What about Old Windbags? Of course this is referring to certain preachers. One of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite windbags is: “A pastor is a preacher who can’t book a meeting, an evangelist is a preacher who can’t pastor, and a missionary is a preacher who can’t preach, so we ship them out of the country.” How sweet. Of course this is meant to be humor, but in all logical honesty does this kind of humor belong in the pulpit?
When I was a student at Midwestern Baptist College a dear professor and quality Christian preacher, Dr. Joe Fortna, tried to reason with us that humor should be used sparingly in the pulpit. Preachers are not called to be stand up comedians. Dr. Fortna, also taught us never to use humor that disparages others. Dr. Fortna taught that self deprecating humor was fine, but humor that hurts was never fine. People say stupid things all the time that cause injury to others, but there is no excuse for a man, who is paid to speak, and called to preach God’s word, to constantly berate people from the pulpit. Is that old paths? Is that old time religion? You can keep it if it is, I don’t want it!
How about this gem on an Easter Sunday speaking about Catholics “Saint Pedophiles Saint We Like Little Boys.” LOL! That is funny stuff on Easter morning, unless you had Catholic relatives, or were a Catholic visitor. People do not remember what that windbag preached that day, but they do remember what he said about Catholics on Easter Sunday Morning. For me to bring this up is the utmost betrayal of a self proclaimed unofficial fundamental Pope, and it disturbs me that I was willing to remain silent about this infraction and others. I now realize that out of misplaced loyalty and friendship I kept quiet. The truth is I am culpable of silent acquiescence, to my shame I am culpable.
In fundamentalism today we have made heroes out of men who strive to become demigods. Men who build their calendar and a following and nothing else. Men who make boisterous statements then dare you not to say “amen.” Men who are no better than anyone. God does not love them more, and He has not given them super powers. These men think they have a patent on proper methodology, proper dress, proper homiletics, proper hermaneutics, and the very gospel itself, but they do not. If I preach the gospel on a beach in a Hawaiian shirt, khaki shorts, and flip flops have I done something wrong or evil? If you said yes, you might be a windbag.
I am a firm Independent Fundamental Baptist in doctrine and practice. Do not listen to baseless rhetoric about me being a liberal, or a fence jumper. I am no a compromisor, capitulator, or a communist for that matter. Horns do not grow out of my head, and I do not serve Satan, as has been suggested on Twitter, and I am not going to a liberal church. I no longer wish to be considered similar to or the same as these men I have described therefore, I have a new way to describe these rabid fundamentalists: iBFers. The “i” stands for independent, which they are not and do not believe in whatsoever; this is why the “i” is lowercase. These men thwart independent thought, methods, ideas, and doctrinal interpretation at every turn. As an IFB (Independent Fundamental Baptist) we all have individual soul liberty, but an iBFer does not believe in liberty they believe in conformity.
The “B” is for Baptist, Baptist born Baptist bred and when they die Baptist dead. Of course they use a Church of God hymnal, textbooks written by Presbyterians in there “colleges” and Pentecostal type theology when they take an offering. I am not saying they are not Baptist, but in many ways they have co-opted baptistic thinking to fit their one dimensional ideas. They only believe in the distinctives when it does not interfere with their power. Such as the Baptist distinctive of Autonomous Local Churches. This does not fit into the plan all the time so it must be changed to suit their needs. You know the old saying: “The end justifies the means.” Like the Communist dictators of the twentieth century these iBFers wield power to crush those who oppose them, in order to gain more power to crush more opposition. Old Paths! You gotta love Old Time Religion!
The “F” is for Fun-duh-meddle-izer. These men are not as much fundamentalists as they are wicked baby-sitters. You remember that girl, Trixie, or Wanda, she watched you as a child when your folks went out to have fun without you? Remember what she told you? “Do as I say, not as I do.” These meddlers want to control you right down to what you wear, watch, listen to, read, or put into your body. I am against a multitude of things, but you already have THE Holy Spirit living in you, you do not need a holier than thou spirit shouting this and that about what you should do, be, and say. Hey friend, that ain’t preaching, it’s meddlin’.
Another gem from another windbag: “Let me give you a little theology, because you can’t take more than a little. You are the temple of God, so when you look in the mirror tomorrow while you are getting dressed just remember, God doesn’t wear shorts! Haaaaaaaaaaaa! Say Amen right there!” Come on, give me a break, and whatever, are exclamations that would fit that nonsense better than “amen.”
When the iBFer windbags use illustrations, caveat emptor, let the buyer be ware. Many times a windbag will take an illustration and rework it, changing the truth of the illustration to fit a situation. Normally we call this lying, but if you are an iBFer evangelist we just call it being creative. Integrity is paramount and if you use an illustration it should be legitimate, not made up lies. If you will lie about an illustration, what else will you lie about? One evangelist is fond of saying “once I tell it, you won’t recognize it.” Integrity!
Clever statements, one liners, and gossip ridden illustrations do not make for a sound Bible message. One of the glaring problems we face, and the main breeding ground for this windbaggery is topical preaching. The expositor strives to pull out of the scriptures the truths that God has put into the scriptures and then encourage God’s people with God’s message. The topical preacher tries to put into God’s word, his own ideas, preferences, and doctrines. Using the techniques of repetition, and threats statements like “if you don’t believe this that or the other thing you had better check your salvation, because you ain’t saved” he tries to manipulate the audience into adopting his word as God’s word. Not all topical preaching could be described this way, but too much of it is. It is much easier to study for a 1-2-3 wham bam thank you ma’am motivational talk than it is to study for an expository message. Expository preaching takes soul searching, self judgment, and laying aside preconceived notions. Topical preaching takes snappy one liners, jokes and stories that may or may not be true. The windbags by and large choose topical preaching to indoctrinate their followers with their message.
The sad fact is that I will be castigated for this post, I will be mocked and called names, berated and cussed in the dark corners of restaurants around this country. It will be said that I do not have a platform, I am backslidden, I am lost, I am a fence jumper, I am bitter, I am rude…etc. ad infinitum. They will not argue the points, they will simply point to the fact that I am no longer in the ministry. They will say I am biting the hand that fed me. They are wrong. All of these statements are statements meant to dismiss me and they are abdicating thought and replacing it with baseless uninformed rhetoric. Debate me, I dare you. You don’t have the tools. I invite you to produce evidence and provide proof that I am wrong. I am here to expose you iBFers and give voice to the many who have encouraged me in writing this blog. I am here to make, what is likely a futile attempt, to help you understand that you are hurting good people, and driving away hurting people just to satisfy your own ego. In the name of God open your ears, and for once your mind, and for the sake of Christ open your heart and STOP IT!