Pastor Jack Hayford, Bridge-Builder and Author of the Hymn 'Majesty,' Dies at 88

Michael Foust | Contributor | Monday, January 9, 2023
Pastor Jack Hayford, Bridge-Builder and Author of the Hymn 'Majesty,' Dies at 88

Pastor Jack Hayford, Bridge-Builder and Author of the Hymn 'Majesty,' Dies at 88

Pastor Jack Hayford, who wrote more than 50 books and 500 songs, including the popular hymn Majesty, died Sunday. He was 88.

For over three decades, Hayford served as pastor of The Church On The Way in Van Nuys, Calif., where such well-known Christians as singer Pat Boone and actor Dean Jones attended. In 1997 Hayford founded The King’s University in Southlake, Texas, and from 2004 to 2009, he served as president of The International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.

He was widely known as a “bridge-builder,” wanting to forge unity between denominations within the body of Christ.

When he was young, family members said Hayford was miraculously healed twice – first when he faced a life-threatening illness as a baby and second when he contracted polio.

“As a result of the earnest prayers of friends and family, he was miraculously healed,” his bio said of the first illness. “The doctors had no other explanation except that the grace of God snatched him back from the brink of death.”

Hayford was the executive editor of the Spirit-Filled Life study Bible.

Robert Morris, senior pastor of Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas, and a close friend of Hayford, called him a “pastor, teacher, servant, and man of God.” Hayford served as an apostolic elder of Gateway Church, while Morris served as chancellor for The King’s University.

“For me personally, he was my mentor and spiritual father, and I am so grateful for his influence in my life,” Morris wrote on Twitter. “While this is a sad time for all those who knew and loved Pastor Jack, it’s also a time of rejoicing! Christians are the only people in the world who can mourn and rejoice at the same time because the Bible says we don’t grieve as those who have no hope.

“So while I am grieving right now,” Morris added, “I am also rejoicing with hope knowing that Pastor Jack is in heaven with His precious Savior, and I will see him again one day!”

Hayford penned Majesty in the late 1970s after visiting Great Britain. It was the 25th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, and “symbols of royalty were abundantly in evidence,” he later wrote. The song often is included on lists of “Top 100” hymns.

“For years, I have been convinced that the provisions of Christ for the believer not only include our forgiveness for sin; but provide restoration to a royal relationship with God as sons and daughters born into the family through His Majesty, our Savior, Jesus Christ,” he wrote. “... While visiting many of the castles of the land, I began to sense the influence one might feel if raised as a child in such regal settings. … One day, as [my wife] Anna and I drove along together, the opening lyrics and melody of Majesty simply came to my heart. I continued driving, asking Anna to jot the words and melody line in the notebook she had beside her.

“So powerfully did the sense of Christ Jesus’ royalty, dignity, and majesty fill my heart; I seemed to feel something new of what it meant to be His!” he added. “The accomplished triumph of His Cross has not only unlocked us from the chains of our own bondage and restored us to fellowship with the Father, but He has also unfolded to us a life of authority over sin and hell and raised us to partnership with Him in His Throne – now! (Ephesians 2:1-6).”

He finished the song when he returned home to California.

Majesty describes the kingly, lordly, gloriously regal nature of our Savior – but not simply as an objective statement in worship of which He is fully worthy,” Hayford wrote. “Majesty is also a statement of the fact that our worship, when begotten in spirit and in truth, can align us with His Throne in such a way that His Kingdom authority flows to us – to overflow us, free us, and channel through us. He has birthed us into His eternal Kingdom, with dynamic implications for the present and for eternity. We are rescued from death, restored to the inheritance of sons and daughters, qualified for victory in battle against the Adversary, and destined for the Throne forever in His presence!”

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Hicco Dodi FC

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

Pastor Jack Hayford, Bridge-Builder and Author of the Hymn 'Majesty,' Dies at 88