Anything you can do, a fundamentalist can do better. And faster. and holier.
Their Sunday Schools aren’t just big. No, they’re the biggest Sunday Schools In The History of Mankind (5000 years give or take).
Their soul winners aren’t just active. They’ve won more people to Jesus than Peter and Paul combined.
Our church isn’t just growing, it’s growing faster than any other organization in the country and will soon need yet another building project just to contain it.
The times they’re living in aren’t just wicked. They’re the most wicked times since Noah and bound to pass up his record any minute now.
Your pastor isn’t just disciplined. He actually survives on only twenty minutes of sleep a night just so he can pray every night for every single fundamentalist missionary and all of their children by name. Twice.
One has to wonder how such amazing and accomplished people have so long managed to keep the majority of the world from even knowing that they exist.
33 thoughts on “Superlatives”
If your church gets people saved, ours gets them saved and winning more souls! Amen?
“The times theyâ€™re living in arenâ€™t just wicked. Theyâ€™re the most wicked times since Noah and bound to pass up his record any minute now.”
Nailed it. So true, how many sermons have I heard that has the tag line of how wicked of a time we live in. It is sort of the crux of funamentalism. They must flee the culture and everything that it represents because of how “wicked” it is.
Good one Darrell.
I’ve always belonged to small churches so many superlatives (“We’re bigger, we’re better, we save more souls”) never really applied. But I can SO relate to “these days are more evil than any days that ever were before!” Of course, a simple study of history proves that one wrong.
Fundies combine both amillenial progressive ideas about how everything is (meaning “they are”) getting better with a weird reverse-whiggishness about the constantly worsening world around them. Maybe I should write up something about the fundy view of history like I suggested a while back.
Clearly I’ve been out of the loop to long.
Another slam dunk, Darrell!
Of all the things that made me reject dispensationalism and become amil, that was one of the most important. Even the briefest study of world (heck, even of just American) history will debunk that myth.
@Jordan M. Poss: Fundy eschatology definitely is a pretty odd combination of postmillennialism and premillennialism, with things simultaneously getting better and getting worse.
Good post Darrell. The fundy church I left, in a county of about 160,000 people, claimed to be the only church in the area that preached the gospel. The fundy church had about 200 people in it. Fundies will always find a way to be the best.
Oh my gosh, so SO true.
My fundy church was only like 25 people at best. But even our smallness was a “better than you” thing–it was so small because we were SO devoted to uncompromised Truth that nobody else could handle it! Ummmm…okay.
It’s all a scam.
They “cult” you into thinking they are the only righteous, bible believing ______________ (insert any fundy term here) church left.
That way they can keep you in their church.
It’s just like any other nasty business tactic…you tear down your competition to create more market share for yourself.
One church I was a member of was similar. We said that “people just can’t handle preaching”. As if preaching is supposed to be like SEAL training or unmedicated surgery.
I never understood why people say it is worse now than ever. Even when I was in the cult I did not think that was the case.
Even my father in-law, who lived in Poland and Germany during World War II under the constant threat of death at the hands of Nazi soldiers, keeps saying, “Things are getting worse and worse.”
Worse than living under Nazis during World II? Really? How much of the fundamentalist Kool-Aid do you have to drink before you believe something like that?
Oh, maybe I’m just not looking at the world “through the eyes of Christ,” or something, because I’m just not spiritual enough.
@Trapped Pentecostal, there was LOTS ot learn about progressivism from the 2 world wars, to assume that just getting worse & worse (especially with the post WWII & post cold war world) is as deluded as those who say that History is an invetable march out of evil. You’d think both ideas would’ve faded, but they probably never will.
When a pastor says that these are the worst days in the history of the world, I want to ask “How do you know, were you there for all the previous days? I think Tuesday was pretty good….”
Small Fundy churches also use the “world is getting worse” tactic to excuse their lack of growth or salvations. They say that it’s because we are in the last days and the remmnant of those who will listen to the truth gets smaller and smaller every passing moment. I’ve heard that pretty much verbatim from a pastor who runs about 50… and has run about 50 for the past 10 years.
I loved those preachers who used “the end is near” as a scare tactic to get his member-slaves into the pew on Sunday and Wednesday. It’s the old “If Jesus came back, would you want to be caught doing _____________, or sitting in church?” It’s the same preacher who screamed the whole message.
At least here in Canada, remove the tax deduction for religious donations and all those monster, G*d blessed churches would fold up in a second. Money saves, not Jesus. There isn’t a single church that doesn’t give a little “Jesus blessing” without passing around a collection plate. I’m surprised the churches don’t sell tickets to come to get saved. My mother lives in Calgary near a pentocostal church that holds services in an OLD curling rink. At Christmas there are so many people that they offer three services. So if the money doesn’t go to a new building, where does the loot go? Oh yeah, I forgot…..yachts, fancy houses, expensive cars and a life time(until the Rapture) pension. If money where to be taken out of the equation, christianity would be doomed. PTL: Praise the Loot!
Not true Christianity.
The fake stuff that passes for Christianity? That might.
@ Michael, “If money were to be taken out of the equation, Christianity would be doomed.”
Maybe our warped modern version of church might wither away, but true believers will hold to Christ no matter what persecution or loss they face here on this earth.
It’s my rule that people are allowed to say pretty much whatever they want on this blog. But I do wish that you would stick to saying things that aren’t fairly easily disprovable.
Christianity has lasted through all kinds of economic and political hardship and actually tends to do best when the conditions around it are less than favorable.
There’s a modicum of truth to saying that many religious people worship the almighty dollar but you’d be hard pressed to make an historical or empirical case that Christianity only exists because of its piles of cash.
If money were taken out of Christianity, we would purify Christianity. That’s actually part of the record of history. When Christianity costs everything, it is made up of those who truly believe and truly live out Christ.
There are many main line churches that are closing doors for lack of funds. Faith in one’s religion does not keep churches open. Monster churches do not survive only by faith but by the almighty dollar. In “Star Trek: The Final Frontier” Spock asks “god” what he needs of a spaceship. Does G*d need a monster church or monetary donations? Does he need a book? I sadly used to work for the 700 club and trust me, people who gave lots of loot were praised and showered with gifts while little old ladies who gave what meager funds they had were simply given a tax deductible receipt. I have seen the greed in G*d’s organization. I was let go of my job because the director(here in Canada) had over spent on his office furniture: solid mahagony desk and tables, Irish linen wallpaper and solid brass lamps. The number of schemes the 700 club uses to get the loot out of your wallet are too numerous to count. My favourite though was: reciprocity…..give money to God and he will pay you back with even more loot! I’ve known idiots who fell for this and had to declare bankruptcy.
@ Michael, I avoid “Christian TV” because of the very thing you describe. It must have been very frustrating seeing it behind the scenes and up close like you did. Such behavior may be labeled “Christian” but has nothing to do with Christ.
On the flip side, michael, I work with people who were raped as kids by Fundamentalist clergy, and then abandoned by their churches when they spoke up. Some were even abandoned by their families. They have nothing, and they are esteemed as the least of His brethren. And that’s where you find Christ, among their love and humility and true devotion to Christ. If you want to walk away from big business Christianity: walk away from it. Find the least of His brethren and come into fellowship with them. You end up giving up everything, but that IS what genuine Christianity is. The counterfeits are counterfeit, and the real thing is the real thing.
Darrell, I appreciate the tone you set here. It is very civil, well-considered, and not too disrespectful. (Even though sometimes I feel fundies don’t deserve respect – I know the right thing to do is to keep cool. You are a good example for us.)
Love the site.
I know of a fundy church and pastor that have tried very hard to take money out of the equation – in 25 years of existence they have NEVER passed an offering plate, nor requested donations on their radio broadcast. They have prayed and God and His people have provided – without threats of God breaking your child’s arm if you don’t tithe and other such “fundydom” happenings. They send books and tapes for free at your request, no questions asked; as well as provide such materials to foreign countries (a CD ministry works well in affluent USA, not as well in other countries). It is possible to have a thriving ministry that serves others without begging for money…though I guess it’s all for naught since they use the pastor’s name as their website (www.jamesknox.com).
Has my mom been talking to you about her church again?
“I’ve never been to a church that takes such good care of their seniors so well.”
“I’ve never been to a church that takes such good care of the alcoholics and drug addicts so well.”
“I’ve never been to a church where the Pastor makes it a point to get to know you so well.”
“I’ve never been to a church that had such a strong Sunday school…”
“I’ve never been to a church where they take seniors on trips to Tennessee…”
Uh, mom. Your church just spent a gazillion dollars on a new sanctuary and private school, but membership has actually dropped. What’s really going on there?
(but I’m glad you’re having a good time).
The superlatives *are* weird. We all remember them from the BJU chapel platform:
“I’ve never seen a yearbook as impressive as this.”
“We have never had a student body with as lazy as you.”
“We only had two rules when we began. Now look what the students made us do!” (total lie, btw. Total and complete lie. They had tons of rules at the beginning and were known for being really, really, really rule-heavy.)
“We’ve never had such a great response to the Bible Conference offering.” (they didn’t say this in 2003, however)
Sigh. . . .
@Jordan — Fundamentalist histories are weird. In some ways, they are so future-focused that they can’t tell the present story well. In another sense, they are nearly incapable of setting the context. They don’t talk about the depression per se or the World Wars. At one point, I described it as a loose photograph tucked in a book somewhere. You don’t know who the people are and you’re given no details as to where they are or what they are doing. It’s just a picture. That’s how they write their histories.
Carl Abrams didn’t even cut it in his recent book. I’m really surprised that one got through the reviewing committee.
@mitch is your mom’s church in the Piedmont Triad area of NC?
@Don – nope, somewhere in Joja.
I won’t reveal her church, but really, does every community need their very own IFB school?
Hey we have…mmm 4 major IFB’s (one recently closed down or there would be 5) several substandard wanna be’s that are just basement schools, 2 SBC’s, and a catholic school that is now part of the Public School system.
Wanna know the real reason for so many IFB schools in this area? They all started back in the 1960″s…. need another hint?
@mitch It just sounds like a carbon copy of the IFB church/school I took my kids out of. New building school/church combo $$$$, embracing Hyles way of doing things, now has a “college” giving out degrees and is a local authorized administrator of Reformers Unanimous addiction recovery classes (a Hyles Anderson associated behavorial change ministry).
It is a local living example of most if not all of the fundy-ness we have grown to loathe so much.
The School’s Mission statement:
Our mission is simple: EVANGELIZE the SOUL…EDUCATE the STUDENT…EQUIP them to SERVE GOD.
We daily endeavor to ensure that each student comes to (or has already experienced) a saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. The responsibility of educating our students is taken very seriously. We can only do this by providing quality, Bible-based instruction. Finally, our success is measured by each student being fully equipped to serve God in whatever capacity He may lead them. (which means they must attend an approved Christian College or they are out of God’s will...)
This year’s theme is: Educating for Eternity Theme verse: Mark 8:36
For the amount of money I spent over the years my children should be Doctors by now… that is if they were getting an education and not an indoctrination.
I’ll say g’nite before some lurker accuses me of “Bitterness.” 🙂
I like Knox. He is a nice guy, at least in his audio. I also have really enjoyed some preaching from other members of his church. He isn’t a shouter, and I appreciate that. He can make a point without yelling and hammering. I have heard some dodgy stuff about him, such as not letting a man preach because was divorced, but I can’t verify it.
Like you said, as an IFB, he seems to have evaded much of the bad stuff that tends to go along with it. At least, it’s not evident from his audio and website.
In the book “The Visitation”, there’s a scene where a young, fresh, on-fire preacher comes into contact with an old, burned-out cynical one and starts telling him all of the exciting plans he has for the church: “We’re going to re-vamp the Sunday School curriculum, start a bus ministry, start an outreach to nursing homes, increase the amount we give to missions . . . we’re going to take this town for Jesus!” The older preacher looks at him cynically and says, “Peter never took a town for Jesus. Paul never took a town for Jesus. Even Jesus never took a town for Jesus!”