Sarah Smith of the Star Telegram Exposes Hundreds of Instances of Sex Abuse in the IFB


Image by Ryan Ashton

“The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” Albert Einstein

_____________

This is a story that needed to be told and kudos to Sarah Smith of the Star Telegram for doing so. Shortly after starting this blog, I had an opportunity to meet Jeri Massi who wrote a book that gave me nightmares. That book, Schizophrenic Christianity: How Christian Fundamentalism Attracts and Protects Sociopaths, Abusive Pastors, and Child Molesters. That book has since been updated.

Before I go any further, for you Dr Who fans, this is THE Jeri Masse of Dr Who fandom. She has a blog Blog on the Way: Information and resources to assist victims of church abuse in Christian Fundamentalism

What is the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist movement/church?

Wikipedia says it this way.

Independent Baptist churches (some also called Independent Fundamental Baptist, Independent Fundamentalist Baptist or IFB) are Christian congregations, generally holding to conservative (primarily fundamentalist) Baptist beliefs. The term independent refers to the doctrinal position of church autonomy and a refusal to join any affiliated Baptist denomination, convention or hierarchical structure.

The Independent Baptist tradition began in the late 19th and early 20th centuries among local denominational Baptist congregations whose members were concerned about the advancement of modernism and liberalism into national Baptist denominations and conventions in the United States and the United Kingdom.[1]

In response to the concerns, some local Baptist churches separated en masse from their former denominations and conventions and reestablished the congregations as Independent Baptist churches. In other cases, the more conservative members of existing churches withdrew from their local congregations and set about establishing new Independent Baptist churches.[2]

Let me tell you two stories that happened at an IFB church in my area to give you an idea of the *rules* of the IFB.

  1. A girl went to a concert at the church wearing pants. She was not allowed inside the church. In the IFB, women must wear skirts/dresses which are defined as women’s clothes. Men must wear shirts and ties (often with jackets) in the church because that is what men wear.
  2. A boy was expelled from school for listening to country western music.

There is a blog called Baptist Deception which exposes the strange beliefs of this group of churches. KJV stands for the King James Version of the Bible which is the only real translation in this group.

My name is Steve Sorenson. I was born and raised in the Independent Fundamental Baptist church.  I was part of their abusive traditions for over 25 years.  My family went to church every time the doors were open.  We were there for Sunday school, Sunday morning service, Sunday evening service, Wednesday evening prayer meeting/youth group, and Thursday evening evangelism. I grew up believing that I had to act, dress, behave, talk and sing a certain way in order to be accepted by God.  I had to sing their music, read their books, study their literature, play the sports they deemed were appropriate, and use only the KJV or else I was considered a rebel unworthy of the title Christian.  Nothing I did was ever good enough.  I believed that I had to be perfect in order for God to like me.

We went to a big church that also had a Christian school so I received the same messages about myself and God at school from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.  I was physically and emotionally abused by teachers, class mates and church staff for many years.  I was called names and paddled for almost no reason at all.  I felt like I was walking on egg shells the whole time.  I was never allowed to explore the real me.  I had to be who they wanted and expected me to be, basically a robot.  I’m still struggling with who I am and who God made me to be.

In my opinion, this group of churches is cult-like, seemingly ignoring grace while imposing *biblical* rules that are made up by the leaders.(I sure can’t find them in the Bible.)

The IFB appears cultish but are admired by men like John Piper who support them.

It is the silence of men like Piper that gives the IFB a pass. Piper wrote Praise God for Fundamentalists in 2007. Here are some things he had to say as he responded to their criticism of his compromise of the *fundamentals.*

What I want to say about Fundamentalism is that its great gift to the church is precisely the backbone to resist compromise and to make standing for truth and principle a means of love rather than an alternative to it. I am helped by the call for biblical separation, because almost no evangelicals even think about the doctrine.

So I thank God for fundamentalism, and I think that some of the whining about its ill effects would have to also be directed against the black-and-white bluntness of Jesus.

Piper’s response is classic. He, along with many other Christian leaders, appear to have ignored the serious issues within this group just like they ignored the problems in Sovereign Grace Ministries, extolling their supposed virtues and ignoring the blatant problems.

Here he defended them again in 20 Reasons I Don’t Take Potshots at Fundamentalists.

  • They are humble and respectful and courteous, and even funny (at least the ones I’ve met).
  • They believe in truth.
  • They believe that truth really matters.
  • They believe that the Bible is true — all of i.t
  • They know that the Bible calls for some kind of separation from the world.
  • They have backbone and are not prone to compromise principle.
  • They resist trendiness.

But Piper either didn’t do his homework or he ignored the reports that had been coming out of the IFB for years.

Sex abuse and the IFB: When my eyes opened.

In 2011, I wrote a post: Is The Independent Fundamental Baptist Church Any Different Than the Southern Baptist Convention and Sovereign Grace Ministries? Here is what I had to say 7 years ago.

Last year I read Schizophrenic Christianity: How Christian Fundamentalism Attracts and Protects Sociopaths, Abusive Pastors, and Child Molesters by Jeri Massi.

I was dumbfounded at the reported number of pastors accused and convicted of child molestation. What is shocking is that many of these men continue to be involved in positions of leadership. The pastors, seen as specially anointed, are shielded from blame. Instead, the victim, who is under the age of consent, is usually censured for pursuing justice and there is a concerted effort to isolate and shun the victim of abuse.

The book also discusses the extreme patriarchal views that are taught in the IFB. Men are seen as the head of the church and family while women take a distant, secondary role. In this system, when there is a man and a woman at odds, the male “head” gets protected while the women are thrown to the wolves.

The following quote from the above link at Amazon tells the story. (Pastors)

“…hold themselves above accountability by merging into a system that refuses to police itself or institute rules of behavior for its clergy.”

Here are my impressions of the IFB after I read Massi’s book.

  • It’s led by authoritarian pastors
  • Teaches a belief that disobeying the pastor could lead to serious punishment by God.
  • Outward appearances are used to disguise inward perversity
  • There is a refusal to deal with serious sin, often letting it be hidden to *protect the church.*

These factors contributed to a group of churches which attracts child molesters, abuser and sociopaths. Hmmm that sounds a lot like Jeri Massi’s book title. I told my husband that Schizophrenic Christianity was one of the most disturbing book I had ever read. It opened my eyes to the evil which resides within the IFB.

I know there are some nice people in the IFB but far too many of them close their eyes to the vile actions of leaders. It is my hope that Sarah Smith’s report will force them to deal with the depravity in their midst.

Hundreds of sex abuse allegations found in fundamental Baptist churches across U.S.

Here are some numbers of abuse allegation in the IFB from Sarah Smith’s report in the Star Telegram.

  • The Star-Telegram discovered at least 412 allegations of sexual misconduct in 187 independent fundamental Baptist churches and their affiliated institutions, spanning 40 states and Canada.
  • 21 abuse allegations were uncovered exclusively by the Star-Telegram,(ed. Thank you for your work!) and others were documented in criminal cases, lawsuits and news reports.
  • At least 45 of the alleged abusers continued in ministry after accusations came to the attention of church authorities or law enforcement.

The report brings to light disturbing revelations.

  • Victims said the number of abused is far greater because few victims ever come forward.
  • For many alleged offenders, the statutes on the crimes have expired.
  • Many of the allegations involve men whose misconduct has long been suspected in the independent fundamental Baptist community.
  • Even pastors have for the first time — in interviews with the Star-Telegram — acknowledged they moved alleged abusers out of their churches rather than call law enforcement.

Why victims say the IFB churches are cult-like.

  • Constant pressure not to question pastors
  • People cannot leave the church
  • IFB leaders rule by fear
  • If one disobeys the pastor, punishment, presumably from God, would occur.
  • Description by (ex)members of IFB pastors: The “man of God” is chosen by God and is the church’s direct link to him. To question the pastor is to question God.

Two examples of how pastors rules by fear

  1. The photo was of the son of a Windsor Hills family who told Vineyard they were going to leave the church. Vineyard warned them: If they did, God would punish them. They left, and the son died in a car crash.
  2. Scripture is misused to control.even children. Children learn the story of Elisha and the she-bears: As the prophet Elisha walks up the path toward Bethel, a group of children surrounds him and makes fun of his baldness. Two she-bears emerge from the woods and maul 42 of the children. The lesson: Don’t challenge the man of God. (Ed. For those of you unfamiliar with this story, here is one thought.)

The authority of the pastor is pervasive.

According to Smith, the pastor can have a say in who members date, where they vacations, and which house to buy.

The problem with *worldly* separation when it comes to reporting abuse to the authorities.

The insistence of separation from the world means that IFB members will not interact in any meaningful way with nonbelievers as well as with other Christians who do not see things they same way they do. But it goes even deeper than that. Members are instructed or encouraged to bring reports of criminal behavior to the pastor, not to the police.

Those who coverup abuse by pastors rarely experience repercussions while the victim of abuse is the one who must confess to the church. In fact, many abusive pastors are merely transferred to other churches.

One young woman, Lisa Messier was assaulted by her youth pastor, Mark Chapelle, when she was 16.

At 17, feeling like she had no other way to get out of the situation, Lisa Meister tried to kill herself.

Sitting in the hospital room, she told her pastor, Stephen Baker, why she did it.

Ultimately, Meister’s parents and Chappell were asked to appear before the church to repent for their sins.

“It wasn’t said, ‘This man preyed on this girl,’ ‘This man violated this girl,’” Meister said. “It was put out before the church as two people who sinned together. Like I was just as guilty as he was in the eyes of the church.”

When Chappell moved to a new church, Baker said he made the leadership in the new church aware of the allegations.

“I worked very closely with our leadership, and we felt we had tried to do what was in the very best interest of really, two situations,” Baker said. “The church and both parties.”

…In retrospect, he said, he should have taken more time to decide what to do and let Lisa Meister’s parents know that there were options besides church discipline.

Chappell now pastors Freeway Baptist Church in Phoenix, Arizona. He is part of one of the most prominent families in the movement

The Star Telegram likened (correctly, in my opinion,) the IFB to the Roman Catholic Church which routinely moved their priest abusers from church to church.

The cover-ups are reminiscent of the scandals of the Roman Catholic Church, but distinctly different.

Decisions in the Catholic Church are made within a hierarchical structure that governs all churches. Independent fundamental Baptist churches operate with no oversight or structure outside their own walls.

One thing does bind the churches that face abuse accusations: a culture that uses fear to control and gives men in power the role of unquestioned and ultimate authority. In that environment, abuse has visited scores of fundamental Baptist churches.

And many abusers have escaped consequence-free, often with the help of the pastor in charge.

The Star Telegram outlined three responses by IFB leaders and pastors to abusive pastors/leaders.

  1. Pastors ship suspected abusers to other churches or church-affiliated schools led by one of their friends from Bible college or the speaking circuit. Both have full knowledge of what happened
  2. Pastors recommend a suspected abuser for a new job without informing the church or school about the allegations.
  3. Pastors pressure victims to keep quiet, telling them they’ll ruin the alleged abuser’s ministry or the pastors simply don’t believe the accusations. They can also bring in a law firm that specializes in the independent fundamental Baptist movement

The Christian Law Association is devoted to helping pastors fix *problems.*

The Christian Law Association has been involved in at least a dozen cases of alleged church abuse, according to court documents and interview.

….In a 2012 newsletter, the association recommended that church leaders talk to their attorney, conduct an internal investigation and contact their insurance carrier before considering a call to authorities.

According to the Star Telegram, David Gibbs III who worked with his father to defend IFB churches, left the group and started a new firm to help the victims!

Gibbs III represents victims of church abuse, although many women remain skeptical because of his earlier work. He said, in his experience, pastors often protect the church over the congregation.

Ashely Easter tells her story.

The article has a number of stories of former members of the IFB. Here is one from someone TWW readers might recognize. (Proud of you, Ashley.)
This article is an incredible, in-depth look at the very real history of sex abuse in the IFB. Not only do we hear from victims, the article interviewed pastors and members who explain the *rules* of the IFB that leads to this abuse. It is lengthy and well worth the read. I have merely touched on the overall reporting.
There is story after story and video after video that are eyeopening and deeply disturbing. I cannot begin to review every part of this lengthy and incredibly in-depth exposé. Please read as much of it as you can. Sadly, such stories are not limited to the IFB. It is my opinion that we will be seeing more investigative reporting which will explore abuse in many of the conservative Protestant denominations since it appears that such churches refuse to monitor themselves.
__________

Here are several article that TWW has written about the IFB.

After all of this information, you will be on overload. However, I know you will want to join me in giving thanks the Star Telegram and Sarah Smith for an incredible exposé of the IFB.There are more exposes to come and all of them are needed.If the church will not police itself, social and news media will.


Comments

Sarah Smith of the Star Telegram Exposes Hundreds of Instances of Sex Abuse in the IFB — 135 Comments

  1. Bring on the media and call out those evil clowns. So amazed at how the SBC responded this way to Aderholt’s crime. Not seeing a difference of substance between SBC and IFB except the quality of suits. Protect the predator and ignore the victim. Image management is job 1 apparently. And what has been exposed in 2018 is the tip of the iceberg. Horrific. At least we have the Wheaton Summit to save the day. SMH!

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  2. Re. from the OP:

    KJV stands for the King James Version of the Bible which is the only real translation in this group.

    Known as “KJV Onlyism.”

    KJV-Onlies refer to other Bible versions as “perversions” and think all other versions (or their underlying manuscripts) were tainted and corrupted by Roman Catholics, New Agers, lesbians, and I forget who all else.

    KJVOs/ IFBs were anything but polite and courteous when talking to anyone who doesn’t share their views at some sites I used to visit.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  3. Deborah: Not seeing a difference of substance between SBC and IFB except the quality of suits.

    OK, this comment wins.
    I can just see those shiney, garish jackets!

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  4. From Stuff Fundies Like:-

    Come and listen to a story ’bout a preacher named Jed.
    Poor rural parson barely kept his family fed.
    Then one day he went to Pastor’s School,
    And when he returned, he was a Fundy tool.
    (Gimmicks, that is. Proof texts. Lotsa rules.)

    Well the next thing you know, the Mega Church looks great,
    Buses everywhere throughout the Tri-State,
    New Basement Bible College and Academy,
    With just one man to rule so there is no anarchy.
    (Dictatorship that is. Pastoral Authority. IFB heroes.)

    Well, now its time to say goodbye to Jed and all his ilk.
    Now that he is doing time his wife’s no more in silk.
    You’re all invited to stop in on Thursday about noon
    To commiserate with the former Fundy church tycoon.
    (The Elm Street Embezzler. That’s what they call him now.
    Property auction in two weeks. Ya’ll come bid now, ya hear!)

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  5. drstevej:
    KJV Only Joke

    Q: Who is the first king mentioned in the Bible?
    A: James, on the cover

    Steve: Another one I have heard is-If the KJV was good enough for Paul it is good enough for us.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  6. This article really resonates with me. The church I attended was very independent, having little to do with other IFB church, and those it did associate with were carefully selected. My church and pastor were held up as a shining example of what an IFB church should be.

    But to me it had a cult-like feel. As stated in this post, the pastor was untouchable, always beyond reproach, the perfect pastor. Sexual abuse is not a part of the picture, but his treatment of victims of abuse certainly is. A man’s word was everything, and easily drowned out a woman’s word. So when my abusive spouse left, it was made clear to me that he was welcome back to the church anytime. And when he came back he was welcomed with open arms. My protest stepped on the pastor’s toes, so I was instantly out.

    A few months later a local newspaper published a story on an event in support of abuse victims, and I wrote a letter to the editor about abuse in general. The pastor saw it, and took it personally, and put an end to the only remaining friendship I had in the church. He cared more about himself, his reputation, his perspective, his toes, than about loving and support the victims of abuse who happened to attend his church. We are out, completely shunned, and he carries on undisputed ruler of his little kingdom. People think they respect him because he is so “wonderful” but I believe it is fear of his power, knowing if they cross him they are out, as they have seen happen to many.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  7. Adrian Romano,

    Oh my, I couldn’t help singing it.

    The question in my mind is ‘Do these places draw or breed monsters’?

    Note that many victims are children from broken or abused homes, who are less likely to have a support system or be believed if they speak up. Same with those abused by Gothard.

    We were naive parents, but chose to keep a very close eye on our kids rather than ‘warn’ them about ‘stranger danger’. We were totally ignorant of ‘friend danger’, and were stunned when our pastor warned his own kids not to be alone with any adult, including us. Only later did it occur to me to wonder why he did not teach the rest of us of this need, or seek to protect our innocent children.

    I would encourage all parents to talk with their children when they are very young, and tell them to never let anyone do anything with or to them that makes them feel uncomfortable; and I mean anything. They should be encouraged to talk about it if something happens that disturbs them, or that they do not understand, no matter who is involved – pastor, parent, relative, friend or stranger. I always thought such talk would be unnecessarily frightening for my children, but now believe that it is necessary for their protection. Funny how the secular world ‘got it’ way before the church did. Which is maybe why The Church became the last holdout to predators?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  8. mot: Another one I have heard is-If the KJV was good enough for Paul it is good enough for us.

    The thing is, the people I heard say this did not appear to know it was a joke.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  9. Maple Lady: We are out, completely shunned, and he carries on undisputed ruler of his little kingdom. People think they respect him because he is so “wonderful” but I believe it is fear of his power, knowing if they cross him they are out, as they have seen happen to many.

    So this is what I experienced too; only, it was so subtle, people didn’t know it was happening. You weren’t told outright to shun people, but the message was clear. I keep thinking of my innocent, elderly mother, who just wanted to know why everyone kept leaving, and what they had done? She was one of the few who kept in touch with the ‘undesirables’, and I eventually learned to reach back out as well. Funny how their stories are so different from the official narrative.

    I definitely think people were afraid, and if you are in a smaller community, and you have already tried out the other churches in town, where are you going to go? Also, these controlling churches often contact other churches in town to warn them that an individual is ‘under discipline’ and a ‘problem’ member. Now I understand the reason for insisting that all ‘must’ be part of an organized, institutional church to be approved by God. It gives them power over people.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  10. TS00: I would encourage all parents to talk with their children when they are very young, and tell them to never let anyone do anything with or to them that makes them feel uncomfortable; and I mean anything.

    My wife and I were just talking about this. We have dear friends who are using the Ezzo stuff (Growing Kid’s God’s Way) on their three kids, and we are trying to find a way to talk to them about this without making them defensive and digging their heels in. There is so much not to like about the Ezzo method, but a big part is the emphasis on “instant obedience.” We realized that for our daughter to become a strong and healthy adult, she needs to learn when NOT to obey authority. The only way for her to learn that is to practice it as a kid. So, we need to make room for her to be disobedient sometimes so that she can start to learn where that line is.

    This is anathema to the kind of Elisha-bear-quoting parenting system, but I think it is the only chance we have in a world where we now know how many adults who are in positions of authority abuse children.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  11. This such a heartbreaking story. Thanks Dee for the work you do on this. I don’t pray that much anymore, but I will be praying for everyone effected by this horrible abuse. I don’t know what else to add to this conversation than that.

    I was thinking about Piper’s comments you included in the post. I used to think the same way as Piper on this, so I think I can see the strength and weakness of his argument clearly. Theological conservatives often get frustrated that the views of a few crazies get attributed to all evangelicals. Fair enough, this is a somewhat disingenuous move. However, what evangelicals refuse to admit is how the fringe impacts the practice of more moderate churches. You might not be a full-blown Benny Hinn, but maybe you still cast out demons. You might not be doing a full I Kissed Dating Goodbye, but you still are suspicious of dating and teach your children to be scared of their sexuality. Maybe you aren’t KJV only, but you still demonize anyone who doesn’t buy inerrantism. I could go on and on, but I think you see the point. If evangelicals don’t admit the impact the fringe has on belief and practice, we can’t address any of these problems.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  12. Ricco,

    Yes, we were drawn into the instant obedience theology as well. And, I’m not gonna lie, it does make for more compliant, less obnoxious toddlers. I wanted a home that was peaceful and ‘safe’ for everyone, having grown up with an emotionally volatile parent. It never entered my mind that inducing instant obedience made children susceptible to abusers. I simply did not want my children to experience the constant drama, long drawn out ‘arguments’ and endless emotional turmoil I grew up with. My sister always encourages me that, in spite of my ‘best efforts’ (worst mistakes?) no child of mine is going to be a pushover for anyone. 😉 The homeschool ‘movement’ was long ago infiltrated by the same concepts and influential persons that have led The Church astray. Many of us are only now surveying the landscape and trying to make amends with our beloved children, for whom we meant only the best.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  13. From the OP: “I know there are some nice people in the IFB but far too many of them close their eyes to the vile actions of leaders.”

    The crux of the problem, well beyond the IFB. They either don’t believe allegations, or they believe the church is doing some greater good. Either way, they lend their fine reputations to the church and place their children at risk of lifelong harm.

    Not very nice people after all.

    In the church where I grew up, the youth group girls were afraid even to whisper the rumors about the janitor. If we had told our parents our fears, what would have happened? Probably an indulgent smile and a “there-there” from people who know that young girls have wild imaginations, and baseless rumors are the currency of adolescents.

    The janitor would have been at least the second perpetrator focused on our group. What should have happened? A safe environment for kids to report bad experiences and, yes, scary rumors. Dismissal and possible criminal charges if the janitor did accost or molest young girls. Open discussion of this. Safeguards to ensure that staff and volunteers could not corner a kid arriving alone for Bible study. That last piece also protects innocent adults from false accusation.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  14. Ricco: If evangelicals don’t admit the impact the fringe has on belief and practice, we can’t address any of these problems.

    I suspect ‘the fringe’ is simply made up of those who apply conservative, evangelical beliefs consistently, revealing the logical conclusion of living out the concepts most apply sporadically.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  15. Friend,

    I would add to one’s protection arsenal the simple tactic of the buddy system. We did not allow our young children to be alone with others, unless one of us, a trusted older sibling, or, as they got older, one or more friends were around. It was just part of our lifestyle, one which having multiple children made easier. Once in a while this led to frustration by others, but for the most part, such things can be practiced without drawing a lot of attention.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  16. Benn,

    Not at all! I think these are important conversations to have. What I strongly object to is that if you don’t hold strongly inerrantist views you are either 1. Not a Christian, or 2. A weak willed progressive who is just caving in to the culture and will be an atheist in five years. These are conversations that need to be had, and I only object to demonization and questioning people’s motives, not honest disagreement.

    My larger point is we shouldn’t just dismiss the crazies on our side without examining ourselves to see how they have influenced us. The Doug Wilson scandals in Moscow, ID (just down the road from me) are what made me question a lot of my beliefs. I realized I was believing a watered down version of his theology and it was time to reconsider. We should not uncritically defend fundamentalism like Piper does

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  17. Daisy: Known as “KJV Onlyism.”
    KJV-Onlies refer to other Bible versions as “perversions” and think all other versions (or their underlying manuscripts) were tainted and corrupted by Roman Catholics, New Agers, lesbians, and I forget who all else.

    And then you get the “KJV1611-Onlies” to whom ONLY the 1611 First Edition is the REAL Bible…

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  18. Not all IFB churches are KJV-only, just a subset. But most are definitely patriarchal and authoritarian.

    I think there’s a bigger culture of fear among members that’s almost charismatic, like doing anything wrong is going to bring down the wrath of God.

    Like New Cals, the leaders don’t have that fear and most believe God will let them do whatever they want. Pastors often hang everything on their “call”, which is just their feeling that they should be in charge. If a young man does say they are called, they are coddled and told they can be legendary.

    Celebrity culture within IFB is huge, and who you are related to informs whether you are a good Christian or a bad Christian.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  19. TS00: the buddy system

    That’s what we girls worked out for ourselves. We were a bit older, though. My friends told me the rumor right after I started driving myself to evening Bible study. We learned about safety in numbers, but lost the simple autonomy of walking a few dozen yards from the parking lot to the library. Meanwhile, the predator that I know about roamed free. I never even heard a rumor about him.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  20. I’m so glad to see articles being written on IFB. I grew up in a church closely related to First Baptist of Hammond. I attended their youth conferences, went to their college, etc. They worshipped Jack Hyles, ignored his son’s behavior and just brushed it off, when Jack Hyles died-it was bizarre the way they responded. And then Jack Schaap (Jack Hyles son in law) took over and is in prison today for having sex with a minor. The culture there started with Jack Hyles..it’s just as widely known as some of the other stories.

    The culture of IFB churches is ripe for sexual predators. There were never background checks, cameras, or rules in place regarding bathroom procedures or being alone with children/youth.

    I actually follow this blog because of my experience growing up in that kind of church. As I got older, I realized the hypocrisy of their teachings and the environment they had created. It was just not something I could be apart of. As I’ve read different articles on this blog, I’ve realized even more things that were wrong and I’m grateful God opened my eyes.

    Thank you for the exposure you help to bring in protecting children and having churches no longer be a safe place for child predators.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  21. The link in the OP to Jeri Massi’s book is to the older 2008 edition.

    Here is a more recent edition:

    https://www.amazon.com/Schizophrenic-Christianity-Christian-Fundamentalism-Sociopaths/dp/1499332858/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1544566820&sr=8-13&keywords=jeri+massi+books

    There are also other titles on abuse in the churches, dated 2015 and 2018.

    I had never heard of her or her ‘blog prior to this post.

    There are more people working on these problems than I imagine, for which I am thankful.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  22. Samuel Conner,

    Ny bad — I did not notice that the mention of the updated edition was itself a link. Please pardon my carelessness.

    Thanks, Dee, for calling attention to this writer; another site to bookmark.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  23. Ishy: I think there’s a bigger culture of fear among members that’s almost charismatic, like doing anything wrong is going to bring down the wrath of God.

    Fear of the Wrath of God (code name for Hellfire?) is a useful whip to keep the sheep in line. Especially when Pastor is preying on them. (“Yum! Mutton!”)

    Fear and Guilt Manipulation are the norm in a LOT of churches and para-church orgs.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  24. Jennifer: I’m so glad to see articles being written on IFB. I grew up in a church closely related to First Baptist of Hammond. I attended their youth conferences, went to their college, etc. They worshipped Jack Hyles, ignored his son’s behavior and just brushed it off, when Jack Hyles died-it was bizarre the way they responded. And then Jack Schaap (Jack Hyles son in law) took over and is in prison today for having sex with a minor.

    PASTOR Jack Hyles who had his mistress in the adjacent office with only a curtain in-between.
    PASTOR Jack Hyles who had his mistress in the house behind his with a gate in the fence in-between.
    PASTOR Jack Hyles who had his mistress divorce her husband for better Pastoral access.
    PASTOR Jack Hyles whose begotten PASTOR son was suspected of FATAL child abuse but beat the rap. (“TOUCH NOT MINE ANOINTED!”)
    PASTOR Jack Hyles whose PASTOR in-law son/heir to his throne got jugged for Polishing his Shaft in a minor.
    PASTOR Jack Hyles who after his death was worshipped in a special outdoor shrine with a giant wall portrait like the Kims of North Korea.

    https://brucegerencser.net/2016/06/scandalous-life-jack-hyles-still-matters/

    Never Forget.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  25. In my opinion, this group of churches is cult-like

    Only “-like”?
    This sounds like some of the abuse stories that come out of Scientology.

    I know there are some nice people in the IFB but far too many of them close their eyes to the vile actions of leaders. It is my hope that Sarah Smith’s report will force them to deal with the depravity in their midst.

    More likely it’ll just make them circle the wagons against PERSECUTION!!!!!

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  26. TS00,

    “Funny how the secular world ‘got it’ way before the church did. Which is maybe why The Church became the last holdout to predators?”
    +++++++++++++++++

    i know this isn’t news to you — the maxim of christian culture that you can’t trust your feelings or your emotions means shutting down common sense and one’s own intuitive spidey sense. it’s more than distrust — it’s fear. fear of one’s feelings and intuition.

    “if it’s not God then it’s just me talking — a wretch like me. evil me.”

    makes it very hard to “get” what people without such paranoia easily grasp.

    **NEWS BULLETIN** we are fearfully and wonderfully made in God’s image.

    Even the most wretch-fixated person still acknowledges when they do something well. the ability to have smarts and skill to do well doesn’t stop at perception of this, that, & the other.

    there is no reason be afraid of our inner voice (which everyone listens to, whether they realize it or not).

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  27. Steve: Another one I have heard is-If the KJV was good enough for Paul it is good enough for us.

    That’s not a joke, Steve. My brother used to work in a Christian bookstore, and he says he heard that more than once from customers who attended KJV only churches and thought the KJV was the version used by Jesus and the apostles.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  28. TS00: Funny how the secular world ‘got it’ way before the church did. Which is maybe why The Church became the last holdout to predators?

    I think you may be on to something….

    Where there is lots of easy prey (and cover/safety for predators), the Predators will swarm.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  29. Not all IFB churches are KJV-only, just a subset. But most are definitely patriarchal and authoritarian.

    KJV-Only is the predominant view in the IFB. The only difference is the level to which they hold it (ranges from “KJV is the best translation using the proper uncorrupted texts” to “KJV is advanced revelation”). Although some IFB churches left that, most of them either joined (or returned to) denominations like the SBC or just went straight non-denominational.

    And Gothard was very popular (may still be) within IFB, especially due to their common views on male authority and homeschooling.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  30. While I admit, that I love the KJV and prefer it to other versions, and I am afraid that with so many young people not being familiar with that version they are losing out on understanding how much of our culture, especially literature, was directly influenced by that version, I am far from being a KJV only person.

    That being said, I was talking with someone one time who was an adamant KJV Only IFB and he was going on about how all the other versions have been corrupted by Catholics and Homosexuals. So I let him finish, and then I asked “So why do you hold so close to a version named for a man, who was at least bisexual, if not actually homosexual?” He looked at me like I was crazy and didn’t say anything, so I told him about James I’s male lovers especially the Duke of Buckingham. His response was that I had been infected by the Devil and should ask forgiveness, then he got up and left. I saw him around a few times after that but he never wanted to talk again.

    It just reinforced my view that IFB and all fundamentalists, are actually weak in their faith, and whereas my faith is strengthened by being challenged, they must wall themselves off in a cocoon of ignorant obedience or they will lose their faith. If they allow one little crack of their foundation their whole edifice will crumble.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  31. Muff Potter:
    Jarrett Edwards,

    You may as well have been at a Madrassa in Pakistan.

    Exactly, I get so upset at people who say that the world would be more peaceful without religion, when the fact is the problems aren’t with any religion, but with fundamentalists.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  32. My first church after becoming a Christian was IFCA (Independent Fundamental Churches of America), first cousins of the IFB. They were not as conservative (girls could wear pants to youth group), but quite close. Questioning authority was forbidden, and doom was implied if you did. I was able to make a clean break when I went to college (secular university-eek!). College opened up a whole new world for me theologically, and I’ve never looked back.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  33. I hope this info isn’t too backbiting or sharp-elbowed for the Wheaton Summit. I also wait breathlessly for Ostling, Carter, and others to tell me what Imshould think about the reporters and their sources who have gone public with their stories.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  34. Daisy:
    Re. from the OP:

    Known as “KJV Onlyism.”

    KJV-Onlies refer to other Bible versions as “perversions” and think all other versions (or their underlying manuscripts) were tainted and corrupted by Roman Catholics, New Agers, lesbians, and I forget who all else.

    KJVOs/ IFBs were anything but polite and courteous when talking to anyone who doesn’t share their views at some sites I used to visit.

    I eagerly await a copy of the KJV Scrolls to be uncovered by the Dead Sea.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  35. Linn:
    They were not as conservative (girls could wear pants to youth group), but quite close.

    The funny thing is that for me, growing up SBC, we always thought it was only Pentecostals that didn’t allow pants for women. Maybe it was just because where I grew up alot of women worked in the cotton mills, so that they were used to wearing pants. So growing up even the older women in the congregation would wear slacks if they wanted to, because that was what they were used to. If they really want to be fundamentalists shouldn’t the men also be banned from wearing pants, since they didn’t wear such garments in the Bible?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  36. Ricco,

    “Maybe you aren’t KJV only, but you still demonize anyone who doesn’t buy inerrantism. I could go on and on, but I think you see the point. If evangelicals don’t admit the impact the fringe has on belief and practice, we can’t address any of these problems.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++

    i think that if christians were honest (and i am one in theory), we would admit that we have a number of beliefs that in cold sobriety are downright kooky, and which we can’t really justify or determine the source. we just believe them anyway for some reason.

    in the last many years i’ve identified many such beliefs which i have held…

    until i realized “wait…. that just isn’t true.” “that makes no sense.” “that is meaningless.” “that is erroneous on multiple levels.” “that is destructive to self and others.” “that is cruel.” “that is rife with double standards.”

    and of course, “that is incredibly stupid.”

    plus a few, “i believe this because i’m supposed to. well, actually, i’m just realizing i don’t believe it at all.” (that’s a bit scary, but only at first)

    i couldn’t tell you where any of these beliefs originated from. couldn’t really justify them in the bible. couldn’t really explain them or defend them. they were just part of my assumptions of what was true.

    accumulated baggage you just pick up from spending years in a religious culture.

    i’m pretty sure i’ve shed all of it now.

    feels good, and the settled self-respect i have because of it is like closing my eyes and relaxing with warm sun on my skin.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  37. Having been led to Christ by a IFB minister 40 years ago, and a member of three different IFB churches that associated with and promoted preachers like(Dr.) Jack Hyles and his Christian(?) College, I believe it is fairly accurate for me to state that a large percentage of IFB church members will not read the Sarah Smith Star Telegram investigate series.
    The congregations of these IFB churches are discouraged from investigation and instructed to trust “The Man Of God.”
    Check out the link here written by (Dr.) Bob Grey, Sr. From his blog SOLVE CHURCH PROBLEMS.
    Typical of the kind of teaching in IFB churches and schools.

    http://solvechurchproblems.com/2018/09/24/he-said-she-said/

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  38. Just a couple of things. The first John Piper quote is not complete. The following has been omitted:-
    “We do have a few disagreements. So it would not be helpful to talk in terms of an unqualified “endorsement.”
    Secondly, Piper was making his remarks in response to criticism from this denomination about some of his other beliefs and actions. So he wasn’t giving them a pass. To then link this to “other leaders”, SGM and so on only shows the inherent bias in this blog. He can only “ignore” the “blatant” problems if he knew about them in the first place.

    As for the KJV, lots of people like it and with good reason. Here is what Britannica says
    “Background
    The reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1558–1603) succeeded in imposing a high degree of uniformity upon the Church of England. Protestantism was reinstated as the official religion of England after the short reign of Mary I (1553–58), who had attempted to restore Roman Catholicism in the country. In 1604, soon after James’s coronation as king of England, a conference of churchmen requested that the English Bible be revised because existing translations “were corrupt and not answerable to the truth of the original.” The Great Bible that had been authorized by Henry VIII (1538) enjoyed some popularity, but its successive editions contained several inconsistencies. The Bishops’ Bible (1568) was well regarded by the clergy but failed to gain wide acceptance or the official authorization of Elizabeth. The most popular English translation was the Geneva Bible (1557; first published in England in 1576), which had been made in Geneva by English Protestants living in exile during Mary’s persecutions. Never authorized by the crown, it was particularly popular among Puritans but not among many more-conservative clergymen.
    Preparation and early editions

    Given the perceived need for a new authorized translation, James was quick to appreciate the broader value of the proposal and at once made the project his own. By June 30, 1604, James had approved a list of 54 revisers, although extant records show that 47 scholars actually participated. They were organized into six companies, two each working separately at Westminster, Oxford, and Cambridge on sections of the Bible assigned to them. Richard Bancroft (1544–1610), archbishop of Canterbury, served as overseer and established doctrinal conventions for the translators. The new Bible was published in 1611.

    Not since the Septuagint—the Greek-language version of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) produced between the 3rd and the 2nd centuries bce—had a translation of the Bible been undertaken under royal sponsorship as a cooperative venture on so grandiose a scale. An elaborate set of rules was contrived to curb individual proclivities and to ensure the translation’s scholarly and nonpartisan character. In contrast to earlier practice, the new version was to use vulgar forms of proper names (e.g., “Jonas” or “Jonah” for the Hebrew “Yonah”), in keeping with its aim to make the Scriptures popular and familiar. The translators used not only extant English-language translations, including the partial translation by William Tyndale (c. 1490–1536), but also Jewish commentaries to guide their work. The wealth of scholarly tools available to the translators made their final choice of rendering an exercise in originality and independent judgment. For this reason, the new version was more faithful to the original languages of the Bible and more scholarly than any of its predecessors. The impact of the original Hebrew upon the revisers was so pronounced that they seem to have made a conscious effort to imitate its rhythm and style in their translation of the Hebrew Scriptures. The literary style of the English New Testament actually turned out to be superior to that of its Greek original.” (Britannica also acknowledges that it became less popular in the 20th century but remains popular with some Fundamentalists)
    Note that everything was done “ to ensure the translation’s scholarly and nonpartisan character.” Maybe there could be such a committee here 🙂

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  39. Jarrett Edwards: Exactly, I get so upset at people who say that the world would be more peaceful without religion, when the fact is the problems aren’t with any religion, but with fundamentalists.

    My atheist family members and friends are often just as vitriolic and focused on self-interest and self-protection as any fundamentalist I know. I think it’s a universal human problem.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  40. lowlandseer,

    the biggest difference with the kjv, and most all the modern bible translations has to do with what greek original text type was used to translate into English. the kjv was translated for the byzantine text type, we have many many more of them.

    the modern versions of the bible, i.e. Nasb, niv, etc; are translated from the Alexandrian text type, we have much less of these text but most of them are older, closer to the original events, and much closer to the actual time the original autographs were written.

    the Kjv only folk will never except the Alexandrian text type, since most of them where discovered in Egypt, ( they were preserved due to the dry arid climate) too much baggage from the history of Egypt.

    The great and faithful early church leaders not withstanding ( Athanasius being one) kjv only folk will never accept the Alexandrian text type, period……

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  41. As a regular readers of TWW know, I have experienced and observed ( only gromed, not violated) sexual abuse by IFB school teacher over 45 years ago. So, this post does not surprise me.
    My last comment is that, in general, IFB, and fundamentalist , in my experiece, are obsessed with sex. After thirty years at a big “secular humanist” university ( IFB words to describe it), I can honestly say that the concept of sex comes up, on average, probably 5 to 10 times more often in IFB circules than in the “evil world” that function in daily.
    I really do think IFB’s are obsessed with all aspects of sex….

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  42. The KJV-Onlies, as a group, are a strange lot (at least in my area). I know men who adhere to such fundamentalism who will only pray “Thou” and “Thee” to stay true to their faith. It doesn’t take much discernment to observe oppression on the countenance of their wives and children. Legalism prevails, approaching cult-like behavior.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  43. Annoyingly, when I went to the Co-Op this morning to get bread, I didn’t realise we were nearly out of cheese. This wouldn’t be a problem, except that I’m down to make spinach and mushroom lasagne today, and ye cannae dae that wi’ nae cheese.

    I’m swithering between walking to the Co-Op (which will help manage my post-mince-pie blood sugar spike) and driving to the Co-Op (which will be quicker, and mean I can make more progress with the wee NodeJS kata I’m working on this afternoon). Or even making chorizo and brown lentil stew, which doesn’t need any cheese. I think Lesley was kind of looking forward to spinach and mushroom lasagne, though.

    IHTIH

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  44. Max: The KJV-Onlies, as a group, are a strange lot (at least in my area). I know men who adhere to such fundamentalism who will only pray “Thou” and “Thee” to stay true to their faith. It doesn’t take much discernment to observe oppression on the countenance of their wives and children

    The IFB has successfully sold the *outward appearance of holiness* while the evil is hidden inside. Saying *Thee* sounds * extra holy* but dealing with the tragedy of sex abuse in their churches is *airing dirty laundry.*

    As for the KJVO controversy, each tie it comes up, the blog gets inundated by *apologists* for KJVO nut jobs. So let me say this up front. I ill shut down the discussion if KJVO carries show up. Stay home. Read your Bible and learn about being really holy, something the IFB doesn’t seem to stress.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  45. lowlandseer,

    I always link to the quotes that I use so people can check it out for themselves. You didn’t mention the second Piper post.

    The point I was making is important. The IFB has long been known for a serious sex abuse situation. years and years known. Of course Piper knew about it. Most everyone who is involved in evangelicalism is aware if this. Yet, he wrote this cutesy “ain’t those IFB folks great.” It is also logical to point out this is not the only time he has done this. he supported CJ Mahaney throughout report after report after report of sex abuse of coverup.

    You say I am biased. I would say that it is Piper who is biased by continuing to support the indefensible.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  46. dee: As for the KJVO controversy, each time it comes up, the blog gets inundated by *apologists* for KJVO nut jobs.

    Well, my preferred “sword” is a KJV Thompson Chain Reference Bible … it contains 40 years of my marginal notes. But I’m not an “Only” … I have most versions of the Bible in my library. While I’m sure some TWW readers view me as a “nut job”, it is true that I am a fool for Christ … although I don’t think that is directly related to carrying a KJV.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  47. My contribution to this discussion is as follows:

    Good. Burn the IFB down. All of it, and all who even come close to its orbit.

    About 6 months ago, something I read on TWW triggered a curiosity in me to read a certain book at my library. I expected to only skim it before checking it out. Instead, I ended up spending the afternoon reading it in ever increasing horror, capped off by going to the library restroom and throwing up. It was a rainy day, and that was appropriate.

    Abuse, control, authoritarian, national networks, cover ups, …it’s all in there.

    That book is “I Fired God: My Life Inside—and Escape from—the Secret World of the Independent Fundamental Baptist Cult”
    By Jocelyn Zichterman

    https://www.amazon.com/Fired-God-Inside-Independent/dp/1250026261/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1544631000&sr=1-1

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  48. dee,

    We have a lot of KJVO’ers here in rural Southern Kentucky who also happen to be SBC’ers (including preachers/pastors). I have heard “King James Only!” Shouted from the pulpits and the pews on numerous occasions.They also use thees and thous and yeas when they pray. (I’m tempted to recommend that they learn to pray in Aramaic.). They are the same ones who stomp and scream about keeping women in our place. It didn’t use to be that way.

    Just goes to show how “fundamental” the SBC has become over the past 15-20 years.

    When husband spoke before an SBC church about a month ago, he explained how there are many more versions of the Bible than the KJV, and that the KJV was translated from older versions. Most of the people got spitting mad and tried argue with him about it afterwards.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  49. For what it is worth, I know of at least one person who did not finish reading this very important and needed post because of what they see as “they don’t know what they are talking about.”

    So to be clear: not all IFB are KJVOnly folks. Not all IFB insist women cannot wear pants, or not wear them to church. Not all IFB…..

    You get the idea. We need to be extra careful sometimes that we don’t turn people off before they get to hear what we have to say by being inaccurate in our descriptions of groups.

    For the record, I am not IFB. We do alternate an IFB church with a more Reformed SBC church that doesn’t hold to all the petals of the TULLIP. At the IFB church the leadership’s wives are public school teachers, most of the staff have “real” Master’s or PH.D’s (not basement Bible school ones), are KJV but give out handouts on topics to study that are full of “here the NASB is better or here the Amplified clarifies”, the women wear whatever they darn well wish, women are not preachers but do participate in the services, do believe in creationism but are not specific as to YEC or OEC or even TE, do offer some limited counselling but only by those trained in mainstream universities in mainstream counselling, not noethic.

    I totally agree this issue needs to be addressed and applaud this site for doing so. But again, inaccuracies even in the comments will stop people from listening.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  50. linda: For what it is worth, I know of at least one person who did not finish reading this very important and needed post because of what they see as “they don’t know what they are talking about.”

    And this is why the IFB is in serious trouble. First of all, I have written a bunch on the IFB and this *oh so thoughtful* person would have done well to read all of them. Anyone who ignores HUNDREDS of reports of sexual abuse because someone of word games is a jerk who doesn’t want to hear what sort of garbage is going on in her denomination.

    No matter what she claims, the issue of what real men and women wear is a topic of high concern in this denomination which pushes outward appearance as opposed to inward holiness.

    I had the awful experience of looking at Pensacola Christian Academy when my husband and I were looking at moving from Texas. My sweet 6th daughter begged me not to send her there because of the strict dress codes and other weirdness. Yes, dress is stressed. And I sent my kids in Texas to a school with uniforms and their school in Raleigh did not have them

    Talk about Stepford craziness. Read here.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pensacola_Christian_Academy

    If they won’t listen, so be it. They are looking for excuses not to deal with the despicable behavior in their denomination.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  51. Nancy2(aka Kevlar): We have a lot of KJVO’ers here in rural Southern Kentucky who also happen to be SBC’ers (including preachers/pastors). I have heard “King James Only!” Shouted from the pulpits and the pews on numerous occasions.They also use thees and thous and yeas when they pray.

    Good Lord! This is the 21st century!! Same in my area as well regarding some SBC church leaders who are KJVO … it’s largely a rural thing I believe … spiritually ignorant men like to go to such authoritarian places where them wimenfolk are kept in their place.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  52. Jarrett Edwards: when the fact is the problems aren’t with any religion, but with fundamentalists.

    Slight disagreement:
    The problem is universal and no respecter of faith or non-faith.
    The Bible calls it sin, and it proliferates in many disguises.
    There’s an apocryphal story set during the allied bombing of Hamburg during WWII:

    The firestorm heat was so intense that it melted the asphalt in certain areas.
    There was an old man who saved himself and a young mother with two little kids by overturning a skiff in one of the canals and taking refuge underneath it.

    As the young woman whimpered and prayed and wondered aloud how God could do such a thing to so many innocent civilians, the old man cut her off abruptly saying:
    “Leave God out of this!, he has nothing to do with it, this is done by sinful men.”

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  53. Nancy2(aka Kevlar),

    The key is, what “nut” are you following…. the “nut” of KJVO is breath taking…… or, classical example of putting your head in the sand….. my IFB only used KJVO, and boy were their arguments for it BS… but of course, any history taught outside of their bubble is wrong…

    W/r to the “Thee and Thou”, the IFB’s have BS reason that….. I heard them all..

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  54. ishy: My atheist family members and friends are often just as vitriolic and focused on self-interest and self-protection as any fundamentalist I know. I think it’s a universal human problem.

    That was what I was trying to get at, because people can be fundamentalists about anything. You can be a religious fundamentalist, an atheistic fundamentalist, a Star Trek fundamentalist, etc… The tendency to thing that you are right and everyone else is wrong is sadly an universal aspect of humanity that can manifest itself in numerous avenues.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  55. Max – I want to make sure that your comment about “rural” areas and “wimenfolk” was in jest. Sometimes, nuances and humor are missed by me (I’m a little thick). If not in jest, you may want to rethink your views on the hardworking men and women of faith in rural America. Authoritarianism is probably spread equally among urban and rural churches. None that I know from my upbringing in a rural area remotely have the traits that are being discussed on this post.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  56. Mike,

    You are so right Mike. They won’t read it. And thanks for posting that website. I am immediately suspicious of what kinds of things that have no proof that pastor writer is guilty of himself. I found how true all that brainwashing is on the people raised in it as I argued the recent Dr. Ford case with my fundy friends. I mean wow, I still have to keep my IFB abuses to myself because I cannot prove that they really happened. Just wow, even my friends, I mean, wow!

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  57. Jarrett Edwards: It just reinforced my view that IFB and all fundamentalists, are actually weak in their faith

    Yes! Do they ever actually read the Bible that they tout? They always screamed at me to read my Bible. I did. And every time I did I found out more and more how wrong they were.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  58. linda:

    I totally agree this issue needs to be addressed and applaud this site for doing so.But again, inaccuracies even in the comments will stop people from listening.

    This was the point I tried to make earlier, but it got blown off by several people. IFB churches are not a denomination. They are autonomous and have a range of views. While there might be some places where most IFB churches are KJV-only, there are places where most prefer the NASB.

    Pensecola is IFB, but so is Liberty. Thomas Road only left IFB in 2000 for the SBC, and Liberty remained independent. They are radically different in viewpoints, style, and even theology.

    It’s a classification of churches that’s much like the SBC in the range of views. There’s no overall leadership like the SBC.

    They do tend to have things in common, like patriarchal views, but how that works out is different, as long as said.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  59. Patti: I mean wow, I still have to keep my IFB abuses to myself because I cannot prove that they really happened.

    Russian Bureaucratic Tradition, honed to its final form in the USSR:
    * MAINTAIN PLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY ABOVE ALL ELSE.
    * NEVER WRITE ANYTHING DOWN.
    * If there’s no record, “IT NEVER HAPPENED AND YOU CAN’T PROVE IT EVER DID!!!!!”
    (To which Stalin added “And Dead Men Tell No Tales”.)

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  60. dee:
    lowlandseer,

    I always link to the quotes that I use so people can check it out for themselves. You didn’t mention the second Piper post.

    The point I was makingis important. The IFB has long been known for a serious sex abuse situation. years and years known. Of course Piper knew about it. Most everyone who is involved in evangelicalism is aware if this. Yet, he wrote this cutesy “ain’t those IFB folks great.” It is also logical to point out this is not the only time he has done this. he supported CJ Mahaney throughout report after report after report of sex abuse of coverup.

    You say I am biased. I would say that it is Piper who is biased by continuing to support the indefensible.

    Perhaps I am misinterpreting, but I suspect that “from the inside”, pastoral abuse of flock could be deplored per se but tolerated as a “lesser evil” than the greater evil that is reckoned to be averted by the ministry (ex abuse) of the abusive ministers.

    Traditional thinking about the meaning of the Gospel and the significance of what happens “under the sun” can tend in this direction. Decades ago in college, a CCC campus minister exhorted me and my peers to “live for the line” (eternity), ” not the dot” (the brief span of mortal life “under the sun”). This way of thinking can deprecate the significance of our mortal lives in comparison to the importance of post-mortem eternity.

    Taking a specific instance as an example, it is possible to imagine how JP might be impressed with the potential of the SGM movement for church planting and conversion of unbelievers (with the implied infinite benefit of saving people from the conventional understanding of the wrath of God), and might reasonably reckon (perhaps not consciously, but as an implication of his value system) that even if the allegations of abuse were true, the finite harms experienced by a few were outweighed by the infinite benefits to many achieved by the movement as a whole.

    I say this not to defend SGM, CJM or JP, but to try to theorize how it might be possible to reconcile tolerance (perhaps a sorrowful, regretful tolerance) of ministerial abuse with Evangelical commitments. I don’t think it’s hard to see that this is possible. I don’t embrace this logic, but I can imagine that some might.

    The same might be true among IFBs. The good (in terms of souls saved) accomplished by the ministries of men who happen to also be abusers could be reckoned to outweigh the harms suffered by the victims.

    The same thinking might underlie the imperative of “protecting the reputation of [any specific ministry or church] at all costs”, in order to not hinder the soul-saving that is presumably still taking place there.

    I write this not to defend, but to try to understand. (My private view is that the conception of “wrath” that underlies such justifications, if that indeed is their logic, may itself be mistaken and sub-biblical, but that’s another rant)

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  61. Nancy2(aka Kevlar): They also use thees and thous and yeas when they pray. (I’m tempted to recommend that they learn to pray in Aramaic.).

    At which point, my sister-in-law from Mosul would beat them hands-down.
    She’s Assyrian Christian, and Aramaic is their liturgical language (and her first language).

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  62. Jarrett Edwards: That was what I was trying to get at, because people can be fundamentalists about anything. You can be a religious fundamentalist, an atheistic fundamentalist, a Star Trek fundamentalist, etc…

    Fundamentalism is an attitude and state of mind that can be transferred to ANY belief system.

    Example: The Khmer Rouge. What were they except More Fundamentalist-than-Thou Communists?

    The tendency to thing that you are right and everyone else is wrong is sadly an universal aspect of humanity that can manifest itself in numerous avenues.

    “Because in the Devil’s theology, the most important thing is to Be Absolutely Right and to prove everyone else to Be Absolutely Wrong.”
    — Thomas Merton, “Moral Theology of the Devil”

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  63. dee: The IFB has successfully sold the *outward appearance of holiness* while the evil is hidden inside.

    Didn’t some Rabbi from Nazareth make a point about “Whitewashed Tombs — clean and white on the outside, but inside filled with rotting bones”?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  64. Anne:
    Steve: Another one I have heard is-If the KJV was good enough for Paul it is good enough for us.

    That’s not a joke, Steve. My brother used to work in a Christian bookstore, and he says he heard that more than once from customers who attended KJV only churches and thought the KJV was the version used by Jesus and the apostles.

    Back in the Eighties, there was a “Pastor Ron” from Tulsa who used to write and perform Christian novelty songs. Though best known at the time for a truly unforgettable arrangement of “If Your Hair’s Too Long, There’s Sin In Your Heart” (with out-of-tune piano, screeching voices, and crying baby), he also did one called “Gimme that Old King James Version”. I only remember one fragment of it:

    “There’s an ASV, and an RSV, and a paraphrase or two;
    All these new translations that say what you want ’em to;
    [two more forgotten lines here]
    But if John the Baptist used the Kynge Jaymes Version
    Then It’s Good Enough for ME!
    Gimme that ol’ Kynge Jaymes Version,
    Gimme that ol’ Kynge Jaymes Version,
    Gimme that ol’ Kynge Jaymes Version,
    It’s Good Enough For ME!”

    I also remember that every stanza ended with “If [big name from the Bible] used the Kynge Jaymes Version, then it’s good enough for Me!” with a bigger name each stanza (probably ending in God Himself).

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  65. Headless Unicorn Guy,
    Another I just remembered:

    PASTOR Jack Hyles who insisted the girls at his church’s school (adolescents, not little kids) call him “Boopsie Woopsie”. And how every Christmas, he’d have them sit on his lap one by one like Santa Claus getting a not-a-lap-dance while the others sang Hymns to Boopsie Woopsie.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  66. lowlandseer: Note that everything was done “ to ensure the translation’s scholarly and nonpartisan character.”

    I would suggest that nonpartisan character was a good aim impossible to achieve in a time of religious bloodshed (a context familiar to the Britannica editors). The Authorized Version did put Scripture into the hands of the many, in a vocabulary simple to them but misleading to us.

    Re: “The literary style of the English New Testament actually turned out to be superior to that of its Greek original,” this is actually a flaw. An accurate translation should not improve on the original.

    For years I read the KJV twice daily, yet its main virtue today is the beauty of the language, not the value of the scholarship. My guess is that the scholars who produced it would have leapt at the chance to use the resources available today.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  67. …And that is why we do not get involved with organized church anymore. To many sickofants running around thinking they rule the world and in this case those with in the church. I love the church body I have said it before and I will say it again. There is something to be said about the underground church and house bible studies.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  68. linda: inaccuracies even in the comments will stop people from listening.

    That’s silly. If my local paper says a hurricane is heading my way, should I ignore the warning because of inaccurate comments?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  69. Jarrett Edwards,

    Most IFB groups I’m familiar with in Silicon Valley, CA reveal themselves quickly because all the women/girls are in skirts/jumpers/dresses. There is a Bible college not too far from where I get coffee occasionally (North Valley Baptist Church affiliated), and they send groups of female students to “soul win” there. They’re sweet, easy to spot, and thus easy to avoid.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  70. elastigirl: i think that if christians were honest (and i am one in theory), we would admit that we have a number of beliefs that in cold sobriety are downright kooky, and which we can’t really justify or determine the source. we just believe them anyway for some reason.

    in the last many years i’ve identified many such beliefs which i have held…

    until i realized “wait…. that just isn’t true.” “that makes no sense.” “that is meaningless.” “that is erroneous on multiple levels.” “that is destructive to self and others.” “that is cruel.” “that is rife with double standards.”

    and of course, “that is incredibly stupid.”

    plus a few, “i believe this because i’m supposed to. well, actually, i’m just realizing i don’t believe it at all.” (that’s a bit scary, but only at first)

    i couldn’t tell you where any of these beliefs originated from. couldn’t really justify them in the bible. couldn’t really explain them or defend them. they were just part of my assumptions of what was true.

    accumulated baggage you just pick up from spending years in a religious culture.

    i’m pretty sure i’ve shed all of it now.

    feels good, and the settled self-respect i have because of it is like closing my eyes and relaxing with warm sun on my skin.

    I can’t tell you how accurately this describes me; down to one of my favorite things being sitting on the California beach and soaking up the warm sun.
    I hope you don’t mind if I share this with my family over Christmas to describe what has happened in my own life.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  71. Samuel Conner,

    “Decades ago in college, a CCC campus minister exhorted me and my peers to “live for the line” (eternity), ” not the dot” (the brief span of mortal life “under the sun”). This way of thinking can deprecate the significance of our mortal lives in comparison to the importance of post-mortem eternity.”
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++

    i very much agree. All sorts of happy-go-lucky negligence is the result.

    Which someone(s) else has to shore up & pay the price for. (since actions & inactions all have consequences)

    very irresponsible.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  72. LeRoy:
    Max – I want to make sure that your comment about “rural” areas and “wimenfolk” was in jest.Sometimes, nuances and humor are missed by me (I’m a little thick).If not in jest, you may want to rethink your views on the hardworking men and women of faith in rural America.Authoritarianism is probably spread equally among urban and rural churches.None that I know from my upbringing in a rural area remotely have the traits that are being discussed on this post.

    Hi LeRoy,
    I am not speaking for Max, but I do believe he would agree with me…… maybe he will comment later.
    I’m not talking about every man in my area, or every man in church. But believe you me, the stereotype Max and I refer to are definitely here.
    I’m just talking about a certain group of men. However, they seem to be getting more numerous – and younger. And they seem to be the ones who have more influence and control in the churches.

    The adult classes at a church just up the road from me (where I was a member) are considering forbidding women to speak in mixed gender classes. One man had a fit (repeatedly) because I taught an SS class with teenage boys in it. When we left, the same man got stuck teaching my boys. He couldn’t control them, so he quit teaching.

    My current church is already that way, plus some. I stopped attending.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  73. TS00,

    don’t mind at all. i consider it a compliment.

    and yes to the beaches. that’s exactly what i was describing. coolish breeze, hot sun shining down, running my fingers and toes in the hot sand, the sounds of the waves (the ocean’s heartbeat, my own syncing up to it)… on my more adventurous days salt water drying in my hair.

    bet we’ve been to the sames ones!

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  74. dee: strict dress codes and other weirdness.

    Awhile back I read about a church where the menfolk tried to impose a dress code—for women, of course. The male leaders drew up a list of women’s garments that made them feel aroused. At a later meeting, all of the church’s men were supposed read the list and mark an X next to any garment that caused them to “stumble.” These were to be banned. Some of the younger men asked for a definition of “pedal pushers.”

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  75. elastigirl: “Decades ago in college, a CCC campus minister exhorted me and my peers to “live for the line” (eternity), ” not the dot” (the brief span of mortal life “under the sun”). This way of thinking can deprecate the significance of our mortal lives in comparison to the importance of post-mortem eternity.”

    The essence of Gnosticism:
    “SPRITUAL GOOD! PHYSICAL BAAAAAAAAAAAAD!”
    Until like a “Pneumatic” Gnostic, you become so Spiritual you cease to be human.

    Wasn’t that also a problem of the Middle Ages? The Church got so focused on the Hereafter they couldn’t be bothered with improving people’s lot in the Here and Now?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  76. Headless Unicorn Guy: Back in the Eighties, there was a “Pastor Ron” from Tulsa who used to write and perform Christian novelty songs. Though best known at the time for a truly unforgettable arrangement of “If Your Hair’s Too Long, There’s Sin In Your Heart” (with out-of-tune piano, screeching voices, and crying baby), he also did one called “Gimme that Old King James Version”. I only remember one fragment of it:

    “There’s an ASV, and an RSV, and a paraphrase or two;
    All these new translations that say what you want ’em to;
    [two more forgotten lines here]
    But if John the Baptist used the Kynge Jaymes Version
    Then It’s Good Enough for ME!
    Gimme that ol’ Kynge Jaymes Version,
    Gimme that ol’ Kynge Jaymes Version,
    Gimme that ol’ Kynge Jaymes Version,
    It’s Good Enough For ME!”

    I also remember that every stanza ended with “If [big name from the Bible] used the Kynge Jaymes Version, then it’s good enough for Me!” with a bigger name each stanza (probably ending in God Himself).

    H-u-g

    The KJV is a decent translation ( KJV only folk add an A so it goes King James transAlation).
    But the language is archaic, and not what’s kids need to start their own personal bible study journey with….
    ( IMHO)

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  77. LeRoy: hardworking men and women of faith in rural America

    Agreed.

    LeRoy: Authoritarianism is probably spread equally among urban and rural churches.

    Agreed.

    Nancy2(aka Kevlar): I’m not talking about every man in my area, or every man in church. But believe you me, the stereotype Max and I refer to are definitely here.

    I’ve spent 70 years in rural America and rural SBC churches. Perhaps just my misfortune in the churches I attended or a geographical anomaly, but I’ve seen my share of good ole boy authoritarians in Southern Baptist churches who diminish the role of female believers in the Body of Christ.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  78. lowlandseer: An elaborate set of rules was contrived to curb individual proclivities and to ensure the translation’s scholarly and nonpartisan character.

    Ever heard of propaganda? Double-speak? Plausible deniability? I agree with elastigirl, when you ‘improve’ on the original, you become suspect as to your authenticity.

    The ‘elaborate set of rules’ included insistence on translating ekklesia as ‘church’, in defense of the authority of the institutional church. There are several more accurate English interpretations, such as ‘called-out ones’ or ‘congregation’; but those might grant credence to the dissident Anabaptists and others who wished to worship outside of the a-biblical structure of the authoritarian, hierarchical, institutional church.

    There are other questionable word translations, many of them carried over from previous English translations, including the words ‘Jehovah’ and ‘Testament’, as well as ‘the great tribulation’ for the more correct ‘great tribulation’, no article.

    Then there is the fact that the translators’ preface was deliberately left off; an important document that proves that the translators were under no illusion that their, or any other known translation, was perfect or inerrant. A far cry from what KJVOnlyism usually asserts.

    I wouldn’t want to be the one to suggest that James and the powerful authorities of The Church pushing for a new translation just might have had political or control motives when they created their ‘elaborate set of rules’. But I can almost imagine someone being so bold . . .

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  79. TS00,

    That’s not to say I don’t think highly of the KJV – it has actually long been my preferred version. But I read it with the realization that it is an imperfect translation. When things don’t seem to make sense, I do my homework, study what the scholars and commentators say, and am willing to acknowledge that even the translators, however they might try, could not possibly escape their own biases.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  80. Benn: H-u-g

    The KJV is a decent translation ( KJV only folk add an A so it goes King James transAlation).
    But the language is archaic, and not what’s kids needto start their own personal bible study journey with….
    ( IMHO)

    People forget this, but the KJV was always archaic. It was purposely translated into a form of English that was already archaic at the time, in order to make it timeless. I never had a problem, as a child understanding the KJV, and I have always found comfort in God’s word being in English, yet different from everyday speech, I could never read The Message,for instance. However, I understand that some people do have problems understanding it which is why newer translations are better for them. Even I read the Oxford NRSV now for personal study. Though I miss the KJV being used in corporate worship, because it is the most majestic and universal version in the English language, because of its longevity.

    I implore anyone with children, to keep a copy of the KJV in your home and read from it with your children, because if nothing else you will help prepare them to understand Literature and History. The KJV has been around for more than 400 years, plus some of the wording goes back even further to the Bishop’s Bible of 1568. It was the only or most widely used version of the Bible in English until at least the last half of the 20th Century. Not being familiar with the KJV, makes it harder to see how influential the Bible has been in the English speaking world, since many of the Biblical allusions etc… were made from the KJV text and are not as clear if you are only familiar with other versions.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  81. LeRoy: Authoritarianism is probably spread equally among urban and rural churches. None that I know from my upbringing in a rural area remotely have the traits that are being discussed on this post.

    You’re very right LeRoy.
    The Calvary Chapel cult sprang from the youth and beach culture South of LA.
    And yet, back during its halcyon days, Papa Chuck was as revered and obeyed as Chairman Mao was in a bygone China.
    Talk about authoritarianism, Papa Chuck wrote the book for the mega-church.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  82. Headless Unicorn Guy: with a bigger name each stanza (probably ending in God Himself).

    Well, obviously I useth the King James Version when I have something really portentous and importanteth to say. I’ve been authorised to use it, after all. Plus, I love how holy it maketh Me sound.

    Besteth regards,
    God

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  83. Jarrett Edwards: People forget this, but the KJV was always archaic. It was purposely translated into a form of English that was already archaic at the time, in order to make it timeless. I never had a problem, as a child understanding the KJV, and I have always found comfort in God’s word being in English, yet different from everyday speech, I could never read The Message,for instance. However, I understand that some people do have problems understanding it which is why newer translations are better for them. Even I read the Oxford NRSV now for personal study. Though I miss the KJV being used in corporate worship, because it is the most majestic and universal version in the English language, because of its longevity.

    I implore anyone with children, to keep a copy of the KJV in your home and read from it with your children, because if nothing else you will help prepare them to understand Literature and History. The KJV has been around for more than 400 years, plus some of the wording goes back even further to the Bishop’s Bible of 1568. It was the only or most widely used version of the Bible in English until at least the last half of the 20th Century. Not being familiar with the KJV, makes it harder to see how influential the Bible has been in the English speaking world, since many of the Biblical allusions etc… were made from the KJV text and are not as clear if you are only familiar with other versions.

    If parents read the kjv exclusively to their children they need to be ready for that okward moment ( and I’m not talking about the birds and the bees). But when your five year old looks up and ask are unicorns real daddy ?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  84. Benn: But when your five year old looks up and ask are unicorns real daddy ?

    Well, you could just say “wild ox” whenever you see “unicorn,” but then you’d have to hide the page from the more alert children… 😉

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  85. Friend: Well, you could just say “wild ox” whenever you see “unicorn,” but then you’d have to hide the page from the more alert children…

    True, but I tried with my kids to pick my battles, KJV is a good bible translations, but it was translated way before the best Greek manuscripts were unearthed ( literally).

    I have a good Christian friend, when his grand child comes over he makes them go to encyclopedias to research home work, and not use the internet.

    As an aside, when Bush (W) 43 was prez, he was asked about his internet acumen, and he said

    I am very familiar with the googles…….

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  86. Benn: If parents read the kjv exclusively to their children they need to be ready for that okward moment ( and I’m not talking about the birds and the bees). But when your five year old looks up and ask are unicorns real daddy ?

    I never meant they should read it exclusively, just that it would help to be familiar with the KJV, but perhaps it could lead to a discussion with children as to how everything in the Bible isn’t to be taken literally.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  87. TS00,

    In both Presbyterian and Baptist circles, at least in the ones in which I live and move, everyone knew that ekklesia meant “church” and that “church” meant “called out ones”. At the time of translating the KJV, the meaning would not have given one group an advantage over the other. The translators were Anglican, Congregational and Presbyterian, each with a different church polity. The only sensible ones there, of course, were the Presbyterians from north of the border.

    And again, the translators’ preface is missing because publishers tend not to put it in. If you buy your Bibles from a reputable publisher like the Trinitarian Bible Society, you will find the preface in the appropriate place. It”s nothing to do with propaganda, more to do with them saving money.

    Finally, the KJV does not promote “the great tribulation” as you seem to suggest. The phrase is nowhere to be found. I did find the phrase in the notes of my Schofield Bible and that suggests to me it is a Dispensationalist doctrine rather than a deliberate, dodgy insertion of the word “the” by unscrupulous translators to further their own doctrinal ends. But fortunately, as I’ve said, the word isn’t anywhere to be seen.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  88. Ricco,

    Your comment at point 2 about “weak-willed progressives…” is more accurate than you might realise.

    According to Wikipedia -“The Fundamentals: A Testimony To The Truth (generally referred to simply as The Fundamentals) is a set of ninety essays published between 1910 and 1915 by the Testimony Publishing Company of Chicago. It was initially published quarterly in twelve volumes, then republished in 1917 by the Bible Institute of Los Angeles as a four-volume set. Baker Books reprinted all four volumes under two covers in 2003.According to its foreword, the publication was designed to be “a new statement of the fundamentals of Christianity.”[1] However, its contents reflect a concern with certain theological innovations related to liberal Christianity, especially biblical higher criticism. It is widely considered to be the foundation of modern Christian fundamentalism.”

    The Fundamentals, like TULIP, a response to a perceived doctrinal threat and, like TULIP, they’ve been ridiculed ever since (although it doesn’t make them any less true or worthy of consideration).

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  89. Lowlandseer,

    Was this supposed to make me feel better? A big long quote to say that if I disagree with a more “traditional” take on Christian theology, that I am weak willed and causing atheism. Thanks a lot!

    The reason I used scare quotes around traditional, is that no one ever says traditional in which era. The fundamentalist controversies in the early 1900s were a response to modernist scientists saying that since the Bible was not factually true/provable, that all of Christianity must be false. The fundamentalist shot back, “no, all of the Bible is literally true and we can prove it.” They began to form their own institutions of higher ed and began the process of creating a Christian subculture that runs parallel to mainstream culture.

    Here is the problem: the fundamentalists bought the modernist premise, that the Bible must be literally true/provable in order to have anything to say, and they made the claim that everyone throughout the history of christianity has always seen the Bible this way. That simply is not the case. Origen provided a very interesting schema for how to read different parts of the Bible. Others of the early church fathers, particularly the Greek fathers, had interesting ideas on this.

    Here is my point: fundamentalism as a movement in the early 1900s does not represent the ONLY WAY that Christians have ever read the Bible. But this is exactly what it claimed. Contemporary evangelicals and fundamentalist assume this when they cast aspersions on people who, like me, don’t think these fundamental points set forth in the early 1900s are necessary for Christian faith. I don’t care if the modern evangelical movement thinks I’m a heretic, but I really wish that I could have these honest conversations with people like my wife’s parents, but I can’t, because they would instantly try to start casting demons out of me (not an exaggeration) because they have bought the lie that early 1900s fundamentalism is the ONLY way to read the Bible and still be a Christian.

    These are how these beliefs are hurting people TODAY. If you want to engage with my arguments, that’s fine. I’d be happy to discuss this. Don’t hide behind at Wikipedia quote. I know what fundamentalism is. You mentioned that the fundamentals and TULIP have been ridiculed. Ok, fair enough. But you also need to acknowledge how they have been weaponized to hurt people who see things differently. Saying that “weak-willed progressives” is an accurate label means that you have determined that you know the motive of the people with which you disagree. That is EXACTLY why it is so hard to have a conversation.

    I have a lot more to say on this subject, but I’ll stop now. Sorry this is so heated.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  90. Lowlandseer,

    One more point. I don’t simply want to tear things down; I also want to provide a way forward.

    We need to have conversations where we assume that people who disagree with us are coming from a good place. Everyone fails at this, including me, because we are all human.

    Brian MacLaren says that we should think of the church not as conservatives vs progressives, but as preservationists vs creatives. I think this is incredibly helpful. Since the modernist vs fundamentalist controversies in the early 1900s, we have gradually polarized the church so that preservationists and creatives are rarely breaking bread together on Sunday mornings.

    I think the Nadia Bolz-Weber thing with the promise rings is a great example of where this ends up. Bolz-Weber is probably never in any meaningful contact (other than an argument) with a preservation-oriented person. If she was forced to collaborate with preservationists due to being in the same demnominational hierarchy, she probably would have been stopped short of making a vagina idol out of the melted down promise rings. A compromise that would have allowed people to stay in fellowship could have been reached where the issues caused by purity culture could have been discussed without completely throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    This is what I yearn for in Christianity. Rather than drawing non-negotiable lines in the sand, I wish we would say “being in communion with each other is non-negotiable. We have serious differences, but since we can’t break up this family, lets come to the table in good faith and find a way to compromise.”

    To me, this is the path forward, not Confessions and Statements and Fundamentals that are designed to divide the Body of Christ into us versus them camps.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  91. Ricco,

    I didn’t mean that at all. I was pointing out the similarity between what you said and the historical fact that The Fundamentals were published in response to a perception that higher criticism was undermining the Bible. And that is what you yourself acknowledge in your reply. So we have said the same thing and referenced the same historical fact.

    The phrase “weak-willed progressives” was your quote, not mine. I highlighted the phrase because it reflected the view of those who decided to publish The Fundamentals, again, something you agree with.

    I also agree that these have been weaponised by a new breed of so called Calvinists and others. I’ve argued at various times in this blog that they know nothing of Calvinism and have pointed out areas where they fall short in their belief and practice, not only in reference to the Institutes but more importantly the Bible.

    I don’t know anything about you or your history but I am sorry if my remarks caused you grief and upset. That was not my intention.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  92. Lowlandseer,

    I appreciate your response, and I’m sorry if I came off too strong. I guess I was confused about what you were trying to say. My point is that even though people have been called “weak-willed progressives” historically, this is not a good approach to take and leads to division and polarization.

    Thanks for clarifying, and my apologies for mis-interpreting your remarks.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  93. Ricco: “being in communion with each other is non-negotiable. We have serious differences, but since we can’t break up this family, lets come to the table in good faith and find a way to compromise.”

    Speaking as a guy whose family fragmented in a family feud around 1990, I can attest that “I AM RIGHT!” can trump any family bonds.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  94. Ricco:
    This such a heartbreaking story.Thanks Dee for the work you do on this.I don’t pray that much anymore, but I will be praying for everyone effected by this horrible abuse.I don’t know what else to add to this conversation than that.

    I was thinking about Piper’s comments you included in the post.I used to think the same way as Piper on this, so I think I can see the strength and weakness of his argument clearly.Theological conservatives often get frustrated that the views of a few crazies get attributed to all evangelicals.Fair enough, this is a somewhat disingenuous move.However, what evangelicals refuse to admit is how the fringe impacts the practice of more moderate churches.You might not be a full-blown Benny Hinn, but maybe you still cast out demons.You might not be doing a full I Kissed Dating Goodbye, but you still are suspicious of dating and teach your children to be scared of their sexuality.Maybe you aren’t KJV only, but you still demonize anyone who doesn’t buy inerrantism.I could go on and on, but I think you see the point.If evangelicals don’t admit the impact the fringe has on belief and practice, we can’t address any of these problems.

    Just curious…do you believe there is a Biblically appropriate and true way to cast out demons? I know Hinn is heretical.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  95. elastigirl,

    I don’t know how your minister conveyed the concept…but I think it is good and wise to live for eternity. It doesn’t mean being reckless now. It is unfortunate that is being promoted by some!

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  96. My connections to the IFB are 1.attending an IFB school in 9th grade and 2. having a cousin who grew up in an IFB family and is now a medical missionary.
    My school experience had its pluses and minuses. I feel thankful I had that year there but can also see how had I been there an extended period of time, I may have had more struggles with legalism and the anxiety I am prone to. I am glad for some of the people I met there and for hearing God’s Word.
    I think Piper had a good point about the importance of sound doctrine, but yes, we cannot overlook that people are sinners and may in church settings seek to control and manipulate and depart from God’s heart. Some may start out well and get prideful, while others are just wolves.
    I am thankful that sin and wrongdoing is coming to light and pray that the Holy Spirit will comfort the hurting and glorify Jesus Christ.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  97. Marie: Just curious…do you believe there is a Biblically appropriate and true way to cast out demons? I know Hinn is heretical.

    This is going to sound like a weasely answer, but I’m not sure. What do you mean by “Biblically?” Biblical in whose tradition and under which interpretive strategy? Biblical in what time and place. Yes, Jesus cast our demons, but he also made sacrifices in the alter in Jerusalem and probably didn’t practice good dental hygiene. My point is that looking for a straight line between what happened in the Bible and modern practice is difficult.

    I’m very suspicious of modern demon-casting. That probably has a lot to do with the spiritually abusive way in which my in-laws practice it. My question would be, what is the limiting principle that separates the way Benny Hinn does demons with the “Biblical” way? That is what I’m talking about. I’m not saying that can’t be done, but that evangelicals need to show their work on what separates them from the crazy fringe

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  98. Marie,

    “I don’t know how your minister conveyed the concept…but I think it is good and wise to live for eternity. It doesn’t mean being reckless now. It is unfortunate that is being promoted by some!”
    +++++++++++++++++++

    i don’t recall any minister ever addressing it. but i have observed many christians make comments about how temporary things are, how insignificant the present is, how God will take care of everything. how the spiritual is the only thing that really matters. and i observe their behavior.

    i observe that many christians don’t plan well for their financial futures but are sort of relaxed about it. God doesn’t take care of everything. Their adult kids pay the price for it, and it is devastatingly stressful and frightening and painful.

    i observe that they don’t take care of the earth. they are negligent about pollution, waste disposal, recycling. God doesn’t take care of everything. Animals and human beings pay the price.

    i observe many christians valuing only the spiritual. they invest all their energy, focus, talents, skills, and financial support into the church institution. (the church is a hungry machine pressuring people to give more and more, so that is partly to blame).
    i observe christians neglecting to use these resources to help solve problems humans and animals face now. Things like hunger, disease, pollution, poverty, joblessness,… God does not take care of everything.
    people are suffering and struggling, flora and fauna are barely a priority if at all, while the church feeds itself with all the resources christians pour into it.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  99. Ricco,

    Lowlandseer,

    Coming little late to this discussion after a busy weekend, so I don’t know whether anyone will read this comment!

    Point 1 of 3: a civil discussion

    I’m not surprised the two of you managed to finish where you did; a civil discussion is possible on this topic, as you showed.

    Point 2 of 3: the parodying of Fundamentalism

    I concede that capital-F-Fundamentalism was launched for the best of reasons, and with very specific aims that are somewhat different from those broadly associated with the small-f-fundamentalism that is used pejoratively nowadays. But as my visually-augmented fellow Central-Belt-dweller has observed, Fundamentalism was a reaction against something. This gave it a weakness right from the start. When [generic] you start a movement reacting against something, then

    a) You can’t help being defined in large part by what you’re reacting against, and
    b) You usually end up pulling harder and harder in the direction you started pulling, and the movement spawns ever more extreme versions of itself

    Case in point: the original Fundamentalists defended the uniqueness and divine inspiration of the Bible. But it didn’t stop there. For some, it was not enough to venerate scripture: they have literally deified the bible. On this very blog, a recent commenter quoted a verse from John’s gospel in which Jesus equated himself with the Father, and claimed that this showed Jesus equating himself with scripture. That’s not the first time this has happened, either. A completely new religion has been created, in other words, and it has more in common with the Watchtower than with historic Christian faith. And once you’re in the orbit of that religion, you cannot question it without “rejecting scripture”, or else dangerously suggesting that someone has “too high a view of scripture”.

    Point 3 of 3: disagreeing vs demonising

    If someone disagrees with me over whether I’m a good cook, that’s not demonising me. But if they disagree with me over whether I am a demon, then they’re demonising me. The problem with discussions around Fundamentalism and inerrancy (not precisely the same thing, of course) is that they touch on very basic matters of good, evil, right, wrong and the nature of God.

    There is a definite asymmetry here. Whilst there are many nanoscopic distinctions within inerrancy (as witness the number of times I’ve read some variation on the them of 'Oh, no, THAT's not what inerrancy means...'), they all stand on a razor’s edge between good and evil. It’s very easy indeed to believe that rejecting inerrancy is rejecting god, just like those liberals have.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  100. Nick Bulbeck,

    Just to be clear nick, are you saying Jesus did not equate himself with God, and with God’s word?

    Trying to distinguish between what you believe, and what you think the Bible says, ( not if you believe what it says is inerrant in any way shape or form)

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  101. Nick Bulbeck,

    “Coming little late to this discussion after a busy weekend, so I don’t know whether anyone will read this comment!”
    +++++++++++++++++++++

    well, i did. really great observation, so well articulated.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  102. Nick Bulbeck,

    Thanks for the great comment, Nick. I think of it as the Fundamentalists accepted the premise put forward by the modernists (that all truth is literal and factual). One you accept that premise, you are fighting a loosing battle on the other side’s terms. To me a better response would have been to affirm the discoveries made by science as of God while reminding people not to fall in love with their own intellect. There are other types of truth out there, and the Bible doesn’t rise and fall on the literal sense only.

    The funny thing about the argument I just put forward is it sounds to many modern Christians like a squishy, postmodern attempt to go along to get along with the culture. What I have discovered is that what I said about is right in line with traditional Eastern Orthodox theology. That tradition is old and deep, and I have really enjoyed learning more about it.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  103. Ricco:
    Nick Bulbeck,

    Thanks for the great comment, Nick. I think of it as the Fundamentalists accepted the premise put forward by the modernists (that all truth is literal and factual). One you accept that premise, you are fighting a loosing battle on the other side’s terms. To me a better response would have been to affirm the discoveries made by science as of God while reminding people not to fall in love with their own intellect. There are other types of truth out there, and the Bible doesn’t rise and fall on the literal sense only.

    The funny thing about the argument I just put forward is it sounds to many modern Christians like a squishy, postmodern attempt to go along to get along with the culture. What I have discovered is that what I said about is right in line with traditional Eastern Orthodox theology. That tradition is old and deep, and I have really enjoyed learning more about it.

    Rico, trying to unpack this statement, can I ask it this way, do you hold to an absolute truth, that would transcend all other lesser truths? ( does this question make sense to you?)

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  104. Benn,

    I do. I believe that absolute truth IS the person of Jesus Christ. He is the one that holds everything together. He is the image of the invisible God. In Him we live and move and have our being. Jesus is the Truth that transcends all other truths

    My point is more that a great story like Lord of the Rings can be a true story even though it never happened because it tells us something true about ourselves. This is how I understand the Garden of Eden. I don’t think it had to have literally happened for it to be true.

    I’m not saying that literal, scientific truth doesn’t exist. I’m just saying it isn’t the ONLY kind of truth. Also, the author’s of the Bible were operating thousands of years before the concept of scientific truth would have had any meaning to them.

    I hope this is clarifying. I’m still trying to work through these thoughts

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  105. Benn: “do you hold to an absolute truth, that would transcend all other lesser truths?”

    Ricco: “I’m not saying that literal, scientific truth doesn’t exist. I’m just saying it isn’t the ONLY kind of truth.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++

    i would say it’s not possible to articulate.

    enter music. music conveys complex layers of truth that defy words. either because words don’t exist, or because culture doesn’t permit their expression. or because it’s bigger and deeper (or scarier) than the songwriter can express themselves in words.

    not that music answers all questions. just that wooden literal truth is boring as *heck* with such limited dimensional meaning. nothing and no one fits into limited dimension(s).

    …just thought i’d add this exciting **BONUS** idea…

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  106. Benn,

    Before I try to be any clearer than I’ve already been, I too must ask for some clarification about what you believe; or, more particularly, about what meaning(s) you attach to certain words and phrases.

    John, in his gospel account, stated clearly that Jesus did many things that are not recorded in “this book”; he later says that the whole world wouldn’t contain the books that would be written if they were all written down, implying that they’re not recorded in the relatively few other canonical books either. But he also records Jesus as saying that he did only what he saw the Father doing, and that the words he used were likewise only those he heard from the Father.

     Do you believe that Jesus was mute for the vast majority of his life, other than when the bible directly quotes him as saying something?
     For that matter, do you believe that God has been silent for the vast majority of eternity, other than when the bible directly quotes him as saying something?
     If not, do you believe that when God (whether or not in the person of his son) said something that is not specifically quoted in the bible, he was not speaking god’s word?

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  107. Ricco: I think of it as the Fundamentalists accepted the premise put forward by the modernists (that all truth is literal and factual). One you accept that premise, you are fighting a loosing battle on the other side’s terms.

    Thankyou for your kind comments and, in turn, for your own insights. I’ve quoted the above snippet as a representative sample rather than as the only thing you said worth quoting! But you’ve described it really well.

    Furthermore, I don’t believe your comments imply that none of the Bible is factually true!

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  108. Nick Bulbeck:
    Benn,

    Before I try to be any clearer than I’ve already been, I too must ask for some clarification about what you believe; or, more particularly, about what meaning(s) you attach to certain words and phrases.

    John, in his gospel account, stated clearly that Jesus did many things that are not recorded in “this book”; he later says that the whole world wouldn’t contain the books that would be written if they were all written down, implying that they’re not recorded in the relatively few other canonical books either. But he also records Jesus as saying that he did only what he saw the Father doing, and that the words he used were likewise only those he heard from the Father.

     Do you believe that Jesus was mute for the vast majority of his life, other than when the bible directly quotes him as saying something?
     For that matter, do you believe that God has been silent for the vast majority of eternity, other than when the bible directly quotes him as saying something?
     If not, do you believe that when God (whether or not in the person of his son) said something that is not specifically quoted in the bible, he was not speaking god’s word?

    Nick, good questions all
    My personal beliefs ( pertaining to your comments) are, as to Jesus being mute etc, I dont think God saw a need to write the Bible in real time, I mean Jesus came into this world in a real human form, but we are not told that he went to loo, or on some occasions had lower back pain,

    I believe Jesus was the final speaking of God, that is what Jesus chose to say personally, and what he spoke through John, Paul, and the rest. I believe Jesus was able to get the job done, to communicate what the Farher wanted communicated.

    I know good people can disagree on this, but I believe It was God’s decision to speak to creation through the spoken ( until it was written word). Jesus said often, Have you not read what God said, then he preceded to repeat
    What God has spoken.

    Johns statement you allude to is a fascinating statement, and I guess it could mean all kind of things, did he (Jesus) do many more miracles, and the like, compassions, or was it also about more day to day simple acts of kindness, I have no idea.

    We have all kinds of disputes in the Church today, granted, but look at the belief systems that exceed what is written, that imho is where all the cults and certifiable loons ravage their followers.

    So I guess I am saying I don’t dwell that much on what Jesus did/ said outside of what is written, how could anyone verify it to be authentic?

    And preemptively I’ll say, I do believe the Spirit guides us, but it should run in union with what the word has said.

    Last thought, look at all these post about harvest and the like coming out, the Bible warned us that we would have heresy in the church, so we would know who is not really among us, people freak out we when these guys appear, but we shouldn’t we were warned that they would be among us, I think for one of many reasons, to prove the written word is authentic, when we see what is going on in the church there are two types of reactions, are we/you/whoever enlightened or confused ???

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  109. Benn,

    “We have all kinds of disputes in the Church today, granted, but look at the belief systems that exceed what is written, that imho is where all the cults and certifiable loons ravage their followers.”
    +++++++++++++

    i appreciate your comments, Benn.

    i’m looking at the belief systems taken out of what is written. Promoted by approved individuals who live their lives in a way that is not abnormal.

    Belief systems that clearly ravage people, like male headship / complementarianism (albeit a conjecture of conjectures sewn all together) and all its implications.

    ‘Pastoral’ authority and that of church leaders ravages many people. I could come up with many other examples.

    Such leaders are loons to me because they are apparently blind to problems of logic and reason and what is humane. But these belief systems have been packaged & marketed in such a way that they are embraced by a religious community, and therefore have some kind of seal of approval.

    ‘what is written’ is very problematic.

    …but this is old news.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  110. elastigirl: ‘what is written’ is very problematic.

    Totally agree, which is why I think we have to value relationships and behavior over simply “being right.” The truth is, the age of the Bible and the contradictions it contains makes it impossible to construct a neat, tidy system, if we are paying attention to what the Bible actually says. I think this is a GREAT thing, because it frustrates fundamentalism and forces us to learn and grow and compromise

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  111. mot,

    Plus, these folks seem to believe that in the era of 25 BCE to 50 ACE – the period of Christ’s lifetime, men wore pants.

    When actually it is almost certain that everyone at that time wore the same cloaks.

    From shepherds to kings, the only difference would have been some wore rough wool cloth and some wore better linen a kings wore silk, if any was available during their reign. Buttons were not invented at the time, and sewing was a rare gift in the deserts of the area.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  112. Maybe congregations will start waking up to the fact that clergy staff are not to be recruited from seminaries but instead elevated from within the assembly due to developed trust and responsibility that the clergy is aware of. To much of a papacy Nicolatian mentality reigns in our churches.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  113. Correction “That the congregation is aware of.” This Touch not thy anointed doesn’t exist in the Body of Christ. That was only for kings. For all are part of the anointing by the Spirit as He gives gifts. Read Romans 13 and Ephesians 4 and I John 2:27.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  114. I have personal knowledge of one of the cases covered in the article, and can say that the church did not cover up anything. The authorities were promptly called, and the abuser was put out of the church immediately. I was very proud to be in a church where so many people had integrity. The church broke up in the aftermath, mostly because some didn’t get angry enough!

    Btw, women could wear pants, lead prayer, and lead worship. Not all IFB churches are legalistic.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  115. Daisy,

    Of all the things I dislike about the IFB, the KJV only is the worst. There are plenty of IFB churches that aren’t KJO, but they are usually flirting on the edges of fundamentalism.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *