If I were to say that fundamentalists were evil I would be guilty of being a rabid something or another. Not a rabid fundamentalist, (because, I am told, they no longer consider me a fundamentalist) but a rabid something. I could give chapter and verse, date and time, place and persons, circumstances and episodes in an effort to continue to prove my points about rabid fundamentalists and evil fundamentalist, but I will not. Especially since they comment on this blog and do it for me! I do not believe they need to be exposed by name on this blog, or have some kind of trial here where we find them guilty or innocent. God is their judge, and He can deal with them, if they are willing.
My hope is that you will begin to recognize the evil that has crept into fundamentalism, and the players who are rabid. My hope is that others will speak out, if only in their hearts, about the nonsense that passes itself off as fundamentalism and make up their own minds as to what is true fundamentalism and what is a man’s preference. I am not trying to set Fundamentalism straight, it is already straight, but some of the players are surely as crooked as the Devil’s spine. Mark them, because they cause division among us. Mark them, because their cause is not Christ but self. Mark them, because their interests are not our improvement, but conformity to their preferences.
A good hot button divisive example is women and pants. Consider this, the bible principle is modesty in apparel not fashion decisions. “Oh,” you say “but the bible says a man shouldn’t wear that that pertaineth to a women, and a women shouldn’t wear that that pertaineth to a man.” (Deuteronomy 22:5) Yes indeed it does, and it also says, right around the same area, that you shouldn’t wear clothes with two different threads. So why don’t we get all bug-eyed about poly cotton blends? The bible also says not to eat shrimp, or blood or pork, and you ain’t suppos’ ta woika lick on da Sabbat day. Why do we refuse to follow those laws but you choose to follow others? Deuteronomy 22:5, seems to be dealing more with cross-dressing and not fashion choices. I have never seen a pair of women’s pants that I would consider wearing and I checked with my wife and she is not keen on wearing men’s pants either. Pants on women may be more modest than dresses in certain instances. There is a woman at our old church that wears pants most of the time she is in the building. She is even a staff member and the Sunday School Secretary of that church! Her husband is a deacon for crying out loud! FOR SHAME! She is the janitor. Wearing pants is more modest for climbing on ladders, washing floors, vacuuming, running up and down stairs, working, sweating, and being a great blessing to the members of that church. You see this is an issue of preference not principle. Recognize the preferences and decide which ones you have, and which ones you don’t have but stick closely to the principles. The difference between principle and preference is monumental.
I was certainly seen as a part of all of this, but no one knew my heart. I was often a silent observer of words and deeds but I decided the disposition of my own mind. There are many preferences that I have in common with Rabid Fundamentalists, and Evil Fundamentalists, the difference is that I see them as preferences and not principles. I certainly shared with some of them what I thought and felt, but often what I said seemed to fall on deaf ears; or because of my youth and inexperience my utterances were chalked up to youth and inexperience.
It is important to know that I have written letters, and gone online and yes I have even been rabid at times to my own shame. I have misjudged and mischaracterized people out of ignorance, and that perhaps willful, of the full circumstances and personal knowledge of the people involved. It was done out of a misplaced loyalty to men, when my loyalty should have been devoted only to God. I am human, I have made mistakes, I have sinned, but the mistake was not fundamentalism, the mistake was looking to men instead of the Author and Finisher of our faith. Thanks be to God who opened my eyes to my own considerable faults and was and is dealing with me about them.
I do not now speak on these subjects (Rabid Fundamentalists and Are Fundamentalists Evil) from ignorance, but with a clear mind and humble apology to those I may have wronged with my words or deeds. (I do not make apology for any letters I have written and mailed, or any phone conversations I have recently had, or texts I have sent to some of you Rabid Fundamentalists) Never forget, and allow me to repeat it, I was often a silent observer of words and deeds. I mostly stayed out of the fray. Interestingly enough, some preachers simply assumed my beliefs fell in line with the company I kept; but when they examined me further they found my mind is my own. These men, two in particular which will remain nameless, I respect, because they have exhibited minds of their own as well. They have not fallen into the rhythm of the flow of Dr. So-and-so. They have perhaps had similar experiences to mine and decided, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to remove themselves from the rabid influences. God bless you flawed men, God bless you men of God who do not goose step to another’s preference, God bless you firm independent fundamentalists.
After I began to pastor the church God sent me to, I realized that the most important ministry in the universe was the one God had placed me in. My interest in other ministries began to wane. I did not care what Dr. Fussybritches was doing to destroy his church, I did not care that Professor Lefty-Leaner was destroying XYZ Fundamental College; I cared about Mr. Smith’s back surgery next Tuesday, and Mrs. Jones daughter who was far from the Lord and needed prayer. I cared about the grass that needed to be cut and the window frames that needed paint. I cared about the Christmas dinner we were planning and getting the Wednesday night bulletin done. I cared about knocking on the doors of folks who had visited on Sunday and on the doors of strangers who we invited to visit next Sunday. I cared about getting the mail for the church and making sure the bills were paid on time. I cared about the Men’s Prayer Breakfast and the Belles of Faith (ladies ministry) meetings. I cared about fellowshipping with church members with a fishing pole in my hand, or standing in their garden, or just sitting in the pews after church talking. I cared about the people who really mattered, the members, visitors, and attendees of Faith Baptist Church.
I want to share with you readers some of the feedback I have received from folks concerning what I have written. Some have thanked me for saying these things, some have cheered me on, others have claimed that I am back-slidden and a liberal, still others have not the courage to give their opinion but have made public comments that can be taken as positive or negative while in private made comments that are decidedly negative. Some have tried to deflect the issues back on to me an my failings. I am, after all, no longer a pastor. I must have committed some egregious sin, I must have “fouled out big time,” my former church must have run me out on a rail. Some have taken shots on twitter and other social media, some have quietly wrung their hands and stomped their feet and realized they are rabid. I hope and pray some have decided to employ grace and mercy along with the truth dispensing task they have been given, and will make an effort to discern between principle and preference.