120 thoughts on “FWOTW: 67 Questions”

    1. Yeah, they forgot

      The Climate Change Test: (Ezekiel 33:29)
      Does this action contribute to anthropogenic global warming?

      The Turing Test: (Job 12:3)
      Would my choice be distinguishable from that of an automated bot?

      The Cymbal Test: (I Cor 13:1)
      Can I exercise this option lovingly so I don’t become as useless as a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal?

  1. Second!

    I read this and thought of John Wesley’s self-examination test (http://home.snu.edu/~hculbert/selfexam.htm). The basic concept of spiritual introspection is all well and good, but a case can be made for Wesley having had OCD — and what he wrote isn’t even remotely as exacting as this. No wonder some Holiness folk are prone to making regular trips to the altar to question whether they’re really saved.

    1. Dear WearyPilgrim:

      Any site with that many theological issues really needs a forum section where folk like us can harass them with questions and comments …

      Christian Socialist

  2. Should I even use this checklist to make decisions? Let’s check:
    Question 1: Does scripture forbid using this checklist? No…
    Question 2: It the checklist a waste of money, possessions, or time…. um. yes….
    So, how many of the questions do I have to get right to pass the test? Is it graded on a ABCDF scale? Is there a curve? Oh no! I don’t know how to use the list!!

  3. First of all, introspection is a good thing. Too many people coast through life without ever giving a second thought to their lives, their actions or much of anything else. So, credit where credit is due for encouraging self-awareness.

    That having been said, most of the questions struck me as being rather horoscope-like. What I mean is, they are so broad and so vaguely written that they could be used to condemn or approve pretty much any activity from riding a bicycle to cooking a steak dinner.

    If you’re neurotic enough you can use this list to paralyze yourself. Alternatively, if you’re narcissistic enough you could use the same list to justify almost any behavior.

    Peace, Love and Hotty Toddy (sorry Bama guy.)

    1. Completely agree self introspection/awareness is very important. Fundies & this list provide self affirmation disguised as introspection and voila find out they are the last remnant of righteousness on the planet.

    2. Its all good ITB the Rebs are my 2nd favorite SEC team (since the days of Archie). I hate it that they are in the best division of college football with the Tide. You can’t turn the ball over 5 times and win. Congrats to you…forever ROLL TIDE!

  4. “These tests might be useful in pastoral counseling. When someone in the church wants to know if some questionable practice is acceptable, he can be given this study as a homework assignment. Or the pastor (or SS Teacher or parent) could sit down and go through these questions with him.”

    And there you have the real reason for this. If someone questions the unwritten rules and wants a little freedom, you can hammer them over the head with these questions. You’re bound to find one or two they answer no to. And then you can keep the people in line and not have people listening to that pesky Holy Spirit and coming up with different rules from you.

    1. Even just from the screenshot, #7 looks especially useful for that.

      Even before I began leaving and started adding things I’d been taught out to generate soul-crushing guilt into my life, there were ‘required’ things I wasn’t doing and a heck of a lot of them were because that still small voice inside they claimed they wanted me to listen to said it was wrong. I’ve been told I wasn’t a real Christian for not violating my conscience.

      1. “When in doubt DON’T!” (Emphasis in original).

        For me, that would mean, “Never do anything.”

        Also note that you can’t trust your own conscience, because “The believer’s conscience may need to be corrected and …”

        Or, as Dr. Bob Dylan observed:

        “Preacher was talkin’,
        There’s a sermon he gave,
        He said every man’s conscience is vile and depraved.
        You cannot depend on it to be your guide
        When it’s you who must keep it satisfied.”

  5. These questions would have been suitable for my friend who used to stand in front of her closet and pray for God’s guidance about her clothing choices for that day. She just couldn’t miss God’s will for her life.

    1. We hat to have The Special Talk in middle school about how God doesn’t care that much bout what color socks you wear but society prefers they at least match and if you’re in the church school there are some guidelines in force during school hours.

      Never found out who’d had issues facing the sock drawer in the morning, but someone’s mother must have said something.

    2. I’ve heard that idea used as an illustration. We were to be so surrendered to “God’s will” that even our daily clothing choices should be prayed over.

        1. BamaMan:

          “turnovered” may not be in the KJV, but “sackbut” is (Daniel 3:5)

          So, you may not accept that you were turnovered 5 times, but Dwelling in Imladris sacked your butt and took the FIRST for this post.

  6. This could paralyze me just on the issue of where to buy groceries.

    Is wanting to buy food to satisfy my hunger a worthy enough reason? Is that a pure enough motive? Do I really need to “adorn” xian doctrine with my choice of supermarkets? How does one “adorn” xianity? What if I can’t stay away from the candy section and I fall into temptation? What if the CEO of the supermarket chain is an evil heathen? I’ll be financing evil if I shop there.

    1. And this list obviously means that you can never shop in a super market with a liquor section! (which makes me wonder where Fundies buy their groceries so as not to stumble another believer…).

      1. In Maryland, a supposedly liberal state, you can’t buy a six pack of beer in a grocery store. You have to go to a liquor store.

        In Alabama you can. And every gas station has a beer-and-wine section. After all, Alabama is the buckle on the Bible belt!

        1. First time I’ve heard the Mafia called “communist.”
          The Mafia is really a model of unfettered, unregulated capitalism.

  7. As a volunteer firefighter, I’m now conflicted.

    9. The Fire Test (1 Cor. 3:11-15)

    Would this be building upon that which will last forever or will it contribute to mere wood, hay and stubble which will all be burned up at the judgment seat of Christ?

  8. The problem with a self-checklist like this, is that you take a mundane required task and the list is found idiotic.

    1. Eating would fail 67, 56, 45, 44 and so on.
    2. Choosing a white shirt over a black one.
    3. Buying a house or an apartment.

    These things are so subject to interpretation you might as well have a magic eight ball.

    1. Not to mention, working, which the Scriptures commend would break these rules.

      Reminds me Jesus telling the Pharisees that they were “teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”

  9. “12. The “Temple of God” Test… Will this course of action rest and strengthen or will it weary and weaken the body and brain? If I spend myself to the point of physical exhaustion is it for a wise and righteous cause, even the cause of Christ (2 Cor. 12:15)?”

    I have used this test to determine that it’s not God’s will for me too spend all day Saturday soul winning or all day in church Sunday.

  10. The only way to defend this list is to cliam that these tests are to be used indidually, ie. one should choose one of them (and only one) and apply this to the case. Otherwise… Heavens above, flight pilots don’t have have checklists that exhausting!

  11. After the first dozen or so, they’re pretty redundant- if not exactly, certainly in subject and spirit. Rather annoying. I didn’t find anything particularly remarkable after, oh, the 25th or so. Just how many rules can one make?

  12. My mum gave me a list of 3 steps to try to discern God’s will
    1) scripture
    2) feeling a need for it
    3) circumstances lineing up to make it happen

    Nothing like this, Christ came to give life more abundantly. This kind of list is worthless in real life. It is too much quite frankly. we can’t live as this guy supposes we should. I am a big fan of introspection. I think everyone should do it at least weekly, but I also think we as humans learn best from our mistakes. Mistakes require action that this list would prevent.

  13. “Paralyzed” — exactly. I spent years in mediocre jobs, bad relationships, and a damaging church, because I was so afraid of being out of the will of God.

    About a year or two before I finally started seeing things clearly, a Calvinist friend told me that there was no evangelical-type will of God to seek — God stated a few things in the NT as the will of God, and that’ that. He said, “Do those things and then do as you like.” I couldn’t believe him; I couldn’t imagine life being that easy or that free.

    I never once prayed if the work I’m doing now or the woman I married was the will of God for me. God put man on earth to work,and it’s as simple as that. I realized that if I do what he’s given me a talent for, I’d be honoring him just fine.

    The wife and I are doing ok as well.

  14. Heaven forbid you actually teach people how to walk in step with the Holy Spirit how to let the Holy Spirit govern their minds (Romans 8:6; Galatians 5:16, 25). Probably borders too much on being Charismatic.

  15. Shorter: Is it conceivable that someone, somewhere, somehow might consider this “conduct unbecoming a Christian”? If so, you should be ashamed of yourself for even considering causing scandal and becoming a stumbling block and being a bad ambassador and . . . .

    Shorter shorter: No shorts for you!

  16. #20- Beyond the obvious issues with noble acts of self-sacrifice done so no one else needs to imitate them, so um… if a man wishes to have sex with his wife but ALSO wishes that no other man have sex with his wife, this question may be A Problem according to a sufficiently literalist interpretation. By which I mean an interpretation that takes these questions less literally than my first adult Sunday School class took the prophecies in Daniel.

    #26- So, since I was raised in the church and my ‘old life’ involved not missing Sunday School, being very happy about reading my bible for myself, and talking to God all the time I should do what now? Suddenly my crummy Quiet Time record looks proper and right.

    #57- Apparently it’s against God’s will to go the bathroom. Who knew?

    1. Re: #57: I guess I wouldn’t want to greet Jesus while I’m doing my business in the bahroom, but then, I wouldn’t want the Lord to return and find me painfully holding it in, either.
      In other words, I can’t win.
      Which is pretty much the theme of this whole exercis, isn’t it?

  17. What this really is, is a way to get others to not do something.

    Don’t like what someone is doing? Drag that shit through these 67 questions and it’s guaranteed to not pass. But make sure to only do it to things you don’t like, because not a single action will pass all of these questions.

    Example: Fundies like sports and westerns featuring Ronald Reagan, or John Wayne. But they don’t like Harry Potter. All three of those things fail this “simple” test, but you gotta only bother with the thing that makes you look more sanctimonious if you condemn it. If you tell people that sports and westerns are wrong, then you’ve crossed the line into fanaticism.

  18. You know this has to be a joke, because this one:

    “Would doing this in any way rob me of the joy of having fellowship with Christ?”

    …comes all the way at #65, third from the end, when you’ve ALMOST slogged it through an entire maddening list, but still aren’t done, and there’s no way you can’t realize that the LIST ITSELF fails #65, fails it horribly, but it’s too late, you’ve already spent your afternoon on it, and the joke’s on you, chump.

    Kind of like fundamentalism itself.

  19. Decision making using this list leads to several problems.

    Analysis Paralysis? Navel Gazing? Straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel?

    See Also,
    Spiritual Life Coaching: If you can’t be part of the solution, there’s money to be made in prolonging the problem

  20. Dear SFL Reader:

    Conspicious by its absense is …

    The Unity Test:

    Anything that needlessly hacks apart the body for which Jesus died to become the head. Ps 133:1; Jo 17:23; Ep 4:3, 13; Co 3:14

    Christian Socialist

    They might have taken as their regulative principle NOT the premise that nothing forbidden is allowed, but that only what is specifically mandated is permitted. It’s more restrictive, but is so all-inclusive it renders rules essentially meaningless. Not a good foundation for legalistic religion …

    1. Dr, You’ve piqued my interest. I’d like to flesh this out.

      Biblical principle: (n) A basic truth, founded on the clear, underlying, and prescriptive teachings of scripture, that serves to govern a believer’s thinking and actions.

      For example, Jesus said (in Matthew 25) that giving aid to the poor is akin to serving him, even if we don’t realize it. It is a clear and prescriptive teaching that helping those less fortunate is good and right. So my thoughts and actions toward people in need should be of compassion and not disgust.

      Did I miss the point? Could you describe what you mean? Thanks!

      1. I think that more specifically, it would have to be New Testament principles based on Jesus’ teachings.
        In my opinion, the term “biblical principle” would have to include everything, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
        I’m interested in what others say on this topic.
        Thank you,
        John

      2. Well, consider this:
        1) Biblical principle: (n) A basic truth, founded on the clear, underlying, and prescriptive teachings of scripture, that serves to govern a believer’s thinking and actions.

        That is an interesting definition, since “clear” and “underlying” are almost always antonyms in almost all cases. However, I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that you can’t define (or even delineate) what constitutes clear or prescriptive.

        The example you give is even more interesting. By what standard is this a “biblical principle”, but stoning someone for eating lobster isn’t?

        1. Ah, I think I see where you’re coming from. Definition with exacting precision where literature is involved, especially scripture, is difficult. I would readily admit that determining biblical principles requires a presupposed theological framework, a “central interpretive motif,” as it were. The “underlying” part of what I was describing is that motif. Perhaps that’s why you call “biblical principles” to task. They are surely not universally understood or accepted, but I would argue that doesn’t discredit the idea. I hope that’s a fair valuation of our difference of opinion.
          The framework under which I operate calls for at least a cursory understanding of covenants. In response to your example, I could point to Peter’s vision in Acts 10, but I would just as readily lean on the idea of the new covenant.
          Take care!

        2. Which is sort of my point. You aren’t really describing “biblical principles” – you are describing your own hermeneutic. One can only end up with “biblical principles” if one starts with “biblical principles”. It is a presupposition that drives interpretation, not a conclusion derived from interpretation.

    1. But that’s wasting food, which clearly violates the “stewardship test.” You’re supposed to figure it out before you make it.

      You fail, go straight to Hell and do not pass Go.

      1. If you’re a married woman, you eat your husband’s leftovers, should he be so kind as to leave something on his plate. (This is how you will keep your svelte figure and keep your man!) If you have male children, you eat whatever they leave behind. If you have female children, you fight over the scraps the superior males leave behind. If you live alone, you need to move in with your father or brother so that you can receive the guidance you so clearly need on this issue.

        1. Is that “eat the leftovers from the males to keep your svelt figure” really a thing among some fundies? Svelt figures weren’t really a thing among the fundies I knew. My MOG’s wife was about as wide as she was tall, so he wasn’t about to preach on women being thin.

        2. I made that up, but it probably is a thing somewhere.

          Not sure who said that truth is stranger than fiction, but I’d say it applies to fundystan more often than not.

          It might even apply to Dr Fundystan.

        3. You are clearly a bad Fundy if you don’t know that you absolutely must have the figure of Barbie (modestly hidden under your denim jumper, of course). Otherwise your husband will get tired of you and cheat and it will be all your fault for not keeping yourself up better.

  21. Good grief, whatever happened to “He which began a good work in you is faithful to complete it”. I fail to see how the God who created all the natural beauty and diversity around us and told us he had richly given us all things to enjoy wants us to go around thinking about ourselves all the time. If you sincerely want to do the right thing, the spirit will show you, it doesn’t require this kind of flowchart christianity.

  22. How does this work? If I get one ‘no,’ does that mean I don’t do the action? Or should the noes outweigh the yesses? Or . . . could it be arranged more like a flowchart: if yes, then ->; if no then -> or whatever? But then all paths would lead to a big fat NO at the end. Don’t do anything, don’t make any choices except what you’ve been told to do . . . thanks for the flashback.

  23. All of these commnts leave me nearly speechless. How many members does this church have? How many do you suppose have read this list more than once? How many have read the whole list all the way through? While I think that most of these are pretty good advice I suspect that all of you SFL pepole have probably spent more time than church members have. If I know most members that they have briefly looked over the list I bet that you all know the list betterr than they do. People have more going on in their lives than to be so focust on the LIST ! Just my opiion !

  24. I used this technique today while I was in line at Wendy’s. Before employing the biblical parameters of said technique, I was wavering between a junior bacon with cheese and the double bacon cheeseburger.
    Let me just tell you. The sixty-seven principle…WORKS!

  25. Suppose you are thinking of getting married. Should you? Of course there is no. 6 (the Love Test), but you have to weigh that against the 20 or 30 rules essentially warning you not to put anything else ahead of Christ, or waste time with things that aren’t about Jesus. For example,

    No. 67: “Will doing this make it abundantly clear that Jesus Christ is my first love?”

    No. 56: “Am I delighting myself in other things or other persons more than I am the Lord?”

    No. 55: “Would doing this get me caught or tangled up ‘with the affairs of this life’ to the neglect of my primary duty which is to please Christ?”

    No. 11: “Will it make me a slave?”

    On the other hand, marriage might qualify as an example of submission to those in authority (no. 36)! And I pass over the proper use of bodily members (no. 4) and the avoidance of lust of the flesh (no. 25) without comment.

  26. What exactly do you mean by ‘love’? How do I know if I am loving God enough? Are we talking about my literal next-door neighbor? Should I love my neighbor with the same love that I show for God, or something more appropriate for lesser beings, like constantly reminding them what wretched worms they are?

  27. I came across this quote today and this list immediately jumped to my mind. In an attempt to help believers “please God,” lists like this only create guilt and hopelessness. The antidote is really understanding the love of God, something I never understood in fundamentalism because the emphasis was not on His glorious, unlimited love but rather on the necessity of my good behavior. (I have capitalized the most pertinent parts.):

    “If we could only see ourselves through the eyes of love. If only we could see the beauty we have INSTEAD OF ALL WE LACK.
    IF WE COULD STOP MEASURING OURSELVES AGAINST AN IMPOSSIBLE, UNATTAINABLE VERSION OF RIDICULOUS PERFECTION.
    Because flawlessness is a lie.
    Beauty isn’t glossy plastic.
    None of us are perfectly smooth with clean lines.
    We all have cracks, deep fissures, and puckered scars running all over who we are. Doubts and regrets, fears and broken dreams.
    True beauty is born when glory can come blazing through the cracks of who we really are.”
    –Ming-Wai Ng

    Once I lived by lists (and how fundies don’t recognize that as legalism boggles the imagination). Now I’m learning to walk by grace.

  28. Proof texts are often verses poorly cited, regardless of author/theological perspective… but Romans 1:1 as a proof text for fundamentalism’s “separation”? It’s explaining Paul’s apostolic ministry.

    For all the screaming about the right translation and the Word of God and we believe the Bible and the liberals don’t, you might as well be using the Quran if your exegesis is that sloppy.

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