235 thoughts on “Sunday Night”

  1. Not opposed to Sunday night church. That being said, all of the arguments he makes could be made for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday night services as well.

    1. There are churches–Liturgical churches, anyway–that have evening services during the week. Not that I can find any Episcopal churches in my area that do, but the National Cathedral in DC and some of the larger churches in New York still have Evensong (sung)/Vespers(spoken). Orthodox and Lutheran churches where I am have Vespers on special occasions. Of course, they’re for worship, not “strong preaching.”

      1. It delighted me to no end one summer when I lived in the DC area to tell my mother I was regularly attending morning and evening services . . . at the National Cathedral.

        1. You heathen devil pagan liberal, you! 😉

          If I were in DC (heaven forbid!) I’d do the exact same thing! 😀

  2. Growing up, I remember thinking that I wished they would just go back-to-back services on Sunday. It would be a long 4-5 hours (including Sunday School), but it would be less exhausting than getting up at 6am, getting out of church around 1pm, then running home for about an hour, then driving back for another hour and a half. Typically got home around 7-8pm which was around a 14 hour day.

    1. Completely agree – Sundays could be utterly exhausting. Once or twice a year, our pastor would have Sunday morning service, followed by lunch and then an afternoon service. (There was one particularly epic afternoon service I shall never forget because the pastor lost his temper at a deacon meeting right before the lunch and dramatically resigned from the church – precipitating a horrific church split that dragged on for over a year. The afternoon service consisted of about two hours of people airing their grievances about the pastor. It was great.)

      It was SO NICE to be able to go home on those Sunday afternoons and just enjoy an extra weekend afternoon/evening. Of course, there were some hyper-spiritual people in our church who would attend the evening service at the other local IFB church (which had also split from our church at some point in the distant past), but my parents took the alternative fundamentalist position that God only wanted us to worship in OUR church and NOWHERE else, so it would be wrong to feed in strange pastures (or something like that).

      1. DS, maybe your parents read Proverbs 5…

        Drink water from your own cistern,
        running water from your own well.
        Should your springs overflow in the streets,
        your streams of water in the public squares?

        I can proof text with the best of them 🙂

        1. I can proof text with the best of them

          It’s because you go to church 3 times a week, isn’t it.

    2. I agree, As a former Pentecostal. Sundays were a rat race. Sunday school, morning service – where you were chastised if you did not pray for an hour before service. After-church fellowship, going out for lunch. Deciding to do something – but make it quick. rush back to church – changing clothes along the way if needed. Sunday evening church. more fellowship, go out for supper. Get home at 10 or so. I am so glad to have my Sundays back.

      1. We were told that we should pray Saturday night. Pray for what you ask? Pray for the preacher of course. Afterall, our fate is in his hands.

        1. We did the classic “pray over the rows of pews before service” service. It felt so weird and animistic.

        2. Yes, the prayer fetish really does creep me out sometimes. It’s like those people who write bible verses on the studs of new home construction so that “God’s word will always be in that house.”

        3. Prayer fetish!! Yes!! I’ve seen both of those behaviors and they always struck me as odd. I’m using that phrase from now on.

        4. After all, it isn’t like you should be praying for the people who hear that the Scriptures will work in their heart. No, the inference is that God works only through the Pastor and his big mouth. Nor are we to allow that God works in people as He wills, but we must desire a decision based on our own experiences.

          Jesus said the Pharisees moved heaven and earth to make a convert, and in doing so turned them in a child of hell seven times worse than themselves.

  3. The day is fast approaching so we should basically live at church and have non stop services, this is where the premise of “so much the more” brings us. Additionally, those who come for Sunday night are more open to control/manipulation
    than seeking spiritual truth.

    1. The penultimate IFB church for me was the Loudoun Baptist Temple in Leesburg, VA, which I attended while I was in college. The church was so-so (the MOG wasn’t terribly crazy – at least in the pulpit) but the choir sucked and I always kind of wondered why . . . until the fateful day that I asked about joining the choir and was furnished with a two page list of CHOIR RULES, which included a requirement of being at the church FIVE times a week – Sunday Morning, Sunday Evening, Wednesday Evening, Soulwinning, and Choir Practice (which was on a Tuesday night, I think).

      Some time later, the pastor came to the college Sunday school class and chewed us out for an hour about why we weren’t more involved in the church. I showed him the CHOIR RULES and explained that, as a college student without a car, I simply could not make it to church five times a week in order to be spiritual enough to sing in the choir. He smugly and paternally said, “the rules don’t require five times a week.” So, I read to him directly from the CHOIR RULES. He got pretty pissed when I did that.

      I left that church soon thereafter. This resulted in my mother developing her theory, which she still embraces to this day, that I must have “went out from among them” because I was “never saved in the first place.” When I went home that Christmas break, she scheduled a meeting with her pastor to lecture me about how I needed to join an IFB church and he gave me a copy of the Sword of the Lord church directory and said I had to pick a church off the list. I ended up going to a non-denominational church the rest of the time I went to school there.

      1. Be careful that nothing terrible like a car wreck happens to you. Get right with that preacher and seek his forgiveness and ask to be back under his spiritual covers.

  4. I take offense to the statement “most Christians are biblically illiterate” Such elitism – only certain people can read the Bible and understand it. He might as well be a Catholic priest.

    1. Not to mention the fact that if his church is as uh-mazing as he claims, then this seems to be a pretty searing indictment of his lack of pastoral leadership and care.

      1. Exactly. Maybe so many people wouldn’t be so illiterate if so many pastors didn’t preach whatever pet peeve they felt like from whatever passage they felt like.

        1. Exactly! I was in a church like this for a long time — the bulk of the people were good at “going soul-winning” and praising the pastor, and giving, but they knew very little about the Bible.

    2. Well, I would probably agree that most Christians (particularly conservative/fundamentalist) are pretty much biblically illiterate. Not because I think that only a priest can understand it, but because in any real conversation about spiritual issues, most of the Christians I have talked to that way don’t know much. They have other interests and they leave knowledge of the Bible to the Pastor.

      But I find Pastors pretty lacking, too. There are a lot of what I’d call “country preachers” around here that can sling a verse or three, but haven’t a really coherent thought about them.

      More than one person has said that the best way to convert from Christianity to atheism is to read the Bible. I am not an atheist, but I see their point. The more you read it, the more inconsistencies show up. I try to focus more on the words and deeds of Christ lately than the other things, but I am quite aware of the other things.

      I’ll get in trouble if my wife ever reads this, but … She, like a lot of people, cannot remember what the sermon was about a half-hour later. I learned not to ask her because it always irritated her. What most people take away from church seems to me to be more cultural than spiritual, more of an attitude than knowledge.

      On the other hand, I think that people who attend liturgical services such as the Episcopal Church often get a lot more exposure to the Bible than other Christians do.

      I could be wrong. But I don’t think so. I think that as a general habit, most Christians are lazy about the Book. Your experiences may well differ from mine.

      1. rtg – To follow up on your forgetting what the sermon was about 30 minutes later…I was always dumbfounded how some people would comment (irl or on Facebook) how the sermon(s) at a service or tent meeting, were “life changing”. How one man screaming a handful of Bible verses followed up by his opinion is life changing is beyond me.

        1. There are only two life changing sermons that I remember that were life changing for me. First one was more of a lecture on how helping people can make you happier. I remember him bringing up verses in conjunction with studies and research being done. That changed a lot of preconceptions for me when I was younger, and as selfish as it is, is still one of my bigger motivations for volunteering. The second was when our well meaning pastor that I still admire and respect today used a completely false story to prove the existence of Jesus. The story of Simon Greenleaf becoming a Christian when he set out to disprove the existence of Jesus through legal rules and ended up getting saved and writing “The Testimony of the Evangelists”. I knew it was false, and that Greenleaf was a lifelong Episcopalian. Turns out that even one of my favorite apologists, Josh McDowell used this story as well. The story has been used repeatedly, and nobody has bothered to take the time to do proper research. It was like one of those chain-mails (now chain-facebook-posts) that claims that Albert Einstein mouthed off at the angry atheist professor. That sermon knocked a lot of the people I thought were authorities in Christianity off their pedestals in my mind.

          The rest were 60% to 70% gospel to the unsaved sermons and the other 30% were same things being said over and over just different illustrations.

        2. NO! Einstein didn’t one up the atheist professor? Great if I can’t believe that story what can I believe.

        3. All too often the “life changing” getting done is the feeling of permission to control the lives of others along with the all-important sense that you are right and they are wrong.

          Call it a “Spirit-puffed Ego.”

      2. I agree with you. I used to read the Bible through when I was younger but haven’t in a very long time. I know a lot of stories and verses from my upbringing but I rarely study it now.

        BUT. I found it very interesting that he’s saying “many Christians are illiterate” when quite a few people at my previous fundy church with three services a week were also surprising ignorant of it.

        1. And more services haven’t corrected the problem, either. Thus his point is screwey.

          The problem is that “Biblical Literacy” has been downgraded to knowing a very few verses, none of them in context.

          If, instead of the preacher preaching, the congregation got together to read, say, the entire book of Ephesians, that would be of infinitely more profit. Such a thing could be made interesting and interactive.

        2. The flipside of biblical illiteracy of just knowing a few verses is biblical illiteracy while having memorized whole books. Same things. Both miss the point.

  5. Lots of statistics mentioned, but none cited. In the words of my grandmother, “Seems like a load of hooey to me.”

      1. “64 percent of all the world’s statistics are made up right there on the spot
        82.4 percent of people believe ’em whether they’re accurate statistics or not
        I don’t know what you believe but I do know there’s no doubt
        I need another double shot of something 90 proof, I got too much to think about.”

        –Todd Snyder, Statistician’s Blues. Worth a listen.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUK6zjtUj00

        1. Mentioning statistical data in the form of percentages with a British or Australian accent in the US will give you more credence than mentioning your academic accomplishments. Fundie pastors should take note of this and trade their honorary doctorates for a British accent. Ray Comfort and Ken Ham are way ahead of the game in this respect.

  6. I’m sure he feels special and powerful standing behind the pulpit so it only helps to feed his ego’s voracious appetite.

    I remember when I was in seminary a preaching prof told us that you can really only preach one good sermon a week, and I have found that to be true.

    Finally, the last thing I want is for church to eat up more of my family’s time. I don’t want my wife or kids to have reason to think that church has become my mistress. Maybe that’s a sign of how spiritually weak I must be, but I’ve seen too many PK’s go bad in part because dad was too busy doing “ministry” to be around and invest in his children.

    1. Yes but you can re-preach a good sermon over and over and over and…….
      I agree with you on the kids need for a father. In the peebs what we called labouring brothers, groan, were notorious for having wild, bad kids. Poor things were given a sense of superiority, deprived of parenting, told they had to be perfect and put in a fishbowl. Of course they had problems.

  7. He writes these 10 reasons from a heart that shows no evidence of ever having received the refreshing breath of the Spirit. This man’s reasoning and writing is a denial of the Lord Jesus Christ. I do believe that Jude wrote a letter about someone like this. Paul warned that people would not have the ears for the good news of Jesus and would gather to themselves teachers like Paul Chappell. They get the shepherd they want.

    1. Unfortunately, this is venturing into the “not funny” territory of IFB (where’s rtgmath when you need him?). Paul makes some things explicitly clear, and one of them is the fruit of the spirit versus the works of the flesh. Unfortunately, Chappell and others do not display the fruit of the spirit, and do display the works of the flesh. So do their churches. And they mimic the Nicolaitans. Sad…and not funny.

      1. I’m around. I’m reading all of your comments. You guys are great and make good observations!

        His number 10 seems to me to be a flat-out lie. He claims revival has never come to a country that has less of a focus on meetings than his three-or-more. No references, of course. Nor could there be. He is speaking out of his hat.

        Perhaps the emphasis on meetings is an attempt to compensate for the demonstrated lack of spirituality in the people? Or maybe it is because the Pastor is not involved in the lives of the people other than at church? If the Pastor were doing his job, he would be living the example of Christ out in the community where it counts, instead of thinking that a loud mouth would teach his congregation what they need to know.

        Most IFB sermons are 45 to 50 minutes long — and more. The sermons at my Episcopal Church are 15 minutes long. But we spend way more time reading Scripture, praying, and praising God in our services than ever was done in any IFB service I was in. So if people don’t know God’s way, maybe the Preacher’s focus on himself is partly to blame? If they don’t know God’s Word, maybe that is a result of too much Preacher’s Words and too little Scripture?

        In any case, Scripture does not in any way advocate three or more services a week.

        1. Agreed. When my wife read Chappell’s list, she said it was interesting that there is no mention of having extra church for the purpose of worshipping God more, praying more, fellowshipping more, or any of the other reasons the Bible says believers should gather together.

        2. The scripture thing always gets me. We read a minimum of two bulletin pages’ worth of Scripture passages every Sunday, sometimes four pages in small type, and our sermons almost always refer to one or more of the day’s appointed readings, plus our liturgy is (ballpark estimate) 40 percent Scriptural quotations, and what’s more there’s a schedule right in our prayerbook for reading the entire Bible in two years by reading it aloud both morning and evening, and we’re not a Biblical church?

        3. Jenny, the fundamentalists would probably call that “Vain Repetition.” They always win
          You always lose.

  8. Just thinking about the 3 services a week ordeal is exhausting. Wednesdays after work were crap, because it was go-home-get-ready-leave-come-back-home-go-to-sleep-go-to-work-again. It wasn’t enjoyable at all. Sundays were a little better, specially if you had kids that went to their friend’s house for lunch. Or not so great if your kid brought his friends over. Add to that, the fact that Sunday afternoon felt like you really couldn’t do anything but take a nap or watch TV because it wasn’t worth working on anything extensively. So you spent most of your time just waiting for 5:30pm to roll around.

    Now that I’m out of it, Sundays are awesome. It’s like I have two Saturdays on the weekends. Grocery shopping on Sunday mornings is the best, until the church goers get out and rush the supermarket. Not that they’re bad or anything. It just gets crowded really quickly. Our family time is so much more enjoyable on Sundays. We get our groceries, an early lunch, then go to the library or park if the weather permits.

    I’m sure Chappell and his ilk will see this and think “You’re just being selfish, and self serving.” and they’re right. But the guilt I used to feel left after I stopped casting it on the people that I joined during their Sunday routines. Sure, I’m selfish and self serving in the best interest of my family and I love it.

    1. I have been out for about 4 years now, I think. I have lost count. Sunday mornings are amazing, aren’t they! I still have the delicious feeling of having stepped off the earth for a day while everyone else goes to church, lol

      1. If I have a chance to run on Sunday morning, I make sure my route goes by as many churches as possible. This goes through my mind. But to their credit, they’re probably enjoying some Sunday School coffee and doughnuts while I’m trying to work them off.

    2. I have to admit I go for loooong walks on Sunday mornings, take pics of nature/wildlife and post them on FB – “my walk this morning” – just for all the fundies still on my friends list. Inexpressively better than the Sunday morning dread, especially when I was in the bus ministry.

    3. Sundays married to my fundie were always tiring. Teach Sunday school, sing in choir, stick around to shake hands and fellowship as “______’s Wife”. Grab a late lunch, sit on couch a few minutes and back again. There was never a weekend, only Saturday, even when traveling or on vacation. And the part I remember most seems so petty, but it was that I had to wear dress business clothes M-F, then dress clothes all day Sunday. I *love* that the Methodist church I attend now does not care how you dress.

    4. I would shrivel up and die if I could not have Sunday Mass. But after Mass, I’m ready for a nice Sunday dinner and then R&R. I pray in the evening, sure, but it’s at home in the “domestic church.”

      NO WAY could I go back in the evening to an ugly auditorium-masquerading-as-church-building for an additional service — especially if it consisted only of being hollered at, with a few Bible verses thrown in. The very thought makes me cringe. Reading what y’all have been through makes me so very glad I wasn’t raised fundy. 😮

      1. In the same boat as you.

        Back in my fundie days I hated going to church. Now that I go to a liturgical church, I actually look forward to the worship service, and regret the services I’ve missed. Especially since the actual reading of the Bible (particularly the Gospel texts), communal prayer, and the Lord’s Supper are clear priorities. I think church services ought to be restorative, not draining. There’s enough to get you down during the week.

      2. I grew up in a strict “Observe The Sabbath” environment, where the options for activities and entertainment outside of church were extremely limited. Sundays were a terrible way to spend one seventh of your life. Then again, the limitations extended to the rest of the week as well. In northern ireland Christians were generally characterised by what they *didn’t* do. So many of my friends were put of Christianity for life.

        1. Paul, I grew up like this too. I remember at about 8 being obsessed with knitting and after Sunday lunch sitting down and starting to knit. My dear mother gently sat down beside me and told me that it wasn’t bad in itself but it was the beginning of a slippery slope. If I knitted on the Lord’s Day, who knew what would come next. Eventually what came next for me was a disgust of all things Sunday.

        2. I have always felt that this obsession was sad in two ways. 1, that it gave us “stones for bread” and 2, that it destroyed our potential for doing good things.

  9. All I got from the list was the need to man worship Paul Chappell more because he wasn’t getting enough. No mention of worshipping God anywhere. I thought people went to church to worship God. My bad. It’s about worshipping the pastor. I guess people have been doing it wrong.

  10. Someone can correct me if I am wrong, but from what I have heard, back in the day, say the 1800s, people would go to church by whatever means they could which was usually horse and buggy. And because so much of the country was rural, a horse and buggy trip could take a couple of hours. Since the ride back home would take a while, people started to bring food which turned into a lunch after morning service. Everybody started to bring food. Once everybody brought food, everybody stayed and ate and caught up with other church members. Since everybody was there for a longer time, preachers said “hey, you’re all here how about another sermon”.
    Somehow this morphed into Sunday Night Service. And according to the IFB, Sunday Night Service has been around since Jesus’ time. Amen?

    1. Um. The Last Supper took place in the evening. So, how can we have a Biblical Communion unless we have evening services during which to have it??? (Or course, we only have it once a year, but who’s counting – after all Jesus only died once!!)

    2. And your comments remind me of this classic “story:”

      My friend is a rather old-fashioned lady, quite elegant and delicate, especially in her choice of language. She and her husband were planning a week-long camping trip, so she wrote to the campground for reservations. She didn’t quite know how to ask about toilet facilities. She didn’t want to write toilet in her letter. After much deliberation, she thought of the old-fashioned term “Bathroom Commode.” But when she wrote it down, she thought she was being too forward, so she rewrote the entire letter and referred to the bathroom commode as the B.C. “Does your campground have its own B.C.?” she asked in her letter. Well the campground owner wasn’t old-fashioned at all, and when he got this letter, he couldn’t figure out what she was talking about. The “B.C.” business had stumped him. After giving it much thought, the owner decided that she must be asking about the location for the local Baptist Church, so he wrote the following reply:
      Dear Madam: I regret very much the delay in answering your letter but I now take the pleasure of informing you that the B.C. is located six miles north of the campground. It is capable of seating 250 people at one time. I will admit that it is quite a distance away if you are in the habit of going regularly. No doubt you will be pleased to know that a great number of people take their lunches along and make a day of it. The last time my wife and I went was six months ago and it was so crowded that we had to stand up the whole time. Right now, there is a supper planned to raise money for more seats. It will be held in the basement of the B.C. I would like to say that it pains me that I am not able to go more regularly, but it is not for lack of desire on my part. As we grow older, it seems to be more of an effort, especially in cold weather. If you decide to come to our campground, perhaps I could go with you the first time that you go, sit with you, and introduce you to all the other folks. Remember, that this is a very friendly community. The Campground Owner

    3. Yeah, but “back in the day” many people only went to church one Sunday a month. In many Methodist, Lutheran, and Episcopal Churches, a priest/minister would visit once a month. The Lord’s table occurred only when a priest or authorized minister was present. The other Sundays, Morning Prayer was the rule. Those services were often quite brief and sparsely attended.

      Of course, people remembered and talked about the large gatherings. But they weren’t frequent. The farms needed to be taken care of, animals attended to.

    4. And if they really want things like in the 1800’s, let’s get rid of the padded pews AND the butt cushions and sit on cold, wooden pews in a non-insulated building huddling around a small wood stove.

      The Summer is warmer, true, but you’ll still be wearing 67 layers of clothes.

  11. In regard to the verses he’s using for each reason. For a people who keep insisting that there are not contradictions in the Bible when you take context into account, they sure do like chucking that principle out the window so justify whatever the hell they want.

    1. And there you have it, Keeponandcarrycalm, the eleventh fundy commandment, thou shalt justify whatever the hell you want

    2. If so much time and effort has to be spent justifying the Sunday night service (and I could even say today’s typical church service), then it probably isn’t necessary!

      I do specifically like #4 on his list though. Since home study groups are less attended, they are definitely not as beneficial (sarcasm).

      With all the church attendance, special meetings, revivals, missionaries, etc. people still lack knowledge of God’s Word and Way…
      Could it be that their ignorance is related to the ignorance from the self claimed mog? I do remember at PCC in our Ministerial Seminar Class a speaker saying that we will only be able to lead our congregation spiritually as far as we are.

      1. The real problem with home groups is that you have a bunch of people reading and talking about what they’ve read, and they might come to a wrong interpretation. This will cause dissent, division, and departure. Departure of people leads to departure of money, and potential problems in fundraising.

  12. Some thoughts:

    Items 1 and 2 refer to lack of knowledge of spiritual things. It seems to me that one can reach two conclusions from these points: first, Chappell must be doing a crappy job leading his church if it is full of people who are ignorant of God’s Way, God’s Word, and a Relationship with the Author (unless, of course, Chappell is mostly concerned about pointing his church toward the author of Chappell’s books – he does tip his hand that the real purpose of an extra service is to give the MOG more preachin’ time); second, if his points are correct, then it would seem that as a church grows spiritually, they would logically require less and less church services (this seems to contradict his fifth point which says that better Christians need more, not less, services).

    Item 3 is typical KJV crap exegesis. “So much the more” means “with greater urgency/fervor” or “to a greater extent.” It simply doesn’t mean “have a bunch more church services.” That’s just dumb. But . . . the IFB never did learn to distinguish quality from quantity, I guess.

    Item 4 is just too precious because it cites statistics about home study groups but forgets to cut and paste a proof text. I find this interesting because ALL of the Bible verses on point talk about early Christians meeting in their homes. So . . . he just sidesteps this inconvenient truth by emphasizing that numbers is what matters most. (Of course, the fact that an offering is taken up on Sunday nights can’t hurt either!)

    Item 5 sets up the straw man of the churches who cancel Sunday evening church for lack of interest, which is always spun as “convenience.” What if the Holy Spirit has led those churches to reduce the number of formal services? Did that ever enter his mind? No, because to him, the working of the Holy Spirit only ever results in more legalism, never more freedom. On an unrelated note, I was fascinated when I attended the University of Dallas to learn that the Catholic church actually PROHIBITS going to Mass more than once a day (except in very special circumstances) on the theory that the Mass is sufficient in and of itself and you don’t need to go lots of times to reap extra spiritual benefits. (Then again, Catholics actually believe church is a means of grace for the Christian and not just the MOG’s lecture series.)

    Item 6 is the usual weasel words found in typical “we need lots of extra church” discourse. It flatters those who attend the evening services for being extra spiritual and promise extra special sermons just for them, who “by the very presence, have indicated greater commitment to the Lord and hunger for His Word.”

    Item 7 is ridiculous and unbiblical. First, the NT clearly teaches that early church gatherings pretty much always involved a communal meal. Thus, every gathering should have a “family meal” quality to it. (Notice the implication that only those who attend evening services are part of “the family.”) Second, the issue of everyone scattering on Sunday mornings is a problem unique to bloated megachurches like LBC. In the small IFB church I grew up in, everyone except about three adults and a handful of babies and young children attended the Sunday morning service – just like all the other services.

    Item 8 is more eisegetical gymnastics. So, the biblical precedent for only letting missionaries and other itinerants speak in the evenings is the story of Paul showing up and preaching at an evening [as opposed to a morning] gathering??? Like the MOG of the local, autonomous, indigenous IFB Church of Ephesus (or wherever that story is set) was like, “nice to see you Brother Apostle Paul but we’ll be scheduling you for the evening service because I don’t give up my pulpit on Sunday mornings for any man, even the man Christ Jesus.”

    Item 9 makes no sense to me. What is the difference between practicality and needful practicality? It reminds me of this debate I heard once about the existence of hell in which the speakers got bogged down in some esoteric nonsense about “possibility” versus “plausibility.” It’s one of those things that sounds smart until you think about it for a minute.

    Item 10 is flat false. Revival in the Scriptures came all the time to nations with NO emphasis on preaching and prayer at all. Cf. Jonah and most of Acts. That was sort of the point – that’s why revival was needed! Perhaps LBC, filled as it is with Bible ignorant but nonetheless “committed” disciples, doesn’t really need revival after all . . . ??? They don’t need revival – they need reformation.

    1. DS – I can’t believe someone took the time to take this seriously! Thanks for your insights. For me personally, I reject just about every presupposition in the IFB world, so all Chappell sounds like to me is BLARGH BLAH BLARGITTY BLARGH BLARCH!

        1. Hee hee! That’s Alaskan husky-speak for “Quit taking the pictures, stoopid hoomin, I wanna RUN! I wanna gooooo!”

          Alaskan huskies will keep on going if the musher falls off. He’s just there to fix dinner and change their snow booties, and he’ll catch up sooner or later. Running is the point of being out there. Trufax.

        2. That dog’s script is what ran through my head during hour and a half long peeb ‘reading meetings’ Old men dictating to everyone else why they shouldn’t enjoy life.

    2. Especially this point –
      “nice to see you Brother Apostle Paul but we’ll be scheduling you for the evening service because I don’t give up my pulpit on Sunday mornings for any man, even the man Christ Jesus.”

      1. Yeah. Except the early church didn’t often have Sunday morning services. The main membership in the churches were slaves. They could hardly take off from their duties. Usually the only time they might have for themselves would be later in the evenings when the lack of light prevented them from getting much work done.

        It all goes to show that in the Fundy Mind, the Early Church lived in a US cultural context, with electricity and gasoline powered chariots and some funny fashions for clothes. They have no thought to how terribly different everything was from what we know today.

        1. “The main membership in the churches were slaves. ”

          Doesn’t sound too much different than today’s church.

    3. I enjoyed reading that very much, DS.

      1. “What if the Holy Spirit has led those churches to reduce the number of formal services? Did that ever enter his mind? No, because to him, the working of the Holy Spirit only ever results in more legalism, never more freedom. ” – that’s good stuff there.

      2. I too noticed how he described those who go to Sunday PM service as those who “by the very presence, have indicated greater commitment to the Lord and hunger for His Word.” Such audacity. How does he know why people are there? Maybe they’re there because they want accolades (the equivalent of the Pharisee praying on the street corners for attention). Maybe they’re there because they’re playing church politics. Maybe they’re there, not because they’re committed to Christ but because they’re scared and think that if they just do MORE, they’ll make God happy with them (instead of learning to rest in Christ’s sacrifice and accept that God’s wrath is satisfied). Where in Scripture does it say that to show commitment to God you have to attend more services in a religious building?

      3. Speaking of Scripture, you mentioned “eisegetical gymnastics.” I noticed that most of his points, though they have Bible verses with them, are not actually PROVED by those verses. The conclusions he draws are not supported by the verses he quotes. (This is something Gothard often does too – posts a Bible verse after he makes a statement as if the verse proved his statement even if it doesn’t.)

      1. Don’t have to tell me about Gothard and his proof-texts. That is just a whole nother level of cray-zay.

        Like this:

        “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18.

        Doesn’t have anything to do with what I said (I got it from googling “random Bible verse” which took me here: http://www.sandersweb.net/bible/verse.php) but it sure sounds good and scripture-ish.

      2. “Where in Scripture does it say that to show commitment to God you have to attend more services in a religious building?”

        I think you will find that in Hebrews 10:25. 🙂

        1. Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together….. ok, doesn’t say WHERE and it doesn’t say WHO. Just assemble ourselves. I adore getting fundies hackles up by telling them they are violating the private interpretation verse.

        2. I guess I didn’t indicate my comment was dripping with sarcasm.

          Sorry for any confusion. Carry on.

        3. Needs more slobber to drip well. The problem is that you get the best slobber when the mind has gone bye bye while you sit catatonically in an extra-long revival service.

    4. I was planning to go through his points, but you have done so… points 1 & 2 are especially good in your response.

      Plus, some MoGs deliberately want people ignorant so that they come to the “preacher” for every decision (it gratifies his ego). So, some Biblical illiteracy is intentional. After all, if your congregation is Biblically illiterate, the statement “Because I’m the preacher, and I said so!” will work.

      1. True, true. The other thing I keep hearing in the back of my head is:

        Liiiiiiiive from Lancaster, it’s Sunday Night!!!

    1. This song was big when I was a kid! I didn’t know what they were talking about in the song. So, I started singing it around the house until my sister, asked, “Do, you know what that means?” Somehow the way she said it, made me figure out the meaning. I would hear this song when I was out in public and never knew what the words to the verses were until a few years ago. Now I know for sure!

      1. Of course, I never was too bright, so back then I might not have know what the songs was talking about even if I had know all the words.

      2. Don’t you know it’s about the 4th of July? You know, sky rockets in flight? When I was little, I thought they were saying “Happy new delight” instead of “Afternoon delight.” When my brother told me it was afternoon delight, not happy new delight, neither one of us could figure out why they were shooting off the sky rockets in the afternoon when you can see them so much better at night!

  13. Growing up, I always felt guilty because I always felt burned out. 2 services on Sundays, 5 chapel services at school every week, and a Wednesday night service = about 415 services a year. By the time I graduated high school, I’d sat through roughly 5,500 messages. I could recite most of them from memory. That number doesn’t take into account church camp, school/church camp and revivals.

    Anybody else feel that way? 8 services a week felt like a LOT.

    1. (I meant to post here, in reply to the above post, sorry about post duplication)
      I felt that way when on staff. But the services are for the members and anyone else who cares to drop in. As a full time employed person in the secular workforce I appreciate every opportunity to get to church, and find midweek service especially refreshing. The other point I’d like to make is that people out in the secular work world may have different times that they can make it to church and having two services on Sunday provides an opportunity to be in church for those who must work on Sunday, whether it be a day or evening shift. I’d be happy to have even more services at different times throughout the week, given the crazy work schedules some have.

      1. Well, we have daily Mass, but no one is obliged to go. Only Sunday Mass is obligatory.

        In my experience as a denizen of Dilbert-World — I am way too wiped out in the evenings to go to *anything,* religious or secular. When I worked downtown, near several Catholic parishes, I often went to daily Mass, either during lunch or right after work. But now I do not work near a parish that has daily Mass; plus, my job is so stressful that all I want to do in the evenings is relax.

        I think it should be up to the individual. Some people love to get super-involved; some of my fellow parishioners are forever going to evening Bible studies and prayer meetings and quilting guilds and you name it. Others of us just want to go home after work and collapse with a glass of wine. Count me among the latter. I respect the former group — more power to ’em — but their round-the-clock busy-ness is not my cup of tea. In the immortal words of Price Orlofsky, “chacun à son goût.”

    2. My husband and I realized about a year and a half ago that we were completely burned out and exhausted from the running back and forth on the “day of rest” and decided to stop! Between Sunday School, morning service, orchestra practice , and evening service, we would be home for about a grand total of two hours on Sunday afternoon, if we were lucky. Now if we feel like going to church, we go. If we don’t, or we have something more important going on, like visiting family or just staying home and relaxing, we don’t. My husband works long, crazy hours and what little time he has off, doesn’t get spent anymore at church.

    3. The Peebs have this thing they call Fellowship Tea, once a month which means on Sunday, you go to Sunday School at 9, Breaking of Bread at 1030, then they women get to pull out food they spent their Saturday evening making and everyone has lunch together. Then, oh joy oh bliss, you get to have an afternoon meeting from about 2 to 3, stagger home until 7 when you stagger back for the evening meeting. Those Sundays used to make me so stressed, especially as a young mom with kids and not a lot of money. The food you brought was so judged. Your kids behaviour was judged. I spent my fundy years in a fog of exhaustion.

        1. Not a dumb question at all. The Peebs are what people who have left them call the Plymouth Brethren, the group started by John Nelson Darby back in the 1830s. PBs for short, Peebs for long 🙂 There are many, many groups of them now, some closed and very tight as the one I was in, some much more relaxed and some downright dangerous like the ones in Australia.

  14. About 85% of the messages were focused on standards, and separation, and pants on women, and being IFB, and music with a beat, and the NIV, and being Baptist, and being Baptist, and being Baptist. Just a bunch of personal choices of the pastor that were always presented as doctrine. It was so hard not to go numb.

    1. Wonderful World of Disney was scheduled on Sunday nights on purpose because Disney wanted people to backslide and stop attending Sunday evening church.

      I believe there is a whole chapter of The History of the World as I See It devoted to this hellish phenomenon.

      1. Of course, it’s no wonder now that they have a gay week in June. The slippery slope all started with the Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday nights.

        DS, you are taking me on a stroll down memory lane.

        Thankfully “Unshackled” came on the radio at 9:30 every Sunday night, so I could “face myself and think” at the end of every Lord’s Day.

      2. I remember that theory! I hated missing TWWOD. This was pre-VCR. Fundy kids today have it easier than we did….. (Sarcasm)

  15. I felt that way when on staff. But the services are for the members and anyone else who cares to drop in. As a full time employed person in the secular workforce I appreciate every opportunity to get to church, and find midweek service especially refreshing. The other point I’d like to make is that people out in the secular work world may have different times that they can make it to church and having two services on Sunday provides an opportunity to be in church for those who must work on Sunday, whether it be a day or evening shift. I’d be happy to have even more services at different times throughout the week, given the crazy work schedules some have.

  16. MrJones – I appreciate your point. But the IFB church I grew up in probably averaged about 10 visitors a year. So our services were for the members who were told constantly “If you love the Lord, you’ll be here every time the doors are open.”

    Not making it to a service got NOTICED and was a BIG DEAL.

  17. The little-league baseball team I played on had fields about 100 yards behind our church. On Wednesday nights, I remember multiple times being pulled off 2nd base, during the game, because church was starting. When you’re 10 years old, that SUCKS.

    My step-mother enjoyed any chance she got to make my life miserable, and enjoyed more her pious reputation for being there every time the doors were open.

  18. nudge, nudge.
    the hover caption did not work.

    It looks like the MOG is in the middle of a MOG thunder strike.
    They clap their hands together once to startle those who may be too comfortable.
    <> “listen to me now… If you are not in church every time the doors are open, you are neglecting {———-}”

  19. His little list just reminds me of my current freedom. I don’t miss that pressure at all. Turns out that Sundays can actually be a day of rest when you’re not running around doing “church” all day.

  20. “Herod’s Calloused Response” says the gizmo behind Chappell.

    So, Herod walked barefoot throughout his realm and developed calluses on his feet?

      1. Heh. In a sense, Calvinism is fatalism. If you believe that God foreordained everything then you take all credit away from people for the good they do and give it all to God. But on the flip side, you also take away blame and guilt from people and give that to God as well.

        Of course they want one without the other, but it isn’t logically possible.

  21. I’ve come to the realization that for most pastors, they are running their church as a business. They simply need enough paying customers to keep their business open. Everything is couched in terms of spiritual growth and spiritual rewards for the parishioners if they attend more and serve more. But it is all about keeping the business open. Even some of the “big names” in evangelicalism do it. Listen to guys like Charles Stanley or some of these radio preachers on evangelical networks. Or go look at what some of these pentecostals are doing – Jimmy Swaggart’s revived “ministry” is another prime example.

    1. You are so right! Follow the money.
      More services=more offerings=more buildings=more people=more, more, more!

      I just want more of God.

  22. Well there you go again Paul C, more reasons then ever to abandon the way the IFB cult does things. Thank you! and I sincerely mean it, thank you!

    Paul’s sanctimonious list just reenforces reasons for this:

    http://www.churchleaders.com/outreach-missions/outreach-missions-articles/177144-thom-schultz-rise-of-the-done-with-church-population.html#.VKlR0y1JgBg.facebook

    It is all about church growth and empire building. It is about control over his flock. It’s about power and money. It’s about justifying the big salary for the pastor. How can he justify such a salary on just one sermon on Sunday?

    Even the meanest paid pastor, in the most rural, two family church in America has to get in three sermons/lectures a week in order to justify taking that paycheck.

    Where is the Biblical justification for three lectures a week?
    Where is the Biblical justification for the lecture approach to teaching at all?
    The cult of Personality drives the pulpit and the pew… not Christ, not the Gospel… nope, go ahead and let the pastor announce he is taking a week off… and see who shows up that Sunday. No, going to Church is more about the man in the pulpit than it is the one who is the legitimate, rightful authority over the Church: Jesus Christ. Jesus is just a poster boy for the the oratory skills of the pulpiteer.

    I’m so done with what is called Church in America. The more it claims to be separate from the world the more it looks exactly like the world. A pox on the entire system.

    1. Great article. I saw this posted on SFL’s facebook page a couple of days ago.

      Some of the reader’s comments are crazy. There’s nothing more mature than slinging around 1 John 2:19 as a “Fine, go. You were never really part of the club anyway!” type of expression. Though the classic “people are leaving church because end times prophecy” reasoning is my favorite. Yup. It’s not because they’ve become emotional leaches set up to make you feel like shit so you can keep going to prove your devotion to the members. No. It’s because this is all supposed to happen. This isn’t very different from the crazy conspiracy theorists who think that their books about ancient aliens building the pyramids don’t sell well because the government is pulling them off the shelves. I can’t remember what the term for this psychological defense mechanism is, but it’s a way to insulate you from considering failure. Your brain rationalizes your lack of success into an actual – and sometimes even better than success – happy outcome. It’s like silver lining on steroids. “The fact that people are leaving means that the church is for real, and those who aren’t really Christians just can’t take the heat. The Bible says that in the end days this was going to happen. Lets keep at it guys!”

      Also, I do find the testimonies of the “dones” in the comments section very interesting.

  23. My current church stopped Sunday evening services 20 years ago because people just didn’t come anymore. Now, special activities happen on Sunday evening-concerts, an all-church prayer meeting, or some other special celebration. The turnout for these events is very positive. The church’s basic policy is for members to make Sunday morning a priority, and then to find a small group (there are all kinds) where they can grow and use their gifts. Some people are there more than others, but it not guilt-induced…it’s because they really want to be there and are involved in meaningful ministry.

  24. It’s funny . . . the Bible church I went to as a kid (before my parents became radical IFB) did not own its own building. So, they couldn’t have evening services because the auditorium they rented was only available on Sunday mornings. Once a month we would have a communion service, if the building was available. And once a month, each adult Sunday school class would have a gathering at someone’s home. That was it. I loved it.

    Then, they built a lovely new building and moved in and next thing you know, they had three services just like everyone else. (I checked their website just now, and it looks like they don’t have three services anymore, so that’s an interesting new development.)

    1. This is exactly the same as the nondenominational church I went to when I lived in Belfast. Except we had “Small Groups” first and third Sunday evenings each month,for those who wanted to go. I was part of a great group. When there was no small group, I would go to a Baptist church, because I wanted to.

  25. Catholics have Saturday night mass for the best reason. It fulfills your Sunday obligation. (Namely, you don’t then have to go to mass on Sunday. )

  26. Per Paul Chappell’s facebook page:

    “Several pastors have asked permission to reprint the “10 Reasons We Still Have Sunday Evening Service” blog post as a bulletin insert. We’ve added a printable download to the end of the article.”

    Chappell’s fanboys are apparently all over this.

    1. Feel like he hits the nail on the head here….

      “Perhaps my biggest concern with Pastor Chappell’s article is the centrality of the pulpit. Let me be clear, I’m not challenging the centrality of the Word proclaimed, but I do have an issue with limiting the Word proclaimed to the pastor’s pulpit ministry.”

      Same vibe I got. This is about Chappell being the focus of attention as often as possible.

      The different reactions I had to reading the words of each pastor are amazing. This guy seems thoughtful and warm. Found myself wondering what his church was like. Chappell, not so much.

  27. Why does a church with a installed elder (pastor) even need/invite an evangelist?

    More to the point. Why would a church…CHURCH, mind you, even have an evangelistic service?

    To quote my wife. “Evangelists are just men who make money by traipsing around to other people’s churches, preaching the gospel to converted people.”

    Thank you and goodnight.

    1. Amen and Amen!

      It goes to the perception of “gifts” to the church. People who are “pastors” believe they have that “gift.” People who are evangelists think they have a special gift of soulwinning.

      I remember an evangelist some years back has been preaching for well over an hour to a weary full house on the last night of the special services that week. I think he was determined for somebody to get saved, even if everyone there professed salvation.

      One of his illustrations was about “nobody could just solve” and a string of fairly simple numbers and operators (addition, subtraction, multiplication). Without intending to, I just blurted out the answer.

      The whole church erupted in laughter. He didn’t know there was a math teacher in the crowd! That took the steam out of his preaching, and he stumbled around another 7 or 8 minutes finishing up. I got quite a few congrats from the members.

      Years later no one could remember the sermon, but they remembered I’d broken up the service!

      1. That is awesome. I got The Secrets of Mental Math from The Great Courses a couple years ago, and one time was in an operations meeting where we were doing some forecasting. Someone asked what 11*32 was, and I had the answer before he was done writing it on the board. It was funny to see their faces, and know that I used a trick a five year old could use to get the answer.

      2. ” I think he was determined for somebody to get saved, even if everyone there professed salvation.”

        Not much different from a cop trying to get a confession out of someone innocent.

      3. A few years ago I was talked into going to an “Old-Fashioned Revival Meeting” by a couple of my friends. I think it was in a Brethren Gospel hall, somewhere of in the sticks. The three of us went in, to find that we were the only men in the place who were not wearing suits and ties. Worse, I was wearing jeans and a T-shirt, with arms covered in tattoos. I looked around and had the crazy thought “everyone here looks more like a Christian than I do.” As it happened, we were made to welcome, the praise was lively and uplifting and the preacher was excellent.

        1. By the way, the vast majority of the women wore skirts, and many were wearing hats. Those that were in pants or hatless were not targeted in any way. I wasn’t targeted either. There was an alter call and a few, both men and women, responded.

  28. The one comment “Sunday evening allows for a full “family-style” gathering as a congregation”

    Is “Sunday Evening really “family time”

    Often there is the stern threat to the children before services “Remember you are to sit still and behave while in church” or to the spouse. “Could you help with the baby/child this time. I missed what was said last time because I had to leave and tend to the child”

    A family will show up together but go separately to other classes and in the services, yes they may be sitting together but there is no communication or interaction among each other. If one is a teacher or a children’s worker they have to go work in the respective classes thus causing even more separation of the family.

    If a family has young children the communication is mostly the threatening glares to warn them to sit still and behave. Even more so there is often the taking a child out to “discipline them” to be still or tend to a baby’s needs by searching around in a diaper bag for something or having to leave because the baby is fussy. Often this causes one to feel self conscious of being seen by everyone when leaving the service and getting frustrated for missing what was being said. Not to mention the judgement another person will give them “Why don’t they just get up and leave already. They’re distracting everyone.

    Then when an adult family member is attempting to talk to another person before or after the services the child is being held onto to keep them from trying to tug away or the futile effort to calm a fussy baby. Therefore there is that frustrating struggle to “multi-task” of talking to adults and keeping a child restrained from running around or attempting to comfort a fussy baby. Not to mention one family member will frustratingly ask for help from their spouse to help with the baby/child while attempting to talk to someone.

    Then even further there may be arguments on the way home about why one couldn’t watch a baby/child while they were attempting to talk to someone.

    Of course on the way home there may be the repeated scolding to the kids such as “I can’t believe you behaved liked that. I was trying to listen to what was being said or “I was attempting to talk to X” Then to the spouse there can be the accusation of “Why couldn’t you at least take care of them so I could attempt to talk to X.

    Just saying.

    1. In Chappell’s church, at least back when I attended, all kids under kindergarten age were expected to be in the nursery.

      Chappell never tolerated having his preaching disrupted by the sound of a baby fussing. He would quite literally sicc the ushers on them saying, “Ushers, please help me with that.”

      Family time?
      No. Chappell time, as always.

      1. Whoa, seriously? I would not be back if I’d been called out like that.

        When our church had an evening service, I would take my then 3 year old. We were the youngest by several decades. I spent the service “translating” the gist of the message into preschool-ese for him. He loved the singing and the prayers and answering the rhetorical questions loudly. And because no one insisted he go to nursery, he floated to various old people’s laps and made friendships that still continue almost 10 years later.

        And our pastors were all okay with a little extra noise. I wonder if Jesus had the disciples remove children from his sermons because they were noisy. I wish the Holy Scriptures addressed that topic.

        1. Yes, I am serious. I personally witnessed Chappell do this several times over the years.

          The pastor I had after I left Lancaster Baptist would respond much more gracefully to baby noise during the service:

          “Jesus said “Suffer the children to come to me” and they are welcome in our services, too.”

          The church did offer a cry room and nursery, but no one was being prohibited from (or criticized for) bringing their children to services with them.

        2. re: Disturbing the preaching……I will never forget the time a newer visitor at my old church went into a diabetic shock. People went to her aid which needless to say caused a disturbance. The pastor angrily said from the pulpit “what is going on there?” and ordered them to take her downstairs to the nursery so it would not be a distraction to the preaching.
          Yup. Just like Jesus would.

        3. Seriously!?! Most pastors I know would have stopped preaching due to the emergency, or, if they continued, it would be so the people there who weren’t helping would be kept occupied.

        4. My current church has the kids in for special services, although we normally do have nursery and children’s church. Of course, if a family wants to keep the kids with them during church nothing is said. Anyway, one Christmas Eve service a toddler in back of me had gotten ahold of a cap from a disposable ball point pen, and threw it at me, hitting my back right between the shoulders. I almost disrupted the service by laughing.

        5. A lot of this cuts both ways. If a baby is being obviously disruptive, I would expect that the parent would have enough respect for others to take the baby out of the service.

          We had this happen recently – a baby was in the service, but started making so much noise that it was a major distraction — the parent took the child out and nothing was said. It was well-handled.

        6. iI wonder if Jesus had the disciples remove children from his sermons because they were noisy. I wish the Holy Scriptures addressed that topic.

          Yes, the Bible does address this. Matthew 18 and Mark 10. The disciples had asked Jesus to give them an explanation of an earlier discussion with the Pharisees. During His teaching, they turned away some parents of young children who were bringing them to Jesus. According to Mark, Jesus rebuked them, and told them to allow the children to come to Him.
          This indicates He thinks children are important.

        7. I thought of this again this morning when I took my new placement to church for the first time. He talked loudly, argued, crawled under the pew, and lost his temper. I’m just glad he didn’t drop the f-bomb during prayer time.

        8. At mass last Saturday PM the priest had just read the Gospel and had come down onto the floor, as is his custom. He was getting well into his sermonwhen a couple that was sitting about 1/3 ofthe way back had a child of about two years old. The child started squrming and making little noises. The pastor stepped forward and picked up the child and continued preaching. The little one quited down and looked around and seemed pleased at were he was lookig up into the pastors face! Everyone in the congregation was smiling and when the youngster settled down the pator handed him back to his mother. A small disturbance handled real well.

      2. Dang.
        Our church does have a nursery and kids church, but they make it very clear that the kids do not have to go. Many parents want to keep their little babies with them. And when they do, the pastor makes a point to mention beforehand that the parents don’t have to take them out if the child fusses a little. I can understand loud frequent outbursts or screaming, but grunts and coos don’t bother anyone.

    2. Steve, I definitely agree that the PM service isn’t “family time” for an individual family, as you so accurately described how difficult it can be for children.

      I think the “family time” referred to is the church feeling like a family all together. The morning service is more formal; the PM service is supposed to be “like a family,” more casual and intimate.

  29. I am late to the party it seems….so I call 150th!

    Reasons 1 and 2 seem to contradict the IFB’s emphasis on individual’s being able to understand God’s Word. But then again, they need to prop up the MoG somehow and he is the only one who can really let people know God’s will. And I find his reasoning in 1 and 2 to be demeaning to his people. They are all dumb sheep.

    And #9–um–I know many choirs who practice during the week without any service around it or after Sunday morning worship.

    Overall, this entire list is the weakest argument I have ever heard.

  30. Do churches have to have choirs? Is this a spiritual law that I’m unaware of because I left IFB before I noticed that they all had choirs?

    1. I personally do not like choirs. My former fundy church had a HUGE one, and it sounded nice. I’m not sure why they need to be there for congregational singing, as if they were all down in the pews it’d be just as loud. They also did one or two “specials” every week, songs that weren’t in the hymnbook. That always annoyed me because dang it, I want to sing the songs too! Got so freaking old singing “Blessed Assurance” for the millionth time while the choir got to do different ones.

  31. As long as they insist on the KJV, there will be a lot of biblically illiterate people, Sunday evening services notwithstanding.

    Our church does not have a Sunday evening service, and I am grateful. I always disliked it and resented having to go.

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