170 thoughts on “Making Visitors Feel Welcome”

    1. Excellent point. They could have just as easily put up a sign about water that makes you thirst no more, or anything equally positive. The negativity speaks volumes.

    2. Yes, they could put up a sign saying, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.”

      But then, you wouldn’t know that quotation if you hadn’t read the Gospels. 😐

  1. I would have been sorely tempted to reach under that water fountain and turn off the spigot.

    Nah. I woulda just done it.

    1. It would be fitting if the fountain was broken, maybe even deliberately shut off. 😈

  2. Why do you presume it is aimed at visitors? A good IFB never knows for sure if ANYONE is truly saved, even fellow members.

    But I go to what Scorpio said (it is a hidden truth), however, who infiltrated this hallowed space and placed the sign?

    -smartass plumber who got preached at instead of the billable hours paid?
    -smartass teenager?
    -other disaffected community member?

    1. And further, not literally true, but one of those riddles wrapped in a riddle.

      You know standing there that you are in hell, the contradiction is that the water is present, not the other way around.

      More of a thought provoking thing. I didn’t mean to say that being in this place was not hell.

      1. Stuff Fundies Like: finding the dark cloud attached to every silver lining.

        Christmas? They will sneer at the joy it gives people, harping away about its pagan origins, or the fact that the Bible never explicitly says Mary rode on a donkey.

        Water fountain? They will point out that people are thirsty in hell. They can’t even let you get a drink of water without trying to drag you down and reduce your ability to enjoy it.

        As has been noted many times, they fear pleasure, and feel compelled to counter-balance any pleasure that might be had, which is why they are so full of negativity against anything pleasurable. Pseudo-spiritual sadomasochists.

        Then, when their negativity and foolishness is noted on sites such as this, they howl about “bitterness” and “caricatures.”

        Oy. If you didn’t know better, you would think they were trying to get to heaven on the basis of their works/behavior.

        1. Being a killjoy will get you into heaven? Ugh. Or maybe it’s like the Twilight Zone’s episode with the dancers–one person’s heaven is another’s hell.

        2. Very good point!

          I too have noticed that many of them never seem to be able to just ENJOY something. In order to be spiritual, they always have to point out something usually negative.

          I think it says a lot about the type of God they believe God to be.

        3. Some very good comments on this thread. Interesting thoughts with benefit. I hope that we all can find ourselves in the love of God, and not in torment with divided minds, with the perpetual need to show others that we’re meeting our handbook quota.

        4. When I think of water in a Christian context, I think of the Psalm “he leadeth me beside the still water, he restoreth my soul.” Jesus calls himself living water. I have a problem with the little card above the water fountain because it simply backs up what all of us say when we leave fundamentalism. Love is almost a dirty word in the IFB and fear, guilt and manipulation are used to keep people from leaving. These tactics permeate all aspects of the IFB. Just add this water fountain plaque to the list.

  3. Would they take that little sign down, or cover it, if the water fountain was out of order? Or are they (the members of the church) so used to seeing it that it doesn’t even register to them anymore?

    1. I guessing that they would prefer the fountain to remain broken, thereby proving their point. MSK had a good point about that.
      One of the few real joys in a Proper Fundy RTC’s life is being able to lecture some wretched sinner about how much the sinner’s life sucks… okay, maybe not in those exact words. 😕

      1. I do believe you are right! More than that, I can now see the very real possibility that if it does ever break, every person who goes up to use it will then be ‘in sin’ because it is god telling them they are headed to hell. Thus will become the pastor sermon illustration of the person(s) who were ‘shone for the truth of their SINFUL ways’ and will live on in pulpits everywhere a fundy sits.

    1. LOL…posted this in another thread recently. Great minds…same channel….

  4. 👿 👿 But according to Billy Sunday there will be all kinds of likker!! 👿 👿

  5. I’m just waiting for John to pop by to say that this post is a lie. LOL.

    Despite the photographic evidence to the contrary, of course.

  6. Lol wow…guess they love to welcome visitors by implying they will burn in hell. 🙄

  7. Oh that’s priceless. They are so clever. Their sign probably says something equally as ridiculous.

  8. If I were a visitor there, that sign would probably do it. I wouldn’t be back.
    I do believe there’s a hell, but I understand the “flames” to be metaphorical.

  9. Whenever someone expressed an unattainable desire, my Granddad would say, “People in hell want ice water, too.”

    But he never said it to someone who was drinking water or asking for or looking for drinking water. It was just one of those pithy folk sayings.

    1. “You want ice water? “Eat a raw onion – that’ll make your ice water”
      -Ronald Kornblow (A Night in Casablanca)

  10. I recently went to elevationchurch with Pastor Steven Furtick. I have to say. I have never felt more welcome at a church. They really went above and beyond the usual to make me feel like I was really something special.

  11. I remember when I repented and put my faith in Jesus. I was over-whelmed by His kindness, by His grace, by His love… I wasn’t scared by hell into submission.
    Don’t think I believe in a fluffy gospel either. I do believe He is Almighty and All Powerful. I do believe we deserve hell.
    But His grace is much bigger.
    This water fountain sign is an intentional manipulation of the truth. They obviously believe that the vehicle that moves people to God is hell.
    It wasn’t hell that Jesus died for.

    1. My granddaughter’s innocent blue eyes study me over the bottle I’m feeding her, as a little hand plays with my collar. The cuddle is so sweet that my own eyes tear. She’ll deserve hell when she reaches a certain age. Because Eve, in the sting operation of all time, ate the fruit.

      I was weaned on hell. My training-union teacher once walked among us third-graders with a lit kitchen match, asking “Would you stick your finger in this for just one second? Imagine forever and ever!”

      My childhood ended at age 14, when I was certain that I had committed the unpardonable sin. I shared this with no one, and you cannot imagine such loneliness and terror in the still of night.

      The best day of my life was, decades later, when I stopped believing in hell. I love God with all my heart, but like Robert Ingersoll, I despise the doctrine of hell. It grates against our God-given logical minds.

      The purpose of punishment is to correct, as when we punish our children for their own good. But what correction comes from eternal torture? As children, we recoiled against those brutes among us who tortured insects and small animals. I refuse to believe that my God is a brute.

      1. It is the sin of Adam, not the sin of Eve.

        Jesus spoke quite a lot about hell. Was he lying? Or ignorant? Or insane? Or what?

        There is a difference between correction and condemnation. I was condemned, but I am no longer under condemnation because of Jesus. But I still get corrected.

        Just because an idea is abhorrent doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Auschwitz was an abhorrent idea to my German grandmother, and so she denied its reality. But I have been there.

        1. The Old Testament never mentions hell. The Gospels were written some 70 years or so after Jesus’s time, and by no eye-witnesses. Middle Eastern thought was much influenced by the Greeks, who believed in Hades.

          I’m not a fundamentalist. I do not believe all parts of the Bible are divinely inspired. Did God, in that notorious psalm, actually dictate to David the joy of “dashing his (enemy’s) little ones against the stones?”

          So I simply choose not to believe what is written concerning hell. I would not believe any libel about my earthly father, so why should I my heavenly father?

        2. I believe that Hell is real but that it is self-chosen; God condemns no one; we condemn ourselves. I believe that Jesus pursues every single soul with His infinite Mercy, Love, and Grace right up to the very nano-second of death, but that some people refuse Him anyway, even at that last extremity. It is a mystery.

          But in Hell, in a sense, these people get what they want: They get to say “Non serviam” forever. They get to wallow in their rage, spite, hatred, bitterness, and misery, in all the false “goods” they chose over God. In a certain sense, this is what they want, so God allows them to have it.

          C.S. Lewis said (I’m quoting from memory here, so bear with me): “In the end there are two kinds of people: those who say to God ‘Thy will be done’ and those to whom God says, sadly, ‘Thy will be done.” I believe this.

          It all boils down to free will, I think. To deny Hell is to deny free will. God wants friends, not slaves. We are human beings, not robots or automata. Fallen human beings, yes, but still human beings. Therefore (IMHO) God doesn’t force us into Heaven; He doesn’t force us to accept Him. Universalism IMHO is a form of Calvinist determinism. (In fact, as we all know, American universalism grew out of New England Puritanism, as a sort of logical conclusion for people who could no longer stomach the notion of double predestination.)

          (Sorry if I offend any Calvinists hereabouts…I don’t mean to do so; am just stating my beliefs.)

          I think this all means I’m a Molinist. So Thomists (as well as Calvinists) would take issue with me. 😀

        3. “They get to wallow in their rage, spite, hatred, bitterness, and misery, in all the false “goods” they chose over God.”

          I’m going to have to drag out the “What about the native in deepest Africa” who never heard the Gospel? The man in Nepal, who loves truth, family, is kind to his neighbors and the weak.

          I’ve read C.S. Lewis. I beg you to read Thomas Paine.

          By the way, CGC, I do enjoy your posts, even though we strongly disagree on these points.

        4. “What about the native in deepest Africa” who never heard the Gospel?

          You’re assuming that I believe such a native is perforce condemned to Hell. I don’t believe this. I believe we are judged “according to our lights.” If we are ignorant of the true God through no fault of our own, God takes that into consideration. He is not a sadist!

          IOW: I don’t believe that God condemns the African native or the sincere Nepalese to everlasting Hell purely because Western missionaries never got off their duffs to bring the Gospel to deepest Africa or farthest Nepal. 😉

          I’ll go out on a limb and say that I believe Jesus reveals Himself to everyone, in some mysterious way, and gives everyone the chance, the Grace, to receive Him. Anyone who is saved is saved by and through Jesus alone (for He alone is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no one comes to the Father except by Him)…but that does not necessarily mean that the person in question knew Him explicitly by Name during his or her lifetime. I believe that one can know and love Jesus without ever having heard His Name…although, obviously, one has huge advantages if one does know Him by Name and know His Gospel. The more “means of salvation” one has the better.

          On the one hand, we cannot presume on the salvation of the unevangelized; therefore we must witness to Christ to the ends of the earth, as He commanded us. But, by the same token, we cannot assume that Christ makes no provision whatsoever for those who, through NO fault of their own, have never heard of Him.

          IMHO those who choose Hell have willfully and obdurately refused God’s Grace. Obviously the pagan who has never even heard of God’s Grace is not in that position.

          Just my two cents’ worth, fwiw, based on the Bible, the Catechism, and the Diary of Saint Faustina Kolwalska. 😉 YMMV.

        5. Panda Rosa, I was thinking specifically of the young Calormene in The Last Battle. Such a beautiful episode!!!

          Thanks and haymen back atcha!

        6. There are several middle-of-the road positions that accept the existence of hell, but not the fundy version. Accepting the Bible as true, I would argue that we cannot make hell equal and opposite to heaven. Hell is not equally as bad as Heaven is good. C.S. Lewis calls hell a thin existence. This is consistent with the gospels, though does not include eternal physical torture.

          Another amazing concept is the Orthodox doctrine of Hell. In the West we see hell as the absence of God. In the East, it is his fiery presence – similar to the fiery furnace. The God-followers enjoy the presence of God, but those who have rejected him in life, are upon death in the last place they want to be – God’s presence!

          Do more research on those. It’s pretty awesome!

        7. Interesting concept…like God’s presence in the pillar of cloud/pillar of fire. A source of comfort to the Israelites, but not so much to the Egyptians who stood on the other side of it.

          We see as though we are looking into an old bronze mirror: indistinctly. But one day, we will see clearly. What a fantastic, exciting prospect!

      2. Was there ever some kid who did stick his finger in the flame anyway, just to look cool in front of his peers? 😈

      3. Sophie, I appreciate your love for your granddaughter. I sincerely do.

        One thing about sanctification that we all need to be careful of is making statements similar to “I would never worship a God who…” fill in the blank.

        We can set ourselves up for deep heartache if/when we discover we were wrong on a doctrine… this can happen when we’re being changed day to day in our understanding of who our God is, providing we’re not simply developing our position on what we hope God is.

        I appreciate your OT argument on this doctrine. But this position lessons the weight and truth of Jesus own words recorded later.

        1. Thank you, John. Grandkids are a wonder.

          You wrote “We can set ourselves up for deep heartache if/when we discover we were wrong on a doctrine”. What if we’re all wrong in not believing in Zeus, or Jupiter, or the myriad of gods through the ages? Fear of making the wrong choice should not be our motivation.

          John 3:16 doesn’t say “Whosoever believes in Hell…” If I’ve gotten one aspect of God wrong, do you believe He’s going to disown me?

          I spent too long in fear. I’m not afraid, not at all. And I thank God every single day for this.

        2. Sophie,
          Based on how quickly you stripped a quotation from my response and used it completely out of context, I can see how you’ve arrived at your position in scripture.

        3. John,
          My apologies. Did not realize that’s what I had done. I’ll accept the insult because my God blesses the peacemakers.

        4. In Sophie’s defence, she did say that the OT never mentions hell. It was observed that Jesus’ recorded words do. But she also mentioned that what we have is someone elses version of what Jesus may have said, recorded a generation after he died. She also noted that the NT borrows the word hades from Greek mythology, which at least suggests that the concept is mythological. Finally, she said that she does not believe that everything in the Bible is inspired by God and gave an example of the Psalmist saying that people that murder their enemies’ babies by bashing their bodies against the rocks are blessed. Given those points, re-thinking the doctrine of hell I think is quite reasonable. On the other hand, if you are going to defend the doctrine of hell because it’s in the Bible, what about slavery? Or genocide? When it comes right down to it, we all do some picking and choosing. Paul rejected much of his own scripture.

      4. Dear Sophie,

        I’m no theologian, but I understand what you mean by “…I despise the doctrine of hell. It grates against our God-given logical minds.”

        What seems to be difficult to accept is, “our God-given logical minds” were marred by the fall, and we have a very hard time equating a loving God with a God of justice. However, the scriptures declare that our God is both, no matter what we chose to believe. This could become a deep theological discussion, but I’m not qualified to go there.

        I only acknowledge that my finite mind can not completely comprehend all of who God is. But by faith, understanding He is holy, transcendent, and that His holiness includes His righteous judgement/ justice, as well as His gracious love/mercy, causes me to realize God is not someone I can create to my own satisfaction. However, it can be a tempting thing to do, in order to make sense of it all!

      5. Reading these comments, I presume that you either do not believe in “original sin” or have never understood the doctrine.

        There are no innocent people in Africa or anywhere else. We are all condemned in Adam. Adam’s sin tarnished all of us from conception.

        I admit this is a “hard” doctrine but the scriptures teach it very clearly. Salvation is a gracious work of God that He does not “owe” to man. What salvation was offered to the Amalekites?

        What if God desired to make His wrath and power known put up with people He had no intention of saving so that He could contrast the depths of His mercy to those He did save? This is what Paul asks in Rom 9.

        In an effort to “save God face” all kinds of heresy is brought into the church. Let God speak for Himself.

        1. That “hard” doctrine is what the Bible teaches, but many will not agree, esp. with Paul. Picking and choosing what is inspired, what is acceptable, what is palatable has led to “all kinds of heresy”, as you say.

      6. You got it, Sophie. I have no problem with the concept of hell — after all, a universe without justice is the very description of chaos — but eternal physical punishment even for those who have never heard the Gospel? Where is the mercy in that?

        Jesus suggested (rather obliquely, I realize) that just as rewards in heaven are “graded,” so is punishment in hell — and, moreover, that one MIGHT eventually be released after “having paid the last farthing.” Because God is love, I have to believe that hell is, at least for some people, remedial more than just punitive.

        Guess I wouldn’t be welcome in any IFB church, would I? 👿

        1. Because God is love, I have to believe that hell is, at least for some people, remedial more than just punitive.

          I think you have just described Purgatory. 😉 (You even cited one of the Scriptural proof-texts for it.)

        2. I thought this little sign would spark a theological discussion on hell….nevertheless, whatever one choses to believe, interpret, accept, or discard about Hell, there’s one thing we can all agree on…Hell is a place we don’t want to end up in! But rather, be accepted in the Beloved, our Lord Jesus Christ. Our God’s great love compels us to know Him, His Son, and walk in His Spirit.

          In His Words:

          Mt.5:22 –“…whosoever says You
          Fool, will be in danger of hell fire.”

          Mt.10:28–“…but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

          Mt.18:9–“…rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.”

          Mt. 23:33–“You serpents, you generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell?”

          No matter what your view of Hell is, Jesus’ own Words show us it is a subject that God takes very seriously.

    2. This is exactly what got me out of the IFB (along with a few irritating mosquito-like issues). My oldest son had developed an absolute terror of God and spent a considerable time praying every day begging God not to send him to hell. His teachers had drilled hell into them but failed to mention anything of God’s loving kindness or grace.

      Before that, I was content to sit through sermons on Sunday morning, sermons I could sort through for truth myself and ignore the chaff. But my kids didn’t have that filter yet and so could not sort truth from fiction.

      1. I’m glad you’re on this side helping people like me sort all of this out.

  12. If that s the sign by the water fountain, I can only imagine the “love” that is conveyed in the mog’s messages…

  13. This is another example of typical fundy pessimism. They (fundies) are the prototypical “glass half empty” sect. Rather than have the sign allude to something positive – such living water (as others have pointed out) – they go for the negative connotation. This goes hand-in-hand with the fact that in fundydom, nthe only positives are the MOG. No matter what the layperson does, it is not enough. If you want “soulwinning” 3 times last week, why didn’t you go 4? Sure your hair is short, but it could be shorter. Etc, etc, etc. No wonder the “true believer” fundy is a bundle of nerves.

  14. My old church had three urinals in the men’s room. I wanted to put signs up over them that said I John, II John, and III John.

  15. My guess is, this sign is a manipulative means to prompt members to keep their soulwinning schedule/quota, and they’re not too worried about visitor’s reactions.

    If a visitor was offended by it, then they wouldn’t be the kind of potential church memeber any good Fundy church would want, anyway!

  16. This is an example of something that fundies do all the time called proxy-witnessing. Rather than sharing the actual gospel with actual people through their words and actions, fundies employ tricks like this one to make themselves feel like they “did something” when in fact they have done nothing to advance the gospel.

    My parents were pros at this sort of thing. This Easter weekend reminded me of that because whenever “unsaved family members” (a/k/a all family that weren’t IFB – they were mostly lapsed Catholics) visited our home for a holiday, my dad would make a point to embellish his prayer before the meal with stuff like, “and we thank you for our salvation, which is only through Jesus Christ, and not of works lest any man should boast, which we can freely receive if we call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.” This, he believed, absolved him of fuundy-bloodguilt for not sharing the gospel with said “unsaved family members.”

    Perhaps the same thing could have been accomplished if we had simply engraved our water glasses with “There is NO water in hell.” Then, us kids could have been spared the embarrasment of squirming through one of dad’s “witnessing-prayers.” 😳

    1. LOL. Re those passive-aggressive “witnessing prayers”: Have you ever read the novel Portofino, by Franky Schaeffer (who I think is a real jerk, but I must admit he sure can write ;))? Portofino is really mean but, I must confess, very funny. (Kind of like some of Evelyn Waugh’s black-comic novels: You can’t believe you’re laughing your head off at such mean, nasty stuff. Schaeffer’s not in the same literary league as Waugh, of course, but IMHO he wields a fairly gifted pen.)

      Anyhoo…in Portofino the protagonist’s mother (supposedly based on Edith Schaeffer) is always praying out-loud prayers that contain passive-aggressive criticisms of her husband. (In her husband’s presence, of course.)

      A former fundy told me this happens a lot in fundyland. He said his mom used to do it, too.

      BTW, Portofino was a real education for me. I’d never heard of Bible Sword Drill or the Gospel Walnut before. 😆

      1. Never heard of Sword Drills either – which made it interesting when one of my sons and I were going through some Liechtenauer drills (Ueberhau vs. Ochs, for example) in the church parking lot while waiting for some activity to start. The education pastor’s comment was “that’s a different kind of sword drill!” I almost asked him which school he preferred. 😳

        1. OK, now I have to google those terms. Ya learn something new every day! 😎

        1. petrushka, I saw that tribute and thought the same thing. I guess Franky at least has the good sense not to speak ill of the dead. Maybe he is mellowing!

      2. Thanks for the book (endorsement?) I will definitely look it up and give it a read. Frankie was the keynote speaker at a Crisis Pregnancy Center benefit dinner I attended back in the late 90’s. He was quite thought provoking, and I picked up a copy of his (then) latest book, which (as I recall) was a call to activism in prolog aging Christianity in a hostile culture.

        I’ve heard that he has changed his views since then, but I was unaware of his newer writings. So, I look forward to reading (what seems to be) this discomfittingly humorous book.

        BTW… My greatest regret is having left the Catholic Church in my “ignorant zeal” after reading Chick Tract idiocy. The (fabricated) warnings and condemnation scared the Sacraments out of me.

        On another note, (regarding the pessimism and doom displayed above the water fountain) and, citing CS Lewis’ Chronicles yet again, I think a lot of IFBs are stuck in Puddleglum. Like typical Marshwiggles, they are afraid to even hope for a positive or pleasurable encounter with God. Yet, remember, Puddleglum was welcomed into glory despite his having missed many of the joys of natural life. I think there are many lessons to be learned from this archetype- not the least of which is to taste and see that The Lord is good.

        Thanks again, CGC, for your insights. You have been a blessing to me many times through your comments…

        1. Prolog aging= propogating (George). And, having read the tribute to his mother, I must be mistaken about the date of the benefit dinner at which Franky spoke. Maybe late 80’s? Do you know when (and/or why) he changed his beliefs/writing perspective?

        2. No, no, no! Puddleglum was the happy Marshwiggle! All the rest of the Marshwiggles looked down on him because he was so carefree!

          I’m thinking Puddleglum might be more fundy lite. 😛

          Awesome analogy, btw!

        3. Although I regret the event “scared the Sacraments out of me” has a nice ring to it. And it’s definitely what Jack Chick is trying to do, above and beyond the backpatting that seems to be his main focus.

  17. Good grief.

    When you read the book of Acts, you can’t help noticing that the Apostles never preached like this. They certainly believed in the reality of Hell — and yes, that’s what Jesus saves us from — but their preaching wasn’t all “fire and brimstone.” Rather, it was: “This Jesus whom you crucified? Well, God raised from the dead. He fulfilled all the OT Messianic prophecies. And now you can have eternal life through faith in Him.”

    If these guys are so bent on being faithfully Biblical, why don’t they preach the way the Apostles did? Why don’t they preach like Peter and exhort like Paul? Just wonderin’. :mrgreen:

    1. YES!

      Many have noted that the best words in the Bible are,

      “But God.”

      We may have screwed things up through Adam’s rebellion, dooming ourselves in the light of God’s holiness and justice. But God demonstrated his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. God didn’t leave us in that mess. There is hope! The Good News! Optimism!

      “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…”

      “No condemnation now I dread.
      Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
      Alive in Him, my living Head,
      And clothed in righteousness divine,
      Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
      And claim the crown, through Christ my own.”

  18. The sign is a lie. I’ve been to Hell twice, once in Michigan and once in the Grand Caymans. There’s plenty of water there; in fact it even snows in the Michigan one. 😎
    Oh dear, a lot of vows are suddenly going to have to be kept, aren’t they? 😮 😉

    1. Three options:

      1) Whoever manufactured the sign had a program that capitalizes the first letter of each line.

      2) Some people randomly capitalize words when they shouldn’t.

      3) A. A. Milne is their church secretary.

  19. How many people will come back to SFL when Darrell reveals this is an April Fool’s post? 😆

    1. Ooooooo. Couldn’t be, could it? So many hours later..

      or are we the most gullible users of the internet ever?!

      1. Naw, it can’t be an April Fool’s post cuz Darrell put the name and location of the church! But then again, ya never know!

        1. Now I’m 99% sure it’s not a hoax, after visiting their church website. The 1% doubt is because they don’t have listed under ‘Ministries’ a Water Fountain Ministry!

        2. Darrell is a computer guru, he could have stayed up late and made that website too.

    2. I’m sure it’s real. I used to belong to the church of a man trained under Pastor Ralph. They had a sign referencing the man in hell in Luke 16 begging for a drop of water posted over their water fountain.

  20. There is no water in hell.
    There is no beer in heaven.

    I’m trying to decide which place is worst.

    1. Still, to quote the great Tom T. Hall 😎 :
      Oh, the water was clear
      And tasted like beer
      Then they turned it all into wine …
      Awwww! 🙁

      I do like a good vintage even so.

    1. Ha, ha, that’s funny.
      Because in most churches, the Sundays following Easter and Christmas have the lowest attendance of the whole year. 😉

      1. But of course.

        Christmas and Easter is when all the people who’ve left because of issues with the church and not issues with God feel the need to go sit in a pew. And then they all get reminded why they left and leave again, along with a new batch of people who have had enough.

  21. Pardon my ignorance: does the Bible ever say or suggest there is no water in Hell?

    1. Jesus spoke of the Rich Man in Hell (Luke 16:20-31) asking Abraham to send Lazarus, the beggar, to “dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame”.

      I’ve heard it taught that this is not a parable, because Jesus used the names of actual people.

      1. That’s an odd claim. The only names given are those of Lazarus and Father Abraham. These were standard characters in stories told during that period, sort of like Punch and Judy. And Lazarus was apparently a common name (at least two other people named Lazarus are mentioned in the New Testament).

        1. Should’ve written that I heard this from fundie preachers…that’s why it sounds like an odd claim?

          Notice, I didn’t state that I heard it from learned theologians!

  22. True Story:

    A lady came to visit Windsor Hills in OKC and she was wearing pants. One deacon threw his arms up and reported to Jim Vineyard. Vineyard asked the lady to leave. I felt sorry for the lady. Vineyard was a Hyles disciple through and through as Hyles told a story in one sermon of going “soul-winning” in South Chicago and walked away if a woman answering the door wore pants.

    1. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could get the doorknockers to go away by just wearing jeans?

    2. Larry Brown said during Pastors School 2010 people were afraid to go “soul-winning” during Pastor’s School that he (Brown) and Schaap went to the mall nearby and talked to a woman working at J.C. Penny’s that she “needs to get right with God and quit wearing britches.” Then Brown pointed over to the front row and their was the lady. I guess Brown and Schaap are quite the tag team on soul-winning.

        1. How do you know she was sane?

          For that matter, how do you know she wasn’t a shill planted by Larry Brown?

        2. Brown has that southern Andy Griffith vernacular just like his mentor Jack Hyles. I can’t help but think of Ernest T. Bass when I think of Larry Brown. Ernest T. was infamous for throwing rocks through windows while Brown is known for smashing televisions, climbing on top of pulpits and challenging Rick Warren and the emergent church to a fight.

        3. This Hyles’ group really know how to re-define everything! The definition of ‘holy, holiness’ can not be equated with women not wearing pants! Doesn’t even come close, except in the IFBx’s erroneous theology!

      1. Nice choice of words; does anyone born after 1890 really wear “britches” anymore? 😛

        1. Panda Rose…

          Oh, that’s one of those things that if these preachers use the word “britches” just like jack hyles did, they feel like they are much like him slinging his jargon around and holding true to the convictions that he established.

          But just like jack hyles and his philosophies, it’s all outdated, not to mention worthless!

          ~~~Heart 😛

        2. Please pardon my disrespect. A few ounces of bitterness tainted my reply.

          ~~~Heart 😕

        3. Yep. “Breeches,” pronounced “britches,” is an old country term for “trousers,” and was no doubt part of Jack Hyles’ country charm, such as it was.

          People my parents’ age sometimes say that, but I havent heard anyone my age or younger (I’m over 50) use the term.

        4. @Heart– Not to worry, if you have had bad experiences with clowns like Hyles a little bitterness is natural. 😉
          @Big Gary– Seems the only other place “britches” lingers on is in statements like “He’s getting too big for his…” Funny how words change like that. 😀

  23. If you wanted to leave a water appropriate quote, why not go with “whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life”

    1. More positive and with the added benefit of actually being a verse from the Bible, Jesus’ own words.

  24. As a 70-yr old I’ve discarded a lot of the doctrines I was taught as a Baptist child including original sin, the substitutionary atonement, hell, heaven as portrayed in popular fundamentalist/evangelical theology, the Rapture. Born againism I’ve replaced with the need for ongoing conversion of life instead of a one time event praying the sinner’s prayer.

    “There is no water in hell”–how do we know? Contrary to those who have gone to heaven and have come back to write best-selling books about it, has anyone gone to hell (the real one, not the every day one that many of us experience) and come back to write about their experience. Of course I’m writing tongue in cheek here.

  25. If it is a true sign and I visited that church, I would walk right out. The negativity the sign conveys can only be the tip of the iceberg.

    I’m done with negative reinforcement! There are more healthier and positive ways to understand God!

    ~~~Heart ❗

  26. Brown said he and Schaap went together and confronted her at J.C. Penny’s.

    How would you feel if Schaap and Brown came to your neighborhood to go “soul winning” and eliminate women in “britches”

    1. I would try to get a front-row seat so I could watch all the women wearing “britches” (almost all the women in the neighborhood) chase them out of the neighborhood.
      Best show in town.

  27. The negativity seems to be a fundamentalist characteristic.

    It seems that salvation is not enough for them. One cannot want Christ because of His Love, His Presence in our lives, and to be with Him in the hereafter.

    No, but one must be terrified of the alternative, as if there is no life need now, but simply an awful fate awakening with a God angry with you unless you come “right now!” They preach about passing a “line of no return” (and where that is you’ll never know until you cross it!).

    Yes, fear of the beatings may drive someone into their parents’ arms, hoping that being close the parents won’t be so willing to hurt and injure. But it as often as not drives children away. When they can get away from this abusive parent, they will.

    The Vicious Christ of Fundamentalism has no attractiveness to me. I prefer the Christ who invites, who gave Himself rather than the one who promises to tread on his enemies and see the blood splatter!

    If there is no separating the two, then I will at one point be unable to stomach believing any more.

    1. Dear rtgmath,

      Learn from God’s Word the true definition of joy & rejoice, and discard the fundamentalist’s warped definitions.

      Since leaving IFBdom, I have clearly seen how much that movement lacks real joy in it’s preaching, teaching and lifestyle. That’s why they appear to have been weaned on dill pickles, fearful and angry! They don’t know how to truly rejoice in the Lord, or live with true joy in their hearts. It’s evident in all they say and do.

  28. This was the favorite hymn of one of my spiritual mentors:

    My God, I love Thee–not because
    I hope for heaven thereby;
    Nor yet because,if I love not
    I must for ever die.

    Thou, O my Jesus, Thou didst me
    Upon the Cross embrace;
    For me didst bear the nails and spear,
    And manifold disgrace,

    And griefs and torments numberless,
    And sweat of agony,
    Yea, death itself; and all for me
    Who was Thine enemy.

    Then why, O blessèd Jesu Christ,
    Should I not love Thee well?
    Not for the hope of winning heaven,
    Of of escaping hell;

    Not with the hope of gaining aught,
    Not seeking a reward;
    But as Thyself hast lovèd me,
    O ever-loving Lord!

    So would I love Thee, dearest Lord,
    And in Thy praise will sing;
    Solely because Thou art my God,
    And my eternal King.

    (verses attributed to St. Francis Xavier, translated by Edward Caswall)

    A commitment to Jesus made under threat of eternal punishment seems as insincere and unreliable as a coerced confession of a crime.

    The real reason to love the Lord is simply because he loves us so much. There may or may not be a hell in the afterlife, but there is definitely a hell in this world for those who try to save themselves by their own works. Living under God’s sovereignty, instead of that of the powers and principalities of sin and death, is fully its own reward. Once you’ve tasted the Living Water, you won’t want the artificially-sweetened Flavor Aid of fundamentalism any more.

  29. I appreciate those of you cared enough to discourse with me over the existence of Hell. I know where you’re coming from. You have good hearts.

    The problem is using scripture as foundation for debate, when I no longer have confidence in it. I was dragged, kicking and screaming into this mindset, by the way. My Bible was well highlighted over decades of church involvement, devotional readings and teaching Sunday School, but I had never read it cover to cover. I set out to please God by doing just that.

    I got past the atrocities of Moses by rationalizing that the slaughtered children would at least be “safe” for eternity, and that the adults were idol worshipers who deserved hell. Still, Numbers 31 grieved my soul (Have you saved all the women alive? Kill every male among the little ones…).

    And then comes 2 Samuel 21, where God agrees to lift a famine he caused because of Saul’s past actions, but only when David has two of Saul’s sons and five of his grandsons killed and hung up “unto the Lord.

    Human sacrifice? I thought only Baal worshipers did this! As a mother of sons I read in tears the account of the mother keeping vigil at the feet of her rotting sons, to keep the birds away.

    I started reading opinions from both sides, including those apologetics who said that Saul’s grandsons were not innocents, that they had participated in Saul’s actions against the Gibeonites. But the Bible does not say this. Wouldn’t that be an important thing to clarify for future generations?

    With fear and trembling, I looked up Bible contradictions and errors, such as here:

    How could I have missed them? There are hundreds, including the very genealogies of Christ in Matthew and Luke. Yes, some lists are on atheist websites. I can’t go that far. Intelligent design, the very stars, the connection I feel in my heart, tell me God is so real.

    What I am is a deist, as were many of our founding fathers. I entrust myself to God’s hands. He has been exceedingly gracious to me in this life. The next one does not frighten me.

      1. I understand both sources of your ridicule. Fundies do not take kindly to those who dare question. And shallow youth are offended by those of advanced age. You haven’t ruined my day at all, Brother. My grandbabies love me!

        1. Sophie, it is good to question. Questioning is not evil. I must admit that famous “Christian” apologists are less and less convincing. There are many growing reasons for this but the journey of learning continues.
          The only people who are “deluded” are the ones who claim they know everything for certain.
          The translations of compiled copies of the ancient jewish scriptures are questionable: the more you study with an unbiased view the more and more they seem like lore and tribal warmongering.

  30. I would have done something reminiscent of what Chief did in the last scene of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.

    1. Beginning or end of the scene? The pillow might be a little extreme, don’t you think?

  31. There have been more than a few ungodly MOG I’ve wanted to use the pillow on, but no, I was talking about the hydrotherapy unit.

  32. Let’s talk about Hell for a moment.

    I have always believed in Hell, from the time I was a child. I was terrified of hell, of course, and that terror led me to several of my early spiritual decisions.

    It wasn’t until several years ago that I began to ask questions about hell. Frankly at that time I began to ask questions about a lot of the doctrines I had been taught in my Christian life (exclusively fundamentalism, though from two differing denominational perspectives).

    You see, we talk as if the Scripture is “plain” and “clear.” But there are 25,000 different denominations, sects, splinters, and such in the US alone, with an additional 8000 in the rest of the world. So something must not be exactly plain and clear. Each of those varieties have adherents who believe they have the TRUTH ™ and that anyone who disagrees with them is plainly not listening to the TRUTH ™ .

    So we have a doctrine of hell. It is exclusively a New Testament doctrine. Why is that?

    When God created Adam and Eve and charged them with the gardening, they were told not to eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God said that in the very day they ate of it they would surely die. Why didn’t he tell them they would go to hell and suffer forever? Why is hell not mentioned in any Scripture before the New Testament? Why, in all God’s judgments against people and nations in the Old Testament, is a Hell of Fire and Brimstone and everlasting conscious punishment never mentioned?

    When Saul called Samuel up by witchcraft, Samuel told Saul that he would soon be where Samuel was. Samuel was where? In the grave. Why not a mention of heaven or hell at that point? That would have been more important.

    For that matter, the Devil isn’t mentioned either as the Devil or as Satan until 2 Samuel in the Old Testament. Not once until Daniel are demons mentions, even as fallen angels.

    We are told that Jesus is the Only way to heaven. Yet many have not heard of Him. We are told that one must put personal faith in Christ to be saved, that lacking that personal faith one is lost forever, doomed to hell because their names are not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

    Yet how can a Just God impose such a condition on those who are unable to hear by reason of geography? Is Salvation a Geographic gift? Or is salvation something that your ancestors predetermine for you by their beliefs? The Scripture makes no exceptions. As a result, Calvinist theology preached by the Puritans held that babies who died went to hell because they lacked personal faith in Christ. Records tell of women who went insane with grief after the loss of an infant.

    During the Intertestamental period, Persian theology (Zoroastrianism) postulated a Heaven and a Hell, the Light and the Dark, Demons and Angels, God and the Devil as almost equal and opposite. Those concepts appear nowhere in the Old Testament, with the exception of the book of Daniel. In the Old Testament there was no competition to God. In the New Testament we have the Devil. In the Old Testament, blessings and cursings were generally temporal, in the New Testament they transcend life.

    I am not saying there is no hell. I am saying that I find it strange that God withheld this vital knowledge of forever after those before Christ.

    If you take a look at most doctrines, particularly fundamentalist ones, you find they are a patchwork of small sections of Scripture ripped out of context from several different unrelated passages, some as small as a few words in length, and sewn together in a crazy-quilt fashion to tell a story. That is why people can so easily come up with their own, inconsistent to other doctrines yet seemingly internally consistent, and convince others in the same way.

    And the more Scripture I read, the more questions I have. Yes, I still read it.

    1. I think, at the very least, that every thinking Bible student has to come to terms with the fact that eternity is a lot more complicated than going to heaven if you say the magic Jesus prayer, and going to hell if you don’t. Especially when you have Jesus saying weird things, like people who don’t feed the hungry but do cast out demons and do many marvelous works in his name will go to damnation.

    2. rtgmath – I agree with you on the point that you say “the more Scripture I read, the more questions I have.”
      The more “Christian” apologists I hear the less convincing their argumentation seem to become.
      The problem is fundy and evangelical Christians discourage any information from those who do not claim to be believers and reject them wholesale. Why are their input any less valid than someone who needs to confirm their bias as a believer?
      Why is religion given this elevated position above scrutiny?
      What other subject in life does a person not take in information from all sides to determine veracity?
      Why do Christians reject wholesale the man who points out flaws just because that man claims to not believe in god? – his belief does not invalidate his information – the information should stand alone.

      1. Guys…

        For the past two years I’ve been immersed in the Ancient Alien Theories!!!! Give those a whirl and see what it does to everything that you’ve been taught! It’s mind boggling!

        ~~~Heart 😯

        1. (Drum roll) (cymbal clash) (eye roll)

          Ahhh yes, ancient aliens! Also assertion sans evidence.

          It seems that too much in religion or religiosity depends on coming to the conclusion first then searching for evidence of it afterward.

        2. As Heart and Brother have proven, most Fundies are not able to handle honest, polite debate. And so they mock.

        3. Sophie,

          Apparently you are unfamiliar with me and the stance I take here on SFL. Your sentencing structure is unclear in it’s intent, but I’ve concluded your statement to be a dagger aimed at Brother (?) and me.

          My original statement was not in mocking but merely a disclosure of areas of query that have intrigued me, as “hell” has similarly put you in a quandary.

          By hastily and mistakingly taking offense to me, you have deliberately set out to offend.

          My dear, don’t be so quick to come to negative assumptions. In doing so, you will suspect the same from others and it’s a vicious circle that enslaves!

          To be clear… I was not mocking.
          To be clear… I am not a fundamentalist.
          To be clear… I am offended.
          To be clear… Tomorrow is a new day!

          Live, Learn, Grow!

          ~~~Heart 😯

        4. Now, if I have deciphered your words completely wrong, then excuse me and indeed we are of the same mindset.

          ~~~Heart 😎

        5. Sophie,

          Oh my dear, I’m sitting right beside you, guilty of offenses, grateful for forgiveness, and endeared to you. I’m glad that’s settled because I meant no ounce of disrespect to you nor mocking.

          Thank you for your response. His grace is sufficient for us all! Now enjoy your day with your grand babies, because, surely, in comparison, this is but a trifle!

          ~~~Heart 😉

  33. Re: Preaching the Love of God in church…I remember in my early days of Fundilemma, the “love of God” was spoken in condescending tones of derision and contempt, even in the soul-winning chuches I was in. The tactics they used (sales techniques, really), emphasized fear of hell more than the love of God. I remember discussing with an acquaintance why the missus and I were leaving that church for another. “Oh,” he said derisively, “you want to go to that ‘deeper life’ church!” The sign over the water cooler was so “that church,” but as has been noted already, Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, not just a fire escape from hell.

    1. It’s so sad that they feel comfortable with the wrath of God but not the love of God.

  34. Okay, this is just plain funny. I’ve been to Cornerstone in Carthage several times including this last Easter Sunday, and I’ve never been offended by the sign over their water fountain, I thought it was a good reminder of the scriptural reality of hell. Seems to me, if you believe in hell, a little reminder for saved and lost is a kindness not a curse.

    CBC seems to be a very balanced church and certainly not unloving or excessively negative. There’s like over a hundred missionary prayer cards on the wall of their sanctuary, a lot of free Bible study literature, most of which is uplifting and there’s certainly not a negative or downer tone to the service. They don’t seem to fit the crowd they’re being lumped with in these comments. I would describe them as reasonable, friendly, balanced and real. They are KJV only but don’t shove it down people’s throat, they believe in outward standards and being separate from the world but don’t encourage performance based “faux righteousness” that I’ve seen in other places. I’ve even seen women in “britches” a few times, clearly not the majority but they certainly don’t run them off.

    Just thought it was worth clearing up based on my experience. It always pays to hear the “positive” side.

      1. Just saying, the hell sign is not an adequate reason to stay away. It’s scarcely fair to label a church unwelcoming based on what’s intended to be a warning sign. Now if the issue is describing/defining hell, that’s another subject. They clearly believe it’s literal fire, etc. but if the issue is welcoming visitors I simply disagree, I’ve found it a warm, welcoming place and don’t see the sign as a turn off.

  35. Cognitive Dissonance defined: “they believe in outward standards and being separate from the world but don’t encourage performance based “faux righteousness” that I’ve seen in other places.”

    Outward standards require performance based righteousness.

    KJV-only is idolatry.

    Cult is as cult does… no matter how palatable one makes it. here, have another chocolate 😉

    1. Cognitive Dissonance nothing! There’s no contradiction in anything I said.

      Lie Alert! Outward standards do not require performance based righteousness. They (Standards) may or may not stem from any illusion of righteousness or any number of other motivations/stimuli. Everyone, religious and otherwise, has some form of outward standards. Whether they’re perceived asb synonymous with righteousness is a separate issue, they won’t mix.

      BTW you misquoted me I said “faux righteousness”.

      Furthermore KJV-only does not mean they worship the Bible, simply that they believe they have a perfect Bible.

      Disclaimer: I’m not saying that some KJV-only folks are not idolatrous, only that it’s possible to believe you have a perfect Bible and not be idolatrous.

      1. Daniel, I understand what you are saying. I grew up in a similar church, but without the ridiculous sign over the water fountain. (I mean, can’t I just get a drink of water?) I loved my church. Problem is, the seeds of destruction were already sown with those man-made rules (AKA “outward standards”) and the KJVO stuff. Sooner or later, in far too many cases, all the extrabiblical stuff winds up choking out the good that was there. My former church became too heavily BJU, then mixed in some WCBC when the new pastor (a college classmate of mine) brought home some kooky, self-serving ideas from there. The church is now dead. Many people have left already. A few still sit there, spraying cologne on the corpse. They used to run 2000 people. Last I knew, they were dipping below 700. They can’t publish a directory, because by the time they get it back from the publisher, another 20 families have left.

        Extrabiblical teachings are death. Maybe not today, but not too long into the future.

      2. Disclaimer: I’m not saying that some KJV-only folks are not idolatrous, only that it’s possible to believe you have a perfect Bible and not be idolatrous.

        mmmm, nope it is very much idolatry.

        and since the OP is talking about Churchy things it is in that context I submit the quote I quoted is filled with cognitive dissonance, you can’t have outward (churchy/righteous) standards without there being a performance element to them. If you are not practicing what you claim to believe then you are a hypocrite. Now, if there is a dress standard above and beyond the biblical mandate of “modest” then one is practicing performance based “faux” righteousness. If one asserts that one specific translation of the Scripture is the only translation of scripture for the English speaking people then one is practicing bibliolatry.

        The performance based righteousness practitioner says, “I do this to honor God.” (i.e. God will love me more better for doing this) Yet all God tells us is to seek him first and foremost. If one is living his/her convictions then good. But once those convictions are projected onto anyone else the cancer of legalism has begun its destructive work in that body of believers.

        1. Don is correct here, it is *not* possible to claim you have a perfect Bible translation without having idolotarized it. Bible makes it CLEAR there is only 1 thing that is perfect and it is God, not a Bible translation. Using “perfect” proves the idolatry.

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