PBW Day 5: Winning The Crown

The preacher boy has now been on this road to full-time ministry for a while since his call. He’s got the clothes, perfected his preaching craft and bagged himself a wife. It’s now time to take the final steps from being a preacher boy to becoming a preacher man.

Since how well a man preaches is the ultimate measure of his worth as a pastor, the preacher boy who wants to catch the eye of the senior pastors and get on the fast tract to his own pastordom must take (or invent) every possible opportunity to preach. There’s no such thing as a bad time for a sermon with these guys. Every meal, ballgame, commercial break, or pause for breath must be used as a reason for the preacher boy to give a “brief challenge.” This is not usually brief and the real challenge is keeping track of how many new doctrines are being created. After months and years of plaguing everyone around him with alliterated aspersions, the preacher boy will head for…

This stamp of fundamentalist approval is paramount in the process. To get it, each preacher boy must do his best to be louder and more outrageous than the others in hopes that he will be noticed as the next up and coming great man of God. Inevitably, a few of the loudest and most obnoxious will, in fact, get noticed and be slated for one of the Yearly Ordination Council And Eating Contest positions. In fundy circles this means that the pastor gets together a panel of his cronies who will quiz the young man about vital Scriptural issues like the proper interpretation of the role of China’s military in Daniel’s eschatology. More important than what is discussed, however, is who is on the panel. The preacher boy will need names to drop when he goes for…

Pastoral Candidacy
While some preacher boys will take a junior position as assistant or associate pastor, there’s an alarming frequency in fundyland of young men making their moves straight into the senior pastorate. One day you’re a Pastoral Ministries graduate who is flipping burgers and preaching at strangers on street corners; the next you’re king of all you survey with a clothing budget and the power to invoke God’s judgment on all who oppose you. It’s nice work if you can get it.

If you’re not lucky enough to be chosen by an established church there are other options. You could, for example, move to Arizona, start your own crazy cult church, and make a name for yourself on YouTube videos. Or so I’ve heard.

123 thoughts on “PBW Day 5: Winning The Crown”

    1. First reply!
      On the subject of Arizona… I would love to actually see Steven Anderson’s “congregation.” I’m betting it’s his wife and kids, a few weird guys with jumper-wearing wives and kids. I mean, there can’t be more than 10 people in that little room..

      1. I was in Tempe for a weekend in March. I went to a Cubs game instead. Figure God was more honored there than at Anderson’s “Church”. PS the ex fundies SWAT teams have been notified to watch for you in the vicinity of his preaching facilities.

        1. I’m just guessing, but I have a hunch that God is more honored in the average bordello than in that particular “church.”

          (Please don’t infer anything about my weekend plans from the above statement, though.)

      2. I’ve seen a few videos of SOMEONE leading songs…a pretty barren place…you have to consider his wife and kids make up 60% of the congregation. :mrgreen:

      1. Can’t help it… I’m on too much caffeine as I was up till 4am with the premiere of Satan’s newest witchcraft promoting film. 😀

        1. I am extremely jealous. I’m halfway through the 6th book, but since it’s Friday that might be done very soon. I reread the series since it’s been a few years.

        2. Boo! I have to wait an hour more before I can go see it, and you got to see it at midnight! Curses! (You bet I’m jealous!) 😈 They so better not have screwed up my favorite satanic book…

          *And now back to your regularly scheduled SFL commenting.*

        3. I’m going in an hour or so … got tickets to the first showing on Friday – wanted to be awake for the film, so decided the midnight showing wasn’t for me.

          When I get back, I’ll be posting an article on my blog about movie-going and how evil it really isn’t.

        4. I read all the books, but haven’t seen the films. I’m afraid they’ll somehow diminish my enjoyment of the books.

        5. I haven’t read the books yet. The box set is going to be on it’s way from Amazon soon. Happy/Merry Christmas/Thanksgiving to me. 😀

        6. @Amanda. There were some hard-core Potter nerds behind us (by hard-core I mean a girl dressed up as Ron, who took a red dry-erase marker into the restroom to write “the chamber of secrets has been opened bla bla bla” and could quote the books word-for-word) who seemed to really enjoy the film, so I think it’s pretty faithful to the book. (I haven’t read them yet though..)

        7. @Soli Deo Gloria: I just got back from the first matinee of the day and as a hardcore fan LOVED it. I’m getting the same opinion from my fellow HP geeks, too, so I don’t think it’s just me! You’re talking to a very happy woman today. :mrgreen:

        8. @Jenni: so who were you? I contemplated wearing a bunch of socks, but then thought that might not be a good idea (even if I’m glad they got that part right). 🙁

        9. @Big Gary- I wouldn’t worry too much. The Harry Potter movies actually followed the books a lot closer than many other movies do.

        10. @Amanda, I was Hermione – well, Hermione from a different era, when she still wore her Hogwarts uniform. I have a time turner, too, so I guess I was Hermione from the Prisoner of Azkaban.

          I like the sock idea. If I had seen you like that in the theater, I would have asked to take a picture with you. :mrgreen:

    2. Fast “track”, not “tract”. In “preaching” paragraph.

      I’m sorry. I can’t help it.

  1. I like the picture. The older guy in the front row looks like the pastor who is nervously biting his finger nails wondering what this PB is going to say. The three younger guys next to him look like PBs who are ready to take their turn to preach and they’re probably wondering how they can top what this guy is going to say. The kid in the third row on the aisle is anxiously awaiting his turn in a year or two. And the lady at the white piano…

    1. The nerd in me has to point out. . . .

      The picture is from John Piper’s Dad’s church — White Oak Baptist — which is right across the street from Bob Jones University. This was a photo from a _Life_ mag spread in 1948 when they took some 200 pictures featuring “the World’s Most Unusual University.”

      The pictures are fascinating . . . . I can show you more of ’em.

      1. Oh . . . and this is back when Piper was in BJU’s good graces. He was on the Board, Alumni Assoc. prez twice, selling property there around campus. He had moved FROM Cleveland, TN with BJC/U in order to be close to it so that his kids could go to school there.

        Then Billy Graham happened and the BJx empire acted like spoiled little brats, and Piper resigned. I have the letter. It’s . . . well, it’s sad because I think he was a good egg and BJx was rotten.

        1. Never heard any of that. Was beginning to wonder how in the world you would know what specific church that was, till you said it was right across from BJ. History++

        2. Oh, Rob, some of us can’t wait for Camille’s next book. It’s going to blow the lid off of Fundyland.

        3. That has to be the first building (the one to the East). The current sanctuary has higher ceilings in it (and more rows of pews).

        4. Camille,

          I would love to see more pictures and the letter. I believe the church was still there when I attended BoJo but it was not on the approved list.

      2. I remember first visiting BJU and thinking what a lovely church that was and being disappointed that it was off-limits. It seemed a shame.

    1. Once, at The Wilds, I was told my part was as crooked as “The Snake River Canyon.” I thought of it as a compliment.

  2. Ahhhgghh…beat me to the comment about the old guy. He’s the outgoing Pastor recovering from the nervous breakdown. (The white piano is behind the plant to the left).

    1. Actually, you’re probably right. Maybe he mellowed with age and started preaching more expository messages, and the head of the deacons (bald guy next to wall) along with the most prominent family in the church (lead by the woman in the middle of the second row) felt the need for some younger blood and therefore brought in four candidates this particular Sunday.

      1. Good observation….the kid on the 4th pew back is the reason for the outgoing Pastor’s nervous condition….the guy with the glasses in front of the kid is the “next on deck” for tryouts.

  3. If you’re not lucky enough to be chosen by an established church there are other options. You could, for example, move to Arizona, start your own crazy cult church, and make a name for yourself on YouTube videos. Or so I’ve heard.”

    And breed your church into existence…..

  4. Steven Anderson is my absolute favorite preacher in all the world because he’s always coming up with some new doctrine with Scripture mercilessly taken out of context. I especially enjoyed the clip where he got tased by border patrol. Also, I have been to his church web site, and read his wife’s blog, gushing about how her role in life is to bear, and homeschool his children. Puke!

    1. Puking isb the kind and compassionate response! I sometimes think some of the Psalmists had him in mind!

      1. That title may or may not hit close to home… I wonder what strange new doctrines he invents in that sermon. Sadly (?) I don’t have the cojones to watch it for myself to find out. 😳

    2. Besides how great she is, Mrs. Anderson’s other favorite topic on her blog is how everyone else in the world is damned to perdition because they don’t do exactly what she does. Re-reading that sentence, I’m not sure that’s two different subjects, instead of just one. Anyway, narcissism and Internet blogs were made for each other.

    3. Personally, I actually love Mrs. Anderson’s blog. I think her husband is a crazy nutcase, and I don’t agree with them on a lot of things (like the birth control issue!), but I love reading her blog. I guess it’s because I’m into natural food, natural baby-raising (breastfeeding, co-sleeping, etc.), and I don’t get our son vaccinated, based on a lot of research I’ve done on my own from a lot of non-conspiracy theorist sources.

    1. Now that I have a color printer for my computer, I can make all the honorary degrees I want. Would you like one?

      1. I have a certain family member who is the ultimate obnoxious fundy preacher. Now that he received his honorary doctorate from INDIA, he is much worse. Anyone want to know how he got his honorary doctorate? Well, sure you do!

        Teen group members of his church went on a mission trip to build classrooms for some college in India. The last day, this pastor fly’s in from the states, Gives a message in English to people who did not speak English (according to teens who were there for over a month), then at the end of the service, the President of the college in INDIA give said pastor a honorary doctorate! Seems to me, the teens did all the work, and earned this honorary doctorate rather than him.

        This pastor now proudly displays “Dr.” before his name.

        This should be an “interesting” Thanksgiving dinner, if he does what he did last year, brag to all the “little kids” about how he is a “doctor” now. 😈

        So, getting a honorary doctorate from a color ink jet printer why not? 🙁

        1. This seems to apply: “They do everything to attract people’s attention…They love the place of honor at dinners and the front seats in synagogues. They love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have people call them Rabbi.” (Mt. 23:5-7)

  5. “It’s nice work if you can get it.”
    That made my day!

    Also the end about Anderson is so true. Just go start your own church and be done with it. Not that people starting churches couldn’t get a pastor position in an established church, but when there are no safe guards and no accountability the chances of devolving into Anderson like cultishness is pretty easy…especially if, like him, you are proud of your lack of education.

    Also I actually sat through an ordination service once. I remember some questions being asked that were way beyond me, but I also remember a few being asked where the answer wasn’t what I agreed with even at that time (HS). Maybe an early warning sign?

    1. My husband got insight when he was on an ordination committee and he asked, “What obligation does the church have to the local community?” The candidate said, “None beyond telling them they’re lost without Christ”, and the ordination board all agreed. My husband realized he probably wasn’t a match for fundamentalism anymore.

      1. I’ve heard that no obligation response, and seen it applauded myself to my own outrage. Anathema Maranatha! 😉

      2. [blockquote]My husband got insight when he was on an ordination committee and he asked, “What obligation does the church have to the local community?” The candidate said, “None beyond telling them they’re lost without Christ”, [/blockquote]

        One of the things that irritated me to no end growing up. We do have more obligation than that.

      3. What would you say is the proper and Biblical response to that question? Honest inquiry, by the way.

        1. I personally believe the answer to the Genesis questions (1) what is God going to do with sinners? and (2) Am I my brother’s keeper? Are (1) Jesus heals/forgives and a resounding YES. James (i don’t have chapt and verse) says if you see a person in need and don’t give, the love of God is not in you.

        2. And I don’t believe anyone can say it’s a metaphorical coat in James which you’d have to to give the answer “no responsibility” that fundies love.

        3. I believe we are supposed to show God’s love by meeting needs (this was not done much in any of the IFB churches I’ve been in; they called this the “social gospel.”) If I see someone hungry or unclothed (maybe coatless), I cannot say, “Be filled. Be warm,” and go my way. I must DO something about it. If I see a wounded man on the side of the road, I must stop and help him. If someone is hungry, we need to give them something to eat; thirsty, we give them something to drink; a stranger, we show them hospitality; those who need clothes, we clothe them; sick, we look after them, in prison, we visit them.

          Our IFB churches usually do this ONLY FOR MEMBERS. I don’t see how it fully shows the love of Christ to the world when we do things only for other church members. If we greet only our brothers,what more are we doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?

          Because the IFB see the error of meeting only physical needs without sharing with the lost the Gospel of Christ, they overreacted, ONLY caring for spiritual needs and ignoring physical needs. They assume it’s one or the other: the message of salvation OR the social gospel. But we desire to do both – to help people and to tell them that salvation is only through Jesus Christ.

        4. James 1:27

          Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

          So many churches just like the last part of the verse. I am passionate about orphans. If only believers would get out of the pews.

          Just moved to Arizona btw and we are finally in a church that is passionate about serving. Uh no, not that church.

        5. I think the obligation is summed up neatly this way:

          ‘And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
          And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?”
          And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.”
          But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”‘
          Luke 10:25-29

          (snarfed directly from BGW’s NASB)

          I left the self-justifying question in there, since it seems so appropriate. We call ourselves Christ’s followers and yell insults at people in need, or simply tell them “what you need is Jesus! (that is, you need to live your life EXACTLY as we do, or don’t bother hoping).” The problem is loving our neighbor is icky and messy; like the lawyer, we want an out. Doesn’t He mean those people who are easy to love? Can’t we take a pass on this? Doesn’t look like it. Directly telling people they’re going to Hell wasn’t really His style either.

      4. Unfortunately this bleeds through in their politics as well. It is the church’s failing that requires government. When conservative pundits say we need to “restore honor” they aren’t talking about community involvement through the church. They aren’t talking about helping the needed and spreading the good news through community activism. They aren’t talking about the gospel. And that is my problem with it.

      5. My husband was taught at PCC when the ordination committee asked “what will you do if we do not ordain you here today?” he was supposed to say, “Preach the word anyway!”


    2. Anderson says that Master’s degrees are evil because Christ taught us not to let anyone call us “Master.” I can’t wait to be called Master Tony.

      Grad school, then, is satanic, unless you get into a 3/4-year Medicine Doctor’s program and skip that Master’s Degree.

  6. If this pix wasn’t so old I would think it was a young Wayne Van Gelderen or his one of his sons based on the hair and jaw! 😉

      1. Gah! There’s a name from my past I thought I’d never hear again! He was asst./youth pastor at at his daddy’s church (which I grew up in) before he got his own gig. It wasn’t nepotism, of course. 🙄

        1. Now he’s running a church/school/”college” with plenty of positions for his own quiver full…

  7. Another group they get to torture with their preaching are rescue missions. I work at one and we get them in all the time to speak in our evening chapel services. The next day myself and other staff members have to set some of the clients straight because said preacher boy got them all confused.

    1. No doubt! I’ve been to rescue missions a LOT since leaving fundyland, and both staff and the clients tell me they love when I bring groups, cause most people just come to tell them men how awful they are, and how thy deserve the problems they have.

      1. Wow, that’s cold….Sometimes it sounds like the PB’s are just scouring the earth for someone to hate or at least to drill with their sharp tongues.

    2. I remember our youth group going to a rescue mission in Galveston. I believe it was related to the Roloff Homes. There was a huge mural on the wall behind the pulit of the pope burning in flames. Geez! Must’av been copied from a Chic Tract.

      1. At least they gave oit meals & shelter for free! I have serious doubts they ever gave out the true Good News of God restarting his Goodness afresh in the world.

    3. I lived in the local rescue mission for about 6 months last year and I heard the whole gambit. The organization that ran it did have enough sense to not invite preachers back, for the most part, when they just bashed people over the head however it is kind of the equivalent of a bad comedy club when it comes to amateurs getting to try their hand at preaching.
      One guy “Brother Ralph” has been known to call anybody who didn’t take a bible from the shelf to chapel “Sons of Belial” and to characterize all women who work in restaurants as harlots.
      The “preacher boys” from BJU were actually some of the better and more level headed ones we had on a regular basis.
      Funny thing “preachers” would tend to do though. They would tend to do the best they could to jazz up a frequently rather “clean” testimony so that they could “relate” to we addicts and homeless.
      Some advice for them: If you did have a bit of a rough past then you probably already realize that it’s not a big deal and you don’t need to tell us war stories. If you really don’t have and “big sins” in your past please don’t stretch your minor mischief into some kind of lame story.

      The worst guy we had though was this retired dude who loved to read the latest Christian books and then boil them down for us. He’d take a 300 page book, outline it and then explain it in two 20 minute sessions. My favorite series of his was one of the popular books on “finding your spiritual gifts”. Best part: the final day he goes on for 20 minutes about how the most important part of the whole process is finding a good group of spiritual mentors and partners to help you followed by his confession that he hadn’t actually done it and probably wasn’t going to get around to it for at least a couple of years.
      So yes, while volnteers are appreciated, please don’t send unprepared wanabee preachers to your local mission.

  8. Every meal, ballgame, commercial break, or pause for breath must be used as a reason for the preacher boy to give a “brief challenge.”

    If I ever hear the words “give us a brief challenge” again in course of my entire life, it’ll be too soon. I’m currently trying aggressively to retake the word “challenge” for myself in its real meaning, i.e: I’m looking for a challenge or I really want to challenge myself to be a better man. Reclaiming my psyche–and the English language–one word at a time.

    You could, for example, move to Arizona, start your own crazy cult church, and make a name for yourself on YouTube videos. Or so I’ve heard.


    1. I’m reclaiming the words “evangelical” (it’s not a dirty word) and “love” (Jesus DID demand it of us, and we’re not allowed to ignore it because we’re focusing on holiness).

  9. While we are naming characters in the pic, what are we calling the guy literally in a black trench coat & black hat by the boarded up window (2nd row)? Or did someone already name him?

    1. Major Arnold Toht?
      He’s one of the nazis in Raiders Of The Lost Ark. The one that picks up the hot medallion and burns his hand.
      It looks like him anyway.

      1. “Surely men in that era would not have worn hats in church.” – If they were nazis they would 😈

        Seriously, I think you are correct BG. That may be a woman, but that is a man’s hat!

        1. That’s a Nazi woman? They let cross dressers in that congregation back then? No wonder they split ways w/ BJ (see Camille thread above).

        2. PS there’s what appears to be a short top hat on what I’m certain is a woman about half way to 2/3 back too. I was never aware there was a woman’s top hat craze, but there it is. Maybe she’s another Nazi?

        3. I wasn’t certain enough to call out multiple female top hats, but there’s at least 1 unquestionable top hat, and I highly believe in the other 2 top hats, There clearly is no white piano in this church.

  10. It’s like a three-in-one day. Great job Darrell! My favorite is the hidden caption on the photo though. Pure Gold. 😀

    But seriously folks… There is a very good reason a pastor is not to be a novice – and the word dose not simply refer to his doctrinal training but his life experience and maturity. This is one of the biggest problems with the preacherboy model. Godly, mature men are supposed to be chosen by a church, not simply ‘educated’ or ‘called’ men. If someone desires to be a pastor (or Bishop), that’s great, but he will have to wait till he meets the qualifications.

    BTW if one considers a youth pastor to be on the pastoral staff, then why are we letting some fresh graduate play pastor with those among us who are at their most trying and vulnerable time in life when said youth pastor doesn’t have the criteria to be a pastor at all. It has been a terribly damaging thing in fundamentalism to use our teenagers as test subjects in this way.

    1. Yes! The qualifications were character oriented, not doctrinal or education or “calling” cause the church needs shepherds who care for the congregation, and Paul was very familiar with who would be the first to be targeted/arrested/slaughtered, both in the early church, and throughout history where the church is persecuted.

    2. JohnRF, You seem to want to follow those biblical guidelines set forth in scriptures for the pastor/overseer, and I think that’s a good thing. However I don’t think in the U.S. that what we see in scripture is actually happening in our churches. This pastor ends up essentially telling everybody what to do, and how to do it. I don’t see much of the servant part happening in preachers. And what of everyone else’s gifts? When do they get to minister their gifts. I see a “scriptural” overseer making sure to recognize and use the gifts of the others in the flock, as opposed to I’m the king here, listen to me.

      I think we have grown to accept the roles that our pastors are playing. I don’t think this is what God had in mind at all for the overseer.

      May be none of my business, but are you a pastor?

    1. The offer was for an honorary doctorate.
      I don’t know if I can swing a license to practice medicine. 😕

      1. If God has called her, that should be all the qualifications she needs! I’m sure He’ll equip her for the needs that arise! I say give her the degree! 😉

        1. Thank you, RobM. Keep me in mind when you need your appendix removed. I’m sure with gid’s help I’ll do fine.

  11. The Fundamentalist pastor in Arizona who is popular on YouTube works as an independent building contractor. That’s a good job. Maybe not in this economy, but it’s a good job. I’ll give him that much.

    1. For the sake of people in Arizona, I hope he’s better at building stuff than he is at understanding Christianity.

    2. Anderson is looking for a big government paycheck via a lawsuit. He’s involved in another situation where he basically acted like a jackass when pulled over by a cop for having the light on his license plate out and is looking to sue over the way he was treated. He’s a moron who now drives around with a little squad of likeminded idiots with a video camera at the ready hoping to get something on tape that brings him a payday.

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