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Tag: The Crown College

IFB Pastor B.J. VanAman Has Prayer Cut Off By Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger

pastor bj van aman prayer
Pastor B.J. VanAman

B.J. VanAman is the pastor of the Pickerington Baptist Temple in Pickerington, Ohio. He is a graduate of Crown College of the Bible, an unaccredited, King James Only,  Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) college in Powell, Tennessee. As is the custom in Christian Ohio, legislators can have religious dignitaries from their districts come and give an invocation. Last Tuesday, Tim Schaffer (R), representative from the 77th district (Lancaster) invited Pastor VanAman to open the session with prayer.

Van Aman proceeds to pray a five-minute “sermon” (a common ploy by Christian Fundamentalists), complete with King James English. At the five-minute mark House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger cuts VanAman off by saying AMEN and quickly beginning the Pledge of Allegiance. What follows is a video of the VanAman’s introduction and prayer (first eight minutes).

The Columbus Dispatch had this to say about Van Aman’s prayer:

….

Lawmakers are welcome to invite religious leaders from their district to deliver an opening prayer to the House, as Rep. Tim Schaffer, R-Lancaster, did on Tuesday. Most prayers don’t go longer than 60 or 90 seconds, often delivering messages of inspiration and asking for wisdom and guidance.

House guidelines are largely based on a 1983 U.S. Supreme Court ruling requiring opening prayers to be nondenominational, nonsectarian and nonproselytizing.

The prayer on Tuesday mentioned “Though the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ,” and went on to describe Jesus, whose “name is above every name,” and at his name “every knee shall bow.” It also described Jesus as the “author and finisher of our faith.”

Rosenberger first peeked an eye open about three minutes in. At nearly four minutes, he opened his eyes and began looking around, clearly growing anxious about the length and trying to decide the right way to end it.

After just over five minutes, with no clear conclusion on the horizon, Rosenberger blurted out an “amen,” thanked Van Aman for being here and then motioned toward the flag to start the Pledge of Allegiance.

“I am speaker, so whether it’s floor action or the pastor giving the prayer, I feel I make the determination when we need to move it on,” Rosenberger said.

He was not the only one who felt that way. After the Pledge of Allegiance, a hot mic picked up a female voice on the floor: “That was a sermon.”

Rosenberger’s action earned praise from Rep. Mike Curtin, D-Marble Cliff, who called it “entirely appropriate.” Curtin covered the legislature for The Dispatch in the 1980s and did a story on the then-House chaplain, the Rev. Kenneth Grimes, a Catholic who was admired for his counsel and prayers that mixed inspiration and humor.

“He was very careful to acknowledge that the General Assembly is a diverse body,” Curtin said. “The opening prayer should reflect that diversity. It should reflect the Constitutional acknowledgement of there not being a state religion.”

That, Curtin said, means not infusing the name of Jesus Christ into many lines of the prayer.

“I don’t think any members take objection to a Christian clergyman or woman making reference to Jesus Christ. But what we’ve had lately in this chamber for a period of years now is a heavy, almost Christian proselytizing as the opening prayer, which in my view is inappropriate,” Curtin said.

The House has not had a designated chaplain for more than 20 years.

Members, Curtin said, need to school visiting clergy on the protocol. Rosenberger agreed that members may need to do a better job briefing their guests on expectations prior to the prayer.

Over-the-top sermonizing, Curtin said, “doesn’t have a place in the public body.”

….

HT: The Friendly Atheist

An IFB Pastor’s Passive-Aggressive Response to a Doubting Church Member

ifb preacher phil kidd
IFB Preacher Phil Kidd

A regular reader of this blog, a former Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) church member and preacher, who trained for the ministry at Clarence Sexton’s  The Crown College, sent me the following response from his pastor:

Dear Harry (not his real name),

Thanks for answering the first part of my letter.  I realize that you were about 17 when you allowed the devil to have you question God’s Word  and that you doubt God’s Word and even deny His Word.  Proverbs 23:7 says as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.

Harry, I know you know enough about God’s Word that nothing I say to you will convince you if the Holy Spirit Of God doesn’t make God real to you, I can’t.  I do not know if you and  Louise  have ever been saved.  I know that a person has to be convicted of the sin of unbelief before they can be saved.  It is not an emotional feeling.  It is conviction of the sin of unbelief.

Time will tell because you will experience God’s chastisement if you are saved.  I fear what it might take for God to get your attention.  If you don’t experience God’s chastisement then you will know that you were never saved to begin with according to God’s Word.

You really don’t see the seriousness of sin.  It put My Savior on the cross of Calvary for my sin.  There will be no one in hell for telling a lie or stealing.  If anyone goes to hell it will be because of the sin of unbelief.

Your children have to hear the truth before they can believe the truth.  So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.  Please give them a chance to hear God’s Word like you had.  If you and your wife don’t want to come to church, will you give your children  a chance by allowing them to come to master club and watch God work in their tender hearts.

Harry, I encourage you to do all the research on Jesus you can find and see if he is a liar, lunatic, or He is who He says He is.  Your whole family’s destiny depends on who Jesus is and what you do with Him.

I am here for you if you need me.  Remember God loves you.Thanks for taking time to read this.

Your Friend,

Pastor God’s Man

Those of you who have left the IFB church movement are quite familiar with the tactics and approach used by Harry’s pastor. This passive-aggressive approach is used any time an IFB church member thinks about leaving the church or has doubt about the teachings of the church and pastor.

The pastor appeals to their relationship, and even goes so far as to tell Harry he is still his friend. He reminds him that God loves him and that he, the pastor, is there for him if he needs him.  All well and good, right? If this is all the pastor had said, few of us would have found fault with his words. But, like the true IFB pastor he is…with the carrot comes a big stick.

The pastor tells Harry:

  • He is influenced by the Devil
  • He doubts his salvation
  • That God will chastise him IF he is a really is a Christian
  • Everyone in hell is there because of unbelief
  • He is ignorant, having failed to do all the research on Jesus (I thought the Bible was all we needed?)

And then he plays the children card. He appeals to Harry on the familial level. After all, their eternal destiny depends on them coming to this pastor’s church.  What he fails to realize and understand is that as a person raised in the IFB church, Harry would most certainly want to keep his children away from the pernicious IFB church and its teachings and practices. If he is breaking free, why would he want to expose his children to these things?

I hope this post illustrates for readers the challenges people face when they decide to walk away from the IFB church. By leaving they are cutting themselves off from everything they have ever known. This young family man is to be commended for being willing to walk away. It took great courage to do so. May there be many more just like him.