Sword of the Lord 2011 Conference: Final Installment

Many thanks to Don from our whole SFL community for sticking this out and reporting on what he saw. It’s been an experience to read it all

Well, this is the final installment. I will admit this one was the hardest to get through. However, I had an epiphany from this week of “Preaching” and I would like to share it with you all.

Close your eyes and turn away from the computer screen. Face the room you are in, and open your eyes. Then come back to the screen. The brain is an amazing organ in our bodies. In that moment when you turned away and opened your eyes millions of bits of information were taken in from all of your senses and processed by the brain. All of what your eyes took in, all of what your ears took in, all of the smells your nose took in, all of the tactile stimuli that may have been available (heat, cold, breeze…) At one moment your brain took in and processed all of that information.

Now in normal conversation one party speaks while the other listens. We take in information, we process that information, running it through our truth filters, our worldview filters, and what we agree with, we give our validation to… what we disagree with we reject and give reason as to why we do not agree. That is in normal conversation.

So what happens when the conversation is only one sided? What happens when the conversation prohibits anything other than positive feedback? That is what passes for preaching in America these days.

Now, in normal conversation an idea is posited and there is back and forth dialogue between the parties. In Americanized preaching there is, in fact, an information overload that is produced by a rhetorical manipulation storm. Remember in our example we said all that information was taken in. There are things we actively focused on and things that were taken in without actively thinking about them. I submit that this is what happens in the lecture series found in most pulpits in America and especially in the IFB movement. This style of preaching does not allow for any questioning, or dissent. It is easily recognizable. It is often found in a rapid-fire rant. “Your heart is full of wickedness and sin so long as you don’t agree with what your man of god preaches amen? So long as you harbor sin in your heart, so long as you cling to your pride and so long as you are stubbornly hold to your rebellion, so long as you men will not get a hair cut, so long a you ladies will not submit to your husbands, so long as you rob god each week by withholding you tithes and offerings, and so long as you hinder the work of the spirit in our lives then the price of peanut butter will cause you to listen to rock and roll the devil’s music, will lead you to have sex and do drugs and vote for democrats.”

If that is said in less than five seconds, then you have a rhetorical manipulation storm. If it is hollered at you from the pulpit in less than five seconds and the next salvo is then unleashed, an interesting phenomenon occurs. For those who already want to believe they passively let all of that flow past their normal filters and the brain processes the whole sermon as truth. There are some who will try to filter what is said but only catch one or two things but the rest is automatically taken in and the brain will process the bulk of what is said as acceptable. Preachers count on this. The ability to overwhelm your natural defenses with tons of sound bites and religious sounding phrases, in order to push and agenda and persuade their listeners that what they are preaching is truth.

The Friday evening speakers were masters of this style of manipulation. R B Ouellette and Joe Arthur.

When it came to taking notes for these two it was beyond my ability to write that fast. The rants were strung together and were coming out at around 5000 rpm (rants per minute) So for the purpose of this final posting I will listen to them again.

Opening song: “When the Roll is called up yonder”
Opening monologue by Smith
Opening Prayer.
R B Ouellette was introduced as one who knocks doors, and runs busses, runs busses and knocks doors.
The hall is packed for the Friday finale.

Ouelette’s Opening Monologue:
Quotable Quote: “I have a limited amount of time and along number of points.”
(This got a loud amen from some guy down front. That should tell you how the rest of the evening went. )

-SOTL testimonial

Text: 1 Samuel 17:22-29
-Made mention of the trend of young preachers wearing goatees. He tries not to be overly critical so long as they use the King James Bible, Preach and go soul winning. I think he pointed out a preacher he knew who was there.

-Read the Text
-got to verse 29 and misquoted verse 29 and made it say, “There is not a cause.”
Story time: Told story behind text about David and his brothers, about the Philistines and about Goliath.
Quotable Quote:”and you heard me read “There is not a cause.” You say your read that wrong. I read it wrong, but I read it wrong on purpose.” (Ok, so if the King James is Inspired, Infallible, Inerrant, Perfect and Preserved… why is he interjecting error on purpose? We have heard this week that it is a sin for any pastor to get up and say, “Well that may not be the best interpretation of this word or that word. But now its ok for him to deliberately misread a passage in order to build his sermon??)

Title There is not a cause.
I want to talk to you tonight on that topic, “there is not a cause.”

*The voice is beginning to be raised and the points are picking up speed.
-When goliath was defying the army of Israel there was not cause for the Israeli army

Story time: When he was a young preacher going to meetings there were always reposts of somebody getting saved, talk about how many were saved, How many were being baptized, How many came on the buses. Always someone at the meeting who had lead someone to Christ. Come to the Sword conference and had the hardest time finding anybody who wasn’t saved. (Pay close attention to his definition of getting someone saved. ) to the maid, the clerk at the hotel, to the people at the restaurants. Everybody understood we were sent out to get the gospel to every creature. (And every creature learned how to play your game if they wanted to keep from being harassed by overzealous folks who were out to make soul winning numbers look good. )

His personal soul winning story du jour
“Checked in today gave the lady a tract. She said your room might not be ready cause we have a big conference, the Sword of the Lord is here this week. (I would love to know the room count for this conference and the economic impact it has locally. )
QQ “Let me ask you a question , I imagine you get a lot of these (tracts)?
She said, ‘Oh a few.”
Are you going to heaven?
She said, “I hope so.”
I said its not hard, and I gave her the gospel and she agreed to trust Christ.
(Wham bam thank you ma’am. And another one is saved, just like that.)
“You are supposed to that everywhere you go.”
QQ “There was a time when we weren’t just trying to hold out, or hand on or see if we could get by (here comes the Old Paths lament) We were burning with a passion to start churches, build schools and set out good music.”

-we would read it right about our behaviour (King James Spelling of course) and ask, “WHAT HAVE I NOW DONE? THERE IS NOT A CAUSE!”
-There is not a cause when God’s people allow his name to be maligned
-We live in an era where the name of our God and our Saviour (kjv sp) is maligned and defiled
-“We live in an era where people tell us God woul be really unfair if he sent everybody to heaven (sic). So Rob bell writes a book entitled Love Wins. God wouldn’t be so mean to let anybody die and god to hell/ a loving god woul never send anybody to hell. By the way that’s a true statement. A loving God never sends anybody to hell. The sinner who dies and goes to hell has to spurn God’s grace, ignore God and reject God. He has to climb over the cross which God has erected as a barrier to keep man out of hell” *(Is THAT the purpose of the cross? Thankfully, I must not be reading the same Bible he is. ) From here he goes on a roll and a rant against Campus Crusade for Christ changing their name.
-talks about town meetings where they won’t allow prayer in Jesus’ name. (specific reference to the local Forsyth county board meetings.) You can pray in other names, and pray to other things. You and I who name the name of our saviour (kjv sp.) had better not go along with it. “SOMEBODY IN THE PULPIT, SOMEBODY ON THE PLATFORM AND SOMBODY IN THE LINE AT THE GROCERY STORE OUGHT TO SAY, I LOVE JESUS!

-There is not a cause, when God’s people are more concerned with their safety then they are god’s testimony.
-It didn’t bother God’s army what the Philistines said about God but it bothered them that they might get their heads cut off.
Talks about being afraid to say things in the pulpit that might lose their tax exemption
(The sermon is on a roll now. He is so loud and talking so fast that you can only make out a few words. Yet the Amens are being shouted back just as loud and just as fast. I truly believe that at this point he could say “praise Lucifer” and the crowd would give him an AMEN! So long as he kept up the volume and the rate of rolling phrases. )
-He says pastors are coming up to him wondering what to do now the IFB has been outed on 20/20. He sad he wouldn’t even know what channel it was on (yeah, right! But he has the statistics on how many watched it)
when asked “What do you think we ought to do!??” He says, “Oh, probably just have church tomorrow.”
QQ “Idiots out there are changing their names from Independent to Autonomous.”
-Who watched 20/20 the other night?
-Gave the statistics quoting the viewer numbers.
-Didn’t start a fight but was always taught to finish one.

Story Time About his dad, the mission where his dad preached, his own meanness, blah, blah, blah.
– Then starts a rant on the KJV issue. Says he wasn’t looking for a fight (but this evening he set up and beat the stuffing out of an army of anti-King James forces.
-“I’M NOT LOOKING FOR A FIGHT BUT BY THE GRACE OF GOD I WILL NEVER RUN AWAY!!”
*(He is a master of the Delphi Method)
-God’s people should be motivated by legitimate rewards
– Never seen the righteous forsaken or begging bread….
– Tired of hearing about what you have given up to serve
-Another testimonial regarding Wm Carey (pretty good mileage for a Reformed Baptist with Post mil leanings)

-The more a church grows the less it seems the pastor goes soul winning. (Ok that does it, I’ll pick this fight. For Heaven’s sake someone show me where Christians are commanded to win souls! What does it mean to win souls? Please limit you definition to the New Testament and don’t refer back to Proverbs 11:30. Because Proverbs 11:30 does not say what winning souls means either. Last time I checked we were to be witnesses and make disciples, not just get people to say they believe something on a card or a tract so we can count them to increase our “soul winning:” numbers! )

-There is not a cause, when God’s people criticize those who “are” willing to fight.
“You just lead that lady at the hotel tonight to the Lord so you would have something to talk about.” What was your excuse for not doing it?

Story Time
When I was a young man at camp they spent a good section on everyday teaching you how to win people to Christ. One day, on Thursday, we didn’t have ball games, we didn’t go swimming we went out to the sidewalk sales and the campgrounds and we gave people the gospel and saw people saved. I came back to our GRB Church in the Detroit area. At the mission my dad said son tell pastor so-n-so what you did. “Well pastor we went out and we won 12 (That part was so garbled I couldn’t make out the number but it sounded like 12) The Pastor said, “aw, its too bad you couldn’t follow up on them.” (Play close attention to his response) We got their names and we told them of some churches they could go to. It was strange that the pastor didn’t say, Praise the Lord, I’m happy people got saved (then in a very condescending tone) but you didn’t follow up.

-Talks about you fruit should endure, talks about the parable of the sower.
-Starts a hypothetical argument between a group that focuses on children vs. a group that focuses on adults.
QQ “”If you’re not passing out tracts, if you’re not getting people the Gospel, if you’re not doing your part, THEN SHUT YOUR CRITICAL MOUTH and let other people do something to get people to Christ.”

Quote of the evening:
“How many are sincere? I haven’t the faintest idea how many are sincere but I know I’m sincere and I know the Bible (garbled) …to God I’m in better shape even if everybody I talk to is insincere” (the shouting is at fever pitch now)
-No there’s not a cause when the people of God are willing to criticize those who are willing to fight.
-“There’s not a cause when the People of God see success as a result of a method instead of as evidence of God’s power.” (Yep, after touting the success of his 1-2-3 repeat after me soul winning method he says this. )
Then he goes on to quote the SBC’s baptism numbers and says that’s about 9 per SBC church and calls those low numbers a travesty.
-Then he talks about the power of God and how we need it. ( for t5he past 50-55 minutes he has been all about a man centered effort and works then here in the last few minutes of his sermon he’s going to throw God a bone? Really? )

-John Rice testimonial
-The Battle is the Lord’s (returning to the text)
-the battle is not yours to quit.
-We are soldiers
-Begins a rant about not being in the battle.
-Get up and report for duty
Put on your armour, put on the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God
Pick up the sword and stick the devil in the gizzard.
Bear Bryant Story
Dr Parker story
Is there not a cause… it’s up to you.

Congregational song: Stand up for Jesus
Soul Winning update for the week (48) were saved by the crew that went down town all week. Another (7) were saved by free lance work. 52 for the week.

Then there was a special singing that was supposed to look like the Spirit of the Lord was just moving on these folks to come up from the floor and sing. It was painfully rehearsed and came off as cheesy.

Joe Arthur was up next.
His text was Luke 24:32 (a one verse super saint)
In his opening monologue he gave a glowing testimonial to Shelton Smith and the SOTL conference. Then he said, “God’s still got some preachers getting the job done. We may be few and we may be faint but we’re still pursuing.”
-The Road to Emmaus
Title: Heavenly-Holy-Heartburn

I could go through it point by point but by now you get the gist of the conference. Joe is a rhetorical phraseologist and he spits them out faster than you can write them down. It was almost comical because there was a guy in the audience who kept calling out: Preach!, Go On!, Amen!. Preach!… it sounded like he was calling in plays from the sidelines when his team was in the red zone.
Joe was on the beam as well. I believe he hit all the requisite topics with a zeal worthy of an IFB veteran preacher. He had the crowd in his hand and was getting a high number of Amens and PiB’s per minute. It was Preachertainment at it’s best. A good one to end the conference on.

I was a bit surprised that the altar call at the end was not a emotional, guilt inducing, pew clearing, hankie fest… but it was just a fizzle.

In the end the SOTL honored Bobby and gave him an early birthday present. They gave him a copy of one of those framed 1620 KJV Bible leafs. (A $480 value if you joined the Diamond Level VIP Sword Club)

Well, I’ve come to the end. I fought doing this all weekend because I knew that I was going to have to listen to those sermons over again. I will admit that in the end I was finally over whelmed. No one can take note that fast and that is exactly what they want. To coin a Fundie Phrase, “if you throw enough stuff at the wall, something will stick.”

I did take away this. I believe there are many folks who believe because they want to believe and I believe there are men who capitalize on that and manipulate it for their own personal gain, be it financial, prestige or power. I believe there are men who are in the system and don’t see it for what it is and truly don’t know any better.

At no time have you seen me question any of their sincerity or their salvation. That is not for me to judge. I have attacked the excesses and the ideas that I believe to be demonstrably false. I have come away with a renewed sense of thankfulness to no longer be a part of what I believe to nearly be a cult. I also have a sense of pity for those who are so caught up in this man-centered religion. I fear for those who worship a particular English translation of the Bible. The worship of the 1611 King James Bible is idolatry. It is worshipped more than the one who wrote it and who it is about. I also fear for those who have reduced salvation to a hit-n-run event. Who don’t care if the hearer was sincere or not but you count them anyway. There will be many in that day who will say Lord, Lord…. All because someone read them a tract, told them they were saved and moved on without showing them Christ as their life. I fear for and pity those who treat the Gospel as such a cheap method of “Soul Winning.” They will answer to the Lord for their actions. As will I. I stand by what I have reported here. And to God I will answer for it, but my conscience is clear.

108 thoughts on “Sword of the Lord 2011 Conference: Final Installment”

      1. It must be a slow day today… I just finished reading the whole thing now.

        Anyway, thanks Don for your hard work and dedication. You went so we didn’t have to (kind of like missionaries, amen?). 😉

  1. “… They gave him a copy of one of those framed 1620 KJV Bible leafs.”

    Somebody said this the other day, but you do have to wonder why these people who so emphatically idolize (literally) the King James Version are busy cutting up old KJV Bibles.

    1. I used to feel sorry for them RJW but they don’t have to check their minds and hearts at the door. They could think for themselves and stand up for Truth. But, the sheeple are happy being sheeple and they feel very self-righteous and justified in their comfy pews.

      We can pray they wake up.

      1. I know what you mean, Presbygirl. There is a lot of pride, arrogance, and self-righteousness like the Pharisee praying in the temple saying, “I’m glad I’m not like other men.” Humility and brokenness are needed, hearts of stone turned to hearts of flesh, and God’s Spirit breaking up the heard soil.

  2. Red flags should go up whenever we hear preachers assert that Christianity or being “right with God” consists of Jesus plus anything (e.g., Jesus plus skirts on girls, Jesus plus short hair on guys, Jesus plus our preferred Bible translation, Jesus plus attending my church 3 times a week).

    Paul addressed the same issue in the Epistle to the Galatians because the teachers there were promoting the idea that true Christianity equals Jesus plus circumcision…and Paul was mad as Hell because those teachers were corrupting the message of the gospel.

    It was heresy 2000 years ago…and it is heresy today as well. Our “rightness” with God does not depend on what we do, rather it rests upon what He has done.

  3. I must admit I initially read “knocking doors, running busses” as “knocking down doors, running down busses”, which puts a slightly different spin on it!

  4. Thank you Don for putting yourself through this. It shows how fundies are NOT God centered. Even my “good” fundie church lent itself to abuse. What you had here was sickening, but happening.

    Now I need to find some posts for the humor. It is therapy you know. 🙂

  5. This was so grieving just to read; I can’t imagine having to sit through it.

    And of course one preacher gave the typical arrogant response to anyone who disagrees with them: “Just shut up.” “Don’t criticize me. Don’t dare use your God-given reasoning abilities to quesiton anything I do.”

    1. It was grieving to read, PW! This last post brought tears to my eyes. I have family so caught up in all of this & it breaks my heart. I am so grateful to be free from all the bondage. I don’t know you except through SFL but I agree with your posts all the time. If I knew where you lived, I would visit your church. God bless you & your husband for your service to Him.

  6. “The more a church grows the less it seems the pastor goes soul winning.”

    Interesting. I heard a sermon on exactly that this past Sunday at a Pastor’s Refresher Conference. It sorta came across as a way to encourage the pastors who have only tiny churches of three people (excluding the eleven pastor’s kids) that somehow it’s a good thing if their church is still small… 😯 Cause if their church is not big, then obviously the pastor is still out there soul winning. (Of course, if the pastor was still out there soul winning, shouldn’t the church be getting bigger as people get saved? But then we all know, people are getting harder to save now days and then there’s the follow up and everything… Or maybe it’s just something pastors with small, dying churches tell other pastors with small, dying churches so they don’t actually have to face *why* their church is *really* small and dying… lol, my PK mind can play with this one for hours! 🙄 )

    1. Yes, I noticed that too, Mark. That’s a good sign I should think. Maybe the whole thing is just outliving its usefulness and will just finally die off. (But I wonder how old Rebekah is who comments on here some and is pretty defensive about it all).

      1. My mother has lamented that her fundie church is having a hard time attaching young (white) families. One problem is the demographics of area are changing; it was once working class whites, now it’s becoming more black and Hispanic. These groups have their own ways of worshiping that are not as uptight as white fundies.
        One sister fundie church which was once hard core Bob Jones, closed down a few years ago and was sold to a Hispanic Pentecostal congregation.
        There are still five white fundie churches in that area, I believe two of them won’t be around in five years. My mother’s church is looking for a new pastor; she believes if they get a young pastor it will attach more young (white) families. The real program is IFB does not appeal to many young white Christians.
        Many younger whites prefer churches that have contemporary music, with guitars, drums and a beat. Also as the children of working class whites become more educated, they accept evolution and are tolerate of gay people, so the bible literalism of fundamentalism does not appeal to them.

      2. You’re welcome…but would it really matter what age group I am a part of? I thought you guys were saying it’s all older people and that this is dying off…how do I fit into that category?

  7. From the post – “So what happens when the conversation is only one sided? What happens when the conversation prohibits anything other than positive feedback? That is what passes for preaching in America these days.”

    My husband realized that church members were being lectured for at LEAST four hours a week – Sunday School, Sunday AM, Sunday PM, and Wednesday night – plus an optional Bible study. He wanted people to not just listen but to learn and apply. The evening services were canceled and replaced with small groups that usually look at the AM sermon in depth, discussing its implications and applications for our lives.

    This calls for people to listen MORE intently and certainly by discussing the sermon later with others, they are able to see if they agree with it and if it matches with Scripture.

    Yet my husband was accused of being against Bible study and only wanting people to study his sermons instead of God’s Word. 😕

    1. My pastor taught a series in Romans. Then for two weeks he had an “open mike” question and answer session about it. The questions were not pre-screened, and I even challenged a point that was made. He patiently addressed all questions.

      That is something you would not find in a fundy church.

      1. Love the idea of an open mike! I will pass that on to my husband. He is always looking for ideas to get people talking about what he is teaching about. Sunday School is a good discussion and he wants to extend that in a Sunday evening service, but Sunday morning is your typical preaching time and people don’t participate. That might ‘loosen’ them up a little.

    2. There were a multitude of snide remarks and anti “discussion” remarks from the pulpit that week. The IFB doesn’t want people to actually examine what the preacher said and openly discuss it. It would reveal the emperor has no clothes. To the IFB any discussion that was not positive reinforcement for the pastor is divisive and is looked on as gossip. The hardcore IFB’s around here are extremely jealous of their positions and most of them require that they be in on any discussion regarding their preaching so that can “head off” any negative comments. Control is key in keeping people in line. Remember sheeple cannot think for themselves and according to the template around here they should not have to or be encouraged to. 😯
      I hope that someday I can come and visit your church PW. I am really encouraged by what I see and hear from there.

      1. My former fundy pastor gave the video greeting early in the SOTL conference. Years ago, I recall him deriding the concept of small house groups meeting on Wednesday nights “gossiping”, (paraphrased)”When they should be in church listening to the preaching of the Word of God”.

        Can’t let ’em pose a threat to the mannogid, doncha know!

    3. @PW. We have hosted a small group in our home on Sunday nights for the past two years. It has been wonderful. Knowing that we will be eating together and discussing the sermon makes you have “ears to hear” and hearts that love others more deeply be cause of the relationships that are formed.

      I am sure your husband is promoting himself and not Bible study by having small groups. 🙄 It takes way more courage for a Pastor to preach every week KNOWING that his congregation is going to be discussing what he said!!! Carry on you rebels!! 🙂

  8. “He tries not to be overly critical so long as they use the King James Bible, Preach and go soul winning”

    One could practically get away with murder in a fundy church if they do the above mentioned items.

    How many times do men accused (or even convicted!) of sexual abuse return to the pulpit? 👿

    1. Well, at the school Ouelette’s church has, a known sexual predator was a Bible teacher. And then there was the assistant pastor who had a criminal record for threatening a man with a gun.

  9. He says pastors are coming up to him wondering what to do now the IFB has been outed on 20/20. He sad he wouldn’t even know what channel it was on (yeah, right! But he has the statistics on how many watched it)
    when asked “What do you think we ought to do!??” He says, “Oh, probably just have church tomorrow.”
    QQ “Idiots out there are changing their names from Independent to Autonomous.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    So this is the only thing Oulette got out of the ABC 20/20 show about Tina Anderson and Chuck Phelps – Just the need to berate those who are finally fed up with being IFB?

    No cause for introspection?

    No wondering if procedures need to be changed?

    No compassion for the victim of, what David Gibbs called, “Pastoral Privilege”? (His desire not to disclose the truth of what was said in counseling with the perp)

    Does the man have no conscience? 👿

    1. Oddly enough, RB would never associate with Phelps or that camp because they’re from BJU, and he hates BJU. He’s just getting defensive because the sect of Christianity was being attacked, not the people.

  10. You have more endurance than I to do this… I thought your final words expressing both pity and fear for those in this movement were just about perfect. Fear for those who are manipulating, pity for those being manipulated.

  11. Thank you for doing this, Don. It was very insightful & very well done! God bless you for going through all that, though. I wouldn’t want to go through it again. You did that for all of us & for that you are to be commended. Your closing words were powerful. May our Lord bless you.

  12. I’ve been out of IFB for over 13 years, and that 20/20 episode still got to me. Ever since then, I’ve been trying to purge my brain of any leftover Fundy-think that remained. It’s amazing what you can learn from the Bible when you finally start looking at it without the lenses of what you’ve heard your whole life. Even the definitions of “church” and “tithe” take on new meanings. It’s been so freeing!

    That being said, I can’t imagine an IFB’er NOT taking notice and re-evaluating how they do things in the light of that episode. You’d think they’d want to be “above reproach”! But then, to do that I guess they’d have to admit that their MOg’s might have been wrong…

  13. While a teenager in the IFB, my father and I attended a “Friends of Israel” Conference in Rome, GA and Joe Aurthur was the last speaker as well.

    We walked up to me while preaching and told me to “stand up son!”. I did as told and he then stated that “God just told you to give $100 in the plate tonight”. I was thinking where the heck am I supposed to get that kind of money?!

    I was sitting next to my father and the whole auditorium was now watching and expecting me to do it (the amens)so my dad stepped up and gave the rest of our travel money in the plate.

    That was the first time I learned what extortion really was about. 👿

    Thanks Joe for taking our food and gas money for the rest of the week!

    1. I can think of a few sample responses:

      “Really? I must have missed it. Maybe you could tell Him to tell me again.”

      “That was God? I only heard you say it.”

      “I don’t have $100 on me, but God just told me I could borrow it from you.”

      There are other possibilities, most of them NSFW… 😈

      1. I would have to stop. Hold up my hand to silence him. Look up, cock my ear to heaven and say, “ummm-hummmm, yes, OK Lord.”
        “Joe, the Lord God Almighty just told me to tell you he never said such a thing and that you had better stop trying to include him in your lies and extortions if you know what’s good for you!”

    2. I am sad that your Dad was actually willing to give him the money. 🙁 Not surprised though…because the mannogid’s often train men to sacrifice their family’s financial security at their request. 😥

    3. I can’t even IMAGINE what it would be like to be willing to just follow orders and give away your gas & food money! Everyone would’ve been better if you’d sucker punched him instead of obeying him.

  14. Great closing paragraph, Don, and thanks again for doing this.

    At no time have you seen me question any of their sincerity or their salvation. That is not for me to judge. . . . I have come away with a renewed sense of thankfulness to no longer be a part of what I believe to nearly be a cult. I also have a sense of pity for those who are so caught up in this man-centered religion.

    This part especially reminded me of something I recently read from St. Thomas Aquinas, a principle I’m renewing my effort to live by: “We must love them both, those whose opinions we share and those whose opinions we reject. For both have labored in the search for truth and both have helped us in the finding of it.”

  15. I just have to say this about RB, because it ticked me off. He rants and raves about baptism numbers, when the people being baptized in his church are 70% of the time repeats, and 20% are coming from the “Shepherd’s Class” ministry (for the mentally challenged) and those people are being told “you should get baptized – it’s fun!”

    I know this, because I was there. In the “baptistery” where these people were coming. My mom and I worked in there. One point, my mom tried to send one lady away (who had already been baptized 5 times) and she got in trouble for it.

    This is one of the things that ticked me off the most about that church. They don’t care about souls. They care about NUMBERS. I have story after story I could tell you, but I won’t. There is nothing scriptural about the way they send teenage girls into inner-city Saginaw by themselves to do “soulwinning” or “bus calling.”

    1. “There is not a cause, when God’s people are more concerned with their safety then they are god’s testimony.”

      My former church is in a high crime area and they require women and teens to go “soul-winning” too.

      It is simply not safe.

        1. Not only does he not care, if you wanted to play sports at the school, you were *required* to go out soulwinning at least once a week.

        2. At my former fundy church the same requirement exists for anyone who wants to participate in any volunteer church ministry and for the Bible college students.

          Quite literally hundreds of people are made to knock on doors in a high crime area each week.

  16. I have a goatee, (full beard in winter) and am a preacher. I also go to an Independent Baptist Church. I’m also a reformed legalist (our local Awana missionary gave me the label and I think it fits)and very happy to be reformed.

    I wish ‘ol R. B. would have used my favorite quote I ever heard him say. (Not in my church-I was a visitor). Don would have choked on his gum if he had. While expounding on all things evil, he threw in a plug against those people who work 10 hour days and only go to work 4 days a week. At the time, I worked 12 hour days and only showed up 3 days most weeks.
    When he said that, I closed my Bible and looked at the rest of the sermon as entertainment. I would not have embarrassed my Dad by just walking out, but I did say not to invite me back. I prefer Biblical preaching. Pick your preferred translation, but keep to real Bible.

    1. “Don would have choked on his gum if he had. While expounding on all things evil, he threw in a plug against those people who work 10 hour days and only go to work 4 days a week. At the time, I worked 12 hour days and only showed up 3 days most weeks.”

      Yeah, but he is happy to take their tithes!

      I have often heard fundies say no one should take a job that could cause them to have to miss one of the “Three to Thrive” services each week. Yet they still make it a habit of going out to lunch and/or dinner on Sundays and Wednesdays, and sometimes appreciate the fact the emergency room is open on Sundays.

      1. Probably because it could cause someone to miss the midweek church service, which would certainly result in them missing out on God’s perfect will, cause them to fall into great sin, or other such nonsense. 🙄

    2. I think it had something to do with laziness and not wanting to work the other days. He wasn’t smart enough to think we might do something besides sleep in and eat bon-bons on our off days. I doubt he could actually labor a 10 or 12 hour day.

      If he was going to try to be Biblical, he would have told us to work 6 days.

      Oh, Used-to-be-Fundy–He actually bragged about checking the giving records, so he could “encourage” those who weren’t giving properly.

      He ranted on so many things that night I couldn’t even try to remember them all.

  17. Incredible! The things they preach that are not in the word of God but you’re supposed to accept it because they said so! There is nowhere it says what hours one ought to work, how many hours and days! In those days most people worked 6 days a week and only had the Sabbath off. And there is nowhere in the Bible it says you have to go to church Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Wednesday evening. But to the IFB those three services are sancrosanct. Then they harp on the Catholics for adhering to tradition rather than the word of God.

    At one of the ladies spectaculars one of them stood up there and said it was a sin to wear denim. I was floored when I heard this because 90% of my wardrobe is denim. What’s wrong with denim skirts, jumpers and vests? This was one of the things that started me on the road to rejecting the IFB. 👿

  18. My son worked a couple of half-summers at a Fundy camp. One of the churches they visited had a visiting pastor. Before he quit ranting, he had even hit on those liberal churches that replaced pews with chairs. (Like ours) I wish I could have gotten the tape, as a CD would be too modern. Pure entertainment.

    He wasn’t asked back to camp this summer because his sisters go to a Christian College on the black-list. (They aren’t KJV only, and even let the girls wear PANTS!!)

      1. Yes ma’am, I knew the word. Being from the deep South, I’ve heard “heatheren, heathern, ‘Merican (American), derbish (debris), pershed (perished), southeren, northeren, and many others. All in sermons from supposedly educated men.

  19. My husband and I were at the S.C. in 2001 when one of the ‘preechers’ (I think it was Larry Brown) got up on the pews and walked around, screamed incessantly and smashed a tv w/ a hatchet, I believe. Yeah, we knew at this point that we really weren’t ifb though we both grew up that way. It was actually a positive time because this is when we started our journey away from it all. Like some of you have mentioned, we also looked around and realized the high majority of the attendees were over 60. I remember us saying, ‘where is everyone our age?’ Hopefully far, far away. (No offense to those over 60. We were pretty young at the time.)

    1. One of the last times I went the FBC Youth Conference (late 90s) one of the speakers smashed a TV as well. He got the crown all worked up by railing against the evils of television before bringing it out to smash. I was all caught up in the frenzy with everyone else but before he was done I started to realize how foolish it was. It was just a mob reaction. shameful behavior on all our parts. 🙁

      1. I was there too! Wasn’t that ’97 or ’99? They also had those huge posters of Lester Roloff, O.B. Greene, and many others for us to “worship” as our heros. 🙄

      2. I was there too! Wasn’t that ’97 or ’99? They also had those huge posters of Lester Roloff, O.B. Greene, and many others for us to “worship” as our heros. 🙄

        I also remember they played about 5 seconds of one of Manson’s CDs.

        1. I went 3 times, I think and 97-99 fits the range about right. I went to college in 2000 and I think it was right before that. Don’t remember the posters.

          I remember one finale thing they did where a guy rappeled out of the ceiling. And I think thats the same one where Hyles was praying for 10 more years so he could train everyone at the conference. I think that was the first time I went.

  20. Don,
    That was good stuff. I hope, as the pic would seem to show, that this type of IFB is becoming old and obsolete. Hopefully the internet and the information age relegate these people to history. I still feel the fool for ever taking part in such nonsense.

  21. @ Don and Darrell.
    Perhaps next year you guys can be like some of the very “godly” attendees at the conference and use your vacation time to allow you to be at EVERY preaching session instead of slacking and only reporting on the ones in the evening. Just a frienldly suggestion.

    1. The only thing is James 5:20 is in the context of fellow believers who have wandered and are following error. So, if that is “Soul Winning,” then the IFB movement is a field white unto harvest.

      We are to be witnesses, and we are to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some sow, some water but it is God who gives the increase… not someone’s ability to get people to agree to accept Christ or some slick scripted sales presentation pressuring them to make some sort of mental assent that produces decisional regeneration. (And we wonder why there are untold numbers in our churches who agonize over whether they got it right, whether they had enough faith, whether they are truly saved or not… because all they have is a decisional experience brought on by mental assent to the Soul Winner’s presentation.)

      1. I’m a person who has had many of those doubts about my salvation for many years – scary!

        My question is, what’s the other option? I’m not a person very in touch with my emotions, and I know of no other way than a mental commitment. Is that a decisional experience? Can’t a decisional experience be genuine salvation? How else can you experience salvation?

        Thanks in advance for helping me sort this out 🙂

        1. Sadly there are a multitude who have these doubts and even more sadly there are those who capitalize on those doubts from a position of authority (co called).
          Yes, there is a volitional element in salvation as we repent and turn from sin and turn to Christ. But that is the out working of an inward reality. For by “Grace” (the gift of God) we are saved through “faith” (another gift from God). While we are emotional creatures and we are experiential beings, Salvation is neither. Salvation is the finished work of Christ on our behalf and it is a work of Grace God does in our hearts.
          For some this truth is solid and they anchor to it and become unshakable. Yet there are those that will struggle their whole lives with doubt and wondering. I think of William Cowper, (he even was so depressed that he tried to commit suicide three times) he struggled with his “salvation” all his life yet look how God used him. I believe that God is just as glorified in the one who anchors his pike and says “With Gods help here I stand!” and I believe God is also glorified by the one who stands trembling and says,”O Lord, I believe… help thou my unbelief!”

          I refuse to make judgment on either of these because I do not know what Christ is doing in anyone’s life. Where they are spiritually or what the Lord is using to draw someong closer to himself with. All I can tell you is God is true, Jesus Christ is Truth and you can believe him to be who he claims to be. Like Thomas let us declare, “My Lord and My God!”

          Light Shining out of Darkness

          God moves in a mysterious way,
          His wonders to perform;
          He plants his footsteps in the sea,
          And rides upon the storm.

          Deep in unfathomable mines
          Of never failing skill,
          He treasures up his bright designs,
          And works his sovereign will.

          Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take,
          The clouds ye so much dread
          Are big with mercy, and shall break
          In blessings on your head.

          Judge not the LORD by feeble sense,
          But trust him for his grace;
          Behind a frowning providence,
          He hides a smiling face.

          His purposes will ripen fast,
          Unfolding ev’ry hour;
          The bud may have a bitter taste,
          But sweet will be the flow’r.

          Blind unbelief is sure to err,
          And scan his work in vain;
          GOD is his own interpreter,
          And he will make it plain.

          -Wm Cowper

        2. Thank you, Don, for your well-considered and well stated response. You explained it very well, and I appreciate the care that went into your answer.

          I’ve claimed “help my unbelief” many times. It’s always helpful to be reminded that we are allowed to struggle, it is not a sin, and He can use our struggles to help others.

          I typically get hung up on actions – does my life show that I am His? But I want to act at His direction, not from legalism, fear, or trying to buy favour. He and I are working on straightening out my motives – at least doing good is always right in the meantime.

          Also, beautiful song – had never looked at the whole thing before – especially love the last 2 lines 🙂

        3. Don/Janet – Don your exegesis is correct on the passage in Hebrews, it just happened to be one of the first verses I thought of when I was reading your reporting on SOTL conference (mostly very good reporting, btw, tks)

          Janet – I think what you are going through is “working out your salvation with fear and trembling” and I and many others have travelled that same path. Phillipians 2:12

          Salvation is a gift from God, and just as a gift from a loved one can be received and enjoyed, it can also be rejected. This is not what I think, in fact it doesn’t matter what I think, this is what God’s word says. Jesus says clearly “If I be lifted up (ref to the cross) I will draw all men unto me” John 12:32 – So all of mankind is drawn, this is at least what Jesus says, again, remember it does not matter what I think or say. Hebrews 2:3 then asks “How shall we escape if neglect so great salvation? This salvation,which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him.”

          I stand amazed at times at how so many folks can confuse the simple gospel message. I would suggest in times of doubt to re-read the gospel of John, over and over our Lord consistently invites all to “accept” Him. “But as many as received Him, to them gave he power to become the Sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” John 1:12

  22. Someone told me about the 20/20 programs about IFB. I hate TV of my own accord so I never watch. Watched it on the net. Came across SFL. I am ADDICTED to it!! I have only always referred to myself as a Born Again Christian no other labels yet I do worship at a local IFB church on my own terms, I wear my pants, (I am a woman) I listen to what I want to musically and I love attending a mega church on Saturday nights which is 180 different than my home church. I appreciate so many of your comments, they are right on. Some of you sound like you have given up on Jesus and God the Father altogether but I hope I am wrong on that. My church is in bad shape internally we are almost 50/50 old- guard- fundy and people wanting to drop the hypocritical facade. Hope I am welcome here, I sure am getting some encouragement reading your posts.

  23. Thanks, Don, I especially enjoy your posts! Wow, I just went back to a thread on here about long hair on women, yeeeesh! A couple of the men on staff in my church have had the boldness to start wearing facial hair, I am so proud of them! It’s just hair, people!! Wash it regularly and let’s all just get along! ;-p

  24. Don, your experience at the conference really brings back a memory. The Lord was pleased to save me at a Fundy Baptist church over 30 years ago. They were showing that movie classic, “A Thief in the Night.” God used that low budget flick to bring me into His kingdom…

    Thirty plus years later, the Lord has grown me and taught me many things. What I have learned along the way, is that God can sometimes use the craziest thing to bring His people to saving faith. Though I disagree with their methods and much of their “doctrine”, I thank God for the little Fundy church proclaiming the gospel on that night so long ago. SDG!

    Grace and peace to you all…

  25. At our church I ask if people have questions at the end of every sermon. And then I interact with the congregation for up to 10 min. Of course I am Presbyterian & do have a goatee…

  26. It’s strange you’ve reported on this. Yesterday, in a moment of madness, I listened to a sermon from a branch of the church I would never frequent.

    It was so much like your description. 60 minutes of non-stop verbiage from a man who obviously was in love with the sound of his own voice. I didn’t really analyse what he said, as I knew I would disagree with it, but did notice he twisted the scriptures to support his position.

    The sermon was basically designed to manipulate people into accepting his position. It was a one-way download that left no room for questions or differences of opinion. Information overload, just like you said.

    I didn’t hear the voice of Jesus in that talk. It didn’t come from someone whose heart and mind have been transformed by the love of God. The fruit of the spirit were absent.

    The thing that I found profoundly disturbing was not what he said, but the way he said it. His approach was saying “I am a man who understands the Bible, and if you dare to disgree with me, you are disagreeing with God himself and are a liberal heretic who probably isn’t saved and will end up in hell”.

    It brought back painful memories from my youth. If I ever went to a church like that now, I’d get thrown out. This approach to faith scares me, it really does.

  27. Don,

    If one turns away from this kind of Christianity, where does one turn?

    What church do you attend ?

    Where is your membership?

    What should one look for in a local church?

    1. Theo,
      Those are all good questions. As you see here on SFL that first question is the Key to Pandora’s box. Folks have left Fundie Bunkers and have scattered all over the Religious spectrum. Some have even rejected Religion altogether an some have even rejected God based on the Lies and hypocrisy.

      Where does one turn? Turn to Christ and focus on him exclusively. If that takes not going to a church building then so be it. Look around and find people you see are living Christ (and be purposeful to choose those who are not from the bunker system) and get to know them, talk of Christ and listen to them. My advice would be talk to any one but a Baptist at this point. Presbyterian, Lutheran, Orthodox even Catholic.

      Secondly, I would say sit aside your King James for a season. Begin to read through the Bible with another good English translation. (I prefer either the NASB or the ESV but that is my preference. I also use the NIV but generally keep to one of the first two. For me the fundie psychosis began to wear off when I tore down the KJVO temple and began to see God’s word anew and afresh in these other translations. Old dead passages that had become mere rote phrases suddenly sprang to life and it was like going from Black and White to Color.

      So, yes! turn to Christ alone, just as Paul did after his conversion. He didn’t all of a sudden run up to Jerusalem, join the Church and take their Jesus Seminar; he went to the Arabian Desert and got alone with God. It is ok to do this. (As I pointed out find some friends you can fellowship with and learn things about God you never knew before.)

      If you are convinced and convicted to attend a brick and mortar building then by all means find one, which is solidly Christ Centered.

      Church as you ask about it is the traditional view of church and that is the status quo for the Modern day Christian Religious crowd. I don’t see that is the way it was done or that there are any particularly necessary reasons that it must be done that way. (My own particular views are probably more in line with the House Church movement we see today in China. Much of theirs is due to fear of Government crackdown, but I would love to see that in American society. btw I despise denominationalism. )

      What to look for in a local church? Christ. That the worship is actually worship of the Christ revealed in Scripture and not the Christ of some man’s imagination. Look for a group that is elder led with a plurality of elders. One man should never have access to the power, which is available to the lone ranger type of pastoral template. (the idea of the “Pastor” and a board of deacons is not acceptable. That is not found in anywhere in Scripture. Plurality of elders is the template.)

      Now, as to me personally, I attend a Reformed Baptist church (which is in the process of removing the “Baptist” from their name) and I hold to the Doctrines of Grace and the five Salas of the reformation. I am not a member; I have not joined and will not for the foreseeable future. In fact, I doubt I will ever join a “church” again where it is a way to keep count of who is on the roles and who isn’t. I am still working it all out for myself so my advice is only worth something if it causes you to think for yourself and examine your Truth filters, and your World-view. Now, That is a monumental task for anyone who grew up in the Fundie Bunker system.

      *didn’t mean to go on so long. hope that answered your questions??.

        1. Latin, Schmatin. See the type of trouble you get in when you don’t just stick with God’s language: Jacobean English?

      1. A few points from me…

        Things to look for:

        1. A humble attitude – a church that sees Biblical orthodoxy as a big tent. Churches which say that their beliefs are the only correct ones and denigrate others should generally be avoided.

        2. Some sort of congregational government – either directly or via elected elders or similar. If elders are appointed, they are not accountable to anyone but themselves and it’s a recipe for disaster.

        3. A diverse congregation made up of different ages, races, and social backgrounds. They should also dress differently!

        4. A range of people participating in the services (not just the pastor and other staff members). If they have a range of preachers, including lay people, that’s also good.

        5. Various subjects for the preaching, including real Bible teaching.

        Things to avoid:

        1. Charismatic / pentecostal movements – although some milder forms of these may be the best option if nothing else is available

        2. Churches where the pastor’s relatives are in leadership or on staff – suggests a family business

        3. Churches that seem to idolise their pastor

        4. Churches that seem to place undue emphasis on giving (including tithing)

        5. Churches where the “worship” looks or sounds like a pop concert

        6. Churches that over-emphasise sin and seem to want their congregation to always feel guilty

        Clever ways of checking out a church

        1. Where did the pastor study?
        2. Ask the pastor what books he’s currently reading and/or could recommend
        3. Ask the pastor who his influences are
        4. See who they link to on their web site

        Also:

        I’d generally be a bit cautious about churches associated with the “9 Marks” movement as this seems to promote a fairly authoritarian approach. I also have concerns about “The Gospel Coalition” as well, although that is a broad mainstream grouping and probably not quite as bad. However, they have the longest statement of faith I’ve ever seen which suggests they have very specific beliefs and deviation isn’t tolerated.

  28. There are lots fundies who work on a particular compound who really get pushed toward the crappy inside….they are a special brand of hateful. Stupid too, of course.

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