How the Devil Removes Some Landmarks
by Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001)
Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour's landmark; which they of old time have set in thine inheritance, which thou shalt inherit in the land that the Lord thy God giveth thee to possess it. Deuteronomy 19:14
I want to detail some of the wicked things on which God has placed a curse.
Cursed be he that maketh the blind to wander out of the way. Deuteronomy 27:18a
Cursed be he that lieth with his father's wife; because he uncovereth his father's skirt. Deuteronomy 27:20
Cursed be he that lieth with any manner of beast. Deuteronomy 27:21
The landmark was a piece of stone or metal that was placed between the property of two people. They did not have sophisticated ways of dividing property like we do today. The landmark was often moved, but not quickly, nor very far. It was moved gradually, while no one watched, or saw it, until finally property had been stolen.
Churches and schools do not decay immediately. It is a little bit today, a little bit tomorrow, and a little bit the next day. I want to explain how the Devil removes some landmarks.
I am not an intellectual, but I have made a study of Christian schools. Before Hyles-Anderson College was founded, I made trips to several cities for the purpose of finding what kind of institution the good schools were when they were founded. I was concerned about our school starting and staying right. I talked to people who were there when those schools started. I talked to faculty members, students and graduates to find out what they were like. I made a study of many of the older institutions. I wanted to find out what made schools slide and what made colleges decay.
I am going to make some observations about these.
1. The local church has been given the promise of divine perpetuity.
2. If the school is under the church, then the school has a perfect right to claim the same promise.
3. It is the job of the church to keep our schools straight.
How is that job to be carried out?
1. The preacher should always be the overseer. Do not put an educator at the head of a Christian school. Colleges die when educators lead them. There are many Christian colleges that once had evangelists or pastors in charge, and when those men resigned, they called a suave educator, and soon the fire was gone. A pastor should be over the college and church, because the church must stay over the college.
2. Lay people must continually help police the institution. I tell our faculty members at Hyles-Anderson College to let me know if changes are made at the college that I do not know about. I am referring to things that are changing from what they were meant to be. The pastor cannot be in all the classrooms. He cannot be at all the meetings and athletic games. The lay people must help him police the schools, so they do not change.
Let me show you what can happen.
In 1947, an inter-denominational seminary was founded. In 1982, thirty-five years after it was founded, a poll was taken of their students. Here are some of the shocking results.
* Fifty percent were tolerant of drinking alcohol.
* Fourteen percent believed there was a Hell.
* Fifteen percent of the students believed the Bible to be infallible.
It does not have to happen, but can happen at Hammond Baptist schools and Hyles-Anderson College or any other Christian school or college.
Let me give you what my studies found. There are eleven things that caused the destruction of a school under the canopy of a church.
1. The church must not get tired of being warned.
Everybody in the church must walk guard as a sentinel around their schools, not to criticize, gossip, or to try to cause trouble, but to let the preacher know when something is changing. You are not the enforcer. That is the preacher's job. If the people try to enforce, the school will die, but, if the Preacher does not know, the school will also die.
2. We must reproduce ourselves. Modern scholarship teaches that we must have a certain percentage of teachers from other universities and colleges. You cannot be accredited without doing that. At Hyles-Anderson College we are more interested in hiring professors with the right philosophies than we are with ones with the right credentials. A great pastor and the founder of a Bible college sat in a restaurant with me one day and said, "Dr. Hyles, you are doing something I wish I had done. I hired a music teacher who I thought was a good Christian. I found out a few days ago, that at night he is playing in a dance band in our city." He made the mistake of hiring by the world's standard of qualifications rather than the qualifications of the right Biblical philosophy.
Hyles-Anderson College has a unique purpose. No other school has the exact same purpose. Nobody knows that purpose better than the ones we have trained. Because of that, we usually hire our own. We do not want to dilute our purpose with hiring people from schools that have already decayed or are decaying. We will reproduce ourselves.
One of our administrators came rushing to me one day and told me that a famous Bible scholar was interested in teaching at HylesAnderson College. It was a man who at that time was probably one of the most famous theologians in America. I said, "At HylesAnderson College, we will not hire famous men, we will make famous men."
3. We must choose all faculty members who have Bible training. Schools get the idea that an English teacher has to know only
English to be an English teacher. That is not the case. An English teacher in a Christian school needs to know the Bible as well. Nobody who does not know the Bible well should teach science in a Christian school. Nobody who does not know the Bible well should teach math in a Christian school. Everyone who teaches in a Christian college ought to know the Bible well enough to where he or she could teach Bible. It is not Christian education unless every teacher is a Bible student.
4. We must avoid the centrist position. As the theological winds blow, changes come in the extreme positions. The centrist positions says that we will stay right in the middle of the extremes. The centrist position says, "We will take a safe position in between those extremes." An institution ought to decide where it is going to stand. Every time the wind blows and somebody changes, we should not change. Whatever clothing is right or wrong to wear is always right or wrong to wear. If Hollywood was once wrong, it is still wrong. If the Bible was once the Word of God, it is still the Word of God, and it will not change. God is looking for people who will not change.
Our position must not be set with regard to others. We must decide our own position. If certain standards are not popular and we lose students, let us not change the standards. You do not grow by letting down your standards; you grow by remaining faithful to your standards.
You should not try to be at any extreme. You should stand where you are supposed to stand. Forty years ago, when I started preaching, I was not very extreme. Today I am very extreme, but I have not changed. The position of the extremes have changed making me more extreme than I once was.
5. We must avoid searching for the truth. We have already searched for the truth and found it. I am not in a search to see if the Bible is the Word of God. I have searched and found to my satisfaction that it is. It is not up for reexamination. The doctrines I believe today, I believed forty years ago. I decided then what I thought was right. I am not searching for the truth; I am proclaiming the truth!
Modem education does not like absolutes. To it, everything is relative. Our nation was built on absolutes. Every great empire was built on absolutes, and every great church was built on absolutes. When the absolutes leave, the growth also leaves.
6. Do not allow academic freedom. A person should not have the freedom in an institution to teach anything he believes. He should teach what that institution believes. Institutions are built by the sacrifice of individuals who believed in something enough to start the institution in order to perpetuate it. Some professor who has never built anything should not be allowed to come in and teach whatever he or she pleases.
7. Have no double standard between students and faculty. The faculty members ought be as good soul winners as the students are. The faculty members ought work as hard for Jesus as the students do. The teachers and leaders ought to be the example in involvement with the soul-winning ministry of the church. They ought to build great bus routes and bring their converts down the aisles. They ought to live by the same standards and convictions that the students do.
8. Every employed person in every school ought to be involved actively in the work of the local church. The church is more important than the school. When the church loses control of the school, the school is gone. The Vice President of Hyles Anderson College has a bus route. That is the way that it always ought to be. If the college withdraws its interest and activity in the church, then the college is not a part of that which governs the church.
9. Student leadership destroys colleges. Hyles-Anderson College has no student body president, student body government, or student body newspaper. The heathen, wicked, humanist institutions have campus newspapers that feel free to criticize and rebuke their president or chancellor. They have articles that call for the firing of certain faculty members. I do not believe in that for a Christian school. I believe in administration government.
10. Keep the chapel hot. Nothing will destroy the Christian school any faster than allowing the chapel to lose its fervor and become a place of preaching style rather than preaching power.
11. We must not let the standards slip. When standards begin to slip, the school will begin to slide away from the purpose for which it was founded. We must not let our standards slip. If the student body decreases because of the standards, we should still stay with the standards with which we started. Nobody is supposed to decide our standards for us. I did not get in this business for America to like me. I got in it because I thought we ought to take a stand for what was right and against what was wrong.
In 1970 we started a school in an old dilapidated building. Our church raised $65,000 cash, remodeled that building, and started Hammond Baptist High School. The next year we started Hammond Baptist Grade School. The next year Hyles-Anderson College was founded. If we deteriorate as fast as the aforementioned seminary did, in fifteen more years we will not believe the Bible is the Word of God, and we will not believe in a Hell, and half of us will not believe that liquor is wrong!
Every school that has deteriorated did so by allowing one or more of these eleven things to enter. We must guard the schools with our lives for the sake of our children.
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