Table of Contents
Chapter 4 - The Hyles Response
First Baptist Church of Hammond in Indiana
A Personal Word From Brother Hyles
As you perhaps know, I am not speaking at the National Sword of the Lord
Convention at Bob Jones University. I want my friends to know that this
was my decision and not the decision of my good friend, Dr. Curtis Hutson.
Through the years and especially now, Dr. Hutson has been a real true
friend to me, and I am his friend in the strictest sense of the word.
Dr. Hutson wanted me to speak. I only canceled because I did not want
my presence to be harmful to the Convention, neither do I want my Absence
to be harmful to Dr. Hutson or to the Sword of the Lord. Please be assured
that my absence from the program was not of Dr. Hutson’s choosing
but of mine. I have nothing but the highest regards for my beloved brother,
Dr. Curtis Hutson.
Five Twenty-Three Sibley Street
P.O. Box 6448 Zip Code 46325
Dr. Jack Hyles Answers Robert Sumner's Accusations
in The Biblical Evangelist
PREFACE TO THE ARTICLE
I am an amateur at this. I have for years had a policy of "no attack,
no defense." I have avoided the practice of letter-writing and
letter-printing. I have tried to love those who hate me and to bless
those who curse me. I have until now resisted the temptation to answer
my critics, so I am an amateur. My accusers are not. I can only do my
best to defend what I KNOW to be the truth.
I have no animosity toward anyone; I simply have come to the place I
MUST defend the integrity of my wife, my staff, my church, my college,
Basically what you are about to read is a defense of those dearest to
me and of myself--against false charges. I am financially honest, doctrinally
sound, and HAVE HAD ONLY ONE WOMAN IN MY LIFE, THE MOTHER OF MY CHILDREN.
(For years I have not answered my critics. That makes this very hard
to do, and I certainly do not enjoy it. To the best of my God-given
ability, I am replying as a Christian gentleman.)
In January of 1981, shortly after the death of Dr. John R. Rice, trouble
began brewing at the Sword of the Lord Foundation in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
This trouble did not surface until February 1, 1982, when a letter of
ultimatum was placed on the desk of Dr. Curtis Hutson, Editor of The
Sword of the Lord, and the chosen successor of Dr. John R. Rice. There
was open opposition to the leadership of Dr. Hutson. Not long after
this letter of ultimatum, Dr. Hutson called me and told me of the problem
and the battle against him in which Dr. Robert Sumner, an employee of
The Sword of the Lord, was an active participant.
A meeting of the governing board of The Sword the Lord was called. At
the board meeting I vigorously stated my loyalty to Dr. Hutson, for
several reasons. First, Dr. Rice chose him to be Editor of The Sword
of the Lord. Second, I believed, and still believe, that he was God's
choice; and third, I am Dr. Hutson's friend. The majority of the board
voted for Dr. Hutson. The minority of those who would not be loyal included
Dr. Robert Sumner.
Not knowing any details about Dr. Sumner’s financial condition
and not wanting him to have financial problems, I immediately went home
and asked my board to include Dr. Sumner in our budget for $200 a month.
I thought Dr. Sumner was wrong in opposing Dr. Hutson (I still think
so). However, since I stood in Dr. Hutson’s defense, I felt impressed
to make a monthly financial contribution to Dr. Sumner.
This same Robert Sumner published a vicious attack on me, my wife, my
family, First Baptist Church of Hammond, and Hyles-Anderson College
in his Biblical Evangelist dated May 1, 1989. This article is in answer
to Mr. Sumner's accusations and vicious attack. I sincerely plead with
the readers to read my defense in its entirety.
Much of the information collected by Mr. Sumner came from Mr. Vic Nischik,
whose wife has faithfully served on the staff of the First Baptist Church
for approximately a quarter of a century. Mr. Nischik wrongly attributes
to me his marital problems and his divorce. Mr. Sumner, in his attack
on my morals, basically quotes from Mr. Nischik and from those few disgruntled
church members and former church members whom he has influenced. I will
point out the mistakes, untruths, innuendoes, and distortions of Mr.
Nischik's charges used by Mr. Sumner.
1. The condominium. On page 17 of the May 1, 1989, edition of The Biblical
Evangelist, column 5, last paragraph Mr. Sumner says, "Jennie moved
into a brand new beautiful condominium paid for in cash to the tune
of $150,000." This One Little Statement Is Packed And Filled With
Untruths. Untruth #1 is that Mrs. Nischik's condominium was new. It
was not new. Untruth #2 is that it was not paid for in cash. Mrs. Nischik
took her part of the profits made on the sale of their house and used
it as a down payment for the condominium. She then secured a loan from
the American Savings and Loan in Munster, Indiana, for the balance,
and has been making monthly payments since. Untruth #3 is that the condominium
cost $150,000. It did not. The price for the condominium was $67,900.
Untruth #4 is the innuendo that I had anything whatsoever to do with
the purchase of the condominium. I DID NOT.
Pictured on page 2 is a copy of the settlement statement for the purchase
of the condominium. Notice line 101: Contract Sales Price--$67,900.00
and a copy of the mortgage note stating that $26,000 was borrowed.
Mr. Sumner told an untruth when he said that it was new, when he said
it was paid for in cash, when he said that it cost $150,000, and when
he implied that I had something to do with its purchase. I HAVE HAD
ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THE CHOOSING, THE PURCHASING, OR THE PAYING
FOR OF THE CONDOMINIUM FOR MRS. NISCHICK.
I have, however, on occasion, helped other people in the purchasing
of houses and condominiums. One of our staff ladies has multiple sclerosis.
Her name is Pat Cunningham. She shared an apartment with one of our
Christian school teachers whose name is Jewel Belson. I purchased a
mobile home and gave it to these two ladies.
Mr. and Mrs. Joe Hackett teach in our school system. I paid the down
payment for a brand new condominium for them.
My secretary, Mrs. Erma McKinney, and her husband were living in an
apartment. I wanted to help them get a place of their own. I gave them
$20,000 as a down payment for a brand new condominium.
Phil and Gail Merhalski are two of our fine members. Gail is on our
staff. I helped them in the down payment of a home.
We have on our staff a lady named Reva Conger. Years ago she became
a widow. She had to rear her children alone and had no adequate place
to live. I purchased a house in my own name. I am making payments on
that house of $441.61 a month. I have been offered $600 a month for
rent. I have rented it now for many years to Mrs. Conger for $200 a
Mr. and Mrs. Bob Shofroth are members of our church. Mrs. Shofroth is
a secretary at our grade school, and Mr. Shofroth is a deacon on our
deacon board. I gave them $4200 to help them with a down payment on
a new house.
Mr. Ed Wolber is a deacon in our church. He had some financial difficulties
and was about to lose his house. I gave him $5000 so he could keep his
Eddie Lapina is on our staff. I helped him in the purchase a house.
Dr. Dan Musser is a faithful member of our church. I helped him and
his wife in the purchase of a house.
Earlyne Stephens (my sister) is in charge of the bookkeeping department
at Hyles-Anderson College. I paid the down payment for her so she could
purchase a condominium.
John and Elaine Colsten have been on my staff for many years. They needed
to do some remodeling work at their house. I gave them several thousand
dollars for this work.
My salary at First Baptist Church is $18,308. 1 live very frugally.
I have no wants that would necessitate the expenditure of money. Consequently,
most of the love offerings that I receive for speaking around the country
are given away. Recently, while in Rapid City, South Dakota, I told
the pastor to give my love offering to the missionary who spoke with
me. The same was true last fall at Maranatha Baptist Bible College.
While in Canoga Park, California, last year, I gave my love offering
to the evangelist with whom I shared the pulpit. I make no claims of
being an unselfish man. Everyone likes to spend his money for that which
he enjoys. That is exactly what I do. It may be that my motives are
quite selfish. I like the feeling I get when those whom I love are happy
and pleased. It would certainly be in keeping with my practice had I
given Mrs. Nischik some help on her condominium, BUT THE FACT REMAINS,
I DID NOT.
Mr. Gary Sumner, a teacher at our Hammond Baptist Grade School, and
his wife, who has for a number of years been employed at Hammond Baptist
Junior High School, received my help with the down payment for a house.
How could a man who tells four untruths in sixteen words and one number
be trusted in the rest of his article? This is just an example of Mr.
Nischik's and Mr. Sumner's untruths and distortions.
2. Staff cars. I am accused of buying Mrs. Nischik a car. Yes, one of
the benefits of Mrs. Nischik's job is a car. The same is true for my
secretary Erma McKinney, for whom I purchase a new car every two years.
Maxine Jeffries likewise receives a new car on a regular basis. These
three ladies are the full-time lady staff members with the most seniority
on our staff.
Sandy Shelhart is one of our single staff ladies. I bought a car for
her. Adrienne Hilliard is one of our staff ladies who is rearing her
children alone. I bought a car for her.
I gave a $13,000 leisure van to the Judson Mitchell family. Mr. Mitchell
teaches at our college, and the family has endured an unbelievable amount
of sorrow and trouble.
Stan Harris is a teacher at our college. I have made the payments for
his last two cars.
I purchased a car for singer Bill Harvey several years ago.
I purchased a car for the late Pastor Bob Keyes after he had had a serious
I have purchased two cars for Pastor Owen Miller, my predecessor at
First Baptist Church. In fact, I am making payments on one of his cars
So Mrs. Nischik has not been singled out. The interesting thing is that
when time came for her to receive a car as a benefit, I went to Mr.
Nischik and asked for his approval. He enthusiastically agreed and even
helped pick out the first car.
3. Gifts to staff members and friends. As was mentioned before, I give
away most of the money given me as love offerings for my speaking engagements.
When people give me sums of money, I give away most of that also. I
am not a wealthy man. I could have been, but I have chosen not to be.
Gifts that are given to me I share with others, especially those who
work with me. If any of them, including Mrs. Nischik, has a need that
I feel I can supply, I do so. MONEY HAS NEVER BEEN GIVEN TO ANYONE IMPROPERLY
OR WITH OTHER THAN PURE CHRISTIAN MOTIVES.
A young lady who grew up in our church whose name is Kim Jarrell was
having some unbelievable financial difficulties. She and her husband
were going through the valley. I gave her $1,700 to get her out of her
Mrs. Fay Dodson who is in charge of our Phoster Club, came to me telling
me that the Phoster Club was in serious financial condition. I borrowed
$5,000 to get her out of her bind.
Mr. Bruce Johnson was at one time a member of our church. He was about
to lose his home. I gave him some money and other help to avoid foreclosure.
Mr. Ken Smith is a crippled man on the staff at Hyles-Anderson College.
I financed, on several occasions, trips to Mayo Clinic for Mr. Smith.
Mr. Mike Huetten is a member of our church. He was in financial straights.
I gave him $1000.
Duke Morales is on the staff at Hyles-Anderson College, as are Kris
Grafton and Glenn Gipson. These dear friends have been at various times
in financial need. When that need arose I helped them financially. I
have also helped Bill Grady and Dan Wolfe, both of whom are on the staff
at Hyles-Anderson College.
I was in Salisbury, Maryland, with Pastor Hamilton. His wife had a serious
problem with her teeth. I sent her $1,750 to have them fixed.
I have given sizable gifts to different members of my staff from time
to time. Some of these are Pam Rhodes (now Mrs. C. W. Fisk), Karen Plopper,
Jewel Belson, Roy Moffitt, Elaine Colsten, Jeff Owens, and others. Yes,
from time to time each of my staff members has a need. If I am able
at the time to fill that need, I do.
Then there are many lay people in the church whom I have helped financially
through the years: People such as Becky Sprunger Towne, Mrs. Carol Cottone,
Mrs. Laura Stemberg, Patty Thrailkill, Sandy Poole, Mary Joyce Johnson,
Steve McCracken, Gary Rice, Harriet Goodlow, Sharon Blythe Lewis, Mrs.
Joyce Santaguida, Rick Lansbury, and many others.
On a recent Sunday evening, in order to prove my point, I had all the
people whom I have helped financially to stand. There were several hundreds
of them; in fact, it looked like 25% of the crowd.
I realize that I am making myself vulnerable to the accusation of boasting.
Of course, this is not true. All of this has been kept secret until
I felt it was needed for the defense against the insidious accusations
that have been hurled against me. By the way, I would rather be accused
of being boastful of generosity than to be accused of immorality.
I hold in my hand a copy of a letter from Mr. Nischik to Mr. Sumner.
Most, if not all, of Mr. Sumner's personal accusations against me come
from Mr. Nischik's letter or from his conversations with Mr. Sumner,
or from a few people who are quoted over and over again in Mr. Sumner's
article, making it sound like he is quoting a great host of people.
WHO IS VIC NISCHIK?
If you choose to believe Vic Nischik and not believe Jack Hyles, you
should at least kn6w whom you are believing.
First, Mr. Nischik's wife initially wanted to divorce him because HE
ASKED ONE OF HIS FEMALE EMPLOYEES TO RUN OFF WITH HIM. This fine young
lady terminated her employment with Mr. Nischik. Because of this set
of circumstances Mrs. Nischik was led to desire to seek a divorce. This
divorce, in my opinion, was only prevented because of my intervention.
By the way, the young lady whom Mr. Nischik asked to run off with him
still resides in the Calumet Region, and this accusation can be proved.
At a later date, I called long distance from Canada to my office. Mrs.
Nischik had asked the switchboard operator to put her name on the list
of those to whom I would talk when I called in. She told me that the
night before, late at night, she had found Mr. Nischik in his pajamas
in a bedroom with a beautiful young lady. Again Mrs. Nischik wanted
a divorce. Again I pleaded with her for the sake of their children not
to seek a divorce.
I hold in my hand a letter from a lady who worked for Mr. Nischik in
the summers of 1968, 1969, and 1970—in 1968 and 1969 at a Chevrolet
dealership in Gary, Indiana, and in 1970 at a Ford dealership in Highland,
Indiana. Following is that letter:
"Dear Brother Hyles: I worked for Mr. Vic Nischik during the summers
of '68, '69, and '70: In '68 and '69 at a Chevrolet dealership in Gary,
Indiana, and in'70 at a Ford dealership in Highland,Indiana.
In the summer of 1968, Mr. Nischik's personal secretary went on a maternity
leave. The salesmen – the 'hotshots' and the straightforward,
stable family men alike – made comments about 'Victor's behavior.'
They speculated about whose baby that was. I overheard one comment to
another that he wondered if the secretary's husband knew that that was
really 'Victor's baby.'
"During both of the summers of '68 and '69, in addition to my regular
duties as the relief secretary whenever a secretary was on vacation,
I did some extra work that required that I work late many evenings until
the dealership closed at 9:00 p.m. Any evening that I worked late, one
salesman – one whose personality, demeanor, etc., was like my
father's; a man who was probably ten years my father's senior, a man
who had been married to only one woman, who by that time had grown children;
a man who had a reputation for being honest; a man who was not the 'typical
hotshot' salesman – always came upstairs into the IBM machine
room where I was working, he said, 'Just to check on me.' He told me
to be sure that I was never alone with Mr. Nischik. The two or three
times that Mr. Nischik did come back during the evening hours to check
on things, this salesman always followed him up the stairs and stood
in the hallway just outside the open office door. (Now at this time,
as a 17- and 18-year-old girl, I was too naive to have thought Mr. Nischik
would have tried anything. I did understand the importance of avoiding
all appearance of evil, I knew it was not wise to be in a room alone
with a man, so I accepted this salesman's fatherly protection without
question. I did, however, notice the serious look of concern on his
face any time Mr. Nischik did come in the evening; the salesman's concern
and tight-lipped expression never led me to question the goings-on.)
"In the summer of '70 1 did not work at the dealership where Mr.
Nischik worked, though I worked for him. At that time, his IBM machine
office was doing the books for a number of other dealerships, including
the Ford dealership in Highland. In that dealership, the rumor flew
that Mr. Nischik 'had a thing' for the female office manager. (This
gal, during the following school year, did break up the home of the
parts department manager; they ran off together.) At the Ford dealership
in Highland, Indiana, the owner and his son-in-law, who was the general
manager, again looked out for me and the rest of the office girls. Here
I never worked late. I did work on Saturdays and was the only girl in
the office then. Mr. Nishik never came on Saturdays, but I was told
by the owner and son-in-law to be sure and let them know if Mr. Nischik
ever did come around on Saturdays. Anytime Mr. Nischik came into the
office during the work week, again all the salesmen – what I would
call the good ones and the loose ones – had comments to make about
both Mr. Nischik's carryings on with the opposite sex.
"The next two summers I spent in Germany. I talked with one of
his former female employees, asking how things were going. She said
I was lucky I had not been in the Gary office during the past summers.
She said that things were bad, that Mr. Nischik's reputation was worse,
and that he had asked her if she would run away with him. (I'm sorry
I don't remember the conversation word-for-word – this is an abbreviated,
right-to-the-conclusion recounting of our conversation.) I was stunned
and didn't want to believe it and was glad I was out of the picture
and tried to avoid the talk.
"Then, when I taught at Hammond Baptist High School during the
school year of '75 and '76, talk was flying that a girl from Hammond
Baptist High School was sleeping with Mr. Nischik. I thought that it
was malicious gossip and ignored it. After the girl graduated I overheard
her telling someone that she and Mr. Nischik have been sleeping together,
that she had been in the Nischiks' house many times (this conversation
was overheard at the church.) During this same period this girl and
Mr. Nischik were together before and after the services; I saw them
flirting with each other – they were both clearly enjoying it.”
The above letter was written by one of the most trusted and respected
ladies in First Baptist Church of Hammond – Mrs. Gail Merhalski.
I am reading from a letter written me by a lady who at one time was
a babysitter for the Nischiks. I am quoting. “As you know, I used
to be their babysitter for years. It was the setup that Vic picked up
the sitters and took them home afterwards. I can attest to the fact
that Vic was a flirt with the teenage girls. He made me feel uncomfortable
many times. I watched him time and time again as he did to others also.
The only person I ever told this to was Darlene Fisk. I asked her advice
and she suggested that I stop sitting for them which I did."
On May 19,1980, I was interviewed for nearly three hours by reporters
from THE TIMES. One of the questions that they asked me was if I had
become aware that some people were calling Mr. Nischik a homosexual.
I replied that I had become aware of the fact. They asked me if I believed
it. I told them that I did not know, but I thought it was very interesting
that they asked me that question. I am not making an accusation because
I refuse to use the tactics of my accusers.
In my opinion, Mr. Nischik has practically no credibility at the First
Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana.
Mr. Nischik told me himself that at one place where he worked (an automobile
agency in Chicago), they locked him out of his office when he arrived
one morning. He was fired and could not even go back to his office.
The next automobile agency where he worked hired someone else to take
his job and moved Mr. Nischik to another job. These words also came
from Mr. Nischik's lips.
I can take you to a man in our area who testifies that Mr. Nischik had
an affair with his wife and broke up his marriage.
When a preacher's reputation is attacked and he is slandered, certainly
the credibility of that preacher and the credibility of his accuser
should be seriously considered.
Let me give you some examples of untruths and distortions and innuendoes
in Mr. Sumner s article as he relays information he got from the aforementioned
Mr. Nischik and a few others, such as Mr. George Godfrey.
On page 16 of The Biblical Evangelist, column 4, paragraph 1, Mr. Sumner
says that the Nischiks were “happy as a family.” This in
not true. The Nischiks had marital problems nearly from their wedding
day. Shortly after their marriage, Mrs. Nischik came to me telling me
of the intolerable circumstances under which she was living and of unbelievable
treatment that she was receiving from Vic and from his parents. I believe
that basically it was only because of my pleadings that she stayed with
On one occasion Mr. Nischik came to me in a frantic state. I counseled
with him, helped him and, in my opinion, saved the marriage from divorce.
The same column, Mr. Sumner says that Dr. Hyles came to Vic and said,
"I need your wife in my office." THIS IS UNTRUE. I did employ
Mrs. Nischik on our church staff (to this day she is one of the most
respected members of our staff), BUT I DID NOT TELL MR. NISCHIK, "I
NEED YOUR WIFE IN MY OFFICE."
The same column says, "A little time went by and the Nischiks began
experiencing marital problems." THIS IS NOT TRUE. The Nischiks
had marital problems from day one.
In the same column Mr. Nischik mentions my being called to their house
while they were having marital problems. This call was for one reason
and one reason only. Mr. Nischik had asked a woman to run off with him,
as was mentioned earlier. Mrs. Nischik wanted him to leave and she wanted
a divorce. Mr. Nischik statement that he wanted to keep his home together
for the children’s sake and because he loved his wife is ridiculous.
Likewise is the statement concerning my offering him financial help
to relocate elsewhere. The truth is he wanted to leave his wife. If
he didn’t, why would he ask a lady to run off with him?
Mr. Nischik talked about evidence. He had none then and he has none
Mr. Nischik accused me of working out the arrangement under which he
has lived ever since. This is untrue. I HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH SUCH
AN ARRANGEMENT, and I know for a fact that when Mrs. Nischik asked Mr.
Nischik to help pay the tuition for the children, he refused to do so.
On page 16, column 5, about the middle of the column, Mr. Sumner says,
"Hyles ordered Jennie to file for divorce." This is a blatant,
malicious, scandalous untruth. Mrs. Nischik was fed up. She had had
all she could take. Because of this she did not even come to me for
advice concerning her divorce. She knew that I would try to talk her
out of it. I HAVE NEVER IN 42 YEARS OF PASTORING RECOMMENDED OR APPROVED
OF DIVORCE, NOR HAVE I EVER ADVISED ANYONE TO GET A DIVORCE.
The only involvement I had with the divorce was that Mr. Nischik and
his attorney subpoenaed me. I had to get involved because of the subpoena.
Mr. Sumner says in the same paragraph, "When Hyles realized that
Nischik planned to put him on the witness stand in open court, the former
met with the attorneys on both sides and unilaterally negotiated the
terms of the divorce settlement." THIS IS UNTRUE. It was Mr. Nischik
who said at the deposition that he wanted if possible to avoid a court
case. It was Mr. Nischik's attorney who asked to meet with me privately
I wanted no involvement; I sought no involvement, but I was forced by
On page 17 of The Biblical Evangelist of May 1, 1989, at the bottom
of column 5, there is reference to the house the Nischiks built in 1968.
Mr. Nischik came to me when the building was planned and told me that
he knew little or nothing about building. He knew that I did and asked
me if I would do him a favor and keep my eye on the building, which
On page 18, paragraph 1, column 5, Mr. Sumner says the rent was set
by Hyles. THIS IS AN UNTRUTH.
On page 18, column 5, in the middle of the column, Mr. Sumner says,
"There is no record kept of the monies." THIS IS NOT TRUE.
I keep an accurate record of all of my come from every source. Of course,
this is necessary for tax records. I have often wondered if Mr. Nischik
has kept a record of all the money I have given him.
Mr. Nischik did stand up at deacons meeting and try to spread his garbage.
At the bottom of page 18, column 5, he says, "Hyles shouted."
THIS IS NOT TRUE. He then said that I shouted, "You are trying
to destroy fundamentalism." THIS IS NOT TRUE. Mr. Nischik also
says that the first time he stood up at deacons meeting he was shouted
down and the second time they sat in stunned silence. THIS IS NOT TRUE.
The second time the deacons shouted Mr. Nischik down again.
On page 19, column 1, line 22, Mr. Sumner quotes Mr. Nischik as saying
about one-third of the deacon board has resigned over this issue. THIS
IS ABSURD. We have 99 men on our deacon board. They have stood behind
me through all of Mr. Nischik's tirades. There is not a church in America
that has a better deacon board than the First Baptist Church of Hammond,
and there is not a preacher in America who has had more loyalty from
their board through the years.
On page 19, column 1, paragraph 4, Mr. Sumner says that I have "thoroughly
indoctrinated his people with the idea, if you didn't see it didn't
happen." THIS IS AN UNTRUTH. I dare Mr. Sumner, and I dare Mr.
Nischik to prove that statement. It is typical of the reckless distortions
of the article. Let me tell you what I do say, which is the real statement
that has been distorted. I often say this: "I do not believe an
accusation against a brother or a sister unless I saw it happen or they
admitted it happened." I did not say it is not true. I said I do
not believe it. I have never told people to use that criterion for me;
I have simply made this statement that is my policy. I have always stood
with the preacher unless I knew for a fact he was wrong. I have always
stood for the accused unless I knew for a fact it was true. I have defended
my preacher brethren across this nation for 42 years.
In the same paragraph, I am quoted as follows, "If I walked in
a pastor's study and found him and some woman embracing and kissing
on the floor, I'd think he was giving her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation."
THAT IS AN UNTRUTH. That statement was made about my dear friend Lester
Roloff concerning a vicious attack on his morals that was made not long
before his death. This is a man in whom I believed without reservation
then and without reservation now. Two well-known preachers in America
told me in a motel room at the Dallas-Ft. Worth Airport Hotel a malicious
accusation against Brother Roloff. I told them they were not telling
the truth, the rumor was a falsehood, and I would not stay in the room
and listen to that kind of garbage. I have often made the statement
that I had enough confidence in Lester Roloff that if I found him kissing
a woman, I would think he was giving her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
The statement that is attributed to me in this paragraph is, in my opinion,
a vicious distortion. I resent their trying to take my support of Brother
Roloff and making it something other than what I said.
On page 19, column 2, nearly halfway down, Mr. Sumner says that Mrs.
Nischik and I would follow each other home from church. THIS IS UNTRUE.
After every service I stay at the church for counseling for an average
of an hour or more. On Sunday morning, I stay in my office to counsel
with lay people in the church who need my help or advice. On Sunday
night, I counsel with college men, and on Wednesday night I counsel
with college ladies. The truth is that Mrs. Nischik is one of the most
discreet, proper women I have ever known. There is no access between
our offices, and she does not even come into my office to ask me a question.
NOTHING IMPROPER HAS EVER HAPPENED BETWEEN US.
On page 19, column 3, just above the middle of the column, a statement
is made by Mr. Sumner: "One long-time member estimates that perhaps
40% of his teaching and preaching has been in defense of himself."
To read Mr. Sumner you would think that if ONE MEMBER says something
it must be true. Why not check with the people who get my tapes every
week all over America. Ask them. This is just another example of accepting
something as fact because one person says it. Why not ask the people
who have been in the pews through these years about my preaching. Why
not ask the thousands of people who are happy members of First Baptist
Church of Hammond and not one or two disgruntleds.
Mr. Nischik mentions some intimate letters that I had written. Produce
them, Mr. Nischik. THIS IS AN UNTRUTH AND HE KNOWS IT.
On page 19, column 4, under number 3, Mr. Sumner says, "Hyles told
Vic that he could have Beverly (Mrs. Hyles) with the same relationship
Hyles enjoyed with Jennie." It is hard to believe that even the
most vicious man could make such a statement. Every time I read it or
even think about it, I find myself wanting to see blood. This is the
most vicious, corrupt, scandalous, malicious untruth I have ever read
in my life. In the first place, Mrs. Hyles is a decent woman. She is
a moral woman, and as I am dictating this answer at this moment, my
lips are quivering, my fist is clenched, my face is burning, and justifiable
anger fills my soul. Mrs. Hyles is one of the most proper, respected
and loved ladies in America. She has been the model pastor's wife for
women all across the country. She and I have not had a cross word or
spoken an unkind word to each other in years. She teaches a course at
Hyles-Anderson College on "The Pastor's Wife." In all of my
ministry she has never received, to my knowledge, one word of criticism
about her demeanor. She is a lovely Christian lady and has been faithful
and loyal to me all through these years, and I cannot, and I will not
let her go undefended. When you attack her, you attack me. As Christians,
they need to apologize to my wife.
In the middle of column 4, page 19, Mr. Sumner says, "One lady
who was long a leader in the Sunday school and held other important
positions in the church told me of being in his office when he revealed
some 'inside information,' then warned her about ever revealing what
he had said. Peering over the coffee table he threatened, 'If you ever
say this, I'll deny it, and it will be your word against mine.'"
This is a distortion of a statement that I often make in a joking manner.
I make it concerning my weight, my age, and other matters, but it is
never made in the context that Mr. Sumner's words make it appear to
At the bottom of that same column Mr. Sumner says, "One man, long
on the faculty at the college and who knew them well on a first- name
basis, told me…." NOBODY AT THE COLLEGE KNOWS ME ON A FIRST-NAME
BASIS BUT MY SISTER AND MY WIFE. Nobody who has ever been at the college
has known me on a first-name basis but my sister and my wife, who teaches
On page 19, column 5, paragraph 1, Mr. Sumner says, "Mrs. Hyles
did not get to attend Dr. John R. Rice's funeral because her husband
would not permit her to travel with him to Tennessee." THIS IS
AN UNTRUTH. I was preaching on the West Coast. (I believe it was Santa
Maria, California.) I had to fly from Santa Maria to Los Angeles to
Nashville through the night to get to Dr. Rice's funeral.
In point #5, column 5, page 19, Mr. Sumner quotes me as calling my son
David, "the most brilliant, spiritual man he ever met." THIS
IS UNTRUE. I never called David the most spiritual man I ever met. I
have often said that he has one of the most brilliant minds I have ever
known, and he does, in my opinion, have an amazing mind.
On page 20, column 2, number 7, Mr. Sumner mentions that I refused to
intervene when Karen Plopper divorced her husband. THIS IS NOT TRUE.
I counseled with Mrs. Plopper and her husband and pleaded with her not
to get a divorce.
Mr. Sumner in the same paragraph mentions the possibility that Roy Moffitt
pushed his daughter into a marriage she did not want. THIS IS NOT TRUE.
I counseled with the entire family at this time, and Roy did no such
On page 20, column 3, number 8, Mr. Sumner says concerning Fay Dodson,
"She divorced her first husband and shortly thereafter was given
the job of starting and directing the Phoster Club."Mrs. Dodson's
husband left her for another woman.
On page 20, column 3, near the middle of the column, Mr. Sumner says,
"At any rate, we think the First Baptist deacon was right when
he said, 'Divorce at the church and school have reached epidemic proportions.'"
Following are the exact figures concerning this so-called epidemic.
There are 556 people employed by the First Baptist Church and its ministries.
There are 26 who are divorced. This doesn't seem like much of an epidemic,
does it? And, by the way, practically all of these who are divorced
were forsaken by their mates for another person.
On page 20, column 3, number 11, Mr. Sumner says sex problems are treated
lightly. THIS IS AN UNTRUTH. He then says, "One teacher discovered
that a student was a homosexual, reported it to the school authorities,
was told, 'We'll take care of it,' but nothing was done, and the homosexual
is now a graduate of Hyles-Anderson College.” You see, the difference
between Mr. Sumner and Hyles-Anderson College is that if one person
says something, we don't take it as being true. It's amazing how many
times in his blasphemous article he says, "One person said,"
"a former member said," "a deacon said," "an
ex-deacon said," "an ex-faculty member said." We do not
believe that accusation proves guilt. The truth is that any employee
of the church or any church ministry, including all the schools, and
any student in any of the schools whom we know to have committed adultery
are immediately dismissed. Any of these people who even admitted to
have homosexual desires had been immediately dismissed. However, we
have not disciplined people based upon hearsay when we have no proof.
Would God Mr. Sumner would use the same justice. In the aforementioned
case, detailed investigation was made and nothing could be proved, but
Mr. Sumner says, "the homosexual is now a graduate of Hyles-Anderson
College," which mean, he calls someone a homosexual because one
teacher said so. This is proof by accusation which is wicked.
In the following paragraph Mr. Sumner says, "Some years back two
deacons discovered a secret room in the basement of the rescue mission
– mirrors on the walls and ceiling – that served as a place
for homosexual encounters. Hyles was told but did nothing." THIS
IS A BLATANT, BLASPHEMOUS UNTRUTH. The first I heard about this was
when I read it in Mr. Sumner's article. He then says, "He was also
told several times that his mission director, now deceased, was a womanizer
and viewer of X-rated videos, especially ones dealing with incest. He
refused to do anything about it." THIS IS AN UNTRUTH. I have investigated
it and found it untrue.
"A high school faculty member was caught by another faculty member
having sex with a teenager on school property. Hyles was informed but
refused to deal with it." THIS IS AN UNTRUTH. I know of no such
case. It has never been reported to me. And how does Mr. Sumner know
it is true? Because somebody told him. Mr. Sumner also says that he
is aware of two other college faculty members guilty of adultery. It's
amazing how he states things as fact when "one person told me,"
"a deacon told me," "a former deacon told me." I
cannot prove his statement true or untrue. By the way, neither can he,
but I am not aware of it and never have been. IF IT COULD BE PROVED
THAT ANY OF OUR COLLEGE FACULTY MEMBERS ARE GUILTY OF ADULTERY, THEY
WOULD BE DISMISSED IMMEDIATELY. THE SAME IS TRUE WITH ANY STUDENT.
On page 20, column 4, number 13, Mr. Sumner says, "One of the men
on the staff at the college spoke at the high school chapel earlier
this year, supposedly warning young men about how girls entice boys,
but he used such suggestive obscene language in describing what the
girls did that one of the lady faculty members raise a ruckus. No one
else seemed to object." THIS IS AN UNTRUTH. I heard about the situation,
and I objected and corrected it immediately.
On page 20, column 5, Mr. Sumner puts a little song in his paper which
is supposedly sung to the tune of "Come and Dine." He attributes
the writing of this song to me. I had never heard the song until I saw
it in his paper.
Mr. Sumner in discussing my meeting with the girls at the college says,
"Hyles takes off his jacket and shows them his arms." THIS
IS NOT TRUE. The girls often shout, "Where’s the beef?"
So do the boys. So do the men at Pastors' School. So do people where
I travel around the country. I often kid about my biceps, and people
jokingly holler, "Where's the beef?" but I never take off
He is right about my giving an airline ticket to several girls. One
was a missionary's daughter whom we flew home for the holidays. Yes,
I did give a honeymoon to a young couple who were very poor. Yes, I
did give a wedding band to a young couple who could not afford one.
Yes, I did buy each girl a dress. On Easter Sunday morning, two or three
years ago I looked out and saw all of the First Baptist people with
their Easter outfits. You could spot the college girls. They were dressed
in the same clothes. Most of them could not afford Easter outfits, and
most of them had worked on bus routes that morning. They had gotten
wet in a shower, had been up since before dawn, and had gone to the
ghettos to get poor little boys and girls and poor people to bring them
to church, an I felt for them as I saw them compared to the ladies who
were wearing Easter Outfits. Because of this, I had a meeting with the
girls and told them that we were going to have an Easter Service the
next Wednesday on Chapel. I gave each girl a $20 bill and told them
of stores where they could buy dresses for $20. Then the next Wednesday
they were to wear their new dresses, and we going to have Easter on
Wednesday. We had Easter lilies on the platform, one of our faculty
members sang an Easter song, I brought an Easter message. After the
service we went to the dining hall for a turkey dinner and called it
out Easter dinner.
Then Mr. Sumner says, "If he has such a service for the boys, we
are not aware of it." I met with the boys twice a month. I met
with the girls five times during the entire school year, and the boys
have as much fun as the girls do. Of course, I do not give the boys
$20 to buy clothing because our boys are allowed to work off campus,
and our girls are not.
On page 21, column 2, number 3, Mr. Sumner says I pray to my mother,
and his innuendoes about my mother are as wicked and vile as a man can
get. Again he says, "As one of his members wrote." This follows
Mr. Sumner's logic that if one person says it, it must be true. The
truth is I loved my mother with all in heart. She sacrificed for me
and reared me in the most destitute of circumstances. Mr. Sumner is
an unfair man when he uses that kind of tactics. OF COURSE, I DO NOT
PRAY TO MY MOTHER. I go to her grave every week, and I say, "I
love you, Mother." Millions of people do the same thing. It is
not prayer. Of course, my mother can hear me cause she is one of the
witnesses in Heaven, but for him to say I pray to my mother is ridiculous.
By the way, this is just one of the quotes that he uses from Mr. Nischik's
slanderous letter, a copy of which I hold in my hand at this time. In
fact, many of the things that Mr. Sumner accepts as true, he has only
Mr. Nischik's letter or words.
In column 3 of page 21, a little below the center of the page, Mr. Sumner
says that I have jumped on the Ruckman bandwagon. THIS IS AN UNTRUTH.
I do not know Mr. Ruckman. I may have shaken his hand one time while
walking out of a church in Florida, but I am not sure. I would not know
him if I saw him on the street. I have never read one of his books.
I HAVE NEVER HEARD HIM PREACH AND I NEVER HEARD ONE OF HIS TAPES.
But I do plead guilty of believing that the King James Bible has been
preserved for us. I believe in original inspiration and divine preservation.
At the bottom of this same column in point number 6, Mr. Sumner says,
"In light of the previous item, not only does Hyles now say that
the King James version is the only inspired translation, he claims that
if your personal worker used any other English translation, you are
not saved: the genes were flawed." This is another quote from Mr.
Nischik's letter, and IT IS AN UNTRUTH.
On page 21, column 4, reference is made to one of my sermons. Of course,
as usual, he misquotes. For example, he says, "If you have enough
in reserve, God will forgive your sin and put you back in business."
I NEVER SAID THAT. THAT'S ANOTHER UNTRUTH. However, after I preached
this particular sermon in Colorado, I received a letter from Dr. Wayne
Van Gelderen telling me that he had received a tape and thought that
probably the sermon was a bit dangerous. I took his advice and wrote
him, telling him that I had decided not to preach the sermon any more
and thanked him for his gracious, kind approach. I received a letter
from Dr. Walt Handford and one from Dr. Ed Nelson voicing the same thing,
and I sent them a copy, as I recall, of the letter I sent to Dr. Van
Gelderen. At least know I expressed to them the same thing concerning
the decision I had made not to preach the sermon again.
The discussion that Mr. Sumner makes concerning my belief on the eternal
humanity of Christ should be addressed. I did not mean at all what Mr.
Sumner says that I meant, and according to his statements concerning
the definition of the word "humanity." I DO NOT BELIEVE IN
THE ETERNAL HUMANITY OF CHRIST. I simply meant that I believe that man
was made in the image of God and was meant to be like Christ. I did
not mean that Christ was like man, and though I do believe that Mr.
Sumner's attack was unnecessary, I also admit that I was not very articulate.
On page 21, column 5, number 9, Mr. Sumner says, "Hyles says sin
does not need to be repented, only forgotten." THIS IS AN UNTRUTH.
It is also another one of the quotes he makes from Mr.Nischik's letter.
Our altar is filled every Sunday night with people repenting of sin.
On page 21, column 5, number 10, Mr. Sumner gives one of his biggest
distortions when he says that in my preaching I used, by subliminal
suggestion, the language of prostitutes. BY GOD'S GRACE AND MY MOTHER'S
TRAINING, I AM A PURE MAN. I have always been a pure man. I don't even
know the language of prostitutes or the language of the streets. Mr.
Sumner also states that I was graphically going through every part of
a woman's anatomy while preaching on chapel. THIS IS AN UNTRUTH –
a dirty, filthy untruth. Mr. Sumner, produce the sermon. Produce the
statements. Produce the language of the streets and language of prostitutes.
By the way, this also comes from Mr. Nischik's letter on page 8. How
wicked can untruths become!
On page 21, column 5, number 13, Mr. Sumner says, "Hyles says that
adultery is not sin, just a mistake." THIS IS AN UNTRUTH. I think
that adultery is a sin, and I preach against sin as much as Mr. Sumner
does and probably more. Mr. Sumner goes on to say one of the evangelists
who counts First Baptist as his church home called all upset following
that remark. This evangelist, in my opinion, has little or no credibility
in our church and is not supported or approved or out as one of our
church evangelists and never has been.
On page 21, column 5, number 14, Mr. Sumner says, "Hyles preached
on Sunday night, January 17,1988, saying no sin disqualifies a man from
preaching." The idea of my message was and is that no matter what
a person has done in the past he can still win souls to Christ. The
word I used was the word "evangelize." I believe that anyone,
regardless of his past, can be a soul winner. An illustration of this
is the woman at the well of Sychar. I was not talking about pulpit preaching.
On page 21, column 5, number 15, Mr. Sumner says that on a Wednesday
night I made the statement, "All men are mental homosexuals."
I did not make that statement. THAT IS AN UNTRUTH. I do not believe
that all men are mental homosexuals.
On page 22, column 1, about two-thirds down the column, Mr. Sumner says
that the pastor should have veto power and that young people should
come to him for advice about marriage partners. This is right. I believe
that no young person should marry without the approval of his parents
and his pastor. I HAVE NEVER MARRIED A COUPLE IF THEIR PARENTS OPPOSED
THE MARRIAGE. The truth is that's one of the first two or three questions
I ask a couple when they come to me about getting married. I ask them,
"Do your parents approve?" Again, Mr. Sumner did not do his
On page 22, column 2, about a fourth of the way down, Mr. Sumner makes
an accusation that is almost laughable. He says, that I "carry
on a shouting match with my congregation." He says that I shout,
"Which is the greatest soul-winning church?" and the crowd
shouts, "First Baptist Church." I shout, "Who is the
best-known preacher that stands for soul winning?" and a loud chorus
responds, "Brother Hyles." I question, "What church stands
for separation?" and the answer is "First Baptist Church of
Hammond." Then I shout, "What preacher stands for standards?"
and the people scream back, "Brother Hyles." THIS IS AN UNTRUTH
– a dirty, blatant untruth. Bring forth the proof, Mr. Sumner.
Play me a tape. This has never been done in my ministry, and if it weren't
so blasphemous, it would be funny.
The same column, point 19, Mr. Sumner quotes me as saying I counseled
with 152 people that week. He implies that this is impossible. Again
he is wrong. I DID counsel with 152 people that week, and I counsel
with nearly that many every week. Some of this counselling lasts for
30 seconds, some lasts for an hour. I stand at my door on Sunday morning,
Sunday night, and Wednesday night and counsel with people who come by
for brief, short counselling needs. Then I give many hours a week to
counselling with my people in segments; that average about 15 minutes
each. The average week will have about 150 people walk inside my office
door to ask advice or seek counsel.
The same column under point 20, Mr. Sumner says that the only courses
offered at night school were like wood carving, crocheting etc. He goes
on to say that no Bible courses of any kind were being offered. I am
quoting from Dr. Jorgensen, the Vice-President of Hyles-Anderson College,
in charge of our curriculum: "BROTHER HYLES, THIS IS SIMPLY NOT
TRUE. We have always offered several courses in Bible every semester
we have our night school. I have copies of old schedules to prove this.
We did offer wood carving in the fall of 1986 as a ten-week practical
training class for church members who wanted to learn a hobby. That
same semester we offered four Bible courses in night school, namely,
Old Testament Survey; Acts and Paul's Shorter Epistles; Christ and the
Old Testament; and Bible Historical Books."
On page 22, column 3, at the bottom of the column, Mr. Sumner says,
"Once when a question of misappropriation of funds arose, Hyles
told his people, 'Even if I did, I don't have to give an account to
you."' THIS IS A BLATANT UNTRUTH. I never made such a statement
and never would, nor do I believe it.
On page 22, column 5, point 25, Mr. Sumner said that I said in a sermon
that if you drank milk and did not so in faith, it was sin; hence, not
drinking milk in faith would be as bad as committing murder or adultery.
I NEVER SAID THIS. I don't believe this. I DO believe that if you do
anything not in faith, it is sin (Romans 14:23). I do not believe that
drinking milk without faith is comparable to murder or adultery. I have
never implied this. I may have said that it is as surely a sin, but
not ever have I said it is as great a sin.
At the top of column 1 on page 23, paragraph 2, Mr. Sumner says, "Hyles
overlooks nearly every sin known to man, including divorce, adultery,
cursing, pornography etc. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY UNTRUE. ”My standards
are probably as strict as any man's in America. I preach against adultery,
unscriptural divorce, cursing pornography, rock music, dirty magazines,
X- rated movies, R-rated movies, all movies. I preach against soap operas,
prime-time television, hatred, jealousy, covetousness, lying, cheating,
stealing, and even misrepresenting truth in articles.
Mr. Sumner, in the middle of column 1, page 23, states that the world's
standard of the key to success is attitude and fits beautifully with
Hyles-ology philosophy. The truth is that when I heard that certain
books like this were being taught at Hyles-Anderson College, I immediately
met with the leadership, and we took the books out of the college. Anybody
who has heard me preach around the country knows that I strongly condemn
this success-oriented philosophy of growth or prosperity at any cost.
On page 23, column 1, about three-fourths down, Mr. Sumner says, "One
former deacon, now a pastor, said when he attended staff meetings approximately
two-thirds were women, and the women were making major decisions."
THIS IS NOT TRUE. Deacons are not allowed to attend staff meetings.
It is true that we have many fine women on our staff. They do NOT make
the decisions, but we do seek their input before the decisions are made.
On page 23, column 4, second paragraph, Dr. Sumner quotes me as saying,
'Who better can tell boys and girls not to drink than those who've drunk.
Who better can warn boys and girls to be pure and clean than those who've
not been pure and clean." He totally misrepresents the purpose
of this message. Nobody preaches purity more than I do. By the way,
because of the grace of God and Mother's teaching, nobody practices
purity more than I do. I HAVE HAD ONE WOMAN IN MY LIFE, THE MOTHER OF
MY CHILDREN. He goes on to accuse that in sermon was the old argument
that one must go into sin in order to effectively reach those who have
fallen. This is NOT what I believe. I believe that a person should do
everything in his power to stay pure and clean. I do believe, however,
that if a person has been in deep sin and gets right with God, God can
still use him, and one of the effective things that he can do is to
warn others not to do what he did. It is simply another stick with which
to hit the Devil on the head. Again Mr. Sumner misrepresented the purpose
of a message.
In the last column of his article on page 23 at the top of the page,
Mr. Sumner made mention of a deacon showing up at deacons' meeting with
his Bible, and the other deacons laughed at him, one of them saying,
"What are you going to do, preach to us?" I was there when
this statement was made. It was the same kind of a statement that would
be made to a fellow who showed up with a black suit and a black tie
and a pair of black shoes and socks, and one of the fellows would say,
"Hey, you look like a reverend." It was done in friendly jesting
and, by the way it was only one deacon even as Mr. Sumner said. He then
gives an instance where the deacons are ready to pass a motion, another
deacon objected and said, "This is contrary to Scripture."
He goes on to say that they passed it anyway, and then he says, "with
an end-justifies-the-means attitude." THIS IS AN UNTRUTH. Our deacons
would never pass something that they thought was unscriptural. ONE MAN
thought it was unscriptural. The rest of t e deacons, after much discussion,
agreed it was Scriptural. This is a false accusation against the finest
deacon board in America.
James Wigton graduated from Ohio State University in 1976. He is the
former editor of the Ohio State daily newspaper, The Ohio State Daily
Lantern. He is former editor of the weekly Londonville, Ohio, Times.
He is a former reporter for the St. Petersburg, Florida, Times, for
the Dayton, Ohio, Journal-Herald and for the Norfolk, Virginia, Virginian-Pilot.
He was a national award winner in college news writing. He was one of
four student members in America elected to the National Board of Directors
of the Sigma Delta Chi, the professional journalistic society Mr. Wigton
read Mr. Sumner's article and without solicitation voluntarily wrote
this article, as follows:
COMMENTS FROM A JOURNALIST by James Wigton
From a journalistic standpoint, the article in The Biblical Evangelist,
by Robert Sumner, alleging charges against Dr. Jack Hyles is filled
with a multitude of violations of the basic principles of investigative
As a former editor, I could not have published such a
poorly documented report. As a former reporter, I could not have turned
in to an editor such a poorly investigated report.
It is a serious matter to bring charges of a moral nature
against any preacher, much less a key leader in fundamentalism. As a
journalist, I am offended.
I will leave to others who are better able and more familiar
with the facts to defend Brother Hyles. But as a journalist, I wrote
down nearly 40 examples of violations of journalistic principles in
Dr. Sumner's article. Those examples boiled down into 11 categories:
1. Quoting Secondhand Sources: The Biblical Evangelist
article frequently quoted secondhand sources where firsthand documentation
would have been easily attainable. No competent journalist would quote
people who said they saw a legal deposition when the reporter could
look at the deposition himself. No competent investigative reporter
would quote people who said they saw what happened at Pastors' School
when the reporter could attend for himself and see firsthand.
If one-third of the deacon board has resigned over an
issue, that is a fact easily attainable through investigation –
not to be reported based on hearsay. If 40 percent of Dr. Hyles' preaching
is in defense of himself, that is a fact that can be verified by listening
to his tapes – not based on one listener's opinion.
2. Incomplete Investigation. The article was fraught
with incomplete research. If Dr. Hyles has admitted in a legal deposition
to giving special gifts, such as an automobile, to one member of his
staff, is she the only one? Or is this a common practice of his? An
investigative reporter would find out. If there were "intimate
letters," where are they? Let's see them. If those "intimate
letters!' expressed love and gratitude, was this romantic and improper
– or was it simply Christian love and gratitude expressed frequently
to many staff members?
Further research would also have established the well-publicized
fact that it was upon Mrs. Hyles' request that Dr. Hyles refrained from
referring to her much in public. Further research would have uncovered
that well-publicized origin of the college girls calling Dr. Hyles "Boopsie-Woopsie."
Further research would have established that Dr. Hyles meets more frequently
with the college men than with the college women.
Dr. Sumner, in regard to one sermon by Dr. Hyles, said,
"We don't know what he meant." Then, find out! Did Dr. Hyles
Counsel the 152 persons in one week which he claimed? Get the facts.
If he did, then published skepticism is totally unjustified.
3. Provable Charges. Dr. Sumner frequently published
in the article charges which were unproven and unprovable. Not only
is this a violation of Scripture (I Timothy 5:19), but it is journalistically
Victor Nischik unsubstantiated allegations were frequently
quoted as fact, without being attributed to him. His attorney, who obviously
is reflecting what Nischik told him, is likewise quoted. Sumner refers
to Dr. Hyles' "affair with his (Nischik's) wife" with absolutely
no prior documentation. Judy Nischik Johnson's fear that Dr. Hyles would
"snuff her out" is totally without justification. Journalistically
it is unsupported.
The alleged private conversations are yellow journalism
at its worst. There is insufficient evidence. A publication is liable
for what it publishes, even when quoting others. Truth is a total defense
in libel, but the truth must be provable. To prove that someone said
something is insufficient; the journalist must be able to prove the
truth of what that person said, or the publication is liable.
4. Libel. Although Dr. Sumner claims he is not accusing
Dr. Hyles of adultery “at this time," he clearly implies
it and publishes the alleged quote of Nischik charging Dr. Hyles with
adultery. This was reported to have happened at a deacons' meeting.
That is libelous. In Sumner's opening he tries to tie Dr. Hyles' situation
in with the published accounts regarding Jimmy Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart.
The one difference he ignores is that there is no proof, no evidence,
no confession of a woman in regard to Dr. Hyles. That is a glaring difference!
5. Lack of Attribution. Sumner frequently uses alleged
facts which are totally unattributed. Who says that the car lights were
flashed as signals? Who says Dr. Hyles' unilaterally negotiated the
divorce settlement for Nischiks? Who says that other deacons joined
Dr. Hyles in shouting down Nischik? Who says that Dr. Hyles conducts
shouting matches at First Baptist Church a la Jesse Jackson?
There is no documentation of these charges. They are
simply stated as fact by Sumner.
6. Out of Context. Sumner frequently quotes out of context.
He quotes the legal depositions out of context. He quotes Dr. Hyles'
sermons out of context. He alludes out of context to those few in Dr.
Hyles' vast ministry who have been divorced.
For example, Sumner lists a number of persons under Dr.
Hyles' ministry who have been divorced. But he does not give us the
number of undivorced on Dr. Hyles' staff of several hundred. The reader
in the average-sized Baptist church receives a totally false impression.
Several times Sumner failed to include the context of
humor in the description of events surrounding Dr. Hyles. For example,
any visitor to Pastors' School knows that the so-called "flexing
of his muscles" is in the context of comedy, not hero-worship.
Similarly the teasing with the other college girls is in the context
of comedy, not hero-worship.
7. Opinion as Proof. Dr. Sumner quotes opinion as if
it were proof. At the beginning of his charges and at the end he refers
to a letter from an individual woman to Dr. Hyles as if it were some
kind of proof. Many are the fundamental Pastors who could have received
such a letter from one disgruntled woman. Journalistically the letter
8. Improper Quoting. Sumner frequently quotes Dr. Hyles
authoritatively but secondhand, without proper documentation. If Dr.
Hyles said that fundamentalism would fall were he to fall, when did
he say it? Where did he say it? To whom did he say it?
9. Universal Statement. Dr. Sumner violates a tenet of
journalism by making a totally unjustified universal statement. He said
that regarding marriage "there are no standards" at First
Baptist Church and Hyles-Anderson College. The improper prejudice of
such a statement is obvious. Any standard at all – be it strong
or weak – makes Sumner's statement untrue.
10. Publishing Gossip. Dr. Sumner frequently quotes loose,
secondhand gossip, which no respectable publication would do. For example,
the reports on Brother Stancil were extremely unworthy of publication.
11. Irrelevance. Dr. Sumner included in the article a
number of totally irrelevant reports. The discussion of Moody Bible
Institute's divorce policy and how it applies to Victor Nischik, as
well as the alleged moral violations of other men whom Sumner wrote
about, have nothing to do with the charges against Dr. Hyles.
With my limited knowledge of the specifics, I myself
can disprove a number of Dr. Sumner's allegations. However, I have tried
here simply to show the total disregard for basic principles of investigative
journalism displayed by the article in The Biblical Evangelist.
End of Wigton's Comments
Mr. Sumner's article has attacked my wife, my family, my staff, my friends,
my college, my church and my integrity. He has done much damage that
can never be un-done. A shadow has been cast over my ministry that will
never be removed, and, yes, he has done an injustice to fundamentalism,
and all of this with a careless disregard of truth. As I sit here and
casually go back through the article, I see such statements as, "One
former deacon said." It is interesting how many things are presented
as fact following the word "one." In other words, for one
disgruntled person to say it means that it's true. How unfair! Why not
quote the thousands of happy people at First Baptist Church? Why not
quote the hundreds of people who work for us that are happy? Why not
quote the vast majority of our deacons who are loyal and faithful? Why
not quote Dr. Wendell Evans, Dr. Jim Jorgensen, Dr. Mark Rasmussen,
Dr. Ray Young, Dr. Johnny Colsten, Brother Keith McKinney, Brother Bill
Schutt, Dr. Elmer Fernandez, Dr. Roy Moffitt? Why not quote Jack Schaap,
Darrell Moore and thousands of happy people instead of a handful of
disgruntleds. What a tragedy to use such poor journalism in an attempt
to destroy a great church, a great college, a pure and sincere preacher
and an innocent woman.
But there is more to it than that. Mr. Sumner's brand of fundamentalism
and mine are not the same. Mr. Handford's brand of fundamentalism and
mine are not the same. The battle is also a philosophical one. Mr. Sumner's
associations and affiliations are not the same as mine. Moody Bible
Institute, the school where Mr. Nischik worked, has a philosophy that
is totally different from mine. Basically, one of the main battles is
old-fashioned, soul-winning, separatist, Hell-fire-and-brimstone Christianity
versus a new, watered-down fundamentalism which is not fundamentalism
at all. Be reminded that if this issue had never come up, I would not
have invited Dr. Sumner to preach for me and he would not have invited
me to preach for him. I am not saying that the philosophical battle
is the entire battle, but I am saying that I am not and never have been
in Mr. Sumner's camp. The only support I nave ever given him was $200
a month for a rather lengthy period of time in an effort to help him
live and meet expenses because he had resigned The Sword of the Lord
after my defense of Dr. Hutson.
Yes, there is at stake the future of a great church, the future of a
great school, the ministry of a sincere preacher, and the reputation
of a decent and pure woman, and YES, DR. SUMNER – AND YOU MAY
USE THIS AS YOU WILL – the future of old-fashioned fundamentalism
is also at stake.
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