The Clinical Diagnosis of Jack Hyles
A number of years ago I undertook a study of DSM IV, the American Psychiatric Association’s official guide to clinical diagnosis. I did this because I wanted to create a workbook that would enable pastors and other faith-based counselors to transpose their findings about individuals they had counseled into a clinical format. I created a workbook (The Kaifetz Psychosocial Patient Workbook and Diagnostic Guide) and it was copyrighted in 1997 and soon approved for use in the field by The Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Health Care Facilities.
In the course of that study, I came across something that absolutely floored me. In the section on Personality Disorders I found a list of ten Personality Disorders. Each was followed by a highly descriptive section detailing the personality and behavioral traits that when found in an individual would qualify them for a particular clinical diagnosis by a psychiatrist or a psychologist. I came to the Personality Disorder in “Cluster B” called Narcissistic Personality Disorder and began to read. The more I read, the more I became convinced that this was the best description of Jack Hyles that had ever been written. It was as if the author had met Jack Hyles and then written this chapter to describe the man. Here are some of the things that I read about Narcissistic Personality Disorder:
“These people are self-important and often preoccupied with envy, fantasies of success, or ruminations about the uniqueness of their own problems. Their sense of entitlement and lack of empathy may cause them to take advantage of others. They vigorously reject criticism, and need constant admiration.” (DSM IV, p. 485)
“People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder have a lifelong pattern of grandiosity (in behavior and in fantasy), thirst for admiration, and lack of empathy. These attitudes permeate most aspects of their lives. They feel that they are unusually special; they are self-important individuals who commonly exaggerate their accomplishments to make themselves seem bigger than life.”
“Despite their grandiose attitudes, narcissistic individuals have a fragile self-esteem ... They remain overly sensitive to what others think about them, and feel compelled to extract compliments. When criticized they may cover their distress with a facade of icy indifference. As sensitive as they are about their own feelings, they have little apparent understanding of the feelings and needs of others and may feign empathy, just as they may lie to cover their own faults. Narcissistic people often fantasize about wild success...”
Here is a list of the criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder:
A grandiose sense of self-importance.
Preoccupations of fantasizes of ... brilliance or ... power
Belief that personal uniqueness renders the patient fit only for association with (or understanding by) people or institutions of rarified success.
Need for excessive admiration
A sense of entitlement (patient unreasonably expects favorable treatment or automatic granting of own wishes.)
Exploitation of others to achieve personal goals.
Lack of empathy
Frequent envy of others or beliefs that others envy patient.
Arrogance or haughtiness in attitude of behavior.
(DSM IV Made Easy, The Clinician’s Guide to Diagnosis, James Morrison, The Guilford Press, 1995)
In many of these diagnoses, there is strong evidence that many of the characteristics listed above provide a compensatory mechanism. In other words, the person is trying to make up for an image in the formative years of their life that greatly diminished their view of themselves. This is frequently (some would say always) an important authority figure in their life (often their father) that belittled them or severely diminished them on a regular basis. When this occurs in the “soft-wired” stages of brain and personality development, the individual will often spend the rest of their life trying to compensate by proving themselves through their accomplishments. Many times this mechanism cannot overcome the earlier ingrained self-image, and so their accomplishments never seem to be enough and they spend the rest of their lives trying to achieve success on a higher more gratifying level. They seldom succeed.
Those of us who all those years heard Jack Hyles tell of his relationship with his father, Athie Hyles, know that this man never approved of his son becoming a preacher, and to his dying day withheld any expression of approval from his son, much less admiration.
The Ginni Carrican Story
In Jerry Kaifetz's book 'Profaned Pulpit', in one paragraph he uses the word 'pulpiteers'. When reading, I read that as 'puppeteers'. When I caught my error, I laughed out loud ... then I quit laughing. Because, really, puppeteer is quite an accurate description of my experience in IFB churches. The Puppet Master stood above us, decided what we needed to do and when we needed to do it, and pulled all the strings that made us act. He was the only one who could think, apparently, since none of us ever exercised our brain to think for ourselves.
As an obedient little puppet, I followed all the rules that pertained to my life: clothing, music, attendance, service, financial, spiritual, reading ... you name it. If the Puppet Master said 'this is what you should be doing', I did it. Conversely, if the Puppet Master said, 'do not do' ... I didn't do that.
Somehow, I thought following 'all the rules' would make my life work.
My IFB Clone church in Battle Creek, Michigan worshipped at the altar of Jack Hyles. In my hearing, it was never called First Baptist Church of Hammond, rather, it was called Hyles' Church. Carloads of people made the trek from my home town of Battle Creek to Hyles' Church on a regular basis. Hyles-Anderson College was held up as the Premier College to attend. Sermons in the IFB Clone church referenced and quoted Jack Hyles and Hyles' sermon tapes were passed around for all to listen too.
Being a somewhat already trained puppet, I blended in quite nicely at Hyles Anderson College (HAC). Dress code, church attendance, lights out, behavioral rules ... not a problem. Women had to be in groups of three to go to the local shopping areas to buy shampoo and other necessities. Undergrads had to be accompanied by an approved Senior girl. We indicated the time we were leaving, where we were going, who we were going to be with and what time we would be back. All rules, we were told, for our own safety. Bus routes in some of the poorest neighborhoods of Chicago, however, were a different story. Then we could be dropped off in groups of 2, on foot, in an neighborhood, by ourselves and stay there all day. I remember questioning that discrepancy (and other things I observed), but kept it to myself. Puppets do not question the puppeteers.
During one Sunday night church service when I was a student at HAC, the announcement leader at Hyles' Church called out my name and said that 'Brother Hyles would like to see you in his office immediately following the close of the evening service'. I was astonished to have heard my name. Friends around me immediately asked, "What did you do???". In great trepidation I made my way to his office. Once there, he told me that he had heard some disturbing news out of my home church in Battle Creek and wanted to make sure that I was okay, that it hadn't and wouldn't be too upsetting for me and to let me know that he was there for me should I need him over the upcoming weeks. It seems that my home pastor, Earl Burdick, had left the church and left his marriage, for a woman in the church. While Brother Hyles and I were talking, a woman entered the room and said, 'Oh! I didn't know you had anyone still here.'. He answered her that he would be done shortly and she exited the same way she entered through a side door. I was a bit distracted thinking to myself that I hadn't even noticed that there was a door in that location. A few years later, I recognized that woman as Brother Hyles' mistress Mrs. Nischick. I won't even begin to try to explain the confusion of emotions that connecting these two dots created in my life as I tried to reconcile the idea that he cared about me and yet was engaging in the same behavior he was seemingly concerned about.
Later when I found myself in a domestic violence driven Christian household in Lynchburg, Virginia, I tried very hard to figure out where I had gone wrong. Of course it had to be my fault, my sin, I was, after all, the female. My time at HAC and Hyles' Church had readily laid this ground work for me. The first Puppet Master at Liberty Seminary in Lynchburg that I ever spoke to about what was going on in my household told me that I needed to be more submissive, to pray about my sin that drove my husband (an IFB preacher-in-training) to this place of anger, to be more understanding of his schedule and pressures. He was, after all, the man.
Unfortunately for me, I was never able to be submissive enough, to pray enough, to understand enough. I was never enough. Not for anything. And the violence continued. My constant message was that I was stupid, inadequate and incapable. When it got Bad Enough that I thought I couldn't take it anymore, and when I thought I had a Puppeteer that I could Trust Enough, I'd make an appointment and try to get some help. In the smaller IFB's, the Puppet Master would say something like, 'I'll have a talk with your husband, and everything will be ok.'. He did. It wasn't. In fact, that talk usually made things immediately worse.
I actually left once. I had a place to go and people who would support my leaving and was offering to help. I told no one where I was going, but somehow the current Puppet Master found me and convinced me how wrong I was in this course of action. How damaging it would be to my children. That he would 'work with us' to get over this 'rough patch.' How God was so disappointed in me. So, being the good little puppet, I went back. This man had come out of my home church, went to HAC and was now back in Battle Creek with his own church.
Side note: I believe pastors of almost every denomination categorically would like to deny that domestic violence, substance abuse, internet abuse, marriage fidelity, pornography and other so-called social issues Do Not Exist in a Christian home. Because of that denial, there is also no training on how to deal with the issues. With no training, there are no skills to help. It can't JUST be called sin, it can't JUST be solved by prayer, it can't JUST be solved with one conversation (regardless of how powerful they think they are). And it causes Christians to fall away in hopelessness.
As my husband moved our family from IFB church to IFB church in multiple states, this pattern continued. Things would get bad, I would seek out help from the Puppet Masters, they would talk to him, he'd come home in a rage, things would get a little better for a while then deteriorate again. Each deterioration brought a new low.
After one particularly bad incident, I ended up in the emergency room. I had a concussion from my head hitting the wall, they X-rayed me for a possible jaw fracture, and the entire file in my brain labeled 'numbers' was gone. I could say I lived on Bennett Street, but not the number. I could say my children's names, but not how many. I could say my birthday was in February, but not the date. I had walked into the hospital with my broken glasses in my hand and nothing else. A police officer was called to the hospital, but I too afraid to press charges and he left. The next day I made my trek to the office of the most current Puppet Master, Bob Ware at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Orlando, Florida and once again, told my story, this time accompanied by bruises that were visible (usually they were not). I told him the history. I showed him the bruises I could respectfully show and told him there were more that I could not. I told him I was at a place where I was in fear of my life. I asked for his help. He sat across from me, his wide shiny, nearly empty desk between us. As I spoke, he clicked ... and clicked ... and clicked ... and clicked his gold Cross pen. When I was finished speaking, he laid the pen down and spoke these words, "You need to go home and apologize for being a bad wife."
I ... what? The refrigerator breaking is not the result of being a bad wife. The car getting a flat tire is not the result of being a bad wife. My husband having 13 jobs in a 12 month period is not the result of being a bad wife. Crying children because their daddy spent all of his evening time playing video games and had no time for them ... ok, you get the idea. And furthermore, even if I HAD been a 'bad wife', I did not deserve to be abused physically, emotionally, psychologically or spiritually.
Within a few months of that 'great advice', I came home from the grocery store, with the children, to find him gone. He 'had had enough of me'. Well, thank God! Because this puppet didn't believe in leaving, or divorce, or counseling outside the church and I was at the point that I had contemplated suicide as my only way out. The one time I dared say that I wanted out, I was told that I could go but I was going to leave the children with him. I said 'over my dead body'. He said, 'that can be arranged.'
I continued, however, going to that church and my children were in the Christian school. When their IFB Daddy stopped payment on a tuition check, my little girls were forced to stand in the hallway with all their belongings in a paper bag, and were expelled. The next day I went to enroll them in the public elementary school and found out that the State of Florida had a law about the age of children in kindergarten and first grade. My youngest was in 1st grade and her sister was in 2nd grade. Both girls were good students and on honor roll and there were only five weeks left of that school year. My youngest was only 5 on the first day of school. The public school needed to enroll her back in kindergarten. I was heartsick.
I went back to that Puppet Master Bob Ware and begged for the youngest daughter to be allowed to finish the five weeks left of school and complete the first grade. I offered to sign any papers or promissory note they wanted and guaranteed I would be personally responsible for the remainder of the school bill for both girls. He sat there very stoically and then said, "You did not take my advice before and I'm not helping you now."
Did I mention that I had taught in this man's Christian school? That I was a faithful church member. A tithing member? A serving member in Sunday School and the choir and the special music? That he and his family had eaten dinner in my home and my family in theirs? That I was friends with his wife? Taught his daughters? That I thought I was friends with him? Maybe I forgot to mention all that, because in that instant, none of that mattered.
I never darkened the door of that church again, nor any other church for that matter, for the next 15 years. I was done. I was broken. I lost every friend I thought I had and felt that God himself had turned his back on me. I was alone with two little girls to raise. My self esteem was in the 2 digit negative numbers, my extended family was still in Michigan and my husband’s mantra of 'stupid, inadequate and incapable' still rang in my ears. He successfully managed to avoid child support by working 'under the table' for a variety of people and places. Finally I was awarded child support of $5.50 a week per child. A whole whopping $11 a week for child support. I felt that I was drowning.
About this time a friend from work started talking to me about his nine year sobriety through Alcoholics Anonymous. Knowing nothing about that organization, he let me borrow his 'Big Book'. In it, I found curious phrases such as 'One day at a time' and 'The God of your choice' and 'Let Go and Let God'. In talking to him, and in reading his Big Book, I determined that these were the messages that I needed to be hearing. The AA God, was a God of Love and forgiveness and second chances. A God of 'come as you are, I'm here for you and always available'. The IFB God was a God of oppression, fear and rigidness. The IFB God would turn his back on me if I broke a rule. And here I was divorced, in 'rebellion' and out of church and believing there was no hope. I needed to learn to live life one day at a time and quit worrying about everything else. I recognize that this was an unorthodox method of counseling for IFB detox, but I had no insurance, did not have a spare nickel and seriously needed help. For a year or more, I faithfully attended AA Open Meetings. I sat in the back and listened, absorbed and learned. If I was ever called to speak I said my name and 'I'm here to learn to live life one day at a time.'. Which was very true.
And another friend stepped forward who bought me a child's toy kaleidoscope, not the kind with bits and baubles in the end, but the kind that prismed out what you were looking at in the room. When he handed it to me, he said, "Take this home and look at yourself in the mirror every day and know that no one else see's you the way your husband did." I still have that purple kaleidoscope.
Those two men, one a recovering alcoholic and one an agnostic commercial plumber, saved my life. Neither went to church. Neither wanted anything from me. But they recognized a drowning soul and threw me a life saver and held onto the rope until I could find my footing and get back to shore.
I was starting from scratch to learn who I was and to learn who God was, and how the two of us could possibly interact. And I continue to learn, but in doing so, I do not rely on others to do my thinking for me, nor do I take things at face value. I'm slow to trust and cautious with how far I let someone in. I speak up against abuse and injustice and am not afraid to rock a boat that needs rocking. And I have forgiven myself for being a puppet and drinking the kool aid, and I have forgiven others who have hurt and wronged me. But not because what they did was excusable, but so that I could break, as much as possible, their hold on me.
I hold on, with both hands, to Romans 8:28. I have to believe that all things do indeed work together for the good. That everything that has happened has had a purpose and a value. Perhaps to make me stronger. Perhaps so I can throw the life saver to the next drowning soul. Perhaps so I can say, with all sincerity and honesty, to another abused woman, I've been there, and I've survived, and you will too.
The God of the IFB church is a judgmental God and I pray that that is the God that my former husband, Jack Hyles, Jack Schaap and all the other IFB Puppeteers are judged by when the day comes.
The God of my choice loves me so much He died on the cross for me and will never leave me nor forsake me. And with that God, I live life one day at a time.
Ginni Scherer Carrican
My bride on my right . . . . my best friend on my left.
Jack Schaap’s first Wedding – Jerry & Gwen Kaifetz, Azle Texas, July 20, 1985
A Good Brother Gone Terribly Wrong
I want to share with the reader a conversation that I had via e-mail with a brother in Christ. He has never attended First Baptist Church of Hammond, and he is not a graduate of Hyles-Anderson College. He is a serious and dedicated Christian man and he undoubtedly means well. He enjoys a good reputation and is in fellowship with at least some Christians for whom I once had respect. However, he has a professional association with a man in the Independent Fundamental Baptist Movement whom I hold in low esteem and whom I cannot respect. If this man stepped into the pulpit to preach in my church, I would unquestionably walk out during the prayer. That man is Clarence Sexton.
Here is that exchange with Dan Knickerbocker, Director of Crown College West in Ft. Worth Texas.
Hello Bro. Dan,
I spoke with you at a church you were visiting not long ago and asked you to clarify the relationship between your associate Dr.Sexton and Jack Schaap. From your answer, I gathered that it was a matter of support or loyalty based on Dr. Sexton’s feeling badly for not having supported Jack Hyles more in days past.
Bro. Dan, in the course of that conversation, I related to you that I had counseled at length with a woman who told me that she has had an “inappropriate relationship” with Jack Schaap in the last year. I also related to you that based on first-hand information from Vic Nischick, a close personal friend of mine 25 years, that I had absolutely no doubt whatsoever that Jack Hyles had an adulterous affair with Jennie Nischik, his secretary and the ex-wife of Vic Nischik. Both Nischick children publicly and privately presented clear and compelling evidence to substantiate the affair.
So my question, Bro. Dan for you and Dr. Sexton is a very simple one: does any of this matter to you? I am not talking about gossip or anything like that at all. I am talking about reliable testimony from those who were there and saw first-hand what went on.
As I told you when we spoke, I have known Jack Schaap quite well. We were the closest of friends and business partners as well. I graduated from Hyles Anderson College in 1986 and Hyles Anderson seminary in 1988. I had a close personal and professional relationship with Jack Hyles as well and have taught at Pastor’s School.
I would very much like to hear your position on these matters.
Here is the response that he gave:
Dear Brother Jerry,
If a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of meekness: considering thy self, lest thou also be tempted.
Let's pray for each other,
Your brother in Christ,
Bro. Dan Knickerbocker
To which I replied:
So, Bro. Dan, may I ask what you have done since 1989 to further that restoration? Have you availed yourself of the evidence brought forth by Robert Sumner, George Godfrey, Attorney Voyle Glover or Vick Nischick? What about the thousands of Christians and millions of Americans who continue to see the rampant and chronic adultery and the horrid example of Christian living continuing to this very day in the life of Jack Schaap and in the legacy of FBC Hammond? What of the hundreds of devastated and hurting victims and families? If it was your young daughter who had been molested or raped, or your wife who had been seduced, would you be content only to have someone quote you Galatians 6:1?
What do we do when a man refuses restoration? What if he denies the fault for which the evidence is overwhelming, widely known in his church and by the public? Bro. Dan, are you saying that you would have no problem fellowshipping with such a known, unrepentant adulterer? At what point to you invoke Matthew 18? II Timothy 4:2? Can you really tell me that such a man is “beyond reproach?” Do you not see a higher biblical standard than this for the ministry of Jesus Christ?
Bro. Dan, are you really OK with having a known, thoroughly unrepentant adulterer in your pulpit? The knowledge of Schaap’s affair with the woman I counseled is common knowledge at FBC Hammond. It has, I am told, been brought to Cindy Schaap’s knowledge by church members. Schaap was 100% unrepentant, admitted the affair to his wife, told her plainly he loved the woman, and refused to end it. He continues to preach and Clarence Sexton continues to invite him to preach. Do you really not see anything wrong with this? How is this not a reproach and a blight on the name of Christ? Would you act if you had names, times, dates, witnesses, & court records?
The self-exaltation of Jack Hyles and the way the church worshipped the man seemed to know no bounds.