Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Varieties of Baptist Experience

We want gentle readers to appreciate this juxtaposition.

The first is a YouTube video* of a Baptist minister preaching on a phrase in the KJV that probably offends certain elements of contemporary taste. It was forwarded to us by a professional colleague who savored it as an example of, shall we say delicately, biblical interpretation that eschews thoughtful principles. And let's just say that it represents what is one extreme of the Baptist movement in the United States at present.

The second is an article from the utterly necessary WSJ detailing the recent "Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant," a gathering of Baptists sympathetic to the views of former President and current Embarrassment Jimmy Carter. We quote this paragraph as a taste of an event not widely covered in the media:

Novelist John Grisham offered an audience of several thousand his advice for how "we as Baptists [can] disarm our critics" (as if that should be their main concern). "Stay out of politics," he advised. Of course, it all depends on what you mean by "politics." Mr. Grisham made sure to mention the need to eliminate the death penalty. Earlier in the day, activist Marian Wright Edelman advocated reaching out across political divides to solve the problems of America's children -- by making sure, for instance, that the Bush tax cuts don't become permanent. (Just how such folks will handle fiscal matters when they get into power became clear when a Covenant official addressed the crowd: He asked for several dollars more than had been previously requested, since each printed program ended up costing $3 to produce, not $2.)

We SWNIDishly enjoy exposure to these extremes of someone else's ecclesial family, reminded that our kooks are not much different from anyone else's kooks.**
*We link rather than embed out of respect for those gentle readers who would rather not hear a minister of the gospel repeatedly use an English term that was more socially acceptable in the 17th century than it is today.

**Thanks to Professor Jacob Neusner for once formulating the dogma of kooks on a Firing Line program in the 1990s.


Jake said...

That video is hysterical - thanks for the link. I'm going to go now and send it to everyone I know. It will be the basis of my new theology on what it means to be a MAN (not a male, of course).

Christian said...


You know, the phrase in that video is the literal translation of the hebrew. I also think it's an interesting euphamism. But what does that have to do with men being men? It was almsot funny at first, but once I knew where he was going with it, I just stopped it.

I would comment more, but I'm sure that I don't need to because of how obviously rediculous this is.

Carl said...

link of the year.

CS Sweatman said...

What intrigued me about the clip was that he said, God's wrath was going to come on those "who (insert euphemism) against the wall"; and yet, he goes on to say: We need more preachers "who (insert euphemism) against the wall". Is he suggesting that we need more ministers who are worthy of God's wrath? What sad, strange, poor, little man.

Chris said...

That video made me laugh out loud. It's even funnier to me because, as a woman, I must admit I don't see what the big deal is. I have two sons and one prefers to sit down, while the other stands and has bad aim.

I even have a friend that was all worried when her toddler did not want to stand. As if that meant he was gay or something.

And here is a question: is this a regular topic of discussion among men, "So do you sit or stand? How 'bout dem Giants?"

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

The speed with which so many enthusiastic comments were posted about this item rather diminishes our confidence in the elevated taste of our gentle readers.

Still, we are what we are.

Chris, the gentleman who writes this blog has never had conversation with other gentlemen on the gravid question of standing versus sitting. If our experience is in any sense normal (a doubtful premise, but the only one on which we can offer a response to your question), then the issue is not of interest to men generally.

Faithwalker said...

Outrageously funny video!

However, it did remind me of hearing a well known evangelist speak in chapel at CCU -- then CBC -- in the early 1980's. He had the audacity to use similar "potty" description in his message (not hermeneutically, however); most of us in attendance were aghast in our pews (why, the men in attendance were even seated).

Ahh, memories. . .

Anonymous said...

I laughed so hard I wet my pants (sitting down) - uh oh.

Christian said...


You criticize your readers for their taste when you are the one who wrote the original post?

Besides, your readers aren't laughing at lowly bar room humor, they are laughing at the preachers who use an insanely terrible hermaneutic. I would think that a good sign that your readers have not degraded to poor hermaneutics.

Anonymous said...

According to his essay on “easy-believism” on his church’s website, here are a couple questions this dude has for you:

I preach against watching television – do you?
I preach against birth control – do you?
I preach against alcohol – do you?
I preach against women wearing pants – do you?
I preach against mixed swimming – do you?
I preach against women working – do you?
I preach against any secular music – do you?
I preach against fornication – do you?

Also, as a Bible College professor you may want to read over his essay "Why Bible College is Unscriptural and Wrong" before you next class.

Bryan D said...

That could quite possibly be the best anonymous post ever . . .


Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...


You think that was SWNIDish criticism?

Anonymous said...

This video is so "over the top," I'm tempted to think that it's a spoof, or at least deep down Pastor Anderson knows that what he's preaching is ridiculous, but perhaps he has found a good con game.
I know his church has a web site, and everything is in place to make it look like there is an actual church where this guy is preaching many "interesting sermons" (a lengthy podcast list is available on the web site), but notice a couple of things about the video. First, it's a rather wierd camera angle, don't you think? Churches usually video from the back of the auditorium. But by videoing from this angle, one never sees whether or not there is an audience. Second, you don't hear much background noise, if at all. If he's acutally preaching to an audience, shouldn't there be some noise? Moreover, listen to the acoustics--he sounds like he's talking in a rather small room.

Perhaps he really is preaching in a "storefront" kind of church to a deathly quiet audience. But if I didn't know better, between his theatrics and the other points I've mentioned, I would say it looks staged.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the youtube clip. Wasn't sure what I was going to preach on this Sunday, but thankfully this guy provided some material for me. I'll get back to you Monday morning to see if you know of any open preaching ministries! I'm sure I'll need to be looking then!

Anonymous said...

I was thinking it could be fake too, but how do you make stuff like that up?

Omar Cruz said...

I like this blog is fantastic, is really good written. Congratulation. Do you want to see something more? Read it...:Great investment opportunity in Costa Rica: beach real estate, condo, condos for sale. Visit us for more info at:

Bryan D said...

Omar, what a really good written comment!

Hmm, I feel the need to purchase real estate . . .