Jack Frasure Hyles (September 25, 1926 – February 6, 2001) was a well-known Baptist preacher and “soul-winner”[i] – gathering together in Hammond, Indiana and pastoring for 42 years what was perhaps the largest church in the United States.
The Growing Convictions of Dr. Jack Hyles with Regard to the King James Bible shows that Hyles developed his views on the King James Bible over a long period of time. He began preaching in the 1950s, but did not then hold the King James Bible as the only inerrant word of God. By the mid-1980s he appears convinced of the primacy of the King James Bible. In his book Enemies of Soul Winning in 1993,[ii] he plainly taught that the use of the King James Bible at some point was necessary for one to be born again.
In it he writes:
“2. The words of God are the genes of regeneration. Titus 3:5, ‘Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.’ Actually the word “regeneration” means “to be re-gened.” Just as the genes of my parents brought my old nature into existence, even so the genes of God brought my new nature into existence. Your old nature is sinful because there was sin in the genes, but the genes of the Word of God are incorruptible, meaning that which is born of God; that is, the new nature, cannot sin.
“Now if the very words of God must be pure, and if in fact the King James Bible contains the preserved words of God, then any other words are not the words of God. This means that the Revised Version is not precious seed because it is not incorruptible. This means that the Good News for Modern Man is not precious seed, because it is not incorruptible. This means that the Living Bible is not precious seed because it is not incorruptible. This means that the Reader’s Digest Bible is not precious seed, because it is not incorruptible. This means that the New King James Bible is not precious seed because it is not incorruptible. This means that the New Scofield Bible is not precious seed, because it is not incorruptible. This means that the New International Version (NIV) is not precious seed, and it is not incorruptible. This means that the American Standard Version is not precious seed because it is not incorruptible. If the versions do not agree, then all of them cannot be the very words of God that have been preserved for us.”
Hyles goes to Titus 3:5 to pick up the topic of regeneration – that the “genes of God” are brought into the believer through the word of God. Though the Bible is not mentioned he apparently inserts it through the idea of belief, then quickly moves to a logical presentation of anything other than the King James Bible is not the word of God. Unfortunately for Hyles’s position, the point of his logic actually proves too much – that any time another Bible version agrees with the King James Bible it is the word of God also. For example, at least six Bible versions on Bible Gateway give “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” in Ephesians 2:8. They are the same words, so all or none are the word of God.[iii]
He then connects his interpretation of Titus 3:5 to 1 Peter 1:23:
“4. Suppose corruptible seed is used. Can a person then be born again from it? You answer that question. According to I Peter 1:23 we read, ‘Being born again, not of corruptible seed....’ Then, if corruptible seed is used, one cannot be born again. I have a conviction as deep as my soul that every English-speaking person who has ever been born again was born of incorruptible seed; that is, the King James Bible. Does that mean that if someone goes soul winning and takes a false Bible that the person who receives Christ is not saved? I believe with all of my soul that the incorruptible seed must have been used somewhere in that person’s life. If all a person has ever read is the Revised Standard Version, he cannot be born again, because corruptible seed is used, and I Peter 1:23 is very plain to tell us that a person cannot be born again of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible seed, and it explains that that incorruptible seed is the Word of God, and it explains that it liveth and abideth forever.”
False Bibles—An Enemy Of Soul Winning (extracted from his book, Enemies of Soul Winning, 1993)
With no way to prove his point by exegesis of the text, Hyles “proves” he is right because he has “convictions as deep as his soul” and “believes it with all of his soul.” “If all a person has ever read is the Revised Standard Version, he cannot be born again…” According to Hyles, if someone read “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me” he could not believe Jesus is the way, the truth and the life because it came out of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. If this were true, preachers should never use their own words but simply form sermons from texts in the King James Bible. Of course, Jack Hyles had another serious problem that had to be a presupposition before he could founder on the shoal of equating the King James Bible and the new birth – that is, that salvation is mere mental assent to a proposition of words (be it from the King James or no) rather than an inward work of Holy Spirit of God on the soul, “by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”
[i] Jack Hyles believe that if a “soul-winner” or preacher used some other English translation to present the gospel (at least to English speakers), the convert was not truly saved. Hyles’s errors regarding salvation did not begin with the King James Bible – an idea he developed later in his ministry. Rather it began with multifarious “how-to” procedures designed to obtain outward professions of faith, get people to “make decisions” for Christ and “walk the aisle” for baptism and church membership.
[ii] Enemies of Soul Winning, Jack Hyles, Hammond, IN: Hyles-Anderson Publishers, 1993 (First Electronic Printing, June, 1997 by FFEP)