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Posts Tagged ‘Fundy-ism’

Over on http://www.stufffundieslike.com forum a question was asked:

Why Did You Leave? Would You Go Back?
For those of you who have left Fundamentalism, and I think that’s probably most of you who post here, why did you leave? Was it the theology, or was it the culture? If it was the theology, what specifically about the theology drove you away? If it was the culture, what specifically about the culture drove you away?

My answer:

Why did I leave?

Most of you know my story and the history of deception and lies I encountered in the Independent Fundamental Baptist movement.
http://www.stufffundieslike.com/forum/showthread.php?tid=45

Why did I leave?  Why didn’t I stay and fight?
I believe that there is nothing worth salvaging in the IFB movement.  I believe it is a religious cult movement that should die a very public, and very convincing death.  The heart and core of IFB error is Theological Error.  The error lies in how the IFB presents and views God in relation to both the individual and the “Ministry” of the Local, sanctified, separated, sold-out, sanctimonious sect of believing believers.  According to IFB dogma the “Local church” is superior to all other things Christian.  In theory and in words they say they worship a sovereign God… but in practice God’s sovereignty ends with the
preeminence of the individual’s free-will.  In a nutshell, God is viewed as a reactive deity who frets around his heaven wringing his hands hoping that there will be someone to stand in the gap, make up the hedge, and come up with a masterful formula for winning souls to Christ.  Because we know that Church in the IFB is all about the numbers.

Numbers and power actually.
I am more convinced than ever that,   Most churches today have a “pastor” who oversees the entire operation, and there may be a deacon board that is either working with the pastor or against him… either way it is doubtful that either “office” is operating biblically. With the advent of the Professional Clergy there has been a rise in the cult of personality as well. The Professional is seen in a light that is clearly not biblical and we see that whether by “influence” or by acquired “authority” these men rise to prominence. Even the small rural churches are patterned after this and the pastor is looked on as a man of authority over the congregation. And there is the rub.
Even the meanest paid rural “pastor” would not willingly give up “his power” over even the smallest group of people. It is not about the money, heaven knows many, if not most, small congregations pay at or below the poverty level. No, it is about power to influence and control a group of people and mold their worldviews.(This is the danger of the passive approach to worship where a one-way conversation takes place.  The only view allowed in these meetings is the pastor’s.  This affords almost total control by the speaker to inject his own views as ‘god breathed’.  Whatever the “anointed”, “man of god” says while behind the “sacred desk” will be seen as, and accepted as, the “word of God”.) That is an especially strong allure for men of lesser character who are drawn to such positions. I have no doubt that there are good men who are trying to do what is right in these positions and I commend them and pray for them but the position itself is the enabler, the seductress; and even the best of men will, sooner or later, succumb to the temptation of power. We see a picture of this in J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings Trillogy”.   As a Ring Bearer, Frodo Baggins had an awful burden to carry yet, even he failed in the end and succumbed to the power of the ring; unable to destroy it he claimed it for himself.  The thread through-out the tale is about power, the use and the abuse of it.  Many who would have taken the ring would have done so out of a noble purpose but would have been corrupted by it’s power and their corruption would (like Sauron) only be limited by the (unlimited) power of the ring.

Would I go back?
No, not even if my life depended on it.
I truly do not believe that the IFB movement is worth saving, and I truly believe that it is a cult.  A very seductive powerful cult that relies more on the abilities of man and less on the power of the god it claims to serve.  That may sound harsh and it may be.  I know that God does work in the midst of even the very worst of these bunkers.  But I do believe that the error and the man made traditionalism and the King James only idolatry that is practiced in these dens of sanctimonious piety is deadly poison to  sanctam ecclesiam catholicam; sanctorum communionem.  (the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints)

Where am I at spiritually now?
That is the hardest thing about leaving the IFB bassinet, one has to start thinking for oneself.  I was fortunate in that about the time I left the enfolding tentacles of the IFB, I broke my ankle.  How was that fortunate?  I was able to spend almost 6 months examining my worldview.  I was able to take a long hard look at who I was in Christ, what I actually believed, why I believed it and I wrestled with several items that I had to abandon because there was no reason other than man-made traditionalism that I was holding to them.   It’s much tougher than having someone spoon-feed you how you should act and think.  But the realization that you are no longer performing according to someone else’s standards is very spiritually refreshing!  Yes, there are often doubts and you find you might be out on a limb that you would not have climbed before… but the learning experience is so worth it.

In conclusion, I know that there are brothers and sisters in Christ who have a death grip on their comfortable religion and practices in the IFB bunkers which they live and breathe.  But I have found so much fellowship with other brothers and sisters in Christ outside the bunker system that I could never go back into the cave to stay.

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Enter the Reverend Bubba Flavel

So Sayeth the Shepherd!So sayeth the shepherd

So Sayeth the Flock!

 

Sheeple under the Steeple

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The Godfather of Preachertainment! 

                     The Master Showman of the Social Gospel! 

The man who helped make underworld crime the business it is today! 

I give you the one, the only……Heeeerrrrreeeeee’s   Billy

 

Pssst! Billy!  Billy!…. Where’s your Bible? 

Aren’t you going to preach from Scripture? 

No? 

O    k-a-y  ?????

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Want to increase your evangelism effectiveness?

 

Want to see an increase in the number of decisions you get each week?

 

Have we got a Program for you!

 

A Program for those who are serious about growing their church!

 …and don’t forget your breathmints

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Billy Sunday as: The Black Knight

Humm sounds vaguely familiar....

From the Land of Fundyism

Let’s quit fiddling with religion and do something to bring the world to Christ.

If you want to drive the devil out of the world, hit him with a cradle instead of a crutch.

I’m against sin.

I’ll kick it as long as I’ve got a foot, and I’ll fight it as long as I’ve got a fist.

I’ll butt it as long as I’ve got a head. I’ll bite it as long as I’ve got a tooth.

And when I’m old and fistless and footless and toothless, I’ll gum it till I go home to Glory and it goes home to perdition!”

Billy Sunday

“Go Git’em Billy!”
 
 

Elmer Gantry taken straight out of Billy’s playbook.

 Here’s the original! (begins @ 1:04)

Personally I thought Burt Lancaster did it better.

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Has anyone viewed the alter call as a typical cult trick?

What other “traditional” IFB routines are really mind/emotional control tactics?

Some of the answer is:

Altar calls are a modern manipulation started by Charles Finney in order to be able to make a head count so he would know how effective his manipulative techniques were. There is no “Altar” in a New Testament Church building. The Altar was where either an animal sacrifice was made or inscense was burned. There were no “Altar” calls practiced in the New Testiment Church until Finney started it. Finney did it solely to be able to get a head count of the “decisions” he had successfully brought about.
It has gotten harder to get people down to the “altar” so now all people are asked to do is raise their hands.

As for other mind control tricks, there is the whole range of rhetoric and falacious arguments from the pulpit, Ad Hominem, strawman arguments (here’s a list: http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org/skeptic/arguments.html#hominem ) most pastors are either religious Sophists or ignorant and unlearned men glorying in their ignorance and lack of education.

One of my favorite tricks is the pregnant pause…… and if the “preacher” does not get an immediate “Amen” or “Preach it Brother” then he will ask for one. And if he’s not getting enough “Amens” or “PIB’s” He will inject his own either with a “Amen?” or a “Now that’ll preach…” or “I don’t care if I am preaching, that deserves an ‘amen’!” These are subtle ways the “preacher” lets “his” congregation know that they need to appreciate his preaching more.

There is always the Immaculate Message announcement as the “self-anointed man of god” mounts the pulpit and stands behind the “sacred desk” and tells what an awful time he has had getting peace about what to preach, when all of a sudden that beautiful song by Sister Peaches Spandexburst  touched his heart and the Holy Spirit gave him the message. This sets up his message as god-breathed and prepares the audience to accept eveything he is about to say is infallable and directly from the throne of god. (kool-aide line forms on the right, bro Jim Jones will be serving today)

Can anyone think of some others?

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Now I understand why Hyles made such a big deal about halitosis, I see the source of the problem.

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In John R.Rice’s  pamplet, “Personal Soul Winning,”  he gives a shout out to Jack Hyles’ pamplet,

“HOW TO BOOST YOUR CHURCH ATTENDANCE.

In it there is a passage:

“If a person is going to be a soul winner he must not be offensive to the people with whom he talks. It is a definite asset for a soul winner to be careful to bathe often, to avoid body odor. Teeth should be brushed, and breath should be tested. Carry mints in your pockets or some good flavored chewing gum which will help keep the breath from being offensive. One of the most damaging things in soul winning is the effect of halitosis. By all means, a soul winner should watch this carefully.”

Bring out the Holy Breath Tester!”
Haaa
“Thy breath be minty fresh go thou and winneth souls”… “Next!
Haaaa……
“Thy breath be most foul and couldst knock a buzzard off a week old corpse at 50 paces. Go thou immediately and brushest thy teeth seven times. Rinse thy mouth with ListerScopetamint after each brushing. Then return here and present your breath for the administering of the Holy breath spray. Then, if thy breath be clean, thou mayest be counted worthy to go forth and winneth souls.”

And here all this time I thought it was the drawing of the Holy Spirit by the hearing of the word of God that sinners came to salvation by Grace through faith.  I had no idea that it was the minty fresh breath of the soulwinner that made the difference.

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Recently I overheard an acquaintance talking about one of his favorite rites or rituals of Spring. He was gushing about how the springtime was when many churches in the area held Revivals. He is right, and for a time in the spring you could almost attend church 7 days a week for a month or more. The more I thought about it the more it disturbed me. The more I began to think on the heretic who began Revivalism in America, Charles Grandison Finney.

I will not recount Finney’s history or his manipulation and lies to gain his ordination. I do want to point to several resources that give that history, and then some that discuss the results of such man centered attempts at evangelism.

A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
How Charles Finney’s Theology Ravaged the Evangelical Movement
http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/articles/finney.htm

Charles Finney and American Revivalism (WHI) parts 1-4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXYxIYQO8Xs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPXNRE532wY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72W3tmwJNdk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SCjstS3FI0

The Dangers of Charles Finney’s “Theology” (Kielar) parts1-2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoQ-bVytIAk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BT6rL1bvw3w

In the end if you will honestly consider the damage Finney did to Christianity in America and see how the results of his heresy have influenced much of our form of worship in America today, then you should begin to question those practices. Judge them for yourself: are they Biblical? Or are they merely Man-made traditionalism?
Why do we have such a preoccupation with Revivals? Why do we call so many of our spring and fall meetings “Revivals?” Why do we call those meetings “revivals” before they have begun? What is being revived?

Personally I will no longer attend such meetings. In the past, the ones I have attended were not much more than exercises to stir up people’s emotions. It is much like giving a religious junkie an emotional fix. Everyone comes out of those meetings talking about how good the hard preaching was, how the evangelist stepped on their toes, and what a sweet spirit was there. Was the word of God taught? Was it? People have told me “Oh yes! He preached on sin. Or he preached on this or that.”

I am 46 years old and I have been in church since my mother was able to take me. I have sat through many, many “revivals” and “revival meetings” and I know from all those experiences that by far the vast majority of them were preacher-tainment sermons that were wrapped up with manipulative emotional appeals to get a visible result from the people. The most used vehicles for gauging the success of the meetings is how many you got saved for one and how many came down to the “Altar” at the end of the emotional ride for another.

Now if you have stayed with me this far I have a question to ask. Do you know that the “Altar” was not a device used in churches until after Finney made it fashionable? I do believe there are sincere godly men who truly believe they are doing God’s work that are involved with these Revivalist meetings… and I believe they are just as sincerely and truly wrong. Just as in Finney’s day these Emotional preacher-tainment venues do more harm to the Gospel of Christ than they do good, and leave the people with a false sense: of what the Gospel is, Who God is, and What Grace is; more than we will ever know this side of eternity.

Last questions: You do know that God does not love you any more for the number of “Revivals” you attend… don’t you? You also know God doesn’t love you more for going down to some imaginary “Altar” and praying don’t you? You do know that there is no such thing as the sinner’s prayer don’t you?

And finally: You do know that such a prayer will not save you… don’t you?

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