My friend, Ryan has just stirred the pot, or (in his own words) ruffled some feathers. For the second time, this week. First, it there was a multi tweet barrage about what kind of #oldpaths he wanted to see. (Example here) Now, in the last 24 hours, we have a blog article about the legacy of Jack Hyles.
Naturally, the Hylesites aren't happy, although (as far as I can see) none (at time of posting) have directly answered him. Just the sub tweets. The nice thing about subtweets is that you can say whatever you want and if any one pulls you up on it, then you can slink away and say "I didn't name anyone" and (forgive the sarcasm) really display your intellectual prowness by quoting the old maxim: "If the shoe doesn't fit, then don't wear it." John the Baptist would be so proud of them. At least, they haven't BLOCKED him. I call this "the great #IFB skedaddle" :o)
My stuff about Hyles here isn't deadly serious at all. I never met him or heard him preach in person (my one and only trip to the USA around 1992 did take me to IN, but nowhere near his church.) His style of fundamentalism ain't mine, and as time rolls by, it is getting less and less so. For the purposes of perception (PR) I tend to describe myself more as "Reformed" than "Fundamentalist" (largely because of men like Hyles and his vast army of clones) although it depends on whom I am talking to and (as said) the perception they are gleaning from what I say. To me anyway, it sounds a little different when you say that you are Fundamental (denoting faithfulness to God's Book) than saying that you are a Fundamentalist. The latter churns up men like #Hamblin who I have mentioned on this blog before and others from the anti intellectual wing of the 1950's Golden Era faith.
A couple of friends of mine on a trip to America went to Hyles's church to hear him preach. When they got in, they were warmly welcomed by someone who told them that he was a successful business man. He assured them if they ever needed help, he would be willing to help them and then proceeded to stuff either a $50 or (was it $100?) bill (keeping with the American way of describing what we Brits properly call "bank notes") into their top pocket! My friend, whose suit pocket now housed this token of generosity, thanked him profusely, but handed it back and assured the donor that they had more than sufficient funds for their needs.
One of these friends was a kind of fan of Hyles, although not in any real serious serious way. He liked to listen to him preach (via cassette tape) and circulated them around. Which is how I got my couple of copies. For entertainment value, they were 10/10. In one message (which I still remember) he spoke about going out and bringing in the lame and the halt etc., from Luke 14 (or was it Matthew 22?) He talked about who wouldn't be there. He named (and I quote) "Mrs, Mrs, Mrs, Mrs, Mrs, Mrs, Mrs Taylor." She wouldn't be there (again, I quote) because she is "too busy helping Queers with AIDS." Another absentee would be Senator Ted Kennedy because he would be "too busy running cars off bridges." I can hardly remember anything else, but I do remember the designed to shock bits.
I listened to one other message on his famous "Four cries for evangelism." I actually heard another American preacher preach it almost word for word in Ulster before I heard it on the Hyles tape. He described the removal of an old saint from the hospital bed to Heaven in such a moving way that it brought tears to my eyes. It was, of course, pure and absolute mush. Obviously not the Heaven part, but the heavy emotionalism he professionally wrapped round it.
I don't normally quote Hyles. Except one quote and in a very controlled way. Whenever I come across the Hylesite crowd who are sniping at Ryan (who loathe Calvinism to a man) I like to pull this one out of the bag. Hyles wrote:
"The Presbyterian seminaries say, 'The Bible is not the Word of God' but John Calvin believed it, and they had the fire! John Knox and others believed it!"
So, there you go. Just my tuppence worth.