What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Can you spot the oddity in this picture of an otherwise typical IFB auditorium?

Answer: Those of you who guessed the candles had it right. Here’s a quick overview of the liturgical use of candles. In short, if you’re using more than two around your altar then you’re headed straight for Catholicism.

It’s easier to spot the problem on the outside of their building: namely that there are two very large people stuck in it.

118 thoughts on “What’s Wrong With This Picture?”

    1. White pianos are NOT typical of IFB churches! It’s a big joke here on SFL, but I’ve been in IFB churches nearly all my life, small, simple churches in the north, and NONE of them had white pianos.

    1. I think proper Catholic churches have a crucifix, the one with Christ still on the cross; it’s Protestant ones that have the Empty Cross, symbolizing that He has overcome.
      Do proper Fundy churches usually have a cross in front? Just asking.

  1. The design of the sanctuary is something that the United Methodist Church uses. However I found it interesting that the Faith Promise thermometer is already filled out and that the altars” are covered in plants.

        1. I’m an erstwhile organist, and my legs were often out of control as well. The last time I played organ at a wedding, I almost refunded the bride, I played so many wrong notes on the pedals.

    1. “Candelabrum” is the singular, “candelabra” the plural. Which fact my phone’s auto-suggest taught me. Some dictionaries would probably accept “candelabrums”, I’d imagine.

  2. Below the cross there’s a curtain over the aumbry containing the reserved sacrament, plus two fetching sanctuar lights informing us that the very body and blood of Jesus are present?

  3. The pew behind the pulpit instead of a royal throne? All the fundy churches I’ve been in have 4 chairs and the great MOG has a very comfortable one that he sits in looking like a king on his throne.

  4. I don’t know if this is what you are seeking:

    “When displayed on the floor or on a platform, the flag is given the place of honor, always positioned behind the speaker and to the speaker’s right, and to the left of the audience. Other flags, if any, are positioned to the right of the U.S. Flag as seen by the audience.

    The “right” as the position of honor was established from the time when the “right hand” was the “weapon hand.” The right hand raised without a weapon was a sign of peace.

    Years ago there was a practice (generally in churches) of placing the flag to the left of the speaker, or to the right of the audience, if the flag was on the floor in front of the speaker and between the speaker and the audience. This practice is no longer proper protocol. The flag should be to the left of the audience, defined by the greatest number of people observing it.

    If there is a flag at an exit of an assembly room, it should be placed to the left of the door, which positions it to the viewers left when leaving the room.”

  5. I was going to say the white piano until I saw the mouse-over on the image.

    I would say the Faith Promise thermometer appears to have actually met the goal?

  6. The lanterns are a little Catholic-y and the candelabra looks a little menorah-y. I guess it’s Yuletide by the wreaths ๐Ÿ™‚ What!? I didn’t say Christmas!

    1. By the way, there’s nothing wrong with saying Happy Holidays – it means Christmas, New Year, even Thanksgiving together. The IFB’s literally think it’s of Satan.

  7. Gotta be the already met goal on the giving thermometer.

    But seeing that it was met in March, then this photo was taken after March, which means the Christmas wreaths are out of place too.

  8. Without looking at anyone else’s answers, these are my observations:

    1) The Jewish type candles (I am sorry I am not sure what they are called).
    2) The missions thermometer appears to be at 100%
    3) There is no fat man yelling at me from the pulpit

  9. The candles are the first thing that occurred to me.

    Like many others, the chill this image sent through…it surprised me a bit. But the flashbacks, they sure are real.

  10. Upon further examination (by clicking on the picture and making it bigger) I am going with the Our Mission sign. It says:

    Evangalize the Sinner
    Edify the Sinner
    Exalt the Savior

    While they get points for aliteration, the oddity is that it does not include paying homage (and tithes) to the pastor.

    1. The fluorescent lights above the wreaths are hideous, but that’s SOP for this kind of church.

      Copley, OH? That’s Ernest Angley’s stomping grounds!

  11. If the Pope (Jack Hyles) ever saw this he’d have a heart attack then he make fun of the church in his next sermon. I believe he had a sermon where ha made fun of churches who had candles, drums, guitars etc. on the platform.

  12. I used to go to a church that was named Battlefield Bible Church, and it was…a battlefield I mean (not the good type that fought against the world, flesh, and devil either).

    1. Was it located near a historical battlefield, from the Revolutionary War or War Between the States? There’s quite a few of those, and the name would fit.

    2. There’s a church on the east coast (Maryland ?) called Needmore Bible Church. It turns out it is located on Needmore Road. I just think that’s pretty funny.

  13. That sanctuary looks so much like my childhood church, it’s eerie. Right down to the overgrown plants in the front!

    What looks out of place to me is the curtain over the baptistery.

  14. Yup, “typical IFB auditorium.” With the exception of the candles, of course.

    I just noticed something. Odd that I didn’t notice it before.

    The center of the IFB line of sight is the Preacher’s pulpit. In the Episcopal churches I have attended, the center aisle is direct to the altar and the cross. Nothing between.

    In the Episcopal church, the altar rail where we kneel for communion is past the preacher’s pulpit. The preacher’s pulpit is to the side. In the IFB schema, the altar where you kneel to repent and pray still has the preacher’s pulpit between you and the cross.

    Funny. The symbolism of the IFB setup is directly contrary to their “doctrine,” but is so close to their reality!

    1. “The center of the IFB line of sight is the Preacherโ€™s pulpit. In the Episcopal churches I have attended, the center aisle is direct to the altar and the cross. Nothing between.”

      WOW, I never thought of this.

      1. Ayup. The MoG is not the center–the altar is.

        The Episcopal Church and other liturgical churches have never had to worry about MoG issues. When a rector dies, leaves or retires, a search process is begun for a new rector.

        It matters not who the celebrant at the Eucharist is. What is important is that the Holy Spirit is invoked , by priest and people, to bless the Bread and Wine.

        An interesting contrast between Baptist ordination and Episcopal ordination:


  15. Well you know where things are headed when the church is named after one of the most awful times of church history. Yeah let’s go to war against those infidel unbelievers!

  16. I just don’t understand why some people have issues with the use of candles in church. For most of human history, the only way to get light indoors was through open windows or open flames. It’s only in the last century that electric lights have become ubiquitous. Here’s a story I’ve my own experience with the “No candles in church!” crowd–

    Back in the late 90’s, I was working as a musician at a large Evangelical church that, while technically AoG, had a Baptist streak a mile wide. (i.e., stage lights and haze machines are okay, so long as the communion table with the giant KJV bible was always illuminated) For one service, we decided to set up the stage and music ala MTV unplugged; lots of rugs, musicians on stools, and of course, lots of candles. While most people enjoyed that service, there was a small but vocal cabal who claimed our use of candles was “Occult” in nature. They said, and this is the truth, “We’re Christians. We shouldn’t be using these candles in worship because it chases away The Spirit. That’s what the stage lights are for!”

    Wrap your brain around that twisted mindset, if you dare.

    1. In the late sixties, someone donated a pair of candlesticks to the church. No ceremony, a deacon would galumph up to them before the service and light them with a match. But there were many jokes about becoming just like across the street…St. Mary’s Catholic.

        1. I would think candles lit during a service would be incredibly safe. You have anywhere between 20 to 200 people sitting in pews looking at the platform: if anything happens, someone is sure to see it and squelch the flame before anything gets more than singed.

          I love candles.

        2. A church I went to burned down due to a problem in the wiring to the baptistery heater. Shall we then stop heating the water?

          (Also: candles are generally supervised. Electric wiring, not so much.)

        3. I admit. Fire is a trigger for me. That’s one reason that police and fire admin has been my field for a long time. Helps me feel like I’m doing something.

          Seen several people burn to death and we couldn’t get to them in time.

  17. There is a story but first, a bit of explanation–

    Episcopal churches in Virginia are extremely “low church,” as a rule. No elaborate vestments, tiny altars or communion tables, no birettas or “high church” clothing.

    Many years ago a parishioner in one of these churches died and left a substantial amount of money for an endowment, with the proviso that no “Roman candles” ever be used on the communion table.

    The church went to court. The judge ruled that as long as fireworks were not set off inside the church, it could keep this bequest.

  18. Some years ago I officiated at a wedding in St. Philip’s Church, Ft. Payne AL. The building had been purchased from a Baptist church in the mid-50s.


    The family had rented two huge spiral candelabras, each holding at least a dozen candles and probably more.

    My big worry during the service was that the ceiling over the candelabras would catch fire! Fortunately, nothing happened.

  19. put a filter on that picture and you wouldn’t be able to tell if that picture was taken today or in 1967 – when its full of people and there’s a service on it would still be hard to tell.

    Today on Facebook a fundy friend was going on about new-evangelicalism, separating from Billy Graham as an apostate, and emergent church leaders. (Um, none of these things has been relevant for almost a decade)

    Something strange about how these little sub-cultures isolate themselves, stop time, and begin to fade into useless obscurity. That is not how Jesus described his Church.

  20. Wow – At first I thought the pic on the bottom was a movie promo photo for the new movie: “The Attack of the 50 ft. MOG (and Ms. Dolly)” or “Godzilla vs. the MOG”

  21. It looks very much like the inside of my church (Holy Rosary) except that mine is much larger (holds 900) The lighting fixtures hanging down look exactly the same. Ohhh and our cross is a crucifix ! Also we do not hang flags in the church. Also the ambvo where the pastor delivers the sermon sits off to the right. Most Sundays he comes down and stands on the floor and walks around. Probably something he picked up watching Protestant services on TV !~!~

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