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Khendra

IFB: I could wear pants, but Decision Theology was the deal-breaker

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Khendra

So I actually attended an IFB church for over half a year, September 2017 to March 2018.

Placing an excessive priority on church growth and numbers is why I left.  It had nothing to do with the submissive woman stuff, or the spanking stuff, or anything else you tend to read about in the horror stories.

Above all else, they expected men and women to both be, in effect, master ‘salespersons’ for God (through traditional door-to-door gimmick especially, and occasionally other methods) — and if you hadn’t personally led anyone to Christ, that was WAY worse than a woman wearing pants to church, which was actually not a big deal for women there.  I know — that breaks the stereotype of everything you might read and hear about the IFBers — but I’m very serious: they would have been FAR better with me aggressively hauling in unbelievers to pray the Sinner’s Prayer, than they would have been if I were just a quiet, meek, long skirt wearing woman who unobtrusively sat in the pews from week to week and did little else than submit to the preaching.  (For the record, I sat quietly and listened in my female dress slacks from week to week, and not one comment was ever made on my manner of dress -- their only rule was for men and women to dress modestly, and I guess my pants were deemed ok in that regard.)

Instead, the deal-breakers for me were their naivete (thinking that today’s feminists and atheists are eager to hear the Word of God, which they aren’t), and their eisegetical approach to evangelism and soul-winning (which included no emphasis on the Spirit, had them falling prey to Easy Believism, and opened my eyes to seeing the true pitfalls of Decision Theology), to be too much to contend with further.

Would still rather deal with them than Vision Forum Calvinists and Gothardites any day of the week.

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Briefly

This is actually very interesting and informative.

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luv2laugh

I agree. What is Decision Theology? 

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formergothardite
On 7/6/2018 at 7:25 PM, Khendra said:

that was WAY worse than a woman wearing pants to church, which was actually not a big deal for women there.  I know — that breaks the stereotype of everything you might read and hear about the IFBers

A lot of us here have been working hard to explain to people that IFB do wear pants! There was a whole thread drift about it recently where I dug up pictures from IFB churches to prove that all IFB aren't skirts only. It really is a stereotype that just doesn't hold true and never has. 

On 7/6/2018 at 7:25 PM, Khendra said:

Instead, the deal-breakers for me were their naivete (thinking that today’s feminists and atheists are eager to hear the Word of God, which they aren’t),

I have noticed that. I'm not sure door to door witnessing was ever effective, but it certainly isn't now. Neither is annoying me at public events like fairs. There does seem to be a lot of naivete surrounding evangelicals in general when it comes to dealing with feminists, and atheists. They seem to think that atheists don't have a clue about the Bible and if they can just get them to read some verses they will be saved. But a lot of us atheists grew up with the Bible, have read it many times and can argue back with them. 

We have seen people come here to argue with us about women's rights and flounder fast because they don't realize that many of us were deep into the anti-choice movement and have thought through the issues surrounding abortion and other women's rights a great more than they have. 

2 hours ago, luv2laugh said:

What is Decision Theology? 

I think it falls into the John Shrader petty theological arguments category that make me so grateful I don't have to concern myself with this stuff anymore. :laughing-jumpingpurple: It involves the argument over whether or not someone makes a decision to accept Jesus. Some see this as work based since salvation is supposed to be by grace alone. I'm pretty sure this is what caused quite the kerfuffle between John Shrader and a lot of his supporting churches. 

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EmiGirl

The point of IFB churches is that they're all independent of each other. Some may wear pants and others do not. 

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Tired
Palimpsest

Decision Theory contradicts Monergism.  It is, therefore, a Bad Thing to Calvinists.

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louisa05

Most evangelical and fundamentalist groups vary greatly from congregation to congregation which I think is not understood very well by people who have not been inside those groups. And sometimes people who have assume that their congregation was how they all are. I have extremely fundamentalist relatives who were in a "Church of Christ"  denomination (not congregational or the United Church of Christ) and have had people here explain to me that that group is very, very liberal. Maybe they experienced a very liberal group with that name, but the group my relatives were shoulder deep in for years was extremely conservative and was skirts only until the 90s among other extreme positions. 

On 7/6/2018 at 6:25 PM, Khendra said:

Instead, the deal-breakers for me were their naivete (thinking that today’s feminists and atheists are eager to hear the Word of God, which they aren’t), 

The evangelicals and pentecostals/charismatics in the Christian school I worked in were obsessed with the notion that everyone who was not a Christian in their mold (Mainline Protestants, Catholics, Episcopalians, most Lutherans, and some other groups under their own umbrella who didn't do things quite right in their eyes were not Christians as well as atheists and adherents to non-Christian religions) were unhappy. And only Jesus could make them happy. If anyone suggested that they might actually be happy (and in the last two years I worked there, anyone was usually me), it would be explained that they might think they are happy, but they really are not. It was our job as true Christians to explain to them how unhappy they actually were and how they needed Jesus so they could actually be happy. I just found it all so stupid.  I couldn't imagine explaining to a person content with their life that they really weren't and were desperately unhappy. How do you even begin to do that? 

And, oddly enough, I am much happier being a non-Christian by their definition. Amazing how that works. 

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formergothardite
Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, louisa05 said:

And only Jesus could make them happy. If anyone suggested that they might actually be happy (and in the last two years I worked there, anyone was usually me), it would be explained that they might think they are happy, but they really are not.

There is a hole in their soul that leaves them feeling empty and only the right version of Jesus will fill that hole and make them content. That was what I was taught. The IFB churches I went to as a child were particularly worried about the SBC. They were so close to being the right kind of Christian and yet so far away. 

Edited by formergothardite

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Pecansforeveryone

American fundamentalism, exists in a very individualistic, free market of sorts, kind of thumb your nose at tradition popular culture. That can reflect in its evolving religious traditions. It can have a very "drive thru" feel to it that is making heavy use of marketing. The Thinking Atheist has talked about the marketing fundagelicals use to attract new followers. These mega churches are a business unto themselves. They have coffee shops, schools, stellar audio visuals, and a burgeoning film industry. 

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Lurky
13 minutes ago, louisa05 said:

I have extremely fundamentalist relatives who were in a "Church of Christ"  denomination (not congregational or the United Church of Christ) and have had people here explain to me that that group is very, very liberal. Maybe they experienced a very liberal group with that name, but the group my relatives were shoulder deep in for years was extremely conservative and was skirts only until the 90s among other extreme positions. 

Same here, I've had people be *outraged* when I say my partner's ex-church was Fundy Vineyard, because Vineyard can't be Fundy, and blah blah.  To be fair, it hasn't happened for a year or so, but I was always baffled at how someone on another continent can know more about what it was like to go a a church in a town I hadn't even specified, than the person who actually experienced that church...

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feministxtian
5 minutes ago, Pecansforeveryone said:

These mega churches are a business unto themselves. They have coffee shops, schools, stellar audio visuals, and a burgeoning film industry. 

That's why we left the mega-church we were going to. It's all marketing the "worship experience". What I find sorta funny is that our current church (liberal-ish IFB) is growing pretty quickly...and there's pretty much NO "marketing" at all. Our pastor has said that once the church reaches a certain size there will be another one planted. I like that idea. 

We're actually moving to pretty much the other end of town next month. But, we'll stay with our church...it's home. 

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Khendra
38 minutes ago, Palimpsest said:

Decision Theory contradicts Monergism.  It is, therefore, a Bad Thing to Calvinists.

I grappled against monergism for quite awhile because of its association with Calvinism.  Yet I witnessed firsthand the lack of effectiveness and fruits with pure decision theology.  Lutherans' more middle view seems to make the most Biblical and practical sense: we believe in monergism for salvation, but synergism for damnation, so we don't believe in the double predestination of Calvinists.  We believe, and believe the Bible supports, that yes there is predestination to heaven, but people can refuse God's call.  We don't believe God preordains people to hell.

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Pecansforeveryone
17 minutes ago, Lurky said:

Same here, I've had people be *outraged* when I say my partner's ex-church was Fundy Vineyard, because Vineyard can't be Fundy, and blah blah.  To be fair, it hasn't happened for a year or so, but I was always baffled at how someone on another continent can know more about what it was like to go a a church in a town I hadn't even specified, than the person who actually experienced that church...

Fundie churches can be any denomination, combination of theologies, have no denominational affiliation at all. Churches breaking away from their denomination at large or splitting down the middle is pretty darn common. Wartburg watch talks about how the newly elected elected president of the SBC had to "break it to his congregation. Oh hey guys,  by the way, we are a Southern Baptist church." It would be funny if it weren't so underhanded. 

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formergothardite

I have seen so many fights over predestination! That and pre-trib/post-trib rapture. 

12 minutes ago, Khendra said:

we believe in monergism for salvation, but synergism for damnation, so we don't believe in the double predestination of Calvinists.  We believe, and believe the Bible supports, that yes there is predestination to heaven, but people can refuse God's call.  We don't believe God preordains people to hell.

 So if I understand it correctly, everyone is predestined to go to heaven but some people reject it and therefore go to hell? Which doesn't sound that different than the non-predestination beliefs I grew up with that everyone was born with the chance to go to heaven yet some people don't because they reject God. 

 

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Khendra
1 minute ago, formergothardite said:

I have seen so many fights over predestination! That and pre-trib/post-trib rapture. 

 So if I understand it correctly, everyone is predestined to go to heaven but some people reject it and therefore go to hell? Which doesn't sound that different than the non-predestination beliefs I grew up with that everyone was born with the chance to go to heaven yet some people don't because they reject God. 

 

Not all are predestined to heaven per se.  We do also believe in the fall of mankind and that all are in sin.  Yet God has predestined some to repent and thus be saved.

Regarding pre and post trib, Lutherans are amillennialist -- we don't believe in the End Times eschatology that's big among a lot of Christians these days, especially various Pentecostal groups.  This is where my mother didn't realize it, but she splintered completely from her Wisconsin Synod Lutheran upbringing and got heavily influenced by TBN and Pentecostalism in her last 25 years of life (she passed in February).  She and my father were really big into trying to figure out the end of the world, particularly the year and month (they figured that since Jesus said we can't know the day or the hour, that didn't necessarily preclude the month or year).  At one point in the '90s they were convinced it was 2008, and my brother and I were really compelled to try and do things quickly since we'd only be 28 and 24 when they thought Jesus would come back.  Even after that failed prophecy, she was still really into the likes of John Hagee and Irvin Baxter at the end of her days.  :/ She passed without any of that useless speculation coming to pass.  I'm very much over dispensationalism now.  Looks like so much is eisegetical imagination gone wild when it comes to interpreting Daniel, Revelation, and certain other Scriptures...

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Firebird
Posted (edited)

The church I go to now is a sort of church for recovering Baptists. It is a Baptist church lol. The pastor really focuses on not following tradition for tradition's sake, but rather having a personal relationship with Jesus and that being the driving force behind choices an individual follows. The church highly discourages legalism  and prideful thinking of my way is the best and only way. My pastor also wears Avengers belt buckles and includes pop culture references in his sermons. My husband and I always giggle about experiencing that in Baptist culture. 

Edited by Firebird
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formergothardite
1 minute ago, Khendra said:

Not all are predestined to heaven per se.

So you do believe people are born without a chance to go to heaven so are therefore born predestined to hell? 

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Khendra
1 minute ago, formergothardite said:

So you do believe people are born without a chance to go to heaven so are therefore born predestined to hell? 

Absolutely not -- I explained earlier that Lutherans do not believe in double predestination.  That is what Calvinists believe, and we've always differentiated between them in this respect.  Lutherans believe a person can choose not to believe, but they are not predestined to be that way.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monergism

"Lutheranism holds to the soteriological position of monergistic salvation and synergistic damnation, rejecting Calvin's monergistic damnation and Arminius' synergistic salvation; Lutheranism teaches that God predestines some to salvation via His foreknowledge but does not predestine others to damnation, as God wills that all might be saved (1 Tim 2:3-6, Rom. 11:32, etc.). The Scriptural basis for man's justification by faith alone is summarized in the Epitome of the Formula of Concord under Free Will and The Righteousness of Faith, and fully discussed in the Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord under Free Will and The Righteousness of Faith. Likewise the Defense of the Augsburg Confession discusses the Scriptural basis of man's Justification. Lutherans thus confess that salvation is monergistic, saving faith being the work of the Holy Spirit alone while man is still the uncooperative enemy of God (Rom. 5:8,10), but man's damnation is synergistic - Scripture states repeatedly that man participates in and bears the responsibility for resisting God's grace of the free gift - not enforced gift - of salvation (ex: Matt. 23:37, Heb. 12:25, Acts 7:51, John 16:9, Heb. 12:15, etc.). Thus, you will see Calvinists incorrectly accuse Lutherans of Arminianism and Arminians incorrectly accuse Lutherans of Calvinism. Lutherans view their stance not as having one foot in Calvinism and one foot in Arminianism, but having both feet firmly planted in scripture."

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anjulibai
4 minutes ago, formergothardite said:

So you do believe people are born without a chance to go to heaven so are therefore born predestined to hell? 

Yeah, if you aren't predestined to heaven, then logically you are predestined to hell. There's really no other way around it. 

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formergothardite
Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, Khendra said:

  Lutherans believe a person can choose not to believe, but they are not predestined to be that way.

 

7 minutes ago, Khendra said:

 teaches that God predestines some to salvation via His foreknowledge

So God picks favorites and some just get screwed out of it? So some people are born predestined to heaven because they are God's special snowflakes, others are born not predestined, but they can luck out and get to heaven by not rejecting God? But others are not so lucky and they weren't born predestined and for whatever reason end up rejecting God and going to hell?

Edited by formergothardite

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Firebird

I think it's rather that God is omniscient and knows what choice you will make, but doesn't force you to make either choice.

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formergothardite
Just now, Firebird said:

I think it's rather that God is omniscient and knows what choice you will make, but doesn't force you to make either choice.

Her quote literally says God predestines some to salvation, but everyone gets a choice, which means some are born predestined and some aren't. 

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Kylolo
Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, anjulibai said:

Yeah, if you aren't predestined to heaven, then logically you are predestined to hell. There's really no other way around it. 

This. Exactly. 

To phrase it as a (series of) question(s), if you aren’t predestined for heaven, then what? Can you get there anyway by sheer force of will? If you can’t/won’t, then aren’t you automatically going to hell?

Edited by Kylolo

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anjulibai
Just now, Kylolo said:

This. Exactly. 

To phrase it as a question, if you aren’t predestined for heaven, then what? Can you get there anyway by sheer force of will? If you can’t/won’t, then aren’t you automatically going to hell?

And if you can, what is the point of predestination?

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