SFL Flashback: Cognitive Dissonance

This post was originally featured in October of 2010

We believe that Calvinism is a hindrance to evangelism…we also believe the Spurgeon and Edwards were the instruments great revivals.

We believe that praying written prayers is vain repetition…we also believe that praying the exact same words over breakfast every morning is a necessary and meaningful experience.

We believe that since canon of Scripture is closed, the Holy Spirit no longer gives direct revelation to people…we also believe that the Holy Spirit gives traffic directions and investment advice.

We believe that the Scriptures are the sole authority for our faith and practice…we also believe that Christian standards of dress and music somehow were all discovered centuries after the Scriptures were finished and include things not addressed therein.

We believe that every man has soul liberty and that every believer is a priest…we also believe that the pastor has complete authority to override that liberty any time he sees fit.

We believe that liberals have purposely corrupted our public school systems and lowered our education standards for their own political ends….we also believe that these semi-illiterate students are perfectly capable of understanding a four-hundred year old translation of the Scriptures.

We believe that the reason our church isn’t growing quickly is that the world is getting worse and worse as the end times approach and men’s hearts wax cold…we also believe that our soul winning program has broken records every year for the last 20 years.

We believe that good will always overcome evil…we believe that evil will always overcome good.

63 thoughts on “SFL Flashback: Cognitive Dissonance”

  1. Nuts! Still no butt cushion!

    This list is pretty funny- I noticed a lot of these contradictions when I was much younger, and found that pointing them out only resulted in being told to sit down and shut up. 👿

  2. Dear SFL Reader:

    Traffic directions and investment advice is fine; but what of all those people God tells to run for public office?

    Christian Socialist

    1. Well, a lying spirit clearly must be talking to one of them. The one that God truly called must be the one that your preacher likes.

    2. During the primary season, I noticed that there were no fewer than five Republicans who said God told them to run for President last year.
      Maybe God was just messing with them.

      1. Maybe God told them to run but He didn’t tell them that they would win. Maybe He just thought they needed to be taken down a peg or two! 😆

      2. Yeah. God was changing His mind on His Anointed Choice for President every week or two. The only thing in common (at least until Romney cinched the nomination) was (squalling baby dinosaur voice) “NOT THE MORMON! NOT THE MORMON! NOT THE MORMON!”

        Come to think of it, now that Romney lost, do the Mormons go back to being a CULT CULT CULT?

      3. Heh. God told them to run — in the same way he told Balaam to go with the Midianites — to prove that a jackass had more sense than they have!

        Those whom God told that they would actually win have lost their prophet standing. Didn’t the Old Testament call for stoning those who claimed God said something that didn’t come to pass?

  3. This is one of the earlier SFL posts I remember reading. I actually printed a copy and used it as a conversation starter with various friends and family members, some still in and some out of Fundyness.

    The one that really caught me was the one about the Holy Spirit and direct revelation. I don’t know how many sermon illustrations I hear in Fundy High chapel about how the speaker did something out of his normal routine, only to find later that the change saved the speaker from some traffic/weather/criminal catastrophe. The best I could ever figure was that the voices in my head were actually guidance that would deliver me from all harm. So naturally, any time something bad happened to a Christian, it must have been because they ignored the leading of the Spirit.

  4. The line about prayer made me laugh. I remember the first time I was at a mainline Presbyterian church in college, (weren’t any Fundy churches near by and didn’t have a car), when they prayed the Lord’s Prayer. I didn’t know it.
    Then I started to attend a United Methodist church and found out I had to change some words. Presbyterians pray for debts, and Methodists pray for trespasses.

    When I would have to pray in public, I would write out my prayer. Didn’t want it to ramble.

    1. . . . didn’t know the Lord’s Prayer? The example of prayer that Jesus Himself provided? 😯

      I thought fundamentalism was supposed to be the most Biblical and fundamentalist kids were supposed to learn the most verses.

      1. Good point! I think because other denominations recite the Lord’s Prayer aloud together in church, some fundies avoid it all together, which, yes, does seem very ironic.

  5. Listen up kids while Dr. Bloviate, MDiv, Ph.D explains the perils of higher education, why you should not get a higher education and why you should go to Fundy U.

    1. Then there are Calvinists who dress in trendy clothes and play modern music, but are just as legalistic and graceless as some indy fundies. (I’m not saying that legalism and gracelessness in modern forms of Christianity are limited to Calvinists, of course!)

    2. Greg, I truly don’t mean to be rude, but typing won’t communicate tone here.

      What’s your point? This seems out of left field and has nothing to do with the post. The only point I see in the post mentioning Calvinism is to point out the hypocrisy of saying that it is a hindrance to salvation while at the same time holding up 2 of the strongest Calvinists as great evangelists.

      Didn’t you notice the whole George Orwell/ 1984/ doublethink theme?

      1. I’m wondering if Greg is related to McCarthy (Joe, not Charlie). The Calvinists really aren’t hiding behind every bush or steeple trying to overthrow the Church any more than ol’ Joseph’s Reds were back in the ’50s.

      2. Wow, so touchy. Don’t see anyone else’s comments that merits this type of scrutiny. The way I read it, seems as though the “calvinists” were above being fundy, and in my experience, the “calvinists” are the fundiest of the fundy! And in these parts, they wear skirts and wouldn’t dream of using anything but the KJV!

        1. It’s your tendency to post non sequiturs about Calvinism. Your comment was, AFAICT, completely off the topic, except for the fact that Calvinists were mentioned.

        2. I obviously disagree with you, but please tell me how and why you pointing this out advances the conversation? (it seems you think it very important for the conversation to go the way you perceive it should) I think I see some arrogance poking through your complaint, maybe even some calvinistic pride, but then again ya’ll are the “chosen ones” why it would be crazy not to be prideful!

        3. Greg,
          Maybe people are responding the way they are because you beat that horse to death already! Don’t need to beat him anymore!
          (Poor horse! 😉 )

        4. Tks for the input, but as you should well know, I beat the horses that I deem need beating!

          And consider the horse that you are currently “beating.” Is it any worse than the horse I’m beating?

        5. For the record, if I had to choose a theological system (thank whoever that I don’t) I’d choose Calvin’s.

          That said, the worst manipulator and spiritual abuser I’ve known chose the Sovereign Grace cult to operate out of.

        6. Greg,

          Don’t take it personal. You are a stone that cried out and they did not like it.

          Welcome to SFL fellow stone!

          If you know anymore “stones” that love to cry out, please invite them to join SFL. I am sure this would warm everyones heart.

  6. This is the type of thinking that literally makes my stomach turn. And the hatred that they use against people who refuse to allow this system to go unquestioned. A bit…triggering. Ugh.

  7. These were all part of the ‘Don’t think: Just do’ that is the IFB. I remember once not even getting the chance to voice a question yet, but I guess the look on my face conveyed what my question would be, when the mog looked at me, got an angry look on his face, pointed his finger at me, leaned forward for the ‘you better not think I will let you confront me’ stance, and said ‘Are you questioning god? You think you are perfect and are good enough to question god?!?!’

    Yeah, I just shut up and walked away.

    1. I suppose that saying, “yeah. Me and Job both.” would not have helped. It amazes me when people can be swayed into ignoring such obvious facts about God. He isn’t put off by questioning. He is by lies.

  8. I thought of this blog and its purpose, when yesterday read this paragraph from Moby Dick: or The White Whale (Herman Melville), chapter 17:

    “Now, as I before hinted, I have no objection to any person’s religion, be it what it may, so long as that person does not kill or insult any other person, because that other person don’t believe it also. But when a man’s religion becomes really frantic; when it is a positive torment to him; and , in fine, makes this earth of ours an uncomfortable inn to lodge in; then I think it high time to take that individual aside and argue the point with him.”

    And, is not the point of this blog and many fine commentators attached, the purpose?

  9. Apropros of nothing in particular (but maybe the soul-winning statement), about a month ago, I heard a preacher give a message about the duties of a Christian. Every point was backed up with Scripture until he got to the “everyone is required to be a witness” – he used either Matt 28 or Mark 16. Strange how the epistles cover loving one another, living holy lives, praising God, but don’t seem to say “Oh, and be sure to be a witness” – in truth, someone doing all of those WOULD be a witness, whether or not they trying inveigle someone into believing.

    1. I had the same thought during the holidays. My fundy sister came for a visit and the whole family is currently in the throes of pretending to be soooo impressed at what an amazing soul-winner she is being at her Bible college. It is simply a false doctrine to assert that every Christian is called to be an evangelist.

  10. I liked the one about getting traffic directions from the Holy Spirit. I was reading a fundy missionary letter that I found on my wife’s grandparents’ kitchen table last night. They told this long convoluted story (riddled with bad grammar and typos like “there” instead of “their”) about being mugged while waiting in their car to pick someone up from a bus stop in Mexico. The missionary described in detail how he used his car (item: most people in third world countries don’t have cars and many of them tend to veiw those who do as having a huge target on their back) as a weapon to fend off the attack by trying to run over his assailants. (Don’t worry, later on in the letter he mentioned that he hopes that they all get saved. Note the assumption that anyone who would mug a missionary is clearly going to hell.) He then stated that his son who was with him at the time pulled an “awesome Dukes of Hazzard” move to get in the car and escape from the assailants (item: I was under the impression that fundies believed it was a sin to watch such filth as Dukes of Hazzard). Anyway, at the end of the Missionary Story (hay-men!) he attributed his stupidity and violent actions to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and also – bonus! – to God’s angels. (Supposedly, he saw some “people” surrounding his car that his children later told him “weren’t really there!” Haaaay-men! I get chills of my spine to hear of God’s angels at work in this world

    Oh . . . and the letter also ended with the obligatory tale of the old Mexican Catholic man who finally agreed to “get saved” and “reject the teaching of his church that he was good enough to get into heaven” (never mind the fact that is NOT what the Catholic church teaches).

  11. The real duplicity of fundies is found in their “once-saved-always-saved” “soul winning” mentality. As soon as some poor soul repeats their sinner’s prayer, they are given ‘assurance of salvation” noting that they will ALWAYS be saved, no matter what. That, however, does NOT go for members of the church…the MOG ALWAYS questions the members’ salvation – especially when someone questions his latest building program. How many times have your heard “The only person who I know is saved for sure in this service is me (MOG or visiting “evangelist”)” from a fundy pulpit?

      1. I’ll let others relate their experiences, but I can tell you that I heard that often growing up fundy. It was a calculated gambit by the whomever was preaching in order to get people to walk the aisle. How disgusting is that?

    1. Ahhh yes, I remember well the evangelist recounting how the wife of a well-known pastor discovered that she was not saved. Here she had thought she was saved all those years. She had been faithful in church and soul-winning. But that twinkle of doubt convinced her she must have said the words wrong, or not meant them, or something like that.

      My early childhood was under a saved-and-lost-again system. I was “saved” under a “once-saved-always-saved” theology.

      But over long years, I had to wonder. Getting “saved” actually did precious little to really change peoples’ lives. And there were lots of times I heard justification as to why good people would go to hell, but nasty, rotten “saved” people would go to heaven. Diamonds are dead, cabbages have life (and so do the worms in the cabbages!).

      In my analysis, I would say that in the fundamentalist churches, many many people claim assurance when their lives are thoroughly suspect.

      1. When J. Harold Smith preached his trademark “God’s Three Deadlines” on the unpardonable sin at my IFB church, the altar was filled with more Christians doubting their salvation than “sinners”. Even several church staff members who had been soul-winners for years.

  12. When we show up unannounced to witness to members of other faiths, they MUST be polite and listen to what we have to say. When they show up unannounced at our homes to witness to us, we are allow to yell at them and slum the door.

  13. It might look too doctrinally obscure to get much attention, but the trampling of the priesthood of the believer is one of the subtlest, deadliest things going on in churches, at least those who occasionally teach it. The equal standing we all have before God is hastily jettisoned when those obsessed with authority and power structures need to get what they want. And God help those they trample.

    And the worst is when they preach grace from the pulpit, but once you get into the office, it’s the same old damaging legalism and “you just can’t submit enough.” It’s out there, and it’s harming their sheep.

    1. Another problem is they do see their brothers and sisters as “their” sheep and not the Lord’s.

      How much more care would a pastor give to his brothers and sisters if he lived in reverential fear of what he was presenting to and how he was feeding Jesus’ lambs and sheep? But too often they are viewed as goats and a flock that must be driven rather than brothers and sisters to be humbly led.

  14. well a major Fundy rite of passage is the late adolescent “conversion,” in which the young person stands tearfully before the youth group or congregation and announces that he realizes that the prayer he prayed when he was 4 didn’t mean anything, and he just got saved last night. When I was a teenager I stubbornly refused to do this, although my peers all did it (some of them did it multiple times)!
    The Bible gives many clear instructions as to how to tell if one is saved. Interestingly enough, it is another fundy rite of passage–much more challenging–that, for fundies, serves as the watermark of salvation. This is testimony-sharing, in which the young person is called upon to publicly recount his salvation experience, to be held up to the scrutiny of the community. Colorful details are a must–those who rely too much on catchphrases and cliches are suspect! I prayed the prayer at 3, so I always dreaded having to give my testimony. There was no narrative to tell–my testimony was generic in every way. I ended up making up details just to have something to say.
    This is because of an inordinate focus on the “story” of salvation, not the story of the Christian life.

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