February 3, 2010 | Dan Parton |
God Bless My Dear Friend, Jack Hyles
There are times in human history when God puts His hand on a man in an unusual way. While it is true that all who know Christ as Saviour are God’s children and equal in God’s sight, there are some who become God’s choicest vessels. Moses was one of these men, as were Samuel, Isaiah, John the Baptist, and the Apostle Paul. There are many whom God used, but some are especially noted in Scripture.
In the same way, though God uses many of His people today, some are especially noted in modern history. Immediately, I think of people like D. L. Moody, R. A. Torrey, J. Wilber Chapman, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Billy Sunday, R. G. Lee, John R. Rice, Lester Roloff, and Bob Jones, Sr. These great men were used greatly of God, and now another joins their ranks in the glories of Heaven. It was ten years ago on Tuesday, February 6, 2001, Jack Frasure Hyles graduated to Glory and now walks the streets of gold along with these other men whom God has greatly used.
W. Robertson Nicoll said of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “…his was a ministry unparalleled in the history of the Christian church. No one but Mr. Spurgeon has steadily preached for forty years and three times a week to such audiences as he commanded. There were hundreds of thousands who owed him their souls.” Mr. Nicoll, God raised up another one surpassing these very qualifications, for Jack Hyles preached from the pulpit of the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, faithfully, week after week, for more than 41 years. Dr. John Rice said, “It is doubtful if any man who ever lived would be a serious competitor to Spurgeon for the title of ‘The Greatest Preacher Since Paul.'” It is my belief that Jack Hyles is that serious competitor.
What can be said about such a man as Jack Hyles? To speak of him nationally, I cannot, for I did not know him nationally. To speak of him personally, is difficult to do even though I knew him personally. I do remember flying from one end of the country to the other and looking down from my window seat thinking that there wass not one city beneath me that had not been touched by the ministry of Jack Hyles. To say the least, I was overwhelmed!
Though I grew up in a Bible-preaching, independent, Baptist church, I did not come to know Brother Hyles until August of 1974. I had heard of him but had never heard him. Then I heard him preach “O Earth, Earth, Earth, Hear the Word of the Lord” at the great Sword of the Lord Convention held in Indianapolis that same year. I had graduated from high school and was on my way to Bible college that September. I did not attend Hyles-Anderson College that first semester, and my pastor told me that while I was in college, I was to attend the First Baptist Church of Rosemount, Minnesota. When I asked him why, he simply said I needed to do it. So, I did.
That fall, John Rice, Curtis Hutson, Bill Harvey, and Jack Hyles all came to Rosemount, Minnesota, for a Sword of the Lord conference. In that meeting, my Christian life was transformed. Needless to say, I transferred to Hyles-Anderson College in January of 1975. Besides my salvation, this was the single greatest Christian decision I ever made. I did not know how badly I needed the influence of Jack Hyles in my life. As I look back, I’m thankful for the privilege of having been taught by him.
Brother Hyles was not untouchable, and he chose to be my friend. He chose to pray for me and to remember me and my ministry on purpose. He always greeted me with a handshake and called me by my first name. Over and over again, he put it in writing that he was my friend and that he knew that I was his friend. Time and again, he said he loved me and thanked God for my love for him. Outside of my own father, Brother Hyles was the greatest man I knew. I learned from Brother Hyles’ example what it meant to be a good Christian. He always said he wasn’t a good Christian, but I always knew better. I’ve never known a man who prayed like he prayed, wept like he wept, or preached like he preached. He always pointed me to Jesus and never to himself. I have found that those who judged him differently, simply did not know him.
What can be said about Jack Hyles? He taught me that the First Baptist Church of Hammond was neither built on his personality nor on the fire which came from his pulpit. It was built by the power of God and the compassion God gave him for the work God called him to do. I’ve watched him weep through a powerful sermon. I remember years ago, in particular, during a Pastors’ School session for assistant pastors when Brother Hyles addressed those of us who were “second men.” The session was held in the chapel just outside the main auditorium of the First Baptist Church. I sat in what Brother Hyles called the “peanut gallery.” While teaching us, he made us laugh, but I looked a little closer and saw what only those in the peanut gallery could see. Tears continually streamed from his eyes throughout the entire session thoroughly soaking his tie, shirt, and suit jacket. He taught us, by example, the great importance of compassion.
There is so much I could write, but I don’t know what to write next. To know Brother Hyles, has been one of the greatest privileges in my Christian life. I have not known a greater Christian, nor have I known a better example. He sacrificed so much personally so that someone like me could have a chance to learn from him. For this, I am eternally indebted. I’m glad I told him while he was living that I loved him, admired him, and appreciated him. In my relationship with him, I don’t believe I have any regrets, for I savored every moment God privileged me to be under his influence. Years ago, he signed a picture for me with these words, “God bless my dear friend Dan” and signed it with his name. Well, God did bless me with Brother Hyles’ friendship.
Few there be of us who can live up to the words Paul wrote to Timothy, “…be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12) Though there have been some, I thank God for this one, Brother Hyles, who gave me an example to follow!
Pastor Dan Parton –
Timberline Baptist Church
Contributor – Baptist.org
Featuring : Jack Hyles, Gone Ten Years, But Oh the Legacy!
– Psalm 119:133– “Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.“