Just Making Stuff Up: PCC Style


A little background: The Campus Church (Pensacola Christian College’s church that most staff and students are required to attend) recently lost its third pastor in five years leaving long-time resident professor and vice-president Dr. Joel Mullenix to fill the pulpit.

In the most recent telecast of Sunday’s morning service, Dr. Mullenix dispensed such a classic example of all that’s wrong with fundamentalist preaching that I could not help but put it here. Without further ado, I give you the SFL summary of “Pictures of Laodicea from Mount Sinai” broadcast December 6th.

After a brief intro explaining that the seven letters to the churches in Revelation 2 and 3 are representative of seven church ages and that we are now in the last age of Laodecia, the good doctor dives right into the drawing seven parallels between Mt. Sinai and our current church age. They are as follows:

1. The children of Israel waited 40 days and nights for Moses to return. This is just like the current church waiting for Jesus to return in the Rapture. And if we really believed that he was coming back and rapturing us all we’d live a lot differently than we do.

2. Aaron didn’t stand for the truth at Sinai. Neither to Neo-evangelicals, Neo-orthdox folks, or basically anybody else with Neo in their name. Mark and avoid them.

3. The Children of Israel used music that sounded like the sounds of war. THIS IS JUST LIKE ROCK MUSIC IN THE CHURCH! (No, I’m not kidding, listen to it for yourself).

4. Israel was naked just like the church in Laodeciea. Which reminds us that people no longer dress up and wear their best clothes for church. Because that’s exactly like being naked. Right.

5. Idolatry made the people claim they were worshiping God while doing the world’s work. Just like people today who live and worship like the world does and call it God’s work.


7. God moves away from the people just like Jesus is found outside the church in Revelation 3. Evidently he’s standing out there because he doesn’t like the music inside. Oh, and doctrine too. And other stuff.

Conclusion: Who is on the Lord’s side? Are you on the Lord’s side? Well are you? Then please stand to your feet. No, really. Stand up. Are you standing yet?

I for one am not only standing, I’m saluting too. One wonders what preacher boys learn in Homiletics classes at PCC other than how to properly use hairspray. I’d also like to take this opportunity to invite those who claim that SFL only covers the lunatic fringe of fundamentalism to explain to me how this sermon from a mainline fundy organization fits into that theory.

31 thoughts on “Just Making Stuff Up: PCC Style”

  1. I hadn’t heard some of these examples in a long time. Wow. Epic lols to #4, by the way.

    No. 6 struck close to home. Over Thanksgiving break I had a similar discussion with a relative back home. She said something about all the churches closing the US. I didn’t have much to say to that, and she followed up with something to the effect of “It’s because we’ve shut God out of our country.”

    “That doesn’t make sense,” I said. “God is angry at America for not believing in him, so he shuts down the places where people still do?”

    “I don’t know, but look at all the natural disasters.”

    It would’ve been funny if it hadn’t been a loved one. Just when you think you’re out of fundamentalism, it finds a way to hit you where it hurts.

  2. This was a great addition to my Monday. Reminds me of many sermons I heard growing up. In a way it is almost comforting…comforting to know I got away from it when I did.

  3. Lol *snort* “Turn or Burn”

    That was our favorite phrase when we would mock preach at each other… Ok, not sure if mock preaching is a fundy thing, but hearing a fellow counselor’s voice, altered by a mask to sound like Optimus Prime, using the phrase “Turn or Burn” was my favorite part of being a camp counselor at a Fundamentalist Camp.

    Sorry that was totally off topic, but after hearing Optimus Prime say “Turn or Burn” it will forever be burned into my good memories of Fundamentalism. I still can’t get mad at Fundamentalists that use that phrase. In fact its all I can do not to laugh in their face. Unfortunately, it would be rather difficult to explain why I am laughing at something they would take so seriously. I suppose humor is better than anger, which is the entire point of this site. *sigh* Thanks for letting me actually snort out loud laughing when I read the phrase “Turn or Burn”

  4. People who have differences with fundamentalist leadership or positions leave or are driven out. Since these leaders rarely correct the lunatic fringe, the lunatic fringe are taking over the fundamentalist label simply because they are outlasting “mainstream fundamentalists”. This trend is accelerating as the fundies continue to devour each other, i.e. being zealous, holy for God.

    About 15 years ago, while in the fundy circle, I began to view PCC as fringe, now they are considered mainline fundy.

    Kudos to SFL.

  5. About 15 years ago, while in the fundy circle, I began to view PCC as fringe, now they are considered mainline fundy.

    Just out of curiosity, who would you have considered mainstream 15 years ago? BJU? Falwell?

  6. That – all seven points – sounds like countless sermons I heard growing up and in Bible college. Fringe? Hardly. By the grace of God, he brought me out of that.

    Re #6: Luke 13:1-5? Job? Matthew 24:6-8? Exodus 20:7 would also be appropriate.

    Re conclusion: I wonder what kind of reaction I’ll get next time I’m in an IFB church remain sitting, keep my hand down, etc. after a question like that.

  7. He forgot to mention the most important problem with America… men don’t stand up to pee anymore!

  8. Wow, that’s a huge Fundypalooza of a sermon right there. And to think that Revelation/end times is supposed to be Dr. M’s forte. Where is the gospel? Where is the preaching of the cross? Sad.

  9. wow. . just wow. It’s amazing how utterly *out of context* this is. I mean, come on, first, he is comparing the church now to Laodicea. As if we know for sure that is what God intended when he inspired that part of Revelation.

    Secondly, he somehow links Mt. Sinea in the O.T. to the Revelation passage. It’s . . .umm. . .fascinating how he draws that connection.

    As a previous poster pointed out, it’s funny and sad at the same time. As if GOD cares about the stupid things the “preacher” is pointing out in that sermon.

    But then again, this is a prime example of what happens when you pull Scripture entirely out of context to suit your whims.

    To be honest, it disgusts me. Really.

  10. alright, I just can’t let this one go. . .(I must be bored tonight or something).

    The clothing/naked comparison irritates me. . yeah, God really *cares* what a homeless person wears to church. God really cares what anyone wears to church. Because God looks on the outward appearance, after all. 😉 And wearing a suit or a dress definitely makes you more holy.

    Finally, what on earth is up with the “God is moving away from people” part. God NEVER moves away from his children. He is waiting for them, always w/ open arms. He doesn’t judge his children for their sin. . EVER. (Romans 8:1). He has forgiven our sins–past, present, and future. He doesn’t take sin lightly, but He is always eagerly longing for people to come to Him.

    To think that people would portray God the way this message portrays him saddens me. But I understand why they do it. It’s because wearing a dress, listening to the right music, even going to the right church is overall easier than really obeying the commands of God. But, that’s another topic. . .

  11. 1) I always wonder, “What exactly are those things that would ‘be different’ if we ‘really believed’ Jesus were coming back tomorrow?”

    2) I also wonder how people truly reconcile this doctrine of “separation” with the actual life of Christ and teachings of the apostles.

    3) War =/= godliness? interesting… It’s also interesting how he used the age difference of Joshua and Moses to explain why Joshua thought it was shouting of war and Moses realized it was singing. Certainly it had nothing to do with Joshua being the leader of the army and Moses not being. :-/

    4) “I realize that Revelation is talking about spiritual nakedness, but I’m still going to randomly apply it to how we’re supposed to dress in church. And then I’m going to make random assumptions about the people in the church of Laodicea. Also, not dressing up is like the world, because the ‘world’ never dresses up for anything.”

    5) Oi Vey.

    6) Take any history classes lately? “Sickness, illness, and disease which we’ve never had before.” O_o Right, because the Bubonic Plague was kid stuff….

    7) Um, what? According to the passage he reads himself, the tent of meeting was always outside of the camp, not pitched outside after this event. Oh wait, in the KJV it makes it sound like he did this after, well that justifies the beyond sloppy hermeneutics, then. Or not so much.

    Good grief. It just really makes me wonder what really bad bits of hermeneutics are still hanging around inside my head because I didn’t realize what a crock sermons like this were at the time…

  12. JimE – About 15 years ago, while in the fundy circle, I began to view PCC as fringe, now they are considered mainline fundy.

    Darrell – Just out of curiosity, who would you have considered mainstream 15 years ago? BJU? Falwell?

    JimE – This was my view 15 years ago while attending a BJU led church in the upper mid-west USA. I perceived that CCM was wrong. Anyone using traditional music was ok, except for KJV only, KJV preserved, KJV inspired. I believed (and still believe) that KJV led churches willfully twist the text for their pet beliefs. KJV beliefs defined the fringe. It is much harder for Fundy pastors to control the beliefs of their followers when “God’s Word” is in modern English.

    Other characteristics, I viewed to be cultural, personality in nature. But with some, I had serious issue with but still considered them mainstream e.g. BJU type racist policies and Liberty type politics, Hyles type bus ministries. (I labeled the political agenda crowd as the “Christian Patriot Movement”).

    Today – >
    In the last 30 years, I have perceived that the KJV crowd is growing and will soon dominate the churches and schools that claim to be Fundamental. Schools are first, then the churches. Colleges/Seminaries are a leading indicator of what will happen in the churches…… There is typically a 10-15 year lead. 30 years, one generation is all that is needed to completely take over an organization.

    Love your site.

  13. @JimE I think it depends on which aspect of fundamentalism you are looking at. In other circles I’ve noticed the KJVO movement losing momentum and other translations (typically the ESV, though it depends) becoming more acceptable.

  14. @Stephen
    “And to think that Revelation/end times is supposed to be Dr. M’s forte. Where is the gospel? Where is the preaching of the cross? Sad.”

    At the fundy college I went to the president of the college said that the cross should not be our center, but rather, our center should be on the Second Coming. I actually looked around the crowd to see if I was alone with my concern. I was pretty sure that after a message like I had just heard that either the president or I was a heretic. I did something that for me is completely unusual and I was one of those people who stand in line to “congradulate” the preacher on the sermon. I brought up my concern, but we eventually agreed that the center of Christianity is Christ the person, not an event like the Second Coming or even the Cross. I still feel a little guilty compromising the cross to him like that, but at the same time, Christ is much bigger than the cross, as important as it was. Christ as the person is what is most important and the cross is just one part of the person.

    Anyway, I was amazed that no one else I talked to had a problem with it. Most actually defending his statements.

  15. @Amanda – I hope you are correct on the KJVO movement. My perception is that members of the KJVO movement tend to twist scripture at a higher rate and intensity than those not in the KJVO movement. They cannot seem to perceive the fallacious logic used to defend the KJVO position and continue to use the same fallacious logic to twist the KJV. Spotting holes in one own logic is very hard to do. I get very nervous when I post, especially if no one disagrees.

  16. Jim, that is a good point – if they are already going through so many hoops to justify a very fallacious statement or belief (KJV Only), they can go on twisting things to justify anything. The best example in thinking of this is Peter Ruckman, who has some really weird views on everything, it seems like, not just that he is KJVO.
    As for PCC, no suprise. Sounds like he had his Scofield KJV with him that day! 🙂

  17. @JimE, I’ve noticed more and more people, mostly 20somethings, who’ve grown up in IFB KJVO churches and graduated from KJVO schools abandoning the KJV for other translations (the ESV seems to be the translation of choice for many, though not all, former KJVOers). This includes both those who’ve left fundamentalism as well as those who’ve remained in it. While I have no hard statistics to back this up, and while certainly not all 20somethings have abandoned the KJV, it’s something I’ve increasingly been noticing across fundamentalism and throughout the US.

  18. You could spend hours dissecting the phrase “worship like the world.”

    The non-churched, non-believing people I know are passionate about many different kinds of pursuits. They’re the wrong things, but they have abandoned themselves to these objects of worship and allowed them to consume them.

    The ‘believing’ church people I know aren’t abandoned, aren’t passionate, aren’t consumed.

    Therefore, I think I’d rather “worship like the world.”

  19. Re: KJVO movement conversation.
    The typical KJVO stance seems to have the characteristics of any of the pet sin platforms. The position meets a current need (whether real or perceived), it is simple to hold (rather than actually think about the issue), it involves separation from the perceived wrongdoers, and will change in time because it is impossible to hold indefinitely. The irritating thing to me is that when the changes begin, the ones changing deny their former tirades as if they didn’t happen. They become politicians of the worst sort, and end up sounding stupid (like all politicians). For an example of this, what “fortress of faith” has said “We have not changed in 75 years?” It is laughable.

  20. @Amanda Count this 20 something year old as one of the many who abandoned the KJV and went ESV…but actually I didn’t attend a church that was strictly KJV. That is what we used, but we didn’t shove it down your throat. Also now since college every church I’ve attended uses the NIV. I actually like the translation a lot, but have yet to buy one. Still using my trusty ESV!

  21. I’m 25, didn’t grow up in a fundy church and then went to PCC. My home church uses some other version (I don’t even know what it was) but I always chose to stick with my KJV. I’ve think it’s the best translation. I related the other versions to the shallow Christianity at my home church so I thought I’d give fundamentalism a try and went to PCC. I graduated after 4.5 years and couldn’t go back into any kind of church for over a year afterwards because of sermons like the one above.
    Because I grew up in a CCM, any version goes-type church I can’t go back to that. It IS shallow. I like the old hymns and the KJV, but I’m cool with pants and movie theaters lol. What do I do?

  22. Oh, and there were times I would be reading along in my KJV while my pastor would preach from his whatever-it-was version and every now and then, what his Bible said and what my Bible said were totally different. What am I supposed to do with that??? I mean, changing the meaning of a verse just by changing or leaving out a few words. That’s SERIOUS. You don’t mess around with God’s Word.
    I have an unsaved friend who uses the different Bible versions issue as an excuse not to get saved. It’s her “proof” that it’s all man-made, not God inspired. (No, I don’t think the KJV is inspired.)

  23. Ah, yes. I remember this sermon. I was actually sitting in that “church” when he gave it. I kept looking back at the passage he was talking about in confusion, wondering “where is he getting this? Is he reading the same Bible?”

  24. As a current ministerial student at PCC, I just want to say that we are not all like that. The preaching from the pulpit and classroom does not always represent all (or even most) of the ministerial class. Just like anything else, we eat the meat and spit out the bones. Although some of the preaching at Campus Church is…not the most accurate, they actually do train us to preach according to Scriptures rather than opinion.

    1. Dr. Mullenix was one of the Bible teachers when I was there and is a member of both faculty and staff. I suffered through his travesty of “Church History” using the Church-Age Theory as espoused by the text book writer…Beka Horton.

      Don’t tell me that the teaching is different than the preaching. In fact, many, many of the preachers in that pulpit were trained at PCC. So are you suggesting they learned all their bad preaching techniques sometime after college? Please. Those of us who are alumni know better.

      1. I do believe I may have been misunderstood. I didn’t say that the teaching isn’t….messed up at times. Rather that not all of it is terrible, and that not all of us students buy into it. I also was disappointed in the teaching of the Church-Age theory in Revelation class, as well as several other fallacies. However, I was trying to point out that the “teaching to preach” classes, like Homiletics, are done better than would be assumed by merely listening to Campus Church preachers. I am often surprised at how often Dr Rushing will warn against the very thing happening at Campus Church.
        Anyway, my point was merely to defend the state of a group of the students who are not necessarily conformed to the philosophies of the school.

  25. I was in the Crowne Centre during this travesty of a sermon. Thanks for reminding me why I was so happy to leave that place at the end of that semester! Transferred to Liberty University, and even though that place has its own problems, it’s no where near as bad as PCC…

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