This is the one hundred and eighty-fourth installment in The Sounds of Fundamentalism series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a video clip that shows the crazy, cantankerous, or contradictory side of Evangelical Christianity, please send me an email with the name or link to the video. Please do not leave suggestions in the comment section. Let’s have some fun!
Today’s Sound of Fundamentalism is a video clip from a service held by Tony Hutson, pastor of Middle Tennessee Baptist Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Hutson is the son of the late Curtis Hutson, editor of the Sword of the Lord. — an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist periodical started by John R. Rice. In the video clip, Hutson shares a litany of things that offend him.
This is the one hundred and eighty-third installment in The Sounds of Fundamentalism series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a video clip that shows the crazy, cantankerous, or contradictory side of Evangelical Christianity, please send me an email with the name or link to the video. Please do not leave suggestions in the comment section. Let’s have some fun!
Today’s Sound of Fundamentalism is a video clip from a service held by Tony Hutson, pastor of Middle Tennessee Baptist Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Hutson is the son of the late Curtis Hutson, editor of the Sword of the Lord. — an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist periodical started by John R. Rice. In the video clip Hutson mocks people of Asian descent, shows his disdain for alcohol use, and shares a prayer he prayed at a Japanese restaurant — supposedly. I say “supposedly” because Hutson’s sermon illustrations — much like his morbidly obese body — are often bigger than life. In other words, Hutson embellishes — Greek for lies — the truth so he can make a point.
Recently, 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 Lord. According 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!
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 with 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 we 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.”
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?
Refrain: 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!
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.
Chorus: 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.
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.
Chorus: 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 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 sacrifice 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, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 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.
Last November, I posted a short video clip of a worship service at Middle Tennessee Baptist Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Middle Tennessee Baptist is pastored by Tony Hutson, the son of the late Curtis Hutson, the one time editor of the Sword of the Lord — an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist newspaper and publishing house.
Several days ago, a member of Middle Tennessee Baptist Church left the following comment on the original post:
There is bible for everhtbing [sic] that went on in the video. You have no right to get on here and go against Brother Tony Hutson and Middle Tennessee Baptist Church. Those girls are not brainwashed, they are bloodwashed. If you would repent and be saved by the grace of God, you wouldn’t mind the shouting and praising that you call yelling and screaming. If you didn’t like that…you will not like what happens in Heaven when we praise Jesus Christ our Lord.
Where, oh where, do I begin.
First, I have every right to go against “Brother Tony Hutson and Middle Tennessee Baptist Church.” It’s called freedom of speech. Personally, I think Tony Huston is a bully and a thug. In other words, he is a great example of an IFB preacher.
Second, I have already repented, and I have been gloriously saved by the grace of God. Surely, you believe in once saved, always saved? I’m a Christian, brother, according to your theology. Of course, I don’t claim to be a Christian. I am an atheist. But, I was a Christian for 50 years, so I know just a little bit about Christianity — especially your flavor of the one true faith.
Third, I know screaming and hollering when I see it. I also know culturally conditioned religious expression when I see it too. The behavior shown in the video is typical for southern Baptist churches. I have attended camp meetings in the south, and watched grown men act like drug addicts on meth. Such behavior is culturally learned. In the north, such behavior is rare. Why is that? And the northern churches that are more expressive? They have a pastor who was raised — drum roll, please — in the south.
Fourth, have you been to Heaven? If not, how can you possibly know what is or will be going on in Heaven? You don’t. All you are doing is projecting your personal religious experiences on to what the Bible says about Heaven (not that Heaven exists, it doesn’t). By all means, provide Biblical proof texts for your assertion that the culture in Heaven will be just like the one found at Middle Tennessee Baptist Church. I’ve read the Bible a time or two or fifty, and I don’t recall reading anything that remotely sounds like Sunday night church with Tony Hutson and Middle Tennessee Baptist Church.
Fifth, I do like the cliché, they are not brainwashed, they are bloodwashed. I might use that for a new blog post.
Have a good day. Thank you for commenting.
Bruce, a sinner saved by reason
The man then sent me the following email:
You said that I was using the Bible to express my beliefs about Heaven? That’s what a Christian is supposed to do. There are numerous verses about shouting with a loud voice unto the Lord. You were never saved by the way. If you can say that you received Christ and then say that you are an atheist…you are lost. It takes more faith to believe He does not exist. At the end of the day Brother Tony and Middle Tennessee Baptist Church are winners. I must add that I do attend the church and I am proud of it. We get to praise God and come to a place to worship and be cleaned and refreshed to serve God. If God is not real ( which He is of course), and you live your life the way you want that is all well and good. I’ll live mine the way I want by going to church all the time and worshipping Him. We both win in that situation. Yet, if He is real..and we live like I stated before, I win. You’ll spend eternity in hell and I’ll be in Heaven. Who really wins in the long run? You can make fun of my pastor and my church all you want to sir. You are just proving the Bible to be true that “the fool hath said in his heart there is no God.” God’s going to judge you and all of your little friends on your blog. Get a job and a life, and stop making fun of people who have one.
I want to conclude this post with my public response to this man’s email.
First, I did not say you were using the Bible to express your beliefs about heaven. In fact, I said the opposite; that you will search the Bible far and wide for justification of the practices shown in the videos and come up empty; that what you consider “Biblical” worship is actually culturally driven religious expression, the result of generations of immersion in southern Baptist Fundamentalism.
Second, how can you possibly know if I was saved or not? Are you God? This is the point where I get into a Baptist version of a dick measuring contest. Would you like to compare your present life with my past life? Would you like to compare sincerity, faith, or good works? Would you like to compare my devotion to preaching, evangelicalism, prayer, and Bible study to yours? I am confident that you will find that I had a John Holmes-sized Christian faith, and that critics such as yourself have what I would call a Donald Trump-sized faith.
I was part of the Christian church for fifty years. I pastored Evangelical churches — including IFB churches — for twenty-five years. I was, in every way, a sold-out, on-fire, devoted follower of Jesus Christ. You will search in vain to find a congregant or ministerial colleague who thought, at the time, that I was not a Christian. Everyone thought I was a committed believer. Either I deceived thousands of people or your judgment is wrong.
I realize that you cannot square my present unbelief with your IFB belief in the security of the believer — once saved, always saved. That’s not my problem. All I know is this: I once was saved, and now I am not. And I am not alone. Countless readers of this blog were once Holy Ghost-filled followers of Jesus Christ, and now they are atheists, agnostics, Pagans, and a plethora of other non-Evangelical beliefs. You can deny this all you want, but we exist and we are not going away.
The argument you use to justify me believing in your God despite a lack of evidence for his existence is called Pascal’s Wager. Please do some study on its usage and why it is not the slam-dunk argument you think it is. I am sure Pastor Hutson teaches his church to use Pascal’s Wager when talking to unbelievers, but it is an ineffective argument and it actually makes a mockery of Christian faith.
Should non-Christians believe Christianity is true just because there is a slim bettor’s chance that the Christian God exists? Should the motivation of non-believers converting to Christianity be the threat of hell after death? And if people are to get saved “just in case,” shouldn’t they also become Muslims, Hindus, Catholics and Buddhists or embrace any of the thousands of other religions concocted by human imaginations? If the objective is for people to cover all their bases — and their asses — why have you not done the same with other religious faiths? Surely, you don’t want to risk going to an Islamic or Hindi hell, do you? Wouldn’t it better to praise Allah AND Jesus, and not risk worshiping the wrong God? If you want me to do this, shouldn’t you do the same?
Who is the fool here, Tim? I have followed the path wherever it leads, and it has brought me to a place where I am confident that the Christian God does not exist. Have you thoroughly investigated the claims of Christianity? Have you read books by authors who are not Fundamentalists? Have you read any books about the nature of the Biblical text; that it is not an inspired, inerrant, infallible book? Do yourself a favor. Read up on this subject. Let me recommend a few books by New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman for you to read:
You need to understand that calling me a fool and threatening me with your God’s judgment and hell have no effect on me. I have weighed Christianity in the balance and found it wanting. (Please read Why) I have read the Bible from cover to cover dozens of times and spent thousands of hours studying and preaching its words. My loss of faith stems from me taking the Bible seriously. I came to a place where I finally realized that the Christian narrative no longer made sense. (Please read The Michael Mock Rule: It Just Doesn’t Make Sense) I hope you will invest serious time in truly understanding the Bible. Read a couple of the books mentioned above, and then we can talk.
Again, thank you for commenting.
Bruce, a sinner saved by reason
About Bruce Gerencser
Bruce Gerencser, 60, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 39 years. He and his wife have six grown children and eleven 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. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.
Bruce is a local photography business owner, operating Defiance County Photo out of his home. If you live in Northwest Ohio and would like to hire Bruce, please email him.
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Warning! This video may be disturbing to some people. I have sat in many such services. Today, I have a hard time watching videos such as this.
This is the one hundred and sixty-second installment in The Sounds of Fundamentalism series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a video clip that shows the crazy, cantankerous, or contradictory side of Evangelical Christianity, please send me an email with the name or link to the video. Please do not leave suggestions in the comment section. Let’s have some fun!