122 thoughts on “Mark Lowry: Recovering Fundamentalist”

  1. Wow, Darrell. Great post. What he said was so true and the complete opposite in most fundy churches that I’ve experienced.

    1. I used to talk to my youth group like this guy and could never make it through without choking… hadn’t thought of that for a while… Thanks

    2. …very interesting…especially his comments at the end about being thankful for what he was taught growing up….

      ….it isn’t the Fundamentals that are the problem…it’s the “ists”.

  2. “Love the sinner and hate your own sin. You hate your sin, I’ll have my sin, and let’s love each other.” – I love it!

    1. Most definitely recovering… because it is SOOO easy to find our pearl of Wisdom and -sure enough- stand at the door stopping the uninvited guests.

      It is human nature.

      Peter, When Jesus came down from the transfiguration, that is exactly what Peter wanted to do… we’ll build us a nice chappel right here and then, and then…

  3. The picture of uninvited guests standing at the door keeping other uninited guests out is one that alot of churches need to hear. And not just IFB churches I might add…

  4. Wow. I cried all through that. Thanks for posting, Darrell. That’s the message every person coming out of fundamentalism needs to hear, because we sure as hell didn’t hear it when we were in. And, even though I’ve been out for years, I STILL need to hear and be reminded of God’s TRUE grace and who He really is.

    So, thanks again and praise God! 🙂

  5. You know, he’s talking about it being Bill Gaither’s fault. When I was in fundyland, I criticized the Gaithers, especially Guy Penrod for his long hair. It wasn’t until I got out that I realized how good of a singer he was and actually was able to actually appreciate his voice.

    It’s so sad that I was THAT short-sighted.

    1. While in fundyland, God used guys like the Gaithers to cause me to question others around me. I couldn’t understand why we separated from the church down the street b/c of music or Bible version, but we loved people like the Gaithers b/c they sang our church’s preferred southern gospel music. I never got a clear explanation. God used inconsistencies like that to start pulling scales from my eyes.

  6. Thank you Darrell, thank you.

    I’ve enjoyed Mark for years, but has been too long since I’ve watched him. AND this clip is new to me. Now I’ll smile for the rest of the day. :mrgreen:

  7. I can tell you that having been to a Gaither “family gathering” once and having seen many of their concerts on TV, Bill Gaither and his crew have come to a very clear understanding of what the gospel of grace is. Many fundies and evangelicals can’t quiiiiite wrap their minds around it. What an irony: the thing they say they proclaim is the thing they neither understand not live. Sad.

    1. I agree, Weary, and I think its because the Gaithers encourage love and acceptance for EVERYONE, regardless of denomination. And, that’s the way it SHOULD be.

  8. Some times it takes the humorist to shine a light on issues that go nowhere without them. Sometimes we need to make light of the dark things so that everyone is made aware of just how crazy it is.

    That was great.

    1. Couldn’t have said it better, but it is still worth repeating:

      “Some times it takes the humorist to shine a light on issues that go nowhere without them. Sometimes we need to make light of the dark things so that everyone is made aware of just how crazy it is.”

      This is why I enjoy sites like Stufffundieslike.com and http://tominthebox.blogspot.com/ Keep on shining the light in a humorous way so we can laugh instead of cry or be angry. 😉

      1. i would say that this site has helped bring me to a place where this is posssible. Laugh and not cry or be angry. For so long i was sad and angry. SFL has helped me realize i wasn’t the crazy one, or if i am crazy, there is a whole group of you that are just like me.

        This is my therapy. For the price of a solid internet connection, you too can be happy!

  9. I remember watching this while I was still strongly rooted in fundyland. Mark Lowry and Southern Gospel music was accepted in my church. Unless, a group came to visit, then we would ask them to back off the drums ;). But, I remember God using this video, especially the clip posted, to challenge my way of thinking. God’s grace is so amazing, and I thank Him for having the grace to show me that He is so much bigger than the bubble I had put myself in. Now, being a few years out of fundyland, I appreciate this clip even more!

  10. 1. Mark Lowry wrote the lyrics to the song “Mary, Did You Know?” which was performed by Kenny Rodgers
    2. Kenny Rodgers’s record of “Oldest Artist to Hit #1 on Country Chart” was broken by Willie Nelson in 2003
    3. Willie Nelson’s 2004 album Outlaws & Angels features Ben Harper
    4. Ben Harper was featured in a musical tribute to Bruce Springsteen at the Kennedy Center Honors in December 2009
    5. Bruce Springsteen sang a duet, “We Are the World,”with Stevie Wonder on the album African Famine Relief
    6. Stevie Wonder performed with Usher at The Obama Inaugural Celebration
    7. Usher signed Justin Bieber to his record label

    Justin Bieber is the devil

    1. And, I can’t decide if I want to make your butt cushion with 7 Degrees Of Justin Beiber or some sort of 666 equation.

      1. I’m new here. Some of the jokes fly over my head, because i’m not too tall. i mean a tall wedge is only 7 MAYBE 8″ off the ground, and I’m only a wedge on Saturday night.
        What is the deal with seat cushions?

        1. So whenever Natalie proclaims she is not speaking to someone she usually proceeds to tell us that she is taking her butt cushion and moving to the other side of the church.
          The joke has evolved out of that. What’s interesting is that on occasion, Natalie’s Butt Cushion actually comments here. :mrgreen:

        2. And I’ve worn quite a path in the carpet between the two sides of the church, let me tell you.

          😉

    2. Not only did you get to the Devil Bieber in 7 degrees, but you also referenced the inauguration of the fundies current favorite anti-christ in degree 6! FTW!

  11. So, if the Jews had accepted Jesus as the Messiah, then the rest of the world would not have had access to salvation? Is that what ML meant? (somewhere around 3:00 in)

    1. Well, that gets into theoretical theology, but he does have some Scriptural support for that argument in Romans 11:11-12. Paul’s whole argument from Romans 9-11 is that God’s purpose for Israel didn’t fail even with Israel rejecting God at least temporarily.

      You could make the argument that if Israel accepted, instead of rejecting Christ (Romans 11:11-12), that the Gentiles would not have been included(ML references Acts 10:9-23 as another illustration of this). Keep in mind this is arguing about something that “might have happened” rather than “what actually did happen” so it is a pointless debate that ends up in circles.

      I actually found that the amount of Scripture, or even paraphrasing of Scripture was better in both quantity and quality than most Fundamentalist preaching I have heard. Even as a Calvinist myself, I found how he presented the Gospel to any and all was contextually accurate.

      I could say more about what I mean, but the point of this video is to unite us in Christ, where “Fundamentalism” is to divide us on things that aren’t even “fundamentals” of the faith. Hope that makes sense, my point isn’t to cause trouble but to clarify where ML is coming from in the Bible.

      1. Now that I think about it, in the video towards the end, ML mentions that he was thankful for being raised in the church he was raised in. As a recovering fundamentalist myself, I see his point. The biggest strength of Fundamentalism, I think, is it’s strong focus on Scripture.

        Sure they twist it here and there, but if they hadn’t had me memorize all those passages or taught the innerency of Scripture I would never have had anything to make me question them. In the end it was Scripture that caused me to question Fundamentalism, and as ML showed, it was Scripture taught to him in his Fundamentalist Church growing up that brought about this video clip that so many of us here are thankful for that.

        I disagree with a lot of things in Fundamentalism, but the greatest thing I am thankful for is the focus on Scripture. I will thank fundies for that.

    2. That’s a fairly common belief that salvation was only *for* the Jews rather than *of* the Jews. I personally believe the Abrahamic Covenant was for the Jews to be the called people of God to & for the rest of the world, and not an exclusive offer of redemption/salvation to only Jews.

  12. I’ve too much fundy left in me; he seems to have exchanged one set of imbalance for another side of unbalance. What he says is true as far as it goes, but he doesn’t sound like the preachers of old… sin is ignored – glossed over – and doctrine is ignored – the Bible tell us to give attention to doctrine.

    “If some other god had a better deal, I’d follow him”?!?!?!?!!?

    We shouldn’t follow Almighty God for His “good deal”; we should follow Him because He IS God.

    I doubt our sin is what makes us attractive; my sin makes me needy, not attractive.

    As I said at the beginning, I have too much fundy left in me… PPMR (Please Pardon My Rant)

    1. You bring up a necessary caution.

      Mr. Lowry’s “recovering fundamentalist” testimony is freakin’ awesome and points out serious issues with fundamentalist thinking, but there is always the tendency to flee from one extreme right into the arms of an opposite yet equal extreme.

      Or, to put it simply:

      To treat grace lightly (as fundamentalists are apt to do) is WRONG…

      …but it is EQUALLY wrong to treat sin lightly.

      In fleeing from the former, one can fall head over heels into the latter. I don’t think Mr. Lowry has done that, but the danger is always there.

      True Christianity is always a perilous balance.

      1. Well said.

        And, I think that when you’re talking to people who are trying to leave a legalistic organization versus those who are new to Christianity, you have to lean more to the grace side, because they’re healing from teachings that focused more on sin than grace.

        We all know the whole heavy on sin factor, and we get that, we just need to hear more about grace now, so that we CAN have that balance.

        1. Yes! Knowing your audience is important, and those who’ve been under legalistic teaching do need to hear a lot about grace just to find the balance in the middle!

          Deut. 5:32 – “So be careful to do what the LORD your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left.”

      2. True Christianity is at The Vatican. Jesus and Paul never taught “Christianity.” You can’t under emphasize sin anymore than you can stop yourself from breathing. Its been paid for, the world is saved.

      3. Halcyon

        Amen and absolutley. All too common and error that is abundant in our day

        Sure there are fundie crazies out there…but they are int he MINORITY (whether they admit it or not)
        the MAJORITY of Americasn–religious americans–are okay with sin and scripturally ignorant to an amazingly alarming extreme

    2. @GR: he doesn’t sound like the preachers of old… sin is ignored – glossed over – and doctrine is ignored

      Keep in mind 3 things. He isn’t a Preacher,this wasn’t a sermon, and you only see about 10 minutes of this guys ministry in this video. Give me 10 minutes from any Fundy preacher and pit it against this 10 minutes and see what you get.

      @GR: “If some other god had a better deal, I’d follow him”?!?!?!?!!?

      I’ll give you that one, it sent up a red flag with me too. I would recommend watching more ML videos to give you a better idea what he means. For a silly example of ML preferring God over deals or gifts: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhLey7HHG1k

      @GR: I doubt our sin is what makes us attractive; my sin makes me needy, not attractive.

      Perhaps this video would explain the concept a little better: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-zR3h2UsR4 By the way, I would recommend the whole sermon.http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/conference-messages/a-shepherd-and-his-unregenerate-sheep

      1. This was just my impression, but when he said, “If another god had a better deal, I’d follow him,” I took it to mean that he was implying that would be an absurdity- that there couldn’t possibly be a “better deal” than the grace offered by God, so that it’s almost laughable to consider it. In other words, “If you can find a better god than mine, show him to me, but it ain’t gonna happen!” 😀 I don’t speak for Mark Lowry, but that was my personal interpretation!

    3. While I’m not sure what Maybe Grey is saying about the vatican, he/she is right that sin has been paid for. There is no need to emphasize our sinfulness and wickedness to the point of morbid introspection. The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance. There is no example in the Bible of anyone condemning someone before giving them the gospel. What we have is condemned people being given good news, and nothing but good news.

  13. Darrell… that was absolutely amazing. Best message I’ve heard in a while. Thank you so much for posting it! I think I might just post in on my fb; although I wonder what my IFBx friends will think of it lol 😈 🙂

    1. I was thinking about posting this on Facebook also… it reminds me of a sermon I heard on the radio a few months ago by the pastor of a COG church that was basically along the same lines as this video. It really encouraged me.

  14. God spreads grace like a 4 year old spreads peanut butter – He gets it all over everything – LOL.

    My favorite quote

    1. I’ve seen a 4 year old spread peanut butter…and I love the thought of it in relation to grace.

  15. Whew, thanks for posting a clip easy to watch for once. What a great clip.

    Lowry went to FBC Houston, a friend likes to tell me her aunt was his SS teacher when he was young.

    Rumor has it, Johnny Pope led him to the Lord. He sends the Popes concert tickets whenever he’s in town, but I don’t think they ever attend.

  16. That was fantastic! But I’ll take issue with one thing he said. The Lord didn’t come after us Gentiles just because the Jews rejected Him. No matter what the Jewish people did, He always wanted us, too. He just used the Jews to bring us to Him, that’s all.

  17. What got to me in this video was when he talked about divorce, specifically that God knows the pain of divorce himself. That spoke volumes to me, as I’m currently going through a painful divorce following an unhappy marriage to a cruel, unfaithful fundy. The rest was powerful too, but to think that Almighty God knows and feels my pain is such a comfort to me. Thank God I am part of a church that has embraced me during this trial, rather than shaming me out! Now that I know the pain of divorce personally, I’m more appalled than ever at the shameful treatment the church (Baptists especially!) has historically directed at divorced people. This is an important message that we ALL need to be hear! My divorce-scarred heart is a LITTLE more healed now after watching it than it was before. 😀

    1. Great insight.

      God’s love is healing and comforting. Christians’ supposed reflections of that love are too often flawed and damaging, instead of warming and healing. I’m glad you’re in a church that encourages and accepts you.

      1. Thanks for the encouragment! I’m starting to catch glimpses of a better life after divorce even now… like when I realize I don’t have to stay up at night worrying if I’m being cheated on, or cringe when his vehicle pulls up wondering what kind of mood he’ll be in, or walk on eggshells 24/7. As bad as things are now, they are remarkably better than they were when I was married to that monster! I thank God for rescuing me from him. I know God has a better plan for me!

    2. Innocent Lamb, I went through a painfull, unwanted divorce over 10 years ago. Most churches, fundy or not, are exteemely unhelpfull. Either they hold the innocent party equally culpable and hang them both or they pass off the event as nothing denying the right to grieve to the party who most feels the loss. 10 years later I still feel bitter towards those who vacilitated that divorce and have to conciously work through handing them over to God but he does bring healing and will restore joy through His abundant grace. He still loves you and will use you for His purposes.

  18. I love this video! I have sent it to several of my recovering ex-fundy friends. I just went to see Mark Lowry about 6 weeks ago he is hilarious. We got to meet him and talk about being recovering fundamentalists it was a good time.

  19. Thanks Darrell for this. Really need to see this tonight. Was emotionally and spiritually beaten up a little bit by a fundy family member today.

    My church had Mark Lowrey last May for a weekend. Just Mark Lowrey not the whole Gaither group. Laughed a lot, cried some, would highly suggest those who have never heard him do so if there is ever a chance. Everything the fundies tell you about ML is false.

  20. Truly good news – no law mixed with grace, no bad news, just good news for bad people. I don’t think it is neccesary to go over how bad sin is. He didn’t gloss over sinfulness. He gave good news to sinners. It’s the Holy Spirits job to convict believers of unbelief.

    1. It is so true. I think I can count on one hand the number of sermons I ever heard about Jesus and what he said.
      But boy do I know a lot about the layout and rituals of the OT tabernacles. 😆

      1. Awesome comment – except that it’s really, really sad. I heard hardly anything about loving others and forgiving those who treat us badly. The attitude that came across instead was belligerance against anyone who disagreed in any way (much less were to actually persecute us). They were so afraid of compromising doctrine that they themselves ended up compromising: they failed to teach what Jesus said about love, compassion, and gentleness.

  21. If you haven’t heard the song that Mark is about to go into, check it out on youtube: Mark Lowry, Isn’t it Amazing.

  22. Loved the message. It is so refreshing to hear a preacher speaking about Jesus.

    Lamb, I’ve been there, too. There is life ater divorce and you have no obligation to a cruel, abusive man who chooses not to love you.

  23. I am glad that he finally met some people who weren’t fundamentalists who he considered good Christians. And I want to make it clear that I very much appreciate what he is saying and that he is willing to say it.

    But jere is a truly radical idea: what if he met non-Christians that he considered good people? What if he could get rid of the idea that a person had to have a specific set of beliefs in order to be one of the most loving, joyful, peaceful, longsuffering, gentle, good, faithful, kind, humble and well-balanced person on the planet? What if he didn’t have to hate anyone’s sin but could instead honor and promote kindness and compassion?

    I am not saying this so much about Mark Lowry but also about other recovering fundies, myself included. It amazes me how afraid most of us are of even entertaining ideas that go beyond a certain limit. You would think that having discovered how bankrupt the system is we could just chuck it all and start over. And yes, we will move out our limits periodically, but we can’t just seem to wipe the slate clean and start again with a truly independent inquiry about what it means to be human, how we relate to the Divine and how we relate to each other in light of our relationship to the Divine.

    It seems that most of us never stop letting them set the rules, define what it means to be a good Christian or even a righteous person. Sure, we can expand a little, but we never seem to really get past it, to allow ourselves to think anything too far removed from the prescribed.

    It is a shame too, because the people that I know who are the most ethical, compassionate and filled with the “fruits of the Spirit” are of other religions, aetheists, agnostics and Christians so liberal most would be considered worse than heathen. So why do we have to keep comparing our beliefs to someone else’s rather than just being kind, ethical and loving?

    1. The short answer is that Christianity makes exclusive truth claims that do not extend beyond the realm of “orthodoxy.”

      What Mark is pointing out here is that orthodoxy is a wide an diverse field and that Christians shouldn’t cut themselves off from other Christ-followers because of non-essential differences.

      That’s quite a different thing from bringing every belief or lack thereof together and claiming them all to be equally true or right or acceptable. Christians can’t do that and maintain their orthodoxy.

      It’s not a particularly pleasant or popular stance but it’s the one that the church has had to take for two thousand years. And many have died rather than recant it.

      1. I respect that many have died rather than recant orthodoxy, but what of orthopraxy? My point was that if the “fruits of the Spirit” or even ethical behavior is what we are meant to see as a result of a faith – if those behavior or characteristics are what we agree (and the Bible clearly states) is the proof that a religious system is actually working and valid – then why is ours not producing this? If we have our orthodoxy straight, wouldn’t it follow then that our orthopraxy would at least meet basic standards? And if our orthopraxy is seriously flawed, then is it an indicator that our orthodoxy is equally flawed?

        I am not making any assertions here. I respect what you do here very much, and I don’t want to contradict you. But I have been an ex-fundie for awhile now, and it seems that no matter where we go or what we do, our faith ends up being an instrument of pain. And when I see other people getting the orthopraxy right without the right orthodoxy, it leaves me bewildered and a little hopeless.

        1. I completely get where you’re coming from. The one question I’ve been asked perhaps more than any other is this: “If Christianity is true then why do Christians suck so much and why are so many non-Christians awesome?”

          There’s no doubt that there are some really awful Christians. And there are some really swell Atheists, Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims. I’ve known my share of both. But I’ve also known some amazing Christians and some really crooked people of other faiths as well.

          My only answer to that is that being a Christian isn’t a guarantee of perfection. We’re all very flawed human beings who need grace. Some people use Christianity as a cover for their own nefarious ends. Some may truly believe but are blinded to their own shortcomings when dealing with their fellow human beings.

          Christianity actually makes allowance for this. The Bible is full of stories of believers who are deeply flawed people and who make bad choices.

          I’m a firm believer that we cannot judge a thing by its abuses. Either Christianity is true or it isn’t. We look at the evidence, we search our hearts, and we step out on faith.

          I can certainly appreciate those who are humanitarians no matter what their religious beliefs. The injured war refugee doesn’t care if his doctor is Christian or a Muslim. The hungry child doesn’t care whether the bread he’s eating came from a Buddhist or a Hindu. But that’s not to say that all of those religions are equally true. Indeed, it would be a logical impossibility for them all to be true when they make such conflicting claims.

          (boy this got deep in a hurry. I think I need another hit of cold medicine.)

        2. What a belief system “Preaches” and what it “Practices” are often, even most often, two different things. The “new birth” and “baptism in the Holy Spirit”, which are essential to being a Christian, began quite quickley to become something less experiential than confessional in the early Church. Hence the growing division between the practice of Christianity to the Preaching of Christianity throughout history. Darrell’s responses probably make more sense.

  24. I thank Mark Lowery. I got to know him some while we were both going to Liberty University. (As did Guy Penrod for those know know anything about the Gaither Vocal Band). I had been gone for a few years and kind of drifting around for a church to attend when I ran into Mark at the Los Angeles airport. He said he was in town to sing at a church in Orange County and invited me to come listen to him. Long story short it was Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in the very early days. I fell in love with the area and the church and would attend there for 20+ fundy-healing years. Will never forget that Sunday.

    1. My sister attended Liberty and knew Mark a little bit if I’m not mistaken. Makes me wonder if she knows you…and Guy Penrod! I doubt she would want me posting her full name on here, so I’ll say she is Jean W from Minnesota. Ring any bells? ❓ 😀

  25. Well, all you “fundie” haters, I’m an independent fundamentalist Baptist by choice, but I’m a born-again Christian by the grace of God plus nothing, just exactly like you (Should I stoop to your level and call you this?) “holy-rolling tongues-speakers.” You call us names, make false accusation after false accusation, as the ones above, and lump us all into one group. Hmm, isn’t that what you accuse us of? Yep, sure is! I’m an independent fundementalist because we preach, teach, believe, and try to live by the King James Bible, God’s Word, and here’s a real shocker for you: I love Pentecostals, Methodists, and other believers, as well as non-believers, just as much as Mark Lowry does.

    1. Thanks for at least spelling everything correctly. I do believe when you say you aren’t making any accusations you probably should’ve deleted where you called everyone hypocrites though.

    2. Barry, Thank you for your loving, compationate tone of reconciliation and heartfelt concern for our well being. I….I….I’m so *sniff* *sniff* touched I just might…..cry… 🙁

      1. Actually Barry, I can see you glad-handing, high-fiving, back-slapping, hootin’, hollerin’ about telling off those apostate, NIV using, Godless compromisers. Enjoy…it’s probably all you are going to get…God IS just. 😈

  26. Darrell, thanks for your response to Christine. Not everyone who says they are a Christian are one, , met plenty of those. I have tons of friends who run the gamut on what they believe and are funny, kind, and have many other wonderful qualities but my Jesus says He is the Way, The Truth, and the Light and no amount of “good” qualities in non christians is going to change the fact that “No one comes to the Father but through Jesus Christ, the Son” I didn’t write the Book… And having been born-again I have NO Desire to reject my Lord and Savior to start “with a clean slate”. My Bible assures me and so does the Holy Spirit in me that my eternal slate is whiter than snow. 😛

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