Why I am No Longer a Oneness Pentecostal: Part Ten
~Jumping the Shark~
by E.L. Anglin
I recently watched a sermon clip of a man preaching against the type of underwear other men wear. Seriously. That's when you know you're "jumping the shark."
To jump the shark is to "reach the point in a TV series that denotes it is irretrievably past its best by introducing a ridiculous or otherwise unbelievable plot device or characterization in order to boost ratings."(1)
Within Fundamentalism, and specifically my cultural hearth of Oneness Pentecostalism, I've witnessed many things which meet this standard. Crazy (and inaccurate) end-time prophecy predictions of a third China war(2), sermons which use the 'Encyclopedia of Witches And Witchcraft' as a proof text to propose that uncut hair on females brings magical healing powers strong enough to make the lead character of Disney's 'Tangled' jealous(3), and maniacal rejoicing that "all Trinitarians are lost."(4)
Prominent leaders ignore these errors because even though they are extreme, they serve to prop up "the message."
Though completely fabricated, the Third China War is a valuable evangelism tool. It feeds fear. Fear is necessary to a good altar call.
Holy Magic Hair, though unbelievably outlandish, serves to prop up the doctrine of uncut hair on females. It proposes that there is a reward involved to those who submit to the standard. A special mystical power than men can never possess.
The idea that all Trinitarians are lost is badge of great pride. It doesn't matter that the Bible never makes one's knowledge of the godhead a matter of salvation. It doesn't matter that God "is not willing that any should perish." Others are. In fact, they're not just willing that others perish, they're downright gleeful.
Some will read this and be angrier at me for addressing the weirdness, than they are concerned with the error itself.
That's why the error continues.
When you're more concerned with bowling, skating, little league, canoeing, lip gloss, comic books, golf, circuses, fairs, Christmas, beards, jewelry, make-up, shorts, and a list of other things too long to mention, than "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control," you've jumped the shark.
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