The fundamentally toxic Christiantity


Independent Fundamental Baptists (IFB) is a loosely-affiliated, cultish denomination of Christian fundamentalists. According to the Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life, there are approximately 7.85 million IFB members in America. It’s unlikely there isn’t an IFB church within a half-hour drive from your house.

If you’re unfamiliar with the beliefs and practices of the Independent Fundamental Baptists, some of them are:

→ The King James Version is the only true Word of God; all other translations of the Bible are the work of the devil. Meant to be taken literally, the KJV is inspired, inerrant, infallible, and the supreme and final authority in all things. It is therefore literally true that God created the world in six 24-hour days; Satan is real, the enemy of God, and the instigator of all false religions; the theory of evolution is unscriptural and therefore without merit; hell is a real place where all who die without having accepted Christ as their Savior suffer consciously being roasted alive for eternity, and so on.

→ 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.

→ Men alone are suited to be the head of home and church.

→ 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.

→ 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.

→ Human life begins at conception. Every abortion, without exception, is murder.

→ 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.

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

→ 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.

→ Educating children at home or in IFB K-12 schools is necessary in order to protect them from the knowledge and ways of a fallen and corrupt 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.

By way of justifying infant “training” and the continued “submission of the will” of children, IFB parents point to these lines in The Book of Proverbs:

  • Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell. (Pr 23:14)
  • The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame. (Pr 29:15)
  • Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him. (Pr 22:15)
  • He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes [early on; speedily]. (Pr 13:24)
  • Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying. (Pr 19:18)
  • The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil. (Pr 20:30)

To Train Up a Child, by fundamentalist Christian minister Michael Pearl and his wife Debi, is very popular within the IFB. This guide to “consistently rewarding every transgression with a switching” (from the book’s introduction) has sold over 670,000 copies. Here are some quotes from the book:

These truths [of this book] are . . . the same principles the Amish use to train their stubborn mules, the same technique God uses to train his children.

If you have to sit on him to spank him then do not hesitate. And hold him there until he is surrendered. Prove that you are bigger, tougher, more patiently enduring and are unmoved by his wailing. Defeat him totally. Accept no conditions for surrender. No compromise. You are to rule over him as a benevolent sovereign. Your word is final.

If God’s love is expressed by the “whippings” He gives, then can we not love our children enough to chasten them unto holiness? I have heard a rebellious teenager say, “If they only loved me enough to whip me.”

But what of the grouch who would rather complain than sleep? Get tough. Be firm with him. Never put him down and then allow him to get up. If, after putting him down, you remember he just woke up, do not reward his complaining by allowing him to get up. For the sake of consistency in training, you must follow through. He may not be able to sleep, but he can be trained to lie there quietly. He will very quickly come to know that any time he is laid down there is no alternative but to stay put. To get up is to be on the firing line and get switched back down.

She then administers [to a three-year-old] about ten slow, patient licks on his bare legs. He cries in pain. If he continues to show defiance by jerking around and defending himself, or by expressing anger, then she will wait a moment and again lecture him and again spank him. When it is obvious he is totally broken, she will hand him the rag and very calmly say, “Johnny, clean up your mess.”

On the bare legs or bottom, switch him eight or ten licks; then, while waiting for the pain to subside, speak calm words of rebuke. If the crying turns to a true, wounded, submissive whimper, you have conquered; he has submitted his will. If the crying is still defiant, protesting and other than a response to pain, spank him again.

One particularly painful experience of nursing mothers is the biting baby. My wife did not waste time finding a cure. When the baby bit, she pulled hair (an alternative has to be sought for baldheaded babies).

Select your instrument according to the child’s size. For the under one year old, a little, ten- to twelve-inch long, willowy branch (striped of any knots that might break the skin) about one-eighth inch diameter is sufficient. Sometimes alternatives have to be sought. A one-foot ruler, or its equivalent in a paddle, is a sufficient alternative. For the larger child, a belt or larger tree branch is effective.

This story is so horrifying I hesitate to link to it, but anyone questioning the harm done within IFB by the Pearls’s child-rearing philosophy might want to read The Tragic Death of Ethiopian Adoptee Hana Williams, and How It Could Happen Again, published five days ago as I write this.

IFB takes the “I” in its title extremely seriously; they are nothing if not independent. For this reason, IFB churches vigorously renounce the idea that IFB constitutes a denomination: each church, they hold, is a kingdom unto itself and obliged to cooperate with exactly no other church body, IFB or otherwise.

For “college,” IFB students are mostly sent to one of three IFB institutions: Bob Jones University, Hyles-Anderson College, or Pensacola Christian College. Each is led by men who themselves graduated from one of the three. Invariably these men insist on being called “Dr.” This is a purely honorific title, since out in the real world a degree of any sort from any IFB college has no value.

Here are a few pieces I’ve published about Bob Jones and/or the IFB:

Bob Jones University shuts down year-long investigation of sexual abuse on its campus.

A Christianity to make Satan proud presents a letter written by a young woman, raised IFB, who was a victim of her father’s serial sexual abuse. As she was destined to all of her life, she attended BJU. BJU handled this traumatized girl in its typical fashion, which is so horrendous that few outside of the IFB would even believe it.

Waiting for Bob Jones’s huge gay bomb to drop.

The patriarchal, ego-fortifying, psyche-destroying, soul-crushing, domineering, brain-washing, fear-inducing, manipulative, spiritually abusive world of the fundamentalism I know was written by a woman raised in the IFB.

“Dr.” Marc Monte: Satan called. Loves your work. is about a former BJU graduate and current IFB pastor’s cruel response to victims of abuse.

Wondering how/why anyone would attend BJU? Then read An ex-fundy responds to the question, “How could anyone attend BJU”?

About a year ago I was asked to write a word of support and love for IFB survivors, which could then be share with such Facebook groups as Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) Cult Survivors (and their Supporters) and Do Right Hyles-Anderson. I wrote:

Our characters are forged in the crucible of what we survive. In surviving the worst survivors of IFB have become the best. The writings that I’ve read from former IFBs are some of the strongest testimonies to the strength and decency of the human spirit that I’ve ever come across. I appreciate being asked to offer you guys a word of support, but you should be offering support to me and anyone else lucky enough to hear what you have to say. You’re the power. You’re the strength. It’s you who are singing the songs that need to be heard.

The one thing I do want to say for anyone just making their way out of the darkness of IFB is this: that you once so thoroughly bought into IFB is a sign of your strength, not your weakness. Beside the fact that you were likely born into IFB and so never chose to believe anything about it one way or another, your allegiance to IFB means nothing more than that you love. You love passionately, deeply, and inexorably. And like everyone else in the world you want that love to mean something, to be incorporated into and desired by something worthy of it. And what can possibly be more worthy of a person’s love than God and family?

You brought the goods to the table. You showed up, ready to play. You brought the best of yourself. You brought all of yourself.

You gave. You trusted. You loved, and loved, and loved some more. You loved when you had no more love to give.

You loved when the cost of that love was to negate the best parts of yourself.

You did what you were supposed to do: you sacrificed yourself.

It was they who didn’t truly commit to the truths upon which they claimed to be basing their lives. It was they who lied—first to themselves, and then to you.

They didn’t sink deep enough. They didn’t give over their will over to God. They didn’t sacrifice who they were.

They kept what they wanted. They kept what they needed. They kept what worked for them.

They pretended to be something they weren’t. They insisted upon that ignoble facade despite the too-clear harm it was causing. For their own dark reasons they kept that wicked dance going.

They lied.

They lied, they lied, they lied.

And they used the best of who you are, and the best of what you have to give, to feed those lies.

They used you as fodder in the war between themselves and everything they fear.

And because of your trusting love for them, you let them. You served them that way. You loved them in that (and a million other) ways. And in a real and important sense you will always love them. And out of that love you gave them the best of who you are to do with whatever they felt they needed to. And if they failed to treat that greatest of gifts with the sacrosanct respect it deserves, then shame on them.

If they really loved God they would have loved you and everyone else in a manner befitting that love: properly, carefully, consistently. It really is that simple.

And despite all you’ve been through, here you are now! Dented, maybe, a little—but definitely not broken.

Slightly wobbly, but still on your feet.

Shaken, not stirred.

You were right; they were wrong; and no sane person in the world would say otherwise. And screw ‘em if they do.

You have left them now to themselves, and stepped into your own world. A world where you say what is and isn’t good. Where you write the rules. Where you claim what’s true.

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.

The above letter is available as a downloadable pdf here.

By way of learning more about IFB generally:

→ On the day I’m writing this, Al Jazeera America published the superbly done piece about Bob Jone University, How the ‘fortress of fundamentalism’ handles sexual assault

→ In its January 2013 issue, Chicago Magazine published Let Us Pray: Big Trouble at First Baptist Church.

→ In April of last year, 20/20 aired the results of its year-long investigation of IFB. (You can read ABC’s condensed print version of the show here.) Among those featured in the report are Tina Anderson, very recently in the news. (Researchers digging into the Tina Anderson story will appreciate finding her original testimony to the Concord, NH police department.)

→ Last spring Anderson Cooper 360° aired Ungodly Discipline, a show about the child abuse within IFB. (Part 1; Parts 2 & 3.) Part 1 looks at To Train Up a Child and includes an interview with its authors. Featured in Part 2 is Hephzibah House, one of the many private IFB-operated homes across the country to which IFB families send their “troubled” teens to live and be disciplined back into obedience to God. Because they are owned and operated by churches, such homes are typically exempt from any sort of licensure or government oversight. Introduced in Part 2 of Ungodly Discipline is former Hephzibah resident Susan Grotte. Ms. Grotte’s website is Hephzibah Girls; her personal testimony about her experience at Hephzibah House is here.

→ Jocelyn Zichterman is featured in both the 20/20 and Anderson Cooper 360° episodes referenced above. Founder of the Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) Cult Survivors Facebook page, her website is Freedom From Abuse. Her book I Fired God: My Life Inside—and Escape from—the Secret World of the Independent Fundamental Baptist Cult is a must-read for anyone seeking comprehensive knowledge of what goes on inside the the IFB.

Free At Last does a great job of exploring and discussing IFB spiritual abuse. It’s done by Dale Fincher, a graduate of Pensacola Christian College, which rivals BJU in its influence over the IFB.

Paradise Recovered is a superb independent film about a young woman tentatively making her way in the world after being kicked out of her IFB home. Highly recommended.

StopBaptistPredators.org takes seriously its mission of “shining light on Baptist clergy sex abuse.” You’re likely to share that mission once you visit this site.

Blog on the Way is one of the best online resources for assisting victims of church abuse in Christian Fundamentalism. (Note its heart-stopping sidebar, The Christian Fundamentalist Roll Call of Shame: Child Abusers in Christian Fundamentalism.)

→ Chucks Travels keeps an ever-vigilant watch over nefarious IFB pastors.

→ If you search for “Independent Fundamental Baptists” on the very popular site Stuff Fundies Like, you get these posts

Why Not Train Up a Child is just what it claims to be: a clearinghouse of information and arguments refuting the teachings of Michael and Debi Pearl.

→ Vyckie Garrison’s blog No Longer Quivering is a gathering place for women escaping and recovering from spiritual abuse. Garrison offers a wealth of sensitively presented information and insight about the Quiverfull movement, popular and growing amongst Christian fundamentalists, which posits that truly godly families should “trust the Lord” with their family planning.

→ Though not particularly brief, A Brief Survey of Independent Fundamental Baptist Churches, by IFB enthusiast Cooper P. Abrams III (whose literally very colorful website is Bible Truth), offers insight into IFB’s history and mindset.

→ Contradicting IFB’s claim of not being a denomination is IFB umbrella organization Fundamental Baptist Fellowship International (FBFI). Though the bulk of FBFI’s website is unsurprisingly closed to outsiders, its available constitution is a comprehensive expression of IFB beliefs. Another great overview of IFB beliefs is the What We Believe page on the website of Sword of the Lord, a main and influential IFB publication.

Here is a map showing links to more IFB churches than you can shake a Bible at.

→ If you’re a Christian looking for an alternative to the IFB, consider my group Unfundamentalist Christians, whose group blog is here, and whose Facebook page is here.


I’m the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question:

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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 founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. 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.

  • AtalantaBethulia

    Thank you, John.

  • Dave-n-TN

    Thank you John for providing this exhaustive explanation of who BJU is. In the little town of Cross Lanes, WV were I grew up there was one church that based themselves on the doctrine of BJU … and were instrumental in the beginning of a “Church” School for their denomination (due to a distrust of the Public Schools’ textbooks) and pledged themselves to any believers in that community as the source for the correct interpretation of God’s word.

    Needless to say, over the years, I have come to understand that crazy position and the rejects from that thought process. However, there are many there who still believe that the Cross Lanes Bible Church (ughhhh) and their alliance with BJU are God’s providence. God help them … and their backassward thinking.

    Dave-n-TN (Thank God, I do not live in West Virginia any longer) … John, you may remember me as DaveB on the other blog post. I have been watching, but not posting for awhile. You have an incredible group supporting you … Kudos to all of you!

    • FormerFundy1992

      Hit it smack dab right in the center of the bull’s eye “the doctrine of BJU” for that is so much truth.

  • Jenni Frencham

    For all their claims of not being a network, the IFB has been labelled a “notwork,” because they are all connected, regardless of what they might claim. My home church had a reputation for sending all high school grads to Bob Jones, where in turn we were encouraged to go into other like-minded ministries. I taught at an IFB school on an island in the Pacific and was told to encourage my students to go to the United States and attend Bob Jones as though it were the pinnacle of higher education.

    Also, the same authors who wrote the child-rearing book also wrote marriage books. The one for women, Created to Be His Help-Meet, was given to all women (single, married, etc.) at the ministry where I worked. http://www.amazon.com/Created-Be-His-Help-Meet-ebook/dp/B0041D83VU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1384397395&sr=8-1&keywords=created+to+be+his+help+meet+by+debi+pearl

  • Jenni Frencham

    It also bears mentioning that it is extremely hard to get away from the IFB movement. If a person has a degree from Bob Jones or a like-minded school, and has worked in a ministry or a ministry-friendly business, once that person decides to leave the IFB behind, he/she will likely not find a job for a decent wage. He/she will likely discover that the hard-earned college “degree” is worthless. He/she may lose ties with all friends and family who, in the spirit of disciplining a wayward believer, will effectively shun that person until he/she chooses to repent. So a lot of kids who are attending Bob Jones are, in essence, trapped unless or until they can escape and get an education elsewhere, away from the both the assistance and also the control of their parents.

  • Guest

    Please don’t leave out Word of Life.

  • http://brucegerencser.net/ Bruce Gerencser

    John,

    You are incorrect about BJU being the mothership. The IFB church movement generally subdivides around a particular college or theological belief like Calvinism. There are, in fact, many motherships, and it can be argued that BJU’s power within the IFB church movement is actually waning.

    There has been a lot of church/pastor movement from one camp to the other over the years. The King James controversy at BJU caused them to lose influence with some Baptist Fundamentalists.

    BTW, the vast majority of IFB churches are not affiliated with the FBFI. The Sword of The Lord? I suspect their subscription numbers are 50% or more less than they were 20 years ago.

    Bruce

    • Bernie Keefe

      “The King James controversy at BJU caused them to lose influence with some Baptist Fundamentalists.” As it did happen between Pensacola Christian College, and BJU.

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      I don’t think there’s any question but that, when it comes to IFB, BJU is the big dog. By a great margin.

    • FormerFundy1992

      IFB started at the bob and will always be influenced by the bob whether directly or indirectly. Each and every one of your “mother ships” can trace their roots to the bob and, if you look hard enough, get regular sustenance in some way shape or form from the bob.

      • http://jeriwho.net/lillypad2/ jeriwho

        IFB started with J Frank Norris, when he was thrown out of the Southern Baptist Convention. John R Rice (who BJU grads to this day ignore, even though he was one of the most significant pioneers in the IFB movement, but had a falling out with BJ) was Norris’s key evangelist.

        In 1927 Rice left the SBC and planted several churches in Texas that he designated as “Fundamental Baptist.” In 1932 he became a pastor in his own right. And his church, in Dallas Texas, was named “Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle” while he was the pastor. In the early days, “Fundamental” was the key word, to distinguish the movement from modernism and liberals. Rice and Norris split, but Norris kept the banner of “Fundamental Baptist” as his own.

        Meanwhile, BJ-Sr started Bob Jones College in 1927 under the banner of Fundamentalism, but he was a Methodist. The school’s creed was written by a Methodist evangelist. Jones wanted the school to be interdenominational. Mode of baptism, for example, has never been stipulated in the school’s doctrinal statement.

        Rice went on, ultimately, to found the SWORD OF THE LORD newsletter, which by the 1950′s had a circulation of over 90,000. Even during the 1970′s, when its circulation was between 60,000 and 70,000, SOTL was more commonly read in IFB churches than BJU’s rag, Faith for the Family. Throughout the 1950′s. Rice and BJ-Sr were allies, and it was during this time period that IFB formed as a distinct entity, entirely separated even from conservative SBC churches. But Rice was slower to insist on absolute separation from conservative SBC churches than Jones was. Rice would not be a part of SBC functions. But on his own platform, he would permit Fundamental SBC preachers to speak.

        In 1971, Bob Jones Jr (not Sr), issued the final ultimatum on separation, and it was this ultimatum that split Rice from BJU. From 1971 onward, Rice and Jones were rivals (and enemies, really). But separation, at this point, was now as vital as “Fundamentalist.” BJU still did not become solely IFB, but the ratios of IFB students to other denominations soared. The school had always been majority Baptist, but IFB was the chief denomination, and not only the chief denomination, but the ruling denomination. And that has continued to this day.

        By the early 1970′s, Fundamentalism also had its well-known lieutenants: the second string. Robert Ketcham of the GARBC, Lee Roberson who founded Tennessee Temple, Evangelist Oliver B Greene who dominated Christian radio air waves for two decades and founded the The Gospel Hour on radio, and eventually, Lester Roloff {shiver} the mad preacher who popularized concentration camps for children under the euphemism of “children’s homes”. None of these men were products of BJU. Roberson, Greene, and Roloff were exiles from the SBC. Ketcham’s empire was the GARBC, which regularly sent (and still sends) students to BJU.

        John R Rice became the big promoter of Jack Hyles, and the preaching team of Rice and Hyles in the 1970′s was the first fuel that launched Hyles-Anderson. At the other end of the spectrum, Jerry Falwell gained popularity during the 1970′s and launched Liberty College, then Liberty University. Technically, Falwell’s home church was SBC, but he downplayed that during his lifetime. Most Fundamentalists assumed that Falwell was IFB. And as documented in the book SPIRIT AND FLESH, graduates of Liberty became IFB pastors. Later, after Falwell’s death, the church re-embraced its SBC roots and upgraded Liberty University, distancing it from its shoutin’ IFB cousins.

        Yes, BJU is a major player in the IFB. But it was not the founder of the IFB. Nor was it ever the sole player. Nor do all IFB churches and schools take their thinking and method from BJU. The SBC has had an incredible role in the formation of the IFB, primarily by making it the dumping ground for all their cranks and kooks that they kick out. BJU has had tremendous influence in the IFB movement, and it has definitely tried to cultivate that influence. But there has also been a lot of interchange, interplay, and other influences. BJU as a corporate entity has done and permitted very wicked things. But if you remove it from the equation, you will still have a fountain of wickedness in the IFB.

  • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

    The Communist radical I hang out with in Berkeley asked, “Why isn’t BJU accredited if Oral Roberts University is?” Anyone? Is it comparing apples and oranges?

    • AtalantaBethulia

      Hey, E.

      I got hammered earlier today elsewhere for pointing out these facts:

      Bob Jones being “accredited” by TRACS is not the same as being accredited by a regional accrediting agency. Some Bob Jones graduates have had difficulty getting jobs and into graduate programs and certified in their fields of study outside of the BJU bubble because of this.

      Liberty University is regionally accredited by SACS. Oral Roberts is accredited by the International Christian Accrediting Association, an organization that Oral Roberts University helped found.

      All accrediting bodies are not equal nor do they have the same goals or academic standards. It would be foolish to think that they are and/or do.

      BJU has had a long hate/hate relationship with the idea of being accredited by a “secular” organization. Their “our authority comes from a higher power” perspective makes them loathe to accept criticism or approval from a man-made authority, plus their desire to maintain control of curriculum content and autonomy in that they are beholden to no one made getting accredited in the first place a major paradigm shift.

      Stephen Jones announced last year that they were going to pursue regional accreditation. Those familiar with their faculty and curriculum have indicated that it will be very unlikely that they will meet academic muster to accomplish this without major changes. Examples: Some department heads do not hold PhD’s nor do they have degrees in the field that they chair. Also there is a widespread lack of educational diversity, with many faculty holding degrees only from BJU. Also: The head of their psychology department, I have read, does not actually believe in psychology.

      • Jenni Frencham

        Yes, this. The head of their psychology department believes in “nouthetic counseling” and thinks that anyone who sees an actual certified therapist should be required to wear a t-shirt that says “I don’t read my Bible.” Yes, really.

        And as a BJ grad, I can attest to the fact that I have had to go back to school (which is hard to do with BJU transcripts) and get an additional degree just to get a job. I’ve been away from BJU for nearly ten years now, but I’m only in my first year at a “real” job. The powers that be at BJU downplay all of this because they expect their grads to work at other fundamentalist institutions.

      • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

        Interesting. According to Wikipedia, ORU is accredited by the NCA, classified as a Master’s University by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and ranked as one of 123 institutions in the 2012 “Best in the West” regional list produced by The Princeton Review. Which… is all a lot of mumbo jumbo to me. My alma mater doesn’t believe in grades. Everything is based on written evaluations. I literally needed to go to the bursar’s office and work out my GPA for grad school apps on a sheet of mimeograph tissue using some weird unpublished equation. It also holds standardized tests in such low regard, it won’t report the SAT scores of its incoming freshmen, significantly dropping its Princeton Review ranking. Yet no one would say it wasn’t in the top 25 US schools, at least in the arts and humanities. Rejecting outside authority or “thinking outside the box” isn’t inherently evil. That is, not until you discover your degree is worthless and the head of the psych department doesn’t believe in psychology. Ouch.

        • http://www.enesvy.com/ Enesvy

          Good God! Elizabeth…are you a fellow geoduck? :D

          • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

            LOL. Evergreen, east coast campus. Our mascot was the black squirrel.

          • http://www.enesvy.com/ Enesvy

            I gotta say, a black squirrel is better than a geoduck. At least it’s warm blooded!

          • Giauz Ragnarock

            Geoducks are those things in the mud that look like penises, right?

          • http://www.enesvy.com/ Enesvy
          • Giauz Ragnarock

            I CAN’T UNSEE THE GENITALIA! MY EYES! lol.

          • http://www.enesvy.com/ Enesvy

            Har!

    • anakinmcfly

      BJ… Oral… Man, these people need to come up with better names for their universities.

    • FormerFundy1992

      Oh, Elizabeth. To put Oral Roberts U or Liberty U or any other institution which has “strayed from the straight and narrow path to God” is tantamount to blasphemy on BJ. I have heard time and again Junior and III blast these universities and rail that they would never associate with them because it would be “being unequally yoked with unbelievers.” Yes. The presient and chancellor of BJ both state that neither of the other two universities are Christian.
      Long answer to say… No, its not comparing apples and oranges; it’s comparing apples and the Space Needle in Seattle.

  • harrisco

    Abuse is abuse. To all who have suffered so deeply, from a time beyond knowing, at the hands of cruel people who clothed their cruelty in the language of righteousness, I am sorry. You did nothing to deserve this abuse. The stories John tells and links to of church-based abuse and high-powered rationalization and manipulation make me physically sick. I knew it was bad–but I did not know it was this bad. I offer a word of hope to those who are struggling and suffering: The bitter, loveless treatment you are receiving now in the name of God is not justified. It is not right. It is not your fault. I am so sorry. I wish I could explain it as well as John does–but what you are enduring is not from God but from people who use God for their own power. I pray for strength, resilience, and freedom for you–and for the abundant, renewing spirit within each soul. What great promise lives there–in what God has created in you and called good.

  • Bernie Keefe

    John, Thank you for this powerful expose on IFB’s.

  • http://jeriwho.net/lillypad2/ jeriwho

    Thank you for such a comprehensive article on Christian Fundamentalism. A lot of great info and plenty of links! (Yay! Links!) I would disagree about BJU being the sole leader of the IFB. BJU has two significant rivals: First Baptist of Hammond Indiana (Hyles-Anderson College, founded on the teachings and wacko theology of the late Jack Hyles), and Pensacola Christian College. These three form the triumvirate of Christian Fundamentalism. And they are rivals with each other. To outsiders, there is very little difference among them. To insiders, differences are hugely inflated, and there is a lot of rivalry. Which ever group a person is in, he or she will view the members of the others as spiritually inferior. Overall, the leaders of the three do not agree with each other or share a platform in speaking engagements. But BJIII and Jack Schaap (the heir of Jack Hyles) did join forces the summer before Schaap got busted for child molesting. As is the norm, BJU will simply pretend they did not get together.

    This triumvirate is not universal. There are other splinter factions within Christian Fundamentalism that share most of the “theology” and weird practices of the Big Three, but will also embrace additional wacko ideas that become major points of their own little church or association. There are extreme patriots in Fundamentalism, health foodies who insist that sugar is sin, etc., Landmark Baptists who believe that only Baptists make up the Bride of Christ, etc. Sort of like a fruit and nut assortment, with the big three in the middle. But all are poisonous.

    • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

      Pensacola. Really. I remember fondly the run that city had in the mid-90s. They led the nation in the murder of abortion doctors and Satanic ritual cat killings.

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      I didn’t mean to imply that BJU was the sole leader of IFB so much as its largest, most powerful, most well known, and most influential leader—which, of course, it (still) is.

      Not long ago I spent five months straight, almost literally around the clock, writing (with her full cooperation, near-daily input, and all the source material she could send me), the memoir of Linda Hyles-Murphrey (the daughter of Jack Hyles–as I know you know). So now I honestly know just about as much about the Hyles family and First Baptist Church of Hammond / Hyles-Anderson College as I do anything in my own life. (We scrapped the book—50,000 polished words of which were written!–for reasons I won’t bore you with here.)

      First Baptist/Hyles-Anderson has fallen so far in influence that I thought it wisest to refer it only via the linked-to Chicago Magazine story—which of course is a fantastic education about that whole … nest.

      And I certainly am aware of Pensecola Christian College, of course–if for no other reason than Marc Monte’s son goes there–or did, in case he graduated since I wrote the piece about his dad above.

      And yes, for sure, as you say: all the in-fighting between all kinds of factions of IFB is just … endless. Because they’re children. But of course all that was much too much to go into for the post.

      Your own inexhaustible work on this whole issue, Jeri, has for years now been invaluable to me. I’m glad you wrote in, so that I have a chance to thank you for it. You are one mighty … chronicler. (Hey, do you know whatever happened to JZ? She just sort of … disappeared, last I was aware. Has she surfaced at all, if you know?)

      • http://jeriwho.net/lillypad2/ jeriwho

        Thank you for your kind words! So sorry that Linda’s book did not pan out. FBCH still has a lot of influence. My opinion (while now examining the Bill Wininger case (http://jeriwho.net/lillypad2/?cat=419) and the new Marvin Smith case (http://jeriwho.net/lillypad2/?p=13625)) is that the followers of Hyles are a lot quieter in light of the Schaap scandal, but Hyles sowed deception and the promise of power far and wide. I still, routinely, run into church people and preachers citing the abominable JACK HYLES ON JUSTICE or one of his other desperately stupid books. I would not want to say which of the three rivals is most powerful. I think “triumvirate” with many splinter sub groups is the best descriptor of the power structure.

        As for Jocelyn, I don’t know. Sorry I cannot help you.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      I’m not sure if the other two entities have it or not, but BjU Is
      also linked to educational curriculum which sells textbooks to home schools and private christian schools all over the country.

      That influence can’t be discounted

      • http://jeriwho.net/lillypad2/ jeriwho

        PCC owns and publishes Beka Books (A Beka Books) which outsells BJU books by a mile, last I was told.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          I wasn’t sure. That there is competition in even this makes me a bit sad

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      One great thing is that a guy just turned me onto his work here:

      soulation.org/freeatlast

      and he’s a graduate of PCC: his whole terrific site explores the damaging legacy of IFB through that prism. I inserted into my article a link to his work, and in the little description of it was able to say … well, this:

      “[The site] is done by Dale Fincher, a graduate of Pensacola Christian College, which rivals BJU in its influence over the IFB.” And I linked to PCC

      So at least I was able to get in some nod toward PCC, which, as you say, is hardly small potatoes in the world of the IFB.

      • http://jeriwho.net/lillypad2/ jeriwho

        It’s an interesting dynamic, John. Right now, PCC has the most money. They have done well from their Beka Books. They have used that money to modernize their buildings and equipment and keep tuition low. BJU has the best known legacy. They are still the go-to Fundamentalists for the news media. And they are the last school hospitable to non KJV-only fundies: an ever shrinking group. They have also cultivated certain pipelines into the homeschooling community. Hyles-Anderson/FBCH is the hardcore nut wing. Everything is at its extreme there: sternest dress code, most prohibitive dating rules, most strenuous requirements to slave for the church doing unpaid stuff. In a culture dominated by ignorance and a refusal to enquire reasonably, HAC/FBCH is the most ignorant of the three. But its selling point is that you’ll be holy because of your works and “standards”.

        It gets more interesting when you realize that even though the three are rivals, and each one puts a spiritual spin on their superiority over the others, they are all necessary to keep each other alive.

        This is because there is crossover among the three. They compete with each other, but they need each other. Students flow back and forth among them, as do faculty and staff. In a world where doctrinal, self-identified Fundamentalism (as opposed to all extremist groups called Fundamentalists) is shrinking, the triumvirate are like three enemies swimming together in the middle of an ocean. They have to link arms and kick together to stay afloat.

        So they fight about the KJV and textus receptus, but they never breathe a word about each other’s sexual scandals or financial scandals. That’s the mutual self-destruct button that none of them will press. They also leave off all censure about well known instances of any type of abuse, from the humiliation of students to the mistreatment of faculty. In those matters, they are unified in unspoken support for each other.

        • Bernie Keefe

          Indeed, PCC is much more strict in it’s dating policies. My nephew told his mother of this young man who was ‘shipped’ because he ran after his distraught girlfriend into the girls bathroom. My nephew himself would download all his music to my hard-drive before he returned to school for fear of them deciding to do a computer check. PCC is the puppet master of their church. I’ve seen kids from this church go to PCC with the hopes of getting a 4yr Mech Engineering degree, only to find out that PCC lied to them about the accreditation, and the tranfer of credits. I pleaded to my own nephew to go elsewhere if he wanted to get a degree as a PA.

          PCC’s own charter states that it is your Christian duty to report anyone who doesn’t pay their taxes. I think this is a direct result of ABeka books, have to pay the federal gov’t 25Mil in back taxes.
          The Pastor of this church has his Doctorate now, how nice. The only place that could confer such an appointment is PCC itself, of course, simply because of it’s Non-accreditation. How academically incestuous.
          Despite PCC calling BJU herectics, and Not Real Christians because of the flurry over BJU’s interpretation of the KJV, I would agree with you that these two “institutions” would lie, cheat, and steal for each other.

    • FormerFundy1992

      Jeri… You well know (and I know you know cause we had class together at bj) that BJ IS The center of the IFB movement… It, and its founder, were around long before ANY of the others you mentioned distorting the Bible and pushing those who would ante up and drink the cool-aid out of our state of grace and back into legalism – the made-up legalism of Sr., Jr., III, Berg, Hankins, Lewis, Neil (who wrote THE “racism is blessed by the Bible” book published by BJUP), Edwards, Fremont, …. ad nauseum. Hyles and PCC are splinter groups. Landmark… that made me giggle and snort my red wine on my monitor. Lets throw in Tabernacle Baptist on White Horse Road for good measure.
      Every single solitary last one of all of these places are in some way, shape, or form directly influenced and shaped by BJ – THE mother-ship, or Holy See if you will, of the IFB.

      • http://jeriwho.net/lillypad2/ jeriwho

        I don’t think origin negates the current roles of HAC and PCC. Yes, once upon a time BJU was the Vatican City of Fundamentalism. Tennessee Temple and Liberty (which started out as Fundamental) used to be the big power rivals. Liberty is now a real school affiliated with the SBC (which distances it from the IFB but does not remove the exact same problems from its culture) , and TT is disintegrating.

        I should also point out that Tennessee Temple was founded by Lee Roberson, who did not attend BJU. Nor did Jerry Falwell, founder of Liberty College (now Liberty University). Nor did Jack Hyles, founder of Hyles-Anderson. BJU was the major Fundy school for decades but was never the only one. PCC was a spin-off, definitely. But as times have changed, I think “triumvirate” of BJU, HAC, PCC accurately describes the current power structure. My point of view is given here to show my perspective on the porosity and fluidity of Fundamentalism.

        Other people reach different conclusions. My data, of course, are the current abuse cases I document, who the perpetrators are, which of the three empires they are allied with, and the line of sophistry their churches follow in covering for them. I’m not relying on conditions that existed 35 years ago when I was a student, to assess who is in power now and how that power is held and managed.

  • Drew Meyer

    OK, I have to say something here. While all of the adjectives used in the title are more-or-less true; using them in that way really does scare away those within that are searching.for the reason “why my faith isn’t working like the pastor says it should.”

    These are people who are loved by God and love God, but seriously deluded as to the how and why this works. The name calling will not help them.

    In addition, there are stages of recovery from fundamentalism, and they are remarkably similar to the grieving process. There is shock, anger, bargaining, acceptance, and integration. It is easy to get stuck in any one of these places.
    We all need the grace of God to get us through.

    Titles like this just feed the paranoia that the fundamentalist feels. Yes, tell the truth. But please think about possibly toning down the rhetoric.

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      So, blog titles are very tricky animals. You’ve got to cram as much information into them as you can: unlike the titles of books and magazines, there’s no room for a subtitle. That’s … a huge tool to lack.

      In this case, I wanted very much to get the “8 million” in the title, because people just don’t realize how MANY IFBers there in America, so I had to have that right up front.

      Anyway, to cut to it: If you can think of a better title, I’m seriously all ears. I’ll change it. I do want to make clear that I’m not saying all 8-million of those people are toxic; but rather that their belief system really, really is. And the denomination to which they belong is called “Independent Fundamental Baptist”–which, for this title, doesn’t work at all without the “s” at the end of it. So I’m just sort of … stuck with what I used.

      That whole thing with their name is a constant pain when writing about IFB.

      Anyway, in all my work on this matter I try very hard to as clearly as possible lay all the blame for IFB on its LEADERS, rather than its followers. That distinction is important to me, and I don’t think anyone who reads what I write on this issue thinks I feel any other way. I sure hope not, anyway.

  • alwayspackingupmystuff

    Rereading your letter to those of us who left the IFB has left me weeping. Your voice has the kindness and love that the voice in my head lacks. I hope I can someday internalize the message that I did my best and that I kept loving until I had nothing left. Not even a sure concept of what love feels like.

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      What a terribly sad thing to hear someone say.

      Fwiw, maybe try ignoring for a while the voice in your head, listening instead to the voice in your heart. That’s where your love is, where your true and surest guide resides. And your short, sweet note here shows that you haven’t yet tuned out that voice. It’s clear you still hear love, as soft as its call to you might sometimes seem. But it’s there. And you’re listening to it. And I think for you the voice of love coming from your heart, from the very core of your being, is growing just a little louder every day.

    • Jill

      And there is true kindness here, for real, and hopefully you will come to find that is true for you over and over again so you are able to trust in it. Yes, there are a lot of cruel, heartless people you’ve obviously known, but now you seem to be led to find that is not the case everywhere. Welcome!

  • http://timfall.wordpress.com/ Tim

    One of the problems with discerning just how far out there IFB can be is that there are some things they say that most Christians will agree with. Of course, once you find the places they are different from sound doctrine you can see just how awful their teachings are.

    Your point on raising children and their view on obedience dovetails nicely with a post I just put up yesterday about two non IFB mega-pastors. http://timfall.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/piper-and-baucham-hurt-families/ It was prompted by John Piper’s recent column arguing that parents who don’t force their children into obedience are raising them to die in a hail of bullets.
    Cheers,
    Tim

  • JaneGalt

    HOW are these people getting away with beating infants? I guess I need to also ask “how many of these abused infants wind up in the ER, and what is being done to their abusers?? I’d sure like to know more about this.

    • Jenni Frencham

      The parents are encouraged to use PVC pipe or the glue sticks used in hot glue guns as spanking implements – you can carry them everywhere, they don’t set off metal detectors, and if you spank where people can’t see the marks, well, no one’s the wiser. Also, for the kids to end up in the ER, their parents would have to take them there, and that’s just not going to happen.

      • Jill

        Yes, the scariest part for me is, they are writing and disseminating books on how to *get away with child abuse so you do not get caught*.

    • Matt

      Medical staff are trained to spot wounds that could be inflicted through abuse–that is never a fun class to take. But it is very (and scarily) possible to inflict maximum pain with minimal or no marks. And abuse thrives in secrecy and isolation. And by the time children come to the ER or require other medical attention, permanent harm has usually been done. Our best bet is to keep talking and speaking up.

  • Ashlee

    I grew up IFB in Texas in one of the factions that split off decades ago, and our school of choice was Arlington Baptist College (or ABC). Several of my youth ministry friends went to school there and it didn’t turn out well for them. Most transferred or dropped out, and one went into the military afterward. I didn’t go because I had found out that they weren’t accredited (this was ten years ago, and they’ve become so since then). I instead went to Howard Payne University, which is a more moderate Baptist school. Within a semester of being there, I became uncomfortable with my IFB church back home and was searching for a new church by sophomore year.

    Here’s the thing: our church didn’t believe that about black people, nor have I heard of any use of “To Train Up a Child.” Also, they dealt with sexual abuse in a decent manner and believed in getting counseling for those issues. Other than those points, your description of IFB almost perfectly describes my old church. I still love and miss some of the people (who for the most part are wonderful Christian people), but I couldn’t deal with the theology anymore. I’ve been out of IFB for nearly ten years now and I’ve realized two things: that I’m extremely fortunate to have left so easily and didn’t suffered under the hand of IFB, and that even though I had wonderful experiences in that church, I’ll never ever go back. Thank you for all that you do for those who haven’t been as fortunate.

  • Patrice Wassmann

    Reading the quotes from Train Up a Child makes me want to vomit. This book has lead to the death and destruction of many children, including the Ethiopian adoptee Hana Williams, a truly horrifying story.

    • Caddy Compson

      If anyone’s interested in really in-depth explorations of To Train Up a Child, Libby Anne of lovejoyfeminism on the Atheist channel grew up Quiverfull and has done chapter-by-chapter breakdowns of several of the Pearls’ books and has addressed many of the deaths of children who were abused using the Pearls’ methods. It’s harrowing, but well worth reading.

  • http://www.soulation.org/ Dale Fincher

    Pensacola Christian College, my alma mater, said BJU was growing liberal because they are not KJV-only. PCC has become the KJV-defending mothership. I’ve been making videos about my time at PCC at soulation.org/freeatlast.

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      Dale: I’ve been looking a bit at your site, which I wasn’t aware of. What a great resource; you’re doing terrific work. Let me go add your site to the resources I’ve offered on this page. Check it out, if you would, and let me know if I’ve properly described what you’re doing there.

      • http://www.soulation.org/ Dale Fincher

        Thanks, John! Yes, that’s accurate. I have both an undergrad and graduate degree from PCC. Was also student body president two years. Saw a lot.

        My mother and sister are grads of BJU and my grandfather was on the advisory board at BJU (though he wasn’t IFB, he appreciated that they were faithful to the word, especially back in its earlier history, and stuck with them though he supported many that BJU would have disapproved of).

        • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

          Thanks, buddy. You’re doing SUCH great work on your site. Stay in touch.

    • FormerFundy1992

      It is important to remember that Pensacola is a direct spin-off of BJ. Horton is a BJ grad and even did his senior year student teaching at Bob Jones Academy… Clearwater Cristian is also a BJ spin-off with their two most recently retired presidents (Youstra & Stratton) former BJ administrators.BJ grads flock to both schools to be on faculty.

      BJ IS the mother ship… these satellite operations are distractions… they grab ahold of one extra-biblical ideal and beat that drum as loud as they can so they can say they are “different.” (In Pensacola’s case, it is just sad… just so sad that the do not grasp the logic that KJV CANT and is not “only.”)

  • Olga Silva

    Dear John. I have been following your blog for quite some time, and I love your work. I find it comforting to know that not all North American christians are right-wing douchebags. But, being Brazilian, I struggle to navigate the multitude of christian church denominations that appear in here (there are many here in Brazil, too, but since I’ve lived with them longer, I can tell one apart from the other). I go to a Baptist church in my hometown and I have never EVER heard of anything like what is being said here, and I am apalled. To think that these people are convinced that beating up babies and blaming victims of sexual abuse of being liars is doing the will of God! Now I am confused. How big is this IFB? Are other Baptist churches in USA similar? (I hope other people don’t take offense. As a foreigner, I am ignorant in this matter. Could someone explain this to me?!?!)

    • Caddy Compson

      Here‘s a list of Baptist sub-denominations broken up geographically. There are dozens of them in the US, and they cover a wide spectrum of beliefs within the loose Baptist umbrella. You can find quite progressive Baptists and fundamentalist patriarchy-worshiping Baptists. It all depends on which sub-denomination they’re in–or in some cases, which individual church.

  • John Mason

    Wow. I am surprised by the lack of accuracy in some of your descriptions of BJU. I do not believe you are intentional in your misrepresentation at all. Most representations above, are true, but many are not. It is the ones that are not true that call to question or challenge the accuracy of the whole report because there are so many inaccuracies. Maybe the truth just doesn’t matter any more in relationship to such a place. So, I acknowledge that I went to BJU between 1970 and 1975, and some things may have changed, but some of the things you say are patently exaggerated and biased, while other things are incredibly accurate. Call me sometime and we can talk. I am a friend. I mean that.

    • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

      Le sigh. John’s nothing if not intentional. It goes hat-in-hand with that ‘Christian’ thing. Can you elaborate on the inaccuracies, please? You’re amongst friends.

      • Jenni Frencham

        I, too, wonder what he thinks is inaccurate. I was at Bob Jones from 1998-2004; John’s description seemed very accurate to me.

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      Please point out the inaccuracies. We’re all ears.

      • Paul

        I’m an IFB survivor (now a Methodist), and I agree with John Mason about some of the inaccuracies here. You mentioned that the IFB takes its “I” very seriously, and therefore, while it is possible to make some general observations about IFB churches, there are always exceptions. For example, the Bob Jones IFB crowd does not believe in “King James only.” And in spite of Bob Jones University’s blatantly racist past, you will not find any Bob Jones Independent Baptists talking about the “mark of Cain.” Actually, BJU has been actively trying to reach out to larger numbers of minority students (including African Americans). Also, to be fair, many IFB pastors do act as “sovereigns” in their churches, but this is not always true and is definitely not taught in BJU classes. Like most Baptist churches, the deacons (all men) and congregational “business meetings” also hold a lot of power.

        • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

          Fascinating. For someone trained with five English translations on her lap while her professor kept the Koine, Hebrew, and Aramaic open on his, that the KJV or RSV are questioned — either way — is like so much cotton candy. http://www.wholesomewords.org/bjubible.html

          You want to stump an Oxford don? Hunt up an American fundamentalist tract in the Bodleian that posits the untranslatable word in Song of Songs, often filled in as ‘sword’, is actually ‘penis’. He won’t be able to speak for two minutes. He had his own BBC series. That’s when you know you have a flair for inappropriate.

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          Bob Jones lost accreditation over their racial views and got into hot water with the government on their stand on race.. They had bans on inter-race dating for a long time after they lost the fight to ban non-white students. They did not apologize for their racist past until 2008.

          Their campus remains today predominately white. http://colleges.findthebest.com/l/3874/Bob-Jones-University-BJU

          • http://jeriwho.net/lillypad2/ jeriwho

            Correction: They lost their tax exemption over their policy against inter-racial dating. They were never accredited up to that point. A few years ago they became TRACS accredited, which is about the lowest level of accreditation on the planet.

      • LN

        John, I agree, this is an inaccurate picture. I never heard anyone at BJU claim that the KJV was inerrant. They were not KJV-only at least when I was there (1985-89). I never heard anyone say that black people bear the mark of Cain. (I did hear Ian Paisley call the Pope the “Antichrist” though! Fun times!) I do think there are IFB churches or individuals who believe as you say – both the Hyles and the Gothard crowds always seemed to me to be more quite a bit more extreme than BJU. Since everyone is “Independent” there are definitely differences in how different groups define their beliefs – I think apart from the BJU “feeder” schools and churches, other IFB churches would angrily deny that they are under the influence of BJU (Liberty University for example.) I’d also say that how you describe these beliefs and the language you use is more blunt and even unkind than you would typically hear at BJU. Fundamentalism is far more complex and nuanced than that. BJU has a self-narrative that they are concerned with truth, justice, faithfulness, love (albeit sometimes a “tough” love), and discipline (including spiritual discipline). They do what they do to please God, and I believe that the majority act in the truest sincerity of their hearts. Many Fundies are kind, loving, and honest, and would absolutely not recognize themselves in the picture you paint above. I even venture to assert that the majority of Fundamentalists do not abuse their children, and would be as appalled as anyone to read the parenting advice you quote above.

        • AtalantaBethulia

          Liberty is a different animal and was considered too liberal by the BJU and IFB purists. (That should tell you something.) Liberty is denominationally affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, I believe, which is the largest protestant (evangelical) denomination and decidedly conservative. But it is a cousin, perhaps, to BJU and the IFB brand of fundamentalism, in a lineage from a different patriarchy.

        • FormerFundy1992

          WOW…. LN…I can in no way interpret your experiences at BJ nor negate what you remember living. However, through my over 20 years at BJ – which do happen to over lap your time there, the KJV was the only acceptable translation to use in chapel, society, Bible class, or basically anywhere else. There WERE faculty and others who would boldly preach KJVO. While the Admin. would never claim KJVO (its simply an illogical position) they certainly lived it and bashed most every other translation whenever they could.
          You also obviously never read Marshal Neal’s book on the separation of the races (BJUP) nor received the letter from Dick Christ that went to prospective students when they questioned the school’s racist stances.
          Im not certain how your IFB net got so broad as to include the Southern Baptist Convention (which Liberty is affiliated with).
          Please be assured of the angry, mean, hateful, spiteful language used at BJ… towards students that broke rules (I sat on DC – heard the language), from the chapel and Sunday AM pulpit both from administrators and guest speakers… Huh. I will never forget the rage that came out of III during chapel the day after the bear’s paws were found in the practice studios. That would have been 85 or 86, I believe. And the mean crack-down on any minor or imagined infraction after that…
          We went to different places if you don’t thing John got it pretty accurately.

          • Alicia Claytor Byars

            Just as a small aside, I believe that you will find in the 1980s, a split in the IFBC between people that are KJV only and those that aren’t. Bob Jones is not KJV only, even though it is the version used in services and classes, while PCC is KJV only. This is just one more thing that causes a divide between groups of churches. Hope this can clear up some confusion.

          • John Mason

            Alicia, thank you for clearing away the KJV-only Urban Legend about BJU.

  • Robert McCabe

    You all should go to jail for teaching this vile content to children. It is brainwashing children into slavery, Their is no God and never was one. Wake up! Please, at least for the sake of the human race.

    • lrfcowper

      What vile content would that be? Love your neighbor? Treat others as you would want to be treated? Do not judge? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give water to the thirsty, visit the sick and imprisoned? Seek justice for the oppressed?

      See, before you troll a site, you should really understand what they’re about.

      Also, you should learn the difference between “there” and “their”, and when to use periods.

      • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

        Woah dude. Back the fuck up. Lyn’s worked harder on LGBT rights than all your expletives fucking strung together. I’ve read three-quarters of the Bible and struggled through 1500 pages of exegesis and lit crit a week. It’s kind of like bulimia: force it down, regurgitate. No fancy trick. Worry about Big Sky Daddy all you want. Hate all you want. He’s Big Sky Daddy; he finds your machinations amusing.

        What respectable people DO NOT DO is call strangers “stupid fat cow.”

        • lrfcowper

          Aw, dang, I missed the vitriol, but apparently it involved some confusion as to species and definitions of intelligence, as well as the idea that body-shaming is appropriate. Ah, well, I did go all grammar tyrant on him. But I’m wired to read for meaning and not sound, and therefore have a deep, deep dislike for writing that requires me to re-read multiple times because the author couldn’t be bothered to use the correct words or punctuation but expects the reader to put in the effort instead. It’s just so disrespectful of your readers.

          Anyhow, thanks for having my back.

          • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

            No problem. Grammar Nazis stick together, and your work with the NALT Project was a personal inspiration. Here, have the t-shirt. http://www.thepoke.co.uk/2013/09/15/check-out-this-awesome-grammar-t-shirt/

          • lrfcowper

            Awesome shirt. Alas, I could not wear it anywhere, literally. The one time I lost my cool and called someone a “f*cking bigot” (in a private text conversation), the recipient thought it was an autocorrect error or I had had a sudden seizure or something.

        • Ukulelemike

          Or use the “F” word, I think.

          • James Walker

            in this community, we don’t get very excited over vulgarities.

          • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

            Respectable people say “fuck” all the time, not that I’m one of them. It dates back to the 15th Century. I suggest, with all humility, you don’t go grammar nazi with me. You’ll lose. :)

  • Robert McCabe

    Their is not one shred of evidence that a God, or God’s have ever existed. Not one.

    • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

      Hi Robert. Evidence is funny. It can be interpreted so many ways. I’m down with Atheism, Agnosticism, Buddhism, Islam, Wicca, and even that pesky Unitarian Universalism. Here’s the rub: I’ve lived too long and seen too much to believe in coincidence. It’s not mathematically possible. There’s a greater pattern, or what have you, in the universe. Episcopalianism is the ritual and metaphor that brings it all together for me. Just my opinion.

      • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

        Totally know my role here. I’ve toyed with trolls on John’s blog, off and on, for almost four years. I do it so consistently, I list it (and this http://notalllikethat.org/videos?tubepress_video=lknlZeVLgag) on my résumé. Once John calls you Josephine Good Titles, Grammar Nazi, and Christian Dominatrix, you’re almost … obligated to flatten men who quote Timothy 2:11.

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      Oh. Well that settles it, then.

    • lrfcowper

      Also, you need to learn the difference between plural and possessive. You also don’t need a comma after “God”. Seriously, you expect anyone to believe your evidentiary claims when they’re presented in such poorly written form?

      As for your claim, well, see my comment to the last troll– here.

    • http://brmckay.wordpress.com/ brmckay

      What rules do you insist be applied when you consider the nature of “evidence”?

      What would be the evidence that you or your guitar exists?

      What does exist mean?

      When considering the entirety of the Universe, do you include mind, self awareness, dreams, linear thought (reason), non-linear thought (intuition)?

      What is self awareness? Is it a universal principal, like light or gravity? Or, a secondary process of brain chemistry? What evidence do you cite for your opinion on this?

      Are you tempted to quibble over some small aspect of the above line of inquiry rather than give due consideration to it’s gist?

    • Michele N. Morgan

      I have to agree that there is no actual “empirical” evidence and nothing truly to be peer reviewed, but after being raised in an abusive secular home I feel it’s my right and others’ right to speculate so long as they’re not trying to regulate my hoo hah, make me wear dresses (I’m AFAB Trans*), put me in concentration camps, or beat me over the head with it when I’m not hurting another person.

      You’re well within your Gnostic interpretation of having no gods at the center of your universe. I just find it interesting that you have a need to evangelize here where someone is trying to call out a very harmful literal interpretation of the mythologies.

    • DR

      Oh for goodness sake. No one here cares if you don’t want to believe in God, seriously. It’s completely your choice. Neither is anyone here focused on justifying why we do, we’re exclusively focused on repairing the damage our church has caused. So with all due respect, you can continue to try to mock and insult what some hold as a personal belief system and shake your little atheist fist at those of us who acknowledge that the clear reality that of course, there’s no “evidence” for what is faith. Nor do we care that you can’t hold the reality that people can have an intellect and a faith at the same time, that starts and stays with you.

    • Ukulelemike

      I see no evidence that Robert McCabe exists. Some guys threw a picture of someone up as an avatar, and someone else, maybe two or three people, wrote the words ATTRIBUTED to ‘you.’ yet I have no proof of “Robert McCabe” existing. I’ve never seen him, met him or heard his voice. There is not one shred of evidence that a ‘Robert McCabe” has ever existed. Not one.

  • Bernie Keefe

    Posted to BJU’s Facebook about 1pm, 11/14.

  • John Mason

    I find in my reading that we may be trying to control a herd of cats. John is doing a marvelous job. I still contend that there are so many things said that are mostly true and only a few things that are untrue. I find BJU being blamed like a parent is blamed for the sins of their children. It seem a bit unfair to me, as we are holding BJU to a higher standard than we would hold secular universities. I have repeatedly asked what are the errors. None are major, but here are a few~

    UNTRUTH: BJU is KJV-only. BJU teaches that only the original autographs are trustworthy. When I was a student, the NASV (not KJV) was the preferred text, wand I used the NASV as a pastor. There are many KJV churches with BJU pastors, for which we can not blame BJU.

    UNTRUTH: BJU teaches racism and “the mark of Cain.” This may have been historically true as it was all throughout the church in the South, but has not been true of BJU since the late 1970′s.

    UNTRUTH: BJU controls the IFB movement. The irony of the IFB is that it is so INCREDIBLY independent and uncontrollable and NO institution controls it. All churches are autonomous in that loosely-knit group. BJU puts a lot of effort into advertising itself as NOT Baptist, although it is incredibly Baptistic. Bob Jones, Sr. was actually a Methodist.

    Some folks may have problems with a Congregational-style of church government, but that is inherent to most churches in the USA. BJU is not the origin of that type of church governance.

    UNTRUTH: Bob Jones Sr. named the university after himself. He did not.

    UNTRUTH: BJU is not accredited. We can certainly question the credentials of the accrediting institution, but BJU is accredited, and has been for several years.

    As a gay man, I have very little “good” to say about the governing Board of BJU and their horrendous decisions. I have seen their terrible abuse of non-conforming Christians, which is the very nature of Fundamentalism and Phariseeism,. They have consistently abused LGBTQ Christians by expelling them, banning them from the campus, and consigning them to hell, which is the very nature of Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism. BJU is a major source of homophobia as it is propagated by BJU, Liberty, Moody, Dallas Theological, Calvin, Pensacola Christian, and their pastors and spiritual progeny in the conservative American church today.

    Nonetheless, although there is little good to praise about BJU philosophy, theology. and practices, I hate to see evil spoken that is untrue about many persons who work and teach with very low pay because of their love of God, at the school. It is cult-like and military-like in character. It has a demerit system and an military-like honor system. Many good people graduate from the University, with an idealism born of a monastic life entering into real-world situations.

    Since I was asked: When I retired, I was a Director in the Program Management Office of the largest multi-national telecommunications company in the world. My degree from BJU served me well.

    The discussion seems to come down to sorting the wheat and the tares. The wheat is the crop of choice, and this website has tons of wheat. I think we shall never keep out the tares, and I have no desire to destroy the wheat. I also do not want us to exhaust ourselves sorting the tares. I am glad I found this place.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      If BJU wasn’t named after it’s founder, then who?

      And I have to wonder what original autographs? There aren’t any of course. All the original texts penned by the actual writers are long gone, and were so by the time the canon was formed, it itself being compiled of copies of copies, many of which had already gone editing alterations.

      Racism was still a part of BJU culture as late as the early 2000′s. That the number of other ethnicities is so small certainly suggests that the school hasn’t done much to change the outlook to prospective students hasn’t been given a great deal of focus.

      BJU may not control the IFB movement, but do they have significant influence.

      If Bob Sr. was a Methodist, which is of course possible, what his school has become is certainly not what most Methodists would find compatible.

    • AtalantaBethulia

      John, thanks for sharing your perspective.

      If you read John’s post above closely, you will see that he is talking about BJU specifically in some places but about the IFB, in general, in most places.

      Re: KJV only-ism

      That paragraph speaks of the IFB, in general.

      Re: Racism and the Mark of Cain

      Again, this falls under what IFBs teach – in general. Admittedly it is an archaic teaching that folks might not hear today as often as they did 30 years ago, but issues of racism are still persistent and prevalent throughout the “denomination.”

      Re: “This may have been historically true as it was all throughout the church in the South, but has not been true of BJU since the late 1970′s.”

      BJU has a long history of overt racism and some have been looking into early founder’s ties with the Klan. Famously, Strom Thurmond once sat on BJU’s Board of Trustees and the school lost their tax exempt status in *1983* (emphasis mine) in the case of Bob Jones University v. United States which went to the Supreme Court because the school, in order to maintain their strict opposition to interracial dating, had handled this “problem” by overtly not admitting people of color.

      Rest assured that during this time, those of us who were attending IFB BJU feeder schools and BJU sympathetic IFB churches heard no shortage of sermons and chapel services on the evils of the communist, anti-Christian United States Government, that this was evidence of the last days, about the loss of religious freedom and framed this as religious persecution being imposed on God’s holy people. (Sounds familiar, does it not? History has a way of sadly repeating itself.) The IFB and fundamentalism has a long-standing persecution complex.

      It wasn’t until it became a political embarrassment for George W. Bush, after he had spoken at BJU during the 2000 campaign, that Bob Jones III revoked the prohibition on interracial dating. Let me say that again: the year of our Lord two thousand. The twenty-first century AD/CE. And it wasn’t until 2008 that the University admitted that its racist past was wrong.

      That’s a far cry from “the late 1970′s.”

      It is my understanding that their current policy on interracial dating is that it is permitted IF the students involved have documented permission from their parents.

      I’m not seeing where in this article John claims that Bob Jones named the school after himself nor that he claims the school isn’t accredited.

      In the scheme of things, both of those points are minor issues in the laundry list of abusive teachings and practices common in the IFB.

      Re: “BJU does not control the IFB movement.”

      You are correct when you say that the IFB takes the I very seriously. But is would be inaccurate to not give credit where credit is due in terms of where influence comes from and who leads, guides, directs, influences, etc. the IFB movement. Notably, Hyles Anderson and PCC are also movers and shakers, yet a cogent argument can be made that they are not as prominent.

    • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

      Love the specifics. Thank you! Having never been any stripe of IFB, I can only add: 1) John and co are holding BJU to the same standards as secular universities. Big difference. 2) Achieving consensus on the Bible will always be herding cats.

      • Jill

        Oddly enough, I’m very good at cat herding. Not so with Bible comprehension. Hm.

        • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

          Jilly-bean, when in doubt, remember it’s a metaphor. Tree of the knowledge of good and evil in Genesis, crucified on a tree in the NT. God so saw metamodernism coming.

          • Jill

            Whole other topic thread…
            I love reading historical fiction like anyone, I just do not understand why this particular compendium is The book that launched a thousand churches (give or take).

            We may have to take this convo offline…

          • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

            Well, as I’ve typed a bazillion other places, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. (Through the Looking Glass.) Resurrection and walking on water, anyone? Jonah and the whale? Tongues of fire? When reading books, potentially fictional aspects don’t make them less true. You’re just tapping into a different part of your brain. The universal experience part instead of the historicity part. But, of course, we can take this offline whenever.

          • Jill

            Yup, it’s the universality I’m not yet getting. There are many other writings that capture my imagination and speak right to my soul more than this, canonized or not. Frankly I’d be all about the Church of Jane Eyre. But, alas.

          • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

            That’s it: the Church of Jane Eyre. Screw patriarchy. I’ll start needlepointing now. ;)

            You skew more Buddhist and New Age. I’m A-OK with that. God can be needlepointed many ways.

          • Jill

            I know Jane could shake what her momma gave her like any governess. Needlepoint is overrated. ;)

          • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth
          • Jill

            I stand corrected! You are a host of contradictions, aren’t you?

          • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

            More useless information than you can shake a stick at. We get what God gave us.

          • whisperingsage1

            Try checking out Yeshua by Yacov Rambsel. The Name of Jesus is encoded throughout the entire OT. No other book does this. It is too complicated to have been done by man. Another good one is The Discovery of Genesis; How the Truths of Genesis were Found Hidden in the Chinese Language.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            The Bible is not a secred code book. No book does this, unless man has decided to really complicate things by reading into scripture things that are not there, and then write a book about it.

          • Jill

            This is a specialty of cults and pseudo-cults. All their books are ‘cracking the code’ that no one else ever discovered. Complete train wreck.

            I don’t know… maybe one day my anger will abate.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Anger can be a good thing, especially when it comes to bullshittery.

          • Jill

            Sorry, if God speaks of the most vital information in a secret code that only the enterprising enthusiast with extra time on their hands can discover, call me uninterested. I am none of those things.

          • Bones

            So to crack the code of God I have to learn Ancient Hebrew and Chinese.

            No wonder He’s so hard to find.

            Easier to just watch the Da Vinci Code.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            I just never could make myself read that book.

          • Bones

            Yeah. That’s why I watched the movie.

          • Jill

            Wimps…all of you! ;)
            I read the book and watched the movie… God’s big secret code isn’t revealed in there either. Dammit. I gotta find a new hobby…

          • Andy

            I did both, too. I enjoyed them, though the only real takeaway I can remember from it is just one more reason to distrust organized religion.

          • Jill

            Seriously. As if we needed another reason.

          • Andy

            I love you Jill :)

          • Jill

            I love it when I can quote Cure lyrics. (back at ya Andy!)

    • Jill

      And I guess while any of us could split any hair we choose on the subject, even one student subjected to these conditions is too many. While all these details may not have been every BJU graduate’s experience, it is horrifically clear it is definitely more than one.

      I’d prefer to focus my attention on aiding the ones who are obviously struggling and need support and help.

  • Sally Davis

    I grew up in an IFB church. I attended Bob Jones Academy (the high school associated with BJU) for two years in the early sixties. The school was not then, nor has it ever been, KJV only, nor is the IFB as a rule.

    However, fundamentalism encompasses way more than just the IFB. After leaving Greenville, my family got involved in a fundamentalist church in NC (Calvary Memorial Church, Southern Pines, NC) which is KJV only and linked closely with BJU. They have a Christian school riddled with BJU grads as teachers.

    Note that they (very proudly) are not Baptist.

    A great many fundies have begun to understand that the extreme authoritarianism of their churches is really not a good thing, and they’ve started migrating out of them into a more evangelical setting. This is causing a blurring of sorts, so much so that I refer to them as “fundigelicals.” They come in all flavors — some with emphasis on the fundy and some with emphasis on the “gelical.” They carry much of their baggage with them, however.

    I spent the better part of ten years trying to find a kinder, gentler “God” and finally eased right on out of religion altogether. I was lucky to escape, frankly. It’s a mentality that is all encompassing and very dangerous to the mental health of the victim.

  • Lee Georgeson

    Some people say we should think of Religion the way we think of the Flat Earth Society.

    Why? The Flat Earth Society never wiped out a race of people. The Flat Earth society never created a rape orgy against small children. The Flat Earth society never burnt anyone at the stake. The Flat Earth society never sent people to die and left the crippled veterans freezing in the streets. The Flat Earth society never raised generations of people to be ignorant, hateful and phony. The Flat Earth society never told me that I was evil and that I deserved to go to hell, but that if I “repented” I was excused from my true nature. The Flat Earth society never asked me to give up ten percent of my income whilst living in poverty. The Flat Earth society, was not built on the backs of slave labour. The Flat Earth Society never overthrew democracy.

    When the Flat Earth Society kidnaps Geographers, tortures them to death, rapes their wives and leaves their babies to starve to death and burns their homes, THEN I will compare religion to the Flat Earth Society…

    • https://elizabeth-fullerton.squarespace.com/resume Elizabeth

      Hi Lee. No one is saying the Bible wasn’t used as an excuse for many heinous crimes, racism, sexism, domestic violence, child abuse, incest, and the prosperity doctrine among them. But it was just that: the excuse, not the criminal. It’s an extremely complicated book with hundreds of additions transcribed by thousands of hands. The problem lies with readers who forget that. Not the book.

      The Flat Earth Society, by comparison, is so inconsequential I needed to Google it.

      • lrfcowper

        How many times did the Illuminati or Illuminati: New World Order (INWO) card come up in your googling?

      • Mandy L

        Playing Devil’s Advocate here: Flat Earch Society being inconsequential is a great point. That is the direction Christianity is going, because people either don’t find it relevant (because for them it’s not) or are coming out of horrible situations like some described by writers alluded to in this article and are so disillusioned they’re becoming agnostic).
        Yes, a book is wonderful and people can misuse it, which is definitely happening, but that is also the point. It is happening, and needs to be stopped by other believers who don’t have blinders on and rosy colored glasses.

    • anakinmcfly

      I don’t think you understand the definition of ‘religion’.

      • whisperingsage1

        Here’s the Bible’s definition;
        James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

    • lrfcowper

      The Flat Earth Society also never founded the first hospitals; advocated for the abolition of slavery, equal rights for women, prison reform, treatment of alcoholism, universal public education, or the outlawing of infanticide and pedophilia; founded universities; or put forth ideas of empiricism and the inductive reasoning approach to the scientific method. And that’s just Christianity. The contributions of Islam, especially, and many other religions on the modern world are incalculable.

      Has there been great harm from religion? Yes. Has there been great harm from other human institutions? Yes. Any form of tribalism– religion, race, nationality, political party, etc.– can be used by the evil to justify evil.

  • Jaclyn Marie

    Thank you for all your help in speaking about Bob Jones University and the IFB movement as well as for your support for BJUnity. I attended BJU for only 2 1/2 years, but that was enough for me. You have so much of it right. It would take hundreds of pages to fully explain the culture there, and you’ve managed to encapsulate it so well! Thanks again.

  • Missy Jones

    So…I graduated from Bob Jones University. And I’m so ashamed and embarrassed by that fact. I’m not crazy or delusional. I’m not hyper-religious. I’m not rascist or homophobic. But I feel like my resume might as well say that I AM all of those things because that school’s name is right there near the top. I don’t have an excuse for why I went to school there other than I was young and stupid and easily influenced. I was raised to think that I WANTED to go there. I’m an the oldest child so no matter how much I may rebel, deep down I always just want to please my parents – and going to that school most definitely pleased them.

    And to this day I still struggle sometimes with thinking that maybe I really am just a bitter angry person (like any good BJU loyalist would say) for having so much hatred for all that that place stands for. I mean, I know that I’m not. I know I’m just frustrated and horrified that BJU calls their hatred “Christianity” when it is NOTHING at all what Jesus taught. But that’s what places like BJU do to you. They get in your head and make you doubt your faith, if your faith doesn’t follow their arbitrary rules and regulations.

    Thanks, John, for all the research and work you’ve put into exposing BJU for what it really is. My husband calls them a “pit of vipers” (I think that phrase is in the Bible, right?) I actually find comfort reading what you’ve written and reading comments from other BJU-affiliated readers who are SO disillusioned about that place and its tenets.

    • Matt

      For what it’s worth, I think you don’t have anything to be ashamed of. Like you said, you were brought up to please your parents–I get that completely, and I’m still trying to break the habit. You certainly don’t come off as bitter to me at all, just angry about how you were deceived, and that’s normal.

      • Jill

        Absolutely, what he said. And if you want a club to join for adult children who tried to please their parents, well… I’m not sure we’d all fit. ;)

      • JenellYB

        I agree, he has nothing to be ashamed of, and that, even if he IS bitter and angry! It is entirely natural, normal, and even healthy to let yourself experience angry and bitter feelings in response to real offense, real injury, real betrayal by those you trusted, and could only trust, as a vulnerable child. Anger and bitterness are REAL responses to the hurt of being betrayed, abused, violation of your trust and vulnerability. As such, they are also emotions anyone MUST let themselves acknowledge, experience, and express, if one is to ever work through the grief, toward healing. I see the use of charge of being angry and bitter as something used far too long in the church, to cast blame and shame onto the victims. If one does not allow themselves to acknowledge, experience, and express the natural emotional response to having been injured through offenses, they never get worked through, a person can become stuck at that natural stage of the grieving process, and that is not healthy at all. I can relate, for it took a long time, well up into the later middle age years of my life, to finally let myself face, accept, and express that, to stop taking the blame onto myself, to declare, YES, what they did to me was WRONG! They had no right to hurt me, betray me, betray my trust as was done, and then demand I stay quiet about it, accept the injuries as my due, so as to let them off the hook for accountability for their own wrong behaviors.

    • RainbowGurl

      I think I recall my translation saying, “brood of vipers,” but “pit” works too! ;-)

    • whisperingsage1

      So while you were there, did you hate everything that came out of their mouths? Did you despise all your classes? Do you think you learned anything of value? Did you learn the Bible? Did you have any general education classes? Were they horrible? At what point did you decide they were wrong?

  • http://www.grace4sinners.blogspot.com Mathew Sims

    I attended Bob Jones Academy from 1998-2001 and the University from 2001-2005. I am no longer “in” Fundamentalism. Nor do I have rose colored glasses when discusses its faults with others. I have been critical of fundamentalism on my own blog, but as one who grew up in Fundamentalism and then left (I’m now in a Presbyterian denomination) I think the biggest mistake in your article is assuming Fundamentalism is a cohesive group. There are very distinct groups within Fundamentalism and to say Bob Jones is the head is inaccurate. One point which has been pointed out: while BJU did use KJV in its formal gathering, they are not KJO. This I would say would be a huge dividing line in fundamentalism. There are large institutions like PCC or Hyles Anderson who are KJO and would consider BJU liberal for not being strictly KJO. You’ve also poisoned the well a bit headlining the article with BJU and then citing heavily from the Pearl’s. In all my years in fundie land (the BJU variety), I don’t recall ever hearing the Pearl’s advocated for or introduced as shining light in parenting. Jonathan Merritt at RNS has made a good case that the Pearl’s have exaggerated their influence (http://jonathanmerritt.religionnews.com/2013/04/22/how-influential-are-michael-and-debi-pearl-and-how-harmful/). All that to say while I’m not a BJU fanboy, in fundamentalism anymore, and would never send my children there,this critique falls flat for me.

  • James

    LOL….I’m an independent baptist and a lot of what you said just isn’t true. Not every church is the same so it would be nice if you would stop assuming so. I will reply back to all of your answers (this is how my church and a couple others that I am affiliated with are)

    1. We do believe in the infallible inspired word of God. It is not only IFBs that believe in satan,hell,disagree with evolution and agree that Jesus is the only way to heaven. Those are basic Christian beliefs.

    2. While we believe God calls certain people to the full time ministry they are still just men They do not become kings. They don’t have this divine authority and they aren’t perfect. At the end of the day they are just christians.

    3. The bible says man should be the head of the house and the church. That’s not ifb but just Christian/biblical. The bible also says wives to submit to their husbands but not in a deameaning way. The primary function of the woman is to bring glory and honor to God however he sees fit. If you have a problem with this then you issue doesn’t lie with IFBs but with the bible. But you probably do not take this part of the bible literal then right? Well it must be nice to pick and choose what’s literal and what’s not literal in the bible.

    4. People shouldn’t do things that may make other christians stumble. It’s not fair to men who struggle with lust if women choose to dress skanky. Again the bible does call for modest apparel. Now this doesn’t mean dress like the 1800s but it should mean keep your boobs in your shirt and keep the skin tight clothes at home.

    5. Abortion? Lol again this is a strong Christian view. I even know some atheists who are against abortion.

    6. Homosexuality. You got it completely wrong…again. Romans chapter 1 tells us that it is a sin. Sin is wicked and evil. Lying is a sin and so is stealing. And one sin doesn’t out way the other. I have a couple gay friends that go to my ifb church and they are not going to hell. Because they have placed their faith in Christ when they pass away they will be in heaven. I believe homosexuality is a sin because the bible says so not because I’m a bapist lol. Again this is a bible issue. Do you not take Romans serious? If Romans one is not true what makes Romans 3:23 true? Or is that false as well?

    7. You are joking about cains mark right? Please tell me you are just pulling my leg.

    8. Christians are told to be separate lol. I go to the movies as a lot of my church does. It just matters what movies we watch. I try and watch clean movies and listen to God honoring music. Being seperate from the world is a bible issue….again

    9. I went to public school. I have friends at my church that were homeschooled,private schooled and some public. We do not have a school through my church.

    10. We believe in disciplining children but that doesn’t always have to be physical. And we do not promote to train up a child trash.

    11. While I’m proud to be an independent baptist…i could care less if someone says it’s a denomination. I would probably say that it is a denomination.

    12. If someone breaks the law no matter who they are they should be brought to the police. They are not above the law. I saw the 20/20 show and was deeply saddened. Stuff like that shouldn’t happen at any church.

    • narcolepticsloth

      this guy doesnt get it^

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      These are your views and possibly that of your church..or your pastor. They are not the views of all of Christianity, or even most of Christianity, but rather a small segment of the protestant branch of the faith. In each of your points you will have disagreement, with someone in Christianity, as well as some very sound arguments as to why they disagree with those points…well except #12.
      It shouldn’t happen, but damned if it don’t keep happening. In my area, there was a pastor who was hired by another church, AFTER being fired for improper sexual conduct, at another church and was a registered sex offender. That is just one of several cases that I am aware of, within a fifty mile radius of my house. Most involve staff at non-denominational congregations. In fact one was arrested just last week. His church is 10 minutes from my house.
      Until people in positions of authority stop over stepping their bounds, stop causing pain and trauma, and stop victimizing people, we won’t stop. It is for the victims, why we continue.

      • Poser Hunter

        [trashy comment trashed]

        • Bones

          Well, you’ve condemned everyone else.

          It’d be a shame for you to miss out.

        • Bones

          Btw thanks for proving John’s point as to the evil exclusiveness of your cult.

  • Sadie Stauffer

    That letter was one of the first things I read in support of leaving fundie-land. I’d been out a long time but only recently begun to deprogram and process verbally what I’d been through. It makes me cry: thank you so much for those words and for supporting we who were a part of that horrible world. There was so much to process that I wrote a book about it. And your letter helped me be brave enough to begin writing about those awful, terrible, horrible, dark years. Thank you for seeing *us* and not what they made us to be.

  • krista

    A lot of this isn’t true. I’m a Christian now (and was raised agnostic) and a member of an IFB church. Since I made that decision I have more hope in life and in death; I also have much more love and compassion to offer the world than I ever did before. Jesus came to earth with one mission, “to seek and to save.” He did this with wondrous compassion(healing physically, spiritually and mentally) and certainly without discrimination; he was actually a friend of sinners. He sat with prostitutes and publicans. They came to Christ and left changed. And yes Jesus loves homosexuals too (we do not think they’re “evil?”), like everyone other human being that ever walked the earth they have a soul that is in need of repentance because nobody’s perfect (we ALL fall short at times-many times even).

    Why is it that those who preach “tolerance” are more often more intolerant of anyone else’s views that doesn’t agree with their own? -For example, this article. I am a Christian, and I yearn tolerance from society but yet I feel more persecuted from those that preach tolerance. Very contradictory and confusing, live what you preach please. Also, don’t group us all together, some Christians can take the crazy cake but many are very real, down to earth and more compassionate towards others than you can imagine. My church is one of the best community outreach and safe havens in this poverty stricken city. We love our city and people in general and want to instill hope in their life which we’ve seen happen countless times. We taken those that have deemed helpless by society and gotten them on their feet and with a purpose.

    Take care all and please love your neighbor even if they may be a Christian of a IFB church.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      It sounds like you are happy with your church, and from everything you state it is healthy, both for its members and for your community. You are fortunate that you found a jewel, in your home church. Sadly, many IFBs are anything but jewel-like.

      It for the sake of those who have been hurt by the ugliness that is conservative religion, who know well the pain, the destruction and the lies that seem to run amock in such environments, that we speak to, and hope to offer solace and peace. There is good, beneficial, beautiful religion, and there is ugly, destructive terrible religion. We want the good, to try to negate the effects of the bad, and do as we can to follow the eternal rules, to love as we desire love, and to use love to eradicate hate.
      Peace.

      • Poser Hunter

        [comment deleted]

    • Mandy L

      Awesome you found a good church. Truly awesome. It’s a desire people who have been spiritually abused have – to find a healthy church – and why people who have experienced spiritual abuse and other kinds of abuse by people claiming authority over them are speaking out to make awareness greater and help change the culture breeding the abuse. My best friend grew up in Judaism and loves her rich religious background, and has a church that is healthy, so she’s mostly surprised when she hears about these things, so you becoming a believer later in life, it’s not surprising you were spared this particular experience. Please help people who are experiencing it, or are coming out of it and trying to heal. You could be a wonderful encouragement using the newfound direction in life. You could help save people who have been “saved” but need saving from fellow humans.

      Two things about people you’re calling intolerant:
      1) Hurt people are very self-protective when they’ve realized they have been abused and want to help other people get out of it.
      2) Humans angry over abuse are living out one of the attributes of God – righteous anger. What you perceive as intolerance I perceive as people who are willing to have a rational conversation from someone they know whats to have a meaningful conversation, but who won’t tolerate being minimalized by people who choose to walk without empathy and hold abusers accountable for what they’ve done.

      Standing up for the wounded and drawing attention to bad doctrine and abuse in the church is one of the responsibilities of any Christian. I love what you said about hope your church gives to the community. I love how you value that so much. Those people need help. There are believers who have had horrible experiences at the hands of so-called “Christian authority” who need help, too, including from people who are foreign to their terrible experiences, but who are able to use their compassion to be kind, even if they can’t identify or don’t completely understand. Spend a little bit of time hearing the stories and witnessing these things for yourself and you’ll understand that things need to change in churches being referred to by this article.

      The beauty of learning to be an advocate is that you find that this pattern of abusive behavior isn’t just in the church, but in every area of life, and your radar for it develops. It’s just the the kind going on the church is particularly sneaky and sick because the people doing it invoke the name of God as reason and authority for what they do and coerce from their community.

    • AlmostaCowboy

      {John Shore, you are awesomeness personified! Thanks! Signed, a gay liberal]

  • Poser Hunter

    What I’m coming to realize, as I read him more and more, is that I have a complete crush on John Shore. [Kidding! "Poser Hunter" didn't write that. But I deleted what he did. Yikes. What a toxic troll this guy is.]

  • Kathleen Margaret Schwab

    Thank you for writing this, and for gathering all this information together. I hope this brand of fundamentalism will finally get its death blow from the information sharing power of the internet.

  • Kailee Krieg

    I am IFB :D some of those comments are true, although, the racist comment about blacks bearing the “mark” of Cain is not true for all IFB’s, especially the church my father pastors. We don’t see homosexuals as “perverted”, but that they are in sin just as someone who is fornicating or having premarital sex..in reality, God sees sin as sin and homosexuality is just one of them. I love my church, my family, and my Jesus!

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      So, are people who are having unmarried sex a welcome part of your congregation, along gay people, whether or not they are having sex? What about that guy who cheated on his wife, or that young unmarried bi-racial couple, with the cute little baby?

      • Kailee Krieg

        Yes :) my father actually preached a sermon about that! It’s sad when churches will welcome certain people over the other. I agree that it’s not right, but the gospel might convict their hearts and turn them to Christ! :) and that is the true purpose of church. I know that if any type of couple came in our church family would welcome them in, and show them kindness :)

        • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

          What changes someone’s heart isn’t a sermon, its love. Its being made to feel that they matter, that they are welcome without having to change a thing about themselves.

          You and I likely disagree what the gospel is. I believe it is Love God, love your neighbor, something Jesus is said to have taught and demonstrated. Being loved unconditionally or no matter what gets some serious attention.

          • whisperingsage1

            Sadly one can show love to others and they still never get saved, we have done this many times and it is heartbreaking.

      • whisperingsage1

        The reality is since we don’t poke our noses into people’s personal lives in their homes and whatnot, how do we know what people do? Unless they tell us or someone else tells us, we simply don’t know. In my church we aren’t nosy people.

  • whisperingsage1

    Bob Jones was a methodist. Look it up. I don’t know why they use his school. Hyles Anderson has also lost great credibility with our local church at least since the sex scandals. And unrepentence.
    The blacks being Cain’s mark is Mormon. My IFB church resides in a half
    black small community and we have never heard that doctrine taught at
    the IFB churches we have gone to.
    If my Mother had used the Pearls’s methods of child rearing it would have been a great relief from the abuse she actually wrought on us. One thing to understand- it is never done in anger- it is cause and effect. The child quickly learns
    (usually) that his bad action will be followed by a reaction, and he
    learns not to do that anymore. My mother would use guilt, huge words we
    didn’t understand , her fingernails gripping my throat as she throttled
    terror into me, long winded lectures of guilt before she escalated into
    violence, the Pearls books eliminates all that. It is quick and over. It
    is not emotional. It should sting but not injure. Nobody
    should take this to the level of death by any means. My personal
    favorite story is when a mother was visiting with her little boy, the
    boy began to hit Mrs. Pearl with a toy wrench. She took a toy wrench
    and hit him back while she talked with the mother. Basically ignoring
    him other than hitting back. The boy was confused because he wasn’t used
    to having limits imposed on him and he finally quit. But he learned to
    respect Mrs. Pearl.
    This is many times bettter than the mothers who wouldn’t stop little Johnny from doing anything he wanted. She will see Little Johnny in jail someday. I know plenty of these little Johnny’s and their mothers and some are IFB’s.
    Author’s quote; “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.”

    That is true in some IFB’s , certainly it was true in Hyle’s church, but it isn’t a standard widespread IFB doctrine. My Preacher considers himself just one
    of the sheep and always encourages other members to step up and be of
    service, but they just sit there falling asleep, and let him do it all.
    Certainly women are encouraged to be a role model for her children, as they bunderstand they are the molders of the next president and businesspeople etc. But if they dont have any, (I don’t), she is not outcast. I’m pretty busy and no one has ever insulted me in the IFB church for having no children. (I have been insulted by the World plenty, called “selfish” etc).

    Homosexuals being evil perverts to be kept out of society– my church does not teach this, we are taught to win them to Christ. The Pastor’s adult daughter has gone back and forth in 15 yr old fornication and bearing out of wedlock kids to marriage to divorce to lesbianism, to tattooing, to infections from tattoos, all the while being on meth which landed her in jail several times and limits where she can go now. She is making her own choices and still is not ready to submit to God. She was “saved” at age 8 so we assume she is covered and God will be giving her a talk of His own when she dies. As much as she might like to blame IFB dad for this, she is 28 now and when is she going to take control of her own behavior? It is still all her choice.

    IFB’s not being under any authority- yes and this is the biblical local church. They weren’t under the authority of any- they got advice from Paul plenty, whether they took his advice we are not told. They got advice from the other Apostles plenty-over certain issues like following the OT laws vs grace (it’s in Acts 15). James set down the final rule- no taking blood, or things strangled, no fornication, no dols, vs 20. And those are the OT Laws we are to keep. The rest we do because we love God not because we are saved by doing them.

    It doesn’t mean they do any illegal thing they want, rue be the courts of the land. In fact you will find more patriotism in the IFB churches than the rest of The World.

    “Educating children at home or in IFB K-12 schools is necessary in order
    to protect them from the knowledge and ways of a fallen and corrupt
    world.”

    Well MY LOST mother was unhappy with the wretched public school system in the 1970′s so she homeschooled us. SHE was a reader. She had taught me to read at age 3 as did her mother the dry alcoholic, on a black chalkboard and taught us phonics, and changing a three letter word to a different word with a different sound by adding E to the end. By 6th grade in public school I was tested at a 12 grade reading comprehension. Before high school I asked if I could stop public school and learn on my own aand she let me do that,I hated the teasing and the pressure and was afraid of sex and drugs and alcohol. We were advanced enough (my sister too) that she let us choose our own books in the Good Will for 10 cents apiece. We chose college level books by our own preference. She didn’t have to supervise us and hammer on us to do our homework. We did it willingly alone. I loved to read and could spend hours reading. Thank my unsaved mother.

    Later as a 31 yr old I worked in our local school and that taught me more than ever to advise homeschooling.

    “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.”

    Boy that is a misstatement. My first IFB church let the babies do anything they darned well pleased and it made me mad- let their little girls pull their dress up and run up and down the aisle while the service is going on. It made me mad that they had NO control over thei kids and thought everything they did was cute. And I know this came from being raised by an UNSAVED mother who never let us do anything rude in public or we would get it good.

    Then my husband’s sending church fired their teachers for raising their voices at the kids. Forget about beatings. They’d probably have them arrested if they did that. So I have had the exact opposite experience on the kid issue.

  • Ukulelemike

    The issue with articles like this, is that it takes something specifically called “Independent” and then treats all the individual, local churches as though they are a single denominational unit, under one set of rules (aside from the Bible, of course), and lumps all of them under a few, a VERY few, poor examples. Add to this a certain amount of error, (blacks have the mark of Cain? that’s LDS there, partner!), and you have a real mess of an article.
    I know, from experience, that not all IFB churches are great examples of biblical truth and love. I also know that this is true of every denomination/non-denomination/whatever out there. It was the SBC that ran the KKK. Not IFB’s. Or maybe watch ol’ Creflo Dollar dance in da money on the steps of the platform, as his dumb followers toss their cash at his feet. Or you can listen to Joel Osteen tell his 30,000 member assembly, in their stadium, ‘I’m okay, you’re okay’, and then zip off in his private jet.
    Maybe go visit a non-denominational or SBC church and rock out to the band on stage, and bathe yourself in the lights and fog that accompany the concert, or visit a mosh-pit at the local Monsters of Christian metal festival, and beat down your neighbor for Jesus.
    Again, IFB;’s aren’t perfect, and some have surely strayed into the arenas of trying to be masters and kings-but most are just folks looking to follow the Lord as best as they can. We understand that because God loves us, that He sent his Son Jesus to die for us so we might be saved., and in appreciation for this, we want to be obedient to Him.
    Yes, we believe the Bible, in the KJV is the perfect, God-breathed word of God in English. Maybe spend a little time studying out the manuscripts behind the KJV/TR and the modern versions, and you might see that there is really a difference.
    So if we believe the Bible is God’s word, why shouldn’t we take it for what it says? Why shouldn’t we want to follow it carefully?
    Mr. Shore, grace doesn’t mean freedom from responsibility and obedience toward God-it means we have been freely saved, and that salvation will last for all time. Grace also means that the Lord empowers us through His Spirit without us having to earn it, because we can’t. but it doesn’t mean, do as you please and ignore the portions of scripture you don’t like.
    I have been an IFB for almost 30 years, and a pastor therein for 12. before that, i was whatever was nearby as we moved around a lot. I have seen good pastors and bad pastors, good believers and bad believers, I have had at least one of my pastors fall to sin and leave the work, but God is still good, and none of what I have seen has served to turn me from what I believe. All I see is imperfect men and a perfect God, and I have seen far more godly fruit in IFB churches than anywhere else.

    • James Walker

      it is true that Independent Fundamentalist Baptist churches do not have any sort of strong association like the “mainstream” denominations do. this is both to their benefit and to their detriment, as there is no centralized denominational authority to establish statements of faith and message.

      it is also true that there are a lot of similarities between IFB churches and the way they approach scripture, the way they approach church authority and the way they approach issues of misbehavior from within the church leadership.

      IFB churches may not have a denominational conference structure, but there is a lot of intercommunication and sharing of messages on things like biblical interpretation. many, many IFB pastors come from the same seminaries and Bible colleges and maintain their relationships with fellow pastors who attended alongside them. they recommend these other pastors to their church members who move to other communities.

      so, while it is fair to say “wait a second, we’re not all the same”, please understand that it’s also fair to say “these things that are being criticized are valid to criticize in any church where they might appear, IFB or not.”

  • Stony Kalango

    THIS ARTICLE WAS PROBABLY NOT WRITTEN BY A CHRISTIAN. SERIOUSLY. I DON’T KNOW A BELIEVER WHO WILL CREATE A BLOG JUST TO CONDEMN HIS FELLOW BELIEVERS, RATHER THAN CORRECT AND ENCOURAGE THROUGH GOD’S WORD. I ALSO SEE THAT THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD LOVE THIS ARTICLE. SHOWS ME JESUS MAY BE FAR FROM – WHEN THE WORLD LOVES ALL YOU BELIEVE IN. I WRITE THIS REBUKE IN LOVE

  • Michael James Plezia

    My first experience with the church and Christian life was with this group. I almost rejected my faith several times because of their legalism, although really it was just their mean-spirited ways. Once in a while, when I think I have overcome all of their indoctrination, I find that I still have a thought pattern or view that was inspired by them. I only spent three years with them, but almost twenty healing from them.

  • disqus_7wWyVBLcfS

    Another powerful voice against this sort of religious bent is Sarah Moon, who publishes a blog “Sarah Over the Moon.”

    Despite the fact that she sometimes overrates herself, (e.g., with no theological training beyond 1 course in the wisdom books, she apparently believes she is competent to evaluate N.T. Wrights theology) and n her fervor she perhaps has not escaped the fundamentalism she claims to eschew, she often has good points to make.

  • Toni

    “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.”

    I would have absolutely zero problem if they separated themselves from this world. First however, they need to separate themselves from our government.

    • WilmRoget

      And then if they could separate themselves from the internet, that would be nice too.

  • matchtlevel

    That was hard to read. Do you happen to have any statistics on child abuse, sexual abuse, assault cases filed on these people?

    • AtalantaBethulia

      Finding statistics is difficult because so much of the abuse in these circles goes unreported. Since they are not an official denomination, there is no denominational oversight to monitor or track abuse either. But as one familiar with the survivor and recovery groups, these types of abuse are prevalent. My church, for instance, encouraged spanking, not merely tolerated it, but taught parents that if you didn’t spank your children, parents were not following the will of God. Corporal punishment was used in our Christian school and at home.

      My childhood friend was sexually assaulted by the father of the children she was babysitting for when she was about 12 – both she and the man attended our church. The minister had the man apologize to her and she was told to forgive him, and that was it. Physical and sexual abuse happens. It’s the emotional and spiritual abuse that often leaves scars just as permanent. The structure is built on shame and conditional love that perpetuates a constant sense of never being good enough to be loved by anyone, most especially by God.

  • DoubleDogDiogenes

    Not Curse of Cain. Curse of Ham. See Genesis 9:20-28. Throw in Canaan for good luck. But not Cain. Untold misery came from the misapplication of that scripture to Africans. So get it right.

    • Bones

      No John was correct. You’re right about the Curse of Ham.

      The mark of Cain also had racial overtones eg

      Early church exegesis

      In Syriac Christianity, early exegesis of the “curse” and the “mark”, associated the curse of Cain with black skin.[20] Some argue that this may have originated from rabbinic texts, which interpreted a passage in the Book of Genesis (“And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell” (Gen. 4:5), suggesting that Cain underwent a permanent change in skin color.

      In an Eastern Christian (Armenian) Adam-book (5th or 6th century) it is written: “And the Lord was wroth with Cain. . . He beat Cain’s face with hail, which blackened like coal, and thus he remained with a black face”.[21]

      Baptist segregation

      The split between the Northern and Southern Baptist organizations arose over slavery and the education of slaves. At the time of the split, the Southern Baptist group used the curse of Cain as a justification for slavery. Some 19th and 20th century Baptist ministers in the Southern United States taught that there were two separate heavens; one for blacks, and one for whites.[22] Baptists have taught or practiced various forms of racial segregation well into the mid-to-late-20th century, though members of all races were accepted at worship services.[23] In 1995, the Southern Baptist Convention officially denounced racism and apologized for its past defense of slavery.[24]

      The curse of Cain was used to support a ban on ordaining blacks to most Protestant clergies until the 1960s in both the U.S. and Europe. The majority of Christian Churches in the world, the ancient churches, including the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxchurches, Anglican churches, and Oriental Orthodox churches, did not recognize these interpretations and did not participate in the religious movement to support them. Certain Catholic dioceses in the Southern United States did adopt a policy of not ordaining blacks to oversee, administer the Sacraments to, or accept confessions from white parishioners. This policy was not based on a curse of Cain teaching, but was justified by the widely-held perception that slaves should not rule over their masters. However, this was not approved of by the Pope or by any papal teaching.[25]

      Latter-day Saints

      Main articles: Black people in Mormon doctrine, Black people and early Mormonism, Black people and Mormonism and Black Mormons

      Like many Americans of the era, Mormons of the 19th century commonly assumed that Cain’s “mark” was black skin,[26] and that Cain’s descendants were black and still under Cain’s mark. Mormonism began during the height of white Protestant acceptance of the curse of Cain doctrine in America, as well as the even more popular curse of Ham doctrine, which was even held by many abolitionists of the time.[citation needed] This belief seemed to be confirmed by a scriptural passage in the Book of Abraham which suggested that Cain’s bloodline was preserved on the ark through Egyptus, wife of Ham,[27] (an interpretation now rejected by the LDS Church).[28][29] While Joseph Smith indicated his belief in the curse of Ham theory in a parenthetical reference as early as 1831,[30] the only early reference to the curse or mark of Cain was in the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible, which included the following statement:

      “And Enoch also beheld the residue of the people which were the sons of Adam; and they were a mixture of all the seed of Adam save it was the seed of Cain, for the seed of Cain were black, and had not place among them.[31]”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curse_and_mark_of_Cain

  • Dani

    Wow…talk about a misrepresentation of independent fundamentalists – you can’t blame a whole group of people because of one experience with one church

    • BarbaraR

      Where in the article does it state this is one experience with one church?

      • Jeff Preuss

        New math! 1+1+1+1+1+1+1+………..1+1+1+=1!

        • BarbaraR

          *Crickets* from the OP….

          • WilmRoget

            Of course.

    • Dani

      Apparently he had a negative experience somewhere…which cannot be blamed on an entire group of people. Not only that but not all ifb’s are “extremist”….pretty sure every group has their “bad eggs”

      • BarbaraR

        Did you read the article? Read the comments below? Follow the links?

        Never mind. Clearly you did not.

  • davidbum45@gmail.com

    What a misrepresentation. I am a member of an IFB church whose discipling efforts are being multiplied through our city- Ft. Worth. We are in the midst of a great revival with souls saved, baptismal waters stirred and great love and kindness is shown. We have a multitude of people from all sorts of backgrounds ethnically, culturally, and all have a unique past of struggles with sin- myself with Homosexuality and pornography. We are not by any means fans of Bob Jones and his legalism- thanks to a few nuts like him who claimed to be IFB, these churches are so looked down on and it saddens me.

    • BarbaraR

      You’re in the right place, then. We are LGBTQ-affirming and you need not struggle with it any more. Gay people are safe here.

      • davidbum45@gmail.com

        By God’s grace Barbara, God has freed me from that sin and God has laid a burden on my heart for homosexual people- I am a living example of God’s grace freeing a homosexual from their bondage.

        • BarbaraR

          Ain’t no sin to be gay. I don’t know any gay people who are in bondage. God loves them exactly as they are and they don’t need to be freed.

          • davidbum45@gmail.com

            I’m afraid we disagree on that. Could you reference some Scripture to back that up?

          • BarbaraR
          • davidbum45@gmail.com

            Very interesting, how then does one draw viable conclusions of morality within the framework of this “work of humans with flawed viewpoints”? How do we determine what is right and wrong as Christians if our framework- The Bible- is flawed? Should the 10 Commandments not be taken literally then? Is Salvation through faith alone a suggestion? I don’t say this to bash or cause trouble but how can we know what we believe and why with such a humanistic view on The Bible?

          • BarbaraR

            How many sects and divisions of Christianity exist today, each with the surety that they alone have the key and the hotline to God?

            I cannot speak for everyone on this forum, but I personally do not believe that God revealed himself only to one small group of people in one form some 2,000 years ago and that everyone who does not hear that version, or accept that version, is doomed. I think God is more interested in loving people than condemning people; I think God reveals himself/herself in many ways to many people.

            There are many interpretations of scripture; there are many books and addendums (such as the Apocrypha) that are accepted by some and rejected by others. I don’t think one’s salvation, or lack of same, lies on believing the “correct” version of the Bible. Making scripture into the truth-or-die crux of the faith seems idolatrous to me.

            Humans wrote, compiled, and interpreted those ancient scraps of paper; the personal dogmas and spiritual fixations of certain historical figures (such as the Rapture) have become part and parcel of some modern-day Christian groups.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            I will second that. We must also remember that for most of christian history access to the Bible was impossible. Why? because for the first three hundred years, there wasn’t a such thing, then once there was, few had a copy, and those that did, not many could read. It wasn’t until the past couple of hundred years that mass literacy has been a reality.
            Lots of things don’t need the Bible to determine its wrongness, dishonesty, greed, selfishness. To assume its the only and exhaustive guide for humanity is a mistake.

          • davidbum45@gmail.com

            So essentially, you all pick and choose what you want to obey (don’t feel bad, we all do in some shape or from- we all occasionally say “no” to God’s moving)-I get it now! And since you all believe that no one really knows about the original writings, why claim it’s fallible or agenda-driven since NO ONE REALLY KNOWS? What then? What if “they” got it right? What if God specifically planned for His Word to be prevalent in our culture so that we can know THE (the only, mind you) WAY? As for “divisions and sects” haven’t you just formed another with a fallible humanistic viewpoint? If my conscious says ” Homosexuality is wrong” but someone else says “Homosexuality is okay” whom should we believe? So this isn’t a “Fundamentalism” problem- this is an authority problem so it makes sense to me as to why we disagree on so much. And what about walking by faith, and not by sight- why not just put your faith in to The Bible wholly and put God up to the test? (Oh and I failed to mention that I’m a 16 year old boy and I don’t buy into that Train Up A Child junk and neither do my parents)

          • BarbaraR

            I don’t think you’re 16. I think there are two different people using this Discus account.

          • davidbum45@gmail.com

            Well you think what you want then (I am in fact 16), but regardless of my age, I think any Christian could see an authority problem here so I will fully submit to Christ because of the freedom He has given me.

          • BarbaraR

            You may do whatever you wish. However, coming here babbling randomly while twisting what others have posted into nonsensical fundie gibberish is not dialogue.

            Yesterday you seemed capable of a reasonable exchange. Something clearly happened overnight – perhaps someone at IBF told you what to say. I don’t know and don’t care. But vague rants like you’ve posted above will get you deleted and then blocked.

          • davidbum45@gmail.com

            I wouldn’t call it a “rant” Barbara, and you still haven’t answered my questions- and no- no one from my church told me to say anything- I am speaking as a saved homosexual and freed porn addict who as a 16 year old boy is making disciples and wants to know why the Authoritative word of God through the Bible isn’t enough. I never shoved Scripture down anyone’s throat- I just want my questions answered is all. I haven’t accused anyone of anything. Shoot me an email if you want to talk more- davidbum45@gmail.com.

          • BarbaraR

            Not taking this to email, nope. And I am not buying the 16 year old boy stuff either.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Me either..It almost feels like an older guy trolling for gay kids to coerce into his gay reparitive/emotional torture program. I could be wrong, by my hinky meter is pinging like mad.

          • davidbum45@gmail.com

            Okay well you believe that then but if you do want to talk some more feel free to email me- you can find me on Twitter- @ExplicitFaith or at https://m.facebook.com/david.g.bumgardner?ref=bookmark

          • BarbaraR

            There is way too much difference between yesterday’s posts and today’s. Uh-uh. I think there are two people using this account or there is something else really, really creepy going on.

          • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

            end this exchange now.

          • Bones

            Darn he had me fooled. Guys if you havent worked it out yet im not albert einstein.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Because the Bible isn’t God. And it should not take the place of God. And it should not take the place of the Holy Spirit and the still small voice inside each of us who when we slow down and listen can be moved by God.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Your questions have been answered, you just don’t like the answers given. So how about this, when you meet the boy or man of your dreams in a few years, and you will, come back, and read some of John’s work again, ask us quesitons, with honesty and authentic wanting honest answers. Until then….

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            And you are an authority??
            (where’s my profanity jar? Oh yeah, right next to my dripping sarcasm jar)

          • davidbum45@gmail.com

            Yes I am, I am an ambassador for Jesus Christ called to preach His Gospel- I am not holier or more important than anyone however.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Too much pride in your tone, intent & style. Which is why we don’t believe you.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Ok. Let’s admit that, being 16, you have limited life experience. Chances are, you are not an authority nor an expert on anything yet. Is that not a fair thing to say?

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            You do not write like a sixteen year old, I’ve raised three…all honor students. What you do write like is someone a bit too full of themselves, who thinks they can ram a bit of scripture down unsuspecting throats.

          • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

            end this exchange now, k? Gread job, mods.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Re: “why not just put your faith in to The Bible wholly”

            Because we aren’t to put our faith in the Bible, or follow it, or trust it unquestioningly. We are to put our faith in, follow, and trust God. The Bible is not God.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Exactly. The Bible is a great tool, but that’s it, and its only one of many God has given us, some of which are quite unexpected and yet profoundly helpful

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            So who told you homosexuality is wrong? Where did you learn this?

          • davidbum45@gmail.com

            The Word of God- and I had always knew it was wrong but just chose to willfully disobey it

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Would you like to tell your story?

          • davidbum45@gmail.com

            Sure, as long as I’m not accused of spewing “Fundie garbage” or am labeled Homophobic! And really, this is the same 16 year old who commented last night. Go follow the links to my FB and Twitter- the pics match! This isn’t a scam or hack or anything. I’m just a guy trying to do my best for Christ and perhaps I wouldn’t have been so assertive above if 9 people or whatever didn’t just completely bash me overnight.

          • BarbaraR

            No one bashed you overnight. You are completely twisting what has gone on in this forum.

            Yesterday you seemed curious and interested in our viewpoints. You asked:

            I’m afraid we disagree on that. Could you reference some Scripture to back that up?

            And we answered you about our varied beliefs and interpretations of the Bible and scripture, and why we don’t believe it should be taken literally.

            This morning things had changed dramatically. You posted a discordant rant with the things we have heard many, many times before about “pick and choose” and “fallibility” of the Bible. Now that we are answering , you (or whoever is posting here) don’t like the answers.

            “The pics match” on the internet is proof of diddly squat.

          • davidbum45@gmail.com

            No, I questioned your questioning of the Bible and asked some rational questions. And I acknowledge the answers given and although I respect them I disagree with them morally- and okay but feel free to hit me up on those Social Media sites because they are in use BY ME- the 16 year old boy- and not some fundie gay conversion therapist.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            The conversation, if you wish for an actual one will remain here. You came to our playground. You can certainly invite your social media friends here or to our sister site. These sites are maintained by a group of us, all adults, many of us parents, and at least one, myself a grandparent.

          • davidbum45@gmail.com

            Very well then. I was just trying to prove to you that I am who I say I am- not a “fundie gay conversion therapist” or whatever.

          • BarbaraR

            I didn’t see any rational questions.

            And since you all believe that no one really knows about the original writings, why claim it’s fallible or agenda-driven since NO ONE REALLY KNOWS? What then? What if “they” got it right? What if God specifically planned for His Word to be prevalent in our culture so that we can know THE (the only, mind you) WAY? As for “divisions and sects” haven’t you just formed another with a fallible humanistic viewpoint? If my conscious says ” Homosexuality is wrong” but someone else says “Homosexuality is okay” whom should we believe?

            It was raving.

            And I do not “hit up” 16 year old boys on social media sites.

          • davidbum45@gmail.com

            Well I understand that to a degree- regardless of how you feel about my identity- I did ask those questions with intent. How do we know what is morally right or wrong based on our conscious if our conscious contradicts with someone else’s?

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Re: “How do we know what is morally right or wrong based on our conscious if our conscious contradicts with someone else’s?”

            Because there is near universal agreement – in an overarching way – that what is wrong causes harm to others.

          • davidbum45@gmail.com

            So like a kinda underlying sense of morality- which is something we can actually agree on except I feel that God’s Word has given us that to a degree.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            People had an underlying sense of morality before the Bible existed. That’s what allegro is talking about in other comments. The Bible is not the source of that underlying morality. God created us – if you will – with it. It is part of our nature.

          • davidbum45@gmail.com

            Yes, I’ve always believed we were made with that underlying sense- but where do you draw the line, because the heart is deceitful above all things right? What if what I think contradicts the Bible, homosexuality for instance.

          • BarbaraR

            Nowhere in the Bible does it say homosexuality is wrong.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            We are born with the capacity for good and for ill. We choose a path. It can be a struggle to choose well. We grow and mature as we learn to choose better.

            What if the Bible contradicts what we know causes harm: slavery for instance?

          • Guest

            Hi David,

            I would agree with your statement above that God’s Word has given us an underlying sense of morality to a degree. I would go further and say ONLY to a degree.

            If you’d like, check out Numbers 31:1-12. What is described there is genocide, raping and pillaging in the name of the Lord. Then Jesus’ message as we know it is not to repay any wrong against another and to throw down our weapons and love our enemies. This is directed also in the name of the Lord.

          • BarbaraR

            Sin hurts others.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Exactly, being a thief causes harm, as it betrays trust, forces people to have to replace things out of their own pocket, and can cause them to be fearful.
            Being a liar also causes harm, also betraying trust, causing people to believe things in error, which often has more negative ramifications.
            Being gay does none of that. Its simply a state of being, like being brunette, or freckled or tone deaf. It of itself causes no harm. It betrays no trust, decieves no one hurts no one. Someone who is gay, or who falls elsewhere on the spectrum simply has one difference than someone who is straight, they find attractive sexually or for a romantic long term relationship…That’s it, nothing else.

            Ironically those who demand that the bible is all over this gay being a sin thing, have to force seven verses into a contextual content that was not intended for it, to make it work. In doing so, they have ignore other verses and passages to make that stance. Its an interpretative belief, and one that people have been making huge hay about instead of more important matters.

          • Bones

            But there times when lying isnt a sin eg protecting jews by denying they are hiding in your secret basement.

          • Bones

            Is there a time when lying isnt a sin eg should people who lied to protect jews have to repent of lying to the gestapo?
            Should a woman stay married to an abusive husband despite what the gospels say about the only reason for divorce being adultery?

          • http://thediscerningchristian.wordpress.com/ Chris

            If you’re just a 16 y/o kid, unless you’ve gone way out of your way to study psychology and such, I really don’t care about your opinion, and neither should you. You should have the humility to realize that you’re not an expert. I could argue the point, but it’s really not worth it, because you don’t even have standing to begin the argument in the first place.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            So how did you realize you were gay? what was that defining moment when you realized that girls just weren’t attractive to you at all?

          • davidbum45@gmail.com

            It kinda started from “the back door” if you will- I was guarding myself against lust and constantly surrounded myself with other guys because I was afraid of having lustful thoughts towards women and then I go “Well he looks kinda cute today”. The rest was a constant struggle in questioning my sexuality as a Christian but then I realized as much as I enjoyed homosexual pornography and masturbation and fulfilling my homosexual lust that I felt empty and was led to selfishness so I gave my problems to God who has freed me from that.

          • BarbaraR

            Everyone enjoys masturbation. That’s the point.

            You really haven’t said anything here that makes me think you’re gay. This is incredibly vague.

          • davidbum45@gmail.com

            I’m not gay- I WAS questioning.

          • BarbaraR

            Wait. You said

            I am a living example of God’s grace freeing a homosexual from their bondage.

            and

            I am speaking as a saved homosexual

            and now you say you aren’t gay, just questioning?

          • davidbum45@gmail.com

            I am homosexual that has been saved- if you kill someone you are a murderer- if you lust you are an adulterer, and in my case I WAS a homosexual who carried out his lusts but was freed by God’s grace- I am (present tense) not gay. I did (past tense) struggle with Homosexuality so I was (past tense) gay

          • davidbum45@gmail.com

            *I was. It’s all a matter of prespective, make sense?

          • BarbaraR

            You have equated being gay – which you were born with – to killing someone or committing adultery (which are conscious choices and hurt others). Major fail.

            You can choose to kill people or have an affair, but you cannot unchoose being gay.

          • davidbum45@gmail.com

            Yes you can. I willfully chose to lay down my desires for God’s plan. And homosexuality does hurt people, go read some medical journals.

          • BarbaraR

            No. Wrong.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            There are no medical journals in existence that prove your claim, no journals in psychology, or sociology either. In fact the science demonstrates clearly the opposite, its just that, as so often happens, religion has yet to catch up.

          • Bones

            How many 16 year olds read medical journals?

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            So you had sex? Lots of sixteen year olds have sex. In fact it wasn’t that long ago that sixteen year olds not only had sex but were already married.
            And honey, God made you the way you are, to deny your sexuality, that inherent part of yourself will only lead to frustration and heartache. Your church may not want to accept you as a beautiful son or daughter, you family may not either…at least at first, but there are countless Christians who do, who reject the lie of having to conform to twisty theology to be acceptable to God, who understand the concept of come just as you are, and know that God thinks you are awesome just like that.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            You are going around in stupid circles. This is a waste of time. IF you are sixteen go do homework, play video games, clean your room, like normal sixteen year olds. If you aren’t, which I still doubt. Its been interesting, not surprising, but I’m beyond done playing your game.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            There’s a huge difference between being a teenager who is questioning their sexuality and what we inferred from what you said about being “freed from the sin of homosexuality.” Which means: Not being gay anymore.

            You are saying you were never gay. That’s very different.

          • davidbum45@gmail.com

            I’mm not saying i was “never gay” I am saying that I was but now am not because of God’s grace. And yes, I did covet what was not to have sexually, so it was lust.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            David, you’ve said multiple things here. Questioning and realizing that’s not who you are or what you want is not the same thing as “being gay and being healed of it.” This is an important distinction.

          • BarbaraR

            That’s like saying you’ve been healed of having brown eyes.

            Being gay is not an affliction. It’s innate.

            You might have been questioning, which many people do, and feel at this time you are not gay. That might stay the same, or at some point you may realize you really are gay. Whichever, it’s not a sickness.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Ok. First of all, it’s the middle of the day. What’s the deal with school?

          • davidbum45@gmail.com

            I’m actually sick today but it’s not unusual for me to be online during class free time or whatever.

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Ok. I’m sorry you aren’t feeling well. I hope you feel better soon.

            Do your parents know about you posting online as yourself especially about such personal matters? Most schools have inservices about internet privacy and how your online footprint lasts forever and can adversely affect your ability to get jobs and into college later in life?

          • davidbum45@gmail.com

            Well I’m well aware of my school’s policy and those who know me know my testimony so I think this dosn’t come as a suprise to those who know me- I blog and use social media in my free time.

          • BarbaraR

            God didn’t say it was wrong. Someone in your church did.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Who told you The bible said that it stated such a thing?

          • buzzdixon

            “Treat others the way you want to be treated. If you want to be forgiven for what you’ve done wrong, forgive those who do wrong to you. If you love Me then love others as much as I have loved you.”

            Everything else is commentary.

          • Bones

            Do you need the bible to tell you something is wrong?

            You dont need to be a christian to know that adultery is wrong. In fact there are times when scripture got it wrong such as divorce and abuse.

            What about religious genocide as practised by joshua and now ISIL?

          • AtalantaBethulia

            Saying we don’t take the bible literally nor believe that it is infallible is not the same thing as saying the Bible en toto is flawed. One can still take the Bible seriously without taking it literally.

            Nevertheless, how we determine what is right and wrong is clear in the Greatest Commandment and the Ten Commandments and points to a nearly universal understanding that those things that cause harm are wrong.

            Re: “how can we know what we believe”

            By way of the Holy Spirit and our conscience.

          • Jeff Preuss

            Not so much ‘flawed’ as much as ‘interpreted and translated six thousand ways from Sunday.’ All that just leads one to attempt to discern the meaning from the texts that are millennia removed from us. Which translation or language do you trust? There simply aren’t direct word-for-word translations from ancient Greek and Hebrew into modern English, so some specific details get lost in the shuffle.

            The Bible is still remarkably important, but there’s a bigger overall message of importance than self-flagellating over something that wasn’t as clearly prohibited as some would like to say (homosexuality).

            Signed – gay Christian not in any kind of bondage with it. Totally at peace with God and my sexuality. And happy. Deliriously happy.

          • buzzdixon

            The term “Ten Commandments” are a human term; what God offered from Mt Sinai in the only instance of Him speaking out loud to a large group of people was a covenant (i.e., contract).

            Commandments are orders followed by an “…or else”. It is the powerful imposing their will upon the weak. Contracts are agreements that both parties are entering (theoretically, at least) of their own free will. When you read what God actually said, you see He didn’t hand down ten laws or commandments or orders at all; rather He said “If you want Me to be your God, then I need to be your only God (followed by a list of examples of what would constitute not having Him as our only God), you need to treat your relationship with me seriously (followed by examples of how to do that and a caution against being frivolous regarding His name & authority), and you need to act in a way to be a credit to your parents (followed by a list of five things we should avoid as a minimum basic example of being a credit to our parents)”

            Outside of not betraying a spouse, God didn’t seem to think that sexual relations between fully informed consenting partners was anything He needed to worry about.

          • BarbaraR

            Since you’re clearly new here, this is not a fundamentalist site with traditional interpretations of scripture. We do not see the Bible as inerrant; we see it as the work of people within their time frame and cultural influence, as letters written to specific groups.

            We believe that what is taken literally by some parties is actually allegory. We believe that the Bible as printed and accepted today was put together by people who had their own belief systems and agendas that did not necessarily fit with what few words have been passed down as the words of Jesus. These were flawed humans with their own viewpoints who had no idea they were writing The Bible.

        • Andy

          Based on your comments, I see a few possibilities, all of which concern me.

          If you think being gay is not a choice, then either God must have made a mistake in creating them, or he maliciously gave them a torturous temptation. If you think being gay is a choice, then you are ignoring all evidence from credible science, choosing instead that little tiny bit which came from people with a biased agenda and is highly suspect. So either God is imperfect, or he’s a Mean Meanie Pants, or he has chosen to make his ways so mysterious that the process of scientific discovery is in fact pushing us further away from the truth instead of closer to it.

          There is another possibility — that people are as God made them, and he’s fine with it. This is the only one of these possibilities that is compatible with a perfect, all-loving God.

    • AtalantaBethulia

      I grew up in a BJU feeder school. It’s not just Bob Jones. It’s Liberty and was Jerry Falwell. It’s Pensacola. It’s Hyles Anderson. It’s John MacArthur. It’s hyper Calvinism… It’s a movement. And just like all men are not abusive to their wives, most men who display certain character traits are. We point out the harmful character traits that define religious fundamentalism as a movement. If you attend an IFB church that does not have these harmful character traits, then that’s wonderful news. So often, however, it is the case that those from within the fold are blind to these character traits or hold them in high regard by framing them differently.

      As I have said many times before, it’s gonna take a heck-of-a lot more than a minister preaching in jeans, women being aloud to wear pants and a praise band to address the root issues of the theological, psychological, spiritual and functional problems within fundamentalism. Having a different looking outside of the cup doesn’t change the inside if the contents aren’t different.


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