163 thoughts on “Fundy Tweet of the Week: Sensitivity Optional”

  1. I hate fundy funerals:( At my cousins funeral a couple of years ago the “preacher” said-“I’m sure that right now she is looking at Jesus an thinking I wish I had done things different” . What an insensitive @$$hole . They are so out of touch everything is turned into a soulwinning opportunity.

    1. *AND* thinking. I’ve been trying to avoid him but somehow George managed to weasel his way into my post

    2. That comment is pretty inappropriate for a funeral, but it does show the typical fundy minset: always fearful of judgment. They’re so like Javert of Les Mis. Why not talk of her JOY as she sees her Savior face to face? Why pressure people into doing MORE and MORE instead of comforting them?

    3. A close friend of mine during my childhood and young-adulthood passed away last year after a long struggle with diabetes, in his early 40’s. You just summed up the pastor’s remarks at his funeral….

  2. In Fundy funerals, they have decided the fate of the deceased. I think they might ultimately be surprised by who gets to heaven and who doesn’t. The phrase “many will say, Lord, Lord” comes to mind.

    1. It’s not up to me, and it’s not up to you, and it’s not up to some preacher who is saved and who isn’t.

      1. I know plenty of IFB screeeeechers who will tell you unequivocally that they can tell who is right with god and who isn’t from the pulpit. It’s their self-righteous M-O-g clairvoyance that makes the difference.

  3. If you believe that if anyone you cross paths with doesn’t hear the gospel from you and is never saved that their damnation is on you, then all your words and actions are likely to be skewed and you will chalk up any insensitivity to love.

    I’m too tired to tell if I worded that sentence right, but close enough.

        1. Maybe this is just a textbook case of a dropped e. So, “wee Independent Baptists?” He must increase, but wee Independent Baptists must decrease.

    1. Problem? What problem? The problem is that we fundies are being victimized by evildoers on the Internets, and in our exhaustive-leave-no-shit-pile-unturned investigation we have failed to find any sensitivity or kindness or truth-telling or sign of intelligent life down here. Beam us up, Sweet Jesus! May the Rapture happen today!

    2. “amongst US Independent Baptists”

      English, M****r F****r, do you speak it?

  4. This mindset isn’t of Christ, the deceased, or the family. This mindset is all about exalting oneself in the eyes of the other 60 people on their “church”. It is the young man crying out, “hey watch this!” without thinking of the obvious outcome.

      1. Hey! I resemble that remark! I’ve had opportunity to say this plenty of times. So far, God be thanked, I’ve managed to avoid a violent end–in spite of Mama’s predictions.

        1. More than likely. There were times it seemed nothing made Mama happier than to see her dire predictions come true. “AhHA! Busted yer head wide open on that pole, didn’t you, just like I said you would! That’ll teach you! Go on and try it again! Go on, just see what happens!”

        2. Well, that’s something else Mama used to tell me: “Boy, you just NEVER learn, do you?!” Proving Mama right was more important to me than my personal safety. 🙂

      2. As a medic, we used to say that a good number of our emergency calls began with the phrase, “Hey, hold my beer for a second and watch this!”

        1. I hesitate to say this lest I appear puffed up with pride, but in utter humility I testify that I always do my own stunts while holding my own beer.

  5. You know, this is the perfect evangelistic opportunity. I mean, if I were unsaved and went to a fundy funeral, I’d know for sure I was in hell and would want to make sure I didn’t spend eternity there! Hell would be attending a fundy funeral forever.

  6. Bro. Wooodward can’t be very important. He hasn’t won his honorary doctorate yet. However, he does get three o’s in his name. That’s pretty distinguished.

    1. Actually, he does have an honorary doctorate… :/ From Hyles if I remember correctly.

      1. And his name is spelled with 2 o’s, not 3. (Huston misspelled it.) I only know it’s the same guy I know because I know the family the tweet was about. 🙁

        1. Aw, I was hoping he get the extra “o” along with his pretty doctorate papers, it’s certainly worth more.

  7. I remember one fundy service I attended. The deceased was a 20 year old who had a freak accident. The kid was great. And so the preacher spoke on how he was now in heaven. Then went into the fire and brimstone sermon. If you ever want to see John again, you must repent.
    So many people left that day wanting to say something more about the impact John had on their lives but never received the opportunity. And the mourners are left uncomforted. Yet Christ promised those who mourn would be comforted. Its not the Gospel if it is not what Christ brought and who Christ is.

    1. My mom told me of a fundy meeting she was in when she was a little girl, and when they had the altar call, they specifically asked her if she wanted to go to heaven to be with her mother who had died just a few years before that. Shameful!

      1. Ye gods and little fishes, if she’d said “Yes,” I get the horrible idea that someone was ready to send her on her way AT ONCE… 😯

  8. I don’t get why he has to say “Lost family”. I think I know what he means, but it makes them sound misplaced, “Found them under the couch, next to the remote and the car keys!” 🙄

    1. HAhaha! I often say that if God didn’t want there to be lost souls, he shouldn’t have made them so teensy-tiny!

    2. It sounds like he’s chumming the water for Altar Call sharks — “Lost Family! Big opportunity! Hurry up or someone else will snap ’em up!”

    3. Yeah, if they’re lost, I wonder why someone doesn’t offer them directions to help them get to the funeral. Couldn’t someone lend them a TomTom Navigator or print them out a Google Map?

  9. Someone on the SFL facebook page was saying that there’s nothing wrong with praying for a pastor who will be preaching at a funeral with unsaved people in attendance. I think saying that would be fine. But naming the person publicly is insensitive.

    1. Wouldn’t it seem more appropriate to pray for the family?

      I’ve heard and read many, many requests for prayers for the families of the deceased. This is the first for the preacher.

  10. Ok, side note since I’m sure the obvious will be talked about. How did he get his username. First off I read it as “haven’t ed[ucation]” but I guess it’s actually supposed to be “haven ted.” Even that reeks of superiority.

    1. I once knew a guy whose first name was Haven. Maybe Ted is this Tweeter’s middle name.

  11. but, but, if we don’t preach to them while we have them captured in a setting that will make them think about their own mortality then their blood will be on our hands for not preaching salvation to them… HeyMen?

    It is one thing to preach the sure and certain hope of the resurrection found in Christ and to comfort the family in their time of mourning… but fundies are notorious for breaking out the guilt, the manipulation, the hammer and anvil of their god and taking advantage of the situation that lies before them.

    Then they manufacture tall tales of pastoral preaching feats of how they could see their preaching was causing conviction on the faces of those lost loved ones. Going so far as to attribute the pained looks contempt for their preaching to the work of demons.

    I remember actually having a prayer vigil at the church to pray for the pastor as he preached the funeral of a young man who had committed suicide. The story as the preacher told it was that the young man was demon possessed and his room was filled with rock music posters and satanic symbols. The pastor wanted us to pray as he went into the funeral that would be attended by the young man’s friend and family and that a great spiritual battle would be taking place that night. Even having the funeral service at night was a sure sign of demon influence.

    *sigh* and yes I was there fervently praying for divine protection for the pastor, that the demons would be bound and people would be saved due to the preaching.

    *walks away, shaking head, mumbling to self*

  12. Stuff like this is what has turned me off from the IFB ideas of evangelism. Somehow it all gets twisted into a very selfish act (pray for family or lost along with preacher maybe?). Somehow every action can be twisted into an opportunity to shoe horn in the Gospel. In the end, it’s no longer about reaching the lost but about making sure you did your duty in throwing a verse or tract at someone. No matter if it was done effectively or ethically.

    1. The bigger problem is the perverted Gospel they are promoting– God’s wondrous love reduced to reciting one canned prayer.
      Where is the Jesus who is the friend of the wounded and the fatherless, who scatters the proud in the imaginations of their hearts, who brings down the powerful and lifts up the lowly, who fills the hungry with good things and sends the rich away empty? (Luke 1: 51-53)

      1. This Jesus you speak of. Sounds like some kind of limp-wristed liberal, concerned with the physical/emotional needs of folks instead of their souls. If you happen to run into this Luke fellow, please ask him to revise his statement. VERY un-American of him.

      2. So on a serious note. What is the true nature of the gospel?
        Telling people about the redemptive work of Christ on the cross;

        Helping to feed the hungry
        Clothe the poor
        Care for the widows and orphans

        What is it?

        1. BJ Grad, that’s potentially the beginning of a very long conversation indeed, so I won’t try to address it in full here.
          But I will say that I think the distinction between saving souls and meeting people’s temporal needs is an erroneous distinction.
          Accepting God’s infinite grace puts me in a new relationship to the world and its people. It sets me free to join Jesus in proclaiming a Kingdom where there is sight for the blind, release for the captives, and good news for the poor (literally as well as figuratively).

        2. The faithfulness of Christ is the Gospel.

          It’s an Orthodox teaching that I’m just beginning to grasp the implications of.

  13. While I have a personal belief that the GOSPEL should be CLEARLY shared at a funeral, a funeral is not a place to berate, use scare tactics, or emotionally manipulate the grieving. I always find it refreshing when a pastor shares the gospel and invites the hearer to follow Jesus (not an “altar call”, but a biblical call to follow Christ…which doesn’t have to be manipulative in the slightest).

    I think Jesus gave us a good example of grieving with them, consoling them, telling them the truth…and if you aren’t a cessationalist…raise em up if you can. HEEEEEEEEYYYYMAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNN.

  14. I went to a (non-fundy) funeral recently. It was the most horrible funeral I have ever been to. It was also the most beautiful.

    It was the most horrible because of the circumstances. A beautiful 12 year old girl and her mother were knifed to death by their 16 year old brother/son. She died on what would have been her first day of grade 7.

    It was the most beautiful because of the care that the funeral directors showed. While I know that the owners of the funeral home are christians, the funeral was designed to support the family in their grieving process. It was a time to celebrate two beautiful lives, to grieve for them, to acknowledge their loss, to share our hurts with others.

    There was no preaching. There was music and artwork there that accurately reflected the lives of the people we were honouring. And no, it wouldn’t have passed fundy checks. When they showed a slideshow of the girl’s life, they played Katie Perry’s “Roar” because that had been her favourite song at the time. I will never hear that song without wanting to cry now.

    Two precious lives. That day was so hard for so many. An entire community was reeling in shock. I am so thankful that the funeral directors respected the grieving instead of using the event as a cheap evangelism tool.

    1. No, I don’t think a funeral is a place for the gospel to be preached. If the only time you can get someone in to hear the gospel is at a funeral, then you’re loving them wrong. You have a person’s whole life to share with them. A funeral is not the time. It’s just not. Love someone. Love them truly. Love them whether they ever follow the same God as you or not. Love them when you have nothing to gain from the relationship.

      And when you are at a funeral, love them tactfully and with compassion.

  15. Of course, there are times I’m also insensitive, may the good Lord forgive. But I try not to be that way when dead people are involved. Unless they’ve been dead a while, and then I figure not much harm could be done anyway.

  16. From the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer–

    The liturgy for the dead is an Easter liturgy. It finds all meaning in the resurrection. Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we too, shall be raised.

    The liturgy, therefore, is characterized by joy, in the certainty that “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

    This joy, however, does not make human grief unchristian. The very love we have for each other in Christ brings deep sorrow when we are parted by death. Jesus himself wept at the grave of his friend. So, while we rejoice that one we love has entered into the nearer presence of our Lord,
    we sorrow in sympathy with those who mourn.

  17. I think Don got it right above.

    Don’t confuse what a fundy does at a funeral with preaching the gospel. However, a funeral is the perfect place to preach the gospel, since the gospel is the answer to the reason the funeral is taking place.

    Secondly, pertaining to the tweet, who cares if there is going to be lost people there? The gospel isn’t just for lost people. How completely short sighted. Do they think I as a believer don’t want to be comforted with Christ’s words “I am the resurrection and the life, If anyone believes in me they shall never die”?
    No, they generally have no concept other than the desire to get their adrenaline fix by “preaching hard”. And don’t forget the extremely out of place “I see that hand” seated altar call.

    Okay, now I’ve gone and made myself angry.

    1. The gospel isn’t just for lost people.

      I teach a young adult/college and career age Sunday School class, many of which have been in Fundystan or are the children of recovering Fundies. I have made it a point to emphasize that many times. The Apostle Paul wrote to Believers, yet in all of his letters, he goes back to the Gospel. Not Hellfire and brimstone hatred and vitriol, but simple truth like in 1 Cor. 15:1-11. Through Christ we receive Grace.He didn’t share apocryphal anecdotes, just simple truth.

    2. Very much this.

      A funeral is absolutely the time for the gospel. The Gospel is hope in Christ. It’s a pity fundies would prefer a magic incantation.

  18. Dear SFL Reader:

    One response is to be and do what we are supposed to be and do in these situations. Nothing like living with honor and grace to expose the unfruitful works of IFB darkness.

    Christian Socialist

  19. This whole thing makes me so ashamed of my own insensitivity, thinking that I was so right, when I was fundy. I am grateful to Jesus, who forgives me for it, but I am saddened by the hurt I caused, which can not be undone.

  20. I pray that the Spirit of the Lord would work on the hearts of these lost loved ones at this funeral, and even in their sorrow, they would realize their need of the Savior.

    “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit” Eph 1:13

    1. Yes, BUT. I would bet good money that a majority of those considered “lost” by this pastor are actually Methodists, Presbyterians, or gasp SBC Baptists…

      In which case it is insulting to assume they are lost.

      1. That’s OK. We Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Catholics, etc. are used to Fundies assuming we are both “lost” and “unsaved.”

  21. I’m sorry this is going to be long, but I’m currently grieving the loss of my niece’s 19-day old son, so this strikes a nerve with me.

    My younger brother committed suicide in 2008. His funeral was at a large (non fundy) Baptist church. There was at least 500 people in attendance, and the preacher used this as an opportunity to pimp on behalf of the church. They played a video on a huge projection screen of my brother offering his testimony, and the very second his voice and image filled the chapel, my dad fell out of the pew, sobbing in grief. I will never forget the look on the preacher’s face, as if he was saying, “How dare you interrupt this event.” He was absolutely oblivious to my father’s grief. My older brothers — who are much more religious than I — were positively livid. We had to drag my dad out of the chapel and sit with him, missing most of the service.

    Six weeks later, my father took his own life. He was never a particularly religious person, so his service was as secular as possible in a small Texas town. A retired Methodist preacher officiated (and did a great job), but the large part of the service consisted of my dad’s retired oilfield buddies telling funny stories… if you have any familiarity with oilfield workers, then you can imagine that reverence and decorum weren’t the order of the day.

    The old retired Methodist minister had never met my dad, but you would have never guessed it. My dad would have said he “laid it on pretty thick”, but what he did was helped a grieving family cope with a tragic loss… in other words, he did exactly what he was paid to do.

    Apologies for the lack of brevity, but that simple yet obnoxious tweet merited more than a 140-character response.

    1. I am sorry too. Suicide scars a family. My grandfather committed suicide in 1969 and it took me decades to forgive him and to stop judging him. My deepest condolences to you, and to your family.

    2. All sympathies to you and your family, to lose so many people must be so draining. T_T
      I pray you find hope in your life.

    3. Dear Jack B:

      And my condolences. May you and your family find all the healing you need. Time itself is a good healer, and the experience of grace and freedom can be wonderfully restorative. May you find them in abundance. Blessings!

      Christian Socialist

    4. Please accept my condolences to you and your family. In the case of your niece’s son, someone dying at 19 sounds almost obscene. Having both your younger brother and your father take their own lives is also tragic beyond words.

      My father was retired and living out in the Pacific Northwest when he killed himself in 1997. He was in poor health, lonely, had struggled with alcoholism most of his life, and one night he stuck a pistol in his mouth and pulled the trigger. At my father’s Catholic funeral, the priest got my father’s name wrong. That same priest later mentioned Heaven and then followed up by saying something like, “We hope he’s there.” As was the case with your brother’s funeral, the “minister” failed in his responsibilities.

      At a more recent funeral for an elderly relative, one of the deceased’s former pastors thought that that funeral was a good occasion to tell us that God doesn’t talk to Pastors like he talks to everyone else. That Pastor used Moses to prove his point. As you implied, it would be a wonderful thing if ministers would realize that their primary job at a funeral is to help console grieving family members and to help celebrate the life of the one who died.

      I guess that’s enough. I wish for peace and comfort for both you and your family, especially for your niece.

      May God bless you and yours,

    5. Dear Jack B.,

      “But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14.
      Even though you already know the verse, it’s always good to be reminded of that truth. Once again, may God continue to console your niece and the rest of the family as you grieve.

  22. The further I get from Fundystan, the more disgusted I am.

    Whited sepulchers, indeed!

  23. I went to a funeral at a Baptist church which, while not IFB, had very strong IFB qualities. The deceased didn’t often go to church, but his family almost always did, and his mother in law, wife, and some other family members had been members since 1963, and his kids and grandkids had been members there their whole lives. Anyway, the first part of the funeral was very normal. I would add that the people at the funeral were a mixture of saved and unsaved family and friends. The pastor spoke about the deceased man, gave people opportunity to say what they wanted about him, etc. Then he said “Okay, now we are going into another part of the funeral. This part is not about ____, for he is no longer with us. He has made his peace with God. Have you?” And he launched into a 40 minute sermon, complete with guilt trips and stories about himself. I was thinking how awkward that transition was, like saying “Okay, we’ve got that part about remembering the poor dead guy out of the way, now it’s time for the real purpose – so I can preach!” Bah!

  24. My son in law lost his mother yesterday. I saw some pretty sad, raw, postings on FB. I’m with Darrell – I hope any family of that man who died do not see that tweet. It probably wouldn’t score any points with the family – even the saved ones.

  25. I strongly oppose the use of “saved” and “unsaved,” particularly in connection with funerals.

    Only God can label! Only God can judge! We are all on our individual journeys, and one size does not fit all.

    Most funerals are attended by people who cared about the deceased person, and they do not deserve to be labeled, even wordlessly.

    Again from the Book of Common Prayer–

    O God of grace and glory, we remember before you this day
    our brother (sister) N. We thank you for giving him to us, his
    family and friends, to know and to love as a companion on
    our earthly pilgrimage. In your boundless compassion,
    console us who mourn. Give us faith to see in death the gate
    of eternal life, so that in quiet confidence we may continue
    our course on earth, until, by your call, we are reunited with
    those who have gone before; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

  26. I have officiated two funerals. An uncle and aunt, a couple of years apart. When I was asked to speak at my uncle’s funeral, the cousin who asked me also asked that I not preach a sermon with an altar call. I had no intention of anything like that, but I have realized that with what she knew of churches we used to attend, it wasn’t an unfair request.

    Most of the family are church-goers, and, are probably true believers, even though Fundies might disagree. At the first one I spoke from the passage about Lazarus and the resurrection, then read from the Psalms. My purpose was to celebrate my uncle and try to bring comfort. My aunt’s funeral was a different passage, but was still for the purpose of comforting people. While I did talk about a reunion in Heaven, I didn’t use it as a segue into a sermon, but said it was okay and natural to grieve.

    I have been to Fundy funerals where an emphasis was made as to how we shouldn’t grieve, if we are all saved, because we will see them one day. I always hope that is ignorance speaking, since ignorance is curable. If it is stupidity speaking, well, maybe they will quit being asked to speak at funerals.

    I also did a very non-fundy thing and wrote out a prayer. I do not believe it was any less meaningful, and it helped me remember things I thought appropriate, with less chance of an ad-libbed bit of idiocy slipping out.

    At both funerals stories were told by family members that brought laughs, there were no braggimonies testimonies,and a grandson of the deceased sang very un-fundy CCM songs that his grandparents had enjoyed. I’d like to see some of my fundy friends faces if they had seen me near him while he sang about dancing for Jesus at a funeral.

    1. ” You have turned my mourning into dancing for me; You have put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness”

      Psalm 30:11

    2. Your words remind me of Chris Rice’s “Untitled Hymn” that traces the life of a believer, including one verse that says, “dance for Jesus!”

      The last verse is so tender and beautiful:

      And with your final heartbeat
      Kiss the world goodbye
      Then go in peace, and laugh on glory’s side

      And fly to Jesus
      Fly to Jesus
      Fly to Jesus and live

    3. “…. emphasis on how we should not grieve for if we are saved we will see tj again”
      When my father died I grieved. I am a christian, and so was Dad so I knew I would see him again some day, put it was a painful seperation from a loved one and I missed him deeply. Even after nine years I still miss him even though I see him every time I look in mirror and I hear him every time I speak.
      I had an uncle who was Fundy (northern ireland style) When he died we were treated to *three* sermons – at a private service him his home, on the Church itself *and* at the graveside. Somehow they missed out the alter call but I felt spiritually punchdrunk at the end of it.

  27. wow.. how manipulative for that guy to ask for people to pray for the lost family members. Turds on both sides.

    1. He didn’t ask anyone to pray for the family members; he asked everyone to pray for the preacher, Bro. Wooodward.

    1. “. . .you guys are turds . . .” Thank you kindly for your warm, sensitive rebuke. As the Psalmist once said, “[God] lifteth the needy out of the dunghill.” You CAN polish a turd! Your gentle correction provided me the opportunity to look deep within the cesspool that is my heart and uncover many stinky little hanger-ons that I should work to shake loose. Pray for me, that I will have the courage to let go of those things that hold me back.

      I hope that in the midst of your concern over our turdiness, you remember to pray for Bro. Woodward that he might preach a good salvation message at the funeral. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reach the lost family by manipulating their emotions and capitalizing on their grief to get The Decision from them. This is a battle for souls here; The Decision is all-important, so it doesn’t matter how you manage to get it.

      1. nico,
        Today I received my amazon order for “The Hidden Wound” by Wendell Berry. It is hard to put this book down. As I pondered my own family history of owning slaves, I remembered your (sardonic) post above, and an old saying from police work:

        “You can’t shine shit. It don’t shine.”

        There’s no way to put a glossy patina on slavery. Thank you for recommending a fine, if painful, book.

        1. I started reading Berry about 10 yrs. ago–poetry, essays, novels, short stories. He’s a wonderful writer in all forms, and his writing never fails to move me, even if I disagree with him (which is next to never). The Hidden Wound was a tremendous help to me; I’m very happy you are finding it worthwhile as well.

    2. Open a window, sweetheart. Your parents’ basement has a gas leak. And while you’re vertical (that means standing), strip and wash your cot sheets. Gray is not the new white.

  28. Others may think differently, but my experience as a pastor has shown that a funeral is one time that those that may not get to hear the Gospel should hear it. The problem with many IFBers is the presentation. I do not assume that a person is saved or unsaved and do not preach them into Heaven or Hell. If they were a church member, the service would be a bit different than for a stranger (we would celebrate their life a little more, but it would not change the message much). I do know that wherever that person is, they want their loved ones to know that Jesus is the only Savior from sin. So, that is how I preach, to give people hope from the scriptures. I do not have an altar call, because I do not have altar calls at normal church services anyway (having one at a funeral is uncalled for and tacky), but I do put the Gospel out there for people to belief or not (never in a rash or uncaring way). I am there to be of service to the family and they are the ones that approve me giving the Gospel to the lost. I am not there for me or my agenda (not that I have one). I hope this helps to provide a different perspective and apologize to those that had to endure a horrendous, uncaring, and/or pompous IFB funeral.

    1. I agree.

      “And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.” 1 Cor. 15:19

      I hope when I die that someone tells people that death is not the end because of the grace of God provided through Jesus Christ.

    2. I disagree.

      Yes, a funeral is a chance for anyone to see LOVE in action. These visitors should be so impressed with the love they see flowing from the pulpit and among the church members that they can’t help but ask what is different from these people.

      SO, a funeral is not about what the visitors HEAR, but about how the congregation behaves, what the visitors see and feel.

      Preaching the Gospel does not mean giving them a prewritten prayer that, if they read it verbatim, then they are in!

      And anyway, this is not the time or the place.

      And I repeat, the biggest problem I have with the concept of “the lost” is that it usually mean any Methodist, Presbyterian or Episcopalian who may walk in, and especially any papist. The belief that God can only work through the 15 million (American) IFB believers and not through the 2.1 billion other persons who call themselves Christian is beyond arrogance.

      1. With all due respect, I never said anything about asking anyone to pray a prayer. I do not believe in that. I believe in preaching like Jesus did: preach the Truth in love, appeal to the hearers to believe, and then leave it in their court to do with as they will. You can assume what you want about “the lost”. I know plenty of IFBers that exhibit qualities of lost people and plenty of Catholics, Mormons, etc. that exhibit qualities of saved people. That is ultimately up to God to judge. Also, no one ever got saved, because someone exhibited so much love that they asked what was different (social gospel); only when they heard the Gospel preached. Why? Because it is the Gospel that is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16). People cannot believe it, until they hear it (Romans 10:13-17). It is possible to preach the Gospel with hope and love at funerals and weddings. I am sorry if you never have experienced this.

        1. Bro. Rogue, you wrote: ” no one ever got saved, because someone exhibited so much love that they asked what was different (social gospel).”

          I think this sentence is more accurate with this opening phrase: “In an IFB church, no one . . .”

          Hahaha. Joking!!

          Seriously, though, you might be surprised at all the crazy things that bring people to a better understanding of Christ. Things like help with rent, or a bowl of soup on a cold night, or an understanding shoulder during a tough time, or even–hold your breath now, I’ve seen it with my own eyes–a beer shared over a backyard fence.

          After all, Christ did say that all men will know we are his disciples by our love–not by a series of propositions about Christ usually spoken at fairly loud volume with some pulpit pounding thrown in for emphasis. (Not that you do this, just saying.)

        2. A funeral is a time for the intensely hurting.

          When a preacher uses a funeral as an opportunity to preach, what he’s saying is: “I don’t genuinely care for your hurt. I want numbers. I want to use your vulnerable position to manipulate you. That’s how little I really care about you. You are worth nothing unless your name is in a certain book. I can’t even just control myself enough to sit with you in your grief, to celebrate the person you’ve lost, to weep as Jesus did at Lazarus’ death.”

          There’s a reason why people won’t hear the gospel at other times at their lives – THIS is their experience of christianity! A complete lack of respect and boundaries.

          I wonder how all these preaching at funeral apologists would feel if they went to the funeral of a loved one and found it was being used as an opportunity to preach Islam/Buddhism/Wikka etc. Would they see that as a good thing?

        3. “Also, no one ever got saved, because someone exhibited so much love that they asked what was different …”

          On the contrary, the Bible (especially Acts) says that people get saved in exactly this way. And I have seen it happen with my own eyes.

        4. You quote Rom 1:16. Keep on going. At least until verses 19 and 20.

          One thing is to take an individual aside and ASK THEM if we can share something with them. A very different thing is to hijack an activity where people come to share their grief and support the family, and -instead-, make it about whatever the preacher feels it should be.

        5. Just to add to the fine comments here from Tiarali, Ricardo, and Big Gary. . . .

          Bro. Rogue, will you think through a scenario with me? Scenarios are limited in that they usually can’t allow for all the gray areas that exist in real life, but I find them helpful in determining basic views.

          Let’s suppose a missionary comes to our church and shows footage of the people he is trying to reach with the Gospel. The people have insufficient clean water. Not enough food. Everyone is wearing raggedy clothes. Their huts provide little shelter from the elements. No health services. No education. Oh, and they have quite a limited knowledge of Christianity.

          You and I see this and our hearts are touched. We think about our budgets, and determine that with an agonizing sacrifice of a few trips a month to Starbucks we can promise $25 a month to the work.

          The missionary wants his supporters to have some say in how their gift is used, so he has two options for giving. Option 1: Please use my gift to provide salvation tracts and New Testaments to the people. Option 2: Please use my gift to provide clean water, food, shelter, health services, and education for the people.

          Which box do you check? Which option is more in the spirit of the Gospel of Christ?

          (Again, I realize I am making an either/or out of what is probably best seen as both/and, but putting it this way can be very instructional, I think.)

        6. Well said, Nico. Well said!

          James the Brother of Christ and John both had a lot to say about the practical nature of Christian love.

          Fundamentalist Christians have no trouble dwelling on meeting the needs of the body — for themselves. They are notoriously stingy and mean when dealing with others. For others, only the needs of the Spirit should be met. If the needs of the body are to be met, it must be with coercion to “hear the gospel.”

          It certainly is NOT loving one’s neighbor as one’s self.

          Putting your question as an either-or instead of “both” forces the issue of priorities. How would the people themselves react?

          “Well you see, once we had nothin to eat. Our water was bad. We were wearing scraps. Then these Christians came! They told us about the love of Jesus and gave us all these lovely tracts. Now we still are starving. We still have diseases from the water and our kids still die. And we still wear the scraps. But we have the Love of Jesus in our hearts!”

          Is that a realistic scenario?

          How about

          “Well you see, once we had nothin to eat. Our water was bad. We were wearing scraps. Then these Christians came! They told us about the love of Jesus and dug a well for us to get clean water. They brought in food, and helped us to prepare land for us to farm. We now have seed to plant. We water the crops with water from the well so we won’t get sick. We got donated clothes, but also fabric so we can make our own. They showed the Love of God to us. Our children aren’t dying from bad water. We sure have to thank God for the love they showed to us!”

          Big difference.

        7. A number of things helped me back on the Road Back To Faith, not least the random acts of kindness perpetrated by a couple of Christians who were at the time complete strangers to me. They didn’t preach at me, they didn’t even offer to “pray for me” – I would have told them to go and have a sexual relationship with themselves if they had – they just helped me in practical ways amd showed me love. That spoke to me more than a hundred sermons.

      1. I meant something along the lines of, “I have learned as a pastor…” or “As I have pastored, I have come to learn…” Sorry for the mix up.

    3. The longer I have been out of fundamentalism, the more trouble I have with the fundamentalist concept of salvation. The difficulty lies in the fact that their salvation really doesn’t seem to save them from the sins they choose to keep; the Holy Spirit does not convict them of the sins they preach against and yet commit; and their lives are anything but a reflection of God’s grace.

      And no, I cannot separate the messenger from the message. I don’t believe God expects that.

      So, I would NOT want one of them to be preaching their concept of salvation at my funeral!

      At a funeral, we commend the person to God. We close the book. It is for God to judge that person. There is no formula for salvation. Salvation is God’s work. We hope for mercy.

      And we hope for mercy on the ones fundamentalists would say aren’t saved, because we recognize our own sins are just as bad as theirs. Perhaps they did not have the opportunities for faith we would like to think they did. But in requiring them to “have faith” are we not imposing a works salvation on them? In requiring them to pray the prayer, know the formula, have lived where the gospel was preached, go to the right church, and all that we are actually trying to take salvation out of God’s hands. We make ourselves the judges.

      And what if they “hear” the gospel from a tainted source? Water gives life, but poisoned water gives death.

      Pastor’s Wife quoted, “And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.” 1 Cor. 15:19. But let me turn this around.

      “And if our hope in Christ is only for the next world, we are to be pitied more than anyone in the world.” Certainly we may be more gullible than anyone in the world. If God can save, He saves NOW and He works NOW. Or else He doesn’t, ever.

      In the Old Testament, God called His people to faith in Him by reminding them of what He did physically in their behalf, and promised physical blessing. Thus it could be proven (positively or negatively) that God could save and that God could do what He said. And God did this for His people again and again. Why not now? Why are we supposed to believe in light of so much evidence to the contrary?

      Mind you, I have not stopped believing. But “hope deferred maketh the heart sick.”

  29. probably just a realization that there isn’t a chance in the world that someone from outside his congregation is following him.

  30. Reminds me of a fundy funeral I attended a long time ago. The deceased was a teenaged church member who attended a public school (so of course the pastor assumed that most of the teens in attendance were “lost”). The cause of death was not mentioned, so I’m not sure, but there were some hints during the funeral sermon that he may have been at a party using drugs or alcohol. The pastor proceeded to assure the attendees that while the deceased was in heaven he sure was living like he was unsaved and all y’all unsaved people better get saved and everybody better live like they’re saved, not like the deceased. My friends and I were livid that it had turned into a bashing session of that teenager; I can only imagine how his family felt!

  31. I’ll never forget the first non-fundy funeral I attended. It was a celebration of the life of the deceased, and a service of hope for those grieving. There was no altar call given, but the message of the Good News was shared.

    I love this part of the prayer from the United Methodist Service of Death and Resurrection.

    “Help us to live as those who are prepared to die.
    And when our days here are accomplished, enable us to die as those who go forth to live, so that living or dying, our life may be in you, and that nothing in life or in death will be able to seperate us from your great love in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

  32. Grrrr! The last funeral I went to was officiated by someone like this. I actually despise funerals just because of these kinds of shenanigans. They can cremate me and stuff me in a shoebox, I love my family too much to put them through stupidity.

    Oh, my husband (who is both from the North and a lifelong atheist) was baffled when he came down South and was first exposed to the preaching to the saved style of funerals. “But they’re not saying anything about your uncle”, he would say. Yeah honey, they’re not.

  33. See this is why you don’t use worldly things like twitter. It invites mockery – you show yourself to be just another worldly twit! The proper way to do this is to put the prayer request in the Wednesday night circular.

    Sadly, we do have to be careful in this world of ours. For many people weddings and funerals are the only time they come to church. That’s why you always need to have an altar call, so they can get saved and be in their proper place for when Jesus returns! It is sad that our modern society has so hardened people’s hearts that they aren’t open to the gospel whenever it is preached. Indeed, we are told to be as wise as serpents, that’s why we have to be careful not to let people know in advance of these things. It gives Satan a chance to hearden their hearts .

    I know I want an altar call at my funeral. I’ve already contracted with my pastor to make sure it gets done. I wouldn’t want to stand before God and not be able to say I’d done everything possible to bring the gospel to lost souls, even if most of them will close their ears and turn away.

    1. “It gives Satan a chance to hearden their hearts .”

      So does ignorance, I suspect.

      You may indeed be a proud fundamentalist. Pride was the sin of Satan, I understand. So it fits.

      Here is the problem. You see a funeral as a chance to spread your dogma. You do not see it as a chance to comfort the bereaved or to serve the family. You are simply serving yourself while fooling yourself into believing you are serving God. You want to be deceitful with the Gospel, rather than open. Worst of all, you believe that learning about God’s love is by them hearing what you or someone says instead of by what they see and feel you doing on their behalf.

      Why don’t people believe the gospel? Christians show no evidence that it is true. They show no evidence that salvation really “saves.” They demonstrate their own petty desire for control all the time. They don’t listen. And they don’t learn.

      1. The gospel isn’t for making people feel happy or comfortable, like those modern liberal seeker-sensitive churches. If you want that go to some place that will fill your itching ears! What we practice here is plain hard-hitting preaching. If people don’t like it, well that’s because they prefer the wickedness of their intellect to the plain truth of God. All you have to to is set aside your own mind and the truth we preach will be plain!

        1. The gospel is very much for making people happy. I’m glad I don’t have to listen to you “preach” . Have you ever heard the phrase “joy of my salvation”? Do not even try to explain the difference between happiness and joy its just semantics. For all the IFB focus on the external they are some of the most unhappy, crabby, and angry people I know. Don’t preach me to Jesus show me Jesus in your life by your love, mercy, and joy. (Steps off box rambling quietly away)

        2. Well played indeed. I have a guess as to who this is, but I’m not sure. 🙂 Anyway, whoever you are–while some people dislike poe-ing, I think it’s useful and effective. Reductio ad absurdum. Some people will only get it when they realize how nutty they sound to the rest of thinking humanity.

        3. Thank you very much for your kind change of name, from ProudFundamentalist to PoedFundamentalist.

          Yes indeed, that was a great Poe! Talk about not being able to tell the parody from the original! It boggles the mind!

          I bow to the master.

      2. “…gives Satan a chance to hearden their hearts .”
        “Hearden”, there’s an interesting new Fundy word for you, I’m guessing it means “hearing gid’s word but deliberately not paying attention to it”.

    2. For many people weddings and funerals are the only time they come to church. That’s why you always need to have an altar call…

      No. There is no reason to expect them to come into our churches. Instead of violating their privacy and boundaries on those rare occasions where they need to come in, let’s go out there. Let’s go out into the world. Not to doorknock, give a 30 second high pressure spiel, and walk on without showing any concern for them. Let’s stop living our sheltered little bubble lives and get involved in our wider community. Share our lives with real people out there. Show them love, take the time to be there for them when they’re hurting. Share our hurts and frustrations – only sociopaths and narcissists always pretend to have everything together!

      Let’s build relationships with people. You know, like Jesus did.

      1. Thank you so much, George, for not messing up my attempts to use HTML. You have been very kind to me today 🙂

  34. Some interesting comments here. The problem is not with the gospel of Christ itself (so it ought to be preached in season and out of season) but preached in a way appropriate for the circumstances. Appropriate in content, in tone of delivery, (don’t shout) and in heart felt attitude.

    Shoutin’ and hollerin’ isn’t appropriate if that’s what they do at funerals, or indeed anywhere:


    The gospel can be separated from the so called altar calls that invariably accompany it in some churches. It mightn’t do much for the preacher’s ego if you drop it altogether, but then that’s not a bad thing either. He can keep his mobile phone in his pocket and use the camera later to record something else that doesn’t scandalise the message he is purporting to commend.

  35. The effects of Dad’s drinking became progressively worse over the years. He had good jobs during his life and he retired with a pension. He was also one of the smartest people I ever met. Nothing I wrote in a reply to Jack B. was intended to defame or show disrespect towards my father.

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