Witnessing to Presbyterians

soulwinningIn the “us vs. them” world of fundamentalism anyone who is not a fundamentalist is eyed with a great deal of suspicion of not being a true believer. Narrow is the way and few non-Baptists there be that find it.

This distrust and general ignorance about other Christian denominations leads to the interesting situation of fundamentalists spending their time preaching to the converted. It goes something like this…

Fundy: “Hello, we’re here from Saved, Sanctified, Separated, and Suit-Wearing Baptist Church and we just wanted to know if you go to church anywhere.”

Presbyterian: “Well, yes I’m an elder at Westminster Presbyterian Church.”

F: “That’s great! So if you were to die today, where would you spend eternity?”

P: “I’d be with God for eternity.”

F “Are you sure about that? Belief in the Pope doesn’t save you, you know.”

P: “Uh…we don’t…”

F: “And what’s more you can know for sure that you are saved without worrying about losing it.”

P: “Well, being a Calvinist…”

F: “Oh, you’re a Calvinist! Well that doesn’t save you either!”

P: “I never said…”

F: “Have you ever asked Jesus to come into your heart?”

P: “That phrase has some serious theological issues there that…”

F: “Theology won’t get you into heaven either, my friend! Have you ever walked an aisle to a good old-fashioned altar?”

P: “We don’t really do that….”

This may continue until the Presbyterian in a fit of desperation invites the fundamentalist in to chat over a beer. All that remains is to watch the fundy shake the dust off his shoes and depart in search of someone easier to evangelize. Maybe they can find a Methodist…

49 thoughts on “Witnessing to Presbyterians”

  1. lol!! on my way out of fundamentalism, my parents wanted me to talk with their pastor…he spent the whole time warning me against Presbyterians (esp. b/c “they drink”)….
    who comes up with this craziness anyway?

  2. I’m seriously tempted to grab a cold one out of the fridge and pull an NIV, one of Calvin’s commentaries, and the Shorter Catechism off my nightstand next time I see some fundies knocking on doors in my neighborhood. Hmm, Luther might not be a bad choice either, and the fact that I almost always wear pants and shorts would only help to fuel their impression that I’m hopelessly lost! I imagine the conversation would go just like above. I found myself thinking of alternative answers as I was reading this post (“Theology won’t get you into heaven either, my friend! Have you ever walked an aisle to a good old-fashioned altar?” “Well, the altar call is a relatively new invention historically…Finney…salvation is by grace not by works that we’ve done…” etc.) Should be fun.

  3. All too familar. And at the same time fuels my recent escape from fundamentalism.
    And to know how messed up it is, that IFBs are practically TAUGHT to do that. I’m sure if half the people I found out about me change, I’d get hammered with all this and more. Haha

  4. reminds me of my dear friend Katie, a lifelong Lutheran and a bit of a lush…but when the fundy boys from the nearby school that shall remain nameless came to find out why she thought she’d go to heaven, she drew herself up to her full six-foot height and said, “Because I HAVE BEEN–REDEEMED. Good day.”
    i have no doubt she enjoys a drink now and then of the celestial brew! 🙂

  5. You know the difference between a Southern Baptist and an Independent Baptist? A Southern Baptist believes that everyone else is going to hell. An Independent Baptist believes that everyone else is going to hell, ESPECIALLY Southern Baptists.

  6. I totally used to believe that everyone who wasn’t a Fundy was going to hell! I witnessed to a guy who was from an old Baptist church we used to go to in fact! Oh, it was such a sad time in my life. Not that I haven’t had sadder, but that was still sad.

  7. Something very similar happened to me a few years back, and this was when I was part of a Baptist (albeit, not one that most would classify as “fundamentalist”) church! Maybe it was the beer I had in my hand.

    (Funny enough, I am now an elder in a presbyterian church, like the poor presbyterian in our story above.)

  8. Fundie Baptists are bad, but for rude door-to-door contact, you can’t beat Jehovah’s Witnesses. My husband is an agnostic but he’s read the Bible and several other holy books, and when the JW’s come by he invites them in and then bashes them over the head with the fact that he knows their Bible better than they do. They came by here twice and then never came back.

    1. An aquainttence of mine claimed that a pair of Jehovah’s Witnesses did not hang around too long when he appeared at the door, naked, holding a jar of petroleum jelly….

  9. There are saved people in many denominations, who are we to judge. We are to witness and God does the saving. There is no RIGHT denomination. YOu go where God leads you, it could be Pres, IFB, SB, Assembly, Catholic. Plant the seed and be polite about it, then go your way. Don’t condemn those that do not go to your church. God loves us all.

  10. i am a southern baptist but we are a reformed church and there is still autonomy for the local church in the SBC which is nice. but it needs a lot of work. pray for us.

  11. It is pretty hard to tell the wheat from the tares, in any field, unless you get right up close and look, with discernment. God’s Beautiful Love and Covenant Mercy shines forth from the face of many a “fundamentalist” Christian, but it does not necessarily mean that particular face belongs to one of the ones who are motivated, to go knock on doors. May the Lord bless the members of the CoGoP conregation who loved me, shared the Gospel with me, and sacrificed of their own lives to see to my betterment.

    As in any church, the more folks begin to act alike, the harder it is to figure out who is pretending. I was a dead man, walking. I’m a sinner, who has listened and responded to the words of Christ the Prophet, has been redeemed by the perfect sacrifice of Christ the High Priest, and serves imperfectly under the lordship of Christ the Most High King. I think that it’s likely true that in my RCPNA (Covenanter) congregation, there are a few people who have ME down as one of the tares! The parable of the wheat and the tares is meant to inform us, that this is always so.

    Jim

  12. i disagree with you about the catholic chuch Lori. I am not a fundy, but that is not a Christian Denomination at all. There can be Christians in it, but with the Council of Trent, the Roman Catholic church completely broke from Orthodox Christianity, and to believe Justification by Faith only, disqualifies from the catholic church.

    But back to this. This is my favorite post you have.

  13. I have been presbyterian my whole life and I have had ALL these things presented before me by aremenian/fundmentalists.

    1.) presbyterians are alcoholics
    2.) they’re like catholics er something like that
    3.) they believe God doesnt love humanity because of that quaint doctrine of election.
    4.) they think Jesus was Gods son, but Calvin was his prophet(like muhammed, lol)
    5.) they’re not saved because they dont baptise by emmersion
    6.)They’re pharisaical and live out of their confession and catechisms.
    7.) cold and unfriendly. Not out going or Pro-evangalistic.
    8.)they’re weird because they have Elders and not just deacons.
    9.) they aren’t compromising and therefore are cocky.
    10.) Dont shout or talk during the preaching service. Weirdo’s!

  14. Oh, having fun with those who come to the front door is great fun. As a confessional Lutheran pastor, I can almost relish having a beer handy, or inviting them to come to our Wurstfest for beer and brats. Discussion of the efficacy of the Word and the Sacraments is also very entertaining. A seminary professor of mine used to keep a copy of the New Testament in Greek near his front door, so when Fundys or Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons came by and started telling him what the Bible said, he’d flip to the passage in question, and usually begin telling them, “No, that’s not what it says at all.” Usually took him about 12 seconds after that for them to retreat.

  15. How many of us have attacked fundies/other Christians for not being Calvanists? I’ve been a fundie and a now am a Calvanist, and it seems to me that this anectdote can go both ways!

  16. I’m a “fundy” and know saved people from many denominations, all of which believe the same Gospel (faith in Christ finished work; the death, burial and resurrection) However there are many “Christians” again, from all different denominations that believe salvation is through other means. Those are the ones I won’t yoke up with because I feel it is a disservice to God and detrimental to the person who believes a false gospel.

    I “asked Jesus into my heart” when i was a boy, but I now know I wasn’t saved. Thank God I heard someone preach (who wasn’t even a “fundy”) and I truly repented and called out to God to save me when I became an adult and was able to understand more. When I “knock doors” I’ll witness to folks and when I hear there response and know that it’s biblical and sound I rejoice with them, usually let them know where our church is and give them a warm invite and move on. I feel that I won’t have to give an account for them because there not ignorant, however the bible makes it clear that not everyone that cries “Lord, Lord” shall enter into the kingdom of heaven and I know this includes some self righteous “fundies”.

    I was in that position and I’m glad someone didn’t give me a false hope but was brave enough to preach what the bible says.

    Another interesting thing is that as much as people complain in this forum, and I totally understand and agree with some aspects, I’ve yet to see such aggressive and faithful evangelizing by any other kind of church/group. Just think of how many souls have been saved by “ignorant” “rude” and “judgmental” “fundies”.

  17. This was great, I’m Presbyterian all 41 years, parents, grandparents, and on and on. I love the traditional worship service, one of the most beautiful worship service one can experience. Baptist are sweet folk and they care about us, I just wish they wouldn’t shout out during their worship service. ha. And I love beer, wine, rum and coke and the Holy Trinity. Thanks for this site.

  18. I was attending Trinity Presbyterian in Tucson, AZ many years ago. As we left our service one Sunday there was a Fundy Baptist contingent passing out tracts in the church parking lot.

  19. Ah. Does it mean that GOD is giving you a chance to help out your brother by telling him the truth? Oh, sure the truth hurts sometimes….but it’s the only way to life ! Here and after….

  20. Considering the number of times Ian Paisley has spoken at Bob Jones University, Fundies have no excuse for thinking that Presbyterians (1) aren’t saved or (2) follow the Pope. If they attended BJU, weren’t they listening? And if they didn’t attend BJU but call themselves Fundies, why have they never visited the school during Bible Conference? BJU should be like Mecca for Fundies.

  21. @Donna SFL: Seperating themselves from BJU and any and all other fundy institutions. Every single fundy institution I know of not only claims they are the best, but there are fatal flaws in all the other fundy institution. Maybe BJU doesn’t, but all the ones I know of do that. Just not very familiar w/ BJU.

  22. @Donna: There are many varieties of fundamentalism, all of them “belonging” to different schools. In the little branch of fundamentalism where I spent most of my high school and college years, it was quite common for pastors at least to make an annual “pilgrimage” to my fundy college for “preaching” (quotation marks because much of what I heard was an insult to preaching). So yes, fundies do that, just not necessarily to BJU.

  23. Nailed it. I would ask that question, and if the person would say anything besides Baptist. I’d start witnessing to them.
    My grandparents are Presbyterian. My mother knows for a fact that she did not get saved in the church she grew up in so that means they are not saved either. We all tried desperately to witness to my grandparents. My poor grandparents were quite upset about it. Made for great strains in the family relationship.

  24. This totally works for old-school Church of Christers too, only you’d have to change the sentence “And what’s more you can know for sure that you are saved without worrying about losing it.” a bit to reflect that you certainly CAN lose your salvation if you don’t stay on the straight-and-narrow. And of course you’d have to add the 5 Steps to Salvation: http://www.trustingodamerica.com/FiveStepsCov.htm

    Traditional CoC doesn’t count themselves as Fundie or Evangelical — b/c they’re not a denomination, dontcha know, they’re the New Testament Church.

  25. I heard a story once that may be apocryphal, but I love it: There was a guy who had just gotten out of his car at a mall parking lot and was heading into a nearby store when he was accosted by a Fundie who was handing out tracts.
    “Hi, sir. Hey, are you saved?”
    “Absolutely.”
    “Really!?” And when were you saved?”
    “Two thousand years ago, at Calvary.”

    Best answer I’ve heard yet.

  26. *snerk* Our IFB pastor and my mom spent the entire duration of our time attending that church trying to convince my Presby dad that he needed to be rebaptized (he just wanted to sing, but no non-members allowed! A shame–he’s got a marvelous voice). That, however, ended quite abruptly when the pastor tried to tell my mom (who was simultaneously volunteering as the church secretary, treasurer, a Sunday school teacher, and any other do-er of “womanly” jobs around the church) that she wasn’t submissive enough with her husband.

    You do NOT tell MY mother to be submissive. We were Southern Baptist (and a few years later, Christian Church) members in the blink of an eye. 😆

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