Because of their emphasis on separation, the body of approved source material for fundamentalists is a very small and often changing list. Quite often when a fundamentalist goes to look for a book or sermon on a given topic there just isn’t one by one of the three fundamentalist leaders he’s still on good terms with. This problem has created an extensive taxonomy of disclaimers as fundamentalists attempt to quote experts while maintaining a proper separated distance.

The Anonymous Quote The easiest way to avoid being pinned down to supporting a particular person is just not to name them at all. Pastors use this one all the time. “Someone once wrote…”

The Parenthetical You can slip the warning right into the middle: “I’d like to read this quote by John MacArthur — now we know that John MacArthur is a Calvinist and that you just can’t trust anything he says about salvation, the gospel, or witnessing but I’d like to read this anyway…”

The Vague Warning This is the catch-all warning for when a speaker just doesn’t want to get into it: “Unlike the books written by fundamentalists, you need to read this book with a lot of discernment but there is this one good sentence which reads…”

The Book Label “The contents of this book are not necessarily endorsed by [insert institution name here]. In fact this book may be complete heresy but we keep it in our library anyway in case there is something that really fits well into a sermon illustration someday.”

When you’re separated from everyone it sure does make using a good quote tricky. Imagine a fundamentalist pastor repeating something he read on this blog for example…

16 thoughts on “Disclaimers”

  1. at our school, we memorized the disclaimer for fun and my friend copied it, blew it up, and ironed it onto Tshirts.

    accordingly, this was my favorite post so far.

    oh, lest i forget.. . .disclaimer: I don’t support everything on this website.

  2. At a school I know, they declared in chapel one day, that if anyone quoted from a John MacArthur book, he would receive an immediate zero in any paper. Somehow that never got added to the disclaimer in the books. But then they didn’t keep his books in the library. They did require the reading of Charles Finney however….

  3. Recently, at the Baptist church that I attend, the pastor announced that the church would have free copies of the devotional “Baptist Bread” on the table out in the lobby. “Baptist Bread,” he said, was intended as an alternative to the popular devotional “Our Daily Bread,” so that “we will not be exposed to other denominations and other viewpoints that we might not agree with.” (Those were his exact words.) I picked up a copy of Baptist Bread, and inside was the following inscription:

    “BAPTIST BREAD is an independent Christian Publication, which is published bimonthly. Writers of BAPTIST BREAD are Independent, Fundamental, Separated, Soul-Winning, Bible-Believing BAPTISTS.”

    That’s more of an endorsement than a disclaimer, but I got a chuckle out of it. I guess it was meant to dispel any fear on the part of the reader that the devotional might possibly be the work of the wrong sort of Baptist.

    1. Well, the typeface and the spellings in the 1611 are a lot different from books written today. Maybe they just don’t know how to read modern English after all that time reading the 1611? 😆

  4. I’ve read Baptist Bread–Our Daily Bread is better. Our pastor decided at some point that our minds might be polluted by the rather light, daily devotionals in Our Daily Bread. Hardly deep theological stuff in there, however, they may not punctuate the same or something.

  5. At a fundy school I went to, I heard a quote almost exactly like the parenthetical quote above. It went something like this. I am going to quote from John Piper, who is a non-separatist and definitely doesn’t believe what we believe, but he says some really great things, so here it is. 🙂 I was laughing inside.

  6. At the IFB college I went to there was a disclaimer in the front of a KJV Bible saying “We may not agree with or endorse everything in this book”.

    1. My fundy U had disclaimers like that too, even in the Bibles. It was one of the few times they were being completely honest, and they didn’t even realize it!

  7. We have a local Christian bookstore that puts big stickers on some of their material cautioning you that it may contain scripture references other than the KJV.

  8. I sat in on an ordination service at a fundamentalist church this past week. One of the pastors on the ordination committee asked the candidate how he would handle quoting from somebody who had “dangerous ideas.” The candidate said he didn’t think a disclaimer always needed to be given, at which point he was rebuffed by the older pastor, who suggested the anonymous method if he absolutely couldn’t use the parenthetical method. It’s mind-blowing that this is the kind of thing that needs to be asked at ordinations.

    1. “Dangerous ideas!?” That sounds like something a Communist dictator would say…hmmmm…. :/

  9. Funny disclaimer: my mom had to clarify today that although her favorite dish at a local restaurant is called “Buddha’s Feast,” she doesn’t agree with Buddha’s teachings. Good, ’cause I was worried . . .

  10. At HAC one semester I was lucky enough to get to work in the bookstore. When the new books would come in we were given a black sharpie and a list of pages that needed to be sharpied or removed. I absolutely HATED violating brand new books like that. (They still charged full price for them too!)

  11. Not until being around SFL have I been really paying attention to this in the sermons at my church and I just recently called one of the pastors out via email when he used the “here’s a quote from someone we wouldn’t necessarily align ourselves with” I asked him why he would quote someone he wouldn’t align himself with and he ignored that question in the email, never answered that one. And, since, I have noticed all the variations during the sermons of the other pastors.

    Last time this guy preached, he took pot shots at a famous preacher from TX that has written many books and has uplifting positive bent to his preaching, this included the perfunctory correctly pronouncing his name then mispronouncing it like they do when referencing “worldy” people’s names. 🙄 🙄

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