231 thoughts on “War Stories With Evangelist Tom Farrell”

  1. I remember hearing this guy preach a few summers at the Wilds of the Rockies. I’d love to hear some of those old sermons again and see how much of his message was just screaming and pounding on stuff. A room full of 13 year old kids stood no chance against guys like Tom Farrell or Jerry Svinsky.

    1. HA! I give it a 50/50 shot at being an actual event and greatly exaggerated, vs being totally made up. If it is indeed related to a real event, I suspect the real event was something like ranted against stuff in the auditorium being “in honor of” offended the person who had donated, and then morphed that into this story.

        1. Maybe slanderous, but it’s a pretty petty & frankly slanderous story we got from him about a woman who gave a piano to a church who has no ability defend herself tell her side of the story, etc. Somehow I’m feeling less than sympathetic for the great man Tom Farrell whom i don’t know, and don’t have any desire to know someone who would trash little old ladies donated pianos to churches regardless of how great Tom thinks slandering her makes him look.

        2. I think you misunderstand the use of the word slander. Her comment is clearly an opinion, not a statement of fact.

        3. while we are at it, we may as well note that it would have actually been libel, not slander, but in reality it is neither, since it is unlikely to give him a negative image. We here already dislike him because of his screaming and ranting, and IFB’s love him because of it.

        4. @TonyT he was saying I slandered Farrell, more then Bass, I believe. Either way I don’t think Jason understands what slander is, and like any good fundy just looking to defend who he believes to be “God’s Man”, and more than happy to use inapplicable accusations that he believes gives him the high moral ground to criticize anyone who dares to question.

        5. You’ve validated my concern. Since no one knows who the anonymous “little old lady” is, it’s pretty hard to slander her. On the other hand, you are slandering Tom Farrell based on knowing almost nothing about him.

        6. Ok. I’ll give you the “slander” term. Not sure it’s worth defending here.

          But it is an admittedly unfounded accusation based on nothing but broad generalisations about Fundamentalist preachers. That’s just not on.

        7. Disbelieving him is based upon the content of what he actually said, which–if true–indicts him as being a bully and glorying in being a bully. He has already demonstrated bad character and lack of understanding of the weight of the very office he claims for himself. In the face of such a display, he does not deserve the benefit of the doubt for a story that lacks any details that would verify it.

    2. I believe that the following items are true:

      There was a church
      There was the church’s pastor
      There was a piano
      There was pianist

      Everything else is made up to suit his specific sermon. It is nothing new. Many fundies stretch the truth or just plain make stuff up to get their point across.

      1. Never heard of the nickname. Not too well acquainted with Ferrell in general.
        It just struck me as (funny, and also) another one of the many instances where preachers aren’t aware of what they’re saying.

        1. =P Not sure who you are…

          But hopefully your comment validates my point that I’m not just mindlessly defending Tom Farrell because he’s in the club.

          Whoever you are, you’re obviously aware of how widely and publicly I’ve critiqued the abuse of God’s Word and his pulpit. Generally, I just haven’t seen Farrell mishandle and abuse the Word like these others. And I say that having sat through more Farrell messages than you can shake a stick at.

        2. Not the comment where you insist you can make a sound theological argument to defend his method…and then back down when prompted to do so. That comment?

    1. IF it happened it didn’t go down like he embellishes. I heard this guy several times at the Wild’s and other Bojo churches and he is a tool.

      Fundies confuse screaming with being right.

  2. I remember hearing Tom speak-scream at the Wilds one summer. He preached/ screamed a sermon that, after hearing it, would scare one into heaven, or, as I like to say, would scare the hell out of us. Half of my youth group got re-saved that night, including me. It was terrifying. It was about “Why every person should be saved” because of A. The Rapture, B. The Reality of Hell, and C. The Fear of Becoming Reprobate. Yep, after like 10 years I still remember the fear I felt after listening to him. Thankfully, I now realize that all the IFB-fear inducing crap is just what it is: crap. Hooray for peace and grace.

    1. Jessica,

      I’ve long since quit taking the cool aid. But could you please share with me which of those three points is not a valid reason to be afraid if you are not a child of God? I know that could sound like a question with attitude, but I mean it sincerely. Of course I understand that a constant focus on fear would not be in the spirit of the Scriptures, but at a one-off camp setting… could you clarify?

      1. Jason, I’ve sat through those kinds of sermons. They are manipulative, intimidating, and abusive. That misrepresents the heart of God who woos us to Himself. Jesus never works in that way.

        1. I think I could make a sound theological argument to the contrary. Though I’ll agree that it is not the only, or even primary, approach we should take.

        2. Bass, I’ll forego because, consistent with our previous interactions, you seem to be looking for trouble rather than open to possibly seeing angles you don’t currently see.

        3. On cue, Bass. Generally this is the point at which you savage me. I’ve played the game long enough to know it doesn’t do any good to respond.

          Grace to you.

        4. It’s not “savaging” you to tell you, after you claim that you can make a sound theological argument to defend what I view as despicable behavior, to prompt you to do so.

          It is also not “savaging” you, when you decline (whil you, at the same time start blaming me), for me to point out that you have failed to do what you said you could do.

          I’m not evil for pointing out that you are not able to offer a sound theological argument to defend this man’s behavior.

    1. The pastor should have told her. Since he didn’t, thank God for someone with the unique gifting and passion that Farrell has to come in and say “Look, this is wrong! Something needs to be done! If you won’t do it, I will.”

        1. Hey, I follow this blog and laugh at almost every post so I can’t be too drugged up on the cool aid. When I first went to BJ, I was IFBx and KJVO. Now I’m pretty far left of BJU.

          I’ve done more “critiquing” of lame preaching than the lot of you combined I suspect. But Farrell was one of those guys I just never understood why he took so much bagging.

          Sure. I don’t agree with him all the time. And sure, his style would be unhealthy if it were the norm Sunday in, Sunday out. But I find his logic to be sound, his interpretation of the text to be defensible at the least, and his handling of the text to be careful, if succinct.

          I’m all for nailing preachers who twist the Word and play fast and loose with the text, but I just don’t see that as being the general tenor of Farrell’s ministry.

        2. @jAson, not far enough yet, buddy. You keep movig. And the lift starts getting brighter. I tend to agree with whoever it was that said he was a tool.

        3. I guess I can see how you would feel that way. I guess my perspective is from someone that swung way out on the pendulum and hopefully I have settled in a balanced middle ground. I just don’t think that you are as progressive as you might feel that you are. I heard a ton of ole “double-barrel’s” tirades and I have no qualms with saying that he is a tool.

      1. So blaring broad and obvious hints about a church member’s faults from the pulpit is a “unique gifting and passion”? A cowardly pastor was saved from properly dealing with an issue by a bullying evangelist. That’s a more accurate assessment.

        1. I’m happy to grant the cowardly pastor part. Bullying evangelist? Hmm… I suppose it could come across that way. I’m not sure it’s fair to classify this one interaction with this woman (if you can call it that) bullying, particularly without knowing the situation of the pianist.

        2. No person except an elder guilty of sin severe enough to remove him from office, or an entirely unrepentant person, is to be humiliated before the church. If a brother is overtaken with a fault, he or she (implies sister as well) is to be restored in a spirit of meekness by mature members of the congregation, with discretion and kindness. Yes, Farrell behaved as a bully. No question about it. And boasting of it later is reprehensible. The man is a clown (and a bully).

        3. How can you doubt that he is a bully? Are you kidding? This guy was such a bully. Where does he get off screaming his head off at a room full of people and think he is doing God a favor? You can’t scare the “hell” out of people and actually think they are coming to know Jesus as a savior. They are coming because they are scared shitless by the screaming of some guy that needs anger management therapy.

      2. Are there like 50 fundamentalists in the whole world or something? I know who Kat is, I know who Mrs W is and I know who Jason is, and they are all here… are they following me? I also know who trex is, because of his church.

        Jason is actually a really nice guy btw. I am surprised to see him comment positively in here.

        1. For you star wars fans… It is like the sith. 2 there are always, no more no less. A master and an apprentice.

      3. This isn’t the first century. He’s not an apostle. He holds no special authority in the church, universal or local. He should be a servant to the pastor and the church. Too often the “evangelist” feels like he can club the sheep and break a few legs because he isn’t coming back anytime soon. Anyone with that mindset is no lover of the sheep and thus has no business being held in front of them as any sort of example.

        1. Bass, I’m working on a PhD. I don’t consider myself to be a mindless sycophant.

          Sorry Travis. Kool-aid. My bad.

          Rob, actually, in Australia, there is no such thing as Kool-aid so I’m not all that familiar with it. =)

        2. The fact that you think working towards a PhD makes you immune to being a mindless sycophant shows that you don’t properly understand the meaning and limitations of either one.

      1. Dan Brooks, Mark Minnick, Drew Conley, Mike Harding, Morris Gleiser are all good expositional and doctrinal preachers–and they aren’t screamers either. Granted, they don’t have the exposure of either a Macarthur or Piper, but Brooks and Minnick are right up there with them IMHO.
        Best wishes.

        1. You’re defending HARDING?! One of the biggest bullies in the whole movement? I mean, I agree with Brooks and Conley (loved attending both of their churches) and Minnich to a degree but HARDING?! So unfortunate.

      1. To me, the new calvinism is nothing but Romanism in disguise, and the worst of Romanism. Their emphasis is so much on works it is unbelievable.

        Test it – go to a video by John MacArthur or Paul Washer on youtube and say something like “sanctification is by grace through faith, not keeping the law or outward works. Evidence of salvation is faith in Christ, not lawkeeping”, and watch the law keepers crawl out of the woodwork. You’d be surprised how many people who claim “grace through faith” suddenly become “but you must also keep the law”.

        *I hate to add this, but it seems anytime I deny the necessity of keeping the law, I am accused of being an antinomian or encouraging sin.

        1. There’s plenty of ex-fundies that are happily Roman Catholic, and obviously “new calvinists” as well. I’m not sure either is really a pejorative.

  3. Every time I hear a sermon like this, I wonder why people like to sit there and be screamed at. And why the pastor/evangelist always talks about himself and not about Jesus.

    1. I grew up hearing preaching like this and I used to love it. I loved to hear the preacher make fun of and humiliate people as long as it was not me.

      Then it was like a light switched on and I realized that the much of the “preaching” that I was hearing was cruel and not centered on the Bible. After that, my belief in fundyism started to crumble pretty fast.

  4. Why is okay for HIM to peek during the prayer but not anyone else?

    Another thought, why was it for him to call this woman out in front on an entire congregation, especially since it seems they were all “in the know” about the situation? Shouldn’t he and the pastor have talked to her in a private setting, if it was really even his place to get involved. Sounds like bullying to me! I’m sure she couldn’t wait to “get right with Gid” after that public flogging! This is one of the many reasons I would not go to church if he was the speaker, he is just a big screaming bully! 🙄

  5. I haven’t really read many of the other comments yet, I just watched the clip and had to comment right away. I heard Tom Ferrell preach many times whilst I was a fundie. I had so many anxiety issues about my life and spiritual condition based on his insane brand of preaching that can only be described as bullying and spiritual abuse. Is it any wonder I left fundamentalism, and orthodoxy all together?? I watched so many people, (my father included) fawn over the “teachings” of this hateful man who is one of the most arrogant people that I have ever met. I cannot understand why this type of ranting is considered wholesome in any way.

  6. The simple fact of the matter is that it wasn’t any of his business, and he lacks the maturity (both at the time of the alleged incident, and at the time he told his… “story”) to realize that. If the pastor actually responded with “You tell her…” as Mr. Farrell claims he did, he needs a lesson in compassion for the grieving. May God help them both.

    1. Amen. Lots of examples on both the pastor at the original church (if this story was in any way accurate), Farrell, and frankly any pastor that has him tell this story in the pulpit and doesn’t correct him also needs some correction as well, IMO.

  7. Farrell’s “scare ’em outta hell” preaching is typical in many IFB churches. I grew up thinking God was one mean, hateful bully who got thrills out of whacking His disobedient people on the head. I don’t recall ever hearing the love of God emphasized (after all, “love” is for new evangelicals). I got saved out of terror that I would be “left behind.” It wasn’t until I was an adult and started searching the scriptures that I began to see God as our Heavenly Father who loved us so much He sent His only Son to restore our broken fellowship. That realization changed my life and suddenly made the gospel more attractive to me than it had ever been in my Farrell-type thinking. Personally, I don’t think his type of “gospel” leads to many genuine conversions. (Ironically, Farrell has written a new book entitled “Preaching that Honors God.” Go figure.)

  8. This story is very old. He’s been telling it for a very long time. I first heard it almost 25 years ago when he preached in our church. Funny how you remember things, but as I recall he said at that time the lady left the piano in a huff and went to the back of the church and sulked in a closet or something like that. Then Farrell went and confronted her and the lady told him how she felt the piano was hers and didn’t want to share it.

    Even if she was wrong about the situation, I would hate to be the subject of a sermon illustration like that for so many years. Picture yourself as an elderly woman and someone coming to you and saying “Do you remember that situation with Tom Farrell and the piano 30 years ago? Well he’s still talking about it!”

  9. The woman should have been asked to take the piano home. Also she should not be church pianist if she regularly would not stay for the rest of service. Sorry for being a stater of the obvious.

      1. No I did not miss the point. The judgment of motives in these comments drive me crazy. I do not know Farrell. I have heard of him, but have no reason to defend him. However maybe just maybe in telling this story he was trying to illustrate a point(maybe even found in the text) to help the attitude of the church or someone within the congregation. “Somewhat right”?? how am I wrong?

        1. It’s not the fact he is telling the story. It’s the fact that IF he did this in the first place, he is a horrible horrible man, and the pastor of that church is too.

        2. If the story is 100% accurate, it’s pretty despicable. I’d much more like him if he’s at least embellishing or making it up entirely would be the best possible reality of this story.

        1. We suspect he’s lying since we have no reason to assume he’s telling the truth.
          First, It’s human nature to embellish events in order to vindicate their actions.
          Second, it’s been shown before that he’s been somewhat disingenuous.
          Third, it’s instinct. After coming off the kool-aid, we automatically distrust anyone dispensing it.

        2. See below, inaccuracies in memory aren’t always willful lying, but I don’t think it’s an impossibility.

  10. Isn’t this the plot line of the movie The Music Man? Man dies and leaves the library to the town and the books to the woman. I think we just need some singing and dancing to make it complete.

      1. Seems like I recall that the only people Jesus rebuked publicly were ones who were misrepresenting His heavenly Father, and who were beating the sheep. Evidently someone missed the news that shepherds do not, in reality, break the sheep’s legs.

  11. I’m dying to know if the piano is still there. If this bozo treated me that way, I would have come back the next day with a truck, a couple of guys and packed up the piano.

    1. YES! That’s one thing I love about my current pastor (at a wee tiny Mennonite church) – when a sermon illustration features him, he is either an entirely incidental character (he happened to see this occur), or he is the butt of the joke.

    1. If he was like Kidd the story would have ended with her taking the paino home and getting crushed by it or having the paino tied to the her SUV and driving home from the meeting that very night in the rain. She skidds on the wet road and gets thrown out of the car down a hill,but she’s OK then the paino comes untied falls and crushes her. Also the evangelist witness it all and uses it as a story in a message about the consequences of not givin your all to God.

  12. Back to the main point of the story. Normally people telling war stories set themselves up as the protagonist. I know Farrell thinks he IS in this story, but only in fundy land. I don’t think there’s any other subculture in the US that would consider him going after a widow from the pulpit as anything but the abuse it is, even if she was totally in the wrong. Inexcusable if it happened. I still think way into the realm of exaggerated, mis-remembered (yes it really happens that people vividly remember events they were never at — some of my faves are baseball players that remember hitting homers that never happened, or making pitches or catches that never happened), or just flat out fabricating out of whole cloth. Hopefully the last one is least likely, but whichever it is, I just don’t believe it happened, and if it did’s he’s as big of a horse’s hind end as I’ve ever want to meet.

  13. Man, this guy bugs me to no end. I have not heard one sermon of his that has any grace to it whatsoever. It’s all guilt, guilt, guilt. And don’t get me started about his venue, Ambassador Baptist College. Ugh. If ever there was a more backwards, intentionally ignorant, vacuous hole of a diploma mill, I don’t know what else is. Their current prez holds a Bachelor’s degree from them and what appears to be an honorary doctorate from a school in Puerto Rico that doesn’t offer any courses above the undergrad level. So basically anyone who completed a correspondence course and got a certificate is as qualified to run a college as this shrub? Hardly. The whole place is a joke. And knowing a handful of their grads, they’re some of the most blindly loyal elitists you’ll ever find. One of them told me that after three years there he probably had more Bible training than someone with an M.Div. from BJU. Since this is a family blog I won’t write what I immediately thought, but I did mentally compare him to a donkey. 😡

    Farrell and ABC – a match made, well, somewhere.

    1. My parents’ last pastor was from ABC. Their present church has hosted people from there (a traveling singing group maybe? Not sure exactly) My parents probably think my husband and I are apostate because we use the ESV at our church.

  14. Having had to listen to Farrell for a week of revival services every year throughout my teenage years, I can personally tell you that at best he is a manipulator. I distinctly remember him saying, on more than one occasion that if I didn’t remember the exact day and time I was saved, and the words I prayed, I wasn’t saved. Sorry, but that’s a works-based salvation. I was 19 before God made it clear that I was trusting myself to pray the right thing, and have the right attitude….
    For weeks after I heard him, I would wake in the middle of the night and run upstairs to make sure he rapture hadn’t happened. I’m sure he enjoyed how I boosted his number of “conversions” every year. His screamo brand of “evangelism” is surely keeping more people out of heaven than helping them in.

    1. Oh, I hate that. That whole “time and date” thing. It was a slow revelation from God but a wonderful one that let me see I don’t even have to know the time or date. But here is the real truth – it was 2000 years ago that His blood was shed, and that was the day I was forgiven of all sin!

      1. I was another one who didn’t know the time or date which made me feel horrible until I too decided to just rest on what Christ had done for me not on what I had prayed. I have wondered though why we encourage parents to lead their little children to the Lord, but then heap guilt on those children because they don’t remember the date (or because their lives didn’t drastically “change” after their conversion).

        1. You’re forgetting the verse that says, “All who call upon the name of the Lord, glance at a calendar, and indelibly record the date, shall be saved.” The day I trusted Christ at age 19 I did note the date, but only because I knew it was the most important day in my life, not because I thought it would somehow certify my salvation!

    2. Tp31babe, one example of manipulation that I found highly dishonest was the evangelist saying during the invitation, “Just look at me; I won’t ask you to come forward.” Then he would have them pray in their seats to themselves, raise their hands if they’d prayed, stand up, and then come forward to show it was real. Excuse me????? He just SAID he wouldn’t call them forward, then he did. THAT’S A LIE!!!!! Bugged me to death! Also he’d say if you wouldn’t come forward, you’re denying Christ, and the Bible says that if you deny Him before men, He’ll deny you before God. True, the Bible does say that, but it doesn’t say that by not walking forward during a church service you’re denying Christ. Oh, the guilt, the pressure, and the sheer manipulation!

      1. Ha! He pulled the same thing in my former church. Before he got to the stand up part, I stood up and walked out. His words may be true when it comes to preaching, but his style and lying manipulation belie his heart. It is unfortunate that his arrogance is still being sought to fill pulpits.

        1. Had a guy who guest-preached at the SBC church we used to go to. He held the congregation hostage through a 24-verse invitation (I left around verse 20 of “Just As I Am). He was NOT invited back. The last thing you do in a country Southern Baptist Church is make them late for Sunday dinner. 😉

  15. This guy drives me nuts. I listened to him my first year at BJU (sat in the front row, that was my seat assignment, they must have known what I would end up being 🙂 ), and being very stupid and naive, I thought he had a great ministry b/c he would see many people come forward as a result of his “powerful preaching”. As I got older, and had some radical friends :grin:, I realized that he abused the Holy Scriptures for his own personal gain. Had his son as a hall leader, and he was more concerned about his advancement than discipling his charges on his hall. Heard Farrell again when I was a grad student, and had nothing for him, especially after he mocked people with seizures from the pulpit. 🙁

  16. Wow this shows you what a crock the whole Fundy evangelist gig is. They swoop in and act like an @55 to the congregation and then leave and brag/gossip about it later. All the while the congregation thinks that the whole process is what is good for them, and the pastor thinks that this is “revival.” Notice what he said when the pastor told Farrell to say something. He said, “Folks now you know why God calls evangelists.” (or something like that). And then he proceeded to do this to a congregation. Horrible. 👿

  17. I’m with Jason on this. The style of preaching might not be your preference but I can’t say that Tom Farrell is abusing or misusing the Bible. In fact he uses a lot of scripture to backup his sermons.

    I would be careful what you say or think about Tom Farrell because you might just see him every day in eternity worshipping God together :mrgreen:

      1. it’s an illustration…which is not in the Bible. So yes he is not using the Bible in this 2 minute clip. Although he made a valid point that we should glorify God in everything that we do, including playing Piano or singing in church.

        1. It is still not a good reason to humiliate someone in public. That is bad manners at best, and dehumanizing at worst.

    1. I wouldn’t really call this preaching; he is misusing Scripture to make his points, and he has ready made stories that “happen” to make his point!He blasts you with random, out of context verses to make his point. Just because you use a bunch of Scripture in your sermon doesn’t make it a good sermon. I could quote the geneaologies from Genesis for 35 minutes – it’s in the Bible, but that would be a poor sermon. He engages in bad hermeneutics.

      1. I don’t think you can say that based on a 2 minute clip. Show me a passage of scripture that he uses out of context and then we can have a healthy discussion.

        I am not a fan of the style in which Tom Farrell preaches. I totally understand if anybody else doesn’t like it. You are allowed to have that opinion.

        But having said that I still think his sermons are sound. I don’t think he is twisting scriptures to make his point. And what do you think his point is anyway? To get people saved by showing them that they are lost. What a selfish evangelist.

        1. I could post several replies, but you can listen to full messages @Ambassador’s website, and I think the WILDS website has one.
          He does have a definite interest and motivation in getting people to hit the aisles – it’s good for business, and it’s good for his “rep”.
          Do you really think that the Fundy Camp movement wants to have a week with zero people walking the aisle? They will want someone who will scare the living daylights out of the impressionable kids sent there to get the “rep” that they have five, ten, twenty thousand decisions. There’s big money to be made to manipulate people to get ’em down the aisle. He makes over six figures a year doing this. There’s a reason why he likes shouting people down.

    2. I have no doubt that we’ll see a good many Fundies in heaven. But while we are on earth I’ll call out anyone misusing the Bible. What Farrrell does is quickly quote a verse out of context to prove his point. He may use a lot of scripture, but that doesn’t mean the scripture backs him up. It is sort of like the person who in an argument quotes one verse and thinks the issue is done. Well yea it would be if that scripture even backed you up in the first place.

      The craziest of the crazies in Fundy land use tons of scripture to backup their craziness, but they are still crazy.

      1. I would be the first in line to point out if someone pushes their own agenda and misuses the Bible. I think the Bible needs to be handled with care and I listen very carefully to every claim made and check it with what the Bible says.

        But I don’t think Tom Farrell has his own agenda. Let’s say he does use every verse out of context to make his point. His point would be: If you are lost then you need to be saved.

        Now if Tom’s point was: You need to wear a tie on sunday or else you would go to hell. That would be a whole different story!

        1. “But I don’t think Tom Farrell has his own agenda.”
          Right…now, though we are getting outside of the clip that is at hand. I’ll just say I’ve heard him many times and he most certainly has an agenda.

          “Let’s say he does use every verse out of context to make his point. His point would be: If you are lost then you need to be saved.”
          So the ends justify the means. Perfect, but I think he’d preach pretty strongly against that. Like say if you wanted to evangelize at a bar. Winning souls to Christ must be done honestly and honorably. The ends do not always justify the means.

          “Now if Tom’s point was: You need to wear a tie on sunday or else you would go to hell.”
          That isn’t too far off honestly. But then we’d be back to what makes fundamentalism wrong. They can say out of one corner of their mouth that you are saved by faith and grace alone, but the he’ll preach out of the other side of his mouth that no good Christian will do xy&z. It sounds good, but the practice stinks of works salvation.

        2. I don’t think the end justifies the means. My point was that his agenda is not wrong as far as I know.

          Again this goes beyond the clip but every time I heard him preach he never preached his preferences to me as far as I know. But I haven’t heard all his sermons so I can’t be the judge of all his sermons. But overall I think it is hard to pick on Tom Farrell if you are going to take apart his sermons. I think they are pretty sound.

          But you are correct. There are serious problems in the fundamentalist world.

        3. Yea that is fine, PVR. I’ve sat in many of his sermons. He does spout out a lot of scripture, but I am not convinced that this sort of thing isn’t the norm. What he is good at is swooping in stirring the crowed and then leaving thinking he’s accomplished something. Unfortunately I don’t think he does and certainly isn’t if he is willing to use his preaching in such a horrible way.

        4. I can see how you might not want to invite Tom Farrell to preach at your church for a week for evangelistic services. My preference would go to other evangelists too!

          Whether his “tactics” are effective or not, I don’t know. I guess we shall find out in heaven. God can use crooked sticks to write straight. He can use Tom Farrell to save people even in that abrupt manner as long as Tom is preaching God’s Word in a manner that is not misleading or heretical.

        5. “God can use crooked sticks to write straight. He can use Tom Farrell to save people even in that abrupt manner as long as Tom is preaching God’s Word in a manner that is not misleading or heretical.”

          I think he is misleading at times. But that really doesn’t matter. What is interesting is that you said the ends don’t justify the means, but you keep going to it. Tom would be very much against this very mindset. In fact, I’m sure if I went digging I could find quite a few illustrations/sermons from him on this very topic. In his view God won’t use a “crooked stick.” Of course I do agree with you. The Lord can use Tom Farrell or any fundy, but that also means that he can use CCM, Pentacolstols or even an Eminim songhttp://www.jesusneedsnewpr.net/can-you-i-handle-eminems-my-truth/

          God can use anything he wants. Results doesn’t make a person right.

        6. I agree. And when I say the end doesn’t justify the means I am talking on a human level. But with God that works slightly different. Again the end doesn’t justify the means for God but He can use whatever good or bad means to ultimately glorify Himself. (Sovereign God). Including Eminem although I don’t recommend his songs in a worship service. That same idea applied to Tom Farrell. I don’t think he is a very crooked stick. Although his style of preaching might be considered less effective and therefore crooked. But thankfully God can still use him and other humans to glorify Himself.

          old joke at BJU: Getting saved again after hearing Farrel preach. (that’s some form of misleading, right?)

    3. “The style of preaching might not be your preference but I can’t say that Tom Farrell is abusing or misusing the Bible.”

      I don’t know about the rest of his sermons, but in this illustration, he’s at best ignoring the Bible’s guidelines for confrontation. An elder woman is to be treated like a mother, even during rebuke. (1 Tim 5:1) He abuses his influence as a famous evangelist to slam a widow in front of the entire congregation, and he does it with relish instead of with regret.

      It’s clear by his actions in the story, his manner of telling the story, and the fact that he has repeated it for so many years that he thinks what he did was funny.

      Let’s assume that the woman behaved exactly as he says she did. Tell me what is good about publicly repeating the error and humiliation of a widow in front of other believers as a joke with a punch line.

      1. It’s a sermon illustration. It’s not like he is using her name and the name of the church every time he tells this story. I agree that if this is a true story that this is kind of tacky at best. I would like to hear the whole story to have a better context.

        I don’t think the pulpit should be used to call out a person like that. Don’t get me wrong here. I will still stand up and defend Tom Farrell since he is not on this website and overall he has a sound ministry in my opinion. Is he perfect? Not at all. Was that situation handled in the best way if it happened exactly like he said it happened? No, I believe not.

        But is this a good illustration in his sermon? Opinions may differ but I certainly understood his point that we should start thinking about how we should glorify God with what we have instead of having an attitude that something belongs to me and not God.

        1. If that is his point, he would’ve been better off stating it plainly. The lady’s error seems to be a part of the story only as a necessary set up to his punch line. It reads like something out of a joke book, which might be why people are doubting it. But I give him the benefit of the doubt because I would like others to do the same for me.

          Even if true, the story as he tells it focuses not on the problem with this lady’s thinking, but on the “cute” way he decided to deal with it. Because of that focus, the illustration makes only one point to me: that the speaker thinks evangelists’ actions don’t have to be restrained by the instruction of the Bible.

          Point or no point, it’s troubling that an evangelist would repeatedly tell a story like this, in which he holds himself up as an example while demonstrating arrogance, trickery, and the public humiliation of an elder lady in a mocking rant.

  18. Here is my two cents.

    He has a point: the lady wasn’t being a very good example. The pastor was a wimp for not dealing with it. However.

    Point 1: the duty of an evangelist is NOT to call out sins the pastor is too afraid to deal with. Shame on him.
    Point 2: since when has publicly calling people’s sin out been the Bible way? Especially as the issue hadn’t been dealt with privately first.

    My family went through this at my old church: except the church had about 25 people. And the preacher would never call out his family. So the majority of the pulpit spankings were specifically aimed at us. It would often be the first indication he disapproved of something we did. Then he wondered why we had issues with him….

  19. I agree that Tom Farrell is not directly misusing or abusing the Bible in this clip.
    He is, however, misusing the role he has as the evangelist, and the role the church has in discipline. Both are out of line.

  20. There aren’t very many facts given in this story for me to make a judgement either way….was the lady the pianist for the church before her husband died? If so, did she regularly leave after she played? Was she performing some other ministry in the church (audio recording, nursery, etc.)? Had the pastor talked to the lady about his concerns previously?

    This illustration, as with many fundy illustrations, is about the power of the story teller and not about the power, love, mercy, and grace of God.

  21. Ahh, Tom Farrell. He considered my church growing up his home church, so I heard him preach A LOT. His preaching always caused me anxiety. I’m glad my current church isn’t the type that he would preach at.

    His oldest daughter was cool, though.

  22. This man did some sort of conference in our town that strong armed the fundamentalist churches to ante up about $2000 apiece to rent the city’s huge convention center for his “evangelistic outreach” to young people. Being in a leadership position of said fundy church, our family was strong armed into participating. My daughter invited two of her unsaved coworkers [think EMO, tatooed, pink hair, leather jackets]. It was a disaster. The kids were all Bob Jones students wearing polo shirts, khaki pants or long khaki skirts and the girls all had long, straight stringy hair. They stared at my daughter’s guests and refused to greet or look at them. The gist of the message was to “unsave” all the saved kids and get them to make another decision. There was absolutely nothing for the truly unsaved. It was a circus and an embarrassing disaster. My daughter was mortified and felt like any credibility she had as a demonstrator of Christ’s love to her coworkers was completely destroyed. I heard our pastor wasn’t too thrilled about it all and said he’d never participate in a group project like that again.

  23. @BASSENCO – I don’t think he would know what the words “systematic exegesis” are if they hit him in the rear end.
    This guy caused me serious problems my first week at BJU, and it has colored my dealings with him ever since.

    1. Brandon, if he really doesn’t know how to systematically work through a text of Scripture and preach it for what it says, then he’s the one with the problem. For so many of these guys, if you take away their illustrations, you’ve just stripped the flesh off their sermons. And that means they have not developed a systematic exegesis of the text.

  24. I do not doubt many folks on here have experienced spiritual abuse and I am truly sorry for the ones whom had such a terrible experience. Also I understand there are extremes, crazies, ect in “fundyland”. However not all people/preachers who you many indenify as “fudies” are out hurt others or are trying to make much of themselves. Not all are dishonest and self serving.

    1. Trex, we all know James Knox is not the abusive dictator that some of these other men are. There are exceptions in fundy land (not many). From what I know of the man, Ruckman is not a dictator either, despite what off the wall doctrine he holds to. He can be abrasive to those that are contrary to his position (ie, nearly everyone), but regarding him as a Pastor, I have not heard any stories of abuse by him, or dictator leadership. I’ll probably hear some now, but the fact remains, not every fundy is a total nut/abusive dictator. Just most 😛

      PS. There are plenty of Fundy Pastors in Australia that are not dictators at all. Robert Bakks, Keith Piper & Evangelists like Fraser Young and Phillipe Pinero are all what I would consider godly men in regards to their leadership (and I have thoroughly enjoyed their preaching) It seems to be a big american thing to rule with an iron fist. Aussies will just get PO’ed and go somewhere else quicksmart.

      However, I don’t live near any of them and as far as I am concerned, there are no non dictators near me. So I go to a Brethren Assembly.

  25. I could name a revival speaker I’ve heard many times who is the antithesis of this. His messages are saturated with Scripture because he is saturated with Scripture (he reads the whole Bible through every month, but doesn’t brag about it). When he preaches you are not impressed with him but with his God. (Interestingly, every time I heard him it was in a near-fundy church.) May his tribe increase!

        1. Loren, if I asked you about your personal Bible reading because I was encouraged by how much Scripture you knew, would you refuse to tell me? He was being courteous in answer to an inquiry.

  26. Yes, please just name him, Ken. In the fundy land I was in, I mostly saw preachers who just preached “at” people and about issues. They had no true testimony of Jesus Christ or evidence of his work in their lives. I heard years of preaching at “The Bob” and never once heard any of the administrators give convincing evidence of Jesus Christ in their lives. Not once. “Humble, kind, godly, knowledgeable, and saturated with Scripture” were not adjectives used to describe these men.

    1. I’m afraid it’s going to be Paul Washer or someone that is not a fundy, but is legalistic just the same. Although, to be honest, I love when Paul Washer talks about Christ. He just always manages to wreck it by saying “if you aren’t like Christ you aren’t saved” every 5 minutes (at least, in the videos people put online).

      I am like Christ, in that His righteousness is imputed unto me. But that’s not what he means.

      So Ken, please tell me 🙂

  27. Not gonna tell…wouldn’t be prudent 😉 He doesn’t fit the “screaming evangelist” mold at all. Not legalistic at all. In fact, the Lord used a conversation I had with him to set me free from a deep hatred I had held onto. I just shared about him to acknowledge that “the real thing” is out there. To God be the glory.

    1. I don’t know who you are talking about, but the one evangelist that sticks in my memory from my fundy days is Billy Martin. He is such a gracious, elderly gentleman, and every sermon I ever heard him preach was expository. He certainly didn’t fit the typical fundy mold.

  28. He came to preach a week long revival at my Christian school. I don’t remember much in the way of actual scripture being preached but I remember lots of stories similar to this one, lots of screaming/yelling and a lot of him trying to quite literally “scare the hell” out of everyone with stories of kids whose hearts exploded and them dying instantly without getting saved and so on and if I’m not mistaken, I think he was the one who played recordings of a demon possessed girl. Good times! 😉

  29. Oh.my.goodness. I can’t believe I was gone when you posted this one. UGH! Tom Farrell was our family “guru.” He traveled on missions trips with my dad, along with Steve Pettit. My brother traveled with Steve Pettit for a time too. Tom knew about my abuse, but said that I needed to “not get bitter” and “forgive.” (the classic IFB lines)

  30. I’ve never heard of Tom Farrell before this posting… assuming the story as he told it is true, the following thoughts came to mind:
    1) How brave to attack a widow in public over something that should have been dealt with privately first.
    2) If he wanted to “get” someone, why not go after the pastor who was such a wimp that he refused to do anything about the problem. The pastor should have refused the piano if she was going to make conditions about it. Come to think of it, it doesn’t explain why she left after playing — nothing in the explanation explained her practice.

    I don’t understand why some evangelists/pastors seem to delight in humiliating people.

  31. Back in the early days at The Wilds, leaders were picked according to their abilities to be “confronters”, among other things. So emotional and spiritual bulldozing was encouraged, especially among the male staff.

    On the other hand, and I’ll probably be skewered for this, I believe Tom has a true heart for the Gospel.

    1. Well, if he does, he doesn’t show it in this clip.

      What is the wilds? I know of the singing group thing, whose music is the most bland thing I have ever heard (and their album about families or something is cringeworthy with all the dialogue between dad and son).

      1. I’m not defending that — it made me cringe. But I know I could tell him that and we could have a discussion. One thing I always respected about Tom is that he respects someone willing to push back, if you will.

        In the same way, I hated all the fat lady jokes in “Fun Time” at The Wilds. It was indefensible. But the attitude among the leadership was that if someone (an overweight camper) was offended, then that was God’s way of telling them that they needed to lose weight. I still remember the looks on the faces of some of the young female campers who were overweight, and it brings tears to my eyes. I have no memory of Tom entering into that, however.

    1. LOL. It’s unreal that people will defend him despite at least this clear example of abuse. IDK if he’s a decent person or not. I’ve never heard him but I doubt this is a rare example of abuse from the pulpit by him. If it’s as common & repeated as seems to be the case he has no business being in the pulpit whether he’s a “good person” or has a “good heart” or not. I rather doubt both. 🙂

        1. Tom Farrell thinks he is speaking for God when he berates a older lady in a church he claims he went to for evangelistic meetings. Farrell claims this little old lady allowed the church to use HER piano and she faithfully played HER piano for every service. HER piano was in memory of her departed husband. This was, if even true, most likely a small church who could not afford to purchase a piano. The lady had every right to say what she would do with HER piano. Allowing it to be used at the church was kind of her. The pastor, Farrell makes out to be a coward, perhaps was thankful. What does the Bible tell us about how to treat widows? What does the Bible tell us about how to treat elders? Seems Farrell and other commenter’s on this should go and re-read those portions of scriptures.

        2. Not only that, he gets a kick out of it. I mean, “hot dog?” Really? He’s thrilled that he tricked a bereaved elder into a humiliating trap? 🙁

        3. @Kitty,

          I’m not sure who you are, but sounds like we need to catch up. =P

          I’m sorry if I came across as trying to give the impression that I have no connection with the Wilds. That was never my intention. I have spent a lot of time on staff there. Though I’ve spoken to him on occasion, I wouldn’t claim to know Farrell well at all.

          I also understand that in a large movement, different people have had different experiences and those can colour how they interpret things.

          I haven’t been following the sexual abuse discussion in detail here, but I do believe Fundamentalism has some serious cleaning up to do in that area. In my counselling, I am very conscientious about complying with the law as well as ensuring that those suffering mental/emotional trauma are referred to a medical practitioner for appropriate treatment. I appreciated my uncle’s practical good sense in that particular area.

          If you are one of the people who has been hurt by the sins of Fundamentalism, I am truly sorry to hear that and trust that you will know God’s healing grace in your life.

      1. “IDK if he’s a decent person or not”

        But we are going to judge him anyway and assume the worst. Ironic how anti-fundy people are against fundies because fundies are so judgmental, non-loving, have no grace and don’t give the benefit of a doubt.

        I don’t see much of a difference in some of these comments here either. I guess the pharisees are in every camp and not just the fundies.

        1. I do know Farrell. He is far from a nice person. He is not even following the law in the state of North Carolina where he lives when a minor comes to him for counseling and reports sexual abuse when he does not report it to the authorities, tells her to “repent of her sin” and sends her back to her abusers with a word of prayer.

        2. Remember, a grossly erring elder is to be rebuked before all, but that never happens in Fundamentalism. Farrell is openly glorying in being a bully. He ought to be ashamed of himself.

        3. @Kitty

          And you heard both sides of the story right? Like you actually talked to Tom Farrell about this. Or are you judging quickly?

          I can’t speak for Mr Farrell here since I am hearing this from you. But at BJU they taught us (people studying for ministry) to report those things to the police for the simple fact of liability. Anytime someone confesses something about a crime you are responsible to report that to the police.

        4. We victims are never going to convince you all of the fact Farrell does NOT report, reports of sexual abuse to the authorities. Trust me, I know, that in at least my case, he did not. Others have told the same story as well.

          There is a video of him speaking at BJU out on Youtube somewhere, saying that a girl came to him about being sexually violated by her father, and he said her problem was bitterness and she needed to ask God AND her father for forgiveness.

          As for BJU. BJU has been covering up for sexual abuse for years. Maybe there will be a sea change now that a new DOS is in. Pray so.

        5. I listened to Rand Hummel and in both situations it seems like the person was bitter. In the second situation the girl even confessed that she was angry and had bitterness but made it right by forgiving the offenses that were made to her. And she was able to see God’s grace.


          I think this discussion is a little beyond the scope of the topic at hand. But I am curious to know what you were expecting The Wilds or BJU to do? It seems like your expectations were not met and now you are disappointed with them.

          Having said that when do you need to call the Police. Do you need to call the police when an incident happened 10 years ago? And what about all the other people that know about it? Are you disappointed at them too for not calling the police. I assume a person doesn’t disclose that info just to DOW at BJU and some leader at The Wilds.

        6. @ PVR

          Rand Hummel is very aware of the laws in NC and SC as to when it is appropriate to report such things to law enforcement authorities. Whether the girl was well, you are bitter. So what? The way I was treated and have heard stories of others being treated, a girl (or boy) who is raped and/or physically abused is treated like a criminal, slandered and shunned when she/her comes forward, while the REAL criminal get’s coddled. “She developed early” or “she seduced him.” The abusers for the most part are NOT sorry, they won’t even own up to it unless to serves them then they will “repent” to the pastor and shed a few crocodile tears for added effect. Anyone who really thinks the Tina Anderson situation is a rare case, needs to get their heads out of he sand. I am quite a bit older than Tina. In the line of work I am in, I see this behavior has gone on week after week, month after month, year after year, with no end in sight until a situation hits the media…then it is cover the collective butts and then make further slanderous the victim, her family and those who supporter the victim.

          @Jason Harris, I know you, You lived with your uncle family while you were an undergrad at BJU. I have great respect for your uncle that has now passed away. I am much closer to you than you will realize. Please don’t say you don’t know what Kool-aid is, because your uncles wife used to make Kool-aid by the gallon and I used to visit and watch you drinking it. Also please don’t imply you don’t know Farrell well, because I KNOW you, I know your cousin worked for both the Wilds camp and the Wilds office in Greenville, SC, and you, if I remember correctly worked for the Wilds as well. Your uncle used to do the staff physical for the Wilds.

        7. [reposted in correct thread]


          I’m not sure who you are, but sounds like we need to catch up. =P

          I’m sorry if I came across as trying to give the impression that I have no connection with the Wilds. That was never my intention. I have spent a lot of time on staff there. Though I’ve spoken to him on occasion, I wouldn’t claim to know Farrell well at all.

          I also understand that in a large movement, different people have had different experiences and those can colour how they interpret things.

          I haven’t been following the sexual abuse discussion in detail here, but I do believe Fundamentalism has some serious cleaning up to do in that area. In my counselling, I am very conscientious about complying with the law as well as ensuring that those suffering mental/emotional trauma are referred to a medical practitioner for appropriate treatment. I appreciated my uncle’s practical good sense in that particular area.

          If you are one of the people who has been hurt by the sins of Fundamentalism, I am truly sorry to hear that and trust that you will know God’s healing grace in your life.

  32. Another possible example from Farrell’s Book of Faith Fables! I was actually worried for a minute that he was talking about a relative of mine that donated a piano, but she doesn’t play…

    He’s human. He probably both hurts and helps the cause of Christ every day just like I do. This story is the hurting part.

    I do agree with Jason about the different flavor of Koolaid. Loyalty to any personality (Farrell, Jones, Piper or whomever) can be a dangerous thing. I’m coming to appreciate the teaching of a pastor who is faithful but unknown outside our little radius, but I’m not going to follow him blindly either! Need grace daily to keep my eyes fixed on the right Him (not him).

    1. Agree 100%. I am not a Farrell kool-aid drinker and I have only been at the Wilds once for 30 minutes. I totally agree that we humans both hurt and help the cause of Christ. I don’t think Farrell is perfect but from what I have seen I think he is helping to advance the Gospel. Too bad we can’t hear testimonies from people that were saved under Farrell’s ministry. (Farrell saved 0 people btw).

      I don’t think this thread and clip really does him justice. I still challenge you to find a sermon that he preached that is heretical or twisted or where he tries to advance his own agenda. Or where he rips a verse right out of context.

      1. PVR — honey. . . .

        Listen, folks! It’s gonna get dicey around here in the coming months, and they’ve sent out their IT string to take care of things. Hang on. It’s going to be a bumpy ride!

        1. “Listen, folks! It’s gonna get dicey around here in the coming months, and they’ve sent out their IT string to take care of things. Hang on. It’s going to be a bumpy ride!”

          As in… fundy hackers conspiring to take down the site?

        2. I’ve got your number, PVR. Literally.

          And we know that BJU teaches that you should NOT go to the police. And if you have heard them say that you should go to the police “for the simple fact of liability,” you and they are still so missing the point. So, so, so. It’s not about liability.

          Sigh. . . . The Chaldeans are coming. I’ve been saying it since 2006. The Chaldeans are right around the corner.

        3. I’ve got your number, PVR. Literally.
          And we know that BJU teaches that you should NOT go to the police. And if you have heard them say that you should go to the police “for the simple fact of liability,” you and they are still so missing the point. So, so, so. It’s not about liability.
          Sigh. . . . The Chaldeans are coming. I’ve been saying it since 2006. The Chaldeans are right around the corner.

          I don’t have YOUR number :neutral:. This is not a fair fight is it?

          I don’t think it’s about liability either. There are many more reasons why it’s outrageous that someone would not report sexual abuse.

          This next part is just an aside that I think you might like. I am not throwing this in here as or for an argument of any kind. Take it or leave it.

          You are going to love me for this. I pulled out “the PREACHER and his MINISTRY” volume 2. (I received this since I was a Bible major at BJU for 2.5 years before I changed it to humanities) These 2 binders basically contain all the lecture material that “preacher boys” receive at BJU. And just for you I looked it up what this book would say about reporting crime. Now this chapter is in the context of different government laws and how it would relate to a minister. This is under the heading criminal law. This is a quote, no emphasis added by mine except for what’s in the[]:

          scripture requires:
          -Confession of sin
          -Judicial consideration of ALL relevant facts
          -obedience to law [government law that is]
          -Protection of innocent life

          NOTE- Many states have child abuse reporting statuses that completely override the clergy-penitent privilege. [b]Learn your state’s child-abuse reporting statute!!![/b]

        4. 2 corrections:

          1. Sorry I quoted your whole post.
          2. When I say all lecture material. I mean all lecture material from the preacher boy class.

  33. After a “revival service” I saw him drive away a potential convert singlehandedly with his hamfisted confrontational style. Zero love. This convert ran as fast as he could into a works-based religion. We had invited this man to the service, alas.

  34. I don’t know… I like it. A lot of truth in his words.
    Why don’t you try focusing on what the man of God is saying, instead of siding with the selfish pianist? Try it. We OWN nothing. God owns EVERYthing. Let it go…

      1. Whoa-ho-ho… I do hope you can see the nuance of my comments at a deeper level than just “He’s the man’o’God… how dare you criticise…”

        I think there is plenty of criticising to be done. It’s just if we’re not careful, we become part of the problem.

        I hadn’t considered this clip in the light of bullying and I’ve been listening in and thinking it through. Maybe it is abusive. Still sorting it through.

        But I still think we need to be careful to criticise in a way that demonstrates honesty and love for the truth.

        1. Jason, previously, you claimed that you can make a sound theological argument to defend his behavior. Now suddenly you “hadn’t considered this clip in the light of bullying”. Astounding, since the bullying jumps right out at most people. And I’m not savaging you, Jason. But the equivocation is jumping off of you like fleas.

          How about if you stop doing backflips and other gymnastics to defend this guy and his bad style of preaching and just keep quiet? Or, at the very least, study it all out before you hang yourself out on a limb to defend this man.

        2. @Bass,

          I did not say I could make a sound theological argument to defend the behaviour in this clip. If you’ll go back and read what I actually said in context, you’ll see that I said I could make a sound theological argument to defend the occasional use of the kind of preaching that tries to “scare one into heaven.”

          Had Jessica asked me to make such an argument, I probably would have, assuming I felt she really wanted to understand that perspective.

          The reason I declined to make such an argument for you is that I’ve been involved in many discussions with you over the years and even when we’ve been on the same side of an argument, I’ve found you to be consistently abrasive, heated, and unreasonable. In other words, you don’t want to know to learn. You want to know to attack. No one benefits in such a scenario.

          Of course I expect a response to this that is similarly abrasive, heated, and unreasonable. If you don’t get a response to it, that will be why.

        3. Again, Jason, it is not “abrasive, heated, and unreasonable” of me to point out that you have failed to make the case you said that you could make. Nor is it “abrasive, heated, and unreasonable” of me to point out the fallacies of reasoning that you continue to demonstrate.

  35. So this is where Bassenco is hanging out lately!

    Wow-some people really turn bitterness into a hobby/career don’t they?


    No one would even come close to allowing Jason to say something nice about Farrell.

    The ugly truth always rises to the surface.

    Slander slinging by the bitter 😥

    (Eph 4:31-32) Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

    1. John: “Wow-some people really turn bitterness into a hobby/career don’t they?”

      Just like Bob Gray, Ron Williams, Mack Ford, Bill Cabe, and Chuck Shifflett turned child abuse into a ministry….and Tom Messer, Wendell Evans, Les Heinze, and Chuck Phelps turned deception and cover up into lucrative and successful careers in Fundamentalist pulpits.

Leave a Reply

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