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Dr. Jack Hyles Was Not a Baptist Pope

There are some pastors who have taken a position regarding their own “authority” to ridiculous extremes. They become incensed when members do not take their advice. They impose their opinions rather than their influence on people. Some have assumed that this is how Dr. Jack Hyles behaved. He did not believe in telling people what was and what was not God’s will for their lives. 
One day someone asked him how to help a young man find the will of God for his life. He said, “I do not tell people the will of God. I guide them to find the will of God for themselves. I will not always be there to tell them the will of God, so they must learn how to find it with the principles I teach them. My job is to be a guide who instructs them in how to find God’s will. I do not know what God’s will is for everyone. I can give them advice based on facts but I can not tell them what specifically God wants them to do, other than what the Bible specifically teaches. 
For example, had I asked someone if it was God’s will for me to accept the pastorate of a formalistic American Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana, there is not one man who would have told me to go. However, I knew how to find the will of God because I had spiritual leaders who long ago had taught me how to find it, not what it was. I was sensitive enough to God’s leading to end up where I was supposed to be. 
Some men never get to an opportunity where God wanted to do a work that showed what God could do because we told them them what the ideal place is. There are places God leads men that are not ideal and would make no sense to us. I have been guilty of discouraging men from doing something they felt God was leading them to do, but I have done my best not to tell them not to do it. 

For example if a man feels God is leading him do something that makes no sense to us, we should explain to him why it does not make sense, but then tell him to do it anyway, if God is leading him. We are not Baptist popes.”
That last line was one I heard Dr. Hyles use many times, “We are not Baptist popes.” That is why he did not want to become a denominational leader who told people where they could or could not go to pastor. There was not a single church where he accepted the call to pastor that made sense at the time. 

However, each time it was the will of God, and each time it was made evident. It is a scary thing how many preachers think it is their job to tell decide what is and what is not God’s will, rather than to be guides that help their people learn how to know God’s will for their lives.

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