53 thoughts on “Prizes for Souls”

  1. Lets just say that I know the person who had to “rig” the wheel because too many people were winning the big prizes. No kidding. ….BWHAAA!

  2. This group is so far beyond anything else I’ve ever seen in any fundamental circle (way beyond even the selling books and cassettes from the church altar during the services…yes, a large IFB church in SC did this weekly in the ’80’s when my family attended). Even the fundamentalists who formerly kept company with them broke from Jack Hyles after his affair was found out. Can FBCH even honestly be considered “fundamentalist” any more? or have they morphed into something so far removed from any version of the Bible that it has become a new, separate religion?

  3. You have articulated my thoughts, beth. I think FBCH has become a pseudo-Christian religion of its own. They have their leader (the late Hyles), their acting leader (Schaap), their Holy See (HAC), their pilgrimage (Pastor’s School), levels of holiness (1: Getting “saved,” 2: Getting baptized, 3: “Winning souls,” 4. Participating in the bus route, etc..) and local churches around the world, even in Puerto Rico, where I live. All his preachers talk, dress, cut their hair and act the same.

    My conclusion: FBCH is a cult.

  4. have they morphed into something so far removed from any version of the Bible that it has become a new, separate religion?

    John Vaughn of FBF and BJU fame still preaches alongside him. So Schaap is still *with* those who call themselves die-hard fundamentalists.

  5. I disagree that Schaap and HAC are somehow now outside of the realm of the mainstream of fundamentalism. This kind of stuff is not new. Promotions and prizes for visitors has been going on for longer than I’ve been alive. This is just a new iteration of an age-old philosophy.

    I’ve demonstrated over and over again on this site that the lunatic fringe is very, very close to the center.

    When you have Ron Hamilton going to speak at Pastors School it speaks volumes to how much weirdness the “sane” fundamentalists are willing to at least overlook if not outright embrace.

    The cardinal rule of fundamentalism is that thou shalt badmouth other fundamentalists only on stuff that doesn’t really matter. If there’s been a sermon preached at BJU or PCC or MBBC on the corrupt and man-centered evangelism techniques of HAC, I’ve yet to be made aware of it.

    I know of individual preachers (my own father included) who have stood up against this kind of gimmick-driven soulwinning on a local level but you simply won’t see the the big fundy institutions coming out against it — because to some degree or another they’re all guilty of promoting it.

  6. This is radical fundamentalism, i went to a school in New York city that was supported by these sort of people and it never ceased to amaze me the amount of emphasis they put on numbers. At my High School graduation they told the audience how many people we (the graduatiing class) lead to the Lord. i honestly made up a number (i said 20 because i didnt want them to think bad of me because i honestly only lead 4 people). The Preacher boy/yout minon whose mom was the church secretary said that he lead 55 ppl, he won the prize a gold trophy. . .i regret and miss my days at international. some days were good and some where bad

  7. Years ago someone told me this story of her visit to that church/circus: They had a baptismal service and a little girl sitting next to her had a sister that was being baptized. “That’s my sister up there.” “Well that’s wonderful; what a special time for her.” “It’s not special anymore. This is her third time.”

  8. I’m with @Darrell. They know what each other are up to, and will criticize each other on meaningless drivel, but when it comes to something that matters, the sound of silence coming from the leaders of IFB’ism is deafening. No one is willing to kill the abusive sleazy underbelly that is paying their bills, and keeping them in power. When I was a college freshman I assumed they were just naive to what is going on, by the time I got to my junior year, I was beginning to realize they knew what was going on and knew that their power depended on it, and were willing to make the deal of silence for power. Not sure if anyone has ever seen “Brooklyn’s Finest”. Great story of redemption for 1 of the 3 that are compromised by evil. Kind of off topic, but this theme reminded me of the movie.

  9. PS. PCC & BJU can’t criticize stuff like this, cause they use similar things like giving a way “christian service points” for various fundy style drive by evangelism, that then earns collegian rewards/money. Not as direct as this paying for “souls”, but it’s the same principle.

  10. I’d say that one “camp” of fundamentalists calling another “camp” of fundamentalists “fringe” is a bit like the kkk saying that neo-nazis are too extreme in their racial views. sure, there are differences between the groups, but the underlying philosophies are the same. (no offense to the gentleman who posted. to paraphrase a cliche, I’m hating the religion, not the adherent.)

    I think it’s important for extremists to have a group to point to as being more extreme than they, so that they feel more reasonable. but all fundy camps are more or less the same: bat-poo crazy.

  11. “I think it’s important for extremists to have a group to point to as being more extreme than they, so that they feel more reasonable. but all fundy camps are more or less the same: bat-poo crazy.”

    And IFB’s will point to Mormons and say “See, they’re way more crazy than we are”.

  12. My contention is it’s all a cult – BJU, PCC, HAC, MBBC, NIU, et. al., and most of the churches that support these places. It’s all patriarchal, depending on secrecy and lies to keep going. People that leave these places have flashbacks, nightmares and other signs of PTSD – a real indicator that one has been in a cult.

  13. The only time I heard someone at BJU in any reasonably official position talk about the Hyles scandal (I was there when it broke) was my NT Survey professor. He did address the issue in a class. After that, I only heard more from other students.

  14. I’ve gone to BJU for two years, and will probably go back for two more. The more time I spend there, the more I see a divide in fundamentalism. There’s the old school fundamentalists who love dress codes and soul winning promotions, but there’s a decent sized (and growing) section who are far more likely to identify with the likes of Piper and MacArthur and are concerned about the gospel and holding to Biblical truth.

    I would not be surprised if Bob Jones is a conservative evangelical school in the next 30 years.

  15. @RobM “PS. PCC & BJU can’t criticize stuff like this, cause they use similar things like giving a way “christian service points” for various fundy style drive by evangelism, that then earns collegian rewards/money.” I spent 4 years at BJU, and had severalbrothers go there (one ministerial – though he no longer holds “traditional fundamentalism” in high regard) and have never heard of anything of the sort.

    I agree with Andrew, there is a divide at BJU, and several of the recent rule changes and the attitudes of many of the students there indicates – to me – that BJU is becoming less concerned with superficiality and more concerned with human souls.

  16. BJU just changed its rulebook for this next year, and believe it or not, less emphasis is being put on externals and more on attitudes. I agree with Andrew.

  17. Wasn’t this posted before? Or maybe I’m thinking something else. Or saw it from a rabbit-trail link from here. Not sure.
    Best Buy? But isn’t that some sort of devil store?

    But yes. This reminds me of our vacation bible schools. Where the children and adults who brought the most visitors would win prizes. Needless to say I won once or something. But looking back it’s quite disgusting.

  18. My old church had this same kind of emphasis on number and $$$. Every Sunday, in the bulletin, they showed what money had been given in the offering the previous week. They had it broken down by age group, Sunday School class, and gender, and listed out to the very penny–even the four year old SS class, for crying out loud! Every. Single. Sunday.

  19. I would not be surprised if Bob Jones is a conservative evangelical school in the next 30 years.

    Never gonna happen. I used to think the same thing. I devoted my life to that place believing it would change. It hasn’t changed. Not one iota in 83 years. And it simply can’t.

    It won’t make it 10 years.

  20. I can’t believe that video – giving out prizes for “conversions”.

    Makes me angry.

    @Camille – I agree 100% – the changes they’ve had is like changing the color of the flowers outside of the house. It presents a different face to the world, but it doesn’t change what is inside the house.

  21. @Lou Melànd: perhaps you mean something different than what I think you mean, but rules that focus more on attitude almost scare me MORE than rules that focus on externals, especially given what I know about BJU. Ever read 1984? You can dress up a dog in clothing and teach it to walk on two legs, but it’s still a dog.

  22. When my parents were first married, they worked at a church pastored by a HA graduate. The men and women competed against each other when it came to soul winning. But instead of the winning team getting prizes, the losing team got a “punishment” — the men lost, and had to kiss a pig on the snout.

    Most disgusting of all was the way they went about soul winning, though. My mom went soul winning with the pastor’s wife. They would go door to door, and when someone would let them in she would ask everyone present to sit down while she went through the Romans Road (or whatever). Then she would say, “Bow your head and pray with me.” She would say the “sinner’s prayer”, and then mark down that all the people in that household got saved. My mom said that many times the people would be snickering and looking around the room at each other. Obviously, no one was “getting saved”.

  23. Connie said……

    “That’s $12.50 per visitor”?!? Wow. Just…wow.

    I read somewhere that Billy Sunday got like two bucks for each soul he won. Adjusting for inflation, sounds like Sunday did better than FBCH.

  24. @ Andrew – I agree about the divide in some of the schools — BJU, NIU, and MBBC in particular. Maybe 15% of the faculty and staff at these institutions are old-line, standards-driven fundamentalists in the Jack Hyles mode. I attend MBBC and I can safely say that none (that’s 0%) of the Bible faculty would ever want to be associated with Hyles or his brand of fundamentalism — I guess that goes to show you what happens when you study the Word of God for a living. The older generation of fundyism is losing their grip — and the younger generation is pushing toward a conservative form of conservative evangelicalism.

  25. $12.50 a person? Classy. I was invited to a church event because my friend wanted to win a trip to Europe for bringing the most visitors. Everyone was getting old friends and extended family to come, not a lot of authentic “sinner”.

  26. “$12.50 a person? Classy. I was invited to a church event because my friend wanted to win a trip to Europe for bringing the most visitors. Everyone was getting old friends and extended family to come, not a lot of authentic “sinner”.”

    Yeah, and how does that make the guest feel? It sure will be harder to reach them if they think you only brought them to win a prize…classy.

  27. @Ben: as a Christian who has been invited to church in order for someone to win a prize it felt terrible and was a huge turnoff. I can only imagine how a non-Christian would feel.

  28. I checked the Museum of Idolatry site after noticing that this video was mentioned there, and one of the most recent comments came from FBC Hammond, and they had gone into complete spin/deflect mode (i.e.: bragging about their being in the top 10 in attendance, et al).

  29. Hilarious. They always say that our stage shouldn’t be set up like a late night show but evidently we can set it up like an early morning game show.

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