Illustration: The Big Tragedy

In the realms of apocryphal stories involving death and destruction, there is one that recurs with remarkable frequency from fundamentalist pulpits — almost invariably presented as an actual event.

The story begins with “a man in my church” or perhaps “a man who was a friend of another man who once visited Bobby Roberson’s church a few years back.” It seems that this man had a beautiful wife and two young children and they were all healthy and happy and lived on milk and honey. But then one day the man decided to stop going to church or quit tithing or didn’t surrender to go to Belize on the last night of the missions conference while People Need the Lord was being sung at the invitation. And tragedy struck.

For one young child was bitten by a nest of snakes that had taken residence under the man’s house. And in his haste to take the child to the hospital, the man ran over the second young child while backing out of the driveway. The mother upon seeing this event worthy of a John Cleese movie, has the good sense to drop dead of a heart attack.

The scene ends with the man, having in one fell swoop lost everyone he loves, standing there recalling his folly at not wanting to go to the mission field because it was “too dangerous.”

The moral of the story is: “It’s dangerous backslide in a church where the pastor is always looking for illustrations.”

209 thoughts on “Illustration: The Big Tragedy”

  1. I have a story. I was talking to a man in the Philippines and he told me a sad story. His corn field was being eaten by rats so he set out poison. Then his only Pig ate the poison, threw up and died. Then his best friend dog ate the vomit and also died. He said it was the saddest days of his life.
    He wasn’t a christian or anything but what he was would this happen?
    it is a true story and I want to try to get the first post

  2. actually, “People Need the Lord” was sung by Steve Green, so too “wordly” and too much like CCM. Therefore, perhaps “Give Me A Passion For Souls” or “So Send I You” would have been a better choice! ๐Ÿ˜†

    1. You’re right about the source. Nonetheless in almost every missions conference I attended after about 1992, that song was featured either as a special music number or in a slide show.

      I guess the fundies managed to sanctify that one. ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. I have heard “People Need the Lord” in some IFB churches – and sometimes missionaries are given a “pass” for their background music – but the hard-core churches would have never used it. If it ain’t in the hymnal (or the WILDS songbook), we ain’t singing it!

      2. I had a classmate who played piano, so he often got drafted to play for events like this. Once, when he was drafted to play for a missions conference and given a list of songs to play, he made a last-minute substitution of “People Need the Lord” instead of whatever song was listed in the program. His mother was horrified, certain he would be called in front of the Board, kicked out of the Christian high school, etc, etc, but it turned out okayรขโ‚ฌโ€Rev. So-and-so, who was in charge of the event had requested it, because it was his wife’s favorite song. That seemed to be the rule. If certain people liked a song, it was okay to use in church, no matter who wrote it. But if anyone else suggested another song that hadn’t been pre-approved, even if it was more conservative by any conceivable standard, the powers that be would find something wrong with it and forbid it.

    2. That’s exactly what I was thinking, RJW! If someone started singing that wicked CCM song, “People Need the Lord,” the Spirit would have been quenched and there would have been carnal Christians tapping their feet or even dancing to the frenzied rhythm!

    3. People Need the Lord was perfectly acceptable in my old Fundy church during missions conference, and under the slideshows of missionaries, but only if it were either a live, lifeless performance or a recording by one of the Von Trapp wannabe families, or a 4-part choral rendition.

      The evil Steve Green, with his sound engineers who actually knew how to run a board, and his talented musicians, was never heard through our sacred sound system.

      1. I just had to google Ray Boltz, because I didn’t know anything about him. After seeing his picture and listening to a clip of his singing, I can’t help wondering why nobody knew before he “came out”. He totally looks and sounds the part.

      2. Father-in-law’s IFB church used to sing his “I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb” at least once a month. I should ask father-in-law if they still use it.

        Father-in-law is usually the one singing it. :mrgreen:

      3. I loved Ray Boltz’s music. I had the CDs and the piano music and even went to one of his concerts maybe 7 or 8 years ago. (BTW, he was CCM for me; his songs were unacceptable to my parents or BJU.)

        1. pw, that’s one of the ironies of fundyland and CCM. Ray Boltz (and Steve Green and Sandi Patti and…) was also considered CCM and thus forbidden. However, that apparently didn’t apply to some songs or in certain situations, such as missions conferences. Even at PCC, they sang CCM songs all the time, only put to more “godly” accompaniment music (a la, without those heathen drums)

    4. Every church I went to wore you down with 16 verses of “I Surrender All,” or “Is Your All on the Altar?” Or, if you’re “lucky” the missionary will have his own “original” song!

    5. all to jesus i surrender was the staple at my former fundy church. i can just hear those verses being replayed over a few times because certain “spiritual” folks needed more time to show how “spiritual” they were…some even stayed till after the music stopped playing….

      1. I always wondered why it was considered too showy to close one’s eyes or raise hands while singing, but it wasn’t considered showy to walk up front, kneel and pray and even cry in front of everyone. Selective emotionalism was practiced at my IFB church.

        1. “Selective Emotionalism” is undoubtedly the best description I’ve heard of the Fundy religion. Very well said, PW.

    6. My church has it sung as a special. I don’t know why certain of Steve Green’s songs are ok for special music, he’s openly CCM. And yet CCM is constantly ragged on from the pulpit.

  3. Missionary in Africa decideds to leave the missions field and return to the states to teach. Not before he takes a boat ride on the river near the village where he serves. As he is floating down the river on this boat, that is really more like a raft, he is attacked by a hippo. (Imagine a hippo in a river in Africa…hm.) Of coarse, he nearly dies but the other MOG and villagers manage to get him medical care in time to save his life. Sadly, he is forever maimed. And this, the storyteller/MOG says is the result of him making the decision to leave the mission field. (Had nothing to do with being on a rickety boat upon hippo invested waters.)

  4. All hail the god who designs such wonderfully, elaborate retribution for those who resist his “perfect will” for their lives.
    Yes, such a god who is too inept to arrange all circumstances so that his children will lovingly, and willingly do his bidding…no, this god is made in the Greek mold.
    Spite, jealousy, and vengence; Zeus be thy name. Stand in fear of his terrible wrath should you not appease him. Hear of his terrible dealings with those who slight him and tremble before him lest ye incur his disfavor. Hear his mighty prophets tell of tragedies that befall all those who would withstand his will. Make sacrifice now to stay his hand of wrath and satiate his hunger for your worship lest he do the same to ye, and more so.

    1. Yes, the God who allowed his own son to be scourged, spat upon, and crucified in our place for our sin because he loved us that much, is now the one who will destroy your son and family because you did not immediately act upon some emotional experience brought on by a pulpiteer working the crowd into a spiritually orgasmic frenzy?


      **does my contempt, for the Americanized pulpit-tainment and the ring masters who populate the pastorial positions for profit and power, show very much?**

    2. Reminds me of the dialogue in TLTWATW.

      Mrs. Beaver, “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else silly.”

      “Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

      “Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

      Our God is good!

      1. Yes, God is good. He is mighty, all mighty, terrible and wonderful in all his ways…

        What He’s not is some petty, pathetic, tin god ready to hurl lightning bolts at any and all those whom he perceives have sighted him. Such a god is not god at all and does not deserve worship. No one can worship a fickle, capricious god.

      2. I LOVE LOVE that quote, Bill. That’s why “The Chronicles of Narnia” are so dear to me: Lewis put truths about God in such a meaningful, applicably “real” way. Allegories–I love them muchly. ^_^

        1. Oh yes! It’s one of those lines that makes the books as rich as they are! ๐Ÿ˜€ I love good literature!

        1. Yeah, my parents wouldn’t let me read it because of that. Also, they didn’t like that Lewis was an Anglican. I didn’t read Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe until college. Lewis is one of my favorite authors now, and, lo and behold, I’m no longer IFB so maybe my parents were on to something! ๐Ÿ™‚

        2. I suppose the college calculus book is okay, then, as long as the section dealing with the Witch of Agnesi is omitted. And don’t be caught eating devil’s food cake!

          For people who trust in God the level of implied idolatry here is astounding. ๐Ÿ˜ณ

    3. Absolutely Don! When I saw Darrel’s post this morning, I thought along the same lines.

      At some stage, we might have to come out and say it – a large number of these fundies DO NOT worship the same God as the rest of Christianity. Theirs’ is a vengeful, yet pathetic pagan deity. Coming out of that sort of fundy’ism is akin to Conversion. ๐Ÿ˜ก

  5. This reminds me of all the threats regarding tithing my managawd used to spew. “If you don’t give it, God will get what belongs to him”, followed by stories of car breakdowns, lost overtime, insurance rate hikes, and various other unfortunate events that miraculously coincided with the exact amount that the slacking giver decided to hold back from God. Sort of like a fundy version of Newton’s third law.

    1. That’s very common. They can’t back up the modern-day tithing scam with sound Biblical exegesis but instead warn you what happens if you don’t tithe.

      1. Just had to tell this story here. Ol man Smith was in the hospital for some ailment or other, and he was a bit spotty with his tithing, when the pastor was asked why ol man Smith was in the hospital, he replied “God is getting his tithe back”

        1. Yep, you’re right. Heard this regularly from my childhood preacher who was abnormally fixated with tithing and money issues: “You just think you had your appendix out. In reality God cut his tithe out of you”! Kid you not–almost every single sermon.

        2. As a matter of fact, I was tithing when I came down with appendicitis and had an emergency appendectomy. How would he explain that?

        3. I’ve always wondered how going to the doctor was “God getting His tithes out of you.” Do doctors and hospitals have some sort of agreement with God so that He gets a cut of the money they make from sinning non-tithing church people? If so, why has my church never gotten it’s check from the local hospital and doctors?

    2. Yes! We’d hear “I’d rather owe the electric company than God!” all the time. Because the electric company can only turn off the electricity, but God can do much worse. ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

    3. Pffff. I got you ALL beat. While attending Charity Baptist Church in Dayton, Ohio (Beavercreek, actually) back in 1990, Allen Jones — Yeah, I’ll name the names of these hucksters — said the Cincinnati Reds didn’t win the World Series because “I put a curse on them”. When someone asked why they did so well the following year, he said “I lifted the curse”.

      Me, being a dumbass THINKER, came up with the following idea: Let’s curse all but ONE baseball team, the team with the longest odds in Las Vegas. Then, let’s take up an offering an put every penny on that team. It’s NOT gambling, since it’s a sure thing. We’d make millions or billions, and never have to give again.

      Damn me and using my brain. Of course, it went over like a turd in a punch bowl.

      1. Ok let me try the paraphrased, short version. Kid works in science lab. Refuses to get saved many times. He is working with a chemical that ignites in flames when water hits it. (I bet you see something bad happening here). He splashes the chemical all over himself and guess what the fireman do? Yep poor water on him. Of course as he screams “I’m in Hell”
        Preacher note… Scream and repeat, scream and repeat.

        1. I heard that one on an HAC bus on a Saturday morning on the way to our Chicago bus route. Ya know us pathetic lady workers only spent 6 hours out there and weren’t producing enough decisions so they had to give us incentive.

        2. What chemical would that be?
          I can think of several that ignite when exposed to air, but none that burn in water but not air.

          Actually, I don’t see how the story needs some special chemical at all. Isn’t the point just that he caught fire?

          Aaaaaaaagh, now I’m trying to find a point in these fables! What’s happening to me?

        3. Amilyn, it’s amazing the things they told on Saturday morning bus. You’d’ve thought the bus was full of the world’s worst bunch of excuses for humans, not people who were giving up their entire weekend.

        4. @Big Gary – sodium explodes in water but just corrodes in air. Friend of mine throw a head-sized chunk of sodium into a swimming poll in college. Blew down a few small trees within a 50-foot radius. ๐Ÿ˜€

          Maybe the kid made Greek Fire.

  6. The God of these stories is similar to the exacting, Shylock-like God of many tithing stories–for example, a man refuses to tithe and his barn burns down; turns out the damages totaled exactly 10% of his income. Lesson: God’s gonna take it out of you one way or the other!

        1. Jordan, I think 12-step was saying that he echoes what you just said.

          The MoG that makse those kinds of arguments are ascribing to God the characteristics of pagan deities.

  7. I don’t comment often, but HAHAHAHAHAAAAAA- I call Otto Konings of ‘The Pineapple Story’ fame on you, Darrell! Yes, according to him, all this happened to a guy who couldn’t completely surrender his family, life, rights, what have you to God. ๐Ÿ˜•

    1. Your point is well-taken about The Pineapple Story. I would like to add that I find the DVD of Otto Koning telling his own story much more palatable than the sanitized version in Bill Gothard’s book. Here, you at least get a glimpse of a real, live human being struggling with what it means to live like a Christian in the context of a colonial-like mission among a tribe with entirely different ideas about private property. He even admits to buying stolen pineapples!

  8. i think evangelists who told obviously made-up stories like this & passed them off as truth were what first sickened me about fundamentalism. so at least they did SOMEONE a favour!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Reminds me of Larry Brown, a North Carolina hick with a HAC type church in Iowa. His sermon “Wolves” uses one vs. Acts 19 something, not imortant, then he tells stories for 45 min of people who split churches and how God got’em!
    – A deacon resisted John R. Rice coming to preach to lead their church out of SBC so God Killed him the day before Rice showed up.
    – Another assistant pastor secretly stole 23 families from a church and God mad his wife go insane and she killed everyone in the house.
    These were only 2 of at least 6 of these stories that were so outrageous who would believe? When you are sippin’ the kool-aid they can sense it and the spirit moves in mysterious ways. ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

    1. I heard him preach that sermon on at least two separate occasions. He backed it up with some cherry-picked facts about wolves too. I was in my early teens and happened to be interested in reading every book about wolves that I could get my hands on at the time.

    2. Dittos on Larry Brown! He taught a Couples Retreat I went to during the time I was contemplating divorce (a fact I am 100% sure he was prepped for), and he told the most horrific stories of wives who left their husbands and people being killed and falling off roofs. I swear to God it wasn’t just one story…it was story after story for two days. I thought it’s not possible all of this could have really happened and that he could verify it.

      And very sadly I must add his wife died recently of cancer, and I would never accuse him of having sin in *HIS* life that somehow caused her aggressive cancer and departure to heaven early.

      So it’s so sad that they want to take other’s calamities and chalk them up (if we are to even believe their stories) as a result of sin and secret sins.

      1. Yes, it would be sort of “fair” to claim that his wife died because of something he did or something she did, but I still don’t believe that’s how things work.

      1. I think it goes something like this:

        1) The assistant pastor is frustrated with playing second fiddle and decides it’s time for a power grab. If the church is small enough, he may try to drive out the senior pastor, but if he doesn’t think he can do that, he needs a core of families to start his own church so . . .
        2) He either plants seeds of discontent himself among select members or builds on discontent he hears from others.
        3) Instead of going to the pastor to resolve whatever problems there are, he has private meetings (that’s the “secretly” part) at his home or in the homes of other members in which they discuss all the ways they’re dissatisfied with the church.
        4) The more the members talk ABOUT the issue with each other instead of dealing with it, the more upset they get.
        5) Meanwhile, the pastor knows nothing of these meetings and may not even know that there is a problem (i.e., “His preaching takes too long; he’s been on the book of Romans for two years now.” The complaint may or may not be legitimate; the point is the pastor doesn’t know how large the issue has grown in the minds of many of the members.
        6) Suddenly the assistant announces his resignation, and the first Sunday he’s gone, 23 families are also gone and soon another IFB church opens in town with the assistant as senior pastor with 46 adults as charter members.

        That’s how it happens. Many people fear confrontation, so they’ll complain to their friends and then leave without ever talking to the pastor at all. (Of course, if the pastor is one of the Man-o-Gawd types described on SFL who is harsh, controlling, and scary, no wonder people wouldn’t go to him, but I’ve seen good and gentle men in the pastorate whom people would still refuse to talk to because they were too uncomfortable with the idea of a disagreement. They’d rather just leave and start again.)

        However, just because it happens does NOT make the way Larry Brown used it in his message right. If he wanted to tell the congregation it was wrong to be part of a church split, he should preach on the importance of not holding grudges or of going to a brother that has offended you, of praying for those that you consider your enemies, of love and unity. But, no, Larry Brown goes the route of guilt and scare tactics: “If you cause a church split, God might make your wife go crazy and kill your whole family.” Keep ’em quaking in their pews.

        BTW, if anyone on this board has been a part of a mass exodus from a church (or a church split), I’m not condemning your choice. Every situation is different.

        1. I was part of a major church split: my family left and took half the church with us!

          Of course, my family WAS half the church. No joke. When we finally got the courage to leave, there were, oh, 22 people. There were eleven in my family.

          But my parents were scared to death of leaving. They had tried talking to the preacher in times past, but over time he stopped listening and trying to help and just used them for sermon illustrations (personal sermon illustrations in a church with 22 people: picture that if you will).

          Now the bad thing is they spent a good year discussing it between themselves (and us) without doing a thing about it. The church was wacked and wrong. But I don’t it was handled right.

  10. God forbid that we should serve Him because we know him and love him. We NEED these stories to guilt/threaten us into conformaty so that the Mog can point to HIS great work. Hmmmm don’t see a pious smiley…

  11. Seriously, my deprogramming is not complete. Every time something doesn’t go right it still pops into my head. Is God doing this to me? Then I remind myself, this is called life, cars break down, kids get sick, parents die. It doesn’t mean God is judging me. It’s just life. Breath deep…

    1. I don’t just think, “why is God doing this to me?”, I think “why is this happening?” (usually related to depression/anxiety situation) and immediately the thought: “God hates me.” (accompanied by shoulder shrug). Fortunately a big “God LOVES you” comes to smack me upside the head and comofort me (at the same time).

    2. My wife is often like this, especially in serving God. ๐Ÿ˜ I have been going through back pain, and I ended up questioning what I did. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ She recognized that sometimes stuff happens, deal with it. :mrgreen:

    3. Fred–I hear you. I still catch myself in that habit of crouching down and wondering when God’s going to strike me down for whatever imagined crime.

      I was SO glad my husband and I were out of IFB when our house was fire damaged (the one next door burnt to the ground). I can imagine the lectures we would have gotten on our sin!

    4. Me too. I’ve only been out of fundyland a year and still wonder if bad events are the result of me being punished. I guess I shouldn’t though, because overall my life is ten times happier than it has ever been before.

  12. Seeing the rebus, I wondered how “Snake plus car plus broken heart equals crying face.” I shouldn’t have doubted. Darrell pulled it all together beautifully.

    Of course, the truth is that if you disobey whatever the Mannagawd wants you to obey, bad things will indeed happen to you sooner or later. If you obey, bad things will also happen. Because bad things happen to everybody. But that tit-for-tat style just isn’t how God operates.

  13. And, if you ask them if Job’s losses were the result of sin, (you know, because he lost everything, too) you get, “Uh… well…. no… see… Job was a Godly man.”

    So, bad things happen to good people, too.

    I HATE this philosophy, because I did so many things out of fear of what could happen instead of for the right reasons.

    Can you imagine doing nice things for your spouse because you’re afraid he/she’s going to pick you off? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. In a former, bad, relationship, I did many things because I was afraid of retribution.
      Now I do many of the same things, but because I want to. It makes all the difference.

    2. Isn’t that the whole premise behind Women’s conferences in Fundyland? Love your husband or else!?? Isint that the very message behind these Godly Woman classes and talks by the Alpha-females in Fundyland? I know that’s what Jack “Grandma Slapper” Schaap preaches to his cult followers. ggrrrr! ๐Ÿ‘ฟ

      1. Oooh, Ooooooh!!!! I want to ask, “Okay, so if you’re not submissive or be your husband’s little slave, what exactly is going to happen?”

        (Now, I’m talking about in normal life… not the way HF and I do it which would actually fall back under the ‘Christian Sex Books’ post in the forum) ๐Ÿ˜‰

        1. Sorry, Gary, I forget what to me is my happy marriage bed, is to some as flat out gross… ha ha.

          HF makes me a happy girl, what can I say?

        2. Nuthin’ wrong with being happy, but it doesn’t follow from the fact that you’re having fun that everybody else wants to watch (Don may disagree, though).

        3. I’m back… did I miss anything? ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

          Gary talked to Natalie about TMI and Natalie asked a question about passive censorship as it relates to modern blogging. Looks like the floor show has been cancelled.

          Oh. Ok. Thanks george

          Don’t mentioned it.


      1. This reply belongs up where you said “imagine doing nice things for your spouse because youe afrain he/she might pick you off” . This reply thing is tuff

  14. It’s the difference between conditional love and unconditional love.

    If God did bad things to us for not doing things for Him, that would be conditional love, which we know is not the case.

    Conditional love is the core foundation to so much of fundy preaching.

  15. I recall two stories from my time at Fundy u.
    The first was of a teen who died in a car crash. He had the Bible on tapes, but had recorded rock music over the tapes. He died as a result of his rebellion.
    The second was of a teen who got in trouble at his Christian school, and was asked what it would take for God to get his attention. He said he didn’t know. His heart was full of rebellion. He went home, went downstairs, lifted some weights, and somehow the weights came down on his neck and he died.

    1. The way I heard it, the teenager recorded an audio Bible over his rock music tapes, and the monotony of the Bible reading made him fall asleep at the wheel, causing a fatal crash.
      The copyright Gods were getting him for bootlegging the Bible recording.

    2. i’ve heard stores of rebellious teens leaving church and getting into fatal crashes while listening to AC/DC’s Highway To Hell.

      btw, i’ve also heard from reputable doctor-pastors that AC/DC’s name really means “Anti Christ/Devil’s Child.” ๐Ÿ™„

      1. I hate rumors like that! But maybe they don’t have enough science in their schools to teach about alternating and direct current. (As if the lightning symbol between the AC and the DC on their logo wasn’t hint enough.)

        1. I just read that AC/DC got its name when the band members saw that symbol on a sewing machine, and thought it could also stand for the power and electricity they thought their music would have. But “AntiChrist/Devil’s Child” is more colorful.

        2. When I was a teen, “AC/DC” was also slang for being bisexual, but apparently that’s not what the band had in mind.

    3. Snap, it’s good to know that I’m not the only one who instantly related teenagers-in-crashes with direct wrath from God.

      Our stories usually involved a liberal dose of train accidents, as well. I could probably recall at least three separate tales of rebellious teens getting sliced up by some engine somewhere in a “small-Midwestern-town-not-unlike-this-one.”

      I also heard a lot of stories of teens living for God that were killed in car wrecks. Somehow those crash victims were never blamed for their own deaths, however. *Odd* little standards we kept in our vacuum-sealed world.

      I’ll never forget the moment I realized that these fantastic little tales were likely taken grossly out of context, or perhaps weren’t even true. It was very similar to the time I found out that one of my friend’s sordid tales of woe and persecution were actually signs not of an active imagination and bad circumstances, but rather quite possibly clinical paranoia. It’s a creepy feeling. ๐Ÿ˜

      1. What, you mean you really don’t believe that it really really happened to this friend of a friend of a friend of this guy whose brother the Man-O-gid used to knew? You heretic, you! ๐Ÿ˜›
        Hope you don’t run into any sea-bears!

    4. The version of the car story I heard preached is that an unsaved teenager was blasting “Highway To Hell” on his tape deck (shows you how old the story is) and hit a tree so hard that the tape deck came loose and lodged in his stomach.

  16. I thought that this would be the fundy preacher’s favorite – that the man disagreed with the pastor and left the church and all manner of evil happened. I heard it told about Robert Sumner (who exposed Dr Hyles) that God had stricken him blind. I’ve heard it of anonymous men who supposedly had “lifted up their hand against God’s anointed” – incorrectly meaning criticized them – and the terrible things that happened to them.

  17. I used to believe that story about the man who lost his family. But the more I thought about it the more it sounded like something you would see on the movie Final Destination.

    Bob Gray in Florida used to tell a story about a teen in his church who put a condom in an offering envelope. As the teen was laughing about it with his girlfriend the next day the teen fell over dead. The coroner could not determine a cause of death. It was as if the boy’s body just turned off.

    If God could be patient and merciful with Bob Gray with all the terrible things he did to little girls in his church then I doubt God would take the life of a boy who played a childish prank with a condom.

  18. I think this mess helped me to become basically always afraid AND always trying to figure out what some circumstance MEANS.

    These preachers on ego trips do much harm to those who believe that what they say is truth.

    1. Lynn,
      That’s my whole crusade against the way Americanized Christianity is done. There is only one voice that speaks and it is accepted as God’s proxy when the hired-gun lectures from the pulpit to the passive sheep in the pews. There is no way to question what is handed down from on high as long as the M-O-g is standing there in God’s stead, is speaking as if he is giving direct, inspired, revelation from God. The programming begins with the children and by the time they are grown they readily accept that lecture is the only way preaching is done and the preacher is speaking for God himself.

      **hear’s crickets, realizes he’s climbed on soap-box, looks around sheepishly, ๐Ÿ˜ณ then performs a perfect tripple twist layout dismount and sticks the landing. He has to be pleased with that one.**

        1. Ok time for the horse liniment, ice pack, heating pad and alieve. I’m not as young as I used to be… or as light… or as good look… well ok, I still have that going for me. ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜€

        2. Don, you’re like HF before he went to work tonight. He looked at himself in the bathroom mirror and said, “I make this uniform look GOOD!”

          I shut the light out on him.


  19. The one I’ve heard over and over is about a man who gets a lucrative job offer in a town that doesn’t have an Independent Baptist church and he moves even though is pastor tells him not to. The man tells the pastor that he’ll be back in two years with enough money to retire so that he can work full time for free at the church.

    The retribution: The man’s wife has an affair and runs off with another man leaving the two children behind who in turn learn to make LSD under a house. The house blows up, the son dies, and the daughter is maimed terribly. The man and his daughter eventually return to their home church and repent. I’ve heard this one loads of times. Anyone else??

  20. Funny, you never hear the stories (which I’m sure are countless on here) about people leaving their IFB churches and learning about what God’s grace really is all about and realizing that they don’t have to walk on pins and needles.

    And, their whole life gets better. They make love to their spouse more, they gain many true friends who love them regardless, they have more time with their children and have better relationships with their children, and they just live happier and healthier.

    1. When I left IFB I sold my house and moved to AK! I was sooo done with the pharasee that I had become and sick of it all.
      God has been unbelieveably good to me. I do the same job. I make over double what I used to make! My kids are free from mental abuse from these knuckle heads, I live in a beautiful place, I go to a reasonable church now and I thank GOD every day for what I learned from being in IFB.
      We were trashed openly and secretly by the MOG for being out of God’s will. I gave it my all for almost 10yrs; drove bus, built new building, set up missions trips, ran printing ministry and fixed any and everything that broke. My last service he wouldn’t even shake my hand.
      Today I am thankful the MOG kicked me when I was down. I think, for Jesus sake, I would shake his hand today and thank him for all he did for me, even if he is a 1st class JACKASS! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

      1. It is so wonderful to hear everyone’s stories. Now this is what you call real “testimonies”…a complete opposite from forced, almost canned, “testimony time” in fundyland.

        I have discovered much freedom, happiness, and authenticity in the 4 years that I have left the cult. I am no longer tense and tired on Sunday’s anymore and can truly relax.

        IFB’s are like a disease. They inhibit you and keep you from fully enjoying all that life has to offer.

    2. I’m happier! I am not so anxious and I am much more relaxed. We enjoy Sundays as a family, attending church in the morning and quality time for the rest of the day. Best of all, I’m learning to live in the warmth of God’s amazing grace.

  21. I’m laughing out loud on this one. Yes, so true. I can’t even remember the stories I’ve heard like this.

    This is, of course, why I don’t leave my house during normal church service hours since I will no doubt be in a car wreck because of my wickedness!

  22. I used to believe stuff like this until it dawned on my one day that it is all God’s. 100% of it. He can do whatever he wants with any of it at any time. If I am completely accountable to him for it–I mean that if one day I actually have to make an accounting for how I spent every penny of it–I think he’s going to have quite a problem with the money I gave to some of the churches I’ve attended and he’s probably going to raise his eyebrow at a Bible Conference sacrifice or two down through the years.

  23. Th guy in the illustration must have gotten around a lot. I think I heard this illustration a half a dozen times, and each time he went to a different “brother’s” church.

  24. I do have a happy missionary story. I had a friend at my fundie high school that looked like Millhouse on รขโ‚ฌล“The Simpsonsรขโ‚ฌย. A very nice, smart kid with a great sense of humor. But no social life and few dates, like me.
    During college, รขโ‚ฌล“Millhouseรขโ‚ฌย want on a mission trip to The Philippines. The Filipinas ladies thought he was very handsome, plus he was taller than most Filipinos. He married a beautiful local woman, started a business with her family and never returned to the states. I heard one of his daughters works as a model in Asia.
    So if god calls you to a third world county full of lovely young tan skinned women, answer the call.

  25. My marriage was crumbling because my husband was being sucked completely into the Fundy void. He started trying to verbally and spiritually abuse me into being more “domestic” and to have kids, which I didn’t want. The pastor did a sermon about young women who had jobs outside the home instead of staying at home to raise brats and I looked around and realized I was the only one in the congregation who he could possibly have been talking about.

    I finally decided to leave the church but not before the pastor and his team of deacons tried to get me to come back my “confronting me with my sin” in a meeting at my house, which I refused to take. Did they think I was going to say, “Sure, should I have punch and pie ready?” The last time I spoke to him he threatened me with the fact that “you know what God does to people who leave the Church – backslidden Christians die all the time.”

    Of course, people in general die all the time but his bubble apparently came too darkly tinted for him to see out. I’m still appalled at his words and behavior, and the letter he sent me later about how sorry I would be and how miserable my life was about to become without them – a letter riddled with ridiculous errors. I still have it and in a fit of anger I wrote a response which I never sent to help me deal with what they did to me. This was almost 4 years ago.

    I think my ex still goes to that church with his new Stepford bride, and you’ll find me spending my ENTIRE weekend on things I want to do like watching football, bowling, hanging out with my other heathen friends, and reading Chris Hitchens for fun. Unlike them, I am actually really happy. Living well is the best revenge.

    1. People die all the time. It has nothing to do with whether they are backslidden or not. It has to do with the mortality of the human species.

      You should send that letter to Darrell. With the names redacted, it would make a great segment for “Stuff Fundies Like” (“Stuff Fundies Like: Abusive Letters to Former Members.”)

    2. My mother told me God was going to make my plane go down when I was ready to come back from the mission field that was never my idea to go to in the first place- nor was it God’s idea either I may add.

      1. To this day, when I visit Las Vegas (once a year), I think to myself “If I pick up a hooker, God will make my plane crash”. FOR THE RECORD: I have NO intention, after 32 happy years, of trading a wonderful marriage to a wonderful woman for two minutes of bliss.

        Wait; did I just admit to “two minute”??? ๐Ÿ™‚

        Then, recently, when I was visiting Las Vegas, I thought: “Oh shit! What if someone ELSE on the plane picked up a hooker and it’s HIS time?”

        I’ll never feel safe again. ๐Ÿ™„

        1. fortune of fortunes i was not drinking anything while reading this.

          i must have read my bible this morning or something ๐Ÿ˜†

        2. Yeah, I didn’t pick up any hookers, but now I guess I have to quiz everyone else on the plane about what sins they’ve committed. Generally, the whole plane goes down if any of it goes down.

          It just gets harder and harder to fly anywhere …

        3. It’s so true! When I was on the plane headed to basic training, I thought every time they hit turbulance I was going down because of my ‘sin’.

        4. Wow, that simultaneously hilarious and very insightful. The fundy gid truly has no compassion or regard for people if he’s willing to take down so many of them for simply being on the same plane of a person who’s made one mistake.

        5. If I’m ever in a plane that goes down, it will probably be because of the sinful way I just treated the TSA agent when he tried to molest me.

        6. Any chance of finding a frizzy haired (middle-aged) woman on a perilous hallway somewhere in Vegas?

          **What? What’d I say? I was just asking a question… I’m just curious george ๐Ÿ˜ฏ …that’s all ๐Ÿ˜• ๐Ÿ˜‰ **

      2. By fundie logic, maybe the 9-11 attacks were not terrorist related. Maybe on each of those airplanes that crushed into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon was one person who had turned their back on the lord. The other 3,000 dead were just collateral damage.

      1. IAHB, according to this story, it would happen because of what your husband didn’t do, not what you didn’t do.

        The God in these stories is one mean psychopath, isn’t He?

  26. When we left our IFB church, we WERE the illustration in our pastor’s sermon. And they even posted it on the net for all (including me) to see. He said we were the ones who turned our backs on God, never to be blessed by Him again.

    Tell that to me with my now happier, healthier, still church-goin’ (albeit not one he’d approve of), more financially successful family.

    Surprisingly, no, we didn’t become drug-addicted homeless gang bangers. Aw, shucks. I’ll have to work on that one. ๐Ÿ™„

    1. Flashback, I was the illustration in one of the last sermons in our old church. It went like this; I was compared to Elijah! That should make me feel pretty good, hey. Except it was in reference to Elijah when he ran from Jezebel and quit on God. He was sitting and telling God “I’m the only one left”. I was the main worker in my church. I ran a couple of ministries and was there every time the door opened. So when I quit, I was running from God. I didn’t understand at the time but I was running TO God.

  27. Not the snakes under the house!!! We had a speaker from a “crusade team” at our church use that illustration years ago. I went to the director and challenged him directly on what an unworthy picture of God it painted, not to mention the blatant emotional manipulation. Still makes me angry! Oh, and they’re coming back again next year. I’ll be listening closely… ๐Ÿ˜ก

  28. We had an evangelist at our church tell a story about two boys in NYC one felt like he should witness to the other and never got around to it. The unsaved boy went back to Russia and started the communist movement.
    I know my history pretty well and I googled the name justy to refresh my memory. It was just as I thought. The dates given never even matched up. There was no physical possible way the preacher boy and communist could have been together in NYC. If they had been together running the streets in NYC the preacher boy would have been like 3 years old.

    1. The Communist movement in Russia??
      So this would have been about 1860 or thereabouts, right?

      Wait … What’s that, Google?
      The first Russian Communist Party was founded in 1898. So if this story happened (not likely), it happened at least 113 years ago.

      1. The narodnik movment, the beginning of Russina socialism, started after Nicholas II’s Emancipation Manifesto of 1861. The exact date is unknown, but probably before 1870. They are most likely the progenitors of the Communist movements that were galvanized by Lenin, Trotsky, etc. in the early 20th century. Lenin was born in 1870, and Trotsky in 1879. None of the major figures in either Bolshevik or Menshevik circles got any further west than Paris, AFAIK.

    2. ….I googled the name…..

      Something I did whenever I heard a story or reference that didn’t seem to match up correctly for me. I would say 95% of the time what was told as fact was grossly incorrect.

      SFL: Being so far behind the times that they are not aware that fact verification is just a few mouse clicks and keystrokes away.

      1. I did that for a couple of the stories in college, but whenever I brought the subject up, I’d get horrified looks. Like who would be so wicked as to double-check a story?

        1. Who would be so wicked to double-check a story? How about anyone wanting to obey I Thess. 5:21: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”

          Sorry to hear that your peers seemed to have forgotten to be WISE as serpents!

  29. Statement that still bothers me, made by a church leader in the church we’re trying to minister to here in UA:

    “Everything is conditional with God… everything! Christianity is all about conditions we must fulfill…”

    However, this does help me to have a little compassion for someone I have a hard time not calling ‘Legalistic Pharisaical Busybody!” to his face. ๐Ÿ™„

    A friends’ baby dies 3 hrs old, and “the spiritual brothers”, guided by the 2-edged principle of ‘there are no coincidences’ and ‘everything is conditional’, came to the conclusion that his baby died due to his unresolved conflict w/his own father,since, after all, he was in outright defiance of ‘honor thy father..” ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

    By the grace of God, as far as I know, no one has had the nerve to say this to his face, although many seem to have accepted it as a logical outcome.

    Makes me sick at heart…

    1. So sad. And so ridiculous. This is not a gray area in the Bible: the whole book of Job deals with it, and twice Jesus specifically dealt with this issue – once when a tower fell, and one with the man born blind. Both times Jesus said that these tragedies were NOT in retaliation for specific sin in someone’s life. Yet modern day Pharisees continue to look for sin to blame whenever something bad happens to someone else. How can people who claim to follow the Bible more purely than anyone else miss this so badly?

  30. I’m not normally inclined to comment on the main boards, but amilyn, that is a drastic, drastic misunderstanding of history.

    Not only did Trotsky not “start” the “communist movement” he was born and brought up in the Ukraine and once he was living in NYC he was already a devout communist with quite the history of faction infighting ๐Ÿ˜‰ and he was considerably older than I am now (over 30). I doubt a wean would have been able to talk him out of his political convictions.

    Had I ever been in an IFB church I would have had to stand up and address that issue.

  31. I am trying to imagine what would happen to a priest who dared to pull crap like this at our lukewarm, spit-it-out, next-thing-to-mackerel-snapping-Catholic Anglican church.

    Simply put: No priest would dare.

    Our priests get oversight. We had a priest who kept not managing his diabetes; when his blood sugar started dropping, he turned into a complete boor. Eventually it only took a Look from certain members of the congregation to pull him up short and get him to apologize and go check his blood sugar. If he had actually started treating us like idiots by telling boogeyman stories about God, you can bet he would have heard about it. And if he had ever had the utter gall to shame or threaten a member of the congregation in a sermon, the Bishop would have heard about it. That afternoon. Multiple times.

    I wonder how many people these little tin gods in fundie churches have driven away from Christianity.

    1. I wish they would have had some oversight on the homosexual, predator, monster priests that molested little boys all over the globe, and the ones that are currently molesting little boys.

    1. Interesting. The only car accident I ever had was on my way back home from prayer meeting when I was a teenager living on Fundy U campus. Should have really thought a lot about that. All those other faculty members and their families who didn’t ever go to prayer meeting or even attend church were warm and safe inside their homes.

  32. Having grown up in a fundie home, I have witnessed this very illustration hundreds of times. Pastors get up and preach using countless illustrations of how God rained hell fire and brimestone as judgment on those who were “backslidden” (although their definition of backsliding is a far cry from the biblical definition) by the end of the service I would always be scared to even LOOK at alcohol much less think about it. However, when bad things would happen to “good” christians (ie:fundies that only ran in fundie circles) somehow, satan is attacking them and we need to “bathe them in prayer”!!!! Really? Where is the logic?! ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

  33. Sounds like this unlucky bastard was probably just the victim of God and Satan having a bit of fun like they did with Job. God just loves to screw with the righteous He and Satan are chillin’. Besides it was just women and children who got killed, we all know that only men count to God.

  34. “The second was of a teen who got in trouble at his Christian school, and was asked what it would take for God to get his attention. He said he didnโ€™t know. His heart was full of rebellion. He went home, went downstairs, lifted some weights, and somehow the weights came down on his neck and he died.”

    -I heard this one at Camp Joy when I was in high school. I specifically remember that the kid was supposedly bench pressing 165lbs and “dropped it on his neck.” I remember thinking at the time that there was no way that could happen. I worked out a lot then, and now, and so I know a little about benching. Nobody drops weight on their neck when they’re benching. It’s theoretically possible (1 in a million) that he passed out from something else and dropped the weight, but even if he did, it would have to be perfectly centered to stay on his neck. If they’re saying it was too much weight, he would have just rolled to either side and put it on the ground. 165lbs is nothing. Of course in the illustration, the preacher acted like it was 1000lbs. It’s a totally bogus story.

  35. I’m reminded of the old sermon illustration of the guy who stopped tithing and the next day his daughter was bitten by a snake under the porch, son was run over by his car as he was backing out of the driveway to take the daughter to the hospital for the snake bite, and the wife has a heart attack and dies of grief over the death of her kids, or something to that nature.

  36. I chuckled as I read many of your posts. I have actually heard Larry Brown preach the message on wolves three times (I think). The las time I heard it was at a couples’ retreat…not sure what it had to do with marriage!
    I grew up in two churches…one was HAC style, the other BBF.
    Every time I read or reflect on John 19 (if I remember right), I see the same spirit in Jesus’ disciples when they said, “Who did sin that this man was born blind…his parents or HIM?” Of course the fella sinned before he was born and God struck him blind…or perhaps knew of some sin he would commit after birth…. this is the way many Baptists think, unfortunately. Many get there “best” messages on sin from the speeches of
    Job’s friends (although they were totally wrong!

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