Copyright © August, 2010
II. The Problem
III. The Reason for the Problem
Note (First Baptist of Hammond’s statement of doctrine of the church)
Book information (Information on books by Jerald Finney)
Note. (Some excerpts from church doctrine of First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana)
As any good fundamental Baptist knows, Jack Hyles was a great leader. Under his leadership from 1959-2001, the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana (which will be referred to as “First Baptist,” hereinafter), a fundamentalist Independent Baptist church in Hammond, Indiana which was founded in 1887, became one of the megachurches in the United States and during the 1970s had the highest Sunday school attendance of any church in the world. (Left-click: Wikipedia, “First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana”; “The History of the First Baptist Church of Hammond” for an brief audio presention).” First Baptist also operates Hyles-Anderson College,, and two K-12 schools, called City Baptist Schools (for children of the bus route of the church) and Hammond Baptist Schools (for children of the members of the church). Jack Schaap, Hyles’ son-in-law, succeeded as pastor after Hyles’ death in 2001 (Wikipedia).
Dr. Hyles was a great teacher and preacher. His teachings and ministry were set forth as examples to fundamental Baptists everywhere. He preached, he taught, he wrote books and articles that influenced untold numbers of people. He was loved by many, hated by some: being loved as well as hated and criticized comes with being a pastor, especially a pastor of his influence, leadership ability, and views (most of which the author would agree with, having served under some powerful Baptist preachers since his salvation in 1982).
The purpose of this article is not to criticize Dr. Hyles or any of his teachings other than the sermon referred to below. Rather, the purpose is to teach to those saved readers who have an ear to hear what the spirit is saying unto the churches the doctrine of the church and how that doctrine has been and continues to be violated by First Baptist and thousands upon thousands of other “Bible-believing” Baptist churches, not to speak of churches of other denominations, in America. Articles which will follow will show how Dr. Hyles, the great man of God that he was, violated a biblical principle regarding the church and how that error has now come home to roost, negatively affecting untold multitudes of people at First Baptist and worldwide.
Hyles’ preached the sermon, “The Treasure is in a Field” (Left-click to go directly to transcript of the sermon.). His text for the sermon was Matthew 13.36-44. Mr. Hyles stated, after giving his text and in the introduction to that sermon:
“I want you to listen to me very carefully. I’m going to tell you the main cause for divorce in our country. I’m going to tell you the main cause for church splits and church troubles in your country. I’m going to tell you the main cause for broken friendships in our country, in our church, in our land, and in your family. I’m going to tell you why sometimes even families have strained relationships. I want you to listen to me. I have no desire to preach a great sermon. I have a tremendous desire to help you. I know as I speak on the subject, ‘The Treasure is in a Field,’ that the treasure is in a field. I want to read for you my text verse. ‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure hid in a field:’ notice the word hid. You’ve got to find it. You’ve got to look for it, and then it’s in a field. You’ve got to go to a field and look for the treasure. “…in a field: the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.’ Now please, let me have your attention. I promise you, I can help your marriage. I can help your relationship with your friends, I speak this morning a very important message entitled, ‘The Treasure is in a Field.’” [Emphasis mine.]
Dr. Hyles then asserted that First Baptist church, spouses (both husbands and wives), friends, leaders, parents, and teachers are treasures; but all these treasures come with fields (sins, flaws, irritants). Finally, he concluded by preaching on the One who has no field, the Lord Jesus Christ.
First Baptist, according to Dr. Hyles’ sermon, was a “treasure.” He said that First Baptist was “the greatest soul winning church since Jerusalem,” and “the greatest soul winning church in the history of this world.” He pointed out that Hyles-Anderson College and its leaders—including President Wendell Evans; Vice President Jack Schaap, Executive Vice President Darrel Moore, and others—were treasures. He points out that all these treasures, including himself, have fields which are filled with sins, but that one should never leave a treasure because of sins.
II. The Problem
Dr. Hyles, as does any knowledgeable fundamental Bible-believing Christian, knew that divorce and church trouble were rampant when he preached his sermon “The Treasure is in a Field.” Things have only gotten worse and continue to get worse at an ever accelerated rate. The divorce rate of couples in American churches has skyrocketed and is now at 50% or more. At the same time, untold numbers of fundamental Baptist churches are betraying our Lord; abandoning the fundamental doctrines and teachings of the Word of God as well as the Word of God itself; turning to corrupted interpretations of the Bible instead of the tried and true translation; resorting to psychology and other humanistic and business devices in order to increase attendance; feeding milk instead of meat to envying, striving, divided church bodies who are not able to bear the deeper things of God; teaching and/or practicing heresy; and some are falling into apostasy. Every year, droves of fundamental Baptist preachers are abandoning or betraying the faith and scores or hundreds of fundamental, Bible-believing Baptist churches are ceasing to exist. In other words, spiritual treasure is being abandoned and lost and, sadly, very few understand why.
Again, and for emphasis, Dr. Hyles stated in his introduction:
“I’m going to tell you the main cause for divorce in our country. I’m going to tell you the main cause for church splits and church troubles in your country.”
The Word of God, as applied to reality in America, gives the true reason for the downfall of both types of marriages in America—the marriage of man and woman and the marriage of Christ and His church (See the Note at the end of this article which gives excerpts from the doctrinal statement of First Baptist concerning certain aspects of the biblical doctrine of the church and which makes clear that the marriage of Christ and His church is like unto God-ordained marriage of man and woman. Whether First Baptist actually applies this and other biblical principles is not considered in this article, nor is the state of marriage and family at First Baptist.). Dr. Hyles points to a symptom and to a solution to easing that symptom, but he does not point to the underlying reason for and solution to the destruction of these marriage relationships.
III. The Reason for the Problem
The reason for the problem is simple: spouses who seek divorces and most churches have an earthly love, not a “heavenly” or spiritual love, for their spouse and for God. Solomon loved a thousand women, but obviously his love for those women was not the love described as “charity” (supreme love for God and for one’s fellow man) in I Corinthians 13 (see also 1 John 2.15-17:
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”)
Thus, one can love, in an earthly manner, but that love is far from God’s type of love, charity. Earthly love is egocentric and results in problems and betrayal. Godly love is God centered and brings loyalty and fidelity.
When a wife or a church takes the first step away from her Husband, the Lord Jesus Christ, by putting herself even partially under another lover, she has started down the road to the destruction of the marriage relationship. A church takes that first step to dishonor her Husband by entangling herself with the contracts which are created by incorporation. Usually, when she does this, she also subjugates herself further to the federal government through Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3) tax exempt status. She has, as did Israel when she demanded a king, taken herself from under the total headship of God and committed a wicked act (See I Samuel 8 and 12.). She has now placed herself under the permissive, as opposed to the perfect, will of God. As long as she has a good pastor who obeys God, honors His Word, and adheres to His principles in other matters, God will still bless her. However, the church is now a “religious organization” as well as a “spiritual organism;” and, when viewed by the spiritual eye, adverse effects immediately begin to contaminate the newly incorporated church. All state churches have agreed to a multitude of rules formulated unilaterally by their new sovereign which determine the procedures, operation, and functioning of the church body. Incorporation is much more than a way to hold property. In most cases, sooner or later a state church will no longer have a good pastor, and the church body will have become so contaminated that no good pastor would want to be associated with that church anyway.
A couple takes the first step in the contamination of the marriage when they treat their marriage as a contract. Biblical covenant marriage is a three-way relationship, a covenant to which God is the controlling party. God’s rules and principles are all that apply to such a marriage, at least as entered into and agreed to by the parties to the covenant. State marriages are contracts and the controlling party to the contract of marriage is the state—a couple who marries under state license and contract voluntarily submit to contract or agreement and state control. If one does not believe this, the author would herein make only two of many points which verify this: (1) a civil court will not allow biblical principles into the divorce suit; and (2) in Texas, and I believe in most or all states, no reason is needed for a divorce (“no-fault divorce”). My conclusion is not affected by the fact that states will take control of any marriage, whether sanctioned by the state or not. A couple who understand and apply God-ordained covenant marriage are far less likely to see divorce through the state or by any other means, since they probably love the Lord and are taking into consideration biblical principles before marrying, and they are more likely to apply biblical principles concerning marriage and family after they marry. A spouse who marries under biblical covenant as opposed to earthly or state contract is also more likely to be aware of God’s rules and feelings concerning the marrriage relationship and therefore less likely to rebel against God by seeking a divorce.
Full explanation of this thesis is beyond the scope of this article. Thorough development requires an application of the biblical principles of government, church, separation of church and state as applied to an accurate understanding of history and civil law. The author respectfully contends that Dr. Hyles came short in the understanding, knowledge, and wisdom as to this matter, as do most fundamental Baptists. As to marriage of man and woman, the author has actually heard from a secular counselor (who also gave much more good advice than Dr. Hyles gave) the same advice which Dr. Hyles gave in his sermon.
Of course, there is always a remnant, and the author knows many Baptists who are very knowledgeable and wise as to spiritual matters. Since this is such an important topic, please consider the remainder of this article. Obviously, most preachers do not have the solution to the problem, so why not consider a rationale based upon the application of biblical principle to facts and civil law?
Having the knowledge, understanding, and wisdom to understand the reason for the problem of divorce and problems of churches and the solution thereto requires intense Holy Spirit led study of the biblical principles of church, state, and separation of church and state, marriage of man and woman, and marriage of the Lord and His church as well as the application of those principles to historical and legal facts. This is where most fundamental Baptists have fallen short.
The spiritual state of churches in America varies widely. Some churches teach the biblical doctrine of salvation; some do not. Some churches seek to please God by getting out the message of salvation and seeking the salvation of the lost; some do not. Some who actually evangelize and see people saved and added to the church continue to “preach the word, and to reprove, rebuke, and exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine, even though the time has come when many will not endure sound doctrine: but after their own lusts heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears and turn away their ears from the truth and are turned into fables” (see. II Ti. 4.2-4); most do not. Some churches are good on the low end of the spiritual education—that is on the kindergarten, maybe grade school level. Few teach on the spiritual middle school level, and fewer on the spiritual high school level. Even more tragic, very few Bible Institutes, Colleges, Seminaries and other Christian institutions of higher learning correctly teach the doctrines of marriage of man and woman, church, state, and separation of church and state. To understand the problem and solution, a believer must understand those doctrines along with a factual application of those doctrines to history and law. To comprehend the problem and solution, a Christian must understand and apply the relevant biblical principles to the history and secular interpretation of “separation of church and state” and the laws concerning incorporation and Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3)).
Obviously, a thorough study of these matters is beyond the scope of this article, but please left click the following link to see an online outline of the book God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application: free online version; free online PDF; Link to preview of God Betrayed. God Betrayed may be ordered from Amazon and other sources by left clicking the following link: Order information for books by Jerald Finney.
God Betrayed/Separation of Church and State: The Biblical Principles and the American Application was written at the graduate or post-graduate school level for mature educated Christians who desire to understand the issue of church incorporation and 501(c)(3) status for churches and the state marriage contract for man and wife. The main empahses of the book are reflected in the outline of the book, that is, the Table of Contents. By going to the Table on Contents, one can left-click a chapter, the Bibliography, the Index, or the Index of Scripture verses and go directly to the clicked site. For example, if one left clicks Section VI, Chapter 2 “Incorporation of churches,” in the Table of Contents of the preview of God Betrayed, he will learn about the law of incorporation in America. Section VI, Chapter 7, “Spurious Rationale for incorporating: to hold property” biblically compares a legal and God-honoring manner for a church to hold property with God-dishonoring church incorporation.
The index is more specific. If one goes to the Index in the preview of God Betrayed above, he can click on a particular page he wants to look at. For example, go to Internal Revenue Code § 501(c)(3) in the “Index” (this is on page 442 of the book which will be noted at the top). Notice the entry, “386 (IRS requirements for recognition of tax exemption)” and left click to go directly to page 386 to read the requirements. Note that this is a preview and some pages are omitted. God Betrayed only touches upon the state marriage contract of man and woman and principles concerning family. God Betrayed may be ordered from Amazon and other sources by left clicking the following link: Order information for books by Jerald Finney.
In addition to God Betrayed, other resources include:
(1) Books which deal with the underlying problem and solution for marriage of man and woman and marriage of Christ and His churches which can be obtained on the Order information for books by Jerald Finney.
(2) A radio show aired at 9:00 a.m. ET, 8:00 a.m. CT, 7:00 a.m. MT, and 6:00 a.m. PT each Sunday morning and which can be heard by going to the “Audio Series” page.
(3) Articles and audio teachings on “Separation of Church and State Law” blog (opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com). You can subscribe to this blog and receive notification as new articles are posted.
The author humbly submits that in the fundamental Baptist church world in America in general , the blind lead the blind in many matters. Most do not consider and apply verses such as II Timothy 2.2-4, 15-26, Ephesians 6.10-18, II Corinthians 10.3-5, II Peter 1.3-10, etc. Instead, Christians follow fables cunningly devised by pastors; Bible school professors; lawyers who have not done a serious examination of the biblical principles, law, and facts; and other teachers. The Lord through Peter wrote:
“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (II Peter 1.19-21).
(1) “The Church must be viewed from two perspectives. The church is not a physical body but a spiritual body. There is the local church, which is a physical expression of the Body of Christ where a group of Christians meet in a physical location. It may be a house, a particular building designated for meeting, a cave or whatever. The people are the church, not the physical structure” (Church).
(2) “The word ‘church’ does not mean the building in which the congregation meets; neither is it as the Catholics say, the Papal system. Others contend that it is a company, or a club, just an organization. The Church is not an organization, but an organism” (Church-2).
(3) “The Body is an organism composed of many members. All members do not have the same function. The Church is not a physical body, but a spiritual body. Believers in Christ are made members of that spiritual body by the Spirit’s baptism” (Ibid.).
(4) “[The Church] Is the Body of Which Christ Is the Head” (Ibid.).
(5) “Remember that the Body is an organism and must be considered as such” (Ibid.).
(6) Under the heading “It Is a Building,” is explained that a church is a spiritual building, not an earthly building. “’Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ’ (I Peter 2:5). We believers are living stones of this new building of God. When the temple of old was erected, there was no sound of hammer, chisel, or saw. All materials were formed beforehand. So are we, for we were selected before the foundation of the earth was laid. The inside stones of the temple could not be seen, for they were covered with cedarwood and gold. Only the gold could be seen. We, the living stones of the Building of God, are not to be seen. Christ only is to be seen” (Ibid.).
(7) Under the heading “It Is a Bride,” is explained that the church is purchased by Christ, is espoused to Christ, and is married to Christ (Ibid.).
(8) Under the heading “It’s Organization,” the doctrinal statement correctly points out the biblically correct organization of a church (Ibid.).
(9) Under the heading “Its Purpose,” the doctrinal statement correctly says, “The purpose of the Church is to glorify God in the building up of the Body of Christ in the holy faith; and to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth, winning, baptizing, teaching.” (Ibid.)
(10) “Christ is the Head of the church. Colossians 1:18-19; Ephesians 1:22-23. No man may claim this position. Where Christ is acknowledged as Head, the church will look to Him and to Him alone for dictation and guidance” (Church-3).
(11) “The authority of the Holy Spirit should be recognized. Whether in worship or in service, ministry or discipline, there should be liberty for the Holy Spirit to direct. His guidance and authority ought not to be limited by man-made ceremonies or human organization. II Corinthians 3:17; Ephesians 4:3. To summarize, then, a young believer should fellowship with those who acknowledge the Bible as their only guide, who are sound as to the Person and work of Christ, and who seek to carry out the teachings of the New Testament with regard to the church and its functions” (Ibid.).