A New Venture

Right now I’m in the process of putting together a short e-book with a compilation of writings from SFL organized by topic. My working title is “Fundamental Flaws: Seven Things Baptist Fundamentalists Get Wrong (And How To Fix Them).”

Some of the new material I’m writing comes in the first section of the book which I’ve entitled simply  “Church”

Communion Isn’t Optional.

The bread. The cup. The Gospel.

For millennia the Eucharist and the Scriptures were the focus of the Christian service as the pageantry of Christ’s sacrifice and the truth of his earthly teachings were played out in both word and ceremony. But fundamentalism has largely stripped from the church the sacredness of the Lord’s Supper, claiming perversely that to remember Christ’s sacrifice too often would somehow make it trivial or trite. A few celebrate the holy meal monthly but many consign it as infrequent as twice a year.

If you can believe that praying a blessing over every meal (including the nachos you had during a ball game) is a meaningful act of thanksgiving but also believe that taking of communion every week makes it somehow an empty ritual then would probably make a good fundamentalist.

Here’s a bit of life-changing news for fundamentalists: Communion Shouldn’t Scare You. It’s about grace not law. It’s about mercy not judgment.  Some fundamentalist pastors have actually told me that the infrequency of the Lord’s Table is for our own protection. After all, God kills people who drink the cup unworthily or flippantly and we are all unworthy creatures full of hidden sin and craven desires. Why take the risk of divine judgment more often than absolutely necessary?

With that they turn Christ’s body and blood into the clenched fist of law not the loving hand of grace. That’s tragic. It’s as if they’re shouting “Sew back again the temple veil and don’t approach the dreaded Mercy Seat if you are not good enough. And you will never be good enough!”

The Gospel Isn’t Optional

The Gospel has met a similar fate to communion in fundamentalism. Perhaps it’s that Christ’s teachings of neighbor-love and self-sacrifice are just too easy to understand without pastoral embellishment. Perhaps there just weren’t enough rules found in the red letters of the Bible to suit the masochistic urges of the perpetual legalists in the pews. Perhaps the pastors just felt like re-telling the old, old story just wasn’t doing enough to fill the pews (or the offering plates). Whatever the case, the fundamentalists sermons got longer, the texts got shorter, and the Gospel itself all but disappeared, in favor of by self-righteous rants, amusing anecdotes, and various calls to moral action.

“Sin and Why I’m Against It” is now the topic of choice in most fundamentalist pulpits because yelling loudly takes little thought or planning. Wherever the Scriptures happen to be found they mainly serve only as a springboard for the pastor to launch into a litany of his favorite political, cultural, and personal gripes. Badmouthing those not present becomes par for the course. Guilt trips to inspire trips down to the “old-fashioned altar” are the mainstay of the service.

Jesus Isn’t Optional

Travel to a fundamentalist church this Sunday and you’ll like as not find a Christianity that has all but forgotten about its Christ. Jesus is not there in sermons. He is barely there in the songs. A survey of whatever religious art and architecture remains in those steel-frame and store-front churches will find Him having completely vanished altogether. A person not familiar with the story of Christianity might sit in such a church and listen to such a service and never really know who Jesus was or what He did.

Jesus has left the building but He is not completely gone. If they would but only listen they would hear Him just outside the door as He whispers in. “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”

Perhaps someday they will notice He is no longer there and go to look for him.

125 thoughts on “A New Venture”

    1. how do y’all move so fast!?

      Anyhoo… Great topic. My husband has been completely scared off of taking communion, even though we are no longer in a Fundy (or any kind of Baptist) church. He simply cannot do it. I was scared off of it as well, but now I take it in… I don’t want to call it an act of defiance, but more of a way to stand against the toxic doctrine of fundamentalism. I know I’ll never be good enough, but it’s Christ’s righteousness and not my own so why deny myself that sacrament any longer?

      1. This may help – – Communion is a Gift – and a Blessing. Do not fear.

        From the Book of Common Prayer (1979):

        “…The Gifts of God for the People of God. Take them in remembrance that Christ died for you, and feed on him in your hearts by faith, with thanksgiving…”

      2. Who is it that sanctifies?
        Do we sanctify ourselves or does Christ sanctify us? That is the message to the Galatians, “Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”

        It is Christ who saves us and not we ourselves. Therefore we anchor our salvation, our sanctification, our justification in Christ.

        Remembering, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

        Yes, we should examine our hearts and repent of sin as we see it in our lives not just for special occasions. So long as the Born Again Child of God comes humbly to the Lord’s Table there should be no fear of condemnation. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”

        “By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.”

        If we have to rely on ourselves in order to partake of anything from the Lord then we would still be enemies separated from God. But because our inclusion is in Christ we have assurance beyond measure. Romans 8 is a storehouse of that assurance. “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?”

        The believer need not fear his Lord nor partaking the Lord’s supper.

  1. I’ll never forget my childhood pastor (who was also my father) requiring a show of hands prior to Communion. If you weren’t a member of the church, you weren’t allowed to participate.

    1. I remember the same sort of thing. Our fundie pastor wasn’t really all that bright and he spent most of his time just parroting what other “great” fundie MOGs did in their churches. [Then he retired and promptly joined a Southern Baptist church, lol.] We had communion once in five years. I remember he was almost white as a sheet and his hands were shaking. He was so nervous and I think he literally believed that someone was going to drop dead then and there if they were not “worthy.” So sad. And such a true reflection of how fundies approach God.

      1. We had communion once in five years. I remember he was almost white as a sheet and his hands were shaking. He was so nervous and I think he literally believed that someone was going to drop dead then and there if they were not “worthy.” So sad. And such a true reflection of how fundies approach God.

        Putting on my Brony hat, that reminds me of a recurring theme in many My Little Pony fanfics:

        Her Immortal Highness, Princess Celestia. God-figure of the Ponies’ world of Equestria. A god-figure who is not only benevolent, but approachable and even playful. Who would like nothing more than to walk among her little ponies as another pony. And her little ponies bow and scrape before her, afraid they might offend or anger the Princess shining with Deep Magic, unaging, undying, as old as the world, at whose command the sun rises and sets. And it tears her apart inside.

      2. This makes me sad. Especially since people who think this way (although not usually to this degree) are often disgusted by any belief in the real presence of Christ in the bread and wine. They seem to think that it’s okay to believe that communion done “wrongly” will kill you, but that received “correctly” has absolutely no efficacy whatsoever. :sad:

  2. Oy! that felt like Homecoming without the dinner on the grounds.

    Those points took me back to the old IFB bunkers I remember so well. Especially the “Lord’s supper.” I am convinced that you hit the nail on the head as to why it is so infrequently practiced in the IFB. The Pastors were fearful of partaking of it themselves. And yes, I remember a one of those pulpit commandos spewing the line about doing it too often cheapens the observance. That speaks more to the attitude and heart of the Pastor than it does the Observance of the Lord’s Table.

    Sad, so very sad.

    1. That is a silly idea. Does daily prayer “cheapen” our relationship with God, so maybe we should only pray once or twice a month? Does daily reading of the Bible “cheapen” its impact, so we should reserve that for special occasions?

      Remembering the Lord’s death (which is the point of communion in the first place–“For as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you do show the Lord’s death till he comes.”) is hardly cheapened by focusing on it. That implies that we could ever actually fully understand it, that we could ever grasp what He really did for us, that it’s somehow shallow. And that is patent nonsense. The more we meditate on the Lord’s death, the more special and important we realize it is.

      I’ve partook of the Lord’s supper every Sunday morning for the past… what is it, eight years now? And I assure you, it has lost none of its beauty and glory.

      (Now, yes, I’ll concede we can become used to it and stop thinking of it as special. But that is MY problem, not God’s. It is MY heart that’s growing cold and unfeeling, not the communion lessening in value.)

  3. Great point about how fundies take the Biblical principal of thankfulness and turn it into a hard-and-fast rule — “Good Christians always pray before they eat” — but relegate an ACTUAL instruction of God’s, Communion, to an occasional event.

    It reminds me of the people referenced in Malachi 1 who found God’s commands burdensome:

    “But you profane it by saying of the Lord’s table, ‘It is defiled,’ and of its food, ‘It is contemptible.’ And you say, ‘What a burden!’ and you sniff at it contemptuously,” says the Lord Almighty.
    (Malachi 1:12-13)

    People seem so often much too willing to ignore what God actually says and put in its place the offering that WE want to bring that He never asked for.

  4. A really great post Darrell! That’s awesome that you’re compiling some sort of eBook. I can’t wait to get a copy when you finish it.

    Sadly it seems every bit of this post is too true to what I’ve lived in the IFB. It’s embarrassing. :oops:

  5. Thank you. Been waiting for you to do this for a while. :)

    Communion is very important to me. A lack of it was one of the reasons I started to wander away from Fundamentalism. I simply could not understand the reasons for not practicing it more frequently.

    Now I belong to a church that observes it every service. It has yet to get old and boring. :)

  6. I know a pastor (not a Fundy) who takes communion every week. My Fundamentalist raising made me ask, “How do you keep the sincerity alive?” He replied, “The same way I keep preaching sincere, singing sincere, and the invitation sincere.” At first I disagreed, but after studying it for myself, I agree. The early Church took it every time they met, sometimes more than once a week.

  7. Darrell, you never fail to hit the snail on the head! I look forward to reading your e-book.

    The church I am currently attending takes communion every Sunday morning during the service. It has yet to get old for me. We are encouraged to meditate on the elements while someone plays a piano special. It is always a moving time for me.

    1. “Sin and Why I am Against It.”

      (1) Wonder how many fundie preachers are thinking “damn! [c’mon, you know they cuss inside their heads] why didn’t I think of that as a sermon title?”

      (2) For further proof that the fundie preachers are our second-largest reading demographic, let’s see just how long it takes for someone to issue a sermon with that title. Googlers, start your keyboards!

      1. Oh wouldn’t it fun to see Groucho as a Tent Revival preacher? inc of course Chico (in charge of finances), Harpo (playing guess what) and daughter Zeppa (a girl of course, got to keep with the times). :twisted:

  8. Can’t wait to read the ebook. When I left Baptist fundamentalism, I learned the joy of sharing communion each week. I even began using the phrase – gasp – “means of grace” to describe it. I can’t imagine going back.

    1. Forgive the ignorance, but what’t he problem with the phrase, “means of grace.”

      As far as I can tell, obeying any of God’s words is a ‘means of grace’ is it not?

      1. “Means of grace” has been construed by fundies to suggest that it means that we obtain grace, and thereby salvation, from “good works” like church attendance, communion, etc.

      2. Preaching is a ‘means of grace.’ We sit and hear the gospel proclaimed and God uses that ‘means’ to stir faith in our hearts.

        In the same way, The Lord’s Supper is viewed, by many in the traditional Reformed community, to be another ‘means’ by which God’s grace is mysteriously given to his church.

        God uses simple everyday items such a bread and wine to remind of the gospel, and fill our sails with the winds of grace. It is a beautiful thing!

        Nowhere are we commanded to have altar calls, sinners prayers, or to give testimonials in church. We are charged, however, to partake of the Supper. As often as we do we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes (1 Cor. 11:26).

  9. Some of those rants are reminding me of the Terry Pratchet novel Small Gods. It’s set in a fantasy setting where gods have power based on the number of believers they have. Om is supposedly the main religion in the region but he has no power when he manifests because only one person still believes in him. The rest believe in (and are terrified of) the church, but don’t follow the teachings anymore.

    1. An excellent allusion! I read that book not too long ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. Sir Pratchett may be an atheist and makes no secret of his views, but Small Gods still makes the very excellent point that claiming to follow a religion or even following its rules doesn’t mean much if there’s no heart there.

  10. As of this weekend, I’m an ex-fundy. This website has been a source of humor and encouragement to help me escape the bonds of the fundys.

    Running my own business and being in the fundy church naturally we were taught that anyone outside the church is a heathen, devil worshiping reprobate. So most of my business has been focused around the the fundys and what the pastor would approve.

    The past year I’ve been working on my escape building business outside with unapproved customers and came to the point where I am now free.

    No more hair checks, no more random radio preset checks, no more calls on Saturday morning asking how many doors I knocked because I didn’t show up at door winning, no more of the church lady reporting you to the pastor for walking within 1000 feet of a bar.

    FREE AT LAST! FREE AT LAST! THANK GOD ALMIGHTY, I’M FREE AT LAST!

      1. Through the years I never truly bought on to all the Fundy ways. I remember as a fundy teen writing down all the “standards” then going through the bible to find verses to back them up. I came up blank, and the verses provided for some, when you read it in context wasn’t pertaining to the standard that was being enforced. Of course we know the catch all verse for everything is to abstain from all appearance of evil.

        Now 20 years later, with the release of this new thing called Facebook, I was able to re-connect with old high school friends and saw that some of them had a true walk with God, and they were not a part of the IFB (which we were always taught that they go to the rock and roll churches just for entertainment purposes right?).

        About one year ago I was doing some work at a customer location and was forced to listen to the hell-bound, devil lovin, heave green, fatty patty, type of music that don’t put no ham on the hog boys! on KLOVE on this customer’s radio. As I endured the wickedness I began to listen to the music. I stopped, I listened, I heard music that had amazing words that moved my heart, the beat didn’t make me want to worship a golden cow. It was then I turned and started to realize the everything I was being taught was an entrapment.

        Since then it has taken me a year to prepare for this day, knowing I wanted out, however if I did at that time would have been a suicide decision for my business as I know the pastor would be on the phone with other pastors telling them of my “fall” and to no longer associate with me.

        There are some good people in the IFB, and I hope they would see the light and come out. However they are bound with the same fear that I had. It took a lot of praying, and walking with God to get over that fear of man.

        Once this is all pans out after a few months, I could probably write a book.

        1. I’m Coming Out, best of luck to you! I “officially” left about 6 mo ago, and while it has been very tough in some ways, it is still the best thing I ever did. I have so much more hope for the future now, no longer living under the bondage of the IFB “standards”. Enjoy your new found freedom :)

    1. Dear Coming Out:

      Welcome to life and freedom in our Lord Jesus Christ!

      Coming: may I suggest that you give us running reports on conversations subsequent to departure? While ostracism is unquestioningly in your future, some may approach you with warnings, admonitions and questions – partly to try to bring you into bondage again [Exo 6:6 cf. Gal 2:4], and also [one might hope] to understand WHY you made this break.

      If this starts any conversations with members of your former fellowship, you might find with the lot of us here a formidable resource for framing replies and questions of your own – should you WANT such a resource.

      If you ever happen to ‘Come’ to Cleveland Ohio, I know of a tavern with a great, Tuesday deal: a 10 oz burger, house chips and a glass of ale for $5!

      Christian Socialist

      PS: Did I remember to welcome you to life and freedom in Christ?

  11. Darrell,
    It appears that you have hit upon a capital idea. Most of your readers are internet saavy and an e-book would probably be a very wise move. Then if it is wildly successful, which it will probably be, then we will see Darrell’s name as author of a paperback. Then you’ll get rich off the sales and forget us all.

    1. Darrell,

      You need to finagle yourself a doctorate first, so that you can put “Dr. Darrell” on the cover of the book.

      My sister is “dean of women” at West Coast (big lie; she really isn’t but she told a bunch of people that she is) so I will get in touch with her and see about getting you an honorary paper.

      1. How much do you have to do to set up a university, anyway? I’m sure a bunch of us could get together, appoint a board, and give Darrell our first honorary doctorate. I volunteer to be Dean of Women Who Burn Salads!

        1. Well, Annie, we could start the first on-line Fundie U. (Yeah, I know the whole issue of building the MOG’s church will be problematic if we allow our students to be scattered like the heathen chaff, but we’ll find a proof text to fix that in no time. I am sure someone can come up with one now.)

          We will need: a MOG (but we can probably make one up if there isn’t a real one available); endorsements from other MOGs (if they are deceased, then we can just make the endorsements up too); a VERY LONG page on the website explaining why we WILL NOT seek accreditation; a cut-and-paste of the Hyles-Anderson book list from 1987 (the last time they were on fire for the Lord and not liberal compromisers); and a tuition page explaining how our tuition is less than everyone else because all we care about is teaching the Bible to our young people but, on the other hand, we don’t want to muzzle our oxen either.

          I think we can call ourselves SFU, which stands for Stuff Fundies University. It will make for some really kicky jokes for our travelling team about how we always have enough to eat! Lol lol lol . . .

          I know I am forgetting some stuff, but I think I have the bare necessities covered.

          Oh yeah, and I don’t think we need a statement of beliefs page like all the liberal compromisers because ALL OUR BELIEFS ARE FROM THE KJB1611 and so I think a pic of THE BIBLE will suffice.

        2. Oh sh*t, I’ve gone and forgotten STANDARDS!!

          (But it’s easy to come up with a list of those. We already have 72 of them in the sidebar.)

          Oh yes, and a verse. That too is easy. The official verse for Stuff Fundies University is 1 Samuel 25:13.

    2. Dear Bob [Triplestix?]:

      Whatever makes you suppose that Darrell’s book would be such a hit? Validity of the premise? Naaaahhh!

      Christian Socialist

  12. I heartily agree with all three of those, and would be very interested in reading the full e-book!

    On the topic of communion, my group does it once a week, every Sunday morning. The very rare occasions where I cannot attend (I’m sick, we’re away from home under circumstances where we can’t just go to another church, etc.) are a source of regret. I know God doesn’t expect me to show up when I’m bedridden, but I enjoy it so much I hate to miss it!

    That’s how communion should be, from what I’ve read of Scripture. It is to be something Christians look forward to and want, not something mystical and feared! And sure, I’m not overflowing with happiness every Sunday, considering communion is symbolic of the Lord’s death. But if I’m sad, it’s because I’m meditating on the sad aspect of my salvation, that Christ had to die, not because I’m sad about my church or worried about my sins or scared God is going to strike me dead for not getting enough people down the Romans Road.

    1. When we’re sick, our deacon brings the Communion bread (dipped in the wine, so its easy to transport without spilling) to our house. He prays for us, we pray together, and then we remember Christ an commune together in Him.

  13. Your comment “Perhaps there just weren’t enough rules found in the red letters of the Bible to suit the masochistic urges of the perpetual legalists in the pews.” I know what saracstic/tongue in cheek, but there is something hugely pertinent. When I found Christ, I wanted to know what to do to show the world I was a Christian and the Fundamentalist rules seemed to reverberate with my legalistic/human bent to better myself. And the church I was in left the gospel out unless there were non-Christians present. We need the gospel every day to remind us that we can never amount to anything that God will commend. All of our sins were taken by Christ and we cannot improve on that. We must find, in the grace of God, all of our joy and peace and contentment.

  14. Darrell, you have explicitly, concisely, accurately, clearly, directly, intentionally “hit the nail on the head” yet again! Thank you for this summary that so pointedly describes the majority of my experience. I’m truly looking forward to the e-book. :)


  15. “Sin and Why I’m Against It” is now the topic of choice in most fundamentalist pulpits because yelling loudly takes little thought or planning. Wherever the Scriptures happen to be found they mainly serve only as a springboard for the pastor to launch into a litany of his favorite political, cultural, and personal gripes. Badmouthing those not present becomes par for the course. Guilt trips to inspire trips down to the “old-fashioned altar” are the mainstay of the service.

    This is so true, and so spot-on, at least for churches that follow the Jack Hyles model of how a church should be.

    Was listening to a “preacher” of this type rant about how he was taking an unwavering stand on what the Bible teaches — such as no dating allowed while children were teenagers. My response: “Huh?” (I wonder what Scripture he used to determine this preference).

    1. *Deep breath* Okay, here is why the Bible teaches that it is a sin for teenagers to date. (Please check your brain in at the door.)

      First, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS TEENAGERS IN THE BIBLE!!! Haymen??? Paul, and I ain’t gonna call him “apostle” because the catholicks call him that, haymen, he was just a CHRISTIAN, said that “when I-uh became a man-uh, I put away-uh childish things-uh.” This verse shows us that there is NO SUCH THING AS TEENAGERS. And at the founding of our American republic, they didn’t have these teenagers running around with their hippie hair and their marijuana and their hot pants!!! And someuvyou teens need to get right with God, haymen!!!

      [Several paragraphs omitted]

      Now dating is a sin, haymen??? Because dating is practice for divorce. And God HATES divorce!!! Haymen??? And some of you men are thinking, oh me. [Pause for laughter.] But bless God, Jesus never got divorced and he will not divorce his church.

      [Several paragraphs omitted]

      [Altar call.]

      Will you teens come to the altar??? Will you come and make a vow before God not to date until Bible college? My heart is weeping for our fornicating teens of America.

      [The rest of the invitation = more of the same]

      And that is how we know it is a sin for teens to date.

        1. Um, we are still on the verse where I am asking the teens to come forward. I will ask for adults to come forward on another verse. :wink:

      1. Heh — if I remember correctly, the word “teenager” was coined in the 1940s, so of course it isn’t in the Bible.

        (please forgive me for not checking my brain at the door; I’ll go out and come in again, and do so…)

        (later…) WOW! What a great message! Now I understand!

        (understanding lasts until I pick up my brain on the way out)

  16. I think that having three sermons a week really cheapens the sermons. Maybe we should have communion at each service but only have two sermons per year.

    1. I agree, I think the fundy pastor preaching 3 times a week cheapens the sermons. He shouldn’t do it more then once a month (then the church members would know how to adjust their work schedules) :grin:

  17. Darrell, Communion looks Catholic, and the fundies I grew up with had nothing but bile for the Universal Church. That’s the probably why they still don’t do it.

    I live in an area with a bunch of storefront churches; outside of an occasional cross on the wall there is no visual reminder that the room is used as a church. I don’t know if this because they are afraid religious item will be stolen, or the church is just that nude all the time.

    1. Communion = Catholic. Very apt insight. There are a lot of other things we didn’t do because they looked “catholic.” Actually I once heard a fundie preacher justify the preachertainment style of rann-n-raving preaching on the grounds that “we don’t want some sissy sermonette homily like the Catholics, haymen?”

      Or as my preacher would put it in the best spirit of Christ-like love: “catholics and methodists [for some reason he always lumped them together] want SERMONETTES for CHRISTIANETTES so they can smoke CIGARETTES.” That always drew a big laugh. Ba-dum-pum. :roll:

      1. Or as my preacher would put it in the best spirit of Christ-like love: “catholics and methodists….want SERMONETTES for CHRISTIANETTES so they can smoke CIGARETTES.”

        SFL: Theology derived from witty sayings and ryhmes.

    2. Darrell, Communion looks Catholic, and the fundies I grew up with had nothing but bile for the Universal Church. That’s the probably why they still don’t do it.

      “If we stand only because Enemy Christians kneel, that is Protestantism taken to its most sterile extreme.”
      Evangelical Is Not Enough; I don’t remember the author’s name

  18. I, too, am looking forward to the e-book. It should be both interesting and pertinent, like almost everything in SFL.
    It is funny you should mention God’s wrath and the Lord’s Supper. I can remember having mini panic attacks in the pews at HAC. I was always so afraid that I would sin and forget it and not confess it and so anger God. Or I would be so focused on the fact that I might sin while the Lord’s Supper was going on that I would invariably think a cuss word and then be terrified that I was “drinking the body and blood unworthily”. Or I would get judgmental about something, like leaven in the communion bread, etc. and then be worried about getting killed by God for my sin during the Lord’s Supper. I am so glad that my current church has only done communion twice in the three years I have been here, so I don’t have to deal with it. How do you manage to hit the nail so squarely on the head day after day?

    1. I can remember having mini panic attacks in the pews at HAC. I was always so afraid that I would sin and forget it and not confess it and so anger God. Or I would be so focused on the fact that I might sin while the Lord’s Supper was going on that I would invariably think a cuss word and then be terrified that I was “drinking the body and blood unworthily”. Or I would get judgmental about something, like leaven in the communion bread, etc. and then be worried about getting killed by God for my sin during the Lord’s Supper.

      In my church (RCC) this has a name: “Excessive Scrupulosity”, a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder. A lot of bad theologies (such as Worm Theology and obsessive Sin-Sniffing) encourage it.

      1. Yes. I’m Anglican, and our church teaches the same thing. In The Book of Common Prayer, before The Holy Eucharist there is an Exhortation about properly preparing to receive the Lord’s Supper. It’s all good, but I find the following paragraph especially helpful:

        “And if, in your preparation, you need help and counsel, then
        go and open your grief to a discreet and understanding priest,
        and confess your sins, that you may receive the benefit of
        absolution, and spiritual counsel and advice;

        **to the removal of scruple and doubt,**

        the assurance of pardon, and the
        strengthening of your faith.”

        Later in the service (Rite One) we pray,

        “We do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful
        Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold
        and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather
        up the crumbs under thy Table. But thou art the same Lord
        whose property is always to have mercy. Grant us therefore,
        gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ,
        and to drink his blood, that we may evermore dwell in him,
        and he in us. Amen.”

    2. I always felt this way too. Rather than being a joyous experience of remembering God’s grace, communion was a source of anxiety for me because I was afraid I would forget a sin and fail to confess it. I took communion in the Methodist church not long ago and I felt the Spirit like I never have before.

  19. Some fundamentalist pastors have actually told me that the infrequency of the Lord’s Table is for our own protection. After all, God kills people who drink the cup unworthily or flippantly and we are all unworthy creatures full of hidden sin and craven desires.

    I’m Romish Papist. I eat the bread and drink the cup every week (and every weekday during Lent). I am still alive and (as far as I can tell) uncursed.

    “Sin and Why I’m Against It” is now the topic of choice in most fundamentalist pulpits because yelling loudly takes little thought or planning. Wherever the Scriptures happen to be found they mainly serve only as a springboard for the pastor to launch into a litany of his favorite political, cultural, and personal gripes. Badmouthing those not present becomes par for the course.

    I have heard it said that “You can tell when a preacher is in trouble — he’ll stop preaching what he’s for and only preach on what he’s against!”

    And we have several cases (from Billy Sunday to Jimmy Swaggart to Ted Haggard) where the preacher was railing against his own Secret Sin in an attempt at self-treatment in secret.

    1. I’ve always said and thought this as well. The “MOG” that preaches on how a woman dresses has a “looking/leering” problem! :evil:

  20. Darrell’s ideas have one major flaw, if you start including communion, the gospel, and Jesus in your services, how will you get people to behave? We have to instruct people that they must keep the law in order to be saved. Otherwise they’ll just run wild. Dare we trust the Holy Spirit to create a new heart within us all? That’s Pentacostal stuff.

  21. Dear Darrell:

    You have elevated my assessment of your theological acumen yet again.

    ‘Honey I’ve been thinking … You know we men have an awful record for taking wives and our relationships for granted. I don’t ever want that to happen to us. In order that things never become stale between us, So instead of kissing you every day, I’ve decided that it would be so much more meaningful if we expressed love for each other that way once or twice a year.’

    IRONY ALERT: Guys – do not try this at home!

    Years ago, an intelligent, well educated and very wise pastor for whom I have the utmost respect said: ‘if you want to know what a church truly believes, learn what it believes about the sacraments, because that is the heart of every theological system.’

    As often as we eat the bread and drink the cup, we proclaim our Lord’s death until he comes [1Co 11:25-26]. Some churches therefore observe the sacrament WEEKLY. As a part of that celebration is the Memorial Acclamation:

    Christ has died!
    Christ is risen!
    Christ is coming again!

    As often as you do this … you proclaim the Lord’s death, until he comes again.

    This suggests that Fundastan’s greatest issue is that that is largely untouched by the gospel.

    Christian Socialist

  22. I like where you are going with this book. Recently I have been studying cults and the Mormons have a great deal in common with The IFB.

  23. The treatment of communion was one thing that started me out of the conservative Mennonite circles that I grew up in. Not only do I need this sacrament more than twice a year (and I’m already in trouble as soon as I attach the label “sacrament”), but I also need it to function as a reminder at least and a means at best of grace. It’s so much more than a twice yearly guilt trip.

    1. Dear AnabaptistGirl:

      Answer: Neither are named; both are profoundly Biblical!

      Question: How are the terms, ‘Trinity’ and ‘Sacraments’ alike?

      Christian Socialist

      1. I thought it was because Baptist believe there are only two: Two sacraments of Baptism & Communion, and two parts of the Trinity – Jesus & God. :mrgreen:

        1. The two parts of the trinity are the MOG and the KJB.

          (And yes, if a solo can have two singers [see one of last week’s posts] then a trinity can have two members.)

          Or, as Beyonce might say, “Destiny would have only just one child.”

        2. No sacraments at all – that’s Catholic! Baptists believe in two “ordinances” of the church – baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

  24. We did communion ONCE a year. The MOG decided that Communion was the fullfillment of Pasover as a rememberance therefore Passover is only once a year so that is when we did Communion, right around Passover. Closed to members only and it ran like a funeral, literally. No talking, lights off with only candles and 1 hymn afterwords.

  25. “With that they turn Christ’s body and blood into the clenched fist of law not the loving hand of grace. That’s tragic. It’s as if they’re shouting “Sew back again the temple veil and don’t approach the dreaded Mercy Seat if you are not good enough. And you will never be good enough!””

    Yes. A million times over. I actually teared up a little while reading the section on Communion and can’t wait to see the rest of the E-Book. Communion is so botched and distorted in so many churches, not just IFB ones. We do not have to be perfect before coming to the table, because we cannot be. It’s a reminder of the One who is perfect and is making us more like Him everyday.

  26. I have been a member of the Baptist church (fundamental and otherwise) for 10 years. The infrequency of communion puzzled me, until our pastor recently pointed out that too frequent communion causes people to “take it too lightly”.
    Really? I was raised in the Lutheran church where communion was offered twice a month. If communion is taken “lightly”, it isn’t due to the frequency, but rather the heart of the individual.

  27. Communion:

    You know, I have seen shysters take communion like nothing, men who I knew at the time were two-timing their wives, stealing from their employers, lying through their teeth. So far none of the has gotten a cold, much less die…

  28. Twice a year? That would be wonderful! Try every 3 or 4.

    And whenever I hear a preacher say having communion too often makes it not special, I want to tell him to have sex about that often. >_<

  29. Oh yes. Communion. Fundies screw up communion beyond all recognition.

    Not that I knew it until I left Fundamentalism and started attending an Episcopal church. Once I experienced an appropriate communion service, I realized I had never truly experienced communion before and I soak it in every week now. Love it. Blogged about it a while ago, and came to the same conclusions Darrell did.

    http://desertpetrichor.blogspot.com/2011/08/for-love-of-all-that-is-holy-in.html

    http://desertpetrichor.blogspot.com/2011/09/for-love-of-all-that-is-holy-communion.html

  30. I love what you’ve said here!

    I can do without just about every part of a church service — can give or take a sermon any day — but I love Communion. After my Southern Baptist/fundy homeschool upbringing, discovering the beauty and grace of weekly Communion is what kept me in the church when I wanted to abandon it altogether.

  31. Reagrding communion – During my internment in the IFB I took the way they did communiom very seriously. I would examine myself before pertaking. Over time the egomaniac blowhard hateful pastor twisted things so that after reading the passages from Corinthians he would add that if we weren’t doing everything thing his way, we should not partake. According to him, if we weren’t tithing, reading the Bible everyday, praying everyday, being at every service etc. etc. we shouldn’t partake lest we be striken down. In other words, even examining ourselves wasn’t enough. You had to do everything first, then examine yourself, then you were deemed worthy. I stopped going to the Lord’s Supper services because of this reason.
    Tyhank God I found SFL and understand so much more about not only communion but all the other sacrements that the fundies just ignore and pretend don’t exist.

    1. What’s interesting about the “scare-the-flock” passage is that Paul is not addressing personal sin. Seriously, go look it up. He is talking to the church as a whole, and is commenting on the way that they call gluttony and selfishness the Lord’s Supper. Apparently the wealthy were arriving first and getting fat and drunk with their pals, while the hard working poor could only arrive late – and of course, had little to eat. The vast majority of scholars agree that this passage is about economic injustice being wrapped in the body and blood of Christ; no small sin. Paul indicates that the true Lord’s supper is a sharing of God’s bounty with all – if those with much practice restraint and giving, there will be enough for all. After all, the poor have all the same blessings in Christ as the wealthy.

  32. That’s something I’d almost forgotten—my senior year at PCC, when I knew I was no longer going to be a Fundamentalist, I stopped receiving Communion at The Campus Church. I can’t tell you how I came across the knowledge that I should stop (I can only credit Divine Guidance), but I remember doing so.

    Then, as God would have it, the Friday night before I came into the Catholic Church, I went to my parents’ Baptist church and they had a Messianic Jewish rabbi dissect the Passover Seder and show us how it points to the Messiah. (If you’ve never been to a Passover Seder, I cannot stress enough how badly you need to do that. You will learn so much!) The pastor decided we should have Communion right then and there. I was so moved by the rabbi’s discussion that I did “receive Communion” there and figured this was the best way ever to “receive Communion” in a Baptist church for the last time. I saw it more as being “in communion” with our Jewish brethren than being “in communion” with the Baptists.

    The next day, when I came into the Church, I had a much clearer picture of what it really was. That Passover Seder was, in some ways, better preparation for my coming into the Church than the Confirmation/First Communion lessons I had taken.

    The next day I spoke with a priest-friend of mine and told him about the Seder and he was thrilled that I had had that experience and agreed that it was fantastic preparation for receiving First Communion, especially for a knowledgable convert.

  33. :shock: :shock: :shock:
    Whoa–wait….so you actually believe something magical happens when a beleiver takes communion?

    You really believe the Bible commands a weekly observance without ever even coming close to saying so?

    So sad. Fundie-ism has poisoned you against the Bible in favor of sacramentalism and fromalism.

    smh

    ….out of the pan and into the fire.
    :cry:

    1. “magical” is your word not mine.

      I don’t believe that the Bible expressly commands a weekly observance but the early believers certainly thought it a beneficial practice and nothing in the Scripture denies it. Furthermore the fundamentalist reasons for NOT practicing communion more frequently are highly unscriptural in nature.

      Sacramentalism and formalism? How about just plain old Christian? Christ said “do this” and so we should do it. Simple as that.

      1. “Plain old Christian”….exactly this. After a lifetime of angry, arrogant independent fundamentalism, I began searching for historic Christianity. I found it in the Catholic Church, praise God.

        Your post is excellent, Darrell. You said it much better than I ever could. God has given you an excellent gift, and I thank you for using it.

  34. Yes, I’ve always been confused by the oddity that is communion in fundystan. I took communion for the first time at age 11, after my dad gave me permission, with all the terror that I was going to be killed. I spent the whole day with the same feeling of dread one gets when you’ve done something bad at school and the teachers have called home- You know the punishment is coming, you just don’t know when.

    I compare it to the first communion I made as a Catholic four years ago- Yes, I did examine myself, I did confess my sins. But Before communion, I wasn’t dreading it- I longed for it. And I didn’t spend the day in fear, but in joy.

    I’ve really never understood it, we had always been taught that the elements were nothing but grape juice and saltines before and grape juice and saltines afterward,and yet the members of our church were terrified, really and actually terrified at touching them, meanwhile down the streets, people who beleive Christ’s body and blood are in any manner of ways present are taking communion monthly, weekly,even daily, with joy.

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