Friday Challenge: Kudos To A Fundy

In our travels in, through, and out of fundyland almost all of us have encountered at least one or two people there who make us wish that more fundamentalists were like them.

Today’s challenge is to recall a fundy or two who encouraged, helped, or showed kindness to you even in the midst of an otherwise terrible time.

109 thoughts on “Friday Challenge: Kudos To A Fundy”

    1. I forgot to give my kudos.

      I went to a fundie church and church camp. No week was complete without a terrifying “Mark of the Beast” movie, and conversion-producing stories of torture and damnation. Turn or Burn, kids. Also, plenty of doses of “girls, bathing suits, and immodest clothing, cause the boys to sin in lust…don’t be a tool of the devil. YOU are responsible for their spiritual failures.

      Though it was full of all the hardcore fundie trappings you’ve shared here at this site, a few standout people were very encouraging to me, and graciously loved me, and shared their lives and time with me. A difficult family life made my teen years very trying. (I was part of one of the worst things to be in “fundyland” …from a broken home. THAT’S right, the d-word. Divorce! which we were told many times that God hates. “Christians don’t do it.”)

      I might have despaired about my situation, even to try suicide, without some of those friendships and mentoring that I believe was a gift from God. Still, even after all these years, I love and cherish them…though mostly through facebook…

  1. Dave Garver – definitely a Fundy, but he genuinely loved God and believed that Christians ought to be characterized by love for one another. That was a time when we were all required to go to the Fundy U. “church”, so for all practical purposes we had no church. Our Sunday School with Dave became our own little mini-church and Dave was our pastor. The atmosphere in that classroom was so sweet and loving and encouraging in a place that otherwise seemed utterly devoid of anything genuine. I’ve changed over the years and I doubt I would actually be a member of his church if we still lived near each other, but his ministry at that time was exactly what we needed.

  2. Ironically, every Fundy who ever comforted or stood by me through some dark times (other than gently reminding me that it’s probably my sin that’s causing this trial) is now an unabashed former Fundy.

  3. The evangelists the came through IFB churches often had the reputation of being “know it all”, “high and mighty”, “having it all together spiritually”, and often “the hero of every story” (stories in which they would put someone in his/her place). However, one of the nicest, kindest, most humble of men I have every met was Bill Hall. I know he would not agree with everything going on in the church in which I am currently serving, but he has always treated me with respect and concern and I’m sure that he would treat me the same way today.

  4. My parents. Always, they have put each other, my brother, and me–emotionally, spiritually, and everything else–as their priority and not let themselves be “married” to the ministry. Even while we were still in the South among all that fundiness, they still stayed level-headed about a lot of things. 😎

    1. I also want to add that since moving to the Mid-west, they’ve evaluated a lot of what they believed and discarded the man-issued codes of behavior. Some things they still do just because it’s a habit and they’re comfortable with it (Momma wears a skirt or dress to church, Daddy wears a tie and suit when he preaches, etc.) but they don’t worship tradition either.

  5. Mr. Craig – God rest his soul – was truly a gift from the Divine. His knowledge of Scripture, his insistence on private devotion, and his seeking to understand what was going on in the lives of his students was a treasure of blessings I didn’t recognize at the time.

    The St. Vitus shakes that accompanied his Parkinson’s disease worked to make him forever memorable, an serves as an inspiration in my adult life how to take personal affliction with grace and focus with empathy on the needs of others.

  6. The former assistant of our IFB, and his wife. When we left our nightmare IFB, we needed a place to heal. As we started attending our new church, my husband was out of work (thanks to the old IFB), without any unemployment. We asked for prayer in our SS class, and just before the morning service, the assistant pastor’s wife asked me if we needed some meat. She took me into the church kitchen after the service and started loading up package after package of frozen meat into grocery bags. I was so grateful that I started crying, and the whole awful story of the old IFB story came pouring out–the power trippin’ pastor, the members who didn’t care about us at all. She immediately hugged me and prayed. Then she opened up their personal checkbook and wrote us a check for $200. I cried even harder. The next week was the Lord’s Supper, and each month at that time this church collects money for the needs of anybody in the church. We didn’t know that then, but after that service the assistant pastor called us into the church office and gave us another generous check from that fund. He also stopped and prayed with us, then hugged us both.

    Months later, when my husband was hospitalized for a month with no health insurance, the assistant pastor and the whole church came alongside us and helped in every conceivable way. I love our church. It took one IFB church to heal us from the effects of another IFB.

  7. This is runofthemill’s wife. I’d have to say hands down, an evangelist by the name of Danny Souza. This guy was so loving, never preached a damning message, but of love and hope and was always smiling and real and poor as a church mouse in winter, but joyful and always so happy to see me whenever we saw each other and always wanted to know how I was doing. I never heard him bash another person, nor was he concerned about fixing me…just loving me. Danny Souza, wherever you are…you were such a blessing to this girl who was growing up in the IFB world as a horribly abused PK. You were a breath of fresh air in the terribly jaded world in which I lived in.

  8. A pastor at my old church named John Lehman. I could not get out of a conversation with this man without him encouraging me in some way. His encouragement never came off as pious platitudes. Idk how he could say the same things and be sincere, but as a young person about to go into “Christian ministry” he was exactly the kind of person that I could emulate.

    His friendly smile, words of encouragement, and godly example helped me to see past the discouragement of my fundy university and see that God was working in his life. I was so disappointed when my church passed over him for the head pastorship, which I think showed exactly where the church was. We wouldn’t want someone as head pastor that smiles, encourages others, and preaches the grace of God would we??? 👿

    I am so grateful to him and several others who should me that God is working in real people’s lives everyday. 🙂

    1. Wonder if he’s the same John Lehman I know, from one of the BJU orbitals in Greenville.

  9. Darrell Dow and Cory Loriot – two guys who put with my arrogant jerk-ness with remarkable patience. 😕

  10. When my dad committed suicide, we had a great outpouring of love from our IFB church. Our people were loving and caring. A great man from the college we were attending (IFB also), would see me months later, buy me a soda, and say, “Talk to me.” His impromptu counseling sessions were priceless. I could list and list very godly people in the IFB movement who were honest, tender, quality people.

  11. I grew up in more of a borderline fundy church- pentecostal, not IFB. Though we had our own weirdnesses, there were probably as many good people there as there were bad. My experience has been that in any group of people there will be good people and bad people. That’s what made me start asking questions when I got out of the church bubble and found that non-Christians were just people. And quite a few of them proved to be much better people than the majority of the Christians I knew. 🙄

  12. I’ll be another that mentions Uncle Fred. I was already out of the IFB but still at BJU… The class “Hymnology” reaallly opened my eyes to a LOT of things music-wise about not forsaking the rich old hymns and PSALMS and yet embracing the new – he talked about changing times. We had some fun discussions in that class…lol. Also Dr. Ted Miller… The BEST Bible teacher I ever had.,.thanks to that man, I rethought SO many things I had been brainwashed about and got to study and debate freely in his class. I was also VERY sick most of the time, and he somehow kept me in his class and I still somehow got a B despite late papers, no thanks to BJU though.

  13. Please do not lump all Independent Baptist Churches together. Each church is autonomous. Key off the first word in the church name INDEPENDENT which means no two churches are the same. Church 1 doesn’t tell churches 2,3,4, and 5 what to do. If they are not friendly at one church and maybe they teach herecies don’t automaticly assume all independent fundamental churches are like that…
    You can take it or leave it…just sayin

  14. Chris Huff, pastor of Bible Baptist Church in Mt Prospect, IL, is the main human reason I’m still any sort of Christian. He’s still IFB, KJV, but he’s been drinking from the wells of the Reformation and earlier, and learning the distinction between Law and Gospel through his preaching was the biggest human factor God used to rescue any sort of my Christianity.

  15. My parents. They were a little crazy when I was growing up but they were understanding when I wanted to attend a different church (because ours was driving me to thoughts of suicide),which was a shock to me. I am so grateful for their support and understanding.

  16. Mrs. Pankratz. She ran the tiiiiiiiny Christian school which I attended from kindergarten to grade 7. Her husband was the principal, but everyone knew she was running the place. One kid with a slight speech impediment spent years calling her “Mrs. Pancakes”.
    Anyway, she wasn’t Baptist, but she and her husband (who was the pastor of the church wherein the school was based) were fairly fundamentalist. The school used A.C.E curriculum, we all wore uniforms, boys and girls had to sit at separate tables, I once got in trouble for bringing a Barbie doll to school, when I was on a little school quiz team thingie she wanted the male teammate to be team captain because it “looked better” for a boy to be captain, she even instated ‘lady lessons’ for the older girls where we had to like balance books on our heads to learn good posture. But geez was she a sweetie.
    Our school was tiny. It was also where trouble students were sent. The school was half super-Christian kids, and half not-very-Christian kids who had simply been expelled from every single other school in the region. And you know what? Those trouble kids ended up doing really well in school, because of her. She loved everyone. And, in what may have been the secret to her success, she expected the best of everyone. She treated these kids like they WERE good, and kind, and helpful, and eventually they became so. Genuinely bad kids, who had gotten into trouble for like being physically violent – give her a few months, and they were running to help set up chairs. She referred to the older guys as “the boys”, haha. And “the boys” loved her. So did the rest of us.
    And do you know what she did? Well, I was raised by a single parent, and we were basically dirt poor. Dirt, dirt poor. And we couldn’t pay the tuition. We ended up being a year behind in tuition payments. And Mrs. Pankratz just . . . forgave it. Tore up the bill, figuratively.
    And she didn’t even care what religion someone was: one of “the boys” was from a Sikh family (he was one of the kids who was there because all other schools had kicked him out – she turned him into a sweetie), and Mrs. Pankratz and Pastor Pankratz became wonderful friends with this Sikh couple. They even went to conferences together!
    The rest of the school was rather hard. But she made it a good place. She made me feel like I was smart. She made me feel like I was trustworthy. She’d come to my desk and cheerfully gossip away and made me feel like I was all grown up, haha!
    A heck of a person.

  17. Norman Hill. He was very much part of the Strict Branch of The Brethren Movement in Belfast Northern Ireland, which has very many characteristics of American Fundamentalism, but God used him to save my life. I had rebelled against God, and my life and fallen apart completely to the point where is was obsessed by the thought of pulling my own plug. Three times I went up to the top of a tall building to jump off. Obviously I chickened out. The third time I came down and wandered about belfast in dispair. I ended up at a fairly well-known Brethren Church which was having a Gospel Meeting on that Tuesday night, and it had just finished. the place was still open so I went in and Norman was there. I started talking, and I spilled my guts out to him. A lot of what i said was not pleasent to listen to, but at the end he prayed with me and the healing process began. At that time the Church had an outreach on a saturday night, where people would come in for free tea and coffee and a chat, and I started to go to. Norman always seemed to be there and we had many long talks and times of prayer. He would have probably been the most religiously conservative guy in the church, but his love for Christ of for waifs and stays like me was overwhelming. He certainly helped in the healing process. He had gone to be with the Lord since then. Matthew 25:21

      1. I have just been reading through the comments on this post again. I *still* feel moved when I think how much Norman Hall helped me.

  18. My grandpa. I grew up in the church he pastored and while (and I feel so disloyal saying this) he wasn’t the best preacher in the world, he DID have a heart for people and went way beyond just inviting people to church and witnessing to them. He served them in every way he could, and if they kicked him down he just kept on. He always taught us love Jesus and let him teach you how to love people.

    And while I heard a lot of crazy (and my parents are pretty fundy) at youth meetings, revivals, (Jack parchman scared the hell out of me), Papa’s church was pretty down to earth.

    After he retired and we switched to a closer church (full of highly polished and smart fundies, closely associated with heartland BBC and all that gang), I got a taste of life in a real fundy church. I hated it, and still do.

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