|Location||8400 Burr Street Crown Point, Indiana 46307-1499 United States|
|Colors||Blue and Yellow|
|Sports||contact flag football, soccer, basketball, and volleyball|
Hyles–Anderson College (HAC) is an unaccredited Independent Baptist college in unincorporated Crown Point, Lake County, Indiana. As a ministry of the First Baptist Church of Hammond, it focuses on training pastors, missionaries and Christian teachers to work in Independent Baptist schools.
In 1972, Hyles–Anderson College was founded by Jack Hyles with financial support from Russell Anderson. The school was originally located on a campus known as Baptist City in Schererville, Indiana. HAC's former campus was turned into Hammond Baptist K-12 school. This school is also operated by the First Baptist Church of Hammond.
The college's first president was Robert J. Billings, who later served as Ronald Reagan's "liaison to the fundamentalist Christian movement in the 1980 presidential campaign" and then spent six years in the U.S. Education Department as well as was a founding member of the Moral Majority.
Hyles-Anderson alumni have pastored over 572 churches within the US and Guam. Over 123 alumni compose missionary families, church planters, and mission teams around the world with Fundamental Baptist Missions International and many hundreds have teamed up with other mission boards as well. One graduate, Jon Nelms, started the Final Frontiers Foundation mission board, which has led to the creation of over 44,000 churches world-wide.
When Hyles died in 2001, his son-in-law Jack Schaap, a 1979 graduate and former vice president of the school since 1996, became chancellor. That same year Hyles' boyhood home, a 384 square foot (36 square meter) shack in Italy, Texas was purchased to create a museum to honor Hyles and was shipped from Texas to Hyles–Anderson College. Schaap was removed as chancellor in 2012 after federal officials began looking into child abuse allegations, which Schaap later pled guilty to.
In 2012, Chicago Magazine reported that the school "appears to be struggling" with only 1,000 students enrolled, down from 2,700 in its peak. Schaap noted that donations dropped and staff lay-offs occurred before his arrest.
Academics, policies and accreditation
Hyles–Anderson College is not accredited by any recognized accreditation body. An essay on Jack Hyles' website presents several arguments against accreditation. However, the U.S. armed services and public schools do not recognize unaccredited degrees, while several states restrict the use of degrees from unaccredited institutions.
All faculty, staff, and students are required to go "soul winning" weekly, by participating in the evangelistic ministry of the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana. The 2008 college catalog claimed that 10,000 new baptisms are performed each year at the Church.
There are separate requirements for male and female students for the same degree. For example, the Bachelor of Science Degree program has a "Curriculum for Ladies" that requires classes including "Home Decorating," "Clothing Design" and "Understanding Your Husband."
Pastor Joseph Combs and his wife, Evangeline Lopez Combs were members of First Baptist Church of Hammond and Combs was also a professor at Hyles–Anderson College, even described as "the foremost Bible instructor at Hyles Anderson". In 1998, they were charged "with kidnapping, aggravated assault, perjury and seven counts of rape". The two adopted Esther Combs, who experts say was tortured by the couple for nearly 20 years. She had 410 scars covering her body, allegedly from curling iron burns, baseball bat beatings and other abuse that was undetected. One babysitter, who was a Hyles Anderson College student, testified that she and others "suspected Esther was mistreated but didn't want to contradict Combs, who had been their Bible professor at Hyles Anderson College." Another babysitter testified she "reported her suspicions to the college president, but apparently nothing was done, she said." In 1986, Combs moved to Florida to start a church, but after accusations of abuse, they moved to Tennessee. They were convicted in 2000 of kidnapping, child abuse and aggravated assault. They were sentenced to 179 years for the rape and torture of their daughter. The story was featured on national television with ABC television's PrimeTime.
In 2012, school chancellor and graduate Jack Schaap was removed from his pastorate position at First Baptist Church of Hammond for having sex with a member of the church when she was 16. As a result, Lake County law enforcement began a criminal investigation into the church and its Hyles–Anderson College. Schaap was charged in a U.S. District Court for taking a minor across state lines to have sex with her and signed a plea agreement. In a sentencing memorandum, prosecuters alleged that Schaap "groomed" the girl, including kissing the victim during counseling and had sex with her in his office. In March 2013, Schaap was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison for having sex with an underage girl. After the affair was revealed, First Baptist Church expelled the girl, an honor student, from the church-operated school and asked her family to leave the congregation.
Former Hyles supporter Robert Sumner published an article titled "The Saddest Story We Ever Published" in The Biblical Evangelist, arguing that Hyles had strayed from biblical teaching and into cultlike mind control, made improper financial transactions and committed several sins, including adultery. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Sumner saying "Jack Hyles, runs his church in an authoritarian, almost 'cultist,' manner." Hyles, then president of the college, was accused of having "sex satellites" throughout the US and having a decades long affair with Jennie Nischik, wife of Hammond deacon Vic Nischik. Hyles said the allegations were "false" spawned by Satan and "he has given 'hundreds of thousands' of dollars to needy friends over many years but has kept no records of the transactions."
A few years later in 1993 WJBK, a Detroit, Michigan news channel, produced a 30-minute documentary called Preying from the Pulpit that examined fresh claims of sex abuse in five different fundamentalist churches where church workers who molested children were traced back to Hyles–Anderson College. Besides the abuse, the program examined Hyles' teaching, including a 1990 sermon where "Hyles pretended to pour poison into a glass and asked an associate pastor, Johnny Colsten, to drink from it. Colsten said he would." The report "said the sermon has the 'ring of Jonestown' to it—the mass suicide in Guyana in 1978 by followers of cult leader Jim Jones." Hyles called the program "poor journalism" and organized a national campaign to respond.
- "2012-2013 Catalog" (PDF). Hyles Anderson College. 2013. Retrieved Jan 28, 2013.
- Spivak, Diane Hyles' birthplace to be rebuilt on campus: Texas home of college co-founder will rest at Hyles-Anderson Northwest Indiana Times 7 November 2001
- "Robert J. Billings Is Dead at 68". New York Times. June 1, 1995. Retrieved 2012-10-24.
- Liebman, Robert and Robert Wuthnow (1983) The New Christian Right, p. 60. New York: Aldine Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0-202-30307-9
- "Jack Schaap, Chancellor". Hyles-Anderson College. 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-06-28. Retrieved 2009-08-17.
- Associated Press Texas childhood home of prominent minister planned as Indiana museum Schererville, Ind. November 6, 2001
- Smith, Bryan (January 2013). "Let Us Prey: Big Trouble at First Baptist Church'". Chicago Magazine. Retrieved 2012-12-17.
- "Married mega-church pastor blames his health and financial woes for sexual relationship with 16-year-old girl". Daily Mail. January 2013. Retrieved 2012-12-17.
- The Jack Hyles Home Page - Accreditation
- "Watch Out for Diploma Mills". US military. 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-24.
- "Teachers—Preschool, Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle, and Secondary". U.S. Department of Labor. 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-24.
- Gollan, Jennifer (January 14, 2012). "California Leads Nation in Unaccredited Schools". Bay Citizen.
- Brown, Angela (May 11, 2001). "Experts say Combs child-abuse case is unusual". Associated Press. Retrieved 2009-07-24.
- "Accused minister once a local Bible teacher". The Times of Northwest Indiana. November 15, 1998. Retrieved 2009-07-24.
- "Esther Combs faces the woman she called mother and asks Why". Associated Press. 25 April 2000. Retrieved 2012-07-24.
- "Ex-orphan claims abuse by parents". The Times of Northwest Indiana. March 8, 2000. Retrieved 2012-07-24.
- "EX-MINISTER, WIFE SENTENCED TO PRISON". Beacon Journal. Apr 26, 2000. Retrieved 2009-07-24.
- "2 guilty of abusing orphan". The Times of Northwest Indiana. March 24, 2000. Retrieved 2009-07-24.
- "Preacher Combs and wife get 179 years in prison". Associated Press. 2000. Retrieved 2012-07-24.
- "A camera zoomed in to show the trembling hands of a young woman in a blue dress telling a reporter her heart wrenching story". The Times of Northwest Indiana. November 3, 2000. Retrieved 2009-07-24.
- "Jack Schaap Confesses To Sexual Relationship With Teen After Firing From Megachurch". Huffington Post. 08/02/2012. Retrieved 2009-07-24. Check date values in:
- "Jack Schaap Pleads Guilty in Teen Sex Case, Denies Knowing Act Was Crime". Christian Post. 2012-08-27. Retrieved 2009-07-24.
- "Former Indiana pastor charged, signs federal plea deal in relationship with teen". Chicago Tribune. 2012-08-01. Archived from the original on 2012-08-02. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
- Smith, Bryan (March 18, 2013). "The Five Most Revolting Details from the Evidence in the Jack Schaap Case". Chicago Magazine. Retrieved 2013-03-19.
- Smith, Bryan (March 20, 2013). "Jack Schaap Will Serve 12 Years for Sex with a Minor". Chicago Magazine. Retrieved 2013-03-21.
- "Ex-pastor of Hammond megachurch gets 12 years in sex case". Chicago Tribune. March 20, 2013. Retrieved 2013-03-21.
- Michael Hirsley, "Pastor denies adultery, 2 other charges." Chicago Tribune. Chicago, Ill.: May 25, 1989. pg. 1
- Ed Briggs. "Fundamentalists' House Displaying Widening Cracks" Richmond Times. Richmond, Va.: July 22, 1989. pg. A-9
- "Pastor Denounces Sex Allegations as 'A Lie Spawned by Lucifer'" Richmond Times-Dispatch. Richmond, Va.: June 2, 1993. pg. B-4
- "Charges All Lies, Hammond Pastor Says," The Chicago Tribune, May 28, 1989.
- "Pastor Linked to Sex Abuse Lashes Out," Chicago Sun-Times, June 2, 1993.
- "Preacher has links to molest suspects." The San Diego Union San Diego, Calif.: May 17, 1993. p. A.7
- "Detroit station probes abuse, church link". The Times of Northwest Indiana. May 17, 1993. Archived from the original on 2007-12-28. Retrieved 2012-10-17.
- Gruszecki, Debra (May 28, 1993). "Hyles: I'm no dictator. First Baptist leader defends". The Times of Northwest Indiana. Archived from the original on 2007-12-28. Retrieved 2012-10-17.
- "Hyles calls for national campaign to counter media". The Times of Northwest Indiana. May 20, 1993. Archived from the original on 2007-12-28. Retrieved 2012-10-17.
- Hyles-Anderson College– Official Web Site
- The Jack Hyles Home Page books & sermons by Hyles
- The Jack Hyles Story by Robert Sumner mentioned in the articles