Home > Brandenburg, Fundamentalism, Jack Schaap, Separation > The Apology Owed to Jack Hyles and Jack Schaap pt. 1

The Apology Owed to Jack Hyles and Jack Schaap pt. 1

September 14, 2009

As anyone knows, we aren’t Hyles fans here.  But I think Jack Hyles, and while we’re at it, Jack Schaap, are owed an apology.   Don’t get me wrong—Hyles and Schaap deserve  criticism.  They merit the exposure of their errors and have earned the censures they have received.

So why the apology?  The denunciation of Hyles and Schaap should proceed from their false doctrine and practice, their violations of God’s Word.   The reprimands of them or anyone else should not arise from some personal distaste.   We want to protect and propagate the truth out of love for God.  When we desire for God to be honored, then the personalities are irrelevant.   We are honest critics, ready to point the error where we see it.   If we’re not going to be consistent in this, then we should apologize to Hyles and Schaap.    We weren’t doing it for the right reason—it was only personal.

Where men have excoriated Hyles and Schaap, they have remained comparably silent on others with the same doctrinal or practical error.  And I mean in the doctrine or principle behind the negativity over Hyles and Schaap.  In this way, Hyles and Schaap have become the whipping boys for those who don’t seem to have a problem with the actual false doctrine or practice when it is practiced by other men.  This rings of hypocrisy, one that no doubt God can see.

We’re either against a false belief and practice or we are not.   The identity of the person who holds the distortion shouldn’t matter.  So what are the practices of other fundamentalists and evangelicals that parallel those of Hyles and Schaap?


In 1 Corinthians 1, the Apostle Paul writes in v. 22 that the “Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom.”   Wrong church growth methodology starts with an evaluation of what unsaved people want.  Paul took the opposite tack.  He gave to the Jews what was to them a “stumblingblock” and what was to the Greeks “foolishness” (v. 23).   He just preached the gospel to them.   He didn’t want the growth of the church to stand in the “wisdom of men,” but in the “wisdom of God,” which was “to them that perish foolishness” (v. 18).  Why?  “That no flesh should glory in his presence” (v. 29).   “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (v. 31).  Men get the glory through the modernistic church growth methods.

Hyles pioneered many of the modern methods of church growth.   A primary strategy of his at First Baptist Church in Hammond was to offer a particular demographic (children) an attraction for church attendance (small toys, candy, soda pop).    The incitement to attend church would fit only the specific demographic, not another one (elderly, middle aged adults, etc.).   Hyles targeted a special group with an appropriate seduction.  Because of the success at increasing attendance, this method was imitated by many.   The Jews required a sign, Greeks wisdom, and children temporary excitement.  Rather than avoiding this wisdom of men, Hyles accentuated it.  Schaap continues it.   This technique directly violates 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:16.

But is it only Hyles?  Consider these recent statements on SharperIron, a fundamentalist forum, by fundamentalist leader Stephen Davis from Calvary Baptist in Lansdale, PA in an article entitled “Planting Urban Churches”:

Church planting involves numerous details such as strategy, demographic studies, . . .

You might be surprised at how many people think that new churches should dance to the same tune as churches which have existed for decades with their well-established traditions. The traditions are not necessarily wrong but may be unnecessary barriers in planting an urban church among those unacquainted with those traditions.

You might need to ask them to be open to different forms of worship, a different leadership style, a different philosophy of ministry, and a different way of living out practical Christianity.

Davis encourages young fundamentalists planting churches to accommodate the urban culture to enhance evangelistic efforts, just to be careful not to be too offensive to mother churches who practice something more “traditional.”  A huge emphasis of the article is this decision for the church planter to cater to the way of life of the inner city lost.

The founder of SharperIron, Jason Janz, chronicled the “launch” of his church in downtown Denver with these words:

At the end of the meeting, we passed out a white envelope to everyone in attendance, and inside it was the balance of our checking account: $1,500. We gave every person $30 cash and asked him to find a person in need and give him the money. As clear as day, God said to me that we should do it again.

I walked into staff meeting on Thursday morning and explained the direction God had placed on my heart. I thought we should do the reverse offering again and give every attendee $10. They all agreed that we should do it in spite of the fact that we only had $2,500 in our checking account and the knowledge that we could have 250 people in attendance.

“God said to” Janz that they should do it again.  This is the very kind of statement that Hyles often used to justify some evangelistic method that he used.

In the last year many fundamentalists expressed outrage over statements criticizing Calvinism by a pastor in a regional Fundamental Baptist Fellowship (FBFI) meeting.  The blog world burned up with articles and comments.  Shortly thereafter, the national meeting of the FBFI titled their corresponding children’s program, “When I grow up, I want to be a fundamentalist.” This as well fired up young fundamentalists. And yet there hasn’t been a peep about the Hyles-like philosophy represented by Davis and Janz from fundamentalists.

And conservative evangelicals?  Or even a conservative evangelical who is the hero of fundamentalists and evangelicals, John Piper?  Piper was in a conference this last year in Cleveland, OH and he answered a question about evangelical pastor Mark Driscoll, and in his answer he said these exact words, imparting his own belief and philosophy about evangelism:

These are weird people comin’ to his church . . . look at this . . . they wouldn’t come to hear me for anything.  They wouldn’t go to my church, but they’ll go to his church.  I’m cuttin’ him a lot of slack because of the mission.  It’s kind of a both/and for me.  You don’t need to go as far as you’ve gone sometime with your language, but I understand what you’re doing missiologically there and I have a lot of sympathy for, because I like to see those people saved.

Mark Driscoll does things in the way of coarse language and other strategies, completely detached from scripture and the Holy Spirit, that make him effective at seeing people saved.  John Piper believes this.

If the fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals are not going to scrutinize and denounce other fundamentalists and evangelicals, then they should just apologize to Jack Hyles and Jack Schaap.  They don’t really care about these false doctrines and practices.  I don’t know what it is, but they’ve got some other agenda.

  1. JTR
    September 15, 2009 at 5:56 am

    I fail to see any good purpose for this article. The links you have are very pro-Calvinist which leads me to the question of your stand on this very erroneous and seriously hindering to the gospel false teaching. God warned us against following men instead of God. Anyone who has done so will be dissapointed. Men are human. The faults you find with men could take pages to write about, but how is that edifying in any way to the cause of Christ and to other brothers and sisters in the Lord?

    • September 15, 2009 at 6:42 am


      You obviously have never read Brother Brandenburg before, or you weren’t paying attention. His stand against the false position of many of those “bloggers” is documented on this site.

      Brother Kent,

      Thanks for linking to these sites for accountability and clarity.

  2. September 15, 2009 at 6:38 am

    Brother Kent,

    This really is the issue, and you hit the proverbial nail on the head. What I find curious about John Piper and his friends is their attacks on the Hyles-Sword type of “pragmatism” while at the same time extolling their buddies doing the same.

    Having said that, we as Independent Fundamental Baptists are as guilty of “winking” at our friends who have churches who use these philosophies. I believe it would do everyone of “our” ranks good to TRULY STUDY 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:16 and see what God actually says.

    I have been guilty with close friends of making my dislike of the Hyles camp personal at times, and God has had to deal with my heart about it. The false doctrine and philosophies are worth pointing out, however!

  3. September 15, 2009 at 8:51 am


    It all depends on the meaning of “edifying.” Is it edifying to practice according to scripture? How is one edified without finding the “faults of men”? How am I edified if I don’t learn about error and submit to truth? How are we sanctified but by means of the Word of God?


    I haven’t always squared with 1 Cor 1-2 and I’m still looking at what we do to be sure we are.

  4. September 15, 2009 at 9:28 am

    I think there is a sense that F’ism, in all its “Isms” is gradually getting around to more public statements about the errors it has embraced, or has been passive about. Give it time. Also, apologies are not necessary to those who are wrong, who get the most attention, when one thinks that others should be exposed, because they (in this case H & S) are still, ummm, wrong.

    Second, the names you mentioned are not just persons, but persona, and in a real sense their names are suitcases. Suitcases which are packed full of various aspects of ideology, philosophy, theology, etc–in these cases, some of the aspects are heretical, just plain wrong (common sense-wise), and foolish. Their names are not as evocative as this example, but there is a growing similarity to their use as how “Finney” is used in calvinistic circles, and “Calvin” is used in revivalistic/arminian circles. Inherent in this use is many people’s inability to differentiate between an attack on the person, and their ideas/methods.

    BTW, I heard from S, he says apology accepted…

  5. September 15, 2009 at 11:47 am

    Sam, it seems that more is being put in the suitcase that resembles H & S. Thanks for relaying the S apology. 😀

  6. September 15, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    I heard a Scottish fellow the other day commenting on how we measure ministries. He remarked that as a result of the Second Great Awakening people switched to a success measure of ministries (success in terms of decisions procured) from a fidelity measure (faithfulness & fidelity to the doctrines of scripture). That seems to be true today. When people today think of great churches/great preachers, they think of numbers. In the past, the great preachers were the ones who were the theologians – those who could earnestly contend for the faith and exposit the scriptures. Many people do give a pass to false doctrine & scripture twisting if the preacher has a church of thousands. I often hear people say “well how many buses do you run?” or “how many have you won to Christ?” I’d rather us get back to fidelity and faithfulness to the scriptures. When Jesus said “if ye love me, keep my commandments,” isn’t the “keep” there more than just obeying? Doesn’t it involve guarding and defending the scriptures?

    The sheep are not being fed because it has become all about numbers.

    That is why Hyles can get away with twisting the parable of the prodigal son to encourage teens at a youth conference to be like the older son – the son who Jesus used to represent the lost, unrepentant Pharisees. I wouldn’t give two cents for a preacher who mishandles the scriptures like that. I’d much rather have one who rightly divides the word.

  7. September 15, 2009 at 9:21 pm


    Great comment.

  8. RB
    September 15, 2009 at 11:59 pm

    I guess the choice is which group of compromisers compromise the least on the things you think are more important.

  9. Joshua
    September 16, 2009 at 1:42 am

    RB, I think in general that’s the approach most folks take. They are looking for a group somewhere, but they aren’t expecting complete Scriptural obedience from anyone, so they just pick the least worst crowd. You don’t see that in Scripture. It’s just assumed that that is the best you can do. The truth is that Christ preserved unified truth within the Church that he founded – local independent congregations of likeminded believers. You don’t need to hook up with some group that is the best of the worst. You’ll sell yourself short of what Christ intended for us!

  10. September 16, 2009 at 9:03 am

    To start, RB, your comment is exactly what most fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals are doing. They have developed this doctrine that there is one or a few important doctrines and those are the ones they’ll separate over. Of course, what you find is that they don’t separate on those. MacArthur preaches for the Billy Graham center. Mohler involves himself in the Billy Graham Crusade. And Trinity, where D. A. Carson teaches, is where a lot of the mess is coming from. It’s where Davis got his Missiology degree and the guy across the street that gives out free movie passes, shows movies in the service and then exegetes them. And as you can see in my presentation, this kind of idea, that we need these “excitements” (a Finney word) in order to see folks in urban Seattle saved, is propagated by Piper, the darling of the gospel crowd and the gospel coalition.

    It’s not what “I” think is important, RB (Will), but it is what does the Bible say. Our church protects and propagates what it believes. That is where unity is. And then I’ve found that I have unity with other churches of like faith and practice. That is the scriptural model. It does separate me from others because of the truth, but I’m OK with that. I can still rejoice when they do get it right, which I do.

    • RB
      September 17, 2009 at 6:27 pm

      Ya, I hear you and Joshua both. I am getting less and less enamored with what I see in the conservative side of evangelicalism. Piper is a big disappointment, but I was bracing myself for that a few years ago anyway, now he’s proven it by running with Mark Driscoll who just preached for the reprobate apostate Robert Schuller. Very disheartening. I guess if I take your approach, I’ll be by myself, literally, because there is always something that I can find in any church that I believe is unscriptural and then I’d have to separate from them.

      • Joshua
        September 17, 2009 at 10:32 pm

        I’m sorry you feel like that RB. I used to feel like that a bit myself. I don’t think it’s possible to find the perfect church, but I do believe it’s possible to find a church with correct doctrine and practice, even if there are still areas they can improve on their application. Christ said he would preserve His church and that it would be the pillar and ground of the truth. Are you looking for that?

  11. September 16, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    I….don’t think men of God who have placed themselves on such a high pedestal are worthy of an apology after they effectively removed repentance from the Bible in order to pad numbers. The methods used by these folks turned preachers into super salesman soulwinners who within a very few minutes into the gospel presentation said, “Now let’s bow for word of prayer, ‘1-2-3 repeat after me, I (name) ho hum ho hum”. These men, through their methods cheapened the gospel(Gal1:8) and turned conversions into a side-show of sensationalism, men-worship, and extreme emotionalism in order to increase numbers, attendance, and offerings. I am not saying God never worked in hearts, but when you strategically minimize the most important salvation doctrine in the Bible the result is no regeneration, no changed life (II COR 5:17), no blessing, and no revival. These men have all but destroyed fundamentalism by sowing discord and heresy in churches all over the country and by preaching that big offerings, big attendance, and big numbers equates to success and God’s approval. There is also the issue of adultery which has never been confessed by this church. At least confess that there might have been some improprieties between Nischik and Hyles. No way!! Not this church. They became so proud that they never humbled themselves. Hyles himself said that Fundamentalism was doomed without him. The Bible says, “Pride goeth before destruction”, yet we never witnessed the destruction – I believe the destruction was publicized in 1989 and since then Fundamentalism has declined. How about is son for crying out loud. They never confessed any of it. They never called him out or excommunicated him. They never distanced themselves from sin, if that sin involved men who were very talented or charismatic. That is why I have no respect for them. You put yourself on a pedestal that touches heaven, making yourself out to be an apostle or some great preacher of the faith. It is a form of wicked pride and I think God hates it. You put yourself on that kind of pedestal and then you fall and everyone who looked up to you falls with you. No preacher is without sin or even close to it. Keep your eyes on God. Not men or a church or a method

  12. September 17, 2009 at 8:38 am

    Reverend Smith,

    We agree with you. Do you understand the point of post? It agrees with what you’re saying; it says just that, if we believe it, we should be consistent with everybody in the position.

  13. Einar
    April 10, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    Just curious, but after reading this type of discussion who would want to even consider being a christian? After all this is acually more entertaining then watching reality TV..maybe i will just through out the TV and read what christians say about other christians. Shame on each and everyone of you! How could anyone reading this believe the love of christ exists when your so caught up in ripping eachother apart? Take care of what you see in the mirror and let god take care of everything else!

  14. J. Paul Hornick
    April 10, 2010 at 8:52 pm


    Your comment needs a little attention, as it seems you are the set-on-unity type, regardless of whether or not one believes in falsehood. Jack Hyles has been a boil on the neck of Baptists especially, and to all who take the name Christian as well, for a long time, and through his school, he has spread his pernicious beliefs and practices literally around the world. As such, he was a man who taught dangerous heresies, and winked at sin. Because of this, he would be considered at best to be unruly – Paul says we are to warn the unruly. At worst, he was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, arising with the intent of destroying the flock. Paul warned of these that their mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things they ought not for filthy lucre’s sake (Titus 1:11). One of Hyles statements is “If you are not tithing, shut your mouth about adultery.” This is dangerous as it is truly a Cicero-style attack with a motive thin enough to breath through. Cicero, if you did not know it, said, “When you have no case, attack the plaintiff.” How would one shut the mouth of Jack Hyles, who taught things for filthy lucre’s sake? By stopping the ears of those who would hear him. If one is ignorant of the wrongdoing that he did, or allowed to happen and did not condemn, he may very well follow his advice and imitate his practices. What was his most pernicious practice? Possibly his use of gimmicks and entertainment to attract people to his services and retain their attention. Some people have said that we cannot build a ministry, particularly among young people, without some form of entertainment involved – I submit that they are grievously and dangerously mistaken. Having grown up for a few years in a church that did this, I can tell you some of the results – the youth group at that church existed almost entirely to be entertained. Things went from being (seemingly) harmless to much worse. Not one of the youth in that church (I thank God frequently that my family left it) are today living for God. Some have become mothers before becoming wives, others are into drugs, smoking, drinking, and have little vocabulary without fluent cursing. Where did it begin, but with using “harmless” entertainment to attract them to their churches and to retain their attention. Hyles did this – you can read it for yourself in his own words in a book that he wrote that included how to start a bus ministry (I forget the title, having seen it only once).

  1. No trackbacks yet.
Comments are closed.
%d bloggers like this: