by Dr. Bob Gray Sr.
In the Fall of 1972 Hyles Anderson College became a reality. It was a privilege for me to be a part of those early days and to graduate in 1976 with the first four year class of HAC. I was not a Christian High School or Homeschool graduate. I was a married man, with children. I had already attended and graduated from Michigan State University with an accounting and general business major. I had already started a career with General Motors as an accountant. I was a layman in my local American Baptist church, but something happened to change all of that. I surrendered to full time service shortly after I was exposed to two men, Dr. John R Rice and Dr. Jack Hyles. Their influence would change the direction of my entire life and family.
One day, my wife and I packed up our family and our belongings, and we moved to Hammond, Indiana, not only to enroll in Hyles Anderson College, but to sit under the ministry of Dr. Jack Hyles. In those early days of the college the majority of students did not come from a Christian school or homeschool background and they were not eighteen or nineteen year olds. The majority were mature married men with families. In fact, in those days, churches all across this nation were producing preacher boys who were not really boys at all, but men with families and careers. My peers in college were men who had to work full time jobs, not merely to pay for their tuition, but to support a family as well.
To be honest, if I was facing that same decision today, I doubt I would move my family to sit under another man’s ministry, not because they are not good men, but because they are not Jack Hyles. He was the draw to us. It was like coming for a four year Pastor’s School degree. We wanted to study the man and his ministry.
There are many fine Independent Baptist colleges today, but there is a drastic difference from those early days at Hyles Anderson College. Most of these colleges are populated by young people who graduated from Christian schools or were Homeschooled. The number of married students has fallen to negligible numbers in most of them. In fact, many of these colleges are being fed predominantly by youth conferences. As a result it seems fewer and fewer mature married men are preparing for ministry. In fact, we are seeing fewer and fewer married men surrender to full time ministry in our churches because our emphasis has turned to the youth. Because these colleges are emphasizing youth they have also had to turn their attention from primarily providing a preparation ground for preachers to offering a wide variety of secular degrees for those who do not feel the call to full time service. As I look at the landscape of this nation I feel there is a void that has been left and that is what led me to my vision for to begin an Online College.
What is that vision you ask? Please take a moment and watch the video below and let me share with you my burden for this nation.
Independent Baptist Online College will begin by offering a four year Bachelor’s Degrees, Associate’s Degrees, Master’s Degrees with future plans of offering Doctorate Degrees. All classes will be taught online and will offer students an opportunity for live or prerecorded classes.
Some may wonder why Dr. Russell Anderson and myself would start another Bible college when many dear preacher friends around the country operate good independent Baptist colleges. Please know that I strongly support these other colleges and do not want to be in competition with them. Instead I believe that Independent Baptist Online College will supplement and even compliment these other colleges.
There is a cause. We need to bring an awakening back to this nation. That is the purpose and the cause of Independent Baptist Online College.
by Dr. Bob Gray Sr.