By Kathleen Knowles
In an age where Christians are being persecuted and even killed, it is not surprising some will not profess their Christianity. That is not the case with Jack Hermes. Born March 20th, 1926, Mr. Hermes is a very young looking 93 years old. As the son of John and Betty Hermes, he grew up in Detroit, Michigan, lived through the Great Depression and World War II. Young Jack attended grade school at Goodale near City Airport.
Jack’s father, unsatisfied with his job, and not happy with the management or the union, decided it was time to break with working for others. He began a painting business of his own. That decision and Christianity turned his life around. It would be a life which would influence young Jack in the manner in which he would conduct his own life later on.
The oldest of three children, Jack was exposed very early to Christianity. His father was raised Catholic, but had turned away from the Catholic Church due to some beliefs he did not agree with. His mother belonged to the Trinity Lutheran Church in Detroit. Mr. Hermes began attending Sunday School. They soon switched to Our Savior Lutheran Church which was in the neighborhood. Jack recalls the change in his father upon becoming a member of the Lutheran Church. “Before that, he had a temper. He could curse, being in the factories. After he went through the lessons of catechism, he changed. I never heard him curse after that. He was much more gentle. My dad became a very active member of the church, and that had an effect on me. He taught me to be independent and work hard because that was the only way to advance in life.”
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Mr. Hermes went down to Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he finished high school at a ministerial prep school for the Missouri Lutheran Church. (Concordia College) Jack was 14 years of age and living in the dormitories. He eventually graduated and attended 2 years of college at Concordia.
With his mind made up to become a pastor, Jack studied six years of Latin, five years of German, and four years of Greek. His plans changed when his father became ill. Jack returned home joining his father’s business in order to help support the family. Once his brothers became old enough to help their father, he broke away and began his own painting business. “But that wasn’t really what I loved,” Mr. Hermes said. “I got involved with some interior designers from JL Hudsons, and eventually I became an interior designer, which I did all of my life.”
When Jack returned from Fort Wayne, the pastor of the Lutheran Church immediately put him in charge of the young men who had been confirmed.
Married in 1949, Jack and his wife Nancy gave birth to their first son, David, one year later. Then one year after that, they had a daughter, Kathleen. Four years went by before they had another girl, Karen. Another eighteen months later they had another girl, Sharon. After a 10-year gap, Gregory was born.
In 1953, Jack bought a home in Harper Woods and moved his family. They began attending Christ the King Lutheran Church, where he was put in charge of teaching the first year of catechism. With his growing family, they move to Moravian Forest into a five bedroom home. In 1976, Jack and Nancy bought a farm in Armada. Once again they moved as Jack had always loved farming.
Then tragedy struck. His belief in God was never more important than when his first wife Nancy developed cancer. She died in 1984 at the age of 56. Three years later Jack met Helen, his current wife. They have been married 32 years. They now live in a beautiful home in Clyde township.
The Hermes attended Emmanuel Lutheran Church in St Clair. Jack taught Bible School classes while there. When the church began introducing praise services in order to attract the young, Jack became discontented. “I’m a traditionalist,” he explained. “I feel very strongly when we go into church, we go in there to worship God, not to go there and sing. There is a place for singing the gospel, just not during worship.” The decision was made to switch to the Holy Redeemer Lutheran Church on Range Road. The church is more conservative and more to his liking.
Because of his former occupation as an interior designer, Mr. Hermes redesigned the interior of the church including the altar. His son, Greg did the backgrounds.
In discussing some of his beliefs, Mr. Hermes does not believe that there is life anywhere else in the galaxies. He believes in one creator, God. “One cell became two cells and the beginning of life. Today there are 8.7 million species of life on Earth. When you logically think about it,” Mr. Hermes said, “it is beyond our concept.”
Mr. Hermes went on to state that when God created the angels, they were to live for eternity. He believes that one Angel, Satan became jealous of God. He rebelled against him and was expelled from heaven. Mr. Hermes belief is that God created Earth to become Satan’s kingdom. When Christ comes the second time, the universe will implode and Satan will be contained here.
When asked if he believed in the rapture, Jack said no. He said that was man’s interpretation of the thousand years. Jack stated that the thousand years is a metaphor for time and that is all it is. “We don’t know when Christ is going to come the second time, but we do know that he will come. It has been over two thousand years since he was crucified.”
Are end times near? Jack believes so. He said to just look at what is happening now with the rejection of Christianity around the world. At one time Europe was the center of Christianity. “Today, it is practically dead. If you go to the churches, the only ones inside are the elderly people. They are all women. There’s no youth, there’re no men. Christianity in Europe is dead.
Back in the 50s, 87% of people attended church services in the United States. Today less than 23% attend church according to Mr. Hermes. Is there a reason for that? Jack says there is. According to Revelations, people will turn away from God. He said the church denominations are becoming very secular. They are accepting abortion, same-sex marriage and other things God would never accept. Mr. Hermes says the church will die. However, he does not believe that God will die in the minds of Christians. In the Bible, Paul states that the knowledge of God is in your heart. “A Christian cannot deny God,” he stated.
When asked what do you tell a person who says they have never seen God, or heard him speak. How can you explain to them that he exists? His explanation was this, “God is a spirit; he’s eternal. We have a physical body, which has a beginning and an end. Heaven is a spiritual world. I don’t think any human being can grasp the concept. Heaven will be where all things are good. Those who do not go to heaven, but rather go to hell will suffer for an eternity.”
Jack talked about how America was founded on the concept of freedom of religion. Yet, today atheists are suing in order to have religion removed from schools, the government and anywhere religious items are on display. ”It was founded on the commandments, and the precepts. It is a concrete base for civilization. Those laws never change.” He believes in those laws over man-made laws. “Man-made laws can be good today, but change in the future. God’s laws never change. Those are solid. And, that is what our country was founded on, the Christian Judeo principles.”
Mr. Hermes pointed out that all of this is changing. He feels as a people, we have become self-centered. The people are rejecting God. Basically, man has become God unto himself.
“Things are progressing and I truly believe that we are in end times.” He discussed the book of Revelations and how it reveals how things will unfold. Things are progressively going to become worse. That progression begins with the rejection of the faith in God to the point that there will be very few Christians on Earth professing their faith. Mr. Hermes also said in Revelations, the pollution will cause trees and plants to die. We are told how the rivers will be progressively polluted. He believes we can see that in what is happening in the world today. He also believes that the discoveries God has given us, such as pharmaceuticals and medical advances will be abused; the opioids and the drugs, things of that nature will be misused.
Mr. Hermes also talked about television. “Back in the 50s and 60s the programs were family-oriented. Today they’re a mess. It is another example of something that was good has turned out bad.”
Jack feels that values are changing. He cited marriage as an example. 50% of all marriages today end up in divorce, or couples are not getting married at all. He feels that God intended marriage to be the basis for having children, yet it is being destroyed today. Couples are rejecting marriage at an alarming rate. They are living together instead.
Jack said all you have to do is go into the inner city and you will find that young girls makeup 17% of the population, yet they have 60% of the abortions. There are a million babies being aborted every year in the United States. Jack doesn’t understand the human reasoning behind this. “Women consider it their right to choose when it comes to abortion. What about the babies right to live? Life begins at conception.” When he taught catechism, he taught the children that God is the one that starts that life in the womb.
“Further erosion of values is the family unit,” Mr. Hermes stated. Families are not teaching their children values and the lessons of God. “In the end, it will become like Sodom and Gomorrah. Paul, in the first chapter of Romans, describes exactly what’s going to happen. Men will reject women and women will reject men.”
Jack does not believe that anyone can hold an actual conversation with God. They can speak to him, but he doesn’t believe God will speak back to them with words. He did before the coming of his son, but not anymore. Nor does he believe in near-death experiences that reveal heaven. For those who have died on an operating table and been brought back to life, he believes it to be the drugs rather than an actual experience in seeing heaven.
He feels very strongly that it is spiritual and that is what heaven is all about. It exists, but it has no dimension.
Can people be convinced that God exist? That was a question put to Mr. Hermes. “We can’t convince other people to believe in God. That’s up to the Holy Spirit. People have the right to reject God, and that is exactly what many are doing. They don’t want to put their faith in God. They want to do it on their own. As a Christian, you can see how people reach out to help others. You can see the way they live, how industrious they are, how meticulous they are, all these different things. Christians stand out from the rest of society.”
Is there a way to turn the country back to God? “We can’t do it individually. God has the power to put the proper people in the proper places. I feel very strongly that he has tapped into President Trump. Trump can turn this country around.” When asked about the president’s behavior when he is challenged, and how that can be justified as a Christian, Mr. Hermes said he is a typical New Yorker. He is going to tell people when he thinks they’re wrong. He calls a spade a spade, and he doesn’t hesitate. The President is fighting a world order which goes all the way back to the first World War with the League of Nations and Wilson, in that the elite can rule the world. However, the elite have no Christian values. They are in it for themselves. It all comes down to control and money.”
Jack is bothered with what is happening in the government today regarding religion. “In Europe, the church was controlled by the government. So when our forefathers settled in America, they didn’t want the government to control religion, nor allow religion to control the government. What is happening now with socialism and communism is a rejection of God. Government is the God. Government controls everything. That is the sad thing about what is happening today. We are told, get rid of prayer, get rid of this and get rid of that. Do what you want to do.”
Jack Hermes has lived his life in service of the Lord. His faith is strong, and he is not afraid to speak out about what is happening in the world today. His life is guided by the lessons in the Bible and he realizes the importance of family and friends. He doesn’t know how much time he has left on this earth, but one thing is for certain. He will continue to live his life in service of the Lord. Mr. Hermes is not afraid of death. He will leave this world with a smile on his face, knowing he is going to a better place.
Blue Water Healthy Living Contributing Writer
For more on Jack Hermes and Christianity, read the following books.
A Life Guided and Blessed by God
Satan’s Global Change before GOD’s Fiery Judgement
Thank you, Jack, for sitting down for this interview for BWHL!
Kathleen Knowles is a life-long resident of Port Huron and a 1973 graduate of Port Huron High School. After attending St. Clair County Community College, she has worked for credit unions all of her life as well as a professional dog show handler, known for handling Pekingese. Kathleen has been writing fiction for years as a hobby, having posted many stories online.