Friday Challenge: Recommend a Resource

Today’s challenge is to recommend a helpful resource to those who are leaving fundamentalism. Read a good book? Listened to an informative lecture series? Surfed a website that challenged your thinking? Don’t just keep it to yourself!

Here are a few that I recommend…

Understanding Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism by George M. Marsden

If you want to understand fundamentalism you have to go back to the beginning and understand its historical and philosophical roots. Marsden does a bang-up job of putting the entire mess into context.

The Reason For God by Tim Keller

When leaving fundamentalism the temptation is often to swing to the extreme and leave Christianity altogether. Here a very non-fundamentalist Tim Keller makes a compelling case for why Christianity still makes sense in spite of people who may abuse it. Also check out Mere Christianity by C.S Lewis for a classic handling of the same topic.

Apologetics and Outreach lectures taught by Jerram Barrs

A fantastic class on faith and evangelism taught by a fantastic teacher. This completely changed the way I look at a Christian’s mission in the world. Load this one on your iPod and listen to it while you work or drive. You will not be sorry you did.

There are many, many more I could recommend but I’ll let you all have at it…

343 thoughts on “Friday Challenge: Recommend a Resource”

  1. I don’t see leaving Christianity altogether as extreme, but rather as the next logical step. So for anyone who is thinking about rejecting Christendom or religion as a whole, I would recommend “Like Rolling Uphill: Realizing the honesty of Atheism” by Dianna Narciso. While she doesn’t beat around the bush with her objections to religion (specifically Christianity), she does so gently and is much less confrontational about it than some authors.

  2. My experience was not so much books (although there were several that helped). It was simply being outside the fundamentalist circle and actually getting to know people who had different beliefs. I learned that people can really, actually be God-fearing, Gospel-loving evangelical Christians and still read something other than the KJV. Or go to the theater. Or listen to “worldly” music. Or be *gasp* CALVINIST!

    1. Darrell,

      Glad to see recommendations from sound resources —so many truly do indeed “throw the baby out with the bath water” and leave sound doctrine and Bible truth behind altogether in their exodus from fundamentalism.

      I had only heard of one of these before. Will have to check into the others.

      1. Theo,

        Yes I am. Becasue of fundamentalism, I threw out the baby with the bathwater so to speak.

        As I read the comments from many of the SFL readers (pastors wife, Don, RobM, Mark Rosedale and many more and I apologize for not naming everyone) I do wonder if my “de-conversion” wasn’t done in haste. I sometimes think I wish I had heard the version of Christianity described by those mentioned. Maybe I would be in a different place. But here I am for better or worse.

        BTW – I do not eat dead babies :mrgreen:

        1. I was an atheist in my teens and twenties. Because Fundies like to isolate their kids from other Christians, fundamentalism was all I knew of Christianity. And it was so f’ed up I didn’t want anything more to do with it.

          I went back to church looking for a safe place to be me. I wasn’t expecting to find God there.

        2. Amanda – No live babies either.

          However, kittens on the other hand. Marinate them in a little terriaki, yummy.
          Great, now I have a hankering for Chinese food :mrgreen:

        3. The Peking Moon!!! I am listening to that song right now Don. I have it on my computer.

          …Chow Lin asked if I wanted more as he was dialing up his buddy up at the old pet store. I said not today I lost my appetite. There’s 2 cats in my belly and they want to fight….

          Classic 😆

  3. A book that greatly influenced me was the “Cost of Discipleship” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I remember when I used Bonhoeffer as an illustration on deputation and the pastor of the church that had welcomed us, came to me and questioned whether Bonhoeffer was a “real” Christian. I am convinced that he was.

  4. “The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements” Eric Hoffer
    A Classic. People often get involve in cults or submit to their leaders, because they are afraid of their freedom and taking responsibilty for themselves.

    “Jesus Land: A Memoir” Julia Scheeres
    Julia’s parents seem to love the church more than their own children, including two black children her racist parents adopted. When Julia and her brother became “rebellious” teenagers, they were sent to a Christian camp (it was more like a prison) in the Domitian Republic. The camp was purposely put there so it would not have to operate under American laws! The camp still exists.

    “Losing My Religion: How I Lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America and Found Unexpected Peace” William Lobdell
    After Lobdell got saved, he became the religion reporter for the Los Angeles Times. What he discovered on the religion beat caused him to lose his faith.

    “Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist” Dan Barker
    Barker was once a true believer. His leaving the faith was a long painful struggle.

    “Leaving The Fold: Testimonies of Former Fundamentalists” Edward T. Babinski
    Various essays by former fundamentalist, some became liberal Christians, agnostics and atheists.

    “The Incredible Scofield and His Book” by Joseph Canfield
    “Doctor” Schofield was a complete and utter fraud. Also a critique of the “reference” bible.

    “God Against the Gods: The History of the War between Monotheism and Polytheism” Jonathan Kirsch
    Kirsch makes the agreement that with the raise of monotheism whether in Egypt or Rome lead to the raise of authoritarianism. Polytheism in the ancient world created societies where there were more checks and balances.

    “A Short History of Nearly Everything” Bill Bryson
    If you were raised a fundamentalist, your knowledge science maybe limited. This easy to read primer covers evolution and the origin of the universe.

    “Redneck Nation: How the South Really Won the War” Michael Graham
    A southern conservative who is not afraid to make on the religious right and love of the Confederacy.

    “Ken’s Guide to the Bible” Ken Smith
    Sample, fun critique of the Bible.

    “Don’t Know Much About the Bible: Everything You Need to Know About the Good Book but Never Learned” Kenneth C. Davis
    Another non-literalist review on the Bible.

    “The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power” Jeff Sharlet
    The Family is secret fundamentalist sects that sponsor the annual “Nation Prayer Breakfast”. They believe the god has a different morality for the powerful and well connected. While being small in numbers, they have had a major impact on American and world politics.

    “End Times Fiction A Biblical Consideration of the Left Behind Theology” Gary DeMar
    DeMar, A Christian Dominionist critiques the pre-trib belief system and shows how people like Tim LaHaye take the Bible out of context and cross reference verses that are not related to each other.

    “The End of Faith” and “Letters to a Christian Nation” by Sam Harris
    “God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything” Christopher Hitchens
    Some excellent books by “the new Atheists”

    “Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free” Charles P. Pierce
    I have not read this book yet, but I saw Pierce speak about his book on C-Span’s “Book TV”. He was inspired to write this book after Terry Schiavo fiasco. He also writes about the Creation “Museum”.

    Some books I like to read, when I find the time.

    “The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind” Mark A. Noll
    Anti-intellectualism is the norm at many fundie institutes of learning.

    “The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience, Why Are Christians Living Just Like the Rest of the World?” Ronald J. Sider
    Born again Christians, drink, get high, divorce, use pornography, beat their spouses and fornicate often at higher rates them the general population. And they are more likely to be racist. (No surprise here!)

    “The End of Biblical Studies” Hector Avalos
    Without any new archeological findings, there’s not much new we can say about the Bible.

    And two fun websites

    1. “God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything” Christopher Hitchens”

      I read most of this book wanting an excuse to abandon Christianity. Didn’t find that excuse. In fact, if anything, the book convinced me that the New Atheists do not hold the higher intellectual ground.

  5. In addition to some very good books already mentioned, I’d like to add:
    ‘Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism’ by John Shelby Spong
    An excellent book (my non-fundy husband is currently reading it) that show where fundies have gone wrong in translating scripture and how to read the Bible to truly get the most wisdom from it.
    ‘The Faith Healers’ by James Randi
    ‘Salvation for Sale: An Insider’s View of Pat Robertson’ by Gerard Straub
    While both of these books were published back in the late ’80s (and some of the info in them is a bit dated) they were really good for rattling my mental cage and giving me a better look at the higher levels of fundyism. I’d recommend them for anyone who wants a real look at how the leading lights of fundyism really think of the rest of us.

    1. Perhaps I’m crossing the line between evangelical and fundamentalist, but Spong is considered in the more conservative evangelical circles as having a heretical view of the Scriptures. I’ve admittedly not read much of his work, but the little I have shows that his views on the Scripture leave him in a incredibly weak position to be authoritative when it comes to ‘getting wisdom from the Bible.’ Just a friendly caution to anyone not grounded well who might read Spong.

    2. I’ve read a couple of Spong’s books.
      I don’t agree with all his views, and he seems to be a little full of himself, but I still found the books very helpful in stimulating me to formulate my own beliefs, often in opposition to his.

      The views that Jesus was married and that Paul was gay are not just Spong’s. They are fairly widespread, and not inconsistent with anything in the New Testament. My own opinion is that there is insufficient evidence to say such things with any certainty.

      1. So you’re saying it’s “consistent” to say that the guy who called homosexuality “unrighteous” (I Cor. 6:9), “dishonorable” (Rom. 1:26-27), and “contrary to sound doctrine” (I Tim. 1:10) was himself gay? Interesting hermeneutics…

        I agree with this post’s thesis: you can be an orthodox Christian without being a Fundie. But orthodox Spong certainly is not. Nor is the notion that Paul was gay.

        1. Dave, I don’t think the Bible says anything about having a gay sexual orientation. Paul could have been gay and celibate (as was Henri Nouwen).

        2. Paul apparently was celebate (and sexually abstinent), since he said that people who could not be “as I am” should get married, so as not to fall into sin. But he also said that he had an “affliction,” which some people interpret as meaning he had a gay sexual orientation. There’s not space to go into the whole argument here, but that’s the bare bones of it. As I said, I think there’s insufficient evidence to prove him either gay or straight.

          As for Jesus being married, Jewish law required every able-bodied man to marry, so the fact that the New Testament says nothing about him being unmarried suggests that he was married, since that was the default assumption for an adult Jew. Again, though, I say that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence (or something like that).

        3. Actually, Spong’s (rather weak) argument is based on statements like those. As folks have said, having a homosexual orientation and believing that homosexuality is sinful are not mutually exclusive. One of Spong’s gay parishioners went further, suggesting that Paul sounded a lot like he did when he was still a closeted, self-loathing gay man in denial.

          Spong took that idea and ran with it, suggesting that Paul’s “road to Damascus” moment was actually the realization that Jesus – and therefor God – would love him regardless of the fact that he was an abomination. And since God would love him, he could also love himself – that is, break free of his own self-loathing.

          It’s a very interesting sermonette, and the historical accuracy of it is the least important part. Spong is the classic Liberal Christian, and so the exact historical facts are less important than the meaning that can be extracted from them. I’d be hard pressed to say whether or not Spong actually believes that Jesus was married, or was the child of Mary and a Roman soldier, or that Paul was gay.

      2. The view that Jesus ran the ferris wheel at Coney Island in 1969 and for that matter that Paul was actually the Door’s first baseplayer are also not inconsistent with the new testament.

        History tell us that Paul may have been a member of the Sanhedrin, in which case he would have had to be married because it was a requirement, however scripture is not clear – Paul says at Galatians 1:14 “I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age and was exremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers.” So here he stops short of saying he was a full member of the Sanhedrin. At 1 Cor 7:8 “Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: it is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am.” Please note this does not say or infer that Paul was never married only that at the time of this writing he was unmarried. Now for the last verse that hints that he could have been married we have 1 Cor 9:5 “Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas? I do think he is asking this rhetorically, but some of the outright bizarre stuff I have seen expressed here is frankly sickening and I feel sacrilegious.

        If Paul had been married I would guess that his wife had died leaving him a widower, for he never spoke about a wife.

        1. “The view that Jesus ran the ferris wheel at Coney Island in 1969 and for that matter that Paul was actually the Door’s first baseplayer are also not inconsistent with the new testament.”

          How can you claim this? Of course they are inconsistent with both scripture and simple logic.

        2. Let me tell you what is inconsistent my friend, the view that Jesus was married and that Paul was a homosexual, now that is inconsistent with scripture.

    3. I’ve heard this and in all honesty some of his writings about Paul are, at least for me, a little unsettling. I will agree that some of his work needs to be taken with a grain of salt but it does help in that I’m looking at a different point of view.

      1. “it does help in that I’m looking at a different point of view”

        I agree: sometimes the best way to build your faith is to read someone totally opposed to your viewpoint. I wouldn’t ban someone from reading Spong, but recommending him as “excellent” and a source of “how to get biblical wisdom” (like you did) is quite a bit different.

    4. In some ways, Spong’s still too close to Fundamentalism in his way of thinking – the content is different, but the thought patters are the same. The man’s not a scholar, and frankly I find him embarassing! I say, read the Church Fathers!

      1. I think I know what you mean there. Some of what he rejects is based on an overly literal and rigid reading of the scriptures, just as some of what Fundamentalists accept is.

        I also think he sometimes implies that he came up with ideas that have been previously written about by other 20th-century theologians. There’s nothing wrong with being a popularizer, unless you claim the ideas are your own discovery.

  6. Grace Walk – Steve McVey, which I see has already been recommended.

    An even better book, which is better written is “The Naked Gospel” by Andrew Farley.

    Also, Destined to Reign by Joseph Prince.

  7. not wanting to read all the comments, i’m gonna go ahead and risk repeating what already may have been said by others:

    the first book you should read is a non-kjv bible. if you can make yourself go non-kjv, then you’re ready to leave ifbism.

  8. A few of my recommendations:

    1) The Bible (it’s amazing how easily some in the IFB world can twist Scripture)

    2) Mere Christianity, by CS Lewis

    3) Love Your God With All Your Mind, by JP Moreland (currently rereading it. Totally blows away the IFB ideal that “intellectualism=liberalism. God doesn’t want us to be stupid; he WANTS us to be smart/intelligent)

    4) 9 Marks of a Healthy Church, by Mark Dever

  9. @MT – I tell them that because you *aren’t* a believer *until* you believe. Jesus said John 3:18 “Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”

    I am a broken record when it comes to the following statement. It does not matter what I think (or Calvin, Piper, Warren, Luther, Augustine, Josephus, Arminius – take your pick) it always and only matters what “thus saith the Lord.”

    Wout – It appears that we agree completely except for you trying to stir up an argument and set up a straw man that I am demeaning calvinists and acting as though they don’t call upon the Lord for salvation, (never said anything like that) I tell everyone to call upon the Lord for salvation – alittle sarcasm coming – its called the Gospel!

      1. exIFB – Technically you are correct. Again it doesn’t matter what I say, it what matters what thus saith the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 “Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise , you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried,that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”

        This then is the Gospel and thank you.

  10. The Message (a Bible paraphrase) by Eugene Peterson. Peterson’s a linguist, so his approach is very fresh. You can preview it on if you wish. Anything by Richard Foster (Quaker) or Walter Wink (Presbyterian). Wink’s stuff is heavy reading – every word is important, so you can’t gloss over it.

    1. I’m glad somebody listed The Message. I grew up KJVO and I am too familiar with the KJV, it’s got too many negative associations, even that “Bible” smell puts me off. It’s much easier to find a different meaning in a passage than the one the MOG pounded into your head if the words are different.

      I use The Message for reading (there’s an NT w/psalms in my purse) and the Oxford NRSV for study.

    2. I use The Message in my classroom. I teach 4th grade, and I print off passages from for students with lower reading levels. Our school uses the NKJV and it’s just too confusing for some of the students.

      Great tool!

  11. I thought about this, and honestly, if you read the Bible you can’t go wrong. You will find out that the Bible is a lot different than the “Independent Baptist Book of Rules and Regulations” that you grew up with. 😉

  12. The NIV Bible.

    Camile Lewis’s blog.

    The Jesus I Never Knew. Philip Yancey. I cried through parts of this.

    This is a book that will help explain what has happened to those spiritually abused. Johnson, David & VanVonderen, John (2005). The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse. Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers ISBN: 0764201379

    This book focuses on helping the abused to recover from being spiritually abused. Blue, Ken (1993). Healing Spiritual Abuse: How to break Free from Bad Church Experiences. Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press. ISBN: 0830816607

    Nothing reaches out to hurting people like God’s grace. Yancey, Philip (2002). What’s So Amazing About Grace? Grand Rapids: Zondervan. ISBN: 0310245656 and McVey, Steve (2004). Grace Amazing. Eugene: Harvest House Publishers. ISBN: 0736911774 and McVey, Steve (2005) Grace Walk. Eugene: Harvest House Publishers. ISBN: 0310245656 and Swindoll, Charles R. (1990). The Grace Awakening. Dallas: Word Publishing. ISBN: 0849907691

    A book about the ways people can purposefully( or accidentally) twist scripture. Sire, James W. (1980). Scripture Twisting: Twenty Ways the Cults Misread the Bible. Downers Grove: Intervarsity Press. ISBN: 0877846111

    1. Sire’s, The Universe Next Door helped me with deconstructing my fundie worldview and helped with starting to reconstruct a better, and hopefully, more biblical worldview.


      Thanks for putting this one on there Jenn. This is less doctrinal and more experiential. It was fresh air to me. Very helpful

      If you are looking for a more narative encounter rather than doctrinal facts this is a great resource and enjoyable read.

    1. Jenn – Watched every pathetic second, never have a group of relatively intelligent people sounded so foolish.

      Just open your bible and read Romans 1, you will get a real good idea about what God thinks about homosexuality. I don’t elevate homosexuality to a worse degree than any other sin.

      It is not kind or biblical or loving to act as though homosexuality is not a sin, this may be a controversial subject in our culture but it is very clear in the scripture there is no ambiguity whatsoever.

        1. Exactly. Fundies will love the gay out of someone. And if that doesn’t work then there is always isolating them, bullying them and outright rejecting them.
          But remember, they only hate the sin, not the sinner. The way fundies deal with this disgusts me 👿

        2. Naomi – Romans 1:30 NIV/ Homosexuals are God-Haters, please share with the readership of SFL how you interpret this.

          The way idiotic, God-hating atheists deal with this disgusts me.

        3. “The way idiotic, God-hating atheists deal with this disgusts me.”

          There is a ton of scholarship on this issue, with multiple well-supported interpretations, and if you care to look for it, I have no doubt that you will find it. I do not care to share my personal views; I have nothing to prove to you.

          The above comment seems not to fit the usual level of courtesy on this site.

        4. Greg, I can show you a whole church full of GLBT people who love God.

          Rom. 1:18-32 is directed at ALL of humanity, not homosexuals in particular.

        5. “The way idiotic, God-hating atheists deal with this disgusts me.”

          Greg, thanks for calling me an idiot. I guess it makes up for all the times I have called you and everyone else on SFL names.
          An atheist does not believe in God. How can one hate something that they do not believe exists?
          I do not want to push this issue because I realize that SFL is full of christians and I do not mean this as attack on their faith. I try to be repectful of everyone here. You are only the 2nd person on SFL to publically degrade me becasue of my belief (or lack thereof). Guess who was the 1st.

          But thanks for showing your true fundy love towards me. And you can pass on quoting me Psalms 14:1. I have heard that thrown at me too many times to count.

        6. Scorps, I think you’ve been very kind on here considering.

          It’s your belief and you have a right to believe whatever you want to believe.

          God gives us a free will, it’s sad that man doesn’t.

        7. @Scorpio – I see a pattern developing here among some of the more “liberal” folks that comment on SFL – you come in strong and mean and uninvited on someone else’s comment and then when that person hits back then you become precious, little damaged people wanting to point out how bad that other person is. Guess what? Your feel-good bull ain’t working!

          My nasty response, the one that so terrified (3) other people “Idiotic, God-hating one” was in direct response to your unsolicited vitriolic diatribe against me.

          I want to say turn about is fair play but really is it? As a true christian, probably not.

          My “God hating atheist” comment was over the top and I apoligize for that.

        8. Greg – no problem. It’s easy to get carried away when discussing something we belive in, regardless of our belief.

          “….My nasty response, the one that so terrified (3) other people “Idiotic, God-hating one” was in direct response to your unsolicited vitriolic diatribe against me…..”

          Please understand that my original comment was in response to Jenn’s comment about allowing a child to commit suicide. It was not directed at you, just what I have witnessed in fundyland.

          And like it or not, any comment that is posted here is subject to unsolicited responses. I believe that in written in SFL’s covenant 😀

        9. Natalie –

          “God gives us a free will, it’s sad that man doesn’t”

          That is spectacular. Mind if I use it? 😆

        1. @Jenn and Faith,
          Trembling Before G-D is another good one.

          @Greg, Christians disagree. Even here. The Bible does not 100% totally unambiguously lead everyone to your interpretation.

    2. Naomi – “The above comment seems not to fit the usual level of courtesy on this site”

      I agree completely.

      You are also correct that you have nothing to prove to me. Fine – then keep your opinions to yourself, can’t stand the heat? Stay out of the kitchen.

        1. Naomi – I just commented about your “patronizing” PW, get it, you are the one that “patronized” her, not me. I was very nice, but after seeing this lame comment above, I’ll just go ahead and say what I was thinking of saying then. Have you ever been checked for bi-polar? really, I’m not kidding, and if you are bi-polar, I’m not trying to make fun of you. You really don’t seem to be able to follow through with a complete thought.

          You weighed in above with “the bible does not 100% unambigously lead everyone to your interpretation” btw, its nothing to interpret, its not “my” interpretation, but that’s beside the point. Also no one even said a word or invited you in on the discussion (same with preacher’s wife) but, hey its a free world have at it. I was directing my comments to scorpio and Jenn. So you want to apparently share your vast knowledge with us and I asked you your view on the passage. Your response “you don’t answer to me” WHAT!! Then my “can’t stand the heat comment,” Really what can you expect, but finish it off with the cherry on top “can’t uphold a level of courteous dialogue” That’s the problem I can’t get you to dialogue at all, hence if you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

          This reminds me of 8th grade.

        2. It’s a classic diversionary tactic: Dismiss the other person as “insane” which diminishes their credibility so they won’t be able to defend themselves as well against accusations.

        3. Wow, man. This crossed the line. Other people can disagree without descending to this level of personal attack.

          If you’re a fundy, why are you here?

        4. Couldn’t be Greg, he would not stoop to such a dirty trick.

          Greg’s love for his neighbor (but never in a gay sort of way) shines forth in all his posts on SFL. It’s obviously out of love that he corrects us every time we interpret scripture in a manner inconsistent with the teachings of Greg. I am truly touched that he cares so much about Naomi’s mental health.

        5. I’m not a fundy; I wasn’t referring to Greg when I made that statement. I’m sorry if I came off as hostile; I really didn’t mean to. (or are you referring to Naomi?)

      1. I suppose if I was always right about the interpretation of scripture it would make me a little testy when fools can’t see the obvious. It must be so frustrating to lower yourself to our barely literate conversation, like discussing Shakespeare with monkeys. Silly buggers only want to talk about bananas. But I digress. I admire your patience with our obtuse rejection of the truth gid has revealed to you alone, O wise one.

    3. This is so telling. There are comments just above mine questioning whether Jesus was married and whether Paul was a homosexual, also one bright bulb that denies all scripture except the words in red, and horrors of horrors I have the audacity to disagree vigorously and point these errors out.

      You guys really don’t me very good. When the precious Word of God is attacked I stand up. When our Lord Jesus Christ is slandered I will stand up. When the Apostle Paul is lied on I will stand up. As long as their is breath in this body and blood flowing through these fingers.

      I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, it is the power of God.

      1. @Greg

        Is your God big enough to withstand questions? Attacks? Misinterpretations? Or do you feel like you need to do that for God?

        Thing is, we’re finite. We’re human. We get things wrong. And that’s OK. We might not have the divine interpretation of the Bible on earth, and good Christians will disagree. God can handle that.

        1. We do have divine interpretation of the Bible on earth – The Holy Spirit – I Corinthians 2:11-12. This is a great privilege that all believers have.

      2. There is a lot of fundy in this comment. Questions are condemned. The Bible is elevated to the point of worship. And the Man of God (Paul) is always right.

        And since when is being married is a slanderous charge?

        Hugs, the bright bulb. 🙂

      3. I don’t think Jesus was married or Paul was gay at all. But if someone wants to ask those questions (I may not agree with them, but they want to ask, I say go for it) I firmly believe that God will lead them to the answers.

        1. Asking questions is a very healthy thing to do, imo. It shows someone can think for themselves and that they’re not a sheep.

        2. @supernova – I think the thing is (and I’m not speaking for anyone, just me), is that in Fundyland, its drilled in our heads exactly who Jesus/Paul/etc. was. We look at Paul as this fire/brimstone preacher, the ultimate fundie preacher. We picture Jesus through our own fundie eyes. You know, how a lot of people painted Jesus as a caucasian (his mother was from Nazareth, hello).

          The truth is, the Bible expounds on certain things, but we don’t know for sure what the people were really like.

          I don’t believe Jesus was married, just because I think He would have mentioned a wife, and believe He would have taken her with Him. He would have been the ultimate example of a husband, and would have loved his wife dearly, defended her, cherished her, and cared for her. It’s not wrong to wonder, I believe, because marriage is a beautiful thing. I just think He knew what would happen, and chose to remain without a wife to fulfil His mission. But, again, just speculating here.

          But, who knows about Paul, because the Bible doesn’t specifically say.

          Anyway, my 2 cents. Carry on. 😉

  13. The prodigal God by Tim Keller. The church I first went to when I left did a study on this not long after I started attending and I found the book to be incredibly powerful, highlighting just how much ib’s are modern day Pharisees and just how awesome and amazing God’s love for us really is.

    The subtle power of spiritual abuse by van vonderan and ? (am on my phone so not easy to check the other authors name!).

  14. “The Jesus I Never Knew”, by Philip Yancey
    “What’s So Amazing about Grace?” Philip Yancey
    “God Came Near” And “In the Grip of Grace” by Max Lucado

    These were essential to my freedom.

  15. Honestly, education was the best medicine for me.

    How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Fee and Stuart helped establish what both context and genre are, something completely ignored in fundy circles.

    Once I had the basics down for Biblical interpretation, I was able to be Biblical literate and, by definition, not a fundy.

  16. We need to keep in mind that just because there are so many examples of fundamentalists who have abused their positions and their congregations in many, many ways does not mean that “The Fundamentals” of the faith should be thrown out. My wife grew up in it. I married into it, but thankfully we are now at a church where the Fundamentals are boldly preached but common sense is also used in how we live out our faith.

  17. Maybe a bit off to the side, but Mark Noll’s “The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind” is a classic. He makes a very solid historical argument that Evangelical Christianity used to be much more engaged in the life of the mind and much more open-minded about science. The road from “The Fundamentals” to the modern fundamentalist has resulted in leaving a lot of that behind.

  18. Here’s a couple of recommendations I haven’t seen listed yet (the list is long, so pardon me if they have been mentioned):

    10 Things I Wish Jesus Never Said by Victor Kuligin. Kuligin writes extensively about taking the words of Jesus, especially the Sermon on the Mount, seriously, instead of explaining things away like I had heard all of my life from Fundies. He backs up his statements with voluminous quotes from Christians throughout church history, from the early fathers to Luther, Wesley and the like.

    Extreme Righteousness by Tom Hovestol. This book examines every encounter between Jesus and the Pharisees. This is one of the principal books that led me out of Fundyism. I could see for the first time that my mindset was more like the Pharisees than Jesus.

    The King James Only Controversy by James White was the first time I had ever taken a hard look at the other side of the KJO debate, and I have never looked back.

    I would concur with the fact that just reading the Bible, especially a translation besides the KJV, is the best antidote to Fundyism.

    1. I second the Extreme Righteousness book by Hovestol, I appreciated that book immensely.

      Other books that are good:

      The Grace and Truth Paradox by Randy Alcorn

      40 Loaves: Breaking Bread with Our Father Each Day

      Those two books will heal your soul and be a blessing.

      A book for some humor and the chance to see the absurdities to which extreme fundamentalism can lead is: The Texas Baptist Crucible: Tales from the Temple by James Spurgeon.

      On the KJV Only front, I’d recommend that book by White or One Bible Only?: Examining Exclusive Claims for the King James Bible by Roy Beacham and Kevin Bauder.

      Good post, Darrell.

      Bob Hayton
      and the best one (at least easiest reading) is:

  19. My husband recommends “The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church” by Reggie McNeal; it helped influence him away from cultural fundamentalism toward a missional direction for our church.

    1. More books my husband found influential in helping him change his focus:

      “Total Church: A Radical Reshaping Around Gospel and Community” by Steve Timmis and Tim Chester

      “The Shaping of Things to Come: Innovation and Mission for the 21st Century” by Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch

      “To Change the World” by James Davisson Hunter

      “Vintage Church” by Mark Driscoll

  20. I agree that The Bible itself will surely cure you! The important thing is to ignore the pastors voice and the study guides, and just read it.
    Then, look at Dawkins, The God Delusion. This book is spot on.

  21. The King James Only Controversy by James White, ‘The Fundamentals’ (which will leave you amazed – most of the authors were not Fundies), Needham’s ‘2000 Years of Christ’s Power’, which will tell you about the history of the Church up to the Reformation, and the Fathers, at least Augustine’s ‘Confessions’, and Origen Against Celcus. Then Anselm, ‘Cur Deus Homo’. This will help you to see that there were real Christians back then, and the Fathers were not all Roman Catholics. They weren’t Fundies either, of course! Also Alexander Whyte’s ‘Bible Characters’. And of course a non-KJV Bible. If you feel really rebellious, read the Revised English Bible. You will then realise that the difference between a translation done by ‘mainline’ churches (to use an Americanism) does not in fact tea

  22. Sorry, I hit a wong button. to continue, does not in fact teach satan-worship, but the same things as an Evangelical Bible! In fact the only way to make a Bible teach anything else is either to deliberately mess it up, to add stuff all over the place the way Joseph Smith did, or to revise the canon.

  23. I HIGHLY recommend the History of Christianity podcast by Dr Maxie Burch. Surprisingly he’s a southern baptist (in North Phoenix Baptist). But far from a fundy, and spends LENGTHY discussions about the history & veracity of the historical Roman Catholic church, and problems in all denominations, etc, etc. Very entertaining & informative. Has in the last couple of years started teaching new stuff on American Christianity which also is pretty good stuff. I believe you can find it on, and it’s on iTunes. They have a weekly young adults course called Crash or Rhino Crash, although it’s not as good, and you can take or leave it.

    Also Tony Campolo is fabulous, I would start w/ his podcast w/ Mark Lowry (Saturdays w/ Mark & Tony on

  24. I’m going to through a fiction book in this list – “Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature” by Robin Brande.

    Short version: Fundy kids at school pick on a kid and he attempts suicide. Girl writes an apology letter to him. Fundy church ostracizes her b/c they don’t think they were wrong. Her parents are ashamed.

    It’s a really interesting, very quick read, and those of us who have grown up in Fundyism will totally understand where this girl is coming from. The scene at the end where she attempts to return to her church is particularly poignant.

  25. So I have been compiling a list of the books you all posted on here … I only included the ones I have not already read, and I had, I think, 34 books on my list about halfway through this flurry of manic posting.

    I just finished requesting those books on my library’s website – the public library here has 11 of the titles. I was pretty impressed with that.

  26. “The view that Jesus ran the ferris wheel at Coney Island in 1969 and for that matter that Paul was actually the Door’s first baseplayer are also not inconsistent with the new testament.”

    How can you claim this? Of course they are inconsistent with both scripture and simple logic.

  27. One of my favorite resources is the series of messages on “Grace” that Francis Chan gave while he was still the teaching pastor at Cornerstone. The link is here: Scroll down to 10/14/07 to find the first message. There are quite a few in the series–6 or 7 I think.

    Also, I love the teaching/encouragement ministry of Steve Brown. He has a lot to say about the grace and freedom we have in Christ. Very important when leaving the emptiness of fundamentalism. Link:

  28. Fleeing Fundamentalism by Carlene Cross is a good memoir from a former fundy pastor’s wife. Lots of other good stuff has already ben recommended above. I heartily second Camille Lewis’s blog!!!!

  29. THE seminal book of my college years was “Christ the Tiger” by Thomas Howard. Howard is Elisabeth Elliot’s brother, a fundie-turned-Episcopalian-turned- (later) Catholic. He was deeply influenced by C.S. Lewis. The book is about how Jesus blows away whatever all the neat little boxes into which we try to place Him. It had a huge impact on my way of looking at things.

    Another big influence: Getting out of the Baptist ghetto and deliberately exposing my sensibilities to the wider Christian world. Find a big evangelical Episcopal church. (There are some.) The bigger the BUILDING, the better — a church with a big pipe organ and a great choir that sings the classical Christian choral repertoire. Discover the riches of the Book of Common Prayer. Find out why millions of Christians actually find liturgical worship to be a defining part of their lives. Broaden your horizons!!

    I didn’t become an Episcopalian, but deliberately doing this sort of thing was enormously helpful in leading me to see that the fundamentalist subculture doesn’t have a corner on the truth or anything else.

    1. “doesn’t have a corner on the truth…”
      Fundyland hardly even has a corner of the truth…
      Truth would set them free, yet they are bound by their own legalism and attempt to bind others to the same.

  30. Ok, I havn’t read all the comments, so don’t shoot me if I repeat.

    1. The Pilgrim’s Regress, by CS Lewis.
    2. Luther’s Small Cathechism.
    3. Against Christianity, by Peter Leithart
    4. Manalive, by GK Chesterton
    5. Lots of good fiction, read as it is written (take your fundy glasses off), and read with a good ale/stout/ bottle of wine / port at your side. Suggestions – Tolkien (especially the Silmarillion), Dumas, Hugo (especially Les Miserables) , Dostoevsky, Austen, Bronte.
    6. If there is one piece of fiction I’d like to make required reading for all recently escaped fundies:

    Witchwood, by John Buchan, Read this one. I mean it. That means YOU!

  31. I wanted to watch the Rosenblat video but then he launched into negativity against leftist professors and statists and I just shut it down. Before that, he went negative on liberation theology, mainline churches, etc. Yeah this guy really revs up my desire to be a Christian…

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