Motivations

For all their posturing about being separated from all other Christian denominations, Independent Baptist Fundamentalists do a fair number of activities which are familiar to other Christians. They have sermons, they sing songs, they memorize Bible verses, and they evangelize in one form or another. But what marks the stark contrast between the fundamentalist and so many others is the internal logic that drives the choice to do these things or do them in a particular way. A thing is not worth doing until it’s worth doing scared.

Most Christians might memorize portions of God’s word so that it will be in their heart and mind for them to meditate upon in times of need or during personal worship. The hardcore fundamentalist, though, is just as likely to memorize God’s word so that when the Communists come to steal and burn his Bible (or possibly replace it with a Good News For Modern Man) he’ll still have a little of it left. It could happen any day now.

Many Christians enjoy playing an instrument or participating in music during worship for no other reason than that it is a pure expression of joy and worship. The fundamentalist, however, might be playing the piano because if she ever stops God will likely make her hands fall off to punish her. He does that kind of thing. I think it’s in Leviticus.

Still other Christians look forward to church services as a respite from the daily struggle, a place of refreshment and of touching a bit of heaven here on earth. The fundamentalist on the the other hand knows that skipping church increases their chances of being decapitated, hit by a car, or becoming a Peace Corps volunteer by about 18,000%. There’s a proof text for that in the Bible somewhere too — but I haven’t memorized it yet.

The call is clear: whether ye eat or drink or whatsoever you do, make sure you’re driven by the purest of motives. And the greatest of these is paranoia.

129 thoughts on “Motivations”

  1. It’s so sad that The Good News for these Christians is that God hates you from the get-go, but might, if you’re really, really good, be persuaded to spare you the torment you deserve. Or not.

  2. Fourth! Where is the fifth? Oh the Episcopalians got it!

    This sums up my fundy aunt to a tee! She does all this stuff for her church (bitching and moaning all the way), but she hates it when someone thanks her because God won’t give her a great big star in her crown since she was thanked on earth.

    1. This is very accurate. I remember once thinking this when a man was given some kind of honor before the church for something he did, they are tooting his horn now so he will lose his reward in heaven. But it wasn’t his fault as he had not asked for all the accolades.

      Of course women get to keep their rewards in heaven because they never get much praise for their service. Everything we do is just expected so no praise is given. πŸ‘Ώ

      1. You know, so many on this site have come up with funny “fundy” names for books of the Bible that I think it would be a fun, Friday Challenge sometime?? What do you think, Darrell? πŸ™‚

  3. My grandma was rather fond of using Scary God as a(de)motivator. She once told me that if I didn’t do my chores, He would “cut my hands off” so I couldn’t draw anymore. She was also fond of telling us after we were teens that “fooling around” would make…other parts…fall off.

    1. LOL! I’ve heard things like that too except it was nearly PROMISED to us that the offended would get a VD. We were taught to pray that God would KILL us before we stepped out of His will. πŸ™„

  4. I love the hovertext…he’s actually doing that so he doesn’t get CHURCHED! Kinda reminds me of that service where JSchaap said he was monitoring all of his staff and deacons to make sure they were all tithing…or else they would be fired. πŸ‘Ώ
    I’d LOVE for him to visit me to tell me that I didn’t tithe enough last month… 😈

      1. I never thought to ask that question but it sure is a good one. I’m not sure…but then how can they legally make anyone obey all the extra-biblical rules they impose anyway?

      2. it probably is only legal because i’m sure they had to sign a piece of paper saying if they didn’t obey the 600 or so rules in it they could be fired. kinda like the rulebook at pensacola. 😑

        1. Oh, that piece of paper says you’ll obey not only the rules you know about this year but all the new ones they come up with for next year that you don’t know about yet! And if you don’t keep them all, God (or at least the man who likes to act like he’s God) will be sure you are appropriately punished! FEAR is the basis of all that happens–and sadly it is not fear of God, but fear of the MOG!

    1. My favorite tale: last week, a friend of mine was telling me about his “escape” from a dictatorial church. She had been the financial expert; the pastor wanted a list of all the staff that hadn’t been tithing… the pastor himself was on the list. So, he, having private knowledge, put his own house in order, and then beat up everyone else for not tithing.

      1. “her escape”, George!

        In re-reading the post, it may have been unclear: the “he, having private knowledge” is supposed to refer to the pastor. He deliberately held off blasting everyone else until he fixed his own stuff.

  5. Over a year out of Fundyism and I still have a hard time telling the difference between a “good” and a “bad” motivation, to the point that if I feel motivated by anything other than “because I want to” I generally don’t do it.

  6. There’s a form of reverse prosperity gospel in these teachings. Fundies have more in common with Joel Osteen than they’d ever be willing to admit.

      1. Hmmm… my friend was telling me about a message at his church; there was a story about a lady who said that “tithing doesn’t work, because she ‘proved God’ as the preacher said”, but she was worse off financially than before she started” – the preacher had to spend time explaining how “prove me now, saith the Lord” doesn’t mean what normal people think it means.

    1. Absolutely! I’m a little bothered by the thinly-veiled threat of financial ruin on any poor soul who would dream of un-tithing. “God has a way of taking the King’s Fifth out of your hide, in the form of automobile repairs and major appliance malfunctions”… because He’s vindictive, like that.

  7. The Fundamentalist is against witchcraft like “Bewitched” yet they will gladly accept endowments that were a direct result of the shows success. (Cf Agnes Morehead)

    The fundamentalist is against other witchcraft like “Harry Potter”, “The Chronicles of Narnia”, and “The Lord of the Rings” yet they repeat their mantras and cite their formula prayers as proof of gaining eternal life.

    The fundamentalist is against superstition but they know that their church attendance wards off evil and brings them good fortune.

    The fundamentalist is against idolarty so long as its not his idols that are being torn down. (such as KJVO, Old Path Hymnody, dispensationalism, denominationalism, tithing and pastor worship.)

    the Fundamentalist loathes worldliness that is different than their worldliness.

      1. Moorehead was widely suspected to be a lesbian and did nothing at all to dissuade rumors to the effect while she was alive (if anything, she helped fuel them with some of her public statements). This then demonstrates the limit of the doctrine of separation, at least as far as BJU is concerned: the line on the will where the famous wealthy person signs over her estate. πŸ˜‰

    1. Well put Don! I wish I could’ve put things this way when I was visiting my Fundy family a few weeks ago. It’s really hard to argue against these points when looking at them from this vantage point. πŸ˜‰

    2. “The fundamentalist … repeat their mantras and cite their formula prayers as proof of gaining eternal life. ”

      And that is when they say “Macushlalondra!” Right? :mrgreen:

  8. So much I could say about this! The picture indicates giving, probably your tithe and in Fundyville you don’t give your tithe, you pay it. You pay it because it belongs to God and if you don’t pay it you’re robbing God and God takes a dim view of that so God may make your car fall apart or the washing machine, which will have to be fixed and the money you pay to have it fixed will be the exact amount you should’ve tithed. So God gets it one way or the other. Will someone please explain to me how your paying a car repairman (who may not even be saved and definitely doesn’t go to your church) is the same as paying your tithe? Like that old joke some dopey fundy came up with, someone went in the hospital to have his tithe removed. That just irks me so bad! πŸ‘Ώ

    The former pastor of the church we just left said this: His paying his tithe was his paying for the air God gave him to breathe. Can you believe that? If that be so the rest of us are stealing our air from God, everyone who doesn’t tithe. And if we do that God may take that air away from us, meaning He will kill us. Why? because He didn’t get His measly 10%.

    Notice of course who is ranting and raving over this? The man of God who is the beneficiary of your tithe. You give it “as unto the Lord” but it goes into the offering plate from which his salary is paid, and his house allowance and his gas allowance and his insurance and his wife’s trips to Elder Beerman every week! While the rest of us shopped at Goodwill and the Salvation Army store.

    They preach about how not paying your tithe is robbing God and God will curse you but never preach the part about God opening up the window of heaven and pouring you out a blessing. Nope, it’s always the negative curse with the fundy, never the blessing. And of course it’s always the same verse they preach from since there is nothing about tithing in the new testament except for some obscure phrase about “not leaving the other undone.” If tithing were so all fired important that God will take such drastic action against those who fail to do it, why did Paul never mention tithing?

    There’s more to say about other aspects of this topic than tithing, but that’s the one that gets my goat every time. πŸ‘Ώ

    1. They make it sound as if God is the kingpin of some petty protection racket. “Wouldn’t want an accident to happen, would we? Better pay your protection fee, then.”

      1. Exactly right, but it’s not without basis, He’s portrayed as such in the OT. Good thing I don’t believe the Bible was a product of God posessed automatic writing by human men in a trance like state.

    2. exactly. that could be put into this post. while other christians give what they feel is what God would want them to put in the offering plate, the fundametlist gives out of fear that God will strike him down if he doesn’t give the tithe. that of course keeps people from giving how Jesus would have them (“a cheerful giver”) and replaces it with a much more (like someone said) mafia like mentality.

    3. “…and his wife’s trips to Elder Beerman every week! While the rest of us shopped at Goodwill and the Salvation Army store.”

      This really hit home; at a former church, members lived in trailer parks and cheap homes, but the pastor lived very well, in a custom home in a ritzy subdivision.

  9. Motivation is one of the key factors in fundy friendships as well. You don’t get to know someone at work or school because they are a fellow human being, you have common interests and might mutually profit from the friendship. No, you ‘make friends’ so that you can witness to them at the earliest opportunity and, if they don’t respond to your conversion attempts, dump them in favor of the next target.
    This attitude makes it very hard to form real relationships with people.

    1. This is so true. While I do want to share my faith with those I meet in the natural course of becoming friends, after all my faith and whom that faith is in is the core of my life. That said, I still stay friends with them if they are hostile to Jesus or never want to go to church, etc. I do so for that very reason, they are a fellow human being and I am to let Jesus love them through me. Where at my former church, if you don’t attend church they pretty much forget you exist they are too busy in the church to waste time having relationships outside of church.

      Aside from all that I am a total extrovert and I find getting to know people fun. πŸ˜€

      1. @HNBEWO, that’s exactly what I want to do, and I’ve never been shy; however, I’m learning that I’ve never learned how to get to know people well outside of those who already attend my church. I feel awkward and weird (problems I don’t have within my fundy church), and I’m scared to death they’ll ask me about my church or my skirts (which I’m embarrassed about and would love to change soon, btw). I always thought I could carry on conversations well and was easygoing, but I’m not, at least not out in the real world. Ugh. I’d love to build friendships outside of church and let Jesus love people through me, like you said, but it’s really hard to start.

    2. Yes! Oh my goodness yes. I still have this problem with other Christians: as soon as I know someone is a Christian, I start wondering why, exactly, they’re trying to befriend me. Is it because they like me, or because they’re trying to haul me into their church/prayer meeting/varsity Christian club? It’s horrible to have to question motives like that, to feel even more insecure than I already am.
      We shouldn’t be telling Christians to love and befriend people in order to ‘have a relationship’ so they’ll be more open to witnessing. We should be teling Christians to love and befriend people because everybody deserves loving and befriending.

  10. And don’t forget that every good deed you do in Fundyville isn’t for God, it’s for the people of gid to observe how holy you are.

    And also, where I come from, it’s “skeert” instead of “scared.” For example, “I ain’t skeert of you.”

    1. That “surrender to preach” always seemed odd to me. As if everyone who gets The Call ™ runs away like Jonah? I’m sure some preachers weren’t too keen on the idea at first, but what about all those preacher boys who never wanted to do anything else because they figured out that’s how to become the Big Boss of the Little Flock by the time they were six?

      Or is it all part of the posturing, pretending they don’t enjoy having the power that comes with the ministry? (You know, to keep the competition out.)

  11. To this day I still struggle with giving for this very reason. God will get what’s his, so you might as well just give it instead of having him take it. Being on staff my giving was always under a microscope and became more of a part of my job description rather than something I did freely out of a heart of love for my Lord. Today my family and I are in a GREAT church with an awesome pastor, and I give in cash because a part of me is still afraid of “reprisals” if I happen to miss a week or don’t give “enough”. Looking back, I would dare say there is not much that was done around that place that wasn’t done for some sort of motivation other than the right ones, myself included.

  12. I have seen this often in the past. I never understood it. It is fear not faith they serve as well as a preacher who is content to get the money into the church ant way possible. I still tithe because it just seems the best way for a church to operate. I look at it like a business to a degree. It can’t provide all the services & needs of the congregation without money. I think it gives you a vested interest in your particular church. You feel more apart of it because you contribute to it. I can’t find the tithe mandate in the NT but I don’t know of a better way.

    1. I am against percentage giving. I’m all for giving however. There is a lot in the new testament about giving but nothing about tithing.

      I think one reason my husband and I went through so many years of barely scraping by is that we gave nothing. The IFB teaches it has to be a full tithe, plus a free will offering over that plus giving in designated areas like missions and benevolent giving. Since we couldn’t afford a tithe, we gave nothing. What if the church had taught people to give as they are led by God? The higher income people, if they obey God would give more than a tithe. The low income people would give less but still be giving something. There was never a time we couldn’t have given a little something, five bucks, ten bucks, whatever, that was less than a tithe. Since we gave nothing (believing that unless we gave a full tithe it was the same as if we gave nothing) we received no blessings. There were some weeks we eeked out a tithe but the pastor said that until you had tithed a full year you had not tithed at all. The Old Testament Jew tithed once a year, he brought it once a year. So all of your tithing from week to week meant nothing until you had done it for a full year. We were never able to do that so we were not allowed to expect any blessings.

      Also another pastor said that God is not obligated to bless you for tithing since that is only giving Him back what is His already. It wasn’t til you gave over and above the tithe that He would bless you. Can you see how frustrating this is for the low income person who is doing the best they can just to pay their rent and put food on the table for their family and keep their bills paid? Sometimes I wanted to cry because it seemed God would never bless us, He would never be pleased with us! πŸ‘Ώ πŸ˜₯

      1. I especially hated when they would get up and pray the looong prayer before an offering stating that our giving reflected our level or sincerity of worship. There I would be with nothing to put in and you just basically said in your prayer that my level of worship is nil. I would sit there seething that they would have the gall to guilt trip like that. I knew/know it wasn’t true but it ticked me off royally.

        1. The pastor of my church in Michigan would do exactly this. They’d have “give it all” Sundays in which the staff people really had to give it all to show an example. I was glad I was not on staff.

          Then there was the “Christmas gift for Jesus” every year, which didn’t go to a special project that would’ve been interesting, no, it went to pay off old church bills. Which don’tcha know if everyone had been tithing there wouldn’t have been a deficit! Now everyone had to give a monetary gift to Jesus to prove their love for Him by making sure that was the most they spent on a gift since it was for His birthday, so you shouldn’t spend more on anyone else on His birthday, give your best gift to Jesus. That was bad enough, and I was sitting there stewing.

          The worst part was when he said the dollar amount of your gift was in direct proportion to your love for the Lord. So the person who gives a dollar doesn’t love Him as much as the person who gives a hundred dollars. It didn’t matter that levels of income were different in that church, that you had well-to-do people as well as low income people. All that mattered was the dollar amount.

          When I think back on this stuff I wonder why I stayed for so long. Was I a sado-masochist? πŸ‘Ώ πŸ˜₯

      2. It was interesting going from the business world to the church world and learning that even though there is a budget, doesn’t mean there is really money to spend.

        My parents always tithed, even when we were living off of unemployment. They said that God would take care of us. We don’t tithe. Working for the church I give over and above with my time. I feel my family sacrifices enough when I have things going on, or when I’m gone 2 weeks out of the summer for mission trips.

        The Methodist churches that I have attended always encourage people to tithe, or move toward a tithe.

        1. Really? You must have worked for a strange or should we say blessed business.

          I have never yet worked for a business that sat on a pot of cash at a start of the year that would cover a full years budgeted expenses. Just the same as with churches – they are all dependent on a steady flow of income.

          “Blue sky” was usually the biggest single customer in all the revenue budgets I have ever worked on.

  13. Wow, all of you are bringing up great points. This whole topic is so true. For not being a “works based” faith, IFB churches sure seem to place most of the emphasis on not pissing God off so he won’t harm you, and that you’ll earn your seat in Heaven. Uh…wasn’t there something about Jesus dying for our sins somewhere?

    It was always amazing to me how much fear there was in the church growing up. I swear, we were always “looking over our shoulder” expecting some awful thing to happen if we didn’t do something, or…if we DID do something (bad).

    1. “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” (1 John 4:18 NLT)

      I don’t think many fundies truly understand or realize God’s love for them, that they are fully forgiven and fully accepted because of Christ’s sacrifice.

      1. True, but we are also to fear God and keep His commandments.

        If we love Him, we should fear bringing disgrace upon His name by our lack of honoring Him.

  14. I just read something last night that said, beware of counselors who stand to benefit from the fear they instil in you about something, i.e. “This is the only church that is God- honoring, if you leave you are out of God’s will”, the public school is evil and our church-based fundy school is perfect and will protect your kids”, “If you don’t obey our standards you are causing your kids to stray from the faith”, “If you have one beer your kids will be guzzling from the Southern Comfort bottle”, If you listen to anything but our kind of music your children will be worshipping satan at rock concerts and having sex in the back seat of cars”, etc, all fear based. 😈 😑

    1. Uh huh, that good old fundy guilt trip motivator, what you do in moderation your kids will do in excess. You miss church one Sunday and they will miss church all the time or not go at all. So it’s always gotta be perfection with them.

      So be sure they never see you reading anything other than the Bible or they’ll stop reading their Bibles altogether.

      Don’t miss going “soul winning” even one time or they will never go and when people ask why they don’t do this or that, what will they say? My parents missed it one time, so it must not be very important… πŸ˜• πŸ™„

      1. When I first heard this I bought into it. After a few years I actually thought about that concept and what a lie it really is. I just had this discussion yesterday. So, if children are always less spiritual than the parents and Christ has been gone for 2K yrs. The reality of that thought process is there should be no Christians left after about 4 or 5 generations, right? We would have ALL sank into apostacy several hundred years ago….. πŸ˜• Another example of failed fundy philosophy….

  15. You can only give your money to this church first and then only to ministries approved by us or you are misusing God’s money. In other words, go to our church, our school, look like us so we will accept you, buy our music produced by our fundy people… Where is the love of God in all this? Where is faith and joy? It’s mostly all fear….

  16. Okay, I’m on a roll here, not only do they do things out of fear as the motivator but they then judge why you do things when you don’t buy into the fear and do different than they do. You don’t commit to a sunday school or whatever (fill in the activity) because you don’t want to be under authority and you are worldly and lazy and don’t like accountability. They never allow for the fact that you just disagree on principal with things or that the Holy Spirit is leading you to other ways to minister, nope, no sir, our programs are THE only right thing to do. 😈 😈 😑 πŸ™„

    1. Also, and this was a big one for me, whatever ministry you get involved with you foot the costs yourself, which is of course over and above the tithe! They never tell you all the costs involved when you decide to volunteer. Take the Sunday school for instance. You volunteer to teach a class. That means visiting the kids every week. All on your own gas in your own car of course. Then you need bribes I mean motivations for the kids to come so you have to pay for prizes etc. Then there is the spring program and the fall program and prizes to get for that.

      If you’re in the bus ministry it’s worse. At least you’re not expected to pay for the gas for the buses, but you have to visit your whole route on Saturday and that’s a lot of gas as well as time.

      The shepherd’s ministry people had to lay out big at Christmas to get gifts for everyone in their class. The church helped with this but I learned from one of them that they had to give a hundred bucks each. Again, it’s irregardless of income, everyone had to give the same amount.

      I remember being all excited when our church was going to get the reformer’s unanimous program until I learned that to be involved meant buying a lot of books all of which were horribly overpriced. On that day I was so discouraged and disheartened that I stayed out of church for 3 weeks. It was a step on my road out of Fundyville. At this time a well meaning woman, a friend of mine actually who I had a great deal of respect for, asked me what the effect would be on my husband of my behaving this way. Would it help him spiritually to have a wife who was staying out of church? She seemed to be sympathetic to my reasons but felt that my staying out of church would hinder him spiritually. So I went back. πŸ˜•

      1. Grrr… I should be grateful that I was barred from these “ministries” because I couldn’t be a good salesmen (selling heaven) on “soul-winning” nights.

        Church wants me to teach a class, THEY foot the bill or else I quit.

  17. Is it no wonder that a lot of us emerged with OCD, anxiety issues, and battles with paranoia? And, even though you learn to control it with cognitive therapy, it never truly goes away. Literally, when I get worried about something, I have to stop and figure out if it’s fundy (meaning: irrational) or real, genuine worry.

    And, I’ve been out of fundyland for 6+ years.

    1. And they can’t even be happy for me that I’m happy now, in a good place, not desperately trying to measure up . . . because therapy is not OK in fundyland. “I’m just trying to figure out how she [the therapist] benefits you.” What I didn’t say: Well, this is a massive setback if that’s any clue . . . your behavior contributed to me being like this and through therapy I’m chosing to not dwell on it but to move on.

  18. Hello all, and best of the season to you. Still here, not even lurking, been out with a bad case of the winter crud, and I think the meds are about to kill me. πŸ™‚ I am also a wuss, a cry baby, and a hypochondriac, so take this with a grain of salt. Miss SFL, and when I am more “up and around,” will be back. Just cannot focus long enough to be online much. Love and blessings to all, this best of all seasons! SFL has been a GIGANTIC blessing to me, this year! πŸ™‚

      1. Thank you! Sims was traveling, but I think she may be at home again. Between the seasonal doings and her family, she sounds very busy! I also thank you or your good wishes; got some better sleep last night! πŸ™‚

    1. The world needs more good Christian fiction: not the hack stuff like Left Behind, but good, well-written stories involving Christian people dealing with real conflicts in the real world (or a suitably well-developed fantasy world). I’ve been trying to work on one for years, but haven’t gotten very far (mainly because of little things like work and family).

      1. I wrote a little novelette a while back. I wouldn’t exactly call it Christian Fiction, it was more of a Farce, full of people who were completely clueless as to how the real world looked. It was great therapy because in it were characters based on real people who were absolutely driving me crazy and I was able to exaggerate them to the point I could just laugh at their silliness. I don’t know why I put this here. Probably because it is 4:30 in the morning and I have nothing better to do.

  19. Ah, yes…the old ‘God as Mafia Don’ school of theology. All that tithing is really protection money! The only difference being that unlike fundamentalist preachers, the Mafia has a code of honor. πŸ˜‰

    I still have problems with accepting praise or honors from other people. A part of my mind is convinced that God will either 1) diminish my reward in Heaven or more likely 2) send some misfortune against me to keep me humble. This even extended to such mundane activities as writing up a list of accomplishments for my yearly performance review, or reporting back to my superiors on the success of a particular project.

    I try to keep in mind that God makes the rain fall on the righteous and unrighteous alike, and even the greatest reward I can receive on Earth is nothing but garbage compared to what awaits me beyond.

    1. I resent the portrayal of God as Someone delighting in punishing His followers for the slightest deviation of rules.

      God knows if you really need humbling, and will bring what is needed and best for you (which, the preeeecher/screecher does **not** know)

  20. “The hardcore fundamentalist, though, is just as likely to memorize God’s word so that when the Communists come to steal and burn his Bible…”

    That was exactly the reason I was given when I asked my mom why we memorized the Bible. It’s only been in the last few years that I figured out better reasons for it. πŸ™„

    1. It’s good to know Scripture so you can meditate upon God even when you don’t have a Bible around.

      Memorization exercises are good for the mind.

      Memorizing something as lengthy and complex as the Bible helps with memorizing other, more mundane things that you need in everyday life.

      Lots of reasons…but not so that you’ll be covered when the Boogeyman takes your Bible. If you’re that serious, the secret police are going to lock you up anyway in that scenario.

  21. What, it only counts if I give the whole 10% to you, I mean for this specific church that you run? Oops. I thought it was to go to god’s service. I gave some to my invalid mother’s radio preacher, and some to the children’s hospital free care fund, and some to the mall bell ringer, and some to the church I visited on vacation, and some to…I don’t have 10% left for you anymore. I guess according to Leviticus chapter skeenty two verse eleventeen and Revelations fourdusky three, that I’ve just sealed my passage to hell.

    1. No it does not count unless it not only goes to that church but to the general fund of that church. Anything over and above that like missions is extra. Can you see why it was so discouraging for low income people? It was hard enough to scrape up the tithe let alone missions giving or any other extra giving. So if you’re poor you can help pay the light bill but you can’t give to missions. Oh you can if you want to take the chance of being evicted because as much as fundys preach that God will bless you He doesn’t really repay that money you take out of your rent to give to missions. I don’t know what kind of dream world they live in, but they need to wake up and live in the real world.

      Sometimes I’d just give to missions and phooey on their general fund. But to them that’s wrong. Whatever. πŸ‘Ώ

  22. I always wondered how the money in the basket gets to god? I mean, god doesn’t do receipts or anything like that. When I see a mog driving a better car than anyone in the congregation, living in a nicer house, dressing in better clothes, I sometimes wonder, is somebody skimming a little off of the top?

    1. It’s not hard to see how this happens. The pastor makes a very good weekly salary. Added to this is free housing, which he pays no rent or mortgage on. Added to this is a gas allowance so he doesn’t have to pay for the gas for his car unless he goes over this allowance. Added to this is a generous book allowance. Added to this is health insurance and probably life insurance. So all he has to pay for out of his salary is food for his family and clothing. Oh yeah if the church has a Christian school, his kids go free. He and his family are also invited to members’ homes quite often so that saves on food money. This is why they can live like kings of small nations. They also have all that authority and get to run the whole show. Not a bad deal eh? πŸ˜†

  23. scare tactics always discouraged me from doing what the peeps at church wanted me to do. they found guilt trips to work better, which sucked even more. “don’t drag your feet son. you’ll get the floor dirty again and God don’t want to hafta make you mop it a third time!” 😑

  24. This reminded me of an anecdote I heard while at Clown College:
    All of the staff members who sat on the platform (and there were several) were required to put something in the offering plate every time it passed them as an example to the congregation. Most opted to put their offering in the handy little offering envelopes available in the lobby. The person who counted the money from that section told me that they frequently found empty envelopes in the staff offering plate. πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜†

  25. Its amazing how much more enjoyable and rewarding teaching Sunday school, working in the nursery, helping out at activities, giving money, or any of the other things we do at church can be when they are done out of love and devotion to God, not because some self-proclaimed MOG has guilted/scared you into doing it lest God smite you. Even more so when people at the church are not looking over your shoulder to make sure you are working enough or giving enough.

    1. It sure is Mandy. When it’s your choice as led by the Lord, and you’re truly doing it for the right reason, and doing it for the Lord and not for the pastor or church. You can then receive great joy and blessing from it. And you know God is pleased with your effort and isn’t coming down hard on you because it wasn’t “good enough” by the old fundy standard. 😑

      1. Ah, yes, the old fundy standard. “Are you finding enjoyment in helping out in your particular ministry? Then you aren’t working hard enough! Are you finding joy and contentment in whatever amount of money you are giving? Then you aren’t giving enough!”

        πŸ™„ πŸ™„ πŸ™„

  26. Although my catholic church does not preach tithing, on the backs of the offering envelopes is printed: 5% to the church, 5% to other causes. I am so happy to be in a church that does not demand a tith and even then not a full 5%.

  27. “The fundamentalist, however, might be playing the piano because if she ever stops God will likely make her hands fall off to punish her.” I was told by my youth pastor that if I didn’t play in church that God would take my ability to play AWAY. I literally would start to panic when I was practicing at home and forgot a part of the piece…I worried that maybe God just zapped my ability to play because I wouldn’t do any more offeratories (I hated playing in front of people).

    1. That’s the classic misuse of the parable of the talents (and not just by fundies). That’s probably one of the most misused passages in Christianity. It’s a kingdom parable, speaking about being ready for Christ’s return, where he will reward those who have used what they have been given to serve Him. Nowhere does it suggest that God will zap away our abilities if we don’t use them constantly for the church, or to the MOg’s satisfaction. I’ve noticed a lot of preachers and teachers like to dwell on the “taking away” part of the parable, while ignoring the part about the master giving the talent to another. So, one day I could just be passing someone on the street and *ZAP* suddenly I know how to play piano. “Well, I guess that person wasn’t using their talent for the Lord!” It makes as much sense as God just zapping them away in the first place.

  28. At our church they mixed the old and new testaments together, so first you had your tithe (and we heard the story of the man who hadn’t tithed for most of his adult life, then realised he had been “robbing God” and worked out how much he owed and paid it back), then there were your freewill gifts and offerings on top of that, and then there was the faith promise on top of that.

    I think it’s interesting that the New Testament church (which didn’t tithe) at one point at least it says that they had things in common – the people were using the money for the good of all the church members. Not for the Pastor.

    1. This reminds me, anyone ever heard of Darrell Dunn? He came to my church in Michigan ONCE. That was enough. Even our super tithe loving fundy pastor thought he was over the top. He preached some obscure verse in Leviticus that talked about “back tithing.” Supposedly if you withhold your tithe, Got will attach a 20% late charge on it so now you owe another 20% as well as the tithe! So in this God is no better than a bill collector! After he preached this people flooded the altar promising to pay God back all the money they supposedly owed Him. He said, oh well if you don’t know just how much you owe God, He’ll reveal it to you. It would be better for you to not pay your mortgage or car payment next month and get right with God! It’s better to owe people money than to owe God money. I couldn’t believe how manipulative this was. I’m sure fundy preachers love this guy. In a way I was amazed our fundy preacher who was a money grubber big time and preached on tithing and giving every chance he got didn’t have this guy back at least once a year! πŸ‘Ώ

      1. We were taught this by our pastor! And when bad stuff happened to us he told us that God was just taking what was his plus 20% because we hadn’t been tithing, and we needed to start now even though we were now hundreds of dollars in the hole for something else.

      2. He also said Jesus would return by July 4, 1976. Oops.

        I’ve not only heard of him, but heard many sermons, including this gem. Did you know if you owe the fundy school you are attending (in Chattanooga) $1000.00 and only have 100, you should give it to the church, and trust God to supply. Even as a dumb kid, I wondered if maybe you should pay the 100, and then trust God for the 900.

  29. “Still other Christians look forward to church services as a respite from the daily struggle, a place of refreshment and of touching a bit of heaven here on earth.”
    Gosh. This is the kind of church I would like to be a part of (sorry for the preposition at the end of the sentence. I had A Beka and know it’s not correct!). Maybe I should give a double apology for saying “Gosh.”

  30. late to the party here, but “Ouch!” Too true, Darrell. Thanks for the reminder of proper motivations. I’m just thankful it is not a part of my personality to do guilt, or I might be more guilty of making others feel guilty. Gonna have to look in the mirror and see if I’ve been doing this.

  31. I read many of these comments then offer thanks that this is not the fundamentalism I was reared in. I know you’ve heard similar comments like this from a few others before, and yes, I was reared in an IFBAM (Michigan) church. Don’t take that in a condescending way, it’s just an observation that this is not the fundamentalism I knew and know for which I’m truly grateful.

    I never heard the outlandish teaching on tithing I’m reading above. I was taught grace-giving from a clear exposition from 2 Cor 9 and other texts…when the text warranted it. No church leaders ever sat on the platform to show off their giving. 10% was never mandated for the NT church today. And while we sometimes financially struggled as a church, I believe God blessed the faithful and sacrifical giving from those dear people like the example of my parents who gave from a heart motivated by love for Christ. Not fear. Was this an anomaly? I don’t think so at least in my area. Now sure, we’d get a rare guest speaker to make an outrageous comment when applying giving / tithing. But it was quickly corrected in the pulpit by the Sr Pastor and we didn’t see him again. I’ll admit when I got to a few IFB churches in west TN, I saw more of the attitude displayed in Darrell’s post. But fortunately, not here in the part of VA I am now.

  32. Well, I know from my upbringing that when I tithe, bad things are a test to see if I will continue to do right. When I don’t tithe, bad things are to punish me and make sure God gets His due portion. Either way, I win. (since it is all about me anyway)

  33. What is God’s greatest motivator?
    A) Faith
    B) Hope
    C) Love
    D) Fear

    The Fundy answer is fear.

    Great post Darrell. While reading paragraph 1, I was thinking that the word at the end of paragraph 1 would be sacred. It was scared. πŸ˜†

    1. Fundamentalism’s fragmented now. The majority here claiming fear is the only “fundy answer” is a broad brush argument casting aspersions on those . Sure, you can find ‘some’ who preach fear if you go look for it. But you’ll also find others who refute such legalistic fear in word, deed and spirit. If you look for it. And yes, they are historic fundamentalists earnestly contending for the apostolic faith (think true gospel).

      1. Scott,
        I agree with you that not all Fundy’s would pick fear. Some would pick other selections. That is the nature of labels. There is variety within the larger sample. It is not always a binary condition. Some may answer A with some C, or B and D. While you may view the fear option as a rare description, I believe that fear is part of the typical Fundy mindset. I believe that if a Fundy is being honest, fear plays a role (however minor) in the motivation of their actions. It may not be the fear of God, but rather the fear of man or the slippery slope of falling away. Fear sells in Fundyland.

  34. I have a couple questions. My wife and I were discussing this earlier. How would one interpret 1 John 5:16, I Corinthians 11:30-31, and James 5:14-16?

    I agree about our standing in Christ. Got truly loves us, and we are not condemned for our sin…ever! Praise God. But clearly there would be some sort of judgement, punishment, chastisement for sin based on these verses, no?

    1. Sin against the standards God has for us? Yes, although we will not lose our salvation. And God alone will decide the appropriate chastisement, at the appropriate time.

      Sin against the standards human beings have grafted onto the word of God? That’s not what these scriptures are talking about. Only one punishment is prescribed for believers who are caught in sin: removal from fellowship until repentance, and that only after being confronted in love. No humiliation, no screaming and yelling, none of the demeaning crap human beings like to do to each other.

  35. we have it simple in our church (‘our’ church for now, anyway, until we move to somewhere/anywhere else). FEAR is the answer because the ultimate reality for believers as well s unbelievers is HELL. forget other motivators, they’re for liberal, westernized pansies. 😈

    gratitude? nah.
    love? nah.

    give us that old-time religion. πŸ‘Ώ

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