Billy Sunday: Theatrics

It’s interesting to note a couple things about Billy Sunday’s approach to “preaching.” He uses no text. He doesn’t even open a Bible. What he has instead are certain memorized phrases and word pictures that he gives out in rapid-fire succession to keep the audience engaged. It’s not about Jesus, it’s all about getting people to sign on the dotted line.

If we wonder why preachers in the IFB movement these days have such strange ideas about what it means to “preach the whole counsel of God” we need look no further than these early days of performance preaching by a pantheon of pandering populists.

263 thoughts on “Billy Sunday: Theatrics”

      1. LOL I had JUST checked my email I needed something for a meeting I had this morning! My first First in almost a year. And then I had to sit through a college orientation for my kid all day and don’t have a lot to even add to the discussion..YET 😀

  1. Drat, just missed it! So things haven’t changed much then… Guess they really are staying on “The Olde Path”.

    1. Seconded! That sentence was a tour-de-force of alliteration. It was like a 5-point sermon with common-letter bullet points wrapped into a single sentence. Bravo!

  2. I agree that the poor hermeneutics found within the IFB and “catch phrase” based sermons rather than scripture based ones can find their roots in the likes of Billy here.

    But I also heard hints of the prosperity gospel in this clip, which makes me wonder if the prosperity preachers–who also have a poor hermeneutic tendency and catch phrase based sermons–have some connection to Billy.

    1. You are so charitable! “Poor hermeneutics” ha ha. How about “socio-cultural boundary markers wrapped in old odd ends stole from holy writ” }:-{D>

      1. Ahh A name I have not heard in many years. And yes he was one of the early prosperity gospel preachers as well as a populist.

        Aside when I was a kid one of the local Catholic Priest was named Father Devine and it took me many years to figure out why the adults laughed at his name all the time

  3. The hand gestures were very distracting. Looked like he was going to fight someone.

    I find it odd that he condemns America for being God-hating, bootlegging etc…if we asked modern day IFB about 1929 they would think the culture were perfect. After all, God was still in the schools, the women dressed modestly etc…

    1. That’s just it. The golden age was always a generation or two ago. Until the end of the world, there will always be some flavor of cranky fundy railing on about how we’ve lost our way, and need to get back to how things used to be.

      1. This may be apropos:

        I’ve come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:

        1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.

        2. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.

        3. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.

        –Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

        1. Billy Sunday did a sort of speeded-up Tai Chi dance as he preached. I wonder if that’s where Tony Hutson gets that weird “Crane Technique” (see: Karate Kid) pose he does while he squeals.

    2. “The hand gestures were very distracting.”

      Anyone versed in prestidigitation knows that hand gestures are indispensible for keeping the audience too distracted to see what you’re really doing – Say selling your own brand of Fundianity for example.

      I have to wonder if Billy Sunday would have made a good TV infomercial personality.

        1. This guy shouts so loud he doesn’t need a phone. He should just put the window down.

      1. Yes, in sleight-of-hand, one of the 5 basic principles is: “a large movement will cover a small movement.” I admit that I had to revisit that clip before I really heard what he was saying. The people in his audience, however, had no such opportunity.

  4. It would be interesting to know the surrounding context when he talks about how much money characters in the Bible had and how they had more money than some of the big business men of the current day. Was he defending the rich business men? Was he saying that people should stop blaming the rich for society’s problems and live their own moral life?
    This appears to have been filmed without an audience, but it’s obvious Sunday was going through a section of one of the sermons he had been preaching.

    1. Sunday preached against monopoly and what today would be called “crony capitalism.” He was essentially a Progressive politically–votes for women, prohibition, etc.

  5. And of course today’s IFB preachers are all experts on the “whole counsel of God” – unfailing and not to be questioned.

  6. If anyone has the time google his wife Nell Sunday and read about how she was the real power behind the throne…and what happened to their children. Very interesting reading.

    I listened to a recording of his a long time ago…it was one of his famous temperance sermons. I was a cradle fundy and it just came across as another typical fundy sermon. Didn’t realize until years later that this was probably where it all started.

    1. Nell was an early feminist and a preacher herself.

      Billy was an old man when this was filmed, closing in on 70. I wonder if anyone has compared his earlier style to this later style.

  7. Many Fundies like to claim their heritage is the likes of Jonathan Edwards, etc, but in reality its Sunday and Norris, and the rest of the pontificating poppycocks.

    This kind of slogan filled, tweetable, performance preaching is the mainstay of places like Ambassador and HAC. Old Paths indeed.

    1. “This kind of slogan filled, tweetable, performance preaching is the mainstay of places like Ambassador and HAC.”

      I wish sloganeering and performance preaching was limited to Fundyland – contemporary christian music and many of the megachurch sermons I’ve encountered employ similiar if not identical tweetable phrasiology and delivery methods.

      1. I had an interesting conversation with a friend a few months back about the difference between the Church of England and its decline vs the free market dynamics of the church in the U.S. and its method of survival. While the Church of England did just well under the wing of the government, society changed while the Church didn’t. Churches in the U.S, however, rely heavily on attendance and donations. Thanks to the separation of Church and State, the only thing they’ll get from the government is tax exemption. As a result, the church in the U.S. needs to create an attractive package that will get the attention of the people. Billy Sunday was considered a bad-ass in the religious world. The Chef Gordon Ramsay of pastors with an ” us vs them” vibe a la Limbaugh that made anyone already a Christian feel good about their position, and anyone related to those Christians feel like they should join the club and be a bad-ass too. His put-downs and those of similar pastors give the listeners the same feelings you had in junior-high during a yo-mama competition, except you’re always on the winning side, or wish to be. Nobody liked losing to a yo-mama face-off as a kid.

        While childish rants against the outsiders is still an ongoing tactic in some of today’s churches, society once again changed in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s to include a more personal experience that involves maximizing sensory stimulation and providing comfort (a concert experience every Sunday, and a small coffee shop before and after the service).

    2. What is kind of interesting is that Sunday was much less separationist than Billy Graham was when BJU and others broke with Graham. Sunday would send converts to the RCC or Unitarian churches from day 1, if they indicated that preference on their conversion card.

  8. I thought the gestures seemed poorly practiced and forced, kind of like watching a PCC traveling sales pitch.

    Sorry, I meant singing group.

    1. I suspect that Sunday was feeling constrained by the fact he had to stay on camera. He was known for running around the stage, sliding, doing hand-stands, etc. They say he had a podium with a Bible that had extra large lettering, so Billy could glance at it as he ran from one end of the stage to the other.

      1. Because that’s what we all want our preachers to be doing: glancing at the Bible as they run too and fro like the Devil himself!!!

    2. Billy Sunday’s audience was largely unchurched people who attended circuses, vaudeville shows, sideshows medicine shows, and the like. In other words, he was a glorified carnie.
      His act was not designed for Episcopal bishops or the faculty of Union Theological Seminary.
      He had to look lively and use colorful figures of speech to hold people’s attention. Also, in his prime he preached to stadiums full of people, who wouldn’t be able to see small gestures in those pre-Jumbotron days or hear subtle inflections over the primitive amplification of the time.
      The gestures may seem forced to us, but he was playing to the back rows of big arenas.
      Also, before television and before public arts programs, the average American had never seen a professional dance or theater performance, so the level of visual sophistication of the public was lower than what is taken for granted now.

  9. That was an interesting clip indeed. Honestly, If you colorized that , cleaned the audio up some, put a white piano in the back ground then you couldn’t tell if that was a “sermon” from 1929 or 2014. Ah timeless.

    I would like a little more history about that clip though, it looks very very staged even his hand gestures seemed OVERLY staged. My best guess is that this was filmed specifically for that particular news reel.

    here is a clip of him at a rally/meeting something….much more natural. Same thing, no scripture, just ranting.

    1. There are a lot of interesting things here.

      (1) This shows that the screaming patter so beloved by IFB preachers today was a side-effect of not having modern sound amplification technology.

      (2) Love the guy directing the music with his trombone. This too is something that has lasted to the present day. There was a music director at the Bill Rice Ranch for a while that used to direct with his trumpet.

      (3) The intro of Billy Sunday “who has spoken to more people that anyone alive today” (or something like that) sounds just like the hyper-inflated hagiographic intros given to celebrity IFB preachers today.

      1. The trombone reminded me of Larry Brubaker. At least, in this video, the Billy Sunday’s hand gestures aren’t ridiculous as the first one. It looked to me like he was trying to land a plane. Well, there are a few extreme gestures here, but not nearly as many. Now, what would modern fundys think of him accepting applause. He should have put a stop to that.

    2. Love the use of doubtful statistics to prove a point – apparently, under prohibition, the death rate was much lower 😆

      Also the anti-immigrant rant – “All the criminals are of foreign birth – send ’em back where they came from!” Sound familiar, much? 🙁

      1. Preached at Winona Lake? Why that’s Hephzibah House’s backyard. There used to be a thriving Bible training and retreat/campground there. I think that it’s now incorporated into the town of Warsaw, Indiana… And I believe D. L. Moody brought Gipsy Smith there, inspiring the song “I Have Never Lost the Wonder of It All”.
        So much trivia, so little time…

        1. Hi TroubleWit,

          Actually, Winona Lake is still an incorporated town, even if they no longer have a post office… They’ve even had a renewal in recent years, cleaning up the town, gentrifying a bit, redoing Winona Lake Park, etc. The old hotel that hosted many of the conferences is now a set of pricy condos. Check out Village at Winona (restored turn of the century homes with shops.)

          I grew up technically in Warsaw, but Weenie Lake was closer. My grandmother used to give tours of the Billy Sunday home there. I suspect that the trombone player directing his band was Henry Rodeheaver. There is a Rodeheaver Auditorium owned by Grace College in the heart of town.

  10. In fairness to Sunday, he was a traveling performer in a time when that was the principle entertainment. And he made his customers feel righteously superior in the process – a product that I like to call the “spiritual burlesque show”. Whatever else he was, Sunday was a brilliant salesman and business man.

    1. Preaching as performance is still alive and well today, it’s just no longer self-aware. Anyone who has watched a video of the “famous” sermon “Payday Someday” can immediately tell that it is nothing more than a rehearsed theatrical performance. But I doubt that R.G. Lee would have copped to that.

      What’s interesting to me is how this one particular style of preaching, which as you say was primarily for purposes of entertainment, has somehow become elevated in the fundy mind as the only “right” way to preach. This has been taken to such an extreme that the Greek word for “preach” is mistranslated by them now as “scream and yell.”

      1. Well, since 1611 English is the original language, I don’t see much point in bringing up any dead old pagan Greek language.

  11. He would always open his bible to the same text in Isaiah then just go off. The text was Isaiah 61:1 a prophecy about the specific anointing of Christ that Billy to for himself to inspire himself as anointed specially by God to preach. That’s the gospel truth

    1. Our MOG once devoted most of a sermon to bragging about how he was “one of those preachers” who could open to any text and preach a sermon from it without preparation beforehand. Everyone sat in the pews and oohed and ahhed and amened, grateful to be honored to have SUCH a managawd as their pastor. I remember thinking, but that’s the easiest way to preach. There is nothing difficult about that at all. Just read a random text and then say whatever you feel like saying.

      1. Most preachers who do that preach the same sermon, or one of a very few sermons, every time.
        Just read a Bible passage, figure out a way, however thin, to connect it to one of your set pieces, and you’re off.

        1. Yep. It’s a trick I learned in college for impromptu speaking during speech and debate tournaments. Have a bunch of stories you like to tell that are rather generic and can be applied to many situations, then find a way to connect enough of them to the topic to make a coherent speech.

  12. It looked like histrionics to me. To think that I’d fall for this kind of bunk. I watched without sound and had fun trying to think of an alternate soundtrack. I came up with “for oh, for oh, the hobby-horse is forgot”.

    Perhaps that would make for a fun Friday challenge.

    I find these days that a soft word DOES break the bone and that I am reached more by calmly, plainly spoken sermons than by hysterical shrieking antics. But that’s just me.

    1. I dare you to watch this video to the soundtrack of Shakira singing “Hips don’t lie.”

      1. Not bad, but watching the “Hips Don’t Lie” visual with the Billy Sunday soundtrack is much better.

  13. Dare I mention someone else who relied on waving his hands, ranting, lung power and sheer theatrics in order to make his point? 👿
    Most of our fathers and grandfathers definitely know who I’m talking about, and it sure isn’t Roosevelt. 😯
    I invoke– Godwin’s Law! (runs and hides)

  14. This man was wise beyond his years. He mentioned money in terms of gold and silver. The dollar is schedule to collapse most likely anytime between now and the next 3-4 years, thanks to central banking and getting away from the gold standard. This man apparently knew that fiat banking and fractional reserve lending always leads to collapse and cannot be sustained over the long term. Thanks, Darrell! This is a gem and a valuable piece of history that shows us the errors of modern monetary policy.

    1. You are right stacy. That is why I don’t get paid in dollars anymore. I have my paycheck deposited in an off-shore account using Euros. When the dollar is worthless, who will be laughing then?

    2. Yep, Stacy, the Gold Standard in 1929 sure saved the nation from having a Depression, didn’t it?

      History shows the Gold Standard doesn’t work any better than other standards. It works considerably less well than most in that it severely restricts the money supply and makes wealth less available to the lower classes.

      1. RTG,

        I am just shaking my head in utter disbelief that you could actually believe what you just said. The financial ignorance is stunning. But, we shouldn’t be too surprised. Our educational system from Kindergarten through university is more concerned about brainwashing the students than teaching them real, honest economic truths. Perhaps you are a victim of said education?

        1. RTG, I’m not down on you personally, so please don’t take my comments as being rude; that was not the intent. I’m sure you’re a nice guy in person. I’m just saddened at your belief in financial fraud and propaganda.

        2. Actually, I was homeschooled by very, very fundamentalist parents. Much of my early “education” included John Birch Society publications.

          I went from there to Bob Jones University, where I gained a Degree in Social Studies Education, then a Master’s Degree in Teaching Mathematics. From there, to Clemson University as a TA in their Math program, gained a Master’s in Mathematics with a concentration in Statistics. Alas, my money ran out before I could do the Doctoral work. I have been teaching since.

          I am well-read, Stacy. Very well read. And yes, that includes discovering that much of my early education was rot and poppycock, needing to be discarded in favor of facts as I dedicated myself to a search for truth. I am conversant in a wide range of topics.

          So then, what is *your* educational background? Inquiring minds are eager to know.

        3. rtgmath –

          Show a little respect! Stacy’s every word is imbued with the finest in far right superiority. Only someone who has studied right wing catechism with the very best of Fox News apologists could speak with such authority with so little fact to work with.

        4. My humblest apologies. It will take a while before I can find any sackcloth. The ashes might be a bother getting. But at the first opportunity I will don them as a sign of my true repentance. How durst I think experience superior to dogma? Woe is me!

      2. I’m telling you, folks, when it really gets down to the nitty-gritty, pototoes will be the medium of exchange.

        1. Oh, you say Po-TAY-toe, and I say Po-TAH-to,
          And I’ll get to Scotland afore ye!

          yes I know this are two different songs 😀

    3. Stacy, you do realize of course that the dollar is fiat currency, right? Which means that without the complete destruction of civilization as we know it (e.g. planetary thermonuclear war), the dollar can’t collapse? Oh, and an interesting historical note. Benjamin Franklin writes in his autobiography about how he worked with the colonists to produce fiat paper currency. He notes that the positive economic effect was so great, that Philadelphia quickly outstripped its neighbors in wealth. That’s your founding fathers for ya’.

  15. Darrell could well be right on this post, but only a minute and a half out of anywhere really doesn’t make the point.

    1. Thankfully we have this thing called google – and these “new”* browser tools called accelerators that let you run multiple cross searches in a fraction of a second while reading! This allows people to communicate in concise, poignant ways without having to write a doctoral dissertation for every never-pleased-eyore who shows up. Of course, people have been doing this for millennia (it’s called conversation), but the next thing we know, we will have to use linguistic theory to document our comment that demands documentation! After all, one sentence out of anywhere doesn’t make a point.

      * I lied. In computer development time, this technology is about as fresh and new as a straight-razor.

  16. The IFB church I came from didn’t have these theatrics. We were much more sedate and calm.

    In places where they did have theatrics, it was called “being filled with the Spirit.” Or maybe spirits. It didn’t seem too “holy” to me.

    Then again, in places where they do a lot of “lifting up of hands” “to the Lord” they may feel more holy or something. That always made me feel uncomfortable.

    Theatrics arouse emotions. Now emotions aren’t bad, in and of themselves. But under the influence of emotion, people set their reason aside. People can do horrible things under the effects of emotion. And in a congregational setting, a mob-think mentality can be easily established, allowing people to give assent to things they never would have assented to otherwise.

    I don’t want anyone to be in control of my emotions other than me. Excessive emotions are scary and usually destructive.

    Emotions are like spices that flavor the soup. Flavor is good, but you don’t drink a bottle of tabasco sauce for breakfast! Though you would certainly have an interesting day if you did so!

    One wonders what the last service at Jonestown was like that led them to drink the koolaid.

    1. I think there is actually audio of the service where the Kool aid was given out. It’s on Youtube. I haven’t had the nerve to listen to all the horror.

      1. By the way, the makers of Kool-Aid would like you to know that it was actually Flavor Aid (mixed with cyanide) that the Jonestown residents drank.

        1. Why buy the cheap stuff? Did Jones expect to spend the money he saved somewhere else later?

        2. I don’t know that Jones had a lot of time after murdering the congressman to really plan what brand of drink to mix the cyanide into.

        1. Hey thanks, Dr. Fundystan! I haven’t posted too much usually because I can’t figure out what to say, someone has said it better, or I can’t add anything! 🙂 Though I may not be good at posting, I am ever lurking invisibly, like The Shadow! “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!”

    2. Meh, I’d rather trust emotion untempered by logic than logic unchecked by emotion, especially empathy.

      After all, Christ was moved by compassion, not by corollaries.

      1. Who says it has to be either?

        But I would disagree with you on which to trust more. Frankly, emotions are much more volatile and easily swayed. You not only have compassion, you have anger, rage, lust, hatred, and malice. Those emotions seem to be much more prevalent than compassion among some groups. Logic is more stable.

        I mean, who’d have thought people would be out in the streets trying to terrorize little children fleeing a bad situation in their home countries? And almost every one of these protesters would call themselves “Christians.”

        I *do* think that one needs a good moral reference when using logic. But Jesus was good at reasoning, and his reasoning blasted the unreason and hatred of the Pharisees.

        1. When emotions are out of control, one man can easily kill another, as in a crime of passion. When logic is out of control, one man can kill millions, as in Stalin. Since there will always be killing, I’d rather have fewer people killed than more.

          In my personal experience, emotion can be tempered with empathy and compassion much quicker than logic-run-amok can.

          I watched as my wife’s former “pastor” helped tear her family apart quite logically, based on his horrid beliefs (and her mom’s). My wife and I were the ones accused of being emotional and of just following our guts instead of our minds, yet emotion, empathy, and compassion helped us balance frustration and legitimate anger, and we tried to work at the family relationship a lot longer than we would have, if we had been running just on “logic.” Her “pastor’s” confidence in his logic made him insufferable, incompetent, and inhuman.

          But, as you said, why not have both? God certainly gave us both. I think both are equally fallen and equally trustworthy, given wisdom and maturity. Wisdom and maturity enable a person to balance logic with emotions, and even emotions among themselves. Emotion can be wiser than logic.

        2. Either thing out of balance is destructive. But you may be misreading what you saw.

          It was very likely NOT logic that your pastor used destructively. He may have been cold, direct, and seemingly unemotional. But the key is “seemingly.” Pride is an emotion. Arrogance is an emotion. Malice is an emotion. There are people who enjoy (emote) the feeling of control they have over others.

          Logic, in and of itself, is good. But it has to have a set of premises on which to run, and if those premises are bad, then you will get bad results. Logic does not tell a person what is true or what is false. It does tell you how to handle trueness and falseness.

          If I seem to be nitpicking, please forgive me. I teach logic in the classroom. And I would call fundamentalist preachers almost anything before I would call them “logical.”

          I am sorry for you, your wife, and your family being subjected to such a horrid manipulator. You were trying to employ emotions correctly. Be assured, he was every bit as emotional and more, but in twisted and deceptive ways, definitely employing the darker emotions where you were trying to employ the right ones.

        3. Interesting discussion of logic and emotion. I would agree that we need both. But I think one thing that a lot of people don’t understand is that “going with your gut” is not just based on emotion, it’s based on instict, objective observations, and passed experience, even though you may not process it all consciously. When something “just doesn’t feel right” it’s probably not right, for good, objective reasons, even if you can’t quite articulate those reasons quite yet. An example would be recognizing a control freak or a false teacher when you meet one. Your gut reaction is based on objective observations, even before you’ve had time to “logically” process those observations.

  17. Interesting how Billy Sunday catered to the wealthy in that little speech of his. Somehow I think he missed out on reading the book of James.

    1. your logic is comical. A 2 minute clip is hardly enough evidence to determine context or circumstance. keep it up bud.

        1. Once again, the intelligence on this website is quite low. Just because I disagree with you; you call me a troll. You offer nothing of substance; you must be an Obama voter

        2. Other than sniping, you haven’t offered anything of substance. Perhaps you are commenting on the person you see in the mirror?

        3. okay you are repeating what I just said. have you recently suffered a stroke??? please don’t respond, every minute I spend dealing with you my IQ drops a point.

    2. I think otherwise. He said that the great men of the Bible would have the “great” men of today as their servants. (Carnegie, Morgan, et al). It was a tactic of the times to be so brave that you would call the men out by name (see Huey Long) and of course those men were shaking in their boots. (/sarcasm)

    3. Dear rtgmath:

      Billy Sunday strikes me as a curious mix. He quit a career in major league baseball for the sawdust trail. He seems to have cared for the poor and supported urban reform. He was also described as a ‘tool of capitalists.’

      While Eugene Debbs my presidential candidate [Socialist Party] was imprisoned for his famed anti-war speech in Canton Ohio, Mr. Sunday remained an indefatigable supporter of that war.

      At this hour, the dynamics which led to WWI work again. And again, many are the churches that prefer Mr. Sunday’s moralizing to any competent analysis of the economic and productive forces that drive us to the same horrible things time after time after time.

      This may seem weak, but I suppose we shouldn’t criticize too harshly. It isn’t as though we give posterity no grounds on which to criticize us.

      Christian Socialist

      1. I agree, so some extent.

        One does have to understand the times in which a person lived in order to evaluate their message, their actions, and their motivations.

        That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t present such an evaluation, including a critique of whether or not what they did was right by our assessments.

        Certainly, people will look at us and make their own judgments about how near-sighted we were, or how far off the mark we were. And that is fine by me. I have always told my children that I want them to be better than I am, and that includes making judgments about my behavior, attitudes, and so on.

        In end, Billy Sunday’s contribution to Christianity and to society as a whole was fleeting. That fundy churches imitate his style explains why their message and ministry is as effective against their own sin as pure water is against coal tar. And so much less are they able to change society as a whole for the better. They are good at rousing the rabble, but awful at ministering grace to the hearers.

        Every person is a mixture of good and bad (including our renowned StacyMcAnderson!). The hope is that we can learn the lessons of the past and present so we can improve the future.

        1. Dear rtgmath:

          You wrote: ‘Billy Sunday’s contribution to Christianity and to society as a whole was fleeting. That fundy churches imitate his style explains why their message and ministry is as effective against their own sin as pure water is against coal tar. And so much less are they able to change society as a whole for the better. They are good at rousing the rabble, but awful at ministering grace to the hearers.’

          I reply: That is at once brilliant and tragically insightful. It is also ironic that Mr. Sunday’s offspring ran so contrary to his message. And yes, so it is to this day. Why Mr. Sunday is seen as an example to emulate is beyond me.

          Also, Darrell’s ‘no text’ observation is spot on the money.

          Christian Socialist

        2. Every person is a mixture of good and bad (including our renowned StacyMcAnderson!). The hope is that we can learn the lessons of the past and present so we can improve the future

          very well said marty mcfly! we gots to get you to speak in front of people boy!

      2. RE: Billy Sunday being a tool of capitalists, that was exactly what I thought when he was talking about the wealth of Abraham & Solomon surpassing that of Rockefeller, Carneghie, et al. Rather a shocking enabling of a litany of robber barons by Sunday in that quick clip.

  18. It makes total complete sense that you would critique a man’s preaching in a 2 minute clip. Keep on the offensive folks.

    1. You’re assuming that that clip is all we know of Billy Sunday and his preaching. Many of us know much more than that about him.

      1. really?? tell me about him. do you have his biography on your library shelf?

  19. It’s interesting to note a couple things about Billy Sunday’s approach to “preaching.” He uses no text. He doesn’t even open a Bible. What he has instead are certain memorized phrases and word pictures that he gives out in rapid-fire succession to keep the audience engaged. It’s not about Jesus, it’s all about getting people to sign on the dotted line.

    This statement is describing the video displayed. You folks are critiquing his style on a 2 minute clip. Were you alive during his revival meetings. Please clue me in, I love history.

    1. ……or at least revisionist history that agrees with you. Your assumption of our ignorance proves your own.

      I have heard Billy Sunday sermons (recorded), read some transcripts of sermons, and read about him. So how does that change the fact that he was an entertainer who “preached” basically the same set of moralizations over and over?

        1. Right the Bible has nothing to say about moral matters. You got me there.

        2. Dear rightupyouralley:

          ‘These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence‘ [Col 2:23].

          Christian Socialist

        3. 1 Corinthians Chapter 6

          9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

          10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

          Yup nothing about morality in the Bible whatsoever. Man, you are good bro.

        4. Snarky!

          Will “not” being those things get a person to heaven? Will following the law of morality establish a right relationship with God?

          Is Christianity about NOT doing those things?

          Proof texts mean nothing. Deal with the larger context of the Scriptures. What should be the focus of our faith — what others do that is bad Bad BAD? Or what Christ has done for us that is GOOD, giving us an example of how we ought to treat others?

        5. Proof texts mean nothing. Deal with the larger context of the Scriptures. What should be the focus of our faith — what others do that is bad Bad BAD? Or what Christ has done for us that is GOOD, giving us an example of how we ought to treat others?

          everything I just listed were moral issues that Christians should not partake in. These are things that Jesus did not partake in. I’m quoting the Bible here. I don’t understand your point.

        6. Indeed, it does seem that you do not understand my point.

          The context of the Scriptures here is not the focus on the individual sins. It is the recognition that in Jesus Christ, we have been rescued and redeemed. We are exhorted to live like those who belong to Christ, not those who belong to the world of sin.

          Paul is not preaching against sins or sinning. He is pointing us toward Christ and focusing on what we are to become, not on what we were.

          This is a major problem within the fundamentalist community. By removing Scripture from its context, they focus on the wrong things.

          Paul did not have to warn people about the dangers of being a drunkard. Grief! They saw what that did. Paul was not condemning the drunkards. Really. It isn’t getting drunk that will condemn a person. People know they are sinners and how bad it is. We don’t need reminding about that. Perhaps that is why Paul only briefly mentions those sins and then moves on. Nothing more needed to be said!

          But he proceeds in this chapter and in later chapters to build the case for what Christ has done for us. We are redeemed. We are washed. We are cleansed. We are set apart for God. THAT is the focus.

          And what is more profitable for people to think about? The sewer, or getting clean? the hopeless situation or the rescue?

          That is the point. I hope I am a bit more clear than I was last time.

        7. RUYA, care to explain in light of your abuse of 1 Cor 6:9 how scripture can dare to imply all the fornicators, drunkards, revilers, thieves, etc have indeed attained favor with God & inherited the kingdom of heaven?

        8. I’m taking a different angle here. It’s one thing to preach on morality; and another to keep playing the same broken record over and over and over and expect everybody to just keep sitting there, spellbound with rapturous interest.
          Fundy pastors can get like that, pounding the drum with the same two tired sticks.

    2. I got your alley right here buddy.

      (Said in my best Richard Pryor impersonation)

    3. I agree with rightupyouralley; it could well be that Billy Sunday never preached the Bible or always preached the same message, but the clip here doesn’t show that.

      I know that there is much for which Billy Sunday could be criticized, and the lack of Bible use may be valid.

      1. There is much that we could all be criticized for. Every one of us is a sinner. I’m sure if I dissected everything about another’s life I’m pretty sure I’ll find something amiss.

        1. I’m not trying to defend Billy Sunday, but I think that the criticism of how he preaches based upon this short clip seems wrong.

          I know that we all are sinners, but that’s not the point.

          Oh, Illinois

  20. I love his brag about Solomon. Considering that archaeological evidence has shown that there were less people in Jerusalem than claimed number of wives and concubines in Solomon’s court during that time. The embellished story about his riches lends to some good humor. Maybe that’s all Jerusalem was composed of. A small city full of Solomon’s wives. Still fair enough to brag about, if that’s the case.

    Those were some good oh snaps.

    If there’s one thing I miss about Fundiestan, it’s the oh snaps directed at the outside, secular world. My old pastor had at least 5 or 6 oh snaps per sermon, maybe 10 or so on a good day. You would either leave feeling schooled by the old man, or feeling good because you agreed and already followed all the shit he told you. Nothing like a good dose of dopamine to give you a good degree of satisfaction after hearing an oh snap that didn’t apply to you, but did so to the rest of the world. Even better when you knew there was someone in the audience that needed to hear it.

    1. Oh Snap! would be a great name for a cookie brand home-based business, have them baked by Good Stay-At-Home Fundie Wimmenfolk. :yum: 😀

  21. I was reviewing different perspectives on Christianity and found this site as part of my searching. I’ve taken the time to read several posts and comments over the last few days. I’m honestly and sincerely intrigued by the kind of faith represented by Stacey McAnderson and RightUpYourAlley.

    Honestly, I wish I could have their certainty to use such direct language to persuade others. My reading of the first four books of the New Testament makes me think that Christ must have been a lot less direct in His talks with those that weren’t a part of the Jewish religious caste.

    Stacy McAnderson and RightUpYourAlley, I’m struggling to accept what to believe. Please tell me plainly and unjudgmentally why your perspective of faith is better than those you disagree with here. You have my attention and my interest. Can you use examples from the broad context of Christ’s life to convince me that your views are the only correct ones? Thank you.

      1. So somebody asks you a question about theology and apologetics and your response is a political slur?

        1. I wasn’t expecting anything more. Just offering them a genuine chance to redeem themselves.

          I expect they are like most fundamentalists of every stripe – not in need of any justification. Sad really, they’re in a “hell” of their own creation. Though it means nothing to them they have my pity. I can’t imagine the torture caused by consciously choosing to live in a world whose god is as small as theirs.

        2. And Darth Vader is clearly a Sith Lord.

          Actually, I am genuinely interested in many opinions. Ive had a chance to read through several more posts and find I like Christian Socialist’s the best.

    1. Honestly, I wish I could have their certainty to use such direct language to persuade others.

      when you grow a pair let me know

      1. I apologize rightupyouralley, I thought you capable of a thoughtful response.

        1. Huge mistake by you. LOL

          You should assume sm will be just as disingenuous and rather offensively unintelligent if she responds.

    2. Dear A Lost Soul:

      Thank you for visiting and introducing yourself to us!

      In your study, you may find various combinations of faith and freedom versus law and bondage.

      Freedom is liberating, but it requires faith and puts responsibility on our shoulders. Now we must think about core issues and how they bear on faithful living. We must make decisions and ask what is Biblically good and acceptable in such a context, and why. Freedom makes mistakes possible. We may not always get it right. For some, such freedom is therefore disturbing and vexing. One ‘fix’ for this is to create rules.

      Rules circumscribe the issues like a fence. The ‘fence’ keeps us out of grey areas where we must think about Biblical principles and make decisions. In order NOT to ‘get it wrong,’ we step back from principle and build a fence. But what if someone oversteps the fence? They may violate a principle. Better step back and build more fence to guard the first fence. Better yet, build a third fence to guard the second fence. And so it continues.

      Soon, we see only fences. The church word for ‘fence’ is ‘stand.’ We test others’ orthodoxy by inquiring about ‘fences.’ In any situation we can hear, ‘what is your “stand on” such an issue.’ Have you enough fencing? Are your fences in good repair? Have you considered your ‘stand on’ whatever else? At this point, we no longer grapple with core issues of what means to live Biblically faithful lives in this world. Fences are what matter.

      Darrell’s posts often highlight this or that ‘fence.’ Be it open-toed women’s shoes or facial hair, we may never have met that ‘fence’ in our particular IFB sect. But we’ve seen fence aplenty. That’s the rub.

      Here are two, very different interpretations of our undoubted Christian faith. In one, maintenance of our relationship with God rests on law-keeping. In the other, that relationship rests on God’s own work in and through his son, the risen Lord whom we call Jesus Christ, and is received by faith in his promise. One is lived in bondage and produces ever new fences as they are deemed necessary. The other is lived by faith and is content to rest on two great words – love God above all, and others as ourselves. That is all the law we need.

      The difference between these two religious perspectives is abundantly clear.

      The Lord bless you and keep you as you continue seeking.

      Christian Socialist

      1. Thank you, Christian Socialist. That makes sense.

        In essence it sounds like fear vs. love. Would you or others here care to speculate on the thought that the danger for those living by fear is that the Christian God claims it is not the author of fear?

        To bring this back around to the post – it’s also why fear-mongering wouldn’t be the best way to represent the Christian God.

        1. Fear versus love is a good way to put it.

          Throughout my fundy life, God was a stern God, ready to strike me down for a moment’s doubt, an unnoticed disobedience, or even for sincere effort that did not reach the goal. After all, sin is “missing the mark,” and transgression is “crossing into forbidden territory” and iniquity is “going our own way.”

          And yes, though I trusted Jesus to be my Savior, I was often reminded that the Lord “scourges” every one whom He receives (Heb. 12).

          Such an attitude was made easier by my father, who was almost always angry and abusive. Even when he wasn’t, it only took a little bit to incur his disfavor. The thought of God as my Father terrified me, and I cannot even now think of God in this way without getting upset. I have tried to be a better father than my dad, and I have done a lot to remedy the violence and strife. Still, there has been too much for my children to handle, I am afraid. It will take a lot of time for some wounds to heal, if they ever do.

          Nowhere in Fundamentalism did I find that God was willing to overlook our faults or forgive us our ignorance, like a good parent does with their kids. It was always judgement, even though the “once-saved-always-saved” “gospel” was preached. Sure, God will save you, but you will have to go through the fire! I was never good enough. I could never do enough. And if I questioned “authority” I was definitely put in my place.

          So I learned to question authority in my mind, while maintaining an outward symbol of conformity. And always looking over my shoulder to see if God was getting ready to hit me with the hammer, and always mentally apologizing for falling short.

          In the Baptist Tradition, services are over leaving the sinner at the altar, always repenting but never receiving grace or absolution for their sins, much less power to live redeemed and happy lives.

          Since leaving IFBism, the Hammer has not fallen. I have expressed doubt and questions. I have been able to be more honest. I may not yet be able to say that I am secure in the knowledge of the Love of God yet. But I am leaving behind the fear of making mistakes, not understanding, not being perfect, and I am thinking for myself.

          There are a lot of emotional scars that IFBism carved into me. One has to live a day at a time.

        2. Dear A Lost Soul:

          I think your ‘fear versus love’ take is on solid ground. And I think rtgmath’s reply bears out your point. This is not discussed easily but said discussion is needed desperately. I think 1Jo 4:18 comes closest to what you say:

          ‘There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.’

          That seems to capture the incongruity of fear and love you observe. But that in turn is followed with …

          ‘We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen’ [1Jo 4:19-20].

          So the issues are: 1] the incompatibility of fear and love, 2] fear and punishment, 3] false profession of love of brothers, and 4] the impossibility of loving God but not one’s brother.

          Your point is not easily discussed as those dynamics rule many churches. For that same reason, this discussion is needed desperately. So you got it right. As to why this incongruity exists, several reasons likely apply.

          One reason is the woefully inadequate vision which reduces God to a stern, arbitrary and vengeful deity as set out so powerfully in rtgmath’s withering blast. A corrupt vision reinforced by endless preaching on judgment, by church culture where it is impossible to appease this angry deity, and where fathers replicate their faith-scars in their children to three and four generations is at fault. Often, this pitiable caricature of a disgusting deity is reinforced further in cradle-to-grave church programs, church-run schools, summer camps and more.

          Another reason for this fear/love incongruity relates to Zechariah’s prophecy. It relates salvation and covenant keeping [Lu 1:72]. That oath to Abraham [vs. 73] intended that ‘rescued from the hand of our enemies, we might serve Him without fear’ [Lu 1:74]. To ‘serve him without fear’ relates to rtgmath’s heartrending picture of a perpetually repenting seeker who receives neither grace nor power to live a redeemed life.

          The covenant ministers great comfort for those it embraces. And my tradition holds that by faith in Christ, we become covenant beneficiaries. A number here hold differing theologies, and that’s fine. But lacking that, it is vital to find other ways to affirm, to comfort and to edify believers. Some have done that. But many find that no such perspective in IFB circles. Therefore the image of a stern, arbitrary and vengeful deity reigns supreme. And as rtgmath notes, there is no way to challenge this without defying authority.

          It is a heinous theology/praxis which leaves us ‘stuck-at-the-altar’ as if God’s grace in Christ is ever withheld or denied or hidden from those who seek it. Yet for this reason many continually question the sufficiency of their repentance, or if they repent of all their sins, or if they repent with sufficient sincerity. How WICKED!

          Where this is allowed to stand, such churches or preachers need to be told, ‘sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ’ [1Co 8:12]. Jesus does put before churches open doors that no man can shut [Re 3:8]; but some are going to do their dead-level best to try to close them.

          The purpose of this forum has received attention recently. Whatever else, this forum is needed so that those exposed to and injured by this hideous caricature of deity may seek the perspective and healing they need. I thank God for Darrell’s faithful posting each week at this little blog. It is a blessing!

          Christian Socialist

        3. Thanks rtgmath and Christian Socialist. I really appreciate the explanation CS. There’s a lot of meat there to chew on. I cringed at your story rtgmath. Yours seems to parallel my own father’s experience. As a son to a man who broke away from false doctrine over the course of my childhood I want to encourage you that God does restore the years the locust has eaten. As I matured, I began to better understand the source of his conflict, and to see that he was doing his best despite the culture he was drowning in. We have a great relationship now, and he’s a source of great wisdom to me as I raise my own children.

        4. Rgmath, your story could have been mine! Thank you for your honesty. I can only say God Bless You, and pray that your wounds heal

  22. As I have said before, I proudly voted for Barack Obama twice for President. I donated heavily to his campaign. I traveled 4,000 miles each way to attend his second inauguration.

    And before calling me names, I do have a Th.M. in Semitics from Dallas Seminary. I’ve honorably served in law enforcement for 27 years, and was awarded the 40th medal of valor in the history of the Dallas, TX Police Department.

    I know that rightupyouralley is a troll. If a heart attack is in his/her future, I sincerely hope that it’s soon.

    1. I personally do not support Obama’s politics, but he is an intelligent man, and I am tired of all the dumb personal attacks on him. Being President has got to be one of the toughest jobs on the planet.
      Even if we’re on opposite ends of the stick, I tip my hat to you. 😎

    1. Agreed. Can we also agree to keep the political stuff to a minimum.? I know about Obama, I would like to learn about Billy Sunday.

      1. If you want to learn about Billy Sunday then just watch the minute clip above, and then form an opinion on the entire mans life like everyone else.

    2. An intelligent man discerns that the medical system as we knew it was already screwed up.

      1. Just ask Canada how it’s health care works. If it’s free it’s for me is America’s new motto I guess.

        1. At the risk of engaging a troll….Canada’s health care system works just fine. I live very close to Canada. In fact, I travel South and get to Canada. I have actually been to Canada. I have even dated Canadian women. I have talked to said Canadian women about health matters (years before the recent brouhaha here in the States). I have seen Canadians injure themselves here in States and then travel back to Canada to get treated rather than receive health care here in the US.

          So go ahead an enlighten me about your opinion of the health care systems of the US and Canada.

        2. Anyone I know who works in the health care system says this plan is bad. Clients of mine that have health issues are hating this. I’m sure you are smarter than me so I will not engage with you maa’m

        3. Considering that 1) we do not know your profession, 2) we do not know your clients, and 3) we wouldn’t know you were telling the truth even if you told us, there is no reason for us to believe that the Affordable Care Act is a bad law.

          There is, however, an extreme amount of evidence that it is a Great Law.

          The Government has not come between us and our doctors, but it has reduced the insurance companies’ power to come between us and our doctors. It prescribes that a certain percentage (80%, IIRC) of the premium dollars paid to a company must be returned in medical payments or services. If not, the customers get a refund. Children up to the age of 26 can remain on their parent’s insurance. Basic services must be covered. And the government will help people who can’t afford the insurance to get covered.

          It doesn’t cover everyone. But it meets the criteria of being compassionate toward those in need. It doesn’t go far enough — I’d prefer a single-payer model. But it is a step in the right direction.

          My observations about those who object to the law are, first, they usually know nothing about what they are talking about. Secondly, their objections are usually Fox News and Sarah Palin talking points (the heights of idiocy and the pinnacles of untruth). And third, their objections to helping those in need demonstrates a cruel and unChristian attitude, devoid of grace and mercy.

          Jesus did not charge ruinous fees for health care. Even his story on the Good Samaritan demonstrates that loving one’s neighbor as oneself requires a commitment to meet their physical needs.

        4. Ma’am? I should have stopped 3 comments ago.

          You have clients? I would love to know what service you provide that people actually pay you for.

        5. Yay, rightupyouralley, we can find areas of agreement! You’re right; most everyone else who is speaking is more intelligent than you!

          Good work! They say the first step is admitting you have a problem!

        6. As a Canadian, I’d take our medical system over the American anyday. No one is declaring bankruptcy here due to huge medical bills and our life expectancy is better than the States. We do struggle with waiting lists and rising costs but Canadians have a tendency to share risks and costs.

  23. Ma’am? I should have stopped 3 comments ago.

    You have clients? I would love to know what service you provide that people actually pay you for.

      1. People actually pay you for trolling?

        Wow. I knew that all sorts of skills could be employable. But I didn’t know that about trolling?

        Where do you go to apply for a trolling job? Since you’re the expert and all?

        1. Dear rtgmath:

          Regarding Trolls:

          Sooner or later, Darrell will publish a list of monikers used by a single IP address. On that day, many things may become clear 😉

          Christian Socialist

        2. you call someone a troll, whom you do not agree with. Real nice tactic. Also, please cut the scare tactics out. They really don’t work. Thank you.

        3. Pot. Kettle. Black.

          You called someone a troll whom you did not agree with. You have been snarky, rude, and mean. Did you think you could get away without someone teasing you for it?

          Get over yourself.

          Now, I don’t quite understand what you mean by scare tactics. If you please, and as a nice member of the community here, tell me how I have used scare tactics. This is an honest request, and I am truly unaware of trying to do this. However, if you explain what you have seen as scare tactics, perhaps I can modify my communication, or else provide an alternate explanation that satisfies you.

          Really now, I would like to be friends. But friendship goes two ways, and if you read your comments, you came in like a troll and up till now have pretty well fit the description. Those who would have friends must show themselves to be friendly.


        4. rtgmath :

          I was referring to CS not you. no need to get your panties in a wad. sorry if I upset you.

        5. You did not upset me. And if I was not the one you referred to as using “scare tactics,” then I am grateful.

          However, my comment regarding your accusation of others calling people trolls is still applicable.

          If you do not agree with what someone has written, don’t be calling names or be nasty. Engage in discourse. Show yourself to be a human being worthy of attention and respect.

          Thank you for the clarification, though I don’t wear panties. I haven’t tried cross-dressing yet. I don’t think my wife would approve!

        6. *should have said “any” not “all”. That was off base by me as mistakenly written.

        7. Dear rightupyouralley:

          First, the anticedent post is addressed very clearly to rtgmath.

          Second, this post aside, my sole address to you is at , where I cite Paul without comment. So if we disagree on anything, Col 2:23 is likely it.

          Third, I invite you to show where I labeled anyone anything. One post from any year I’ve been at SFL will do.

          Fourth, I’m at a loss to see why you heard my post to rtgmath as a scare tactic. If you want to pursue this, that is entirely at your discretion. Otherwise, I’ll regard the matter as closed.

          Christian Socialist

  24. Dear Rightupyouralley,
    My friends rtgmath, RobM, Big Gary, and others on SFL have tried to be loving and reason with you. I have no desire to do so. IMO you are a pimple on the ass of humanity. I frankly don’t give a shit that this is not said in Cxn love, because I don’t love you. I hold you in contempt. I’ve put dozens of murderers and rapists in jail. Some of them I had compassion for. I have none for you. You are a troll who needs to put his clothes on and get out of his mother’s basement and get a job. You’re a goddamn loser.

    1. Darth, I am not sure how to take your comment. If you are offended at BJg’s statement, understand that he is not expressing his frustration as a “Christian.” Rather, he is expressing the frustration many of us feel who were hurt and abused by “Christians” typified by such people as RightUpYourAlley.

      BJg is expressing his frustration at a “Christianity” that allows itself to abuse others, but complains when it is confronted.

      RightUpYourAlley demonstrated that kind of “faith” (if one can call it that). And yes, that kind of behavior nearly cost me my own faith. There are several in this group whose “faith” in God has been severely hurt because of fundamentalists acting abusive in their self-perceived superiority.

      Having been one who had such a superiority complex and looked down on those who did not believe as I did, I can see where RUYA may have gotten his attitudes. He needed to be called on them. He needs to see how those attitudes make him look. It is no wonder American Christianity is losing people.

      While I can quote Scripture with the best of them, I understand BJg’s frustration, and at times it just simply overflows, especially when the cranial denseness goes off the charts.

      Am I a Christian? I don’t know, any more. I worship as I am able. But I do not “trust God” in any palpable way. I have been hurt too much. Too many prayers have been unanswered. Too many of “God’s people” have demonstrated closer ties to the Devil Himself in how they behave. And God doesn’t judge them in any visible way. I know atheists who are kinder and more loving than many Christians.

      At least at the Episcopal Church, I have a support group of people who are willing to include me, despite my questions. They are willing to believe on my behalf until I receive the grace to believe again.

      When Fundamentalists start acting like Christ instead of like the Devil’s ministers, perhaps they will be taken seriously once again.

      1. Dear rtgmath:

        I don’t doubt that you are a Christian. When God’s justice and grace are lifted up, you rise up to affirm and to bless it. I’ve seen that in you time and again, rtgmath.

        We’re not always in the same place and that’s a good thing. Many of us have days when we feel like atheists. Yet plentiful ministry is there for us even then! It is ‘Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.’ Or it is David’s cry, ‘my God, my God, why have you forsaken me!’ These words ministered to Jesus who took them to his lips on the cross. Lot, Samson and Jonah all minister to us. Yahweh sustained Elijah in sheer silence. And there is Job! Others certainly exist, but this is enough to show that faith doesn’t need to be palpable.

        You note rightly, rtgmath that our wounds make faith difficult. But it is by pressing Christ’s wounds into our wounds that God heals us. The Canons of Dort make an intriguing point that it is not where we are our best or strongest that God comes to save us; but Jesus saves us where we are our weakest and our most undone. When Christ pits God’s grace against our greatest weakness and failings, who do you think wins?

        Blessings to you, to Paul Best, and all here who need Jesus’ touch.

        Christian Socialist

    2. Give me a break, DV. We’re all grown-ups. I’ll take a burst of righteous anger, well seasoned with profanities, over your vapid, passive-aggressive comments any day of the week.

    3. rightupyouralley and Darth_Vader are the same person. They are not stacymcanderson. RUYA and DV have the same personality, syntax, and punctuation.

  25. You can see/hear this in the content of the above short clip: “Sunday made religion irreverent by dragging it into the center ring and turning it into show biz. That suited the powerful just fine. William McLoughlin argues that Sunday effectively blunted efforts at social reform. He argued that conversion to Christ would of itself solve all social problems, especially since one sign of conversion was the abandonment of alcohol. Helen Keller called him “a monkey wrench thrown in the social revolution.” Businessmen supported him, invited him to their towns, encouraged their workers to attend his revivals. If workers could stop drinking and be diverted from policy issues, they would be very happy. An analyst who watched Sunday work in his town called him “the best strike breaker the country has produced.” Wills, Garry. “Head and Heart: American Christianities”

    1. This is interesting, and very important.

      Businessmen used religion to keep from paying workers a fair wage, thus lining their pockets with increasing profits. Religion was used to take peoples’ minds away from national issues so their voices and interests would not be heard.

      Sound familiar?

      I am not picking on anyone here at StuffFundiesLike who is a conservative or who does not like political commentary on the blog. My daughter and my wife share their views in large measure.

      But to say, “We shouldn’t talk about politics. We should only focus on Christ” is to set aside large sections of Scripture where God speaks concerning national and economic policy (particularly in the Old Testament) and how judgment will come because the rich are predators and the poor are their prey.

      There is something particularly hypocritical about the Right when they advocate enforcing their moral code through the force of law, keeping a low minimum wage, trying to deny health care (because it is “Socialism”), opposing reproductive rights, trying to get creationism into the science classrooms, waging the drug war — but object to codifying the moral code on charity to the poor, meeting the needs of the widows and the orphans, the sick and those in prison, those who are out of work, and so on.

      My IFB church eventually signed petitions to make same-sex marriage illegal at the level of the State Constitution. Members worked to combat abortion. But they would never have petitioned the government to increase the minimum wage! They were *for* the war, death, destruction, and some even approving of torture! But they were against social spending.

      There can be no division between faith and politics. Ultimately, one’s politics demonstrates the *kind* of faith one has.

      Sorry for the rant. Well, maybe I’m not *too* sorry.

      1. well said rtgmath!

        Right wing evangelicals love this stuff. Keep em dry, out of the bar,out of a union, working 6 days a week for crap wages….they’ll be there every time the doors are open with their full tithe. They’ll be subservient workers too. A win-win.

  26. Ugh. I call this “machine gun preaching” — when a preacher delivers rapid-fire messages so quickly that the audience has no time to analyze them. I suspect that was the whole point behind Sunday’s preaching style, since he wanted people to accept what he was saying instead of think critically about it.

    1. Dr. Bob Wood is good at this kind of preaching. He was for many years the Vice President at BJU.

      I admired the man for many years. He could quote more Scripture than anyone I knew! He gave book, chapter and verse.

      It wasn’t until I heard him preach on abuse, and essentially blame the victim for their suffering instead of blaming those who had done the abuse that I realized his form of preaching was just another form of bullying. You are so intimidated by the Scripture bullets (pulled from all parts of Scripture without any connections except what is presented to you as the topic) that you cannot see any part of the Scripture in its intended context. Bob Wood was creating the context for Scripture instead of letting the Scripture create its own context.

      In his mind, Bob Wood is always right. He can machine-gun Scripture that will justify whatever his desired position is. But ultimately, it is a fraud, a trap, misdirection.

      1. “Scripture bullets” is a great term. These bullets injure, even kill people. “Dr.” Bob Wood is no “doctor”. Doctors heal. Bob Wood injures people.

        1. In the clip posted by Darrell, Sunday’s most telling gesture is at the very end. His mouth says “love” while his fist swings into a roundhouse punch. The dissonance jumped out at me.
          Btw, I believe Billy was on the Chautauqua circuit, which was like a traveling TED talks through the early 20th century, meant to bring education, entertainment, and culture to rural America. The different groups featured Speakers, Artists, Entertainers, Musicians, Preachers, etc. I think William Jennings Bryant was also part of a troupe for a while. Sunday was in his element for people who expected to witness novelty acts along with inspiring speakers.

        2. Yes, scripture bullets.
          They are fashioned from clobber verses.
          “Clobber verses” is a phrase some people use for those bits of scripture whose use in the contemporary world is almost exclusively as a weapon against other people.

      2. After Bob Wood on sexual abuse comes Jim Berg when it comes to faulty thinking on issues like PTSD. Berg will tell a combat veteran disabled by an IED to “get right with God, there is no such thing as PTSD” and “You just need to read your bible more and stop taking any medications.”

        That’s what you call “FUNDY COMPASSION.”


  27. Well, well. You are a deliberate liar as well as a troll. Yes, deliberate. You know your accusation was a cowardly lie.

    I guess reason and charity have fallen on deaf ears? You have decided to take the route of offensiveness? Prejudice sans facts?

    May God have mercy on your soul. No one else will, with the attitude you have decided to adopt.

  28. As a creative person who gets frustrated with the misuse or refusal to use the technological tools of today by the majority of Fundamental Baptist, I must say Billy Sunday should be commended for his willingness to use the Theater to bring his message from God to the people. Most IFB Pastors would rail on Billy Sunday for doing that if he was alive today.

Comments are closed.