SFL Flashback: The “Weaker Brother

weakerbrother

This post was originally featured on SFL in March of 2009

For when the claim of the “appearance of evil” just isn’t enough to create the required amount of fundamentalist guilt, the “weaker brother” technique is the veritable Swiss Army knife of fundamentalist arguments, ready to be whipped out in a moment to do any job that requires guilt and manipulation.

The argument goes something like this: “Now we know that there’s probably nothing wrong with doing X, but X is something that someone out there somewhere may think is wrong. And if that person by some chance happened to see you doing X, or thinking about doing X, or talking about having done X, or goes through your wallet and finds receipts for costs incurred doing X, then that person will surely stumble and become a Presbyterian.”

The Weaker Brother claim is great for making rules against all those things that aren’t morally wrong but that fundamentalists are convinced you shouldn’t be doing anyway. He’s a handy guy for any moralizing legalist to have around. The problem is that nobody really ever seems to know who the weaker brother is. Certainly nobody in a fundamentalist church claims the title for themselves. As near as one can tell he’s sort of a shadowy character who spends all of his time hanging around outside places like bowling alleys and gas stations that sell booze, looking to see if anybody else is going in so he can get offended. The weaker brother apparently has a lot of time on his hands.

Be on the lookout for this poor and troubled soul wherever you go. He may be weak but he’s a fundamentalist force to be reckoned with.

190 thoughts on “SFL Flashback: The “Weaker Brother”

    1. Five words, Mag:

      “HARRISON BERGERON” BY KURT VONNEGUT.

      (A satire of a world taken over by secular Professional Weaker Brethren — “Insist Upon Your Constitutional Right to Be Equal!”)

  1. I never understood why, instead of praying with and educating the weaker brother, fundies would rather just make up rules for things that aren’t sinful. Some things people get offended about are just cultural, so why not pray with and educate? I get that if someone is dead set in their convictions, we should respect those convictions and not go out of our way to offend…but the weaker brother argument makes Christian liberty impossible.

    1. I think making all the rules lets them be like the Pharisee who went to the temple to pray, who can then brag about how much better they are because of all the rules they keep and all the things they don’t do that everyone else does. They seem to forget that Jesus said that everyone who exalts themselves shall be humbled, and everyone who humbles themselves shall be exalted.

      1. It’s definitely about pride as well as power,which in turn, when you exercise control over another person, then adds to your sense of arrogance! It’s a vicious circle and apparently quite intoxicating for those who use this “spiritual” technique for manipulating others.

    2. And there’s also a problem here of applying modern definitions to a word (offend) which actually has a completely different meaning in Greek and in KJV English. It doesn’t mean “to make someone feel bad or upset.” If that’s the standard, you’re right–there is no Christian liberty at all. There’s no way we can possibly avoid making anyone ever feel offended–especially when we can’t see hearts and people aren’t always truthful about how they feel over something.

      “Offend” means to place a stumbling block in someone’s way. The “weaker brother” is not the fundy family down the road who won’t drink or go to movies or allow their girls to go out in anything but ankle-length skirts. They are convinced in their minds, and nothing you do is going to change them. The weaker brother is the the one who is unstable, who isn’t sure what’s right and who may be tempted to do something that would violate his conscience (and thus be sin for him) just because you did it. There are not many adults like this, and they are fairly easy to spot. I know 1.

  2. Too many fundies I have known have devoured their young. They spend way too much time looking around them to make sure that others “behave.” There are way too many trivial rules and hidden agendas.

    1. Exactly! They express this in Biblical terms so it looks like you’re being obedient to God when you give up things so some undetermined someone out there somewhere won’t be offended, but in truth you end up violating Col. 2: “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. . . Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. . . Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.”

      1. Dear pastor’s wife:

        Do not handle, do not taste, do no touch …

        Isn’t it astonishing how consistently these words are used to their opposite intention.

        Christian Socialist

        1. It IS astonishing.

          It sort of shakes up your whole worldview as a fundy when you start reading the Bible with open eyes and realize that a LOT of things don’t line up with what you were taught all your life.

  3. My sister is a type 1 diabetic. She couldn’t have sugar, so suddenly I couldn’t have sugar. I started drinking my tea and even KOOLAID without sugar, lol (this was before sugar-free Koolaid).

    It’s sort of the same thing. There’s not a lot of logic to it. Just because Person A can’t do something, it doesn’t follow that Person B can’t do it. Person B might CHOOSE to not do it, but there’s a big difference between choosing and not being able to do it.

    Oh, and I was also only 6 at the time. So there’s that. I eventually grew out of my 6 yo logic and started snarfling Whatchamacallits again. Still hate sweet tea, though.

      1. I prefer lightly sweetened or un-sweetened, and I grew up in the cradle of “swaayt tay”. I am NOT a fan of the hummingbird nectar served by diner waitresses around here.

        A few years ago, a bunch of ladies at our church got in a huff over a dessert taken to the Ladies Missionary Fellowship. In their opinion, the offender should have known they were on diets and brought a sugar free snack. Of course, the non-dieters were unaware they were supposed to suffer with them, so as not to offend.

    1. First of all if it doesn’t have sugar then it’s not tea. My mom decided to stop putting sugar in the tea when I was a child so I quit drinking it until she changed her evils ways. As to the weaker brother issue I’m not sure if this applies or not but the comments here have brought it to my mind. I now attend an Antiochian Orthodox Church. As you may know, the Orthodox Church has many times of fasting throughout the liturgical year. The Parish that I attend has refreshments after services on Sunday. One Sunday, a young lady who had just started attending brought some refreshments that were among the foods we were not eating that day. I was very proud of my Parish because no one made a fuss over it. Most everyone ate some of what she had brought. (It was a delicious cheesecake but dairy was verboten that day.) Like I say, I’m not sure that story fits what we are talking about here or not. My church could have tried to show her how holy we were but we felt that she was more important than the rules. :roll:

    1. Actually if I want to visit my local fundymental institution I am going to get a Tee-Shirt with a photo of the Earth, taken from Space, and the words “WISH YOU WERE HERE”

  4. When I was a teenager, my friend and I coined the phrase “invoking my weaker brother status” whenever one of us was doing something or listening to something the other one did not approve of…

  5. I always hated this rule. It’s why we couldn’t go to the movies. You were seeing a G movie, but they might think you were seeing the XXX in the next theater. Not that they ever do that, but that was the example that was always given.

    1. When I used that explanation to an unbelieving friend when he asked why Christians didn’t go to movies, he told me that was the stupidest thing he had ever heard. That he knew me, and knew what movies I wasn’t going to see. That was the beginning of one of my steps toward my escape.

    2. I once went to see a Laurie Anderson concert movie at a theater in Germany where all the other movies showing were hard-core porno flicks (a “sex kino,” as Germans call such a theater). No sex, no nudity, no violence, no profanity– I’m not sure how that film ended up in that theater. I wasn’t worried about what people would think of me (nobody in that town knew me anyway)– I was worried about whether the seats would be sticky.

  6. Being the Weaker Brother sounds like the best job ever.
    Your life is stress-free, because you don’t make any decisions for yourself, and besides, you get to do all manner of wild and crazy stuff.

    “Hi, I’m your Weaker Brother. If I see you sipping a glass of wine, I’m going to get a barrel of Everclear and go on a month-long bender. If I see you tap your foot to music, I’ll quit my job and follow the Grateful Dead around full-time for the next 10 years. If I see you and your spouse holding hands, I’ll rape and pillage everything in sight. So hurry up and do something.”

    1. “So hurry up and do something!” Kind of an interesting reason NOT to drink/eat/see/listen to the wrong kind of whatever. I like to think of this poor, frustrated Weaker Brother following Christians around and getting nowhere. “C’mon, guys, just a sip of beer? A sneak-peek at Playboy? Hum a Beatles tune, anything! I’m dying over here!” and it almost makes Going Without worth it, watching them squirm with impatience, knowing they can not actively do ANYTHING without your permission, in effect.
      I suppose this argument could be used if you’re trying to quit smoking, but without a personal commitment the entire argument just fizzles out over time. :twisted:

  7. I’m offended when I don’t replies to my comments! :wink: On a serious note, I have seen this argument used time and again to enforce the status quo, and I;m thinking of schools in particular. The weaker brother usually means someone very conservative, older than you, and (what I sometimes suspect) has a lot of sway in certain areas.

  8. Ah, the Iron Fisted rule of the “Weaker Brother” syndrome.

    Enabled and empowered by the Doctrine of The Appearance of Evil, the Doctrine of The Weaker Brother forms the basic building blocks for the foundation of the IFB power structure.

    The Doctrine of the Weaker Brother, simply put, declares that the local standards and rules of the local fundie bunker will take precedence over Biblical commands since they (the local rules and standards) are given in order to enhance and refine any vague referenced in Scripture.

    The Doctrine of the Weaker Brother is, as I stated, empowered by the Doctrine of the Appearance of Evil. If it looks worldly, or can be seen as something subjectively questionable it falls under the jurisdiction of the Weaker Brother Police force. The primary law the Bunker police look to enforce is the Law of offence.

    The Law of offence is whether or not an action or attitude would offend the sensibilities of anyone who might observe another bunker mate emgaging in, partaking of, or enjoying anything that the observer/informant might find “offensive.”

    1. Dear Don:

      OK so someone who knows your a Christian is walking down the street when they see you walking into a bar … How many times has it been asked, ‘what would THAT look like!’

      ‘Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven’ [Mt 6:1].

      Christian Socialist

      1. Well, for one thing, a Christian walking into a bar is often the start of a good joke. Of course he needs to be accompanied by a priest and a rabbi to do it right. :grin:

      2. Well, for one thing, a Christian walking into a bar often looks like the start of a good joke. Of course he needs to be accompanied by a priest and a rabbi to do it right. :grin:

      3. Dear Panda Rose:

        Well if you put it THAT way …

        You’re in a bar when five people enter. You are told that they are Christians, and that one is a Lutheran, one is an Episcopalian, one is a Presbyterian, one is a Catholic, and one is an Independent Fundamental Baptist.

        Question: How do you tell which patron is the Independent, Fundamental Baptist?

        Answer: The others have no conscience issues, and will be friendly toward you. :lol:

        Christian Socialist

  9. Random IFB video of the day. One of Schaap’s good friends and Hyles disciple Larry Brown describes how Deacon’s wives should dress

    1. “Runnin’ around in yo’ stretch pants, showing yo’ big fat. . .self.”—shouts the fat guy in the ill-fitting suit.

      Pot, meet Kettle.

    2. Look up the video “Larry Brown shoots on Rick Warren”. He’s standing on top of Schaap’s pulpit ripping up Rick Warren. Also, he’s the same guy who said “Layed the double barrel down and blew the devil out of that crowd” referencing to teenagers wearing jeans and mini skirts.

    3. here is Brown describing how teenagers should wear. Notice that he’s standing on top of Schaap’s pulpit.

    4. What amazes me when I watch clips like this is why they go back to their notes. They say the same thing over and over, know which hot buttons to push, know what phrases will get the crowd going, etc. Everything they say should be memorized by now, because it is repetition.
      It is why people flee…and leave IFB churches…by the “groves.” (someone will get that reference to a recent post)

  10. This is the same guy who climbed on top of the pulpit at Pastors School 2008 then went on a rant on Rick Warren and teenage girls wearing blue jeans.

        1. Correct. They are established by YOU in your walk as a follower of Christ. You are accountable to him alone. It baffles me how Paul’s advice on submitting in love to one another has become a situation where we make rules for an HYPOTHETICAL easily-offended person. Who may not even exist. :shock:

      1. Actually it does mean I am free to do whatever I want… the trick is my wants are now centered in Christ and I am being comformed to his image. Not conformed to the image the Weaker Brother has of Christ but to the Image of Christ himself because his Spirit is within me, guiding and conforming me to that image.

        Where the IFB would have someone conform their appearance to what the IFB deems acceptable, and by adjusting the appearance or embracing their outward morality one is judged to be right with God. Yet the Lord looks on the heart. The Lord actually does the comforming internally rather than externally. And as with all things what is in one’s heart will manifest itself in how we act and what we do. (In other words one can act like a Christian according to an accepted set of external standards and not be saved. cf Matthew 7:21-23. Yet when one is saved it will manifest in how one acts and what one does. cf. Luke 6:44-46, Matt 12:33-35)

    1. Where to start?

      Don’t listen to CCM
      Don’t listen to any music with a beat
      Don’t dance ever, not even ballet
      Don’t own a TV
      Don’t go to movies
      Don’t read books that are popular
      Don’t wear clothes that are popular (trendy=worldly)
      Don’t wear pants to church if you’re a woman
      Don’t wear pants ever if you’re a woman
      Don’t swim with members of the opposite sex
      Don’t swim in regular bathing suits
      Don’t wear open-toed shoes
      Don’t wear make-up
      Don’t wear jewelry or get piercings if you’re a man
      Don’t get your ears pierced in you’re a woman
      Don’t get a tattoo
      Don’t skip Sunday School
      Don’t go to a church without a Sunday PM service
      Don’t read any version of the Bible except KJV
      Don’t hold hands before marriage
      Don’t kiss before marriage
      Don’t date – ever – only court
      Don’t wear casual clothes to church
      Don’t play sports on Sunday
      Don’t criticize the pastor
      Don’t look sad; always look happy
      Don’t admit you don’t like housework (if a woman)
      Don’t go trick-or-treating
      Don’t go to restaurants with a bar
      Don’t attend any interdenominational event
      Don’t read fiction
      Don’t spend time or money on “feel good”, “social gospel” activities instead of soulwinning

      Different IFB churches emphasize different things, but all of these are things that have been told to me or someone I know as rules to follow in order to please God.

        1. Nice, doh.

          You ask someone to give you examples of rules imposed in IFB churches. I gave you a list of ones imposed by my parents, my churches, my Christian schools, my college (BJU), as well my friends’ experiences.

          Then you call me crazy and say I don’t know what I’m talking about, as if my 40 plus years in fundamentalism don’t qualify me to describe my own experience.

        2. @doh
          If you are going to ask a question you already “know” the answer to, then don’t ask it and then look foolish with your rejoinder. I grew up in a Hyles wanna-be church. Most of these were rules in our church and the Christian school I attended, as well as the churches we associated with. PW is correct, and boymom is correct. You owe an apology.

          I suppose you have many years experience to back up your denial, or are you self-educated?

        3. apologize? for what? she obviusly thinks that most fundamentalist are crazy for having standards? most of what she listed is crazy to even thinks is wrong. she is getting no apology from me.

        4. Dear doh:

          So — you first solicit an answer; and when it is given, you hurl an accusation of lying. Were poor form the issue, I would pass by this indiscretion. But you, doh, slandered another board participant.

          Of the points pastor’s wife listed, any number can be found [for example] in the Bob Jones University Student Handbook.

          Know that your behavioral misconduct is no credit to your cause you represent. Nor can you hide your action behind the anonymity of the world-wide-web.

          It belongs to you to confess your wrongdoing to pastor’s wife and to ask her forgiveness.

          You stand in violation of the ninth commandment, doh.

          Christian Socialist

      1. some of those supposed rules i cna’t believe you would put your stamp of approval on….. but most of those are crazy and I don’t think you reallu understand what goes on in fundamental churches

        1. Dear doh,

          Most (perhaps all) the people who comment on this site attended fundamentalist churches/colleges/schools/etc at some point in their lives, many for their entire childhood and onward. We certainly do know what fundamentalist churches are like, hence the reason we find the satire of this site amusing (my relatives who have never been in a fundamentalist church or school would find this site boring, and they wouldn’t have any interest in reading it). I was born and raised in independent baptist fundamentalism, I attended a IFB church, school, and eventually college. And yes, plenty of those rules pastor’s wife listed were taught to me.

          Naturally, not every IFB church is exactly the same, and I’ve even attended some IFB churches that did not have these restrictive rules. Maybe that has been your experience. But your experience does not invalidate ours.

        2. i get your point hazel eye. but everything in life must have some standards. if there wan not a standard of living then society would crumble

        3. So, Doh, you don’t put your “stamp of approval” on people having the freedom to choose how they’ll live their lives?

          That’s ok. God does. He gave us free will, after all. You don’t have to like it. You don’t even have to approve of it. You just have to accept it.

          Signed,

          Someone who has broken every single one of those standards at one time or another in her life :grin:

        4. Dear doh:

          In your Aug 18, 1:09 pm post, you wrote:

          ‘most of those [rules] are crazy …’

          In your Aug 18, 4:21 pm post, you wrote:

          ‘everything in life must have some standards…’

          So, doh — most of the rules are crazy, but everything needs standards. So are you arguing that those rules don’t exist and are crazy, or that those rules are necessary? Which is it?

          Christian Socialist

          PS: Remember — you violated the 9th commandment by accusing pastor’s wife of lying. You need to make that right.

        5. Speaking of not having self-control, lol! Wow, did THAT come out of left field.

          Perhaps next time you can keep your viperous tongue (and fingers) under better “self-control.” After all, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks … “

        6. PS: Remember — you violated the 9th commandment by accusing pastor’s wife of lying. You need to make that right.

          uh let me think about that one for a second………. no thanks

        7. “Judge not according to appearances but judge a righteous judgment.”

          But regardless: How did *I judge you? Seems to me you were the one calling names. :)I merely suggested you might try using some self-control in the future. You’re welcome not to, of course — it’s absolutely your right and your choice. But no one will want to “play” with you if you keep acting like an ass.

          That’s not judging. It’s called natural consequences. (Gosh, I have three kids under the age of 10, and they ALL get this. You act like a jerk, and no one will like you. Apparently adults don’t get it. Sad. So sad.)

        8. Dear doh:

          Your Aug 18, 1:07 pm visible on this page addresses pastor’s wife stating:

          ‘that is not true and you know that.’

          Your remark posted 1:07 accuses pastor’s wife of wittingly posting what she knew to be false.

          As my Aug 18, 5:11 pm post states, any number of the rules pastor’s wife referenced are found in the Bob Jones University Student Handbook. Since school policy stipulates that every student is to receive and be familiar with that handbook, it is evident that these things are known.

          If you refuse to confess bearing false witness against pastor’s wife and asking her forgiveness, then the next most honorable action for you is to approach your church council and inform it that you are not living in fellowship God’s people or with the Lord Jesus Christ and that you stand to be suspended from the Lord’s Table.

          Your false witness against pastor’s wife does not and will not stand. Do right, doh. Confess your slander in your post at 1:07 pm of Aug 18, and ask her forgiveness.

          Christian Socialist

      2. Just reading that entire list makes me realize there’s no hope for me. About the only group that could carry all that out are the Amish and I bet even they bend some of the rules.
        Although, if you think about it in the right wrong way, a lot of those Don’t would apply to life in that ideal town run by Sheriff Andy Taylor, Mayberry, NC. Hmmm… :razz:

        1. None of those rules have anything to do with self-control. Rather, they are self-imposed restrictions.

        2. Unfortunately, doh, the rules in fundamentalism have very little to do with “self control” and everything to do with control. The ones setting and enforcing the endless lists of man-made rules and regulations are not required to follow them because they do not consider themselves accountable to anyone else.

        3. Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.

        4. In my experience in Fundy land, all the rules that were listed above by Pastor’s Wife were made based on the assumption that the average member/christian was helpless to control themselves. Rules, lots of them, were then made to keep them “in line”.

          Looking back on it, it was very patronizing and condescending. I’ve often felt it took away from the Holy Spirit’s job to guide and teach us and help us to learn from our mistakes.

          I know that once I left this culture, I felt the invisible fence lift, and the freedom felt a bit intimidating. It’s been years since I’ve left, and every once in awhile, the feeling still gives me a jolt every so often. This is my experience, some may identify with it, and some won’t.

        5. The rules as posted are silly. Hence the site, Nu? And I’m refusing to feed the troll any longer. :evil:

  11. Dear Professional Weaker Brother …

    Biblically understood, the weaker brother sees stronger brothers doing something [ex: eating meat sacrificed to an idol]. Emboldened by that example, the weaker brother eats also, even though he is convinced in his heart that he is doing wrong and therefore feels condemned So the stronger are not to flaunt their strength [1Co 8:4-13].

    Then again, the weak are not to condemn the stronger who can eat in good faith [Ro 14:1-23]. Stronger brothers answerable NOT to the weaker brother but to Christ. By applying this to foods and days of religious observance, Ro 14 shows that is it not the ‘ISSUE’ but the PRINCIPLE that is in view here.

    Both pieces of instruction must be held in tandem.

    So it is true that Paul would never eat meat again if it led a weaker brother to eat to the destruction of his conscience. But Paul also asked:

    ‘why do you judge your brother?’
    ‘why do you regard your brother with contempt?’

    Paul’s concern here focuses on what we might call the ‘Professional Weaker Brother.’ The Professional Weaker Brother’s concern is NOT with the destruction of conscience, but the desire to manipulate and control others as of bringing them into bondage. This is not acting in love.

    The Professional Weaker Brother wants to disallow others to believe and practice Ro 14:22. According to the PWB, you’re not supposed to have your own conviction before God; you’re supposed to have abide by the PWB’s prescriptions FOR you.

    Paul said that happy is he who does not condemn hmself in what he approves. The PWB WON’T be happy unless you CAN’T do what he condemns.

    In answer, it is entirely appropriate to inform the PWB, ‘if your conscience is offended by what we eat, drink or do, don’t do it.’

    When that fails, the PWB reverts announcing forbidden judgment and holding others with contempt, in violation of Ro 14:10.

    PWBs need to be told that God alone is Lord of the conscience, and has set it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, that to obey their dictates for conscience’ sake, is to refuse that true liberty which Christ has wrought for us.

    Whe PWB syndrome legislates and normalizes spiritual immaturity and sits in judgment on those who are stronger than themselves.

    The PWB practices clear disobedience. This behavior is not to be tolerated.

    Christian Socialist

  12. I’m happy to see this posted — it is one of my favorite older posts. As I’ve read through the archives, I’ve thought that many of the posts merit reposting. I think I’m going to enjoy Saturdays, if this becomes a regular thing. :wink:

    1. I’m happy to see this posted — it is one of my favorite older posts. As I’ve read through the archives, I’ve thought that many of the posts merit reposting. I think I’m going to enjoy Saturdays, if this becomes a regular thing.

      Um….. do you have a life?

  13. Doh,

    Which of those rules (as above) do you see as a precursor – or an emblem – of societal downfall?

      1. It’s laughable to see someone who appears incapable of spelling, punctuating or using proper capitalization in his posts accusing someone else of not having a brain. That’s really funny.

        1. You, doh, have a filthy mind. A polecat is not a stripper. It’s an animal — with stripes. Look it up. Educate yourself.

        2. polecat has a potty mouth. she is taking this whole liberty in christ thing to whole new level. congratulations.

        3. This coming from a pervert who called one woman a “ho” and accused another of being a stripper because she uses polecat (another word for SKUNK) in her SN. :roll: :roll:

          And yeah, I do have a potty mouth. I can out-sailor any sailor, and I’m damned proud of it.

  14. Doh,

    I asked a serious question and you chose to respond in a drive by rude and non respectful manner. I did not in your response a spelling error and a sentence fragment.

    But, anyway, I still want to know of those rules you feel are leading to our downfall. You may choose again to insult me and it is of no effect. One is known by their fruits, is that not the truth?

    Please answer me forthrightly with some thought. You still a fleeting chance of considered intelligent depending upon your answer.

    Thank you Doh.

  15. I was fortunate enough not to grow up in an IFB church. The church I did grow up had a pastor who I think handled this issue very well. Whenever he’d go out to eat with folks from the church, he’d order himself a beer – after asking if everyone would be OK with that. Everyone always was, but he’d always check first. It was great.

  16. correction to my response above –

    I should have written –

    “I saw in your response a spelling error and a sentence fragment.”

    I see and then correct my mistakes and admit them.

  17. With reference to the “list” posted by Pastor’s Wife, I can verify that these rules are all very real. I grew up about 2 generations removed from Amish/Mennonite (I think someone mentioned them), and then I got into a church which became a Hyles wanna-be (also mentioned by someone). What was I THINKING??!! I drank the Kool-Aid, and I thought I was oh, so spiritual. That list was right on target, plus a few more I’ll bet you’ve not heard of. I’m convinced that the reason behind such a list is the need to control and dominate. If you’ve “been there”, I don’t need to go into more details. Fortunately, I finally bought a clue and I “get it”.

    Doh, you still don’t get it. You need to apologize to Pastor’s Wife.

        1. Sorry, doh, I’m outta here. I didn’t get to be 69 years old because I like to be called names like “ho”. I assume that is short for “whore”. The end.

        2. Jo, it could be a troll, or it could be a particularly nasty Poe. Either way, it’s not worth getting upset over. Just don’t feed it, and it will go away.

    1. How disappointing. No Troll worth its salt ever admits to being a Troll. That’s like prank-calling someone, then telling the victim you’re joking before hanging up. Weak form.

      1. JEREMY C: How disappointing. No Troll worth its salt ever admits to being a Troll. That’s like prank-calling someone, then telling the victim you’re joking before hanging up. Weak form.

        how dare you say i am a weak troll. how dare you act as if you are a god or something and pronounce your judgment on me??

        1. I’m no Jehova’s Witness, ancient pagan, neo-pagan, Hindu or Mormon. Sorry for the confusion.

        2. You accused me of acting as if I were a god. Those are the only religious beliefs I could think of off-hand that believe in little-g gods. Though in retrospect, I think only 2 of them believe that us mortals can become gods, so may I should have stuck with ancient paganism and Mormonism.

          But yes. I am weird.

    2. POLECATE STATES: That’s ok. God does. He gave us free will, after all. You don’t have to like it. You don’t even have to approve of it. You just have to accept it.

      THEN POLECAT SAYS: Judge not according to appearances but judge a righteous judgment

      so which is it dude? either it’s okay for people to do whatever they want or they should have a standard of living that correlates with biblical principle???

        1. Persnickety Polecat August 18, 2012 at 7:17 pm

          AYFKM?

          my my my. this lady actually has children folks.

        2. What do my children have to do with how I speak on a message board, pray tell?

          Here’s a hint: They don’t.

          HTH.

        3. Since when does one have to be physically attractive to post here? lmao. I’ll keep posting, and you just feel free to scroll right on past my ugly mug. Deal?

    3. Dear doh:

      You are here to demonstrate your refusal to think with the mind of Christ, or to be in submission to his royal word. Continue in this course and my thinking is that this will become apparent to you, presuming that it hasn’t already.

      Christian Socialist

        1. Dear doh:

          My sense is that you’re being ‘frozen out’ of this forum. You have no credibility currency.

          My guess is that until you confess your wrongdoing to pastor’s wife and ask her forgiveness, you’re not going to get the time of day around here.

          Christian Socialist

  18. I’ve concluded 2 things from reading these comments.

    1. Doh is either a Troll of a Fundy, and there is no use reasoning with either one as they can’t see past their own bias. (I’m voting Troll by the way.)

    2. I don’t ever want to get on Christian Socialist’s bad side. The icily polite logical verbal beat down he or she delivered to Doh over and over again is devastating to read.

    1. I have enjoyed reading Christian Socialist’s replies. But, as he/she likely knows, answering a fool is done for the benefit of those around us. Some will be entertained, and maybe those only headed to foolishness may see the light. For the truly foolish, there is no hope. Their darkness is impenetrable by man alone.

      doh, if you are still up, please show me anywhere in Scripture that commands a particular political view.
      That’s what I thought. You can’t. So end the political non sequtuirs. Not that they make you look any more foolish. That would be impossible.

        1. Dear doh:

          Again, you are here not to waste time but to discover what is in your heart. You will do one of two things, doh.

          Either …

          1] You will confess your wrongdoing to pastor’s wife and ask her forgiveness,

          OR

          2] You will demonstrate spiritual solidarity with with the mockers and scorners of Ps 1, with those who attended to Jesus’ execution in Mt 27, Mk 15, Lu 23 and Jo 19, for your insults, taunts, etc. proceed from the same heart untouched by the gospel.

          Those are your options, doh. Confess and reconcile, or continue sinning against the truth until even the light that is in you is darkness.

          You may be bemused by your behavior. You may find the attention gratifying. You do not realize that sinning against the truth is spiritually devastating [2Th 2:10-12].

          Even a school boy can see that had you any compelling arguments, you’d use them rather than posting what you do. But the import of your behavior goes far beyond anything you post here. It concerns your relationship with God’s law and with Yahweh God, King of all time and creation.

          It is Yahweh God, who spoke at creation, who spoke at Mount Sinai, who spoke again at Mount Calvary, and who will speak again on that great and terrible day of Yahweh, Almighty God of heaven and earth.

          It is the God with whom you will have to do, and before whom all peoples shall give an account [Ro 14:12] to whom you SHALL give an account for every careless word Mt 12:36].

          It is that God who tells you now — confess your wrongdoing to pastor’s wife and ask her forgiveness.

          Christian Socialist

        2. doh August 18, 2012 at 9:47 pm
          so you must be a democrat lover too. how are those food stamps uncle wilbur? you back woods bumpkin

          Yep. They are my neighbors.

          Not food stamps–unemployment benefits. 2 1/2 months now. BUT-they should end next week with gainful employment. Thanks for asking.

          You correctly identified me. You must have seen the old pick-up, working man’s tools, pile of firewood in the process of being split, shotgun, canoe, and fishing poles.

    2. 2. I don’t ever want to get on Christian Socialist’s bad side. The icily polite logical verbal beat down he or she delivered to Doh over and over again is devastating to read.

      oh i know…… its so cool. dude, you sound like such a tool.

      1. ^_^ I was just thinking something along those lines as well. The faint grasp on the English language slips a little more with each post…

  19. To post something relevant to the topic now;

    Please, someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve always understood the weaker brother concept that scripture has given to us to be about tempting a brother to sin. It’s not about doing something that someone doesn’t agree with.

    When Paul discusses the meat sacrificed to idols in Corinthians, he doesn’t want those who realize that it’s okay to eat to tempt others to violate their conscience. It’s not about what you eat by yourself, but it’s about setting something in front of a brother who can’t eat meat sacrificed to idols with a clean conscience and telling him that it came from the temple sacrifices.

    If I could use the cliche example of today, that would mean that I can still drink my beer, but I can’t bring it to my friend’s house who just got out of an A.A. meeting. The scripture tells him that he must accept me, and it tells me that I must accept him. He has no right to tell me what to do. If it’s not a temptation to him, I should be able to have some alcohol around him without fear of being judged. If it is truly a temptation for him to sin, he should be able to be around me without fear that he’ll be tempted to violate his conscience.

    1. Yes, I believe you’ve explained the Scriptural teaching on this well. Unfortunately, Darrell’s post explained how it has often been implemented in our churches.

      1. I agree. He did it quite well at that! It seems we’ve given over our behavior and practices to those who claim offense the most. We really have become a bunch of whiners haven’t we? To offend someones feelings is the only true sin anymore.

    2. Yes, you are entirely correct. The Greek word is skandalizo, translated “offended” in Rom 14:21 by the KJV, but means “to entice to sin” or “to trip up” and is correctly translated into modern English as “cause to stumble.”

  20. Sorry guys. Had the same list of rules. Is the no beach in there too. Rules, rules, rules…..and when the weaker brother falls just kick him to the curb. He’s the sheep that’s gone astray and might contaminate the flock ,

  21. Weaker Brother, where art thou? I’ve heard so much about this person, but I’m yet to meet someone so devoid of reasoning as this “weaker brother” is depicted in fundamentalism. This guy, whoever he is, apparently can’t read the Bible, and can’t make any decision without the Man O’gid or a rule book telling him what to do. I feel badly for him, whoever he is.

    1. He existed at one time in a different form, but he was driven out for sinning. Now the fundy pastor uses him much like Napoleon used Snowball in Animal Farm. Anytime you want to control the crowd, invoke the phantom identity.

  22. Beware of powerful people, churches, schools, or organizations who only apply certain principles when it is convenient for them to do so.

    The weaker brother held great sway over the pew sitters, students, and low-ranking staff members at my fundy churches/U. He made sure we obeyed the long list of traditions and preferences that the church/college couldn’t even twist a Bible verse to cover.

    Strangely, Brother Weak held no power what-so-ever over pastors, church higher-ups, and fundy college higher-ups. No amount of offense from Brother Weak or anyone else could stop them from doing what they wanted. After all, they were exercising “Christian liberty”, something we were too spiritually immature to understand and practice for ourselves.

    The problem with this “doctrine” is that it glorifies weakness, something that is never done in Scripture. Instead of truly applying what the Bible is saying about the weaker brother (not flaunting our liberty in Christ; doing what we can to keep our brothers and sisters from stumbling), the fundy doctrine tells the weaker brother to remain weak and for everyone else to join him in his weakness.

    1. Mandy, what you are describing is a Professional Weaker Brother, AKA “Just like Kyle’s Mom, Except CHRSITIAN(TM)!”

      What ends up is that the Professional Weaker Brother gets EVERYTHING his/her way (for his/her convenience) while everyone else has to tiptoe on eggs “or You Could Make Me Stumble(TM)!”

      Any five-year-old or bitchy alcoholic can understand this — He Who Can Throw The Biggest and Longest Temper Tantrum Wins. The Others WILL Eventually Make Peace And Give You What You Want Just To Make You Stop.

      And then once they’ve paid the Danegeld, the Dane keeps coming back for more. And more. And more. “You’re Making Me Stumble!!!!!!”

      1. The fundamentalist concept of the “weaker brother” is, to my mind, really nothing more then a myth. It’s really nothing more then a concept, torn from the pages of Scripture and twisted beyond recognition to be used as a means of control over people. In the real world, there aren’t any poor, timid, weak little Christians that waste all of their time standing around outside movie theaters, bars, the beer isles at stores, etc., just waiting for some other Christian to pass by so that they can assume the worst and use it as an excuse to stumble into sin themselves. And even if such people existed, they are clearly just looking for trouble and have absolutely no one to blame but themselves for falling into sin. In reality, if there is someone waiting around outside places like that to catch Christians going in, its probably some egotistical, self-righteous fundy.

        1. It’s “The Tyranny of the Most Easily Offended” with a Christian coat of paint.

  23. Dear SFL Reader:

    We might also ask how many people have seen faith broken by the imposition of rules and regulations that they were unable to bear.

    Act 15 explains that Judiazers went to Jerusalem to say that it was necessary to circumcise converts and to require them to obey Moses’ law. Among the many memorable speeches that day, Simon Peter made this interesting challenge:

    ‘Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear’ [Acts 15:10]?

    Observations:

    1] Israel’s laws WERE a yoke. They were intended for beasts, but the word came to be a figure of servitude and of hardship.

    2] Simon Peter identifies the yoke as being unbearable — both for the fathers, and for the apostles and elders gathered in Jerusalem.

    3] Simon identified the yoking of the disciple as putting God to the test. This is the same word used in the LXX [OT translated into Greek] at Ex 17:2,7; Ps 78:41, 56; 95:9 and 106:14. The same word [peirazo] is used in Mt 4:1, where Satan tempted Jesus.

    ___________________

    Peter’s ‘put God to the test’ was a stinging rebuke. Immediately, the Judiazers would have heard the OT passages from Exodus and the Psalms. Peter uses the phrase as a kind of summary statement that encapulates ALL of Israel’s history. Neither we nor our fathers were able to bear it. This means that they broke the law continually. This might lead to the recognition that it is possible to magnify the power of the law, which reigned until Christ came. But there is another twist to this. The word ‘bastazo’ [bear] is also the same word which Jesus uses in Lu 14:27, ‘whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.’

    Immediately before the Mt 12 Sabbath controversy, Jesus had just framed the gospel message as a call to the weary and heavy-laden to come himself, and to find that Christ’s burden is light and that Christ himself gives rest. Taken together, these texts [and others like them] lead us to understand taht we can bear the impossible burden of the law, or we can take the light yoke of Christ who gives us rest. And in the middle of it is the recognition that this is an issue which tests God [Act 15].

    Fundamentalists have often made rules and then told us that God expects us to keep them. How many times have we met people who lost all faith because they were first convinced that God meant for them to keep the rules, only to discover that — like the fathers and apostles — they couldn’t.

    This comes at the problem differently than the other Scriptures which I and others noted earlier; but for the weaker brother, the end result is the same.

    Christian Socialist

    1. Is it more the rules themselves or is it the whole culture (pride, arrogance, nitpicking, hypocrisy) that is brought on by focussing so heavily on the rules?

        1. Islam is also into Law (i.e. places great importance on Following the Rules). I would expect some similarities in behavior & attitude, and the more extreme the IFB or mosque, the more extreme the attitude.

    2. Yes, C.S. that’s why I believe Fundamentalists are fundamentally dishonest; both to themselves and outsiders. Any rule for righteousness that we create will be raged against by our sin nature until we break it or another commandment for the sake of our made up rule.

      Before I could argue against the fundamentalism I saw around me, I had to defeat it in myself first. It was painful, and it was easy. All I had to do was be honest about how I was doing with all this rule keeping. Did my life bring about the fruit that Jesus promised? If not, then there was something wrong. I had myself so twisted up in knots that I could barely more w/out ‘sinning.’

      This yoke was not easy nor light. I believe this is why a lot of fundamentalists seem so socially broken and awkward. They are at war with themselves and their own consciences. Everything they do and/or fail to do causes them to sin, and it drives them mad.

      That’s how it was for me. That’s what I saw when they interviewed the church members of Jack Schaap’s church when that scandal broke. It’s what I see in every fundy home school teenager that comes through our youth group.

      1. Dear fundyfascinated:

        A close and dear friend says that when cut, I bleed justice. I never had much patience for the hypocrisy, especially when I saw it hurting folk.

        Your ‘themselves and outsiders’ remark is especially telling. Before incontrovertible evidence of dishonesty, they fall silent.

        Time and again I have seen it. They are incapable of responding. That, or else they flee the situation, or they rage against the light and truth.

        In the main, they cannot imagine on what point of faith or doctrine, they or their teachers [ex: Triplestix (Bob Jones III) himself]might possibly be wrong. Mutual, Biblical submission or exhortation means nothing. I have never met a Bob Jonser who could admit that there was a man on the planet with the mental, spiritual or the academic qualification and integrity to correct Triplestix on anything.

        The most egregious policy/rule I encountered at Bob Jones was one that appeared on each dormitory door. It forbade the refutation of school positions. Ultimately, truth didn’t matter, and everything had to be subjected to that. What unmitigated arrogance.

        Your opening line explains precisely why I elected in mid-semester to leave Bob Jones University.

        Christian Socialist

  24. This is something you find outside the church, too. And again and again on South Park:

    THE TYRANNY OF THE MOST EASILY OFFENDED.

    “Professional Weaker Brethren” are just Kyle’s Mom with a Christian coat of paint.

  25. doh = worst troll EVER(As in he/she is bad at it. Hasn’t made salient point yet).

    Learn to ride the bike before you take the training wheels off.

  26. Very funny post, thanks, I needed a laugh and got a lot of them fron the replies. Isn’t there an old saying, “It’s as bad to take offense as to give offense.” That works pretty well in my life.

  27. IFB churches call such members “Burdens” and “Wounded Christians”. Any person who does NOT meet the Pastor’, deacons, trustees, their wives, and their “cliques” unbiblical standards is a “Burden” and a “Wounded Christian” and must be removed before they influence the young negatively.

    How this is done is isolation, rejection of the person, telling the person that they are not welcome to church activities, organizing all the church members through nightly phone calls, emails, text messages, visits to their home to remind them that if they want to be a good christian that is in good standing with the church “clique” then they need to “hate” this christian (that usually boils down to the simple fact that the only reason for the “grassroots hatred” is because the pastors wife or the deacons wife or the trustees wife is jealous of something the person has or can do. This usually encourages the “Burden” and the Wounded Christian” to find another church, but “Not In My Backyard”.

    The other reason is, when Jesus told His parable about “doing it for the least of these, you have done it to me”, a large number of people who work or attend IFB churches do NOT like to help “The Least of These”. “The Least of These” in the eyes of IFBers are nothing more than “Burdens” and “Wounded Christians”.

    I remember an adult Sunday School class I use to attend. The Sunday School teacher asked “What are some of the excuses people use for not reaching out to those that are downtrodden?” I remember sitting in horror listening to a deacons answer describing them as rif raf, trash, garbage, winos, junkies, and not worth reaching out to. The problem is while some may be downtrodden due to their own poor decisions, the majority of downtrodden are decent law abiding, taxpaying citizens who taught his kids, picks up his garbage twice a week, fixes his vehicles when they break down, checks and bags their groceries when they go thru the line, takes their order and serves them when they go to a restaurant, washes their vehicles, and many, many other things that people who struggle financially, physically, spiritually,etc. from day to day with hardships and challenges that nobody can fathom but they still in their pain and grief manage to take care of the deacon and his wife. Apparently, they are worth reaching out to to take care of him and his wifes needs, but they are not worth reaching out to to take care of their needs.

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