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  • Writer's pictureShannon Makujina

I Saw The Door

“I saw the door, praise God, I saw the door.”

This was one of my favorite comments in response to a recent Facebook post on a recovering IFB group.

The poster had shared this ridiculous video of two (obviously IFB) preachers singing their homemade version of “I Saw the Light”.

“She’ll be the wife God wants her to be,” the pastor sings, to an accompaniment of uproarious laughter. “She’ll wear her dresses down past her knees.” More hooting. Mostly from the men.

“She’ll keep her mouth shut, even when she’s right

Cause praise the Lord! She saw the light!”

I suppose this is the entertainment that fundamentalists preach against?

Very sadly, there was nothing surprising about this. I’m afraid as a church musician at my IFB church, I participated in some equally ridiculous and blasphemous musical stunts.

Today, it made me heavy hearted, because I remembered the feeling in the room. That “revival” feeling, all the shouting and the screaming and the hands in the air. The altar packed down to the third pew. The pastor on the stage, screaming so loud you could see the spit flying out of his mouth.

And I was sitting there, glowing inside, thinking that the whole room was being visited by the Spirit.

I was the first person down at the altar. I remember kneeling at the altar, tears running down my face, as the preacher towered over me, still screaming about hell. I remember having feelings of ecstasy--while singing in the choir. After all, I was on the winning side, was I not?

I even wrote poetry about my church.

I was caught up in something that was evil, dark and dangerous. But I couldn’t see past all the perfectly ironed suits. I couldn’t see past the charisma of the man on stage.

Fundamentalism gave me an adrenaline rush.

Fundamentalism promised me that I was a part of God’s select few.

Fundamentalism promised that if I kept their rules, I would merit eternal favor, favor above all other denominations or creeds.

Fundamentalism promised me belonging--in a cult.

And fundamentalism threw me away, discarded on the rubbish heap of the unfaithful, turned over to Satan like Hymenaeus and Alexander.

The same people I held hands with at the altar, won’t even look at me if I pass them in the grocery store. The spiritual leaders who I trusted the most have preached sermons against me to their congregation, trying to explain why I left.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Fundamentalism teaches a false Gospel. Fundamentalism is heresy.

These people have not seen the light, they are seeing Satan, deceiving them--an angel of light, cloaked in darkness.

The law kills. Fundamentalism kills.

The Spirit gives life. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (Galatians 3:17 CSB).”

Did we know any of that freedom as we sat on the church pews, listening to the pastor scream about how many inches below the knees a lady’s skirt should come? Did we feel that freedom when the church constitution specified over 30 different musical styles that the Pastor deemed abominations? Did we feel that freedom as we were drowning in an abusive marriage, only to be told that divorce was inexcusable under any circumstance?

Did we ever know what freedom was?

Did we ever have the Spirit of the Lord in our churches?

I cry as I am writing this, because I truly would have held onto my shackles and my pride and my cult belonging, forever. Except one day, God, who is rich in mercy, snatched me out of the IFB church and into his glorious light.

“Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by the Spirit, are you now finishing by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:2-4)

Maybe it will forever blow my mind that I so believed something so untrue. I gape at it every day, wondering, “How did I actually believe this?”.

But I want it to forever astound me that Jesus found me and dragged me out. That will forever blow my mind.

“Who am I that the highest King should welcome me?

I was lost when he brought me in,

Oh his love for me.

Oh his love for me!” (Who You Say I Am, Hillsong Worship)

I’ve been sitting here at my computer for almost an hour now, just reeling. Jesus loved me enough to redeem me from legalism. Jesus loved me enough to take the curse of the law for me! To redeem me from it!

While the insanity of the life we left should make us grieve, may it also make us grateful.

Jesus had mercy on us! You are reading this right now because once you were a slave and now you are an heir. If nothing else is going for you today, that is a reason to celebrate!

Fall on your knees with me, before Jesus, Light of the world. Thank God, we saw the door!

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Aug 16, 2023

I saw the door. Love it!

My husband's version: "I saw the door, I saw the door. And I won't be going back there anymore."

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