Looking Back (An Atypically Serious Post)

As I chanced to read through Philippians 3 in a moment of devotion, it suddenly seemed to me that those oft-read words had strangely moved and changed as if some Subtle Hand had writ them large upon my own life’s story. And what I read was this:

Though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh
also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have as good as anyone:

Dedicated as a baby in a fundamentalist church, son of an Independent Baptist preacher, grandson of an Independent Baptist preacher, a fundamentalist of fundamentalists; as to the rules of conduct, I kept them to the letter (as far as anybody knew); as to zeal, a graduate of a fundamentalist college, a fundamentalist deacon, song leader and Sunday School teacher and uncompromising judge of those I deemed too liberal; as to standards in my music, dress, and language I was blameless.

But whatever gain and prestige I had as a fundamentalist, I now count as loss for the sake of Christ.

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing grace in Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of my worthless fundamentalist accolades and count them as garbage, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

And as I read, I wished with all my heart the words were truly true — a lesson long since learned and mastered instead of one so often and so easily forgot.

Christ, save us.

Ok, enough maudlin introspection. Back to the regularly scheduled insanity…

36 thoughts on “Looking Back (An Atypically Serious Post)”

  1. I’d like to think I’ve moved closer to God and grown in grace since my IFB years. Still growing in grace and patience towards my many Fundamental friends. Learning to keep my mouth shut.

  2. Excellent, Darrell. That post made me tear up for some reason, and they weren’t the usual tears that I have in my eyes from laughing at this site. What a great post.

  3. @phil Indeed, but there is more than one kind and one single moment of conversion that can take place in a Christian’s life.

    Some fundamentalists preach another gospel and truly need to be converted in the sense of regeneration.

    But a conversion of belief about sanctification and a true realization that the work of the Gospel is not finished after a single magical moment are also conversions that fundamentalists desperately need to experience.

    1. After a lifetime of thinking the way we did things was THE right way, I still second guess myself when I realize that some rule from the past was totally extra-Biblical. How crazy is it that I have to put it in perspective by thinking, How do the Amish think of us? What do they think of my knee-length denim skirt? And then I realize, the whole world thinks I’m as crazy as that Amish girl.

  4. Really powerful, Darrell. Thank you for writing this. Like you, my husband and I have the right fundy “pedigree”, but we have chosen to count it all as loss. As my husband and I have sought to follow Christ, going against some of the IFB traditions, our church split, leaving us with such a reduced income that my husband told me this morning we may be eating food from the church’s food pantry. I don’t want my own righteousness and pride; I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and share in His sufferings, but sometimes I wish we could just go back and have all that we’ve lost in the past few months.

    How I wish I could always be unswervingly committed to the Lord, following Him faithfully no matter what the cost.

  5. Thank you, Darrell. I can relate. It’s been a struggle, and probably will continue to be for some time, but life outside the Box is so much better.

  6. very nice. I’ve kind of taken the opposite approach: that the half-truth of fundamentalism prepared me to embrace the fullness of truth. it’s a different way to look at it, but people are allowed to see things differently when not under the iron fist of ifbism. there are a lot of things about my ifb years that piss me off, and those are the things regularly lampooned on this, my favorite, blog. the things that grind my gears the most are 1) antinomianism is implicit in the theology, and this gave me a spiritual excuse to make some very bad choices, and 2) the people who write about baptist history & kjvo are just lying pricks bent on deceiving a gullible audience. thankfully, I never experienced or knew of fundy institutional abuse (except at the roloff homes. long story).

    anyway, whatever. I forgot where I wad headed with this whole rant. what were we talking about? patch the pirate?

  7. Wow, what an awesome post. Thank you. This is something I never would’ve heard out of the mouth of my ex-pastor or my dad.

    Thanks so much for this site and please keep the posts coming! I discovered it last night, and laughing til I cried over the archives produced one of those moments of healing that occur all too rarely. I have been out and in a healthy church for 3 years now but I am still not over all the damage caused by 23 years in an IFB cult.

  8. D said “a true realization that the work of the Gospel is not finished after a single magical moment ”

    Wow. That needs to be put in headlines, bolded, and underlined.

  9. @ pastor’s wife:
    You and your husband will be in my prayers. God will provide. It’s an adventure watching Him do what He loves to do for His children. My husband and I often laugh in delight when we see Him come through for us. We have a saying, “It never gets old.” What stories I could tell! How different from my fundy years when I wondered why God was mad at me and discouraged that I could neither measure up nor figure it all out. Now I know measuring up is no longer an issue — I can’t and He has me covered. Now I know God isn’t mad at me. I was lied to. When the hard times and challenges come along, I find myself thinking “Oh this is going to be a good one. What does God have up His sleeve this time?” He has something up His sleeve for you, too! You just watch!

  10. Glad to see you still are a keeper of the faith it can become tedious in the world of Americana meets the bible .

  11. Great post, Darrell! Except that you should have paraphrased it from the 1611 KJV, of course, or nobody will be able to get any kind of true blessing out of it. :-) Just kidding! Well put.

  12. @Darrel, “there is more than one kind and one single moment of conversion that can take place in a Christians life”. How true that is. When I was preparing to unite with the catholic church it was called, The Rite of Continuing Conversion. It is a process that does not stop when you are seeking the Truth. This is one of your best post.

  13. @ Kate, thank you for your encouragement and prayers! I’ve been planning on teaching my kids the song “The Great Adventure” by Steven Curtis Chapman. I’m trying to change my outlook so it is an adventure and look forward with joy and trust to God, asking, as you said, “What does God have up His sleeve this time?!”

  14. It is quite a healing process, like you rip off a giant bandaid and the residual sting is felt long after the bandaid is long gone. We may seem like we are fine but walking in freedom and grace with Jesus instead of walking in my own righteousness and good works is something I must seek the Holy Spirits guidance with daily. Suddenly what was up is down and what was down is up…
    …powerful thoughts Darrell..thank you.

  15. @pastor’s wife: recently I heard that Joni Ericson-Tada had breast cancer and her attitude was: I wonder what God is up to in my life. Wow, what a statement. Our pastor’s wife went through a “Oh I have a lump, I must be dying of cancer!! Who will take care of my children? How can I plan this funeral?” And all before she even went to the doctor! Ah, fundy response.
    God will bless you and your husband for taking this stand. He will not allow His children to be
    without, but will give you what you need when you need it.
    Good post, Darrell.

  16. I like this post. There should be more posts like this. You have a great talent for writing and this is a great example of it. This is encouraging and reminds me of my own upbringing. I likehow it is reflection rather than what sounds like venting, so keep it up. God is gracious and I am thankful for where he has brought me for his glory. Soli Deo Gloria.

  17. Have you ever heard of the cult of the personal pronoun? That’s the one where, when you ask someone how they know they’re saved, they begin their answer with “I” as in “I asked Jesus into my heart”, “I repented of my sins and believed”, or “I answered the invitation”. It’s more about hat they did than what Christ did.

    Thanks for a thought provoking post.

  18. Thanks for this.

    //But a conversion of belief about sanctification and a true realization that the work of the Gospel is not finished after a single magical moment are also conversions that fundamentalists desperately need to experience.//

    This has been on my mind for awhile now. Like we don’t know when the disciples really got saved. Blows my mind.

    nicodemusatnite.blogspot.com

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