Friday Challenge: What Did You End Up?

If you’ve left fundamentalism, the challenge to day is to tell us where and what you are now. Maybe you’ve got a new denominational label, maybe you’ve decided to abandon labels all together, or maybe you’re just plain confused.

It’s rather difficult to leave somewhere without ending up somewhere else. Share a bit about your greener pastures.

271 thoughts on “Friday Challenge: What Did You End Up?”

  1. Even though I’ve been in fundy churches most of my life, I haven’t really fit in since high school, even when I was in Bible College.

    I have now been de-institutionalized, and am now part of a small simple church that meets in a bagel shop on Sundays, gets together to eat and drink (adult beverages) and build each other up. We don’t have a “preacher,” each one adds to the teaching or whatever we’re talking about. The women speak up, and I’ve learned as much from them as anyone. I usually wear jeans or shorts on Sundays. For the past year, I have experienced a freedom that I’ve never known before.

  2. @Reader Mo: Combining a major life event with leaving fundamentalism is actually pretty good advice. In my case I left fundamentalism at the same time I moved halfway around the country for grad school. It made the switch MUCH easiers; I could truthfully tell my parents that I didn’t like the preaching in any of the IFB churches in the area, and they weren’t there to say otherwise! Heck, I don’t think a lot of the people at my parents’ church even know that I’m no longer fundy or Baptist. And Orthodox churches have chanting? Because if so…*drools*. Dang you Texas and your general lack of non-Baptist/non-dispie churches!

    then every other post will be about tithing

    Sounds like my parents’ church (I refuse to call it my home church). On second thought, scratch that. EVERY SINGLE FRICKIN POST would have to be on tithing for that to happen. Every other post is not nearly often enough. 😉

    @Fred: For all my love of liturgy that sounds like a great church!

  3. I grew up in fundy circles my whole life and went to ABC for college. Right now i am at MBBC for seminary. I like Matt Chandler, Francis Chan, and Mark Driscoll, Don Miller, Spurgeon, some church fathers and oh yeah, that other guy—Jesus—he was the one who got me through all this mess of religion. I was homeschooled, christian schooled, and public schooled. I have always struggled to be real with who i am, who other people think me to be, and what i want to be. I am 22 married with a kid. I like some ccm and some hymns. I don’t like denominations or labels or church buildings. I visit many church types but stay for now in baptistic churches cause im a chicken. I think i might start one someday here or in some foreign country. I think it will be awsome when Jesus will be our king and peoples from lots of denoms and different times will be under him. He is an amazing treasure.

  4. Well, spent more than 40 years in the Greenville, SC area after having grown up on the BJU campus and in their clone-type churches. I hardly know how to describe where I am now. Confused is far too simple a word. When I go to church it is the largest baptist church in the city affiliated with the CBF. I am learning about the real Jesus–you know the one who made wine, cared about the poor, and had no earthly possessions and who didn’t worry a whole lot about what his associations “looked like.” I am sad for myself and my children who have useless BJU degrees and are having trouble finding employment and are behind on their school debts. Still have a lot of recovery to go from all the abuses suffered from the hands of religious leaders/administrators who did bad things because “God told them to.” Not really sure where I am now.

  5. @readermo, @don, @mike, I’ve got 6-month-old twins. Some say, “Enjoy it while it lasts” (in other words, “It gets worse when they’re older”) and other say, “It only gets better.” I’ve decided to just have fun with it because there’s not much else I can do.

    And sorry Darrell, just realized I spelled your name “Darryl” in my earlier comment. That has to get annoying.

  6. @ amazed by grace

    I spent 4 years at bojo and it nearly ruined me. 40 years???? God bless you. You said that you are “learning about the real Jesus”. You are on the right track, run to Jesus…He is all you need! The retards in the fundy movement are there to dominate and control you…But I promise, you can only find forgiveness and love in the arms of Jesus.

  7. Well, he isn’t exactly what this site would call a non-IFB 🙂 He is King James Only, Pauline Dispensationalist. But, reading some of his stuff years ago, he seemed to see so much hypocrisy in IFBism.

    http://scatteredchristians.org/

    (although that site itself could easily feature as FWOTW here 🙂 )

    He takes the position (as do I) that after the cross, Jesus gave new revelation to Paul to bring to the gentile nations, a message of grace without works. I won’t go into the details here, because if I explain it in a few sentences it sounds odd. Thus, because of Israel’s rejection of their messiah, their King, the Kingdom of Heaven was postponed, and today, we are to follow Paul’s revelation as given by Jesus Christ and it is the message for us today in this age of grace. Sanctification, Salvation and Security is all of grace, not of works.

  8. @exIFB,

    That Paulson guy’s name sounds familiar. Was he at a different website before?

    His site definitely needs to be simplified and modernized! It reminds me of a church website my dad built using Geocities in the 90’s! 😛

  9. That’s it! Yeah, I remember reading some article where he thought Sound Doctrine (Christian bluegrass band that my husband likes) sounded too much like country music… and he was picking apart the lyrics to one of their really good songs. It seems like the guy has good doctrine, but he’s a tad legalistic.

  10. @ BASSENCO If you’re anywhere near Rock Hill, SC we’d love to have you. 🙂

    @ Amanda It’s interesting that some of us like some liturgical church, but we value the closeness that’s developing more.

  11. Never really paid much attention to him myself. I just remember reading his old website years back and thinking “that makes sense, why does my IFB church teach otherwise”, and it kind of resulted in a very long process of me beginning to think for myself again 🙂

  12. @exIFB

    Based on your doctrine, you’d still be classified as an “IFB” by many people… though obviously you strongly disagree with the majority of them on what it means to “rightly divide” (since most of them are completely clueless about the meaning, or just label anyone who really does it a heretic).

  13. We left the fundie Church of Christ when I was 14 and moved from the city to the boonies at the same time. We started attending a small community church in the rural town we lived near. It was a breath of fresh air. It was amazing to us that so many people from different beliefs and backgrounds all got along so well!! The pastor was an ex-cop, ex-lutheran. It was where I learned about “normal” christianity. It was the the first time we ever realized what it meant to be the Body of Christ, people who loved unconditionally regardless of doctrinal beliefs. We had Preterists prasing Jesus along side of Pre-mills. Calvinists loving on Arminians. It just didn’t matter. Sure, discussions often got heated but nobody took anything personally and everybody still loved each other. I met my hubby there and we’ve recently moved to another state where we’ve found another small, non-den. community church. We really like it. I run from anything that looks remotely legalistic, conservative, or homeschool-ish. (not that I’m against homeschooling…I’m not. I’m against The Movement and ATI. ;))

    So I’m a non-denominationalist, homeschooling, short-haired, jeans-loving, egal.-leaning, stay-at-home, rock music lover, who enjoys Bible study, outdoorsy stuff, watching movies, my horses, my cowboy-man, my kids, my music, and cute clothes. Among other things. 🙂

  14. I know, but I have committed the greatest heresy in IFB circles. I read books that aren’t written by baptists. I recommend Andrew Farley – The Naked Gospel and Steve McVey – Grace Walk. Oh, and Miles Stanford – the Green Letters, and Watchman Nee – Sit Walk Stand, which I got told off for reading because he was wrong (man who told me off had never read him, but only read about him).

    I’ve been accused of not rightly dividing enough, dividing too much, denying the sovereignty of God, denying the free will and responsibility of man. I’ve been accused of everything by the IFBs. I’ve been accused of “greasy grace” or “hyper grace” or preaching too much grace (impossible!).

    This is great (by Stanford)

    http://withchrist.org/mjs/self%20denial.htm

    The chapters in that book are liberating. Well, the truth from the bible in those chapters are.

  15. @Kat

    purely doctrine? pretty much. I am still premillennial blah blah blah…

    but the attitude – the attitude of absolute rightness and the delusion that I have the authority to judge the motives, heart and attitudes of other Christians in their walk with the Lord, well, I can’t do it anymore.

    I can’t sit under law preaching anymore. I actually find it really difficult to listen to any sermons, and this is a result of the critical spirit that I learnt while in the IFB. But now it is different. I find it difficult to listen to people say “if you are a Christian you should be doing this or that or blah blah”. I hate it. God is in control, and He will live through me as I submit to Him. It’s not about me doing something to prove I am a Christian to God, which is what seems to be popular teaching today. Everyone seems to be trying to prove to God that they are saved, instead of simply taking his Word on it. Like somehow God needs to be convinced that yes, you really are a Christian. In other words, works. And it’s not just IFB churches. It’s EVERYWHERE!

    Also, I like Christian Ska. Five Iron Frenzy are the bomb. And I had to pretend for 5 years that I didn’t like that style of music. I basically had to be someone I wasn’t (or hide the cds if any of my friends got in the car. I remember claiming it was my sisters once – so I sinned to cover up a non sin lol).

  16. I’m now in an MCC church. I had mentally left the BJU affiliated church/school conglomerate where I grew up by the 7th grade, but I was stuck there until I graduated High School. I spent most of the next 18 years not in a church. Once I stopped hiding from my gender issues and started dealing with them God was able to heal the relationship that had been nearly destroyed when I was a child. I started transitioning and attending church at about the same time.

  17. I grew up IFB, but was permitted to attend SBC churches while I went to IFB high school. Went to PCC for a semester. Got so tired of people telling me what to do and all up in my biz that the Marine Corps was actually easier to take, psychologically speaking.

    Spiritually listless in the Corps, I banged tambourines with Pentacostals in Okinawa, wrestled a 67 year old Catholic priest over a beer in Japan, studied the Word with a Charismatic associate pastor who was also my watch commander in Barstow, CA, and married a nice little Catholic girl in a Baptist ceremony.

    Wife converted to Baptist by praying the sinners prayer in our living room, and being baptized at an SBC.

    We were happy being Southern Baptists for a long time. The people were great. Our Paster for a few years was a past (and popular) president of the SBC. I admired their ministries a lot.

    But…

    I was in a degree program (at a Baptist-affiliated college), and that, for some reason, got my wheels turning, my mind exercised. And I was listening to the pastor’s sermons with new ears. And what he was saying didn’t ring true. Armed with a life full of scripture reading, and some newly minted critical thinking skills, I began to mentally highlight rhetoric, logical fallacies, appeals to emotion, and (in soliciting “amens” form the congregation over important soteriological matters such as cooking with wine), appeals to popularity.

    After a rather quick spiritual nervous break down, a long period of study, and much prayer, I came into the Catholic Church. Kicking and screaming at first, but finally accepted with a peace I have not known in any other congregation.

  18. I’ve never understood this “sinners prayer” thing. I understand some people pray when they come to Christ (even if it is a “God have mercy on me” or “thank you Jesus”), but is their some doctrine that teaches you must prayer a specific prayer called “the sinners prayer” in order to be saved?

  19. I grew up ifb and was eventually ordained as an ifb preacher. Attended secular schooling for my undergrad and Piedmont Baptist College for my MA. Graduated from a Christian HS. Never really fit in the ifb box, but would do my best to squeeze myself in (though there always seemed to be an appendage hanging out of the box). I am now a divorced father of 3 who is doing his best to help his children learn the importance of being mostly unaffiliated denominationally, and wholly self-sufficient theologically. I am a firm believer in the complete sovereignty of God and in the doctrines of grace. I attend a Bible church that is fairly laid back, but probably has an ifb feel to it without all the crap. The church is pretrib, and I now lean toward being merely premillenial without all the hand wringing that pretrib teaching brings. I did the happy clappy contemporary thing for a while. Met a lot of good people in that church. It ultimately wasn’t for me. I am not exactly sure what all of that makes me, but for the first time in my life know that I am at peace with who I am spiritually.

  20. Currently in the process of becoming a Catholic, and will be received into the Church on Easter Vigil 2011, Lord willing.

    Long story short, like many of the others here, I began digging into church history–I read the early Church fathers, and researched the history of Christian worship. I’ve always enjoyed reading and studying history, but this was one area that I had never been taught in any of my Christian-school textbooks. And I now know why: The early Church was very Catholic. They worshipped liturgically, held a sacramental view of baptism, and unanimously believed in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist (to name just a few examples).

    I would second the book recommendations listed by Morgan and Jordan, and name one more: Catholic Christianity by Peter Kreeft is outstanding. http://www.amazon.com/Catholic-Christianity-Complete-Catechism-Beliefs/dp/0898707986/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1282537324&sr=1-1

  21. @exIFB: No . Not that I know of,but it can get confusing. Concerning your” if you do this your not saved complaint. What about Gal5:19-21. It lists the works of the flesh and says they that do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God?

  22. @BASSENCO: may gid have mersy on your soup!

    @people with twins: i must say, that there isn’t a day that goes by where having twins doesn’t make me the happiest man alive AND want to jam a barbecue fork through my eyeballs. every day is a glorious adventure.

    @Sarah (again): i was reading more of the comments and i missed the first time around that you were just chrismated last week. welcome home! the Dormition is the feast was one of the more difficult feasts for me to embrace, but it has become my favorite (aside from Pascha, of course). even more so now, since (back to the twins again) the twins were born on the forefeast (08/14/2006). this year our bishop, the amazing +BASIL, was in town for the feast. it was a glorious day.

    @Amanda: oh yes- we’re all about the chanting. depending on which parish you attend, you’ll either hear Byzantine chant (which is what i do), which is very middle-eastern in flavor, or you’ll hear one or many types of Slavic chant. (you’ll prolly hear a variety of other musical traditions thrown in from time to time as well on sundays, but most services are chanted).

    i just posted a link to a hymn from the feast mentioned above. (though i can’t for the life of me figure out how to embed the stupid thing on my blog. embed a movie? sure! put a stupid mp3 on there? not so fast…) i made some boo-boos at the beginning, but it turned out pretty good.

  23. @Reader Mo: thanks! I was so excited when I found out that I would be christmated on the Dormition! a while back on the visits from fundy relatives post, you mentioned that nothing makes fundies more uncomfortable than the Mother of God–I about cheered when I read that! hymns to her are some of my favs from church–esp. the Pascha one 🙂

  24. @Phil – What about Gal5:19-21. It lists the works of the flesh and says they that do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God?

    So any man/woman that struggles with pornography/alcoholism/drug abuse/pride etc etc is not saved? Also, is salvation an inheritance, or a present possession?

  25. I was exposed to different types of Christianity since young.

    Kindergarten in a non-denom church, elementary sch in a mainline Presby church, came to Christ through reading an IFB ministry’s gospel presentation.

    Joined a SoTL/Cloud, KJVO, Landmarkist kind of IFB church. Most of the folks are honestly very hospitable people, but I do encounter a few of them are judgmental fellas (the type that like to say this = evil, that = evil and so on). After coming to Reformed theology and finding the moralistic/over-separatist preaching, and extra-biblical standards (no alcohol eg) increasingly unacceptable, I left for a Reformed Baptist church.

    The new church is probably still considered “fundy” to some of you – because they don’t ordain women, are against charismaticism and non-evangelical denoms, have traditional worship only, and so on. However, they don’t judge you for what you do (external conducts). They are also on good terms with churches across the evangelical spectrum (even mainline ones).

    I’m still very conservative theologically but in terms of lifestyle, I’ve broken almost every IFB(x) taboo and maybe too liberal for some of you… maybe because I’m still in my early 20s? I listen to secular rock and other genres (in fact I don’t really like CCM). Attend theaters, maybe even a nightspot with my friends once in awhile. Since I’m still in process of joining my new church, I’m still abstaining from booze until my ex-IFB church kicks me out (which is gonna happen very soon) of their membership.

  26. @Phil, ,I also don’t recall saying what you said I said?

    I never said IFB’s say “if you do this your not saved ”

    What I said was they say “if you are a Christian you should be doing this or that or blah blah”

  27. Re: the sinner’s prayer: every fundy congregation (or “fungregation” if you will) that I’ve ever been involved with has placed a HUGE emphasis on the sinner’s prayer. If pressed they’ll says that it’s not the prayer that saves you, but that’s not consistant with their practice. This was a huge eye-opener for me. Saying a prayer or making a decision or asking Jesus into your heart or whatever you call it- these are all works. They are actions which you must do in order to obtain salvation. Now, if you truely believe that salvation is entirely a work of God with no human cooperation, that’s fine. Become a Calvinist. (as for me, I believe the “t” in tulip to be false, so I see no reason to consider any of the other 4 points). But don’t tell me “there’s NOTHING you can do to earn salvation! Now, do THIS to get saved.” that’s inconsistent & dishonest. If salvation is dependant on man cooperating with God’s grace (His uncreated energies) then it most certainly requires more than a decision followed by an unchanged life. as I am wont to say: both baptists & Orthodox believe that works are essential for salvation. The Orthodox are just honest about it.

    The other big eye-opener for me was realizing that sola-scriptira is an extra-biblical tradition. Wrap your brain around the above two points and you’ll never be able to sit through another baptist “worship” service without wanting to vomit.

    I better stop before I start pissing people off. As I’ve said before: wise & faithful people, who I like & respect have come to different conclusions.
    /soapbox

  28. It’s just a technical term, Bob. Pauline Dispensationalists believe the church began at Pentecost as opposed to in the ministry of Christ.

    It speaks to whether we interpret the Gospels as “Jewish” or “Church” related — i.e. which dispensation they fall into.

  29. @reader mo, a convert from fundyism to R. Catholicism once remarked on the FFF that fundies believe that having the correct knowledge is what saves. He pointed out that the constant fighting and condemning came about because fundies trust their knowledge rather than trusting Christ. Quite an insightful point! Ultimately (as a five point Calvinist), I believe that even the prayer of salvation is a manifestation of God’s grace. But the “confession with the mouth” talked about in Romans is not just a sinner’s prayer. It is a consistent confession of Christ. As you and so many others have noted, this idea that a person can “pray the prayer”, get assurance of heaven, and then live like the devil is utter nonsense. Where God has regenerated a soul and imparted saving faith, that soul lives out saving faith, and speaks of Christ, confessing Him. You don’t have to be fundy to do that. I know several Catholics who consistently profess Christ (a coupla Mormons, too). I would have to say that I think their theological conclusions are incorrect, but their hearts are true and love Christ. Thus, they are His, and still by grace, I would say.

    May I be as wrong as Mother Teresa, then, if I can only evidence that love of God and my fellow man as she did, and never be as right as Jerry Falwell: God save me from rightness like that! Yet I am thoroughly Protestant. And now, as you warned me, I must look after my soup with all diligence.

  30. @Reader Mo love the “Fungregation”! Excellent points. I used to try to believe a couple of points of Calvinism, I can’t find my way to the T anymore either.

  31. @Bassenco I just find that I lose Image-bearing humanity & what the point of redemption is when I try that. I’m fully aware & enraged by Evil in the world & in humanity, both individually & corporately.

  32. I just see evil where ever I look: in me, certainly, in others, all around, in all the sad conditions of this world. But I believe in the dignity of man, very much. Redemption is the remedy for depravity, as far as I can see: not so much retooling the old, but resurrecting it as something new.

  33. I just find that I lose Image-bearing humanity & what the point of redemption is when I try that.

    What is the point of redemption?
    Wouldn’t anything other than God by His sovereign act redeeming His creation according to the pleasure of His will in order that He receives all glory for it, say that man is intrinsically worthy of saving? Scripture seems to be diametrically opposed to the idea of man’s intrinsic worth. Seems to me that if we embrace the Imago Dei as being the worthy component in humanity then we would also have to embrace some form of Universalism.

    Just asking, for the sake of conversation. 🙂

  34. @Don: Redemption is about God restoring the Imgo Dei in his creation isn’t it(Rom8:29)? “Adams likeness now eface stamp thine image in it’s place.”Regardless of Calvinist or Arminian one should be able to believe that shouldn’t they?

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