137 thoughts on “The Sign (Updated)”

        1. “The Indominitable Snowman” would be a good nickname for a multiple winner of the Iditarod. Wrong gender for Susan Butcher, though.

    1. “Who was that lady I saw you with last night?”

      “That was no lady. That was my wife!”

  1. The front of the building looks like maybe a greasy spoon on side and a tattoo parlor on the other, with studio apartments upstairs.

    1. What, an afternoon service instead of an evening one? Is that scriptural? Also it says “Preaching 11am” not “Morning service” or “Worship” so does the morning consist solely of the preacher mouthing off…. I mean, expounding God’s Word?

      1. Dear Paul Best:

        Clearly, the entire ‘Sabbath’ doesn’t belong to Yahweh. After the pm service, we want to go fishing. Not for men, but for fish.

        Christian Socialist

        1. There is a fine line between fishing and standing on a river bank or sitting in a boat looking like an idiot

        2. Why, exactly, did the Apostles think that fishing for men would be more fun than fishing for fish?

      2. Exactly, Paul. Why distract from the preaching with such trivialities as hymns, prayers or even reading from Scripture?

        1. We’ve all attended IFB churches before, dude. Yeah they’re exaggerating about the words on the sign, but they aren’t far off.

    1. under the pastor’s testimony on that web page, he says:
      “My Theme is: AV1611 Rightly Divided – Fervent Charity.”

      I am having trouble rightly dividing that sentence….such a cumbersome theme.

      1. It is consistent with the fundie theme of using overly flowery (and usually archaic) language to cover up a lack of critical thinking, logic, and internal consistency.

      2. They mention hymns on piano, guitar, mandolin, and harmonica, which I would, in fact, enjoy, as I love the Lord and I love bluegrass, and thus, at least to my ears, it’s the perfect musical environment for worshiping the Lord. But his KJV-Only-ism I have a HUGE problem with. I’m not badmouthing the KJV or anything, but I am saying that modern Bible translations can help shed light on the more difficult to understand passages of scripture.

        1. They mustn’t be real fundies if they have instruments other than the scripturally- ordained white piano….

        2. I love music with all different instruments and styles (though I’m not fond of the organ unless it’s playing “high church” music).

          I was surprised as an adult to find that the Church of Christ thinks all instruments are off limits in worship and use voices only (in direct defiance of the Psalm, imo). It amused me to see another denomination making up silly rules (as up to that point, I’d only been exposed to the man-made restrictions of the IFB).

  2. I noticed on their schedule–they don’t have a morning worship service or a Sunday worship service–its just preaching. But they have an afternoon service? So at 11 AM do you just get preaching? Then in the afternoon you get the hymns and the choir? plus more preaching?

    In seminary, we were always asked what is central to worship. You can tell by the arrangement of the sanctuary–is the pulpit, the band, or the Table centered? But you can also tell in the order of service…..It seems to me if you are calling the 11AM activity preaching then preaching is the highest form of worship. The MOG is central and the only active player in the service. But I could be wrong.

    1. Dear Leanne:

      On that ‘central to the service’ thing…

      I grew up on ‘preaching’ theory.

      I now incline toward the Eucharist.

      Christian Socialist

    2. You got it right, Leanne.

      This is in Madison, AL, outside of Huntsville. They can get away with Sunday afternoon “services” (I use that term loosely) because there are no professional major-league sports in Alabama. College football is everything, and the games are on Saturdays.

      So, the MOG can have his Sunday school, his preaching and his afternoon “worship,” and still get home for a Sunday afternoon nap.

        1. Yeah, Talladega. My wife used to work there–not at the race track but at the Alabama School for Deaf and Blind.

  3. This particular Church’s doctrinal statement prompts me to ask a question to the board about the connection between dispensationalism and King James Onlyism. Specifically, do folks of this mindset believe that C. I. Scofield’s notes are “inspired” in the same manner as they believe the KJV is? It seems to me that one would almost have to take that position to be intellectually consistent.

    1. They only consider scofields notes inspired when he agrees with them. Both positions come from an inability/lack of interest in preaching the whole bible, exegetically. If you just want to proof text, both are possible, but if you go verse by verse, sooner or later dispensationalism and kjv onlyism falls apart.

    2. Dispensationalism is a separate issue from KJVonlyism. Both arise from a need to be “the elect” – special, chosen, while the rest of the world is treated as trash. Dispensations teaching began with John Nelson Darby in the early 1800s when he began to hear God talking to him. It has been refined, stretched, politicized and used as a tool to capture Christians into supporting ungodly policies thinking they were opposing worse.

    1. Dear Dwelling in Imladris:

      Not exactly. It’s all house.

      Or is that bss aackward…

      Christian Socialist

  4. It kind of looks like it was inspired by the architect who designed David Koresh’s cult compound.

  5. The 2nd picture from the top shows the church’s bible kawlege. It is the building on the right.

    1. I’m surprised to see a window AC unit. Why doesn’t a building in Alabama have central air?

      1. Probably the building was originally a warehouse or a barn or something. Whatever is habitable on the second floor was added later.

        When I lived in Montgomery we had central AC but also window ACs in two rooms where the central AC wasn’t quite enough.

  6. Noticed on his website that he has three whole years of the finest training that Peter Ruckman can provide (PBI). Well, I guess that makes him a master theologian.

  7. Dear SFL Reader:

    This isn’t the first time a fundystan ‘church’ was posted twice within a few days. But then, it really isn’t that common either.

    Should someone tell him?

    ‘Pastor’ Andy Grant

  8. So, in his testimony, he said he shut the church down. Did they leave the sign up? It does look like a bit like a biker bar.

    But, you can’t knock the guy, his testimony includes little flashy, swish things. He was probably so proud of them.

    1. Natalie, I think you have this joint confused with the one somewhere in the Carolinas on Dick Road that Darrell blessed us with the other day.

      This post features a religious group in Alabama.

    1. Ignore this comment then. Different people.

      I’ll just go sit on my butt cushion then…. And sulk.

    2. Probably because most Southerners that have been there for generations descended from Scots and Scot-Irish. The tenacious contentious nature stereotypically attributed to that ethnic group is characteristic of their churches as well….always breaking off and starting another church. OK, alright, I’m profiling but that’s OK in certain cases I’m told.

        1. The kilts are cool, though. At our local annual Celtic Festival and Highland Games, it’s wall-to-wall kilts.

        2. You’re in good company BJG. In all fairness, the American Revolution was won, at least in part, by the Scot-Irish. Who better to fight the arrogant Brits? I’ve been reading about them lately and watched a couple of documentaries. My mom’s people came from that stock. After learning more about them I realized why Mom (God rest her soul) was always itchin’ for a fight.

        3. Ironically, my Scots-Irish ancestors settled in Madison County Alabama by 1804.

          They became slave-holders. I’m thankful I live 4,000 miles northwest of that place now.

    3. Well, Jimmy was James I of England and James VI of Scotland. That’s where the “United Kingdom” comes from. Other than that, I got nothin’.

      1. That’s supposed to be a reply to Natalie’s question about the tartan, waaaaaay up-thread. Thanks, George!

    1. You owe me now, Jay.
      I clicked on that video, and I can scarcely remember a time when a promise of “wickedness” has been so unfulfilled.

        1. The center of all things that matter, you mean.

          Roll Tide, Roll Tide, Roll Tide!

    1. Obviously, walking on the sidewalk while not understanding English justifies the cops breaking your back.
      Right? Right?
      Can I get an “amen,” somebody?

        1. Scorpio, there’s a difference between hating America and hating things like this that happen in America.

        2. Dear Scorpio:

          It’s convenient to have someone you can knee-jerk blame-and-hate first. It is my observation that those who use the ‘you always blame/hate America first’ are sometimes the very people who always blame/hate gays first. Go figure…

          Christian Socialist

      1. Appalling, shameful, and disturbing. It seems that the police have transitioned from public service to legalized thuggery superseded only by extreme ignorance. I hope those cops fry. What could they possibly have hoped to gain by roughing up a frail harmless man? If he has permanent paralysis, the cost of his care should come out of those cops’ pension funds.

        1. Dear nomoreculottes:

          I suspect many citizens would be amazed/appalled at the regularity with which such ‘policing’ happens. Other countries [say the UK, Germany, Canada, etc.] see eight, ten, perhaps a dozen or so killed by police each year. Most weeks, we have done that by Wednesday. Many more die in custody than are reported.

          Christian Socialist

        2. “Appalling, shameful, and disturbing. It seems that the police have transitioned from public service to legalized thuggery superseded only by extreme ignorance.”

          This department doesn’t represent every department in the country. Saying “the police” lumps all departments together, and one can’t possibly know if every officer would act this way. Keep in mind that the media will not usually show the countless times that an officer, in real danger, doesn’t use force. Nor will it outline the procedures for use of force to protect both citizen and officer.

          Each case must be handled seperately instead of saying “all cops are bad” or “all people who ______ are bad”.

          If we’re going to find harmony between the community and police, we have GOT to stop taking sides, and work towards a peaceful union.

        3. Ahh, yes, the “Let’s not learn from example” argument.

          True, not every cop would do the same, even in the most violent of departments. And yet, put a pin in a map for each example of such overreach and you will find a fairly uniform distribution with respect to population.

          In other words, police thuggery is common and accepted. So much so that we were warned in the schools that if it was suspected there was a potential shooter on campus, anyone not locked down inside a classroom would be fair game to be shot on sight, with no time taken to see if they were actually armed. Their first duty, we were told, was to protect themselves.

          The police presentation was pretty explicit. If you don’t do exactly what they say, you die. Not their fault. They don’t have to be right.

          Wake up, Natalie. The police defend and serve themselves. Not us. They are, as a group, out of control.

        4. I am certain that most police officers do not act like the horrible one in that video.
          But the system is broken in that officers are usually free to commit brutality and other illegalities with impunity. Even the good officers help cover for the bad ones, because they will suffer severe retaliation if they don’t.
          In my state, it is automatically a capital offense for a citizen to kill a police officer, but police officers who kill citizens are in most cases not even charged with any wrongdoing.
          There doesn’t seem to be any effective system for weeding out the psychopaths and sadists from our police departments.

        5. When you say “officers”, that implies ALL departments across the country. Keep that in mind.

          I’m for mediation on both sides of the police vs. community argument. If not, this country is going to stay in a civil war.

          Remember, officers are being ambushed and killed, too. Those stories don’t get reported. I hear about them. Remember, I’m an LEO wife. When all fingers are pointed at the police, it only serves to encourage further loss of life. Why should an innocent officer be ambushed because of another one? Why should I have to worry DAILY that my husband will be ambushed and die?

          We have to find common ground on BOTH sides.

        6. Officers kill far more people than are killed.

          I would not want to see your husband killed. If it happened, I would want to see justice done. Then again, if your husband killed someone, I would want to see justice done.

          When a cop asked my children to get out of a car they are driving for no reason other than a taillight was out, something was wrong, and not with my kids. When they asked to search the car without a warrant and would not state probable cause, they were wrong.

          If the police ever wish to be respected, they will have to treat people with respect and dignity. Too many do not. We cannot afford to see this as a case by case problem. It is an epidemic.

  9. Notice that the pastor attended “PBI” (Pensacola Bible Institute, which is Peter Ruckman’s “college”).

    That explains a lot.

      1. Those in the Ruckman camp have ideas about the book King Jim commissioned that are a bit more extreme than say, those from that place in Greenville. If you understand Ruckman’s ideas, you have an idea how his grads might think. If I ran into a young whippersnapper at the mall and he invited me to a new church he started, I probably wouldn’t attend. I definitely wouldn’t attend if I knew he just graduated from Fundy U.

        Many of us here at SFL have attended – or worse yet, graduated from – a Fundy U. While we don’t believe most of that malarkey these days, knowing where we’ve come from helps others to understand us better.

        1. I understand the rationale of associating this pastors beliefs with where he graduated from, but I think it might be unfair to assume that every kooky idea Dr. Ruckman ever pronounced in his 60 plus year ministry is shared and espoused by everybody who ever learned the Bible from him. I know scads of PBI graduates and one of our favorite topics of discussions is where we disagree not only with each other, but with “Doc”.
          I think the SFL crowd does a lot of ‘guilt by association” and makes assumptions about good men with little evidence to back it up other than that those good men fall under the designation of “fundy”.
          And no, I don’t know this pastor and I am not familiar with this church.
          I also didn’t graduate from PBI though I did audit some classes and I have a great affinity for its founder.

        2. I don’t know that anyone here believes that if you go to a particular college that you automatically espouse that particular set of doctrines. It is a guideline.

          If you heard that so-and-so graduated with a BA and an MDiv from PCC, you’d probably be surprised if so-and-so told you he’s always been a Unitarian. Or is a Catholic deacon. It’s a guideline.

        3. “I think the SFL crowd does a lot of “guilt by association” and makes assumptions about good men with little evidence to back it up other than that those good men fall under the designation of “fundy.””

          Like you, I don’t want to see decent people unfairly maligned. At the same time, a phrase from my fundy days comes to mind–“running with wrong crowd.”

  10. Pastor’s Wife–

    Surely you remember a post from a month or two ago about a preacher whose name was God?

    “Dr.” God, I think.

    I didn’t like him much.

        1. Dear SFL Reader:

          Oh, and he DIDN’T live on Dick Street… He was PCA, and a decent guy.

          Christian Socialist

  11. I’d love to put up a sign in front of an old dilapidated building that said:
    We Don’t Believe the Bible Baptist Church
    KJV 1769
    No Evening Service

  12. I wonder how much it help this church’s outreach to announce they “rightly divide” the AV 1611. What, really, does it mean to “divide” a Bible? Most people would have no idea what this church is talking about.

    1. 2 Timothy 2:15
      Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

      “Rightly dividing” was a descriptor used for emphasis on dispensational teaching. Ruckmann was hyper-dispensationalist. The Plymouth Brethren are heavily dispensationalist, and Baptist eschatology follows that teaching, though they’d never admit it.

      1. According to my liberal godless yadda yadda translation (RSV), the word the KJV mistranslates as “dividing” is actually “handling” and the verse is part of a passage about how to be a good preacher. Not, you know, a bibliomancer.

        1. Yup. And they would tell you that handling implies dividing materials as a craftsman does so the right materials are used for the right job, etc. After all, you don’t mix materials, use scraps, or miss-matched items.

          And so they then proceed to tell you what matches and what doesn’t. From their perspective. Of course everyone else is wrong! They are shoddy workmen.

        2. I heard an IFB preacher one time call the RSV the “reversed standard version”. Never could find any real difference compared to the KJV except it didn’t have all the thee’s and thou’s. I heard another pastor jokingly call the NIV the “nearly inspired version” in his sermon about the various translations, he didn’t diss any of them. I personally like the Amplified version, heretic that I am, having been introduced to it by Joyce Meyer on TV. Oh dear, am I going to hell???!

      2. And the word “study” doesn’t mean study, as in, academics. It simply means work hard or try hard.

        the Admiral

    2. I don’t disagree with your answers, but the fact that “rightly dividing” needs your answers show the obscurity of the phrase.

      1. Yes, but these people really only want to attract others who are like them, not those who need these phrases explained.

      2. It probably made a lot more sense to the 1611 translators. Vocabulary changes, meanings shift, and words and phrases drop out of use. See also: Shakespeare’s _Hamlet_ “I know a hawk from a handsaw.” Which actually means “I know a hawk from a hansel (East Anglian dialect for ‘heron’). Probably, some early hearer wasn’t from East Anglia, and wrote what he thought he heard. Shakespeare didn’t preserve the scripts for his plays, so they were re-written from actors’ and hearers’ memories. Or so said my English professor a lot of years ago .

    3. In the first Bible study group I went to, we sang a chorus of that passage. And after singing it one time in Bible study, the leader of the study said “I know there are some new Christians here. Do any of you new ones know what that means?” Of course, we didn’t. (He told the ones who had been going for awhile not to answer.) And then he went on to say how it meant to learn the truth of what the Bible really says. I learned a lot from that study. It was a Conservative Baptist group.

    1. Sometimes I think the main function of Alabama is to make Mississippi feel better about itself.

      1. Yes. In Alabama there’s a well-known slogan:

        “Thank God for Mississippi. It makes Alabama look good.”

        1. Not to mention that there’s better beer in the land of my ancestors. (I don’t even like Guinness but it sure beats Bud and PBR).

  13. You are wrong. I am interested in actual solutions. But I haven’t heard of many from the police side.

    Body cameras can help, but only if they are always on and cannot be manipulated by the officers or the police force, and again, only if they are accessible. If the police refuse to release the raw, unedited video, well, …. Too many lies are told.

    The fact that police are in a position of authority means they need extraordinary scrutiny, just as we have seen is needed among fundamentalist pastors and Men of God. Power corrupts. People die.

    My own, white children have been treated as suspects without cause. It scared them.

    So, when pulled over for going 30 in a 20 mile per hour trap (inadvertently, I assure you), was it necessary for three police cars to be lined up behind me with their lights all flashing? It seemed to me to be excessive and intimidating. It was just me and my children in the car. Yes, I should have paid better attention at 11:00 at night on those empty streets. But really?

    We are finally beginning to see some few cops charged with murder, as is appropriate in more cases than are in the public eye.

    I understand, Natalie. You are in a tough spot. I have nothing against you or your husband. I just don’t like seeing people die without just cause. A toy gun is not just cause. A phone is not just cause. Selling a single cigarette is not just cause. But more people are beginning to video their interactions with the police, and that is good. And more people are calling for an end to the war on marijuana.

    There must be a better way to police than so much of what we are seeing. Even police officers themselves are saying things are broken and need to be fixed on their end.

  14. Sigh. I did not say that every cop was out of control. I do speak as a statistician. When a process has too many outliers the process as a whole is out of control.

    Policing will be “in control” when killings and abuses are rare, when civil rights are respected, and when the norm is that police are held responsible for whom they kill.

    Nor may you tell me to shut up and not criticize. It is our right and duty as citizens to hold those with authority responsible for what they do.

    Or do you suggest I give up my rights altogether?

  15. We frequently hear rebukes from people telling us we are unfair because not everyone does what we are noting a particular group does. And we are admonished not to judge the group as a whole, but to just take issues on an individual basis.

    But I note that God judges groups when clearly not everyone can be. “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. ” That is a clear exaggeration. Jesus accused the Scribes and the Pharisees as a group of hypocrisy and turning into commandments man-made doctrines. But it is reasonable to assume that there were good, honest and devout ones who didn’t fit the stereotype.

    An old adage says that you are known by the company you keep. Whether that is “fair” or not, it is true. If a youth associates with gang members, he is judged as being one of them. If a pastor associates with fundamentalist jerks, he participates in their activities. And if a police department has wrongdoing in it by some officers, every officer is viewed with suspicion.

    We have seen “good” pastors defend bad ones. We have seen people try to say that a problem with multiple occurrences isn’t a problem in a larger setting because each case should be viewed individually.

    Epidemiologists will tell you that kind of viewpoint leads to epidemics. Isolated cases really aren’t. Violent behaviors are infective, whether it is gangs or mobs or protests or policing.

    “Not every” is true. I agree. But we must look out for each other, be our “brothers’ keepers” and “bear each other’s burdens and so fulfill the Law of Christ.”

    That is what I think I am trying to get at.

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