Friday Challenge: Memorable Sermon

The average fundamentalist hears roughly four-and-a-half bajillion sermons in their lifetime. Through some kind of built-in defense mechanism, they also manage to forget having heard most of them.

Today’s challenge is to try to list one or two sermons that you actually do remember and what about them made them memorable.

317 thoughts on “Friday Challenge: Memorable Sermon”

  1. One sermon that stands out in my mind was a sermon at PCC called “The Power Of One” in which the pastor got a bunch of guys on stage to hold signs bearing the number 0. He then had a young lady come up to hold up a 1, thereby demonstrating that the single digit transformed zeros into a million.

    Unfortunately, the pastor accidentally instructed her to stand to the right of the zeroes, thereby rendering them insignificant.

    And he couldn’t for the life of him figure out why people in the audience kept laughing.

  2. I have two very memorable sermons, and neither are for good reasons. They didn’t have to be good sermons right?

    The first I’ve mentioned here before. It was a BJU chapel and Dr. Wood was preaching on the passage where Jesus asks Peter, “Lovest though Me?” Dr. Wood not only said the word “love” was from the greek word ‘eros’ but insisted on it. Repeating it over and over throughout the sermon. At one point he actually switched ‘lovest’ with ‘eros’, “Peter, eros thou Me?” Dr. Wood starting a whole new theology right there on the spot. 😈

    The second was really and eye opener for me and one of the last sermons I’ve been to at a Fundamentalist church. First the back story. Growing up there was one Bible teacher who meant the world to me. He actually challenged us to think for ourselves and to learn and read the Bible for ourselves. When we had to memorize scripture it was never one of verses or small passages it was whole chapters of the Bible. He bought, with his own money, our text book that was required reading (Future Grace by Piper). He was a Calvinist to be sure. But he never forced calvinism on us. What he did force was sound biblical reasoning and intelligence. A few years later he was “let go” the only thing I could get was his “radical calvinism.” Which could have happened, after all the guy was a calvinist. During college I myself learned all the ins and outs of calvinism. And while I certainly am a sympathiser, I refuse to be classified as a calvinist. Well finally I was sitting in a service with my old pastor, and the person who fired the teacher, and he starts preaching a sermon and in it he mentions a man who was a “hyper-Calvinist.” Well my ears perked up. “What did this man do that was so horrible?” My pastor went on to say and at the end of the description my heart sank. He was describing me. According to my pastors definition I am a “hyper-Calvinist” and I wasn’t even a Calvinist. That was the last church service at my old church. I haven’t been back in 4 years.

    1. I was a Calvinist when I was 13. I just didn’t know it until I was 25. I refused to believe it.

      Now I’m a Presbyterian deacon at 31. And my family has pretty much disowned me.

        1. Yeah. I hat it but I have a family of my own now that is my responsibility. I’m just a dirty Calvinist that needs an good altar call to them.

          They jumped off the deep end when I told them that I did not believe in a “rapture,” and that I was an amillenialist. Might as well have told them I was gay.

        2. @Apitome – I think I’m as much of a disappointment to my parents because I listen to Third Day and read the ESV as my siblings who don’t attend church at all and have a lifestyle in which they do most of the things we were always told not to do (I’ll start with divorce and leave it there). They have no sense of the essentials of the faith (despite being called fundamentalists) which if we agreed on should keep us accepting one another even if we don’t agree on the minor things. There are no minor things to my parents.

        3. @pastor’s wife

          I read the ESV as well. I came from an uneducated fundy family (I am the first ever in my family to have a college degree = going back to pre-Civil War). One time they were visiting and they saw a Greek new testament on my bookshelf and flipped out about all of these versions of the bible I have.

    2. Mark, that was the only explanation that I ever heard about his dismissal, too. I sat through all the same Bible classes with him, too, just two years ahead of you. It was a shame to see him go. I still remember his “So Great a Salvation” series that he compiled from several other sources, mostly R.C. Sproul. He really did make us think.

  3. I just posted an odd one on a diff post. One of my faves came @ PCC, when Jim Schettler used cups of Kool-Aid to demonstrate which student trusted him and which wasn’t as trusting, and thought it was just hilarious. If memory serves there was some awkward silence when he started, and relieved reactions when they realized he was trying to make a humorous example. Always a bad idea.

    Sept 11 was kind of the end of my trust that there was any good left in true hard core fundamentalism, although ki wouldn’t phrase it that way was just unwilling to attend “those” type churches ever again. Had already been through multiple seasons of sporadic attendance and doubt that church (fundy land) was telling the truth about much of anything. The jumping off the ledge acts of declaring God had judged homos, and feminists still deeply offends me.

  4. Time for another MK story.

    We averaged slightly over three churches per week when we were in the States, and my father gave the same sermon for each, being based on the story of Gideon. One day, while sitting in the second pew on the left (reserved for MK’s) I was passing the time when my mother leaned over and hissed “Stop it!”

    I protested my innocence. After all, I was just reading through the Bible, as usual. “What am I doing?” I asked, in the silent whisper.

    “You know very well,” she said, “And stop it right now!” Although I had no idea what she was talking about, I knew enough to shut up sit up and wait.

    It turns out I had been – unconsciously – mouthing the words to my father’s sermon, in perfect time, including the pauses and the laughs.

    A couple of weeks later, my father asked the latest congregation to “Turn in their Bibles to John chapter 4.”

    I actually stood up and declared, “That’s wrong, Dad. You mean Judges 6.”

  5. For some reason I remember an old Lou Rossi sermon that began with the story of Paul being lowered out of the city in a basket.

    Title: You never know what is in the basket.

    Outline: The basket of preaching, parenthood, prayer…

    There were many more “P”oints. I remember being amazed how the text was used as a fancy intro to talk about whatever he wanted. It was so bad. πŸ™„

  6. I remember Dr. Wood at BJU preaching a message from 2 Kings 4 (the Shunammite woman’s son raised to life by Elisha). He used the text to discuss family relationships. When the son told his dad in the field, “My head hurts,” the father told a servant to take the boy to his mother. This was because the father was harsh and uncaring and made the mother do all of the child-rearing, just like all fathers today. When the boy died, the mother took him to Elisha’s room, which shows that she was the spiritual leader of the family because the father was not. When Elisha went in to the boy and shut the door, that was proof that all parents need to spend one-on-one time with their children. I don’t remember what laying on the boy or the seven sneezes meant. . . .

    The other message was at Bible Conference. It was about Jesus as a boy, who used to work in the carpenter’s shop watching the other boys play ball outside his window. He was so envious of these boys that he accidentally pricked his finger and his precious blood ran down his hand as the shadow of a cross spilt across his face. The point of the message? Jesus is lonely and needs a friend. Will you be Jesus’ friend?

    Praise God to be free from junk messages like these.

    1. I laughed when I read your post about Jesus being lonely. That is the first sermon that popped into my head when I read this thread. I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one that thought that message was insane.

    2. So…what exactly was the Biblical text for the Jesus as a boy sermon? Last I checked, there was no mention of this incident recorded in the Bible. And the Fundy Illuminati wonder why so many young people leave as soon as they’re old enough to.

  7. I remember a sermon from the Bill Rice Ranch preached by Ron Reilly. I don’t remember a lick of the sermon except for his autobiographical illustration about going to a fair or amusement park and getting sick in some kind of barrel they had to crawl threw. He puked in the barrel and everyone who crawled through it after him shot through SHOOM! SHOOM! SHOOM! I found it hilarious as a kid. Couldn’t tell you what the sermon was about, though.

    One other I remember, and this one bittersweetly. My freshman year at BJU one of the Bible Conference speakers was Phil Shuler. He had spoken several times at my church growing up and I always found his messages both interesting and meaningful, both of which made listening to him worthwhile. He preached a sermon at Bible Conference called “The Lonely Jesus,” which emphasized Christ’s experience as a human, the pathos of his existence as both God and man; rejected by man his whole life and by God, his own Father, on the cross. It blew me away.

    Naturally, everyone else at BJU seemed to hate it, especially the preacher boys. One preacher boy friend told me his grievance was that “All [Shuler] did the whole time was tell stories!” He had no satisfactory explanation for Jesus’s numerous stories in the Gospels, but whatever.

    The whole incident drove a wedge further between myself and fundamentalism and, looking back at the puke sermon by Reilly, I’m glad it did.

      1. I remember Reilly at the BRR telling how he stomped on an aunt pile and killed the aunts because they must think he’s God because he was so big but they weren’t paying attention to him.

  8. Confession time:

    Many years ago, before he was in charge, Jack Schaap preached a chapel sermon at HAC about being a polished shaft. (It was from some obscure verse in Isaiah or Jeremiah.) It was talked about by the preacher boys for months about how great it was. I don’t really remember much about the details, but the gist was that God would use those of us who were “polished” and set aside for Him.

    Recently I saw that Bassenco had done a sermon deconstruction of that very message. I remembered how much I liked the sermon. Her commentary made me realize how ridiculous it really was.

    Looking back, it is interesting to see how brainwashed I was in that culture.

    1. I am quite familiar with that sermon as well. Can you put up a link to her page that deconstructed it.

      The name of the sermon alone is pretty risque now that I think of it.

      1. I can’t find it. Maybe she will see this and post a link.

        (As I was typing it, I realized that “polished shaft” could be taken as a euphemism. πŸ™‚ )

        1. Yes! You don’t know how much I look forward to hearing what Jack Schaap had to say about a polished shaft.

        1. What? That’s the most screwed up thing I’ve ever heard. Well, one of them, at any rate.

    2. That will be $10. Thank you, please come again.

      Actually, that is a really blasphemous sermon. Schaap appropriates a reference to Christ for himself and then fleshes it out with boastful stories from his childhood. Jackass.

      I didn’t see the reference until just now. Thank you, Tiquatoo, for looking it up.

      BTW, I do sermon deconstructions about every two weeks, usually Tuesdays and Thursdays. Schaap is often featured, but even he cannot hold a candle to the lunatic idiocy, the frenzied hatred, and adolescent boasting, and the inability to pronounce words correctly of Jeff Owens. If you have never listened to “Crank it Up,” you have missed the height of stupid fundy sermons,

  9. at the beginning of my third and last semester at bob jones, i remember a sermon during the pre-semester evangelistic meetings. well actually it was a sermonette by BJ3. the special guest had just gotten done with his message and the good chancellor, not to be outdone, felt the need put in his two sense. it was a very serious sermon by the evangelist (steve pettit, i believe) and Jones the 3rd kept that tone going. he asked the question, “who here is guilty before God.” i was sitting in the very back of the FMA and saw every single hand solemnly raise to the air. i remember looking to the guy next to me and saying–not at all in a whisper, “wait, i’m not guilty.” everyone near me turned to hush me with holy disdain. i looked around the amphitheater for people who perhaps had elected not to raise their hand. and i found one unnamed individual standing in the front next to the piano with unraised hand and took comfort knowing i wasn’t alone.

    after we were dismissed, i remember calling my friend as everyone made their somber exit saying quite loudly with sad faces all around me, “hey, i’m not guilty!!!”

    needless to say, that was when i started tuning out much of the crap that comes from that sacred pulpit.

    1. I believe I know the unnamed person too. πŸ™‚ I’m so thankful that we all got out. Thanks for challenging my thinking at the beginning of it all.

    2. Love the connection that was made there. And I know that person too.

      Sadly I think I might have raised my hand. Although I usually did not respond to the BJU invitations. I always disliked when BJIII would come after the sermon and create another 15 minute sermon.

      It does feel a little awkward when they ask everybody to stand at some random invitation question and you are one of the few still sitting. It’s not that I didn’t care but the invitations usually felt pressured and often times unnecessary.

  10. The sermon in which the fundy preacher stated “the most important thing to remember about Psalm 23 is that sheep are stupid”. This describes Fundyland in a nutshell.
    This wasn’t a smart thing to say because some of us actually believed him and left.

    1. I’ve heard several variations on “sheep are stupid”. My favorites added commentary on sheep drowning if they got their wool wet drinking from “unstill waters”.

    2. I would bet good money that when he said it there was a chorus of “Amen!’s” I know I have sat through several of the, “..this is why you need a pastor” sermons and heard the “amens” reinforcing the topic-du-jour lecture. You know that is the main function of the IFB evangelist don’t you? To come in and build up the local M-O-g to the sheeple. Those are the sermons I remember. The better an evangelist can stir up the people to “love” on, and more blindly follow their pastor the more meetings the evangelist can get.

      Every “good” evangelist will have in his arsonal of lecture/sermons at least two outstanding “The Lord’s Annointed” sermons and several support sermons on, “The Sin of Muzzling the Ox.” At the end of the week toes should be sore and guilt about not loving, supporting and obeying you pastor shoud be at an all time high… if the IFB evangelist has done his job properly. (Of course his performance will be based on the attendance record and the size of the “love” offerings.) 😯

  11. One particularly fundy sermon I remember for its actual content happened at a preachers’ conference.

    The first pastor of the morning, from the fastest growing new church in the area, preached on love and mercy. His text was I Corinthians 13 and he was quietly eloquent on the need to love our neighbors, church members, and each other.

    The rest of the day was devoted to bashing this young preacher, interspersed with three missionary presentations, one of whom took a few licks at the pastor, too.

    The sermon I remember, though, came right after lunch. The pastor used Samson and Delilah as an example of the dangers of “spreading too much of that love talk” around. He used the example of Rahab Theharlot* as an appropriate counter-example.

    “Those spies didn’t go to the whore house because they loved her!” he thundered, at which point my father sent my sister and I out of the room with the younger missionary kids.

    This was ineffectual as the preacher was so loud he could be heard throughout the building. We learned a lot about prostitution that day.

    * Fess up: You probably thought her last name was Theharlot, too.

  12. I was a sophomore at Bob Jones Academy when I heard the weirdest sermon during Bible Conference Week. I don’t remember who the preacher was, but he was going on and on about Dr. Bob Sr., and how Dr. Bob was watching us that day. The preacher actually was (trying to) speak with Dr. Bob. I was like, wait a second, I thought we weren’t supposed to try to contact the dead…very weird. The other thing that sticks out in my mind was all the security whenever Dr. Ian Paisley was on campus. I could never understand what that guy said. Glad I’m no longer part of that craziness.

  13. Darell – my internal device that protects me from remembering sermons has a setting, that someone mistakenly forgot to deactivate, that prompts me to challenge the validity of even including a sermon in a worship service. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. But does then Bible ever pair the two together? Why is the sermon the focal point of the service anyway? And what is it doing in our weekly religious exercises?

    1. Up until well into the Reformation, the eucharist was the focal point of the service. It remained so for Luther and I believe even for Calvin. I’m personally fine with a 15 minute homily in a liturgy consisting for the most part of scripture and prayer. Besides, most psychological studies show that the average human attention span isn’t much longer than that. I guess there’s a sense in some circles that enduring a painfully long sermon makes one more hardcore about his faith.

      1. I had a pastor who would say “I’ve got ten minutes left and I’m going to use them!” Strange how that’s the only thing I remember from those sermons now.

  14. The second sermon I remember is the “Second Sermon”. The second sermon occurs when there is more than one preacher on the platform. The first preacher finishes and then the second preacher gives the invitation. During that invitation, the second preacher gives a second sermon. Where’s my pillow.

    The third sermon I remember is the prayer sermon. A guest preacher is asked to pray, during which, he stops praying to Gid and gives a 3 point sermon. Each point begins with “and Father, you know that …”. All the wives nudge their husbands after this one. They also have to peek at the kids from time to time to ensure that they haven’t crawled under the pews.

    1. Ah, yes … the sermons during prayer. I always thought those were blatantly disrespectful. Like you were just using the pretense of talking to God to yell at other people. How horrible.

  15. Not so much a full sermon but rather a comment that has stuck with me to this day.
    From a couple of years ago I heard the following comment from an IFB pulpit:

    “We did not invade Iraq, we were invited”.

    OK then………RSVP. Tea and cookies at noon.

  16. I remembered two instances:
    – Instance #1 was a three-series sermon on “bitterness”. I covered this in another comment in a very old post on SFL. Anyways, the pastor preached it 3 weeks in a row, and then after the last sermon, we stayed back for an extraordinary business meeting – to excommunicate a “bitter” young lady who wanted to leave IFBism after a spat with a senior “inner circle” member. I dunno why they quarreled but I presume the inner guy didn’t like her taste for hip-hop music and frequent visits to her friends’ charismatic churches.

    – Instance #2 was when the pastor preached the same verse 2 weeks in a row. Theme – “Sleeping while Souls Perish”. We all knew who the sermon was aimed at. A young man who slept during sermons. He never came back again.

    You know why I know all these? Because I used to be an obedient “preacher boy candidate” during my teenage days the pastor trusted me enough to gossip about what he thinks about other members’ spiritual condition (e.g. I think he’s lost, she’s unsaved etc.) But now I left after joining college, I’m to them a heathen.

    Non-KJV Bible? ‘Filthy’ rock music? Booze? Theatre? Nightlife? Joining a “Neo” inter-denom Christian varsity group? Abandoning “Christian Right” political beliefs? Becoming an a/post-millennial?

    Check them ALL!

    Anyone also recall sermons being “arrowed” at individuals in church?

    1. Do I ever! An “inner circle” family left a church where I have many contacts. That family knew of many unBiblical practices carried out by the pastor, so they quickly became demonized, resulting in an entire service dedicated to showing how wicked one of the family members was.

  17. One genuinely fundy sermon I remember was based on the book of Joshua, it went through every nation they had to conquer and attached a spiritual significance to each. This of course symbolises our journey to holiness, our journey to “Jerusalem.”
    Of course, the Jebusites, inhabitants of Jerusalem, signified pride.
    And the preacher drove his point home, red in the face, bulging arteries on his neck as he screamed that we, like the Israelites, have only one option when we face these things in our lives “OFFFFF with their HEAAADSSS!”

  18. I remember a sermon (one of his most popular ones) by Jack Hyles called “DUTY”

    Basically he commands his sheep not to read your bible, pray, teach others and give money out of love for Christ. Do it out of DUTY!!!DUTY!!!DUTY!!!

    It’s not a heart issue according to him or about a relationship with Christ…the successful christian life is simply a matter of discipline and daily performance of DUTY.

      1. Ditto, Rob. He really does pronounce it “doody”. And by the way, I deconstructed that one on the podcast too. As was already noted, it is a field day for Gnostic nonsense. Not a speck of Christian truth about it.

  19. Another memorable sermon was when a famous fundy preacher preached for an hour about how Michael W Smith was demon possessed and the Southern Gospel music was a tool for Satan.

  20. By my senior year at college I was the reject of rejects and sitting in the back row during chapel services. Jeff Owens was tapped to preach our week of “Spring Revival” and all the preacher boys were very excited. The listened again and again to his message about being 16 years old and better than everyone else around him. Needless to say I was less than thrilled that this man was the one who was supposed to “Revive Us Again”.

    I don’t remember any of his sermons, I only remember one line that he said. He was getting ready to finish a message on the church (I think?) when he said “The thing is, I never want to use my people to build my church. I want to use my church to build my people.”

    Normally after a message the president of our college (who was also the pastor of the church! Big surprise I know) got up, prayed, and dismissed the service. Not a big deal except this pastor was the “second sermon” type and always took much time repreaching what we had all just heard as if it was his own when he liked what was said. The fact that he close everything was cause for much whispering.

    Anyway, I now use that line as a creed for my ministry and Jeff Owens is the only preacher to have ever signed one of my bibles.

  21. Just recently I was in a campmeeting and the preacher preached from Numbers about the Serpent being place on a pole and that as the poisionous snakes were biting the people all one had to do was to look upon the serpent to be saved from the poisionous bites, the invitation was to “all” who looked upon the serpent. Jesus in the NT reflecting back to that time said if I be lifted up I will draw “all” men unto me. The added point also being made that if “any” one winds up in Hell it won’t be our Precious Lord’s fault, because scripture tells us that He gave us “all” a measure of faith. That night 5 souls were drawn to that precious cross and looked upon the Saviour and were wondrously saved. I will never forget it! Won’t you look to Him today?

    1. What’s your point? Are you saying Jesus doesn’t invite all people? Are you saying that people can’t come to Jesus? I don’t get what was so terrible about this sermon that you still remember it years later.

        1. Sorry if I sounded harsh. I just didn’t get why you put “all” in quotations πŸ™‚

    2. no problem, the reason for all in quotations is because there are many folks that don’t believe that Jesus died for all, they believe he only died for a certain few.

  22. Older PCC grads can remember Schettlers yearly Poison in the Pot (I think that was the title) sermons where he had a big witches pot and put examples of all of the evils we’d be facing over Summer break. The funniest example was the cows tongue that he used for gossip.

    1. Wasn’t that “Death in the Pot”?

      I only remember it because working in the book warehouse some wiseacre put “There’s Death In The Pot” on the stall door of a broken toilet in the men’s room.

  23. A Tom Farrel one in 2000–I was one of the many people thronging forward at the invitation b/c we weren’t witnessing “enough”…and I remember thinking, “is there such as thing as enough?…wait a second, I’m never going to be good enough for these guys”

  24. BJJr preached a magnificently delivered sermon one Sunday morning. I don’t remember what it was about, but it was 40 minutes of exquisite poetry. I’ve never forgotten how beautiful it was.

    There was this guy BJU brought in,usually around this time of the year who used to guilt people into writing to their poor mothers, who were sitting at home, working her fingers to the bone, to send you ungrateful students to this wonderful educational institution. The PO (post office) was really busy that week. Later, the guy was discovered in adultery and no longer preached there. That was total bull.

  25. I always just tend to remember sermon illustrations that infuriate me because they screwed me up as a kid.

    Here’s one I get upset about every few months when I remember it, even to this day.

    I think it was supposed to be demonstrating how God takes away some things in order to give us better things. I first heard it as a child–maybe 8 years old?

    Anyway, according to the illustration, this very little girl has a necklace of plastic beads that she loves. It’s her favorite necklace and she wears it everywhere. One day her father, sitting in his chair by the fire, asks his little girl. “Honey, do you love me?” She says yes. The father continues, “Since you love me, will you give me that necklace so I can throw it in the fire?”

    8 year old me: * having anxiety attacks in the pew at the thought of such sadistic mind games coming from MY father, let alone God *

    The little girl cries and says, “No Daddy! I love my necklace! It’s my favorite! Don’t take it!” So the dad drops it. But later he brings it up again. “Don’t you love me?” Etc. Eventually, the girl comes to him in tears, saying “I love you daddy, so if you really want my necklace I’ll give it to you.” So the dad takes her favorite little plastic necklace and throws it in the fire and then takes her on his lap. And … wait for it … gives her a REAL PEARL NECKLACE.

    Um. First of all, she’s a freaking child and doesn’t need pearls, plastic is age-appropriate and she’d probably like them better anyway at her age. Second of all, why’d you have the burn her plastic necklace in the fire in order to give her a pearl necklace? Why couldn’t she have both? One to wear and one to leave in the safe-deposit box or whatever. (In other words, find a better analogy for your point) Third, what sort of horrible parent does this to a little child who is too young to be manipulated like that, playing mind games and burning their stuff for no good reason? It sounded like a serial-killer dad to me. My friend was massively abused and that’s what his dad acted like. πŸ™

    This illustration was supposed to comfort, I think, but it had the opposite effect. No wonder my view of God as heavenly father was so screwed up for so long. But then, I’d dealt with some pretty sadistic behavior on the part of authority figures by then. So while I hated that illustration, I unfortunately thought it was true for years.

    1. I too have been unsettled by this illustration. Usually this is used at a singles retreat when they are trying to convince you to give up your desire to marry and/or your significant other because God will give you a good ole preacher boy or perfect pastor wife. It IS manipulation and I had never realized it.

      1. I am constantly amazed at this singleness philosophy that I heard ALL THE TIME in my fundy life: If you are single, you need to be content in your singleness and stop pining for marriage, because once you’re content, God will bring Mr. or Miss Right into your life.

        Seriously? Really? Who buys into that stuff?

        1. Sadly, I did for many years. My parents, so careful about what I read (i.e. no Harry Potter, Babysitter’s club, and other rebellious books), were perfectly content with me reading books at the age of 13 full of wrong theology and attitudes towards relationships. As a result, I received a very mess up view of relationships and idealized it to a point that NO ONE met my expectations. Thank God for family hardships that showed me that it doesn’t matter how closely you follow formulas or how “perfect” your potential mate is, bad things happen and you can’t keep yourself from pain.

          Thankfully, I am now engaged to a wonderful man who isn’t the perfect ideal (I had a three page “check-list) but he is truly perfect for me.

        2. Oh man, I remember being told to write a checklist. I remember when I met my current wife, I was asked by the pastors daughters if she met my checklist.

          “Yep, she’s beautiful”

          “What’s her doctrine like”

          “who cares, she’s gorgeous”

          “You are not in God’s will”

          “She’s beautiful”

          Lol! Still married and my wife helped get me out of Fundyland πŸ™‚ poor girl, I remember shouting at her to go to church several times even though she was behind with work (because of constant attendance). Thank God she never got fed up with me, but was truly loving and patient. Still beautiful.

    2. {sigh} The old “God will play head games so you can prove how much he loves you” routine. Not so surprising how many fundy women (myself included) have had messed up relationships over the years. πŸ™

    3. Coming home from Sunday services many years ago, I noticed my daughter (about 7) seemed to have something on her mind. She began to tell me about her Sunday School lesson. She said the teacher (pastor’s daughter-in-law) had asked the kids if they were “willing” to take a “lickin” for Jesus if called upon to do so. The teacher then started to ask each child if they were willing to take a “lickin” for Jesus. She then turned her attention to her own young son, and asked him in front of all the others if he would be willing to take a “lickin” he reluctantly nodded yes, and then was asked in front of all of these kids to come forward and receive his “lickin” he slowly walked forward and in front of God and those precious children, received from his own mother a “lickin”.

      Although its been years my eyes are moist as I write this, what harm was done to this young man and all of these children! You would hope that children could count on being safe in church!

      My daughter has had many problems in her young adult life, and I can’t help but wondering if some of these crazy things she witnessed at this church caused some of her problems.

    1. Similar, some visiting preacher at PCC preached on Balaam’s Ass. He screamed Ass like every couple of minutes. As godly as we all were, it was a desperate fight within ourselves not to bust out laughing in Chapel.

      1. A teacher was reading to us from one of the Chronicles of Narnia books at my conservative Wesleyan elementary school. It was 4th grade, and I was soooo psyched because, having read the books, I knew that the word “ass” was coming up in reference to a donkey, and I really wanted to hear this Church Lady-looking teacher say it. Sadly, she substituted “donkey.” Now, well into my early 30s, I still remember that substitution.

  26. My fundy pastor prided himself on his sermon series on the family. The one that I’ll never forget was called, “How to spank your child.” it was particularly memorable because he would bring a young boy on stage and demonstrate the “biblical” method…paddle and all.

  27. I remember one when I was a kid by Pastor Jack Trieber. He preached on why the prodigal son was not such a bad guy. He waited a while before he left home was one of the points. I don’t remember much else, but thinking: “I don’t know if the point of this story is to make the rebel look good”. Very odd message…it caused a stir and a few families left the church over it.

    1. The most twisted sermons I ever heard on the Prodigal Son were those that were basically titled, “Thank God for the older son.” These sermons praised the older son who never left home and never got into “sin.” Never mind the fact that the point of the story is the fact that the older son was wrong for not being forgiving of his brother.

  28. From my PCC days:

    Greg Mutsch preaching against “stroking the snake of porneia.”

    A guest preacher using the phrase “Balaam’s ass” repeatedly in a sermon.

    Greg Mutsch’s “muscles rippling in the wind” to describe a someone who was very strong.

    1. I was there mid 90s for what I’ve always assumed was the one & only time he ever preached the “stroking the snake of porneia” sermon. I really don’t think he meant any pun by it, which made it even funnier. I assume someone told him eventually it was the worst visual ever, and why. Ever since then I’ve always hoped he would try to modify the visual and come up w/ choking the chicken of porneia, but that’s kind of far fetched. 😈

  29. How funny! I was comparing war stories with a fellow former fundy just this week. She is of Hyles, I am of Schettler, but she also knew “Death in the Pot.” Two decades later, and she remembers the cow’s tongue.

    I also mentioned a sermon I heard at PCC — “Amnon Had a Friend.” This sticks in my memory because it was the first time I ever heard the story of Amnon and Tamar, and the preacher’s delivery style. He used lots of repition of the key points of the sad story.

    1. Ò€œAmnon Had a Friend.Ò€

      Ah yes. He stomped his foot and pointed his finger at us every time he said it. I can still hear his voice in my head. Raspy, throaty growl as he said that over and over and over.

  30. For me, it wasn’t one particular sermon, it was a series of them…

    The pastor at my ex-church decided that it would be good to work watch Jim Berg’s Quieting a Noisy Soul on Sunday Evenings. I was really looking forward to it….

    It was a extensive diatribe against panic attacks, eating disorders, emotional problems, and some physical problems (the ones caused by stress). Mr. Berg believed that bad emotions/states of being emerged from bad theology.

    (Even having nightmares was a sign of bad theology!)

    So, he worked on fixing your theology and claimed that your problems would be solved if you believed what he did and did what he said.

    His solution for panic attacks was to read his “attributes of God” card, return to what you were doing before the attack happened, and repeatedly tell yourself that nothing could hurt you. (He completely ignored the possibility that what you were doing might have triggered the attack.)

    He ended it the series with an overwhelming recap of everything you needed to do, and a fake “I know this is hard but keep working at it” speech.

    I was going through some difficult times and I attempted to do what he said because I thought it would help. It was six months of emotional hell that only got better when I read Camille’s criticism of his theology and I threw all of his stuff in the garbage.

    1. I have a friend who was continually pushing those Berg DVDs on me. I know the harm they can do, since I have an MS in counseling from BJU and tried all those approaches on my own anxiety & depression problems. Very harmful. I’m sorry people are trapped with serious problems and won’t seek professional help because they believe it’s sinful. It took me a long time to become free from that mindset and get help from people who have real training in mental health, and believe-it-or-not, actually care about people.

  31. I remember a series on the Servant’s Songs in Isaiah from Dr. Minnick that I loved.

    Also I remember being at a meeting and hearing the text – Romans 12:1-2 – announced and being so disappointed that it was such an overused chapter, until the speaker gave such an incredible message on it. My heart was stirred and I was in awe, and I was so thankful at how the Word of God, even a passage you’ve heard a hundred times, can still come alive.

  32. “Sin in the camp” where my fundy pastor preached against wicked formers members and anyone else who dares oppose him. I was on my way out (waiting in hopes of taking my family with me), had previously contacted these former members, and knew he was totally full of it in his description of them. Yet I was very good at maintaining my “happy Kool-Aid drinking church member” appearance. Sad how easy it is to fake being a “good fundy”. They actually claim to be able to see rebellion in the hearts of their students/members…They are so clueless.

    “The Old Paths” sermon is the one my fundy pastor takes on the road with him. Anything he disagrees with: CCM (without being sanitized and played by their own musicians!), secular music, pants on women, casual attire at church, non-exclusive use of the KJV, etc. is preached against as a deviation from the tried and true old paths. πŸ™„

    Then there were all the sermons designed to get us to write a big check to the church…. πŸ‘Ώ

    I am grateful to be away from such lousy preaching. Praise God.

        1. Correction: It was called “Wolves in the Camp”…yeah, the wolves were all those who disagreed with the mannogid, especially those with the audacity to leave.

  33. I remember a sermon on Nehemiah and wall-building – the point the preacher made was that Satan will tear chunks out of our “wall” and make us vulnerable to attack. He can do this more easily if we are not watching out for each other. The preacher used a phone book as his illustration – when whole, a phone book is nearly impossible to tear, but if pages are missing, then it is easy to tear in half.

    The other memorable sermon – ironically, by the same preacher – was at a camp where I was working. He was preaching a salvation message to the junior campers, and he was using the story of Noah and the Ark to do so. He had us stand in these utility closets on the sides of the platform, and when he started talking about all the heathens who drowned because they didn’t listen to Noah, he had us pound on the walls and scream “Let us in! We believe you!” over and over again. Obviously, I didn’t see the reaction of the children listening, but I do remember thinking this was the most unusual sermon illustration I’d ever heard of.

  34. A good friend of mine shared a sermon with me that he heard at a fundy pastor’s confernce on the Prodigal Son titled “All the Way to the Porch.” The preacher screamed, ranted, and “preached” how one needs to come all the way into God’s house and be sold out for God. To come all the way to the porch to show your repentance and devotion to God. That it was only when we are all of the way on God’s porch in perfect duty to Him that we could know that we were living in the center of God’s will. My friend said the sermon was full of amens, preach its, etc. At the lunch immediately following the service a group of the pastors seated at the same table as my friend were speaking about what a great sermon they had just heard. One of them turned to my friend and asked him his opinion. He said, “According to my Bible there is no porch for the prodigal son. My Bible says the Father ran out to meet him when he was a long way off.” He told me that no one talked about the sermon after that. My friend is now still a pastor, except he left fundydom shortly after that.

    I remember the week long chapel meetings at college where the rock music guy was the special speaker. (his name started with an “s”, and sounded more like a nickname, like Skip or something. Hopefully, someone else can make up for my poor memory.) Anyway, beside having the vast majority of his rock music facts completely wrong, the highlight was when he played a tape of an actual exorcism. Faculty and students stood up and walked out. That one was memorable.

  35. One Sunday my senior pastor preached a remarkably clear, well organized, fascinatingly illustrated sermon on Galatians. Two days later I heard that exact message delivered by Chuck Swindoll on our local radio station. When I got to the office I said to the pastor, “Chuck Swindoll preached your message from Sunday on the radio today! πŸ˜† Including all the stories and subpoints!” He got pale, then he confessed. “Man! I ran out of time to prepare this week, so I dug up this Swindoll outline from ten years ago. I figured no one could possibly still remember it!” Gotta love the sovereignty of God! πŸ˜€

    1. My good friend tells me about the same thing happening in his church; a staff member preached a message (in this case, a very bad ‘positive mental attitude’ message that had no bearing on the Bible). A few weeks later, Dr. Owens came and preached the exact same message!

      My friend chuckled that he never saw the staff member’s face so red with embarrassment.

  36. The ones that stick out are the ones where the preacher, in his zeal to be eloquent, gets his tongue tangled up and lets loose something not so holy. Such as the preacher who meant to say “Overcome your Circumstances” and instead said “You can Overcome your circumcision”. The same guy also tried to call somebody an “Old Fuss and Tuck”…And from the pulpit he ripped “an Old F***ed Up..”…..Whoopsie.

    1. Haha! I remember a sermon where the preacher meant to say the word “darts” but it came out as the “fiery farts of the devil.” The entire youth group burst out laughing but he pretended like nothing had happened.

      1. Hilarious. Have you seen the preacher on YouTube who tried to say “Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom” but instead says “Lot pinched his tit”… My old hell fire and brimstone preacher once was criticizing the men of the church for not being godly in their homes and he said “all you men are a buncha jackasses. And your sweet little old wives ain’t no better. You women are all Jennyasses.”

    2. I was a teen, visiting the church my dad grew up in.
      The sunday school teacher used the phrase “till hell freezes over”. I started laughing uncontrollably because I had never heard the phrase before. No one else laughed.

  37. Does a pre-sermon prayer count? One Sunday our pastor prayed, “Lord, I thank you that the church is not an organization, it’s an…” I’m thinking, “organism.” So was he, but what he said was, “…it’s an orgasm. And when one member of the body blows it….” How did we ever recover? (He never knew he said any of this until I broke it to him several years later!)

  38. Ohhhh where do I begin? The preacher ranting about the inherent evil of women, the curse of Eve, the temptation of Adam and of all men thereafter by impure womankind. There I am looking around me at all the ladies, watching vacantly and nodding like cows.

    The first sin was nakedness! Adam and Eve ate the apple and realized their nakedness. Noah drank wine and got naked. I was about to enter junior high with gym locker rooms and gang showers. I had a really hard time with gym class.

    There were several sermons that were memorable for their evasivenous. How do you talk about sex when it is a sin to talk about sex?

    But I guess the killer for me was the one about even a thought being a sin. I spent so much time asking jesus for forgiveness for things I had only thought of, that I didn’t have much time left over for anything else.

    (And if nakedness is such a sin, what happens if I die in the shower? Or just after I’ve dried off and dressed, but haven’t had time to ask forgiveness yet? Or what if …)

    Gee was I ever a messed up adolescent.

    1. Oh my, the thought thing. I was just as messed up as you – except when during a summer camp, we were told that we had to apologise to a girl in person if we had an “impure thought” about her, or to anybody else, even if it was an angry thought. My oh my – I never did have the courage though.

  39. One I still remember from when I was a kid (longer ago that I will EVER admit), our pastor was ranting on the sin of eating blood. He called it a horrible sin and said he would never eat anything with blood in it. Not sure exactly where this came from, IIRC, maybe some missionary’s story about people in Africa drinking cows blood and milk (which did sound kind of gross to me as a kid). Stupid as it was the sermon had it’s effect, to this day I can’t eat german sausages or black pudding. I’m sure they’re tasty but I feel the hand of god on me if I even think about it.

    1. To this day, IFB churches in Puerto Rico rail every year against the practice of eating “morcillas” (blood sausage) which is a traditional dish during Christmas. While I am no longer a fundy, I still cannot bring myself to eat them…

  40. Hallelujah I don’t remember any. I remember a lot of illustrations though, especially about the toilet. Which was strange since we didn’t even have our own building, and met in a hall which had it’s own cleaners.

  41. Harold Clayton’s hankie sermon. He always used a white hanky to preach. One sermon he told the story of the widow and the judge and he’d put the white hanky on his head and say in a falsetto voice, “please judge…” then he’d tuck the hanky in to his collar and use his deep judge voice to answer her. Pretty entertaining.

    Schettler’s Cow tongue sermon where he waved around a raw cow tongue to talk about the evils of the tongue.

    Weird, Johnny Pope was my pastor and I can’t think of any of his sermons that stood out to me. He was just acrobatic. I remember that. He’d get all excited about being saved and jump from pew to pew across the backs of them yelling, “I’m saved! I’m saved!”

  42. My dad, the fundy preacher, had two favorite sermons that I recall well. The first one was the text of 1 Samue 15:22, and I can hear him: Behold to oBEY is better than to SACRIFICE! The other one was the one about the Publican (I used to think it was the republican) and the Pharisee.

    One pastor preached a four-part sermon about why the King James Bible is the only reliable one. He picked up other translations and paraphrases and read verses from them (that he felt made them heretical) and then tossed the offending book (he never called them Bibles) over the sacred desk onto the floor in front of it. He also taught my most unforgettable Sunday school lesson that purported to explain why biracial marriages are unscriptural. (He was a southerner.)

      1. I got the speech, right in Bible class, when I was attending a Baptist high school in Minneapolis in the 1980s. It was directed towards me and my girlfriend, actually (she was Korean and I am white). The principal asked our opinion on the issue, then went into his viewpoint and the verses that he believed supported it. Apparently, our “dating” had caused a bit of a stir.

        I live in the South now and find the racism is a little more open here, but looking back I can see now that racism was always a defining element of the IFB churches and camps I had contact with before I woke up and put it together. It really didn’t seem to matter what part of the country it was in.

  43. From HAC chapel

    Bro Tefft: Vomit Chunk

    Ray Young: ‘Stand in Line’. This was a good one. Basically, it was that if you keep doing what you should, your rewards will come eventually.

    Jack Schaap and the times he’d have his un-tape-recorded Friday chapels and just rip into us like we were the evilest bunch of creatures that had ever walked the face of the earth.

    Dr. Hooker’s sermon about music and devil worship.

  44. Were any ex-HAC-ers there when Mrs. Hooker taught in split chapel how Tamar could’ve avoided what happened to her and how many people are raped because of the way they act?

    1. Never been at HAC, but I hate when people always blame the victim when something bad happens. Bad things DO happen in life, but if you believe that if you just behaved right, you’d avoid the bad stuff, you end up nervous and guilt-ridden.

      1. I may be completely wrong, but I’ll take a chance. If I’m right, you were one of the few people who I remembered almost everything they said to this day. Sometimes there’s that person that you immediately identify with and you remember for ever.

        If I’m wrong, I just made a complete fool of myself and I sincerely apologize.

        1. I know that was completely random, but I had many things in common with your background story, which is why I recognized you. Funny how life brings people back together. It’s a small world.

        2. I know this is a really old post, but I just wanted to throw this out there in case IAHB ever gets to read it. I remember your devos talk as well. It completely inspired me, since I have a somewhat similar early background to you. I remember thinking what an amazing woman you are and how proud I was of all that you had accomplished in life. Reading your old posts just increases my respect for you. Thank you for being willing to be so transparent with all of us. You are an encouragement to me.

  45. This was at an SBC church, not IFB, but I remember a sermon about prayer, the basic gist of which was “God wants to help you, but he can’t unless you ask.” I was dabbling in Calvinism at the time, so the idea of God being somehow bound by our lack of prayer floored me. Now, as a conservative Anglo-Catholic, I’m pretty far from Calvinism, but statements that begin with “God can’t” still bother me. To be fair, I’ll note that this particular preacher was actually pretty good most of the time.

  46. I heard that sermon from Tony Campolo as well. The worst I even heard was from Jacov Prasch, who said the the Pope was in bed with the Dalai Lama on the road to Babylon.

    One of the most memorable statements I heard rcently was that ‘God wants us to thrive and grow like plants.’

  47. I don’t recall the full context, but I remember my father in-law pastor telling us that Jesus didn’t drink wine (even though he seemed to like to give it to everyone else he knew) because, like Samson, he was a “Nazarite.”

    It took every bit of self-control I had to not scream out right in the middle of the sermon, “HE WAS A NAZARENE! FROM NAZARETH! HE NEVER TOOK A NAZARITE VOW!*”

    And yet, even though these types of blatant misunderstandings are common for my father in-law, we still have people who talk about how great a man of Gid he is.

    *If he did take one, it was never mentioned in any version of any Bible I’ve ever owned.

    1. There are some recent historians who think that there was no historical Nazareth, and that the gospel writers, some forty or more years later, living away from Galilee and Judea, mistook the word Nazarite as meaning resident of Nazareth rather than member of the Nazarite sect. If this is true, your father-in-law was correct, but for the wrong reason.

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