The 8-million strong Independent Fundamental Baptists cult

I’m terribly sorry for the inconvenience, but the post you’re looking for has been moved to The Fundamentally Toxic Christianity. Sorry again for the redirect.

Print Friendly

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is co-founder of The NALT Christians Project and founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here). His blog is here. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • http://www.facebook.com/KristiOutlerByrd Kristi Outler Byrd via Facebook

    Fundamentalism is ultimately a faith predicated on fear. Human beings act in frightening ways when fear is the primary motivator. I’m so grateful that there are groups shining a light on different ways to be Christian.

  • mike moore

    I’m stunned. I have never heard of these people or of the FBC before. How is it that these people are not arrested for child abuse?

    Such twisted hate. How does one even get one’s head around it?

    • Christy

      Mike, there is a system of institutional cover up in cases of rape, assault and abuse. And like the Catholic priests, abusive ministers and teachers often get shuffled around to other unsuspecting churches and schools as a means of “fixing the problem” after they have “sincerely repented” from their misdeeds. After all, “Why bother with the authorities? Think of that man’s poor wife and children. How would they survive with him in jail?” Children are seen as less than, without rights. And these groups are oblivious to recidivism. “Satan” is at work in people’s lives. God is stronger than Satan. So throwing oneself into acts of “stronger faith” should ward off the “evil one.”

      One thing not mentioned in the article is how strongly these groups shun science even beyond evolution and their rejection of much of the field of human psychology…to their detriment and ours.

    • Melanie J. Blair

      Mike,

      Once the victim discloses the abuse, there are really only a couple of ways they handle it. As in the Tina Anderson case, she was sent to another state allegedly to have her baby, but truth is more likely it was to hide her and hinder any police investigation. While she was away, she was surrounded with IFB rhetoric such as the forgive and forget “doctrine” and if this comes to light it will “hurt the cause of Christ”.

      In cases like mine, using the IFB rhetoric and moving the offender to another location, usually across country, is a big way they silence us. While deep in the throws of this cult, we believe everything church leaders tell us because we are taught to believe they “hear the voice of God”. To disobey them is as disobeying God himself! My abuser used Scripture to keep me silenced… he used Ephesians 6, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord…” as a weapon.

      It’s so hard to recover from such abuse. More often than not, every aspect of a person’s body, mind, soul and spirit are deeply wounded by this cult. And if sexual abuse wasn’t physical, it was done through abuse of sexuality which leaves damage just as toxic.

      John, thank you so much for this post! I can’t tell you what it means to us to be believed and acknowledged in such a way!

  • Allie

    Oh hey, my in-laws were Independent Fundamental Baptists! They have left the church for a more moderate one, not due to any particular religious evolution, but due to that most potent of religious motivators, the faith of their co-workers in a new city.

    • Allie

      I feel like I should elucidate.

      My husband’s parents were NOT born into IFB. His mother was born into a moderate and loving country Methodist church. His step-father was raised Catholic. What attracted them to IFB was exactly its strictness. His stepfather is a recovering alcoholic and the idea of giving over his will to someone else was intensely rewarding to him, as his experience of Catholicism was that the church told you you could do anything you wanted, as long as you repented afterward. It was also a draw that they do not allow alcohol, not even in their services.

      My husband’s mother is an educated and intelligent woman who was sympathetic to him and his friends while they were growing up. Overnight she transformed from someone who reacted to walking in on him having sex with his girlfriend by walking out to give them time to finish and later asking about birth control, to someone who thought no one should have any sex of any kind before marriage. She went from an intelligent person to someone who claimed God put dinosaur bones in the earth to test our faith. She was payroll manager for a giant corporation, but agreed docilely when told she could not attend fiscal meetings of her church because God didn’t want women to handle money. And when her saintly old mother visited her, she accepted the church’s opinion that her mother could not take communion, because she wasn’t a member of that particular exact church building, no other people anywhere on earth worthy to receive communion.

      And then her husband was laid off, and they moved to another town, and just like that, the nightmare was over, because she has no real faith of her own and the will of her peer group entirely determines the nature of her spiritual life.

      Seems to me the “cure” for these people is the same as the only known cure for a teen who is hanging around with the druggie crowd – move. They have no actual brains and are entirely governed by environment.

  • Theresa DePaepe via Facebook

    Didn’t want to “like” this post, but great article and information.

  • Judy Volkar

    I grew up in an IFB church., although it was a more mellow church than this but we did have Jack Hyles come to our church for a “revival week.” Ultimately, two members of my youth group attended his college, because they thought that Bob Jones University, where everyone else in my youth group went, was too liberal. (I was the loner, and went off to a secular college, or “Sin College,” as my fellow youth group members taunted me. After his visit, our youth group was no longer allowed to have swim parties, as that was “mixed bathing,” many girls stopped wearing anything but dresses, since that was the “costume of a man”, etc etc.

    Never knew about the abusive tactics or the philandering, but I am not surprised. I went to one of his sermons that week, and he was a scary dude.Fire, brimstone, yelling and making people feel guilty for everything.

  • boy jesse

    Back when i was much younger (and far more easily influenced) i dated a guy for many years whose family were Identity Christians. He lived and breathed every ounce of their doctrine which is apparently not terribly unlike IFB.

  • http://speakingoftruthandpolitics.blogspot.com/ Jill J

    Thanks for sharing this John Shore and Ty Duncan, this story needs to be told. This is some serious abuse to the Body of Christ. Thanks guys for being fearless truth tellers. May God heal the survivors and bring them peace.

  • Stephanie

    Thank you! Thank you for putting into written word the oppression, suppression, and causes of depression that so many in the IFB and those who escaped experience(d). There is absolutely no way to truly convey the fear that one experiences in this “arm” of Baptist religion. Paranoia is a common denominator. The idea and mantra of “what goes on in the church, stays in the church” is highly enforced. It is highly discouraged that members contact their local authorities when allegations of crimes or abuse are brought to light. Often, members are taught to be fearful of authority. All these years of abuses are being exposed because people realize they do have a voice. These allegations need to be heard, investigated, and dealt with within our justice system.

    • David S

      Stephanie –

      I hope that you, me, and anyone else who reads John’s blog can somehow help to end these abuses. The New York Times recently reported on a similar phenomena of silence in the ultra-orthodox Jewish community. I’m not sure how the cycle of abuse and coerced silence can be broken. I would be really interested in any insights you may have (or anyone else who has lived through this).

      Ultra-Orthodox Shun Their Own for Reporting Child Sexual Abuse

      http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/10/nyregion/ultra-orthodox-jews-shun-their-own-for-reporting-child-sexual-abuse.html?pagewanted=all

      • Stephanie

        David,

        I have read this article. It is very similar to how abuses are handled in the IFB. From my experience, abuses are covered up. No person is to speak to anyone outside of the church. There are church approved “counsellors” who handle any abuses that come forward. Abuses that clearly should be reported to the authorities are hushed by either removing the alleged offender from that particular ministry and sticking them elsewhere within the ministry or to a sister-church. There are many cases where there are “trails” of these abuses follow the alleged abuser. There is no local jurisdiction in these places of worship. They believe they are above the law. There is a very common theme to not involve therapists when abuses are raised either. Therapists are “of the devil”. In reality, therapists must adhere to a code of conduct which mandates that they adhere to or they will lose their license. Therapists are required to report abuses – especially if these abuses are involving a minor. Creating fear or using verbiage to taint the role of a therapist is one other guise used to control the masses.

        If only someone would just look into it more – namely authorities at possibly the federal level (FBI) – they would see that there is a connection with a lot of these places. I shudder to think what may be occurring in countries where these churches have missions. IF these abuses can go on as long as they have in our own country, I can not imagine the possibility of what stories must be out there in the third world countries that missionaries are sent to.

        • David S

          Thanks for your thoughts, Stephanie. It must be utterly soul-crushing for abuse victims who don’t have anywhere to turn. If you know of any organizations that are creating safe spaces for IFB abuse victims, I’d be interested in learning more about them.

        • Patty

          You may want to check into this organization that specializes in similar cases: http://netgrace.org/ They’re reputable and have dealt with other fundamentalist churches and organizations similar to this. There’s a wealth of information on their website plus a Google search will yield other reports.

          • Stephanie

            This is a wonderful organization. I believe that they must be invited in by the institution with the allegations. That is a very unlikely thing in this particular culture. I do know that anyone who is currently trying to get out of the IFB or who has abuse that they have endured S.N.A.P. is wonderful in providing support both therapeutic and legal. If you are in a situation now where your life is threatened or you are being harmed in ANY way, please call your local authorities. Make certain that they are not involved with the church you attend. Personal experience talking here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lisa.kratzer Lisa Kratzer via Facebook

    I was raised IFB – lived and breathed it for 20 years until I finally escaped. It really can be cult-ish, and there are varying degrees of legalism, as one may expect given each church’s independent nature. The churches I went to were SO independent they refused to associate with any other churches in the area for one reason or another – one church allowed youth group girls to wear pants, one church sang praise songs, one church used the NKJV instead of the KJV, etc. I was taught from a very young age that separation was paramount – “come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord, touch not the unclean thing…” It was an extremely prideful, lonely way to live. Not to mention the fact that being taught to separate oneself also taught us to hate and fear diversity. Looking back, all I can do is offer sincere apologies for indiscretions committed in brain-washed ignorance, and thank God for his illuminating grace and love.

  • Lois

    Horrifying! When I read that there’s probably one of these churches within a half hour drive, I thought “no way!” Then I checked online about a new Baptist church moving into our little city, which has been passing out flyers and knocking on doors. Bingo–they’re IFB. You can bet I’ll let everyone I can know what this “church” is about, and if I run into one of their doorbell ringers, I’ll ask them some hard questions! Maybe: “so what kind of switch do YOU use to beat your children?” Or maybe: “is Jack Schaap going to come and preach, or is he in jail now for child molestation?”

    • Carol VanderNat

      I would love to stand beside you when/if you get the chance to ask those questions….

      • http://www.facebook.com/bill.steffenhagen?sk=wall Soulmentor

        Maybe ask if he’ll polish his rod for you.

  • Melody

    Either homeschool, or they go to school in their church’s K-12 schools.

    I became aware of the IFB cult about 7 years ago, which helped me understand the stereotype of Baptists not dancing and other things. I was floored and disgusted by what I learned. I’ve been working to expose these loonies ever since. They (among others, of course) are to whom Jesus was referring as wolves in sheep’s clothing. Nice in public, to the point it’s creepy; absolutely insane and abusive in the home.

    Thanks for this exposé, John. I hope word continues to spread like wildfire, and that their small empire folds.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Oh, duh: I can’t believe I forgot to mention the IFB schools. Thank you, Mel! Will go insert.

  • Christy

    Thank you. And for believing us.

    • Jill

      Oh my heart is stuck in my throat after reading this. My fundie background was a walk in the park comparatively, but I am able to use where I’ve come from to honor each and every single survivor here.

      I cannot appreciate and advocate enough for how deep the personal guilt goes from being indoctrinated that you are a constant disappointment to God, parents, adults, etc. It IS tough to recover the knowledge of your *actual brilliance, awesomeness, and supreme lovability*. But it’s always been there and will always remain.

      If I can tell that Truth to every victim of such cruelties for the rest of my life, it would be my privilege. My heart is surrounding you all, and my appreciation goes out to John, Ty, all the stalwart supporters, and all the powerful survivors.

      • Christy

        Thank you, Jill. Though much is taken, much abides. Keep telling the Truth. It is vital work.

  • http://www.facebook.com/john10423 John Gragson via Facebook

    I “liked” the post because of the obviously careful research in it and offer my prayers for all believers and ex-believers of these religions.

  • Trisha LaCroix

    Thank you for writing this John. I am the Owner of the “Do Right Hyles Andeson” group on Facebook. What you wrote to the victims…amazing. It made me cry. These people did not deserve the abuse…none of us deserved it. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for giving them a voice in your forum.

  • http://www.facebook.com/al.zylstra Al Zylstra via Facebook

    All I can say is, “wow!”. Truly frightening. Makes me glad to say that I am an atheist….

  • John C Hoddy via Facebook

    I attended a conservative Christian college (not IFB). One of the profs related a story about speakiing at an IFB church. He brought his KJV Bible, but the congregants were still offended b/c it wasn’t a Scofield Bible. Apparently the Scofield notes are also inspired.

    • Brian

      …and it better be the OLD Scofield, not the “new” Scofiled Study Bible.

  • Rob

    Wow. Gob-smacked and horrified. Those poor people…

  • http://www.facebook.com/natalie.jones.3348 Natalie Jones via Facebook

    I couldn’t read through huge chunks of this. Just sad.

  • http://stitchinguptheseams.wordpress.com Stitching Seams

    Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    As others have no doubt said, don’t forget the network of schools – Bob Jones University, Crown College, Clearwater, etc. BJU had the old pastor of Tina Anderson’s old church on their board, and recently called the indignation over that decision “really old news.”

    • Trisha LaCroix

      Don’t forget Providence Baptist College, Elgin, IL

      Northwest Bible Baptist Church Elgin, IL

      Pastor Keith Gomez

      grace baptist church in marion iowa

      Pastor Cecil Ballard

      (wife raped a 14 year old boy)

  • Michael

    Thank you for pulling all of this together in one place. I’m going to be linking to it and I’m sure it will get me further labeled as evil by those still caught up in the clutches of this incredibly abusive and manipulative system. I knew nothing other than this world until I was in my 20′s and 20 years after that am still trying to undo all of the damage it caused in my life.

    The one thing positive I can say is that I have gained some truly incredible co-survivor friends who have been incredibly supportive and understand exactly the pain and problems created when raised by the IFB system. Some of them have already commented here and I would do anything for them.

  • http://Anonymous Anonymous

    “Finally, now, it’s time for you to dance to your own song.

    And how marvelous will be your dance.

    How you will soar.

    Thank you for being so strong.”

    Out of all that I’ve read, the four quoted lines above are exactly what I needed to read.

    Thank you so much for posting this, and thank you to the one who shared this on their page…

    …maybe I’ll finally be able to truly heal from the years of pain to myself and others that I’ve had to witness, and heal with more peace.

  • Jesse W.

    Hi John,

    I have the biggest favor to ask. My step-grandmother is (I think) a part of a church that sounds very much like what you’ve described. Could you please look at this website and let me know if it is one of the churches that you’ve just described.

    Thanks in Advance,

    Jesse

  • Paula Hepola Anderson via Facebook

    Do they not think the love of God in Jesus is literally true? How my heart hurts for those raised in any home that believes such horrible lies.

    • http://www.buzzdixon.com buzz

      That’s the irony, isn’t it? Everything in their interpretation of the Bible is literally true except God’s love.

      • Christy

        I’ve been told “those” churches that preach God’s love have “bubblegum faith” as in: not authentic. It’s their way (the IFB way) or the highway. One aspect of these groups who believe in Biblical inerrancy and infallibility (which extends beyond IFB) is this translates to their understanding of doctrine…making their understanding and interpretation of scripture inerrant and infallible. See. In dualist thinking you’re either right or you’re wrong and since they know they are right, anything that smells remotely different is…wrong. Any one who doesn’t have “true Christianity” or “real faith” of come from a “Bible believing church” aren’t “really” Christians. They teach assurance of salvation: if you do this and say this and confess this and say the sinners prayer and ask Jesus to come into your heat and be your personal Savior…THEN: you are a Christian and you can know that if you were to die tonight where your soul would spend eternity. UNLESS…you sin again…tehn you are backslidden and out of a right relationship with god and you need to confess and repent and make everything square again. AND if you perpetually sin or “struggle with unrepentant sin” then maybe you weren’t really saved in the first place. Maybe you didn’t really mean it. Better confess and pray and ask and repent all over again.

        • Jill

          Christy, how much you say goes directly into my heart and validates my old, tired understanding of the Christian religion! Way back then I knew with absolute certainty there was Absolute truth, and my ‘cult’ had it. I couldn’t ever go out and find a different church, a new way to God because everyone else is Wrong and False Religion.

          So the misery, loneliness, judgment, hiding– it was all about me being a weak instrument of God. I failed him constantly. If I gave in and couldn’t take it anymore, I was to be spat out of God’s mouth. If I said anything in opposition to the church, I was apostate and deserving of disfellowship.

          I am comforted daily that there is more to a good and faithful life than is offered by the myopic, paranoic types that subjugate people’s personal and private relationship with their own Creator, and that those of us who came out the other side of this have EVEN MORE capacity to experience God’s loving-kindness because we understand its opposite and we appreciate its presence and find it in others every day.

          • David S

            Beautifully said, Jill. You and Christy really struck a chord with me.

            I know what I’m about to write is a facile approach to living one’s faith… The older I get and the more I seek God, I really believe that it all boils down to how we treat one another. We are so interconnected in this world. God is in His creation. Our only jobs are to love others, fight for justice, show and encourage compassion, do our part to care for “the least of our brethren”, and live our lives authentically.

            I know I don’t often win the game, but at least I have an idea of where the goal posts are.

            I cannot fathom how people (even entire communities) can claim to seek God and yet continue to engage in the kinds of physical, emotional, and spiritual abuse that Mr. Shore has documented so well. How can their moral compass have completely lost its magnetic poles? How can they be so deceived to think that feeding their own need for control and self-righteous piety is doing God’s work? How can they possibly think they are glorifying God when they are exacting such a terrible and cruel human toll? It baffles and saddens me.

            I think the people whose testimonies I’ve read here – of having the courage and love of humanity to leave their well-ordered communities – THESE PEOPLE are living their faith in extraordinary ways. I remember feeling the same way when Christy shared her story a few weeks back. These testimonies are equal parts heartbreaking and inspiring. They humble me.

          • Jill

            Ah, David S! The communing of souls over here is right where it’s at (sorry if I sound terribly ‘new-agey’), and the Great Commandment has nothing to do with Us v. Them but everything to do with how deeply can I love, how often can I be loving, how much can I share love with the world I inhabit?

            We share in the incredulity of this, in the proportion of how powerful the testimonies are. People who find their inherent loveliness in spite of all this madness are of the utmost inspiration to me. I am in constant awe. And bottomless gratitude to share all of this with all of you here.

          • David S

            Ok, Jill, I think I have a little crush on you. I know this will be unrequited because A) you and Mike Moore are a “thing” and 2) I’m married and gay. But still… Just saying’…

          • Jill

            !!! Stand in line. (kidding!)

            But a girl could get used being fought over. Just sayin.

  • http://brucegerencser.net Bruce Gerencser

    John,

    Thank you for the mention. I receive emails every day from people whose lives have been ruined by the IFB church movement. Their pain is heartbreaking. I appreciate you sharing this info with your readers. The IFB church movement is now being forced to deal with their secrets, just like the Catholic Church. It is a toxic movement that abuses, misuses, and destroys people. I know, not only was a long time member of IFB churches but I was also a IFB pastor for many years. Sadly, for many years, I perpetuated teachings and practices that abused, misused, and destroyed good people. While I was only perpetuating what I was taught, I accept full responsibility for what I did mentally and emotionally to people. I consider my blog my penance. (along with trying to help people caught up in this pernicious movement) I can’t undo the past but I can be a better man now and try to help people break free from the IFB church movement.

    While I am an atheist my goal is not to convert people to atheism. My goal to help people walk their journey with honesty and integrity. If that leads to atheism, fine. If not, I am OK with that. As long as the journey leaves the IFB church movement in the rear view mirror, I am happy.

    Sometime in October I will have a forum up called Leaving the Faith. Like the Clergy Project for ministers, the Leaving the Faith forum will be a private, secure place for people to work through their questions and doubts. Fundamentalists live in a world where doubts and questions are never allowed. God said it, (actually the preacher said it) end of discussion.

    Thank you, John, for raising awareness to what you rightly call the toxic Christianity of the IFB church movement.

    • Larry

      Bruce,

      your honesty is awesome.

      i’d be curious to hear more about your journey and what led you from IFB into atheism.

      Good luck with the forum. Sounds like good stuff.

  • Janet Bellgraph via Facebook

    Thank You so very much, Mr. Shore.

  • Shawn Carter

    Awesome article, sir! In reading the list of beliefs and practices, I realized just how extreme a church and home I was raised in. All over again. I left the IFB cult my parents started five-six years ago and each time I take a look back at what I escaped from I shake my head in amazement. The work you are doing through your books and articles is much needed. Mainstream Christianity can benefit greatly from the information you are putting out there.

    • http://www.hatchwords.com Joni Martin

      I had the same thoughts when I was reading it.

  • http://www.cindymurphythinkingoutloud.blogspot.com Cindy

    OMG!!!! I read through this post and was thinking that even for fundamentalists these people sounded too insane to be real. And then my wife mentioned that she thought there might have actually been one of these started back in the small city we are from, so curiously I googled and found a site listing IFB churches in Canada and there was one listed for my home province. Imagine my surprise to learn that the small baptist school that my brother sent my niece to was in fact an IFB school. I am flabergasted. I knew they were a bit nuts, but now I can’t help but wonder if they weren’t actually worse than I could imagine. Thankfully, they proved to be a little too crazy for my still fundamentalist brother and thus he has since pulled her out and put her in public school. Frankly, I find this rather frightening. No offence, but while reading this I was thinking that such craziness, while perhaps welcome in the strange American landscape was a little too crazy to find a home in Canada, or in the very least in Newfoundland…. Holy Shit! So glad my niece no longer goes there. To be honest I’ve often thought that my coming out was the catalyst for my niece being sent to baptist school in the first place (with my sister-in-law’s first words to me when she found out being, “[My niece] must never know!”), so I was very relieved when she was taken out even before hearing all this. I am much more relieved now that she is no longer going there.

    • Jill

      I had to peek to see where the closest IFB church is to my home. Admit some relief there isn’t one in my locale, but I linked into the closest one, about 30 miles away.

      Front page–big, glaring spelling error. I closed the page.

  • Melanie J. Blair via Facebook

    Thank you so much for this post!

  • Matt

    I can definitely see why it’s called a cult. No legitimate spiritual organization seeks to keep its members so tightly controlled or under such heavy secrecy. Only a group that is abusive and knows it somewhere deep in their cold black hearts does that. They know that given the first chance, human strength and resilience will show itself and they will lose their “members.”

    I had heard of Mr. and Mrs. Pearl, and thought they were isolated cases. Imagine my horror that they are not.

    Prayers, healing, and comfort to all who went through such atrocities. You are in my thoughts. Remember: You are going to be confronting things about the world you thought were “facts,” among them that are you bad and broken, that you are not worth it, and others. It’s very difficult, but very rewarding. There is an end, there is a light shining bright. And you don’t have to stop loving your abusers. What they did can’t take away your love, and your love can’t change the consequences of what they did.

    • Carol VanderNat

      Beautifully put, Matt…..

  • https://www.facebook.com/#!/lynne.k.everest Lynne

    John – is there a printable version, like a PDF for this article? I couldn’t find it, but then some of your side material is off my page. Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/trisha.lacroix Trisha LaCroix via Facebook

    Thank you so much for this!!

  • Jeremy Lape via Facebook

    This is a seminal document which will be a cornerstone of a radical reformation. Thank you, Sir, for producing the best of the best. Move over, Martin Luther; you just got pwned.

  • Dave Purdy via Facebook

    Wow,those are some fucked up people. :)

  • Jeremy Lape via Facebook

    Dave, you have no idea…

  • dan(Chicago)

    This makes the nutcase charismatic church I went to for 15 years look positively progressive. Sort of.

    Well maybe not, but at least better in comparison.

  • http://www.facebook.com/KristiOutlerByrd Kristi Outler Byrd via Facebook

    Is it wrong to snicker over Jack Schaap’s “polished shaft” sermon?
    (snicker)

    • dan(Chicago)

      That was about as homoerotic a clip as I’ve seen.

    • Jill

      thank you.

    • http://www.unnameablecuriosity.blogspot.com Christine

      I think it’s fairly safe to say that’s the only time I’ve seen yeilding to God confused with masterbating.

      • http://www.facebook.com/bill.steffenhagen?sk=wall Soulmentor

        If his ecstatic (?) outbursts were any indication, I’d say it was a good thing he was standing behind a rostrum and wearing black pants!!!!!

  • Sharon Aldridge Kaufman via Facebook

    Can’t find it, John. Can’t find my mind, either. Could you just post the link to the pdf in this comment section?

    And I thouight I had problems, growing up a Fundican. God help and protect the people trapped in this den of wolves.

  • http://wigglewordofgod.com Brian

    Hi John,

    I’m sorry but IFBs aren’t the problem. As you point out, their beliefs are so absurd that intelligent people raised within the organization generally realize how crazy it is and bail out. The problem are the Christians who apply an inerrant bible to others–but not themselves or members of their own church. The Bible is ignored when it comes to how they should act, dress, etc.–but the Bible is held over the head of single people who want birth control, homosexuals and pretty much anyone who doesn’t attend their church every Sunday. Women in these churches act nothing like they are instructed to in the bible and no one has the audacity to say they should–so they remain loyal to an organization that subtly undermines their value and equality . It’s this much larger percentage of Southern Baptists, for instance, that wreak havoc on our laws, elections, and general sense of civilized kindness and decency. By applying the bible without and not within they never make Christians face the grim biblical choices that separate true IFBs from those who start to doubt…God Bless IFBs for trying to live by the Bible as well as preach it. If Southern Baptists preached that members should live according to their inerrant bible, only a fraction of Christians would be Southern Baptists.

    • Melody

      Are you being serious? Please tell me you’re being ironic, given the IFB’s history of abuse. This is not a laughing matter, and I will not stand for people making light of others’ suffering.

    • Melody

      Also, if that was a jab at those of us who don’t follow the Bible to the letter like fundamentalists, then you can just stop that right now. This is not the place for atheists (I’m assuming you’re one, based on the faith-bashing nature of your blog) to ridicule anyone who has faith of any kind. You are doing the same thing fundamentalists do–taking those passages out of context, assuming that one most observe every word of the Bible to the letter in order to be a “true” Christian. Bullshit. If you understood the cultural and historical context, you wouldn’t be do smug and condescending to us. Get back to me when you’re learned more about the Bible than simply what it says.

      • Erich

        “Get back to me when you’re learned more about the Bible than simply what it says.” What else is there to a manifesto or doctrine? Jesus, as quoted in the Bible, says we’re to completely abide by the Old Testament. If you don’t trust what the Bible says, not that I could blame you; it’s rubbish, what’s the sense in being a Christian? Are you even a Christian if you believe the Bible is archaic and fallible? Nowhere else is Jesus mentioned, in anything but the Bible, so if the Bible is wrong, he never even existed. Which is the most likely scenario, so again, I couldn’t fault you. Though, it becomes very confusing as to why you’d consider yourself a Christian, then.

        • Barbara Rice

          You’re new here, right?

        • Christy

          Erich, you exposed yourself by saying, “Nowhere else is Jesus mentioned, in anything but the Bible.” You might want to do a brief Google search and get back with us. Good luck.

        • http://www.unnameablecuriosity.blogspot.com Christine

          One can also believe that the bible is an account by real people who experienced real things, but were fallible and biased and limited in their understanding just like everyone else. There is a whole movement of (Christian) biblical interpretation that looks at canonical and extra-canonical texts as historical documents to be studied and critiqued as such (“historical criticism”). One can also hold the view much of OT was intended as rabbinal teaching stories and poetry and not literal fact, and to take it in the spirit in which it was intended. The bible can be a guidinng document without unfallibility or literalism.

          Your approach here – that it must either be infallible or complete rubbish – is the extremist view of fundamentalists.

          • Diana A.

            This is pretty much how I look at it.

        • http://www.facebook.com/bill.steffenhagen?sk=wall Soulmentor

          *****If you don’t trust what the Bible says, not that I could blame you; it’s rubbish, what’s the sense in being a Christian? ******

          As if one can’t consider oneself Christian if he or she doesn’t equate Jesus with the Bible? Jesus and the Bible are quite separate entities. Jesus is not the Bible. It seems to me it would be safe to say that if you follow Jesus’ teachings and believe nothing else in the Bible, you are a Christian. “Christian” IS the namesake, right?

          With that approach, a lot of Buddhists, for example, could be considered christian. Or even some Muslims….Brian?

    • Oz in OK

      “By applying the bible without and not within they never make Christians face the grim biblical choices that separate true IFBs from those who start to doubt…God Bless IFBs for trying to live by the Bible as well as preach it.”

      …what? Seriously – WHAT? The abuses of the IFB are laid bare in this post. Those abused (and survived) have come forward and have said ‘As bad as you’re describing it, it was actually worse’ and you have the absolute GALL to say this?

      /thunderstruck

      • http://www.unnameablecuriosity.blogspot.com Christine

        Exactly. In general, normally, practicing what you preach is a good thing. But when you believe something adhorrent, for whatever you have intellectual come to it, one would expect and want that peopled would be stayed from putting in practice by their conscience, that as much as they believed it in their head they could not come to do it in their heart. This is far preferable to those who both do and believe, being both flawed in their thinking and callous in their hearts.

  • charles

    hey John- thats a very informative piece. Your awesome passion is an inspiration to me.

    all I can say is I guess things “could” be worse…. we could be dealing with something like the Lords Resistance Army, or some massively messed up thing like it. Thats not to minimize the insanity of that branch of believers, but only to say that it could be worse.

    for me, I pray not for an easier load, but a stronger back.

  • otter

    This post is like turning on the light in a roach- infested kitchen.

    Maybe these insects will scuttle back into a crack……

    John, I hope you have some GOOD security. Peoplr this whacked out are capable anything. YOu are a brave crusader, for sure.

    • Jill

      I’ve been missing you otter. Awesome to read you again!

      • otter

        aw shucks…..thanks!

  • Don Rappe

    These teachings are antithetical to the teachings of Jesus (and Moses) and yet are called and thought of as “Christian”. The teaching of the Church is characteristically NOT secret. Secrecy is characteristic of cults. As far as giving great obedience to authority is concerned, I remember that Peter and the apostles responded to religious authority by saying “We must obey God rather than men.”

    • Elizabeth

      The Messianic secret in the Gospels is fascinating. Historical Jesus cautioned His followers to encode the Good News, and He spoke in parables. They’re riddles, like Buddhist kōans. They’re supposed to provoke great doubt. “I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old” (Psalm 78:2) echoes in “I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.” (Matthew 13:35)

      How does a rich man go through the eye of the needle? How is faith like a mustard seed? Why celebrate finding your wayward sheep when you already have ninety-nine obedient ones? The Bible isn’t a hard-and-fast rule book. Literalists are missing the point. It’s God teaching us how to question. How to think for ourselves.

      • http://www.facebook.com/bill.steffenhagen?sk=wall Soulmentor

        ******The Bible isn’t a hard-and-fast rule book.********

        That is something I’ve felt for decades. I consider it more of a guide to living as opposed to God’s absolute Word.

        But the point of your last two sentences never occurred to me and struck as a profound approach to the Bible. It seems odd that, being gay, I have long understood the need to question and think for myself but thinking about the Bible that way never occurred to me.

        I learned something today. Thank you.

    • Elizabeth

      A précis on secrecy in Mark. Frontline’s From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians is a great overview. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/story/mark.html

      • Don Rappe

        Hi Elizabeth. I’m just remembering the early Church’s rejection of the various cults whose stories were kept secret by some Christians from others and which are frequently lumped under the term gnosticism. I use the word Church to avoid identifying the idea with any specific author. I find the book Mark to be extremely interesting, although can’t take L. Michael White’s understanding of it very seriously. Its structure rules out any remote possibility that it is primarily the story from one person. The “Historical Jesus” seems to me to be more spoken of than found. My own crack at this begins with Mark 1;16 which appears to me to originate with someone’s response to the question “Where and when did you first meet Jesus?” This person would be a primary source. Immediately after a second seeming primary source supplements the first with two more disciples. I identify this second source with Levi the son of Alphaeus because he is fussy about complete names, the way a tax collector would be.Their work was supplemented by healing miracle storytellers and a different group of exorcism story tellers. Later the collection of stories was worked together by a dramatic artist of some skill, who included the passion story. This is the person of whom Mr. White may be thinking. Finally, this result was preserved for posterity by a Christian cult which practiced the ritual non-wearing of underpants. I firmly believe my understanding of the development of the book is as ridiculous as anyone’s.

        • Elizabeth

          You put “Historical Jesus” in quotation marks, as it should be. We can’t possibly know for sure what He thought or did. It’s all filtered through millennia. The structure of Mark is too odd to be written by one person. It’s way too angular and primitive to be understood as a singular narrative. I found postmodern literary theory and the comparison to Buddhist kōans the most helpful.

          Your interpretation is not ridiculous, of course. It makes as much sense as Mr. White’s. The Gospel of John is more polished, as it should be coming last chronologically. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” is transcendent in its poetry. Mark is very dramatic by comparison. One can almost feel, reading it, that the early followers of Jesus were considered cult members in the Judaic community. The oral tradition, midrash, was probably a good way to pass along secrets.

  • A Person

    Wow. Just…wow. That’s horrible.

    What can I do to help?

  • http://redheadconfetti.blogspot.com/ Emma

    Thanks, John, for writing this. I saw the messes those churches made of people, how they were chewed up and spat out, throw out for dissent [often just honest questions, or "Hey, this isn't right!], called into co-called “church discipline” for daring to want better for the parishioners! IFB churches tear your spirit into tiny pieces, covering you with self-doubt about everything, making it nearly impossible to make a choice that isn’t pastor-inspired. It’s insidious and, indeed, soul crushing. It doesn’t help that the clergy are treated like rockstars, and the more books you sell, the more important you are! My grandparents worshipped Hyles! I think they still do, calling him “Brother Jack” in that breathy fan-boi way that always made me sick. They’d visit his church and be enraptured for weeks afterwards, as though they’d been in the presence of God.

    Some times, I don’t know if we love too much, or want to be that change for good in the world, that makes us stay. Some of us run away, as fast as our legs carry us! I’m in the latter camp. Even after therapy that pain doesn’t go away– so you cope and hope and help where you can.

    • Jill

      All of this is amazing Emma. I’m so glad you chose the latter, and I hope you never feel alone with your pain.

  • Bob Meredith

    Thank you for this story.

  • Patricia L. Money via Facebook

    The sad thing is this is just one of many disgusting groups using the bible to justify their actions.

  • Brian

    Lumping all IFB’s into the same bucket as a bunch of wacko’s is absurd. It is like stating ALL Catholic priests are child moletsers or all Muslims are terrorists. The “stripe” of IFBdom that is being brought to light here is the the hyper or extreme form of it, known as IFBx (eXtreme). It accounts for such a small percentage of Baptists as to be almost a fringe group.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Brian: I welcome you to cut-and-paste here anything I said that you feel isn’t true. If I erred in what I said, I’ll change it.

    • mike moore

      Absurd? Prove it. Tell us how IFBx differs from IFB.

      • Brian

        John,

        It is true what you said about the IFBer’s that are the hyper and/or the extremists within the broad scope of “Independent Baptist” churches. This is not the practice of the majority, just a fringe amount

        Example, the KJV in the IFBx “camp” is like you said, but with the majority of Baptists have moved beyond a 400 year old Britsh translation and use better English translations as the NAS95, the ESV, HCSB, NKJV and others.

        The church is not run by a “man-o-gawd” that must be followed unquestionably. Most follow a more biblical pastor-elder form of leadership with a plurality of elders.

        Woman are not deemed “in the willl of God” only as mothers and housewives.

        The list can go on and on, essentially the IFBx movement is a recent “cancer” (20th century) in the the historic “body” of Baptists around the world. They really do account for a fringe percentage. Unfortunately they get the press as though they are the majority, they are not. Most Baptists are humble, loving and benevolent servants to the Lord Jesus Christ and have little in common of the IFBx’ers

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

          No fair, Brian: You’re conflating IFB and Baptists generally. I’ve not said a thing about any sort of Baptist beyond the IFB. And everything I said of IFB is true of IFB.

          • Brian

            John,

            NO its not true, it is a true of a small fringe of the IFB’s known as the IBFx or hyper-IFB’s, not all IFB’s. Like I said most IFB’s are not KJVOnlyites or is their church run by an ego maniac “man-o-gawd”. Not ALL IFB’s are as you state in this blog – a certian minority are indeed exactly as you said here, but to claim all are, is not true. It is like saying all Catholic preists molest kids or all Muslims want death to the Jews.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

            Brian: Your response made me wonder if you are IFB. Rather than passive-aggressivly ask you (for how could the question come across any other way?), I thought I’d visit your FB profile and perhaps simply learn for myself what church you attend.

            On your FB profile page I saw that you recently posted this:

            IF……

            1. You grow poppeys and refine heroin for a living, but you have a moral objection to liquor. You may be a Muslim

            2. You own a $1,000 machine gun and a $2,000 rocket launcher and ammo, but you can’t afford shoes. You may be a Muslim

            3. You have more wives than teeth. You may be a Muslim

            4. You wipe your butt with your bare hand, but consider bacon and pork unclean.

            You may be a Muslim

            5. You think vests come in two styles: bullet-proof and suicide. You may be a Muslim

            6. You can’t think of anyone you haven’t declared Jihad against. You may be a Muslim

            7. You consider television dangerous, but routinely carry explosives in your clothing.

            You may be a Muslim

            8. You were amazed to discover that cell phones have uses other than setting off IED’s roadside bombs. You may be a Muslim

            9. You have nothing against women and think every man should own at least four.

            You may be a Muslim

            10. Your cousin is president of the United States . You may be a Muslim (you gotta admit, THAT’S funny!!)

            11. You find this offensive or racist and won’t forward it. You probably ARE a Muslim

            This is purely shameful, Brian. It’s just … unbelievable.

            So I’m done discussing this with you. I stand by what I’ve written.

            Take that crap off your page and sincerely and deeply apologize for it, or don’t come on this blog again.

            C’mon, dude. I know you’re better than that vitriolic racist vomit. Won’t you please make it not quite so easy for people to equate Christianity with animal ignorance?

          • Brian

            It was a joke John a “ruffle your feathers Friday”, but what does that have to do with IFBx?

          • DP

            People who live the teachings of Jesus wouldn’t joke about things like that; even in jest it bears false witness against your neighbor. What evidence do you have that such a distinction exists?

          • http://www.unnameablecuriosity.blogspot.com Christine

            That’s the nastiest shit I’ve seen in quite some time – and unfortunately, I am exposed to some pretty basty shit fairly nregularly – but this… yikes… *shakes head*

            Look, if you find that kind of thing *funny*, then there is something wrong with you. You have no compassion for the persecuted. Grow up and grow some empathy. And by posting it for the purpose of evoking laughter, you are contributing to the prejudices to which you are so callous.

            Those who are vulnerable need protection. For those facing real, harm-doing stereotypes and discrimination, such “humour” is completely off-limits.

          • http://www.unnameablecuriosity.blogspot.com Christine

            And no, it has nothing to do with IFBs.

            But it does have something to do with your credibility on the issue of stereotyping.

          • n.

            It does though. He said that John Shore’s post about IFB was like saying all Muslims are terrorists. Which must mean that this post is A-OK for him, because he’s saying so on his wall. Argument over, no?!

          • http://www.unnameablecuriosity.blogspot.com Christine

            He actually said that all terrorist were Muslim (which, of courseis equally ridiculous) – so I guess his objection is that John should have said that all toxic fundamentalism is IFB and that (while being highly inaccurate) would have been fine Brian.

            I therefore see Brian’s objection not as being that John was stereotyping, but that he wasn’t stereotyping in the right way – Brian’s just a stereotyping artist, you see. Needs to be done just so…

            (*gag*)

          • DR

            Just more love and tolerance from the Christians.

        • mike moore

          Brian, John is so much nicer than I.

          Baptists are top of the list of the most hateful, unloving, judgmental, mean-spirited, stick-up-their-hypocritcal-asses, group of bigots I can think of.

          I could easily base this statement on personal experience, but I’m not. Rather, I’m basing this on the theology, doctrine, political lobby, and public statements coming from the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the US.

          Are there Baptists who don’t deserve this label? Probably, but I don’t care, because they support an evil church.

          • Brian

            Mike,

            So you feel the same way about Baptists as I do about Muslims, but I’m expected to delete a post in humor and apologize. It is OK to write your opinion with full support on here, but a joke post on a Facebook page is SO wrong……..

            Sorry everyone

          • Melody

            No, Brian, you aren’t sorry. You don’t care how offensive your jokes are. You don’t care that IFB churches practice abuse in the name of Jesus. Your careless attitude makes you part of the problem. If you aren’t here to expose abuse and support victims, you’re in the wrong place. Please leave.

          • Melody

            And for God’s sake, stop drinking the KoolAid. You are embarrassing more rational Christians and adding fuel to the fire for certain antitheists who’ve commented here.

          • Brian

            Let’s see I make jokes about Muslims on my own Face book page (not on this blog) and others use vulgar language and say the most offensive things against Christianity on this blog and I’m the problem? I’m tolerant and patient with all even if they call Christianity evil and hateful, because everyone is entitled to their own opinions, no matter how offensive they are to me. Yet I have seen over and over again the intolerance many have in here that don’t align with with most posters beliefs. Everyone is free to post but never have a contrary thought or opinion, because if you do you’re hateful, bigoted, evil, brainwashed and a whole host of other adjectives. Would we ever see a post “fundamentally toxic Islam (or atheism)” no of course not that would offend Muslims or atheists. But “fundamental” Christians are open season 24/7. Everyone is free to “offend away” the fundamental Chrstians, but no one else, because you’re in danger of offending and hurting Muslims, atheists, humanists, etc.

          • DP

            Christians holding other areas of Christianity accountable. That’s what this post is about. Moderate and Liberal Muslims are to hold Muslim extremists accountable. Moderate and Liberal Jews are to hold Jewish extremists accountable. You do not seem to be denying that such groups exist, simply that there are subgroups within them. Do you have any evidence of the distinctions you claim?

          • DR

            Would you please give me an example of how anyone here has said “the most offensive things” about Christianity? I certainly see people standing against the oppressive, sick, disgusting evil that *masks itself* within Christianity, like John posted here. But against Christianity itself? Please provide an example.

          • Brian

            This is pretty offensive to Baptists:

            Baptists are top of the list of the most hateful, unloving, judgmental, mean-spirited, stick-up-their-hypocritcal-asses, group of bigots I can think of.

          • Melody

            That’s because it’s TRUE. You can’t handle being exposed for what you are, so you play the martyr game, you pharisee.

          • DR

            I asked about *Christianity*. You’re conflating a denomination with the teachings of Jesus Christ.

          • Melody

            Yes, you are the problem, because you care more about being able to express your dickish opinions than to acknowledge abuse in churches, regardless of denomination. You are in complete denial, and you are a reason so many people (NOT radical Muslims) hate Christians. Just do all of us a favor, including yourself: go away and don’t come back. If you’re going to be a smug jerk, you are not welcome here.

          • Brian

            So my opinions are dickish, is that because they may differ from yours? I agree that the IFBx verion of Christianity mentioned in John’s post is indeed abusive and hurtful and there are shipwrecked lives in its wake – I agree. What I don’t agree with is lumping ALL IFB’s in the same bucket. The IFBx are a “cancer” within evangelical Christianity. I acknowledged that and agree 100%. I don’t deny that. I don’t agree with the broad allegations that ALL IFB churches are the same, are all Muslims terrorists? No, but it seems that all terrorists align themselves with Islam. Are all Catholic priests child molestors? No, but it seems that virtually all news of clergy related child molestation cases are involving Catholic priests.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

            Brian: Last time: apologize for that trash you posted on your FB profile. Whether or not it was wrong for you to do that has nothing whatsoever to do with anything anyone else did that was wrong: “So what if I did wrong: so did you” is a childish argument: two wrongs, as they say, don’t make a right. Make the next thing you post on this blog an apology for this, or I’ll have to boot you from this blog for being someone beneath any reasonable conversation about faith. And I don’t want to do that, because I know you’re not. Unless you prove to me that in fact you are by continuing to defend that toxic, dumbass trash you wrote.

            I’ve always enjoyed you on this blog, Brian. I hope I can continue believing you’ve got the character to admit when you’ve done something that’s crude, cruel and unfair to about one-quarter of the world’s population. If not, I won’t enjoy you here anymore. I’ve got dear Muslim friends. I can’t host here in my online home someone who has so egregiously insulted them.

          • http://www.unnameablecuriosity.blogspot.com Christine

            All terrorism is Islamic and all molestation is Catholic???

            Are you fucking kidding me? God damn it, get your head out of your ass!

          • http://kellythinkstoomuch.wordpress.com KellyK

            Timothy McVeigh – lapsed Catholic

            Ted Kaczynski – atheist or agnostic as best I can tell

            Terry Nichols – converted to some form of Christianity after the bombing

            Scott Roeder – Christian

            And that’s just the American terrorists that I can remember off the top of my head. All Muslims, huh?

          • Oz in OK

            Brian, so you come on this blog accusing John of ‘painting with a wide brush’ about the IFB but you get all defensive and angry when John points out that you’re doing the exact same thing about Muslims? Ooookay….

          • DR

            And you linked people to your Facebook, you wanted to provide access to it. Goodness, the victimization of injured Fundamentalists is so shocking.

          • Brian

            Come on people, mellow out a bit. I never said ALL terrorists are Islamic, I said not all Muslims are terrorists but all acts of terrorism against Americans seems to be exclusively from Muslims (at least what we see in the media). MOST acts of clergy related child molestation that hits the news seems to be Catholic priests. I did not say nor claim ALL acts of terrorism are Muslim or all acts of “clergy child molestation” are exclusively Catholic.

            When I see the Muslim leaders around the world CONDEMN the recent acts of violence against Americans by Muslims, then I’ll aplogize for a joke on my Facebook page.

            I like this blog, I read it almost daily, I have learned much, more than most will ever know, but if you feel you must ban me, then that is your perogative.

            The violence against Americans by Islamic terrorists is escalating daily, yet no one here is saying a thing, the problem are the “IFB’s”.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

            Right, Brian. Because my writing about IFB must mean I’m cool with violence by Islamic terrorists.

            Jesus, you’re a disappointment.

          • DP

            Re: “When I see the Muslim leaders around the world CONDEMN the recent acts of violence against Americans by Muslims, then I’ll aplogize for a joke on my Facebook page.”

            Muslim leaders denounce violence.

            http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/south-asia/muslim-leaders-denounce-violence

            Libyans protest for peace, condemn violence.

            http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/09/13/libya-attack-2012-libyans-benghazi-demonstration-us-embassy_n_1879798.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false#sb=3376310,b=facebook

            Muslim leader calls for ends to violence.

            http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/09/13/us-embassy-attacks-islamic-scholar-dr-usama-hasan-mohammed_n_1879996.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false#sb=3376310,b=facebook

            If you Google “Muslim leaders denounce violence” you can see a whole lot more.

          • DR

            Of course Brian, it’s everyone else’s fault that your offensiveness is – offensive. That’s just what guys like you do, you go on the attack, bristle and the *slightest* suggestion that you are out of line and then try to manipulate your way out of it by playing the “Look over there!” game. Unfortunately for you, the people on this blog – including the owner – are pretty savvy and can seem to suss out a true victim vs a guy who doesn’t seem to possess the humility, character or capacity to acknowledge the impact of a “joke” that’s pretty gross. I’m not surprised, I didn’t expect you to cop to it – I was hoping you would, but I didn’t expect it. Guys like you have such massive issues in admitting plainly that you’re wrong that you just can’t often do it.

          • otter

            and the violence by Americans against LGBT people is escalating……how about telling some jokes about homophobes, too?

            bet you don’t have any of those, do ya?

          • DR

            Well at least you admit to your feelings about Muslims instead of hiding it behind a joke like you tried to do earlier. Wow. The things people say when they keep talking. Stunning.

          • Brian

            It is, isn’t it?

          • DR

            You’re such a victim as you perpetuate gross, evil stereotypes via the veil of “it was just a joke” because you don’t have the integrity to take responsibility for your beliefs. So you hide them behind a joke. Typical.

          • http://www.unnameablecuriosity.blogspot.com Christine

            Did you completely missed the part where Mike, right or wrong, based his argument on… well, anything in reality, while you were just being a complete ass?

          • http://www.buzzdixon.com buzz

            Y’know, mike, ya might wanna actually talk to some people who are or were Baptists. They can be some of the nicest, most generous and caring people you’d want to know, true Christians in every sense of the word.

            My father was raised a Baptist and he practiced his faith as best he could and as lovingly and as humanely as he could.

            My mother, on the other hand, was a member of Mussolini’s fascist party.

            Why did I bring that up? Because in the times and places where they were growing up, that was what their norms were. When you’re born into something, when you family and friends are all part of the same system, it gets kinda hard to think outside of the box.

            Yeah, there’s some dicks running (or rather, trying to run) the SBC today. There’s a lotta SBC churches that just ignore what those bozologists have to say.

            I know it’s easier just to paint everybody with the same brush but doing so really doesn’t help your argument.

          • mike moore

            I was very clear. I stated, “Are there Baptists who don’t deserve this label? Probably, but I don’t care, because they support an evil church.”

            I stand by this statement, and my post, and I don’t give a “pass” to adults who don’t “think outside the box.” They’re adults. Thinking is part of the job.

            The SBC’s lobbying against anti-bullying laws because the laws will protect gay kids is evil.

            The SBC supports the “personhood” bill. I know a young woman who was raped at 13yo. Words can’t describe the aftermath. She attempted suicide at 14. Had she become pregnant, the folks at the SBC would have made this 13yo girl carry and birth her rapist’s child. That is evil.

            This list could, sadly, go on. And it’s infuriating when someone like you says, “there’s a lotta SBC churches that just ignore what those bozologists have to say.” Again, these congregations are full of adults tithing their money back to SBC. If you believe your church is run by “dicks” and “bozologists” you don’t reward them by supporting them with your cash and your membership.

            My argument is that a person can’t provide continuing support – morally, financially, and with their personal allegiance – to an evil institution and then say, “but I’m not really like that myself.”

            I’m not painting these people with the same brush, they themselves are.

          • http://www.unnameablecuriosity.blogspot.com Christine

            I think the exception might be people who belong to the group but making a point of both publically criticising the official positions and working to create change from within (and I am assuming here that members have the option of withholding financial contributions, either entirely or to least the central elements where the funds would support such heinous acts).

            By comparison, look what Anerican nuns are doing for Catholicism. They are wonderful.

          • Jill

            Well said. I concur.

        • DP

          Brian, if they are different as you attest…

          Do they ordain women?

          Do they hold to a complementarian view of wives?

          Do they believe men and women have distinct gender roles?

          Do they affirm corporal punishment?

          Is corporal punishment required to be used in order to be considered in the will of God for godly parenting?

          Are obedience and submission esteemed character traits in children and women?

          Are men seen as the god-ordained heads of the house?

          Do they believe in egalitarian marriage?

          Is dancing permitted (even among married couples)?

          Alcohol consumption?

          Secular modern music?

          Do they believe in ecumenicalism (interdenominational cooperation and socializing)?

          Do they believe Catholics are Christians?

          Are people of other Protestant denominations equally in good standing with God as they are?

          From what universities or schools might such ministers receive their degrees? What are some examples of these churches across the country?

          What about links to their Christian schools?

          What universities are considered appropriate to attend?

          Is attending a secular university or public school frowned upon?

          Do they believe in social justice?

          What is the general sentiment toward government?

          Would they ever support divorce? in the cases of spousal abuse?

          Could a divorced person teach a Sunday School class in the church or be a school teacher in their schools?

          Is re-marriage after divorce considered adultery?

          Is interracial marriage ok?

          Is it a sin to marry someone outside your faith or of no faith?

          How do they feel about climate change and environmentalism?

          Can you believe in evolution and still be a Christian?

          Do they agree with the Creation Museum? and Answers in Genesis?

          Do they believe that homosexuality is a choice or an inborn trait like eye color or handedness?

          Do they believe that all people of all races, ethnicities, national origins, genders, sexual orientations and religions are equal in the eyes of God? in their own eyes?

          Do they accept mainstream psychology?

          Is depression a medical disorder or evidence of Satan’s influence in your life? What types of community outreach do they engage in? Soup kitchens? Prison visitation? Volunteering in a homeless shelter or a rape crisis center?

          Would a disheveled homeless person be welcome in the Sunday morning service?

          Can men have facial hair or long hair? Is God male? Is the Holy Spirit? Must God be male?

          Did Jesus have long hair?

          Were there any female leaders of the church in the Bible?

          Does God send punishments on people because they are not in God’s will?

          Is smoking a sin? What about cursing? Are “by-words” allowed like gosh, gee, geeze, darn?

          Can women wear pants outside the home? Shorts? Bathing suit? Are women to dress modestly in order to help keep men from lusting?

          Can a woman hold what has traditionally been deemed a “male job” like long haul truck-driver or a construction worker or a coal miner?

          How does the church feel about stay at home dads? Or women who make more money than their husbands?

          Should women have to say obey or submit in their wedding vows?

          Does the church issue church discipline?

          Is alcoholism a disease or a moral failing?

          Should a drug addict enter rehab or just quit using drugs and get right with God?

          Is there a sense of urgency that the world is in the “last days?”

          Is movie watching sinful? R-rated movies?

          Are people expected to attend whenever the doors of the church are open?

          Is it considered back-slidden if folks attend less regularly?

          Would it be common to hear someone say, “I should read my bible more often”?

          Besides moving, what are the most common reasons people leave the church? Are they shunned if they do?

          Is it ok to have unsaved friends with whom you regularly socialize?

          Are you allowed to eat at restaurants that serve alcohol?

          Which gets preached about more: The Golden Rule or the Great Commission? The teachings of Jesus or Old Testament stories? How to treat others the way Jesus taught us to treat each other or how to avoid being tempted by the world and keeping your thought life pure?

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

            whoa, DP. this is amazing. did you write this?

          • DP

            Yep. That would be me.

  • anameisaname

    I seriously doubt it was the actual members of those churches that contacted you. Probably someone who wanted to bring them to you attention

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      ???

    • mike moore

      @anameisaname: thanks for one of the dumbest comments I’ve seen here, ever.

      John opens his post with, “Recently one Ty Duncan contacted me ….” Does that clear your “doubt” up for ya?

      • anameisaname

        My doubt stems from it being extremely strange for an IBF pastor to come to this blog for a recommenation. Polar opposites.So ONE explanation could be it was someone trying to pass himself off as TY Duncan for his own reasons. OK, thanks for the rude, uncalled for insult.

        • Christy

          No one said he was an IFB pastor. It says: “contacted me to ask if I might write a few words of support and love for the members of two Facebook groups for which he serves as admin, Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) Cult Survivors and Do Right Hyles-Anderson.”

          Those are two real groups of survivors with which I am personally familiar. I have seen Ty’s name in forums regarding recent issues within Fundamentalism including the Tina Anderson story, the Bob Jones University kerfuffle over Chuck Phelps being on their board and subsequent “Do Right” movements at various fundamentalist universities. If I know John, a former editor, his journalistic integrity would compel him to do his due diligence. The article itself is evidence of a great deal of research, time he noted he took in his post.

          It seems you may have misunderstood who did the asking and why they asked for what they did.

        • mike moore

          Dude, you didn’t even read – or you chose to ignore – the first four words of John’s post, and you assumed John hadn’t fact checked. That’s what is rude and insulting.

        • n.

          He’s a real person, i know him.

    • Christy

      The question bears asking of you, anamaeisaname, regardless of who did the asking originally, the research bore out these findings. The findings are not dependent on the questioner. Do you doubt the findings? After reading all of this…you chose to question the validity of the identity of the letter writer. Why?

      • anameisanname

        I said why I asked. The IBF summary of beliefs posted here appear to be POLAR OPPOSITES of the views of this blog. Why come to a site for a recommendation that would not be supportive of your beliefs? That would be senseless. Like a Jewish Holocaust Survivors organization going to Ahmadinejad for a statement of affirmationt that the holocaust actually happened. Its weird, whatever the reason, I suggested one possiblity, thats all.

        • Christy

          ananeisaname, I sense that you are frustrated. Let me see if I can explain this so it makes sense.

          Ty, I believe, like me, and so many others is a recovering fundamentalist. We see the abuses of Fundamentalism and yet feel helpless against them. John, has quite an audience and megaphone to use to expose those abuses to the world and to offer comfort to those of us among the walking wounded who come here seeking solace and support from an abusive and neglectful system of the IFB.

          Ty asked John to offer a few words of support to Fundamentalist survivors. In preparing to do that, John uncovered what we in the IFB already knew and was compelled in an expose manner to list a portion of those beliefs and abuses so that ALL might understand the IFB movement better and understand why someone might be seeking comfort and consider themself a survivor.

          The summary of beliefs IS quite different than here. But so many mainline protestants, Catholics, atheists, and others have no idea what IFB is or stands for or believes. John lists them so that it is clear who they are and what they believe so that one might know why escaping that system might render one a “survivor” and worthy of support and comfort.

          If someone wrote him and asked him to write a letter of support for former Jains, it would require some basic understanding of what such a group believed for that letter to have any context.

          Do you understand now?

          • Christy

            Such a lengthy post serves as a documentary of facts and information for the purpose of:

            1) Shining light on an area of Christianity about which many people do not know exists or believe is real

            2) Exposes abuses in order to serve as a means of creating reform of the leadership, awareness for the public, hope and validation for survivors, and a warning and a wake up call to those still entrapped in it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/deborah.govenor Deborah R. Govenor via Facebook

    How horrible!! It literally made me sick reading about this ‘church’.

  • jennifer

    elizabeth, i loved your post! i read the article you posted. soooo interesting. i have always wondered why jesus asked people to keep quiet about him. just fascinating. thanks so much for posting!

  • Christy

    One of the saddest and most remarkable things in all of this is how accurately you have painted this picture, John. These are beliefs and practices integral to our childhoods. These are names we know and recognize. These are schools our ministers got their “Doctorates” from. These are ministers who preached revivals in our churches. This is our history. Lived and breathed.

    It sounds like it can’t be real. But it is. And it still goes on.

    I struggled to suppress the rising tachycardia as I read through the statements about corporal punishment. The familiarity. The stoic, stone-faced delivery. I managed to keep the hummingbird in my chest to an uncomfortable flutter. What is difficult and painful to admit to myself, as it is for so many others, is we don’t want this to be real either. We minimize and rationalize and deny…the truth… in vain. Until it refuses to be kept hidden away in dusty boxes stored with the other junk in our brains and manifests as any number of negative coping mechanisms.

    This happened. It was real. It was painful. It left lasting scars. It hurts even now thinking about it. And the twist of the knife in the end is not only was it real, but it carries the burden of now knowing that what was the order of our universe – our normal – wasn’t normal at all. The sky isn’t green. Birds don’t crawl. Children aren’t evil. God doesn’t hate us. Our normal wasn’t right or just or good or godly. It was abuse. It was damaging. It was a cult.

    This never became so vividly clear for me than the day last year when I shared the Tina Anderson story as a means of perking her radar with a member of my husband’s family who attends an SBC church, who has young children, who is a mother and who said: “What kind of a church do you think we go to? We don’t go to a crazy church like that!”

    When I rocked back off my heels to gain some degree of footing, and got over being hurt for her compassionless response, I was left with despair.

    She’s right. It was crazy. My normal was crazy.

    Getting that straight in our heads takes an enormous amount of work.

    But there is hope. The God I know now will never stop drawing all of creation back to God’s self and wants to make us whole.

    I have found that mainline clergy and practicing therapists know very little about this world, though my most gasp-inducing moment in reading this were the numbers 2.5% and 7.85 million which went something like: Oh my G- no wonder there are so few of…Holy Crap! that’s a lot of people! Those clergy and therapists and neighbors and friends need to know what you have written here, what we have lived, in order to better understand and meet us (and those still in it) where we are.

    A counselor friend told me that next to war trauma, PTSD induced from surviving a cult is one of the more intractable forms of trauma to treat. That more of us recovering fundamentalists aren’t dead from any number of poor coping mechanisms IS a testament of our strength. The beacon of hope and light that got me through this, both then and now, was having an important person in my life who I knew gave a damn about me – who showed me unconditional love – the same kind I know now exists in the God I never knew.

    Thank you, John, for this generous gift of shining light on truth.

    • Jill

      I absolutely adore you Christy. You are so powerful.

      • Christy

        Thanks, Jill. It’s a really lovely thing for you to say. One very healing aspect of this journey is finding others who understand because, like us, they experienced it first hand. That kind of understanding and connection is invaluable. That’s why this piece is so important in validating the experience of so many former fundamentalists, because for many of us, you reach a point where you think maybe it’s just me. And then you meet someone who had the exact same experience at another church in different part of the country. And then you know, I’m not the only one.

        • Jill H

          Spoken like a true survivor. I still, seventeen years later, question and doubt and wonder. This post stirred a lot inside, and I’ve begun to research the founding of ‘my cult’. I knew the homogenized story. I’m starting to learn the real deal.

          Coupled with the sanity found here, I am learning what letting go is starting to feel like.

          • Christy

            What a wonderful thing to learn….I’m glad your path led you here.

  • Mark

    Another screwed up aspect of the IFB is its “end times”, “rapture” “Left Behind” belief system. The fundie wants the world to get worst. To them bad news is good news. I am sure right now some fundie is claiming the death of the American ambassador in Libya is a fulfillment of biblical prophecy (or a punishment upon America for “Glee”).

    Fundies romanticize a fictional “Leave it to Beaver”, “Gone with the Wild” past, hate the present and fear the future.

    There were many times in my fundie past, if my parents were late returning home, or network programming was interrupted for a “special news bulletin”, I was fearful that the rapture had happened and I was “left behind” to suffer for seven years then get thrown into hell forever.

    The “Left Behind” belief system is nothing more than a death cult and a revenge fantasy. Fundies longing for their pathetic existence on earth to end, so they can sit in their god’s skybox, while the successful liberal and secular people they envy are put thru their god’s version of a Michael Bay movie.

    • Jill

      Mark yes! Why IS that true? I mean, it’s like fundie groups watch for ‘signs of the end times’ like these very same exact ‘signs’ HAVEN’T been happening for hundreds upon thousands of years! But every year– it’s worse! “Can’t you see the self-destructive culture around us? It’s the sign of the start of armaggedon, and you’ve got to ask yourself, what side are you on? Are you wearing clothes that signify you’re part of the culture? Are you listening to ‘their’ music?….”

      Always on edge, always uncertain, always on guard. You live your life out of any number of versions of fear, and that’s going to convince me it’s a bible-based life? That paranoic cruelty is going to convince me you have the big God seal of approval? Is God a joke, a heartless dictator? No thanks. Your god scares the shit out of me.

      • Christy

        I’ve pondered this. Why. the best answer I have landed on for now is they focus on the afterlife at the expense of this one. The destination is what is imperative, thus missing the journey and the opportunity for human growth and spiritual development. It tends to diminish joy. And makes everything urgent. I see it used as an excuse for apathy: peace is not possible – why try? God is going to destroy everything anyway. Climate change is a hoax. Only God can destroy the earth and he promised it wouldn’t be by water…so 8 mph is just fine. And the end is coming. Why does the ozone need to last or the temperature in 100 years matter?

        It makes faith passive: Oh, can’t wait for the rapture to take us out of this corrupt and evil dan deceitful world…all the while doing absolutely nothing to help change the world. Judaism calls this Tikkum Olam “repairing the world” and it is a core tenet.

        There was a division in early Christianity between those with this idea of repairing the world – bringing about the kingdom of heaven on earth – and those who had a Manichean worldview: it would hopelessly devolve into oblivion and chaos necessitating the only hope for the righteous to have a means of escaping this world for the next…

        • Rachel G.

          Hurry up and instigate WWIII so we can see Jesus!

        • Christy

          I meant 8 mpg. (oof!)

  • Lee Lockhart-Luck via Facebook

    Toxic is putting it mildly.

  • Tim Contreras via Facebook

    Talibangelists.

  • Apathetic or whatever

    Hello all! I grew up in this cult. I attended an IFB church from the day I was born. My dad was and still is an IFB pastor. I was home learned and then packed off to an unaccredited Bible Collij to prepare for the “ministry”. I was ordained in the IFB and served in a full-time capacity for a number of years before I saw the light and got out. For me it was not a sudden change but rather a slow dawning of the truth. I am glad to have pitched it all and walked away. I have a useless ordination and an even more useless degree but I consider it a small price to pay for freedom.

    I am glad to be out but I cannot help but be sad about the friends and family that I have who are still trapped in the cult. I hope that they will look toward the light and away from the IFB darkness.

    • Jill

      Apathetic, I may not have the exact right words to comfort you, as I don’t have your experience. But I have some understanding, and I have a deep and abiding respect for survivors that make it out alive.

      You may not yet know how vital your ‘successful’ escape story can be to others who are suffering, who are lost, who are alone. You use the term useless, and I relate to that. And yet the depth by which I empathize and connect with others is in part because of my story of my cult escape. And I wouldn’t be me if I hadn’t survived it. The wisdom you have now to share is enormous. It is my greatest hope that you keep talking and sharing your journey with those that can honor it.

      • Christy

        This is beautiful, Jill. What wonderful encouragement.

      • Apathetic or whatever

        Thank you for your kind words. I do realize that this abusive group was a big part of my formative years and therefore is a big part of me. I am glad for so many things when I stop to think about it: I am glad I met my wife at Bible College, I am glad that she saw the light at the same time and pace I did, I am glad for the empathy for the hurting that I have learned and I am glad I learned how to think. Leaving everything I ever knew behind was a powerful, painful but transformational experience. It made me who I am.

        Thank you for such a thoughtful answer. It is encouraging to know that there are others out there who are walking the same path. I really needed to read your kind words tonight and I thank you for writing them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/reggie.touchton Reggie Touchton via Facebook

    I am a survivor. Thank you for posting this article.You have no idea of the depth of my gratitude.

  • http://www.facebook.com/carin.cryderman Carin Cryderman via Facebook

    I loved this. While not a member of the IFB denomination, I spent much of my adolescence in a similar cult. I found the last portion of your post to be especially validating and comforting, but I have a hard time believing that buying into the doctrine and submitting to the abuse, was a sign of strength. While happy (and borderline atheist), I still fight feeling duped and gypped. Thank you for posting.

  • Rebecca Belladonna via Facebook

    Jeez, what a creepy cult. Sounds like teabaggers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/a77white Arnold Joseph White via Facebook

    As Paul Simon said, “A man sees what he want to see and disregards the rest.” How much clearer can ~”this”~ be? ~“Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:”~ 1 Peter 3:8 KJV

  • http://www.facebook.com/fatherjoseph.herring Jason Herring via Facebook

    These people are felonious and sick-minded, seems they need a good beating and lack of love by their own children!

  • Delane Cunningham via Facebook

    John. It’s not uncommon…I hope people understand how prevalent these practices were and continue to be. I was raised by strict Southern Baptist parents… I hope people actually read this and notice that this is not a rare or unusual ‘cult’… this link on the IFP shows how prevalent they are… http://bible-truth.org/BaptistHistory.html

  • Delane Cunningham via Facebook

    Daddy was a deacon. I was in church for everything from all the choir practices to Vacation Bible School, Baptist Training Union, Sunday School, revivals… People who speak out are branded not Christian and are shunned.. absolutely nobody pays attention to anyone who reveals anything that happens in the church.. Of course, everyone in hte church did not enforce the severely patriarchal dogma when not at church, but it was insidious.

    • Christy

      Yes. Insidious. Yes. There for everything. Yes. Patriarchal dogma. Yes. Shunned…

      See, when strangers who never knew each other and never went to the same church, but who had nearly the exact same experiences because we speak the same familiar language of knowing … this is where the light bulbs start going off that “it wasn’t just my one crazy church.”

      • Jill Hileman

        Ironic too how different cults may call it different things, as if to make it special and unique. I had meetings at the Hall 3x/week, home Bible study 1x/week, the Public Ministry Service 1x/week, the Memorial, the Assemblies and Conventions.

        But yup, all the same insidious, separatist, patriarchal dogma. And don’t forget the shunning.

  • Melody

    Raylene, are you NUTS?!? You either don’t know what the hell you’re talking about, or you’re a terrific liar. I know Ty and Trisha. They are nothing like you described. They are both liberal, antiFundamentalist Christians who do not tolerate abuse and lies. I’m glad they banned you. They stand for true victims, not KoolAid drinkers. Get lost.

    • trisha kee

      Thank you :)

  • trisha kee

    “Raylene”…

    I am the owner of the “Do Right Hyles-Anderson Group.” In the group this morning, you stated that Jocelyn Zictherman was the source for this article. You also stated there that people should know that Jocelyn Zictherman is working for victims behind the scenes. Ty and I both stopped the conversation you were initiating because we will not have things posted about her in our group.

    My group, “Do Right Hyles Anderson” does not support or affiliate ourselves with Jocelyn Zictherman.

    Jocelyn was providing information to the FBI at the beginning of our group. This is true. Did she hurt victims…not that I am aware. However, I DO NOT agree with how she handled things and dealt with victims. Do I believe everything she told me and my admins? No. Which is why she and her family are eliminated from our group. Which is why we have distanced ourselves from her. And which is why I made immediate changes once I made the decision to cut ties with her. Now the group which is aligned with grace with no personal motivation.

    Ty did not ban you from the group. So this too is false. I deleted you from the group. The reason for my decision is that I looked in the history and saw that many MANY things you posted caused fights within the group. You were disrespectful to people and I had many complaints about you. Therefore, I chose to delete but not ban you from the group. And based on this comment, and the lies within, I see that I made the right decision.

    The focus of the “Do Right Hyles Anderson” is solely about victims…giving them a voice. Providing strength in their healing. And bringing the abusers to justice.

  • Jill

    Raylene is clearly a person with a grudge, I know Ty Duncan and Trisha LaCroix and I can vouche for their character. I have born witness to the hours and hours they have spent comforting victims of this abuse and providing resources. Raylene take your false charges elsewhere. Thank you Ty and Trisha for all the volunteer work you do for those who are suffering and abused in the Body of Christ.

    • Jill Hileman

      FYI there are a couple more Jill’s showing up out here recently, and this comment is not *me* (the one that won’t go away!) so to clarify I will start putting my last name out here now.

    • Melody

      Exactly. The Bible has a thing or two to say about bearing false witness against your neighbor. And that’s precisely what she’s doing. I won’t stand for it.

    • trisha kee

      Jill, Thank you for your support. I am humbled and grateful for this opportunity to help others.

  • Ceejay Garrett via Facebook

    Reading about this abuse makes me want to believe in hell again. May God have mercy on their souls and those of their victims.

  • Rachel G.

    This is serious, sad, and cruel, but ‘polished shaft’ made me laugh out loud.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      It made me stare at my computer screen like it has just magically transformed into a dead cat.

      You know what did crack me up, though, are the expressions of the white-suited guys sitting behind Pastor Passionately Polish. It’s such a mix of pure poker face and pure … not brightness.

      • Jill Hileman

        Exactly. I was rather grossed out by the theater production, but the faces on the minions displayed behind him…

        It made me believe that they know exactly what that’s about, and they’re saying nothing to protect their own hides.

        • mike moore

          now, don’t be hating on minions … these guys fall more into the world of ass-kissin’ toadies.

          • Jill Hileman

            Ooh Mr. Moore, you like to parse them words, don’tcha? How ’bout sycophantic bootlicker?

            (John, sorry if I’m sounding too glib. I mean no disrespect–I literally use humor to wrap my head around things my mind cannot face head-on. I still feel like my heart wants to explode out of my chest for what is happening in this– and many other–worlds.)

          • mike moore

            “sycophantic bootlicker” … love it, definitely will repeat that phrase and pretend it’s my own, thanks!!

          • Christy

            I vote for an ass-kickin’ toadies, boot-lickin’ sycophant throw down competition one day right here in ye olde John Shore’s virtual living room.

            (Those are awesome!)

          • Jill Hileman

            HAHA! You don’t even know how much laughter keeps me sane.

            (because I can picture a throwdown that involves some boots… and ass-kicking… and quiet little complicit toadies.)

      • Elizabeth

        “It’s such a mix of pure poker face and pure … not brightness,” is one of your finest sentences.

      • Harrisco

        Wow… And by that I mean Wow… Or just wow… cannot complete a sentence… just, wow… OK: What in the I-got-stuck-in-the-hinges-of-the-gates-of-hell was that? And why do you dress like you are selling ice cream to say all this? And the hair oil? What is it with these folks and bad hair? And the next time I hear something gobsmackingly awful in a meeting and want to sit there like an inanimate object, I am going to remember those guys in the background, who are watching this guy, well, how to say it, handle his rod? What words could you possibly use that are not double entendres? There are not any… And at a youth conference? Holy Mother of God, what happened to this guy? Boggles the mind…

    • Allie

      Good grief. I don’t usually watch John’s videos because my computer is in a room with other people, but after your comment I had to watch it. It’s… well first of all I couldn’t finish watching it… but man, the guy should make porn videos for a living, he missed his calling!

      • DP

        Oh, aberrant psychology has a way of leaking out in uncomfortable ways sometimes, Allie. OR, he’s such a pervert he knew exactly what he was doing and got his jollies doing it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/bill.steffenhagen?sk=wall Soulmentor

      I had decided I didn’t want to hear what that fool had to say, but your comment made me go back to it….and it didn’t make me laugh. It made me cringe at the sheer evil, maniacal craziness.

      As for the visual imagery……I don’t know how to respond except with the incredulity of raised eyebrows.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jessica.levy.90 Jessica Levy via Facebook

    The letter was beautiful.. I downloaded it, the other stuff -appalling.

  • Donna Runion via Facebook

    Very powerful. Thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nickolehuffman Nickole ‘Harris’ Huffman via Facebook

    this actually makes me angry. Like VERY angry. People seriously believe this? They seriously beat their children like this in order to get them to submit? ohhh…my heart hurts. :(

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.b.cooper.9 Robert ‘Bob’ Cooper via Facebook

    I grew up in the American Baptist Convention – for those who were never in the Baptist church, there are many Baptists who are NOT members of independent, fundamentalist churches. Please do not lump all Baptists in that calegory.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Bob: you’re right: all Baptists shouldn’t be lumped in with IFB. (That’s why I made sure not to do that.)

    • mike moore

      I think people here are pretty consistent. I don’t lump the ABC in with IFB.

      I do lump the ABC and its membership into the category of hateful, judgmental, love-less, bigots. To quote it’s leadership, General Secretary of the BWA, Denton Lotz :

      “The ABC has a statement that says that homosexuality is inconsistent with the Christian lifestyle.” Further, “To characterize American Baptist Churches USA as being in favor of gay marriage goes beyond the pale! Our Policy Statement on Family Life, adopted in 1984, maintains, ‘We affirm that God intends marriage to be a monogamous, life-long, one flesh union of a woman and a man…. We affirm God’s blessing and active presence in marriage relationships…’”

      The ABC was also pro-active in advocating the recent anti-gay marriage amendment here in North Carolina.

  • http://brucegerencser.net Bruce Gerencser

    Christian fundamentalism is hardly limited to the IFB church movement. Fundamentalists can be found in EVERY denomination.

    Evangelicals and Southern Baptists are every bit as fundamentalist as the IFB church movement. They scream and holler foul but if it walks, talks, and acts like a fundamentalist, it is a fundamentalist.

    Most people in the IFB are theological and social fundamentalists. While many Evangelicals are not social fundamentalists they ALL are theological fundamentalists. IF they are not, then they need to stop calling themselves an Evangelical.

    The core fundamentalist belief is that the Bible is an inerrant, inspired text. Most fundamentalists are also literalists and exclusivists.

    Any suggestion that the IFB is some abnormal, backwater sect is simply not supported by the evidence. In the US fundamentalism affects most every denomination. Even in the liberal Episcopal church in our area there is a fundamentalist contingent.

    Half of Americans think the universe was created just like the Bible says it was, 6-10 thousand years ago. This is clear evidence of the pernicious hold fundamentalism has on our country. (along with the current culture war)

    • Christy

      I concur, Bruce, in that while Evangelicals are often less strict about dress and hair and music, even alcohol, swimming, women working, etc…the theological tenets are essentially indistinguishable. Though you might get more quotes from C.S. Lewis and Albert Mohler than from Billy Sunday and Helen Steiner Rice. As we recovering fundies say amongst ourselves: it’s gonna take a hell of a lot more than a minister who wears jeans, grows a goatee and has a Jesus fish on his car to make a meaningful difference.

      I read Rick Warren’s A Purpose Driven Life, and, bless their hearts, if that book speaks to folks then more power to ‘em, but I couldn’t finish it. I put more exclamation points in the margins than in any other book I’ve read. The same try harder do more for God don’t be a disapointment message.

      The wrapping is different. The theological contents are virtually the same.

      • http://Www.cindymurphythinkingoutloud.blogspot.com Cindy

        I hear you. My wife and I ( then my best friend as neither of us were out to ourselves much less the public back then) got kicked out of a book study years ago while studying that book. They kept asking our opinions but didn’t really want to hear them. It was all for the best I suppose as I had read as much of that book as I could stomach by then. It was sparking some interesting conversations though that might have really went somewhere if the leadership didn’t keep shutting them down whenever it made them uncomfortable.

    • David S

      Bruce, to you point, this piece appeared on the Christian Post (a SBC “news” website) yesterday:

      Episcopal Priest Speaks of Need to Reclaim Liberalism Within Biblical Christianity

      http://www.christianpost.com/news/episcopal-priest-speaks-of-need-to-reclaim-liberalism-within-biblical-christianity–81577/

      • David S

        The last question in the interview is this:

        “To conclude, how can Bible-believing Christians distinguish anti-Christian liberalism from those elements of liberalism that are in line with the Gospel?”

        Anti-Christian liberalism has evidently taken over the Episcopal Church. So glad the SBC has made me aware of this apostacy.

        • Jill Hileman

          Not sure I know quite what to do with that information.

          If I relied on the gospel alone to build a mature adult existence, I would be missing the inspired divinity in humankind around me. I didn’t learn how to love deeply and compassionately through purely Christian channels. That I got through therapy and Buddhism. Coming back around I tie these together.

          Meaning: I learned the depths of Christ’s love through non-Christian means.

          • David S

            Jill,

            Perhaps this spirituality is what is so desperately missing in some corners of the church? In my experience, the Father and Son parts of the trinity crowd out the Holy Spirit for some believers. Their legalism and religiosity leave precious little room for the Holy Spirit to operate. I think scripture is only as helpful in our faith journey as our ability to discern it’s meaning and apply it to our lives – and that takes God’s help.

          • Christy

            I agree, Jill. As so many others have also found, other faiths and traditions have better informed, enlightened and enriched my own. Wouldn’t it be lovely if that happened more often.

          • Jill Hileman

            Wow to both of you– how true. It takes a lot of letting go, a lot of trust that our personal connection to our Creator is infinite, impermeable. That we will endure together.

            And that God’s faith in us, as a loving parent is to their children, is strong enough to withstand questions and searching and finding the divine spark in someone of a completely different worldview. (My Hindu therapist taught me that one!)

  • Jim Sorensen via Facebook

    I visited one of these churches with a friend and couldn’t believe some of the things that were preached. When the minister said, “We’re not one of those churches that preaches love,” I wanted to say, “Well, you must not be Christian then.”

    • Christy

      Yeah. It’s like a badge of honor for some reason. I hazard a guess it has to do with viewing compassion as weakness and punishment and retributive justice as strength.

      There was also a huge anti-hippie push back in Fundamentalism during the 70′s. That’s when private Fundamentalist schools began to pop up and Jerry Falwell founded the Moral Majority. So, when “peace and love” became synonymous with counter-culture revolutionaries, they distanced themselves from anything remotely smelling of that. We were forbidden from wearing anything made of blue jean material at our private IFB school because we were told it was “sinful” (read: long-haired, pot-smoking, rebellious hippies wore it, so – we don’t.) This is also one way the IFB maintained its characteristic “separateness from the world.” We weren’t to smell like, dress like or act like “the world.” So…that might be part of it.

      • Jill Hileman

        The World. I think that phrase, and Worldly People, are the two I most loathe. Anyone from that background can hear the tone of voice in their head denoting the haughty superiority.

        Like The Plague or The IRS. Is it possible to have full religious denominations to be predicated on paranoia (or some like version of mental illness)?

        • Allie

          See, I love that phrase, but in its original context, in which it was understood to refer primarily to money. Funny how the people you’re talking about using it never seem to use it to mean “You shouldn’t worry too much about making money, because trying to make money at the expense of doing the right thing is a serious temptation.”

        • Christy

          Yeah, there’s an entire vocabulary: The World, Worldly, Secular, The Flesh, Fleshly, Fleshly Instincts, Sins of the Flesh, Carnal, Debase. In my neck of the woods it generally meant sinful – but in a hedonistic, orgiatic spectacularly sexual kind of way. As in: Do not be tempted by the World for if you give in to your fleshly instincts you will surely perish and be forever separated from the love of God.

          • Jill Hileman

            As if all the world around is thumbing their noses at God, living shallow, self-absorbed lives, and having a wild, sinful ride!

            I learned how to run away from humanity in fear and judgment in my cult, then I learned how to move toward humanity in curiosity and empathy beyond the cult. You can guess the fruits of my spirit changed dramatically from that shift. As did my whole life.

            And it’s not become a orgy of sinful delights, amazingly enough. (what am I doing wrong?! :)

          • mike moore

            if I had to guess, your problem is, most likely, that you are using simple math …

            to achieve a successful orgy of sinful delights, one needs to use special algorithms factoring in age, height, BMI, number of hours without sleep, income, # of dealers on speed-dial, and precise definitions of your sex and drugs and rock’n'roll.

            for advanced students, I would refer you to Keith Richard’s essay, “How I’ve Managed Not to Die in a Pool of My Own Vomit.” Stephen Hawking wrote the forward, if I recall.

          • Jill Hileman

            I….I cannot put into words how adorable you are.

            For once, I am speechless.

          • mike moore

            vee haf vays to make you talk.

          • dan(Chicago)

            Funny how that happens. I entered a very conservative Christian sect when I was 18, before I had any real time as an adult. For years, while sitting in church, I heard testimonies from others who had lived in the ‘world’ or had ‘backsliden’ and taken part in the world. Now that I am considered part of the world, I’m wondering where the damn party is that everyone was talking about. Spent last night studying for my modern poetry class. A gay man in a gay neighborhood in the 3rd largest city in the country on a Saturday night.

          • Jill Hileman

            Exactly Dan! I’ve been wondering what the hell… Maybe it’s all this Midwestern air we’re breathing– we’re becoming boring! ;)

            Seriously it kinda kills me the level of fear-mongering set to rob people of their own experience with the divine. I am a ‘worldly person’ in the eyes of those who’d judge me, and yet I’m the most content, spiritually open and accepting, compassionate person I’ve ever been. I’m such a social being– all the amazing people I would never have let into my life, all the life (non-sinful variety) I’d have missed out. Someday I hope I’ll stop being sad about what I lost.

        • Lissy

          Hehe, the IRS! It IS said like that! Never thought about it. What I find so ironic is that Jesus spent more time with people of “the World” than he did with the “religious” people.

  • Mary Ellen Mayo via Facebook

    I worked for a Southern Baptist megachurch for 9 years as a maid/custodian…I am now a Unitarian Universalist. it is about all the organized religion I can tolerate, and it fits me very well…I still love Jesus, but the churches in the US, most of them, have gone far to the right, and we just don’t see eye to eye. I wish them well, and I go where I am respected, and in a faith tradition which is better suited to my personality…

  • Charles Austin Miller via Facebook

    Fact is, whether or not you all care to admit it, EVERY denomination has its own idiosyncrasies and prejudices, and EVERY church abuses the scriptures in pursuit of its own agenda. The vast majority of churches are run more like exclusive membership country clubs, with elders and church councils presuming to pick-and-choose who may and may not enter God’s house, right. Fact is, Christ wouldn’t recognize 98% of the churches assembled in his name.

    • David S

      You may be right, Charles. But it seems like you missed the point. Mr. Shore’s examples go beyond junk doctrine like the prosperity gospel. What he describes is church hierarchy taking a pond of flesh from their congregants. You may argue that all religion does damage somehow. But how often does a church do the degree of physical, emotional, and spiritual harm outlined in this post? Fundamentalist branches of religion (not just Christianity) do immense harm to flesh and blood individuals. Within Christianity, the IFB is clearly in a special class of messed up.

      • Christy

        Thank you, David.

    • Allie

      Dude, no. You sound a bit like the abusers I’ve talked to in court, who say things like “Well every family abuses their children in SOME way.” No, no, not all families are abusive, and not all churches are either. My own church admits all people into God’s house and all baptized Christians of any denomination to communion. I’m not sure but a few years ago they were discussing letting people who weren’t even baptized but had just formed the intention to be baptized take communion. Our big church argument is whether the priest uses too much incense for some people’s asthma, and no one is under any illusion it’s a religious argument, it’s just a matter of one guy’s preference versus one guy’s health requirements, which is most likely going to be settled by having incense at one service and not at the other.

      • Christy

        One of the things I love about our UCC church is we have an open communion table, young or old, gay or straight, baptized or not, member or visitor, Catholic or Protestant or none of the above – all are welcome and none are turned away from the bread of God’s table.

        So very different from my IFB days, when the minister made it very clear that no one who wasn’t saved was to participate. They would have everyone bow their heads and close their eyes and say, “If you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that when you die you will spend eternity in heaven with the Lord because you have confessed Jesus Christ as your personal Savior – raise your hand.” The minister and the deacons looked to see who did and didn’t raise their hands. Then he said, “If you raised your hand you are welcome to partake of communion. If you didn’t raise your hand, and would like to know how you can make Jesus the Lord of your life, come see one of us. But we would ask that you remain seated while communion is served.” And then he’d go into how anyone who “partook of the Lord’s Supper unadvisedly” could be “in the fear and judgement of the Lord.”

        This included if you had any unconfessed sins even as a believer.

        • Jill Hileman

          Christy, I’m loving the contrast of the two.

          Could anyone say briefly the basic difference between UCC, UU, and Unity?

          • Don Rappe

            It’s my very lightly informed opinion that the UCC is a mainline Christian denomination and the other two are not.

          • Kelven

            I am not familiar with the first two, but I would define Unity as a metaphysical Christian community. They teach that everyone is an individual expression of God, and that God is All That Is, and is not a literal being. It is only our belief in our separation with God that causes the misery in our individual and collective experience. Jesus is emulated as a Great Master and everyone is encouraged to live as he did. If you have ever heard of “A Course In Miracles”, that is something you will find at Unity. The few I have been to we’re quite lovely. My personal preference is a litte more out there, however!

          • Christy

            Our UCC church teaches the Course in Miracles and has one clergy member whose area of expertise is mysticism.

            We had a baptism this morning, so I can copy the Statement of our Church’s beliefs from the bulletin.

            We believe that all people are included in God’s unconditional love and grace.

            We believe in Jesus Christ whose life revealed God’s love at work in the human family.

            We believe in the Holy Spirit as the power by which we are brought into closer harmony with our Creator.

            Therefore,

            We strive to follow the path of Jesus Christ, while recognizing other pathways to the Divine.

            We encourage each person’s spiritual journey, embracing a variety of spiritual disciplines.

            We understand that the words we use to express our faith are to be lived out by loving and compassionate action.

            We take the Bible seriously, not literally; finding more grace in the search for meaning than in absolute certainty.

            And finally, we agree to disagree, unite to serve, and resolve to love. Thanks be to God!

            I don’t know how well this represent all of the UCC. We are also jointly affiliated with the Disciples of Christ.

          • Jill Hileman

            I’m starting to think I may manage a church service without a panic attack! It has to be inclusionary or it won’t work for me. I’m going to try the local UCC, Unity, and Episcopalian churches, and maybe I’ll find something to hold onto.

  • Chrissy Massaro Wesner via Facebook

    oh this is so sad….

  • http://www.facebook.com/privateice Mary E Tyler via Facebook

    Arnold, Paul Simon was quoting Julius Caesar, “Men willingly believe what they wish.” And John, I spent a bit wandering around your blog last night… what ever happened to your dad?

  • Elizabeth Humphrey via Facebook

    This is extremely common still — it’s not just this one church type.

  • Penny Stimpert via Facebook

    WOW!!! I read and read and read and WOW is about all I can come up with! Beating babies! Pulling an infants hair!!!! Dear Heavenly Father PLEASE Bless and Save the Children!!!!! I am most definitely Sharing this!!!!

  • http://T otter

    Thus maynbe a bit off the comment thread but I have earnestly asked my self many times just when is it both appropriate and neceessary for a civil society to protect people from the damage inflicted by so-called religions? By this post what John has reported and others have echoed certainly prompts the question. Now don’t start bleating about freedom of religion because if that was absolute we’d allow polygamy, stoning and female genital mutilation. Thankfully those egregious pratices are illegal in our country. But we are poised to enact anti-abortion legilation that makes NO provision for preserving the life of a raped woman and those who promote this do it based on religious grounds. And we allow cults to operate that result in mass suicides ( Heaven’s Gate) or violence, death and sexual abuse (David Koresh in Waco). Some parrents refuse to treat thier chikdren’s illnesses based on religious prejudice.

    These are just a few examples of religious dogma which is dangerous and has been put to foul use. Preaching violence and hatred for gays, teaching parents to abuse children, murdering abortion providers…..people interpret spritual material in savage ways which no non-believer would tolerate. When thus occurs legal means must be found to do what the victims can’t do and put a stop to it.

    • Jill Hileman

      I’m hearing your concern otter, as I also wonder the same thing. While no one reasonable is seeking state-sanctioned religious expression, why is that religious grounds can be invoked in such overt cases of abuse?

      • Matt

        I would argue it’s because, although the US wasn’t founded on Christian ideals, the state and the Christian church have still been in bed together (pardon the expression) since the beginning. This goes all the way back to Rome, when Constantine was converted and began giving churches tax exemptions and other state-sanctioned special privileges.

        Today, practitioners of the Christian faith are very privileged in this country. Major Christian festivals are also bank holidays. All of our presidents were and are Christians of one stripe or another. Being Christian is “the norm,” despite our so-called melting pot of a nation. Although everyone on paper enjoys religious freedom, it’s obvious that we are lifted up above the rest.

        Thus, I think dogma and behavior like John describes above would be viciously suppressed in any Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, etc. communities because they are “the other” in our nation’s eyes. But Christians have political and social privilege, and part of that is the ability to do things with less fear of repercussion, and the ability to smooth things over even if the atrocities are uncovered.

        People have learned, simply by observing, that their Christianity can be invoked at strategic moments to protect their personal ideals. They can masquerade as “concerned children of Christ” worried about the “future of our nation.” It’s as simple–and complicated–as that.

        • otter

          You nailed it, Matt. Some CINO’s (Christians-In-Name-Only) are throwing their beliefs in everyone elses face. In their close-minded arrogance they ignore the validity of other beliefs and refuse to perform essential professional duties if they judge them to be in conflict with their personal interpretation of scripture. A Buddhist clerk who refused to grant a hunting license would get precious little sympathy or support, but a devout bigot who refused a same sex couple a marriage license in New York (where SSM is permitted by law) got vocal support and was re-elected. A doctor in NJ refused to prescribe HIV medication and pharmacists refuse to sell birth control. It’s happening all over.

          The reason I cited examples from other religious traditions was to show by contrast how deeply rooted are our cultural assumptions regarding Christian privilege.

          • Lissy

            I am SO using “CINO” now!

          • shadowspring

            Otter rules.

  • s.a.y.

    Don’t forget the toxicity of sexual liscense in seeping into doctrines. The pretty much ‘anything goes’ idea is why society has a far more pronounced appetite and focus on sex that there is an explosion in sex trafficking even in the US. It explains why French photographers and magazines think its nothing to take and publish pics of Kate Middleton topless and why there are people trying to get and publish thought to exist pics of William and Kate having sex . Should the church be encouraging that appetite or providing a counterpoint to it? Was reading Jesus’ rebuke to some of the the churches in Revelation 2 and 3 telling them they were in grave spiritual danger over their loosey goosey attitudes around sex. Society these days is so bad now a well known director has made a film around adult sibling incestand says its ok.

    • Allie

      Fundamentalism and intolerance doesn’t fix these problems, though. We don’t have to guess; we can look at real world societies which handle these issues differently and see what happens. In Scandinavian countries which are extremely open-minded about sex, there is a much lower rate of teen pregnancy and STDs. In red states which follow a “Biblical” view of sex, the divorce rate is higher than in Blue states, which follow a “liberal” view of sex. Nations like Afganistan are extremely intolerant of any sort of sexual license, but it doesn’t make them nice places to live; they are the opposite. And women and children are still raped there, despite the intolerance. Intolerance does not fix problems, it simply makes them harder to respond to by making it illegal to talk about them. Pastors of strict churches are more likely to rape children than pastors of liberal churches, not less, because it’s so unthinkable that no one ever questions it.

      • Allie

        Eeek, noun/verb disagreement alert! I changed what I was saying in the middle of writing and didn’t properly revise my sentence.

    • Christy

      Oppression, inequality and exploitation comes in many packages. Swinging from one pendulum end to the other of the same problem is not the answer.

    • http://www.unnameablecuriosity.blogspot.com Christine

      As much as society might have issue with taking sexuality too lightly, this is hardly the problem (like any) part of (likely any) religious institution has at the moment. Religion (or at least religious institutions) seems uniformly on the overly-prudish side of the issue.

  • Mark

    John thanks for writing this. I won’t go into a long post on how the IFB cult has damaged people’s lives. But the more exposure that is placed on this destructive cult, the better.

  • Lissy

    As my mom pointed out the other day, Fundamentalism is based on FEAR. How can we know if we’re doing stuff “right” if we don’t have a lot of rules?!? And we HAVE to do things “right” or God won’t let us into heaven! So sad because Jesus came so that we would be under grace and not have to follow all the rules in the OT to be “saved.” We put ourselves right back in that prison He died to get us out of… And we put ourselves back in because freedom is scary. Not knowing is scary. (I won’t even go into the power that comes with making lots of rules. That can be saved for another day!)

    • Jill H

      “freedom is scary. Not knowing is scary.”

      It’s astounding how true that is, to one degree or another. So when someone hugs us and says I have all the answers, all you have to do is listen and obey. We believe or want to believe.

      Otherwise we’re running around like Mulder being chased by aliens…or the government…

      • Christy

        Oh! And she likes the X-files! Kudos for working in a Mulder reference!

        • Jill H

          Like is a mild word. I ♥ Duchovny circa 1994. And I ♥ Gillian circa 1997. ;)

  • Hugh Callenish via Facebook

    that stuff is Nuckin’ Futz!!!

  • Drew Meyer

    Hi there,

    I have lived this. I am tying this from four blocks away from some of the most horrifying spiritual abuse on the planet. There was other kinds of abuse also….but I wont go there. However, I will say this: 15 years after officially leaving, not only the IFB, but all things Baptist. I was thrown out of one of the support groups mentioned above for insisting on this: there is grace for the IFB and it is my responsibility to show grace to those who are still part of that group. Grace, not excuses-because there are none, grace because it is the only thing that will bring any hope and relief to those who believe in that way. Grace, because it is only grace that has enabled me to deal with a life devasted by the teachings of the IFB. Grace because it is only grace that has enabled me to come out of the IFB and to come out as a gay man. It is not easy to live this way, there is a part of me that wants to go and pound some people to a pulp and then throw them into a meat grinder. Grace says to bring my entire being, even the violent part to God for healing beacuse I, and they, are still redeemable, made in the image of God, and dearly loved by the same.

    • Christy

      I hear you, Drew. There’s a writer, Anne Lamott, you might like that says, “Not forgiving is like drinking the rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.” I’ve seen some of that on some of those sites. There’s a distinction between an apologist and someone trying to foster legitimate healing as it sounds like you were trying to do. Not everyone is in a place where they can see that.

      As a recovering IFBer, I’m familiar with the “forgive and forget” mantra that the IFB preaches to the victims of the most heinous of crimes. “Nobody’s perfect. We’re all human. Sin happens. But you (rape victim, abused wife, shunned family, bullied and assaulted teenager, berated congregation) you need to forgive. Too often wrong doing is never acknowledged, mistakes never admitted, crimes never punished, justice never served, truth never told, restitution never made, forgiveness never asked, penance never done, nor repentance ever evident from the abuser, but the victim is told (usually on the heels of their bringing the abuse to light) they need to forgive and forget and move on. This is not healthy. This approach lacks what mainstream psychologists and therapists understand is required for healing: validation of feelings, space for grieving, permission to be angry, time for healing, and understanding that recovery is a process that often leads to eventual acceptance of what is, a letting go, and which, hopefully, brings some peace.

      Some people confuse forgiveness with condoning what happened or saying “that’s ok.” It’s not ok. What was done is and was not ok. What continues to happen is not ok. Reform is desperately needed. But this does not mean there is not a place for the grace of which you speak. My dear friend rephrases Lamott’s quote this way, “Forgiveness is the gift we give ourselves.” Or: I’m not going to let what happened ruin my life any longer than it already has by being consumed with hate, fear, dread, anger, worry or bitterness.

      Learning to feel compassion for people who have harmed us is one of the greatest tests of our character. It is the great test of our ego and the human condition. Jesus knew this: “What good is it if you love only your friends and greet only your own people? Even the tax collectors do that. I say love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” How much harder indeed is it to love our enemies.

      The Dali Lama tells a similar story about a monk who was taken captive by the Chinese. He was tortured and eventually released. When asked what he feared most while in his captivity the monk demurred several times, but eventually giving in to the question he said: I was most afraid I would lose my compassion for the Chinese.

      These are important lessons we have to learn for ourselves. It’s not right to tell a victim that they must get over it and move on. It is indifferent to their experience. It lacks compassion and understanding and support, the very things they need most. But ultimately, this is the journey within the work of healing and therapy: to get to the place where one who has been harmed can find peace with what is and make progress forward.

      I have permission from John to share this which I wrote about getting to that point in my own journey. http://leap-of-fate.com/2011/10/11/higher-ground/

      Thank you for sharing your truth, Drew and blessings on your journey. Your grace is welcome here.

      • Drew Meyer

        Hello again,

        There have been times in my life where I could not say what I said above. You are right; there has to be validation of feelings, and all the rest. I just know the pain that a person who leaves the IFB feels initially (not to mention the secret thoughts along the lines of: maybe I have committed the unforgiveable sin or whatever) and I so wanted to hold them and say that it does not stay that way. You can, like C.S. Lewis, be surprised by joy. You are right though, there is a time and a place for that and perhaps that was not a good thing to say at that time. Perhaps it would have been better to tell them that their anger is legitimate, ok, and a sign of health-they should experience it fully. (and then just smile to myself when I think of the surprises that are coming their way when they start to heal and actually enjoy life again!)

    • http://joeschilibarn.blogspot.com Joe Hayes

      Drew – for what it’s worth, IMO, you’re on PRECISELY the right path. Not the easy path, but the right path. <3

  • Linnea

    From what I know about cults, the IFB fits the definition of one. I also had some spiritually abusive experiences at the hands of fundamentalists when I was in high school and college (though the abuse I suffered was more subtle than what’s described in the article). I think the only thing that saved me was that I attended an Episcopalian high school, and the chaplain there was a wonderful man who showed me another way to be Christian. His example not only kept me sane at the time, but also planted a seed that sprouted some years later, when I finally stumbled upon the liberal United Methodist congregation where I have now been a member for eight years.

    • Linnea

      I should add that I attended a very mainstream UM church at the time. It was the youth pastor who was the problem. He was basically a good man, but it was his “really bad theology” (as my current pastor once put it) that screwed me up. I also fell in with a bunch of fundamentalist kids at college, and that continued the damage that my youth pastor had already done.

  • anonymous

    Thank you for this article! A friend pointed me to it today and it was so encouraging to read. My early life felt crushed by the IFB. In every environment I was in – home, school, church, there was abuse of all kinds and it was always done and covered up in God’s name. I didn’t know any other way, and believed it all when I was young, then ran from it all, including God, when I was old enough to realize that there was no hope in it. I was hopeless and suicidal when I discovered that God might possibly not be who I had been taught about. Eventually, I came to know more truth about him and wanted to follow him. Years passed and I blocked the IFB world and memories out till recently, when a lot of the past abuse began to haunt me. Facing some of the things that happened have been the darkest moments of my adult life and made me question all over if God is good, can he be trusted, who are these people who abuse so severely yet claim God’s name? It confuses me to see how welcome pedophiles are in that world, even in leadership and pastoral positions, yet the victims of sexual abuse are deemed worthless. Why is that? How can it be?

  • Amanda Longmoore via Facebook

    Good luck with the scrubbing. :-(

  • Rick Reiley via Facebook

    I always felt like a hot shower and a stiff drink were in order after such an experience.

  • Anne Young via Facebook

    you’ll need brain bleach as well…

  • Emma Crawford via Facebook

    No matter what awful things you find, there are worse ones out there :( I’m an IFB church survivor, and even I am shocked at times about the abuses of those churches.

  • Mark Fisher via Facebook

    WOW, please lend me some of that ajax. May their leaders grab the nearest millstone, hold on to it tight and jump into the nearest deep water. Shameful religious zealots.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jim.fulstaff Jim Fulstaff via Facebook

    They put dope smokers in jail and shop lifters when instead they should be putting hate criminals in jail. Maybe they could call it purgatory. Ha ha!

  • http://www.facebook.com/donr.simmons1 Don Simmons via Facebook

    To read some of the most poignant stories of young people damaged by Independent Fundamental Baptist see BJUnity–Rich Merritt and Curt Allison can connect you to these heartbreaking stories-

  • http://www.facebook.com/sharon.chrust Sharon Dolson Chrust via Facebook

    I was appalled to learn about these people a month or so ago. It’s hideous.

  • http://www.hatchwords.com Joni Martin

    Hi, Kim… I don’t know if you have received any help for this yet, but I have been in much the same situation as you, and I understand where you are coming from. If you want to talk about your experience, there are those of us who have broken away and will listen without judgment. My email is on my website and posted to this comment. joni k martin 1978 @ gmail.com

    Hang in there, I’m praying for you.

  • http://BaptistTalibanandBeyond Cindy Foster

    Thanks for collecting and compiling these links all in one place. It will be very useful for my future blog writing endeavors! I have followed many of these, but there are others here that I was not aware of.

    Cindy@Baptist Taliban and Beyond

  • Peter Conover
  • Diana A.

    “Jack Schaap, Indiana Pastor, Claimed Jesus Wanted Him To Have Sex With Teenage Girl”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/14/jack-schaap-pastor-sex-teenage-girl-indiana_n_2877551.html

    • Christy

      Of course he did…because – “I’m a lecherous old man who enjoys praying on the innocent through use of power, control and manipulation” doesn’t quite square with his internal sense of self.

      These are delusions…stories they tell themselves to justify their behavior to others and themselves. It is not rooted in reality. We have a name for this. We developed a field of science and medicine to identify and treat it. It is mental illness.

    • Jill

      Another update, today in the Sun Times. Schaap will be sentenced Mar 20.

      http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/18835553-418/preacher-sex-with-17-year-old-was-lords-work.html

  • gary

    Something for Baptists and evangelicals to think about:

    The Baptist doctrine of the “Age of Accountability” is nowhere to be found in the New Testament.

    Isn’t it strange that God provided a means for the babies and toddlers of his chosen people in the Old Testament to be part of his Covenant promises but is completely silent about the issue in the New Testament?

    Jesus seemed to really love the little children… but he never mentions even once, if the Baptist/evangelical view of salvation is correct, how a Christian parent can be assured that if something dreadful happens to their baby or toddler, that they will see that child again in heaven.

    In the Baptist/evangelical doctrine of adult-only salvation, God leaves our babies and toddlers in spiritual limbo! A Christian parent must pray to God and beg him that little Johnnie “accepts Christ” the very minute he reaches the Age of Accountability, because if something terrible were to happen to him, he would be lost and doomed to eternal hellfire.

    Do you really believe that our loving Lord and Savior would do that to Christian parents??

    Dear Christian parents: bring your little children to Jesus! He wants to save them just as much as he wants to save adults! Bring your babies and toddlers to the waters of Holy Baptism and let Jesus SAVE them!

    The unscriptural “Age of Accountability” is the desperate attempt to plug the “big hole” in the Baptist doctrine of adult-only Salvation/Justification:

    How does Jesus save our babies and toddlers?

    Gary

    Luther, Baptists, and Evangelicals

    • Christy

      Gary, if you would, would you mind answering your own question? How does Jesus save our babies and toddlers? Would you mind talking through the connection of baptizing infants and toddlers and how that is connected to Jesus saving them?

  • http://www.theartbybart.com bart eason

    as a young man i was a resident in the roloff home for boys…i have sang and given my testimony at the pulpit of jack hiles church and school..been to bob jones university too..and later in pensacola bible college..i can’t tell you all the heart break i observed and what it was like in these places except to agree 100% with this sites attitudes and facts about fundamental christianity and bible believer philosophy..it took ten years to get over all the lies and find a true relationship with my Creator…i have names and facts concerning many injustices and outright abuse that occurred in these so called “homes”..the bible was written by men, plain and simple..it is not the inspired word of God..peter ruckmans teaching that i learned at his church is fundemental crap..in my mind and heart there is no devil unleashed on the earth that walks about seeking whom he can devour…hell is a fantasy..the rapture a man made idea taken from a few verses when twisted give rise to a whole philosophy which fundamental christians the world over can’t wait to see the pain and destruction brought on others who are not members of their church..hypocrisy in the ranks is normal…the more religious, the more sex perversion seems to attract…in my world the hypocrisy of the great preachers, jimmy swaggert, john tilton, jim and tammy faye, jim jones…these were all messages from the true Creator to show to the world their error and hypocrisies..what occurred at roloff evangelistic enterprises was truly brainwashing at its worst..backed by so called discipline which was truly violence committed in the name of bible believing philosophy..Thank the true God for sites such as these..i don’t make my accusations lightly, i know, i was there…

  • kissandra

    If you could help me please? My son has went to a IFB church all his life and was baptized there. He recently declared he wanted to be a pastor and is trying very hard to live a righteous life. He spoke at his church, went to conferences, studied Bible teachings, and had a lot of friends to fellowship with at church. Three weeks ago he was told he could not be there, to never come back, and was escorted off the church grounds by the security one of which is a police officer. They refuse to tell us why, or even return our calls. He has been banished and we don’t know why. He is 14 years old and devastated. He is a very good kid. We cant find any other church for him to go to, not to mention all the kids he grew up with are at that church. This is so spiritually shattering I don’t know what to do. Can I do anything? At least can we find out why? I know that his is NOT the way whatever the problem was is supposed to be handled in a Christian church according to the Bible, any help you can offer is greatly appreciated, we are now spiritually destitute. Also, this particular church has a complaint about them already on this site…..Lighthouse Baptist, in San Diego

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      What did you mean by your last sentence, about Lighthouse Baptist already having a complaint about this “on this site”? I just don’t know what you mean there.

      As to your question generally. No offense, but I can’t see your son’s plans to become an IFB pastor getting thwarted as a bad thing. (See my entire article above.) Secondly, your son is lying to you. You don’t get escorted from anywhere by a cop and have no idea why.

      • kissandra

        He said he got into a fight but he was hit first. So he was defending himself…..which he has a right to do, anywhere…..”they” refuse to tell me why he was escorted off the premises, they said they would and didn’t. In addition, the kid who started the fight stayed and nothing happened to him. In regards to the “other complaint” I read a complaint from him on here I don’t remember where in the thread but it was regarding a fraud they commited and him not getting his “certificate” of completion from their so called college .

        • http://www.theartbybart.com bart eason

          they may be mistaken for rollofs “LIGHTHOUSE ” home for boys in corpus christy..thats where my earlier posts were about…

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

            Ohhhhhhh … mystery solved. Thanks, Bart.

          • http://www.theartbybart.com bart eason

            also later was employed as ” boat driver” transporting men and groceries and water and milk to fishing piers 52 miles down the intercoastal from the bridge…lived one time on one of these fishing piers fishing 3 hour shifts under the lights for speckled trout for 18 months and never came to town…there was alot of physical abuse for those who did not co operate or tried to run away…which was almost impossible..usually involved a large wooden paddle..with holes..victims were hit all over the body if resistant…seen hand cuff’s used on 14 year old boys..assualts..pastor and head of boys home was later to found carrying a 22 caliber pistol in boot..saw a man thrown into a scalding hot shower and permanently scarred….i could go on and on with names…..roloff was a good man with a vision to help kids in trouble which at first was pregnant girls with no where to live…but those under him supposed to make this happen with a whole bunch of rebellious teenagers was impossible so all resorts were used…including violence…kidnapping…locking people up with false incarceration..fences and bob wire…FORCE…its the only thing that imitates adherence to the rules…have seen girls jump up out of the church services and run for the door..most only made it to across one large milo field out front there across from church…..all the men jumped in to the chase for these girls…their capture resulted in “punishment” and close supervision….rebekah home for girls…corpus christy, texas…

          • kissandra

            Could be…..I did see complaints about the one I am referring to but it may have been another site as I couldn’t find it again on here. My apologies.

          • kissandra

            Is there anything I can do? At least have them tell me why? vAnywhere I can complain about them to? Do they have to answer to a higher up other than God himself?

          • http://www.theartbybart.com bart eason

            if anyone even approaches me about abuse at roloff homes and i witnessed it done to them i would be happy to testify…i even tried to send message to father of man with back burned but he did not respond to my messages..he is a well known figure so like most others he just wants to see it go away…i witnessed many people assualted at roloffs homes and alot of people hurt..but since mr. roloffs death i hear things have changed there a lot..i hope so and claim to know nothing about how they operate now but can only speak of the past when i was there..first at 17 on the floating houseboat that is now a restaraunt at the head piers..and later as employee driving boats..or milking cows..i don’t know how one could get justice from them and the individuals responsible…i look at it as a spiritual lesson sent straight from the Creator so to know the truth about “super Christians”…and seperate truth from fantasy..

      • kissandra

        ..p.s. the cop was one of their “security guards” who was a cop while on duty but was not on duty as a cop that Sunday. They usually pick him up to go to church. The first Sunday after the fight they lied and gave him some reason why they weren’t picking up anyone. The second Sunday they lied again….so I drove him, that was when he was told to leave….why couldn’t they tell me before hand???? Instead of having him go through that? Is there any recourse I can take? And also I don’t know for sure if it was about the fight, that’s all I know and we aren’t really sure why he was “banned”

        • Elizabeth

          I am so sorry, kissandra. You are clearly looking out for your son; that’s your job. I respect that. And John is a wise man to query. But you do see your explanation reads all kinds of crazy. Don’t you? It’s Jerry Springer, fundamentalist edition.

          • kissandra

            Yes it is Elizabeth but I am appaled at their reaction as I know I have a right to know why and speak up for my sons honor, not have him banished without even explaining why. Do you see my point? We shouldn’t be ignored. If my son had a problem which he doesn’t, but if he did they should at least tell me….In my opinion, the Christian thing to do would be to help him spiritually. Not ignore us and ban him from a church he has called “home” for all his life. The way they handled this is wrong, and not scriptural. If they go by the Bible they should go by the Bible……banishment is listed in the Bible as a “last resort” not a first response.

          • Elizabeth

            I see your point. Completely. It’s the reaction my dad and mom instilled in me: Why? At least justify yourselves. At least explain what happened for a child’s sake. I hate being ignored. It’s much worse than criticism, founded or unfounded. (Nicely synopsized as #8 and #9 at Common Characteristics of Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families, http://acainnerpeace.ncf.ca/charac.htm#ch4.)

            They aren’t going to give that to you. They are not honorable. They are not Biblical. They are not moral. They are so paranoid they need security guards — for church. They gave up on a young teenager, someone with his whole life ahead of him to grow and learn. That should be your cue to walk away, not understand. I know it’s hard. I’m sorry.

          • Elizabeth

            Oh, and in looking for a new church home, I’m big on the Episcopalians, Methodists, Presbyterians, and UCC. The Episcopalian doctrine and ritual speak to me now. I grew up Presbyterian. My childhood (and still!) best friend attended the Methodist church right across the street. If your emphasis is on fellowship, they’re good choices.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

          The entire IFB universe is founded on lies. It’s informed by lies. It feeds on lies. It creates lies. It depends upon lies. Lying is all it knows.

          If you play with alligators, you can expect to get chomped.

          Be glad your son got out before he became nothing more than another perpetrator, and benefactor, of IFB lies. Consider this whole episode a wake-up call from God.

          • kissandra

            Thank you John, I am just feeling lost as there are no other churches for him to worship at that have teen activities and bonding for him. Plus all his friends go there. I know that isn’t a reason to go I was just shocked that they would turn on him in such a harsh fashion with no explaination, are “spiritual” help. He is feeling destitute and the whole thing saddens me to think that these are people who are supposed to do right by others, especially children!

          • http://www.theartbybart.com bart eason

            you should go there and demAND EXPLAINATION from the pastor..don’t let em just run over you without a fight..you to deserve as a member or guest of that church you have the right as a parent to know whatever someone else knows…

          • kissandra

            Thank you Bart, I fear I too will be thrown off

          • kissandra

            Is there anyone above them I can complain to?

          • DR

            Kissandra, I don’t believe there is any governing body that they belong to, they have no accountability. It’s really hard to trust God when we’re facing devastation but honestly, I think your son dodged a bullet by not being involved with this kind of community. But it’s so lonely! I totally understand it, it’s like losing everything that was joyful and intimate, losing one’s community is terrifying. If you go there, please stop, it’s hard enough for your boy to be ripped away from his friends (which for teenagers, are their total world). And get into another church quickly before this festers, you have to close the door on getting resolution from these people are find a community for your boy. You sound like a wonderful mama, it’s time to kick the “lion” part of “mama lion” in and find your son a different place with a great youth group.

    • Allie

      Okay, why can’t you find any other church for him to go to? Do you live someplace other than America, or in some alternate America where there are not 8.6 churches per square mile?

      • kissandra

        Ok There are denominations I don’t agree with, I don’t want to list them all but there really is no good alternative close…or even half an hour away

        • Michael

          One of the things that surprised me when I left the fundamentalist world was how much more closely other denominations were than I was led to believe when I was inside fundamentalism. I think you have probably been lied to. It’s part of the tactic to keep people from leaving.

          The only way to really know what a church is like is to go there and find out for yourself. No church represents a single denomination.

          • kissandra

            Thank you Michael, I will have to find somewhere else

        • DR

          Oh man. I’m really sorry.

  • http://www.theartbybart.com bart eason

    it took 7 years to get over the “truths” and “doctrines” i had learned from so long ago..to me , God was a god of anger and judgement…i was waiting for the hammer to fall..paralizing sometimes…TOOK God answering some prayer of my own to find the true God and the truth of his love…to go at it from a different angle that left that left fundamental chrisitian thought and belief out of it..God is always ready to reveal his self through many different paths..and loves all people as creations of the Creator..believe all the answers to the questions can be found within…meditation is a way…the way of the Pipe..visions and dreams…the Spiritual world..prayer..the way of peace and love……and respect….the Creator works in many mysterious ways to reach all peoples…as we are the children of the Creator….its the intentions of ones heart that matters..

  • Shannon

    I’m an independent fundamental baptist. Not all IFBs are the same. From my experience there are some glaring errors in your post:

    → Each IFB church is wholly autonomous and free from any outside governance. Its pastor is divinely appointed and accountable to no earthly authority. He speaks for God, and God alone may judge him. To question the sovereignty of the pastor is to disturb God’s order and invite upon oneself separation from the church, and therefore from the very source of salvation and hope.

    Should the members of an Independent Fundamental Baptist church find that their pastor is leading them in a way that runs contrary to what is taught in the bible they have the responsibility of FIRING that pastor.

    → For a woman to be pleasing to God she must always and in all things remain perfectly submissive, first to her father and then to her husband. The primary function of a woman is to have children, who then become her mission field.

    The primary function of a woman is to be a helpmeet to her husband, not a baby-making machine.

    → It is sinful for a woman to dress in any way that might cause a man to spiritually stumble by having even the slightest lustful thought.

    The same goes for a man. Men are to be dressed just as modestly as women.

    → Homosexuals are evil perverts who despise God and should be kept away from society generally and children especially. There is no appreciable moral distinction between homosexuality and bestiality, incest, child molestation or rape.

    No. Homosexuals are not evil. They are God’s children who have turned their back on him and have chosen to live a perverted lifestyle. God loves them as much as he loves anyone else. As to the second point – sin is sin. A lie is no worse or better than rape in the eyes of God.

    → Black people bear the indelible and wretched curse of the “mark of Cain.”

    I have NEVER heard this. Ever. In all my life and all my experiences, this is a new one. And it’s NOT true!

    → Christians are called to remain steadfastly separate from the world and its sinful practices and temptations, such as movies, dancing, and any music with an addictive rock beat.

    Yes, but why? Because we are IN the world, not OF the world.

    “IFBs also generally believe that the will of a child must be broken before it ever has a chance to develop: a fussing or crying baby is exerting its selfish will. That will needs to be eliminated, since wherever human will is God’s will cannot be.”

    There is absolutely no truth in this statement

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Yeah, I’m … real familiar with IFB. I stick by what I said in this post. But if you’d like to share with us anything more about your particular experiences within IFB–I’d be especially interested in what church you currently do, or have, attended–that’d be great.

      • Matt

        This is a pretty serious broadbrush of ifb churches, you have most definitely highlghted the craziest and most extreme doctrines for sure.

        That being said, every ib church isn’t like that, the majority of the up and coming generation has seen the error of those in ‘absolute power’.

        You really should put a disclaimer on this post to be fair to those that are just trying to serve God and do the best they can.

        • mike moore

          I think every IFB church and member is culpable in a big way. Where has been the organized IFB outcry and condemnation of those you consider the “craziest and most extreme?” Where has been the grass roots movement stopping the abuse?

          The disclaimer should be IFB is an evil cult, stay away.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

          Matt: You either don’t know much about the IFB, or … well, or you’re defending IFB for reasons of your own. But what I’ve described is IFB. If that’s changing, good. Send me evidence of that when you get it.

          And no IFB leader is doing the best they can. Nobody is that stupid. They know exactly what they’re doing.

    • http://www.theartbybart.com bart eason

      threre is a lot of truth in many of your statements listed above..when it comes to fundamentelist dioctrines…for all of you thinking your pastor is a direct pieline to God…a long list of the so called “saved by God’ men and there actions are visited by many here on internet..right nowe im watching the criminal trial of jack shaade at jack hiles univercity who proclaimed he was following Jesus direct orders when having sexual relations with an underage girl from his own congregation..the hypocrisy goes on and on..

  • CJP

    After reading a couple paragraphs into this it was obvious the article was not written by a person practicing the Baptist faith because there was so much incorrect information in it. First of all I want to distinguish that Baptist beliefs are different from the Bible because of their doctrine called “once saved always saved”. I myself am a Christian which is different from a Baptist and will respond from our point of view since the article was an attack on the Bible and not Baptist doctrine.

    : The primary function of a woman is to have children, who then become her mission field. This statement has no biblical bases and would only be said by some one uneducated looking to make the Bible look bad. (reference the books of Ruth and Ester)

    :It is sinful for a woman to dress in any way that might cause a man to spiritually stumble by having even the slightest lustful thought. Also inaccurate, while in fact it can be sinful for either sex to provoke lust in other people (that issue is more of an individual basis) the bigger problem is lust itself.

    :Black people bear the indelible and wretched curse of the “mark of Cain.” This statement once again shows how uneducated John Shore is. This is actually a Mormon doctrine not the Baptist he meant to attack. The Bible does not say exactly what the mark of Cain was , but we don’t have evidence to support it being skin color. Besides that the Human geneology comes through Noah and the wives of his 3 sons. It’s also not recorded which was descended from who. If he was mistakenly trying to refer to the curse that Noah put on his son Ham (who was the ancestor of all negroid peoples and likely others such as Asians and native americans as well who were both descended from the Hittites which came from Heth a Ham descendent, and possible others a well) Lets not forget that these and many other races were descended from multiple sons of Noah whos descendants mixed together.

    :Christians are called to remain steadfastly separate from the world and its sinful practices and temptations, such as movies, dancing, and any music with an addictive rock beat. Remaining apart from the sinful nature of the world does not mean we cannot go to movies or concerts. That one was really stupid

    :IFBs also generally believe that the will of a child must be broken before it ever has a chance to develop: a fussing or crying baby is exerting its selfish will. That will needs to be eliminated, since wherever human will is God’s will cannot be. This one is once agai incredibly stupid I am upset I have to waste my time addressing it, however with extremely uneducated people like John Shore saying this stuff and people dumb enough to believe him out there, I must address it. So this isn’t even really a matter for biblical debate its more of common sense. A baby cries because that’s the only way it knows how to communicate, it hasn’t developed the ability to speak whatever language is spoken by the people who would take care of it and help its needs. Wow buy a baby book John Shore…. What a dunce. The verses sighted on his topic obviously do not apply to a baby crying, what it refers to is raising a child and disciplining them in order to teach them about right wrong and consequences. If you intend not to discipline your child they are bound to become very screwed up people.

    • Christy

      CJP, it’s clear that you are unfamiliar with the IFB “denomination,” culture and beliefs, as Mr. Shore’s article is quite familiar to those of us who were actually Independent Fundamental Baptists – a different group than other Baptists. His statements are meant to illuminate that culture for the benefit of all (and warn the uninformed) and are not, as you asserted, and attack on the Bible.

      As a Christian, it might be helpful to know that you are in good company, because this author, this site, and this community are also made up of Christians. And, unless you are a forensic or physical anthropologist – oh, dear Lord – you did not just use the word “negroid.”

      You have nicely dismantled the false doctrines of the IFB – not the beliefs of Mr. Shore – something which seems to have gotten confused somehow in your reading, an innocent mistake, I’m sure.

      • http://www.theartbybart.com bart eason

        baptist, southern baptist, bible believers, fundamentalists, evangelical, traditional, etc..i never could tell any difference..experiencing going to all these is s0mething i know about..holy rollers, hypocrites and child molestors….

  • Gerald H

    One of the key tests for a “toxic” Christian is the extent to which the person quotes from the Old Testament vs. the New. The more toxic someone is, the less likely they are to use anything but John 3:16 from the New Testament, yet they freely use (& misuse) quotes from Leviticus and the rest of the Pentateuch.

    I noted a toxic Christian’s hateful approach to a child with a different quote from John, paraphrasing “everything that was made, way made by Him, and without Him nothing that was made would have come into being.” God had created the child with special needs and challenges, but the toxic person could not understand that the kid was a thing of God, even with special needs. I received only a blank look, though, because apparently these folks were of the mindset that the Bible went from Old Testament to John 3:16 and then straight to Revelation.