This post was originally featured on SFL in September, 2011
As part of the never ending quest for a broader definition of fundamentalism (including but not by any means exclusive of Independent Baptist fundamentalism) I’d like to contribute a few thoughts on what fundamentalism IS by taking a quick look at what it IS NOT.
Fundamentalism is not just believing that the Bible is true; it’s believing that only one tiny group of people knows the “real truth” of the Bible.
Fundamentalism isn’t having rules and standards; it’s having rulers who make themselves ultimate standard.
Fundamentalism isn’t refusing to serve alcohol; it refusing to serve anybody who isn’t “deserving.”
Fundamentalism isn’t believing that your convictions are right; it’s believing that they could never be wrong.
Fundamentalism isn’t applying our religious fervor to our political choices; it’s trusting political choices to bring about religious fervor.
Fundamentalism isn’t a belief that people are sinners; it’s a belief that some few chosen spiritual elite are not.
Fundamentalism isn’t striving for personal holiness; it’s wallowing in prideful ignorance.
Fundamentalism isn’t loving hymns of the faith; it’s refusing to accept as part of the faith those who don’t love hymns.
Fundamentalism isn’t teaching your children self-sacrifice; it’s happily sacrificing them on the altar of other people’s selfishness.
Fundamentalism is not simply believing that God created the world; it’s living in an isolated world run by a god of your own creation.
193 thoughts on “SFL Flashback: The Perpetual Question”
America is the greatest fundamental nation ever.
Abraham Lincoln? FUNDY
Ronald Regan? FUNDY
Neil Armstrong? FUNDY
Put down whatever drugs you are taking. None of them were Fundy.
Aww shucks. Closest I have ever been.
Excellent post and very real. I have noticed lately though that some fundamentalists are now evolving. They even try to claim that they are not fundamentalists after decades of announcing they are indeed fundamentalist and thunder all of their standards from the pulpit. Maybe you are starting to get through to a few? The problem is, I see no change in attitude just an outward lip service “we are not fundamentalists! we just believe in the bible”! Their version of the bible of course is the matter that they still do not realize is the problem.
Add to that that the media defines conservative evangelicals as fundamentalists as well as the fact that there are people like me who DO hold to the fundamentals of the faith but dislike the term “fundamentalist” because of what the IFB has turned it into, and you have a confusing situation!
You hit the nail on the head. My mother (somewhat of a legend here :wink:) loves to tell me in her most whiney, “you-have-disappointed-me-son” voice: “I don’t know why you are so critical of what I believe. I just believe the Bible.” So, of course, disagreeing with her is like disagreeing with the Bible, and by extension, with God Himself!!! (Apologies to Dolores Umbridge.)
Anyway, I have tried and tried to explain to her that just because she has her set of beliefs and can find Scriptures to (sort of) justify them does not mean that she believes the Bible. She will never see it that way.
Two statements made to me by my mother and sister, both of which made me very sad:
From my mom, after I told her that I don’t see any spiritual growth in her life in spite of her supposedly perfect beliefs, because she is still an angry, unloving person: “I don’t know what you are talking about. I grow as a Christian every day. I am always open to learning that something is sinful that I didn’t know was sinful before.”
From my sister, after I asked her why she was going to Bible College: “Because I know that it is a sin for women to wear pants, but I don’t know how to prove it from the Bible. I want to learn how to prove my beliefs from the Bible.”
What saddened me about my mother’s statement is that she equates spiritual growth with nothing more than adding more and more rules and standards to an already lengthy list while completely ignoring the need for love, kindness, patience, and the other fruits of the spirit. I realized that is because it is easier to spend weeks and weeks proving from the Bible that playing cards are a sin than it is to spend five minutes biting one’s tongue or keeping one’s temper.
What saddened me about my sister’s statement was that she had this set of beliefs that she held for no other reason than that my parents and their church had told her to believe these things. She had no idea what the Bible said about those things but she knew they were right and believed, as an article of her faith, that all those things were in the Bible somewhere.
I think those two statements captured more about fundamentalism than an encyclopedia of fundamentalism could have done.
Deacon’s Son, this is very wise and thoughtful. I agree with your evaluation and your response. I can also relate in a small way with your frustration with dealing with someone who WILL NOT hear you.
You’re right, Deacon’s Son. All that work, and your mother and your sister still get Christianity backwards. It’s about love and hope, not sin and rules on top of rules. Fundamentalism has a lot to answer for.
For me, every day reveals new wonders from the almighty Creator.
For your mother and your sister, every day reveals new sins to avoid.
“I don’t know what you are talking about. I grow as a Christian every day. I am always open to learning that something is sinful that I didn’t know was sinful before.”
Sanctification by Listmania
First of all, your Dolores Umbridge reference nearly made me spit out my pumpkin-flavored coffee!
Your sister’s situation made me really sad, because that was me. All my life as a Christian, I never once had someone tell me why women can’t wear pants. Not even ONE! I went to Bible college for the very same reason (among others, most as equally trivial). Sadly, I didn’t get any answers there either, but I still held to my belief and kept wearing skirts only. When I got married (to a recent Bible college grad, of course) I had a little girl, and I dressed her in skirts only and prided myself with that fact. I finally learned that’s where it all stemmed: pride. It took me a few years but finally, as a 28 year old woman, I bought my very first pair of jeans just this past winter. 😀
It can be world-shaking to realize that all one’s spiritual standards are really just pride and self-righteousness. The awesome thing is that God is CLOSE to those who are humble and He exalts them!
Enjoy your jeans!
I give you credit for still trying to get through to your family. I gave up years ago.
“Fundamentalism isn’t loving hymns of the faith; it’s refusing to accept as part of the faith those who don’t love hymns.”
Or those who love different hymns than you do.
Dear Big Gary …
which is really strange since many gospel-era [Ira Sankey, Homer Rodeheaver, et. al.] feature horrid theology and worse music.
I often wondered if the fundy church of my youth had actually sung ALL the hymns in the hymnal, rather than their favorite 30 songs or so, what impact this would have had on their beliefs.
My favorite hymn for today:
Amen! As an outsider to all of this, I truly do not understand the fixation on just one little bunch of hymns from a certain era — especially since that supposedly “old-fashioned” era was not even all that long ago.
Music is so important to me, and I’ll gladly take beautiful hymnody from wherever I can find it: Protestantism (all sorts), Catholicism, and even that exotic funny-hat-wearing Eastern Orthodoxy.
“Fundamentalist” – surely; no fun, all damnation, and very little mental?
Or a lot of mental, depending on how you look at it.
Would you believe … mostly damn, all mental, no fun.
Well, actually, must of them pronounce it:
Fun; Damn; Mental; List – 3 out of 4 ain’t so bad! 😆
It should be the Gospel according to Fundy Pastors.
Jack Hyles and other IFB pastors were famous for publicly saying its wrong for women to wear pants yet some fundy colleges allow the girls to wear pants/shorts in the dorms and to some campus activities.
IFB men are to wear a belt and tuck their shirts in at all times.
No Sandals for men and women.
No fingernail polish (Jim Vineyard’s rule)
No video games, only board games.
No CCM music and absolutely no drums.
Pastor has authority over everyone and its ok for the man of the house to beat the children.
Women cause men to sin and if there is a divorce its the woman’s fault.
No Microphone holding on stage while singing.
Mandatory “Soul Winning”
Then of course there are all the ridiculous rules for attending IFB colleges. 😈 😈
‘No Microphone holding on stage while singing.’
Huh? What’s that about? Oh, I think I just realized – something to do with looking like a rock star, right?
Maybe. More like “phallic symbol, women’s mouths”. 👿
a lot of fundies just have very dirty minds
There was some guy that used to travel around in fundy circles talking about Satanism and Rock music. Among many things, he said the mic is a phallic symbol.
We were always told that it was “worldly,” that we weren’t to look like a rock star. As I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that some forbade it for the phallic symbolism.
I was told that holding the microphone was wrong because the microphone was an extension of the listeners ears and if it would be wrong to put your mouth right by someone’s ear (because this is “seductive”), then it would be wrong to put the microphone right by your mouth. (I realize this is a VERY convoluted and nonsensical way of looking at it, but this was Bill Gothard’s explanation, so take it with a grain of salt.)
I’m gonna go with ‘all of the above’. Convoluted and nonsensical (as well as perverse) is what defines them.
My brother went to Grand Rapids Baptist in the late 80’s and was in a cross gender singing group. The girls couldn’t hold the mic, but it was ok for the guy to hold for the girl to sing. How is that for traditional sex roles!
If they had a cross-gender singing group, they couldn’t have been all that traditional! 😉
Unless you’re looking back to when the Vatican had castrati in its choirs.
That was a Gothard thing? I heard that at the Wilds of the Rockies in the late 90’s. I think maybe Garlock spoke, but it might have been one of his clones.
Pcc in the mid 90s publicly banned braided belts in an all mens special chapel sighting it was a phallic symbol. They were completely irrational and ignored the practical fact that their beloved neck tie is a giant arrow pointing to a mans groin.
Braided belts are a phallic symbol? Whaaaaat? Such imaginations!!!!!!!!!!
Maybe because the end of the belt will sometimes hang limp-like?
People who see a phallus everywhere they look are…something Freudian.
@Andy: “A thing is a phallic symbol if it’s longer than it’s wide”.
I don’t get this one either. Does this extend to braiding in general (pigtails), or just to belts on men?
Hahaha. I heard that one of the Bible Colleges banned those grommet belts that were popular for a while in the mid-2000s because they were “gay.”
“No Sandals for men and women.”
Sheesh. Even the women Hutterites around here wear flip flops.
Didn’t Jesus wear sandals?
He also had a beard, but that didn’t stop them from banning facial hair at fundy U when I was there.
Did Jesus wear a suit and tie? This would get me shot for heresy, but he probably didn’t even wear trousers
Omg! I grew up under Jim Vineyard at Windsor Hills. That man has a lot to answer for. He fucked up a lot of kids.
Fundamentalism isn’t telling the world what it wants to hear; it is telling your key contributors exactly what they want to hear.
Yes!!! Fundamentalism makes NO SENSE until you apply basic economic analysis to it. Then it makes so much sense, it’s almost scary . . . and disgusting.
Fundamentalism tacitly condemns nuanced reasoning, which allows holding hold ideas or beliefs with uncertainty, entertaining doubts, or seeing shades of gray. The intensity of the believer’s faith would be undermined.
The quality/intensity of that faith and adherence to a set of rules becomes what they trust for salvation–rather than any redemptive work of Christ.
At what point are they trusting in the quality of their belief for salvation…and have failed to trust in Christ?
“holding hold” George!
Amen!! Fundamentalist CANNOT tolerate “shades of gray.” (Both the book and the concept. Sorry, couldn’t resist.)
As a fundamentalist college professor once told me (at the evangelical Patrick Henry College I attended for two years), God would never leave us with shades of gray because how could we do His will and always be “right” if we didn’t have crystal clear black-and-white rules of God’s Word for EVERYTHING!!!! It literally scares them to think that there may be gray areas because they believe that EVERY sin, no matter how small, condemns them before God. They don’t understand that it is clearly part of God’s Will at this time that we NOT understand everything perfectly and that must be okay because that is how God ordained it.
Dear Deacon’s Son:
The jury is in and the verdict is this: it’s much easier to follow rules than to trust God.
I dunno, DS. From what I’ve heard of the book and some fundy preachers, they may very well like shades of grey.
Fundamentalism isn’t striving for personal holiness; it’s wallowing in prideful ignorance.
Wow. That line pretty much sums up my old Fundy High.
I am a pastor of an Independent Baptist Church. I have regularly read this web page to have a better understanding of others perceptions. While I make no apologies for what I am, I do see and agree with many of the viewpoints on this site. I also agree with this post on fundamentalist. I do want to point out that many of us in the younger generation (I think I’m still considered in the younger generation. I’m 39,) have seen many of these glaring issues and are trying to change the perception. I know most on this site would not agree with everything I believe and preach and I doubt that will ever change. What I personally would like to do, is keep an open mind and always better myself as a Christian, so I can represent Christ well. As an independent baptist, a person is not going to make a difference by being arrogant, self righteous, or proud. I thank Darrell for the site and observations and I honestly pray I can break the mold and perception of some, concerning all independent baptist.
I appreciate your thoughts. Thanks for sharing this.
Me too. I know there are some in Fundamentalism who do try to make a positive difference, who don’t want to give up entirely. I was one myself for many years until I realized I personally had no chance. But someone actually in the ministry who sees the issues and wants to influence? Welcome and best wishes!
Still a Fundy,
I appreciate your perspective. I think, however, that if you truly believe as you say, that there are many of the “old-guard” fundamentalists who would consider you to be no fundamentalist at all. Perhaps it’s simply a matter of battling out who gets to co-opt that particular word to describe their system of beliefs. Although I will say that one problem with needing that word to be the word “fundamentalist” is that it does imply, no matter how kind or loving you are about it, that “I am right and you are wrong.” Perhaps you wouldn’t agree with me, but I think that “fundamentalist” is a word that you must be VERY careful with if you are going to embrace it.
I don’t know that I have “embraced” the word, fundamentalist. I think there are a lot of negative connotations that are associated with it. I use the word here, on this site, because you all have pretty much labeled all IFB’s fundamental. I don’t say that critical, but simply acknowledging the perspective I have seen in here. When I use the word, I mean that I hold to what Baptist have considered the fundamentals of the faith. Here is the bottom line for me; I think anyone who is truthful feels they are right about where they stand and what they believe. If you are a Methodist, than I would think you tend to think they were right, or why not be what you think is correct? Same for every other denomination on here, including IFB. So, yes, I think what I believe is right, but I do not think I know all the answers or that I have it all figured out. Rev. Chapters 2 and 3 illustrate what I’m saying and what I believe. According to those chapters, Jesus is walking in the midst of all seven of those churches and yet they all have problems. The first church, Ephesus, actually hates a doctrine that the church at Pergamos believes. Jesus rebukes Pergamos for the doctrine, yet also makes plain that He is walking in the midst of both churches. We will all get to Heaven and learn that we missed it on some things, God knows I’m sure I have missed it way more than many, but that doesn’t mean I should not be fervent or steadfast in what I “think” is right. You can stand without being arrogant, or disrespectful, or cruel to others and that is my desire.
I agree with you. And if Independent Baptist churches are moving in that direction, that is a good thing.
I do not know that many of them will ever go this direction, but thank God, there are some that really want to be real and fix all the things that can be fixed. That is why I love this site. How can I ever be what God wants me to be, if I’m not willing to look at myself from others perspectives. You all have helped me, in many ways, to be a better “Fundy” I’m not sure that was the goal, but I’m thankful.
As a Methodist, I am not sure I would say my beliefs are right–because Calvinists are right in many ways too. I am Methodist because their statement of faith and my experience and understanding of Scripture are very similar.
My experience of God’s Word and faith has lead me to these set of beliefs. But my friend who is a Calvinist’s experience and faith has lead him to his set of beliefs. And we disagree on a lot of issues. While the experiences and my reason has brought me to this conclusion God is still at work in my and the world around me. I see things dimly right now if I can quote a piece of I Corinthians.
My faith and its expression is the best I can do with the evidence I have been given so far.
And I guess that is my biggest problem with fundamentalism–it is not they are holding to the fundamentals–but their dogmatic arrogance that they fully understand what those fundamentals are and dictate that is what all people need to believe.
I appreciate your words and the spirit of your words. You are evidence there may be hope for the IFB.
Still a Fundy, I know a still-fundy guy a lot like you. He is young, too — I think about your age. He said once that he wanted his church to be known for what they were for, not what they were against. I think that sums it up. (P.S. He is also a really great guy.)
Leanne, I think that is a great reply. I am a Lutheran for the same reason – my reading of Scriptures and experience have led me to this faith tradition. But I don’t condemn those who see Scripture differently. I have good friends who are Calvinists, Baptists (or both), Methodists and Episcopalians. I wish them the peace of Christ.
I think deacon’s son is right. I planted an IFB church, but began to drift in my thinking. I tried to keep it quiet, but eventually it was obvious and literally life long friends and family were gone…..
It has a lot to do with the orbit you are in… for me it was the Hyles world. I think there are some other IFB “orbits” that are a little more understanding.
I hope to God that what you say is true. Sadly I must confess that I am skeptical since the young IFB I saw (I was one in fact!) are forced to either tow the line or get out. But if you are what you say and you are trying to “break the mold” i encourage you to take the advice from Phil Johnson, executive director of Grace to You:
Those men in the fundamentalist movement who truly love Christ and love His Word ought to practice what they preach and separate from their disobedient brethren. Cut the ties with heretics who claim a seventeenth-century English translation of the Bible is inspired and inerrant. Break fellowship with your fellow fundamentalists who refuse to practice biblical church discipline but like to destroy good men’s lives and ministries by spreading rumors and innuendo. Come out from among those who ignore the Word of God and don’t care about good theology, and whose preaching consists of pulpit-pounding histrionics with no biblical substance. Renounce those who like to regulate people’s lives with man-made rules, binding heavy burdens on people’s backs like the Pharisees did. “Come out from among them, and be ye separate.”
Practice real biblical separation and stop just pretending to be separatists.
From “Dead Right: The Failure of Fundamentalism”
there was supposed to be a gap between “Grace to you:” and where the quote starts with “Those men”.
I want to be clear, I am an independent baptist and do believe many of the issues that many on this site would disagree with. I would disagree with the logic of Phil Johnson on the basis that everything he sees wrong with our beliefs, I may not see in the same light. I have “broke” from many IFB over the years for many reasons and will continue to do so as necessary. I have also publicly rebuked many leaders in the IFB for sin and error.
I strongly disagree with any denomination, including IFB, that puts man over Christ, who treat people with no respect, who refuse to show Christian grace and kindness to others, even when they disagree. I refuse to cover any Christian leaders sin that abuses or hurts children or adults. I think any person in ministry that uses their authority to hurt physically, emotionally, or spiritually should voluntarily get out of ministry or be forced out by the congregation. NO ONE, including the Pastor, is above accountability!!
I know many of these issues are not followed by many IFB, but they are by me and those I bring into my church to preach.
I will not quit believing or being an independent baptist, but that does not mean I agree with everything they are or do. Same with a policeman, doctor, politician, mechanic, or any other career. You don’t quit being what you are or what you believe because there are those in your profession that have done wrong. You just try to do right and show people that all of them are not the same.
I wasn’t meaning that you *must* agree with every single precept of what Johnson said. not at all. I meant more that you (and all IFB) should practice real separation and separate from and rebuke false teachers, heretics and those who ignore God’s Word. It sounds like you are on a good start to that, so i applaud you!
Perhaps I’m too optimistic (a friend and fellow IFB expat, thinks I am!) but I think IFB can be salvaged. You’ve given me a bit more hope for that ‘reformation’ than I had this morning.
Blessings in Christ.
PS. You mentioned you are a pastor. Would you be so kind as to tell us what church? If you are as you say you are I would love to visit!
I am a real IFB pastor and I will eventually give more info. I’m still a little cautious about revealing myself right now. Just as there are many angry, rude, and downright mean IFB’s, there are also others that would fit that category. To some no matter how hard you try they will pick you apart and see the negative instead of the positive. Not sure I am ready to open myself up to that potential problem. Please give me some time. Not afraid of my IFB brethren finding out, but of critics who would find fault no matter what. Most IFB would not take time to read this site.
Dear Still a Fundy,
I received hate mail from fundamentalists when I left my abusive husband and went to the police. I wasn’t the only woman at the church who suffered because of peoples’ views, and yet another woman was bullied because she was a single mother because she had left her physically abusive husband.
You may make the decision to never cover up for abuse, and that is awesome. But please understand, if you are teaching in the church that women must submit to their husbands (without ever mentioning that it is ok to get help for abuse) or that God hates divorce, or whatever, then women and children will continue to be abused in situations that you know nothing about, even if if you’d known about their individual circumstances you would have offered to help them.
@Still a Fundy:
“You don’t quit being what you are or what you believe because there are those in your profession that have done wrong.”
Herein lies the problem, “Pastor” has been made a profession.
Understood. I’m glad you are here!
I was referring to those careers I listed as professions. I believe the ministry is a calling. If someone is in it for a paycheck only, then they need to get out. I pastored a church for several years and never took a check. They were deep in debt and needed help. They couldn’t pay a pastor so I worked two jobs and pastored them and loved every minute of it. I do not tell you that to uplift myself, for many Christians have sacrificed far greater than I for the cause of Christ. I mention it only to show ANY preacher that is called of God should want to help people irregardless of the benefits.
This is one reason I started posting. You assume that because I am an IFB pastor then I must be hard on women. I despise preaching that is derogatory towards women. I despise preaching that calls women names or makes them feel second rate. Yes, I do believe the bible teaches that a wife is to submit, but that does not mean that it is ok for a woman to be abused Mentally or Physically. I think a woman or man should immediately leave a marriage where abuse is occurring and if counseling or therapy does not fix it then I think they should divorce! God does give some reasons for divorce and no one should stay in an abusive situation.
No one, including me, likes the results of divorce and if it can be avoided, it should be. But, no one has a right to make the Bible say more than it really says about it. As a matter of fact, God divorced Israel in the OT.
By the way, submission does not mean slavery or second rate. The Bible doctrine of submission has been abused by men for the purpose of self gratification and power. My wife is the best friend I have and my goal in life is to please her and make her life as easy and wonderful as I can. I spoil her and would not have it any other way.
Actually, I did not mean that you are necessarily harsh on women at all. What I meant was that if you are not very open and clear to your congregation that an abused spouse is able to get real help, which means assistance from the police and from a registered (non-church) counsellor, they will assume that you are harsh on women, and those who need help will never trust you enough to ask for help to find out what your real views are.
Following up to Tiarali’s post, I would like to issue a friendly challenge to SaF:
Please, for the sake of the women in your church, preach regularly against spousal abuse. Have phone numbers available in the ladies’ room and around the church to abuse hotlines. Have pamphlets available in the foyer about help for domestic violence and sexual abuse victims. Preach Ephesians 5 starting in verse 25 even more frequently than you do starting in verse 22 (and if you are going to do the verses 22-24, please start back in verse 18 for context’s sake). Trust me, Fundamental women have been slapped down enough with the “submit” verses, while the “love” verses have been soundly ignored or misinterpreted to have a selfish sexual bias. Have an escape plan for abused wives and children. Know your state’s laws about mandatory reporting, and report all instances of abuse of women and children to police.
Regular concern and action for victims of abuse would immediately set you and your church apart in a good way. You would even put your church ahead of the so-called “complementarian” evangelicals if you can do this because they really couldn’t care less about abuse.
I think that quote from Phil Johnson is spot on.
What constitutes real IFB separation anyway?
Is it only reserved for those playing CCM,attending the “movie house”, women in pants…all those “other Christians”?
What about separating from those who make using the King James an idol? Or quietly support completely disqualified pastors by preaching in their pulpits? What about separating from those pastors who teach legalism, enslaving so many?
Dear Still a Fundy:
I’m very glad that you’re here, and that you have introduced yourself to us in this way.
I council strongly against any disclose of information apt to result in a real-time identification. If you say that you are an Independent, Fundamental Baptist pastor, I will regard you as such unless you give evidence to the contrary. I ask that unless or until you are ready to make real-time changes, please guard your identity.
Independent Fundamental Baptist – I am none of those fine things. The closest I come to ‘fundamental’ is that I’m good with the multi-volume work, ‘The Fundamentals,’ [1905, etc.] as it defines the Holy Trinity, Jesus’ incarnation, death, bodily resurrection and eventual return, the authority of the Bible, etc.
I’m uncomfortable with your stated concern on changing perceptions. This could be read to say, ‘I’m here to put a better face on fundamentalism.’ Yet your ‘glaring issues’ observation suggests that you see more than faulty perception; it suggests that you see real wrongs and abuses which need to be addressed. Until proven wrong, I’ll defend what [in my thinking] is the more generous reading.
I’m uncomfortable with your stated concern on changing perceptions. This could be read to say, ‘I’m here to put a better face on fundamentalism.’ Yet your ‘glaring issues’ observation requires a more generous reading which grants that you see real wrongs and abuses which need to be addressed.
As I see it, the ‘glaring issues’ facing fundamentalism are complex and interrelated. And fundamentalism is no monolith. Course changes are not easy. This is hard, hard, hard work. It is a labor of love which is sustainable only because of Christ’s love and Christ’s suffering for the church. If you are prepared to love the church as Christ loved the church, you must also be prepared to suffer for the church as Christ suffered for the church.
You are an independent, fundamental Baptist pastor, and you can and desire to stand without arrogance, disrespect or cruelty. By virtue of your position, your particular gifts and your sense of the Spirit’s leading, you need to give serious consideration to the possibility that this is indeed your calling.
If I could offer two further pieces of council they would be these:
1] Know how you’re going to handle opposition before it starts. Gather and train some people around you who can be ‘lightening rods’ who take the heat when criticism comes. This can free you to focus on framing the vision without having to extinguish brush fires everywhere. Your people can point out that it is a credit to any movement that its most vociferous critics arise from within the movement itself. Develop a Biblical rationale for self-correction [ex: Dt 8:5; Pr 3:11-12; Ps 94:12; 119:75; He 12:3ff; Jm 1:12, 25, Re 3:19 etc.].
2] I strongly council that rather than combating every issue, that you become expert in one, core strategic area. Since you say [and heartily believe] that no one [including a pastor] is beyond accountability, it seems fitting that you at least consider broaching Paul’s practice of the plurality of elders. BigRedOne’s recently posted article – http://tinyurl.com/o47e38s – lists at point 7.7 some important Scriptures which Jim Peacock [the author] states that a plurality of elders constitutes a ‘consistent pattern.’ [Ac 11:30; 14:23; 15:2, 4, 6, 22, 23; 16:4; 20:17, 28; 21:18; Phil 1:1; 1Ti 5:17; Ti 1:5; Jm 5:14; 1Pe 5:1-2].
Elder plurality alone could go a long way toward curbing the abuses perceptually or actually associated with fundamentalism. You can’t fight every battle; and which cause you own is yours to decide. But again, this one point could make a huge difference.
Thank you for your remarks and counsel. I’m not here to put a different face on fundamentalism. My desire is to honestly learn from those that have been hurt or look at IFB negative and try to show another side. Not all of us are alike. I am sure we would disagree on much, but we do not have to be hateful or vindictive in our different view points. To be honest, I’m not even sure how to define a “Christian Socialist” and would not want to lump you in with what my personal view of socialism is. Rather, I would like to know what you consider a “Christian Socialist” to be.
There are real and wrong abuses in the IFB. As far as criticism goes, I do not run in any “circle”. If your running in circles your not getting anything accomplished for Christ. I am not with any camp as most of them demand loyalty to them instead of Christ. Nor do I associate with any Bible College for the same reason. Gods wants us helping people, not building empires. I do not even think a young person ought to attend a Bible College. They need to go to an accredited university and get a degree that is accepted by the world so they can make it in society. I am not like most “fundies” and I like it that way. There are more men out there that believe like me than you may think. Yes, we are a minority, but that’s because we try to uplift Christ and stay obscure.
God called me to Pastor and help people. I don’t need my name in bright lights or everybody to know me to do that. I don’t need to run all over the country preaching. I am responsible for those God has put in our church. My ministry involves pleasing Christ, my family, and my church. My calling is to make much of God and stay as little as possible!
@Still a Fundy, when you wrote,
“There are more men out there that believe like me than you may think. Yes, we are a minority, but that’s because we try to uplift Christ and stay obscure,”
What do you mean by, “stay obscure?”
1 Corinthians 14:26 “…When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.” NASB
This issue is not to “stay obscure,” but rather that “each one” exercise their gifts as provided by the Holy Spirit in the way prescribed in the Scripture. This 1 Corinthians passage is but one.
Christian Socialist rightly directed you to the issue of the plurality of elders as going, “a long way toward curbing the abuses perceptually or actually associated with fundamentalism.” The church tradition of one-man-rule simply cannot receive the blessing or call of God as so many ascribe when it is no where justified or practiced by the early church in the New Testament.
You ascribe the gift of pastor as a “calling,” as if it is a “profession” by alluding to others in other professions who may do wrong but are not indicative of the whole. This clergy/laity distinction is nowhere to be found in the New Testament. There is a place for those with the gift of pastor/teacher in the assembly, but it no where allows for a “lording over,” or for the hierarchy that we see in churches today, not only fundamental churches.
You then wrote in response, “I mention it only to show ANY preacher that is called of God should want to help people irregardless of the benefits.” I’m not trying to “strain at a gnat,” but to preach and to pastor are two different things entirely. One (to preach) deals exclusively with evangelization in the New Testament. To pastor/teach is one of the listed gifts of the Spirit and is used in the functioning of the body of Christ as it assembles.
As far as “benefits” are concerned, the epistles say much about an elder and remuneration, though good men differ to some degree. The over arching scriptural principle here is that, “each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; 9 as it is written, “He scattered abroad, he gave to the poor, His righteousness abides forever.” 2 Corinthians 9:7-9 NASB.
Much more dialogue can be had I’m sure.
Many blessing to you friend.
I appreciate you coming here and sharing, SaF. Welcome.
By “stay obscure”, I took him to mean that he wasn’t trying to make a name for himself, get invited to conferences, hobnob with the big-name guys, and maybe even get himself an honorary doctorate or two. I thought he meant that he was more interested in pastoring his flock than getting to be famous. (I know this was my husband’s desire.)
A different face, another side, two metaphors saying the same thing; it is your recognition [for which I thank you] that ‘real and wrong abuses [exist] in the IFB’ movement which is at issue.
On Defining Christian Socialism
The important thing is that ‘Christian’ precedes ‘socialism.’ Politics are raised here occasionally. Darrell’s visit to Sri Lanka last year changed him irrevocably. His accounts moved us and raised social justice consciousness. The politics behind the Bangladeshi garment factory fires received some discussion here. But it is our experiences with fundamentalism that bring us here.
As Marx’ Manifesto states, socialists don’t hide their policies. Socialist parties publish their platforms, policies, aims and objectives in all their revolutionary glory for the world to see. For now, I’ll say that I believe that God exists as a society of persons whose lives continually flow into and proceed from each of the others in eternal, co-equal, unbroken communion of love, truth, justice, wisdom, perfection, honor and glory. I think there is a social component to this. Perhaps you agree.
Helping People, Not Building Empires:
You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him’ [Ac 10:38].
Here is that Eternal Society of Persons that we call God – being the Kingdom of God. That same Jesus who died [v. 39] and was raised again [v. 40] the Father anointed [think ‘baptized’] with the Holy Spirit. As God’s Spirit was with him, Jesus’ opposition to the Accuser entailed the doing of good and healing the oppressed. Those who believe in Jesus do the works of Jesus [Jo 14:12]. Helping people is the Empire of God. From the hymn, ‘Lead On, O King Eternal’ come these lines:
For not with swords loud clashing,
nor roll of stirring drums;
with deeds of love and mercy
the heavenly kingdom comes.
More than some of your peers, your ‘helping people not building empires’ remark testifies to your belief in the incarnation. To believe that the Father has sent the Son is to follow Jesus in doing his works [Jo 14:12].
Making It In Society:
This sounds strange but as much as I WANT my kids to ‘make it in society,’ I am also terrified that they will. I do not want my offspring to be absorbed by the world! I do not want them to lose their sense of identity and of belonging to our faithful Savior, Jesus Christ! I have released them into the world, but I do not want them to forget their baptism! I pray daily that they will walk with God in their respective vocations.
I may be off the mark here [and if so, I’m sure I’ll be corrected], but my sense is that the broader church MORE than fundamentalists [generally] understands that the church in the West is more a reflection of the society around us than it is of the King and his kingdom.
I don’t doubt that you have company! Fundamentalism is anything but a monolith. Yet we are still faced with the reality that as with any other ‘ism’ [including socialism, republicanism and Americanism] fundamentalism is a power in its own right, and as Paul teaches us, the powers are fallen and are under the sentence of death. That is brutal truth; but it is a truth which some of us are facing.
Fundamentalism needs to find the courage to face the truth that it is a fallen power which is doomed to die. But this recognition must come from within fundamentalism itself. If outsiders say it, people will only get their backs up for a fight [which is the world’s modus operandi]. It must be fundamentalists themselves who stand up and say that fundamentalism must die – that it must die to sin and to self, so that it may come alive for God. In other words, fundamentalism needs people with the strength and integrity to say that it [and fundamentalist churches] must meet Christ and be converted by the gospel.
The same is true for all of us and all of our churches / nations / parties / societies / associations.
When you wrote “…the church in the West is more a reflection of the society around us than it is of the King and his kingdom” I have to acknowledge that I believe your observations are “spot on.”
I also believe that we can go further and say that Evangelicalism in general reflects the same.
Perhaps our doing things our way for so long has created a false pride making it well nigh impossible to fight our way out of this “wet paper bag…” so to speak.
Clara English put it well when she wrote, “It’s “love God, love your neighbor”. That is all.” Jesus Christ fulfilled all of the law…every bit.
When the disciples pointed out the greatness of the temple complex, Our Lord responded with His knowledge of its destruction (as well as His death, burial, and resurrection). Jesus was unimpressed with the temple building. Jesus subsequently pointed out that it was His resurrection that was significant, and that which would endure. WE ARE THE TEMPLE!
Matthew 24:1-3, “Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. 2And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.” 3As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age…”
With all the talk and Scriptural references we still seem to miss what Jesus was actually saying. We erect for ourselves church buildings (like temples) and raise up for us pastors (like priests) who labor on our behalf. The Holy Spirit is quenched as our man-made system of doing things continues on as impotent as ever.
I’m not saying that buildings aren’t useful, and pastor/teachers aren’t important; I’m concerned that we tangle ourselves up in building programs, debt, government entanglements, clergy hierarchy, and the suppression of the Holy Spirit as one man is exalted (as well as his gifts) and all others (including the “least” in the body of Christ) are relegated to observer status as opposed to participating as we see in I Corinthians 14.
Folks, every single believer is a priest! There is no other MAN appointed to represent us, sacrifice on our behalf, and mediate between us and the Father!
I Peter 2:5, “you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
SFL has been an amazing place for me to try and put down what I’m thinking, and what I believe. I know everyone will not agree with me and that’s okay. I appreciate the dialogue with the many thoughful people here who have responded and encouraged me as my family and I have left fundamentalism proper, and ventured out into the great big world which is GOD’S!
Thanks for the work that went into that post.
The Peter text you offer is so contrary to the very spirit of the fundamentalist movement.
Glad you’re finding the healing/support you need here!
Thanks for sharing, Still a Fundy. I’m also “still a fundy” in terms of where I pastor, and have tried to make sure that we aren’t one of “those churches”, but I’m not sure the fundamentalist label can be redeemed. Our church is frequently castigated by other area IFB churches because we are “too liberal”. But, we are fortunate to have a church family who is relatively ignorant of historic IFB nonsense. Many of our congregation are relatively new to church, some after being out of church for a while. So, we all have scars from our rebellious ways, and it’s hard for us to be judgmental of each other. Someone told us the other day, “I like this church because no one looks down on us here.” I told him, “It’s because we’ve all hit bottom. There’s no where to look but up.”
If I stay at this church much longer, we may consider a name change that removes some of the stigma. Another local church has done so with great success.
My daddy used to say (Dr. Phil voice), “I’m not ashamed to be a Baptist, but I’m ashamed of some Baptists”. Well, I’m afraid I can’t say that anymore.
You know, Still A Fundy, I’d like to believe you.
I’d like to believe that you’re a “different” fundamentalist. That you really aren’t interested in the nonsense that fundamentalists tend to encourage. But I’m sorry, I can’t.
It’s nothing personal, I promise. I think you mean well, and you truly think you’re following a better path. But I’m having a hard time believing you really are.
Because I used to be you. Ok fine, I wasn’t a pastor, but I was a fundamentalist who thought I was “different”, and I wasn’t “that kind of fundamentalist”, and I went to a church that was a breath of fresh air compared to every other Independent Fundamental Baptist Church I had ever been in. Most of the people in that church are uncomfortable with the fundamentalist label and are grieved by the antics of Hyles, Jones, and Horton.
And I found the same bad theology there when I dug a little deeper. I was the recipient of the same sexism and the same judgmental attitudes when I finally broke with *all* of fundamentalism. I see the same hollow man-centered theology in most of conservative evangelicalism – and the more church history I study, the more I realize what a dreadful schismatic shadow of the church it is that lives in American evangelicalism/fundamentalism.
If you’re interested, here’s where my story starts: http://desertpetrichor.blogspot.com/2011/05/confession.html
If you’re not, that’s fine. And if you really mean that you’re interested in following God only, you won’t stay in Fundamentalism, that I promise you. It may take time, but you’ll find yourself someday having to choose between your god-in-a-box and the God of the Bible.
I pray you choose well. Peace to you.
You should be very careful about what you ate teaching young formidable minds. I grew up IFB & it messed me up. The brainwashing is not easily undone. FYI.
Dear SFL Reader:
Who does it better than silly Billy?
*Gag* What an embarrassment to genuine Christianity.
The 2nd to last – sacrificing your children – resonated with me. And I write with tears. I didn’t sacrifice them to others’ selfishness, but to my busyness. At church for every service, sometimes several hours early for some music practice. Visitation. Teaching. Always busy about “the Lord’s work,” not realizing I was taught wrongly: the Lord’s work was the sweet little ones He gave me.
Many former fundies have regrets about this.
As laymen, we were encouraged to be ever-so-faithful to all sorts of ministries, mandatory soul-winning, 10+ hours of church services/Sunday School each week – never considering we might be at a stage in our lives (have kids, for example) where this was not a healthy thing to do.
This resonates with me. But what I find is that by going to every service of the church and not actually getting out into community (we homeschooled our children) was that my children’s friends were only in the IFB church.
And that means my daughter refuses to leave.
So, my wife takes her to the IFB, and I go to the Episcopal church with my son. The feeling is not good. Sometimes my wife and daughter will attend with me, but my daughter refuses to participate.
And now, if we do get her to go to a community activity, she doesn’t like it. “Someone said a bad word!”
I could hope she will grow out of this, but I am afraid she won’t.
Sacrificing children, indeed.
We experienced the opposite: two of our three have “left the fold” almost entirely. One left for awhile and has returned to faith. We can only hope and pray they will find real faith in Christ (not the IFB imitation).
They left because they felt constantly judged, they say. They’re also intelligent and saw so much hypocrisy – the same we saw. Their reaction was different: they left; we have eventually found community with people who try to live the Bible without all the extras (I’m not saying this well, I know).
But we continue to hope and pray that they will be found by God.
DayLily, I wil pray for your family. So many similar stories…
“Fundamentalism is not just believing that the Bible is true; it’s believing that only one tiny group of people knows the ‘real truth’ of the Bible.”
Having browsed here for a while now, this seems to be a common theme. These people are in error, those people are liars, etc.
So what is the “real truth” that everyone else is missing and why does it seem so hard to get right?
How about, the bible is a big complex book and there are plenty of people who love God and are going to heaven that don’t believe exactly the same as each other?
How about, if Jesus walked among us, he’d be busy showing love to those filthy heathens that the IFB need to separate from?
How about, salvation is a journey in which we become like Christ. But as we are different parts of the body, our individual paths will look different, rather than all mimicking our favourite preacher?
How about, God is more concerned with the health of the church on the inside than about the numbers and flashy facade that outsiders see?
I suppose my question was, what–from a fundamentalist perspective–is the “real truth” that others are failing to grasp? When afundamentalist says, “I just believe the Bible,” what is “real truth” that they are talking about?
When most Fundys speak of “The Bible,” they are not talking about the 66 complete books that make up the Christian Scriptures. For most Fundys, their Bible is their string of proof texts to justify whatever they happen to believe.
Fundys will pay lip service to studying the entire Bible. They may even brag about the number of times they have read it through. But when they really get down to studying it, the only things they look for are those magic bullets. Fundies love lists of scriptures to “prove” what they believe. You will find them everywhere in their books.
So when someone challenges what they believe, since the challenger doesn’t hold to the same cheat sheet of proof texts the Fundy does, therefore the challenger doesn’t believe the Bible.
That is an excellent point!!
So what is the “real truth” that everyone else is missing and why does it seem so hard to get right?
It’s “love God, love your neighbor”. That is all.
Sounds like C.E. is evoking the law of Christ;
How dare you make the truth so simple, so devoid of additional man-made rules and traditions!
Can you imagine Jesus Christ saying such a thing, Clara English…CAN YOU?!
Thanks for the repeat post, still rings true. What has bothered me for a couple of decades is the labels and camps throughout the IFB. None of the apostles worried about that stuff as they were “turning the world upside down” for Christ. They were known for what they did, not what they said they were.
For some reason many cannot just claim (humbly) to be a sinner saved by grace, a child of God who loves the Lord and is striving to walk with Him. They must add the “LIST” in order to distinguish them from all those they perceive to be wrong. The “list” is “I am not ashamed to say I am an independent, fundamental, King James Bible believing born again separated serving on my way to Heaven sin hatin’ devil kickin’ soul winnin’ conservative music 1828 dictionary uncompromising BAPTIST!” And that was the short version.
I do not want to get into the “LIST” on here and break it down but do wonder how Paul, Peter, etc would react to that. True, they were not afraid to speak what they believed, but it always pointed to Christ. Many in the IFB equate the “LIST” to the same level of importance as Christ. I don’t even think they called themselves “Christian”–it is my understanding they were called “Christian” by those who were observing them, not a self appointed title to go by.
They were known by what they did, not the college they came out of or the preacher who mentored them.
Sorry for the ramble. I am very trapped in my current situation and this site offers some “vent safe space.” I just don’t want to be a “LIST” type of person in my relationship with Christ.
Your so right Mike, it’s not what we do, it’s all about what Jesus did!! If what we do don’t point people to the Gospel, it is man centered and leads to religion and not Chris
Christ, not Chris, Good day to you George
I believe, however, that the last one on the list should be the first:
“Fundamentalism is not simply believing that God created the world; it’s living in an isolated world run by a god of your own creation.”
A GOD OF YOUR OWN CREATION
This is what about 1700 years of man-made tradition has come up with.
Fundamentalism is believing that your view of God is the one taught in the Scriptures, and that everyone God used had that same viewpoint, from Adam to John the Revelator.
Fundamentalism is believing that your view of the world, physically, culturally, and spiritually, is the one that God’s people in all times past have held and is the viewpoint taught in the Scripture.
Fundamentalism is the belief that God has given you special insight into the Scriptures to see what no one else has ever seen before, revealing to you the true doctrines, preventing you from being in error, and that the rest of humanity is deceived by their wickedness so they cannot see the oh-so-obvious truths you see in the Scripture or understand God like you do.
Fundamentalism is worshiping the God you see outside the window, but you don’t realize the window is just a mirror.
“Fundamentalism is believing that your view of God is the one taught in the Scriptures, and that everyone God used had that same viewpoint, from Adam to John the Revelator.”
It blew my mind when I realized how little most people in the Bible knew about God, if what is recorded is any indication. The patriarchs had no scriptures; there may have been oral tradition, but that’s probably about it.
Until God chose the Israelites, believers apparently didn’t even have a name to call themselves; no recorded regular liturgies or rituals, no meeting place, no worship service…it’s very strange to think about. The story of Melchizedek and Abraham is the closest thing there is to “church” for, what, a few millennia?
Believer: “I believe in God.”
Pagan: “Which one?”
Believer: “Just…er…one. I’m not sure if he has a name. I call him ‘Lord’ and ‘God’. He seems fine with that.”
This is interesting, as I just posted something similar in response to Dan DeWitt’s blog post that young YRR guys are going to have to come to terms with the “fundamentalist” label. I think Dan doesn’t get it partly because he works at SBTS which is, basically, lurching fundamentalist (shameless blog plug).
I’m glad you posted your shameless plug! I enjoyed your thoroughness and writing style. Your blog is now bookmarked. 😀
Great article, I think fundamentalism is easier to live for some, than to show grace to others. It’s easier to encapsulate yourselves from others and live in your own little bubble and not have to deal with things that challenge your very existence.
Thanks for sharing! The original blog post made sense to me, but I really like your approach to it. Did you post your response to Dan DeWitt?
I’m not sure how. Obviously I couldn’t put that in a comment thread. I’ll look into it.
Thank you for the article, Dr. Fundystan. Exactly that.
Oh, and may I link to your blog from mine? I haven’t posted in a while and your article is a good encapsulation of the theological issues I have found that lead to my leaving Fundyland. I may even link to it from my FB page and stir up a little discussion. 😈
Oh, sure, no prob 🙂
Still a Fundy, I’m encouraged by what you write. Your comment that you would like to always better yourself as a Christian jumped out at me, though. It seems to me that a foundational error in an IFB person’s mindset is that he is growing as a Christian if he is doing something whether that is doing church work, serving others, avoiding sin, etc. But God is crying out for us to enjoy a relationship with him, not focus on our efforts of self imposed rules or even self discipline. God sees us through the blood of his Son – no condemnation. Shouldn’t our goal be to grow in our understanding of his character and nature so we can enjoy him for who he is and what he has done rather than pressure ourselves to always be improving in our own eyes?
Oh, yes! I was deeply grieved when I realized how long I’d focused on following the rules instead of learning about what JESUS was like.
There sure is a lot of straw flying around in here. You sure put a beating on him, Darrell.
straw? and whom am I alleged to have beaten?
You know, the 1970’s-1980’s straw man of fundamentalism you beat to death.
Ah, you’re one of those. Carry on then.
Yeah Darrell, the current batch of IFB is nothing like the Old Path bunch of IFB. Do try and keep up with modern IFB progressive-ism. 😉
You really should update your IFBingo card as well.
Honestly, doesn’t it get tiring? Setting up your straw man/painting with a very broad brush, scouring YouTube for videos of backwater churches in the “Bible Belt”. It’s a good thing you have your “generals” such as Don to marginalize those who dissent. It actually sounds like the hierarchy you so despise.
I suppose your IFB bunker is different than the run of the mill IFB bunker then hungh? I mean you’re not like the judgmental, separated, sanctified, Old Paths, hymn playin’, devil hatin, sin avoidin’, toe stompin’, run the aisles but don’t speak in tongues, missions lovin’, bus route buildin’, 1611 King James only preachin’ Independent Fundamental Baptist Church/School and Bible Institute?
Fascinating, Tell us more!
You forgot the no britches on wimmen, no mixed bathin’, no moving pitchers, no sandals, no bearded hippies, no braided belts, no microphone holding, etc. You’re really slipping, Don.
My fingers started cramping on me so I just gave the abridged version. 😉
That’s Lord Don, thank you very much.
I do not think I would label First Baptist in Hammond, IN or Bob Jones in Greenville, SC or North Valley Baptist in Santa Clara, CA as “backwater” churches.
Keep marginalizing for the “master”, Don. As a matter of fact, I have been a member of 4 different Baptist churches in different states, and I have seen little of the straw man that gets railed against on this site.
I do find it funny though that a number of the ills of fundamentalism you list above are Biblical, such as sanctification, separation, and missions. Though I know you are going to argue that there is an over emphasis or misinterpretation placed on those doctrines, and I’m sure in some churches that may be correct.
Let me ask you this. Is there something wrong with a church having a bus ministry? Is that any different than say a senior ministry or a food pantry?
Is there something wrong with a church using the authorized version as opposed to a NASB, ESV, or NIV? Is it not a matter of preference? Same thing with hymns, are they wrong, and instead, we should use more modern song, or is it a matter of preference?
Isn’t railing against things that are neither Biblical or unbiblical making you a “fundamentalist” in your own right. Are you not wholly convinced of your position, and opposed to other positions, based on your preference and interpretation?
Just because YOU haven’t seen it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. I’ve been in four churches all on a long time basis and I can tell you it does exist.
Is a bus ministry bad? Only if it’s done wrong with wrong motives. Is modern music bad? I find some of it insipid and boring, but I find that with some hymns, too. (“O Happy Day” sounds like a dirge and makes me want to run screaming from the building.) Is the KJ bible bad? If you prefer it, fine. I think elevating it above the rest and separating from others over it is stupid. I think using one version to preach and teach from in the whole church makes sense, but to decry another’s preference is foolish.
People who have seen the elevation of personal preferences above doctrine, standards above people, and numbers over all (whether money or attendance)in the name of “God” come here to vent and to heal. If you have nothing to heal from, great. But don’t come here and knock us just because you don’t have the same experience.
I’m not knocking you. I took umbrage with Darrell’s definition of fundamentalism above. You are correct, there are congregations that may be guilty of portions of his creed above. My experiences have not been so.
My accusation of a straw man argument is that Darrell is taking his and other’s experiences from a range of fundamentalist churches, and condensing that into one argument against the movement, as a whole.
The IFB movement itself is the problem. If you will read long enough on here you will see we expose individuals and so called ministries that propagate the error and garbage found in the IFB movement.
The Movement itself is the enabler of attracting men of lesser character to it’s pulpits and halls of power. It is the movement that creates the ability for men to become abusers and cover-up other’s abuse. The movement is the source of idol worship of the M-O-g and the KJV. Even men with the best of intentions and noblest of character will be seduced by the power of the pulpit and the rule over the sheeple. At some point they will make use of the power that that IFB movement affords them to promote their personal agendas under the guise of “God’s will” or “for the Glory of God.”
Around here we do point out individual so called ministries that do things according to the J. Frank Norris playbook, or the Jack Hyles Institutes on how to run a church, or any number of other IFB Old Path father’s teachings on Promoting Legalism after preaching saving grace.
Do we paint with a broad brush?
Yes, sometimes we do and to that I say, The broad brush colors so many because they are engaged in the same extra biblical practices.
So I wonder why, if your church doesn’t engage in the activities exposed here then why are you so dogmatically defending the IFB movement?
Your defensiveness implies you’ve seen a lot more of what Darrell writes about than what you are stating you’ve seen.
Especially when after claiming everything is a strawman, you then can’t help yourself from listing separation as a core value/doctrine that you hold dear.
I don’t believe I stated that it is a “core doctrine that I hold dear.” It is a Biblical word, and there is a doctrine of separation. My comments were in response to Don’s caricature of fundamentalism. Affirm that a word is indeed Biblical, does not warrant a misapplication or overemphasis of that word. You know, you are sounding pretty fundy yourself, very paranoid and reading into things that aren’t there.
This is my observation: Fundies don’t understand when they are using a strawman argument. Once they are accused of it, they do a quick internet search. They then use it whenever they do not agree with anything. Regardless if it is a strawman or not. Makes ’em think they are cool.
The fact that a word appears in the Bible doesn’t make it a doctrine, the IFB does that, and it relies heavily on you not reading understand the instances it appears in scripture, or paying attention to the rest of scripture.
What is doctrine? My simple definition is “a belief or teaching.” I know it is simplistic, but I believe it works. A word such as “the” appears many times in the Bible, and there is no doctrine of “the,” as no belief or teaching is presented by the word, “the.”
Is separation a doctrine? I would say yes. I believe the context of which separation is used in the Bible does present it as a doctrine. We are taught to be separated unto God. The Bible also teaches about being separated from false doctrine.
Now, can someone formulate an incorrect system of belief because of a teaching in the Bible? Certainly, but it does not negate the fact that the doctrine is in the Bible, though it may be stigmatized by certain people.
The IFB doctrine of separation is thus:
If you are not,separated, sanctified, Old Paths, hymn playin’, devil hatin, sin avoidin’, toe stompin’, run the aisles but don’t speak in tongues, missions lovin’, bus route buildin’, 1611 King James only preachin’ Independent Fundamental Baptist then we have to separate from you and cannot fellowship with you. So in order to have fellowship with the IFB you can’t be Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, Catholic, or Lutheran, in fact I’ll go so far as to say that according to the IFB separation doctrine the IFB sees (for all intents and purposes) all other dominations as unsaved heretics.
“in fact I’ll go so far as to say that according to the IFB separation doctrine the IFB sees (for all intents and purposes) all other dominations as unsaved heretics.”
That is pretty much the case. Mention another denomination and you will be told, “They don’t preach the gospel” or “They allow [such and such].”
Some years back I took my family to an Episcopal Church while we were on vacation. It was wonderful. When we got back home and were asked where we had gone to church, my son told his Sunday School teacher that we had gone to the Episcopal Church. The teacher was shocked and said, “They don’t preach the gospel.” My son (12) piped up and said, “They do too. You weren’t there. I was. I heard it.”
The Sunday School teacher was not pleased. Neither were some other people. I told my Pastor that he really needed to get to know people from other denominations. That didn’t happen until the church bus broke down far from home and the person who came to help was a Methodist minister!
I wouldn’t say I’m defensive of the fundamentalist movement. I would say that I am defensive of my church, and that Darrell’s libelous straw man is not consistent with what I have been accustomed to.
Welcome to the discussion. I’m not sure if your comments are intended towards my call on Darrell’s straw man. I don’t believe I have set up a straw man myself, but if you believe I have, I would more than happy to hear about it.
No Steve, I am not accusing you of building a strawman argument. I am just saying that in my experience that term is tossed around a lot by our visiting fundy friends who disagree with something that has been posted/written. When in fact what was posted/written is not a strawman.
Steve, there are degrees of fundamentalism, some worse than others. But if you think his descriptions are a “straw man,” you are mistaken.
If you are a fundamentalist for whom none of that is true then you are fortunate indeed. However, no fundamentalist for whom those things are true would admit to it. They would always find some way to justify their sense of self-righteousness.
Ultimately, fundamentalist teachings enable the followers to “separate” from the world and from other Christians, creating a class of “super Christians” or “really and truly spiritual believers, more than you guys who compromise.” The standards for separation are always artificial, and are bent, broken, folded, spindled and mutilated freely, always malleable to the whims of leadership.
And fundamentalism is almost always a cult of leadership.
You should watch the preacher boys at BJU trying to imitate their favorite preacher, adopting his mannerisms, his vocal intonations, his peculiar phraseology.
Fundamentalism acts as though “doctrine” is a means to an end. So if a doctrine, like “inspiration” doesn’t produce the desired effect, they tighten it up to mean “verbal plenary inspiration” and “inerrancy.” And “doctrines” are multiplied. Most of them have no direct support from any single significant passage of Scripture. So to support their already concluded belief they take a verse here with a phrase there, a word or two from a passage in the Psalms, connect it with another couple of verses somewhere else, and most of it ripped out of context, unrecognizable as a conclusion from reading any of the passages.
And very likely you, like I, was taught that this was the way to handle Scripture, “rightly dividing the word of truth.”
So maybe you don’t recognize your church in any of the descriptions. But maybe you are blind to the underlying realities. Those of us who have come out of fundamentalism generally took a long time to understand what we were seeing.
Steve, if your church does not fit the fundamentalist mold that Darrell talks about, then why are you insisting that he’s talking about your church? I don’t see how that works, myself.
“Is there something wrong with a church using the authorized version as opposed to a NASB, ESV, or NIV? Is it not a matter of preference?”
Funny how you reference your Bible choice as the “authorized version” and not just letters. Doesn’t sound like a preference to me. That’s how the King James Only stance does not allow for other versions as a preference. To the KJO crowd ALL other versions are not the Word of God. I have seen other versions of the Bible thrown on the ground. That is a strange way to treat what you are calling a preference.
Regarding a bus ministry vs. a food pantry. Most food pantrys allow for anyone to use it if they need to. No strings attached. They are truly meeting a need in the community. An IFB bus ministry is there to pump up the numbers so the pastor can brag at the next SOTL conference. Yes they are sharing the Gospel but to the exclusion of following Jesus’ commands to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, visit the sick etc.
I use the title “Authorized Version”, as opposed to KJV/KJB, because I have found that those letters carry a stigma, mostly because of those that believe in double inspiration. I mean nothing more than that the current King James Bible was “Authorized” by King James to be translated.
I and the church I attend do use the Authorized Version. But the fact that we use the AV/KJV, does not automatically mean that we despise other versions or those who use them. Though, I do feel that some in fundamentalism have created and propagated the “doctrine” (which isn’t a doctrine at all) of the KJV.
With regard to bus ministries and food pantries, neither are Biblical in method. By that I mean, you don’t see either ministry in the Bible specifically. Both are means by which we can be a blessing to our community and have an opportunity to share the gospel. I don’t see, in essence, why one is superior or inferior to another. Could either be done with wrong intentions? Certainly, but that could be true with any ministry.
“Is there something wrong with a church using the authorized version as opposed to a NASB, ESV, or NIV? Is it not a matter of preference? Same thing with hymns, are they wrong, and instead, we should use more modern song, or is it a matter of preference?”
Oh, Steve, of course not. But that’s not what has happened in IFB churches I’ve attended for much of my life.
I’ve heard entire messages insisting that the KJV is the ONLY Word of God and any other version is a perversion. That takes it beyond preference into a doctrine to separate over, and they do! I love my KJV, but I despise the teaching that insists that it is the only inspired Bible.
As for hymns, of course choosing to only sing hymns is a preference. Nothing wrong with that. But again, I have been under preaching in sermon after sermon that condemns all other forms of music and that separates from churches that don’t use hymns and calls them worldly for not following the same preference. My parents wouldn’t attend their grandchildren’s programs at a Christian school because they didn’t like the CCM played. They don’t HAVE to like it, but why couldn’t they lay their preferences aside and show graciousness by attending? Why, since they are mature Christians of many years, can they not suffer through twenty minutes of Chris Tomlin in order to watch their grandchildren sing or receive an award? They’re more interested in holding to their man-made rules than in showing love, and THAT is distressing to me.
I will protest when I see people elevating man’s traditions to the level of Scripture or denigrating other Christians who have different standards than their own. I allow my fundy brethren to read the KJV and sing hymns, but they do NOT allow me to read the ESV and sing praise choruses without seeing me as worldly, and THAT directly contradicts Biblical teaching on Christian freedom.
Hello Pastor’s Wife,
I don’t disagree with any thing you said above. As Christians, we have liberty, and we must be understanding of that when it comes to the preferences of others. I’m sorry that you have been subjected to misuse of scripture and the lack of grace by some fundamentalists.
I don’t think Darrel could pay some one to come post a better example of modern day fundystan indoctrination than stillafundy and Steve. None are so blind than those who refuse to see. You are both the evolving Fundy. Pretending you and yours are the exemption yet rushing in to defend. This should clue you in to the question of whether you have been indoctrinated by a false religion and your cognitive dissonance is triggering your attempting to reconcile itself by tailoring what you want to believe in your religious inculcation and patching the ugly spots with denial. You have been lied to and you are now lying to us and yourselves. Everyone makes up their own religion and yours is an ugly one that you are trying to fix with some mental whitewash and pretending. Please take time for introspection.
What you wrote above is the very epitome of projection. You have your idea of fundamentalism, and anyone within the movement is a closed minded bigot. By projecting this image on anyone in fundamentalism, are you not yourself guilty of the same close minded bigotry?
Steve – You really need to re-read Teddy’s post. It applies to you. Slow down. Be humble and gracious. Open your eyes and your mind and don’t be afraid of what you see and think.
And you might want to check out today’s post. I think you inspired it.
I do believe I did inspire it. This thread began with my disagreement with Darrell’s tenets of fundamanentalism above. Maybe, I’m not a “fundy” in Darrell’s terms, as I am not familiar, in my experience, with his list above.
I grew up and am now in unaffiliated churches. My pastor does not follow the papal leadings of fundamentalist camps set up by Bible colleges. I have never heard a sermon against pants, for KJV onlyism, or against movie theaters. My pastor preaches the Bible and allows the people to make their own determination on “standards/preferences.”
Though my church would label itself fundamentalist, maybe we are not, at least, according to the definition of this site.
Nonetheless, I have seen that many on this site do not have the open mind that they ask of me. Teddy’s hypothesis may be correct, that each of us creates our own religion (I would say worldview/ understanding of who God is). Unfortunately, the strict adherence to a set of beliefs that many have left in fundamentalism, seems to be picked up just the same somewhere else.
I am a fundamentalist and not one of your straw-man definitions fit me.
I concede that there are people like what you describe and they call themselves fundamentalist. So are you requiring me to deny that I believe the fundamentals lest I be lumped in with them?
BTW not all black people like watermelon.
If you’ll go up to the “About” link you will find what we define as “Fundie”. You will also find that there is a majority of us that hold to the Fundamentals of the Faith. What we are railing against is the movement/system that enables and promotes cult-like adherence to that system in the name of religion using their particular interpretation of God, Jesus and a pet Bible translation.
Its amazing how Many FuNdies I have heard recently say this very same thing… Deception and denial is part of the fabric of the Fundy system.
They even deceive themselves.
Sure, almost everyone is nice “when you get to know them.” As individuals, they are loving and good to their families and their friends.
Just like the Pharisees were that Jesus spoke of.
As a group, however, things change. Group-think takes over.
They want to say, “We only believe in the fundamentals of the faith.” The fact is that most Christians do. Fundamentalists are not separating over the fundamentals. They nitpick. They create in-groups and out-groups over small things. They accuse others of not preaching the gospel when they do indeed preach the gospel.
They fill your lives with dos and don’ts. Oh, salvation may be “free” initially, but there is definitely a charge for it afterward! And if one doesn’t pay, God and his ministers are angry.
But will they admit it? No.
Confronted with their own behavior, that is always an aberration. Despite the near universality of such attitudes, each time it is pointed out, that is the exception.
You know, even those in prison for violent crimes see themselves as good people.
Bill, no one is requiring anything of you. We do request (or at least I do) that you read carefully through many, many blog posts, and that you click the “about” tab to find out more about SFL.
If you believe the fundamentals of the faith, fine. If you claim that being in church every time the doors are open, serving in the church in every capacity possible, wearing/not wearing certain clothes, observing certain rituals, using only certain forms of worship/music, etc., will make you/keep you holy, if you allow obviously perverted men to stay in the “ministry”, then you are part of the group we decry. The term “fundamentalist” has taken on a dark, sinister meaning thanks to people like Trieber, Hyles, Schaap, Gray, the variously numbered Joneses and their ilk.
“The term “fundamentalist” has taken on a dark, sinister meaning thanks to …” SFL stoking the fires maybe? 😉
As I said, not one of the strawmen listed above apply to me. I have no shame in claiming to be a fundamentalist. I believe words mean things and redefining them to grind an ax or serve a political purpose (same sex “marriage” anyone) doesn’t help clarify. Rather it muddies the water even further. Why are Christians, when being compared to the radical islamists (all of us BTW) , adding fuel to that fire by essentially ceding the ground and agreeing with them? I am a fundamentalist because I believe in the fundamentals of Christianity. Here is where someone will come back with a point about music, hair length and pants on women. I don’t have to provide my bonafides as a believer living by grace to be able to make the point that the above list is NOT indicative of the fundamental doctrines of Christianity.
I did note that Teddy and rtgmath assume that my post was to defend those who do fit the above list. Or that I somehow fit into it. And the assumption about being judgmental is what again?
Bill, I have never seen a fundamentalist who will admit that any of the “stereotypes” are true of him or her.
Even if they were true. Everyone could know it but they would never admit it or recognize it in themselves. Much like the person telling the preacher, “Wow, you really zinged them with your sermon!” and the preacher thinks, “You were the person I was trying to talk to!”
And no one that I know of says that every fundamentalist is guilty of every sin or fits every situation talked about here.
But fundamentalism is what it is. It isn’t SFL that created the stereotypes. They were there long before SFL was even thought of.
You say you are a fundamentalist because you believe the fundamentals of the faith. Please, find me a Christian who doesn’t. Christ died, was buried, and rose again. Those are the fundamentals. The fundamentals are captured in the Nicene Creed.
So no, you don’t call yourself a fundamentalist because you are a Christian. You call yourself one to distinguish yourself from other Christians.
And while “words mean things,” meanings do change over the years. Words have denotations and connotations. Fundamentalism has come to connote a meanness and rigidity that belies the grace of God and demands legalistic posturing. “Don’t dance.” “Don’t drink.” “Don’t vote for Democrats.”
It isn’t that fundamentalists are mean all the time. They can be nice to those they like. But like this elderly gentleman who so graciously made me welcome in the IFB church I attended, they have a mean streak. This gentleman I speak of boasted of running a gay couple out of his neighborhood, rallying the neighbors against them.
So, who and what are you distinguishing yourself from? If, indeed, none of the sins of fundamentalism have touched you, great! But if you call yourself a fundamentalist, don’t blame anyone for associating you with the Hortons, the Joneses, the Schapps, the Rices and all those to whom faith is their way or nonexistent.
You are known by the company you keep.
I apologize if I have judged you unfairly.
Sir, the word “gay” used to mean “happy”. When you hear that word today is it used for that purpose, or is it now a synonym for homosexual? I have not single-handedly changed the meaning of that word. There are words in the beloved King James version that don’t mean today what they meant in 1611. There are words that mean something different today than they meant 20 years ago. You can’t change it for everyone just because you don’t like the change.
The term “fundamentalist” has taken on dark, sinister meanings not because of anything Darrell or the community of commenters has said. We have not conspired to have it mean wild, crazy, hypocritical (at best), or raping/molesting women and children. It has taken on this meaning because of the words and actions of some of those who call themselves fundamentalists — namely, the people who stand up and say that they are proud to be fundamentalists. Sin hating, flag waving, King James preaching (screaming), anti-gay, misogynistic, toe stomping, God fearing fundamentalists. The kind that keep mistresses and rape teenagers. People like Jack Hyles and Jack Schaap were so very proud of their fundamentalism, and they are two reasons why people think fundamentalists are crazy.
If you believe the fundamentals of the faith, great. Just don’t take on the name of fundamentalist unless you are comfortable with taking on the negative connotation associated with it. You might be able to change one person’s perception of fundamentalism by being a gracious, kind, loving person who doesn’t adhere to crazy rules. You won’t change the broader societyal perception on your own.
I think you should do an experiment. Go to church tomorrow night (three to thrive, amen?) and when someone asks you how you are, tell the person you’re gay. If you’re happy, there’s nothing wrong with saying so, right? If you do that, I can guarantee you will be drummed out of the church faster than you can say “fundamentalist”.
If as you claim you do not fit any of the stereotypes, why are you so upset? If you are not one of the bad guys you have no beef with us. The word “fundamentalist” has negative meaning for most people on the outside and you need to understand that.
I am a fundamentalist.
I am not IFB.
I do not fit any of the above stereotypes.
Just thought you should know.
J. Vernon McGee considered himself a fundamentalist. Certainly no IFB he.
As to definitions, it will make no difference how many same sex couples get “married” not one of those relationships will be a marriage.
If I am guilty of anything it is being a word nerd.
And I love the implications of the folks above who assume that I am self deluded. And the “fundies” you despise are judgmental?
Let me help you all out a bit. I have no problem with the term “fundy” or “indi-fundy” because they have a distinctive connotation. Use them and you can make your point without insulting folks that do not fit the above stereotypes.
Played bass in the praise band at a start up church on occasion. They billed themselves as a “Non-traditional alternative to traditional church”. I worked with them on and off for about 5 years. Yep, they had a whole bunch of their own “traditions”. Same old thing week after week. Relevant, don’t you know.
Played bass in the ensemble at my home church (baptist GARBC) usually sitting next to the drums kit.
Played bass in a traveling praise band to do street fairs and prison ministry.
Have had a beard since I was 19 (51 now) and have never had anyone suggest that it was an issue. I don’t have long hair. This is because I’m bald. I tell people that God took my hair away becasue He knew I would do silly things with it if I still had it. 🙂
I haven’t worn a tie in at least 10 years (well except for when I was helping that startup and then because it was fun to stand out against all those Hawaiian shirts and hemp necklaces). Who knew that bermuda shorts and sandals were the uniform of relevancy?!?! 😉
My wife has short hair and has had for most of our marriage. Oh and she wears pants too!
Not one of my daughters ever wore anything resembling culottes.
I am not KJVO or even KJVp. I love the interaction in a group bible study when multiple translations (including the KJV) are available.
I love music. Anything and everything. Except rap. That has nothing to do with my spiritual views, I just can’t make sense of what they are saying most of the time (reference above to being 51).
On the FFF I am considered a “freebird” (if we are keeping score, that should count for bonus points).
I love to dance. I’m not very good at it.
I don’t drink. Not because the bible condemns it (it doesn’t) but because I do not like the flavor. It all tastes like medicine to me.
I do not put preferences or “standards” at the same level as doctrine.
The list above is about attitudes. Bad attitudes are not limited to any one area of christiandom. Those with such views are a blight on the name of Christ. But they have nothing to do with the fundamentals of the faith. If every line started with “Radical Indy Fundyism is … ” I would not have a problem.
For those who tried to correct me about the definitions of words and the evolution of language, please note the the whole purpose of the OP is to “define” fundamentalism. It is in fact the motivation for the post as he himself states. Therefore, my refutation is directed at his active intent to redefine a word that should be a positive. The author makes the claim that he is doing us a favor by clarifying the meaning of the word and I stand in defense of the proper definition.
I don’t doubt that those are your experiences.
But if you lived the way you describe yourself living at any of the fundamentalist universities I know, you’d be kicked out. You say that’s because it’s a university and they have the right to have their own rules? But those universities also usually have rules that if you attended a church that allowed music and clothes the way you describe, you’d also be kicked out (if they knew about it). If the church was near their college, students wouldn’t be allowed to attend. I have friends who received a letter from BJU sending them back their alumni membership dues and revoking their membership in the alumni association because of the church they’d joined – a Baptist church that happened to be part of a denomination that BJU doesn’t like (despite the fact that I personally know that church and those people and they believe and teach the fundamentals of the faith). Also when the people with whom you graduated from fundy U realize the “worldly” way you live, they often break off fellowship with you.
Many people would call me a fundamentalist. I’m certainly conservative evangelical and I definitely hold to the fundamentals of the faith. But the fundamentalists I know would deny that I am one and would look down on me. Different ones would do it for different reasons: my parents because I’m not KJV-only, my alma mater because I attend a church with a praise band (I play in the praise band), certain friends of mine because they feel I’m “heading in the wrong direction toward evangelicalism” (yes, that was what a friend told me). Why would I want to claim a title when others who hold that title tell me I’m not one?
When thousands of people have negative experiences in church after church and college after college associated with the IFB, places that are EXACTLY as described here on SFL, it should tell you something.
Of course you don’t mind the label, I guess because you haven’t gotten burned by it and you’re not having to live under the heavy burdens of rules many IFB churches put on you. But for those of us who’ve been enslaved by churches teaching as Gospel the traditions of men, we want to clarify that that IS NOT the good news of Christ.
So I don’t doubt your experience either.
I’m sorry that there are idiots out there who do as you describe.
None of that changes the truth of my point.
Okay, so you’re not a fundy.
The fact remains that the term “fundamentalist” is now a pejorative to those outside the movement. If you want to insist on the original meaning of the word, go for it. Others take a different meaning from it. This will lead to confused communication. You will mean one thing and people will infer something else entirely. Fundies will look at you, playing all kinds of ungodly (in their opinion, not mine) music, and say you are not a fundamentalist. Fundies have co-opted the word.
If you’re happy, don’t tell people you’re gay. They won’t think you are happy. They will think you are homosexual. If I say my ass is big, people won’t think I’m referring to the work animal in my barn. They will think I’m saying I’m fat.
Semp, what is the name of this site? Stuff FUNDIES Like. What is the stated goal of the OP? To (re)define fundamentalism. I am just making the point that they are two distinctly different things.
And I have no real interest in the size of your beast of burden or your back side. 😉
Of course you don’t mind the label, I guess because you haven’t gotten burned by it…
I have to agree with PW on this one. From reading your statements, it appears that you have never been part of the system that we call Fundamentalism. Like Semp stated above, word meanings change. For a long time I held onto the label of Fundamentalist, because to me it was someone who believed the fundamentals. But that isn’t what most people think of. To quote Inigo Montoya, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” It really doesn’t matter what particular definition you have in mind, if the listener is going to use a different one. And most people think a Christian Fundamentalist is an extreme legalistic separatist. And most are. If you want to be labeled a Fundamentalist, that is fine. But don’t criticize those of us who dropped the label because of the negative connotations and baggage we carry from our years of misery, and for some, abuse, and don’t be surprised at our reactions to other’s use of a label many of us no longer desire
[As an aside—I am also 51. I had a beard from my mid-thirties until last year. It was an issue at times in some churches. I didn’t shave it for that reason, though. I now have a more unfundy Fu Manchu that drips off my chin. ]
SFL isn’t the reason Fundamental has a “dark and sinister meaning”.
It is the self-appointed, self-centered “leaders” of fundamentalism who cover each others sins while focusing what “they are doing for God” and creating little kingdoms with extra-biblical rules that must be followed for inclusion.
It is the preachers teaching a works based salvation couched in terms that sound good, but aren’t accurate, while practicing a form of separation found nowhere in the Scriptures.
It is people who say from the pulpit they hope someone is in or will be in Hell.
It is leadership who believe that all good or true Christians will vote the way they say is right, and support a particular party while wearing blinders to the fact that neither is always right or wrong.
It is the art of twisting Bible to say things God never said.
It is ignoring Jesus’ teaching on the sick and poor, and then calling those who try to help. “social gospel liberals”.
There are plenty more, by the way.
These are a few reasons why I have dropped the label. That, and labels are confining. They tend to guide behavior to what is expected, not to what is right. I’d rather be guided by Scriptural truth than a preset list of rules.
Nope. I have not been “burned”. I have been blessed.
I see two things happen when I post; projection and transference. I know what I am defending. I also see that some folks here are not able to see past their own hurt/anger/bitterness to take me at my word. There has been no shortage of assumptions made.
Note pastor’s wife “You say that’s because it’s a university and they have the right to have their own rules?” I do? When? where?.
On another thread I was accused of being KJVO! Based on …. nothing.
Note that Don in the very first reply to me said: “What we are railing against is the movement/system that enables and promotes cult-like adherence to that system in the name of religion using their particular interpretation of God, Jesus and a pet Bible translation.”
Railing is the outgrowth of bitterness. At least Don is willing to confess it.
So I will take my naive unburned self and move on. The anger here is not healthy. 🙁
“You say” is meant in general: usually if I were to cite a college’s rules, people would respond, “Well, that’s just THEIR rules while you’re there at their college,” and I was trying to respond to that.
To be clear, I should have written, “And if you were to say.”
You have to guard your soul: if you find this place making you angry, it’s not healthy for you.
But for many people, for years they were abused, manipulated, pressured, and taught warped things about Scripture and God. The first steps in getting over that include 1) recognizing it and 2) getting angry because it was WRONG.
Compare it to physical therapy: if you were not injured, you’d find the exercises pointless and annoying. You’d be frustrated at the people making you repeat motions over and over, focusing on little things. But for the injured person, those exercises are exactly what he needs.
And a person who’d been blessed and not injured wouldn’t stand in the doorway mocking people working through their pain.
Yet, you are not addressing the issues I brought up. You have taken a defensive stance because your own sacred cow has been upset. I have yet to see you address the issues we have raised.
And just because you do not believe it applies to you or you have never experienced what we have, why are you so eager to defend the institutional system and dismiss our reactions according to our own experiences? Is your experience and your attitudes and your spirituality superior to ours? Are your motives for defending the fundamentalist system that pure?
Then Jesus must have just been bitter with the teaching of the Pharisees hmmmmm?
Paul was just bitter with the Galatians embracing works sanctification and legalism, right? And he was so bitter towards Hymenaeus and Alexander that he publically called then out and wrote about it. Imagine that.
How about John, I guess he was just bitter about what Diotrephes was doing???
The bitter card has been played so… I guess it trumps actual experience. Once the bitter card has been played then any further discussion on actual issues is moot.
Don, what issues? Here is the totality of your response to me.
“If you’ll go up to the “About” link you will find what we define as “Fundie”. You will also find that there is a majority of us that hold to the Fundamentals of the Faith. What we are railing against is the movement/system that enables and promotes cult-like adherence to that system in the name of religion using their particular interpretation of God, Jesus and a pet Bible translation.”
You gave your explanation in the form of a statement. What am I supposed to address?
“And just because you do not believe it applies to you or you have never experienced what we have, why are you so eager to defend the institutional system and dismiss our reactions according to our own experiences? Is your experience and your attitudes and your spirituality superior to ours? Are your motives for defending the fundamentalist system that pure?”
In the paragraph prior to this you accuse me of having sacred cows. have you read nothing I have written? You follow that up with the accusation that I am defending a “system”. Again, I am defending a perfectly good and proper english WORD!
Where do you see me defending “them”. Show me where I have done so. You ask why I haven’t addressed points brought up. Because they are a rabbit trail and distraction to the point I made about the stereotypes in the OP.
Someone challenged me to go to an Indy Fundy (an appropriately defining pejorative BTW) church and announce that I am gay. Would their reaction be any less knee jerk angry than my coming here and announcing that I disagree with the premise of the OP?
Bill, it’s called “Stuff Fundies Like” because we talk about the foolish things fundies like — rules, rules, and more rules. Calling simulated masturbation behind the pulpit preaching. Calling statutory rape an affair that can be blamed solely on the victim. Taking what the Bible says and ignoring it. Taking what the Bible doesn’t say and making rules/doctrine out of it. Being proud of being a fundamentalist. That is what fundies like, and that is what we talk about. It’s how we deal with being abused and hurt by the system.
semp, I am humbled to be called a child of God. The biblical doctrines I hold to are fundamental. That by definition makes me a fundamentalist.
Again, you miss my point. Indy Fundy? Fine. Rag on kids. If that is what it takes to bring peace to your spirit. I happen to believe you have better options.
The (re)definitions in the OP do not fit all fundamentalists. Maybe Indy Fundies but the brush used is too broad.
I have contended against some pretty vile folk in the Indy Fundy world. My track record regarding Hephzibah House would prove my bona fides as a non-indy fundy. But to what end? Because I have not endorsed this particular OP with a rousing Hurrah I am accused of defending “them” or the “system”.
Bill, you are missing my point entirely. I don’t know why.
There are many, many people who call themselves proud fundamentalists and hang on to rules (see my previous posts for clarification). These are the people we mean when we say “fundies”. The word has taken on a new meaning. Your lack of acknowledgement doesn’t mean that it’s not true. If you aren’t one of the rule-making, rule-abiding, proud folks that we refer to when we say the word “fundy” YOU AREN’T ONE OF THEM.
I understand you hold to the fundamentals of the faith. However, the meaning of the word “fundamentalist” has changed and it is now a derogatory term. You can use it your way but people will not understand it the way you mean. They will think you are a religious freak. The fundies will initially think you’re one of them and then say you’re not because of your music. The non-religious will think you are crazy and won’t investigate further.
I have no idea what you mean when you said “rag on kids”. What did I say that you got that impression? I certainly defend the young lady that Jack Schaap raped. I certainly hate what has happened to young children at the hands of various other people at HAC/FBCH and the many other havens of hell. I will not defend the criminals and predators in any way.
No semp, you have missed mine again.
Indy Fundy? Perfectly fine pejorative term to use on the like of Phelps (take your pick which one), Hyles, Schaap, Ruckman, Gray or Grey. Pile on for all I care. I honestly don’t think it is good for you and serves very little purpose. None of them are going to change because of the nastiness emanating from this little corner of the web. So this is what I mean about “rag on”. Seems like a waste of keyboard time and bandwidth to me.
Fundamentalist? I am one. There is nothing I can do about it. The core of my beliefs align with the correct definition of the word. If others misunderstand it is their problem. I am not required to adopt that error. Reference my analogy of same sex “marriage”.
There is a saying to the effect: “bitterness is a poison you drink with the hopes of hurting someone else.” Honestly, I hear the pain. But I would be doing no good to anyone if I didn’t point out that gathering to pass around the latest recipe of bitterness is not healthy. Spiritually, emotionally or even likely physically.
BTW from an earlier point you made; my wife’s middle name is Gay. I like it. I also wouldn’t hesitate to use it as a child’s name were we faced with such a prospect. If nothing else it is better than Shithead (yes, this is a real name pronounced Shu -they- ed). 🙄
Bill, when you insist you are right and we are not, you are defending the system. Claim it is a good word all you want. It is also a system.
Whether you like it or not, the word fundamentalist is filled with negative vibes. And there is ample reason for this. (see my examples above)
Today, when you say fundamentalist, even those we call Fundies do not think you mean adherence to The Fundamentals: A Testimony To The Truth edited by A. C. Dixon and later by Reuben Archer Torrey, but that you follow a certain mindset filled with extra-biblical rules to show your piety and separation from the world and anyone else who disagrees with you.
You asked Don, “Have you read nothing I have written?” I believe some of us could ask you the same.
Fundamentalism is a flawed system. It doesn’t need defending. It needs a thorough housecleaning and multiple public apologies. It needs to cease being a man centered religion and focus on the Gospel of Christ, as the Epistles (our instructions) do.
PW I am sorry that you feel like this
“And a person who’d been blessed and not injured wouldn’t stand in the doorway mocking people working through their pain.”
I see no where that I have mocked anyone. Certainly nothing was intended if you took it that way.
As to working through pain I am an advocate of going to the great physician for healing. What is described hear is spiritual pain. That requires spiritual healing. I fear that instead there is a lot of mutual scab picking. That is not healthy.
If you’ve lost your faith there is no spiritual healing. Obviously PW still has her faith. Some people here left theirs by the dung heap.
“Some people here left theirs by the dung heap.”
Then I would pray that they find true healing in Jesus. Not a system. Not a school. Not a man-o-god. But in the One who can truly meet them in the depths of their hurt. The One who will walk right into that dung heap to rescue them unlike those who wouldn’t even acknowledge the existence of the dung let alone the soul floundering there. The One who will sit next to them in the dung until they trust him enough to take His hand and walk away with Him.
One step to healing is found here:
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Bill – In your post today at 12:27pm you said:
“…If others misunderstand it is their problem…”
You obvisouly misunderstand the purpose, intent and spirit of SFL. Therefore, by your own reasoning, it is your problem. Quit telling us how we should think, act and behave on the internet. We all had enough of that from out time in fundystan.
Thank you for your kind welcome and open minded conversation.
To borrow an analogy used earlier, you make me feel like a gay in a fundy church. 🙄
BTW the quote marks don’t negate your taking my words out of context.