Getting Personal

When asked “what is a fundamentalist?” I often quote George Marsden’s famous response that a fundamentalist is “an evangelical who is angry about something.” However, I’ve begun to realize that in many cases this definition does not go quite far enough in showing that when a good fundamentalist is very wroth and full of all manner of anger against something, he inevitably chooses to attack people instead of deeds and personalities instead of doctrine. In short, it’s almost impossible to be a good fundamentalist unless you’re not only angry about “something” but also angry at “someone.”

Someone is ruining Christianity. Someone is dooming America. Someone is sending souls straight to hell. We must find that person and call them insulting names in a sermon to the great amusement of the congregation.

Including the angry at “someone” in the definition of fundamentalists also helps to show how stereotypical fundamentalist behavior is hardly exclusively found in Independent Baptist Fundamentalism. When non-Baptist pastors who are otherwise hip, cool, and trendy get in their pulpits or on their computers and begin to cross the line from contending for the faith into the world of sneeringly condescending to their fellows then the seeds of destruction are already sown in their bosom.

It saddens me to see that so many fundamentalists become disillusioned with the graceless slings and arrows cast from IFB pulpits only to become the followers of other equally graceless men and movements. Fundamentalism dressed in skinny jeans and playing praise music is fundamentalism still the same. Being a fundy is never about a specific set of standards but is rather a misunderstanding of God and ourselves that results in a graceless attitude towards our fellow man. Some Baptists do it. Some Catholics do it. Some Republicans do it. Some Democrats do it — and on and on the list goes.

Pick any issue near and dear to your heart and think of those with whom you disagree. If we cannot speak with grace and love to those on the other side of that issue then we should have a care. Perhaps it’s time for us to take stock and reevaluate our motives to see if we have become the mirror of the very thing we hate. We all have the potential to create our own new version of fundamentalism.

On a personal level I spend a good deal of time in reflection trying to walk the fine line of attacking problems not people here on SFL while demonstrating absurdity, bad doctrine, hypocrisy, abuse, and plain old silliness. Sometimes pointing out those problems is best demonstrated by featuring a specific person but as much as I may be accused of hating fundamentalists, I try my best not to hate them or anybody else in this world. I would love nothing more than for for fundy pastors to humbled, fundy churches to be healed, and for fundamentalist universities to begin the work of helping instead of hurting.

‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far. Perhaps grace will also lead us all home some day.

133 thoughts on “Getting Personal”

    1. Ha! I love it.

      I do have to admit, sometimes I struggle with being angry at religious, judgmental, fundy-type persons. I find it so much easier to be gracious and loving towards liberals, gays, and Muslims than to those who try to coerce people into the graceless, loveless religion of self-effort and arrogance.

      I find it easier to pray for a pedophile to find God’s love than someone like “Mark”. I find it easy to talk about living in love and grace, but so hard to walk it out with those who preach intolerance and hate.

      I’m trying to find that balance between being “anti-religion” and “anti-religious people”. Thankfully God’s grace is an ocean. πŸ™‚

  1. Well put as usual Darrell. That’s one thing I usually bring up when friends ask me about my past. Fundies are SO darn judgmental about everything. Thanks for reminding us to keep focused and not become the folks we used to be all over again. πŸ˜‰

      1. Oh, for goodness’ sake, I am going to stop commenting before I’ve had sufficient amounts of coffee. George is a comma *abuser. Geez louise!

        1. I believe you are only supposed to use a comma with, “but” when it introduces a independent clause.

        2. Big G, do you mean to say that you are old and that you majored in English? Or did you major in Old English, which is much more exciting but probably much less useful? πŸ˜‰

        3. He must mean that he was an English major a long time ago… if he meant to stay he majored in Old English, he would have capitalized the “O” in “Old”.

        4. Ah, Guilt Ridden, but George HATES the KJV and always tries to find subtil ways (like the serpent in the garden) to blaspheme God’s Holy Olde English.

        5. He would not only have capitalized the “o” but he would have added an “e” to the end so it read Olde

        6. The sentence should read, β€œFundies are fundies not because of the ship they are on but because of the baggage they brought with them.” – george

          You had an unnecessary comma in there. πŸ™‚

        7. DS: I’m old, but when I was young, I majored in English (I’ve taught it since then).
          I had a good deal of Middle English in school, but very little Old English. I can tell you stuff about the structure of Old English, but I can’t speak it or write it, or even read it without a dictionary and a grammar book.

      2. Actually, the comma isn’t unnecessary or incorrect. It’s subjective, though, whether or not to use it there. The predicate of that sentence contains a compound part that can have a comma correctly. “They are on” and “they brought with them” can be separated by a “, but” correctly since it joins compound parts that contain subjects and verbs. The “because of” makes it confusing, but the comma is perfectly fine there.

        The more egregious foul no one picked up is that the more correct sentence would contain “not because of the ship on which they are” rather than “not because of the ship they are on.” πŸ˜›

  2. Regarding the hovertext, how about:

    Hope Baptist Church – No hope in there.
    Lighthouse Baptist Church – Never have seen a lighthouse in one of those.

    1. Truth in Advertising can sometimes be as simple as the word order:
      “First Baptist Church” is often corrected with:
      “Baptist Church, First” (leaving the rest of the order of importance to the mind of the reader.)

    2. “Grace” may not be false advertising: it depends on what they mean by “grace.”

      (As an aside, I never did understand the plethora of “Lighthouse” Baptist Churches – to me, that name always sounded dumb. Just another surreal fundie moment: sitting in a church in a landlocked midwestern state singing hymn after hymn with a nautical theme and acting as if we had any clue what we were singing about!)

      1. Speaking of nautically themed hymns, did your church instrumentalists ever crack up about “Let the lower lights be burning”? Ours did, thanks to a raunchy little joke about whales and seamen that I passed around. We always had someone crack up laughing by the time we got to the second chorus. Good memories! :mrgreen:

        1. I didn’t know that song, so I looked it up.
          I agree that it probably makes more sense to people who live on the coast.

        2. I think it’s intersting that there are so many hymns about ocean travel, but no one’s really written any about air travel. There are lots of analogies to Christ being the captain of our ship but none of Him being the pilot of our plane.

          It could be that ships go all the way back to Jesus’ time so the imagery seems more biblical whereas airplanes are “new-fangled”.

        3. I can do you one better. I used to interpret for the deaf ministry. Sometimes things that sound quite lovely in hymn-English (which is its own special weird dialect as we all know), sound absolutely absurd in sign language. I remember the faces on the deaf members of the congregation, trying so hard not to crack up because they thought it would hurt my feelings as the interpreter.

        4. @pastor’s wife,

          I’d like to think that when those hymns were written, there was some fundy preacher out there condemning the worldly references and preaching about the virtue of the camel based travel hymns.

        5. Um, PW, have you not never heard the abomination: “I may never march in the infantry, shoot the artillery, ride in the cavalry [usually mispronounced as calvary] . . . I may never flyyyyyyyy o’er [see, crappy faux Old-English even in a children’s song] the enemy, etc., etc.”

          It’s sort of an oblique reference to airplanes, I guess, rendered acceptable by the fact that it is couched squarely in acceptable military language.

        6. My Dad was born in ’38 so he was a little kid during World War 2. He said that song had rather a special meaning singing it in the Salvation Army Sunday School (his family went to the Salvation Army church) during the War!

        7. fundyfascinated, songs using camels as metaphor — too funny!

          Deacon’s Son, you’re right. I forgot about that one, probably because the primary metaphor is military.

      1. I can’t find it now, but at least one Lighthouse Baptist has been shown on SFL that has a model lighthouse in its sanctuary.

        Google Images gave me this one, in Grand Prairie, Texas (David Grice is its Pastor):
        http://www.freewebs.com/lighthouse-baptist/
        See, there’s a little lighthouse over the front door. Cute, huh?
        The lighthouse beacon is not placed as high as the U.S. and Texas flags, though, which may be an intentional theological statement.

        … and Lighthouse Baptist Church of St. Louis. I know nothing about this one, except that it has this:
        http://www.emporis.com/images/show/775748-Large.jpg

        Both of these lighthouses are on the outsides of the church buildings. Come to think of it, what would be the point of a lighthouse indoors?

        1. I clicked on the first link, Big Gary, and found their statement attacking all other translations after the KJV:

          “We believe that all the English versions produced after the KJV are corrupt
          (2 Corinthians 2:17), lifeless (1 Peter 1:23) perversions of the word of God
          (Jeremiah 23:28-36, Proverbs 30:5-6, Revelation 22:18-19, 1 Timothy 4:1, Mark 4:15, Matthew 7:15-18, Romans 1:25) that teach heresies (2 Peter 2:1, Romans 16:17),
          weaken doctrine (Philippians 3:1, 2 Timothy 3:16), distort and hide the gospel
          (Galatians 1:6-9, 2 Corinthians 11:3-4, 2 Timothy 3:15), weaken Christians’ faith
          (1 John 5:13), hinder soul-winning (Titus 1:9, James 1:21, Romans 10:17, Acts 18:28),
          cause confusion (Proverbs 20:10, Acts 19:32, James 1:8), cause apathy (Mark 1:22,
          1 Timothy 4:2, Hebrews 4:12), weaken the church (1 Corinthians 1:10, Matthew 6:24,
          Mark 12:24, Romans 15:4), make Christians vulnerable (Ephesians 6:13,17,
          Luke 4:8, 2 Corinthians 2:11, Psalms 11:3, 119:10-11,105, Acts 17:11),
          hinder spiritual growth (Acts 20:32, Psalms 119:9, 2 Timothy 2:15,
          3:16-17, 1 John 2:1), insult God (1 Thessalonians 2:13, Titus 1:2), and
          distort God’s character. (Malachi 3:6, 1 Corinthians 14:33, 2 Corinthians 11:4)”

          The Bible references are misleading since none of them actually prove anything about other translations of the Bible.

          Also I find their attacks ridiculous. Lifeless? How can the Word of God be so? Cause confusion? No, I’ve found that studying different translations has helped clarify what certain verses mean. Hinder spiritual growth? By what measurement? Insult God? No, I think rather it is those who claim that God was encapsulated forever in 1611 who are insulting to God.

        2. A theology that says God inspired a Bible version in 1611, but then stopped speaking forever, is indeed a strange one.

    3. There’s a sort of ironic subtext to a name like “Lighthouse Baptist Church.”
      While some lighthouses indicate harbors, they are also place near hazards such as sand bars and underwater rocks, to warn ships to stay away from them.

  3. In fact, sometimes the rejection of fundamentalism can become a fundamentalist impulse as well. Some of the modern churches mentioned here make the mistake of throwing the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to rejecting fundamentalist excesses.

    It’s a symptom of American Christianity, which merely reflects American culture at large: we are a nation of extremes. Moderation is a lost art.

  4. “Fundamentalism dressed in skinny jeans and playing praise music is fundamentalism still the same.”

    Spot on!

    I would argue that the key word is grace. I have seen a lot of “cool” churches that basically preach the same message as my former fundy church (e.g., “be good”, “5 tips on how to be a better_____”, “Dare to be a Daniel”, etc). In other words, fundy churches (both cool and uncool) are obsessed with “do.” They preach the Christian, not the Christ. They turn the Bible into a “how-to manual.” They miss the big story, the assume the gospel, and they categorize Christ instead of letting him dominate their theology and sermons.

    Hipster preachers that preach “do” and never mention what has been done in Christ are (to me) nothing more than fundamentalists with a smile. They promote a softer fundamentalism for a softer generation, even if they don’t realize it.

    1. Beautifully stated. IFB’s don’t necessarily have the market cornered on the Gospel of Self-Effort. Grace is such a wonderful thing, and contrary to those who tell you that grace leads to permissiveness and sin, I find myself all the more won to Father as I experience His grace.

      1. Yep. Grace is truly fantastic and it can truly change people in a way that the law (“do”) simply cannot.

        Your point reminds of a good quote: “When I thought God was hard, I found it easy to sin; but when I found God so kind, so good, so overflowing with compassion, I smote upon my breast to think that I could ever have rebelled against One who loved me so, and sought my good.” (Spurgeon)

    2. Excellent observation. I’ve found this very frustrating in looking for a new church home: Even as I’ve moved out into more contemporary churches, churches that are supposed to be more flexible than those I’ve been in before, I still hear the refrain “Do. Do. Do.” It’s sad how rare the churches actually preach Christ.

      Why are we so afraid of grace?

      1. Lady Julian, I totally hear you on that. My husband and I are finally in a healthy church, but only after years of searching.
        But I would say that we aren’t afraid of grace – we’re afraid of freedom. There’s a measure of control to be had in “do.” When I have things to “do,” I’m in a position to allow God to love me more. When there isn’t anything for me to “do,” I’m free falling wildly (in my mind) until someone/thing catches me.
        People like to be told what to do because they like to be able to achieve.

    3. It goes back to the law-gospel divide, which Baptists in general and fundies in particular don’t understand. I can’t tell you how many times I heard “You are saved by grace…but if you don’t do X,Y, and Z (or do commit A, B, C), God is angry with you and you will have no fellowship, unless possibly you repent and really, really mean it with all your heart.

  5. “There are two types of religion in this world: ‘Do’ and ‘Done.’ Most tell you to do something, the true religion says, it’s already been done.”

    Heard this in a sermon this week. I thought it related to this post. :mrgreen:

    Great posting, Darrell.

    1. Nice pixle, but I too have heard quotes that sounded good from fundy pulpits only to be negated a few sermons later. Fundies will espouse good doctrine – of that i know first hand – but they teach worse and invite other “preachers” into their pulpit whom negates any “good doctrine” that was previously taught.

      1. You may be right, and sadly, are right in many cases. That doesn’t negate this quote, however, nor does it mean that in this instance, bad doctrine will be espoused following the statement. Sarcasm, cynicism, and bitterness are very closely joined together. I should know: I fight it every day of my life.

        If the same pastor prefaces it with, “You all expect to grow spiritually, please allow your pastor to do the same.” You might have a little more context wherewith to judge more accurately.

        By the way, I totally agree on the part about bringing the outside influence into the pulpit in the form of other speakers. I could write a book…

        1. True it depends on the “pastor” whether this is lip-service or not. Did that pastor harangue people from the pulpits? Shouting preference as if it were “Gods word”?? Did this “pastor” place burdensome preaching on the congregants by proof texting verses to fit a false fundamentalist dogma? Did this “pastor” simply regurgitate an indoctrination that he had bought into and invested heavily in by an institution? I could go on…but I think you get my point.

          If this is the case (which is so common amongst fundy “pastors”) then I call “lip-service”. Because if it were the case then that “pastor” in my opinion needs to spend at least as much time rectifying the bad teaching he spewed forth from the pulpit. Think about all the people that fundy “pastors” disparage from their pulpits because they do not fit in the fundy dogmas.
          For example: how many people are left feeling like they have a “problem” because they like to listen to a music genre that the fundy orthodoxy calls “SIN”.

          If this is the case with this “pastor” simply asking for grace to be extended from everyone when they did not publicly extend any from the pulpit in the past in my opinion is not enough – because of the position of leadership and influence they hold. They MUST be held to a higher level of scrutiny. If they do not want to be held to such, then they should not be in a “pastoral” position.

        2. I am of the same mind, that the pastor (whomever it may be) needs to rectify past teachings from the pulpit. If he doesn’t it would be poor leadership indeed, because then the people are left holding a mixed bag.

          If the pastor though is extending the grace to his congregation, which he is, then it is understandable how he would only want to grow in the grace. It would also be completely un-Christlike to deny him that grace, yes?

  6. I was referring to the Persnickety Polecat versus the world debate on “(Abandoned) Standards.” Granted, the argument isn’t exactly parallel, but it has some similarities.

    1. Yeah, we did all kind of pile on PP, didn’t we? Perhaps there was a certain degree of “fundamentalism” about some of the attitudes that were expressed. It’s hard not to hold fundies to absurdly high standards, though, seeing as that’s how they judge everyone else!

  7. Darrell, I am so glad you understand the difference between these two concepts. That treatise up there is a thing of beauty. One thing that I love about this blog is that even when we complain and pick on something, even if the man in question is a perfect example, for the most part, we attack the issue and not the person around here. It’s one of the reasons that I have been so drawn to this website over this last year. Getting to watch Don and PW explain some awesome grace-based comments has been amazing for me. I would say, as a group, we are not crossing this line. Although it is always good to prevent our previous baggage from boarding the great ship SFL with us. Now if you need me, I will be in the white piano lounge – it’s five o’clock somewhere!

  8. I agree that fundamentalism, meaning the tendency to rage against any variation from one narrow doctrine, occurs in all religious persuasions. I’ve met fundamentalist Catholics, Zionists, Unitarians-Universalists, atheists, Communists, Libertarians, Republicans, Democrats, and so on.

    I also recognize my own tendency to demonize people whose views differ radically from mine.

    1. I think everyone coming out of Fundystan deals with this at some point… we do not want to be “like them”. But there is a fine line between you demonizing them by personally attacking them and their own actions words demonizing themselves and you are just shedding light on their own error. A fine line? or maybe a big fat grey line??

      1. Fundamentalism involves black/white us/them thinking. *We* wear suits to church, *they* wear shorts. If the King James isn’t double-inspired then *nothing* in the Bible can be trusted.

        After several years (or decades) of thinking that way, one’s ability to see nuance is destroyed. It can take a long, long time to re-learn it (or learn it for the first time).

    2. One of the principles that was hammered home over and over during the training my wife and I did before we went overseas was “just because it’s different, doesn’t mean it’s wrong.” I’ve tried to keep that as a mission statement of sorts even now that we’re back in the US. While it doesn’t directly apply to today’s post, it has helped us keep a good balance on how we view Christians who do church a bit differently than we might be comfortable with, or go about showing Christ to others in ways we wouldn’t have thought of. 😎

  9. Now, here is the dare, for those of you who live near fundie churches with similar signage. I triple dog dare you [I think that’s the approved IFB protocol] to punk said church’s sign in like manner and with an appropriate sentiment. Then, post your picture here for general exclamations of approval and, possibly, an honorary church-sign-punking butt-cushion . . . ?

  10. Darrell,
    Thanks for the reminder. Once we change doctrine, it is easy to continue in the same vein of angriness and just chalk it up to being right, just like I did when I was a fundy.

  11. So when I was little, my mom’s (this was before my mom was psycho fundie like she is now) friend’s husband joined this weird cult that had this magic prayer that you could pray that made you not be a sinner anymore. His wife did not pray the magic prayer and thus, they had more than a smidge of marital strife since everything was now her fault.

    (Sort of like the Peanuts cartoon where Lucy makes them all sign an “Official Document” that absolves her from “all the blame.”)

    I have searched for that cult my whole life and have yet to find it. If anyone could please help me out here, I would be greateful.

    How nice it would be to abstain from all appearances of fundie and simply be without sin. Then I could cast as many stones as I wanted. 😎

  12. I think that “fundies” have too often become a straw man into which we try to stuff every trait we find in Christianity that we don’t like. Not every problem we find in churches outside of fundamentalism are “fundy lite” or “traces of fundamentalism.” Nor do the bad doctrines/practices in fundamentalists churches necessarily originate with them, or are taught exclusively by them. There are other Christian movements and denominations that have major problems that no one can blame fundamentalists for.

    I’ve been learning to stop viewing the body of Christ as a series of movements fractured denominations.

    1. Perhaps you are right, but the problem with fundies is that they seem to take negative traits endemic to Christianity as a whole and magnify them beyond belief by taking them to extremes. That is the overarching fundie trait that gives that special “fundie” gloss to beliefs/teachings/rules/judgments that would otherwise seem pretty run-of-the-mill for modern conservative American Christianity.

    2. You may be correct in a general sense… however this blog focuses in on and specializes on “Fundies”. So if you are basing your comment on this blog and the posts / comments there-in; then you are missing the point!
      I also despise “denominationalism” and have long rejected it and just tried to think as all believers to be “one body”. But that then begs the question of the reality that there exists 2000 years worth of splits – denominations – camps – “insert your word for a niche here”.

    3. I bring it up mostly because I catch myself doing it so often :). I noticed what I had so long labeled a “fundy attitude” or “fundy doctrine” coming from pastors, teachers, and authors who had not been raised as fundamentalists or been any way associated with any fundamentalists church or organization during their lives. Lack of grace, legalism, trying to control others, etc. are all products of fallen human nature, not a particular church movement.

      I do understand that this is a “topic specific” blog, not suggesting a change or anything. I’m only saying that in the process of talking about the problems in one church movement, its easy to get carried away and forget that many of those same problems exist (to some degree or another) in the church movements/denominations we are part of now.

    4. I don’t know about that.
      For the most part, I think that liberal churches have a different set of vices from those typical of Fundamentalist churches.

    1. We don’t need seat belts because Jesus straps us to the earth by the word of his power. I know those worldly so called scientists try and say that it’s gravity, but that’s because they are godless people who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.

  13. Hmmm… but then what is the spiritual person? One who is never angry at anything? Surely not – is not God angry with the wicked every day? Did not Jesus get angry at the moneychangers in the temple?

    Let us rejoice in our freedom, but also remember that God has called us to be holy.

    1. I agree with your general sentiment.. but recently I have been having a shift in paradigm. Fundies use the word “holy” to mean looking a certain way based on a cultural preference , not drinking certain beverages, not listening to certain genres of music, etc. etc. etc. meanwhile they are having sex with a minor across state lines breaking their vow they made to their spouse.
      So “holy” seems to have an ambiguous meaning based on whom is espousing that “we need to be holy”. So my question is: what does it mean when “God has called us to be holy”. Is there a succinct definition of “holy” in scripture?? Or just the general meaning of “being without sin”. Which none of us are currently.

      1. Rather, many fundamental churches don’t appear to believe in the Holy Spirit, so instead of teaching what the Bible says about dressing modestly and not for show, and then let the Holy Spirit work on the believers’ hearts, the preachers feel that they must specify what they believe dressing modestly is. Thus, we get things like no open-toed sandals, etc.

        The Bible is clear that Christians are to abstain from worldliness, but that’s just not enough for some preachers… they have to tell us exactly what worldliness is; thus, some preachers say that red shirts are “worldly”; others proclaim that certain haircuts and styles are “worldly”.

        Music is similar, but I cannot exactly quote the verses. We are to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. These are to teach and admonish one another. We are also to sing with grace and making melody in our hearts to the Lord. That is what the Scripture says.

        1. Ding-ding! We have a winner! πŸ™‚

          You are right. The ignoring of the Holy Spirit, I think, is indeed the main cause of all the fundy problems. Because ignoring the Holy Spirit is the main cause of most Christians problems. πŸ™‚

  14. The goal needs to be restoration of these “presumable” brothers and sisters in Christ. Otherwise we are no better off than they.

  15. The correct attitude to a fundy with no power is not hatred, but contempt.

    The correct attitude to one with power is fear – and determination to topple them from power.

    Fundies aren’t lost souls who can be turned back into decent, ordinary people. They’re ordinary people who like being lost.

    1. I don’t believe that for a second; at least not about all of them. I think many of them are victims of terrible teaching much like the Galatian church. Others are immature xians who just need to get to know the God who saved them for awhile. I’ve known fundamentalists whose hearts were turned to freedom by the love other xian brothers showed them over their supposed fundy brothers.

      1. If a fundy wanted to read their own bible, and discover what a blood-soaked farce it is, they could. If they wanted to research the evidence for evolution and the lies of creationists, it won’t be difficult.

        If they wanted to leave a church which told them what to think and do, it wouldn’t be hard.

        But the like being ignorant, they want to be controlled, and they love spewing hatred.

        Fundamentalists aren’t passive victims; they get something out of it. And that something is ugly.

      1. you are missing the connotative definition of the word Fundy – all Fundys are Fundamentalists, but not all fundamentalists are Fundys – the approach of most people here at SFL is more nuanced than your broad brush definition

  16. From a mobile lighted sign at a Store front IFB “church” in my area of the Rusted Buckle of the Bible Belt:

    Crusaders 4 J C Revival

    Now the name of the Church is “Crusaders for Jesus Christ.” It pains me to see the abriviations on their sign.

    I’m sure ol’ JC is gonna bring a rip snortin’, shout the house down “Revival” to this crowd of… 10 or 12.

    1. Calling a Christian project a “Crusade” or a Christian a “Crusader” is highly offensive to Muslims, and it doesn’t take very much study of medieval history to see why.

  17. Wow, so well said, Darrel. I struggle everyday to kill the “fundamentalist” in myself. It is hard to shake off what you spent a lifetime being taught.

  18. I believe that fundamentalists are also angry at the people that they deem “lost,” no matter how much they claim to love them. Unbelievers, more than Satan, are the enemy at a fundamentalist church because while the Devil is an evil spirit, those “unsaved” are made of flesh and blood.

    It’s much easier to rail against people than against “powers and principalities”.

  19. I left fundamentalism and now attend a church that is working away from its fundamentalist roots. I have to agree with Darrel that bringing in a drum set and toning down the dress code doesn’t mean that a church has graduated to become a more tolerant and truly grace filled place of worship. Our church recently used a video series on eschatology by Dr. David Jeremiah that should have been titled, “End of the world theology direct from Fox news”! It reminded me that our church’s many changes are pretty superficial. Fundamentalists would be surprised at how fundamental the messages and authority structures are at many “new evangelical” churches.

    1. At our church, we just keep trying to be humble, loving, gentle, and gracious, and keep reminding people to love one another and not judge. It’s way too easy to default to the “separate and criticize” position instead of accepting one another and loving them through their issues.

  20. This post was amazing. It really hit home for me.

    A few months back, after a good friend of mine found out I would not be homeschooling my children (who don’t exist yet, unless someone wants to give me a DeLorean so I can get to work on that whole time thing), she decided she was no longer speaking to me and blocked me on Facebook. This was a good friend who I’d known since my freshman year of college at BJU. She was also a very very angry fundamentalist. Just literally easily pissed off all the time. We have similar political beliefs and we’re both Christians.

    It didn’t make me mad. It just hurt.

    1. This is the sad result when people lose sight of the balanced truths in Christianity. Our desire for doing right must always be matched by an equally intense humility and love for others, otherwise we become insufferably arrogant and mean and we hurt people, breaking the second greatest commandment while we think we’re upholding holiness.

      Breaking off a friendship over a personal choice about how to educate your children? That’s petty and self-righteous and in reality very un-Christlike. I’m sorry for the pain she caused you by her rejection.

  21. I grew up in a hyper fundamentalist church. Because of that, I find myself overly sensitive to anything similar. The first name that comes to mind is Mark Driscoll. Read some online stuff about how he rules his church. My general rule of thumb is that if someone has created a website solely for people who have “escaped” or “found freedom” from you and your church…you are a fundie. Your rants might sound different and be about different things…but you are a fundie. I’m betting that not too many days or months from now we’ll be featuring Mars Hill in articles similar to FBCH. And while I don;t think Rick Warren will ever cross the line into hyper drive…making your whole church go on a diet…YOUR diet…that’s a bit much for me.

    1. That’s who I thought of when I read ‘Fundamentalism dressed in skinny jeans and playing praise music is fundamentalism still the same.’
      I have no use for anyone who enjoys ‘Church (cult) Discipline,’ or uses the phrase ‘sinning through questioning.’

  22. Thinking about this post today. Kept thinking, ‘hate the sin, love the sinner,’ and that I don’t know how to do it.

    And also that phrase ‘We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, and wicked spirits at great heights” or something like that.

    1. Greg,
      I read the best explanation of “Love the sinner hate the sin” from Ravenhill in “Why Revival Tarries”…
      “When we say God loves the sinner but hates the sin, we mean it in the way a mother hates polio because it has stricken her child. She hates an intangible because of it’s effect on her beloved.” (remember when Ravenhill first wrote that book Polio was still a major player in the pantheon of world diseases) That’s a hard goal to achieve but it’s a great definition. God doesn’t hate the individual acts of sin…not really. How could He? He is Holy…He is a consuming fire. Sin never actually makes it anywhere near His Presence before being consumed. But He hates the effects that sin has on His beloved…ALL His beloved.

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