Missionary Updates

A fundamentalist missionary to England gives his church a report complete with prayer cards, jokes about gluttony, exaggerated statistics, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and a diatribe on politics.

60 thoughts on “Missionary Updates”

  1. That was my thought too, mounty. He’s got “Ugly American” stamped on his forehead. I’ll bet $5 to your favorite charity that he wears cowboy boots and/or an American flag belt buckle over there.

    Note that he made a point of saying that the English pastor had been trained by Baptist missionaries. Good thing! We wouldn’t want those Brits running off on their own, now would we?

  2. If he’s going to blame Children’s Lit, then he needs to go back a ways to “The Wind in the Willows”, “The Secret Garden”, “A Little Princess”, “Just So Stories”, “The Princess and the Goblin”, “The Pheonix and the Carpet”, etc. They were infecting our society long before Harry Potter. 😀

  3. I’ve heard rumors of missionaries to Great Brittain. This saddens me more than I can say. I can’t even imagine this guy actually believes that 98% or 1 in 4 stats, and if he has anyone attending whatever “church” he has in England, is probably emigrated BJ grads. Do they even write Hardy Boys anymore? Does anyone think he understands they stock NEW books @ book stores?

    1. I realize this is an older post but I have to say as a former missionary to Italy this guy would commit social suicide in that culture. (I know your comment was a joke, but just had to say something.) I’m a graduate of an unnamed fundy U near white sandy beaches and I, gasp, married a Mennonite. (My parents still struggle with that on occasion, although they are great people and true believers within an IFB church.) Anyway Darrell, keep up the good work.

  4. Yep, There’s the problem! He’s a Sammy-ite. He’s a disciple of (spittin sputterin showerem’ with salava)Sammy Allen. The Southern Saint, the Scourge of Sin, able to see into the hearts of all who sit under the sound of his voice and call them out for their wicked ways. I’m sorry but men like Sammy and all the disciples he has produced over the years had done more harm to the cause of Christ than an an army of athiests could.

    Talk about Anti-intellectual…. There are no good books in England???!!!! I swear I heard background music playing when he said that. Did anyone else hear it? I know I heard the Scarecrow singing, ”

    …And my head I’d be scratchin’ while
    my thoughts were busy hatchin’
    If I only had a brain….”

    No good books in England and there are demons just waiting to pounce on anyone who dares read “Lord of the Rings”, or “Harry Potter”! Preach it! Billy Sunday would be so proud! Sin is external don’t you know! It hides in all sorts of things, books, movies, music and brown bottles…

    Are you listening? Hear the railroad track sing-song style of preaching? Preaching as you breathe. da-da da-da du-da-uh… Here’s how you preach Sunday’s take on sin in that style:

    “You got to kick(ah) it as long as you’ve got a foot(ah), and fight it(ah) as long as you’ve got a fist(ah).
    You got to butt it (ah)as long as you’ve got a head(ah) . You’ve got to bite it as long as you’ve got a tooth(ah).
    And (ah)when your’e old(ah) and fistless(ah) and footless(ah) and toothless(ah), then gum it till ya go home to Glory(ah) and it goes home to perdition!”
    (I just hope when you go home to Glory(ah)… that is you wife’s name… amen?)

    God save us from such as these!

  5. I am an American living in England. This guy is indeed the ’embodiment’ of the way the Brits see Americans. I’ve heard it on TV and radio — they see us as loud and fat. How many Americans can you get in a Mini Cooper… Though they have a biting sense of humor, Brits are reserved and courteous. (I have a hard time hanging up on a recorded telemarketing call because they sound so polite and I don’t want to be rude) This guy’s demeanor would certainly rub them the wrong way! He would not be taken seriously.

    I just checked stats. 71% of Brits claim Christianity. I suppose that leaves the “1 in 4 you meet on the street” that are devil worshipers. A bit of creative inference gives him that valuable piece of maudlin rhetoric to energize his supporting churches into raising his support level. We have attended several English evangelical community churches and found them to be delightful. There was good Bible teaching and good Christian fellowship. After what I had been given to understand about England before we came here, I was quite astonished and pleased. I’ve seen this odd logic used in the states and this guy is using it here: if it ain’t independent fundamental Bible-believing, sin-hating, pew-hopping, KJV only Baptist, it’s from the pit a’ hell. Gives a great excuse to manipulate people into funding a long vacation in a really cool place.

    When my husband and I first arrived in the country last year we met a fundy missionary couple and decided to support them and work with them as I could play piano for church and teach Sunday school…when kids showed up. Their focus was US military, not necessarily the English. They had been in the UK for 30 years starting churches near various RAF/US joint military bases. I am pretty sure I have heard them mention the Tooleys. After trying once before followed by a year back home raising more support, the work here was unsuccessful. Their support level dropped again and their Visas were up so they had to return to the states. Now we are attending the chapel at the base. It’s great! No wonder they couldn’t get anyone to come to the IFB church! God had it covered already!

    What this guy says about the doors to missions closing in the UK is true. However, it’s not focused at Christian missionaries. It’s across the board as immigration control . To get into the UK on a work Visa one must have a sponsor in the UK. We had to have a sponsor, too, and that was my husband’s company. Generally, finding a sponsor is hard and sponsorship is expensive. That’s a large financial burden on missionaries and/or their sending churches if the sponsor is unwilling to foot the bill. This is for anyone! For instance, I had sent out an open invitation to musicians in my field of music for concert venues in our area and a place to overnight if they were on a tour here. If you appear to be entering the country with the intention of making money you are in for a hard time. One group trying to come for their 7th tour in England gave up in frustration and cancelled their gigs. So it’s not Christians that are targeted.

    Unless maybe it’s part of a large sneaky conspiracy…

  6. I’ve heard rumors of missionaries to Great Brittain.

    What I’ve observed being an MK is that the missionaries to English-speaking countries tended to be the most ignorant ones of the lot. Some of them are good people but a lot of them are just too lazy to want to bother learning a new language and think that Australia or the Virgin Islands is just like America and that Hyles-style evangelism will work just dandy.

    In the time that my family was on the field, no less than 14 IFB missionary families came and went leaving behind almost nothing in their wake as far as an established church or ministry.

  7. What I’ve observed being an MK is that the missionaries to English-speaking countries tended to be the most ignorant ones of the lot.

    Even growing up in a lay family with no involvement in missions beyond monetary support, I can definitely say I got that impression myself.

    Anybody else find it hard to resist thinking it’s this guy, and not “baptists” generally, who goes to the fridge five times a day?

    And the whole thing about church-going sliding irrevocably into the abyss is historical hooey. The reverse is really more true. Church membership in the US peaked in the early 20th century and has held pretty steady since. From Rodney Stark’s book The Victory of Reason:

    Even in Puritan Boston there probably were more people in the taverns on Saturday night than there were in church on Sunday morning. . . . Nearly a century later, in 1860, more than a third (37 percent) of Americans actually belonged to a local congregation. The 50 percent mark was passed at the start of the twentieth century. And for the past thirty years, slightly more than 60 percent have belonged, which probably is about the maximum rate that can be sustained. (p. 209)

  8. Got to chime in here. I grew up in England as an MK – my parents were IFB missionaries to the American military (in fact,if I didn’t know better, I would wonder if @Kate ‘s comment was about my parents since it sounded so very similar to their story).

    Although there were a few (very few!) exceptions, in general the missionaries (including my family unfortunately) in England were there to Americanize the church. There was little if any contact with local pastors/vicars. This is one reason why missionaries like to go to the American military bases because it allows them to set up a church “just like home” and be somewhat successful. What happens though when the RAF base closes or drastically downsizes (as it did with RAF Fairford, RAF Bentwaters and RAF Woodbridge), the church is whittled down to practically nothing and cannot survive in the area any longer since it hasn’t “marketed” itself to the British locals. In the end, the missionaries get discouraged and head home, thinking God is “calling” them elsewhere. Or go back and forth between England and the U.S. for “furloughs.”

    1. So, right before the service at the base chapel yesterday (it’s now several months after the original post) the chaplain says to me, “Isn’t your background IFB?” I wanted to deny it and say he only got that idea from my husband, but I said “I guess so.” He points out a family with nine, count ’em, nine kids, dressed to the nines, dad in suit and tie, helpmeet in snazzy pink suit with ankle length skirt and BJU-approved coiffed hair. Chap tells me they are a missionary family and maybe I could go introduce myself during hand shaking time and make them feel welcome. So I did and we chatted very briefly about the missionaries who had left the area last November and discovered they know of them and had been trying to contact them. THEN…I excused myself and went to the stage, strapped on my guitar and we proceded with the praise and worship portion of the service. 😉 Need I point out that I saw 11 sour faces back there during the whole time? Not sure they even sang on “O Come All Ye Faithful”. Plus, to make matters worse, the scripture was from the NIV. I agonized during the whole rest of the service knowing I’d have to talk to them again. Did I mention I was wearing pants? Anyhow, they had started a church at Alconbury several years ago and are back and are planning to start a church in Lincoln.
      Nine kids. Can you imagine the air fare??? 😯

      1. Can you imagine the the agony and the praying that was done trying to decide whether to go thru the whole body scanner or pat-downs for security? 😯
        Did they talk to you afterwards? You know that visit will be sermon material as some point, justifying the need of Independent, Fundamental, 1611 King James only sin-hatin’, sinner lovin’, devil fightin’ standard bearin’ Baptist church and godly preaching in that area! Why, according to this latest visit there is no gospel preached due to using ungodly Bible perversion like the NIV. So liberal, that women wearing slacks are even allowed on stage to play so-called “worship” music.
        So sad…. so pathetic! 🙁

        1. And what’s worse… the chaplain announced that next Sunday after the service they are loading up a bus to take families to the local Santa’s Grotto. 😆 And, yes Bro. Missionary did approach me after the service to chat and ask if there were any left of the mission church since the missionaries were currently in the States. I told him we kept the two gals coming to a Bible study until they were PCS’d to other assignments. Yes, I’m sure he got lots of sermon fodder that day.

  9. I’m not sure what it is – but I can’t watch more than 3-4 minutes of that type of preaching anymore before it makes me sick to my stomach.

    The way he just rolls the lies and exaggerations off his tongue is amazing. Hearing all the amens and shouts in the background is unreal too.

  10. There are lazy missionaries, everywhere.

    As an MK in Zaire (now the Congo, again), I learned two languages fluently, eventually studying nine. Meanwhile, there were other missionaries in town who would not be bothered too recognize that their translators could not even recognize their colloquialisms and were making up sermons.

    True story: a pastor and former missionary to Korea was visiting us and speaking in a local church. Someone I know reads this site (but probably won’t comment) was interpreting. The pastor did not accept that the dialect of Swahili used at the church has almost no synonyms. For example, there is only one way to describe happiness or joy. He also started by telling a virtually illiterate and almost completely destitute crowd “Turn in your Bibles to the twenty-fourth chapter of Luke.”

    The pastor expounded on Luke 24:52: “And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:”

    Pastor: “They had great joy.”
    Interpreter: “Walisikia furaha.”
    Pastor: “Great joy!”
    Interpreter: “Furaha kupita.”
    Pastor: “They were having a ball!”
    Interpreter (imitating tone and gestures): “Furaha kupita!”
    Pastor: “They were having a blast!”
    Interpreter (imitating tone and gestures): “Furaha kupita!”
    Pastor: “The time of their lives!”
    Interpreter (imitating tone and gestures): “Furaha kupita!”
    Pastor (getting excited): “Not just a little happiness, great joy!”
    Interpreter (imitating tone and gestures): “Furaha kupita!”
    Pastor (shouting): “It knocked their socks off!”
    Interpreter (imitating tone and gestures): “Furaha kupita!”
    Pastor (beginning to suspect the interpreter was not trying to get the point across): “It was joy unspeakable!”
    Interpreter (imitating tone and gestures): “Furaha kupita!”
    Pastor: “Full of glory!”
    Interpreter (imitating tone and gestures): “Furaha kupita!”
    Pastor (to the interpreter): “Are you translating this?”
    Interpreter (quietly to the pastor): “Every American expression for what you are trying to say can only be translated one way in Swahili. The rest is tone.”
    Pastor (to the interpreter): “That’s crazy. I’ll say it a different way.”
    Pastor (to crowd): “They were over the moon!”
    Interpreter (looking at me to signal I should not say anything): “[They went to church]!”
    Pastor (jumping with excitement): “Head over heels!”
    Interpreter (imitating tone and gestures): “[Every day]!”
    Pastor: “They were totally gone!”
    Interpreter (imitating tone and gestures): “[Everybody must laugh now]!”
    Corwd cheers
    Pastor: “Now you’re getting it”
    Interpreter (imitating tone and gestures): “[Church is fun]!”

    Later, the pastor told the interpreter, who never again got close to what the pastor was saying, “Now, that’s preaching! The whole congregation came forward.” I didn’t have the heart to tell him that was not an altar call, just the choir song.

    This pastor later moved to Zaire, learned three words of Swahili, and claimed to be the senior missionary by virtue of age.

  11. There is an undeniable offensive aspect to the preaching of the true Gospel–stumbling block to the Jews, foolishness to the Gentiles, etc.

    But this guy is offensive in about 40 different ways–none of which have anything to do with the Gospel.

  12. The following is completely without sarcasm.

    If you want to learn how Missions can be done right, read Liberating the African Soul by Felix Muchimba. Muchimba is the president of Gospel Literature Outreach Discipleship Training Center in Ndola, Zambia.

    If you know a pastor or leader with any sense and a true heart for missions, give them a copy.

  13. Not-ah book-ah in-ah the-ah whole-ah book-ah store-ah!

    Personally I think IFB missionaries and missions trips exist merely to allow people to see the world on other people’s dimes.

    This guy in particular seems to fat, dumb, and incompetant to actually pastor a church here. Thank God!

  14. I finally had to watch a few seconds to figure out what all of you were going on about with the “-ah” stuff… I thought it might be familiar, and indeed, there is a preacher who has an early Sunday morning radio program locally who does this. Though in his case, his extrasuffixual emendations sound more snarly than smooth “-ah”‘s added here. Anyway, it’s terribly annoying.

  15. Kate: “Gives a great excuse to manipulate people into funding a long vacation in a really cool place.”

    Whenever we had missionaries to England or Scotland in our Baptist church, I couldn’t help thinking the exact same thing (although at the time I always felt slightly guilty for thinking that about missionaries).

  16. Where do you start with this one. As an American, I’m embarrassed that this guy is over in the UK “showing” the Brits what “true” Christianity is all about. Kind of reminds me of the guy that came up from TN to start a fundy church where I live: http://www.greatplainsproject.com/aboutUs.html . First impressions anyone?

    It must be a Southern, IFB thing: You must be very large, loud, and preach anything but the Gospel. This guy talks more on morality than he does the Gospel. Morality has never saved anyone. Preach the cross and Him crucified!

    By the way, what is a “calt”? I’m sure he meant to say, “cult”. Good grief, Charlie Brown!

  17. I can only imagine the reactions this guy got in England. I don’t see how any rational person there would be interested in this style of evangelism. It’s way too brash and stereotypically “boorish American”. I’m sure his time spent there was basically an extended vacation, because I doubt very much that he was able to make a go of it and start a really decent church. Unfortunately, he is doing our country and the gospel a great disservice by turning people off.

  18. That poor ignorant man who doesn’t know that places like Barnes & Noble and Amazon exist, where you can find even terrible Christian Literature right along side some of the greatest books ever. You can certainly find Hardy Boys and Little House on the Prairie. This may be a stupid question but is all he knows about books limited to that pitiful selection at Walmart??

    I loved what he said about taking her some good books back….yeah…the Brits haven’t produced any good literature.

    What a moron.

  19. I agree with the notion that some US guys want to be missionaries, but don’t want to learn a new language. We get all sorts up here in Canada, and once again, they fail to realize the Southern US is not Canada. Some last, but most of them flame out after 4 yrs, and leave a small struggling work behind.
    It breaks my heart to see.

  20. @Don (ah) no (ah) good books in England. (ah) Such as the home country of the KJB.
    The ahs caught my attention also. This guy is the wizard of ahs.

  21. Another thing that is prevalent among missionaries is what this fellow says: “There’s not been a Bible believing church in that town for years and years and years.” He probably means IFB, KJV-only church. Or he didn’t know about these churches (and these are just the ones with BAPTIST in the name).

    Rockingham Road Baptist Church
    Fuller Baptist Church
    Desborough Baptist Church
    Burton Latimer Baptist Church
    Thrapston Baptist Church

    And Carey did not come from Kettering. Yes, he came from the Northhamptonshire county, but not Kettering. [/nit picking]

  22. @Christopher. Greatest laugh of the day. Thanks for that hilarious story! 🙂

    And gee wollickers folks. This guy=…whack. Once I noticed the “ah” suffix to his words, I wanted to scream!

  23. When I was in highschool my church voted to drop some missionaries to Scotland because they dropped “baptist” from their church name due to very bad connotations of “baptist” in their area. My family were the only people who voted against dropping the missionaries ni really hope they were able to continue their work without a lot of ignorant backlash from idiot ifb-ers.

    /end unrelated ifb war story

  24. “Baptists like to go to the refrigerator 5-6 times a day; well we’ll get a lot of prayin’ done”. Um, wasn’t it the great fundy himself, Bob Jones Sr. who said “It’s never right to do wrong in order to get a chance to do right”?
    I had to stop after the LOTR and Harry Potter comments. How you get devil worship out of either of these, especially LOTR is beyond me. And doesn’t he realize that one of the oh-so-wholesome Hardy Boys books was named “The Witchmaster’s Key” and another dealt with astrology? And this is the original series, who knows what the more recent authors have included in the stories.
    It seems that the worst speakers seem to go for missions. This guy is a total hack in every way. These people attribute lack of fruit to people’s hardness of heart, when much of it really goes back to the fact that the rest of the world isn’t really interested in having their cultures Americanized in any way. Especially if this type of “preaching” is the example of America they’re getting.

  25. Stephens post reminded me of a visit I made to my sisters IFB church a few years back. A missionary from Whales was visiting. I have a sister in law who’s parents a Baptist missionaries there. So I stuck up a conversation with the missionary before the service. I asked him if he knew my sister in laws parents who has been there for over 20 yrs. He said yes. He knew them well.
    Ok, so the service begins. This guy gets up there and says that he is THE ONLY BAPTIST MISSIONARY in all of Whales!
    Huh?
    Come to find out, my sister in laws parents are IFB, BUT the missions board they use has fallen out of grace with mainstream IFB. Therefore, they are no longer “approved” missionaries….go figure.

  26. jimbo:

    There is an undeniable offensive aspect to the preaching of the true Gospel–stumbling block to the Jews, foolishness to the Gentiles, etc.

    But this guy is offensive in about 40 different ways–none of which have anything to do with the Gospel.

    Exactly. What’s really disgusting is when these preachers fail in their “mission” and think it’s because people are rejecting the Gospel. I want to say “No, sir. It’s YOU they’re rejecting. It’s not business. It’s personal.”

  27. Man this is surreal. I took a missions trip in 2003 between my sophomore and junior years at a fundie Bible college. This dude was one of the missionaries in the group we spent time with. Even at the time without knowing much of the glaring and obtuse issues with fundamentalism I realized he was a very un-informed, judgmental and even bigoted person – even against the country he was allegedly trying to reach. I unfortunately had to listen to him the whole time on a van ride to London talk about how bad things were and how much other churches were compromisin’. I remember he was very fond of McDonalds when we stopped for lunch however not many people in the UK accepted tracts from him on the street.

    This is justice to see him here on this site.

  28. @ Morgan:

    To get a better perspective of how “large” an issue this is, check this out (wait for the page to load with him standing with Mt. Rushmore in the background).

    http://www.greatplainsproject.com/ScenesofSD.html

    Yep, I’m proud to have him in my part of the world. Two things Dakotans are suspicious of: 1) outsiders, & 2) Fat Fundies. This guy nails both of them. If things don’t work for him here, maybe he will get “called” to the UK?

  29. Ha wow.
    You guys have hit on most everything that grated on me as I watch this clip. Like the fact that he shops for books at Walmart. Talk about a revealing indication of his education and literacy.

    Another thing that was even more galling: Did you notice that his knowledge of “great Christian men from England” aparently ran out after Spurgeon. He has this buildup about the “former” spiritual strength of Britan and all he can come up with is Charles Haddon the five pointer.

  30. SFL, friends, I need some advice! Since I’m living in England, I decided to dive deeper into the older posts on Bro. Tooley’s blog to see what else he has to say. One article was entitled “Should Ladies Wear Pants?” Here’s a clip:

    ” Just go to a public restroom, and see which door has the pants on it, and you will quickly see that even the world knows that pants “pertain” to men. Some women quickly say that they only wear “pants for women.” The problem is that no one can see the TAG on the inside, but only the APPEARANCE on the outside. Can you imagine public restrooms with pants on both doors? Which door would you use? You cannot see the tags on the pants (because they are on the inside). From the outward appearance, there is no way to tell what door is the men’s and what door is the women’s. The result would be CONFUSION. Some would go in the wrong doors, and there would be screams and/or great embarrassment as the result.”

    Okay, now here’s my problem, and I need help soon, folks!! Tomorrow my husband and I are going up to Scotland for a few days. What if the the signs on the doors of the Gents’ room have a man in a KILT!!!???

    Think about it!

  31. Thanks for the Roger Tooley video link. A “diatribe” on politics? You don’t follow the political discourse in this country much I guess? Tooley is laid back. Nothing new here and nothing particularly offensive in my opinion. I liked him fine. Thanks again.

  32. This guy is a dunce… lotr is written by J. R. R. Tolkien who was a christian and one of C.S. Lewis’s closest friends, one of the most famous Christian authors.

  33. In reference to the first link above, I personally never did like the references to magicians and spells in the Narnia books.

    The author of “Narnia Trouble” just had me shaking my head in disbelief though when she starts criticizing “A Grief Observed.” I wonder if she has ever suffered a loss like Lewis did. (I know I haven’t yet.) His grief is presented honestly and transparently with all its despair and doubt. Even John the Baptist, when imprisoned by Herod, sent to Jesus asking, “Are you REALLY the One?’ Doubts in times of grief and loss are natural. The author’s critique of this particular book was, in my opinion, ridiculous and self-righteous.

  34. (Again, in reference to the first link posted above)

    I also do not understand her problem with the third book in Lewis’s space trilogy. These entities are demons, and the main character, while being tempted, TURNS AWAY and rejects this demonic power as wrong. That is a GOOD thing. Pretending such demons do not exist is not biblical, but depicting them as powerful and even (for some) attractive (in the sense of what they supposedly offer) makes the main character’s rejection of them all the more meaningful.

    OK, I’ll get off my book discussion rant now! 🙂

  35. @Pastor’s Wife: I was always taught that Lewis’ space trilogy was a non-Christian or anti-Christian series. Now that I’ve actually read part of the trilogy, I am baffled that *anyone* could possibly get that impression from reading it. Come to think of it, that’s the exact same reaction I had when I read Harry Potter. 😉

  36. I know! All of book 2 is a hypothetical “re-do” of Adam and Eve on another planet: what if Satan tried to destroy another world by deceiving another Eve? Some of the reasoning is amazingly devilish: “God WANTS you to disobey Him.” Wow! How tempting for someone in pride to give in! I won’t tell you the ending if you haven’t read that one yet. I do think it’s sad that people would criticiae C. S. Lewis for being anti-Christian. Probably my favorite of his is “The Screwtape Letters”. My mom warned me about that one because “he’s pretending to be a demon!” Of course, it’s simply a literary device and teaches tremendous insights about the Christian life.

    After reading “What’s a Christian to Do with Harry Potter?’, I went ahead and let my daughter read the series. She saw it right away as a story of good and evil and of courage.

  37. The Screwtape Letters is one of my favorites. Harry Potter is a story about good, evil, self-sacrificial love, loyalty, friendship, etc. Terrible stuff, that. 😉 I suspect that the hyper literalism that is so “fundamental” to fundamentalism is what causes fundamentalists’ ignorance and disregard of things like literary devices.

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