The following article is written in the third person because it is not exclusively the work of Dr. Hymers. It was produced with the guidance of a group of Christian men who labored with Dr. Hymers by editing it, adding to it, and revising it.

Accusations have been leveled against Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr. by some former members of his church. These accusations come from people who left his church many years ago in “church splits.” Church splits often occur in Baptist and other evangelical churches, particularly those that practice congregational church government.

The phenomenon is so common among Baptists that Dr. Roy L. Branson wrote a book about it called Church Split (Landmark Publications, 1990). This book was endorsed by such well-known pastors as Dr. Lee Roberson and Dr. W. A. Criswell. Dr. Hymers does not agree with Dr. Branson’s view of divorce, the KJV issue, and some other things, but he does feel that this particular book gives a fair evaluation of “church splits.” Dr. Hymers has never met nor been interviewed by Dr. Branson. The book was written about other church splits and does not mention or refer to the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle or Dr. Hymers. Branson’s book describes Baptist church splits in general and makes no reference whatever to the Baptist Tabernacle. Here are a few quotations from it which help to explain how church splits occur:

1.  Dr. Branson said, “Nearly 90 percent of pastors are fired or leave a church under pressure during [church splits]. Over half suffer one or more church splits. All are faced with severe church conflict many times [during their ministries]. The toll in damage and destroyed ministries, traumatized pastors’ families, and to the overall cause of Christ is enormous” (ibid., p. 15).

2.  Dr. Branson gave the answer to “How? and Why?” these church splits occur: “One pastor who went through a church split said, ‘My enemies called me a dictator. They said I was too evangelistic and preached too hard on certain standards. Also, they accused me of pushing them too hard in certain areas [such as soul winning]. Some said I…had become too arrogant’” (ibid., p. 5).

3.  Dr. Branson was asked if the split could have been avoided. He answered, “Oh, no! ‘There were some folks who would never be happy until they had everything their way. Nobody could please them… There was one man…in particular who [was] the ringleader and [orchestrator] of the [split]…He was very open to anyone who complained about the preacher. When the split came he was their spokesman’” (ibid., pp. 6, 7).

4.  Dr. Branson said, “The pastor is accused of being shallow and not ‘feeding the sheep.’ One of the greatest [errors] promoted [by those who cause church splits] is that evangelistic preaching means neglect of sound teaching. A greater untruth could not be imagined if eternity were spent trying to invent one. It is contradictory to the admonition to all preachers, II Timothy 4:5, ‘Do the work of an evangelist’” (ibid., p. 171).

Dr. Hymers has remained the pastor of the Baptist Tabernacle throughout these splits, and the church has recovered, in spite of many attacks against him by the critics who split the church. Dr. Hymers feels that the above points gleaned from Church Split shed light on many of the difficulties facing pastors today.

Dr. Hymers preaches the Gospel, as the sermons on his website clearly show. His sermons are given word for word on the website each week in eleven languages, and are read by thousands throughout the world.

Some of the church split critics have published slanderous and malicious charges against Dr. Hymers, but none of these accusations have been documented from the sermons on his website at www.realconversion.com. For instance, they have accused Dr. Hymers of anti-Semitism. They call him the “Fuehrer” and compare him to Hitler. These defamatory accusations are blatant falsehoods. Again and again, across the years Dr. Hymers has showed good will toward the Jewish people in general and the State of Israel in particular. His support of the Jews is the same as that of thousands of Bible-believing Baptist preachers in America and around the world.

Dr. Robert L. Sumner has been in the ministry for over 65 years. He worked with Dr. John R. Rice for many years at The Sword of the Lord. He has been the editor of The Biblical Evangelist for more than 40 years. Dr. Sumner is a highly respected Baptist minister, known by conservative Baptist pastors nationwide. He lives with his wife in Lynchburg, Virginia. He is also the author of several books on the cults. Many consider him to be an “expert” on this subject, though he doesn’t like using the term. Dr. Sumner knows the Baptist Tabernacle well. We end this article with a statement by Dr. Sumner made in the November/December 2008 issue of his widely read magazine, The Biblical Evangelist. In an article titled “False Charges,” Dr. Sumner said,

      Since I have written books and/or articles about many of the major cults of our day (Worldwide Church of God, Mormonism, The Way International, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc.), some would call me a cult expert. While I don’t claim that, I do very definitely know my way around the cults.
      God allowed me to be present – in the process of spending four days evaluating the ministry of Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr., and the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle – at the very time the Los Angeles Times article was printed with its attack…on them. I returned later that year and interviewed several of the former members and heard their allegations, with only one member of the church present (as a witness to later affirm or deny my accuracy in quoting them). I also interviewed at random many current members – anyone who wanted to talk to me. I concluded at that time that all the charges, including abuse and anti-Semitism, were untrue.
      Because of the nature of humans, divisions in churches often happen that end in split-offs from the body and it appeared to me that all the allegations being made in this case were of that nature.
      I have been available for many years on the Board of Reference of the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle and willing to respond to charges of cultic behavior on the part of Dr. Hymers or leaders at the Tabernacle. While my name and phone number has been accessible for all these years, the critics have never contacted me. Certainly none has ever offered me any proof of their charges.
      (Dr. Robert L. Sumner, “False Charges,” The Biblical Evangelist, November/December 2008, p. 15).



Board of Reference for the Baptist Tabernacle

Dr. John S. Waldrip, Pastor of
Calvary Road Baptist Church,
319 W. Olive Ave.
Monrovia, CA 91016
Dr. James O. Combs, Former Editor of
The Baptist Bible Tribune,
5725 S. Farm Rd. 137
Springfield, MO 65810
Dr. Robert L. Sumner, Editor of
The Biblical Evangelist,
134 Salisbury Circle,
Lynchburg, VA 24502
(434) 237-0132.
Dr. Arthur B. Houk,
Pastor of Faith Baptist Church,
673 Arden Hill Road,
Colville, WA 99114

Attorney for the Baptist Tabernacle

Mr. Charles O. Morgan, Jr.
1255 Post St., Suite 333
San Francisco, CA 94109

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”