Power Shifts

Fundamentalists ain’t what they used to be. Fundamentalism is exactly the same as it has always been.

Once upon a time, fundamentalism as a movement embraced a wide-flung and surprisingly diverse group of people. While standards and holiness (especially involving alcohol) were a big deal, they were not by far the biggest deal. In the days before the fundamentalist college was ubiquitous, many leaders were educated by Methodists or Presbyterians and these denominations were generally acknowledged to have at least some orthodoxy left in them. Bible Version debates were unheard of and the broader Christian culture often lined up with the fundamentalist ideals making the fundamentalist not so far outside the mainstream.

But here’s what happens…

Meet Pastor Joe. Pastor Joe is (at least comparatively) a fairly reasonable and well-spoken fundamentalist. As his camp in fundyland lurches to the fringe, he tries to speak out in a reasonable fashion against the growing craziness of standards and separation he sees around him. Of course, other fundamentalists mark him as an apostate and separate from him. Joe doesn’t want to completely abandon his theological roots so he leaves to become a Southern Baptist or Non-Denominational pastor with baptistic leanings.

This has two effects. 1)Fundamentalism loses a voice of reason and ends up a little crazier and more perverse as a whole 2)Whatever movement Pastor Joe joins gains a very right-leaning member and becomes a little more fundamentalist.

Inevitably, those who Joe left behind in fundamentalism attack even more of their own and those victims too decide to follow brother Joe into greener pastures.

Repeat the process a few thousand times and you end up with a fundamentalist movement where the lunatics are demonstrably running the asylum. You also end up with elements in the SBC and elsewhere that are increasingly voicing familiar old fundamentalist themes.

Meet the new Baptists, same as the old Baptists.

110 thoughts on “Power Shifts”

  1. That is so true! The pastor of the Baptist church that I attend is a former fundamentalist. Fortunately, he’s left almost all of the crazy legalism behind. Unfortunately, once in a while he’ll still mention nutcases like Lester Rolloff in a positive light, which makes me want to vomit. But I’m used to sifting out the chaff from the wheat, it doesn’t bother me that much. 😯

      1. Well, he associates with the local cross-denominational ministerial association, he’s not once uttered the word “separation” in the few years I’ve been around, and he plays the electric guitar and drums… So, the church isn’t perfect, but it’s far better than any of the local fundie cults, which are legion.

        1. Ha! I always think they are plentious up in the north, then I visit the south, or talk with friends from the south!

    1. I’ve been running into way too much of that. The way I’ve seen it happen is that while there are a lot of us who are truly trying to leave Fundamentalism behind going into these other churches, there are others who leave Fundyland over relatively trivial matters but do not leave Fundamentalism behind. Instead, they bring it into the new church and start screwing over those of us who don’t want any more of it.

  2. Meet the new fundamentalists, same as the old fundamentalists


  3. Rules when this happens

    1. Lose fellowship with more Fundy churches and become even more independent.
    2. (Optional) Change label, from “Baptist” to “Bible.”
    3. Keep your Majesty & Wilds’ songbooks.
    4. Continue preaching against the sin of not having 15-minute devotions every night.

    There you have it. A non-Fundamentalist. 😉

    1. Don’t forget the seperation! Seperate from the seperatists, seperate from the denominationalists, seperate from the r rated movies, seperate from the hip hop music, seperate from the liberals, the women ordainers, the ones not close enough to us to keep us comfortable, etc. Seperate, seperate, seperate

        1. For me, I would separate on the true fundamentals: Jesus’ divinity, that the Bible is God’s Word, that Jesus is the only way to heaven (I guess, the creed, for example, that we quoted in chapel at BJU.) My husband and I went to an evangelical pastors’ meeting in our area, and, although I felt weird because we’d always been told how evangelicals were unbiblical compromisers, we were able to agree with their statement of faith fully, even though there were people in that room very different in many ways.

        2. Probably, we are just talking about separating over fundamentals. Excuse us if we don’t consider women preachers, dresses, and syncopated music to be the fundamentals of the faith that people died for.

          I choose to separate over false doctrine, and for that reason I would have to separate from places like HAC and FBH but not necessarily from BJU even thought they irk me sometimes by calling music and dress doctrinal issues.

    2. Tony #2, spot on. This is what happened when our punk assed BJU preacher boy landed the youth pastor job at an old, established Baptist church. He systematically planted doubt and discord until it all peaked into a “I MUST LEAVE THIS APOSTATE CHURCH, WHOSE WITH ME???”
      At least 60 followed. Wouldn;t you know it, all the teens eventually went on to BJU, their kids were homeschooled with BJU materials and now those kids are going to BJU. Well played, BJU, well played.

      1. What a shame he seems to have never read Proverbs 6: “There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, . . . and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.”

        1. PW,
          that easy – these weren’t brothers, these were compromisers, full of pride!
          Its easy being fundy.

  4. My ex-pastor refuses to call himself a fandametalist. Not because he is not a fundamentalist, but because (as he claims) the term “fundamentalist” is not baptistic enough. 😕

    1. Oh yes, Fundy-mental-ism went all mainstream. Can’t have that, they need another name.

  5. You know, I’ve seen this happen. Oddly, in Bible College one of the big discussions was whether or not you would have Baptistic doctrines if you chose to have a ‘Bible” church rather than a ‘Baptist’ church and those doctrines centered around KJVO, Baptist baptism only, closed communion…you know, all the things that make a separated church even more secluded.

    Also consider, if Joe Pastor separates from the crazies into a ‘looser’ fellowship, he is possibly going to regress back to his old fundementalist positions because of the comfort level and if he perceives, over time, the “new” fellowship has to many non-fundamental elements. At any rate, the possibility of recidivism is fairly high because people always seem to eventually retreat back to a comfort level rather than stick to a philosophy or belief that puts them at odds with their particular cohort.

    It’s kinda like what they told us in bible college years ago, bad friends will always bring you down rather than edify. Fundamentalism always seems to bring its people down to the lowest common denominator rather than build the people up.

  6. call me a glutton for punishment, but last night I attended a revival at a baptist church. I’m about 2 years out of fundyland, presently in a small (25 on Sunday) baptist church. The pastor of this little church also came out of a legalistic fundamental baptist church, but he holds tight to the KJV, although its not mandatory. Anyway as I sat in this revival, lots of suits and ties, when the little boys are wearing ties, watch out! The preacher wasn’t a real screamer, however it wasn’t long before he started demeaning us and letting us know how worthless we all our. I guess I just want to believe that there are Baptist churches out there they don’t do this, and I’m sure there are. I guess they are just far and few between.

  7. It is sneaky how this happens. And I’m beginning to notice it here and there. This was one reason why I needed a complete and total break. I needed to get away from the crazies and the less crazies. Honestly just about ever Baptist church seemed almost exactly like IFB. Oh sure they may have had more contemporary music and used powerpoint and the pastor had the cool little head mic that hung off his ear while he was wearing just a tie with the sleeves rolled up, but the essence and often the preaching was the same and I couldn’t stand it. So I found the furthest thing I could. And it was not only rewarding, looking back, but freeing. I was totally free to figure out what I truly believed. I was totally free to experiment.

    The first church I was in I remember when I was having a deep discussion with my head elder. He asked what systematic theology book I studied. When I told him he said, and I kid you not, “go out and get a real systematic theology.” A little later I intimated something that was totally dispensational and he we went straight into the craziness that is dispensationalism. It may have seemed abrasive, but it was exactly what I needed. I needed to be challenged in my beliefs. I needed to be set free from the chains that held me back. I needed to be pushed off the branch so I’d learn to fly. And it continues today.

    1. What are the warning signs to you? IFB is death on CCM, and your hypothetical pastor uses more contemporary music. The IFBX has both feet firmly planted in the 1950s, but this pastor uses powerpoint and a head mic (which the IFBX despises for associational reasons). The IFB preaches dress code as if it’s doctrine, but this pastor wears just a tie with the sleeves rolled up. To me it sounds like this pastor has differed himself from the IFB enough that they would shun him.

      “But the essence and often the preaching was the same.” In what ways? Dispensationalism? Works sanctification? Sermons that are more personal story-telling than expositions of Scripture?

      As my husband and I step away from the IFB, I want to know what still smacks of “fundamentalism” to others. Is there even a place for us?

      1. I’ve been in a lot of Baptist churches (mostly SBC) since I started my move from fundyland.

        My warning bells go off when I hear…

        – Eisegesis instead of exegesis. Don’t preach a message on David’s 5 smooth stones and try to apply it to the dangers of television. Just don’t.

        – Focus on works instead of grace. If the message is all about doing, doing, doing, instead of the internal parts that motivate us to do then there’s something missing.

        – Talking a _lot_ about money. One church comes to mind where the pastor managed to work tithing into every point of his sermon.

        – Catch phrases for response. If a pastor is struggling so badly that he has to keep invoking certain catch phrases (political, issue driven, or otherwise) to keep the audience responding to him it’s likely he really doesn’t have all that much to say.

        – Being very concerned with bashing other organizations. If you hear lots of references to Joel Osteen this and Rick Warren that then hit the door running. I don’t think you need to agree with either of those guys but Sunday morning isn’t really the place to vent your spleen on them.

        – Politics. ’nuff said. (and I’m a political junkie but I equally dislike hearing this from either side of the political aisle)

        Those are some of my warning flags anyway. And those are in addition to the outright heresy type things.

        1. Good points! We’re probably still missing a bit on the works issue as we encourage people to be on mission, but hopefully we’re falling on the “God’s so amazing and so loving! I want to let everyone SEE His goodness by the loving deeds I do” side not the “no one will know you’re a Christian if you do xyz so stop doing those things or God will be displeased” side.

          Several years ago, we let a man do a Wed. night lesson (my husband was teaching another class), and he spent the whole time blasting a particular preacher under whose radio ministry two of the people in attendance had found salvation!!!! They were offended and the speaker was offended when my husband told him that was inappropriate. My husband said to focus on what the Bible said; then if that man’s preaching was off, the listeners would KNOW because they would be comparing the message to Scripture. The speaker couldn’t believe my husband wasn’t “hard on sin.” Shortly after, both parties left out church.

        2. Wow! I’m already ex-fundy and didn’t even know it!

          You should listen to more than one of my sermons Darrell!


        3. The money thing is a huge red flag as well. I was blessed at my first church after Fundy land. They never did an offering. As in never did they pass a plate around. In order to give there was a box right outside the doors leading to sanctuary. If you blinked you’d miss it, but that was where you could give to the church. During the services they never passed an offering plate and the church rarely talked about finances. On more than one occasion they went into December grossly behind on budget to come out the in January with a surplus from giving, but you wouldn’t know it if you only came to church Sunday morning.

          Of course that is a bit extreme. I don’t think it is wrong or immoral to take an offering or to even talk about finances of the church, but that was just one example of a church seeing God work without once talking about money. God is good.

      2. To add to what Darrell already said, I’d have to say separation and add the making of non-essential doctrines and areas of preference into essentials (complementarianism, homeschooling, politics, YEC, etc.). Oh, they won’t call it separation. It won’t be overt. They might not preach against other churches. They might even occasionally quote or read books by people with whom they disagree on actual doctrinal issues (e.g., a credobaptist might quote a paedobaptist). However, that doesn’t make them any less separationist. It’ll be in the way they refuse to cooperate *at all* with any other churches that fail to dot every i and cross every t *exactly* as they do. (You’re a 4-point Calvinist? You’re not preaching the gospel.) It’ll be in the remarks people make about how other churches “aren’t preaching doctrine.” It’ll be in the way that people (living in a densely populated area deep in the Bible belt with churches on every corner) drive 30-60 minutes (or more!) to church every Sunday. It’ll be in the unspoken expectation that one’s *entire social life* is to be wrapped up in that church. It’ll be in the way that anyone who leaves the church for another conservative evangelical church in the area immediately loses all their “friends” in that church. It’ll be in the way that the church supports missionaries whose primary goal is to spread, not so much the gospel, as their branch of “correct doctrine.”

        My first church after leaving fundyland (hardcore Calvinistic SBC church) was like that and it wasn’t until I left that church (for completely unrelated reasons) that I realized it. I’m *still* dealing with the consequences of it.

        1. I’d have to say separation and add the

          Make that:

          I’d have to add separation and the


      3. There are a couple of things I look for. Eisagesis is a big one like Darrell said. A for instance. When I left Fundamentalism a huge catalyst for me was hearing the video from Desiring God Conference from I think 2006. Mark Driscoll had come and the stuff he had to say was wonderful. He talked about God’s grace and our freedom and how evangelism can still work. He wore jeans and didn’t always shave and I just dug it. He, seemed, the complete opposite of Fundamentalism. I wasn’t sure if that was my type of Christianity, but I liked his message. Then I started to hear some things that were strangely reminiscent. Now these examples are newer, but he has always sounded this way I just didn’t pick up on it to start. (http://www.jesusneedsnewpr.net/mark-driscoll-pastormark-talks-frankly-about-his-love-of-men-in-cages/) (http://www.jesusneedsnewpr.net/mark-driscolls-sermon-against-twilight/)(http://www.jesusneedsnewpr.net/yoga-comes-from-demons-says-pastormark/)

        And this is my biggest warning sign. It is when they take *personal* standards and impose those standards on other people as scripture. And that is what I so quickly figured out in the Baptist churches. They looked different, the pastor acted a bit different, but you could tell from the congregation that even though what the pastor said was technically orthodox the way they acted/looked/talked said to me, “A good Christian acts/looks/talks like this.” That *is* the essence of Fundamentalism. Christians shouldn’t all look the same, act the same or come from the same ethnicity or socioeconomic status. It is ok to believe different things vote different parties and look different. Its ok if there are issues that don’t line up so cleanly. This *is* the very core that I so abhor about Fundamentalism. Driscoll proves that you can look and even act *wildly* different and yet still have the same rotten core.

        1. “It is when they take *personal* standards and impose those standards on other people as scripture.” Good point, although mightn’t a pastor say, “This is an issue for some people. Because it is, maybe they should avoid xyz”? He’s warning or trying to help people be more discerning, not necessarily saying, “Thou shalt not do thus and so.”

          I’m a non-yoga person, but I understand that my Christian brother or sister might not agree with me and have the Christian liberty to do yoga. I don’t, but they might. But I feel that some people get really defensive when I say I don’t do yoga. Even though I don’t tell them that they can’t, the very fact that I don’t makes them upset. They don’t give me the liberty to abstain. Anyway, just thinking out loud.

        2. I suppose that a pastor is free to express his opinion. And certainly if you are asked you are free to give it. What I find is that people who don’t do something have a habit of expressing their abstinence in a very condescending and presumptuous way. My wife and I use birth control. I believe there is nothing wrong with it. We have been married for 4 years with no children. I know people who don’t use BC for various reasons, often because the women couldn’t handle it. Those people and I get along just fine. They have no aversion to using it they just don’t or maybe they do, but they have no reason to convert you. But I’ve also run into the people who don’t use it and think anyone who does might as well be killing babies with their bare hands. It is at that point that I have a problem. First every person I’ve met like that has at least one child they didn’t plan on 😯 and secondly now you are imposing an interpretational standard onto me. You don’t wanna use BC great, but my family does get over it.

          @Pastor’s Wife. Paul is clear in his teaching that two people can have two different standards and both be accepted in the sight of God. If a person attacks your abstinence from yoga that is wrong, but it would be equally wrong for you to insist that I don’t do yoga. Unless there is clearly a violation of a fundamental doctrine it is my freedom to partake. Paul said don’t look down on the person with a stricter standard. And to the stricter person don’t pretend you are holier than thou. It sounds like you approach it correctly and that people who disagree with you aren’t. It is likely because they’ve met a lot of people like my example above, or maybe they’ve met too many people like Mark Driscoll. Personally it is probably a little of both.

          One thing that makes Christianity outside of Fundy land tough is allowing for differences of opinion. In Fundamentalism we created entire doctrines based upon preferences based upon principles based upon interpretation based upon out of context verses. Why? so that everything lined up neatly. We like the order, it is easy and so long as we fit within that order everything must be great. This was one of the hardest things I had to come to grips with when I left Fundy land. At first it was over things I held dear, but really shouldn’t have. Like the fact that my teaching elder wasn’t a dispensationist. Later it was when I found out that godly Christians could believe both the Bible and the theory of Evolution. I now work with a guy at my church who believes in transubstantiation (even though the church doesn’t believe that) and the weird thing is that we both worship the same God in the same place in harmony. But it is tough. It is way easier to just build the walls and tell everyone that they must fit comfortably inside. There’s no mess, and everything has its proper place. But that isn’t how the NT church functioned. There were all kinds of sinners, there were all kinds of believers. Honestly Peter and Paul wouldn’t have had fellowship with each other if they were both Fundies.

          Real life, and real Christianity is messy. And that is a good thing. Hard to accept, but liberating when you.

        3. @Mark, thanks for your answer! My husband and I have found that it’s OK for the church to be “messy”, but a lot of people don’t like that. They want everything perfect and neat, a “museum” of Christianity, even if that position is unbiblical! We see church more as a hospital, where people come in wounded and broken, needing healing, and new Christians are being born. It’s messy!

        4. And you’re right about the birth control issue: people can be really INTENSE over their convictions on that one!

        5. Totally jumped in the thread on this one. But thanks for that last comment! Something I needed to hear. 😛

    2. I left Fundyland in 1997 for the SBC. My mother was convinced I had gone liberal, even though the basic teachings were identical. (Toss out the loony stuff and update the music, and that’s apparently “liberal” to the IFB. Whatever.)

      Anyway, I noticed the drift. When I heard my pastor preach pro-life Sunday early on, he sounded like he used some Cliff’s notes from “Prolife Feminism: Yesterday and Today” and I loved it. Women had more freedom than I ever saw before (but no preaching, please, this was still the SBC). As time went on, things changed for me and the church. I discovered Biblical Equality, but the church went the other direction. Gothardites started coming to church. Gothard even held a seminar there (for which I refused to work on camera crew, even when offered payment). The politics got bolder, the attitudes toward women got worse, the bull level kept creeping up. To make things worse, my then-bf (now Hubby) was being mistreated by a former friend who became deacon (and is one of those Fundies who forgot to leave Fundamentalism in the IFB). Between the Fundy drift and the abusive ex-friend, I put my foot down and said I was leaving the church; and if he chose to break up with me because of it, that was fine. Obviously he stayed with me and proposed after that.

      Unfortunately, my husband was not mistreated by the SBC and the IFBs he was associated with in the way I was, and is not one to move out of a comfort zone, so he’s not so willing to experiment with other churches. It took everything to get him in a holiness church. At least we’re out of the SBC, and for now I’m just going to have to accept that as enough.

        1. As I said earlier, I’d prefer Anglican, but Hubby doesn’t leave his comfort zone under any circumstances.

          The holiness churches I prefer here (Church of God-Anderson) are actually much like Baptists, but with fewer hangups and they don’t get offended when women act like fully human beings instead of doormats.

        2. @LMcC, I knew of some Holiness churches in IN who were very strict with dress standards: women couldn’t cut their hair or wear makeup, jewelry of any kind, pants OR culottes, or no-sleeved shirts. Even their men wore long pants and t-shirts under their basketball uniforms. They did however like syncopated music!

        3. PW: This one is NOT like that. I wouldn’t have gone near the place again if it had been. There is still some Baptist influence here (come on, I am in Nashville, there’s no way to escape it), but it’s as mild as it gets among evangelicals so it’s the best I’m going to get.

          The associate pastor of my fact has actually said that he hopes that this church can avoid the crazy doctrinal extremes that other holiness churches and denominations have allowed in. He’s as turned off of extremism as I am, but apparently without the experience of living under it.

        4. Hm, posting without sufficient caffeine = bad typing.

          “The associate pastor of _my church, in fact,” is what I should have typed on that one line.

      1. John: I know it feels so good to make “feminists” your boogeywoman. Too bad you’re wrong. FTR, I’m pro-life and happily married, so I think I just blew two of your feminist ideas out of the water.

        See, Fundamentalism treats women like garbage. We’re told we are good for nothing more than sex, child-bearing, and all the dirty jobs the men are too proud to do. We are blamed for everything wrong and have no power to repair the alleged damage. I would have told you this even when I was still very traditional concerning sex roles in the church (even when I was still in Fundyland!), so don’t blame it on “feminism”, whether the real versions or the Fundy perversions of it.

        If a church cannot treat the women the people know as if they are full human beings, then how on earth can they take the Gospel to the ones they don’t know yet? If a church or pastor turns a blind eye when he knows a man in his church is beating his wife and children, or is mistreating his own wife, how can he set a Christ-like example to the sons and daughters in his congregation? If a church does not encourage its daughters to continue their education, who will teach the next generation of children in the ways of God?

        If the church treats women like trash, why should the men who love them even want to bother attending?

        1. I’m retired nearly two years, and one of the things I love to do is to study the scriptures and run down questions that I have wondered about and wasn’t happy with the answers I got from fundyland, gone from fundyland about two years. I have satisfied myself with questions I had regarding divorce, tithing, wine drinking, KJVonlyism, just to name a few. But I will tell you I cannot satify my questions about women and their role in the church to save my soul (figure of speech) That remaining silent in the church in several different places in scripture is hard to get around, I must say I don’t understand it and have not resolved this issue to my satisfaction. I’ve read everthing I can including scripture but I’m frankly stumped on this one.

        2. Greg: Try Christians for Biblical Equality ( http://www.cbeinternational.org ). This site answered a lot of my questions, and I was once a traditionalist (I can’t even say I was a so-called “complementarian”).

          I strongly recommend for men who are asking about women’s issues to read Dr. Gilbert Bilezikian. He was an old-country traditionalist who had to re-examine everything he thought he knew when his wife and children had to be home in the States while he worked overseas in the Middle East. He is definitely NOT a “feminist”. He is, however, a gentleman who has learned to appreciate the gifts his sisters in Christ bring to the church, and encourages them to use those gifts for God’s glory.

        3. @LMcC I’m curious, in what ways have you seen women treated like trash in fundamental churches? I’m not baiting you, and I don’t have ulterior motives. I just haven’t seen it, though admittedly my fundy-church exposure is somewhat limited.

        4. LMcC thank you for this. When I moved to Boston we started attending Park Street. The head pastors are all male, and for now I believe I prefer that. But we do have female elders and they have some major roles in the church. Often we will have a woman lead in prayer, read the scripture, or perform various other functions of the service that would be extremely foreign to IFB. For the most part I didn’t think twice, but then one Sunday we had an entire sermon given to us by a woman. I remember thinking it was very odd at first, but later I realized that it was quite liberating. Now I’ve taken notice and it seems that Park Street is very open to elevating the role of women in ministry and I’m all for it. Gone are the days of stupid stereotypes. Gone is the misogyny that was so indicative of Christianity.

        5. Tonyt: Where doesn’t it happen is more like it.

          I’ve seen double standards concerning adultery and divorce, thanks to the parents of some of my friends. I’ve dealt with stricter rules on the girls than the boys in both high school and at BJU. I’ve heard pastors make horribly sexist jokes and comments from the pulpit, including wife-bashing. I’ve heard college lectures on sex which essentially allowed men to rape their wives. I know plenty of girls who were sexually harassed in Christian schools and “Christian” children’s homes. I know of girls and women who lost educational opportunities and guidance due to being in Fundy schools.

          My home church was so negative on women that I was convinced I could have a loving marriage or a Christian marriage, but never both. (And of course, women remaining single was never an option.) If the leaders in that church had their way, all references to men loving their wives would have been erased from Scripture and all references to wives submitting would have been doubled. The pastor threatened to disown his daughter if she ever had premarital sex, but only told his promiscuous son “don’t get anyone pregnant”. I had someone try to steal my then-fiance for one of his own daughters (which he treated pretty badly in the first place). This same guy was being a complete letch at my sister’s wedding.

          That’s just scratching the surface.

  8. On the other end, the fundamentalist, or at least “very right-leaning,” members of the conventional denominations– Southern Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, etc.– are now pushing very hard for splits in those bodies.

    1. Oh man, how much more right-leaning can anyone in the SBC go? I had to leave it because it was turning into Fundy-lite.

      1. Based on my experience on being in a SBC church with Gothard/Vision Forum leanings I’d have to say a lot.

        1. If they go any more in that direction, the IFBs and the SBC might as well merge. There’s no longer a dime’s width of distance between them now. If the SBC isn’t careful, they’ll make the Fundies look almost sane by comparison.

    2. I’ve found Maxie Burch out of North Phoenix Baptist (an SBC) to be both informative about the internal fights going on in the SBC, from the perspective of a very ecumenical teacher/congregation. Especially his History of Christianity series.

  9. “As his camp in fundyland lurches to the fringe, he tries to speak out in a reasonable fashion against the growing craziness of standards and separation he sees around him. Of course, other fundamentalists mark him as an apostate and separate from him.” So what’s Pastor Joe to do, seriously? Stay in a fundamentalism that has already separated from him? Fundamentalism HAS become about the standards and the issue of separation, so if you don’t agree on those, why stay a fundamentalist?

    This is very personal for me; it’s not a retorical question: what do you think Pastor Joe should do?

    1. Pastor Joe should take a long hard look at historical Christianity and orthodoxy and then compare it to his own belief system. Read the church fathers. Read church history. Get a grasp of what it has meant through the years to be a Christ-follower.

      Then he should look around at the broke, bleeding, imperfect body of Christ and realize that these are folks for whom Christ died and that be they ever so Calvinist or charismatic, or whatever, that they’re brothers and sisters in Christ.

      Lastly he should acknowledge that we will never completely and totally nail down a perfect system of doctrine while we’re here on this earth. Every creed, denomination, and sect has flaws and flawed people. And so it shall be until Christ returns.

      Then he should let everything else flow out of those two things.

      At least…that’s what I’ve been trying to do. I can’t claim to have done it particularly well.

      1. A lot of what you’re saying seems like it could be summed up in humility and love. Wonder why the Bible never emphasizes those things? 😉

      2. I’m going through the process of learning about the history of the church. It’s an introductory course, but it’s been a good challenge.

        Best Fundy detox ever. 😎

        1. It is scary when you learn about church history. In grad school at Fundy U I was a church music major. So I had to take a lot of church music history courses. That was exactly where it all began to crumble. Soon I figured out that history was simply (and I do mean simply) repeating itself and a vicious circle. It was because of this that I realized that for me being a voice of reason wouldn’t work. I needed a complete break from the craziness. I couldn’t sit by and watch the same history repeating knowing what the end result would be. I wanted to learn from history and start a new story. And that is what I did. But you are right history is great detox…it is also a great way to be enlightened if you are still in fundy land.

        2. Susan,

          No, I’m not reading primary sources. My main textbook is “How to Read Church History” by Jean Comby. There are supplements, but they’re also textbooks.

          Comby’s book is published by a Liberal Catholic press and the other textbook is a collaboration between Catholic and Protestant historians, so the course is VERY fair. (No “Trail of Blood, the Catholic church is the whore of Babylone” crap.) 😎

  10. I’ll never forget the time I realized my mother’s pastor wasn’t so bad. She worked at a hospital and asked her pastor what he thought of the hospital chaplain, an ordained PCUSA pastor. He said the chaplain was liberal, but he thought he did a good job in that position. He said a fundamentalist pastor couldn’t do that kind of job because he’d spend all day sending people to hell.

    Just because some of them aren’t too bad, doesn’t mean I’m going back.

    1. “a fundamentalist pastor couldn’t do that kind of job because he’d spend all day sending people to hell.”

      I LOL’d when I saw that. It’s so true…

  11. This is very true. After fleeing fundyism we attended some SBC churches for a while. They set off our alarms with their “Fundy lite” messages. It may not have been as coarse and they may have used correct grammar but underneath it was nearly identical.

    1. I’ve been noticing a shift in where ex-Fundies go to church after leaving Fundyland.

      When I grew up, it was a run to the Charismatics or the SBC. Unfortunately, both of these groups have done Fundy-style shifts. (Well, that and the Charismatics also can’t run out their Word-Faithers. Shame, too… they always had the best concerts.)

      Now, it’s the PCA and other neo-Reformed groups.

        1. yep. But not impossible 😉 It’s hard leaving when you’re the youth pastor’s wife and he refuses to leave despite years of abuse from leadership towards you… but thankfully God is bigger than that and *can* make a way.

        2. I know a guy who used to be an IFB pastor. He’s now a United Methodist pastor. It’s possible.

      1. “Now, it’s the PCA and other neo-Reformed groups.”

        Or the Anglicans, Catholics, and Orthodox.

  12. The controversy over the KJV is not new. I grew up during the 50s, and up until then, the KJV was about all that we knew. Then, the Revised Standard Version made it debut, and I remember all the squawking about “taking the blood out of the Bible.”

      1. You’re right, and it’s a travesty! I realize sadly that I heard more messages about Bible versions and women’s clothing in my childhood than I did about loving your enemies. And honestly, which one’s harder to do? I can read only the KJV and wear skirts all my life in my own power, but I need the strength of the Holy Spirit to give me the compassion to love those who hate me.

        1. @pw
          I got to a church that is independent baptist, but the pastor has said that the only hill he will die on is Jesus and the Gospel. As a result, he has been ostracized from much of the movement.
          There is a small movement right now in some of the more left leaning independent baptist cirles that is trying to devolop into something interesting. They seem to be people who don’t call themselves fundamentalists and are trying to address the shortcomings in fundyism. As someone who recently escaped from a clone of FBC Hammond & HAC in California (Praise God!), I’ve really enjoyed being in a church with a pastor that doesn’t talk about nonsense from the pulpit. Just Jesus. =) If you and your husband are finding it hard to break from indy/fundy circles, getting in touch with my pastor might be helpful for you guys. Blessings,

        2. @Soli, thanks! I just glanced at the website briefly and noticed your church was doing “Vintage Church”! We just did that at our church too! Sounds like our churches might have a lot in common!

      1. So do I. I think I have the Catholic version at home. I lost count of how many full or partial Bible translations are at home, but it’s over 20.

        Two Eastern Orthodox priests from my area were set to work on a new translation, but one passed away and one got transferred and assigned to ecumenical relations. All that was completed was Revelation (Apocalyse), but I have it.

      2. Since I got my NRSV, I seldom read any other version, except for comparison, although I own several others.

        LMcC, they started with Revelation? Weird.

  13. Speaking of a rats nest…I heard my FIRST Dr. Phil Kidd sermon last afternoon. Is this guy for real? Never mind having a portrait picture of himself (can anyone say ‘Buster Poindexter’?)but the man is a lean-mean-Fundy machine who thrives on Darrell’s point of ‘catchphrase response’.

    In my early fundy years, “good preaching” was thought of as insults, one-liners, screaming, the ability to agitate the congregation to some kind of action…and it actually made you tired because they were nothing more than pep-talks defaming other believers because they weren’t BBF. I will say, my old Pastor was a good man who didn’t seem to have a beef with anyone but the ASSociate he brought on before I left for school was a real ringer…couldn’t conjugate a verb, but he sure could lay on the guilt trip.

    1. What is the deal with Fundies and guilt trips? Do THEY enjoy them? I hated the guilt trips I heard in Fundyism, and I was so surprised when I got to my new, non-Fundy church and heard about God’s love and His grace. I had almost forgotten about those elements of His character. The Fundy god sounds more like Zeus – waiting with a lightning bolt, ready to strike anyone who displeases him.

      1. Jen,
        I believe it is symptomatic of the belief that humans “are as bad as they possibly could be” and our only inclination is to sin or search for new ways to sin. So, after we ‘say the prayer’, it is the Preacher’s job to keep us in line and to prod us like goats to do the right thing. Really, I believe that the Fundamentalist leadership methodology is dishonest and manipulative at best and serves only to increase attendence and $$$. Face it, a church is really no more than a coporation as long as it is 501(c)3 and the aim of a corporation is to grow and be profitable.

    2. And speaking of Phil Kidd, he went to “Dr” Sightler’s college. Didnt you go there John? Did you and Kidd hang out?

  14. Your rules were fun to read.

    This is my first visit to this blog. Is your blog roll reflective of blogs you read and appreciate or blogs you are poking fun of? I am confused by Dr. Phil Armenik being in the same list as fundamentally reformed.

    1. I just can’t stomach the Armenik site, even though I know it’s satire. Too much for me.

  15. I believe in reformed theology. All the solas: scriptura, gratia, etc. I also am a Republican, a 5 point Calvinist (my husband is a 4 pointer 😛 ), and I attend a Conservative Baptist Church. I am a pastor’s wife (my husband is the children’s pastor.)

    But I also have multiple piercings and tattoos as does my husband. I can’t figure out whether you would call me a fundamentalist or not. lol. 🙂
    According to your rules for fundies, definitely not, but because my church has Baptist in its name I am not so sure.
    I’d like to hang around because I appreciate the wit and banter.

    1. You don’t have to be a Fundamentalist to hang around here and you don’t have to be a fundy to appreciate the humor. Stay as long as you like. Enjoy the back and forth.

  16. I read this on my break this morning, but didn’t quite grasp it. Upon second reading, I’m feeling it now.
    Especially the part
    “Joe doesn’t want to completely abandon his theological roots so he leaves to become a Southern Baptist or Non-Denominational pastor with baptistic leanings.”

    Kinda sounds like the last church I attended for about 6 months. A non-denominational “(Insert holy adjective) Bible Church”. At first I loved it. Maybe because, subtly, it was quite fundamentalist and therefore, comfortable with my past. Although at the time, I did not recognize it. However, over time, little ticks kept popping up that drove me bonkers. Such as, I had to wear nice pants in the sound booth when I worked sound so as to not cause people to stumble. 😯
    Needless to say, I eventually left. After a short while, one of the leaders of the college aged kiddos (myself included!) messaged me online asking where I was. Normally, that is where I choose to ignore it and go on my way. But I ended up responding and stating how the church, in essence, was quite fundamentalist. His response to that was along the lines of “That’s not at all the elders stance!” Apparently, fundamentalism is now just a core set of beliefs and doctrines. Whereas I see it as more of a mindset (although it does entail said set of “doctrines”).
    That church has intense baptistic leanings. Even if they won’t admit it. Ex-fundy? I can only imagine.

  17. Depending on where I’m stationed, I either go to a SBC church or a Bible church. Neither here (California) are too extreme, though I know there’s a wide variation.

    When I left, my problems didn’t lie with the basic doctrines. It was the people who added their own twists and guilt trips that drove me away.

  18. Spot on. Of course, so many songs describe the Fundy movement, not just The Who’s great tome. On the music theme I found a number of songs from Muse’s latest album accurately reflect fundyism and the proper response to it, with things like “We know that whoever holds the reins, nothing will change; our cause has gone insane.” And “They will stop degrading us; / They will not control us.” Very therapeutic, that album.

  19. What do you guys think of non-IFB Reformed fundamentalists? I’m talking about Bible Presbyterian, Free Presbyterian and some Reformed Baptists. As much I respect their heavier emphasis on systematic theology, I think they’re not very different from the IFBs on standards.

    Ever hear Paisley rant against “psuedo-fundamentalists”, or read Peter Masters’ article attacking “New Calvinism” for its “worldliness”? How about those who are fans of Vision Forum and those “Patriachy” movement. Different garb, same fighting separatist spirit as the IFBs.

  20. I’m a five-point Reformed Baptist, non-charismatic, KJV/NKJV-preferred, has a fine appreciation for psalms-only or high-church liturgy, a-mil/post-mil leaning and dislikes contemporary worship.

    Yet I drink, listen to “the world’s music”, and have no problem with tattoos/piercings as long as they’re tastefully done (and don’t cost you a corporate high-paying job), and usually supports Libertarians or Democrats only.

    What does that make me? Can you see what’s wrong with “standards”? Straining at gnats, swallowing camels (to borrow a KJV verse). The whole attitude so many fundies send is, “Get away from me, my land, my family, you godless heathen, unless when I’m soulwinning, and then you must listen to me!”

    Oh, some “nicer” fundies may pretend to be friendly to the unsaved and will say, “We don’t judge you for what you are, Jesus loves you and will change you.” Ok, but they leave out the other half, “We expect you to conform to our standards bit by bit once you ‘get saved’ as ‘evidence of salvation’.”

    I read from some Christian author who reminds us of the Beatitudes. True spirituality reaches out and loves others, even if they are of a different background and are outside of the Kingdom of God. And it is slow to judge.

    It does not boast its good works (how many souls I HAVE saved, how many chapters of the Bible I read), knowing only that the death of Jesus Christ pleases God, and will rather be rewarded at the Final Judgment rather than be praised by his friends.

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