Warning Signs

From time to time, people write me to ask whether I think this or that church or preacher fits the description of “fundamentalist,” “crazy fundamentalist,” or “likely-to-be-taken-into-custody-any-minute-now-for-their-own-protection fundamentalist.” To give some assistance in answering these queries for a fundamentalist taxonomy, I now provide you with the following list of warning signs that you might be in a fundy-style church…or possibly in an Amway convention — it’s sometimes hard to tell them apart.

So get out your pencil and score your church like this…

If your church is run by one man (regardless of actual position) who makes most of the decisions unilaterally without regard for the opinions of others or the consequences to individuals then yell “that’s my pastor!” and give yourself five points.

If your pastor spends more time talking about being “biblical” than he actually does reading and explaining actual Bible passages then give yourself three points and a poem and plan on bringing a nice book to read the next time you come to church.

If the people in your church would feel uncomfortable sharing Jesus with people while sitting in a bar then give yourself no points but do feel free to obtain and drink an adult beverage at some later date for your stomach’s sake.

If sermons preached from your pulpit consistently contain stories told by the speaker that cast himself as the hero and bring more glory to himself than Jesus then give yourself six points and bottle of whiteout to use on the signatures on your Bible cover.

If your church’s organized outreach program consists almost exclusively of cold calling and hard sell techniques involving scripted encounters where at least 2/3 of the people involved are wearing a tie then give yourself one point for each of the soul-winners involved then subtract one for every bogus decision card you managed to wrangle out of small children, deaf senior citizens, and folks who don’t even speak English.

If the last time you observed the Lord’s Supper (last Easter) you refused to serve it to any visitors because you couldn’t be sure they weren’t Catholics or opponents of the Second Amendment and then ended up not taking it yourself because you didn’t want to risk not confessing something, then give yourself one point for every fluid ounce of Welch’s that remained in the little plastic cups at the end of the service.

If your church refuses to sing Steve Green’s music in their choir until the songs have been “cleaned up” by removing the African drums and straightening out the off-beat bits then slowly give yourself one point then three points then another one then another three.

If your pastor is pretty sure that the Holy Spirit packed up his bags and went on vacation right after the Bible was finished being written (with brief return around 1611 to make sure it got translated right) then add one point for each member of the Trinity you’ve totally missed the point of.

If you’re a Christian who is so focused on keeping himself pure and clean from “the world” that you forget the second greatest commandment (and most of the other important ones too) and think that love is measured in the number of sermons you’ve yelled, and sinners you’ve condemned, and gospel tracts you’ve strewn around then award yourself the whole world. And lose your soul.

Because in the end, it’s people not the points that really matter.

156 thoughts on “Warning Signs”

  1. If I may add. Add one point for every sermon you have heard where you are told to love the sinner but not the sin.

    Subtract 1000 pts for every sermon you have heard denouncing gay bashing.

  2. Love the last paragraph! When they focus on all the rules and regulations, they are saying that the grace of God is insuffucient to cleanse us from sin, that the Holy Spirit is not able to teach us truth, that abiding in Christ isn’t enough to keep us filled with His presence. Oh, the arrogance!!

    By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, by the LOVE you have for one a other….not by your dress code, your music, your hard preaching, or your adherence to rules!

    1. Rebel, the guy who said that died two thousand years ago, amen? Maybe you should stop lusting after strange fire and come back outside the camp with me to the old paths where I can straighten out your crooked little lost soul, amen?

  3. Wouldn’t get too many points from the above list, I think it needs adding to.

    – if your pastor is aware that a criminal is running the counselling ministry and has refused to remove him…

    – if when a woman leaves an abusive husband she receives hate mail from members of the congregation because what she did in leaving him is far worse than anything he did…

    – if the childrens’ ministry of your church is full of people who agree with (and have done) the above…

    – if your church receives an American missionary who writes on facebook that ‘a woman should be submissive unto death’ and he isn’t immediately sent home…

      1. Dear Heavens! Again, run far, run fast! I have received hate mail for leaving the Hyles-Mania movement, and I left it decades ago. These people are vicious in their cultishness, and whoever called them the American Taliban was dead on!

  4. And I thought this was a serious test. I started to keep score. ๐Ÿ˜ณ

    The scoring may not have been serious but the post was spot on. If I may take the liberty to add:

    +2 if every sermon includes “we are in the last days”.
    +1 if every sermon includes a rant against liberals, global warming or Al Gore.
    +1 if every sermon bashes Catholics at least once.

  5. All very well stated Darrell, however, there is a lot more to fundamentalism than these defining characteristics.

    I just left my “non-fundy” church here in the hometown of BJU, of which I was a member for 8 years. This church prided themselves on not being a fundy church, even though 8 our of the 9 pastors on staff ALL graduated from BJU.

    This church does not fit one of the descriptions in your post, yet the reason I left it was because it was most definitely a fundy church. Without droning on in laborious detail I will just say that the overall problem with this church is what its stated theological beliefs are and what it actually practices are very different things.

    My story is living proof that you can take the person out of fundamentalism, but good luck taking the fundamentalism out of the person.

    Anyway, love your blog. I read it everyday.

    1. So true, Mario. There is a non-Baptist church in the county where I live, that uses the NIV, CCM, the whole non-fundy bit. But the pastor fits the description of a self-aggrandizing cheating embezzling crook like the worst of the fundies, and the flock just lets it go on and on… He got his start in a fundy church, and as you say, you have a hard time getting the fundy out of the shnook. Latest rumor is that he paid for an abortion for his twenty-something daughter. Because his appearance to the community is more important than the life of that baby, or the emotional peace of his daughter. ๐Ÿ‘ฟ

      1. I have to admit, the church I am in now, up until our pastor went on trial(And is going to jail TODAY!) would have scored high on today’s list. I am not sure why I didn’t recognize it until after we were all the way settled in to the church. The pastor ran the church and made all the decisions even though he SAID it was an elder-run church, it wasn’t. There was much corruption and much was covered up. The preaching was sometimes quite good and other times just stories about himself and his life. In a lot of ways, looking back I realize he was a smaller version of Jack Hyles and I wonder how I could have been so stupid to not have been more aware of it as it was happening. It makes me not trust my judgement in this area at all anymore. Even in saying I like our church now with our new pastor and the (very slow) changes that are turning it away from its former shame, I still hold back somewhat and silently think “I hope I am not disappointed again”

        1. Good grief, Sims, that’s awful. What’s he going to jail for. This must be so traumatic. So sorry.

        2. Google Barry Minkow. He was a con man who was supposedly reformed in prison. Evidently that didn’t stick. We found out after he left that he had been stealing from the church and from various members of the church… It has been difficult. Now we are trying to focus on moving forward. He did a whole lot of damage, but God is good.

        3. Just looked it up Sims. Pretty sad stuff. I hope you have gotten settled into a good church and that you have a “speedy recovery”!

    2. Mario,

      After leaving an overtly fundy church, I foolishly landed in a covertly fundy church too. Just last Sunday I was “treated” to a sermon on submission where we were told “God will take care of the ifs”.

      Ifs, as in ABUSE?

      So a woman is to stay with an abusive husband and God will take care of the ifs? WTH?

      I was so disappointed he did not say there were times a person needs to protect themselves from an abusive person.

      The only out he gave was if the person you are submitting to requires you to do something God forbids or won’t let you do something God commands.

      During this service I decided my days at this church are numbered.

    3. Yep, you’re right Mario. A lot of non-fundy churches still have the same poor theology. My hubby and I found that out while trying to find a new church once we moved. Fortunately, SFL helped me learn more orthodox theology so we could spot it easier. ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. There was so much we did – or didn’t do – because we didn’t want anyone to confuse us with the Pentecostals. We were willing to ignore Biblical instructions in order to more completely enact our separation from them.

  6. “If sermons preached from your pulpit consistently contain stories told by the speaker that cast himself as the hero and bring more glory to himself than Jesus then give yourself six points and bottle of whiteout to use on the signatures on your Bible cover.”

    The pastor of the very first IFB church we joined did this mostly the entire message. We should’ve seen it then. He’d read a few verses then get carried away telling stories the whole time. ๐Ÿ™„

    Great post Darrel, this is right on!

    1. In the church we just left the pastor didn’t brag so much on himself (though he was a controlling dictator) he bragged on hyles. How great he was. How wonderful that he was under his preaching while in Bible college. He acted as though nobody on earth could ever be as great as the great hyles. He even named one of his sons Jack. How many of you have ex fundy pastors who named one of their sons Jack? This is the second for me. In my former church in Michigan one of the assistant pastors who later left to pastor a church in Colorado also named his son Jack. I have a feeling that there are a lot of young preacher boys named Jack and if the Lord tarries a lot more fundy preachers named Jack.

      It does make my stomach turn. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

  7. No one has mentioned another key sign:

    If you pastor uses services to “feed the flock of God”, subtract 5 points. If he routinely uses services to bash former members, give yourself 10 points. If he uses services to “straighten out” errant members, give yourself 5 points.

    (One of the scariest statements I heard about was a pastor saying that he got his messages from watching “his” people. Little wonder that the people I met from that man’s church had no “rest unto their souls”)

    1. The church I grew up in was exactly like that. You could tell what the sermon was going to be about based on who walked in the door 5 minutes before the service. If it was so and so who was divorced and remarried then it was about adultery. If it was this lady the message was on wives not submitting to their husbands. Another family would evoke the message on pastoral authority. On and on it went ad nauseum.

  8. I would add one. If your church is run by 1 family.

    Senior Pastor
    Youth Pastor (Senior Pastor’s son)
    Bus minister (Senior Pastor’s son in law)
    Piano player (Senior Pastors daughter in law)
    Head of Children’s ministry (Senior Pastor’s daughter)

    1. Totally my parents’ church! Extra extra points if the manogawd garnishes your dad’s salary (he’s principal of the basement ACE school) to put his new preacher boy son-in-law on the payroll so he can do nothing but sit around the school and spy on my dad all day.

      1. Sorry to say it but his son-in-law is probably watching your dad so carefully to learn his job. Watch out Jeremy’s Dad!
        (Yeah, it might be that I am a bit paranoid, but…)

    2. In my old church, the pastor made life hell for the church secretary, so after she quit, the pastor hired his wife. His daughter, who was a general studies major at BBC, was given a job as a teacher in the church school. She lasted a year. The Pastor tired to hire his oldest son as the groundskeeper (there was no such paid position at the church), but his son was not interested. He was already the groundkeeper at fundie camp in western Pennsylvania, where he would go hunting and fishing on camp grounds. Something he would be unable to do in suburban Baltimore.

    3. Spot on, Mark R! If the pastor hires his very young son who is freshly out of Bible college, and expects everyone in the church to give him respect and call him pastor! When he is given the responsibility of Sunday School superintendent which gives him the authority to dictate to his elders many of whom taught him when he was a little boy! And some of the ladies even changed his diapers when he was in the nursery! :mrgreen:

    4. Oh, yeah.

      Father In-Law: Pastor
      Nephew 1: Worship Leader and Base Guitar
      Nephew 2: Lead Guitar
      Brother In-Law: Drums
      Sister In-Law: Worship Singer
      My Wife: Head of Sunday School
      Myself: Run the Overheads for Worship

      And fortunately, these two moved to another state:

      Other Brother In-Law: Former Worship Leader. Everyone called him “Pastor _____,” even though he never did anything to earn the title. I still don’t think a lot of the people in my church realize that he was never actually ordained.

      Other Sister In-Law: Played keyboards and ran the after service coffee and food setup. Thought that the fact that she broke the keys on two keyboards meant that she was a good keyboard player.

      1. No I’m from IL. I didn’t grow up in a church like that, but when I got out of college I visited a church like that. Needless to say my wife and I ran in the opposite direction.

  9. I got no points from point #3, but will stop by that evil, liquor-selling store known as “Wal-mart” for some Mike’s Hard Something-or-other at some point. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Thankfully, my current church only “scores” on that one issue – an issue that I’ve seen across different parts of conservative evangelicalism. My prior church, however, would score on everything except the one about the Lord’s Supper, which we did have once a month. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

  10. You should also be wary if the first things you see when you enter the church vestibule are life sized portraits of the pastor and his wife.

    I’ve seen that. Scared me! Confused the heck out of me.

    But those same people would take offense to the little Crucifix that I keep on my dresser.

        1. It was also large-print, making it unwieldy for visitation night. I did, however, consider it mildly entertaining watching the BJU students at my home church get apoplectic over it. There were the two of us HAC students home at the holidays, worshipping Jack from afar, and there were the ten or twelve BJU elitists, also home, also worshipping their Trinity of Sr., Jr., and III, but not able to see that. They called us everything they could think of that meant low-class and redneck, then went on to glorify Artist Series, etc., because, one supposes, being elitist idolaters somehow beat out being Barney Fife idolaters. ๐Ÿ™„ I do not know how my poor pastor stood it. They harangued him about it constantly. He always treated me lovingly and with respect. He has been in Heaven a long time. He was a good sincere man.

      1. Years ago, an extreme fundy church I went to (not a Hyles church either) was having a revival service and giving away small “gifts” to get people to attend. One of the “gifts” was, and I quote “an 8×10 glossy, suitable for framing” of the pastor. ๐Ÿ™„ I can quote this word for word because I made fun of it for YEARS!!! :mrgreen:

        1. I’ve been to a big church with lots of education space and classes. there was 8×10 of the pastor in EACH class. disturbing. Couldn’t find a picture of Jesus in each class.

        2. People who left our old fundy church “honorably” I.e.; moving out of state- were presented with a framed picture of the “church campus” signed by the mog. They were brought up to the platform, and received the gift with a round of applause.

          People who served the church for 20 years in Sunday School, Children’s Church, AWANAs, Choir, and on the Deacon board (my family)- but left the church “DIShonorably” I.e.; disagreed with the pastor- were never visited by the staff or church members, received no “thanks for the years of service”, and were avoided in the public arena as “They Who Should Not Be Acknowledged”.

          C’est La Fundy…

      1. We used to have portraits of the pastor and his family, then in order of importance, elders,deacons and staff. My husband suggested they just get carved statues so people could kiss them on their way in or rub them for good luck. He was not appreciated for his wit.

        1. He didn’t swim against the current so much as he was just the great big boulder in the middle of the stream. Unmoveable. One of his greatest qualities sometimes. Other times not so much.

    1. Oh, wow…I went to a co-worker’s wedding at a particularly culty Baptist church and was astounded to see in a giant glass case some revered pastor’s suit and Bible hanging over a cut-out piece of carpet that once had been under HIS VERY FEET! Run away, run away.

      1. In-freaking-credible. And they pride themselves on not having idols like in the Catholic church. Yet they will worship a piece of carpet the pastor walked on. What kind of utter hogslop is this? ๐Ÿ‘ฟ

        1. My former fundy church has their own “Hall of Faith”. Large pictures/plaques of (not really) famous Fundy preachers line the walls. Living ones will have their plaque/award for faithfulness presented to them during a church service, usually during one of the church’s big conferences. I wonder if Bob Gray’s award was rescinded. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

  11. I will say that I have never refused to take communion for fear of sin in the camp. I just say a quick prayer that pretty much covers everything and take the cracker and juice. I figure I’m pretty much safe because the rest of my life is lived by Godly standards and guidelines.

    Well, I also get skipped most of the time because everyone always forgets that pianist during communion. I once went an entire year without it until my Dad remembered and brought me the cracker and juice at our New Year’s Eve WatchNight Prayer Service.

    1. CMG. . . How are your wedding plans going? Please keep the wedding modest. Also, because of the excitement and anticipation be sure to use two bandaids on each side. Also, you might want to get a door sign . . . “If you see this trailer rockin’ don’t come a knockin’. Please try to keep the service as spiritual as possible so the members will not be thinking about your “flesh fest” that night.

      1. I don’t know; that sign has been used in many inappropriate places and obliquely alludes to rock and roll. I think the sign should say, “If this trailer’s swaying, go back to your praying.”

        1. One of my favorite comments on here ever PW!

          An alternate could read “If the trailers swaying, quick! Start praying!” ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

        2. And please don’t forget to go to church the next day if you’re married on a Saturday. Must always be in church on Sunday Morning..not matter what!

        1. Oh, poor CMG! No one should be so… Dumb. First, to get a Tackleberry, then for it to be… Like that. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

  12. So I’ll have 23 points, a poem, a martini, (don’t need the whiteout HA!), plus an extra 100 points for all the “soul-winners.” I’m leaving soon, I swear lol

  13. plan on bringing a nice book to read the next time you come to church.

    I’ve actually done things like this, or tried to. In college, I’d start outlining essays I planned to write later, or I’d journal. My favorite pastime was writing to-do lists of what I’d do once the service finished. Towards the end of my time in fundyland, I tried bringing a book and sitting in the back row and reading, but somehow I always ended up with a couple of friends from the choir sitting next to me or urging me to sit towards the front. Gotta exhort those backrow backsliders…

    1. Haha! The last time I was in church was Easter Sunday when I got lovingly harangued into going to a non-fundy church with some college friends. Being in any churchy atmosphere invites some moderate PTSD in me, so to keep from hyperventilating I sat in the pew and read from Isaiah during the entire message. I hardly looked up and paid little to no attention to the pastor. I got some strange looks, I’ll tell you that. ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. While I was at BJU, my parents started going to a tiny little church plant with an elderly gentleman as pastor who was SOOOOO slow and dry and boring that I purposely arranged my work schedule in the summer so I had to work Sunday morning. That way I only had ONE service to sit through – Sunday PM – but even that was excrutiating.

      One year, the Christian school I taught at had such boring speakers for chapel that I’d bring schoolwork and do it in a back row. I don’t think I was very popular with the administration (since they were the ones doing the preaching!)

  14. Add 10 points if your bus program has obnoxious reward systems for piling kids on buses. Eating goldfish has to have caused intestinal worms somewhere along the line.

        1. It was a high intensity VBS program. 2 specially trained “evangelists ” (fundy u students) would come to your church for a week and run it.

        2. NBT is the special forces of fundy evangelism – every watched “making the cut” They could film that at NBT training, and fundy to the core it is…every minute of every day is controlled, even when those boys are on the road they are under the complete control of the all seeing EYE of Sauron (er. I mean, .Dr. Charles B. Homsher)

          Check out the application to be an NBT evangelist…mmmm..mmmm..mmmm..fundy goodness there…
          http://www.nbtime.org/evangelist-application.html

      1. I ate one. I was told that I was the first GIRL who did it. Not sure if that was true (so many lies) but it was still enough to impress my bus captain and co-workers. I am not not quite as proud of it though.

  15. +1 Your church has a christian flag
    +10 Your church has a baptist flag, to be separate from the christian flag.
    +100 Your church has the new baptist flag, to be separate and not associated with the other baptist flag or the christian flag.
    +10 if the trucks in the parking lot have confederate tags on the front or on the back window.
    +1 For ashtrays in front so the deacons can go on smoke break.

  16. Sometimes just a term can give away so much. Whenever I see the word “courtship” associated with a church I would run for the hills as fast as possible. “Courtship” is a new, bizarre, misogynist believe, in my opinion, that should be avoided at all costs. Again, this is my opinion.

  17. I have a Pentecostal version (or at least the version for the church I grew up in):

    -If your pastor has ever preached a sermon that is either based on the semantics of the verse or has nothing to do with the scripture because it was “Holy Spirit led”

    -If your pastor has ever said “We we’re founded by a woman [this is foursquare] so we believe in women being pastors!” and then only had women as the children’s pastor.

    -If you ever found yourself walking by a homeless person asking for money and said the words, “I didn’t give anything because I didn’t feel from the Holy Spirit that I was supposed to.”

    -If your pastor has ever said “being an introvert is a sin”

    -If you have had “Demons are everywhere” so ingrained into your head that you’ve said the words, “Who knows if wearing a skeleton Halloween costume when I was a child caused my suicide attempt as a teenager”

    -If your pastor uses “I will be all things to all people so I might win some for Christ” to mean “I can do whatever I want as long as I say I’m doing it to reach people.”

    -If when someone says “I just think it’s wrong to live in constant fear of Satan because God is more powerful” you responded, “I don’t think you’re taking Satan seriously.”

    -If you have ever been prayed for/prayed for someone because the HOLY SPIRIT said there was an “issue” here and by golly, you obviously have an issue in your life even if you say you don’t because the HOLY SPIRIT says so!

    -If Frank Peretti’s “This Present Darkness” is considered 100% real and doctrinally sound.

    -If you question the salvation and someone’s love for God if they don’t dance around excitedly during worship. Bonus points if the “spiritually strong” in the church are the ones willing to lay down on their face during the slow songs.

    -If your pastor has ever said, “I am not a church appointed pastor, I am appointed by the denomination. You don’t like me, too bad, you can’t get rid of me, there’s the door” to any disagreements.

    -If your counseling to a wife who had an abusive, constantly cheating, alcoholic husband was “Let’s try to work this out” instead of providing her with resources to get her and her children out.

    I have more but I’m kind of shaking now, so I should stop.

      1. I feel like we could swap horror stories.

        -If “The demon of” has been used to describe everything “The demon of greed” “The demon of lust” “The demon of anger.”

        -If you have ever called over “strong believers” to pray away the demons from your home. Bonus points for every time they were called (At least 4 here!)

        -If a speaker has ever talked about knowing first hand how dangerous dabbling in “the darkness” is because they lived it. Bonus points “the darkness” was them liking heavy metal, dressing in black, and watching horror movies. Triple bonus points if they converted because of The Exorcist.

        1. You’re probably right about the horror stories.

          -If you have ever been in services where people claim their silver fillings have been miraculously transformed into gold instead (even though their dentists later inform them that they’re the same silver fillings they installed themselves years ago).

          -If people have ever claimed to have seen angels during a revival service, but only in the next room where you never seem to be at the time it happens.

          -If during testimony time people have praised God for healing their pet.

          -If half of your pastor’s sermon illustrations have been debunked on Snopes, and the other half are just too crazy for Snopes to even bother debunking them.

          -If everyone prays for healing, but you’ve never seen one verifiable instance of anyone actually being healed of anything other than a headache or a cold.

          -If your pastor starts referring to tithing as an “investment.” Every week.

        2. Oh, and I should note about the healing of a headache usually happens in a day, and the healing of a cold usually happens in about three days. It’s funny that people get healed of these things in about the same amount of time it would take them to go away by themselves.

        3. Oh I hear you on the angel one. And the healing.

          -If you’ve ever been told you don’t have faith because you took the doctor up on the medication he offered you for what’s wrong

          -If you ever “put on the armor of God” and actually acted the whole thing out every morning as protection against the daily demons.

          -If opening your Bible and pointing is considered a valid way of asking God for answers. Bonus points if those little containers with the bible verses on little cards (blanking on it’s name) is considered a valid answer to a prayer.

          -If you think everything in this world is a sign from God for you and everything is orchestrated to cater to your life.

        4. -If people at your church have ever taken handkerchiefs that the pastor used to wipe sweat off of his brow during his sermon to people in hospitals to try to heal them.

          Do you have any idea how much I wish I was just making all this stuff up? Typing it all out like this just makes it seem so bizarre that it just couldn’t be true.

        5. “-If during testimony time people have praised God for healing their pet.”
          But of course they are thankful! That pet is probably the only creature they know that loves them unconditionally and without judgment.

    1. I hear ya! “Just submit” doesn’t work when the husband is an addict, abuser, etc. God gave us brains so we can use them. If you or your kids are in danger…GET OUT! I bet we’d have fewer abusive IFB husbands if they were called out for mistreating their wives. Instead, the IFB blames everything on the women and them tells them to submit. Talk about taking Scripture out of context. grrr. ๐Ÿ˜ก

    2. somaticstrength and Trapped Pentecostal–you are right on.

      The extreme Pentecostal movement was my “rebound religion” after I left fundamentalism. That was some crazy stuff (Todd Bentley, anyone?). Seeing demons in everything was exhausting, as well as wondering if every whim I had was “from the Spirit.” As I look back, a lot of the extreme stuff just seemed like Christianized “magic” and fortune-telling. And dangit, I could never get slain in the Spirit!

      1. I got involved in a group like that too. They were well-meaning and sincerely seeking to follow God, but their enthusism far exceeded their wisdom, and they went down some very dangerous rabbit trails. There where a number of casulties. The son of a good friend, who was also involved in this group, got liver cancer, and we prayed and prayed and prayed. Someone gave a prophecy that the man would be healed, marry and have a family. He died in the most appalling agony, and his perents never recovered. Seeing this I got p***&d off at God and rebelled against him for many years. I darn near killed myself in the process. I took out my anger one several members of the group and did a lot of damage that may never be completely repaired. It was when I did try to end it all that I realised what was happening and turned back to God. I was also reconciled with the members of the group. Although I haven’t been involved with it since, it’s still going but has gained a lot of wisdom and insight. I think I learned a few painful but important lessons too.

      2. That’s okay, I could never speak in tongues. (gobbley goop gobbley goop gobbley goop…there we go ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

        My church wasn’t even extreme…it’s just that when the “Holy Spirit” can be used for anything and everything, well then, there you go. Anything and everything goes. Everything is arbitrary, contradictory, and meaningless.

    3. Nailed it–been there, done that, even still have the T-shirt. ๐Ÿ˜ก Especially the part about being an introvert (which I am, very much so, offline).

      Here’s a few more:

      If you’ve ever been told that hay fever was the work of a demon.

      If you were turned down for a date because you weren’t ‘holy enough’ (yes, my church did permit dating–one of the few concessions to 20th century life they made)

      If you were told that your salvation was contingent upon speaking in tongues

      If every adverse event in your life is referred to as ‘persecution’ from the Enemy or from ‘the world’.

      If you’ve ever experienced someone being ‘led’ to resurrect a dead feral cat her landlord is about to throw in the dumpster (true story!)

  18. “Because in the end, itโ€™s people not the points that really matter.”

    This includes the 5 points of Calvinism

    Many Reformed Churches are just as bad as fundies , they have just swapped what to be legalist about—they drink, use the ESV and don’t preach standards, but woe be unto those who don’t line up exactly with Calvin, Warfield, Pink etc….

    (many just swapped Hyles for Hodges )

    And every sermon becomes a diatribe against the “armenians” -which is everybody but them–or a long brag on the preacher who discovered “the glorious doctrines of grace” because he was soooo much smarter than everybody else he went to church/seminary with–oh, I mean because he was elect that is , or course.

    ๐Ÿ™

    1. I agree. There is ignorance and arrogance on both sides. Although I am a calvinist many calvinists think I am an arm”I”nian because we practice evangelism and can find other things to talk about.

    2. Agreed. I’m more reformed (5 Solas) than Calvinistic (I’m still working through my issues around Irresistible Grace etc), but I remember seeing anti-Calvinistic superiority in Fundyland, and can see anti-Arminian arrogance (like the alliteration?) in some Calvinist churches. Bottom line? Everyone tends toward arrogance.

    3. For the LAST TIME. An โ€œArmenian” is one from the Caucus mountain region near Turkey and Georgia, the oldest Christian nation, and the oldest Christian church (Armenian Apostolic Church). I am an Armenian (on my mom’s side). An “Arminian” is shorthand for one who holds to the five remonstrances. I am not one of those.

      ๐Ÿ˜†

  19. +1 if your song leader is still singing the same songs from 1970 or earlier.
    +3 if the Christian school teachers STILL have to wear dresses in sub-freezing temperatures while they are out on recess duty
    +5 if the resident Blue-Grass family has to “bless” your senses once a month with their entire clan singing off key to “I’ll Fly Away”
    +10 if your church checks up on your tithe record before you can fill a leadership role or go on a mission trip

    1. Wow, that was painful to read. They spend soooo much time building up these complex arguments in response to simple statements. Whenever you find yourself rationalizing that much it’s a very good sign that what you’re choosing to believe is BS.

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