Signs of Maturity

In order for a fundamentalist to demonstrate that he is growing in grace, he must not only maintain the standard but he must also continually increase the amount that he does. If the new Christian prays for ten minutes a day, within a year he’d better be praying thirty minutes, and five years later he needs to have worked up to an hour. To live the fundy life is to have the bar of sanctification continuously raised just out of reach.

The same rule applies to any other external area of the fundamentalist practice. Are you giving 10%? If you want to be holy like the rest of us it had better make it up to 15% by next year. If you’re really serious within a few decades you should be living on the 10% and giving us the rest.

What about your witnessing? Did you see one soul saved last year? Next year shoot for a dozen. Spiritual giants like your pastor see a soul saved every day before breakfast. And he does it without even leaving the house.

The fundamentalist treadmill only runs faster the longer you stay on it.

55 thoughts on “Signs of Maturity”

  1. A big one I ran into all the time, was music or movies, if someone didn’t like mine, I was immature. Actually just about anything that wouldn’t get played on Lawrence Welk is immature.

  2. Much like that nightmare where you are in the train tracks running, trying to outrun the train behind you, you can’t run fast enough… You can’t just step of the tracks either… it would make sense to … but you can’t…. why can’t you…. you are compelled to go on… you have to finish… you have to run faster… the train is gaining on you…. faster…. the whistle is louder and louder… you can feel the rumbling of the tracks…. closer..closer… run… run… run Forest Run….

  3. Thank you Don. I know what I’ll be dreaming about tonite, toot, toot.
    The witnessing paragraph cracked me up. funny.
    The giving paragraph. I kissed tithing goodbye years ago, and I don’t loose any sleep about it. If everything is God’s then I must spend every penny wisely. In doing so I am putting God first. I would feel more comfortable with giving to churches if they spent the money as carefully as the givers they scam.

  4. JimE

    It is always convenient that the person preaching to us that it is the Lords will for us to give to their church (and only their church) is the same person who benefits from the giving.

    To me that represents a conflict of interests.

    And the same person yelling at us to win souls is the same person who at the end of the year brags to Sword of the Lord about how many souls he is responsible for winning.

    It’s all about him (preacher)…not HIM (Jesus)

  5. Good points! I found the hamster wheel to be exhausting. Even when I was doing a lot in the church I would still feel guilty for not doing more. I would lie awake (literally, not figuratively) and worry about the people who might die and go to hell because I did not witness to them.

  6. lol-haven’t heard “spiritual giant” in awhile. Brought back memories. I think I just had an insight also.

    The fundie pressure to take your religion dead seriously got ingrained into my brain. That’s why it feels so wrong to think of serious christians taking a vacation or having any money. That type of thing has been big inside my head for years. I think I know how it got there.

    It’s the fundy idea that basically you’re supposed to be living for Christ every minute of every day forever, and that mindset makes you feel guilty if you speak of anything unrelated to saving souls from hell. It’s made me judge others very harshly when they just act like normal people with varied interests. To have any other interest than saving souls seems WRONG.

    So this has been one HUGE result for me: Fundyland causing deep guilt in not being totally and completely Christlike every waking moment. It makes me feel bad about myself that I judge people harshly in my mind-“why are they laughing? why are they spending money on vacations? They should be weeping over lost souls!!”

    You see how screwed up fundamentalism can make you?

  7. Something I have had to deal with lately. People base ur spiritual level based on how many ministries u are serving in. It recently(within the past few months) dawned on my that it would be better to serve in one area efficiently and be able to enjoy it then stretch yourself thin to half the job u could in each area and end up not wanting to helpout in church at all. However there is still the pressure to get involved in EVERYTHING. Just can’t let it get to me.

    Peace, love, hope and joy

  8. It is liberating when you realize that there isn’t a celestial list hanging over your head. The God loves you for who you are and will take what you can give. That said we shouldn’t just shirk Him because He is always there, but it is liberating to know that the list we grew up with was make up.

  9. haha so true. There was a family at my old church and the mom told me, “My oldest isn’t going to college, she prays an hour in the morning about how she can be a better home maker.”

    I’m just thinking, “You don’t have to try and impress me.”

  10. How do we know the devil never takes a vacation? Doesn’t he have legions of demons to fill in for him?

    No, as we all know from hundreds of fundy sermons, the Devil personally tempts each and every one of us–especially hard-praying, hard-preaching fundy Men of God–all day, every day.

  11. I find it interesting that this is posted just one day after the podcast about throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Sure, a lot of fundamentalists go overboard in their promotion of increasing good works, but Hebrews 10:24-25 does tell us “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another.” So there has to be a correct way of exhorting one another to good works, and it would be easy to over-react to someone who is trying to do it correctly.

  12. I’ve found this prevalent outside fundyism to be honest. To quote a really popular preacher right now (maybe not a direct quote. I refuse to listen to the sermon again) – “The evidence that you are saved is that you are holier than you were a year ago”.

    When I realised I couldn’t get any holier, because Christ is my holiness, and my righteousness, wow, what a weight off my shoulders.

  13. Anyone ever get so caught up in this that they didn’t feel “good enough” to ask the Lord for anything in prayer? That’s one thing I’ve struggled with. I have to remind myself that it’s because of Christ’s righteousness that I can come to the Lord, not my own.

  14. @ Lynn: “It’s the fundy idea that basically you’re supposed to be living for Christ every minute” and “So this has been one HUGE result for me: Fundyland causing deep guilt in not being totally and completely Christlike every waking moment.”

    I DO think we are to live for Christ every minute and that we are to be Christlike, but what does that MEAN? I don’t think it means you have to be witnessing and thinking about lost souls going to hell every minute. Jesus took time to bless children, to be alone, to escape the crowd, to fellowship with friends (Lazarus, Mary, and Martha), to attend weddings, to eat at meals with sinners. He was LIVING life. I think being Christlike has more to do with the fruit of the Spirit than 1) being at church five days out of seven and 2) handing out tracts to everyone you meet. To be Christlike, I want to be gracious, patient, and caring toward others as I interact with them in the grocery store, on the roads, whatever I do.

    I’m so glad there are passages in the Bible that talk of enjoying the life God has given you. Also Paul writes how unmarried people can devote themselves more fully to God but the married person must focus on their husband or wife, the implication being that when you are married you will be thinking about pleasing your husband, not just “doing spiritual things.” In another passage, Paul tells a believing wife that the best way to win her unbelieving husband to the Lord is by a sweet spirit, not by constantly verbally witnessing (nagging) him about what a failure he is because he doesn’t believe. Wasn’t it JUDAS who criticized the woman for pouring out her oil to show her love for Christ? He thought it should have been spent on the poor (in other words, for ministry). But Jesus said her actions were laudatory – she was displaying her love. Many times things we do that the super-fundy find frivolous are simply ways we show our friends and family that we love them – and that’s good. (I might have started rambling there! Hope I was able to communicate my point OK.)

  15. @ Kat, Yes! I call that going back to the pig pen! When the prodigal son repented and went back to his Father, he was accepted with complete joy! He never had to go back to the pigpen! It was the older brother who begrudged the party for the prodigal NOT THE FATHER!!! He ALWAYS wants us to come to Him.

  16. @Kat
    More that I feel like my requests aren’t ‘important enough’ to ask for anything usually, but occasionally the other way around too, where I’m not worthy to make a request.

  17. This helps me understand why fundies are so mad at non-fundies all the time. Here they are, giving up what little leisure and financial surplus they have to try to save our souls (because they’re such humble people, they don’t care about social rank in their clique,) and we just ignore them.

  18. I’ve always been one of the good, clean kids that grew up in church (always an Independent Baptist church), and it is true that some of these churches make you carry a constant weight of guilt. They preach the verse that says “my yoke is easy, and my burden is light”, but once you get really involved and come to every service, you find out how heavy that particular church’s burden is. I always thought the Sunday Morning Only crowd (SMOs lol) got off easy. That sermon was always on salvation or something light. The Sunday nights and Wednesday nights were the heavy stuff that’ll make you choke.

    I still attend church 3 times a week, but I’m in a MUCH nicer “IFB” church now. I actually enjoy going there to fellowship and worship the Lord. 🙂

  19. Our pastor always hit the “you’re not growing if you don’t do/give more every year” really hard during Faith Promise. When we started doing faith promise I gave 10% of my income on top of my 10% tithe – I was about 13 or 14. So every year I felt compelled to up it by 5% until sometime around 11th grade when I went to my mom, crying, because I didn’t feel I could give any more and I didn’t want to give any more, but I felt guilty about both the attitude of not wanting to do more and the fact that I really needed to be saving what little money I had for college. She basically told me to just give what I truly felt I should and ignore the sermons about doing more.

    Come to think of it, it was around 11th grade that I started realizing that my mom didn’t really hold to a lot of the IFB culture – she just never spoke up about anything because she believed in “supporting Daddy” and never disagreeing in front of the kids. I respect that.

  20. @Lynn”It’s the fundy idea that basically you’re supposed to be living for Christ every minute of every day forever, and that mindset makes you feel guilty if you speak of anything unrelated to saving souls from hell. It’s made me judge others very harshly when they just act like normal people with varied interests. To have any other interest than saving souls seems WRONG.”

    A quote from my fave preacher of the moment 🙂

    – Just a thought…
    Some claim God wants us to be un-comfortable. They say “give until it hurts” and “get out there and do things that don’t involve your spiritual gifts” and “live outside of your comfort zone.” These admonitions may sound really spiritual. But living from Christ is both a comfortable and natural expression for the Christian. He is a perfect fit in every way with the saint- compatible with our personalities, hobbies, and interests. God embraces us and likes our uniqueness, and we can indeed be comfortable as we live and walk in confidence alongside “the God of all comfort.”

  21. “he does it before he even leaves the house”….LOL! I remember the pastor at one of the fundy churches we attended always talked about soulwinning and how many souls he had won. Strange, but I can only remember seeing him out for Thursday night visitation one time. He preached about how important it was to be there every Thursday night. I guess since he’d already won his before he left the house he didn’t need to be there like the rest of us wanna-be’s.

  22. I remember several times hearing that you have to be able to pray for one hour straight. How many times did I hear preachers claim that as part of the “job interview” they made assistant pastors sit and pray for one hour striaght…

    I also recall at PCC, David Gibbs claiming that you should be spiritual enough to read your Bible through every month. That requires 90 minutes in the morning, and 90 minutes in the evening. Don’t you have 90 minutes for God?

  23. *90 minutes? is that enough…. oh now I have guilt……*

    do, do, do
    for god, god, god
    That’s all I want to say to you
    did, did, did
    for gid, gid, gid
    Far away from the world we’re hid

  24. I also recall at PCC, David Gibbs claiming that you should be spiritual enough to read your Bible through every month. That requires 90 minutes in the morning, and 90 minutes in the evening. Don’t you have 90 minutes for God?
    -Kevin Thompson

    Oh, you should hear him give a fund raising sermon!

  25. “Don’t you have 90 minutes for God?” Well, 90 minutes morning and evening adds up to a total of 3 hours so actually, no, most of us don’t have 3 hours to sit and read. Thankfully we can “pray without ceasing” and we can live in the Spirit and we can meditate on passages throughout the day, but, no, most of us – whether we’re students working our way through college, dads working double shifts to support a family, or stay at home moms with three toddlers underfoot – do not have 3 hours a day to spend to meet some man-made expectation of “read this much or you’re a bad Christian”.

  26. @pastor’s wife *aaaahhhhh* you’re right 3 hours! Now my guilt has doubled! I’ll have to give up SFL…. wait… step off railroad tracks… let train pass by…. whew, ok that was a weird fundy induced flashback. *shudder*

    do, do, do
    for god, god, god
    That’s all they want to sell to you
    did, did, did
    for gid, gid, gid
    drink the kool-aid -n- do all they bid

  27. @exIFB, “Some claim God wants us to be un-comfortable. They say “give until it hurts” and “get out there and do things that don’t involve your spiritual gifts” and “live outside of your comfort zone.” These admonitions may sound really spiritual. But living from Christ is both a comfortable and natural expression for the Christian. He is a perfect fit in every way with the saint- compatible with our personalities, hobbies, and interests. God embraces us and likes our uniqueness, and we can indeed be comfortable as we live and walk in confidence alongside “the God of all comfort.”

    I completely agree. The Kingdom-entrance demand of “Denying yourself,” has been demoted to rule-loving, psychologically-suicidal, thought-delegating, pessimistic legalism for the believer. How did THAT happen?

  28. So what do you say to an IFB who argues with you about being a ‘better’ Christian today than you were a year ago, about reading the Bible everyday and if you don’t you will shrink, shrink, shrink, about pleasing God by do this, this, and that.

    Recently, I’ve heard from 2 separate preachers preaching from James 4:8 proclaiming that God is performance-based, that if you take one step towards God then He’ll take one step towards you, that if your many steps away from God, you won’t get right next to Him in just a few days. What do you say to that?

  29. Ask him/her to define “better”… Better how? Ask if by better they really mean more mature. (There is a difference) If we can’t save ourselves how then can we make ourselves “better” Christians? Better than what? Bugs? Animals? Other ethnic groups? Other Denominations? What is the comparison to? Better than who? (or is that whom?) If you start asking the questions that argument will unravel on them and they will either see it for what it is or they will get angry and accuse you of being a tool of the devil… :-{

    As for James 4:8… the quickest way to develop a cult is to take and build an entire doctrine and belief system from one verse. Does Scripture over all teach works sanctification… or grace? Yes we are saved unto good works and we are to be obedient to the Lord in our daily lives but where is it outlined in Scripture that your works makes you a better Christian? Galatians 3:27-29 is in direct conflict with a performance based sanctification.

  30. @Josh–YES!!! the fruit inspectors! A minor change in wording goes a long way in excusing a fundy-uppity for judging, because we all know that judging and fruit inspecting are not one in the same.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.