if I understand your “logic” . . . Christians aren’t perfect, and the only difference between Christians and non-Christians is that the former “believes” in Jesus (a patently heretical theological position). Thus, when David Hyles sexually molested minor girls and had affairs with women, when Jack Hyles had an affair with his secretary, when Jack Schaap had sex with a church teen he was counseling, and when numerous other First Baptist church members and leaders committed sex crimes, no one should be surprised these things happened. “Christians Aren’t Perfect, They Are Just Forgiven”, right?

      My thoughts are better than God’s thoughts (and yours) in every way. I refuse to let religion and verses from an antiquated religious text keep me from seeing things as they are: that Jack Hyles, David Hyles, Jack Schaap, and scores of other IFB preachers are predators and shouldn’t be let anywhere near the inside of a church. That you care more about defending these men than standing up for their victims speaks volumes.


  8. Avatar

    Juan, there is no “Him” out there. “He” lives solely in the imagination of believers like you, and the only power “He” has in this world is your power. Stop wasting it on fictional sky-daddies and use that power to improve life for yourself and others, in this world rather than some hypothetical future Forever-land.

  9. Avatar
    Justin Kendall

    I can tell you from first hand experience the type of man Jack Hyles was, he and his cohorts molested children as young as 10 years old. The church and their attorneys covered up what really went on at Hammond Baptist Church in Hammond in the late 90s and into the 2000s. It probably still goes on. My Grandmother would have you believe Jack Hyles was a great man. But my Mother, my sister and I know otherwise. We stopped going there after several instances and finding out that he and his cohorts were molesting children. There are several police reports and investigations that the church covered up where they would pay off the families to cover them up. Thank you for making this page people need to know the truth. They are being brainwashed into believing he is a good man and they are doing god’s work but nothing could be further from the truth.

  10. Avatar

    miller road and later ridgepoint fellowship ruined my moms life, in her younger years she played piano for miller road during dave hyles era, shes been deceased for almost 20 years now but i’m almost certain she was sexually abused by one of the members of that church if not by hyles himself when she was a child.

  11. Avatar
    Mark Tinker

    Well…If Bruce is right, and I am wrong, there is no God, then when I die, I will have lived a good life, tried my best to be kind to others and live with morals and believed in something that wasn’t real. No harm, no foul. However, if I am right, and Bruce is wrong, He’s in for a big surprise. Forever. Yes, Hyles was a douchebag and a hypocrite. That has nothing to do with the existence of God, or humanity’s need for a Savior. Yes, a lot of preachers are hypocrites and outright monsters. It is unfortunate. But so are a lot of actors, athletes, politicians, and just normal people. Any power over another can and will be abused. But, a lot of pastors are sincere in spreading the gospel message. I believe the Bible is inspired by God. That has nothing to do with you or Jack Hyles.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      First, I assume you are a Muslim; that you have done what you are asking me to do.

      You want me to cover all my bases. Have you done the same? Of course not. You are a hypocrite, expecting me to do something you can’t or won’t do.

      Second, which God? You assume your peculiar version of God is THE God. How do you know your claim is true? What evidence do you have for your claim? Surely you don’t expect me to believe a claim without evidence?

      Third, the inspiration of the Bible is a faith claim. There’s no external evidence that the Bible is anything other than a collection of ancient writings. And the internal evidence can be interpreted in ways to discredit your claim. I encourage you to read two of Dr. Bart Ehrman’s books on the nature and history of the Bible: Jesus, Interrupted and Forged. Let me know what you think.

      Fourth, you might want to re-think your use of Pascal’s Wager.

      Fifth, did not Jesus say we should judge a tree by the fruit it produces? Hyles is not an exception to the the rule. Please read this series:

      Sure, there are good apples 🍎 in a barrel of rotten ones, but who wants to dig through them to find one to eat. Evangelicals claim they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit; that he is their teacher and guide. Yet, we know that Evangelicals are no different from the unwashed, uncircumcised Philistines of the world.

      Thanks for commenting.

    • Avatar

      Mark, the very fact that you think “just in case” belief is a good idea indicates that there is fear underlying your so-called faith. No Valhalla for you! 😀

      May you dream of your own loved ones being tormented in the fire that you imagine for non-believers.

  12. Avatar
    Lemar Sipes

    Way to obviously stupid. Comes from an ex preacher/pastor that claims to be an atheist & humanist- LOL. He takes on a fellow wolf in sheep’s clothing that never knew God either. Claims to know all about the IFB church, obviously he is extremely butt hurt against that church. As if a progressive, liberal, humanist or atheist has any credibility in raising matter. For over 2,000 years the church has had fakes & non believers. Yes & their are dopes out there that use this against the true Church but fail which really burns them up but that is nothing compared to your final destination. Obviously the church has those that are not yet called without the Holy Spirit to be preyed upon or those that will never receive the calling and cause dissent in the church. We all know that the evil of progressive liberals are to create the church & God into their image and if they can’t get their way then they do these blogs to show their butt hurtness. IFB churches are not for those types. There are many fake churches that are woke just for you that teach & preach what you want to hear. Let’s hear your criticism on them.

    • Avatar

      Always have to include the burn in hell reference. Why can’t these righteous people avoid that? Is there some self satisfaction in seeing others suffer? Does that make them better people? That is a very odd form of righteousness.

      Lemar, your god has no power here. It can just move along and go stand with all the other powerless gods.

    • Avatar
      Neil Rickert

      Ah, yes, true Christianity.

      We see its core principles in your post:

      hate your neighbors
      hate your enemies
      turn the other AR15.

      There’s nothing Christian about Christianity. It is no wonder that people are deconverting.

    • Avatar

      Lemar, how do you know that atheists (and progressives, liberals, and humanists) aren’t the ones destined for heaven and that it’s you, and your ilk, aren’t the ones destined for hell? How do you know that the bible isn’t really the work of Satan? The reality is that you have no way of answering these questions in a way that might please you.

  13. Avatar
    George J DeVos

    Bruce, notable political events ignite my curiosity about mass hypnosis. Is it a real thing and if so how does it work? How can we recognize and guard against being taken advantage of by it’s practitioners? I’ve seen and experienced hypnosis in a classroom setting and came away convinced I saw evidence of it’s validity. The instructor was a forensic hypnotist and a Deputy with the Orange County (CA) Sheriff’s Dept. He taught an elective course in law school, I believe it was called investigative techniques. He related that under hypnosis people could remember a license plate they had seen for a split second whereas they were not consciously aware they had seen it at all. He also put on a demonstration the last session of the semester in which he hypnotized the entire class of about 50 hard headed law students. several of students later in the class hour performed some bizarre post-hypnotic suggestions. I personally felt safe in the class setting to play along and the only response I had was to become very relaxed. I’ve read some Hitchins and Maher and other atheists. I’ve observed people enslaved to beliefs for which there is no shred of evidence and I always come back to thinking these people seem hypnotized. Some of my class of 50 intelligent students was vulnerable to hypnosis and some were not. This was a setting where it was understood what was happening with our consent. It begs the question: can hypnosis happen to masses of people without their consent or knowledge? How else to explain the religious and political fanaticism unscrupulous demagogues employ to manipulate vulnerable followers? Thus far I haven’t read much if anything to explain what is enabling the takeover of vulnerable minds. If knowledge is power then knowing how to keep control of our own minds is critical. What say Bruce?
    George DeVos

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      Certainly mass hypnosis is a possibility, but when I look at Independent Fundamentalist Baptists, I see cultic tribalism, indoctrination, and conditioning—often from their earliest years. They — as I was — are trapped in a bubble where everything makes sense. Parents, preachers, and educational institutions limit access to information from outside of the bubble. That’s why countless people can sincerely and resolutely believe that the English Bibles they hold in their hands are inerrant and infallible. This notion is absurd, both rationally and textually, yet millions of people swear it’s true. (I see similar thinking in their support of Donald Trump.)

      • Avatar
        ... Zoe ~

        I might suggest as well how fundamentalists start with fear and offer the cure.

        Bible. Hell -> Fear. Cure -> Jesus.

        Even if things stop making sense, there is still the fear that is religiously brought up time and time again. After years of this, just one more prayer, one more Sunday attendance, one more tithe . . . they ease &/or replace for a moment, fear. I tend to think of it as a toxic relationship. Abusive really. Narcissistic to the core.

        Thump the Bible over their heads (scare the **** out of them). Abuse.

        Next up? The honeymoon phase. Oh sweetie. Jesus loves you.

        Cult leaders come along, scare the **** out of you and then offer the cure. Perhaps it is mass hypnosis but it’s only achieved one individual at a time.

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