"Extravagant , Theatrical , Acrobatic And ...

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Rippon, Oct 2, 2006.

  1. Rippon

    Rippon
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    [ having ] country-yokel touches. " Who is being described ? Why none other than Billy Sunday . The words are those of George M. Marsden in his classic : Fundamentalism and American Culture . Now I realize that God works in strange and mysterious ways ( in the parahrased words of William Cowper ) . One of my heroes of the faith was Gordon H. Clark . It is strange ( if you know anything about Dr. Clark ) but he was led to a saving knowledge of Christ during a Billy Sunday campaign in the 19--teens . Princeton Seminary had Sunday preach on the grounds ( while BB warfield was still around ) . Machen and Sunday had an extensive correspondence . The Lord had His purposes worked out in the ministry of Sunday . But quite frankly BS was a sorry example as a preacher . He must have had some notable exceptions when he really preached the claims of Christ . But most of the time folks listening and watching his performances would get the idea that here was a classical instance of the so-called " Christian minister " -- a clown whose main theme is : "Stop drinking liquor . "

    Here are some selections from Marsden's book .

    At his ordination examination for the Presbyterian ministry in 1903 , his characteristic response to questions on theology and history was " That's too deep for me , " or " I'll have to pass that up ." " I don't know any more about theology ," he once said with some accuracy , " than a jack-rabbit knows about ping-pong , but I'm on my way to glory . "
    The more decorous conservatives who were concerned that liberalism would turn religion into morality and abandon true doctrine , were often appalled by Sunday's methods , as well as by his slipshod and often Pelagian teaching . In 1907 , The Watchman , a conservative Baptist mouthpiece , said Sunday's preaching " outrages every accepted canon of religious worship . " apparently Reuben Torrey agreed , at least privately , advising A.P. Fitt , Moody's son-in-law , not to let Sunday speak at the Institute because of his sensational [ not meaning wonderful -- Rip ]evangelistic techniques . ( p. 130 )

    One of these speakers , a Presbyterian , observed that when he had heard his fellow Presbyterian Billy Sunday preach a sermon packed with Arminian theology , he had responded , " Good ! The walls are breaking down . " The present generation , he suggested , had a better understanding of the purposes of God than did John Calvin . (p. 133 )

    He mixed a simple do-it-yourself ( with God's grace ) Gospel message with the traditional American moral virtues of decency , patriotism , manliness , thrift , sobriety , piety , and hard work . His interest in doctrine and demoninational differences was even slighter than Bryan's [ William Jennings Bryant -- Rip ] ( p.135 )

    It apparently did not strain his principles ... to conclude in 1917 that " Christianity and Patriotism are synonymous terms and hell and traitors are synonymous ." ( p. 142 )
     
  2. Rippon

    Rippon
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    Aside from crusading against booze Sunday was known for his athletic stunts . As I was flipping through the web to get some more info on the man I came across an ad . It said " Bring a Billy Sunday re-enactor to your church or tent meeting ! " The re-actor was shown doing some chair tossing and chair jumping . He was also imitating base-running .
     
  3. Rippon

    Rippon
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    I had referenced a booklet by Ed Reese on the life and Ministry of J.W. Chapman on another thread . Reese says that Chapman hired Sunday as his advance man in 1893 . More interesting is the discovery that " Sunday's first crusade in 1896 was made up basically of Chapman's sermons . "
     
  4. Jim1999

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    But,,,,Billy Sunday was just an ignorant ballplayer who "got saved" and did his best to preach that "gospel". I think he could be somewhat excused that he used the best tools he had, at the time, to present the gospel,,,as he knew it. Many of his "shows" er crusades were held in a ballpark from the pitching mound.

    Like the fool who reportedly sat outside Spurgeon's Tabernacle and said, "I'm just a fool and nothing at all, but Jesus Christ is my all in all."

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  5. Rippon

    Rippon
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    Hi Jim . I am against gimmicks . Those on the BB who would defend Billy Sunday and yet rail against similiar shenanigins (sp?) in some quarters of mainstream Christianity are operating with selective vision . Besides , is being against booze the cornerstone of the Gospel ?
     
  6. Jim1999

    Jim1999
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    Hi Mate,
    I think we can go too far in condemnation of all means that we might win some. I tend to agree that I don't like gimmickry. Even this Board is using a form of gimmickry to attract women to the new ladies forum...If you enrol now and post you are eleigible to win..............Is this wrong?

    When I post an attractive sermon title on the outdoor bulletin board...is that gimmickry?

    Just like D.L. Moody. I understand that he lacked in some areas of theology, according to what I believe, but I still quote him often in sermons. He wrote some great devotional material, and lovely sermon illustrations.

    I don't pound the pulpit or shout, but I do get rather animated with my command of the English language whilst preaching. Is that theatrical?

    There is a point where we can be so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly value.

    I am glad that at my age and position, I no longer must trouble about these things. I just preach the word where I am invited to occupy the pulpit and bless the Lord for those opportunities.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  7. Revmitchell

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    Sundays preaching against alcohol was appropriate at that time. We should probably be doing more of today.

    If you are not passionate about a sermon maybe you should tuck it away until you have lived it. Once you do you might find yourself doing a couple of flips.

    Not every preacher is gifted in the same way as others. God provides each of us with just exactly what he wants us to have. Out here in the sticks there are many little country churches that wouldnt even look at a preacher with much education. So there are godly men who fill those pulpits who may not have quite the gift for speaking or have alot of greek and hebrew schooling. But God uses them daily.

    Paul was short, ugly, and half blind. He didint speak quite the way many men today would cheer on today. In fact I have heard several ridiculous criticisms of him over the years. But God uses us all in the midst of our limitations. I thank God that he has chosen to take an old drunk like me out of the world and use me within the limitations I have.
     
  8. J.D.

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    I never have understood how a Presbyterian church can give birth to such theological lu-lu's as Sunday and Finney. They have their Westminster Standards, and (thought I) they expect adherence to them.

    As for God using the likes of a Moody or Sunday, either Jim1999 is right, or....should we conclude, like L.R. Shelton, that we are not truly saved until we come to recognize the sovereignty of God as represented in the "reformed" gospel?

    Confession time for me -- my "conversion" to Calvinism was like truly being saved for the first time. Maybe it was??
     
  9. Bro Tony

    Bro Tony
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    I wouldn't conclude this at all---this could be some of the arrogant attitude that bothers some about calvinism (reformed view of soteriology).

    The reformed theological system does not equal the Gospel.

    Bro Tony
     
  10. Blammo

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    I've never heard such a strange statement from you before. Where in the Bible do you find, "Believe on the theology of Calvin, and thou shalt be saved."?

    You and I were saved the same way. It's not the "how" we don't agree on, it's the "why".
     
  11. J.D.

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    I hereby retract that statement. Let's chalk it up to a having a "senior" moment. I've never believed that people go to hell for being theologically confused. I don't even know why I said that.

    But I will say this - it doesn't seem like I really worshippped God until I saw Him in His sovereign glory - like Isaiah (Ch 6).
     
  12. Blammo

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    Praise God. I knew you weren't that off the wall about theology. I actually almost totally agree with much of what you believe.
     

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