167 thoughts on “Giving Offense”

    1. That’s what I wanted to know! That is seriously the oldest lapel mike I have ever seen. (I am assuming that is what it is.)

    2. It’s a behavior-modification device that’s supposed to shock him every time he says something idiotic. Unfortunately, its batteries are dead.

      1. Brother, you have got it the wrong way round. That device is designed to shock him every time he FAILS to say something idiodic. I predict the batteries will last until the Second Coming

  1. I don’t get the Fundy fascination with being anti-Environmentalists. (in reference to his ad for bumper sticker “Trees are good for firewood, animals are good for eating, Environmentalists are good for nothing.”)
    I was actually just thinking the other day that in all the messages on stewardship I’ve heard over the years, I’ve never heard a preacher mention the importance of good stewardship of the earth.
    The Bible has much more to say about taking care of the earth than it does about polluting the earth.

    1. How does “environmentalists are good for nothing” communicate the truth of the Gospel? My Jesus sees value in everyone; He loves everyone. He doesn’t think people are worthless.

      I strongly feel that this man’s bumper stickers do nothing but feed his flesh.

    2. For a minute I thought he said “Evangelicalists were good for nothing” which is truer than it should be. 🙁 🙄 😛

    3. I don’t fully get it either, but from my limited understanding, it has to do with a combination of a)distrust of science (I don’t believe what those scientists say – mankind isn’t really harming the earth that bad. God’s ultimately in control of it, etc.), and b)over-emphasis of and misinterpretation of end-times scripture (Jesus will come any day now, and the world will end. We know from scripture that mankind will live until then, so there’s no need to worry that we’ll die off from environmental catastrophe.) With a possible side-order of c)conflation of care for the nature with worship of nature (I already have a God, thank you, I don’t need to worship Gaia, etc.)

      It all adds up to a toxic brew of misunderstanding that God intended for us to have dominion over, rather than stewardship of, the earth. The earth as something to be used and plundered, rather than to be managed and cared for.

      1. I think you are exactly right. My own fundy mother says, “Well, I don’t care about global warming. God is just getting the world hotter before he burns it up in the end times.” And my father, the psychiatrist, who should know better, lectured me once about how “the science” doesn’t prove anything about global warming, or climate change, or pollution, because (and this was his sole argument): “there are historical trends.” (Still scratching my head over what THAT meant!)

    4. I remember us laughing and rolling our eyes over the environmentalists and tree huggers who wanted to “save the earth!!”
      Because God forbid we actually take care of it. So silly though, because we knew absolutely nothing about environmentalists and what they are actually trying to do.

      1. But how fundamentalists get from “rule over the earth” to “stomp all over it, drop crap everywhere, make people downstream drink your industrial waste, and let your topsoil blow away to parts unknown” is a mystery.

    5. I would also add to the above comments that I think there is a lot of fear on the part of fundies (and some other conservative groups) who are rabidly anti-environmentalist. These are groups that, in my opinion, psychologically cannot handle any sense of losing control. Thus, “big stuff” like global warming terrifies them to their core. It’s easier to say, “God will fix it,” than to actually grapple with an out-of-control anthropogenic problem. Then, double-whammy, they are also terrified of the increased government regulation and control that will be required to fix the problem of climate change. Of course, the preachers do everything they can to stoke this fear.

      1. That’s a good point. There are very real economic fears behind much anti-environmentalism. And it’s not just the fundies that buy into it. But with fundies, there seems to be more than normal fear of government regulation, and unwillingness to believe that a man-made problem could be this serious.

    6. A family member who is “fundy lite,” but nonetheless fundy, told me once that, “As long as there are humans on earth, God will provide resources.” My biology professor and I heartily disagree. I don’t remember reading anywhere in the Bible that it was a sin to preserve and conserve what resources are left. I’d like for my children and their children to still have clean air and water to drink long after I am gone. I think it is very selfish to not think about future generations. I have heard conservation put in to the same category as “tree huggers” and “New Age.” I think it is being a good steward with what you are given, not dancing around naked, wearing flower wreaths on you head. Although, dancing around naked does sound fun. 😉

      1. I agree with you, but also with a version of the “other side,” as well.

        To say God would allow the earth to run out of resources and humanity to die off as a result would seem to go completely against the Biblical account of how this world will end, as well as a “lack of planning” on God’s part.

        That being said, wasting resources and/or not caring for the earth in general only has the potential to make life more difficult for future generations. Yes, there will likely be technological advances that will make use of things we can’t imagine yet. But that’s no reason for waste.

  2. His excuse for offensive bumper stickers is first that David and Eliazar defied the Philistines so we should be defiant too. He totally acts as if the Gospels never existed. Did Jesus deliberately antagonize the sinners around him? The only ones He consistently called out were the arrogantly pious.

    He also said that he often sees bumper stickers defending wickedness that make him angry so why can’t we make THEM angry? Maybe because we’re supposed to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit and be loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, and gentle? That verse is pretty easy to undertand, even in his KJV 1611.

    1. “He also said that he often sees bumper stickers defending wickedness that make him angry so why can’t we make THEM angry?”

      I hear this kind of logic all the time. Then I try to explain to my 3 year old, or 8 year old, that just because someone is mean to us, that we shouldn’t be mean back to them.

      1. I seem to recall someone else teaching that we should not give offense for offense. Now who was that? Name is right on the tip of my tongue….

        1. “To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also” ~ Jesus the Christ

          Context: Love your enemies

  3. Giving offense via bumper sticker? For no good reason I’m put in mind of old stickers for past presidential elections that people never bothered to scrape off their cars, ever notice the old Obama/McCain/Romney stickers? I’ve even seen faded ones for Bush or even Clinton. 😕

    1. For about a week before the 2012 election, I drove past the house of someone who decided to put up their old Clinton ’96 campaign sign.

      Not. exactly. sure. why. 😕

        1. Ah, I see. The old anti-Obama hysterics, combined with a deluded sense that Hillary would have been much different on policy points.

          As for me, I was proud to vote for Obama in ’08 and ’12, and I’ll be just as happy to vote for Hillary in ’16, if given the chance.

        2. You and me both. Here’s hoping!

          (I transformed from being a radical conservative student in 2000 and 2004 to being a radical liberal member of the workforce in 2008 and 2012. Amazing how having to stand on your own two feet makes you realize the value of liberal policies . . . in spite of the fact that most conservatives think exactly the opposite is true!)

        3. That’s the same path I took, although about 4 years earlier. I went from being a conservative student (growing less and less sure of my conservatism as I went through graduate school) to being a liberal in the workforce. It was the opposite of the narrative I’d always been told.

          That old quote attributed to Churchill, about how if you’re not a liberal at 20, you’ve got no heart, and if you’re not a conservative at 40, you’ve got no brain…apparently, I have neither.

        4. I’ve actually gotten more conservative in middle age.
          For example, I no longer think that all governments should be abolished, and I’ve started to think that marriage and family are good options for many people (including me).

  4. Every now and again, I’ll wonder if I’m not being to harsh on IFBism; alas, I see something like this. Sadly, IFB “preachers” like Mr. Gipp are not the exception but the rule. His attitude toward the unsaved (or more accurately non-IFB) world is so offensive, mean-spirited and repulsive that I’m having difficulty finding anything humorous or pithy to post.

    I’ll count on the rest of you to lift my spirits. 😉

    1. I agree. A lot of what is posted on this blog begets easy rhetoric…but then sometimes, the smallest stupid stuff just makes ya mad. It’s just not funny. It’s stupid. Period.

      (but keep these posts coming, cause they are awesome reminders of how naive we were) 😉

    2. @Just Exhaled: In my optimism, I think that people like Sam Gipp ARE the minority… there are thousands of independent baptist churches that are probably mostly small, and haven’t heard of Sam Gipp or some of the other clowns we hear about on SFL.

      1. My old baptist church prides itself on being ‘one of the good ones’. They had Sam Gipp come all the way to Australia to teach them.

  5. This is not unique to IFB churches. This kind of thinking and behavior can be observed all throughout the American evangelical community.

  6. Leave it to a fundy preacher or evangelist to take all the glory preaching and set his wife up as a cashier selling his bumper stickers. 🙁

    1. It would serve him right if instead Those People end up laughing at him. 😛 Even Westboro wingnuts must realize that most people aren’t really listening to them anymore.

      1. Westboro Baptist is a little off-topic, but Westboro members say they don’t care if anyone else listens. As long as they keep announcing God’s damnation of everyone except them, they’ve done their job as they see it.

        1. Still, there’s only so many times you can play a broken record, knowing no one else is even listening. 🙄

      2. Well, he defied me with just about every one of these gems of wit, but somehow it didn’t have the effect he was hoping for. The only pain I felt was a bellyache from laughing too hard. If I could say one thing to him, it would be something like:

        Ease up there, Brother Gipp–the whole world’s not going to drop headlong into hell if you stop being an ass.

  7. Random Thoughts and Fact Checking:

    (1) “Boldly wicked bumper stickers.” I assume he means Obama campaign stickers. And, based on the rest of his talk, I assume he would also include pro-environment stickers, pro-women stickers, pro-tolerance stickers, etc. (Then again, based on his anti-education remarks, he probably thinks “My Student is on the Honor Roll at Adams Elementary” is a “boldly wicked bumper sticker.”) Only once did I ever come under conviction for having a “boldly wicked bumper sticker” and I removed it soon thereafter: it was Bush/Cheney 2004.

    (2) Thomas Jefferson never said “The Bible is the Source of Liberty.” http://www.monticello.org/site/jefferson/bible-source-liberty-quotation

    (3) William Penn apparently did say “Those people who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants.” But I think this applies more to the IFB than to the rest of American society.

    (4) George Washington never said “It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.” Apparently he also never said a lot of other things: http://www.mountvernon.org/educational-resources/encyclopedia/spurious-quotations

    (5) John Jay did mention a duty to “select and prefer Christians” for our rulers, however, this was in the context of anti-war remarks. I think he would have found Obama to be much more in line with his ideal of a “Christian leader” than, say, George W. Bush.

    (6) The man cannot even pronounce Obama’s name properly, and yet we are supposed to believe him when he tells us that Obama is a Muslim. (Kind of like the “missionaries” who would come through on deputation but could not pronounce the names of the countries where they were allegedly going.)

    (7) He is so cocksure that everyone is going to rush to the back to buy his uh-mazing bumper stickers that he actually has to tell them to only buy a few. “Ba-a-a-a,” bleated the sheeple!

      1. “Boldly Wicked” sounds like the name of an XXX-rated film series.
        Which is what Sam Gipp’s film biography would be– not for nudity, but for general repulsiveness.

  8. Notice also the pulpit, which has had the cross removed and replaced with a KJV 1611 carving. We know what they worship . . .

    1. And why is it spaced “KJV 16 11?” That makes it look as though “KJV 16 11” were a quotation from their inerrant Bible. Seriously?

  9. My parents have one of his bumper stickers on their car. I asked them if they really thought it was all that effective to have a “Christian” sticker with such an up-yours attitude.

  10. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: (1 Corinthians 10:32 KJV)

    He doesn’t pay attention to the gentler parts of our Scriptural admonitions does he? There isn’t any need to be so abrasive.

    We are called to be salt and light. Salt does not call attention to itself. You don’t eat it directly. It disappears into the food and makes it better. Light is the same. You do not look at the light. You look at what the light reflects from. You see objects more clearly. You can interact better. Bit if you gaze into the light, you become blind.

    These pastors that make a spectacle of themselves and reject the world altogether are like pepper — or cyanide. They don’t make things better. They make things worse.

    1. Many physicians regarded arsenic as a usefull medicine until sometime in the 20th century. Clearly, some people never got the update.

      1. It isn’t original to me. I read it years ago from the blog of a person who was struggling, much like I am now, with the position that fundamentalists bring to science and the Bible. I wish I could remember his name.

  11. “There’s no other country that lets 18 year old boys go out and die for somebody else’s freedom, and that’s because of the bible”

    BRB, walking off my rage and trying not to drive to Sam Gipp’s church to call him a warmongering fuck.

    As an aside, am I allowed to say fuck on SFL? My apologies to anyone I may have offended.

    1. Yeah, tell that to the Canadians and English, among others, who’ve sent their sons and daughters to Iraq and Afghanistan and had them come home in caskets.

      1. Exactly my point, Semp. “Protecting freedom” involves fighting defensive wars against foreign invaders, not killing and being killed for the political interests of an oligarchy.

    2. You most certainly can use the f-bomb here. I’ve only ever cursed online once, & of course, it was the use of f#ck here on SFL. ‘Cause a). it’s a safe place, b). the topic warranted its use, and c). we’re all adults (I think!).

      1. Glad to hear that. It’s not my usual practice, but this particular warmongering behavior set me off more than others, probably because he’s celebrating it as something taught in the bible.

    3. That word can be like a fine wine, brought out at the right time. You’re fine.

      We tend to love our wars. I know I’ve mentioned Chris Hedges before on this site, but his book “War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning” explains our penchant for armed conflict rather well.

    4. Pretty much anything flies here, but you don’t want to speak out against the liberal, progressive agenda. For example if you speak out against Obamacare, Benghazi, Fast and furious, IRS targeting tea-party groups, homosexual marriage, you may be shown the door. Oh, almost forgot don’t challenge calvinism…………………..but the f-bomb…..no problem!

      1. greg, if it bothers you there is a way for you to defy the liberal agenda manifested on this site. You can write to:

        Sam Gipp
        123 Blowhard Dr.
        Some Cave, OH 45678

        and request some killer-funny bumper stickers for your car! 😉

    5. I myself don’t use it, it’s like playing tennis with live hand grenades, but there are times when “Heavens to Betsy!” just won’t do. It’s like fencing, use it deftly for best effectiveness. 😉

  12. Sam Gipp never disappoints, does he?
    Always as classy as ever.
    There may have been one or two groups of people he forgot to offend during that spiel. But he’ll catch them next time.

    1. This is the quote from it: “Dad, you wouldn’t wonder if you knew what the gospel really means to these people. They’ve always lived in a life of misery and cruelty. Their language doesn’t even have a word in it that expresses hope. And then when they learn that there’s a God of mercy instead of vengeance, that in His world there’s love instead of hate and that through Christ He offers salvation and eternal happiness. To them it’s just like stepping into a brand new world. If you could see them then you’d understand.”

  13. You know, the funny thing is that this fellow thinks he’s challenging people, or causing offense. But, when I see bumper stickers like that on cars I don’t get offended. I don’t get “convicted.” I don’t even get mildly irritated. More than anything else I just wonder what kind of person would actually put something like that on their car for the world to see.

    I look at it the same way I would look at a person wearing an orange jacket, red pants, a pink tie and purple shoes.

    Peace,

  14. One can only hope that 50 years from now, idiocy like this will cease to exist. If their wives would just refuse to have sex with folks with such dumb ideas, maybe whatever “stupid gene” these people are carrying, would gradually disappear. If we were to evaluate the merits of Christianity based solely on the teachings espoused by these people, I would recommend that we scrap the whole deal and perhaps start a new religion using the teachings of Jesus.

    1. Their kids will get on the internet, find out their parents religion is nonsense, go to a real college, get a real degree and a real job and visit their parents as little as possible.

      1. If only that were true. 😥

        Unfortunately, there is too much content on the Internet that also reinforces what these people believe.

  15. Also would like to add it is men like him that strengthen my belief in birth control. There should be a license and mental evaluation before you can procreate. IMHO

  16. I was so unaware of how blind I have been until I saw these bumper stickers. Thank God I have now seen the light! ….said no one ever.

    Seriously, what is evil about the “can you read this? thank a teacher” bumper sticker??
    I just cannot see evil around every corner or in every bumper sticker.

    Part of me wants to cry for this poor guy. He really thinks his arrogant and mean spirited bumper sticker has an impact. All those bumper stickers do is warn the people around them that the person in the vehicle sporting said bumper sticker is ignorant and illogical.

    1. “All those bumper stickers do is warn the people around them that the person in the vehicle sporting said bumper sticker is ignorant and illogical.”

      They make perfect sense, if you think of bumper stickers as a platform not so much for declaring a point of view, but for proclaiming This is Who I Am. And in his case, they say “I am an insecure, angry person, defined by my resentment, and afraid of the contemporary world.”

  17. well, as a teacher, I certainly found his comment regarding molestation by teachers offensive. So he’s walking the walk.

    On another note, I believe the contraption around his neck is a tracker for an automated video camera. I haven’t seen them used in years, though.

  18. I remember my old pastor going on and on about how Sam Gipp reads the bible through ten times in a year, and has read it hundreds of times through.

    Now I think, how spiritually dead must someone be to be able to read the bible through repeatedly and just not get it?

    1. Ironic, isn’t it. They have deified the KJV Bible. They have it memorized and read it religiously and yet they still don’t get it. But the truth is they have chosen blindly to limit their interpretation to the KJV english and read Scripture with their own cultural views and eyes. And so Scripture is never allowed to shape them and their culture, instead they shape Scripture to uphold their views and lifestyle.

  19. I’m new to this Sam Gipp character. So I went to his website and looked at his “articles and essays”. Wow.

    I thought I had stumbled onto a white supremacist website by mistake. He’s full of hatred and venom. The enemy must love Sam.

  20. Reading a few of Sam’s articles confirms me in my theory that the KJV-only types tend to be, uh, shall we say, Anglo-centric? That’s nicer than saying white supremacist isn’t it?

    1. Very true. I had one fundy CEO tell me personally that he likened a certain ethnic group (not anglo) to the “Cretans, alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.” He firmly believed that their culture demonstrated the characterists to the Cretans. Did I mention there is no outreach to these people?

      He is fond of making disparaging comparisons of certain individuals or groups of individuals to people in scripture.

      1. “I had one fundy CEO tell me personally that he likened a certain ethnic group (not anglo) to the “Cretans, alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.”

        Wow. BRO, there just aren’t words for that level of hatred and prejudice, all wrapped up in christian words. I was raised in the American South in the 1960s and I am still a bit shocked at the racism that passes for christian teaching. If that’s christianity, I want nothing to do with it.

        1. “If that’s christianity, I want nothing to do with it.”

          BJg, I’m just somewhat ashamed that it took me so long to realize that this isn’t Christianity. I know that all of us bring our own faults and cultural perspectives to the table, but shouldn’t we come to the place after being exposed to the truth of the grace of Jesus Christ in His gospel where we vehemently oppose that way of thinking?

          I think for me it’s going to take many years, probably the rest of my life, to fully overcome this Bull Gipp’s line of thinking. I feel like I’m on my way, especially since I’m have more of a negative response to this type of rhetoric.

          “…let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…”

        2. And here is a point that is causing me a lot of anguish. That sort of thing *is* Christianity, as I grew up knowing it. It was the sort of thing that always haunted the edges, that came out in the times of stress. Even at BJU, the political hatred, the racism, equating conservative (deny rights to anyone who isn’t white and male) politics with Christianity.

          That is where I heard the Gospel of “believe and be saved.” That is where I was taught “once saved always saved.” That is where I was taught that good works were completely worthless. And that was what was believed.

          So to the question of public schools, I heard preachers say people didn’t need education, they needed transformation by getting saved.

          Missionaries boasted of requiring anyone coming for medical treatment to listen to the gospel.

          People like Martin Luther King, Jr. were reviled as communists. The idea of wanting equal rights was viewed as preposterous.

          And here I am. I sit in an Episcopal Church (a more liberal congregation, by the way). But still, from what I learned growing up, Christianity has been linked with this horrible un-Christlike mindset of white privilege and social control.

          Let’s face it. Fundamentalism IS the face of American Christianity. Even Catholicism in America is Fundamentalist in tone.

          I almost feel that to get rid of the filth, I have to unbelieve everything from the beginning. How can the words of eternal life be trusted from such polluted sources. Can a spring bring forth fresh water and polluted water at the same time?

          The trouble is, I don’t know how to unbelieve. I don’t know how to separate the Gospel as I heard it from these men (whom I now know to be vile) from the pollution of their own lusts.

          It hurts like hell. I am sorry for swearing. These people make me want to unbelieve.

          If I were to do so, my wife and children would not understand. The pollution, by and large, goes over their heads. They aren’t interested in politics.

          Bald Jones grad, your last statement hit a nerve. The problem is, I don’t know how to deal with the issue.

          How can a person be “saved” and preach “the gospel” and at the same time be a vile racist who spouts lies and justifies hatred? Shouldn’t salvation be incompatible with that kind of life attitude? Or maybe “salvation” is nothing but a figment of the imagination? If God cannot create in His people a heart of love even for his “enemies,” can salvation be real?

          Sure, I will set this bit of hysteria aside, as I have time and again, only to realize that I will probably never find an answer.

        3. rtgmath,
          That is an age old problem.
          Personally, I do believe that God moves in even the worst of the IFBXXX cults. He is not limited by man-made traditions, errors, or idols.

          I know there are those on here who disagree with me but when you take salvation and the responsibility for salvation out of the hands of men and put in in the hands it rightly belongs in, (The Lord Jesus Christ) then you can separate the beauty, the magnitude and the awesomeness of the True Gospel from the half-truths, the man-made traditions, the error and the blasphemy that wicked men have taught and ignorant men have parroted.

          The IFB and the fundies in general view the Gospel as the ticket for entrance to heaven. To them it is a means to an end… the sinner’s prayer. They perceive the majesty of the Gospel as much as a spoon perceives the taste of food. Over the years they have preached a reductionist message where they have reduced the gospel to a story about a guy who died on a cross and came to life, and if you believe his name is “Jesus” then you too can win heaven. They have made the Gospel, and by association, Jesus Christ merely props in their sideshow called Church. They preach a gospel that they claim is so simple a child can understand… and in their reductionism they preach a universal heresy. Yet they wonder why more are not getting saved.

          Their theology has taken the power of salvation away from God and placed it in the hands of the soul-winner. Sure, they give God lip service but it is the soul-winner who is responsible for populating his god’s kingdom. See, a sovereign God is in direct conflict with all Church Growth movements and Visitation programs. The Church Growth movement says that man is responsible for getting souls saved. (I heard it preached at the SOTL conference I attended.) Straight up it is all about the soul-winner and his ability to seal the deal.
          This is heresy. It is blasphemy. I know the free-willers may jump in and argue otherwise but if God is not in complete control of Salvation then we are deluding ourselves at best and hopeless at worst. (I defer to Charles Spurgeon in this matter: http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0052.htm )

          Once we again see God on his throne and not as some weak, frail, old man puttering around heaven, wringing his hands, hoping that some soul-winner will hit on some new formula for getting souls saved… then we begin to comprehend the magnitude and the truth of Amazing Grace. That the Gospel is not just a method used to save but it is our life as Christians. When we, like Isaiah, see God high and lifted up and we understand what He did for us, and what that means to us day in and day out, then we get a glimpse of the power of the Gospel, the Good news… That while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, and even now when we sin, in spite of our sin he has ransomed us from sin and death.

          I encourage you to examine God and see him in his rightful role as Lord and Savior… then let the man-made, man-centered, traditionalism religion fall away. Just because men claim to preach the Gospel doesn’t mean that they have, or that they do. Often it is a watered down, reductionist version that has no power other than the charisma that the speaker gives to it.

          Well, that my 2¢ worth anyways. 😉

        4. Don, thank you for your answer. Be sure I will be rereading it again and again.

          But right now I have trouble separating the messenger from the message. Even worse, I have trouble separating the messages, as in multiple, the messenger brings.

          If one message is false, how can the other be trusted for being true? Jesus said an evil tree cannot bring forth good fruit.

          What confounds the matter even more is that they mix the messages. They confound their political and social hatred with the gospel, link them well-nigh inextricably.

          “If the light that is in you be darkness, how great is that darkness!”

          At the moment, I am worshiping without its assurance of truth. But I will act as I believe a Christian ought to act. I will try to take on the attitudes of Jesus toward others. How everything else fits in, I will have to reconstruct.

          I rather feel like Puddleglum, Jill and Eustace in the underground lair of the witch. I will live like a Narnian even if there is no Narnia. I will keep searching for the sun even if there is no sun. I will find my way out. But right now, the darkness in the hearts of the acclaimed chosen men of gawd is rather oppressing.

        5. I feel that this is one of Satan’s wiliest moves: to imitate genuine Christianity and to deceive people, to sidetrack them from the truth of the Gospel into substituting their own preferences, morality, and standards for the Good News.

          When Christianity first appeared, he tried to wipe it out brutally, by gruesome torture and martyrdom. When that didn’t crush Christianity, it seems as if he changed his tack and tried to pollute it from within.

          Remember the parable of the wheat and the tares: Jesus said they grow together until the judgment. That means that true believers will always be mixed with the fakers.

          To find the truth, I would suggest reading the Gospels first then the rest of the New Testament in the New Living Translation. Focusing on Jesus becomes the answer to me when I get frustrated by looking around me (or even when I look at myself and my own incomplete obedience to Christ).

        6. Thank you, Pastor’s Wife.

          I am trying to focus more on Jesus, His words and doings rather than on other doctrines at the moment. Still, it is hard to keep the other junk from intruding.

        7. rtgmath, Thank you for your honesty. I am at a similar place. I’m in the process of deconstructing my faith, trying to winnow out the worthless chaff from the kernel of truth. I don’t know where that process will stop. There’s a helluva lot of chaff, and as you noted, a lot of it has historically been intended to keep white males in power. I was absolutely serious when I said that if Christianity is accurately reflected in the Sam Gipps of this world, I want to be a non-Christian.

          Don’s response was well thought out. I’ll be re-reading it as well. I’ve long held the position that salvation is sourced in Christ, not in ourselves.

          Salvation is also not determined by the quality of my belief–or it would be a salvation by works. I figure that God is big enough for my doubts, and he or she is not wringing his or her hands over me deconstructing my faith system to see what is worthwhile and what is not.

          I’ve been out of “fundamentalism” since the 1980s. I became a tried and true ‘evangelical’ (neo-evangelical?). I never wavered until I saw the blatant conflation of conservative politics with Christianity–and I realized that as I had drifted to the left politically, I was no longer welcome in evangelicalism. In my area, being a fiscally conservative right wing Republican is part and parcel of being an evangelical.

          An acquaintance locally kept pressuring me to attend his bible church. Finally, I told him that, if the church folks there knew my politics, I would not be welcome. He said, “You’re probably right.” And he never brought up church to me again.

          I realized that ecclesiastically I had become a man without a country.

        8. Fortunately I found my way into the Episcopal Church, and parishes which are fairly liberal. The priest explained that faith is a community thing, that none of us stand alone.

          So when it comes to reciting the creeds, we say, “We believe” instead of “I believe.” The community holds you up in faith, even when you do not believe yourself.

          I have room to question without fear of being rejected. There is some comfort in the older forms of worship.

          So I understand where you are at. Thank you for your heartfelt statement.

        9. BJg and rtgmath–yes, I am with you both. In some ways I envy those who comment here who have left Baptist fundamentalism but have found a comfortable home in some other Christian community. Such has not been my experience.

          Where am I, spiritually speaking? I believe in God, but I don’t exactly know what that means.

          I respect the individual religious experiences of others –including those who wrote and edited the bible–but I don’t see how their experiences are in any way binding on me (a little Emersonian strain in me, no doubt).

          I stopped being afraid of being wrong.

          I’ve concluded that if God wishes to send me to hell for doubting, or for some sinful desire or the other, well, if that’s the way he is, then have at it, buddy-boy. At least I will burn in hell remembering that I was more merciful, more understanding of human nature, more tolerant, more loving, more forgiving, more life-affirming, than God. That’s got to be worth something.

          This is to say, I’ve stopped believing in a vengeful, jealous, exclusive, fundy, petty God of wrath and damnation. I mean, that may be just the way he is, and if I’m wrong I’m wrong. But since I reject these characteristics in human beings I feel justified in rejecting them in God as well.

          Sorry for just laying in out there like this, tinged with a little anger and perhaps bitterness. It’s not easy to sort these things out without some high emotion.

        10. Hi Nico,

          You don’t have to apologize to me at all. I understand. And bitterness is part of the territory.

          (And no, I do NOT allow people to say that my bitterness is “failing the grace of God.” After all, it is not a result of my own sin, but of the sin of others bringing this crisis of faith.)

          I am to the point where I get angry with God sometimes, and I tell Him so. “Lord, what do you think you are doing letting these people get away with [such and such]. Don’t you understand that they are making faith in you look ridiculous? Don’t you understand that letting them prosper in their hatred perverts the gospel?”

          Or “God, you are supposed to be in Control. So what about all these innocent people you killed with that hurricane [earthquake, tsunami, etc.]? 25 thousand here, 250 thousand there, a third of them children. Don’t you remember Abraham talked to you about not judging the righteous with the wicked?”

          At this point, I don’t care so much that it sounds sacrilegious. Abraham and Moses both told the Lord He should watch what He is doing. Actions have consequences, even for God.

          At least I am being honest with my frustrations and not mealy-mouthed. What faith I can muster right now has to be honest, even if it cannot be reverent and deferential.

        11. Nico and rtgmath, thank you for your candid expressions of where you are in your faith.

          I appreciate this forum as a place where we can safely speak to one another (as a general rule). I have found some comfort in the Nicene Creed. I believe that I still affirm that.

          Blessings to you both as you deconstruct your faith. Hopefully we all will re-construct our faith, but without the baggage that we brought to it from our families of origin, and our “Christian” colleges and churches. It probably won’t look much like what we started with. That, at least, is my hope.

        12. Nico,

          Maybe this analogy is hyperbole, but it seems like for a lot of folks here re-constructing faith is almost like searching through the debris after a natural disaster and trying to salvage what actually has value from the rubbish.

          Like you, I haven’t found a new “spiritual home.” Earlier this year, I located one of the finest men I have ever known (a Catholic priest) and traveled to the church where he is pastoring. I hadn’t seen this man face-to-face in thirty-some years, but then Hell, he was a Papist. Strangely, sitting through the mass with the immigrants from Latin America almost seemed like going home.

          Naturally, I thought he might be justifiably angry for my inexcusable neglect. After the service, I walked up to him and started to apologize. He cut me off from speaking and demanded, “What’s your name?” When I told him he said, “Oh my God! I must have thought about you a thousand times over the years!” Then he hugged me as though I were the returning prodigal son.

          Still, I don’t believe in the magisterium, apostolic succession, or even transubstantiation so how can I go back? At this point I honestly don’t know what to do.

          So I certainly can’t offer any useful opinions or helpful advice. I have some idea of how you feel though, and offer you sincere wishes for God’s blessing on your life.

          Peace,

        13. “Maybe this analogy is hyperbole, but it seems like for a lot of folks here re-constructing faith is almost like searching through the debris after a natural disaster and trying to salvage what actually has value from the rubbish.”

          Ben, it isn’t hyperbole. It is exactly what it seems like.

        14. Thanks Ben. I took a new job 1.5 yrs. ago that requires me to work Sundays. This has actually been helpful for me, giving me a legitimate excuse to create some distance while I figure out what to do.

          I’ve been Orthodox now for over 13 yrs. (even tonsured a Reader and ordained a Subdeacon! 😯 )and there are some things about Orthodoxy I love: the sense of history, the liturgy, the smells and bells, many of the good people in my parish. But there is a lot I also cannot bring myself to accept. I appreciate your kindness, and it is good to know I am not alone in my struggle.

  21. There’s a lot of piling on here. Will no one rise in defense of Mr. Gipp?

    Here are a few modest questions and/or statements that may help justify, or at least explain, Mr. Gipp and his bumper stickers:

    1.) What better way is there to discuss complicated issues than to paste invective and sound bites on the back of motor vehicles?

    2.) How better to get a witnessing opportunity than to first break the ice by pointlessly insulting someone?

    3.) Because other people do it and we’re told in Romans 12:21 that we should, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with…” Oh wait! Nevermind!

    Re: Mr. Gipp’s anti-environmental bumper stickers

    3.) Because old patio furniture is beautiful, but a redwood, bah!

    4.) Because how better to imitate the righteous man who, “Regardeth the life of his beast,” than to confine God’s creatures in pens where they live their entire short, miserable lives never seeing the sun and never experiencing walking on God’s green earth?

    5.) How can the “The heavens declare the glory of God,” if they are not properly obscured by smog and light pollution?

    6.) Perhaps Mr. Gipp somehow accidentally got hold of a 1610 Authorised Version where it referenced, “The Parking Lot of Eden.”

    Re: the 1611 KJV carved in the pulpit

    7.) Those of us who love the KJV and think it’s a long, long way from being a museum piece thoroughly enjoy having to explain that we understand the problems that arise in attempting to translate idioms, that we understand that languages differ in grammar, and that we understand that, for example, the meaning prepositions may vary depending on context. It’s also a ball explaining that we understand that as superb as the KJV translators were, they used methodologies that were available to modern translators and not secret KJV techniques known only to themselves. That’s so much more productive than wasting time talking about textual sources, formal equivalency v. dynamic equivalency v. paraphrase, italics, and that sort of thing.

    8.) It’s also a blast explaining that while you think that modern translations should be Masoretic Text/Textus Receptus based, you actually believe that it’s more likely that most of the translators of modern English Versions were motivated by a desire to make the scriptures more accessible to the modern reader than that they were Jesuit agents on a mission to corrupt God’s word.

    9.) It’s also such jolly fun having to explain that just because the New Testament scriptures were given in KOINE Greek, that doesn’t mean that modern Greeks are wrong to read the scriptures in a more modern form of their language. It’s also incredibly productive to spend time explaining that just as we have a Reina-Valera 1569, 1909, and 1960, no where in the Bible are we commanded not to attempt to faithfully and reliably translate the scriptures into the more modern form of any language.

    10.) Because screaming at each other is so much more helpful than than reasonable, educated dialogue.

    In all seriousness though, too much of modern Fundamentalism is an amalgamation of culture, patriotism, hero worship, and conservative politics, with a little scripture thrown in.

    It’s hard to say how many, but some of us here are orthodox Protestant in our theologies and are socially conservative in many other ways. Sam Gipp aside, if a lot of these guys really want to advance the cause of Christ and promote genuine biblical values, they might be well advised to spend more time putting 1 John 4:7 & 8 into practice and less time talking.

    1. Hey Men
      no seriously spot on

      if a lot of these guys really want to advance the cause of Christ and promote genuine biblical values, they might be well advised to spend more time putting 1 John 4:7 & 8 into practice and less time talking.

      But that wouldn’t line their pockets with the lucre they crave. And how will you know just how great these guys are unless they tell you?

    2. Fantastic summary. American Fundamentalism is little more than political theater tailored to those who confuse fervor with faith.

    3. “It’s hard to say how many, but some of us here are orthodox Protestant in our theologies and are socially conservative in many other ways. Sam Gipp aside, if a lot of these guys really want to advance the cause of Christ and promote genuine biblical values, they might be well advised to spend more time putting 1 John 4:7 & 8 into practice and less time talking.”

      Just want to say hooray for this.

  22. Dear Sam Gipp:

    Do you think Christian living concerns sassy bumper-stickers? Again, exactly what Biblical warrant do bumper-stickers have?

    Say that 50-60 people crash your church. Say that on your cue [every puerile, untrue statement you make], they get up and spend several minutes accusing you of violating the 9th commandment. Would that be sufficiently offensive to you?

    Instead of reading American Biblically, you read the Bible Americanly. Shouldn’t you repent of your idolatry? If the gospel challenge is not Christ AND Caesar, but Christ OR Caesar, where does that leave you? If your bumper-stickers are your real Bible, why should we accept your Christian confession?

    Isn’t baptism defiance? Or take that ‘I believe in the resurrection of the dead’ thing. Pray tell – what is that if not defiance, you twit?

    Christian Socialist

    PS: Have you ever had a thought too big for a bumper-sticker?

    PPS: Why don’t you know where you’ve been – been drinking?

    1. PS Mr. Gipp:

      “Instead of reading American Biblically, you read the Bible Americanly. Shouldn’t you repent of your idolatry?”

      I would like to strongly suggest that you consider the statement, and answer the question.

      Or, if there is a Sam Gipp supporter trolling the site, perhaps you can answer the question for him.

      B.R.O.

      1. Dear BigRedOne:

        Ooops! I messed up. First time ever [yeah right …].

        I mistakenly misrepresented William Stringfellow by the addition of the letter ‘n.’ You are entirely correct that the difference is huge.

        What I meant to say was …

        ‘Instead of reading America Biblically, we read the Bible Americanly.’

        And you’re right. Getting that wrong IS idolatrous.

        Blessings!

        Christian Socialist

  23. “We don’t even have any defiance left. We won’t defy the devil.”

    All I could think of was Jude’s description of false teachers.

    But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.” But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively. (Jude 9–10)

  24. II Samuel 23:9-10: And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David, when they defied the Philistines that were there gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away: He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil.

    Aren’t you glad that he didn’t choose the surrounding verses or else we might be encouraged to start physically attacking people that do not believe the Bible? Preachers (using the term loosely for this guy) that do things like this give Baptists a bad name…

  25. Jesus rode in Jerusalem on an ass. So is Sam Gipp lived in biblical times, would his ass be big enough ti display all of those bumper stickers?

    1. but Sam could park his ass in “Pharisees Only” Parking spaces, where he could compare his as to others.

      “Ummm, oh there’s a good one, ‘Lord I’m thankful I’m not like the Heathen next to me…'”

  26. “Been molested? Thank a teacher”…..You people are the most schizo crowd I have ever seen. You rail all day about abuse, when most of it is probably contrived, therefore actually cheapening people who really have been abused…..Then when a bumper sticker that actually is funny and poignant and fits your theme comes across the way, you mercilessly berate the guy. Simply stunning.

    1. Stacey, your comment disturbs me. That bumper sticker is in no way funny. How about, “Been molested? Thank your pastor?”

      Pastors do a fair share of molesting, too. There are a few teachers who do it — and lately it seems a lot more women high school teachers are in trouble over it than male high school teachers! Priests and pastors and Sunday School Teachers and AWANA workers have done it.

      But the vast majority of molestation is done within the extended family. Parents, older children, uncles, cousins. People you would think you could trust.

      As for cheapening people who really have been abused, you claim that most of it is probably contrived. Wow. Talk about cheapening people. I might not be able to prove I was molested in the Boy Scouts. I didn’t tell anyone for years after the perpetrator died. But it happened. You want to tell me that is contrived, Stacy?

      Sam Gipp absolutely deserves to be berated for his decision to offend. He deserves to be berated as mercilessly as he has berated others, not that I think that is actually possible to accomplish.

    2. I don’t think that bumper sticker is funny.

      And if we wanted a bumper sticker to “fit our theme”, maybe “Been molested? Thank a pastor” would fit the bill better. I would’ve criticized that too, though, because it over-simplifies to the point of stupidity.

      Just because we support victims of abuse doesn’t mean we give bumper stickers like this a pass.

    3. ” . . . you mercilessly berate the guy. Simply stunning.”

      And Jesus mercilessly berated the Pharisees. There are times when ridicule is the only proper response.

    4. Not sure how criticizing actual abuse, and people/institutions turning a blind eye to abuse is in conflict with criticizing a bumper sticker that makes light of abuse, and is in bad taste.

      Just as abuse is often committed by teachers, most teachers aren’t abusers. And, to be fair, most IFB preachers aren’t, either. But when it happens, it’s usually committed by someone close to a victim that no one suspects. The point is to take it seriously. It’s not a joke.

  27. No, seriously? He’s real? He reads his Bible? I honestly can’t believe that people like this actually exist.
    Forgive us Lord for loving our culture more that we love your kingdom.

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