Church Growth

It’s funny to me in a sad sort of way when I see fundamentalists who really seem to think that their completely contrived, man-centered, and numbers-driven evangelistic efforts are the TRUE BIBLICAL WAY.

What Jeff Fugate is fighting here isn’t heresy but rather competition from what he imagines is a better equipped sales force. What’s more, I doubt that Jeff could actually define what the “emergent church” is if his life depended on it.

262 thoughts on “Church Growth”

    1. 3rd…. by the way – sign me up for the conference. I so want to learn the fundy’s methods of “emergent growth”… snooze

  1. I confess to being confused about the “church growth” idea. I thought that the church is the Lord’s and He adds to the church as He sees fit.

    Instead, we have people like Fugate implying that to not grow is to be a failure.

    I thought that “salvation is of the Lord”. If we saw a dozen people saved last month, but only five saved this month, have we failed? Should we not rejoice rather over the 17 that have been saved over two months? Instead we have this manic “must keep doing more” mentality that wears people out, both physically and spiritually.

    Oh, and Acts is more church history than an how-to manual. Are they going to attempt to kill people who lie about their giving?

      1. can I get that on a bumper sticker? maybe a license plate holder?

        maybe someone could propose that as the new motto for new hampshire

    1. Re: implying not to grow is to be a failure. Not only does he say that you have to grow, but you have to grow HIS way. Growth through any other means is also failure, in his estimation.

      1. I appreciate the kind words; I wish I could take credit for all of the thoughts, but I heard a pastor say them, thought they were very sensible, and remembered them.

  2. Acts 17:11 “And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.

    I wonder what would happen if you approach an IFB preacher with something he says that obviously contradicts scripture? Actually, I know because I have done it. I was wrong and they were right. So sticking with the book of Acts is great, if you ACTUALLY stick with it, not just the parts you want to use.

    Oh, and since I used the NLT I’m sure that discounts my use of scripture anyhow.

    1. I heard a “pastor” (HAC educated, if you’ll forgive the expression) preach on the verse and say that it doesn’t mean what it says — they weren’t searching the Scriptures to validate Paul & Silas’ message, but rather to explore the message even deeper and find more, uh, “truths”.

      Even in my kool-aid state, that kind of twisting made no sense. I believe that God did plainly state what He meant there.

      1. Wow. That’s unreal. It IS sad that for them, God’s Word is not enough. Like, it can’t be that “easy”. There must be more to it. I don’t know, I guess they stumble on the cornerstone. As I stated a few days ago, we DO need to pray for them. While their “self-rightousness” may nauseate us, they ARE included in John 3:16. God loves them just as much as He loves ANY of us.

        1. I agree we need to pray for them and that Jesus loves them. But false doctrine needs to be called out, sometimes very harshly. Jesus did not take it easy on the religious elite of his day, those with “high standards” and scrupulous outward adherence to the rules.

      2. Wow. The Hyles sect has changed “sola scriptura” to “sola pastoris megachurch.”

        1. For a moment my old eyes read “soda scriptura.”

          Come to think of it, fundies seem to be big (in more ways than one) on soda-drinking, when they’re not sipping Kool-Ade or home brew.

      3. I once heard a fundy preacher choose a text and interpreted it EXACTLY THE REVERSE of what it said. I wasn’t “out” then, but even then all I could do was shake my head. This was in a church that had 9000 people on the roll and less than 200 in attendance. Wide as a lake and shallow as a puddle.

        1. >9000 on the rolls, <200 average attendance.

          That's why some people, including yours truly, believe that the numbers often cited for how many Americans identify as fundamentalists or evangelicals are greatly inflated.

          That kind of wishful roster-keeping is more the rule than the exception in those circles.

          The same with people's self-reported church attendance. Lots of people, when pollsters ask, say they attend church every Sunday, and even that they attended on the most recent Sunday. (Maybe so they won't cause a weaker brother to stumble.) Some of them actually did, but many did not (several studies have established this by matching church attendance figures with people's self-reporting).

        2. You mean a church can’t count the people that saw their sign as they drove by as on the roll?

      4. GR,

        You forgot that the word “educated” also needed quotation marks.

        1. So true… oh, for an edit capability! But that would quash George’s fun.

    2. When my husband tried to show another IFB pastor why he was reaching out to our community by showing him the passages of Scripture that had convicted his heart, the pastor said, “Don’t show me your Bible verses,” thus proving that they only like what they SAY the Bible says, not what it REALLY says.

      1. It’s interesting to me that when the conversation is pastor-to-pastor, the thin veneer of needing to look somewhat respectable is cast aside and the ugly truth is revealed. I bet your husband has some very interesting stories to tell from pastor-to-pastor conversations he has had.

      2. My dad (a pastor) and I had a similar conversation about alcohol. I was just trying to make the point that the Bible doesn’t condemn Christians drinking. He finally go mad and shouted, “You’ll just come up with a verse to disprove every argument I try to make, so I’m done here!”

        1. I’d share the rest of my Four Roses with you for this.

    3. This is, in my opinion, the biblical model for study of the Scriptures: the church collectively studies the Bible and comes to a consensus. I think we see that model throughout the NT. Jesus was an exception, of course, because since he was God he taught with authority, not consensus. And I do see a role for spiritual leaders to gently steer the church in the right direction (e.g., Paul’s admonishments to various churches not to get too far out of balance – although even most of Paul’s teachings were rooted in the apostolic consensus over various matters of concern). But, overall, the NT again and again speaks to the COLLECTIVE nature of biblical study. This is, of course, anathema to IFB pastors and, I believe, is the main reason why so little Scripture is read aloud in IFB churches.

      1. Yes! This is why the adult religion class that is popular in the ECUSA, Education for Ministry, is taught by a facilitator who leads the class in group discussions to find one or a few points of general consensus. He or she is there to keep the discussion ticking along and look up citations as needed. “Sitting under” a preacher is not the point. Searching the Scriptures is the point.

        1. Jenny Islander,

          You are being conned. Anytime an organization (church, school, or whatever) uses terms such as “facilitator” or “general consensus,” they are using social engineering to impose group think and to stifle any and all opposing views. They use peer pressure to induce people into using group think and to impose their views. They are conning you into making you think your input is important. They have a predetermined point of view and have no intention of varying from it. It is a tool to make people think that they are being listened to when they are not. It is a tool to suppress any and all individual points of view and to brainwash you into “communitarian” thinking and believing that individuals do not matter. Common Core in American schools is an example. They are brainwashing the kids to not think for themselves and to only think as a group and ultimately to make kids bow down to the state and not dare have any views for themselves or that vary from what the state says.

        2. stacy – you turn me on so much with your neo-con views. Wanna watch Fox News with me tonight?

        3. Scorpio, you need to get out more! If I were really a neo-con, why would I be against Common Core and other NewAge clap-trap educational systems? Many, if not most, neo-cons are for these kinds of programs, not opposed to them.

        4. stacy – Like you, I just put words together and see if I can make coherent sentences. Sometimes it works.

        5. Stacy
          I realised some time ago that bible study questions aren’t real questions, they’re just prompts for the scripted approved answer.

  3. Love the image text – numbers such as that ought to be a wake-up notice that they are doing something wrong.

    1. I wonder sometimes if God and Luke sit up in heaven and regret somewhat the inclusion of the “about three thousand souls” figure in Acts 2:41. So many in the ministry spend their lives chasing this impossible goal. I heard a pastor once suggest that this number was simply shorthand for a large group of people – in other words, the number matter a lot less than the fact that many individual people were reached with the gospel. Don’t know enough Greek to know if that’s accurate, but it’s an interesting point to consider.

      1. I don’t know Greek at all, but I’ve studied enough ancient history (BA’s in History and in Ancient Studies, and a start on a Master’s before life got in the way) to know that the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans used large numbers to indicate “a whole bunch of people” more often than as an accurate count of individuals. Their ability to estimate crowds was not exactly accurate and generally biased in their favor, particularly in numbers like enemies opposed/killed in battle. I’m inclined to think that numbers like ” ‘3,000’ souls” and “feeding the ‘5,000’ “were written because they sounded better than “lots.”

        1. Yep; I’ve heard preachers justify their counting by saying “You know that someone at Pentecost was taking names and doing a count”

          No! God knew precisely how many were saved that day; it could be that 3,000 was exactly correct, or it could have been just to mean “a lot of people”, and the 5,000 later meant “a lot of people, but more than the last time”.

        2. Round numbers always make us think/assume that they are estimates/rounded.

        3. It’s also easier for kids in Sunday School to learn about Jesus feeding the 5000 than about Jesus feeding the 4,783.

          I guess we all could’ve learned about Jesus feeding the lots, but that wouldn’t have been nearly as exciting.

        4. Having a round number as a stand-in for unspecified large quantity is a common practice in the world’s cultures.
          In China, Japan, and Korea, “10,000” means “too many to count” or even “a practically infinite number” more often than it means exactly 10,000. The infamous World War II war cry, “Banzai,” literally meant “ten thousand” (in this case, ten thousand years of life for the Emperor). And Indians often speak of a “lakh” of something (especially rupees). A “lakh” can mean exactly 100,000, but it can also mean any large number, especially one you haven’t taken the pains to count.

          North Americans also talk loosely about “millions” or “billions” or “gazillions” of things. I heard a movie star in an interview say he had dated “millions” of girls. I don’t doubt that his score was a lot higher than average, but he would have to be thousands of years old to have had millions of dates, even if each one lasted only an hour, and he never stopped to rest.

    2. Why can’t I respond to Scorpio? There’s no “respond” button by him.

      1. Also, once replies have been indented so far, there’s no more replying – just reply to the post above his, and it’ll be added to the bottom of the pile. We’ll use context to figure out who it goes to. Or in your case, we all know you’re making eyes at Scorpio. πŸ™‚

      2. Seriously, one can only respond to 2-3 levels deep, and then there is no more “Reply”, which is why some people’s writing starts out with @ to indicate that this is a response to

  4. The only thing most fundies know about the “emergent church” is the mistaken information they get from some of the other fundy preachers. They also don’t realize that “church growth” is more than just numbers.

    1. So true that growth is not just growth in numbers.
      When I say that children are growing or trees are growing, I usually don’t mean there are a greater number of them than before.

      I’m not against increase in numbers. I’m against an emphasis on it that leads to neglect of other matters. If I plant new trees every day, but don’t tend the existing ones, my orchard will not flourish.

    2. they probably also don’t know that the emergent church is in many ways a reactionary movement against the “church-growth movement”

  5. Thursday and Saturday door knocking – not in Acts.
    Bus routes – not in Acts.
    (long) Skirts on women – not in Acts.
    1 2 3 pray after me – not in Acts.
    #OldPaths – not in Acts

    I wonder if he has even read the book of Acts.

      1. #NotinActs shunning wine
        #NotinActs women banned from preaching
        #NotinActs buses, just in general

        1. #NotinActs blackface boxing

          Yeah, I’m lookin’ at you, Fugate.

    1. A nearby HAC-affiliated Baptist church showed on their fb page the following:

      1. Grand Prix – not in Acts
      2. Ladies’ Banquet – not in Acts
      3. The pastor and his wife wearing 18-inch tall pointy hats that look like crayons at the Ladies’ Banquet – not in Acts
      4. A Couples’ Activity, an outing to a local museum – not in Acts
      5. The pastor wearing a giant chicken hat for Crazy Hat Sunday on the bus – not in Acts
      6. A picture of a little boy handing out tracts – not in Acts
      7. God and Country Sunday – not in Acts

      They didn’t show any mention of their former pastor who just a couple years ago was jailed for sexual contact with two teenage boys in the church’s school (which is now closed). That’s not in Acts either.

      1. I never quite understood where IFB churches came up with the idea that the book of Acts is the template for how the church should be structured and run. Bill Gothard got on this kick too with his “Seven-Fold Power of First Century Churches” book.

        1. This is interesting because most IFB preachers I know who point out errors of charismatics and advocates of baptismal regeneration (i.e. Churches of Christ), always say those other people read Acts like its a church manual.

    2. Pulpits–not in Acts
      Choir lofts–not in Acts
      Sunday School–not in Acts
      Pews–not in Acts
      Offering plates–not in Acts
      Piano (white or otherwise)–not in Acts
      Organ–not in Acts
      Invitational hymn–not in Acts

      This could get to be quite a list…

      1. Not in Acts:
        Parking lots
        Electric lights
        Bumper stickers
        Jell-O salad

        1. Dr F, I’m pretty sure that indoor toilets would come under the categories of “plumbing” and “restrooms”.

        2. Not in Acts,,,
          Suits and ties
          Shoe shine kits
          Sunday buffet
          Gallons of sweet tea
          Green bean cassarol
          Gallons of whole milk w/ the red top
          Instant mashed potatoes to be thrown out
          Thank u very much

    3. I wondered, too, if he was teaching that those things are NOT in Acts.

      I also wonder if his teaching includes Acts 4:32:
      “Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common.”

      1. If “everything they owned was held in common” means “everything they owned was at the disposal of the MOG” then I think IFB churches are pretty close. Two examples:

        My father has a habit of giving away his old junky vehicles to whomever the pastor tells him needs a car. Over the years he has given ancient cars to the song leader (who was later fired for having an affair with a woman in the choir), a missionary to alcoholic Indians (whose alcohol rehab center never actually opened its doors), and a single mother whose husband abandoned her and took her car (actually I thought he did the right thing that time). He also gave me one of his old vehicles, which I later donated to NPR’s vehicle donation program. πŸ‘Ώ

        A couple in my parents’ church recently build a beautiful home after many years of sacrifice to save enough money to do so. Then, the church got a new pastor and he told them to sell their home and build something smaller and give the money to missionaries. And they did!!

        So, yes I think the communism of Acts is alive and well in some fundy churches.

        1. The MOg told them to…??? 😯 … I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around that.
          Even your pistol-packing mother wouldn’t go that far.

        2. My pastor bragged for months on how he gave his old van (which the church took an offering up for)to his son and his son’s wife. This is after he started leasing a Lincoln on his church salary. And this was a church that had 20 Wednesday nighters. Maybe hit 50 Sunday morning.

        3. I’ve heard of an elderly woman who was yelled at by her pastor for giving her car to her grandson who needed one.

          Turned out the pastor had already decided on the member of his family who was getting the vehicle when the will she’d been badgered into gave everything to the church.

          (She changed the will. Not a dime went to the church.)

        4. A woman at church actually gave my ex a car after I left (I had the kids so I took the van). it turned out to be a money pit and a lot of trouble. He ended up selling it for $200.

    4. I have been “preaching” this for a while. (I am a female so not REALLY preaching…lol). My biggest reason for leaving the church is because of their door knocking being a foundational belief. That is the biggest thing they toss around and I can’t agree one bit. If not one person is at church from the door knocking souls “saved”, then maybe that isn’t how it should be done. I didn’t tell the preacher this because I am really sure I would have been literally kicked out the door on my head.

      1. The response I get is “What is a better way to get out the gospel?”

        1. Yes that is the response of many. I say that is surely not the way, because it clearly does NOT work.

  6. But on a positive note, I did listen to a message by Curtis Hutson on youtube (well, part of a message). If anyone wants to hear it, search youtube for “Curtis Hutson on “False Conversions”. It does not sound “fundy” at ALL. If anyone listens to it, let me know what you think.

  7. “Guess we’ll just stick with the book of Acts” is inaccurate and falsely accuses others of NOT being faithful to Scripture.

    Truthfully, they should write, “Guess we’ll just stick with the methods of the 1960s.”

    1. I don’t know if its so much a false accusation, as I do believe there is much abuse of Scripture within the “emergent” church , if you can really define that. But I would say IFB church growth models are no more or less biblical. Two different ditches, IMHO.

      1. Go to any church. That’s right, any church. You will find “much abuse of Scripture.”

        That said, there are churches that do less of it.

        The Episcopal Church has Scripture woven throughout the entire liturgy, with 3 readings of passages of significant length, recitation from the Psalms, as well as prayers, praises and other parts chock full of Scripture as well. All this without commentary or preaching.

        The homily or sermon given is usually a reflection on the gospel reading with very practical application.

        The “Emergent Church” is really too young as yet to see the direction it will head or what forms it will take. But one thing is certain. The Emergent Church will deal with several sources of authority and strive to balance these. No longer will there be a single source of authority about everything (aka, the Bible, the preacher, the Pope), but several will be identified (science for the physical world, Scripture for spiritual concepts, etc.).

        There will always be ditches. Some are steeper than others.

        1. I frequently serve as lector in my Episcopal parish. I read the scripture that I’ll be reading, ahead of time (the Lectionary is online). And I meditate and pray over it, with the intent that I can really communicate the meaning as I read. I like to think that I can have an effect on the hearers by doing it. At the very least, *I* am paying attention to it.

  8. Is the Emergent Church movement still even a ‘thing’? I remember there was a constant buzz about it several years ago but now it seems to have died out…or just gone quiet.

    1. I have no idea if it’s still a thing, but apparently for Fugate and co., it’s functioning quite well as a straw man.

      1. For people who still preach about the danger posed by the Beatles, once a thing, always a thing.

        1. This made me laugh. Our pastor had a bad habit of losing his reading glasses. So, one day as a joke a church member got him a big box of really ugly reading glasses they bought at a garage sale. One pair looked like Buddy Holly’s glasses. When I pointed this out, I was lectured about how evil Mr. Holly’s music was. Yes, the same Mr. Holly who died in 1959, the year my father was born.

          While I am on the topic, I’d also note that in the BJU American History textbook for high school, they state that the “Day the Music Died” is a reference to the chaos that occurred at the Woodstock festival. It was many years later before I learned that the “Day the Music Died” refers to Mr. Holly’s death in 1959 and NOT a music festival ten years later.

        2. At one time, The Dave Clark Five were more popular than The Beatles, yet no one preaches against them by name. Anyone with an album titled Having a Wild Weekend should be preached against hard and long! Just look at a list of their song titles. I won’t list them here, for fear of causing someone to fall. I believe I’ll go do some more research on ’60s rock&roll, so I can be helpful to the poor weaker brother with warnings!

        3. How could you NOT know that “The Day the Music Died” was February 3, 1959, when a plane crash killed Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens?

          Ah, well, these are the same people who teach that America’s Founding Fathers were fundamentalists …

        4. Not to mention Woodstock did NOT happen in February! “But February made me shiver with every paper I’d deliver. Bad news on the doorstep, I couldn’t take one more step!” Also later, American pie has the lyrics “Now for 10 years we’ve been on our own” Admittedly, McLean recorded the song 12 years after the crash, in ’71, but it still makes sense; he probably wrote at least parts of it in ’69. Wouldn’t make sense if he was singing about something that was only 2 years ago!

        5. Woodstock, NY, is probably best known for the legendary Woostock music festival of 1969, but in fact the festival was not held in Woodstock. It took place on a dairy farm in Bethel, NY, about 43 miles from Woodstock.

          OK, I’m getting pedantic again. It’s time for my pill.

  9. It is bizarre that fundies face such a huge focus on eternal damnation for the unsaved when I really don’t see that being any sort of reason, either for seeking salvation or for evangelising, in the book of Acts. Or any other book of the bible. Hell is mentioned so infrequently that some argue quite successfully that it may not even be real.

    Now, I don’t know what I think about that, but I do know that fear should not be the focus if we are to be biblical.

      1. Also, I’d add that there is something blasphemous about their notion that the gospel isn’t “good enough” but must be embellished with their various false teachings as scare tactics to manipulate people to pray a prayer.

    1. I totally agree with you. When I started reading the Bible more for myself and listening to good music, I finally realized that God REALLY does love! It blew my mind. I am almost 44 years old and with my stupid upbringing of fear and than years of it being crammed down my throat, I realize it takes time to get that mess out of my head. There is a parable about the master being austere and all the research I could find, it said that master is not to be considered God. But I heard a pretty stiff sermon once on the austerity of God and man, it is mean stuff.

      One thing that I don’t get is how they preach guilt trips at you all day long in hopes of getting to do right. UHHH! NO! How about preaching the love of God that the Bible talks about. I can tell you being loved is a greater motivator than guilt any day! Why they don’t get it I’ll never know.

      1. Jonathan Edward’s sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” has imposed almost three centuries of heresy on American Protestantism. What about a God who is slow to anger and abounding in love, who would not have anyone perish but all come to repentance??

  10. Here’s my last comment for now, which doesn’t really apply to today’s post, but is on my mind. We criticize these “fundamentalists”. Let us not forget that if we ourselves have put our faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior, we ARE fundamentalists. But let us not forget what a fundamentalist SHOULD be. Do you believe these things?

    1. There is one God who exists in three Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

    2. Jesus, God the Son, was born in human flesh of the virgin Mary and was fully man and fully God.

    3. He was crucified on the cross to fulfill the wrath of God for sinful mankind and is the ONLY way to obtain salvation and eternal life.

    4. He rose from the grave victorious over death and presently sits at the right hand of the Father as our High Priest, our Mediator.

    5. The Holy Bible, the Scriptures, the very Word of God, is infallible, completely free of error or contradiction.

    These beliefs make you a fundamentalist.

    I don’t know what believing you should wear a tie to church, or a skirt to the floor, or not go to the theater, or not have a TV, or only listen to hymns written before 1950, and so on and so forth makes you, but it doesn’t make you a Biblical fundamentalist, that I do know.

    Perhaps the question for any “standard” should be, would I die for it? I would die before I renounced my belief that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. I would die before I had homosexual relations. I would die before I cheated on my wife. I would NOT die before I read from the NIV.

    And as I say that, I realize Peter said he would die before he denied Christ. We all know how that turned out for him. So what I SHOULD say is, with Jesus Christ’s help, I would die before I did those things. Ok, I’m done.

    1. That criteria does not make you a fundamentalist Norm. I’m pretty sure you are describing evangelicals.

      Fundamentalists add to the gospel. They would agree with everything you just posted but would also add to it.

      Jesus+conservative haircuts and dress
      Jesus+long skirts

      1. I agree that “today’s fundamentalist” adds to the gospel. I just meant that a “true fundamentalist” should stick to what the Bible says, add nothing, take nothing away. So perhaps I am describing “today’s evangelical”. Honestly, and I think most of us on here would agree, I could care less if I’m called a “fundamentalist” an “evangelical” a “heretic” or whatever. At the end of the day I want to be called a “good and faithful servant”. And I pray that Christ will so fill me that whatever that requires, that’s what I’ll be willing to do.

        1. Sorry, Norm, but language doesn’t work that way. Originally, “fundamentalist” just meant someone who held to the fundamentals of Christianity (incidentally, the list you included is not the same as the fundamentals that were originally organized around). Today, the word means something very, very different.

          And please do not minimize “adding to” the faith with false standards of men. For a person to claim that a certain kind of outfit makes God happy is to lie, and to lie about what God said. We aren’t stoning people any more, but I get the feeling this is a pretty serious thing. In most of my experience in fundystan, The actual gospel of God’s grace is entirely obfuscated by the works-based fear mongering. This is rather obviously demonstrated by the numerous incidents of people “saying the sinners’ prayer” multiple times.

        2. Every Christian holds to what he or she considers to be the core of the Gospel.
          But we don’t agree all the time about what that core message is.

        3. “…should stick to what the Bible says….”

          Which Bible Norm? The one with 66 books or the one with 73 books?

          And by sticking to “what the Bible says” means I can have a wild party. Dueuteronomy 14:26.

        4. I don’t know Scorpio. If you are arguing that we shouldn’t stick to what the Bible says, what do you suggest we hold to? Do you have a better option from which to derive ultimate truth?

        5. Norm – Don’t try that “ultimate truth” jedi mind trick with me mister. I am immune to that. πŸ˜‰

        6. Norm, you say a person should stick to “what the Bible says”, however you list the Trinity as a fundamental of the faith (it’s not), you also list penal substitution as a fundamental, which isn’t as far askew, but is still not exactly correct, and is only a partial view. Both doctrines are derived and not taught in scripture directly.

          The virgin birth actually is one of the fundamentals, however you would have a VERY hard time proving the core necessity of it from Scripture as you would get the idea is in there from doctrines & creeds.

    2. Norm, have you gone back and read any of the archives here? I’ve been reading here since at least 2010, so we’ve rehashed the point you bring up before.

      I’ve said many times that I am a fundamentalist if by fundamentalist one means holding to the fundamentals of the Christian faith, definitely those four points you list above.

      However, most of the fundy churches we lampoon on SFL (the IFB in which nearly all of us grew up), while they CLAIM that this belief is what marks a fundamentalist, add on to that specific things without which they WILL NOT FELLOWSHIP WITH YOU and consider you a back-slidden Christian. These things include most commonly the King James Bible Only position, the no-pants-on-women rule, and the no-contemporary-music rule.

      BJU is a perfect example of this. Every day in chapel we stood and recited the Creed that listed basic beliefs which we upheld. Yet Greenville was full of black-listed churches that would have affirmed that same creed yet were off-limits to students for extra-biblical reasons that were EQUALLY IMPORTANT to the fundamentalists as the Scriptural truths they were proclaiming.
      If holding to those basic truths of the Bible was all that was required to be a fundamentalist (or a “good Christian”), why were we not allowed to attend there? Why did we not fellowship with them? Because to nearly everyone in the IFB, their standards are what define them NOT Biblical truth.

      1. I have read some of the archives PW. I have come across some of those statements about “true fundamentalism”. I just like to remind myself from time to time that if I criticize someone or some “organization” for what they are doing, I better make sure I don’t have a “beam” in my own eye. I will say I always like reading your comments PW. Some comments on here are purely bashing the IFB. Yours always seem to have a bit of “grace and truth” mixed in. And I love the fact that you agree we should pray for them, not just tear them down πŸ™‚ .

      2. Oops. I said 4 when you’d listed 5! I was very hasty. I do believe #5 too.

        1. You honor, let the record reflect that from 8:33 am till 9:55 am this morning, Pastor’s Wife did not believe in biblical inerrancy. πŸ˜‰

    3. Nope. I am not a fundamentalist.

      Number 5, in particular. You throw away the fact that men wrote Scripture, and their influence in it is evident. And if you have ever *really* studied Scripture, you would realize that there are contradictions in it, lots of them.

      The Scriptures are not without error. Nor are God’s people.

      If you were to read any accurate history about the Canon and manuscript transmission, you would learn that the first three centuries of the church were full of squabbles, fights, intrigues, murders and arson over the question of what was Scripture and what wasn’t.

      The easiest example is the book of Jude. Recognized as Canon, this book quotes heavily from the Book of Enoch, a fanciful and dramatic work that easily earned its status of NOT being Canon. Yet Jude quotes it as authoritative.

      The doctrine of inerrancy is a heresy, unknown in the early church and pretty much universally rejected up until the 1950 Chicago Conference (if I remember correctly). In order to try to fit the Scriptures to the doctrine, fundamentalists have had to create lots of rules, caveats and outright deceits in its interpretation.

      Yes, I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. I accept the Gospel that Jesus died for my sins, was buried, and rose again. And from there, no system of theology has my allegiance.

      Because one thing is very clear in Scripture. Each person in it has experienced God in a different way. Each person understood God and His nature differently than the others. Each person’s relationship with God was unique, not replicated by others.

      I am through with the cookie cutters.

      1. RTG, I’ll completely agree with you that God’s people are not without error. I’m with you 100%. But if you start saying that the Bible contains error, where do you stop? How do you determine what is error and what is not? When it says in Exodus 20:13, “You must not murder” (NLT), was that error? Maybe it’s ok to kill people? When it says, “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only son, so that everyone who believes in him wil not perish but have eternal life.” is that error? Maybe what it should have said was “everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life unless God is having a bad day, then He’ll send you to hell, but on the other hand you may be a horrible person but if God feels like it He’ll let you into heaven even though you don’t believe Jesus is the only way.” If you start saying the Bible contains error, where do you draw the line? If it’s subject to human interpretation of what’s “right” and what’s “wrong”, I can say it’s “right” to take your car because I deserve it more than you do and even though God’s Word tells me “Thou shall not steal”, I believe that is error. Things start getting pretty fuzzy when you question the inerrancy of scripture. But you absolutely have the right to disagree with me :).

        1. Norm, your examples are ridiculous. They are picked as to be ridiculous.

          Let me remind you that faith is not about certainty, but following God’s leading despite the lack of it. Abraham didn’t know where God was sending him until he got there, and even when he got there, he never stayed in one place.

          And the people of God got along without the “whole Bible” or even established doctrines for the first three centuries of the Church. Are you saying that they weren’t Christians or saved? They didn’t have chapter and verse, after all!

          The Gospel does not demand that you believe the Bible is inerrant, that Adam and Eve were real or that the Flood of Noah happened as described. All it says is that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again.

          Paul put a curse on anyone who would add more to the gospel than that. Inerrancy is such a curse.

          Look around you, Norm. Whether you know it or not, there are a host of people around you who walk with God, who are His, and yet do not believe the Bible is inerrant.

          Again, don’t be ridiculous. Fundamentalism has convinced me that their understanding of Scripture is bogus, without power, without grace and leads only to puffed-up blowhards.

        2. Norm, Deut 21:18-21 demands that a stubborn & unruly child (who refuses to be corrected) be taken outside the gate and be stoned.

          Please don’t be offended, but yours is an argument ad absurdum. I by no means believe in inerrancy. I believe that the bible is a product of its times and culture(s). I’ve come to that belief over years of living, and despite a Th.M. from Dallas Theological.

      2. This!
        Consider these statements from 1 Cor. 7:

        A: To the rest I say–I, not the Lord–

        B: if a brother has a wife who is not a believer…he should not divorce her.

        If A is true, B is not inspired.
        If B is truly inspired, A is a false statement.

        1. Hmmm, ok. I will consider that and I would like you to consider this. 2 Tim 3:16 “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.”

          That verse says ‘all’, so, I believe it’s all. If you feel comfortable standing in front of God after this life is over and telling Him, “I didn’t believe everything in Your Word was true, so I didn’t follow the parts I was uncomfortable with.” then proceed on my friend!

          I so don’t want to fight with anybody. Ultimately, we all have to please God, not each other. And the Bible is very, very clear that we can come boldly to the throne of grace with our requests. So, if you or I have a question about something, why not just ask God? He promised He would answer. I don’t have a good way to end this, so I’ll just end.

        2. “All Scripture is inspired by God.”

          I’m okay with that. Inspired, however, does not mean inerrant.

          The word “inspired” is used once in the New Testament, if I remember correctly. Over the centuries there have been no less than 7 different meanings attributed to it. Nor is there a mention as to the “degree” of inspiration. There is no mention that the Holy Spirit overruled the personality or knowledge (or lack thereof) of the writer.

          I will point you to another passage where “God-breathed” is used. In Genesis 2, God breathed into man the breath of life, and man became a living soul. Man was “inspired” by God, was he not? Yet man was not inerrant nor infallible.

          Inerrancy is a heresy. Inspiration is not. But the Scripture itself does not demand that everything be “believed” literally. It just says that the Scripture is good for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness.

          Mind you, the Scripture never even claims that the Bible is all you need.

          Nor does the Timothy passage refer to the New Testament. At the time Paul wrote, he was referring to the Old Testament Scriptures! There was no New Testament.

        3. Norm, *how* will God answer?

          An audible voice? If so, get ready for the funny farm. And you would not accept what someone else told you God said to them as authoritative. Not one bit.

          How about silence? He seems to answer that way a lot.

        4. Rtgmath: I’ve enjoyed reading your comments here, as they mirror much of my own thoughts on this issue. I would chime in to add, however, that there is no clear consensus on what Paul meant by “all Scripture.” That verse uses two different Greek phrases: hiera grammata (“sacred writings”) and panta graphe (lit. “everything written”). The latter phrase is the one that is mistranslated as “all Scripture.” Ever since I found this out, I have found no persuasive argument why we should interpret “panta graphe” to mean the OT, the NT, or any other particular set of writings as opposed to others. Quite frankly, without the aid of church tradition, no one knows WHAT Paul was referring to.

        5. Thanks, Deacon’s Son. I agree with you on the inability to know even what “all Scripture” is referring to in that verse.

          Most Fundamentalist doctrine is created with a verse here, a verse there plucked out of context, a reference to a word or phrase somewhere else entirely unrelated to the point, tied together with preaching string and assertion without proof.

        6. Paul was not referring to any of the New Testament, since it hadn’t been written yet (except for some of the Epistles).

        7. Big G, actually some fundies think that he was referring to the NT along with the OT. Because there is some verse in one of Peter’s epistles (I think – too lazy to google it right now) where he refers to one of Paul’s epistles as Scripture. Supposedly.

        8. I must comment here that I think it is interesting that the canon as detailed by a group of fallible men at the Council at Nicaea is accepted and defended, but the Roman Catholic Church is flat rejected, along with the other resolutions of that Council. The inconsistencies are fascinating.

    4. Norm,

      There are 2.1 billion Christians in the world. Among these Christians you will find many who do not believe in the exact wording you used in some or in all the five points you listed.

      Most of us who left the IFB fold have a knee-jerk reaction (which may not be accurate 100% of the time) to run away from anyone who claims to be the only one who has THE TRUTH.

      If you check in my threads in the forum, I planned to start a thread on each one of the five fundamentals. (I think I’m missing threads on a couple, not sure if I will continue the effort.

      1. Hey, I completely agree with you about anyone who claims to be the only one who has the truth. And as far as not agreeing 100% with the exact wording I used, words are words. There’s even a verse that tells us to stop arguing over words. I wish people knew my heart. I’m not here to say I’m right and your wrong. I have told many, many people that as I study scripture more and more, if I hold a belief today that, tomorrow or 20 years from now, I find contradicts scripture, I better change it immediately. So please don’t anybody take my words to mean “here’s what you better believe or your wrong”. I completely realize I may mis-state or may even flat out not understand what some scripture really means. But I do love discussion!! And I think discussion, especially discussing scripture, is a GREAT way to discover ultimate truth.

    5. “All Scripture is inspired”

      All 79 books? All 82? (Actually, When written by Paul’s followers, this book referred to the Jewish Scripture, possibly only to the Torah.

      1. The one thing we know for sure is that he was not referring to books that didn’t exist then, such as the Gospels and Acts and Revelation.

    6. Norm, you just brought up the main reason many people don’t like this blog: it’s completely disingenuous.

      Whenever someone brings this point up, you always get countermanded by someone claiming to tell us differently. This blog pretends to be a sight to bring up some of the inconsistencies and humorous oddities of IFB’s. But when you look at the overall ethos, the sight has very little to do with pointing out in good-natured humor the quirky and odd foibles of the ultra-legalists, extra-Biblical beliefs of the IFB. This seems to just be the cover. The true ethos of the site is a place to castigate anything remotely conservative and the Bible and Christianity in general.

      Many people would actually respect this place if it were made more clear and open and honest that the site has very little do with making fun of IFB’s, but the main theme is to make fun of the Bible in general. I don’t know this “Daryl” guy, or if he even is a real person or not. Maybe the site was started to make fun of IFB’s, but it has changed and now has become a site to just mock Christianity and/or conservatives in general. The site needs an overhaul in order to reflect its true nature. Why hide behind some myth that the site’s purpose is to poke fun at IFB’s ? Why not get back to this original theme (if that really is what it was supposed to be), or just change the marketing material on the site to say that it’s a place to poke fun at Christianity and conservatives in general, not matter what their “stripe” or denomination?

      1. Stacy, welcome back. It’s always fun hearing from you. Today you forgot to mention that Big Gary is on the payroll of SFL. So as to not hurt BG’s feelings (as they are South-Texas tender) would you please give him a shout out? Blessings!

        1. Are South Texans’ feelings more tender than those of other folk?
          Hmmm, maybe so. I’ll have to think on that.

      2. The site is completely overrun with leftists and this has become the meme of the blog. One thing I will say is that I do respect this “Daryl” person who is supposedly the owner of this place. He has no moderation at all in the comments and has let the place be ruled by radical leftists. I have no clue if this was his intent or not, or if he just believes in free speech and the only ones who post here are radical leftists. I do appreciate that he has allowed me to comment, even though I don’t hate Christianity or conservatives.

        1. Miss Stacey, if you really wanted to be taken seriously, you could at least show a simple form of good manners and get the name of the host correct.
          It is the fact that he does not moderate all comments that makes it an honest site. Take off the blinders and quit seeing only what you want to see. Many of us have conservative leanings, we just don’t believe we have to agree with all of the “party line”. I am a young earth, six day creationist. Many posters here are not. So what? An ability to have a difference of opinion is one of the things I like about SFL. I usually (never 100%) lean toward Republican. I have a friend who was the head of the Democratic Party in his county. We are be friends.
          One of my favorite examples of just getting along is Mathew and Simon. One was a Roman Gov’t employee, the other a Zealot {}. Yet they, because of God’s grace, worked together for years.

        2. Uncle Wilver, I think you are casting pearls before swine to ask Ms. McAnderson to use proper spelling. After all, she is probably opposed to Common Core in the belief that it will teach all our children to be liberals. Ms. McAnderson don’t need no education!!

        3. Radical leftists, the horror!

          Actually, I think UncleWilver said it best, but I like the way so many from different viewpoints mostly get along on this site, ‘cept for the trolls. And to bring in several disparate parts of this thread, I actually am a Southern Baptist. Who’s mostly theologically conservative, but not nearly so much as most of my fellow church-members, but very politically liberal. (And yes, I’ve been perfectly comfortable, happy even, in Methodist and Episcopal services.) And I appreciate viewpoints from left, right, and center here. Where’s that leave me? Radical leftist, I suppose. I’m still waiting for my paycheck, though.

        4. A few years ago while working in an aircraft baggage bay next to a fairly liberal avionics technician, an interesting discussion of partisan politics arose because of a statement I made. The more liberal guys had trouble understanding how I could be fiscally and socially conservative while also voting for an item that would give more money to the park service to preserve wilderness areas, as well as being okay with some forms of welfare assistance. I realized early on it isn’t only Fundies who think everyone i supposed to blindly follow leadership.
          I also have no problem with creating minimum standards for education. What I do have a problem with is when the minimum becomes the median, with increased benefits based on a score and not actual advancement or achievement. You should never aim at the lowest common denominator. (Unless you are placing ads on social media)

        5. And even then, Uncle Wiver, don’t do it on FB because you’ll never see more than 20% ROI.

          Guess what I do for fun…

        6. Golly. I am about as far from left as you can get, yet I enjoy what everyone has to say here. My thinking is, that if you have been in the stronghold of the IFB for any length of time AND gotten out, you will relate to what everyone has to say here.

          I don’t even believe the way some do, but I don’t feel in any way pressure or unjustness from any of them. I love the perspectives here.

          I will admit, your perspectives get under my skin for some reason Stacy. I had started to reply to you in another blog post here and I backed out three times as I didn’t even know how to say what I needed to say.

          From the time I have been reading this blog (almost 2 years) it seems the ones who have not been abused or just sick of the IFB ways, are the ones who have the most negative to say about the way things are done here.

      3. It always makes me smile when fundies get on here and try to give us their long list of rules for how to run a blog that criticizes fundamentalism.

        Oh, and Ms. McAnderson, you never answered my question from last time which is who is paying you to post these things?? Takes one to know one, after all.

      4. Perhaps this is true, Stacy. I hold no animosity toward anyone on here though. I state what I believe. I try to base my beliefs solely on scripture. I am certain some of my beliefs have been warped by how I was raised. I am attempting to read scripture for myself and live my life based completely on what I believe it says. If anyone disagrees with me, that’s fine, I don’t answer to them and they don’t answer to me. We’ll all answer to God one day, and I will be responsible for myself only.

      5. stacy – Where have you been? I have missed you honey. That game of “wheel of fortune” we played the other night was hot. Next time we have to video tape it.

        Everyone else – stacy is my woman. Y’all leave her alone. OK?


    7. Thanks, Norm, but I’ll stick with the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed. They’ve been around a long, long time and will still be the basis of faith after you and I begin pushing up daisies.

      Where you say . “He was crucified on the cross to fulfill the wrath of God for sinful mankind ” the Nicene Creed simply says “for us and for our salvation he came down from heaven.”

      1. Jay, I read both creeds. they both say He was crucified. Soooo, we don’t disagree do we?

        1. We don’t disagree about the Crucifixion nor the Resurrection. (By the way, today is the Feast of the Ascension in the liturgical churches.)

          I think we disagree about the language of WHY these events happened.

        2. Norm, there are other views of what Christ accomplished at the Crucifixion than the one you put forth, which sounds like a form of substitutionary atonement.

    1. Ladies Conference? Where’s the Mens Conference? I hope the Bus Conference, the Pastors & Staff Conference, and the Spanish Conference don’t make up the Mens Conference.

      1. And speaking of Ladies Conferences, those sort of things I’ve always avoided, being unmarried (they always talk about wifely and motherly subjects, right?) and I have no desire to do crafts.

        1. I’ve been to several ladies’ meetings and at none of them did I see any meetings about scrapbooking, embroidery, quilting, etc. Perhaps saw crafty, cutesy stuff there but nothing about actually doing any.

  11. My fundy pastor went to a conference and came back all enthused over ways to build the church (as measured in church numbers and the offering plate, don’t you know!).

    Mind you, we live in a small community with churches everywhere.

    Using the many books he bought he organized a campaign, drew up schedules, handed out assignments. And there was work. Lots of work.

    After 3 years we were no bigger than we had been when we started.

    I had told the Pastor at the start something that I had told him over the years — the church is not an organization, it is an organism. He never got it. Eventually he left, disappointed, to go to another church. That church put up with him for a few years, then he was looking for another church to pastor. I don’t know that he has gotten the message yet.

  12. My pastor did a series on Wednesday nights (I don’t go on Wednesday night, although I would like to sometimes, but I listen to them online). It was titled Jesus+anything=nothing. If anyone would like to hear that, you can go to

    1. I followed the link to the statement of beliefs on your church’s website, and it lead to the Southern Baptist Convention’s page. I saw a few things there that seem to be very obviously added to the word of God (yes, plenty of verses are given to justify them, but they aren’t actually relevant/used correctly).

      This really stood out to me: “Civil government being ordained of God, it is the duty of Christians to render loyal obedience thereto in all things not contrary to the revealed will of God.”

      I don’t recall reading any exception when I saw that passage in the bible. I wonder if this is how the SBC justified their covering up of child sex offenders when they refused to organise a list of pastors and church workers who abuse?

      1. I have no idea, Tiarali. I’m not even going to try to defend the SBC or my church, or my pastor as infallible. I know for certain my pastor would be the first to tell you he is a fallible human. I love my pastor for many reasons and as long as he preaches nothing more and nothing less than the Bible I will back him as my pastor.

        I wonder what David used as his excuse for committing adultery and then trying to cover it up with murder? But somehow he was still a ‘man after God’s own heart’. I believe this statement is true. If you ever find a perfect church, don’t join ’cause you’ll mess it up.

        And if you think I’m a “die-hard Southern Baptist”, I’ll tell you what I tell everyone that asks me what denomination I am. I don’t like denominations. I’m not a Baptist. I am a born again believer who has put his trust in Jesus Christ. I attend a Southern Baptist church. I am not a Southern Baptist.

        1. Yup. You are a Southern Baptist. That is how all Southern Baptists respond.

          Pretending you are non-denominational doesn’t make you non-denominational. I bet you wouldn’t be comfortable going to an Episcopalian church, or a Methodist church. Mennonite, anyone? How about the United Church of Christ?

          Pretending you are non-denominational doesn’t make you non-denominational.

        2. But being non-denominational doesn’t mean you’re “all-denominational”. I may not right now identify with one particular denomination, but there are certainly many denominations that I would NOT align myself with.

        3. PW, I like what you said about non-denominational doesn’t mean your all denominational. I stated earlier, in response to RTG that I had been to, among other churches, Catholic churches. Now, I must say, I disagree with many teachings in the Catholic church. But, growing up, I was taught that Catholic’s were heathens on their way to hell. I realize now that that is not true. Especially since I married a woman who the majority of her aunts and uncles are Catholic. I think if you believe absolutely everything the Catholic church teaches then you are not saved by grace and thus will not spend eternity in heaven. I have started listening to a Catholic radio station every now and then to “see what they believe” and MUCH of what they believe is true to the Bible. I don’t hold with baptizing infants for washing away original sin and calling the priests “Father” and praying “through” Mary or any of the saints and so on and so forth, but they aren’t “heathens” like I was taught growing up πŸ™‚ .

        4. Norm, that’s exactly what I’ve found. I’ve realized that other denominations are not usually quite the same black/white that my IFB upbringing taught me. I love to see things we have in common. Yet I’ve also found some very significant differences over which I do continue to disagree. (It’s one of the things I love about praise and worship music. When I can sing a song about Jesus with another believer, the other things on which we disagree diminish and we can focus on praising Christ.) Your example of the Catholic church is a good one.

        5. Norm, I hate to pick on you, but I just wanted to point up this comment that you made downthread and hopefully shed some light on why you’re pinging a lot of folks’ fundie-meters, in spite of your much appreciated attempt to present your beliefs in a good-natured way.

          I think if you believe absolutely everything the Catholic church teaches then you are not saved by grace and thus will not spend eternity in heaven.

          The thing is, any time you set up a test on behalf of God — if you believe *some of these things* you are saved, but if you believe *all of these things,* and particularly, God forbid, *these things,* then you are not saved — that is *not* what “saved by grace means.” Grace is unearned and unmerited, correct? Grace is grace precisely because our flaws and failures and mistakes require grace. To be saved by grace means that we *are* wrong about many things, we *are* broken in many ways, we *are* a million times smaller and more fragile and more messed-up than we ever imagined — and that does not remove us from the possibility of God’s love or God’s salvation.

          The minute you add to that, “unless you believe (WHATEVER),” then you are making grace not grace at all. You are making salvation contingent on passing a theological exam and saying that if you fail that exam, even God’s grace cannot reach you.

          That is what we complain about here when we talk about fundamentalist mindsets making God small and impotent and constrained. I don’t care how “scriptural” you think it might be, it is demeaning to God to suggest that God’s grace is insufficient to save us if we’re wrong about God. The CERTAINTY that we are all wrong about God at times means that ONLY God’s grace is ever sufficient to save us. Not our creeds and not our theologies and not our forms of worship and not our hermeneutics and not our affiliations, but everlasting love.

        6. I think I agree with you Hth. What I meant by if you believe all (maybe I should say exactly) what the Catholic church teaches, then you CAN’T be saved by grace. Because they teach that you have to DO a bunch of other things to obtain heaven. I don’t know. I know what I believe in my heart but putting it in words without “misstating” something is just about impossible.

          It kind of seems like you might be a ‘universalist’ Hth. God loves us so much that no matter what we do or what we believe, His great love will wrap us up in His arms and carry us to Heaven for eternity.

          Maybe this isn’t what you believe, but if you don’t have to “understand” ANYTHING and you don’t have to “believe” ANYTHING then what gives you everlasting life? God’s love? Why did Jesus say “few there be that find it”? I’m tired. Like I said, I know what I believe in my heart and I ask God every day to show me how to be more like Jesus. If I’ve stated something wrong to make someone think I believe something I don’t or to make someone think I don’t believe something that I do, I’m sorry.

        7. “…if you believe all (maybe I should say exactly) what the Catholic church teaches, then you CAN’T be saved by grace. …”

          Norm – What does the catchphrase “saved by grace” specifically mean? And other than quoting Ephesions 2:8-9 I would like the answer to come from the Bible.

          Funny how reading the Bible actually brings some people to Catholicism. But let’s not let facts get in the way shall we?

        8. .” I love my pastor for many reasons and as long as he preaches nothing more and nothing less than the Bible I will back him as my pastor”

          I hope he preaches Christ.

        9. Scorpio, I’m going to try to give you a Biblical answer (not in this reply).

          Jay, yes, my pastor preaches Christ above all else. And I didn’t mean that to sound like I think my pastor is some “special” spiritual guide. He is just a man, just like me. I hate to hear anyone sound like they are following a mere human such as a Wesleyan/Armenian. I want to follow Christ.

          I have opened my big mouth and put my entire foot in it today. I don’t apologize for my belief that Jesus Christ is the only way anyone will make it to heaven. Outside of that, I am sorry if I tried to sound like I am right and anyone else is wrong.

        10. Don’t take it too hard, Norm. I enjoy interacting, even with those who disagree with me. I especially enjoy trying to explain why I have come to some of the positions I have.

          And who knows? Being here, perhaps you are going to find yourself led by the Lord to a divergent path from what you have known.

          There are a lot of us here, and we disagree on many issues, sound off on them, are challenged and still we get along. We have several levels of belief, some who are still fundamentalists and proud of it to some who are now atheists. My belief has settled into a more liberal form.

          And you have not made any mistakes that I haven’t, over the years.

          So don’t worry about it. Putting one’s foot in one’s mouth is necessary training, I suppose, to learning how to view one’s own positions. You are welcome, here.

          You have my regards, Norm.

        11. I will say this I AM A SOUTHERN BAPTIST. I am theologically conservative, politically moderate. Do I think we do everything right? No. Do I agree 100% with everything in the B F & M 2000? No, I think that it’s position on women’s roles in the family and church is too restrictive. Do I think we’re the only ones who really follow the Bible? No. Do I think we can and should do more about sexual abuse / rape of children and women in our churches? Yes. So why do I align myself with this denomination, and am okay with denominations in general? It is because a denomination can do more, both with policing its own and with doing good for its community, and the world, than a church can by itself. It is because we do try our best to follow the Bible. It is because we, as imperfect people in an imperfect organization, follow the perfect God the best way we can.

        12. Just to show how open I am, send me any denomination you have, and I’ll treat them all fairly as I spread them about the community.

        13. @Scorpio – you said you want an answer to what saved by grace means and you want it from the Bible. Do you want specific verses?

        14. I have been away so haven’t replied as I wanted to.

          “If you ever find a perfect church…”

          None exists in this life. But you can find hypocritical churches that teach that they’re doing wonderful things and hope that people don’t bother to check the fine print that says they’re doing the exact opposite of what they’re preaching, and then you can find churches that openly state that they are not perfect, they make mistakes, and they – including the pastor – are open to genuine dialogue when things don’t go so well. I believe I have finally found the latter. Your gibe seems to indicate that you haven’t.

          If you want to find a way to rile up ex-fundies quickly, it’s to recommend that they listen to your pastor preach. You’re completely dismissing their own experiences, suggesting that if they would only hear the wonderful preaching that you listen to, they would find out their own experience is in the minority and that fundy pastors are actually wonderful, holy, blameless people, blah, blah puke.

          There are thousands of ex-fundies out there now. We have come from many different churches from around the world. I’m actually from Australia, I was raised in a brethren fundamentalist family before finding a baptist fundamentalist (IFB) church in adulthood.

          All of us have different stories. Some of us simply felt that our education wasn’t great. Some felt the misogyny. Some discovered that the endless rules were extra-biblical. Some of us saw the hypocrisy that allowed pastors and their families to get away with behaviour that the rest of us would be shunned for. And some of us saw serious criminal behaviour and abuses being committed or covered up by our pastors.

          We spent time in the system. We’ve read our KJV’s. We’ve amen’ed the wonderful sermons. And we left. Surpisingly, many of us (not all) stayed christian when we left.

          Don’t walk in without taking the time to listen to us and then try and convert us back, and don’t try and convince us that ‘your pastor isn’t like those bad ones’ – as soon as you start using that argument there’s probably a pretty good chance that there’s something serious going on.

          My current minister is just a man. He seems like a decent bloke and I can talk to him like a real person. I am glad that I am where I am. Please don’t disrespect me by talking down to me.

        1. @ Tiarali. I only gave a link to listen to my pastor because I believe he preaches truth and is one of many good preacher’s to listen too. Not because I think anyone should take what he says above what someone else says and not because I want to downplay anyone’s bad experience in a “fundy” church.

          I am extremely happy for you that you have found a church where the pastor is someone you can talk to and discuss stuff with. That’s what a pastor should be. And yes, my pastor is just a man. He doesn’t get any special revelation from God or anything.

          I really am sorry, Tiarali, if you thought I was talking down to you. That ain’t what I meant to do at all. That’s one thing that truly disgusts me and if that’s how I came across, I disgust myself.

          I’m not trying to ‘convert anyone back’. Anymore than everyone else on here stating what they believe is trying to ‘convert me forward’. I wasn’t raised in an ‘official’ IFB church, but I was raised with the same standards the IFB churches hold dear. So I’m sorry if I sounded like a ‘fundy’ trying to come in here and tell everyone they are wrong. I didn’t begin a relationship with Jesus until October of 2012 so as far as “knowing” Him, I’m not even 2 years old yet. So what could I tell anyone? Forgive me Tiarali. Obviously I came across way different than I wanted to based on your comments. Glad to hear you got out of fundyville and stayed Christian πŸ™‚ .

        2. And my comment of “if you ever find a perfect church”… to which you replied “none exist”. That comment was kind of a sarcastic way of saying no one is perfect and therefore no church can be perfect. Thus, a “perfect” church has no people (which, obviously the church IS people) and if one person joins then it’s not perfect anymore. I wasn’t trying to say if YOU personally found a perfect church don’t join it because YOU personally will mess it up. The “you” was people in general.

  13. From what I have read of the emerging churches (and I know just enough to be dangerous), the whole focus is getting closer to the way the church functioned in Acts, but within the context of modern society. They try to strip away some of the man made conventions, such as the pastor standing behind a lectern, on a stage, facing an audience (like a professor in front of a class).

    1. From wikipedia, on “emerging church”:

      “Gibbs and Bolger[23] interviewed a number of people involved in leading emerging churches and from this research have identified some core values in the emerging church, including desires to imitate the life of Jesus; transform secular society; emphasise communal living; welcome outsiders; be generous and creative; and lead without control. ”

      That sounds much closer to the church in Acts than fundy churches today.

    2. Emergence is also about ultimate authority. It is a rebellion against the strident authoritarianism found in Catholicism and in Protestantism.

      In Catholicism, ultimate authority is in the Pope. In Protestantism (and in Baptist circles), ultimate authority is Sola Scripture.

      But Sola Scripture has been twisted, especially by fundamentalists. And none of them even agree with each other! They deny the obvious truths in Science. Their theology has led them into a pattern of trying to deny rights to people based upon their prejudices.

      Emergents generally are disgusted with the whole mess and are trying to figure out what to keep and what to throw away. They want both substance and a life consistent with Christian principles. They are willing to endure some doubt and uncertainty to get it.

      Since I learned about Emergence, I consider myself a part of it. I attend an Episcopal Church. But I am busily sorting through the past to see what to keep and what to throw away. I am throwing away a lot.

  14. this is the sort of thing that is just begging to have someone fill in the blanks with…

  15. Since IFB fundamentalism “emerged” from ecumenical/evangelical fundamentalism and dispensationalism, it seems that the boys have forgotten exactly how they got here.
    They are under the delusion that they were first on the scene and that everyone has fallen from where they are at.
    “Sorry gents, but what you preach is not what the apostles preached.”
    The original emergents are mad and they won’t take it anymore.
    Besides, of all the movements, the emergent movement is actually in decline as far as popularity and they are trying to redo their image, which is easy to do for a postmodern, just have to redefine what words mean.
    Again, the Fundamentalists are 5 years behind.

  16. In my experience, conservatives pejoratively use many terms that they don’t know the meaning of. One of the most glaring ones is postmodern.

    Postmodernism is decried as the problem with our world today. And most of them don’t even really understand what it is.

    What makes it especially funny is that post-modernism is a reaction to modernism. And fundamentalism ALSO started as a reaction to modernism.

    1. Exactly! This always amuses me!

      I’m sort of a classic liberal now, so as far as politics and art appreciation are concerned, I’m more of a modernist (20th c) than a post-modernist, I guess. But I can appreciate the critiques of post-modernism. But the fundy confusion is sort of funny. It’s as if anything new or contemporary = bad, therefore modernism = bad, therefore post-modernism must be really really REALLY bad. Or something.

  17. I don’t know what “emergent church” is supposed to mean, either. I think it’s just another buzzword.

  18. Fundies are all alike in thinking there is something noble about rejecting anything non-fundy in toto. All they end up doing is looking clumsy and stupid. Like the time my IFB pastor found out I was attending an Assemblies of God church at college (because I had a friend who was suicidal and he found comfort in attending that particular church so I started going with him). My parents’ pastor called me into his office that Christmas break and lectured me about how “everything the AG church believes is garbage.” Really? Everything??

    1. I fries my brain how wrong the IFB are on so many other denominations. I grew up in a charismatic church. Married into Missionary Baptist and ended up in IFB. My sisters attend AMAZING non-denomination, charismatic churches. They are all about what God teaches and have children that are serving God with all they have. The IFB will go as far as to say they aren’t even saved. Oh Lord help me on this one!!

      Someone, somewhere along the way has come up with some pretty stinking thinking and the IFB (along with most Baptist in general) have taken that thinking and made a complete wrong doctrine based on their ideas of perfection.

      One thing since the Schaap actions came into play, I have learned a LOT about wolves in sheep’s clothing. I have heard for years that it is the charismatic, Pentecostals and the like, but I believe it is the majority of the IFB. I have seen more wolves in the IFB than anywhere else.

  19. For all who have criticized my view of Scipture’s inerrancy. Someone said a word had been given 7 different meanings throughout history. I think of one example. I’m sure there are scholars out there, so don’t beat me up if I don’t get this exactly right. I believe there is a hebrew word, hassad, which to fully interpret to english would require 15 english words. Thus, it may be given ONE of those FIFTEEN words in any given english translation. If you view THIS as error, than… okay, I must admit logically the Bible contains “error”. I just don’t view “inadequate” translation as “error”. So to sum up, are there “translation” errors? Ok, maybe, I only know english so I couldn’t compare to original manuscripts even if I wanted to. Bible “teachings” are inerrant. If anyone doesn’t believe that, we’ll simply have to agree to disagree πŸ™‚ .

    1. You misunderstand. I said that the word “Inspired” in II Tim 3:16 has had 7 different meanings ascribed to it. Not 7 different translations.

      All agree that “inspired” is “God-breathed,” but the Scriptures say nothing about what *that* means. Nothing. Only that God is a part of it.

      Understand, please. I believe that God is in you if you are His. But you are certainly not inerrant. I believe that you are living the life that God gave you, but that life is not perfect.

      There simply is no Scriptural justification for inerrancy. Indeed, there is abundant internal evidence against it. Similarly, the historical and scientific evidences against inerrancy are vast. You might remember the Scripture, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

  20. Completely off topic, but we would be remiss not to mention and honor the passing of a true Renaissance woman, and one of my personal heroes, Maya Angelou.

    Rest with God, in peace. You are missed.

    1. Definitely one of the great Americans of my parents’ generation. What a noble spirit that woman had!
      Or has, rather, since her spirit has not departed us.

  21. “Church Growth” is just an older form of “emergence” it began with Finney….

    1. and the fundies hold Finney up as a hero of the faith. They have adopted his “Altar Call” methods of manipulation and most, whether they know it or admit it, have adopted his Pelagian heresy as well.

      1. Well, I don’t know about Pelagius, but I reject the idea that I have to blame Adam and Eve for my sinfulness. Read Romans 7.

        My sin is my fault, and mine alone. I do not blame my parents, nor my children, nor my wife. I do not blame Adam or Eve or serpent. Had I been in the Garden and heard of the Tree of Knowledge, I would have beaten them all to it.

        And since I do not believe that Adam and Eve were literal, historical characters living about 6000 years ago or so, it doesn’t really matter that I do not believe in original sin. I have enough evidence of my own sin to warrant me needing a Savior.

        1. Then you are (unknowingly perhaps) are very much like Finney and Pelagius. To be consistent you must also reject that another’s righteousness can be imputed to you as well.

          You may not go this far, but Finney did, I give him credit for being consistent πŸ™‚

      2. Mike, did Finney believe righteousness could be imputed between any two “humans” or did he only believe that Jesus righteousness could be imputed to us? Because I believe that is Biblical. Our righteousness is filthy rags but when we stand in Jesus’ righteousness we are made perfect before the Father.

        1. Oh wait, I misread that. He REJECTED that another’s righteousness could be imputed to you. So he didn’t believe that Jesus righteousness could be given to us? That’s like the entire foundation of salvation isn’t it?

        2. Norm…just got in.

          Right, if you read his Lectures on Revival he called it “legal fiction,” he insisted that we must produce the righteousness since we were NOT ruined by the Fall and had natural ability to produce righteousness. Responsibility equalled ability in his mind. This led to his perfectionism/legalism.

          Terrible bondage for people for sure!

        3. Well, Norm, some Christian traditions are less “western modern thought” in their theology (my family is Armenian Orthodox, for example, and they are very skeptical of syllogisms in theology), but yeah, given your frame of reference, imputation, or at least our sharing in Christ’s victory, is the basis of salvation. Finney did not believe this, and his arguments were surprisingly “biblical” (but let’s face it, the Baptists had pretty “biblical” arguments for chattel slavery). The problem was that instead of believing the Scriptures by faith and letting mystery and contradiction stand, he had to fit everything into a nice, tidy, philosophical package with a bow on top. By the end of his writings he was downright heretical, and made a mint teaching it, too.

        4. Finney preached “another gospel” and if you look at the historical and theological connections between American Fundamentalism and the Holiness/Keswick movement as well as the crusades Finney was involved in, you will stop wondering how they got so screwed up. It was flawed from the beginning, and the accompanying anti-intellectualism just made the whole movement incapable of self-correction.

  22. Hi RTG. To answer would I go to a different church. Absolutely I would. I have been to United Methodist churches, I have been to Catholic churches, I have been to Assembly of God churches, I have been to churches I don’t even remember what was on their sign out front. Where do you go to church RTG?

    1. I go to the Episcopal Church, mostly. I have been to a lot of others.

      But your answer *was* typical of a Southern Baptist. The claim of not being denominational is a claim made by several denominations I know of. Church of Christ, Plymouth Brethren, Southern Baptist, Independent Baptist, usually any fundamentalist group, etc.

      1. Let me just ask, in your opinion, RTG, are Church of Christ, Southern Baptist, Independent Baptist, etc. all “fundamentalist groups”?

      2. One may “go to an Episcopal Church,” sit in the back and simply observe. All are welcome, whatever their faith status.

        But liturgical worship really means involvement and participation, not sitting in an “auditorium” listening to a sermon. Eucharist means, in Greek, “giving thanks,” and that is what we basically do in the Sunday service.

        Much of the service is reading sizeable chunks of Scripture, culminating with the ceremonial reading of the Gospel for the day. After the sermon, which almost always is based on one or more of the Scripture readings, we stand and say the Nicene Creed, as have Christians for many centuries before us.

        Then we become even more involved by participating in the Eucharistic prayer, saying the Lord’s Prayer together, and actually going up to the altar to receive the blessed Bread and Wine. Finally, together we say a prayer of thanksgiving for this opportunity, and ask God’s blessing on us.

        In other words, the liturgical churches have an “altar call” every week and have been doing this for centuries!

        1. Jay, thank you for the correction in terminology. I do more than “go to.” I participate. I worship. I take the Bread and Wine, receiving grace from God as I am reminded that Christ gave Himself for me.

          It is the most satisfying worship I have ever engaged in.

          I have gone in at times quite angry with God over something, but finding my heart calmed and encouraged by the end. The liturgy is very helpful to focus the heart and mind, and I receive strength worshipping with others in this way.

        2. rtgmath, I agree with everything you just said. I only have to add- during the prayers of the people, I find myself incredibly affected by knowing that all over the world, at that very same time, other Christians are praying the same prayers, offering up the same petitions. The feeling of oneness and community is incredible.

  23. When I hear these fundies refer to the emerging church, it makes me laugh because, #1. They don’t know what it is
    #2. That movement has fizzled out because it was already exposed by the reformed resurgence
    #3. They are beating a dead horse that someone else already killed, but they really think they are being warriors for truth…kind of like little kids dressing up like soldiers and shooting inanimate objects. In their minds, they really are champions saving the world.

  24. If Jeffy want’s to go all “Olde Paths-stick-to-the-stuff-Acts-only” on the church growth movement issue then he will immediately call up all other churches in his city and start meeting with them to Glorify God, preach the Gospel and worship Christ, just as brothers and sisters did in towns and cities in the first century as we are shown in the Book of Acts.

    But that will never happen while Jeffy and his crew hold to the belief that they and they alone are the only ones doing it the way their god intended.

  25. I am pretty ignorant what the emergent church is. Could someone fill in numbers 1-9 and tell me about it? I’m curious now.

    1. I’ll give it a shot Admiral.

      1. Any
      2. church
      3. that
      4. doesn’t
      5. believe
      6. exactly
      7. what
      8. we
      9. believe

      1. That acronym isn’t English. What word/phrase in what language did you attempt?

        1. He was typing in tongues. Obviously no one here has attained the spiritual heights that Scorpio has, as no one here can interpret “actdbewwb”.

          I think it has something to do with airplanes.

  26. I realize that I have come very close (if not fell all the way in) to something I detest out of ANY denomination, sect, religion, etc. Thinking that I am SO right that other viewpoints are dead wrong and attempting to defend my position at all costs. What or who am I defending? If God is for me, who can be against me? So I don’t need to defend myself!!! Am I defending God? Who do I think I am that I think GOD needs ME to defend HIM?! Am I defending my beliefs? Why should I defend what I believe? I know what I believe, if someone else doesn’t believe what I believe, so be it. If I think their beliefs could land them in hell, I will certainly pray for them. God is the ONLY One who can change a heart!!! I guess “fundamentalists” think they are the only one’s who are “right” and thus want to scream and rant and rage on anyone who doesn’t see it there way thinking this is the way to “change a heart”. God help me not to fall (back) into that way of thinking.

    1. Norm,
      That is a danger of denominations, to think that you are “right” and everyone else is “wrong.” But you can be part of a denomination and NOT “have” to think that way. I honestly feel a church can get more done being part of a denomination, so being part of one is a good thing, as long as you don’t become exclusionary.

  27. I didn’t have time to read through all the previous posts, but two things…

    1. The church growth movement has consistently used the same tactics in every new generation from Norris to Hyles to Hybels to Warren to Stanley to Noble to Furtick. Exact. Same. Tactics. Just different packaging. And the granddaddy that started it all — Evangelist Charles G. Finney.

    2. The Emergent Church “movement” — if it was ever an actual movement — it totally over. It ended around 2010-2012 and no one in the real world recognizes it as a relevant or viable approach. So this ad is about as out-of-date as the sermons that WILL be in the conference on why the Bus Ministry is still a good technique.

    1. What we are calling “the Emergent Church” may be over as it concerns a few organized worship groups.

      But the process of Emergence has actually been building for a while, and I don’t see it stopping any time soon.

      Churches, both mainline and fundamentalist, are losing membership. People are not becoming areligious, they are looking for something different, something that impacts them where they live.

      It is hard to define as a movement, yet. It might simply be a further splintering of established groups. But I don’t think so. I think that something is going on, even if it takes 40, 50, or 100 more years to take shape.

      1. The emergents who were interested in Christianity merged into churches, mostly “Young Restless and Reformed” churches. Those not so interested merged into spirituality groups, mostly unchurched. But the principles that led to the fizzled movement are still relevant; especially the concern with gate keepers and colonial power structures.

      2. Personally I think a lot of people “falling away” from established “Christianity is the falling a part of “Christendom” the fusion of the christian faith with political entities and cultural “norms”. In many counties in the West, mostly Europe, one manifestation was the idea of a “State Church”. The USA grew our of western Europe I guess and although tjre hasn’t been a state church as such Christianity the Religious System ( as as opposed to a simple Faith in Jesus) has always been favored and there is still a linl between religion and politics Which on some ways mighr actually be getting stronger in the Us. In a lot of europe at least the Christian religion is losing its privileged position and power-base, and a lot of Christians, both committed and nominal, are bewildered at the loss of stucures that have made their lives very comfortable. We are living in a time of great change. Interesting times. Scary times . Exiting times when you remember that God is still in control. “I will build my Church and the Gates of Hell will not prevail against it.”

    2. Agree, these ass-clowns are part of the same movement, just flavored by different cultural patterns. Leaving orthodox teaching for the feelings of revival alone at any price always results in a decaying carcass bereft of life that can sustain itself for a surprising period of time based solely on the personalities and will of the perpetrators – disguised as the work of God.

      The emergent movement crashed and burned for similar reasons. “Why do we have to believe anything specific” is essentially committing intellectual suicide. If you convert people to think like you do, you have lost them because there is no reason for them to keep showing up. There are plenty of other places in our society you can go to hear mindless drivel and they usually have harder drinks.

      1. Actually, I believe one of the main drivers behind the emergent movement was the lack of a “village green” so to speak, especially in America. Sure, there are bars and such, but you can’t hear yourself think. We need to bring pubs back.

    1. I wouldn’t say “Christianity is full of this crap,” but rather, most of man-inspired so-called “Christianity” is full of this crap. Look at the last 1,700 years and see what man’s ideas have brought.

      Clergy/laity distinction

      Sacred buildings (hence, the massive debt)


      Passive believers (no priesthood of the believers)

      Performance-oriented “services.”

      One-man rule and dictatorship.

      Standards-driven life and ministry.

      There is much more, to be sure.


      1. Great conversation/discussion thread! I’ve also tried to engage with the inspiration &/or inerrancy of the Bible.

        A very helpful book addressing this(in my opinion) is entitled ‘Inspiration & Incarnation’, written by Dr. Peter Enns (who actually has his own interesting history with fundamentalism…). Agree or disagree, it is in-depth and gives one a lot to contemplate.

  28. I think I’ll start a men’s fundy clothing store with suits already equipped with white shirt, outdated tie, lapel pin and Jack Hyles shoes. Sell them as a set.

    But, put my husbands name as proprietor.

    I’d make a killing.

  29. Cults must cultivate an “us verses them” mentality. It gives the cultists a particular identity that they can’t break from and it makes them fearful of “the other”.

    That’s what this is really about. “Out church is awesome because it’s not emergent. Aren’t you glad?? Don’t leave our church no matter how bad it gets, or the big bad emergents will get you…”

    1. Or the Catholics
      Or the Charismatics
      Or of you leave us you will become raving atheist
      Or worst of all you could start posting comments to Stuff Fundies Like !
      The horror!

  30. I wonder what fundies would make of church growth outside the West, in parts of the world like Sub- Saharan aftrica and countries South Korea, which has some of the biggest church congrgations in the world and China, where there may be as many as 100 million Christians and some provinces may be more than 10% Christian in a so-called atheist country. Of course the fundies will pick holes. They would probably say that “Churches in Africa not planted them are full of voodoo. I have read articles that claim that a lot of the “churches” in Korea preach “new-ageism” and are not Christian at all (I’ll try to hunt out those articles) and the numbers of Christians in China that people quote must surely be false (I’ve heard people say that). In any case fundies think that the West, and specifically america is the only bit of the world that matters and missionaries are sent to other places to create sun-tanned Americans.

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