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The IFB Blood Cult: I’m Not Brainwashed, I’m Bloodwashed

blood of jesus

Several years ago, an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) man left a comment on a blog post about his pastor and church — Tony Hutson and Middle Tennessee Baptist Church. (I responded to his comments and emails here.) Tony Hutson is the son of the late Curtis Hutson — a popular IFB conference speaker and editor of the Sword of the Lord. In 1990, Tony Hutson, sensing a call from the IFB God, went to the mission field to establish a new church. Where was this mission field, you ask?  Why, in deep, dark, church-less Murfreesboro, Tennessee — the land of more Baptists than you can count and home to IFB publishing house and newspaper, Sword of the LordAccording to Hutson’s church bio page, he is:

Rooted and grounded in the fundamentals of the faith and following the “old paths” in every aspect of his ministry, Bro. Tony has a soul winner’s heart and great vision.


He travels around the country preaching most Mondays and Tuesdays but is still available to his people and nearly always in the pulpit for regular services at Middle Tennessee Baptist Church. His preaching has been described as dynamic, exciting and convicting. His larger-than-life personality and tremendous sense of humor, combined with a sincere desire to serve the Lord and preach His Word without compromise, make Bro. Tony Hutson a preacher everyone should hear.

In other words, he is da bomb! He is physically and metaphorically bigger than life!

blood of jesus

The aforementioned commenter said in his comment that the people at Middle Tennessee Baptist were not brainwashed, they were bloodwashed. I would like to take up this cliché in the remainder of this post.

Independent Fundamentalist Baptists love talking about the blood, the precious blood, the miraculous blood, the sin-cleansing blood. Much like the Israelites in the Old Testament with their pagan-esque God-ordered blood sacrifices, Baptists revel in the bloody, violent sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Baptists LOVE Mel Gibson’s family movie, The Passion of the Christ — a porno/ snuff film. More than a few Baptist preachers whispered, the movie is even better than the book! (For the record, I have never seen the movie.)

Years ago, Fundamentalist pastor John MacArthur caused quite a controversy when he said that it was the DEATH of Jesus, not his blood, that provided atonement for human sin. Blood worshipers quickly denounced MacArthur, appealing to M.R. DeHaan’s classic forty-page book, The Chemistry of the Blood, as proof for the necessity of Jesus’s blood sacrifice

In chapter five of the book, DeHaan — a medical doctor and Fundamentalist preacher — had this to say about Jesus’s miraculous, powerful blood:

There is a Second and a more potent reason still. The blood was God’s only purchase price of redemption. When man sinned, something happened to his blood, for “the life . . . is in the blood.” Instead of incorruptible and, therefore, deathless blood, Adam’s blood corrupted through sin and became subject to death. To redeem this DEAD sinner, life must be again imparted. The only remedy for death is LIFE. This life is in the blood and so blood must be furnished which is sinless and incorruptible. Now none of Adam’s race could do this. For in “Adam all died.” “All have sinned and come short.” The angels could not furnish that blood for they are spirit beings and have neither flesh nor blood. There was only one, yes, ONLY ONE, who could furnish that blood, the virgin-born Son of God, with a human body, but sinless supernatural blood, inseminated by the Holy Ghost. In a previous message we showed scientifically that every drop of blood in an infant’s body is the contribution of the male parent, while the mother furnished all the flesh of that little body. Jesus’ body was of Mary; His blood was by the Holy Ghost. This sinless, supernatural blood was the only price of redemption God could accept, without violating the integrity of His holy nature. Death can only be banished by life. A blood transfusion must be performed and provided.


This [modern blood banks] is not one millionth as wonderful as what God did nineteen centuries ago. Then there was one Man who gave ALL His sinless blood on the Cross of Calvary. There a BLOOD BANK was opened and into that bank went the blood of the Lord Jesus. It suits every type, avails for everyone and is free to all who submit to its “transfusion” by the Holy Spirit. All you need to do is apply for it by FAITH. We must add chemicals to the blood in our blood banks to preserve it, and then it eventually deteriorates just the same, but no preservatives need be added to His Precious blood, for it is INCORRUPTIBLE and sinless. Not one drop of that blood was lost or wasted. It is INCORRUPTIBLE.

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with CORRUPTIBLE THINGS, as silver and gold. . . . But with the precious BLOOD of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” —1 Peter 1:18,19  That blood CANNOT PERISH I do not know where that blood is now but I suspect it is in heaven somewhere just as fresh and as potent as when it was shed nineteen hundred years ago. When I get to heaven I shall not be surprised to find a diamond studded, golden basin next to the throne with the very blood, the precious incorruptible blood which was shed at Calvary, and as we gaze upon it we will sing, “Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood,” Revelation 1:5

Hallelujah for the Blood! Reader, do you know that blood is as fresh today as it ever was and will be. It cannot perish. There is a hymn which goes something like this, “Upon the Cross His blood was spilt, A ransom for our sins and guilt.”

One of the most oft-sung hymns in IFB churches is the song, Are You Washed in the Blood?

Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing pow’r?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Are you fully trusting in His grace this hour?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Are you washed in the blood,
In the soul-cleansing blood of the Lamb?
Are your garments spotless? Are they white as snow?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Are you walking daily by the Savior’s side?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Do you rest each moment in the Crucified?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

When the Bridegroom cometh will your robes be white?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Will your soul be ready for the mansions bright,
And be washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Lay aside the garments that are stained with sin,
And be washed in the blood of the Lamb;
There’s a fountain flowing for the soul unclean,
Oh, be washed in the blood of the Lamb!

Another classic from the Best Blood Hymns album is the song, There’s Power in the Blood:

Would you be free from your burden of sin?
There’s power in the blood, power in the blood;
Would you o’er evil a victory win?
There’s wonderful power in the blood.

There is power, power, wonder-working power,
In the blood of the Lamb;
There is power, power, wonder-working power,
In the precious blood of the Lamb.

Would you be free from your passion and pride?
There’s power in the blood, power in the blood;
Come for a cleansing to Calvary’s tide,
There’s wonderful power in the blood.

Would you be whiter, much whiter than snow?
There’s power in the blood, power in the blood;
Sin-stains are lost in its life-giving flow,
There’s wonderful power in the blood.

Would you do service for Jesus your King?
There’s power in the blood, power in the blood;
Would you live daily His praises to sing?
There’s wonderful power in the blood.

there's power in the blood of jesus

In the mid-1970s, my wife and I attended Midwestern Baptist College in Pontiac, Michigan. Midwestern was started in the 1950s by Tom Malone, the pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Pontiac. Students were required to attend services at Emmanuel every time the doors were open. As was the church’s custom, a public invitation was given at the end of every service. Most IFB churches use the song Just As I Am for their invitation hymn. Emmanuel, however, used William Cowper’s eighteenth-century hymn, There is a Fountain Filled With Blood:

There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains:
Lose all their guilty stains,
Lose all their guilty stains;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
Lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day;
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away:
Wash all my sins away,
Wash all my sins away;
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away.

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood
Shall never lose its power,
Till all the ransomed ones of God
Be saved, to sin no more:
Be saved, to sin no more,
Be saved, to sin no more;
Till all the ransomed ones of God,
Be saved to sin no more.

E’er since by faith I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die:
And shall be till I die,
And shall be till I die;
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.

When this poor lisping, stammering tongue
Lies silent in the grave,
Then in a nobler, sweeter song,
I’ll sing Thy power to save:
I’ll sing Thy power to save,
I’ll sing Thy power to save;
Then in a nobler, sweeter song,
I’ll sing Thy power to save.

Depending on the number of people responding to the invitation, the five verses of There is a Fountain Filled with Blood could be sung several times, leading to mass lethargy and sleepiness.

As you can see, the IFB church movement is a blood cult, as are many Christian sects. In their defense, the Bible does say in Hebrews 9:22, 26-28:

And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

No blood, no remission of sin. No blood, no eternal life. No blood, no meaning, purpose, and direction in this life. The first church I worked in used the tagline, The Blood, the Book, and the Blessed Hope. Contemporary Christian artist Andre Crouch spoke of this powerful blood in his classic song, The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power:

The blood that Jesus shed for me,
Way back on Calvary;
The blood that gives me strength
From day to day,
It will never lose it’s power.

It reaches to the highest mountain,
It flows to the lowest valley;
The blood that gives me strength
From day to day,
It will never lose it’s power.

It soothes my doubts and calms my fears,
And it dries all my tears;
The blood that gives me strength
From day to day,
It will never lose it’s power.

So, when the aforementioned commenter says that the people at Middle Tennessee Baptist are not brainwashed, they are bloodwashed, my response is this: brainwashing — actually indoctrination and conditioning — is required before someone can accept bloodwashing. Children in IFB churches are taught from preschool forward that they are sinners who deserve God’s judgment and Hell; and that the only way to avoid Hell is to have the blood of Jesus applied to your life; and that the only way to Heaven and life eternal is through the blood of Jesus Christ. These children are frequently taught Bible stories about Old Testament blood sacrifices and the New Testament final blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. This training continues throughout their lives, even into adulthood. Is it any wonder, then, that IFB congregants believe, with nary a brain cell disturbed, that the forgiveness of sin, salvation, and eternal life all require blood sacrifice (and a miraculous raising of a dead person back to life)? This is all they have heard Sunday after Sunday their entire lives. Without the brainwashing, there would be no need for the bloodwashing. Apply rational, critical thinking skills, and the very notion of blood sacrifice fades into pages of history — a reminder of ancient cult beliefs.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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  1. Avatar

    “What can wash away my sins?
    Nothing but the good if Jesus.
    What can make me whole again?
    Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

    Unless you believe one if the other 3 roads to salvation to be found in the Bible as Bruce has mentioned in previous posts.

    I was 37 years old before it sunk in that Christianity was a blood cult. That is how much I was brainwashed by it. All the songs about blood, all the verses about blood, all the sermons. And It took a trip to Mexico visiting a place where Mayans practiced human sacrifice for me to realize it. That was the end for me.

  2. Avatar
    Dr. R

    I wonder if all this “bloodwashing” as a child is why I grew into such a bloody-minded adult!

    Rape, murder, pillage, genocide, human sacrifice (and not just Jesus – never forget poor Jeptha’s daughter) – all this made for great bedtime stories, completely age-appropriate for a young child.

    (FWIW I grew up in an SBC church, though it had a large Gothardite faction that derided the SBC as a bunch of hell-bound liberals and wanted to take the church independent. I still get a chuckle to this day when I hear liberals go on about how conservative the SBC is. They mustn’t know about IFB!)

  3. Avatar

    Dr R, I agree with you – my SBC church was less conservative than my IFB school. But I remember my grandparents tellim me not to attend a certain SBC church in Nashville because it was “too liberal”.

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    Dr. R

    Regarding a woman’s blood (if you mean menstruation), it wasn’t harped on too badly. The cult and church I was in pretty much pretended that it didn’t happen, other than to say that husbands and wives should refrain from, er, intimate relations during that period. They weren’t as extreme as Orthodox Judaism, for instance.

    I once even heard menstruation tied in to the verse “without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins.” I always thought that was interesting.

    Oh, and of course pads were preferable to tampons. If you can imagine this: I didn’t even know what a tampon was until I was in my late 20s or early 30s.

    I suspect Bill Gothard probably had some things to say about menstruation, but after I heard him make some absolutely ridiculous comments about playing cards (not the verb playing cards, but the noun – the cards themselves! “the King is a mockery of God, the Spade is a mockery of Death”) I began to tune him out. Surprisingly (or not), after the playing card bit my mother also stopped listening to his pronouncements and stopped treating him like some bloody prophet.

    I should write a book about all this so future generations can look back and feel all smug and superior to the crazy idiots back in the 20th century!

  5. Avatar

    Well jesus must be one hell of a blood donor. If the crucifixion didnt finish the job the blood loss from washing all the sins of the world will certainly fo the trick.I just hope he is O- so people dont have worry too much

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    I’ve found it fascinating that the IFB god never calls any of them to North Korea; if ANY place in the world needed the great IFB influence its there, right? And certainly he could protect them & keep them safe from the attacks of their evil atheistic government, right? You would think, but no, IFB pastors are frequently “called” to their pastor their fathers and/or grandfathers churches before them or to an area that they are familiar & comfortable with. Or even more amazing, they get called to the Bahamas or Hawaii to “suffer for Jesus”.

    I read an interview with a journalist who had been to NK numerous times & reported on it said that North Korea was the “most religious place on this planet”; when the interviewer asked what he meant, he said: “they worship a man & his dead father”; (this was when Kim Jong Il was still alive). I would say that NK certainly needs some young IFB preacherboys to take up the mantle & start a church or ministry there. What do you thing, Bruce? ?

  7. Avatar

    reading these lyrics after having been out for so long–wow! it just shows that we were brainwashed into thinking this is normal stuff. i never understood before when my school friends who visited our church would say that the words to the songs were scary and weird. now i do.

  8. Avatar

    The IFB churches most certainly are cults. The leaders MUST constantly keep feeding into the minds of their flock the indoctrination that keeps the sheep docile. Hell that’s why there are always “Bible studies”= mini indoctrination sessions in the middle of the week. Then the 90 minute sermon & singing every Sunday. The rules of mandatory church attendance pressure people to be forced to be constantly *fed*=brainwashed EVERY SINGLE SUNDAY & other times during the week. They never let people’s minds get a BREAK. After all- the people who get away from the preaching/teaching=indoctrination, just might start THINKING for themselves. Or they might actually meet people & discuss things with folks who have a difference of opinion! It really is a mindf*ck. Just keep the horrible indoctrination coming (constant barrage of sermons, songs, bible studies, etc.) so people eventually shut off their mind’s ability to REASON & THINK for THEMSELVES. The PASTOR ends up doing their thinking for them. It’s a system that manipulates & COERCES people. 🙁

    I sure am glad I got out!

  9. Avatar

    “In a previous message we showed scientifically that every drop of blood in an infant’s body is the contribution of the male parent, while the mother furnished all the flesh of that little body.”

    I’m sorry, what?! All one needs to know to understand this is complete nonsense is what a Punnett square is and how it relates to blood type. If the male parent contributed all the blood, then all children would share the blood types of their fathers. Surprise surprise, that’s not how that works.

    You’d think people so concerned with blood would care to learn how it actually works… though I suppose that does rather take the mystery out of it.

  10. Avatar
    The Bride

    We currently attend an IFB church which is very small, in a super liberal part of the USA (MA) & the only issues I struggle with are the incessant barraging of us being sinners (I already suffer from Depression & beat myself up enough that I don’t need to be constantly reminded that I’m a piece of garbage, etc.), the deriding & despising of alcohol consumption (even if done by an adult in moderation in a social-setting), the demonization of all secular music, the total demonization of pot-usage (even if prescribed by a doctor), & the general lack of compassion & empathy for those who experience severe depression & other mental health issues. The latter-two are usually relegated to ‘sin’ (what else right?!?) & the advice is linear & stoic, despite it being Biblical (but par for the course there, I guess….)

    We will continue to attend our small IFB church, but only for their doctrinally-sound sake & certainly not for any warmth, compassion, or attempt to bind & heal. I’ll stick with my unsaved-friends, family, etc. for the ‘heart’ stuff since the IFB church just does not get it, which is very unfortunate because it only alienates us further from our supposed ‘eternal family’…..?

    • Avatar

      You deserve better. You deserve a spiritual and/or religious community that can uplift you in a positive, compassionate, and empathic embrace. Hope you find one soon!

    • Avatar
      Michael Mock

      That seems like a very broad-ranging and rather fundamental list for something you blithely describe as “the only issues you struggle with”. I don’t particularly want to pull you away from Christian teachings or Christian community, but it seems like those are some fairly major areas of disagreement. So maybe, just maybe, you should spend some time in discernment as to whether this church is a good fit for you, spiritually.

      I don’t know. I’m not you, I don’t know your circumstances firsthand, individual experiences may vary etc. etc. but this just… doesn’t sound healthy.

      Regardless, I wish you well.

  11. Avatar

    Very interesting The Bride.

    I spent many years (with regret now as I look back) in IFB churches here in Ontario Canada. Everything you write here I could say was true of my experience, including “staying” only for the doctrine.

    When I look back I realize that staying as long as I did rotted me from the inside out. Every day wallowing in the constant barrage of wretchedness thrown at us. Being a very sensitive person, with childhood and adult trauma, I was very vulnerable to these messages (always backed up by scripture) about how wretched (worm), deceitful (Jeremiah) and unworthy (woman/Eve) I was/am.

    As a woman who understands depression and self-deprecating beliefs I know now that staying as long as I did made me sicker. I knew it then as well, but this part of me that was damaged kept thinking “the church” would get it right one day &/or that I could make a difference. It was all wishful and hopeful thinking.

    If your church shows nothing of warmth, compassion &/or healing . . . then I’d ask myself (as I once did) if I was willing to die for that supposed “doctrinally-sound” church? Any church that ad nauseum tells you you are “a piece of garbage” is an abusive church.

    I tend to think you know this already.

    I was not willing to die. I let go. Then I began to heal.

    Be safe The Bride. If being there makes you worse, it’s no place to be. Show compassion to yourself.

  12. Avatar

    As Jesus was born via an act of non-consensual implanting of sperm in his mother (it’s never clear just how God planted the seed), it’s hard to see how he wasn’t born into sin, using the IFB definitions. The reality is, sadly, that Christianity is a religion of hate, disguised as being one of love. “Do as I say, believe what I believe, or else suffer eternal torment in hell”, is about as full of hate as it gets.

  13. Avatar

    I’ve always been blood-phobic to some extent and had to grit my teeth if, for example, I had to deal with my child’s grazed knee or cut finger cos dad wasn’t there to do it. As a children’s evangelist for years, I often chose ‘There’s a fountain flowing deep and wide,’ and cavorted about at the front, telling the kids to drop a word each time, progressively, so that on the 12th repeat, we were just singing ‘Um-um,um, um um… before the 13th redition used all the words again triumphantly….and I can’t quite believe now, it took me so very many years to realise the fountain…..was jesus’ blood, yuck….rivers of the stuff…it was one more dissonance that I finally addressed as I deconverted.

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    MJ Lisbeth

    Just one drop? Tennessee had a one-drop rule, too.

    The only way, to my knowledge, one can be “redeemed” by the blood of another is through a transfusion.

    The Bride—I have no wish to see you de-convert, unless that’s what you want. But why do you have to be around people who trash your (and, ultimately, their own) humanity?

  15. Avatar
    Steve Ruis

    The sad thing is that these beliefs are vestiges of the belief in blood magic. The Biblike is literally larder with blood magic, a form of magic that uses body secretions to generate power. Blood magic predates Judaism and Christianity and is obviously a form of superstition.

    Of course, the actual blood of Jesus is not available as Jesus done took his body with him when he went to heaven, so to get that cleaning blood, you have to use even more magic to create it from sacramental wine, which for many has to be made magically from grape juice. Whew, that is a whole lot of magic, especially for Christians who vilify magic and magicians, Harry Potter, etc.

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Bruce Gerencser