54 thoughts on “SFL Podcast #2 “The Baby and the Bathwater””

  1. I probably needed to hear that more than anyone else. I’ll admit that I’m still gun-shy when it comes to participation in a “church” setting and that will take some time to workout. I also admit that I have a hair trigger when it comes to the perception of fundy likeness and throwing my guard up (along with the rest of my arsenal).
    I define my spiritual life in Christ, I am still working on living my life in Christ (w/out the fundy legalism that I was programmed with) and that is a work in progress… I have not arrived. I define my church life not so much as what I am but what I am not…. I’m not IFB anymore.

    Yep, I needed that to bring me back into focus and remind me to not jump from one ship to another carrying the same bagage with me only to become the very thing I was trying to escape.

  2. Nice Darrell! I grew up IFB but am now agnostic. Luckily I am far removed from fundamentalist days but I can see how easy it would be to fall back into fundyland no matter what new church or belief you have. Keep up the podcasts. This one was great!

  3. Excellent podcast. I had friends in undergrad who still live their lives as a reaction to BJU, which is sad because–guess what–if you’re doing that, BJU is still controlling you.

  4. This is true. I have had thoughts along these lines. I do not want fundyism to control my life at all. If I spend all of my time thinking of what a fundy would do and then doing the opposite I am allowing the crazy people to run my life still.

  5. Words like appropriate, god-pleasing, modest, and Christian (as an adjective) are triggers for me. This is scary, because even though I never agreed with the obvious errors of fundamentalism, it still managed to infect me in many other ways. At this point, I’m so likely to throw out anything that has the slightest stench of legalism, that perhaps there’s a real danger that I could throw out some unknown baby with that nasty bathwater. Time will tell, I suppose…

  6. It took me many years to stop looking to define people into little boxes and convince them that I was right and they weren’t. I still have to remind myself from time to time, that people can choose to do whatever they want (even when they are fundamentalist decisions). Have learned to just keep some distance between myself and most fundamentalists. I wish I didn’t have to, but it just never ends well when I don’t. There definitely was a time (several years) where I thought if God looked like what Pensacola wanted Him to be, that I’d rather be unchurched. Never totally stopped going, but for a couple of years would go by like once or twice a month, couldn’t ever get connected with anyone, and didn’t fully understand why it wasn’t working. Consider myself blessed to have just some wonderful friends going though similar changes, and has been just more helpful than I can describe. Leaving fundyland alone can feel awfully close leaving the faith altogehter. I’d seen someone else say they wish there was a detox or halfway place for ex fundies. I wish there were. Have lots of friends who found places like Young Life, Mission Year etc to be wonderful ways to grow your faith outside of fundyland and not leave your faith while leaving fundy land. Those aren’t options for many though who have been told ecumenical places like those might as well be Satanist camps, which is the prob w/ trying to do some kind of detox/defundyism thing they’ll be campaigned against as the Devil. Anyway I kind of rambled there. Good podcast. I still love the intro/outtro music, it’s perfect thematically.

  7. Great post. Living your life as a reaction…this was something that I set out not to do. The easiest thing that a fundy will throw out when you leave the fold is that you are rebelling. Essentially in one simple phrase they make you out as nothing more than a reaction to themselves rendering what you’ve done as no threat. What you do doesn’t prove them wrong so long as you are merely rebelling. For a lot of people this could be true. In the earliest of times some of what I was doing was out of rebellion and just a reaction, but by the time the land slide of leaving started I was determined to only do, or only allow, what I knew was right. I did what I did out of conviction not out of rebellion. This was very important to me. I knew that they would still hurl the insult at me, but I wanted my conscience to be clear that what I am, and what I do, and where I go was born out of conviction not out of rebellion.

    If I brew beer it is out of the conviction that there is nothing wrong with that. If I go to a rated R movie it was out of conviction that there is nothing wrong with that. If my wife and I go to a bar it is out of conviction that this won’t ruin my testimony and that there is nothing wrong with it. I may have become the antithesis of fundamentalism, but it wasn’t out reaction.

  8. @RobM I count myself infinitely blessed to have found wonderful places where I could detox. God was so good to me, as I said in Friday’s post, to give me exactly what I needed when I needed it. My first church allowed for a disparity of beliefs. They didn’t make up your mind for you. The teaching elder was so apposed to this that there were books in the library that he purposely left. I remember one church meeting someone brought up the books and his response was, “aren’t we all old enough to figure this out?” Needless to say the books stayed. This was exactly what I needed. Oh to be sure they still preached the Bible and would come down if needed. If it was obviously false teaching they didn’t allow for it, but in matters where good godly Christians disagree they didn’t come down on one side or the other. I was just as free to be a theistic evolutionist as I was to be a calvinist or amillennialist or well you name it. It was perfect, because in Fundy land you are completely indoctrinated…even if you go to seminary. You are just supposed to spew out the facts, and if that were one reaction that I did have to Fundamentalism so be it. I was unwilling to take anything I believed for granted. All of it went back into the meat grinder to be retried. What did I believe and why did I believe it? Was it simply tradition and a hangover from Fundy land? Great it goes, or was it conviction from the Bible? God was truly good to me.

  9. “I do not want fundyism to control my life at all. If I spend all of my time thinking of what a fundy would do and then doing the opposite I am allowing the crazy people to run my life still.”

    Well said.

    And Darrell… great podcast.

    I know I needed to hear it and have to constantly guard myself or I will become the exact thing that I so strongly oppose. – An unloving zealot, just with different doctrine.

  10. I nodded in agreement. I laughed. I have to keep reminding myself that God and I are in control of my life, not the fundies, politicians, lawyers, government officials, or corporations.

  11. …”a turn of phrase a mannerism, a way of handeling themselves or presenting a particular idea will give us a flashback into our days in fundyland and all of a sudden there are sirens going of
    red lights flashing, and just this feeling of danger”

    DANGER! DANGER Will Robinson.

    “Pinko Commy Lefty” HAHA @Darrell: That was a good one. Does anyone even still use that?

  12. “Have learned to just keep some distance between myself and most fundamentalists. I wish I didn’t have to, but it just never ends well when I don’t.

    Rob, I completely understand this. If I hang around fundies too much I feel inclined to argue with them. This never turns out well, because fundies won’t listen to logic.

  13. @Phil I’ve been called a commie more times than I care to admit.

    @MrR I wish it weren’t like that, but has been pretty much 100% of fundy reaction.

  14. @Mr R

    Yep, I feel compelled to do the same thing. I mean, you only need flip over to “ignorance” to see me doing it 🙁

  15. Here are some triggers for myself

    “Repent”, “Get right with God”, “Are you truly saved?”

    Odd triggers I know, but my experience in fundamentalism was all about having absolute assurance of salvation in order to be saved (are you 100% sure without a doubt etc, if you have a doubt, you probably aren’t saved), which meant constantly checking to make sure you were saved, which meant pretty much every moment of the day I was meant to be “repenting” and if I wasn’t repenting, I was supposed to be praying to God to reveal secret sins for me to repent of.

    It’s not the words, it’s the way they are used.

  16. @ exIFB, I’ve had my salvation questioned by someone on this very site because they didn’t like something I wrote! 🙁

  17. Good podcast. It’s always healthy to take a good look at why we do what we do. I wish we didn’t live a mile down the road from the last church we left – it makes it hard to distance myself from it, so to speak.

  18. I think at some point in purging yourself from the IFB mindset you almost have to throw out the baby with the bathwater. At least I did. Then I had to sift through and pick up the bits and pieces of said “baby” that actually did make sense. I get the point of the message you’re trying to convey…just sharing what happened with me.

  19. My most violent anti-fundy reaction– Itching at the sight of a pair of coulottes. And (to quote LuAnn from King of the Hill) “Just because they’re called ‘coulottes’ doesn’t mean they’re cool.” (I think it’s the only pop culture reference to the accursed article of clothing)

  20. I went opposite even before I escaped at age 18. I played the game until then but I rejected God in junior high, I did not begin to reconnect with God until my early 30’s.

    My big trigger is when people question my salvation.

    I still have a need to be right that I try hard to keep in check.

  21. Same Faith. the need to be right. I have a sense that a lot of Fundies are so unsure of their salvation (because of their performance) that they have a need to “be right” so that they feel assured. Everyone else is wrong, so they must be right.

    I still struggle with that need to be right.

  22. @Faith

    I grew up in church. I served in my church in every capacity imaginable, preacher, piano player, SS teacher and janitor. I then went off to Fundy U where I served even more in the ministry. Later, I was in “full-time Christian service” for nearly a decade. After all of that I left Fundyism. Not Christianity, just fundyism. Needless to say, that made me a target for evangelism.

    I nearly blew my stack when a relative did not even have the courage to speak to me personally but wrote me a letter questioning my salvation. Not responding to that letter was very hard. I desired very much to trot out all of the evidence, gather Scripture and just generally blast this person into submission with my rightness and their wrongness.

    Through that episode and others like it I am learning to live humbly and leave my defense in the hands of God. I commented earlier on this post that I did not want to necesarily live as the polar opposite of the fundies just to be their opposite.
    This is one area where I believe that there is good reason to be their opposite. They believe that their rightness gives them leave to pummel everyone who differs. I desire very much to not be that way.

    This process has been a learning experience for me.

  23. RE: Are you TRULY saved…..I was saved a couple dozen times between ages 5 and my late 20’s. I was never a very good line toer and it always made me question things.

    Now, I have SALVATION. I am at peace with my relationship with God. I can step on a lego, let out a loud %$#@*&%#@%&$$^* without doubting my standing as a Christian.

  24. @ Apathetic or whatever, “Through that episode and others like it I am learning to live humbly and leave my defense in the hands of God.” Oh, me too! So much! It’s so hard when people lie about what you believe and what you’re doing, but I want so much just to be humble and let God defend me.

  25. I’m interested in what you think of Crazy Love. I haven’t read the book. My usual hangouts have given it some pretty bad reviews


    “Crazy Love dwells heavily on condemnation to a severe level… It appears that in Chan’s thinking, only a tiny minority of professing Christians will be counted WORTHY to make it to heaven.” [emphasis reviewers]


    “Most, I fear, will have no understanding of the broad theological implications of the book … My greatest apprehension is the potential for wholesale devastation of Christians’ assurance of salvation.”

    (they are quotes from a review, not the book).

    So yeah, I am a little afraid to read it lol. I spent too much time doubting salvation.

  26. @pastor’s wife

    It is not easy to do. Especially since I know the reason I am being asked if I am saved. It is not genuine concern for my soul but rather to tell me they do not think a saved person would do the things that I am doing.
    I am learning to not respond to the provocations. Although my normal method is to get mad, write angry email, press send and then think. I am trying to move the last one a bit further up the order 😉
    I would like to find an email service that would not allow me to send emails if my blood pressure is over a certain level.

  27. exIFB, We just finished it in my SS class last week. It really pinged my “you do not measure up” nerve.

    Chan is very radical in his idea of sacrifice in order to help the needy. I can agree with him in principle.

    It certainly is not a book for a recovering legalist. It would ping that nerve and trade one form of legalism for another….even if radical giving is more of a Biblical principle than what we had in the IFB.

    I may post about it on my blog if I can get my thoughts together on it.

  28. @exIFB: I read the first chapter or two of one of Chan’s books (Crazy Love?), got a bad vibe, and haven’t attempted it since. (So many books, so little time! Life’s too short to read them all!) However, I know people (those without fundy backgrounds) who have found his books incredibly helpful. Robin may be on to something – it could well be our legalistic background.

  29. On topic: good podcast and definitely something worth remembering. Darrell, you have definitely got to keep doing these!

  30. @Robin
    I just checked out your blog. I liked your most recent blog posting. Strangely enough, I was studying Matthew 25 earlier today. I like your take on it.
    I do not think that chapter would go over well in fundyland if the context were preached. It is simply against fundy religion.
    I was specifically studying the word “stranger” in this chapter earlier today. It seems relevant given the political climate.

  31. @Apathetic or whatever

    “Especially since I know the reason I am being asked if I am saved. It is not genuine concern for my soul but rather to tell me they do not think a saved person would do the things that I am doing.”


    I’m not surprised that a fundy would think a person who has transitioned from male to female and goes to a church that accepts homosexual couples is not saved. But it did irritate me to be told that “if I would just find a good independent fundamental Baptist church they would teach me how to be a man again.” Like I hadn’t tried that already…

  32. @Faith

    What? You didn’t know that finding a good IFB church was the answer to any question? 😉

    My questions were radically different from yours but the answer was the same. “You just need to be under some good preachin'”.

  33. ExIFB….I would suggest IN THE GRIP OF GRACE by Max Luccado…..any of his books, actually. It was his writings (well, the HS, but you know) that started the stirrings in my mind and heart that lead me out of legalism and into true grace.

    AMANDA….everyone at my church loved it, too. They, too, were free from the trappings of legalism. Like I said…I agree with him in principle- he’s more Biblical than most- but the hardcore approach just triggered me sometimes, :/

    APATHETIC….Matt 25 is really what brought the hammer down on my legalistic faith. It, more than any other passage, has brought such clarity to my life and what we as Christians should be like. It is all about love and caring for others- which comes naturally for those who have sunk into the river of God’s love. We can’t have that kind of love under our own power.

    ….don’t even get me started on the current hot button issue. Things like this make me want to follow Anne Rice’s lead. My blood boils in anger because so many people are deceived I want them to discover the truth and I just ache for them. I pray for clarity for our nation. 🙁 Our country would be so different if we were truly Christian and not the perversion.

  34. @Robin and Apathetic RE Matthew 25: My greatest shame is that one time, after street preaching, I walked past a drunken passed out man and didn’t bother to help because I thought “he deserved it”.

    I hate myself for that.

  35. @Apathetic – good preachin’ was always defined as “red hot rootin’ tootin’ devil fightin’, scripture screamin’ pulpit poundin’ hellfire hollerin”.

    I am always apprehensive when someone says “this preacher was really “good” and preached a “convicting” message.

    Here is a thought – why do people seek out convicting messages? If there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus, why are the “best” messages supposed to “convict” us and make us feel guilty?

  36. @Robin
    I agree. Much of what I hear preached today shows a profound disregard for the clear teachings of the Bible. I wish it were only isolated to the fringes, to fundyism. Unfortunately, many mainstream preachers teach like this as well.

    I have several stories like that as well. I wish it were not so.

  37. @exIFB
    Good question!
    After a while I began to wonder why I enjoyed preaching that condemned others, preaching that was against sin that I was not doing. It seemed that I enjoyed watching the Man of Gid beat up on people who were not even present.
    Nothing is quite like a Tuesday afternoon “preachers fellowship” where they get up and rant about Hollywood and gays. Few, if any, Hollywood producers and gay people attend preachers fellowships in the rural South.

  38. Very good Darrell…You would view me as a fundie. However much of what I see (not in our church), but in ” fundie land” I find nutty. I guess that is why I enjoy your sight….your potcast was on target…the hypocrisy and double standards exists with fundies and ex fundies.

  39. GUILTY!

    (I confess to you, my brothers and sisters and not-so-much-siblings, that by thought and by deed, I have taken my new non-fundy hammer, and proceeded in a very fundy-like fashionto hammer everything that looked like a nail.)

  40. exIFB:

    Because “speaking with authority” involves lucrative book deals.

    Every denomination, every nationally recognized preacher and evangelist, every Biblical authority has to come up with something new and exploit it, create from whole cloth whole new meanings to Scripture.

    Once, there was no dispensationalism. Once there was no coveneant theology. Once, Christians drank wine just like everybody else. Once, Revelation was a huge mystery. Once, there were no Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses.

  41. ExIFB, Trust that God has forgiven you. I know it is hard to accept sometimes, but this is grace. Grace allows us to faceplant, pick our selves up, and keep on walking.

  42. There are people who do a good job pointing out error in fundamentalism without becoming so consumed they turn into their own version of what they dislike. People like Darrell in his humorous way, and some others in their own way, can be helpful. They probably won’t convince the true-blue fundies to change, but they might help people be better informed about fundamentalism before entering it. And they might be a prod for those who are thinking about leaving but haven’t come to the breaking point yet.

    That said, I’ve seen the same thing @Jordan M. Poss mentioned -people who leave one of the fundy bastions but spend the rest of their lives throwing spitballs from across the sidewalk. The people who stay in the same town are probably the most consumed by the “us vs. them” conflict because “them” is everywhere –and highly visible thanks to their “peculiar people” dress code. 😉 There are fundies in the grocery stores, in the restaurants, at work, in the neighborhood, so the ex-fundies still feel like they’re being judged or spied on. Sometimes they’re right.

    So I completely understand why people might feel defined by their position in relation to fundies. If they could move away they would find a whole world out there where the fundy “us vs. them” conflict is totally irrelevant.

  43. What’s sad is when you come to question the whole deal. Question Christianity.

    Yes, you understand that you have strong feelings of resentment because you were reared in what amounts to a cult.

    But I think many of us former fundies have serious personalities, plus we were taught to take our religion seriously. That leads to thinking and reading and investigating and caring if Christianity is actually true or not-any version of it and there are LOTS of versions. All that can lead you to seriously question Christianity. At least it has for me.

    That’s where I am, anyway. And I do appreciate that we must guard against not over-reacting when a Christian utters some fundy phrase that makes us feel angry. Thanks for the reminder.

    Also I think the fundy attitude is one where you are VERY certain you possess the real truth and know exactly what God wants and why and how and when and where! You know what God thinks about everything! You speak for God! So as former fundies, we might need to watch it when we see that attitude-that we were reared on-start coming out of US.

  44. Yes! We must always guard against riding our own swinging pendulum, from one legalism to another. It took me 5 years to get over the Do-This-Or-Say-This-Or-You’re-A-Sub-Christian mindset. I was REALLY angry with myself for mindlessly following the party line with such gusto that I offended lots of folks but for a while I took it out on the party that drew the lines. Group Think is agreeing and promoting what’s said or done by those whose opinions and approval we value more than the truth – and I was there. The first hard step was to put the opinions and approval of others into perspective and accept their disapproval with a sigh – because that’s how I treated people when I walked shoulder-to-shoulder with the party.
    It can be hard to think and show kindness to the party while expressing due abhorrence of the lines. One problem with a critical spirit is stopping. We made such a habit of being critical that it’s hard to be objective when discussing or thinking about the legalistic lines of our former party.
    We all draw lines; the practice in itself isn’t wrong. If we desire to be modest, say, in appearance and behavior, we’ll instinctively draw lines for ourselves according to our own background and comfort level, which can change. Our insecurity in wondering if our line is “right” will cause us to compare our PERSONAL OPINION with the party’s, which is enforced as “Biblical” by shunning. We don’t want to be deliberately offensive and that’s good, but we used to avoid shunning from others like a plague. To paraphrase a definition of legalism from that great “heretic” Chuck Swindol, our personal lines – about issues in the Scriptures that are not explicit with respect to our day, like modesty – only become legalism when 1) we measure our righteousness by them and 2) we insist that others toe our lines and criticize or shun them if they don’t.
    So I say, let’s be critical of extra-Biblical lines and shunning based on them, and let’s show as much charity as we can muster to the party, for we were once card-carrying members. But we all know that’s not an easy thing to do.

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