A blogging friend of mine has posted his LIST of problems with the IFBx wing of fundamentalism. It is really good so I want to reproduce it here. But be sure to check out his blog–it is devoted to many of the same topics as mine. It is called the Big Orange Truck. Why? Check out this post and it will all make sense!
After some introductory comments and disclaimers, he presents the list which I reproduce here verbatim:
1. Weak theology – I should probably stop here because this problem has caused all of the following. Many of my IFB college courses were a joke. There were no systematic theology classes offered. The one Bible doctrines class that was offered was shallow, weak, and incomprehensive. Classes on specific Books of the Bible were basically Sunday school lessons for which I paid tuition.
A fellow alumnus once told me that our college concentrated more on methodology than theology, and that graduates were expected to learn theology later on their own. This is true, and this is what I did (and am still doing). I learned that my methodology was challenged by biblical theology. One or the other has to change, and I am finding myself leaving much of the methodology that was inculcated at my alma mater.
2. Shallow Preaching – Or I could say “unbiblical” preaching. Much of the preaching I’ve heard was shallow and unbiblical. The text was used as a launch pad into the preacher’s “private interpretation”. Most sermons were a hodge-podge of motivational speaking, psycho-babble, Bible quotations, and lots of volume. I call these kind of preachers “fire-breathing ear ticklers”. Expository preaching was not only avoided, it was criticized. Bible texts became contortionists in order to fit into a sermon. A sermon was considered good based on the delivery and not its substance. This is how preaching was practiced, and this is how I was taught.
3. Lack of unity – A better way to say it may be “reversed separation.” Many IFB preachers separate, fight, and feud for stupid and silly reasons. Unity is done under the banner of surface issues, but separation is rarely practiced over real doctrinal issues.
Separation is good, and often biblically required. The problem I see is that separation is reversed…IFB preachers often separate when they should unite, and they unite when they should be separating. As a result, IFB circles are full of contention, division, back stabbing, gossip, and one-upmanship.
4. Numbers Obsession – Bigness is everything. Size really does matter. Numbers are all important. Everything is done for more numbers…more “salvations”, more baptisms, more in attendance, more anything and everything.
This numbers obsession is so bad, many preachers, churches, and colleges “manufacture” results, or just flat out lie, in order to be top dog. More on this later.
5. Sloppy soul winning & Easy prayerism – This is a result of bad theology and the numbers obsession. Like a domino effect, it all begins with bad theology.
The soul winning method I was taught concentrated on manipulation, and the purpose of the process was to get somebody to say a prayer. I’ve seen many soul winners “lead someone to the Lord” in less than 5 minutes. Soul winning was often done with bravado and complete carelessness in regard to a “convert’s” genuine conversion.
6. Celebrityism – This is an especially egregious problem in IFBx circles. Pastors of really large churches achieve the coveted celebrity status. They are the ones that preach at all the conferences. They are the ones that steer the doctrine and methodology of their followers. They are the ones that define the different camps within Baptist fundamentalism.
It is natural for good pastors who have successful ministries to have influence in his circle of brethren. Being a megachurch pastor is not wrong. Great pastors will always influence present and future generations. It becomes “celebrityism” when only the opinions of the celebs are respected, and anything done in contradiction to the opinion of an IFB celeb is considered as heresy. Any critic of a celeb is considered an apostate. This naturally leads to cultism. I am a great admirer of Spurgeon, but even Spurgeon was human and prone to mistakes, and I do not consider him the final authority on anything. I just greatly value his knowledge and skill.
Celebrityism is not just an attitude in a megachurch pastor, it is the atmosphere in IFBx culture. Unless you are a big shot, you basically don’t matter. Your voice is silent. Your ministry is trivial, and if you happen to differ from a celeb on anything, then you are wrong simply because your church isn’t big enough to make you right. Whenever there are contradicting opinions, the guy with the biggest church is always right.
For what it’s worth, this is my list.
It’s helping me keep it ‘tween the ditches, and the greasy side down.
I think that list sums up some of the important problems rampant in some secters of fundamentalism today. Be sure to read his whole post here, too. You will see that Joe is not out to destroy fundamentalism or anything. He is seriously speaking out for change.
âˆ¼striving for the unity of the faith for the glory of Godâˆ¼ Eph. 4:3,13 \”¢ Rom. 15:5-7