Current Status Of Belief In Fundamentalism

I guess "Fundamentalism" is the wrong term for this page. It’s too broad. What I have a problem with is not so much fundamentalism, but the particular brand of fundamentalism we’ve been exposed to for so long.

A lot of the legalism that our church teaches is due to their understanding of "Holiness". Are they correct? Holiness is why we can’t wear shorts to church functions in summer. It’s why we can’t go to the movie theater. Why we can’t drink, smoke, have piercings or tattoos. Why we can’t listen to music with drums. How do you quantify holiness?

Some Anecdotal Evidence, For What it’s Worth

Here’s a collection of anecdotal evidence acquired over the years. The sum is worth more than the parts.

  • We brought an unsaved friend to a church picnic where we knew salvation would be presented. Her 3 year old son started babbling, and she was shot some bad looks from some of the members, so she took him well out of ear-shot to a playground, and completely missed the message.
  • Visitors were sitting behind us, guests of a couple that had been praying for years they would get in church. They had their daughter with them, who made a little noise, and one of the members turned around and said, "Hey, do you mind!" to the girl! Needless to say, we never saw that family again.
  • In a discussion with another member, it came up that he had sent a letter to one of our friends, telling her how she would "never amount to anything for God."
  • When a member of a church I used to go to told the pastor he would be going to a different church (which was also IFB!), the pastor said he was making a mistake and that God would not bless him. How would he know!
  • When church members heard "through the grapevine" that we were thinking about moving, more than one asked my wife "how she could do that to her mom" and expressed doubt that it was God’s will. How would they know! Pastor also devoted 20 or so minutes of a sermon to something we said about this to him privately. We said we felt God leading us this way, but that He would have to sell our house first (which would be a miracle) and that would clearly be confirmation. Pastor twisted this into an illustration about a guy going into a car dealership and saying "If God approves my financing, then it’s his will that I get that Mercedes!" Among other things.
  • When my wife and I had missed a few sunday school classes because we had just had a baby, pastor confronted my wife and wanted to know what was up. She told him, and he said that if the baby was keeping us from doing what God wanted, God might take the baby away.

Table of Beliefs

Just for fun, here’s a table contrasting traditional IFB stances with my stances that are developing as I pray and research.

Issue IFB Position My Position
Alcohol All Bad Moderate alcohol okay
"White lies for truth" The ends justify the means Not permissible in service for Christ
Saying "Amen" in church Mandatory Personal Preference
Bible verses posted in yard and on car optional, but desirable Cheapens word of God
Altar calls for prayer Necessary Prayer from your seat is fine
Altar calls for salvation Necessary Undecided
Being "Undecided" on an issue Bad Permissible, honest
Church Attendance Mandatory (kids may die if you don’t) Good idea, but we are not enslaved to services
Going to theater Never Free to enjoy
Gambling Gambling a sin Destructive gambling a sin
Bible Versions KJV Only Some modern versions OK
Doorknocking Mandatory Optional
Rules and laws The more, the better Freedom in Christ

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