Schizophrenic Christianity

How Christian Fundamentalism Attracts and
Protects Sociopaths, Abusive Pastors, and Child Molesters
Second Edition

Memory of Brent Stevens:
As one
who came too late to save,
I lay
this rose upon your grave.
that I could do I’ve done:
rest in Christ, forgotten son.
There are
more people to thank for their help and kindness than I can name. So I will
thank the man whose example prompted me to write this book:

Schizophrenic Christianity: How
Christian Fundamentalism Attracts and Protects Sociopaths, Abusive Pastors, and
Child Molesters. 2nd
Edition 2014. Copyright © 2014 by Jeri Massi. All rights reserved. No part of
this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means,
electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any
information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the
publisher.  For information, contact Jupiter Rising Books.

Table of Contents

Appendix One: the Free Church of
North America (Free Presbyterian)
Appendix Two: The Account of the
Farris Sons

The roots of  Christian Fundamentalism
have been mythologized by Fundamentalists and entirely revised by some former
Fundamentalists who want to put themselves at the center of the struggle
against corruption in Christian Fundamentalism. So, to know the roots of
Christian Fundamentalism, we have to look at facts and dates. 
In 1922, J Frank Norris and his church,
First Baptist Church of Fort Worth, Texas, were denied seats at the Baptist
General Convention of Texas. They were again denied seats in 1923. From then
until 1935, Norris prepared to leave the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and,
enroute to his exit, he attacked Baylor University with accusations of
modernism and liberalism.  In 1926, John R Rice, a graduate of Baylor, became
Norris’s key evangelist.
In 1927 Rice left the SBC and planted
several churches in Texas that he designated as “Fundamental Baptist.” In 1932
he became a pastor in his own right. And his church, in Dallas Texas, was named
“Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle” while he was the pastor. In the early days,
“Fundamental” was the key word, to distinguish the movement from modernism and
liberals. Rice and Norris split, but Norris kept the banner of “Fundamental
Baptist” as his own.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the
country, Bob Jones Senior started Bob Jones College in 1927, under the banner
of Fundamentalism. Jones Sr was a Methodist. The school’s creed was written by
a Methodist evangelist.
Jones wanted the school to be
interdenominational. Mode of baptism, for example, has never been stipulated in
the doctrinal statement of Bob Jones University.
Rice went on, ultimately, to found the Sword
Of The Lord newsletter, which by the 1950′s had a circulation of over
90,000. Even during the 1970′s, when its circulation was between 60,000
and 70,000, SOTL was more commonly read in IFB churches than BJU’s four-color
magazine, Faith for the Family. Throughout the 1950′s. Rice and Bob
Jones Senior were allies, and it was during this time period that Independent
Fundamental Baptists (IFB) formed as a distinct entity, entirely separated even
from conservative SBC churches.
Increasingly, separation from
denominations that allowed modernism (like the SBC) became a shibboleth of the
faith for the Jones segment of Fundamentalism. But Rice was slower to insist on
absolute separation from conservative SBC churches than Jones was. Rice would
not be a part of SBC functions. But on his own platform, he would permit
Fundamental SBC preachers to speak.
In 1971, Bob Jones Junior (not Senior),
issued the final ultimatum on separation, and it was this ultimatum that split
Rice from BJU. From 1971 onward, Rice and Jones were rivals (and enemies,
really). But separation, at this point, was now as vital as “Fundamentalist.”
Bob Jones University still did not become solely IFB, but the ratios of IFB
students to other denominations soared. The school had always been majority
Baptist, but IFB was the chief denomination, and not only the chief
denomination, but the ruling denomination. And that has continued to this day.
By the early 1970′s, Fundamentalism
also had its well-known lieutenants: the second string. Robert Ketcham of the
GARBC, Lee Roberson who founded Tennessee Temple, Evangelist Oliver B Greene
who dominated Christian radio air waves for two decades and founded the The
Gospel Hour on radio, and eventually, Lester Roloff, the mad preacher who
popularized concentration camps for children under the euphemism of “children’s
Roberson, Greene, and Roloff were
products of (or really outcasts from) the Southern Baptist Convention. Ketcham,
a defector from the Northern Baptist Convention, was the empire builder of the
General Association of Regular Baptist Churches (GARBC), which regularly sent
(and still sends) students to BJU.
As the years passed and trenches were
dug, John R Rice became the promoter of Jack Hyles, and the preaching team of
Rice and Hyles in the 1970′s was the first fuel that launched
Hyles-Anderson College.
At the other end of the spectrum, Jerry
Falwell gained popularity during the 1970′s and launched Liberty College,
now Liberty University. Technically, Falwell’s home church was a member of the
Southern Baptist Convention, but he downplayed that during his lifetime. Most
Fundamentalists assumed that Falwell was IFB. And as documented in the book Spirit
And Flesh, graduates of Liberty became IFB pastors. Later, after Falwell’s death,
the church re-embraced its SBC roots and upgraded Liberty University,
distancing it from its shoutin’ IFB cousins.

Also in thy skirts is found the blood
of the souls of the poor innocents: I have not
found it by secret search, but upon all these.
--Jeremiah 2:34
            In the late 1970’s, Youth Pastor Dave Hyles, son
of the ebullient, mercurial preacher Jack Hyles, left First Baptist Church of
Hammond and assumed the pastorate of Miller Road Baptist Church in Garland,
Texas. A few years later, that Texas church---wracked with scandal and at least
14 married women who claimed that Dave had engaged in sex with them, removed
Dave from the pulpit.  A briefcase had been found in the church’s dumpster,
crammed with pornographic photographs, including photographs of Dave Hyles
himself. Magazine advertisements for group sex featured Dave and another woman
from the church, Brenda Stevens[1].

            In the aftermath, it was discovered that each
woman who had committed adultery with Dave had been promised that she was his
“only one.” Dave’s first wife, Paula, left him, taking their two children with
her, away from the madhouse of David’s rages and pornography addiction[2].
Brenda Stevens, who had figured in the photographs, left her husband to follow
Dave. David Hyles and Brenda Stevens, with Brenda’s two sons from her first
marriage, left Texas and settled in Bolingbroke Illinois, with Dave employed in
secular work.
            While Dave Hyles was living with Brenda Stevens
in Bolingbroke Illinois, Brenda’s 15-month old son, Brent, was discovered to
have eight broken bones, all of them broken at different times.
            The family court removed Brent from the
Bolingbroke household and transferred him to the custody of his natural father
in Texas. A few months later, the investigator of the alleged abuse, Paul
Ciolino, discovered to his dismay that Brent had been returned to the custody
of Dave and Brenda. Detective Ciolino warned the Children's Services
authorities that he believed that Brent's life was in danger in that house. Not
long afterward, Brent was found dead in his crib.
            Dave Hyles had been the only adult in the house
with Brent the previous evening, and there was a prescription bottle of
Actifed, filled only the day before and now empty, in the house.
            When the police arrived, summoned by Dave, who
said he found Brent not breathing in his crib, Dave's father Jack Hyles had
gotten there before them, no small feat considering he had to come up to
Bolingbroke Illinois from Hammond Indiana. The police collected the Actifed bottle
as evidence. The next day, Dave and Brenda picked up the body and immediately
had it embalmed for burial. Any evidence in the body was destroyed.
            At the inquest, Dave Hyles pleaded the Fifth
Amendment and did not answer any questions beyond his name and address. Brenda
Stevens did not even appear. Paul Ciolino named Dave as the prime suspect, but
though the inquest returned a verdict of "suspicious death" for Brent
Stevens, they failed to indict Dave Hyles. Though pressured to close the case,
Paul Ciolino refused to do so. As far as Ciolino was concerned, Dave Hyles
would always be the prime suspect in Brent’s death.
            Dave’s father, Jack Hyles, had to do an enormous
amount of damage control. Since the 1970’s, his church, First Baptist of
Hammond, had been the capital of much of Christian Fundamentalism.  By the
early 1990’s, Hyles Senior found himself increasingly embattled over his
relationship with Jennie Nischik, the wife of one of his deacons.  Dave’s
debacle could not have come at a worse time.  Vic Nischik, the defrauded
husband, self-published his book, Wizard of God, a detailed description
of his allegations of how Jack Hyles had used deceit and manipulation to steal
Jennie’s affections.  Not long after, attorney Voyle Glover published Fundamental
Seduction, a hard look at the evidence that existed against Jack Hyles in
the mounting number of allegations against him.
            The senior Hyles fell back on the Independent
Fundamental Baptist standbys of insisting that his independence as a local
church pastor gave him immunity from questioning, and the dictates of Loyalty
compelled every “right” pastor to believe in him 100 hundred percent. 
            In an astounding act of defiance against his
accusers, Hyles had “Hundred Percenter” buttons printed up and distributed at
his annual Pastor’s School, a conference that Hyles hosted to educate
Independent Fundamental Baptist pastors about how to build mega-churches on the
order of First Baptist of Hammond (FBCH).  His followers, Independent
Fundamental Baptist pastors from across the United States, wore the buttons and
promised one hundred percent loyalty to Jack Hyles: a guarantee to never
question him, never examine evidence that suggested he was an unworthy pastor,
and never pay heed to anybody who spoke against him.
            Within a few years, Everett Farris, then pastor
of Pinellas Park Baptist Church (now Crosspointe Church) of Pinellas Park,
Florida, took Dave Hyles and his wife Brenda into membership into the Pinellas
Park Baptist Church. Farris was a well known “Hundred Percenter.” He put Dave
on church staff. In a neat sidestep of the Scriptures that directs that a man
such as Dave, divorced and tied to many scandals, may not hold the office of
elder or pastor, Farris put Dave in charge of Sunday School.
            Dave Hyles soon started speaking again at
Fundamentalist conferences and youth rallies. He spoke for Bob Gray of Longview
Baptist, and he spoke in other, smaller Independent Fundamental Baptist
churches. For his other sins (massive adultery while in church office at Miller
Road Baptist Church in Garland Texas), Dave was made to write a letter of
            Everett Farris did not require a public
statement from Dave Hyles on what happened the night that Brent Stevens died,
nor why Dave summoned his father first, waited for him to arrive, and then
called the local police. Nor was Dave made to discuss why he had pleaded the
Fifth Amendment during the inquest. A child was dead. A detective had named
Dave Hyles as the prime suspect. But no Independent, Fundamental Baptist
preacher who has welcomed Dave Hyles into the pulpit or into church membership
has required Dave Hyles to declare for public record before the church what
happened that night with Brent Stevens or why Dave chose to plead the Fifth
Amendment at an inquiry into the death of that child. Instead, they have chosen
to ignore the open case and the unresolved matter of what Brent Stevens
suffered and how he died.
            As this story unfolded before me during my early
research in 2000, I was stunned at the callous, quick way that Brent Stevens
was swept under the rug and forgotten by Christian Fundamentalism. The dignity
of that human being, which was traded off for the reputation of a church, was
worth nothing in Independent Baptist Fundamentalism, in my opinion.  Voyle
Glover, a Christian lawyer, had made a public stand on behalf of Brent Stevens.
Evangelist Robert Sumner was supportive of Glover’s publications on behalf of
Brent. Otherwise, the fate of that child was ignored by the prominent preachers
of Fundamentalism while a man in church office declared---against the counsel
of Scripture--- that he would give one hundred percent of his loyalty to a
sinner, Jack Hyles, a man already stained by corruption, who refused to be held
accountable to other elders who rightly demanded that he clear up allegations
of corruption.
            The sheer impunity of Hyles, Everett Farris, and
all the Fundamentalist pastors who wore the Hundred Percenter button stunned
The Sledgehammer that Shattered the Silence
            But the days of such radical impunity, the days
of knowing that nobody outside the circle of preachers would talk, were ending.
The great sledge hammer that destroyed much of the secrecy of Christian
Fundamentalist scandals was the internet.  When I started doing my research in
1999, I relied on books and photocopies of materials.  Within the first year, I
was doing much of my research online.  Jack Hyles, ever able to hold absolute
control over his followers, had condemned the internet and said it was a sin to
use it.  Other Christian Fundamentalist institutions were also cautious at
first. Hyles died early in 2001, but his followers remained cautious. A few
intrepid souls dared to create web pages to provide text copies of his sermons,
but otherwise, the Hyles stratum of Fundamentalism was slow to put itself on
the internet.
            This caution and hesitancy resulted in the
creation of one major source of information about Fundamentalism: the Fighting
Fundamentalist Forum, which was founded by Don Elbourne. This watering hole for
both current Fundamentalists and former Fundamentalists received thousands of
hits per day and offered a front row seat for viewing the “Hundred Percenter”
mentality and the dispensing of information about the dangers of men like Dave
Hyles.  From 2000 until about 2004, you could even see men like Dave Hyles come
onto the forum under assumed screen names and try to undermine people who
posted about their abuses.
            But in 2000, when the Fighting Fundamentalist
Forum (FFF) was in its infancy, as I was researching these details, I feared
that Dave Hyles might be a danger to his community. And Everett Farris had put
him in charge of Sunday School: a role that would bring Dave into contact with
children. I assembled an information packet that included the news documentary
(“Preying from the Pulpit”), a chapter from Voyle Glover’s book, Fundamental
Seduction, that outlines Brent Stevens’ sad fate, the coroner’s report on
Brent, and the transcript of the inquest where Dave Hyles pleaded the Fifth
Amendment. I mailed the entire bundle to the Pinellas Park police. 
            It was in conversations with them that I discovered
a second strange death of a child in the Hyles-Stevens household.  Brenda
Stevens, now Dave’s wife, while backing up the car, claimed that her five-year
old son, Jack David (fathered by Dave Hyles), had fallen out without her
knowing it, and she had backed over him and killed him.
            When the police officer I spoke to told me that,
I was horrified.  “And you really believed that?”  I shouted.
            He became angry but controlled his anger.  “We
have to go by the evidence,” he told me.  “There was no evidence present at the
scene to contradict her story.”
            But less than a month after I sent the
information packet to the police, Voyle Glover phoned me to tell me that Dave
had suddenly “been called elsewhere” and had left Pinellas Park Baptist Church
in a big hurry.  Shortly, rumors surfaced that Dave had seduced nine women at
PPBT, as he had done at Miller Road.  The woman on church staff who had been
his secretary, Joyce Phaneuf, was later busted on charges of being a prostitute.
The police report included a comment that she had a tattoo, “Dave’s Girl” on
her thigh[3].
 Rumors floated to Voyle Glover that Dave had been running a prostitution ring.
            Everett Farris's sons, who had assumed pastoral
roles from their father at Pinellas Park Baptist Church (now called Crosspointe
Church. The church changed its name soon after Dave departed), have claimed
that nobody warned their father (See Appendix 2). However, appearing to
contradict himself, Jonathan Farris also acknowledged that his father brushed
off warnings about Dave Hyles (Appendix 2). Other fundamentalist churchgoers,
including Voyle Glover, have claimed that people did, indeed, warn Everett
            And I, a Presbyterian not even affiliated with
the IFB any more, had learned the story about Brent Stevens very quickly. How
could the man who actually put Dave Hyles in a church staff position, in charge
of children, have missed this glaring incident in Dave Hyles' history? It made
the news in Illinois. A Detroit news station picked it up and included the
story of Brent’s death and the investigation in a news documentary. Two books
widely circulated among Fundamentalists referenced it. And the Indiana
Fellowship of Baptist Churches put Jack Hyles out of fellowship over the entire
history of Hyles scandals. So how could Everett Farris never hear of this?
            The Bible clearly says that before a man is
accepted into church office, the elders are to verify the man's reputation both
within the church and with those in the secular world (I Timothy 3:7).
            The Farris boys, both former students of
Hyles-Anderson, have insisted that their father was not as much a part of the
Hyles movement as has been alleged. (See Appendix 2.)  But graduates of
Hyles-Anderson College confirmed that Everett Farris had been one of the chosen
few to preach in chapel at Hyles-Anderson, an honor conferred only on close and
trusted friends.
            And during Everett Farris’ reign as senior
pastor, when the church was still “Pinellas Park Baptist Temple,” he listed his
church as “KJB, Hyles,” on the Military Get Saved church directory[4],
a website devoted to Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) churches that use
only the King James Version of the Bible as their authorized text.
            The Bible teaches that an elder must be unswayed
by fads, sober and wise, and skillful with the Scripture (See I Timothy Chapter
Three.) For gross errors and foolish conduct, an elder is to be put out of
office. But Everett Farris never was.
            Relief of the oppressed, justice for the
forgotten, and the ending of suffering of the innocent is the responsibility of
Christianity. And the elders of Christianity are charged with seeking justice,
mercy, and relief, without respect of persons.
            But Dave’s story of moving freely within
Independent Baptist Fundamentalism was not yet over. Without facing formal
church discipline procedures at Pinellas Park Baptist Temple, and without any
formal communication being given to the congregation about why Dave left (though
rumors emerged later), Dave moved quietly over to Berean Baptist, Tom Neal’s
church in Orange Park, Florida.  Neal, another “Hundred Percenter” for Hyles,
took him in. There is no record that the Farris boys did anything to follow up
to make sure that the Berean Baptist congregation knew that Dave Hyles was
coming to them under church discipline.  Neither did Tom Neal bring Dave Hyles
in under discipline, before the church. At that time, nothing was said to
Neal’s congregation about Dave’s amazing track record of seductions of married
            As soon as I learned where Dave had gone, I sent
a duplicate information packet to the Orange Park Sheriff’s department, local
to Berean Baptist, and spoke with an investigator.  The investigator was
grateful for the warning, and he opened an investigation of Dave.  Within a few
weeks, an anonymous poster named “Madison Madness” appeared on the
Fundamentalist Forums, boasting that Dave would soon be arrested.  Whether it
was this garrulous, foolish poster’s fault or not, I don’t know, but word came
that Dave had stopped his activities and fled Berean Baptist, having been
tipped off.  It’s hard to know what is fact and what is rumor on the internet,
but I have always blamed “Madison Madness” for spouting it all to Dave on an
internet forum.
            A new poster on the original Fighting
Fundamentalist Forum posted a regretful statement about punching Dave Hyles in
a church. There were more allegations of adultery. I posted a request for more
information, but none was forthcoming.  Whatever happened at Berean Baptist
church, Dave Hyles once again did not face church discipline, The story went
that Dave was going to leave the Independent Fundamental Baptist movement and
enter the Southern Baptist Convention. He was going to First Baptist Church of
Jacksonville, the prominent SBC church then pastored by Jerry Vines.
            I sent a packet of info to Jerry Vines as well
as a letter, certified mail, to warn him of Dave Hyles.  Pastor Vines’ personal
assistant, “Jacki,” spoke to me a few times and then stopped taking my calls. 
Jerry Vines never responded at all.  A few weeks later, a man who said he was a
police officer and a member of the church called me to say that most of my
background information on Dave was not even accurate, but that he was keeping
an eye on Dave.  Nobody in the church congregation was warned of Dave’s
history.  A sexual predator was once again loose in a Baptist church, and
nobody knew but the pastor, and he was not telling his congregation.
            Dave’s Hyles’ depraved seduction of women began
at First Baptist of Hammond.  He has waltzed through five Baptist churches,
with allegations of massive adultery, pornography, violence, deceit, and
prostitution behind him.  These charges were never adequately investigated by
any church that housed him.  He was never placed under anything beyond the most
nominative of church discipline, if that (Everett Farris made him write a single
letter of apology to the Miller Road Baptist Church).  The people destroyed by
his callous use and discarding of lives have piled up.  Nobody in Independent
Baptist Fundamentalism has raised an effective voice. Nobody has demanded an
account of all the events, from end to end.  Nobody has insisted that the name
“Christian Fundamentalist” be protected by excommunicating churches that have
sheltered Dave Hyles. 
            And this is the danger of Christian
Fundamentalism: all Christian Fundamentalism. It fails to keep itself pure. It
fails to protect the innocent. It fails to impose accountability onto its
leaders. The result is that, from out of a flock of sheep, a wolf can strike.
He can take innocent lives; he can tear and rend. And after he has finished his
bloody work, the sheep close around him again and offer him cover.




Psychopaths, Sociopaths, Pedophiles, and Child Molesters
In July 1993, A. V. Ballenger, deacon and senior bus worker
at First Baptist Church of Hammond (FBCH), was sentenced to five years in
prison for fondling the seven-year old daughter of a family that were members
of the church. During the commission of the crime, Sunday School teacher Tamara
Wenger alleged that she saw that Ballenger was sexually fondling the child (in
the pubic region) through her clothing as they sat together.  It was an
unusually brazen thing to do. 
            Lake County Deputy Prosecutor Clarence Murray
prosecuted the case. Ballenger’s response to the charges was that he put his
arm around the girl because she was cold in the air-conditioned room, but that
he did not fondle her.
            The parents of the victim, members for over 15
years at the church, originally put the matter into the hands of Pastor Jack
Hyles, who, they affirmed, promised to look into the matter and help them. Two
months passed, during which time nothing was done, and so the parents went to
the police.
            Even then, the father admitted to powerful guilt
feelings for having “gone against the church.”  Tammy Wenger was never blamed
from the pulpit for testifying that she saw the molestation, but she was
ostracized and ignored from that point on. When she appealed to Jack Hyles, he
told her that he could not help her. Ultimately, feeling forced out by the
silent treatment, she left the church.
            Under the direction of Jack Hyles, the majority
of the church members supported Ballenger. At a Wednesday night service after
being indicted, Ballenger was treated to a standing ovation from the
congregation at the direction of Jack Hyles. During the trial itself, church
members packed the courtroom to show their support for him, not the victim.
            According to local papers, nobody from the
church ever inquired after the welfare of the child; both the prosecutors and
the family received threats during and after the trial. Fears from these
anonymous threats never entirely left the parents, even after they had left the
church and Ballenger was in prison.
            Lutheran Social Services provided counseling for
the child and her mother until the therapist concluded that the child was
recovering appropriately.
            A civil suit filed against Ballenger and the
church by the girl's family was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount
of money. Yet Jack Hyles insisted that no wrong had been done. He also declared
the finding of the court “null and void.” Ballenger's own niece from Alabama,
along with two other women, attended the sentencing hearing for Ballenger, each
of them alleging that he had also molested them when they were children[8].

            After speaking with a lawyer close to the case,
I concluded that there were some dubious elements to it. Tammy Wenger was right
to be concerned, and right to report suspected child abuse, but a serious
objection about how much she actually could see from where she stood in the
room could certainly be raised. I am not saying Ballenger was innocent, for
there was other evidence brought before the court, and he was convicted by a lawfully
appointed jury. But I am saying, first, that the alleged victim and her family
were abandoned, if not persecuted outright, by their own church. And second,
that Ballenger did not get an impartial trial, and that was because of what
Hyles did.
            Jack Hyles orchestrated the reactions of his
congregation to the police investigation and trial and used them for his own
ends, from start to finish. Had he followed the Biblical course of gravely and
soberly hearing charges before witnesses and confronting the accused person biblically,
many people may have been spared a great deal of suffering.  Instead, he roused
the church to fever pitch, made his people a nuisance and even helped create a
sense of danger to members of the justice system (as prosecutors received
anonymous threats), alienated the jury by the circus-like antics of the church
“supporters” of Ballenger during the trial, and remained defiant after the
verdict was reached.
            Cold, calculating, and the man who may have
ruined the Accused’s last hope, Hyles went on his merry way after the trial.
Nobody at the church raised an objection to the hateful, spiteful, defiant, and
pitiless behavior from their own church congregation. They thought they had
done the right thing. The fact that the Bible condemns such behavior from start
to finish never troubled their conscience as a corporate entity.
In 2010, a woman named Tina
Anderson went public to say that she had been raped 13 years earlier, twice, by
a deacon in her church, Trinity Baptist in Concord, New Hampshire. She had been
only 15-16 years old at the time of the rapes. Her rapist, Ernest Willis, would
ultimately face indictment, then arrest, then conviction for the rapes, but
only after Tina came forward as an adult. At the time of this writing, Willis
sits in a well-deserved prison cell.
Tina Anderson asserted, on national
television, that then pastor Chuck Phelps covered up the crime. For Anderson soon
realized that she was pregnant. She went to Pastor Phelps and told him the full
story. Phelps quickly orchestrated her exile from the church.
In her own words, she recounted
that church officials “forced her to stand in front of her congregation and
apologize for getting pregnant." She was disciplined for committing
adultery. Separate from her, Willis was more lightly disciplined for adultery.
The congregation was never told that Willis had taken this 15 year old girl. Each
was presented as a separate case from the other. Later, Tina Anderson would be
made to write a letter asking Willis’ wife for forgiveness.
Phelps whisked Anderson out of
sight and then shipped her off to IFB Pastor Matt Olson's family in Colorado.
She was kept out of touch with everybody from her previous life.  She was
homeschooled while in Colorado. When she gave birth, she was forced to give up
the baby for adoption.
In the eyes of the IFB, Tina
Anderson was already "used goods," for she had come to the leaders of
her church earlier for help against her criminal step father, Daniel Leaf, for
molesting her as a child. Leaf was a member of the church. At 13, Anderson was
told that as a Christian her duty was to forgive Leaf, not report him to
police, and to keep quiet about the matter at church. Luckily for her, Leaf was
in prison by then on other charges.  But Tina Anderson wasn’t born for luck.
One consequence of the dismissal of her grief over what her stepfather did to
her was that Ernest Willis took a “fatherly” interest in her that led to raping
her a couple years later.
While most of the members of
Trinity sat in obedient, sheep-like silence while Phelps punished a frightened
15 year old with public humiliation for a sin she had not committed (adultery),
a few people were horrified. Over a decade later, when one of them mentioned
the story on a social networking site, the wheels were set in motion to revive
the case. Within a few weeks, Tina Anderson went on television in a series of
news shows to tell her story.
Although the Bible orders in both
the Old and the New Testaments that any grievance handled by elders requires
testimony from both parties, the pastors of the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship
united behind a widely circulated letter titled " Official Response to the
Accusations Against Dr. Phelps and Dr. Olson.” Tina Anderson was never
consulted in the publication of this letter. When Chuck Phelps was repeatedly
approached by news teams for his side of the story, he refused to speak.
At the trial of Ernest Willis,
Phelps, who was represented by Attorney David Gibbs III, was forced to testify.
When confronted with the way he had handled the matter both then and now,
Phelps cried on the stand.
After Willis was convicted and
sentenced, Bob Jones III appointed Chuck Phelps to the board of Bob Jones
University. A hail storm of protest followed, and Phelps resigned. At the
resignation, BJIII would only commend Phelps for his loyalty. Not a word was
spared for Tina Anderson.
Sociopaths are Integrated into Society and in Our
            If you talk about sociopaths or psychopaths,
most people think of serial killers. They might even use the term “criminally
insane”.  And most people take for granted that sociopaths and psychopaths
frequent the dark, secret places of our society: back alleys, bars, and
brothels. That’s where you find them. Many people assume that sociopaths don’t
like to come out in the open, not with all their sinister secrets. In fact,
it’s a common misconception that most psychopaths and sociopaths are in jail
right now or eventually will be.
            But according to statistics presented by Martha
Stout, PhD[9],
one out of every 25 people in American society is a sociopath: a person who
lacks empathy and conscience: a person who cannot love as the Bible describes
love.  Disregard everything the movies have taught you: Sociopaths can fit very
well in every level of society; they even migrate towards groups, and most of
them are not murderers. In fact, religious groups offer a special attraction to
them, as I will explain in an upcoming chapter. 
            The sociopath has one main interest, to accrue
power and prestige, to get his due, to make his claim and have his claim
succeed.  In short, the sociopath wants to win at life, and as soon as he
figures out the system of rules in his stratum of society, he will bend those
rules, mold them, and rewrite them to suit himself so that he can win on his
            Most sociopaths play the game of life all the
way to the end. They get better and better at fitting in, and they get more
audacious in making bids for power, money, and prestige.  The dark suit of
crime does not appeal to most of them. But the shiny suit of respectability
appeals to them. Unhindered by conscience, many sociopaths will infiltrate the
ministry with its many safety nets, codes of silence, and unspoken agreements
far more readily than they will infiltrate the risky, disreputable criminal
            Clinically, the type of person I describe as a
Sociopath has “Anti-Social Personality Disorder.” The designation of this
personality disorder as “Anti-Social” has its roots in an early assumption that
lack of empathy and lack of conscience always led to delinquency and criminal
behavior. Up until the 1970’s, the prevailing view in psychology was that
people with Anti-Social Personality Disorder populated only the lowest sectors
of society and our prisons.  Originally, “moral depravity” and “moral insanity”
were common descriptors for this disorder, and the word “psychopathy” was
batted around and given different, even contradictory, meanings[10].
            But later research revealed that people with the
characteristics of “Anti-Social” behavior were not necessarily criminal and
often fit quite nicely into society. Indeed, many could succeed in career roles
that require strong individualism, ruthless decision-making skills, and extreme
focus on ways to achieve success.
            Theorist Thomas Millon writes, “The normal
antisocial [person] is action oriented, independent thinking, nonconforming,
and innovative.  These persons are enterprising and confrontational; they
stretch the limits of the laws that prevail, do their best to keep within
socially tolerable boundaries, but always focus on their desires as primary.  Seeking
to make their own way, to find a place in which they alone can take charge,
they assert themselves, push forward by sheer willpower, overcoming obstacles”

            Anti-Social Personality Disorder is assessed
based on the description provided in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of
Mental Disorders, 4th Edition Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR). Psychologists trained
to assess patients look for any three of the following characteristics in a
- o - Failure to conform to social norms with respect to
lawful behaviors
- o - Deceitfulness, including lying and conning
- o - Impulsiveness or failure to plan ahead
- o - Irritability and aggressiveness
- o - Reckless disregard for safety of self or others
- o - Consistent irresponsibility, refusal to accept
- o - Lack of remorse
"Lack of remorse” has been broadened by some
psychologists, including Martha Stout, to include “lack of empathy”[12].
Well-known researcher and expert Robert D. Hare also indicates absence of empathy
as typical of this disorder[13].
Bear in mind, if only three of the seven listed behaviors are verified, a
person is diagnosed with Anti-Social Personality Disorder.  So any person who
has this disorder can be different in several ways from any other person with
this disorder. Stout uses the term sociopath to describe the disorder,
and Hare uses the term psychopath. Both terms are used interchangeably
in popular literature.
            What all people with this disorder seem to
share, universally, is (1) lack of empathy for others and (2) a willingness to
do whatever is necessary to win out in every situation and relationship. The
desire to be autonomous is strong, and the ability to innovatively maneuver
around existing boundaries and obstacles is profound. These are people who know
how to “play the game” wherever they land, and they get so skillful that they
make “the game” work for them in ways nobody ever imagined.
            Robert D. Hare has extensively defined such
people as “predators who use charm, manipulation, intimidation, and violence to
control others and to satisfy their own selfish needs. Lacking in conscience
and in feelings for others, they cold-bloodedly take what they want and do as
they please, violating social norms and expectations without the slightest
sense of guilt or regret"[14].
            Thanks to television and movies, many people
mistakenly think that sociopaths/psychopaths are always violent and criminal,
but this is not true.  A psychopath, according to Hare, is devoted to himself
and believes he is deserving of accolade, wealth, and prestige, simply by
virtue of being him. He will use other people to advance himself, get what he
wants, derive sexual pleasure, or “get even” (whether or not his victim has
actually done him any harm). Even so, most sociopaths/psychopaths are not
            The psychopath may express his disorder
non-violently.  In simplest terms, the psychopath’s approach to others is a
three-step process to “assess, manipulate, and abandon” people[15].
            Martha Stout, who uses the term “sociopath” for
these people, emphasizes that sociopathic people are most often not even diagnosed. 
In fact, based on the statistics that one person out of 25 in American society
is a sociopath, she asserts that most of us have a sociopathic person somewhere
in our lives. Maybe more than one.  They fit into social niches very well; and
often without committing criminal acts, they cut a swath through the lives of
ordinary, unsuspecting people.  A sociopath will hurt you every time, sooner or
later, but probably not in any way that is illegal.
            According to Stout, the sociopath is highly
energetic, almost magnetic, charismatic, engaging, and able to size up others
in terms of what they can do for him. The sociopath uses and discards other
people without problems of conscience, dropping anybody who is not part of his
select alliance or game plan[16]. 

            A sociopath acts in service to an over riding
belief, desire, superstition, sexual fantasy, or “in” crowd that rules his
life. The sociopath can be guided by an inner structure of values and moral
reasoning that is often bizarre and contradictory. The so-called “code of
honor” in criminal organizations is an example of this bizarre incongruity that
exists in the minds of some sociopaths. They strictly and conscientiously
adhere to a code that gives them permission to kill the innocent but requires
their absolute allegiance to the guilty.
            For the purpose of this book, I am using the word
“sociopath” to describe that person who lacks empathy and meets the
requirements of Anti-Social Personality Disorder.  Just remember, the terms
“psychopath” and “sociopath” can have different shades of meaning, or be used
interchangeably, depending on who uses them and what his or her research has
been. So for this discussion, the term “Sociopath” is the word of choice.
            Now, for more terms you should know:
            Pedophile – The news media and general public
often get this term wrong. They often use it to describe any adult who engages
in any sex act with any young person who is under the age of consent. 
Clinically, a pedophile is a person (including an underage person) who engages
in sex acts with prepubescent children. So a 14 year old who engages in a sex
act with a younger child is engaging in pedophilic behavior.  A seven-year old
who sexually molests an infant is also engaging in pedophilic behavior. And a
50 year old who engages in a sex act with a 10 year old is a pedophile. 
Pedophilia has to do with sexual attraction to a child before the child enters
            Child Molester – This category includes
pedophiles but also includes adults who prey upon young people who are in or
have been through puberty but are too immature to give meaningful consent to
sex. So a pastor who seduces a 15 year old girl is not a pedophile, but he is a
child molester.  The sexual sins of pedophilia and child molesting have a
genuinely sexual component to them, but they are inextricably linked to issues
of control and domination.
            The fact that some child molesters (pedophiles)
get a better, more loathsomely delightful “high” from children too young to
even know what is going on, and some child molesters get their “high” from a
slightly older child who has been through puberty, is hardly a distinction
worth making, but we ought to be clear on basic terms. The term “child
molester” includes all pedophiles as well as those adults who engage in sex
acts with post-pubescent young people who have not yet reached the age of consent.
            A sociopath can be a child molester. But a
person can be a sociopath and not molest children. There are all kinds of
abuses that exist that are not directly sexual.  What sociopaths and child
molesters all have in common, is the drive to control and dominate, and a
gratification of appetite found in subjugating others to their will.
            I am not qualified to pass judgment on the case
histories given in this book in terms of assessing personality disorders or
mental illness.  I am presenting several cases of Independent Fundamental
Baptist men who engaged in child molesting or other criminal or grossly
non-Christian behaviors. I am not saying that all of them or any one of them is
a sociopath.  Some examples of behavior from these cases lend themselves well to
illustrate sociopathic behavior, but when an example of such behavior appears
in this book, I am using it to illustrate a behavior. I am not saying that the
person who has behaved badly in the illustration is a sociopath.  Only a
properly trained psychologist can make an assessment like that about a specific
human being.

Why, I can smile and murder whiles I smile,
And wet my cheeks with artificial tears,
And frame my face to all occasions.
3 Henry VI (3.2.182-84)
When a Stranger Comes Calling
In 1990, Andy Beith, who would
later attend Independent Fundamental Baptist college Hyles-Anderson, exposed
himself to a 15-year old girl. For his crime, the younger Beith was ordered to
attend counseling. As Andy Beith was a juvenile, his record was sealed. He later
attended Hyles-Anderson and then became principal at Liberty Baptist Academy,
2075 Rush Place in Lake Station, Indiana, where his father William pastored.
But William Beith was soon be convicted himself for trying to solicit oral sex
from an undercover male police officer. The elder Beith, also a former student
of Hyles-Anderson College, resigned the pastorate in the aftermath of his sex
            In 2001, Andy Beith, by then the school
principal, became attracted to a sixth grade girl at the school. According to
prosecutors, Beith and the child went on a school-sponsored camping trip, where
Beith engaged the 11-year old in sexual intercourse on April 25, 2001.
            When the child’s parents discovered the abuse,
Beith ran away with the girl. They fled to Michigan, then Tennessee, then
Texas. During this cross-country journey, they engaged in sex several times.
They were arrested in Las Vegas on May 7, 2001.
            Beith pled guilty to charges, but U.S. District
Court Judge Rudy Lozano scolded him from the bench with the words, "You
did at times apologize and at times you blamed the victim. You are the adult.
She was a child. She did not consent. Daily, numerous parents sent their most
precious treasures to you, their children. You attacked and damaged one of the
most vulnerable."
            Beith’s defense team argued for a more lenient
sentence on the grounds that Beith had not acted as a child molester, because
the 11-year old girl was actually a sexual temptress. This argument was
            But the Beith dynasty retained power at
Liberty.  After Beith was sent to prison, Beith’s brother-in-law, husband of
Beith’s sister, became principal of the school. 
            The dynasty structure in Fundamentalism is
nothing new. It dates back to the Joneses of Bob Jones University, the somewhat
feudal Fundamentalist university which, despite its weaknesses, has remained
free of the rampant, flaming allegations of sexual deviancy found in the high
places in some other Fundamentalist schools and churches. 
            The Farrises of Pinellas Park/Crosspointe, where
the sons have done damage control after their father’s decision to bring Dave
Hyles onto staff, run a dynasty-church. (Recently, Christian Farris divorced
his first wife and left the ministry. He maintains that he has every right to
return to it, but claims that he prefers his current work, which appears to be
a real estate profession.) In a dynasty-church, no matter what form is used as
a nomination and election process, the power is passed from father to son(s). No
independent board of ruling elders, drawn from the congregation, is present in
such churches to intervene with matters that do not lie in the best interest of
the family in power.
            It is clear that the Beith family, for all its
corruption, maintained a dynasty church at that time in Indiana.  Jack Hyles
himself instituted his dynasty in place at FBCH when he had Dave promoted to
the office of Youth Pastor before Dave had graduated from college. But Dave’s
abuses were so egregious that he had to be shipped off to Texas to wreak his
havoc there. Power fell to Jack Schaap, son-in-law to Hyles. Former
Fundamentalist-megastar Bob Gray of Texas has his son on church staff as Youth
Pastor, and the devotedly pro-Hyles Tom Neal of Berean Baptist Church of Orange
Park Florida has his son on staff as Assistant Pastor.
            Dynastic church rule is not found in the Bible.
It creates enormous problems in terms of authority structure and the just
representation of church members against any ruling member of the dynasty. As
power remains in the control of a family, it just about assures that the
congregation cannot get the leverage or even the public voice to call a member
of the dynasty to accountability, or remove him from office.
            So why do church congregations submit to dynastic
rule?  It’s an interesting question, but it is only one of many questions an
outsider could ask of Fundamentalism. Why do church members submit to pastors
who speak abusively to subordinates?  Why did Jim Vineyard’s church allow him
to counsel women to masturbate in order to prepare for sex?  Why did they let
him get away with describing oral sex in graphic detail to a young woman who
had never even asked him for counseling?
            Fundamentalist churches have proved themselves
to be havens for dictatorial men who do exactly as they please.  Few people
have explored why such churches allow abuses, including non-sexual abuses, that
humiliate and degrade church members. 
            Babiak and Hare write that religious
congregations and other “affinity groups” (groups that share a common set of
values) are favored targets of sociopaths because the bonds within the group
are strong and deeply laid in issues of strong moral belief, genuine religious
faith, and shared cultural identity[18].
Whoever can tap those strong bonds can get a single religious entity or other
tightly knit “affinity group” to serve up money, power, and prestige, and
sometimes even sex, to the leader.  Any single person in the group will likely
defer to others because of their shared trust. The sociopath who can
successfully manage the image that he projects to the group can direct the
natural group dynamics to quiet the concerns of the individual.
            To become a pastor of a church is an ideal slot
for a child molester or any other sexual deviant.  Child molesters don’t hide
in the background of life. They hide in the foreground. To get what they want,
they must take on a role of prominence and trustworthiness.  The idea of the
stranger in the car who holds candy out the window to entice children has a
very low occurrence in real life. Most victims are molested by somebody they
know, and somebody their parents trust[19].
            Child molesters become Boy Scout leaders,
teachers, teachers’ aides, coaches, and church workers. Becoming a pastor, if
it’s easy to do, is ideal for them. And as this book will show, becoming an
Independent Baptist Fundamentalist pastor is one of the easiest things in the
world to do. If a man has charm and natural charisma, it’s harder for him to
get a driver’s license than to become an IFB preacher.
            Churches, all churches and not just
Fundamentalist churches, face a dilemma today in that there are not enough men
available to fill pulpits.  Intellectual young men who invest thousands into
their education get a better financial return by going into computer and
technology fields. And they can still “serve the Lord” by going on mission
trips for vacation, donating funds to support missions, and even engaging in
interfaith activities, like Habitat for Humanity, through their corporations.
We live in a day of mega-money and affluence.  Men who are willing to take upon
themselves the burdens of an entire church full of people, all the inherent
rivalries, bickering, and other issues, are few and far between.
            But sociopaths are excellent at “filling a vacuum.” 
They look for opportunities to become the man in charge.  If a sociopath is a
child molester, he is looking for a place that needs him so badly they will ask
few questions, perform scant background checks, and let him run the church very
much his way. So much the better if he is a charismatic supporter of the
children’s ministry. He can easily raise the enthusiastic support of the
congregation by dangling the great work the church is doing with children in
front of their faces.
Meet the Perfect Pastor
            Consider the following scenario at First Baptist
Church of Littletown. The church has been without a pastor for 18 months. Then,
Deacon Buddy Hollister receives the following glowing letter of inquiry from a
new pastoral candidate:
Is First Baptist Church looking for an energetic, can-do
pastor? Here are my qualifications:
- o - Able to appraise people’s abilities and needs quickly
and use them appropriately, without delay or hesitation
- o - Able to maintain control over a congregation and
assure unanimity in all voting procedures
- o - Unhindered by details and rules that slow down the
growth of the church
- o - Able to give the church a sense of going where we have
never been before, covering bold new ground as the most dynamic church any
Christian has ever seen!
- o - Able to remain at the center of all church functions,
providing the core from which all ministries radiate, the center of our
church’s growth, the fixed point that keeps us all grounded
- o - Call upon me only if you expect a high energy,
outwardly positive, profoundly confident men to pastor your church!
            “Say this is pretty good!”  Deacon Sam Waters
            Deacon Larry Smith rubs his jaw thoughtfully. 
He slips his copy onto the tabletop alongside his disposable cup of coffee.  “I
don’t know, Buddy,” he says.  “Doesn’t say much about the grace of God, or
theology, or the necessity of preaching Christ.”
            The room of deacons abruptly becomes silent.
            Deacon Buddy Hollister scans the list of
qualification in his hands.  He slowly nods as it dawns on him that the list of
requirements is documenting somebody who is extremely pragmatic.
            “I guess you’re right,” he admits after a long
moment.  Another pause. “But fellows, just think how many new folks a man like
this can bring in!”
            He could get the women’s choir to quit their
squabbling!” Deacon Luke exclaims.
            “He could raise money to fix the plumbing in the
men’s room!” Deacon Tom says.
            “And we could always teach him theology,” Buddy
points out. 
            “Guess we’ll have to bring it to a vote!” 
Deacon Sam exclaims.
            “You know, if we vote such a fellow in, we may
have a hard time voting him out if he doesn’t live up to his calling.” Larry
Smith warns them.  Everybody pauses again.
            “But he went to a conservative Baptist
college!”  Buddy replies as he waves the resume in the air. 
            “And we could always have him preach a few times,
before we vote him in,” Sam adds.  “Just to make sure.”
            But Deacon Larry is still cautious.  “I don’t
know fellas.”
            Buddy becomes frustrated. “This is the first
candidate we’ve had in four months! Do you want this church to go under?”
            “I just think we should make proper knowledge of
Christ more of a clear priority,”  Larry tells him.  “And this young man hasn’t
said a word of Christ in his letter.”
            There is a long pause.
            “But think of the numbers he could bring in!” 
Buddy says. 
            And Sam adds, “We’ll be the biggest church in
the county in no time!”
Just that easily, after hearing three sermons from the
candidate, First Baptist of Littletown votes him in.
            Does it seem unlikely to you that a church with
a membership of older Christians would make such a foolish mistake?  I made up
the fictional First Baptist of Littletown. But consider the real life Allen
Baptist Church of Allen, Michigan. The tiny church was dwindling in size, yet
in spite of small numbers, it ran a quilt ministry to the sick and elderly in
town, and its members used church funds to care for each other: cards and
flowers for birthdays, bereavements, other significant events.
            When their elderly pastor resigned, the church
too quickly took in the young Jason Burrick. He was a graduate of Hyles-Anderson
College. And he had been a youth pastor previously. When he candidated at the
church, the members were concerned that he believed in a highly authoritarian
form of church government in which he, as the pastor, would run everything.
They asked him to promise to abide by the church constitution.  Burrick
promised. After an extremely brief candidating period, the church hired him.
            Over the next year, Burrick took over the
finances of the church, ended its ministries, refused to let the women perform
their role of pouring the communion wine, and brought everything under his own
control.  He tried to impose the rigorous dress code of Hyles-Anderson onto the
church women. When elderly members of the church tried to force him to abide by
the church constitution, open war broke out.  Burrick charged four elderly
members of the church, some of them members for four decades, with the sin of
fornication. He had no proof.  He shouted at them in his basement office and
stormed at them with this unbelievable accusation.
            Ultimately, when three of these members were not
present at the church, he “excommunicated” them by taking a vote of
excommunication and ordering the congregation to keep their heads down and
their eyes closed while the vote was taken.  Two of the members thus
excommunicated were shamed out of returning. But the third woman, Karolyn
Caskey, returned. When Burrick ordered her out of the church, she quietly
refused and remained in her seat.  At her refusal, he called the police.  When
the police, with great care, asked her to leave, she politely but clearly
refused to leave the church where he had been a member for over 40 years. She
was then arrested and taken away in handcuffs.  Burrick assented to this, even
though the police themselves were reluctant to arrest her.
            The next week, she returned, and Burrick again
called the police on this 71 year old widow. She was again arrested and removed
in handcuffs.  At this point, the local prosecutor intervened and pointed out
that as long as Karolyn Caskey behaved appropriately, she could not be removed
from a church where visitors were welcome.
Burrick spent the next two Sundays preaching in such a way
to try to incite Karolyn and her supporters to protest out loud.  Among his
comments, “You people need to get back to God and quit serving Big Mama [possibly
a reference to the 71 year old Caskey], you men are supposed to be head
of your household so go back home take off your panties, put on your boxer
shorts and take control of your families.”  Burrick’s antics included running
back and forth while he preached and jumping up on the pews[20].

            Unable to afford legal representation for the
tricky task of forcing Burrick out for refusing to comply with the church
constitution, the best that Karolyn Caskey can do is continue to attend while
Burrick rants and storms. But the former ministries of the church, the loving
union of it members, its quilt ministry to the hospitalized members of the
community, have all ended.  Many who have been forced out (for there were
others who left before it came to excommunication) no longer attend church at
all, too traumatized from the shame of what they suffered and too bewildered by
the mercurial leadership of a man like Jason Burrick to ever risk such a
commitment again.
Too Good to be True
A skillful sociopath has to manage
his image and gain swift control of group dynamics. He knows that if he can get
the key people in his pocket, he will get everybody else. This means assessing
who the real power holders are in a church congregation. But, having honed the
skills of observation all his life, the sociopath can pick out the emotional
cues of deference and self assurance to determine who commands the most respect
in a church. 
            In fact, Babiak and Hare noted that “psychopaths”
(their term for what this book calls sociopaths), have often zeroed in on the
narcissists of management—the men who are also self-absorbed, selfish, grandiose,
and demanding of others—and victimized them. The sociopath has a nose for ego
and knows how to defuse it, use it, and then discard it.
            The sociopath presents an image that is just too
good to be true.  He manages the way a congregation sees him the same way an
expert magician manages the misdirection and suggestions that create his
magical illusions.
            Sociopaths, living their lives around their
sociopathic set of objectives, sexual fantasy, or other centering point,
generate enormous, tireless confidence. They don’t have the self-doubts and
anxieties that come with normal conscience and sense of fallibility. That
freedom makes them attractive.
            Guilt, worry, and modesty hold us back from
glossing over our problems or whitewashing the truth. But sociopaths lack many
of the interpersonal limits that normal people have. Their enormous, often
inflated egos buoy them up.  They can convince other people of just about
anything, and the cheerful optimism they radiate really does outshine anything
the rest of us can generate. 
            Both Babiak and Hare[21]
and psychologist Martha Stout[22]
have documented that former victims of sociopaths independently testified that
there was something electric about them, something energetic and brilliant that
made ordinary people believe in them.  The genuine sociopath, unhindered by
conscience and empathy, can look you right in the eye, tell a boldfaced lie,
and say it tenderly, sincerely, and emphatically.
First Impressions are Lasting and Dangerous
            A sociopath who candidates for church office
must make a good first impression on the entire church. Most human beings are
entirely swayed by their very first impressions. If the first impression is
good, it is a normal human trait to reinterpret all successive impressions of a
person to keep them consistent with the first. If we get a good first
impression, we tend to discount or entirely disregard the small inconsistencies
we pick up later.  If we like a person right off, then turning that initial
like to dislike takes a long time. And this is true in reverse.  An initial
dislike turns only slowly to appreciation of a person’s better qualities.
            We make up our minds much more swiftly than we
change our minds. Sociopaths, those that are intelligent enough to get as far
as being a pastoral candidate, know that the vital first impression is the real
key to entry into a church. And they know this by the time they preach their
first sermon before a church or conduct their first interview.
Common Ground is Also Sinking Sand
            A sociopath who candidates for a church must
give everybody the impression that he likes them. And not only that he likes
them, but that he shares some sort of common ground with them.  Jack Hyles, who
was known to read a verse and then close his Bible for the entire rest of the
sermon while he spoke, told countless stories about himself to his
congregation. These stories always ran high in the pathos factor:  his
alcoholic father who beat him, his impoverished, godly mother who had to serve
him food on bucket lids, his skinny, puny, underweight years in high school,
the first church that burned down, the empty services during his early
            These stories were not Scripture, and they went
way beyond the appropriate function of sermon illustration.  But, especially in
his famous “Fresh Oil” sermon, Hyles used stories about himself to create a
bond with every single person listening to him. Let’s face it, nobody enters
any field of work as a “perfect 10.”  We all feel inadequate, alone, forsaken
at times. Many of us have been objects of violence or rejection by a parent or
a spouse. Many of us have been poor.  Hyles’ stories created grounds for
identification with him through all these universal experiences.
            In 2004, I listened to several Hyles sermons to
do an analysis of their content.  I discovered that in two out of three of the
sermons, Hyles did not even preach the text correctly.  In fact, he often did
not preach the text at all but rather took a phrase out of the Bible as a
slogan and slapped that over his series of anecdotes and stories about himself
to make a point and put a Biblical label on it. 
            What made Hyles successful was that his stories
created a bond with every member of his church.  He managed to bring each
person in the congregation into a one-to-one relationship with him, if only for
a few minutes, each week.  Everybody thought they and their experiences were
similar to Hyles’ experiences and that this common ground mattered to him. 
Each person felt special kinship to Jack Hyles, and Jack Hyles was special to
each person.
            I’m not saying Hyles was a sociopath. Bungling a
sermon does not make a man a sociopath; it just makes him poor at exegesis. And
I am certainly not the first person to conclude that Hyles often preached about
himself, and not Christ. This has been a frequent criticism of the man. I am
saying he used what he called preaching to create strong, emotional bonds with
his church members. And these bonds ultimately held fast when tested by real
scandals and real calls for the church to act without Hyles’ consent in
investigating complaint such as those leveled against AV Ballenger or those
leveled against Hyles’ own son Dave. 
            Instead of acting by congregational vote, the
church did what Hyles told them to do in these cases.  They never demanded a
hearing from the witness who claimed to see the abuse. In Ballenger’s case,
Ballenger was never questioned before the deacons (as there were no elders) in
a formal due process of church investigation. Hyles told the church what to believe
and how to react, and the church did what it was told.  The few members who
dissented left.
A Sociopath must Secure Control
            A pastor who must secure control will, over
time, eliminate rivals for power. That includes eliminating committees that have
any final say in church decisions.  Most importantly, the controlling pastor
must get control of the finances.  This has been done by pastors who have
simply taken over the finances boldly, using the rule of pastoral authority to
take sole control of the books.  Others have conspired with a church treasurer,
or even just the church secretary, to write checks without getting approval, or
dip into the cash. And others have arranged for elaborate embezzlement schemes,
sometimes through bogus investments, dummy missionary accounts, or false
building programs. 
            One IFB pastor rewrote the church constitution
to give the pastor sole ownership of the church building and the property. He
passed the new constitution before the congregation on a Wednesday night business
meeting, with all the details in the text.  The congregation, with nobody
giving the new version of the constitution a thorough reading or requesting
advice from a lawyer, voted in the new constitution. The pastor then sold the
building and property, took the money, and fled.  He could not be prosecuted.
            The successful sociopathic pastor exudes charm
and skill for as long as he needs to until he has total power.  And total power
is something that many IFB congregations willingly hand over to a pastor,
believing it is Biblical that they should do so. Loyalty to the pastor is
preached in Independent Baptist Fundamentalism as one of the crowning virtues
of Christianity, although the word “loyalty” never appears in the Bible, and
the sense of it appears only in reference to God. 
            Still, this trait of following “Preacher” with
unwavering, unquestioning dedication is hawked as a great virtue.  Actually, it
is the key that a church hands over to a sociopath that gives him permission to
behave with complete immunity.  It hands our children over to him, our money,
our dignity, and ultimately our very profession of Christ. More on that, later.
            Once he has a lock on power, the pastor can
begin to discard members who are no longer useful to him.  The naïve victims of
sociopaths usually do escape sexual assault, but they often lament about
feeling violated.  The sociopathic pastor gets to know their most intimate
hopes, fears, and religious experiences. At first he establishes that necessary
“common ground” with them by expressing heartfelt respect and reverence for
their experiences as a Christian. He makes each of them feel special to him,
like he and that person have a meaningful relationship unlike any other
relationship in the church.
            For the victim, it is a relationship tinged with
a spiritual dimension, as the pastor discusses “spiritual matters” with the
fooled victim. And then one day the pastor drops the people who are no longer
useful.  They are no longer in the inner circle. They are no longer seated at
his table for Sunday dinner. Suddenly he has no time for them. 
            The losers in the game of pastoral favor rapidly
fall to the bottom of the church social structure. And under the leadership of
a man who keeps himself at the center of attention, with everybody hanging on
his words, the losers in the game of favor don’t matter.  Nobody goes after
them; nobody extends that vital hand of fellowship to them.  In the IFB, the
term “loser,” in fact, is quite common.  People who air grievances or bring
complaints are “losers.”  They have “dared to touch God’s anointed.”  They have
disputed with the pastor (or at least failed to submit to him) and so they are
“out from under the umbrella of God’s protection.” 
            Independent Baptist Fundamentalism has created
its own set of extra-biblical descriptors and slogans for dealing with their
walking wounded, and not one of their slogans involves kindly language designed
to listen and reach reconciliation. In spite of good churches that still exist
within it, it’s a cut and dry religion. And once you are cut off, you may as
well just dry up. 
Once the sociopathic pastor is in charge, the church does
not care about you if he does not care about you.  We have seen men in church
office discard people. Go ask the women who truly, though gullibly, believed
they were the one and only woman for Dave Hyles.  Go ask Brent Stevens, if you
can find him.  The ability of some people to discard whoever gets in their way
is downright—frightening.

The Sociopathic Version of Christianity
A sociopathic pastor must make the
rules work for him. He must make Christianity itself be what he wants it to
be.  He has to subtly change its focus and emphasis, while all the time paying
lip service to its original intent and meaning.  In other words, the
sociopathic pastor must create a sociopathic version of Christianity good
enough to fool church people.  This may sound hard, but it has been done time
and time again in the past.

This is the end of the free excerpt. In the following chapters, the book covers the Following:
The sociopathic counterfeit of Christianity
How sociopathic church leaders “kill” conscience in their followers
The people most often targeted by sociopathic leaders
Child molesters who become church leaders in a sociopathic environment
How child molesters groom their victims
How child molesting pastors stay in church office for decades, even after being caught
The failure of Christian Fundamentalism to police itself and correct itself
The redistribution of children in Christian Fundamentalism
Surviving the Survivors
Schizophrenic Christianity by Jeri Massi is available at


[1] Preying from the Pulpit. (news mini-series).
May 1993. WJBK. Detroit, Michigan.

[2] Pastor Dave Coleman Interviews Paula Polanco Hyles.
Undated. Available on MP3 at

[3] Smoking Gun Archive.

[4], also,

[5] This story aired on ABC’s Primetime Live on November
2, 2000. See also:

[6] I don’t have the original reference for this amazing
statement, but Pastor Marty Braemer also referred to it in a post on the new
Fighting Fundamental Forums dated 11-13-2006 5:20 PM, titled “If Guy was a
Friend of Mine…”

pre-trib/premillenial means that a person
believes that the Rapture occurs immediately before the seven-year tribulation,
and then Christ returns to triumph over sin and set up His literal thousand-year

[8]  “One step closer to the end.” Amanda Beeler. Northwest
Indiana Times. Sunday, March 31, 1996.)

[9] Stout, Martha. The Sociopath Next Door.
Broadway Books. NY, 2005.  p. 219.

[10] Millon, Theodore and Roger D. Davis, et al others.
Disorders of Personality: DSM-IV™ and Beyond. John Wiley and Sons, NY, 1996.
pp. 429-438.

[11] Ibid. p. 449

[12] The Sociopath Next Door, p. 126.

[13] Babiak, Paul, PhD and Robert D. Hare PhD. Snakes in
Suits. Regan Books, NY. 2006. P. 46

[14] Hare, Robert D. . “Psychopaths: New Trends in
Research.” The Harvard Mental Health Letter. September 1995.

[15] Snakes in Suits. p.  42

[16] The Sociopath Next Door, Chapter Five

[17] “Beith gets 15 years in prison: Ex-Baptist school
principal sentenced for having sex with 11-year-old girl.” Bill Dolan. Northwest
Indiana Times. Thursday, May 29, 2003.

[18] Snakes in Suits. p. 90

[19] This fact is attested by nearly every researcher I
read. But the best synopsis of demographics I found is in Van Dam, Carla, PhD. Identifying
Child Molesters. Haworth Maltreatment and Trauma Press, NY. 2001. Chapter
Five: “Demographics”.

[20] “Bitterness takes root for those exiled from church.”
Brandon Larrabee. Morris News Service (found on
September 27, 2007.

[21] Snakes in Suits. pp. 91-92.

[22] The Sociopath Next Door. pp. 87-90.


[24] Falwell, Jerry and Elmer Towns. Capturing a Town
for Christ. Fleming H. Revell. Tappan NJ. p.70.

[25] Ibid. p. 129.

[26] Reports of Falwell’s shameful dismissal of the unjust
suffering and humiliation of so many were rampant within an hour after he
uttered the infamous words. But the best reference on the quote and
accompanying synopsis is here: "Falwell Terms Clergy Sex-Abuse Case 'Bump
in the Road'" Bob Allen. Ethics October 31, 2006.

[27] Stout’s enlightening explanation makes up Chapter One
of The Sociopath Next Door. I don’t completely agree with her, but I
think her explanations in the first chapter are so worthwhile that this chapter
alone makes the book worth buying. 


[29] Vic Nischik wrote and self published the book, Wizard
of God: My Life With Jack Hyles, the first book to document the corruption
and scandal at First Baptist Church of Hammond.

Even now, decades after Jack Hyles admitted to giving thousands of dollars to
Jennie Nischik in the court depositions, false rumors about Vic Nischik survive
among the followers of Hyles. In one Fundamental Baptist Scandal, the arrest of
Justin Michael Gillen, a teacher at Grand View Baptist Church in Beaver Creek,
Oregon, for possession of child porn, the rumors were revived. Grand View
Baptist Church is a supporter of the Jack Hyles legacy. An internet poster who
commented on the story and the history of scandal attached to “Hyles” churches,
defended Hyles by alleging that Nischik was a womanizer. See reference: 

[31] As of January 2007, an audio of this sermon can be
found on this page:

[32] The Sociopath Next Door. pp. 30-31.

[33] Disorders of Personality: DSM-IV™ and Beyond.
p. 451.

[34] Ibid p. 452.

[35] Ibid. pp. 453-454.

“Tape Recording Called "Smoking Gun"
in Alleged Trinity Cover-up.” Jeannie Blaylock. First Coast News. November
13, 2007, updated November 15, 2007. See also:

Abuse Victims Come Forward.” Mark Spain. First Coast News. May 22, 2006.
See also:

“Accuser: Church Knew About Molestation Claims Against Pastor.” Unsigned.
May 24, 2006.  See Also:

“Was There a Cover-up at Trinity?” (Video). Jean Blaylock. First Coast News.
Oct 31-2006 – Nov. 1, 2006: Parts One and Two. See Also:


“Jacksonville Man Charged With Indecent
Liberties With a Child.” Marybeth Jacoby.
October 8, 2007.  See also:

[42] From Archie Seale, interim pastor of Calvary Baptist
Church of Culpeper Virginia, quoted in The Lambs of Culpeper, audio
podcast documentary. See also 

3, 2002. See also:

[44] Hammel-Zabin, Amy. Conversations with a Pedophile.
Barricade Books, NJ, 2003.  pp. 64-73.

[45] Bromberg, Daniel S., Graduate School of Applied and
Professional Psychology, Rutgers University, and Blair T. Johnson, University
of Connecticut. “Sexual Interest In Children, Child Sexual Abuse, And
Psychological Sequelae For Children.” Psychology in the Schools, Vol.
38(4). John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2001. p. 2.) 

[46] Lambs of Culpeper, audio.

[47] I also am patriarchal in my point of view,
recognizing that the Bible clearly teaches that eldership in the church is
male.  Yet I appreciate how patriarchy has been exploited and mismanaged in
authoritarian sects of Christianity, including Fundamentalism. 

[48] Conversations with a Pedophile. pp. 49-51.

[49] Identifying Child Molesters. p. 11.

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