Success As A Sign Of Godliness

It’s time now to explore another favorite fallacy from fundyland: holding up the ‘success’ of a ministry as evidence of godliness and declaring that anybody who has accomplished less is not fit to criticize.

Argue with a fundamentalist for long enough about the doctrinal and ethical problems in his favorite institution and he’ll inform you that he doesn’t want to hear anything you have to say until you’ve built your own ministry of equal size. Since most of us have never built a fundamentalist church or school (nor ever wanted to), this attempt to disqualify critics has the happy effect of leaving only about nine fundamentalists in the world qualified enough to actually point fingers at each other — which suits them just fine. It is a world where one assumes only a master chef is qualified to determine whether the meat being served in the cafeteria is rotten.

This claim that only those who have have ‘succeeded’ are allowed to speak out is a strange stance to take given that a fundamentalist preacher has no compunction about standing in front of his church of thirty-five members and blasting Rick Warren or Bill Hybels and their megachurch ministries. Surely they should wait until they’ve built their own congregation of thousands before daring to speak against them? Never mind the fact that if the role of critic can only be filled by those who have the greatest numbers, no Baptist should ever dare criticize the behemoth that is the Roman Church.

You plus God makes the majority…unless you’re speaking ill of me and mine.

31 thoughts on “Success As A Sign Of Godliness”

  1. When the story of Naaman was told us in Sunday School, we learned that even the mighty (Naaman) can learn from the least of all (the servant girl). The Bible commands us to “walk humbly with our God.” God used a humble donkey to correct Balaam, a shepherd boy with a sling to best a might giant. Proverbs tell us that a wise person listens to correction. Moses stood before mighty Pharaoh, Nathan stood before King David, and many prophets stood before mighty kings and declared, “You are WRONG!” To refuse to listen to rebuke because it comes from someone deemed “insignificant” by worldly standards is SO UNBIBLICAL!! I am so grieved as I realize that people that I believed all my life were so godly and biblical have revealed themselves bankrupt in so many areas.

  2. Love the picture!! : D You nailed it, once again!

    “You plus God makes the majority…unless you’re speaking ill of me an mine.”
    Hahahahahaha…soooo true. I am have to steal this quote.

  3. “…this attempt to disqualify critics has the happy effect of leaving only about nine fundamentalists in the world qualified enough to actually point fingers at each other — which suits them just fine.”

    Because they’re all members of the same associations (read: good ol’ boys’ club–no wimmins allowed).

  4. The way Darren Lawson put it when Scott Aniol’s “Religious Affections” was mentioned:

    Some people talk about Fine Arts. But they don’t DOOOOOOO Fine Arts.

    If I could capture that moment in a picture, I’d send it to Friends of Irony.

  5. “Regarding Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, and the “Roman Church,” a close corollary to this fundy rule is that success outside of fundamentalism is a sure sign of demonic aid.”

    Yes, the smaller the better. That’s what they can tell their congregations of 25-30 members. Good excuse for their lack of growth and size.

    Mat 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
    Mat 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

  6. The way Darren Lawson put it when Scott Aniol’s “Religious Affections” was mentioned . . .

    I really, really want to hear the story behind this.

    I can’t remember exactly why Scott’s portal (at the time, I think that was the best way to describe it. It was more than a blog but less than a forum.) was a topic of conversation. This was in October, 2006, during one of my disciplinary meetings. If I’m remembering correctly, Darren was brushing off criticism about recent Fine-Artsy performance decisions. Artist Series or Vespers or hymn choice. Something similar. And Scott’s name/site/critique specifically came up, and Darren dismissed it out of hand because Scott doesn’t “dyyyyooooooo Fine Arts.”

    Oy.

  7. Yes, and you paid for it by wasting Thursday evening and half of Saturday in rehearsals, and then having to stay so you could perform for BOTH vespers performances. And being a girl in vespers was absolute hell–you could count on never having access to the funky colored dresses they always wanted you to wear. I mean, honestly, do you know how hard it was to find a brown, gold, tomato, or plum-colored formal that looked respectable enough to wear on stage? Yeah. Not so much.

  8. do you know how hard it was to find a brown, gold, tomato, or plum-colored formal that looked respectable enough to wear on stage?

    I can honestly say no. I wore a dark suit, white shirt, and red or blue tie. 🙂

    And I always thought rehearsals were fun.

  9. @Morgan. I agree!!

    Evidently if a fundie manages to hit the jackpot after “scratching off a piece of dirt” and “building” his church up big – he is a regular hero that all us little people should learn from. He evidently used only pure, old fashioned methods to build it and God musta blessed him. It’s a miracle!! A MODEL CHURCH!!! THEIR WAY IS THE ONLY WAY RIGHT WAY!!!

    Then someone who doesn’t use the good ole’ KJV, has a drum set and has women in pants on the platform is building his church up with methods akin to those employed by the forthcoming Antichrist. Evidently their methodology promotes confusion and carnality among the rank and file and all who join them are shallow, itching eared nominal Christians.

    I have seen both sides of the coin here and testify that many times the latter is the more vibrant, biblical model of Christianity.

  10. When I was at BJ I was in the one of the choirs and I LOVED it! Rehersals were always fun because we had Dr. Coleman as our director. During the drama portion of the performance we would fool around in the green room… usually getting yelled at for being too loud…. I remember one girl that was reading a harry Potter book but had some other slip cover on it. Our turns to do Sunday campus service were the worst though. We’d either start to fall asleep and try to fight it off by trying to find our friends in the mass of students, or we’d drink so much coffee backstage that we were nearly bouncing out of our seats. My favorite thing we did was Living Gallery. Beautiful music and HOURS of fun rehersal. Best choirmate bonding time. 🙂

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