Voyle Glover came to our attention this week after the horrible Jack Schaap story of adultery and possible abuse came into the news. Bro. Glover introduces himself below, so we will leave that to him. We sought his view of the tragedy because he was a member of First Baptist Church of Hammond for nineteen years, has written a book critiquing the philosophy and culture of FBCH and another book counseling churches and pastors about the danger of child abuse and the responsibility of churches when abusers prey on the innocents in their church. Links to these books can be found in the body of the interview below.
Proclaim & Defend: Briefly, what is your biography? Your testimony of salvation, your profession, your family (general terms – don’t need to draw attention to your children/grandchildren as individuals, just describe yourself for our readers)
Voyle Glover is married to Trudy and has three grown children. He resides in Northwest Indiana where he works as an attorney in private practice. He has worked for the Lake County Indiana Prosecutor’s office for many years in various capacities on a part-time basis. Currently, he is a contract employee for the Prosecutor’s Office handling civil forfeiture actions (drug forfeiture cases). Mr. Glover was saved at the age of nineteen while in the U.S. Navy. He experienced an encounter with God that was unusual, but had a profound effect upon him immediately. When he left the Navy he became a member of the Bible Baptist Church in Phoenix, Arizona. He was a member there until he left the area to be closer to the woman he loved, who was then a student at Moody Bible Institute. Mr. Glover became a member of the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, pastored by Jack Hyles. After he and Trudy were married, she also joined. Together they began teaching in the Pathfinders department, a Sunday school class for the mentally handicapped. They would remain members there until the end of 1987. At that time, they move their membership to Lake Hills Baptist Church in Schererville, Indiana, where they have served as Sunday school teachers. Mr. Glover teaches the Wednesday evening adult Bible study. Lake Hills is a GARBC church.
Proclaim & Defend: How did you come to be connected with First Baptist Church of Hammond (FBCH)? Were you ever a member of the church? If yes, why did you leave?
I joined the church in 1968. My fiancé was attending there while she was a student at Moody Bible Institute. I began listening to Jack Hyles’ sermons on tape and was very impressed and motivated, so it was not a difficult thing to decide to join the Church. We left the church after a number of things occurred that troubled us deeply, some having to do with Jack Hyles’ son David, some having to do with things that my wife was seeing in her job as a secretary in the Hammond Baptist high school system. I began seeing Jack Hyles as a man who was one man in the pulpit and quite another person outside the pulpit. Also motivating us was the series of articles, “The Saddest Story”, written by Robert Sumner in the Biblical Evangelist. We began to see things as God opened our eyes and it became impossible for us to remain in the church, knowing the things we knew. We left quietly, without fanfare. In fact, most folks did not know we had left. I continued to represent many folks from the church and the college (Hyles-Anderson College)
Proclaim & Defend: What prompted you to write the book, Fundamental Seduction: The Jack Hyles Case?
Writing Fundamental Seduction was not an easy thing to do. I genuinely loved Jack Hyles. But God put it in my heart to write the book and though I begged him to find someone else, someone far more qualified, I could only find peace in writing the book. I knew that people needed to know that there were some serious problems with Jack Hyles. He was building an empire, indeed, had in fact built an empire. He was, almost literally, a king with a kingdom, with enormous power. His influence over the lives of many people was profound. He could tell people, and routinely did so, to marry this person, or should not marry this person, and they would obey him. I know of a man who was called to the mission field. After he graduated, Jack Hyles persuaded him to remain at the college and work. I could not stand by silent and allow this man to play God in the lives of so many people. I had to tell the story of my idolatry and the idolatry of tens of thousands like me.
Proclaim & Defend: In your ‘author’s review’ of the book at Amazon.com, you say “There are no intentions at this point of reprinting the book. If ever I do, I’d have to make it an abridged version because frankly, the book was too harsh in some places. … if I were writing the book today, it would be more matter-of-fact, and some parts would be omitted.” Would you care to elaborate on this? Would you say your critique was flawed in its arguments or that it was too heated in its expression?
After I wrote the book, I received a communication from a preacher in Texas. He indicated he had read my book, and that while he agreed with it, he felt that I had made one great error, to wit, I had not spoken the truth in love in some places. It was a kind communication, a gentle rebuke, and I responded in kind, but I disagreed with him. However, about three years later God began dealing with me about that. Eventually, God showed me that I had indeed spoken the truth, but I had been unkind and unloving in many parts. I repented of my sin, and in fact withdrew the book from the marketplace during the life of Jack Hyles. In essence, there are parts of the book where I set out to hurt Jack Hyles, not just to destroy his image. I said things that didn’t need to be said. I said things in a way, in a manner, that should’ve been said differently. As a lawyer, I know how to cut a throat expertly. I can do it better than most. While we are to rebuke and to exhort, we still have to guard our tongue. We still have to speak truth with love. I failed in doing that.
Proclaim & Defend: Are you familiar with other strains of independent fundamental Baptist churches? (Other than those who have adopted the philosophy and style of FBCH, I mean.)
Yes, I am familiar with other independent fundamental Baptist churches that are not what I call Hyles clones, or “IFBx” (“Independent Fundamental Baptist Extreme”).
Proclaim & Defend: Given your experience and observations of independent fundamental Baptists, could you comment on what you think are the strengths and weaknesses of “IFB” churches?
Funny that you should ask. I am currently working on a book right now that addresses those very issues. In general, “IFB” churches are strong on standards of living, at least in advocating those standards, but very weak in demonstrating how to live the Christian life. Essentially, it is a matter of willpower within many of the “IFB” churches. How does one walk by faith is a topic that I have never heard preached in any Baptist Church that I’ve attended. This is not to say that the Independent Fundamental Baptists never preach on this, but it is to say that there is far more focus on preaching “against sin” than on walking with God.
Proclaim & Defend: You recently published on your blog a letter you sent to Jack Schaap in 1993. You were warning him of judgement to come. I am sure you didn’t expect it to come in the fashion that it did. What was your reaction to the news of Jack Schaap’s fall from his place?
I was very sad and remain very, very sad for Jack Schaap, for his wife Cindy, and for his family. This is a catastrophe that is almost unimaginable in terms of the destruction that it will bring within his family, perhaps within the family of God, at least within the walls of first Baptist Church of Hammond Indiana. When I sent that letter, I knew for a fact that judgment would come one day. I did not envision it coming in this way, but I did know that God would send judgment. As I said to someone recently, it is easy to be a prophet if you know the Bible. I learned the truth of the following verses a long time ago, the hard way: “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.” (1Co 11:31-32)
Proclaim & Defend: Were you surprised that the church fired Schaap rather than try to defend him?
In the beginning I was surprised, yes, but as the facts have come out, I am less surprised. Once the deacons learned of what he had done, they really had no choice. When they presented it to attorney Gibbs, he of course recognized instantly the legal liabilities of trying to cover this thing up, and told them to fire Schaap immediately and to notify the police. I do know for a fact that some of the deacons are committed to making a serious, dedicated fact-finding effort to uncover other victims, and in short, to clean house. I am hopeful that all the deacons remain on board with that and that they in fact do clean house. However, I do believe that they really do not comprehend the magnitude of what “cleaning house” really means. So, I’m not sure they really will accomplish what they need to do. But, I give them the benefit of the doubt and reserve judgment. Time will tell.
Proclaim & Defend: Some have criticized the deacon board of FBCH for a brief hesitation and announcing a “medical leave” for Schaap just prior to firing him. Others have allowed for their shock, the unprecedented situation they found themselves in, and give them credit for coming to the right decision in the end. Would you care to comment on this criticism of the deacons “medical leave” announcement?
I know Schaap does have some medical issues, so I think it was a convenience for them until they got a handle on it.
Proclaim & Defend: Besides the Schaap case and the case of the deacon mentioned in your 1993 letter, are you aware of any other cases directly involving FBCH?
Yes. There was a lawsuit filed by the guardian of retarded girl who’d been sexually abused by some Hyles-Anderson students a few years ago. I spoke with the guardian, who was also a relative of the girl, and who also happened to be a lawyer, and I spoke with her lawyer at length. That case was quietly settled out-of-court. I don’t recall any other cases at this time, but that does not mean that they don’t exist. You have to realize that I reached a point in life where I basically turned off the switch and did not want to hear anything about that place (FBCH). Writing the book put my family through a living hell, with death threats, home invasion, office break-ins, and terrorizing a daughter. So, there came a time when I walked to the back door of my office, remove my shoes, held them outside the door and banged them together. Until the Schaap incident [his exposure as an adulterer and possible abuser and subsequent firing], I had little to do with the place. Now, it appears that I am being sucked back into that world because there are some people who need a voice. Hopefully, my next book will be done with the right spirit. If I can’t do that, that I will not write the book.
Proclaim & Defend: After similar cases in recent years, some have criticized “IFB” churches of fostering a culture of abuse. Would you say that abuse occurs in “IFB” churches at a rate that is significantly different from other religious groups or school/child care institutions? If there is a significant difference, what would you attribute that to?
I would say that there is a significant rate of abuse cases. I don’t know whether the rate is significantly higher than other groups. I know when I wrote my book on Protecting Your Church Against Sexual Predators, I collected hundreds of cases across the nation. One is one too many. My next book is going to address the significant rate, as well as the reasons why. There should not be any cases. Not one. I firmly believe that if a church is truly nurturing its people, and training the people properly as to how to be holy, these things will not be happening in a church, and if they do, it will be very rare. Paul said: “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;” (Eph 5:3). My view of what I call the significant rate comes from personal research and just reading case after case.
Proclaim & Defend: If there is a significant rate of abuse cases in “IFB” churches, would you differentiate between “IFB” and “IFBx” (“IFB eXtreme”) when considering this significant rate?
I think that the “IFBx’rs” are more likely to have these problems because of their system, mindset, philosophies and structures.
Proclaim & Defend: We certainly agree with the statement “there should be none”. God help us. Please keep us in the loop if and when your next book is published, we’d like to have a look and perhaps review it on Proclaim & Defend.
Proclaim & Defend: I notice you wrote a book about child abuse in the church, Protecting Your Church Against Sexual Predators. What prompted you to write this book? How many copies have been sold to date?
I wrote that after observing a lot of things going on in our churches, including my own, that was disturbing. We have people coming in and out of her churches who are not just flawed, since we all are flawed, but who are not even saved, and if saved, extremely carnal. We have men who are child molesters sitting in our pews, yet we will put ourselves in a spiritual straitjacket that binds us to accept just about anyone who comes along and says “I love Jesus.”Now, I am speaking somewhat facetiously, but in many churches that’s just about the way it works. Also, they will put people into a ministry with children without making any kind of a background check. All they have to do is profess that they have been born again. Say the magic words, and you’re in. That is so legalistic, and it is so dangerous. We like to criticize the Catholic Church, but frankly, sometimes we outdo them.
I do not know the numbers sold. Kregel would have those numbers. I do know in recent months there have been an increase in sales and an interest in the book.
Proclaim & Defend: Would you comment on churches that do not have a written child protection policy? Any other (brief) advice for pastors and churches in these matters?
A church that does not have a written child protection policy runs the risk of one day watching their pastor sit on the witness seat and say something like this: “Well sir, no, we really don’t have a policy but, golly Gee whiz we really did try to do right, and we did, you know, try to be careful. But….” And the rest of the testimony is all downhill from there. But having a written policy is not the end-all. A church has to actually follow that policy, and enforce it.
Proclaim & Defend: I see that you worked in the Prosecutor’s office at one time. Could you comment (in general terms) on the age of consent in Indiana, what constitutes consent, and the disparity between state law and federal law concerning the age of consent?
Every state has different laws about a great many things, including the age of consent. In the state of Indiana, the age of consent is sixteen. That term, means the ability to consent to having sexual relations with another individual, that is, an adult individual. The federal laws are whatever the Congress makes them. In the Schaap case, they’re looking seriously as to when he had sex with this girl and where. The where is extremely critical. If he had sex with her in Illinois, he will be charged under their statutes, because there is a law that says that if you are a trusted individual, or a person in a position of trust or authority, and you have sex with a girl that’s seventeen, you have committed a crime. Michigan, which is another state where he apparently had the girl taken, has a law similar to Indiana. I’ve not read their laws, so I’m not familiar with them, but believe the age of consent there is sixteen. One of the questions in this case has to do with the pictures that were on his phone. I don’t know the nature of them other than they were apparently enough to get him fired, but if they are deemed to be pornographic (that does not mean that he has to be depicted as having sex with her), then the federal statute is such that he can be prosecuted for that. I’m sure that is one of the areas in which he is likely to be charged if the pictures were what I think they were. But, since I have not seen the pictures, what I say is mere speculation.
Proclaim & Defend: Why would the FBI get involved in a case of suspected child abuse? (Presumably these offenses are governed by state law.)
The FBI would get involved because it is a Federal crime to transport a minor across state lines for the purpose of having sex with her.
Proclaim & Defend: Last, do you think this devastating blow to FBCH might serve to bring the culture of “preacher-worship” to a close, or is it too entrenched?
It could. It’s just too early to tell, and I don’t know yet how they are viewing all of this. I don’t know for example whether they see the hand of God in all of this. I don’t know that there is going to be a church-wide repentance for their sin.
Hope that answered your questions. Have a blessed Lord’s day.
We thank brother Glover for taking the time to answer our questions. We are especially interested in brother Glover’s work in writing about child abuse and churches. May God help us protect the little ones in our care.
In keeping with the topic, we would like to remind our readers of the series of articles with which we launched our blog in March of this year and the special edition of FrontLine that contains all these articles.