Thank You For Coming

Because nothing says “I’m glad you came to my church event” like a photo of yourself.

I’ve seen this kind of thing from politicians to large donors. I guess it’s basically the same relationship here.

102 thoughts on “Thank You For Coming”

        1. Jake — Kevin Trout was a Hyles-Anderson graduate, and he tried real hard to be a “mini Hyles”. Even had scandals in his church.

          I attended Bible Baptist in the old building back on the late 80s before I went to Dayton to attend Charity Baptist Bible Institute.

          The one in Dover; Only been inside to attend a wedding before it was Lighthouse.

      1. For a moment there I thought that read BBC York, as in the cathedral. Too tacky for words by Anglican standards. However, I quickly realized that it was a US web address.

        1. ‘The Most Reverend and Right Honourable’??!?! He has no right to call himself that unless he’s an Anglican Bishop. If they wanted to sue him, they’d win. That’s worse even that giving each other Doctorates from sham universities.

        1. Hmm, most of what passes for correctness in Fundystan is error.

          Tithing. Liquor. Tattoos. Drums. KJV worship. Soulwinning. Modesty. Manworship (Hyles/Schaap/Gray/Malone/Gothard/Roberson/Jones, etc.). “Three to thrive”. Outrageous standards.

        2. Well, LadySemp…

          People do disagree about tithing, but surely giving is Biblical.

          The Bible may not outran ban liquor, but it has nothing good to say about it.

          Tattoos? I know they are discourage, but I don’t hear a sermon every week on that, even when I was in a HAC-grad church. Yes, they think that they are wrong.

          Drums? Yes, traditional music churches don’t generally use drums. Again, even in a HAC-grad church, we seldom heard about drums (just the general evilness of modern CCM)

          KJV worship is really a slur made up by people who resent the KJV supporters. (Mind you, I think Ruckman and his crowd are insane to think God wrote the KJV).

          Soul-winning: we did hear a LOT about this at the HAC-grad church. I think they were out of kilter here, but sharing one’s faith is not evil.

          Modesty is certainly biblical; some churches (many?) put extra, man-made items under this category… (how one eats a banana?? Open-toed sandals????)

          Manworship is a problem in some churches (usually, ones that base their ministry on Hyles)

          “Three to Thrive” – I’ve never liked that – I need to read the Bible for myself more often than just what they read in church. I do think one should support one’s church by attending it.

        3. GR,

          Never did I say that giving is wrong. Tithing is OT and not required.

          Funny, there are verses that say that wine is good. Paul told Tim to take wine for his stomach. Drinking to intoxication is something else entirely.

          I didn’t hear about tattoos every week, but I heard about them often enough. And about guys with earrings. Etc. Don’t like them? Don’t get them. But don’t take a verse from the OT out of context and camp on it as a standard on how spiritual you (the generic “you”, not you personally, GR) are.

          Maybe you didn’t hear about the evils of drums, but in my circle it was often enough. Piano, organ, flute, guitar, trumpet, and clarinet were acceptable. Oh yeah, and bluegrass instruments. Drums? No.

          Plenty of people in Fundystan DO WORSHIP THE KJV. It’s not a slur; it’s a fact. Anyone who insists that it’s the best and only book to use is someone I will probably intensely dislike. Resent? Only if they give me reason to.

          Sharing one’s faith is fine. “Soulwinning” as proclaimed in Fundystan is evil. One, it’s a standard to see how spiritual you are. Two, it gives everyone involved false security and the “soulwinner” the pride of racking up the numbers.

          Modesty the way Fundystan defines it is ridiculous. My last camp was okay with wimminz wearing pants outside of church. But you had to be dressed to the nines for every service. Even for work days the women were expected to wear skirts or culottes. Modesty is a changing standard within Fundystan depending on who’s screaming. Do I wish people dressed better? Yeah, because I hate booty shorts. However, I know tattooed women who wear pants and sing CCM in the praise band who are more spiritual and loving than your top 10 fundy preachers combined. Also, the standard of “four fingers below the collarbone” is a ridiculous standard. Some people’s fingers are fatter than others.

          MOG worship isn’t limited to Hyles-influenced churches. I’ve seen it in churches that have little or nothing to do with Hyles/HAC.

          Bible reading is great, if that’s what you’re (generic you) into. Going to church is great, if that’s what you’re into. I wouldn’t call attending services “supporting” the church but that may be a matter of semantics.

          Basically, GR, everything that I said earlier is about worship of a book, a man, a style, or a standard. No one is more spiritual for tithing/dressing modestly (whatever that means)/ reading a particular book, or for abstaining from liquor/tats/booty shorts (well, maybe)/ drums, CCM or the NIV, etc.

          If you (again, the generic “you”) want to tithe, great; it’s not required. If you don’t to drink or get inked, great. If you prefer the KJ, fine. Just don’t be a jerk about it and insist that it’s the One Twue Way.

        4. Dear Guilt-Ridden,

          I hope you don’t mind if I respond. When there are so many glorious things about Jesus and His love and grace to preach, it is sad when other things are given preeminence.

          Giving is biblical, but demanding that we MUST give 10% of our pre-tax income to the church or be out of God’s will is wrong.

          You said that the Bible “has nothing good to say” about liquor, but Prov. 31:6 says it may help the dying or the sad to forget their sorrows, 1 Tim. 5:23 mentions wine having medicinal value, Deut. 14:26 says that the Israelites could buy strong drink and rejoice, and Ps. 104:14-15 says, “he may bring forth food from the earth, And wine which makes man’s heart glad.” (I’ve only tasted liquor less than a half dozen times and I’m not a drinker.)

          Tattoos are just one of the many things in our society that preachers could pull out as a supposed sign of worldliness. Since most in the church at the time didn’t have tattoos, it would have been better had the pastor focused on the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — things we were susceptible to.

          Drums really are a synecdoche for CCM or rock music in general, against which I heard countless sermons. I grieve that many of those sermons attacked other believers, judging their hearts and condemning their worship. The story of Michal and David in 2 Sam. 6 truly convicted me about my prior attitude, and I am sad that I sat through so many sermons maligning my brothers and sisters in Christ on this issue.

          Resent the KJV supporters? Yes, I do. They are divisive at best; at worst, they call into question the power of the Spirit, saying people can only be saved through one version of the Bible. Much passionate anger was spent in my hearing from the pulpit on the virtues of one version and the problems with others (and those who read them), time that could have been better spent STUDYING the Scriptures themselves. I grew up KJV-only, and I wish I had come across the translators’ note to the reader much earlier in my life than I did.

          Sharing one’s faith is not evil, but demanding that it must be done only a certain way at a specific time with quantifiable results is unBiblical.

          I agree that modesty is biblical, but I believe it involves so much more than clothes. A lot of the sermons I heard on this topic had so much disgust and disdain in them for those who didn’t “dress right.” Instead of shaming them, (and feeling proud of ourselves – “I thank thee that I am not as other men”), why not exalt the beauties of Christ? As we are drawn to Him, His Spirit transforms us, producing in us fruits like humility and temperance.

          I’ve heard good sermons and bad in IFB churches; I’ve seen gentle, sweet people as well as arrogant, selfish ones. But I know that in general I was hearing TWO opposite things: one, about grace and freedom in Christ and the other, about following certain rules in order to be “right” with God, rules that were NOT in Scripture.

        5. I didn’t mean to look like I was piling on. I wrote what I did before Lady Semp’s response came up on my screen!

        6. I’m sorry, GR, but the issue isn’t about whether tatoos or liquor are healthy or a good idea. The issue is when preachers stand behind a pulpit and say “thus saith the Lord” when he hasn’t. That is called false religion, and is the one thing that the Pharisees were damned for. Deriving burdensome law from the Scriptures is the one thing that is consistently damned in the NT; to pretend that religious folks who do so are only expressing a difference of opinion is being a bit dishonest with the Scriptures.

        7. Lady Semp, would you believe that I was told that my oboe was ‘too worldly’? The lady with the accordion was ok though…

          And Pastor’s Wife, I love you! You said so well what I was thinking!

        8. LUITGARD, that’s because accordions are awesome 😉 The Exclusive PBs I came from don’t allow any instrumental music at all. They often laugh and quote their hymn, ”Oh Lord we know it matters not, How sweet the song may be, No heart but of the Spirit taught, Makes melody to Thee.” That joke lost it’s humour for me long ago. The singing is awesomely horrible more often than not.

        9. I can almost play the harp. Would that be acceptable to the Peebs, MiriamD? After all, the are mentioned in the KJV….

        10. I can almost play the accordion too, lol. Nope no harps even. Apparently they are, “Of Men” and not acceptable. Sigh.

        11. That’s fine, God can allow what He wants in heaven but the Peebs have to keep their assembly meetings PURE.

        12. Liutgard, wimminz are allowed to play the piano. Anything else is a man’s instrument. Well, the harp is for the wimminz too.

          The oboe is too sophisticated to be played in Fundystan anyway. They don’t appreciate it.

        13. LadySemp, PW: I appreciate the responses…

          Consider: A church that believes that tithing is correct for the NT (and there are many) should preach that. While I don’t agree with them, I support their right to preach what they believe to be the truth. It merely makes them “wrong”, but not evil or malicious.

          I don’t like the KJV worship spread by Ruckman, Gail Riplinger, and Bob Gray, Sr.

          I agree with you that the focus on externals as a judge of how spiritual one is is a tragic shame, and a hallmark of many fundamental churches.

          PW: As much as the Bible exalts Jesus Christ, a lot of the Scripture is warning against error, so it is proper to have some warnings against error.

        14. GR , Pastorswife and everyone. I really enjoyed this discussion. Fact is we need to have discussions like this in the church so that ministries that are in the wrong will change and begin to help people instead of hurting people.

  1. Some pastors don’t use images of themselves, but pastor worship of himself and by the members is still there. Our pastor was getting older/sometimes ill so he said from now on the last Sunday of every month would be the assistant pastor’s turn to preach so he could get experience. That lasted exactly two months. Then he took over again 100%. Couldn’t get over himself.

    1. Yes – you are correct, pastor worship can occur in other ways than just his image being plastered everywhere. More than often, the pastor’s written words are worshiped as well. The MOG at my old Fundy church would publish an e-newsletter every week called The Pastor’s Pen (Praise, Encouragement, Nurture). In itself, that’s not such a bad thing to have a newsletter for coming events, announcements, etc., but he would often reference it and talk about the importance of each member reading it as it contained such wise and valuable advise/commentary from the pastor. Typically every Wednesday night, by a show of hands, he would ask the congregation to indicate who read his “PEN” for the week. I always refused to raise my hand and generally abstained from reading it because of the blatant idolatry. He even went so far as to say one Wednesday night (paraphrased), “my ‘PEN’ should be one of the most important documents you read every week, after the Bible .” At that point, I knew the church wasn’t promoting the words of God, they were promoting the words of the MOG. He would talk about how missionaries throughout the World and other fundy pastors throughout the country would contact him and let him know they were faithfully reading his “PEN” . I couldn’t believe the importance being put upon reading this document. It was really hilarious, because shortly after he started publishing his “Pastor’s Pen”, the youth pastor started publishing a newletter for youth, called the “youth pastor’s pencil”. You just can’t make this stuff up. I always told my wife that their christian pre-school/elementary should’ve called their newsletter “The Crayon”.

      1. The MOG at my old Fundy church would publish an e-newsletter every week called The Pastor’s Pen (Praise, Encouragement, Nurture).

        How about “Praise, Encouragement, Nurture, Inspiration, Songs”…?

        But whatever would he call this newsletter?

        1. I don’t know what he’d call it, but whatever he were to call it, it’d probably come up short!

  2. A chip off the same block is Bible signing. I knew people that were so proud to have all the big names scrawled on the inside covers. Even at my fundiest I thought the pastors were lame for participating in, nay, enjoying the silliness.

  3. I remember visiting a church while at Fundy U, it was out of state I was with some friends who were from there. I remember it being my first experience with the Hyles camp, including a huge painting of King Jack in the lobby of the church. It looked like some giant Catholic shrine with a gold edged frame and with framed letters of commendation to the pastor and the church for “supporting Brother Hyles” (this was years after the scandal…)

    This man worship was certainly a Hyles trait, but I have seen it across the fruited plain of fundamentalism. Not so much in the churches I grew up in for sure, but it was more common than my kin would have liked to admit.

    1. My roommate bought for me (no idea why she got the idea) a rosary that was blessed by JPII, Bennie, and Francis. It’s all carnelian beads with gold beads for gauds. It is GORGEOUS.

      I had my issues with the first two, but I have a great deal of respect for Francis. He’s neither infallible nor perfect (and I think he’d admit it), but he’s gone a long way towards leading the Roman Catholic Church back towards the Jesus of the gospels. And I am immensely thankful for that.

      (My nutcase dad though, thinks Francis is the Antichrist. Well, when he’s not saying that Obama is…)

      1. I love, and make, rosaries. I use the Anglican pattern, but yes, they’re beautiful.

        And yes, I love Francis. Nope, I’m not Catholic. I’m thinking of sneaking over to the Episcopal church at some point, though.

        My parents have friends who are Catholic, and they are absolutely appalled by Francis and think he’s ruining the church. My parents think this is a symptom that they are seeing the light about Catholicism and are going to leave. My theory is that they just don’t like Francis because he’s not Catholic enough. I haven’t said that to my parents though. :-/ Most young Catholics I know really like him.

  4. I do not assume anyone wants a picture of me….lol. Getting a welcome card like this would just add to my trash…
    But then you have the mega churches with the pastor and his perfect wife on television or billboards…
    and then there was the statues of Robert Schuller in the Crystal Cathedral….that was truly befuddling to me.

    1. And look what happened to the Crystal Cathedral.

      I wonder if those statues of Schuller could be re-purposed to represent some very obscure saints? I wonder what RC saint is the patron saint of name-droppers and egomaniacs.

  5. Popcorn. You know some churches give you a bag of microwave popcorn for “popping in” to visit them. Would be far more useful than a photo!
    *Not that I have visited churches that hand out popcorn, or attend any church anymore at all, but my Mom’s church used to do that.

      1. Autographs, popcorn, a “grandstand in the sky”– maybe you’re onto something, Jay. Could it be that at least some Fundies think of a church service ( and maybe life in general) as being analagous to a ballgame?

        1. Come to think of it, pondering how life/church services may appear from a celestial perspective (at least in the view of some Fundies) can stir one’s imagination.

          For example:
          Crowd (singing during the Jack Hyles in Heaven Stretch)- “…buy me some popcorn and crackerjack, if you don’t I may never come back…”

          Gabriel- “Jack, as you know, I’ve always been a fan of graceball, even though I’ve never been able to fully understand the game. So, as a former player yourself, would you mind explaining some of the rules, both for my benefit as well as that of the viewing audience?”

          JH: “Sure Gabe. Basically our pitcher is either trying to hit the opposing batter with the graceball or else trying to convince him to swing at it. If the opposing batter makes contact and one of our fielders gets the ball, the entire team attempts to force the batter to run along the old paths.

          Gabriel- “Using the ball that was hit?”

          JH- “Bats too.”

          Gabriel- “And when our side is batting?”

          JH- “The graceball becomes a missle of persecution. We also earn points if we are struck by one and then stand fast. If we can get away with it, sometimes our players will even step into the path of the pitch.

          Gabriel- “Well, that was enlightening, but it looks like the Longview Legends have taken to the field and the batter for the Houston Heathen has stepped into the box. Wait a minute! The Legends are pulling the pitcher and sending in Bob “Doc” Gray.”

          JH- If “Doc” gets the save, there are going to be a lot of young fans lining up for his autograph after the game.

          Gabriel- As a former pitcher yourself, do you think Gray’s first pitch will be an Isaiah 53.

          JH- No Gabe, he usually saves that for Jewish batters. I think he’ll go with his specialty, “The Romans Road.”

          Umpire- “Ball one!”

          Gabriel- “Looks like he went with a spitball.”

          JH- “Yep, that made the batter take a step back. I threw a few of those myself”

          Umpire- “Strike one! Swing and a miss!”

          JH- “That was a change up– it looks like grace during the windup, but by the time the ball reaches the batter, it’s full blown legalism.”

          Gabriel- “Yeah, he shouldn’t have swung at that!”

          Umpire: “Foul ball, one and two!”

          JH- “That was a “Romans Road, but it looks like he only got a piece of it.”

          “Crack!”

          JH- “Doc” threw his heater and the batter really got hold of it. Look! He’s running the aisles! He’s running the aisles!”

          Gabriel- “Listen to that crowd! (Crowd- Hay-men! Glory! Haay-men! …) Hey, is that Bob Gray trying to sign up the batter up for his “college?”

          JH- “Looks like it, but Bob will still never match my RBI.”

          Gabriel- “Rubes Baited In?”

          JH- “Heh, heh, heh.

          Gabriel-“Jack, before we sign off here, it looks like this Wednesday night your old team, “The Hammond Heroes” will be playing its traditional rival, “The New York Metrosexuals.” Do you have any closing comments about that?”

          JH- “To be honest Gabe, we never really tried too hard to win those games: we just looked forward to the batting practice.”

    1. One church I visited gave me a $5 gift certificate for either McDonalds or Little Caesars (I don’t remember now). Another one I visited gave first-time visitors a coupon for a free drink in their cafe (they were a BIG church).

        1. You would think so but their favourite thing to give out is little calendars with bible verses crammed onto them everywhere there isn’t a number, in the KJV of course. Oh yes and crocheted head doilies.

  6. Well, celebrities sometimes send signed photos of themselves to people who write them letters.

    This reminds me of that Joe Bob Briggs “Godstuff” episode where some black preacher was offering contributors their choice of a photo of him, a Bible, a bigger photo of him…

    I once gave my brother a poster of Robert Tilton (“Gah-haad wants YEW to be RICH”) holding his hand up in a gesture of benediction, so the viewer could press his hand or head against Tilton’s palm and pray with him.

  7. LOL! The popcorn was in a self-serve basket and was mentioned to guests to take one if they wished. Sometimes they were left at the house of visitors if calling was done.

  8. I think it would be more fun to have ushers stand at the end of the aisles and toss the popcorn down the rows as if at a ball game. One church we attended actually had visitor RIBBONS with a sticker seal for visitors to wear so everyone knew who to stare at, I mean, who to ignore quickly on the way out of the service. They could have also accomplished this by giving out Participation ribbons like at Field Day.

  9. Pastor Trieber at North Valley Baptist here in Santa Clara, CA is not as bad as Hyles, but his name is all over everything that has anything to do with the church-he started it, he built it (he is trying to get it out of serious debt), he calls the staff, his wife has a column, his family-including his grandchildren- appear all over in photos on the web site, he is the president of the Bible college, and the head of the Christian school. It was such a turnoff, I’ve never wanted to visit (less when I realized it was IFBC). The few folks that I know who attend there all talk gushingly about “Pastor.” They don’t talk that way about Jesus!

        1. Is that a really, really small accordion you play, Miriam? Wait a minute, that wasn’t diatomic, was it? Never mind.

  10. I had one of these! I also had one of the pastor of my church in California. Tragically they were both lost in a fire about 10 years ago along with a lot of books and tapes and other things. 😉

  11. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJsOlLqBEyo

    TEDx speaker Linda Hyles Murphrey for the first time publicly reveals the secret life she was forced to live as the daughter of the former leader of an Indiana mega-church turned cult. Linda grew up watching her father, Jack Hyles, convert most of the congregation into complete obedience and loyalty to him. She tells how she left the organization and chose her own path separate from the mind control, idolatry and hypocrisy – choosing freedom. Listen to Linda warmly and courageously share her truth of growing up protecting the secrets and witnessing the blind devotion in one of America’s largest mega-churches.

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