109 thoughts on “Fast Answers (Accuracy Optional)”

    1. The photo looks dated, and I know that Hugh Pyle has been dead for a few years.

      I think that many IFB churches have distanced themselves from Ruckman.

      I’m guessing that this is from the late 70s or perhaps 1980s.

      1. Very likely that it is an old clipping. That really isn’t an issue, though.

        Let me apologize in advance if I misunderstand your point about the picture (and thus the article) being “dated.” Ruckman? Does it really matter if fundies have separated from him? Fundy alliances always shift as human conflicts and jealousies and position-scrambling abound.

        If this is about what it was, and objecting that this is not the current state of things, let me continue.

        Fundamentalism tends to change very, very little, and only in superficial ways. We just got through discussing Dr. Gray, whose mouth is full of his own praises. That this cult of men has been going on for a long, long time is no surprise.

        Yes, an old sin in fundamentalism is an old sin. But that doesn’t mean it should be forgotten. The old sins of fundamentalism are not sins they have repented of. Rather, they are the building blocks on which the fundamentalism of today is structured.

        In chapel at BJU, the old heroes were exalted. We were exhorted to remember the old paths, the old ways, the old wisdom. “New” would never be as good as “old” to these people.

        I believe the point Darrell makes is good to ponder. The hubris of the past is the hubris of the present. Oh how I wish I had understood this when I was younger!

        1. I guess it depends on Darrell’s point; if the point is Ruckman’s answering any question in 15 seconds, then, yes, the year doesn’t matter.

          But if it is to claim that Grace Baptist Church is somehow bad because they had Ruckman preach is not fair if this were years ago before the Ruckman weirdness came out.

        2. Well, maybe.

          The question is not, “Is Grace Baptist Church bad *because* they had Ruckman preach?”

          The question should be, “Does the fact that they had Ruckman preach indicate that Grace Baptist Church is bad?”

          Ruckman has been pretty crazy from the start, getting loonier as time goes on. There was plenty of evidence of Ruckman’s heresies years and years ago.

          No, GBC should not be judged based on Ruckman only. It should make one wary. And if GBC hosted Ruckman after his descent (basically any time after 1954), then yes, I would not think highly of that church.


        3. GR, upon what do you base your assumption that there was some point in time when Ruckman was not weird or crazy or racist and paranoid?
          I’m not aware of any such period in the man’s career.

        4. @BigGary; just my own observations of weirdness. It is one thing to think that there are the aforementioned aliens, and maybe discuss it in private. It is another thing to preach it in public as if it is some kind of truth.

          Likewise, his contention that the Greek became corrupt and God had to “re-inspire” the Bible using the KJV is probably something that grew into a more and more extreme position.

          But I don’t know for sure.

          I know that before the Sword of the Lord went over to Shelton Smith, Curtis Hudson wrote a article condemning “Ruckmanism”.

  1. He played drums in a dance band (gasp!) I always thought it was interesting that pastors would list their past “sins” as if they were credentials

    1. Well, that’s because playing drums is probably a gateway sin to wife beating or murder, you know! Yeah, King Tommy used to talk about the motorcycle gang he was in — my husband and I used to look at each other and laugh! The first time I visited that church my friend and I showed up on our bikes and in full leathers!

      1. Oh come on, we all know beating your wife is just a mere traffic ticket in Fundistan, but Playing The Drums, that is a downright capital offense! πŸ™„

    2. Being Roman Catholic, studying Buddhism, and playing drums in a dance band are all terrible sins, you know. Being an Army Officer was almost as bad in those days, with the naughty words officers would use.

      The writer wanted the reader to get a sense of how greatly he had been exalted from the fallen, depraved state he had come from.

      If you are Catholic (or Episcopalian), isn’t it a comfort to know that fundamentalists consider you a wicked, depraved sinner? Almost as if you have the Mark of the Beast already! If you have played dance music (almost as bad as dancing!) you are one step away from the fiery pit. How loathsome you are! And of course, investigating Buddhism must be like Devil Worship, shaking your puny fist in the Apparent and Visible Face of God Almighty as you swear allegiance to God’s Sworn Adversary.

      My eyes roll now. Good grief. But then I remember how seriously I took this stuff in my early days and I feel covered with shame.

        1. Whatever I build, I’ll be sure to build first and pull permits later.

          My former MOG’s barn burned down. He then built a bigger barn without proper paperwork. The town Grand Poobah Board did not care for this turn of events.

          At the last business meeting I attended at his compound, MOG even said something about it was better to beg forgiveness than ask permission. (This was in regards to city permission for something.) I was appalled at his attitude.

        2. Trust me, you don’t have to be a MOg to have that attitude, though very few can carry it off with the same aplomb.

        3. Shoot! We have Babel beat all to heck. We have sent people to the Moon! We have landed rovers on Mars!

          Not only reaching to heaven, but we hit the Firmament! Still, we didn’t find any windows there. Nor heaven, neither. God must have moved it out of the way and taken up the ladder.

          Plus we found out that the sun doesn’t have any tents or a bedchamber at night (see Psalm 19).

      1. Yes, Adam was “God-breathed,” wasn’t he? Adam was inspired, even more literally than the Scriptures were!

        And we know what happened….

        Yes. The Eve of Mankind happened at its very beginning!

      2. Dear Ricardo et. al.:

        Regarding the hapax legomenon remark:

        This has taken turns I hadn’t anticipated. So I thought I’d revisit this.

        An hapax legomenon references a word that occurs only one time in extant literature. Low usage implies the lack of context we need to determine meaning. These words can be maddening difficult to understand or translate.

        Christian Socialist

        PS: Also see Zipf’s law for study in word distribution.

        PPS: I suppose that the standard 15 second answer would run along the lines of ‘if you were supposed to know, God would have told you.’

        A more honest honest scholar would take this line:


        1. CS, you’ve gone and gotten George so upset that he ate a word.

          That should be “… there are no …”.

        2. Oh, as in “all scripture is inspired by God.” Inspired should be a “hapax legomenon” thingummywhatsit. At least it is only used once in Scripture.

  2. In my experience, when a fundamentalist is faced with a difficult question or a question which points out holes in their theology, they do answer in 15 seconds or less with a punch line or they quickly divert the question to one they are more comfortable answering. i. e.: Whats the difference between dispensationalism and covenant theology? Well we all know covenant theology is a lie from Satan. next question.
    Whats the difference between….”thats a great question, but a better question is when Christ comes back, will you be ready?”

    1. “Great question! We’ll have to ask God when we get to heaven. Which I really hope you do, and you’ve said the Lord’s Prayer and are confident in your salvationnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn. Next!”

  3. Not knowing the answer, or not providing a quick answer is basically like putting yourself on the same “level” as the clergy. Such a thing would undermine pastoral authority and ruin the “work of God.”
    Besides, “Let EVERY man be slow to speak” doesn’t really mean every man, right?

  4. My wife and I actually had this man in our home for a meal, oh, about 26 years about, when he was holding meetings at our church. We had chicken and rice that night. He must have loved it. During the meal, he hardly lifted his face from the plate and his wife did almost all of the talking. He did kind of criticize the pastor. He asked, “What kind if pastor doesn’t have the vision to build a choir loft in his church?”

      1. This was a fairly new church, so you are probably right. I guess Hugh liked me. He gave me a mess of his books. One was that preacher’s manual he wrote. I remember it talked about reason why teenagers were misbehaving (taking) in church. One reason was “perhaps they are making love.” Obviously he wasn’t thinking the same thing I was when I read that.

        1. I gather he was an old dude.
          “Making love” used to mean something more like “flirting” or “wooing.”
          And “having intercourse” used to mean “talking.”

        2. Dear Mbu Grad:

          Then there was that song, ‘Fill Thou My Life,’ which had the line, ‘in intercourse at hearth and board with my beloved ones.’

          That line was eventually dropped. There is now a stanza which reads:

          ‘Praise in the common things of life,
          Its goings out and in;
          Praise in each duty and each deed,
          However small and mean.’

          ‘Goings out and in’ may be less explicit, but you get the idea. Oh, and don’t forget, ‘however small and mean…’

          Christian Socialist

          PS: Would you be interested to know that those noble lines were penned by none other than one Horatius Bonar?

        3. “Small and mean” now usually means something like “ungenerous and cruel,” whereas the hymn writer probably mean “humble and menial.”

    1. Well, you can prevent orthostatic hypotension by wearing tight socks, so I guess hypostatic union is when your hat’s on so tight you can’t get it off?

  5. What is a president of a (presumably private IFB high school)? I know what a principal is, what a chancellor or head master is, etc. Is there such a thing as a “president” of a small school?

  6. Dr. Ruckman has, over the last 19 years that I’ve been saved, been a huge blessing to me. His usual claim ( I’m not sure who wrote the article) was that he could get to the first scripture reference within 15 seconds, though he may give himself more time now since he’s over 90. He openly admits to having been stumped more than once , but considering he’s been doing this sort of thing since shortly after WWII, I’d say that’s a pretty good batting average.

    1. I think you’re sort of missing the point.
      It’s the quality of the answers that matters, not how fast they come.

      Discourses about “blue aliens with blue blood, black aliens with green blood, and gray aliens with clear blood” and on how “no matter how much integration is carried out, the IQ of blacks is always lower than whites” don’t float my boat, but apparently, your tastes are different.

      Source of preceding quotes:
      More here:

      1. If either you or I had 50 or 60 years worth of our thoughts, opinions, and statements recorded in various media (print, audio, video), I’m sure it wouldn’t be that hard to find an unusual /nutty comment or position.

        1. With Ruckman, it’s hard not to find nutty comments. His racism is indefensible, especially from someone who claims to be in God’s service.

        2. Unusual? Yes.
          Wrong? Yes.
          Stark raving paranoid, hallucinating, bat-guano bonkers? Not me.
          You can speak for yourself about you.

        3. Prophets are deemed false by a single untrue prediction…Not many should become teachers because there is greater responsibility.

          Someone who claims to speak for God had better be at the very least not provably false with their crazy tin foil hat theories. While some statements of mine could certainly be viewed as immature or unwise, I would not have been so egregious in my nuttiness even if there were 100 years of recorded statements (the onset of dementia notwithstanding…had these comments from Ruckman come in the later years only with an accompanying loss of grasp on reality you might be able to excuse them as a decline) That and the KJVolatry which is also evidence of a lack of regeneration…

        4. For most of us, I imagine the nutty opinion would be fairly unusual. For fundamentalists, the nutty opinions come at a much higher rate. For people like Ruckman, nutty opinions are the norm, with no redeeming or counterbalancing stellar quantities.

        5. Uh yeah-what about Ruckmanism? About as ridiculous as a Ricky-ism and not half as entertaining.

      2. I think I just heard the β€œno matter how much integration is carried out, the IQ of blacks is always lower than whites” spiel on a broadcast on World Harvest Television (the channel started by Lester Sumrall’s ministry) about a week and a half ago. I ended up recording that on DVR to have a record of the statement.

        1. Ahhh, yes. Years ago I was engaged in a running argument with someone online about IQ and its significance with racial groups. They used this argument as well.

          IQ is a much vaunted measure of intelligence — but since there are only about 120 different intelligence kinds (IQ measuring two of them), it seems silly to make IQ the whole deal. IQ stresses two particular kinds of problem-solving, and these do not often show up in the “real world.” Considering that education for blacks has always gotten the short end of the stick, and that white society has acted in ways to keep black people poor and marginalized, the differences in the data are easily explainable.

          Not to mention, of course, that IQ studies quoted by these people are OLD. VERY OLD. The data and the collection of it is suspect. As far as I know, no recent, well-designed and controlled studies exist.

          And so, of course, when I pointed out some of these issues to the person on the other side, they degenerated into a vicious sortee of abuse and name calling. It took a long time to get rid of them.

          I have long found that “Conservative Christians” and Fundamentalists online and in the message boards tend to get very abusive, rude, and nasty if they are not met with complete acquiescence to their “brilliance” (aka, “malarky”) very quickly. As if they think that the Holy Spirit has given up on their adversaries and they are only waiting to start burning eternally.

        2. The main thing IQ tests measure is how good you are at taking IQ tests.

          I’m very good at taking those tests, but there are many other things I’m not good at.

    2. While I am glad you see Peter Ruckman as a blessing to you over the time you have been saved, my experience in fundamentalism is that it takes a long time for you to recognize the abuse, more time yet to stop excusing it, and even more time for you to act against it.

      There have been people I saw as a blessing that I recognized later were pushing false doctrine. Oh, I was “blessed,” all right. You couldn’t have told me otherwise. Until I began to see the inconsistencies, the problems, the difficulties, the quirks of otherwise unaccountably bad behavior that such doctrines and practices allowed. And the hurt from being rejected by the same people who had so taken you in and showed you love because you ultimately weren’t exactly like them.

      You may not be there yet. But it may happen, if you are close enough for a difference of opinion between you and him to matter to him.

      1. Thank you for such a gracious spirit and such a gracious reply. I would offer however, that I found the very same phenom in the my pre-Christ life; to wit the bartender and drinking buddies that were my friend until I got saved and then dropped me like a bad transmission. Or the family members who ostracized me when I started preaching. I think the issues you cite aren’t inhernt to fundamentalism, I think they are inherent to humanity, unfortunately.

        1. Possibly. Or probably. At least in structures that demand dependence and co-dependence, such as drinking and fundamentalism.

          I consider fundamentalism an addiction. It has the required components. The symptoms are the same. And there is withdrawal when you try to leave it.

          And when people leave one addiction, they often replace it with another.

          I see in fundamentalism an intrinsically abusive system, relying on unproven assumptions, claims of authority, lies, and ostracism of nonconformists. There are few, if any checks and balances, no limits to the authority the MoG can claim or the control he may exercise over the lives of others.

          I will be blessed indeed if I can rescue my wife and daughter out from its clutches. That remains to be seen.

  7. I have heard Hugh Pyle and two of his brothers preach quite a few times over the years. Hugh was an evangelist and the other two pastored in towns near where I grew up, and I had friends who attended both their churches. While they were a bit more fundy than I am these days, I like/liked them and their preaching. I have even kept a couple of my books written by Hugh Pyle in the Bible study section of my bookcases. (as opposed to the Hyles book I have on the fiction shelves.)

    I remember Hugh coming to the church we attended before we became Fundystan residents. He was also on staff at The Sword of the Lord, but that was long enough ago to have missed the current craziness. As for the conference referenced in today’s post, I have to assume Pyle shared the platform with Ruckman before folks realized just how far out there ‘ol Peter really is.
    The school he started in Florida dates back to the early 60s, I think before the public school system sold out to the devil and outlawed prayer.
    Hugh passed just a few years ago, somewhere in his 80s

  8. I love how they go on and on about how wonderful Pyle and Ruckman are, but don’t mention as much about the last two. And why do they love giving Mogs credentials? Why name every college Ruckman went to and every religion he studied before he got saved? And it seems fundies do this with all the big name preachers but don’t seem to care about the ones who are less known…

  9. Elevating preachers to vaunted strata might seem like rubbing shoulders with all the right people, but its really having men’s persons in advantage, name dropping , vicarious prestige, and respect of persons. Having been a small town pastor for over 16 years I know what it’s like to be ignored or disregarded by the big shots. With regards to Ruckman, his writings have prompted me to get into the scriptures a lot over the decades to see if those things were so, and I learned a lot…not because Ruckman said it but because I got into the word. Pyle was sincere, but his brand of out dated fundyism makes it difficult in convincing the world that Christianity and the Bible are relevant today. What we often present is a fictional Ozzie and Harriet brand of religianity that conforms to our definitions more than it presents spiritual reality. The reruns are nice but the world has moved on.

  10. Didn’t Hugh Pyle lead Peter Ruckman to the Lord? I remember hearing that somewhere. They are both from the western Florida panhandle. Interesting that they preached together.

  11. Dr. Ruckman, in light of recent discussions surrounding the New Perspective on Paul, can you explain the nuanced differences between the classic Protestant understanding of “works righteousness” and Paul’s usage of “works of the law” relative to the early rabbinic Judaism he was interacting with? If you see no difference, can you explain how they’re the same?

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