Sermons on Really Meaningful and Life-Changing Topics

This one is inspired by the hours of BJU Bible conference that I’ve listened to so far this week.

Think about all the costs of putting on a Bible conference. Between cooling and lighting for an auditorium, productivity lost for students and faculty, and honorariums and travel for speakers, the real and opportunity costs run at least into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. I’m sure the Christless sermons, moralistic messages, political pontificating, and wild guesses about prophecy are totally worth it. Totally.

…and then to add insult to injury they have the nerve to beg these same students and staff for donations to build a six-million dollar cafeteria.

58 thoughts on “Sermons on Really Meaningful and Life-Changing Topics”

  1. There’s a mild curiosity about future events. I’ll grant that. But these messages are neither “mild” nor simply “curious.” More like “obsessive” and “neurotic.”

  2. Ahhh, yes. The Jesus in Revelation (the destructive force of nature, as you call Him) is the Jesus that fundamentalists tend to love the most. He’s easier to scare your children with – He’ll keep them in line with fear and trembling. Because, you know, it’s not the GOODNESS of God that leads us to repentance or anything silly or new-agey like THAT.

  3. yeah…..i remember being, not so much “begged”, but warned to (with RA’s actually checking to make sure we were) sell our ๐Ÿ‘ฟ ๐Ÿ‘ฟ personal stuff in the dorms and donate to the noble cause of the year. The new gym. The new parking deck. The building of a new fundy church in, get this…..GREENVILLE……..

  4. Ok, so here is the problem I have with them teaching/preaching prophecy. There are A LOT of views out there, and based on Scripture not ONE of them can be definately certainly positively exactly how the interpreter thinks it will be. I believe prophecies are made to look back on and go, “Ohhh YEahhhh… He DID say that would happen!” Not to look ahead and try to look like you have a special interpretation of the Scripture that nobody else got. But the way they do it it is like, “I’m right. I know this stuff. If you don’t believe everything I say will happen will happen exactly as I say it will then YOU are STUPID or EVIL or just plain hopeless. It is the attitude of arrogance that they know for sure this is what it is that bugs me.

    1. If you don’t believe everything I say is going to happen, it’s because your heart is hardened, or you’re bitter, or the sin in your life has blinded you. Certainly not because you’re calling me on my wild-assed speculations. (See Camping, Harold)

    2. Yeah, seriously. What affect does it have on our Christian life anyway? I think if once we have established the fact that Jesus is indeed coming soon, we can wait until he comes to figure out the rest. Anything else is highly speculative, and yes, borderline obsessive.

      It’s just one more line in the sand to help IFBer’s know more clearly who is and who is not worthy of their fellowship.

      1. By the way, I remember Dr. John Geotsch at WCBC lamenting during chapel that the current president of his Alma Mater, Maranatha (you know, the one with the catchy “I’m gonna apply” promo video and the real, accredited degrees) stated that based on a reading of 2 Thessalonians 2:11 he could not guarantee that those who had rejected Christ would not be able to get saved during the tribulation.

        When he spoke about it, I could tell he was greatly troubled by it. He was shocked, almost in disbelief that his former Fundy U could forsake the old paths. In his eyes, it made Maranatha more like anathema. (And I had always thought they were already castaways when they started allowing women to wear pants and students to use Bible versions other than the KJV).

        I’ll confess, after chapel I had to look up 2 Thessalonians 2 and read the chapter to find out what the heck he was talking about.

        I still don’t have a clue.

    3. A real prophecy is a vision of the present time, not fortune-telling about the future.
      Look at the old-Testament prophets. They did sometimes talk of things that were likely in the future, but mainly they were speaking truth to power in their own generation. The same is true of Jesus and the saints. The same is true of those we see as prophets in our own time, like Gandhi, MLK Jr., and Dorothy Day.

  5. Yep Zesus (Zeus+Jesus=Zesus) is the god of the IFB Eschatology. A god who is about to rain down distructon on those Left behind and when he gets done he will wear out their Right Behinds as well.

    Of course the Fundie, Scofield-Larkin-Darby-McDonald-ites have it all figured out knowing that they will be ruptured out before the really bad stuff takes place. Especially since they have been such good and faithful servants… that is why they preach doing rather than being. *It’s not who they are in Christ but what they do for him.

  6. After college (and outside IFBdom), I remember hearing my first sermon on the end times, but instead of focusing on the “Jesus is coming and he is going to GET YOU if you’re not a believer!!” aspect, the whole sermon was about the fact that Christ’s return was the culmination of our salvation and the love of God for us. It was a beautiful sermon.

    1. Separating from the world has led many fundamentalists to view unbelievers as the enemy, and since they’ve lost sight of the love and mercy of God, they forget how to love and forgive and have compassion on their enemies. They rage and yell and condemn instead of serve and love and help.

      Thus thinking of the endtimes, they focus on God destroying their enemies. They have the attitude of Jonah, waiting on the hill outside the city hoping God hurries up and wipes out the sinners, when God is in His mercy waiting so more might repent.

      I feel like a baby, learning the fundamentals of Christianity all over again, because I have righteous indignation down pat but struggle with forgiveness. I find a desire for justice strong in me, but find myself slower to turn to compassion and mercy. It’s ironic that the Jesus I purport to follow told us to be gentle and loving, whereas I am so ready to fight. I want to trade belligerence for humility and tenderness. I want to be so strong that I don’t have to fight, but I can reach out in compassion instead.

      1. That’s beautiful, PW! May God grant you the desires of your heart for His glory. I have those same desires and it sure is easier to change when you get away from the poisonous influence of IFB.

    2. it is weird to hear Revelation preached through whithout the ‘madness’

      there is alot in there besides the anger and smash-iness. jesus that loved us and died for us is in Revelations. and he saves people. lots of people. multitudes without number. who knew!

  7. I think eschatology is extremely important to one’s doctrine and theology. But, this is after having studied it recently, and coming to a solid “view” of eschatology. The eschatology popular in “fundy” circles sadly is popular in most Christian circles, and has led to an attitude of pessimism and defeatism throughout the church, specifically in America.

    1. I agree it’s important. What’s funny is that the Darby, Left Behind view is so new to Christianity. I’d like to hear any of these guys at this conference expound Christ using the same passages, they can’t they get kooky. So Darrell’s right in their case they’d be better off not bothering with speculative conferences that focus on fear.

      Whereas you can keep the continuity of Scripture with other eschatological views. And they are worth looking into after you get over the discordance in your mind and general disgust of the topic.

      Can’t remember from the forums if you’re A or Post. For me, you can easily preach Christ from the Amil position without getting focused on current events and still make sense of books like the Revelation, or at least more sense than a Pre-trib view does, It’s freeing, even. Even the Sermon on the Mount gets affected. So I don’t think looking at eschatology is wrong but if you don’t focus on the centrality of Christ within that scheme you have missed the point.

      And Christ’s blessed Bride should be anxiously, hopefully awaiting His return. A Christ centered hermeneutical view of eschatology is possible. If it’s not Christ centered it loses it’s sanctifying aspect for Christians. And the wild speculation that changes every 5 minutes with technology just makes us look like buffoons.

      Does BJU really specialize in the Gospel in conferences anyway?

  8. For me, these “bible” conferences were always about anger, vengefulness, “they are gonna pay” and we are going to watch and be “joyful”. Nothing about compassion, how to help bring others up. I remember the street ministries where they would stand in the park infront of city hall on Thursday nights screaming “fire and brimstone for all you heathens”. I was only 11, standing there thinking, if I was one of these heathens (which most of the congregation thought I was, cause we asked lots of questions, calling the mog on stuff) being yelled at, I would not go to that church or want anything that they were selling. ๐Ÿ˜•

    1. They keep repeating that part of the cost is building a new loading dock and getting new equipment to be able to make “fresh” “food” for the “university” “students.”

      1. Folks, there’s no way that building a loading dock costs 6 million dollars, or any sizeable fraction of that sum.

        But seriously, if they don’t have a loading dock, how do they get supplies into the building now, and if they don’t have the equipment to prepare fresh food, what are they feeding the students now? Some kind of student chow that they pour into troughs from 100-pound sacks?

  9. My memories of Bible Conference are of me wishing I could have gone home…or anywhere else for that week.. ๐Ÿ˜ The only sermons I seem to remember are the ones from the Rev Ian Paisley blasting at something. I just remember him yelling though, very little of what he actually said. Its mostly a big blank to me.

  10. I’m trying to figure this website out. I’m not a religious/christian person, and the taste I’m getting in my mouth about religious people is that they all hate each other and make fun? Somebody enlighten me please…

    1. Hate? I try my best not to hate anybody. If fundamentalism is not your background then I see how it might seem like we hate people.

      Make fun? I do try to use humor to make a point. Again if fundamentalism is not your background then the jokes probably don’t make much sense.

    2. Mary, the folks on this site are people who have been hurt by the Independent Fundamental Baptist movement. In some cases they have been severely damaged by the cult-like things that they have experienced.

      For some, sarcasm is the best way to deal with the pain and experience healing. Others simply need to vent. Some post to make people aware of the spiritual abuse that goes on. There may be hatred here, directed at the system or even individuals, and those who hate need grace.

      We all need grace.

    3. Hi, Mary West, and welcome to the comments section.
      It sounds as though you don’t have an extensive background in religion, so excuse me if I’m wrong and you already know what I’m about to try to explain.

      It seems to me that one of the biggest problems in the meeting between “people of faith” and the rest of the world is that religions tend to be defined in the public imagination by their most extreme elements. It’s easy to see how this happens, because the extremists make the most noise and create the most ruckus. After all, mainstream Christians are not the ones picketing funerals with offensive signs, sponsoring insane television and radio shows, and trying to pass laws to force everyone to behave exactly the way they do; just as mainstream Muslims are not the ones setting off bombs everywhere, and mainstream Hindus are not the ones who riot and kill innocent Muslims, and so on. The extremist fringe, however, is usually not a good representation of a broad religious movement as a whole.

      Fundamentalist Christians (however one defines that term) are a minority of Christians in the U.S., but they have inordinate influence due to their shrewd participation in politics (these days, mainly Republican Party politics, although that was not always the case), and disproportionate visibility and public recognition due to their many promotional activities (some of them very successful) and relentless fundraising.

      Some of us who come from the Fundamentalist orbit in one way or another feel a need to comment on (and, yes, make fun of the absurdities of) Fundamentalist dogma and activities, especially given the huge influence and visibility of Fundamentalists in American society and even government (and in some other countries, but I think the majority of people on this site are Americans).

      On “Stuff Fundies Like” you will read and see a lot about the Independent Fundamental Baptist churches and leadership. This is a fairly small group within Christianity, and even among Baptists, but it has outsized fame and influence. It includes such people as Jerry Falwell and Mike Huckabee, for example.

      There are plenty of Fundies in other churches, but they’ll get more attention on other web sites. Some people here have talked about Rick Santorum, who represents a Roman Catholic strain of extreme Fundamentalism, because much of his national base of support is with Fundamentalists of various denominations, including some Independent Fundamental Baptists. Newt Gingrich, a fairly recent convert to the Catholic Church, has also played heavily for the support of Baptist Fundamentalists in his presidential campaign.

      Now I’m rambling. If you have more questions, post them here.

    4. @ Mary West This site definitely has nothing to offer you based on how you describe yourself. I’m sure there are much better places for you to be spending your time. :mrgreen:

    5. Mary, while most of us here have had a bad experience with a brand of “religion”, a good percentage of us use this site to help us learn to separate institutional religion from the relationship with our Creator. Satire is a good tool to help us purge out the made-made parts of religion and get back to the basics: God loves us and wants us to love Him.

  11. If you are interested in a different view of prophecy that bases itself more on what Jesus said would come to pass than on wild speculations based on misreadings of Daniel and Ezekiel, check out the view of Partial Preterism. I am sure that it is not perfect, but it definitely is more solid than this stuff.

  12. Avoid preaching about the Jesus of the Gospels at all costs. If you talk too much about Jesus, folks might look behind the curtain and realize that Jesus and fundamentalism are not synonymous.

  13. Hey, everyone. Longtime lurker delurking to reply to Mary West.First, a bit of background since you stated you aren’t familiar w/relig.ion/Christianity There is sort of a fringe element to Christianity called fundamentalism. It’s known for being legalistic, narrow minded, concerned with standards and appearances to the exclusion of the love of God and the Gospel of Christ. (which is what Christianity is supposed to teach). Most everyone posting (and lurking)haere has been in some way involved with this fringe element-sadly it’s been to their detriment. People come here to share their experiences, talk things out,have a good laugh over some of the ridiculous things that they were led to believe and do. You could think of it as a recovery room of sorts. They’re a good group, these folks.

  14. The thing is, there has already been a mass exodus (and growing larger) of former BJ students and faculty who have left the BJ way of life and thinking behind. The school is in financial trouble now. I feel bad for the current students, because so many of them will also go through the dark days of seeing their manmade faith crumble as they struggle to find the real Christ of the real Gospels. But, especially with the trail now broken by so many of us who have stayed in the faith but left Fundamentalism behind, I’m confident of an even larger exodus from BJ-style fundyism. And yet, the administration of Bob Jones University doesn’t seem to realize that. Increasingly, their departure from the faith is being documented and analyzed and made a public record. But they just keep playing their losing game.

  15. I’ve heard descriptions of churches whose morning sermons seemed to be the salvation plan, again and again. The churches I attended didn’t want to be like that: they wanted to teach “the whole counsel of God.” But in choosing obscure passages from the OT, they often ended up losing sight of Jesus altogether.

  16. I have to say that I have been somewhat lackidaisical in my passion about the Rapture. Until someone mentioned that it was practically ALL Jesus spoke about! Since then, I have tried to keep up with current events more. Not that it’s any predictor or anything. Just because the AntiChrist might slip up or something and we could get a few more years of blessing before the Rapture. At least there would be enough time for Titus to become a Senior Pastor!!

  17. Remember one of the last events that happened at the fundy church I last went to was that they showed a DVD by some evangelist, I think it was Van Impe but I’m not sure, talking about how the world was going to end in 2012 and how Obama was the Anti-Christ. They really played it up, and people who didn’t normally go there went to see the video. Before it was even over people were leaving in droves, talking about how crazy the church had become. Needless to say the church is now closed.

  18. When my dad was a graduate student at PCC, we attended The Campus Church ™. During one Sunday evening sermon, the senior pastor asked, “Imagine you are new to a town, or just visiting, and looking for a church to attend. There are two churches that look like good candidates, and they happen to be right across the street from each other. Each church has the title of the next sermon on its sign. One reads, ‘The Beauties of Jesus” and the other, ‘Who is the Antichrist?’ Which church do you choose?”

    He said he would choose “The Beauties of Jesus.” I was shocked. Even at nine years of age, both The Campus Church ™ and my GARBC church back home had thoroughly convinced me of the importance of understanding and interpreting End Times Prophecy ™. I’ve changed my mind since then, and would much rather hear about “The Beauties of Jesus” but I’m still shocked that he, of all people would come out there, of all places, in favor of it. Especially given the usual content of his sermons, and that group’s enthusiasm for them.

  19. While we can all joke about this โ€œend timesโ€ nonsense, sadly it’s had an impact on American foreign policy. Presidents Truman, Reagan and Bush Jr were all Christian Zionists. It also explains why three of four Republican candidates for president want to start bombing Iran yesterday. My two nephews will soon be old enough for the draft (if itโ€™s brought back). I don’t want them to die on the other side of the planet based on this “end times” nonsense.

  20. Tried watching the sermon at Bible Conference at BJU online just now. Had to stop wasting my time. Saw the “Having trouble viewing video?” I wanted to click on it and reply, yes! My ears are bleeding and I’ve gone blind!!!” Yet again, another Jesusless sermon…

  21. Since our fearless leader was prostrate watching the Bible games…er I mean Bible Conference @BJU, I just watched the music part. A friend of mine, who is a BJ grad, said that what they should do is sell a painting, they could build that food mall in no time. Plus they could actually pay their teachers what they are worth. (OK, some of you might say worthless) Plus, that big rat outside the kitchen could use better digs. Isn’t this the third year on this? I thought God owns a cattle on a thousand hills? Perhaps He is telling BJU something that they cannot hear.

  22. Something a great teacher of mine shared with me about Bible prophecy:

    Prophecy was given by God to show Himself to us, and to teach us more about Him. That includes prophecy that seems to be talking about the future. Any “study” of prophecy that neglects this fact is bound to have errors and cause confusion.

    I always try to remember that when I’m reading a prophetic passage. Even if I don’t understand a future prophecy completely (and no one else seems to either), I’m missing the point if that is all I focus on. I need to focus on what God is trying to teach me about Himself in this passage. It’s certainly a much more encouraging view of prophecy then the usual doom and destruction fundy view.

  23. I don’t get it- Lets honor is name and dishonor his words?
    God’s kingdom, prophecy, and “eschatology” are deeply rooted in some of the central teaching of Christ. It is absurd to run around crying out”Jesus is Lord” and then not honor themes that were at the heart of his teaching.

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