100 thoughts on “Condemnation”

    1. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:1

      Probably no other verse had more impact setting me free from Fundamentalism than this one.

        1. I love especially the last few verses that say nothing shall separate us from the love of Christ. Always loved those verses. :mrgreen:

        2. Romans 8:37-39:
          37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

          I imagine that most Fundamentalists know this piece of scripture, yet their working assumption seems to be that just about anything can separate us from the love of God.
          Hard to explain, isn’t it?

        3. I memorized this passage in 2nd grade at Fundy Elementary, but was taught that it refers to assurance of salvation. It seems to be a spin-off of Deism to think that GOD loves us enough to save us, but that’s as far as it goes.

        4. Yeah, that’s one think I’ve just never been able to understand about my Fundy hubby’s beliefs. He believes that he can’t lose his salvation, but he rarely goes to church, and often thinks that God doesn’t really want anything to do with him. πŸ™„

      1. What is so sad to me is that in my circle, even that verse is twisted in that it’s made conditional. You ONLY have no condemnation if you are walking in the Spirit. It’s all done in your own strength and power.

        1. But being in the spirit is not defined by our works. It is defined by whether or not the spirit of God is within you (Romans 8:9). And God does not dwell in us based upon our works, but upon the finished unchangeable work of Jesus Christ. So a person in the spirit is never out of the spirit if they sin. Just like a person in the flesh is never in the spirit if they do a good work πŸ™‚

        2. Not to nitpick, but it is important: the modern texts do not include “who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit” in verse 1. It was probably accidentally transposed from verse 4, which is found in every text. Without the unfortunate addition, verses 1-3 are even more powerful.

  1. This, this is why I hated “soul winning” outings, the feeling that really I was telling people “You’re a contagious disease that we normally denounce from the pulpit, but if you’ll just pray this prayer we will welcome you with open arms–well, actually you’ll have to change a few other things as well and by a few things we mean everything, but yeah, then you can be part of our big happy family. Only we aren’t happy but don’t tell anyone because that would ruin your “testimony” and a ruined testimony makes you responsible for sending people to hell. No pressure.”

    I was a lousy “soul winner” 😳

    1. Well said! That is totally too realisitc to ignore. The last few times I went on organized “visitiation” I began to realize some of these things you’ve said here. The very LAST time I went I met my future MIL and eventually my wife! :mrgreen:

    2. … and people who were too busy to talk to us, my partner (staff member) said nasty, cutting things about.

      Yep, the few times I went, I didn’t like it; I felt like we were “selling” something that the people didn’t want. I’ve come to realize that we WERE acting like salesmen, and using manipulation and psychology to get people to say a prayer. There was no mention of the wrath of God abiding upon them — we were “selling heaven”. People would “pray the magic prayer” and continue on in their lives unchanged because there had been no conviction by the Holy Spirit, and no repentance on the part of the person involved. So, out of 20 “presentations”, we would see one pray the prayer (“salvation”). Out of every 50 such “salvations”, only one or two would come to church; and, of those that come to church, about half of them would get baptized. Of these that went all the way, we kept perhaps 1 out of 50 who continued with us. But we never learned, and kept playing the game.

      I hated the attitude “I’m right and you’re wrong, and you must do what I say or you will go to hell” that was so prevalent.

      I just stopped going, because I couldn’t take it… but that put me on the “unfruitful, un-spiritual, evil list” that kept me from serving in any capacity. Even if I had had a good voice, choir was out. Singing specials was out. Teaching was out. All I was allowed to do was give them my offering.

      Yes, I have deep scarring from that time. I thank God that I am free now.

      I still feel guilty about not going out with the church on their organized soul-winning times, but they don’t make such a big deal about it.

      Sorry to write such a “book” — the soul-winning reference struck a sensitive nerve.

      1. “But we never learned, and kept playing the game.”
        But, GR, the powers-that-be didn’t want you to “learn”! All that ever matters to churches with this kind of program is NUMBERS, not souls! A church that enforces this kind of “visitation” policy does not care about a person’s soul; oh, yes, they SAY every number means a soul. But as your post points out, how many churches actually minister to those they “reach”?
        To this day, if I hear the word, “numbers,” I get a twitch. πŸ™ πŸ‘Ώ

        1. Numbers does not equal “make disciples.” That seems to be a problem. Christ didn’t say “go out and get large numbers.”

      2. You are absolutely spot on. I could’ve written this but you did so, very eloquently.

        This is part of why we left the former church. It was on the list of pledges we were to make in order to teach Sunday school for another year (a responsibility that I did not want but was commanded to do by the pastor). We had not been “soul winning” for many months. I had come to stop believing in it during our years at the church in Michigan and when we moved here I saw it was the same thing all over again. David Cloud refers to it as “easy prayerism.” You take someone through a 5-10 minute presentation and ask them to repeat a prayer after you, which supposedly gets their name written in the book of life.

        Then they go on their merry way and you go on yours and nothing has changed. The person never darkens the door of the church. Their life does not change as 2 Corinthians 5:17 says it ought to, yet they are “saved” because they repeated a prayer.

        I can’t figure out, how is it these people who are still living any way they please are saved, while those who come to church faithfully, serve in ministries, dress the way the IFB says they should, tithe, give to missions, send their kids to the Christian school, and try to live how the IFB dictates, are always hanging on the precipice of hell?

        According to the preaching, you’re never good enough. If you perform all of your responsibilities to the best of your ability you are still never good enough.

        I will never forget the Sunday superintendent, in my church in Michigan telling one of the teachers, it was not good enough when she said she had tried to visit her girls and found them not at at home. He compared it to his former secular job in which if he failed to make contact with the potential customer it was not regarded for anything despite his efforts. So her actually driving to the houses and knocking on the doors meant nothing because the little girl wasn’t home. Oh you should’ve seen the glare I gave him when I went over to comfort her and tell her I didn’t think GOD saw it the same way!

        Anyway I had been very involved in this “soul winning” in the church in Michigan, which included going twice a week, and going every day of the fair (the church set up a tent at the fair and gave away free water and lemonade). People came in for the free drink and got a tract and accosted by one of us “soul winners.” They got asked the question (and you all know which question that is) and then taken to a table and given our plan of salvation. I had hundreds “saved” this way. They would give a prize to whoever had the most souls saved during the fair and I wanted the prize. So you see the motivation was wrong as well! It’s so sad!

        It began to be driven home to me how wrong this was by a few things that kept occurring.

        1 – When you’d go to follow up on the people who had been “saved” they either did not remember you or acted as though they wished they didn’t remember you. They’d act embarrassed and then mumble that they couldn’t come to church on Sunday. You’d never see them again.

        2 – People who would get “saved” over and over again. You’d see someone’s name on someone else’s decision slip who you had “won” a few weeks prior. I’d wonder “What did I do wrong? I thought I was very thorough!” This happened especially with the bus kids but a few adults and teens as well.

        3 – When one of my “converts” was later taken to prison for armed robbery.

        Many such things caused me to really question what we were doing. I’d take my concerns to the pastor or whoever was in charge of soul winning only to be told, you just win them and leave the results with God. Any negative feelings you have are from the devil.

        So for many years I would continue in this way and eventually I couldn’t take it anymore and quit going. I know like you GR, people thought I was bad for not going anymore.

        Anyway at the former church here, the one we left a couple months ago we refused to sign his paper and we were relieved of our Sunday school responsibilities. My husband was insulted and I was glad of it. It caused him to want to leave that church which I had wanted to leave much sooner. I told him if he was really happy there I’d grit my teeth and go but he decided to leave. I’m so glad he did. God very quickly led us to another church so we didn’t have to go church shopping, and we’re very happy where we are.

        Sorry to have written a book again! I’m almost as long winded as the former pastor with his hour plus long sermons! πŸ™„

        1. Sounds like we had very similar experiences. Thanks for sharing. In this day and time, I’m not sure why people must visit their class in person; we have phones, and email as well. I like email the best because, as a friend of mine points out, the responder can respond when it is convenient for him; a personal visit or phone call may come at an bad time.

        2. I don’t go to church anymore because it is too condemning. I could never live up to the standards preached from the pulpit, and there was no mention of grace, just condemnation and self examination to the point of depression.

          If there was a church nearby that actually preached grace, not threats, I would go. I struggle, I fall, I fail, I get back up, and the cycle goes on. Has my life changed? I still struggle with things I have fought for years. Some might say yes, some might say no.

          All I know is this – I once was blind, and now I see.

          I see things in my life I don’t want, but due to years of spiritual abuse, I still struggle with the thoughts that God doesn’t want to help me, that I am past help and I am destined to just repeat the cycle of sin and repentance until the day I die. I know that’s not true, but it’s all I hear from the pulpit. Or I hear “10 steps to getting prayer answered” or “15 steps to check if you are truly saved”. And I can’t even get past step 1 because I’m brutally honest with myself.

  2. *bemused*
    It really is a touch of genius to tell folks that they don’t have what it takes to be part of you group. The genius is that subtle hint of reverse psychology.
    “You can’t,” produces a rebellious response of, “oh yeah? Just what does it take?”
    “Say this prayer and believe what I tell you.”
    “Humm, that’s easy.”
    “Then you have to keep all these rules.”
    “Watch me, I can do that.”
    “Are you in? Are you with us? because if you are not with us you are against us.”
    “I have made my decision. I’m in.”
    “By the way, do you believe in Jesus?”
    “Sure.”
    “Then Welcome Brother.”

    1. I *actually* shuddered while reading this. My mind goes back to our enforced “soulwinning” at HAC, and I pray so often for those who are now possibly doubly-damned; no heart change, but thinking that a mindless, rote prayer did something for their souls… Oh, Lord, forgive me for my part in this horror! πŸ˜₯

      1. I do the same thing! Oh how I love this site! To know others have gone through the same thing! When I think of all the souls I supposedly won who simply repeated a prayer and who are probably not saved but think they are because they said a prayer. Yes I repent of this, for believing what the stupid IFB preaches, that a prayer is all it takes!

        In fact our new pastor yesterday was talking about this very thing, people who have said a prayer and believe they’re now on their way to heaven.

        My problem now is that I still want to lead people to the Lord but I don’t know how to do it in any other way! I want someone who really wants to know, not someone whose arm I have to twist to listen. Someone who will truly want to become a Christian and who will follow through. But I know no other way than that stupid 4 point plan of salvation taught in fundyville. πŸ˜₯

        1. I too long to tell people about the Gospel, but not coerce them into it!

          1) Pray that God leads people into your life and opens up a chance to witness in natural conversation.
          2) Connect with the unsaved in real ways – join book clubs, local sports leagues, etc. – instead of only having Christian friends and thus having to try to witness to complete strangers.
          3) Realize that some plant, some water, some harvest. We may not be the one to actually pray with someone, but God sees the church as one body. We are all in this together, not competing against one another to gain greater glory because we got more people saved!

        2. Well,I think I may have good news for you then. I have found that a true heart desire to win the lost is never ignored by the Holy Spirit. It has amazed me, once I left behind that absurd philosophy of “Win ’em, wet ’em, and work ’em” (which never worked out that way ANYWAY!) that the Holy Spirit was quite capable (imagine!)of bringing those across my path who were seeking. Yes, I found that the Holy Spirit was so capable of doing HIS OWN WORK instead of my thinking I had to do it for him! That Romans Road is not the talk I use nowadays, though of course those verses are precious due to the fact that they are scripture. πŸ™‚ I generally just ask Him to help me know what to say to this seeking person. It works out. By that, I do not mean that the lost flock to me, nor do I mean that every one I have ever talked to became a believer. But that is not my job, anyway! It is the Spirit Who draws them. I just want to be faithful to answer questions and explain details correctly and with ample time spent.

        3. Damnable Plans and Scripts of the Church Growth movements and “Decisional” regeneration crowds. There is nowhere in Scripture where it says that the preacher/proclaimer of the good news must get the hearer to make a decision. That is also a damnable heresy.
          We are to be witnesses of Jeuse Christ and proclaim and explain the Gospel. Salvation is of the Lord, not of the Soulwinner. The guilt, manipulation and downright sinful tactics used to get someone to make a decision and pray a prayer, must cause much rejoicing by Satan and his demons knowing that soul is still bound for hell but under the delusion that they are ok because of the check mark on the card, and the magic words that were said.

          What are we to do then if we don’t have our scripts, tracts, programms, and plans? “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
          “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

          Witness to others what Jesus Christ has done in your life, proclaim the Gospel that Jesus Christ has fulfilled the law and made a way that we can be reconcilled to God. Let the Holy Spirit deal with the heart of the hearer. When conversion takes place you can’t stop them from telling you what Christ has done. They will express the desires of their heart, just like the Ethiopian eunuch, “here is water what hinders me from being baptized?” But it is the work of Christ in their heart and not the manipulatiion of the soulwinner guilting them into making a decision and praying a prayer.

          That was the single most freeing moment after my conversion, was the realization that I did not have to close the deal, make the sale or get to the prayer any longer. All I am required to do is proclaim the Gospel, and witness what Christ has done. If Christ allows me to be there when the hearer is converted then praise the Lord, if not then praise the Lord that I was faithful to the commission I was given.

        4. Twice in the last two years when I felt particularly burdoned to “be a soul-winner” and “show some fruit of my salvation” I prayed and asked God to show me what I should be doing (since everything in me rejects the idea of accosting strangers with our “Good news” which to them is just keeping them from getting back to their tv show.) Both times, God brought into my path someone who very clearly began the conversation about salvation and I was able to explain it to them. Once it was my daughter in law, and the other time it was a woman by the side of the road out in the middle of nowhere who needed a ride and I gave her one. God does want us to be a witness, but I don’t think door-knocking is the best way to do so.

        5. @Sims; don’t let anyone guilt you into thinking that “fruit of salvation” means “souls won”; true fruit is good works, as a study of “fruit” makes clear, or possibly yielding to the Holy Spirit as He produces His fruit in your life.

          It cannot be souls won, as we can only witness to the truth; the Holy Spirit must convict them, and they must repent. It would be unjust to reward us for efforts that can be blocked by others.

          Just a quick thought

        6. Thank you GR. You are so right. I, like you, suffer from guilt over this even though I know that you are absolutely right. The list of fruits of the Spirit are all things IN us, not things we do (or don’t do) Love, Joy, PEACE, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Patience, Meekness. No “Soul-Winning” on the list at all. πŸ˜€

        7. Sims, like you, I heard over and over that “the fruit of a Christian is another Christian” but they never showed it from Scripture; only man’s logic was used: A peach tree produces peach fruit; an orange tree produces oranges; so should a Christian bring forth other Christians. They analogy is flawed in multiple ways; Jesus called us “branches”, not a tree. Also, the analogy doesn’t track — by their logic, the fruit of the Holy Spirit should be a Holy Spirit, and that contradicts Scripture. It was amazing the number of things that they could say meant “soul-winning”, like the deacon qualifications… they must be full of the Spirit, which, they said, meant that they went soul-winning.

      2. Don’t worry about people thinking they are saved because you badgered them into saying a prayer. Very few of them believe, or ever believed, that that prayer would save them. They only did it to make you stop pestering them.

    2. Jeff Fugate of Clays Mill Road Baptist Church in Lexington, Ky responded to one of his critics about his soul winning tactics, “It is not my job to disciple them it is my job to win them.” How sad is that!

  3. You mean, like the assistant pastor from our church who yelled at people on a bull horn, telling them they’re going to hell? And the same guy who got two of his daughter’s teenage friends drunk, watched porn with them and molested them? Hmmmm

      1. And the beat goes on… always, always, whenever I hear extreme legalism being preached, I look for the secret sin. It is habit, now. It would be useless for anyone to try to persuade me that the two do not go hand-in-hand. I have seen too much of it, for too long.
        When I think of our loving Savior, the compassion He displayed for the erring, and the fact that His wrath was reserved for the PHARISEES, it astonishes me that I was so blind. I was serving the Pharisees, all those years, not my Savior. Yet still, He loved me enough to deliver me from that, too. Shaking my head… how awesome is our God?

        1. Our God is awesome indeed. That was so well said and expresses how I feel so well there is no need to say anything more.

    1. Or like my soulwinning partner who guilted me into going out twice a week rather than the mandatory once a week even though it forced me to choose between laundry and sleeping, noting that “we can sleep when we’re dead” who was later arrested, convicted, & jailed for sleeping with one of her students?

      1. Yes, I knew people like that. It seems hyper-legalism is attractive to the unstable. As someone in my late teens, I could not see that imbalance as anything insane. Sigh. Which is why places like HAC “succeed,” according to heir definition of success…

        1. I did for years. It led me away from a loving evangelical community into hate filled conservative fundamentalism/evangelicalism.

          I regret ever listening to those men.

        2. I’ve not heard/seen much of Ray Comfort, but Kirk Cameron always seems such a nice bloke. I do have great concerns about their “method,” mostly because it turns salvation into some neat little mental transaction. First, I convince you that you’ve broken the Ten Commandments (forgetting of course that we are no longer under the law but that Christ has written a new covenant in His blood), you admit you’re a sinner and deserve hell, then you get saved. Easy-peasy 1-2-3. Sad. It’s the method our former church (IFB–we were only there 3 years before beating a hasty retreat) used. Our pastor often used to say, “If I had an hour to share the gospel with someone, I’d spend at least the first 45 minutes convincing them of their sin.” Really? I’d spend the whole hour telling them how awesome Jesus is and how He’s changed my life forever.

  4. John 8:
    When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?

    She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

    I think the fundies must misread this passage as “Those of you who are good, sinless Christians get to throw the first stones. Well done you.”

  5. Well, this is a very sobering post, but I still want to say how it gladdened my heart to see it today. When I thought, at first, that the blog was over, I felt the first stirrings of a panic attack, seriously. I myself did not realize what this blog has meant in my life.
    Okay, back to your regular programming. DD, you are an incredible blessing.

  6. But condemnation does work.

    In a hostage context, it is called the Stockholm Syndrome.

    Or in a medical context, it is a variety of Munschhausen’s Syndrome. First you make the person sick, then you take them to the hospital, and then you are the hero.

    Sociopaths will do it too. Beat you up emotionally and then be nice and nurturing. Rinse and repeat.

    There is no mystery as to why abused women do not leave their husbands.

    1. I’ve heard that called “hurt and heal.” I’ve heard of Stockholm Syndrome” but not this other Munschhausen’s Syndrome, I’ll have to do a google search on that. πŸ™

      1. For Googling purposes, it’s spelled Munchausen Syndrome. I hate to be fussy about spelling, but looking things up works better with the correct (or at least, most common, spelling).

        Munchausen (or Munchausen’s) Syndrome is named for a certain Baron von Munchausen, who is said to have had it. People with Munchausen fake ailments, or even make themselves sick or injure themselves on purpose, so they can get care and attention from doctors, nurses, etc.

        But what I think Green Eggs is referring to is “Munchausen by proxy.” It’s similar to Munhausen’s, except people with Munchausen by proxy cause illness or injuries to OTHER people, such as members of their own families or those entrusted to their care, out of similar motivations.

        1. Its funny how reading can be a cure for fundamentalism. Especially if one reads psychology or medical textbooks.

        2. My mother would always self-medicate. Being a missionary in Albania, she was always convinced that she was full of parasites. We’d get the occasional water-contamination parasites, and they sucked, but a short round of medicine would cure. She sent away to Europe for a goat wormer that was illegal in the states. She took so much of it that her hair fell out. She then buzzed her hair and bought all kinds of wigs. People thought she had cancer. Every bump on her skin she told us had a worm in it. She was WAY over the top into naturopathic medicine. I’m convinced she had Munchausen Syndrome, among other things…

        3. Sorry for the misspelling. A year and a half of German isn’t near enough to avoid basic mistakes.

          Yes, Munchausen by proxy was what I was referring to.

  7. And the horrible thing is that those who emphasize condemnation have missed the whole Gospel! Jesus Christ Himself said, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:17).

    Too many Christians want to be prophets, angrily yelling at people they dislike, instead of humble servants and loving shepherds like Christ.

  8. At a former church, there was a “new baby” soulwinning program. They would find the baby announcements in the papers and then look up the women in the phone books and then contact them about setting an appt. to bring a gift (a handmade bib) for their baby. When my friend and another woman showed up for their appointment, the new mom must have had second thoughts. She opened the door, snatched up the gift, said thank you, and quickly slammed the door shut, leaving my friend and the other woman standing on the front porch in shock. The woman with my friend thought the new mom was rude and and said to my friend, loud enough for the woman inside to hear, well, she can just LITERALLY go to hell! 😯

    1. What a horrible story. But I remember my church in Michigan doing something similar. They got lists of new move ins to town and sent the soul winners after them hoping to get some into the church since they were new to town and may not have had a church yet. Also they’d read the obituaries and pay visits on people who were bereaved. The first idea was rather a good one IF they would only go and tell about the church and leave literature, but the second was morbid. Going to talk to those who are grieving the death of a loved one and asking if they are going to heaven, what are they going to think? Where is my loved one? It would only cause their grief to increase if they begin to wonder if their loved one is in hell. πŸ˜₯

    1. LOL! You’re right! They’re so sure that our “bitterness” and “bad” attitudes show we’re not REAL Christians. But thankfully, my soul is not in their hands but God’s, and I’m hidden in Christ who has taken my condemnation so I could be accepted!

  9. Yes, we should strive to win the lost but there is more than one way to do so. Not every Christian is good at sharing their faith with a total stranger while standing at their front door. But some are good at handing out tracts, or inviting a co-worker or family memeber to church, or presenting the gospel to a Sunday School class, or leading someone to Christ during the invitation, or getting the church building ready for Sunday. Every Christian can do something but not every Christian can do the same thing. Just because a Christian does not produce “fruit” while out door-to-door soulwinning does not mean they are not producing fruit at all.

    1. And “fruit” means everything we do, not just convincing people of a need for God. Some people are just plain not cut out for evangelism of any kind. Their gifts are elsewhere. And that is how God made them!

      1. I agree, but that’s not what was hammered into me for years – if you weren’t going door-to-door, trying to get people saved, you were a leper & a pariah. You weren’t right with God and were not allowed to use any gifts for service if you didn’t do this.

        1. That’s the whole problem with fundies! Well one of their problems, they have a lot of problems! Thinking everyone is the same. One of my beefs with the former pastor is he wanted everyone to be a Jack or Jill of all trades. He had no patience for finding out what a person’s strengths and weaknesses were and fitting them to a task, if you said you weren’t comfortable with a task, it was beyond your talents and abilities it was “get out of your comfort zone,” “die to self” etc. For a whole year I taught a Sunday school class I was not comfortable with and that wasn’t fair to either the children or me.

          And of course to him, being a die hard fundy, EVERYONE is go to out door to door soul winning. No matter what else you may do, if you’re not doing THAT, the rest of your service is in vain. You can sing in the choir til you drop dead, you can clean the church, teach Sunday school, work in the nursery, do this, do that but it is WORTHLESS unless you are out every week door knocking.

          Recently I came across in the book of Acts where Paul said, “I have taught you publicly and from house to house.” I was always taught that was soul winning. But it occurred to me, the church was under persecution at this time in the first century. More than likely Paul was visiting members of the church and teaching and encouraging them. Not out door to door cold calling on strangers getting them to pray a prayer.

          I do think if you can find a good tract and want to give it to people, leave it for a waitress WITH A TIP, leave it somewhere anonymously, etc, that’s fine. But cornering people and asking them if they’re going to heaven, and presenting a short gospel plan and getting them to pray a prayer just so you can write their name down on a decision slip and come back to church saying you got one, well that’s for the birds.

          My new church has a packet they want to leave at everyone’s door, it has a John and Romans in it, along with a tract and I’m not sure what else, you simply put that on their door and leave. The person then is free to look at it, or not, throw it away or whatever. πŸ˜‰

        2. How very frustrating and unBiblical when Scripture clearly says that we’re all gifted in different ways, yet we are all important to the body of Christ. Why try to force people to serve where they’re not gifted?

        3. What really frosts me is the children’s Sunday school lesson plans that include a section on making the little kids, a captive audience, admit that they are sinners who need God. They have to do this to pass the class. There’s even one “Bible-based” curriculum marketed to us lukewarm Anglicans that schedules 5 minutes per lesson for the adult to tell the kids how sinful they are.

          No. No no no NO, you do NOT make kids who can’t leave the room or tell you to bug off parrot the approved response just so you can pat yourself on the back that you have brought the church’s soulwinning numbers up.

  10. To add an extra layer of confusion to the mess, try soulwinning when you have an autism-spectrum disorder. πŸ™ Doesn’t work very well when you can’t even see that you’re pissing people off. Add into that some lay pastor thinking it’s because you have a demon and attempting to remove the ‘demon’ from you. I feel so much better about God, about myself, and about life since I got away from the nonsense. I’ve found my own ways to serve God, which work with the way God has made me–charity work, teaching the willing, etc. Lots of grateful hearts, nobody gets upset, and the evangelism is left to people who can actually do it right.

      1. John 9:1-3 has always been one of my favorites, Beth. Stuff like this isn’t anyone’s ‘fault’; it’s just the way the double helix twisted…and God has a unique plan for each of us. The key word being ‘unique’. No two people are alike; therefore no two people will be used by God in exactly the same way. Fundamentalists tend to forget this.

  11. I find that my Aspergers makes things harder in that I have no place for “hard preaching” and then applying it to real people with gray areas. Yikes. I guess the key is applying the black and white to those “outside the camp”, and the gray areas are okay if you’re one of us. I can’t ever see to get the hang of that one.
    Heard Ben Burks not too long ago at what used to be my church, throwing this particular verse around, saying “no verse in the Bible has been misquoted more than this one”, never explaining what he meant, just implying that “there is not condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus” needs to be modified by the rest of the verse “who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.” So what, that second part is not a condition, it just explains the first part. Trying to twist God’s arm a little bit, are we? Sheesh.

    1. AS and legalism do not mix well together. For me, it was wanting a place where all I had to do was follow ‘the rules’ and I’d have immediate acceptance. Fine as far as it goes, and as long as ‘the rules’ are both 1) consistent and 2) written fairly. With most of fundamentalism neither is the case. And questioning the system is only likely to cause others to question your devotion.

  12. I seem to remember that Paul had something to say about this kind of proselytizing.

    “Those heretical teachers go to great lengths to flatter you, but their motives are rotten. They want to shut you out of the free world of God’s grace so that you will always depend on them for approval and direction, making them feel important.”

    -Galatians 4:17

    It kills me every time I see it was right here in front of me all along. And it kills me to see that this kind of behavior is universal to humanity. It didn’t die with the Judiazers, and it won’t die with Christian Fundamentalism. It will just crop up in the next generational Christian movement.
    Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

  13. After these comments, I’m reminded of conversations with an old friend and HAC survivor. There are so many people who have been told they are “saved” because of the old 1-2-3 repeat after me, better accept this offer now in case you never get another chance–don’t worry if you don’t understand, just do it.
    No clue of what they are saved from, God’s amazing grace and mercy, or true Biblical discipleship. I sure wish I had been truly discipled in my youth, and not just told so much foolishness.

      1. Early-morning-coffee-choking-episode-due-to-explosive-laughter…. Sigh of merriment, wiping eyes… For the rest of the day, boymom, no one will top that. πŸ˜†

  14. The “1-2-3, you’re saved” approach is by no means limited to fundamentalists — witness the Four Spiritual Laws of Campus Crusade and the door-to-door Evangelism Explosion technique developed by D. James Kennedy. The thing I find odd about both is that Bill Bright (Campus Crusade’s founder) and Kennedy (pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Florida) were both Calvinists. Simplistic evangelism seems inconsistent with what I know of Calvinism’s emphasis on the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit.

  15. Let’s throw another iron into the fire: people who use their soulwinning ability to build up their social status. I’ve actually heard guys brag about how many people they supposedly led to Christ in order to pick up women…and it worked! I guess that’s the fundamentalist equivalent of inflating (ahem) certain other statistics? 😈

    1. Since it became a performance metric. I imagine some of these pastors-cum-CEOs wake up in the morning, turn on their laptop, and look at the dashboard displaying all of the various performance metrics for their church: new members, converts, contributions, and media buzz.

      I don’t like the fact that churches are being run like businesses at all–by today’s standards, not only our Lord Himself but most of the disciples would have been miserable church leaders.

  16. I think nowadays, too, from a practical standpoint, ‘going soulwinning’ or ‘telling people about Jesus’ is pointless. Living in North America, or any other Western society, people know about Jesus. It’s embedded into our culture from centuries of The Church being a historical power! It’s there in Nativity scenes, in crosses, in why there’s a church in a neighbourhood. People don’t need to be TOLD about Jesus. They need to SEE Him, in us. Telling is unnecessary. Doing, being, loving, that is what’s needed.

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