Field Report 2011 Sword of the Lord Conference (Day 4)

Thursday: Day 4

Opening Song: “Are you washed in the Blood”
Opening Monologue (by Shelton Smith):
– Talks about Worldly rehab efforts –v- Reformers Unanimous.
– Some one asked a county officially where they live about the success rate of the governments rehab efforts and the guy just laughed and said, “Success? We don’t care about success.” The person said then you should come to our church and check out what we have. Its not Rehab, Its not reformation but its regeneration by the power of the Blood of and the power of the risen Christ. (They got that right)
Then they had Paul Kingsbury, the Co-Founder of Reformers Unanimous; up to do the Opening Prayer.
– It was a Prayer Sermon. Thanked God for “Inventing” the local New Testament Church. I’m thankful Lord Jesus that you said that your kind of church, the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” Started with a Mike Norris testimonial in prayer. ( Reinforce the idea that the man in the pulpit is speaking for God. ) More testimonial prayer for Sam Davison and his college.
Quotable Quote: “I thank you for many of the young people from our own church that have found “your will” and “their mate” and are serving you as a result of going to the wonderful college there in Oklahoma City.”
*Truth in reporting: he did lift up the name of Jesus when he prayed and made much of our Savior.

Mike Norris:
Opening Monologue:
Praises the singing, the Sword conference, the New Fellowship building there at Gospel Light, Talks about how in West Virginia conferences they are used to being called from the floor.
*Ready for this one?
“This is a true story I’m getting ready to tell you.” ( As opposed to what? …the rest of what he has been saying? Wouldn’t that make the rest of what he has said and will say from that point forward seem a wee bit suspect? )
Text: Luke 13:31-35
Our text tonight will be from verse 34.
I want to draw your attention to verse 34.
Read it together with me. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! “
Notice the words “Often- Gather- Together”
Title: “Please Come Back”
*Starts off begging for validation Amens.”

Story Time:
-Went shopping with his wife and as she shopped he stayed in his car reading his Bible
-He observed people coming and going.
-He was taken aback by what he saw. Watched people who have little hope in this world.
-The Lord impressed on him as he read this passage that his town is full of sheep without a shepherd
-Our culture has changed
-This is not a Bible nation anymore < Anymore??? When was it in the first place )
-We have some pretty unusual people who visit our church and I’m glad they’re there and get the gospel.
-The Soul winners and the bus folks as they are knocking on doors, are coming across folks of other religions. (fancy that, so did Paul, and Silas, and Luke and Peter and Philip and just about everyone through-out church history have as well.)
-There are occult people dressed in black, with their pale faces, black dress, black fingernail polish, and pierced everything and they paint they body up.
-We don’t change our values, our principles but we change how we look at people. (I almost said an amen for this… almost)
Quotable Quote: “watching the people of my community Murfreesboro, TN …I realized that these are folks that need a shepherd, they need a church, they need a pastor.”

-As he flies around the country in an out of airports he saw what Jesus sees. I saw people wandering everywhere, worldly, hopeless and helpless. I could feel sorry for them and some of them I do. (ummm sounds vaguely familiar, he’s not been listening to Brandon Heath now has he? )
Quotable Quote: “Most Americans know better than to live the way they are living.” (This was received with a chorus of “hay-mens” )
-We lived as “One Nation Under God”
-We have Bibles laying (sic) everywhere
-He realizes there are places that need church planting and there are some cities where this is church on every corner
-Yet there are hundreds yea thousands of sheep without a shepherd
-It seems that America is comfortable waking away from the wings of protection and provision provided by Almighty God. (That assumes we were a Christian Nation. There may have been a preponderance of people who identified themselves as “Christian” through out our history but we have never been, a Christian Nation. ”)

-In the passage tonight the Pharisees said something he never wants to come from his lips, they told Jesus to get out. “How in the world can anyone with a ounce of religion in them tell the Son of God to get out?”
-Organized religion raises its ugly head and has shut the Lord Jesus Christ out

Quotable Quote: “and today that crowd says to the Lord Jesus, ‘Get out!’ By the Way, that’s why you find him in the Book of Revelation knocking on the door trying to get back in”. (I guess Jesus has his own door knocking ministry, and probably a celestial bus route ministry as well. Poor Jesus, standing out there knocking and no one letting him in. A poor god indeed.)

-Herod = the Government and the government is telling Jesus to get out , we don’t need prayer in school anymore. (+1 for revisiting 1967)
-We don’t need the Bible taught in school anymore. (funny, my twins just graduated from a public high school where the Bible was taught, a regular, for credit curriculum regarding the Bible… OH! He means one can’t go preach the 1611 King James Bible in hopes of manipulating decisions out of unsuspecting children. Ok, Yeah, I see that. )

-Organized religion has kicked Jesus out
-The Government has kicked Jesus out
-If you are a preacher of the word of God then you need to grow a backbone of steel and realize they can lay a hand on you until your numbers are in.
-Be brave and declare, “Thus sayeth the word of God!”
-Hear it in Jesus voice as he calls out Jerusalem, Jerusalem! How often I would have gathered you together and you would not.
Quotable Quote: I’ve tried and I’ve tried and I’ve tried. I’ve given them everything, I’ve given them land, I’ve given them a beautiful Temple, I’ve given them everything… I would have gathered you together and you wouldn’t do it. Wouldn’t do it.”
-He declared to his disciples his passion to have his people come back to him.
-Today, I want you to understand, he is declaring to hi people who are falling away, “Please come Back… Please Come Back.”
“Ladies and gentlemen that should be the plea from our pulpits, ‘Please come back.’”

7 reasons we see people walking away
1. People will fall away. Quotes the verse about there will be a falling away. Apostasy is coming on strong (preaches a little bit of dispensationalism in this section)

2. People will err from the faith. Choosing money and comfort over Christ. Choosing commerce over Christ, Gold over God, mansions over the son of man. (+1 for the mandatory use of alliteration)
3. People’s love will wax cold. They will leave their first love. Where is the passion for Jesus Christ?? It went out the door when iniquity started to abound. (I’m guessing that was some time in the late 1950’s early 1060’s when the Beatles arrived, the Vietnam War broke out, the Student Revolution, and the Hippies popularized free love the use of drugs and listening to Rock-n-Roll music.. It probably all started with Elvis Presley singing that jungle music. Heaven knows iniquity didn’t abound before the 1950…oooup there was that whole Prohibition fiasco and two world wars. Robber Barons, Corruption in government, oh a civil war and how can we forget slavery. Dang I can’t seem to nail down when we were a Christian nation… and when iniquity began to abound in America… )
-We need more preaching on sin.
4. People forsake the assembling of themselves together. People will not go to church. How can a Born again believer not go to church? Why would a Christian not want to go to church? In theses last days we should want to go to church more not less. “Please come back, Please come back” With all the tsunamis and earthquakes and natural disasters… does anyone think that the Lord might soon be coming back? (THAT woke up the amen pew! )
5. People lack faith. When the Lord returns will he find faith on the earth? (It seems that the local Church is the end all be all of Christianity. “Why isn’t anybody coming to your church? Because you are not going out and getting them to come in.”)

6. People will not endure sound doctrine. They heap to themselves teachers having itching ears. That’s why you have some guy in a turtleneck and flip-flops come to the pulpit and say “Hi!” (in an exaggerated feminine voice) “Did you enjoy your worship today (now using a condescending baby language voice) * that got a round of laughs. I’m not preaching fables. I’m not tickling your ears (amen? ) People will not hold up under sound, truthful preaching. ( sound and truthful according to whom? ) Get away for having a conversation and get back to preaching the word of God. (why do I get the impression that this means a lot of yelling and screaming from the pulpit? )

7 People will grow tired of watching. Tired of being prepared. Being in church waiting on the Lord

-the Lord makes his plea for his people to return, “How often would I have gathered you…”
They shoved themselves away from him
We have a rallying place; it’s the local church. It’s the spout where blessings come out.
I love to go to church (like John Cleese loves Spam)
Story time: Restaurant story, waitress had tattoos and Goth clothing. His son said, “I hope she doesn’t cast a spell on us.” (more laughs) but do we see people with compassion? Do we try to get them to Jesus Christ? (or are they just “targets of Opportunity?” where we give them the old hit-n-run, Jesus is a decision , can we put you as saying yes on our card? Are we playing people just to get a decision out of them? Are we only interested in them in order to give them a tract and hit them up with a three or four point presentation of some reductionist, cheapened pseudo gospel? /end rant)

-People walk away from the church
-I want them in the house of God
-Pressure on Pastors like never before
-You cannot imagine the pressure on pastors
– Come back to
– Clean living
– Aggressive witnessing
– Never get away from old fashioned door-2-door soul winning
– Come on Back. (begging to keep the numbers up. How to beg your people to stay in church and keep the numbers up. )
-Where did the teenagers go?
-Where did the college age folks go?
at this point my eyes glazed over and my head went back and I blacked out for several moments… only to be revived with “Please come back, please come back, please come back, please come back” I thought the needle was stuck. So far he mentioned Jesus the most of any of the others.

Special singing
Blah, blah blah

Then Sam Davison preached.
Text: 1 Peter 5:5-7
Title?? Casting your cares on the Lord

Let me just repost what I said on the forum:

When I accepted this mission I did so with more than a little trepidation. I knew I would be going back into that world and not just to some rural outpost but also to the mother ship. I will not lie, I was uneasy about going back even just as an observer. I will have to say I had many expectations of the fundieness I would encounter and for the most part I have not been disappointed.

Tonight, however, I ran into something that I would not have expected at a fundie fest like this. I saw God lifted up and glorified as I have seldom seen by an Independent Fundamental Baptist. I saw love and compassion without the trappings of legalistic standards. I saw grace delivered without a truncheon. I heard the love and the compassion that walks hand in hand with Jesus Christ, being preached in a way that was foreign to that pulpit so many times this week (at least so far as the evening services have gone).

I was taken aback by Sam Davison this evening. Though there are points of church governance I would disagree with him on, I never once felt the need to draw my sword and shield in a defensive posture with his preaching tonight. Of all the “Doctors” I have heard this week, Mr. Davison, who was not billed as a Doctor, has delivered the most godly sermon of the conference (evenings) so far. Mr. Davison preached the God of the Bible with freedom, a God not bound by the Independent Fundamental Baptist box, but the almighty creator God he reveals himself to be. Most of the others have preached a god they believe to be no bigger than the covers of their genuine, calfskin, black leather, King James Bible.

I have now sat through four nights of preaching but tonight I heard a message of love, grace, compassion and caring from a pulpit I did not suspect would have any this week. That has been my reward for this mission and I hold on to it as a special treasure. I do not know Sam Davison personally or professionally but if this message is indicative of the man then he exhibits godly character. He may be a fundie’s fundie once one gets to know him, I do not know, but he has earned my respect this day.

100 thoughts on “Field Report 2011 Sword of the Lord Conference (Day 4)”

  1. At what point did they pass around the collection plate? I’ve never known Xtians to miss that particular trick…

  2. Wow. There were probably more than a few people sitting in those pews this week who needed at least one true touch of God’s grace.

  3. How about a consolation 1611 Scofield KJV Whoopie-cushion. *When you sit on it it sounds just like Billy Sunday, Jack Hyles, Lestor Roloff or any your choice of iconic fundie sermonators.

  4. That “stuff”from Shelton in the Opening Monologue is the stuff that would give me heart palpatations and make me so anxious because I would leave after hearing those kind of words and think”it’s all, up to me, it’s all up to me” ok ok what am I doing in order to get people saved?

    THEN, through Gods grace He showed me that He is the initiator and keeper of His covenants? We are the covenant breakers but the fact that we are NEVER changes who He is. He by nature is a covenant keeper and it is not dependent on what we do.

    NOW my motivation for showing the love of Christ to others is gratitude and humbleness for what was done for me.

    When I am tempted to take pride in my accomplishments or am tempted to holdonto something against someone Luke 7:47 is my “go to” verse where Jesus is speaking to Simon and asks him about two people whose monetary debts have been forgiven and who does Simon think will love the forgiver more? And Simon correctly answers “the one who had the bigger debt canceled”. And Jesus says “Therefore, I tell you, her
    many sins have been forgiven-for she LOVED much. But he who has been forgiven little LOVES LITTLE”.

    Sometimes it seems like IFBers think they only had a “little bit of sin” that needed to be forgiven. 🙄

    1. Thanks George. There should not be a ? after keeper of His covenants. !!!! Is what was supposed to be there. 😳

    2. This is the true Gospel – this is what hungry souls need to hear. Maybe this is why people are leaving the churches (that the first speaker was bemoaning) because they’re hearing rants about the KJV and how depraved our society is instead of hearing the beautiful, life-restoring, empowering gospel of grace.

      That story about the woman used to bother me because I HADN’T been forgiven much; how much sin had I done in the few years of life I’d lived before I asked Jesus to save me as a young child? But then I realized it wasn’t just the actual sins; it was my sinful propensity, the way my tendancy so easily turns to impatience, to anger, to frustration, to selfishness, to complaint. When I realized the depths of my own sinfulness, I began to appreciate the love of Jesus more and more. Now at last I can group myself with the woman who loved much, even though I have no tales of sowing wild oats.

      1. I think that it has more to do with our realization of just who we are and our condition before the Lord. It’s not about the degree of our moral condition before God. It’s not that this one is worse than that one, or that one is better off than the other. It’s not that we are as morally bad as we possibly can be, it’s that we are as spiritually bad as we could ever be.

        When we realize that, that it’s not whether we have a lunch box full of sin or the fact we could fill the Queen Mary with our moral failings… we all are as spiritually dead as we are ever going to be without the Gift of Life in Jesus Christ, then we can begin to understand the magnitude of the depth, height, width, and scope of God’s love.

        When we realize that, then, we too can say we have been forgiven much and our love of the Savior takes on a new, vibrant, intense reality for us.

        1. @Don. Exactly.

          And it’s very easy to sit in an IFB pew and say “thank God I’m not like so and so.” when in fact.. You are !!

      2. @PW. I am sure the women who are in your church are delighted to worship with you and be together with you in the journey to know Jesus better!! You are always kind and gracious!! 🙂

      3. The woman who loved much sticks in my mind because–this is not an insight I had on my own, but I don’t remember who to credit–it’s been assumed from the git-go that she committed a sexual sin. But the text only says that she was a sinner. Did she find ways to crowbar desperate people out of their property so she could get it cheaply? Did she parade around in expensive clothes while her servants and children wore rags? Did she eat sumptuously in an airy bower while everybody knew that her poor sick old grandfather was subsisting on lentil soup in a windowless room? Was she a rageaholic who nobody dared to cross? No, preachers from way back have taken it for granted that woman = sex = sin. 🙄

        1. I’ve wondered the same thing Jenny. The Bible never says it was sexual sin but leave it to an IFB preacher to make that assumption. I think it’s because it tickles them to think of her that way. 😉

  5. It’s really annoying me how fundy preachers always portray the contemporary church pastors as effeminate, overly casual, and very shallow. Granted, I’ve only gone to two “modern” churches in the past year, but even though they were more relaxed and had a worship team, the pastors were NOT effeminate or shallow. In fact, both preached more Bible than I hear at my fundy church in a week. And they didn’t gloss over sin or how the particular Bible passage applies to everyday life. In fact, I got more convicted in those two messages than I get in a month’s worth of fundy sermons. Maybe because they were, I don’t know, BIBLE??

    1. But really glad to hear Sam Davidson was good. I guess they do exist 😛 He needs to come preach in our conference!

      It reminds me: when Dr. Shelton Smith came last, the first part of his sermons WAS very good. He stayed on track with the passage, made it applicable, etc. Then about a 1/3 of the way in, I guess he thought he wasn’t getting enough amens so launched into the normal rants on music, movies, appearances, etc etc etc. It was a good opportunity to play fundy bingo though…

    2. So true! My wife and I have been visiting a very large “modern” church in our area and I feel almost like I’m learning the Bible all over again! Everything I thought I knew about the Bible is now challenged and I’ve had to really re-think some things I used to “believe” while in the IFB.

      Now when someone rants about something in particular (like the modern pastors, churches, music, etc..) it actually DRAWS my attention to it not away from it. :mrgreen:

    3. It’s like The Village. The leaders create these false impressions to keep the villagers from venturing out into the “dangerous” woods.

  6. I am very familiar with Sam Davison and Don, you are correct. He is different now. He was a hard core legalistic fundy manny years ago in Oklahoma. However like most of us he grew and listened to the Holy Spirit. Unlike most of the rabid fundies in his circle. I have heard dozens of his sermons and they have all had the same feel. He wants to help his congregation not berate them.

    1. Amen. My opinion is the same of Sam.

      Would to God there were many more like him.
      May is tribe increase

    2. I heard Bro. Davison for the first time a couple years ago and it blew me away..I was so hungry for more. He brought so much out of the Word of God and he exalted God as LORD. I left a church that had slowly sunk into an island of isolation unto themselves with everyone else being unbiblical except them (and maybe a few select others)but after moving into this area, I found “fundy” churches that really do preach the LOVE of Christ. That He is our LOVING Heavenly Father and how His thoughts of us are innumerable. It was like putting ointment on a very painful wound as it soothed my hurting soul. I just wish there weren’t so few of these men and churches which is why I am contemplating leaving the IFB movement.

  7. I’m glad there was a brief respite from the nuttiness. I am curious to hear how R.B. Oulette’s message was. He came through our IFB church a time or two and I don’t remember him being as angry as some.

    1. He goes on streaks. I went to his church for the first 13 years of my life, and he would go on month long streaks where it was constant yelling and screaming. I could also quote all of his sermon illustrations by the time I was in Jr. High because he preaches the same sermons over and over. He can be really good. He can be really, REALLY Fundy.

  8. Paul Kingsbury is the pastor of a very fundy church in my hometown. I’m sure that our differences are numerous. But in the interest of approving those things that are excellent, let me say that for two years in a row his church allowed our Calvinistic, ESV Bible preaching church to use one of their busses to take our kids to camp. Three of my daughters attended camp and it was a blessing for them.

  9. I’m truly shocked. I thought nothing good came out of the SotL back-slapping fest. Though…no notes from Davison? I was hoping that, after reading the talking points from all that tripe, I might could read talking points about grace. But I’d completely understand if you were so dumbstruck that you couldn’t take notes. 🙂

  10. I can assure you that if Bro. Davison is preaching about grace (REALLY preaching about REAL grace), he won’t remain in IFB circles much longer. I have friends who did this, and it wasn’t long before they saw the handwriting on the wall and left for greener pastures where the message of grace was truly understood. They lost all their fundy “friends” in the process. As one of them said to me, “When the pain of staying within the circle becomes greater than the pain of contemplating leaving, you know it’s time to make the move.”

    1. Oh, I can assure you that Bro. Sam will stay an IFB, as he strives to impart that same attitude and spirit to all the students at Heartland Baptist Bible College.

      1. At OBC we used to think they were so LIBERAL because they weren’t as extreme as our school was. 🙄

        We often traded bus kids with them and ran into them out soulwinning as well. Hey, at least those kids got the best of both worlds, they’d get the candy and prizes for riding BOTH routes. 😎

    2. He holds to all the legalistic crapola the other SOTL guys do. He just puts a softer face on it. I wonder how much of his talk of grace is really double-speak.

      My fundy pastor would preach that grace was a force by which gid enabled us to do the fundy checklist…

      By His grace I can be a soul-winner.
      By His grace I can “Three to Thrive”

      Guess I am not convinced. After all, my fundy pastor would not be so supportive of him if he was not a fellow legalist.

  11. “Story Time:
    -Went shopping with his wife and as she shopped he stayed in his car reading his Bible”

    Wanna bet he was at WalMart. Where one can buy both bullets and bibles!

    “-He observed people coming and going”

    Its just safer visit the web-site “People of WalMart”

    1. Typical guy: play at being pious instead of being practical and actually HELPING HIS WIFE SHOP!

      1. That was the FIRST THING I thought – why isn’t he *helping*? Maybe it’s just because of the way we do our shopping (once a month to get everything we need for the month, so it’s quite the arduous process) but when we do shopping, it’s a family event. Everyone helps, esp. my husband, because after a while, that cart is tough to push! My hubby would never dream of staying in the car to “read his Bible” or whatever else that pastor was really doing in there.

    2. Lol I was thinking “I wonder how hot it was sitting out there in that 4 wheel furnace?!”

    3. Um, I’m pretty sure this is a made up story. For those of you who don’t know, it is perfectly acceptable to make up a story as long as it is something you might do, or perhaps have thought of doing. I’m not sure he thought through the whole temperature thing, though.

    4. My first thought was, if he was reading his Bible then how could he possibly have been observing people? Does he have and second set of eyes?

  12. On the thing about reading the Bible in school, I’m not too many years out of a public high school, and yeah, we did read a few Biblical passages. Our English textbook (which I gather was a quite common one) had the first part of Luke 15 (the lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost/prodigal son), and I believe my sister’s AP English book actually had Jonathan Edward’s Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God (although I don’t recall if they read it or not). But we did go over the prodigal son in ninth grade English.

    Granted, I attended a small, country school that was fairly conservative, so maybe things would be different in other places, but it was at least in our textbook! And even in university, I took a world history class this winter and we were required to read several passages of Scripture (unfortunately in a rather poor translation, in my opinion) along with other ancient primary sources, such as part of the Koran. So it’s definitely taught, even if it’s taught more as literature than as religious material. (which, granted, is kind of understandable!)

    1. Ordinary public school. The “no man is an island” sermon, Genesis as poetry, the first part of Piers Plowman, “Pied Beauty” et al. by Hopkins, quite a bit of Dickinson, and a lot of stuff by people who weren’t explicitly preaching or meditating, but were quite matter of fact about their Christianity.

  13. Maybe this is just my ignorance of the SOTL related churches/events but my first thoughts were.

    “This thing went on for FOUR days?!”

  14. Sam is an EXCELLENT BIBLE preacher, and I am quite sure that he was the ONLY preacher worth hearing at the SOTL Conference.

    The only real controversy around him is the accusation that he stole a Bible College from the BBFI after left them.

  15. I see from my church calendar that Sam Davison preached at my church this past year for our revival services week. However, at this point I think I was too jaded to bother attending.

    I don’t blame you for blanking out during Mike Norris’ message. The Cliffs Notes version is bad enough.

    1. I’m sorry you missed that meeting. Sam would have been a real blessing to your heart.

      ALTHOUGH – He is not beyond “preaching” on dress and music standards. That was the real problem with him at the helm of the BBFI

      1. Lucky for me, all of his messages are available on a podcast by my church. And I remember now why I missed most of them: I had community college classes for a couple of the evenings. I think I mentally checked-out for the others…

  16. A couple of questions:

    1. Why is it that in the fundy mind there are only two types of people: the fundy people and the Goths with tattoos and black fingernails? Just another example of black and white thinking, not to mention fear tactics.

    2. Why must every conversation be turned towards Christ? Don’t they realize what a turn off that is because it’s downright annoying? It’s usually having the opposite effect they think it is having.

    3.”He was taken aback by what he saw. Watched people who have little hope in this world.” Oh, well aren’t you just a precious managawd. Did you get out of the car and actually talk to people? How the heck do you know they have no hope?

    4. “Aggressive witnessing?” Isn’t that an oxymoron?

    5. To me, the overall gist of the part about pastors is that there is so much “pressure” on them because they are not just supposed to teach, they’re supposed to take the Holy Spirit’s job, too.

    1. Why must every conversation be turned towards Christ?

      “And then get in the pulpit and rarely ever bring him up?”

      #5- the self induced pressure is because they are power mizers and want it all for themselves no matter what they have to suffer. That is a direct result of the god-proxy.
      (and a lack of understanding regarding what and who the church is and who is head over it. It’s one thing to give lip service to an idea its quite another to practice what you preach…or at least should be preaching.)

    2. There can be a lot of pressure on them too because they have such a long list of regulations to keep and they think they have to always avoid all appearance of evil. A nearby pastor’s wife told me that she and her husband could never watch PG movies because they knew that their congregation would always take things a little bit farther than they did and would watch R rated ones so that pastor and wife only watched G movies at home on DVD of course! Legalism enslaves and burdens.

    3. .”He was taken aback by what he saw. Watched people who have little hope in this world.” Oh, well aren’t you just a precious managawd. Did you get out of the car and actually talk to people? How the heck do you know they have no hope?


      They were probably wearing short-shorts… 😯

      Immodest dress = no hope

      Hey, I thought he was sitting in the car READING HIS BIBLE. Things that make you go Hmmmmmmmmm.

  17. I’ll get to enjoy lots of fundy goodness right at home: my mom sent me the “Sword of the Lord” newspaper. 😕

    1. PW, a couple of years ago, I suddenly started getting my own subscription to the SOTL showing up in my mailbox. I found it quite curious as I had never been a subscriber and hadn’t ordered this subscription. Anyway, long story short it turned out that someone who was in the process of leaving our church for a fundy church decided to gift the SOTL to those he perceived as leaders within the church as well as the elders. After I got my second unsolicited copy, I sent them an email and told them to remove my address from their database which they did. I felt badly for the trees that had needlessly suffered for that drivel to be printed.

      BTW, one of the copies that I received had a eulogy lauding Bob Gray of Trinity fame. When I told them to remove my subscription, I made sure to ask them why they would be “singing” the praises of confessed multiple offender child molester. No answer. 😥

      1. BTW, one of the copies that I received had a eulogy lauding Bob Gray of Trinity fame.

        👿 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 👿

        You wouldn’t, by chance, still have a copy of this eulogy? That just NEEDS to be posted.

  18. I realize that you probably don’t care what I have to say but that doesn’t really bother me. I am a “fundy” as you guys call it and I do recognize and admit that we have our problems just like any other organized denomination. However, next time you send someone to take notes on the SOTL conference send someone who actually listens. I attended the conference this year and most of what you have posted is either taken out of context or it was never said at all. Oh and one more thing I would like to mention…I find it interesting that there are multiple paragraphs written on the messages you disagreed with, but only four short paragraphs on the one message that your pride and arrogance happened to find soothing. Also I have a request for another blog post…could you please start a running post about your personal work for the Lord? I would love to see how to do it the right way.

    1. Rebekah, actually many of us here do care what you have to say. We have been where you are and believed the same things you do now. However, we now believe differently. Some of us much differently, others not very differently at all, with plenty of us in between. If you genuinely want to know how to “do it the right way”, there are several of us on here that would welcome the opportunity to engage in that type of conversation, though probably not in a blog post forum. And yes, my own hand is up volunteering. In a nutshell, and I’m speaking only for me, I’m not a fundamentalism because I found love and grace in Jesus Christ and that is severely different that what those words mean in fundamentalism. By His grace . . . Eric

      1. I must say I was being sarcastic about finding out “the right way” from the people posting on here or from any person for that matter. I will just use my Bible and ask for wisdom from the Lord “that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not.” It would probably do everyone on here a lot of good to do the same thing. Thank you for your offer though.

        1. The thing is that people realized that they were not doing that in their former churches. They were getting the Bible filtered through the shallow, self-serving, and often cruel preconceptions of ignorant, egotistical, and often cruel preachers. They were getting one Bible verse–one little snippet, sometimes not even an entire sentence out of the text–followed by hours of ranting about clothes, the evil seductiveness of women’s bodies (right down to the cleavage of their toes), last decade’s pop stars, how much money the preacher expected from the congregation, and current politics as previously filtered through some one-liner-spouting radio shock jock or other.

          Stones. Stones. Stones. The people who end up here found themselves starving for bread.

          Hungry? Stick around.

        2. Of course God doesn’t need to upbraid his followers: That’s what he’s called fundy preachers to do, apparently…

    2. I believe you will find I quoted each speaker accurately. I lived in that world of mancentered traditionalism and works sanctification for thirty some odd years and I recognize error when I see it and hear it. The idolatry that went on at this conference was shameful. The King James translation version was worshipped more than the Christ it is written about. Pride? Arrogance? You will find no finer examples than the speakers at this conference save one. The rest was preachertainment at its best.
      This conference was about man centered efforts and a cheap 1-2-3 repeat after me church growth scheme. Jesus and the Gospel was given lip service but it was all about man centered efforts and decisional regeneration.
      See ya next year.

      1. I feel sorry for you that you think you are the end all and know-it-all. Just because you disagree with things that other people say does not mean that they are wrong. If you got the impression that everyone was worshiping the King James Bible then I guess you heard “what you came to hear.” And as for quoting each speaker accurately…did that happen when you “blanked out” or some other time?
        And FYI, you will find it interesting that most of the churches represented at the conference are relatively small. I may be wrong, but I don’t believe there were any “mega churches” represented. So I would be hard pressed to believe that there was some “1-2-3 repeat after me church growth scheme” being promoted.
        And as for the “lip service” comment, I was not aware that you had the time to follow around each speaker and see if he really practiced what he preached. That seems like a lot of work!

        1. “Just because you disagree with things that other people say does not mean that they are wrong.”

          No offense, but isn’t that what you’re doing to posters here? If you truly believe those words, then why are you so upset about things you read on this site?

        2. “And FYI, you will find it interesting that most of the churches represented at the conference are relatively small. I may be wrong, but I don’t believe there were any “mega churches” represented. So I would be hard pressed to believe that there was some “1-2-3 repeat after me church growth scheme” being promoted.”

          That’s actually not true. I suppose it would depend on your definition of “mega-church,” but FRBC claims 2000 and Gospel Lighthouse claims over 6000.

      2. Don, Thank you for having a passion for Christ and the Gospel.

        One of the most precious verses to me in the days after our church split was Hebrews 13:13: “Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.” (“Therefore go to him outside the camp and endure the insults he endured.”)

        Another good verse is this: “He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.” (Hebrews 11:26)

  19. “6. People will not endure sound doctrine. They heap to themselves teachers having itching ears.”

    Oh how often I heard this verse misquoted at the fundy (Independent, Fundamental, Sovereign Grace, Landmark) Baptist church I used to attend. Why are there so many Armenian churches? Itching ears. Why do we have 20 people on Sunday and the big church down the street that preaches free-will salvation and the universal church teeming out the doors? Itching ears. Why don’t people respond to true gospel (not really) witnessing? Itching ears. When in reality the problem was the arrogant, patronizing, narrow-minded harping that was regurgitated in the pulpit and in the “witnessing.” Honestly, as soon as I hear a preacher use this verse to explain or defend anything, I tune out these days. I’ve found it usually means they’re completely out of touch with actual Truth and the community around them and feel the need to justify the results of that.

      1. Simple: this verse is used to condemn anything in Christendom that’s different from what a select group thinks is “truth” enough. If a church is super small and members keep leaving, it can’t possibly be because of a problem in the church or its leadership or its teaching–it’s because the people can’t stand the “truth” and have itching ears. This verse is used over and over again as an excuse to avoid introspection and evaluation. If people, even those who have a good testimony for Christ, don’t like the preaching/methods, it’s because they just can’t handle the “truth.” In every case where I’ve heard this verse being used on this subject, the problem wasn’t that people can’t endure sound doctrine, the problem is that what was being preached wasn’t actually sound doctrine–it was a bully club of personal preferences and dogma.

    1. Renee, I know what you mean. Some people at our church complained that my husband didn’t do enough “hard preaching” — preaching against rock music, tattoos, drinking, etc. My husband had been faithfully expositing the Word of God, not going off on rabbit trails of his own opinion. It seemed to me that those people had “itching ears”; they wanted preaching that attacked behaviors that they themselves were in no danger of committing; they could yell, “Amen!” and feel good about themselves. But preaching on love and forgiveness, on gentleness and humility? That they didn’t want.

      1. “they wanted preaching that attacked behaviors that they themselves were in no danger of committing; they could yell, “Amen!” and feel good about themselves.”

        That is so true, PW.

    2. Armenian? As in Armenian Apostolic, the oldest church in the world? As in the Holy See of Etchmidzian? Oh…no you meant Arminian. Get it right 🙂

  20. @Jenny

    I find it interesting that you say the IFB preachers do not use enough text to support what they are saying. I don’t know if you read all the posts, but someone else claimed that IFB preachers use too much text. ??????

    1. Sadly, too often verses are simply taken out of context to support the mannogid’s vain ramblings.

      I can sum up the preaching of my former fundy pastor with this:

      Matthew 15:9
      But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men

      1. @Rebekah: IFB churches have thrown out serious study of the Bible because it’s supposed to somehow be bad. So instead the congregation gets:

        1. Confusing a verse with a complete thought. The Bible was versified a long time after it was canonized and the verses are just there to help the reader navigate the text. Verses have to be considered in light of what the ones before and after them say because the Bible was not written as a series of sound bites. But this leads to the dreaded word “context,” which is somehow bad. Organized thinking in general seems to be bad.

        2. Playing hopscotch. Fred over at the Slacktivist blog has been analyzing the Left Behind series for years now. He has pointed out that to lay out the underlying timeline in the first place, you have to take one verse in Revelations, flip back through the book to half a verse in Daniel, flip forward again to an earlier verse in Revelations, etc., completely ignoring the pages and pages of Holy Writ in between, such as “no man knows the day or the hour” or the repeated instructions as to what we are to do right here, right now, instead of sitting around trying to predict when the Master will return. I can use the same technique to cut and paste a speech by, oh, Ronald Reagan to make him sound like a devout Marxist.

        3. Deciding ahead of time what the right answer has to be, then digging around to find a verse that might be taken to support it if you turn your head and squint and use a properly obscure translation. (It helps if you refuse to consider that the people who wrote down the Bible in the first place were writing in Hebrew and Greek, thousands of years ago, or notice that the meanings of words change in our own language over the centuries.) I don’t want to give money to those dirty welfare cheats, so Jesus’ questions at the Last Judgment don’t apply to this dispensation. I feel perturbed at the sight of a woman’s toes, so let’s dig through Scripture to find something that I can proclaim as support for closed-toed shoes. Etc.

        These things happen in other denominations, of course, but in most other denominations they are considered to be errors that must be corrected as soon as noticed.

  21. Sam Davison is the President of Heartland Baptist Bible College where they enforce some crazy fundy rules. Like, girls can’t wear flip flops because it turns guys on to see the strap go between the toes LOL!

    I have heard AWESOME, grace-filled sermons from Davison but I wonder why he allows such legalism and just plain weird rules to be in place at the college.

  22. Probably compared to some here I am pretty conservative political and otherwise. But I hold fundy preachers to the fire. Too many of them spout this “thus saith the Lord” stuff like they are Old Testament prophets, which they are not. They rule their churches in ways that would make Joseph Stalin happy. Preaching has become like an extended dialogue similar to late night talk shows. They use a verse and then start telling stories about themselves and what they are doing. Maybe that’s the reason that people are leaving their churches.

    They should preach the Bible in context and let the Holy Spirit do his work. Quit berating people because they don’t live their lives exactly the way they think they should.

  23. Darrell,

    I have some serious misgivings about putting someone through the psychological torment of sitting through this conference. It just can’t be good; that is, unless Don just viewed it as comic relief?

    1. *twitch* The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few… or… the one. (coff) I have been and always shall be your friend. Live long and prosper….

  24. I love it to when anyone preaches, for they could simply READ Gods word outloud, yet instead, they read a verse or two, and spend an hour speculating about what it means. They are my favorite churches… I cant stand the synagouges where they read verse after verse, chapter after chapter of Gods word outloud. poor unenlighted Jews, if only they would stop reading so much of their bible during sabbath, and start listening to bro jackson or whichever fun luving preacher IFB has.

  25. I’m sorry, but Norris makes me so angry. I’m from M’Boro and know FRBC, and he’s so full of crap. He clearly doesn’t understand the culture of M’Boro, and I’m beginning to wonder what he does understand given the history of screw-ups at his church. People won’t come under his shepherding because he can’t be trusted, plain and simple.

  26. I just realized who Mike Norris is. Before he got called up to the big leagues, he was the pastor at Ripley Baptist Temple in WV. Our church would do youth rallies, etc. with them. Did not realize he’d gotten big enough to speak at SOTL.

  27. can you provide a point by point break down of Sam Davison’s sermons, like for the others? To see content-wise the difference? If you ahve time. Thanks!

  28. This is one crazy place. I have never in all my life seen sooo many people jumping on, what you call fundies. I guess to you I am the wife of a fundies pastor. But I am thankful for that. We raised our three children in a fundies church and they have done just fine. We do have standards however, we do not comdem a lady that might come to church in pants or a shorter skirt. We try to help them. We do not 1-2 3 repete. That is a personal thing that one must do for themselves. We are KJV and make no apology for it. You call the “fundies” everything but a human. Yet you do the same thing. No body is right but you. I would like to know who you do like. What do you believe? Where do you go to church, and on and on I could. I love Sam Davidson, he has preached at our church many times. He is the real thing. If he doesn’t like flip flops that does not bother me…so what. I don’t like them either. Does that make a lunitic I don’t think so. If you have a problem with fundies then just leave them alone. Now I will admit that some of the preachers are really “FUNDIES” but they are fewer than those of us who get labled fundies but are not fundies as you describe fundies. We just live as close to KJV as we can. God have mercy on all us if the best we have to offer is all the name calling,and condeming everybody that do not agree with you. If we spent as much time really praying and getting in touch with God, as we do complaining, things might be different. I challenge each one on here to do just that. If we act like morons here what on earth are we gonna do when we get to Heaven.

    1. Oh Jean, we were fundies. We poke fun at some of the things we used to do that are funny or ridiculous. And sometimes, like above, we analyze the preaching by looking at the Bible. This is a very diverse group, so some people are still in fundy churches and some are in non-fundy churches and some don’t go to church at all. But we tend to agree that some things we were taught in fundy churches don’t line up with true Christianity, and here we can talk about why and what the truth is. So maybe God is using this site to get in touch with people.

    2. Thanks for stoppiong by jean. Lets see if i can put this in terms that will not offend. You see, many of us came out of the IFB movement.We have seen the underbelly of what passes for Christianity in the Independent Fundamental Baptist movement. It is not pretty.
      See, we have3 put up with men who inflict their personal views on everyone in their flock. These men claim that that have some sort of higher spiritual authority and have set themselves up as the finan arbiters between men and God. The rule with an iron fist and they put their opinion ahead of Scripture.
      Speaking of Scripture, many of these demi-gods have made an idol of an English translation of scripture. The worship the King James translation of sctiprure more than they do the one who scripture is written about. They in fact make the King James 1611 version the fourth member of the Trinity.
      The IFB movement attracts men of lesser character to its pulpits and men who seek personal gain and worship fill their ranks. Not all, but a significant amount, enough to cause one to pause and take a good hard look at the movement and the men and agendas that are representative of the movement.
      The whole “one man rule” is both extra biblical and dangerous. The ministry takes on a life and personality of its own and there are many examples of lying, extortion, strong-arm tactics, and coverup in order to protect the ministry and the reputation at all costs. This is a main cause of people seeing the IFB as a cult.
      Then there are the extra biblical rules and standards that must be kept if one is to be considered spiritually right with God. The Movement and the leaders of the movement have set themselves up as judge, jury and executioner. The bulk of the movement is rife with legalism both in extra-biblical written rules and the plethora of unwrittn rules that can be uses against anyone at anytime in order to produce doubt and guilt.
      As was the case at this year’s SOTL the M-O-g was mad more of than was Jesus Christ. At least in the evening services. Jesus was an after thought almost. Much was made about soul winning (which is not found in scripture, Proverbs 11:30 is not even speaking to evangelistic soul winning)and much was made about personal stories and legend building. Sam Davison was the exception.

      So Jean, haveing survived the onslaught of IFB pulpiteers and empire builders we here have earne3d the right to grouse about the movement and the error, falsehoods and atrocities found in it. We are also mandated to call it out and expose those errors, false teachings, false doctrines, deceptions, atrocities and coverups. If we cause someone to think, and examine the movement for themselves then we have been successful.

      One thing I took away from my time in the movement is that not everything that calls itself Christian is… and everything that doesn’t specifically call itself Christian, isn’t.

        1. Never you mind that George, Don. This is an outstanding explanation, clearly expressed and well-put. I salute you, and thank you for this, and for actually attending that SOTL harangue-festival. I spent two years in Murfreesboro. I assure you, the SOTL has a foul odor among believers in its own community. 👿

  29. Don, I say amen to everything you said…well almost. One of the fundies has just become the pastor of a church in our town. He is a REAL fundy. It has torn the church apart but it is his way or no way. The pastor answers to no one. The people who are left do not know what’s going. I am not talking about those kind…they are a dime a dozen. I am trying to say that we are Fundamental, Independent Baptist. You can do with it what you will but My husband preaches from the KJV but has others in his library for his own use. We have standards in our home. Our kids and grandkids do not have the same standards we have but they are in church and not out in sin. They still come to our home as always and we treat them as we always did. We don’t harp on them or anyone else. Do you understand what I am trying to say? We do not think they are going to hell because they wear pants, ect. You can be an Independent Baptist and still preach the Bible and live by It, try to win souls, be a firm, loving, kind pastor without being an idiot.

    1. Jean,
      We do understand that there are exceptions in any generalization. We do know that there are those out there such as you and husband. It’s just that you make up a minority in a movement that is fast becoming less and less relevant to the society and culture around it.

      Most of us do not have a problem with individual Christians who are caught up in the movement. We all know and love some very dear sweet people who have never known anything but Independent Fundamental Baptist. Yet, even they get caught up in the elitist attitudes that only the good, tract carrying, IFB are going to heaven… or at least be the ones closest to the throne. Amen?

      The whole separation from everything that appears to be evil to the third and forth degrees is another problem. That and the idea that Baptists can’t associate with other Christians and fellowship with other Christians was one of the biggest stumbling blocks for me personally. But now that I’m out of the movement I have friends that are Presby, Church of Christ, Methodists, and Catholic. I have talked with them and I have learned so much from them as we share Christ and fellowship with one another.

      Thanks for stopping by Jean. You’re welcome here and we’re glad to get your input as well. God Bless you.


  30. Don, now that you are happy and things are going good for you why don’t you just lay off this for a while. If you dwell on this too much you become angry and have a bad out look on life. Think on things above. Everyone has to give an account to God for themselves. You can’t change yesterday, you don’t know if you have tomorrow, but you have today. Make the most of it. God Bless you.

    1. I did not just wake up one morning and decide my west coast IFB was abusive and incorrect in many of its teachings. It took a few years for my eyes to be opened, and for me to start seeing things through a better lens. It took time to get indoctrinated, and it took time to be free.

      Looking back and evaluating everything we were taught helps in the march toward a healthier understanding of Scripture. And that takes a great deal of time, but it has helped me avoid such wicked teachings at new churches.

    2. I think God calls Christians to different things. Some people are eager to move on; others are inspired to go back, to point out errors, and to help show sincere believers truths that they may not have ever considered. If we know of brethren overtaken in a fault, controlled by self-righteousness and pride, condemning other believers for things not clearly stated in Scripture, and failing to demonstrate love, gentleness, patience, and other fruit of the Spirit, it is the right thing to go to that brother and humbly seek to restore them.

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